A Thief in the Night

We talk a lot about K9 cancer here… How to recognize it, how to fight it, how to help with the fight and how to live with it. Some days though, it just gets personal. This is one of those days.

Last night, Hemangiosarcoma stopped by and paid a visit to one of our dear pack members. You never leave the porch light on for Hemangiosarcoma, rather it shows up uninvited and sneaks in through an unlocked window and steals your most valued treasure. With other cancers you see them coming, or at least you know you’re living in kind of a bad neighborhood. This one? BAM! One strike and you’re out. It happened with our very first dog, Bob, and we had never even considered cancer so when the vet ran that long word by us it didn’t even stick. I have to admit, I couldn’t tell you what Bob died of until our next Golden, Buddy, got cancer and I started doing research. With some Hemangiosarcomas, say of the skin or spleen, you might get a little time. With Bob, it was on his heart. Typically you get hours, maybe a few days to say goodbye. You go from seemingly healthy dog one minute to collapse and incredibly difficult decisions that aren’t really decisions at all. Then all you have left is a beautiful memory looking back at you…

Bob, Looking Back...

Bob, Looking Back…

So that’s how our obsession with fighting the fight began. Last night, that obsession was renewed as the thief returned and quickly took one beautiful soul from this earth. We heard in the afternoon that he had collapsed and he was gone before we went to bed. Mackey was the first big red dog that sat on me (not near me, but ON me) a week after Buddy departed and looked into my eyes and let me know we could go on. He let Buddy visit. He was the gentlest of souls.


Mackey lived a very large life with the coolest family. Did I mention he was a surfur dude?? Yup, one of SoCal’s finest in the day. Even though Mackey was a gifted surfur, his real gift was his kindness and pure presence. He embodied “Being the dog.”


So today we raise a paw to Mackey and his amazing family. We are grateful to all of those, like the Animal Cancer Foundation, that are working tirelessly to crack the code on this beast so it can rob no more. Mostly, we are reminded to recognize when we are in the presence of a pure soul and cherish that moment. Thank you Mackey, and Godspeed my friend.


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From Both Sides NOW

BuddyHey efurrypawdy, Buddy here.  Yup, rub your eyes and blink a few times and then look again.  It’s ME!  I’ve been pretty lucky since crossing over, I have a very liberal “hall pass” system and get to come back and forth a lot and break through for important missions.  Of course I gotta tell ya, the force was strong with me even when I was on earth and I could kind of come and go as I pleased.  You just can’t believe what your mind can do if you just open it up a bit… but I digress.  Heaven on earth, Heaven in Heaven; it’s a fine blurry line!

DSC_2034 Every time I come back fur a visit, everyone sends messages back with me and tries to get a little more of an idea what the bridge is like.  It finally dawned on me that you can’t see us like we can see you!  I get it now, so let me fill in a few blanks and try to make some sense of all of this.

When I was on earth full time, I wrote about how a dog only knows of two different times. Just two.  That’s it.  You gotta s-i-m-p-l-i-f-y and get down to basics.  For a dog there’s NOW and NOT NOW.  Please don’t tell us we’re going to the dog park in an hour because that’s NOT NOW and we heard the magic words DOG PARK.  Help!  We’re so confused. This simplicity also is what allows dogs to handle stress and bad things so well. When I would go in for cancer treatment, I did not like it.  That was NOW, and NOW was not good. We would always stop for ice cream or pupcakes on the way home and that was great! NOW was great! Cancer treatment? NOT NOW. Gone, finished. That’s how dogs deal.


People already understand a big part of what it means for a pet to cross over to the other side. There is no more pain.  Whatsoever. No more DOGtors. Our bodies are whole and young again. The things we loved to do the very, very most in life are always there and it’s about all we do. This place is where the ultimate joy, which is DOG, is released. I know you have all seen it in your pets’ eyes. You have felt that joy too. Here, we have it all of the time and nothing ever slows the flow of joy (or the roll of joy) ever.

Roll of Joy

Here is the big difference between the two sides.  On the other side, it is always NOW. How cool is that? Nobody ever says “Not now, Buddy.” If I want to play “chase the ball,” it’s NOW and we play. If I want ice cream, it’s NOW! Cheeseburgers? NOW. Butt scratch? NOW, and non-stop! The very best thing about never hearing “Not Now?” We always get to go along with our favorite people.  We are always by your side.  You never have to run errands or go out to dinner or go on business trips without us because we can go everywhere with you now.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a fountain in Bend, Oregon or Rome!













The hard part, and the flip side is that for you on this side, it is NOT NOW until we meet again. You cannot see us anymore.  That is sad, because in reality we are together more than we were here on earth!!! Wow, what a ride going along with you everywhere! It’s all part of Heaven for us.


So please know, when you can see it all from both sides it is beyond glorious and the view is overwhelmingly pawsome. So keep loving life here and taking us on a grand ride and sharing us with new loves. Keep it fun and frisky for us.  Also know that in the whole grand scheme of things, it won’t be long at all until we are united again and it will be NOW FOREVER TOGETHER.



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Christmas Presence

Hey efurrypawdy, Maxx here.  I’m still working on finding my voice, but I have noticed something this Holiday season that I gotta share.  Now let me remind  you, I’m a dog.  Ok, take a moment and recover, it’s true.  Here’s a picture of me, well, being a dog:

pigYup, I’m wearing the forest here.  But I digress.  So dogs learn slowly about the holidays.  We don’t much care if you celebrate Christmas or Hannukkah or Kwanzaa or the Solstice or refuse to celebrate. We have noticed folks just getting crazy this time of year shopping fur the perfect gift.

Crazy right? And then one day I was walking in the forest where I had gathered all of that glorious greenery that Mommers promptly removed when we returned home, and we came upon an awesome sight.  Right in the middle of the forest was a decorated tree.  All alone.  All sorts of ornaments hanging on it.  What the woof??  There was a bag hanging from it with a card in it.  Mommers went ofur and read the card.  WOW.  The ornaments were for dogs that had walked that trail before and could walk beside us no more.  The angel that started this left a bag of ornaments and a pen.  Each day more ornaments appeared.  It is such a sacred place in the forest to stop and remember those who we have loved and still love…


And it was then, as Mommers would stop efurry day that it started to become clear to me.  What matters most and what stays with humans is presence, not presents.  Each of those ornaments represented the presence someone so dearly wished they could enjoy again.  Nobody could shop for that.  No decorating or lights could make that happen.

Later we walked by a manger scene.  I noticed the “wise” men brought gifts that were quite expensive.  Mommers explained to me that the baby in the animal straw bed was sent to us from God to let us know we were loved and not alone.  I looked up at her and blinked.  “Well of course” she said.  It WAS completely natural to bring this peaceful being into the world among the original angels. The animals. The animals brought no formal gifts.  They were the gifts.  They were present.  They would not leave until it was safe.


So try not to worry this season or during the coming year so much about fancy gifts or things. Humans worry too much about that!  Try to bring the real present… presence.  See what someone needs and be there for them.

Furry Days to all, and to all a GREAT night.  May all of your dreams come true!

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Importance of the Third Crewmember

Surprisingly we are still having discussions about the importance of a third crewmember on large cabin aircraft. Perhaps we have been discussing points that are simply too obvious and need to consider some of the benefits of a third crewmember that nobody really wants to think about. The things we are trained to do and keep current on, are often things nobody wants to talk about in everyday conversation. The things we think about during every takeoff and landing would make many passengers a bit nervous. Most would rather focus on our ability to prepare world-class cuisine and make the bedding look really pretty.

These are private jets where no expense has been spared to have the very best provisions for safety and security. Many are equipped with a Tempus unit *, defibrillator, MedAire subscription **, smoke hoods, and life rafts that are top shelf. It seems incongruent that the flight departments or corporations might think a third crewmember would be a luxury or unnecessary expense. When the third crewmember is viewed that way, it may be because the decision makers have become distracted by the “cabin attendant persona” who makes everything beautiful and presents five star cuisines. It’s human nature to focus on that, because nobody wants to think about what we’re really trained to do and how we support the operations of the flight department invisibly, if done correctly.

1. Flight deck support

A well-trained and experienced cabin attendant can ease the workload for the flight deck by completely managing the cabin. This allows the pilots to remain focused on flying and completing associated duties. They never have to divide their attention to maintaining a tidy cabin and lav, preparing and serving food, or checking to make sure everything is operating correctly in the aft section of the aircraft. The cabin attendant can also ensure that the pilots remain properly hydrated and nourished, as well as, provide breaks so they can maintain focus.

2. Medical first responder

Your third crewmember is trained as a medical first responder. Your pilots are trained as well, but you don’t want one of your pilots leaving the flight deck to assist while the other one manages an emergency landing to get a critically ill passenger to a trauma center. Perhaps you feel comfortable because you have a doctor on board as a passenger, but what if the person who becomes ill is the doctor? Having someone on board who is trained in field response for in-flight emergencies and has experience in triage assistance in case of an accident is not only a good idea, but a safe one.

3. Fire fighter

Your crew is trained to fight an in-flight fire. This is something nobody ever wants to encounter and tries very hard not to think about. If there is a fire, discovering it early is essential. Having a highly trained and experienced third crewmember is critical as a fire rarely starts in the cockpit. A third crewmember is trained to detect the first signs of any overheating or a hidden fire. They are trained to detect and fight fires behind the walls and under the floors. You don’t want to think about that. Flight attendants practice staying calm and fighting these types of fires with hands-on training every year. A third crewmember can be fighting the fire while both pilots concentrate on getting the aircraft on the ground safely, which is the first priority in a fire. You will be very glad to have a third crewmember on board in this situation.

4. Security detail

Welcome aboard, the cabin looks beautiful and pleasing every time of course. Your trained third crewmember can make the cabin look beautiful, but also focuses on every item in the cabin, allowing them to detect any new or unidentified items that are present while the pilots focus on flight related items. Security is always a top priority, but what if we were to learn in-flight that we have a bomb on board? Your third crewmember would know the safest location for it and how to build a safe compartment around it, while staying calm because they have practiced this annually. Your pilots know this too, but having a third crewmember allows your pilots to stay focused on flying and communicating with the ground, while the third crewmember deals with the threat. They have also been trained in hostage negotiation and defense tactics.

5. Flight department team member

The third crewmember can ease the load for your entire flight department by restocking the aircraft upon return from a mission. The cabin attendant knows better than anyone exactly what supplies have been depleted during a trip and can easily keep track and re-stock the aircraft upon return. Other duties can include management of linens and china, stocking items onboard , and maintaining passenger and crew profiles. This can free up your flight department for their main duties, such as dispatch and accounting.

6. Privacy

We might as well take a direct look at the elephant in the room and address the issue of privacy. This is the number one issue many private jet owners have with bringing a third crewmember on board. Please realize that a properly trained cabin attendant knows how to be available, but invisible. Discretion and owner privacy are top priorities. If you don’t feel like you can have your own space or your discussions are not secure, you don’t have the right crewmember. It’s that simple. Not every person will be the right fit for your operation, but it is worth it to find the one that will work with your needs and style, allowing your flight department to gain all of the benefits that a third crewmember can bring to your team.

Closing Thoughts

Try thinking about the third crewmember as an extended member of the flight deck crew and an addition to the flight department staff, as well as a fire fighter, emergency first responder, and security specialist who will also fill in as a culinary artist and concierge on the side. Maybe that will help define this role in a way that makes sense. There’s just so much of that role that people really don’t want to think about, but your third crewmember trains every year on many items to make sure they stay in top form. Your third crewmember is just like your fire extinguisher and your life raft. You really hope you’ll never have to use them for their true purpose, but you wouldn’t dream of not having those essential pieces of safety equipment on board for the one time that you do need them. The difference is you can actually use your third crewmember for so much more on every mission.

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Living NOW

DSC_7873Hey everypawdy, Maxx here.  Ok, I admit my blog posting has been a bit slow and sporadic.  Truth is, as a young pupper it has been a bit hard to find “my” voice.  Oh I know my Mommers would beg to differ.  She hears my voice plenty and we are working hard on controlling that voice, but I digress.

So here we are in the month of May, which is a big one fur us since it is Pet Cancer Awareness Month and also the month that we lost our namesake Buddy. Kind of reaches out and gobsmacks us efurry year.  Yup, we get gobsmacked too!  Happens to efurrypawdy, don’t think it doesn’t.  Some days Mom will sit with a far away look, and she will just kinda go fur a walk with me but be far away. Dogs know this.  I want to be more like Buddy, but I’m just a pupper… I can’t write much because I get so many words wrong.


But now?  NOW I am two!  TWO!  It’s like I woke up and have things to say.  Ya know I was looking ofur some of Buddy’s old stuff and he was wise, the force was strong with him it was.  He barked about how dogs only know one time, and that is NOW.  I think it’s a good time to re-visit that concept.  Bud was reminding us that when dogs have a bad day, they work through it and then it is over and the next day it is behind them and they are on to a new day.



Same can be said fur having new fur in your life.  It doesn’t mean at all that you have to let go of what was, or that special something.  Heck no!  What ya do have to focus on is NOW. Don’t miss today for yesterday or tomorrow.  So go ahead and hold on to that old love, it was real and true!  Today, though, today is now and worth enjoying NOW.  Making it the best won’t take one bit away from what was and it won’t ruin your chances of a great day tomorrow.  Cool how that works.  Dogs get that, and I just wanted to pass that along.  Just another pearl of wisdom that I like to boil down into the simple phrase: “Be the Dog…”

You’re welcome BOL


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The Face of K9 Cancer

Big Mtn Bob.jpg Feb 19, 2012 4-41 AM

Today is a special day in our house.  Many houses have a day like today… It is a day when you pause to remember.  On that day you said goodbye to your special soul mate you promised you would never forget, and that is absolutely true.  You see, eight years ago today we said goodbye to our Forever Dog, Bob.  Bob was short for his full name:  “Bob Marshall Wilderness Dog” since he was adopted in Whitefish, MT where we lived and we wanted to honor the glory of the area.  Bob was nothing if not glorious.

Bob succombed to cancer 2/06

We fell in love first with his sister, Schafer (short for Shafer Meadows, also in the Bob Marshall Wilderness) and knew we had to go get him.  There was a whole litter being given Scanaway because they weren’t pure bred.  Who could turn this down???  He began life running and playing on the shores of the Flathead River in Glacier National Park.


Bob grew fast and became quite the river dog, he enjoyed some good hiking too.  He went everywhere with us and fully embraced the glory he lived in.  He would Kayak in the summer and float on the lakes and even visited a few mud bogs…




mud dog.jpg Feb 19, 2012 4-41 AM




Scan 13



Bob had thick fur and loved the snow.  He loved to roll in it, and drag us around in it.  At the end of the day we would go out on the ski runs where we lived and he would chase us down on sleds or my snowboard.  That was GREAT fun!  On sunny winter days, my best friend and I would grab some Crazy Creek chairs and a few beverages and snowshoe up to a point overlooking the valley and watch the sun set while the dogs played.  Sadly, cancer has come to call and taken her and Bob home…

Scan 7

Scan 10








But remember,before Bob left, he was always laughing!

Scan 6

That is how I will always remember him.  Right up until that last day.  We were simply out on our morning snowshoe and Bob wandered into the woods and did not return.  When we found him, he was collapsed under a tree.  We learned very quickly about K9 cancer.  We learned how randomly and quickly it can hit.  We learned how completely it can have control before you even have a chance to begin to fight.  Bob had very aggressive Hemangiosarcoma: a tumor that had been silently growing on his heart ruptured that morning.  His doctors took heroic measures and stabilized him so we could make decisions and get information.  What we learned is that there was substantial spread of the disease.  We took Bob home, and he just never got his “Bob” back.  Bob deserved more than that.

Scan 8

A typical “Bob” day was to hang out on the front porch and wait for visitors to stop by and adore him (we lived at a ski resort on the way to a ski run) or possibly share their breakfast burritos with him.  He would then go on a long snowshoe with us and stop at a neighbor house on the way home to help get the kids ready for school and help with their waffles.  He would return home at his leisure, hang with us a bit and then return to the porch to watch for visitors and squirrels.  At lunchtime he knew the lifties down at Chair 6 (just below our house) would often fire up the grill and cook good stuff so he would wander down there.  You could hear them cry “Bob!” from our house.  He was a legend.  Then he would come home and commence napping until his afternoon snowshoe.  He lived a large life.  He deserved to be Bob every day of it.  The next evening we had a great “wake” for Bob that all of his dog friends came to and our friends as well.  We all celebrated a life well lived and gave him a living, loving send off.  Quietly, we slipped out the next morning and made that last trip down the hill and said good bye to our dearest love.  He drifted off quickly as he was so very tired.

Bob, Looking Back...

This, my friends, is the face of K9 cancer.  We thought it was an anomaly because we had not heard of it.  When our next dog, Buddy, got it we began to learn the truth.  There are amazing advances being made since we first began this walk with Bob, and we are grateful to folks who are taking this on every day like the Animal Cancer Foundation.  Today we pause and not only remember some of our favorite things about Bob, but send special thoughts to all of you who have been forced to have days when you remember because of this disease.  When you are remembering, remember to be grateful that you had such a powerful love in your life that you are eternally touched and changed by it.  I gotta say, “I would not miss the dance…”  Bob, I will continue the fight for you and all forever dogs.  Miss ya dude.

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Cancer Treatment Is Not A Competition

DSC_2240-1A lot of folks don’t even know why we started our “Buddy’s Be The Dog Life” Facebook page.  It’s just there, they stop by and well, heck, Buddy isn’t even there any more, so what’s this all about?

Buddy was our big love who got cancer six years into his Golden life.  He was our second dog to get cancer.  Our first dog got Hemangiosarcoma and it was so pervasive and aggressive that by the time we found it, we only had two more days with him.  We thought it was a fluke.  When Buddy got cancer, we knew there was more to it.  Buddy had a slower moving cancer so we had time to learn about this evil and how often it struck our pets.  We learned about the different forms and the treatments.  We did research and studied and asked questions and then decided to make some good come of our bad situation.  We decided to share our journey and what we learned.  We knew there were a lot of other scared families out there with nobody to talk to who knew that it scared you just as much when your pet had cancer as when any other loved one did in your family.  So we shared.  Buddy shared, mostly, and he also shared how he kept right on living and being the dog, because that’s what dogs do.



We pass on a lot of information here and we try to share all of the newest, most cutting edge technology as soon as we learn about it.  We try to post all of the options that are available for each type of cancer that might strike one of our pets.  We always say knowledge is power: power of the paw.  Lately, though, we have had a few messages that make us realize that there is a message we don’t always make clear or maybe we should make clear.  Those are ALL the options.  Each family then makes decisions based on their situation and what they think is best for their family and their pet.  Never forget that YOU are in the driver’s seat when it comes to treatment and options.  You are your pet’s number one advocate and that is your key role during this process.  No article or blog or doctor or study should make you feel that you need to follow a certain path.  With that said, allow me to share some very practical advice we learned the very hard way.

When you notice a bump or lump, there is a very logical and strategic way to examine each one.  If it is small or squishy (technical term there) keep an eye on it and watch to see if it grows and how quickly, changes color or texture or form. Each lump should be addressed.  No doctor can tell, just be feeling one, that it is benign or of a certain type.  The best doctors who are very confident taught me that.  They can be 99% sure, but not certain.  The next step is not surgery to remove the lump to examine it.  The next step will be possibly x-rays or a needle aspirate to determine the composition of the lump.  The aspirate removes some cells for examination with minimal invasion of your pet’s body.  This is important, as many pets develop multiple lumps and you don’t want to keep slicing and dicing on your pet like a science experiment.  If test results show the lump is benign you still watch the lump.  An aspirate only tests a portion of the cells, so you still watch and if it starts changing and acting hinkey (another tech term) you have a pro look at it again.  More watching and evaluating than cutting.

The time does come for treatment when it is cancer and that is when I get a lot of messages from truly distraught pet parents.  This is what I want to remind you all of today.  I am not a doctor, but this does not take a doctor to help you understand.  This takes years of experience with pets with cancer and thousands of pets and their stories shared on this page alone.  The decisions you make are personal and will be right for you and your pet.  When you take that pet into your life you promise to give him or her the very best life possible.  You will be as loyal to that creature (or try to be) as he or she is to you.  This means you will bankrupt yourself emotionally for your pet, but it does not require you to do so financially where you both end up out on the street.  That does not really provide a good quality of life for either one of you.  If you are constantly stressing about the cost of a treatment, that stress will transfer to your pet.

When presented with a diagnosis, it is time to do research because knowledge is power.  It is tempting to go all “deer in the headlights,” but don’t go there.  Learn all of your options.  That does not mean you are going to take advantage of every option.  You have to consider at the very top of the list how treatments will affect the quality of your pet’s life.  You also have to factor in cost in the real world.  A surgeon may sit across the desk and tell you that he CAN get that tumor out of your dog.  That is true.  Then you have to weigh the fact that it will cost $10,000 and your dog will have a lengthy and uncomfortable recovery that will limit his activity.  I use this example because it is a situation we were in with Buddy.  Then we considered that the tumor was on his liver and the cancer had become systemic and we would probably only be buying him six more months of life at most.  The time had come to make a decision in Buddy’s best interest that was right for us and for Buddy.  The option and technology was there to do more.  After many sleepless nights and much research into odds and projected outcomes, we made the difficult decision to stop the assault on his body.  We chose instead to spend our money heating the pool in March and April so it was warm enough so he could do his most favorite thing in the world; swim.  Buddy died in May.  We were left with wonderful memories of joy and he had the best time.  If he had surgery, he may have lived a few miserable months longer and would not have understood why we put him through that pain and suffering.  Instead, he knew only joy and got to be a dog until the end.

Me and my Meanie

So please, always be gentle with yourself as you travel this path.  Learn all you can, and then do the very best you can by your pet.  Feed them the best you can, but if after reading an article you find that the suggested diet is just too expensive for you, don’t worry.  Do the best you can which will be a true gift to your pet.  Learn what treatments are available and get the best care you can for your pet.  We have articles posted in our resource library about places to apply to for financial help, but if all else fails, just do the best you can and then keep your pet comfortable.  We didn’t sign up to be able to keep them alive forever.  Oh that we could, and we feel that is our responsibility.  It is not.  Our responsibility is to love them to death, not prevent it.  We are all capable of that.  It is the ultimate lesson in “Being the Dog…” to just be with what is, and enjoy the ride!

Posted in Being the Dog, Pet Health | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments