Eight months an angel

Oh my sweet baby … eight months since you earned your wings! I hope you are using them well! It is the holiday season here and you know much I detest the holidays! Grinch is an understatement! The month between Thanksgiving and the first of the year always brought me into a dark place and you were my ray of sunshine. Our annual Santa photos. Getting you presents and wrapping them up. Watching you unwrap your presents. Taking our Christmas walk on the beach while we watched you spread some cheer in your Christmas dress of the year! Just basking in life. You knew how to live life to the fullest and make each day a gift and recognize how special it was.

I cannot believe in one short month, on January 8th, it will be the month that you lost your leg. Such my brave girl. I’ve looked back on old videos from last December and you did walk with a limp, a little slow. I hope you know that I always put your best interests first and I didn’t realize how lame that leg had really come. I am sorry I didn’t notice it earlier.

I remember last holiday season, I spent every night with you. I asked “Santa” to make you healthy as we were already a few months into our cancer battle and you had gotten a couple treatments of chemo. We had gotten clear X-rays … no mets! The best gift ever. I felt that you were going to win this battle but looking back, you stayed strong and happy for ME to help get me through these horrible months that I hate so much.

You always – still – show up just when I need you. This weekend, I saw two pennies at the cash register at Petco … those were definitely from you! And last night, I saw a single gem on the floor … it had traveled really far from where it was so I knew you helped place it there so I would see it and feel you. You know how hard these anniversaries are on me and how with each month, I feel you slipping farther and farther from my grasp. I struggle to hold onto your spirit and your love because if I can’t feel it, it wasn’t real.

I have changed, Shelby Lynne. Definitely changed. Not good or bad just different. There will never be another love like ours. And there shouldn’t be. We had the greatest love of all time. You taught me to be a “mom” and I channel that every day. You taught me to love. Not just love for the sake of love but love in the way you let your walls down and allow your heart to be filled with all things good. You taught me to see the best in people. You taught me to trust. And trust that while I still feel tremendous sadness and pain, there are many more days that I celebrate the great things we did together. All the ‘firsts’ I had with you, have helped get to me the place I am now.

I am older, I am wiser, I am definitely more jaded. But I still believe in hope. And in love. And in positive thinking. I will reach for your strength over the next couple of weeks to get me into January … and then when I relive all our ‘firsts’ of that as we inch closer to that dreaded angelversary. I don’t cry as much for you … I hope you don’t mind. You are still the first thought I have when I wake up and the last before I go to bed. I still talk to you all the time. But my tears have tried up. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love or grieve any less … it MUST mean that your strength has fully entered my heart and my soul.

I am serious when I say I feel your strength and power every day… I love you, Miss Shelby Lynne. I miss you every day.  I cannot wait till we are together again. #loveofmylife #shelbystrong

Christmas Eve 2013. All I asked Santa for was a healthy and happy Shelby.
Present time!
Worlds. Most. Patient. Dog.


Love this face more than life!

Shelby Lynne – day of the dead celebration: a new tradition

I’ve never been one to really follow or pay much attention to the day after Halloween, also known as Día de Muertos (day of the dead) but this year is different. Missing my best girl as we enter the holiday season and knowing all that we went through last year together, I knew I needed to do something for her today.

Ironically, there is a spiritual communication center near my house that offers free aura and communication readings on the first day of each month for pets. I figured it would be a good time to figure out why Jasper Lily has the tendency to do her “low growls”.

We arrived and were seated pretty quickly and I was introduced to a woman named Shelby. At that moment, my heart literally stopped. She could see the look of shock on my face and all of a sudden this became more about MY Shelby than Jasper. I explained that I had lost my dog, Shelby, several months ago and that this was my new dog. As I told her Jasper’s full name was Jasper Lily, she shared that her daughter’s name was Lily. She quickly went into the “zone” (or whatever they call it) and started our reading. We discovered that Jasper has a lot of colorful energy around her and while she does not ‘see dead people’ (as I asked) but rather has some significant ‘negative’ energy in her aura. Her past is indeed troubled but she is working through it.

I am not sure how we transitioned into talking about my girl Shelby – I must have asked if Shelby visits at night – and then the entire session became about communicating with Shelby’s spirit. She told me almost the same exact thing the Animal Communicator I talked with about a month ago told me.

She told me that Shelby sees herself as my partner – not just a dog. That she is ALWAYS with me and that she hopes that I can feel her (and I do). She told me that Shelby does sit by the side of the bed at night – which would be exactly where Jasper looks AND where Shelby spent the last several months of her life (and parts of her pre-cancer life as well). She said that Shelby likes to ‘pet’ me – like a dog but more because Shelby sees herself as the strong one. Shelby knows that her death brought me intense pain and grief – unlike any other – and that many people grieve for her but wants me to know that she is happy and having fun. She said that Shelby said she thinks her death was sudden to me and that is 100% true. While we all knew that Shelby was sick and her days were limited, her final passing was a shock. She went from being basically fine, to having no use of her remaining leg, to seizures to coma … all within 72 hours. Sudden is spot on.

She told me that Shelby knows that I have the greatest capacity for love, as seen in our relationship, and that I need to open up my heart to love again. It will absolutely NEVER be the same love that we had or shared. Ours was unlike any other but my heart can love again if I just let it. She said to love Jasper … to let Jasper in. She said that Shelby does not see it as disloyal at all. She knows that she is “the love of my life” and that will never change. She said that Shelby is quite analytical and less ‘dog-like’ but has more human traits in the way she communicates. Almost like Shelby really did see herself as the pack leader in our relationship.

For those that may consider this ‘spiritual stuff’ mumbo jumbo, to that I say, how can TWO, TWO spiritual communicators deliver almost the exact same message to me? That left me with chills. That left me with a sense of peace and longing for more. That left me feeling full and understanding.

Shelby makes herself known to me every single day and I feel it. I know others may think it’s odd that I collect pennies or gemstones. That the name Jasper means a gemstone and that name came to me randomly (or maybe not). Or even… on a day when I didn’t feel like running, after a much needed rain storm in LA, the skies opened up and I saw the most beautiful rainbow which I know was a sign from Shelby. Shelby is my heart, my soul, my world. It brings me peace knowing that she is with me, by my bed, at night. It soothes my soul. And while it doesn’t make me miss her any less – what I wouldn’t do to kiss those velvet ears one more time – it allows me to live. To do more than just exist. The pain of losing Shelby is something that I will never fully recover from. I have changed. I have a tremendous wall up that is blocking a lot of ‘good’ from getting in. But I also know that I am, day by day, letting a little bit of that wall break down. And finding space in my heart for more love.

There will never be another love like the one Shelby and I had. And that is why it makes it even more special and magical. To have had the greatest love of my life  at such a young age … I will forever hold that within everything thing that I do.

Today, as always Shelby, I honor, I love, I miss and I hold you – fur-ever in my heart.

And for our ceremony, I went to our favorite place, the beach, to celebrate her life, our love and the things we both loved the most – the sand, glitter and the ocean waves crashing. It was peaceful. It was serene. It was just like I wanted and needed. To slow down, be in the moment, to enjoy and to be more dog. I love you Shelby.

My ‘shrine’ to Shelby – it was too windy to light the candles.
Glitter in the sand…
A few of her favorite things! Her tiara and some bling.
The sky during my ceremony with her.

Spinning for Shelby

For the past 5 years, I have participated in the Annual YAS-A-THON fundraiser spin-a-thon for cures for cancer.  I have always done this event in memory of my father who lost his battle to cancer in 1997. All monies raised go to support new cancer therapies and cures through clinical trials and other outlets. It is always an incredibly moving and powerful afternoon.

This year, fresh off the loss of my beloved Shelby to hemangiosarcoma, I made it my personal mission to raise awareness (and funds) to benefit ALL cancer therapies. I am 100% convinced it is modern medical advances in chemotherapies that allowed me the extra 7 months I had with Shelby so this year, I dedicated my three-hour ride to Shelby (and of course my father too). With both their names etched on my arms, I vowed to spin with every ounce of my being.

The entire week leading up to the event was incredibly emotional for me. I knew that my legs would/could handle the endurance of it, I wasn’t sure my heart was strong enough. I have always prided myself on being able to “hold it together” when push comes to shove. But from about Tuesday of last week, I had been in a non-stop tears. Just looking at photos of my beautiful girl rendered me a sobbing mess. Grief is so funny. I felt that it was the first week in April again when I had lost Shelby and had no control over my tears. I longed for a sign from Shelby to tell me/show me that she was OK.

As I headed to the gym yesterday, I put Shelby’s yellow Tripawds bandanna on my arm so that she could ‘ride’ with me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I prayed for strength.  As I clipped myself into the bike, I felt motivated, confident and strong. I could do this. I would do this.

I was wearing a #tripawds tank top and I noticed the photographer kept trying to get shots of the shirt and Shelby’s scarf on my arm. It made pedal stronger, harder,  faster.

About 1/2 way into the ride, Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” came on. A woman who was riding in front of me turned around and said this is YOUR song. And it was true. I always said to Shelby during our journey, when I found strength  I didn’t know I had, what didn’t kill me was only going to make me stronger. I started to tear up. I felt that lump in the throat. I prayed the sweat running down my neck would make the tears but sadly, the red eyes gave me away. A man on a bike near me gave me a gentle smile and wink, as if to say, it’s going to be OK. I felt the oxygen leaving my lungs (I am a runner, a spinner, a cardio-queen yet I felt that I couldn’t get air into my lungs) but I was absolutely NOT getting off that bike, nor was I going to give up. I looked at my arm and remembered why I was there and I pushed through. Shelby guided me through. She was there with me, on my arm, in my heart, in my soul.

At the end of the event, after three grueling hours on a spin bike, I was soaked through, the bottoms of my feet hurt, I had blisters on my hands from gripping the bike and I felt that I had been hit by a bus. But I will vow to do it again and again until we wipe cancer off the face of the earth.

Tomorrow marks 11 weeks since Shelby left this planet. Almost three months. The pain is just as fresh as it was back in April. I miss her so terribly much. But I am a survivor. I survived this year’s event. And I survive each day I get up. I am #shelbystrong and I know she is with me all the time. She was definitely with me yesterday. Shelby was speedy. She loved to sprint. She loved to climb.  She loved to be part of a community. And yesterday was about all those things. And as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words… these are for you my best girl.



































For Shelby
For Shelby















For Daddy
For Daddy















For "Happy Hannah"
For “Happy Hannah”









4.8.14 -  Shelby Lynne R.
4.8.14 – Shelby Lynne R.










She rides with me!
She rides with me!













Shelby in a bikini #flashbackfriday

I wish so much I could remember when I first thought to dress Shelby up. As everyone knows, Shelby was rescued from the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter in New Orleans. I found about the shelter from a local pet store that would host monthly “Yappy Hours” for dogs and their owners. Often they included costume contests and themes. One month they did “summer” and “beachwear”. Well how could I not dress Shelby up in a bikini?

I went to the Goodwill and found a kid’s bikini (pink of course) and figured it was about Shelby’s size. It fit perfectly. But it was missing ‘assets’ to fill it out. Balloons! Brilliant.

A couple hours before the party I put Shelby in the bikini to try it on, I realized I had to cut a hole for her tail. She took to wearing the bikini pretty easily but then I noticed she walking really funny. Kind of like she had something in her pants. And sure enough, she had POOPED in her bikini! Hours before she needed to walk the runway, her outfit was soiled. I quickly removed the bottoms and cleaned them up but they were still a bit damp.

We got to the party on time and we did our walk and voila, because I had chosen to give her ample double d’s, she won first place! That’s my girl.

1st Prize
















Oh Shelby… what a patient dog you really were. Oh how I miss you my sweet angel. We had SO much fun. We had such a great life together. You were a holy terror at first but I don’t remember ever having many regrets after the first weekend with you. You were lap size, arms size, snuggle size. You fit PERFECTLY from day one into my arms. You were always so relaxed in my embrace.

This weekend I will do my 5th Annual YAS-A-THON charity spin ride raising funds to cure cancer. I’ve always dedicated my ride to my father who passed in 1997 but this year, I’ll ride for you, Shelby, as well. Cancer has taken two of the most important beings in my life from me. It’s just so unfair. I am angry. I am heartbroken. I have been in tears since Tuesday. I pray that you send me the strength I need on Sunday for the three hour ride and that I can push the emotions away for just a little bit.

The ironic thing about grief is that it creeps up on you when you least expect it and it can rip your inner core and send all your healing back to the beginning. And the walls that you put up to deal with past griefs come pummeling down and no longer protect that heart.

Shelby, you were indeed my soul mate. Our bond was strong but made stronger by my being your primary caregiver for almost a year. Looking back on where I was last year at this time,( getting ready for the spin event), I was woefully unprepared. We didn’t know what was wrong with you yet but you were recovering from your broken leg and I had taken time off from eating well or exercising. I didn’t know how I would spin for three hours on a bike that I hadn’t been on in almost 2 weeks. But you gave me strength. I was strong for you and I will be strong for you again this year. So this Sunday, Shelby, I will put your name on my arm and feel you by my side the entire time. I will proudly wear your yellow Tripawds bandanna in your honor.

I miss you, baby girl, love of my life … please let me know you are doing ok. Send me some pennies. Send me a sign that you haven’t forgotten about me. Know that I will never forget about you. Looking at your old pictures for your blog today remind me, once again, how strong and pure and true our bond was. I love you to the moon and back, Shelby Lynne… always and for all infinity.

Love this face!
Always curious and independent!
Tripawd Nation – now and for forever

One year ago you broke your leg and thus our long journey began

It was June 8, 2012, just another Saturday at the Farmer’s Market. You were having fun in the ‘free’ doggy day-care while I shopped for flowers, fresh fruits and veggies. We left with high hopes for the rest of our day! And you jumped, like you had, a million times, into my car. And you missed. I will never forget the sound you made – the hysterical cry as you lay on the ground. I rushed to you and you nipped at me – the first time you had ever done that – and I knew you were seriously hurt and scared. It broke my heart. I got you into my backseat and snuggled you w/blankets as you went totally calm. I yelled at people who accused me of hurting you. They didn’t know us. They didn’t know our love story.

I drove like a bat out of hell to your vet. “Broken leg” was the immediate diagnosis. As upsetting as that was, I knew we could fix it. I just knew. I didn’t know what was yet to come. The week of up and downs, mis-diagnosises, the lack of bed-side manner, having to make decisions on the fly without all the facts, having your life and fate in my hands. Never have I been so scared. Never have I felt so alone.

I will never forget the horrible vet (not one ours) that announced in  the waiting room with you in my arms that you had cancer and were going to die. Horrible bedside manner. And then to have him advise me to calm down as I hysterically sobbed. I wanted a second opinion. I got one. Same diagnosis. They ran some tests on you. They found a mass on your spleen but the biopsy said it was benign. The aspirate on your leg came back benign too. But everyone was convinced you had Osteosarcoma. I got a third opinion. Dr. Carey was kind and her nurse was so compassionate. She also thought bone cancer but there was no evidence. We decided to amputate. My friend found me this website. I posted my panic and the kind members reached out immediately for support.

Late Sunday night, the day before you were to become a tripawd, I got a call that changed everything. We could plate/fix the leg. The most extensive biopsy conducted showed NO signs of bone cancer. It was suspected a fungal infection. That was treatable. There was still the lump on your shoulder and the mass on your spleen but no cancer found. I breathed a sign of relief. They were going to take a huge chunk when you were under and there was still the chance we would have to amputate but for now, we were going to keep the leg. I made that choice. It was the best choice I could make with the information I had in front of me. I refuse to continue to ask myself if we had taken the leg then, would we have found the hemangiosarcoma earlier? I cannot continue to torment and beat myself up. You know I did everything with the utmost love and affection.

Post-op for your first surgery













So you came home and the healing began. You gained mobility of that leg again pretty quickly. You did SO well. The vets were so impressed.  The tests came back – not osteosarcoma. But also not a fungal infection. You were a medical mystery. The vet still maintained it was cancer but without a definitive diagnosis, I didn’t want to believe it. You still limped but I figured perhaps it was arthritis that had made you weaker. You were over 12 years old at the time. You had always been a jumped. It was inevitable that those joints much be tired. I put you on supplements. I changed your diet. You continued to get up on furniture, despite my telling you not to jump. You were always such a strong-willed little fighter.

Two weeks post-op, look how happy!

















Totally not where she was supposed to be!














We had an amazing summer – I was off work and we spent hours outside by the beach, in the grass, in the sunshine. We went to happy hour (a lot), went for coffee, spent all our days and nights together. It was wonderful. You were healing well and I thought we had dodged a huge bullet, only to find out in September, that you indeed had cancer.

Water therapy!











Love of my life










So I will remain forever thankful for the wonderful memories of last summer. I will be grateful for being able to be with you and watch you recover and take care of you. I will continue to live in the moment and ‘be more dog’.  I will vow, from today forward, to forgive myself for your breaking your leg. Perhaps that break was meant to be and it saved your life. It put us on notice. On watch for things yet to come. I know you are in my heart and you are guiding me daily.

Summer was always our special time. This summer will be different. But I have so many HAPPY photos and memories of the great fun that we had! Shelby we had such a wonderful life; could there be a luckier dog?!? I have to believe and I have to forgive myself, since I know you already have. I have to know that you know that I did every thing within my God-given financial power for you. I miss you, baby girl. I miss you so much. I knew I would be sad this weekend; I was prepared for it. And as I allow myself to shed some tears in remembrance, know that I am looking at our photos of our amazing together and my heart is truly filled with joy. We had the greatest love story – ever. You lived every moment to the fullest and I strive to be more like you now.

I am taking more risks, Shelby, I am letting people in again. I am opening my heart. And I am keeping your spirit and memory alive. Because while you have had your angel wings for two months (today) and it was a year ago we started this, I know that I continue to grow and gain strength. It’s not that I don’t miss you every single day – it’s that I know you are sending me healing love and energy to help with the pain. And most importantly, I am going to work on forgiving myself. You have. That much I do know. I love you, Shelby,  to the moon and back and for all infinity.




Two months an angel

It’s been two months today (eight weeks exactly) that Shelby said goodbye to her cancer ridden body and was allowed to soar high above, all four legs back, and to start her new mission, serving as my personal guardian angel. I miss her so terribly much.

As I approach the one year marker of when she first broke her leg, a new flood of emotions permeates my heart and soul. This video was taken ONE week prior to her breaking her leg.


There are so many questions I have… how is it possible that four days later, on June 8th, she would miss the jump into the car and fall and break her leg. How would my otherwise happy and healthy dog embark on what would be the last 10 months of her life? How did I not see a limp or anything wrong with her? And the worst, why did I let her jump into that car? BUT I am working on striking those thoughts from my mind. Because there is no good that can come from “what if” and Shelby didn’t live like that. I vow again to “be more Shelby”.

About the number 8. I posted the other day on the Tripawds forums that I noticed that the number “8” plays a key role in Shelby’s 10 months on this earth.

June 8 – Shelby broke her leg
August 8 – I interviewed for the job that I ultimately get that would allow for me to take bereavement when Shelby passed
September 8 – Shelby’s spleen was enlarged and subsequently removed but thankfully I was home with her and able to get her to the ER before it ruptured, thus saving her life and finding the hemangiosarcoma cancer.
January 8 – Shelby becomes a Tripawd
April 8 – Shelby earns her wings

As was pointed out to me, eight turned on the side is the symbol for infinity. For as long as I can remember, I would tell Shelby that I loved her to the moon and back and for all infinity. I am not one to put a lot of stock in numerology but I cannot ignore the message presented to me here. Shelby is and remains my soul mate and that is forever.

I was also told that in Chinese culture, the number eight is lucky.

In the two months since Shelby has been gone, I’ve been up down and around. I worked intensely through the month of May which proved to be a great distraction for my immense grief. I went on a mini-vacation and had a lot of time to think and remember how much I truly miss Shelby. It was hard but it was important for me to do. And I found a penny on the floor in a dressing room in Palm Springs that let me know that Shelby was indeed with me that entire trip.

I have learned a lot about myself and how well (or not well) I am still handling this. I am finally able to look through photos on Petfinder without comparing every dog to my beautiful Shelby (I am not ready to adopt yet but I am no longer opposed to owning another fur-baby). I am going to start volunteering at a local animal rescue here in Los Angeles with the hope of being a ‘guardian angel’ volunteer which includes taking the dogs on hikes and runs to assess their temperament and activity levels for their future fur-ever home.  Will be a win/win for everyone – I’ll get in shape (again) and the dogs will get a decent amount of fresh air and activity.

And in two weeks I will participate in my 5th annual YAS Spin-A-Thon for cancer research. I have dedicated my ride and fundraising efforts to Shelby’s memory. Without modern medical advances in cancer fighting drugs, Shelby wouldn’t have received the great treatment and care that she did. It will be my most emotional and intense spin yet, but I will be dressed in head to two #tripawds attire and will spin with Shelby in my heart and on my back.

It’s true what they say, that the pain never really goes away. You just learn to manage it better. Some days are better than others. Weekends are still really hard. Summer, which was our favorite time of year, will be really hard.

This upcoming weekend will be really hard knowing that last year at this time we spent the weekend in the ER with her broken leg and were given the diagnosis of osteosarcoma which was later proven untrue. When I think of the emotional, gut-wrenching roller coaster of emotions I had at the beginning of June and how I found strength where I didn’t think I could. I knew I had to be strong for Shelby. And I know that I can and WILL find  the strength to get through this weekend and the subsequent weeks of this month (as I see the photo reminders from last year on my phone and Facebook page).

I just remind myself, that I did everything within my physical, medical and financial power with the information I had at that time. And that every vet would have made the exact same decisions I made.

And so with that , I chose to end this with some fun memories of my girl… till next time, Shelby Lynne. Remember, mommy loves you to the moon and back and for all infinity. XOXOXO

At the little park by our house that we used to go to with the neighbors. Shelby never wanted to play but preferred to guard the treats.











We loved the beach













Love you to the moon and back and for all infinity!

#TBT Traveling with Shelby

I’m not exactly sure when I thought it would be fun to take Shelby on mini vacations, road trips. I know we didn’t do any of that in New Orleans. In Seattle, we pretty much stayed at home or ventured to the Oregon Coast for a weekend here and there. But once we moved to LA, Shelby seemed to be my go-to travel buddy. She had mellowed out and was ‘moderately’ well behaved in social settings (aka restaurants).

I do recall in Seattle taking her to a coffee shop where she would have to sit outside and wait for me. I would never consider that now – but in Seattle, it was safe and no one was snatching dogs. But Shelby would have NONE of that. She suffered from severe abandonment issues and even though she could ‘see’ me through the window, she would scream and holler like she was being skinned. Anyone who has ever heard of the “Shiba Scream” knows what sounds I am talking about. On more than one occasion (because I thought she would get better or get used to being tied up outside) someone would come into the coffee shop and ask who’s dog it was. Usually I would rush the coffee order and get out there to find her calmly being pet and loved on by other patrons. So maybe it was her way of getting extra snuggles. #dramaqueen

Somewhere along the way, I decided it would be fun to take Shelby to Santa Barbara for the weekend. It’s a super dog friendly town and I figured we could explore the beaches and wineries. Sadly my designated driver had four paws so that definitely cut down on the number of wineries we could go to. I let her pick out some toys at Petco, packed her up and we hit the road. We had so much fun! Traveling with Shelby was the best. She was pretty well-behaved when we would go out to eat. She was great in hotels (never barked) and I was able to go for a long run, leave her there and come back and find her still snoozing on the bed. I remember our first trip up to Santa Barbara – we were gone a little over 48 hours and it was the best time. I vowed then to take her on as mini getaways as I could. LA is ironically not as dog friendly as one would think so we had to be creative. San Diego, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs … all destinations for us to go and explore.

Shelby was such a good sport. She was always so happy to go. She was so friendly to EVERYONE she met. People fell in love with her. Her smile, her energy, her wagging tail. We had the best times, the best adventures! I couldn’t have asked for a better travel companion. She knew when I got out her travel bag that we were going somewhere exciting. She would do her little dance around the house and basically wouldn’t chill out while I got our things together. On more than one occasion I would yell at her “if you don’t stop, we’re not going anywhere”. Thankfully I never made good on that threat! 🙂  Also as I would try and load things into the car, she was constantly underfoot – I can only assume this is akin to traveling with a human child.

“are we there yet”?!?
Passed out at one of the wineries


Vacations with Shelby were the best!
Our last trip to Santa Barbara after her cancer diagnosis




















Two years ago I had a job that required a ton of travel and I quickly figured out that I could manage the trips to San Diego by bringing my best friend. They had a doggy daycare there that Shelby would/could play in – from what I was told, she simply followed the staff ALL day looking for pets and snuggles, then we would have dinner out and head back to the hotel. Or we would order room service. There is nothing like trying to eat dinner on a the bed with a wet nose sharking for french fries! But it make the traveling more manageable.

Locally, Shelby and I would grab lunch, go for coffee (in places I could bring her in) or happy hour. Last summer our favorite thing was to go over on Thursdays early afternoon and grab some drinks and snacks. It soon became “Vodka Thursdays”. We had the best summer last summer – not knowing that it would be our last summer. I was off work for 2 months and I got to spend every day with the “love of my life”.

As I pack up my bags this long Memorial Day Weekend (the unofficial start of summer), I do so with a mixture of emotions. There is a huge part of me that really believes I need to get out of LA – even if it’s just for 48 hours. In the past 6 weeks since Shelby passed, I have been going at full speed at work, which has kept me exhausted and distracted. Part of me also feels like I am running away from my new reality. Weekends are still really hard on me. It was our time – even if it was sitting outside in the sunshine and doing nothing, it was our time.

It will be bittersweet to get on the road and drive east without my best friend in the back seat.  Shelby would always put her paws on the console when we first got started on an adventure, we would crank up the Neil Diamond and open the sunroof and let the road guide us … my agenda, my destination; Shelby was just happy to be with me. She didn’t care where we were going. Or when we got there.

But I do believe Shelby will be guiding me this weekend; she is always with me. She is in my heart, she is in my mind, she is in my soul. And while I look at this as an escape, I feel hopeful and optimistic that a little rest, a lot of vodka, a lot of french fries and a pool will be just what the doctor ordered.


#TBT Shelby Edition~

Another edition of #ThrowbackThursday for Shelby’s blog. As mentioned, Shelby was born and raised in New Orleans. She’s a Cajun pooch at heart and each year, loved to celebrate Mardi Gras and the rich traditions that came with it. Throughout the Mardi Gras season, there are roughly two weeks of nightly (and day) parades, each getting bigger and better and flashier, leading up to “Fat Tuesday” – the all day party of parades with colorful beads, doublooms and other fun stuff.

Prior to Mardi Gras, is the Krewe of Barkus – dedicated to dogs (and proceeds benefited local area shelters). How could Shelby NOT participate?!? That year the theme was “Elvis”. I decided to make Shelby into a “Blue Suede Shoe”.

My little blue suede shoe

Shelby was a great sport as I pulled out the can(s) of blue hair spray paint and went to town trying to make her blue. It took several cans as her fur just seemed to absorb the colors but you can see in the above picture, she was blue. I didn’t spray her face since I didn’t want to get it in her eyes and wasn’t sure about the toxicity. My boyfriend at the time was my partner in crime and he helped hold her still. Shelby was still quite the puppy at the time and was hard to contain. I got her little booties and found all the blue beads that I  could in my collection. She hated the booties (as you can see, she was trying to rock the tripawd life even back then, trying to shake them off). We managed to get a few blocks into the parade route before she would shake them off.

My baby … you can really see how blue she is here

Never have I met a more patient dog…. she truly just wanted to be loved. We definitely saw lots of other ‘colorful’ dogs that afternoon but no other Blue Suede Shoes!

When we got home, it was promptly into the bathtub for her and I didn’t think we would EVER get the blue out. I kept washing and rinsing and the tub would fill with blue. I had a brief moment of panic when I thought for sure she was going to be blue for forever. My boyfriend, of course, found great humor in this. Eventually, we got most of the blue out and she was fresh and clean once again. I promised her I would never spray paint her again (and I have not) but dressing her up continued.

That was the only Krewe of Barkus that we participated in. I think the parade took a hiatus for a few years and Shelby and I moved out of New Orleans in 2004. But these memories (along with other Mardi Gras memories – when she ate an entire package of red vine and I came home to see her on the floor in a deep sugar coma, vomiting and pooping at the same time and I had to rush her to the ER vet, fighting street closures due to the parades and having her vomit all over the backseat of my car. She was obviously fine but had to have a saline injection put into her back so she looked like a camel to re-hydrate her. Oh and those red vines she snagged, on the kitchen counter – dog was always a jumper) will remain with us forever.

There are times when I wonder what kind of life she lived before she end up in the shelter. Oh how I wish she could talk and tell me about her Cajun lifestyle before the girl from Seattle adopted her way back when … I have to believe her life has only been enhanced, if not more colorful, by living with me. Between the feather boas, the beads, the tiaras; Shelby has embraced her embellished lifestyle … she really lives by the Mardi Gras motto – “Laissez les bon temps rouler” – Let the Good Times Roll!!! #TBT #shelbystrong