Changes Come in Waves

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February 2018 will be a month for the record books, at least in my little corner of the world. The wave of change is upon me, and it has brought joy, devastation, and the anxiety that comes with both of those extreme emotions.

The month started with accepting a job offer. The moment this offer came to me, I immediately felt elation, which was promptly followed by a slight twinge of guilt. I have worked at a wonderful company for the past three years in Chicago–a company that took a chance on a new girl and truly let me make something special with my position, all the while being able to work with dogs! I am forever grateful to this company and the people there, and I will very much miss working with them. However, I felt the time coming when I could not continue on that path much longer.

In came a dear friend of mine who let me know that her workplace was hiring, and I took a chance by applying. This chance paid off, and I was offered a position very quickly! I am beyond ecstatic to have a position at a company that focuses on helping others while also providing its own employees with positions that help them live a balanced life. I am so incredibly excited to start on this new path, and I am so thankful not only for my friend Emily, but also for all of the people who helped me get to this point, including my most recent employer.

I am such a lucky person to have so many wonderful people and experiences in my life, professionally and personally, and I can’t help but think that the universe was leading me in this direction for a while.

After accepting my new position, another wave of change hit me very hard. My dog, Missy, who I have had since I was fifteen years old, passed away very suddenly the day after my mom arrived to visit me in Chicago. Missy was my true animal soulmate, and we went through so much together. She was with me throughout all of my education (high school, college, and graduate school). She was there when Sam and I got married and moved all across Middle Tennessee and eventually to Illinois. She was the matriarch of a brood of dogs we had at one time, all of whom have now passed away.

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Missy, Sam, and I celebrating her adoptaversary 4 years ago.

Her absence is deeply felt in my life, and nothing will ever replace or repair the hole she left in my heart. I had the privilege of caring for her for over thirteen years in this existence, and she will forever be a part of me. She was truly one of a kind–a special girl who made an impression on everyone she ever met.

Through all of this change–leaving one position, accepting and starting another, losing my beloved furbaby and doggy soulmate–I have been on a true “rollercoaster” of emotions during this second month of 2018. What has been so evident to me throughout the highs and lows, however, is how many fantastic and caring people I have in my life. From the people who gave such glowing referrals to my new company that I teared up listening to their voicemails, to the people who commiserated with me and shared in the grief of Missy’s passing, I have been reminded that I have led a full, fun, and fortunate journey through this world.

Every experience in my life has led me to this moment, and whatever the next wave brings, I am glad to be here, living it with Sam, our kitty Mister, and whatever furry creatures may enter our lives in the years to come. I’m also glad to be living this life with you, whoever you are. May the waves crash gently for both you and me in the times to come.

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Mondays with Missy – Changes

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Monday, July 20, 2015

I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my nearly twelve years. When my mom and dad adopted me eleven years ago in Tennessee, I had only been in the shelter for three days, but I knew I didn’t like it there. I was glad to go to a new home that day all those years ago–that was such a good change! After that, I moved a few times, and that wasn’t a big deal because my family was always there. I don’t mind living in a new place as long as I have familiar faces around me!

Over the years, I’ve had two sisters and a brother. Sometimes it took me a while to get used to them when they first came into my life, but I did love all of them. My sister Jessica died when she was very old and sick while we still lived in Tennessee. That was hard for everyone, especially my mom and dad. Still, I had my other sister and brother. I loved bossing them around and making sure they fell in line! As long as they were around, I knew everything was just fine.

Last year came the biggest change I’ve ever experienced–my whole family moved from Tennessee to Chicago, Illinois! I got a little freaked out on the long car ride up here, but once we were settled, I grew to love my new city. I still do. It’s different from anything I’ve ever experienced, and while some of the noises (like trains) are still scary, I enjoy my life here. Shortly after we moved here, my little sister Ruby died from a heart condition that we never knew she had. I was really sad to lose her because I had helped raise her from the time she was a puppy. Ruby was really my baby, even though I let my mom think she was hers. 😉 Still, I had my brother Cosmo and my mom and dad. I knew I could get through it.

Last month, Cosmo began to feel bad. He would throw up every once in a while, and he just wasn’t acting like himself. He died on June 21, and I became the only dog in my family for the first time since July 2007! What a crazy change that has been over the last month. I miss Cosmo a lot, even though he really got on my nerves. I may have barked at him every day when I was jealous over him getting attention or when I thought he had taken some of my food, but he was my buddy. I miss having him around. Shortly after he died, my mom and dad went out of town for a couple days. This made me really upset even though I had a dogsitter staying in my house 24/7 and taking care of me. (Who knows? They could have been leaving me forever!) I guess it was all too much because my stomach was messed up for about a week. The vet said I had acid reflux from stress, so I’ve been on antacids for a few days for that.

I feel a lot better now, and I guess I shouldn’t worry about my mom and dad leaving me after they’ve kept me around for eleven years. In fact, I’m getting more attention than ever now. My parents hardly ever leave me alone, which can sometimes be annoying–I enjoy my alone time–but I know they mean well! They let me boss them around all time time now too, so that makes up for them being annoying sometimes. They took me to PetSmart and bought me all sorts of new stuff and have been giving me so many treats–my favorite ones have been from a dog treat food truck here in Chicago! People may say I’m spoiled, but I say every dog should live like this. 🙂

The most recent changes in my life have been difficult for me, but I still have my mom and dad. I know they love me and will take care of me forever. Plus, I’m tough. I know how to adapt–I’ve done it my whole life. If there is anything I know how to do, it is to push through. When life gets hard, I just bark in its face.IMAG0669

Until next time,

Missy “Misdemeanor” Baud

Cosmo Baud: The Dog, the Friend, the Legend

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For the second time in less than a year, the Baud Squad has had to say goodbye to a key member. Cosmo Kramer Baud (yes, named after Kramer on Seinfeld) left this world at about 8:10pm on June 21, 2015. Another huge hunk of my heart has been ripped out, and once again, our family won’t ever be quite the same.

For the past week, Cosmo had been acting uncomfortable, drinking more, urinating more, and not eating food like usual. On Sunday, he didn’t want to go on his evening walk, so we knew something was very wrong at that point. Off he went to the emergency vet, where we found out that Cosmo had a cancerous mass in his stomach that had caused a rupture and thus, internal bleeding. With surgery, his prognosis was three months to live (if he survived said surgery). This came as such a shock to both Sam and I. Cosmo has always been our healthiest dog. He’s never been overweight, he’s hardly ever been injured, and he always got the “healthy and strong” diagnosis from the veterinarian every year. In fact, he went to the vet less than nine months ago and received a clean bill of health. This really came out of nowhere, and it was and still is a huge smack in the face. After weighing all of our options, we knew that we didn’t want to put Cosmo through a dangerous and painful surgery just for him to only be with us for a few more months. We had to let him go, and it was so, so hard.

Ever since I first laid eyes on Cosmo in the Maury County Animal Control facility in Tennessee on a late February day in 2008, I knew he had to be a part of my family. We brought him home, and he fit right in with our crew. Over the years, he has proven to be loyal, kind, understanding, patient, goofy, curious, and full of love–so much more love than pretty much any other dog I have ever met. He went from being a stray to being a beloved family member. He was the perfect example of what it means to be a shelter dog success story. He died too soon, and I’ll always have a part of me missing because of that. However, he died after living the life of a spoiled house dog who was loved unconditionally, not life in a cage or worse.

The life of a pet parent is full of heartache, but more so, it is full of love and smiles. Dogs will always leave us too soon, no matter how long they live. I’m heartbroken, but I would do it all over again. Every day with Cosmo was that much better just because he was there. And no matter how much Missy may claim he got on her nerves, she’s going to miss her big little brother so much.

Rest easy, and I’ll see you again, my little Cosmo boy, 2005(?)-2015.

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The Dog Days of Winter: A Follow Up

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Well, today is officially the last day of winter, everybody! (According to the calendar, at least…) You know what that means–the Baud Squad has officially survived our first winter in the Windy City! Back in November, I wrote about how we had prepared our pups for the upcoming winter months. Today I’m going to tell you how that worked out for us.

We took several measures to make sure Cosmo and Missy would be as comfortable as possible this winter. We bought dog jackets to keep the pups warm in the subzero temperatures. We bought a balm called Musher’s Secret to keep the pads of their paws protected from salt and ice. We tried to ensure that they would have as easy of a time in the cold as possible, but nothing could actually prepare us for the first day it hit negative temperatures with ice and snow everywhere. The dogs were confused to say the least, and they definitely didn’t like standing on the ice (and the road salt people used to melt said ice) for extended periods of time. No matter how many layers of Musher’s Secret I put on their feet, my pups just wouldn’t stay outside for more than five minutes at a time on the coldest days. I could tell they weren’t happy about that, so I caved and bought them booties. My dogs HATE people touching their feet, so I knew this would be a problem.

Enter Pawz booties.

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These little rubber boots were a lifesaver this winter for us. They look just like balloons, and they slip right over your dog’s foot, creating a barrier between their pads and the ice, yet allowing the dog to still feel the ground (thus no prolonged walking-horse-style steps or attempts to remove the booties). It took some effort to get these on our dogs (especially Cosmo, who freaks out at the drop of a hat), but they were SO WORTH IT! Our dogs were able to stay outside for much longer periods of time, and they really didn’t mind the booties once they were on–they just didn’t enjoy the process of putting them on their feet!

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Cosmo says, “I guess I can tolerate this.”

Pawz come in several sizes, from tiny to extra large, so you can find any size that works for your dogs on their helpful size chart. Luckily, both of our dogs fell within the “medium” range, so we bought one $14 package for both of them (there are 12 boots in a package).

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Missy says, “I guess they’re not so bad.”

Both of our pups were so much happier and excited to go outside once we started using the booties, so I am eternally grateful for them! They don’t slip off easily, and they look completely adorable. The only downside to the boots is that they can tear, but we had enough replacements in the package to make it through all the weeks of extreme cold!

As for the other equipment we purchased for the winter–the jackets came in handy on several days. If it was below 10 degrees, Cosmo and Missy had their jackets on, whether they wanted to or not! And while the Musher’s Secret wasn’t quite enough to protect their feet, it actually was very helpful for keeping their pads moisturized when they got dry. I even used it on Missy’s nose this winter too. (She loved shoving her head in the snow, and the snow that stuck to her nose would make it dry. Musher’s Secret helped with that problem!)

Both Missy and Cosmo had fun this winter, even if they didn’t always enjoy the temperature outside! Being prepared went a long way toward making the winter enjoyable for everybody, but I think I can speak for our entire crew when I say that we’re glad spring is here!

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The Baud dogs are ready for warmer days ahead in the Windy City!

Kickin’ It with Cosmo

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hi everybody! My name is Cosmo, and I live in Chicago, Illinois with my mom, my dad, and my big sister Missy. (Missy is actually smaller than me, but she’s older, so that means she’s in charge. She reminds me every morning right after I tell her how much I love her.) I’m 9 years old (at least that’s what I let everyone think–no one really knows how old I truly am, and I’ll never tell), and I’ve lived with my family for seven years.

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My mom says I’m cute. I guess she’s right.

Until recently, we lived in Tennessee. Let me tell you, Chicago is so much more interesting than anywhere I lived before! There are so many things to see, smell, and pee on! There are so many other dogs walking around ALL THE TIME! I try to talk to all of them, but it seems that most of them just want to bark in my face. That’s okay though. My sister can handle them… There’s this thing here called a “beach” that has this kind of dirt that’s really soft and squishy, and I really love to run on it when it’s warm outside! I don’t really care for the big water that my parents call Lake Michigan, though. It’s really scary.

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Question: Do I look majestic, silly, or both?

Something else that’s really different about my new city is this thing called “snow.” It’s this white stuff that falls from the sky and makes the ground really cold. A couple days ago, it snowed so much that it piled up taller than Missy! Missy really likes to run around in this stuff, but I really don’t like it that much. I like taking walks though, so I’ll tolerate this white stuff while it lasts.

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I think I’m going to have to tolerate it for a long time…

Really, the main thing that bothers me about snow is how cold it is on my feet! I guess my mom noticed how I would stop walking and refuse to move when my paws got too cold, so she got these things she calls “booties” for my sister and me. I don’t like them or the “jacket” she makes me wear sometimes at all! I love my mom and dad, but I don’t like it when they touch my feet. My feet are mine, and only I should touch them! When they put the booties on me for the first time to go outside, I thought they were trying to torture me. When I walked around with the booties though, I noticed that my feet didn’t hurt anymore! I still don’t know if I can trust these things, but I guess I’ll wear them if I have to. That doesn’t mean I’ll be happy about it–I’ll still fight my parents every time they try to put them on me!

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Seriously, this snow/bootie thing is freaking me out a little.

We got even more snow today, so now it is getting up to my height! I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I really don’t know what to think of it. That’s okay though. As long as I have my family with me, it’ll be okay. Unless it won’t…I’m really nervous about it.

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Missy and I will get through this together (I hope)!

Love and wet kisses,

Cosmo

Mondays with Missy

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Let me introduce myself. My name is Missy, and I am 11 years old. Some may think that makes me “elderly,”but you know what? I can run circles around any 4-year-old pup you throw my way. There’s a reason why my nickname is “The Missinator.”

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I am the Queen of Wrigleyville.

I have lived most of my life in Tennessee, but about four months ago, I moved with my family to Chicago, Illinois. At first, the sounds of the city were a little scary to me, but now I love to walk around my neighborhood, marking my territory and attempting to look bigger and tougher than every other dog I see. (They need to know who’s the boss, you know.)

I especially want my younger brother Cosmo to know that I am in charge, even though he’s bigger than me. Cosmo is really annoying most of the time, but I love him. (Just don’t ever tell him I told you that–I have to maintain my alpha female image in his eyes.)

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Cosmo knows who is the boss in this relationship.

This has been an interesting week in Chicago. Yesterday, something called a “snowstorm” happened, and now there are about twenty inches of this cold, white, fluffy stuff all over the ground. Apparently this “snowstorm” was one of the biggest my new city has ever seen. This is just great for me, a dog who is only about twenty inches tall herself.

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I have never in my life seen “snow” so deep. I have definitely never had to leap over snow to walk around before!

I don’t let this “snow” stuff stop me though. I actually find it to be really fun, and I love to run through it (even the parts that are taller than me!) and make crazy-looking, Missy-sized paths throughout it. I don’t know how long this stuff will stay on the ground, but I just hope it doesn’t make it so cold that I have to start putting on my “jacket” that my mom got me again. I really hate that thing…

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Being small can be hard, but that is why I have a big personality.

Cosmo doesn’t really enjoy the snow as much as I do, but I’ll let him tell you about that himself later this week. In the meantime, I’m going to figure out how I can make these things called “snowballs” my dad keeps talking about. Apparently they’re good for throwing at other people, and I am always looking for more ways to show others that I am stronger and more powerful than them. If only I had thumbs like my parents!

Love and tail-wags,

Missy