Friday, July 17, 2009


What I was going to write about was my trip to Denver, CO for a Note to Self book signing at the famous Tattered Cover bookstore, where the beautiful Katie Hnida hosted a book reading/signing and the funny thing that happened when I arrived on Wednesday. And I was going to write about how there are signs all around us that we are on the right path even when we don't feel it, see it or wish it for ourselves.

I was going to tell you how when I walked into the Marriott/Fairfield Inn which was under construction, just off the highway in the suburbs of Denver that my name was written on the white board as "the guest of honor" right next to the free coffee and jolly ranchers, and how I thought it was because I was an author coming to town, but as it turns out I was randomly chosen to win this honoring. I was going to write about what one gets when they are picked as the guest of honor at the Fairfield Inn, next to Denny's, in Highlands Ranch, CO which is an upgrade to a larger room, they didn't have any, and a surprise treat in your room.....which was a lunch size, brown paper bag with two packages of Milano cookies and three Werther original candies and two small waters. And I was going to write about my epiphany of being chosen as the Fairfield Inn Guest of Honor -- in all its wonderful cheesiness and how it made me laugh and to remember to look for the signs, even when it literally is a big white board with red dry erase marker....reminding me that I am honored when I am unable to do it for myself.

That's what I was going to write, but instead I write this through the blur of my tears. My
Siberian Husky, fine, peaceful, noble Newman, who is 15 1/2 and who brought my husband and I together when he was just six months old is on his final days. He cannot walk by himself anymore, his back legs have given out on him. Jason and I bought him a sling last week hoping that would help, and while he can get out the door and smell the bushes, his back paws drag and he cannot stand or get up on his own.

This creature has been a part of our family and we have loved raising him every second of every minute of everyday that he has been in our lives. He has had 11,950 walks and feedings, endless hikes in the snow and had his fair share of eating cheese off the table when we weren't looking. He never learned to sit or listen to us when we called him. He was on Newman time and we learned to adjust. He is after all not a dog, but a siberian husky.

I've never met a creature who was more willful while being completely noble than Newman. His serene, faithful, hopeful outlook on life is one that I have always strived to have. We have grieved over the decision of what to do for weeks now watching his legs decline, but still wanting to eat his meals and go outside. It's been the hardest decision Jason and I have ever been faced with. We've talked for hours and hours, at night before bed, in the morning over coffee and with all of our friends about what to do. We have tried everything in our power to get him back up, but his body isn't cooperating and possibly it's time for his soul to move on.

The other day he had a bad case of diarrhea and we cleaned up after him six times and I saw the "I'm sorry" look on his face, which broke my heart. It was a hard day and we both went to bed completely exhausted and defeated. In my dream, we had made the decision to call our vet to come over and help us help him, and just as she was about to insert the needle, Newman got up ran for miles, I hovered over him watching his ecstasy, he was airborn as he lept in the air and landed in a field of yellow daisies showing me of what he was capable of and reminding me how he wants to live. It was a sign. Not of the Fairfield Inn caliber, but an interpretation of a soul's communication to another soul and I had to listen, as hard as it is.

My belief is that we are not our bodies, and that our souls live on and that animal's souls move on much quicker than ours do. I know Newman has loved every second he's been here and I believe he is ready to move on....that dream was my sign. We must help him move on so that he can be awash with the sun while he runs through that field, tail wagging, smiling from ear to ear. We must HONOR HIM and his life here especially now, when he is unable to do it for himself.

in peace,


  1. I stumbled on your site and when I saw the picture of your beautiful Newman I stopped to heart goes out to you having been there myself. I made the same most difficult decision of my life exactly 2 years ago and there is not a day that goes by that I don't miss my beautiful Boomer who battled lymphoma through 1 1/2 years of chemotherapy only to go into remission and when the chemo stopped we learned sarcoma had set in unnoticed because of the treatment of the lymphoma. Our friend/vet and I set him free in our home with my 2 teenage boys. I'll never forget taking the day off work to spend with Boomer and the boys and I could tell that he was "thanking" us for making the decision. He was 9 years old. So I just had to write and send my heart to you and your family on this difficult day.

  2. What a sad but beautiful post. I am a relatively new dog owner so six months ago this would have meant little to me. Now I am teary thinking about what you face.

  3. I've been exactly where you are Andrea and it gives your heart a whole new kind of pain, for sure. Our dogs have always been family to us...utterly spoiled and unaware they are not human. Thanks for sharing. By the way, I know the angel who will be welcoming sweet mom. I'm positive she's the "CEA" (chief executive angel, that is) in heaven as she's the one who passed on her love of animals to me.
    Terri Graham Phillips

  4. Awww. Andrea. Im so sorry. This breaks my heart. I love that husky. Even though he ate a whole bottle of my Nutrogena face wash and pooped all over the deck and windows and got his nose into baking flour and got it all over the carpet - Oh and a few of my leg razors - all while he was on my watch. HE IS PERFECT. I LOVE HIM. My love and strength are with you and Jason and the other two pups -newman's tribe.

  5. I wept as I read your post. My heart aches for you, because I know how you feel. I know Newman was a part of your family. You will be in my thoughts and prayers in the days ahead!

  6. I am sorry about Newman. I remember growing up and losing my family dog that I loved very much. I feel for you. Your message broke my heart. MY thoughts go out to you!

  7. As a dog owner/lover I know how blessed I am to have my four-legged friends in my life and how important it is to cherish my time with them. My parents, brother, and myself have six dogs between the three of us and two of my parents' dogs I have grown up with. The weiner dogs are now old; I worry about the 13-year-old as he's now pretty much blind and deaf and feels so brittle. I know that sooner rather than later, he'll be called back home and it saddens me. You're beautiful post helps me to keep things in perspective. May peace be yours and Newman's. God bless.