Thursday, November 14, 2013

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship

Hello Readers! Long time no speak. Last I left you, little Oakley was coming to our house. Well.....HE'S HEEEEERE! And he's ADORABLE.

We picked him up Friday, October 25th. Here is Greg and me at the airport. We got there early and naturally tracked Oakley's flight from departure to landing. We *might* have even parked at the airport in a spot that *might* be for loading and unloading UPS boxes. That is up for debate.

The first time we laid eyes on Oakley, we just knew he was a perfect fit in our family.

The kids fell in love with him!

And so did we:

Oakley has adjusted very well in our family.  He is battling giardia (that isn't exactly fun) but is being a trooper. It's been a battle the past few weeks but we hope to have an end in sight. For the most part, he is potty trained and we are working on mouthing and not eating everything he sees!

2013 Holiday Card

The day finally happened when I did not cry over Arlie. Oakley has brought smiles back to our house and joy back in our hearts. Yes, we still think about Arlie bear and we always will. I was going to put Arlie's little Halloween collar on Oakley as his "first necklace" but it was too big. Oakley has some growing to do.

I've been pondering if this will be my last blog entry about the journey of what brought Oakley in our lives. I wondered if I should do my final entry the day we found out Arlie was diagnosed (which is right around the corner on 11/23). Then, I decided...No. I promised Arlie when he passed that I would continue with life. So that is what we are going to do. Arlie brought us Oakley and we will now carry on just as he wanted.

I thought I had the final picture for this blog all set. Here it is...both of my babies:

Then, this morning my son Jackson surprised me. We have a whiteboard where the kids like to draw and work on their letters. Jackson took it upon himself to draw the below picture:

"Mommy, I drew a real life picture! That's me and Oakley playing in the house. Then on top is Arlie! He's smiling down at us from heaven because he's happy. He knows that we are happy again."

The End.

I've decided to start a new blog in honor of Mr. Mustache.

It's time for Mr. Man to have HIS voice.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

4 months to the day

Our little Oakley is coming on Friday!!! In fact, his flight arrives at 2:11pm and you can bet that we will be there early to get our newest baby. Greg is taking Friday, Monday, and Tuesday off for "paternity leave"  :-) so that he can bond with little Oakley Doakley.

The Oakster has been in prep school the past two weeks and is of course excelling. Naturally, he's gifted and I can only assume the trainers are differentiating to accommodate his exceptional nature. That's right...I said dog is a genius. And cute. And loving. And perfect. Here's a video taken with his trainer, Kristi.

Last night Greg and I were talking about how we need to puppy proof the house. I told the kids that they will have to make sure their beloved toys are put away or Oakley will think they are his! Gia looked at Jackson and said, "Yes! We need to make sure he doesn't eat anything cause then he will get sick and die like Arlie." Insert knife through my heart. I told Gia that this is different and that Arlie was very sick and it wasn't a toy that made him so. Jackson told me that he is so excited for Oakley to come because he doesn't want to be sad anymore. Again, insert another dagger through my heart.

I was looking at the calendar and realized that the day we get Oakley, is exactly the 4 month anniversary of Arlie's death. I started to get upset because I feel so guilty for being so excited about our new puppy coming. We used to call Arlie "Mr. Jealousy" because as soon as we showed affection to another dog, a little schnoodle head would pop in between to make us pet him. I asked Greg if he thinks that Arlie is jealous and upset we are moving on and getting another schnoo. Greg seems to think that Arlie will be so happy that we are giving more love to his nephew and knows that we need Oakley to help heal us. I'm still waiting for the day that I don't cry about Arlie. I hope it's coming soon. October 25th perhaps?

We're coming Oakley!!!! Our arms are open!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The torch has been passed

Before I do the big reveal on which puppy we are getting, I have some things I would like to say. First and foremost are my sincere thanks to the following:

The Oncology staff at the Hope Center in Vienna, VA. This wonderful team, led by Dr. Conor McNeill fought valiantly to save our beloved pet. We made an excellent team and worked so hard together to give Arlie the extra 7 months and 2 days of an active lifestyle. Even going through chemo, Arlie walked in there with a schnoodle smile because of the care he received. He could feel that all of the docs, techs, surgeons, admin staff, and every lab tech was pulling for him. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to our oncology guardians.

Secondly, none of this would have been possible without Smeraglia's Teddy Bear Schnoodles. I haven't really talked about this wonderful team on my blog because I have been so focused on telling you my stories about Arlie. What you do not know, is that Smeraglia's Teddy Bear Schnoodles was Arlie's first home. He was born 11/17/05 to parents Molly (giant schnauzer) and Merlin (mini poodle). In fact, Molly is still going strong at the ripe age of 13!!

This is Molly with her mommy, Beverly. As you can see, Arlie bear was her spitting image (with a tad curlier hair)--

Over the past 8 years, we have been in constant contact with Smeraglia giving them updates on Arlie. They have been "in the know" of everything from him becoming a big brother to his love for opening doors (yet another Molly trait). When we told them of Arlie's diagnosis, they were devastated with us. They knew how important this schnoodle was.

Through it all, I have had comfort knowing that Arlie came from a breeder that is the definition of excellence. They treat their dogs as part of their family. They keep up with everyone who has ever purchased a schnoodle or goldendoodle and arrange annual "doodle romps". This is an all star breeder that was started by a woman who had a passion for dogs (Sherri). She created a team that share her love and passion for the breed (YES...even though they are a 'mixed' they are still in fact a breed in my eyes). Among her staff is the woman you see above...Beverly. She was the first person we spoke to when we called Smeraglia 8+ years ago. She knew we were a newly married couple who have always wanted a dog. She told us there were 2 males available. One of which was this little guy. Look familiar?

 Here he is!!! Arlie Barley Pumpkin McFarley.

Over the past 8 years I loved sharing stories with Beverly about how her girl (Molly's) little boy was doing. She is the one who told me about Molly's mannerisms and we kept saying, "That's JUST like Arlie!!" We would laugh and then a few months would go by and we didn't talk until the next shenanigan that Arlie would do.

When we told Beverly about Arlie's diagnosis, I knew she was brokenhearted too. It was in her house that Arlie spent his first 8 weeks. It was with her 8 children that he learned the first things about love and understanding. She laid the ground work for what would be our sweet boy. And for that, we are indebted to Beverly. Greg and I see her as our friend and hope that we can one day meet in person. So, Beverly, if you are reading this....please know that you are a wonderful and special woman who made our first fur love.

Lastly, there has been a group of people that have shed tears, laughs, and first times with us. They have rooted Greg and me on in getting our new pup as well as provided strength in our sorrow. I'm talking about the forum of owners of Smeraglia schnoodle and doodles. They helped raise money in Arlie's name for cancer research, they have let me and my family cuddle their dogs when we need puppy fixes, they have encouraged me to keep my head up, and lastly they have become my friends. To all of my fellow doodle owners...thank you.

Now, onto the other reason for this post. I have news!!!!! Would you like to know who the next member of the Hayken family is going to be??


First of all, here's Mama (Arlie's half sister)-
And here's Daddy-
Together they created-

Fellow readers, friends, family...introducing...


Now that you are done clapping, let me tell you where this name came from. As you know, Arlie's full name was Arlington Bear Hayken. We got him when we lived in Arlington...hence...Arlie. Now, we live in Oak Hill. We pondered and pondered. Do we go with the city name? Do we name him with a name that has Arlie in it (Charlie). Then we It's time to "carry on". The torch has been passed to a new generation of schnoodles. And, we still have a piece of Arlie in Oakley as he is his nephew (Molly is his grandmother!). However, Oakley will be his own schnoodle. He will be loved. He is SO VERY WANTED. He is our healer. 

Oh, and if you are thinking..."moustachio? Really?"  Yup. Like his uncle before him, Oakley's first home was Beverly's. Her children gave him the nickname "moustachio". Therefore, it will stick. And if you are wondering out that stash man!!!!! Be prepared for some serious comparisons to those that have perfected the mustache. 

Tonight Greg said we are entering a new phase in our life. This is the phase that the kids will remember. Oakley is their dog. He will be the dog that they grow up with and form a serious bond. If I say they are excited, that is an understatement. But do you remember when I said that this blog will continue until we are a healed family? Well, we are nearing the end. Our hearts have band aids on them. Oakley is bringing the joy back to our house. I can't seem to change my screensaver on my phone yet from Arlie. That will take some time. But, I know that Oakley Doakley Artichoky (names are starting) will understand.

Until the next post...
Love and paws,
Andrea, angel Arlie, and Oakley

Monday, September 30, 2013

Something that has been in my thoughts

Today a friend of mine had to say goodbye to her beloved cat. Her kitty, Aspen, was diagnosed with cancer soon after Arlie's diagnosis. She and I cried together and laughed at stories at how silly our pets are...or I guess I should say...were.

It brought back some sad feelings again knowing that she is going through what we went through. Or rather, are STILL going through.

Someone wrote these words and it's something I hold dear:

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.  His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flyig over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look one more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

I wanted to show my readers pics of Arlie with how we remember him. Strong, kind, and incredibly wonderful all around.

He held firm to his spot on the couch. Even with 2 human kids trying to get in there.

"Yes, she's all over me but if you ever say anything bad about her, you answer to me"
They traded toys for a bit.

Fur pillow started early

This is the first time Arlie met Jackson. He never left his side.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I haven't forgotten

I know. I still owe you a post about the future puppy. Truth is we don't know yet!!!! We find out this week. I promise as soon as we know, you'll be next to find out. I realize...inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2 months .... will it get any easier?

Today is the 2 month anniversary of our sweet boy's passing. It is starting to get easier. I don't cry nearly as much and the kids are starting to realize that Arlie is not coming back from dog heaven. There are still two books they enjoy reading: "Dog Heaven" and "For Every Dog and Angel". I worry that reading these books still will hinder their acceptance of either a new dog or of Arlie passing. But, when they look at the illustrations, and see a black dog and point and say, "Look! There's Arlie Bear!!" I know that it is the right thing.

In all of our grieving, I have forgotten that there are others that are having a hard time with the loss of Arlie Bear. First, Arlie's sweet cousin Jessie. She is my brother's greyhound and every so often when they go on trips, we get to take care of her. Jessie has known Arlie since he was 8 weeks old. Heck, she helped raise him! She showed him how to go up the steps, corrected his behavior when he was a little too puppy rambunctious, chased each other in the yard (boy did he get frustrated when he couldn't catch her!), snuggled up to him, and loved him so much. In fact, Jessie was with us the week we said goodbye to Arlie. I should have known that something was up because she never left his side. She kept sniffing his chest and would forgo her bed (the only thing she would lay down on) to lay on the carpet next to him. She knew. When we came home from seeing "M", it was Jessie that ran up to us and buried her snout in our necks. She put her paw on us (just as Arlie would do), and let us cry. She comforted us. With that, we forgot that she is grieving as well. Now, when she comes to our house to stay while my brother and his family are on vacation, she doesn't eat, she walks around the house just looking for her cousin.  Now, two months later she still looks for him.

I know you are thinking they are having a tiff. Nope, this is Arlie (about 4 month old here) pouncing on his big cousin and her playing back. We just captured this part on camera

When Arlie got too rowdy, she corrected him lovingly but firmly

Jessie is such a love and misses her Arlie so much

Then there's Cooper, Arlie's best friend. We had him a couple of weeks ago when his family went to the beach. He and Arlie have been BFFs since both were 12 weeks old. They would wrestle so much that it got to the point when they were so exhausted they only lifted their front leg to paw the other on the face while laying down. They couldn't even stand anymore they were so exhausted from romping! At any rate, Cooper is a Wheaten Terrier. Therefore, his nose is quite strong and he has been known to sniff out food and other delectable treats (dirty diapers, garbage, underwear, etc..), thus getting him in trouble. Before they left, his parents kept telling us, "Do not leave food out on the counter...he will find it. If you can't find him, look for him! He might be getting into something!" They call Coop-ster their "needy wheaty". You get the hint, don't leave him alone. Well, when we had him I realized when I looked down there was no Cooper. "Uh oh, I left him alone and now he's eating the kid's favorite toys and they are going to scream and say that Cooper needs to go in time out and that 'what he did was unacceptable'". I bounded through the house and couldn't find him. Then I heard him stretching and I follow the sound to the living room. He had decided to not be with me in the kitchen and joined Arlie's ashes in the living room. He spent the rest of the week laying beside his best friend. He truly was Arlie's best friend to the end.

My point is that it's not only us grieving. Dogs grieve too.

I hope to update the blog this week with an announcement and picture of our newest family member. I will reveal the name once we get the official word.

Until then,
Love and paws,
Andrea and angel Arlie

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pitter patter of little feet?

Tomorrow is the one month anniversary of Arlie's death. It has been a very hard month for us. Everytime we start to feel better, we find something that reminds us of Arlie. It is kind of amazing that Arlie has visited all of our dreams this past month. I told you about Jackson's dream already. A week after his dream, Greg had a dream that he was curled up next to Arlie in bed. He told me it felt so real and he woke up calmed. I was starting to hope that Arlie would visit me in my dreams and then...he did! I dreamt that we had decided to get new hardwood floors throughout the house (random) and in one spot they forgot to put wood and there was a huge hole. As I was on all fours peering down the hole a schnoodle nose came up along the side of me. He lay down next to me watching me and nudging me with his nose. I remember thinking in my dream that this was, infact, a dream and wondering if I would be able to feel him since it wasn't real. He was looking at me and I decided to try and when I put my hand on his ears and neck I got to feel Arlie one more time. It was amazing. I remember thinking, "This is a dream and it isn't real but I don't care I never want it to end". I then laid down next to Arlie and he curled into me making his happy schnoodle noises he used to make. This time, it was my turn to wake up with a smile.

The day I woke up from that amazing dream, I found out that we will be schnoodle parents once again. In mid August it has almost been confirmed that Arlie's half sister will give birth to a litter of pups! That means, the Hayken household will hear the pitter patter of four little feet in mid/late October!!! We told the owner to give Malaya (the birth mom) extra treats from us. After all, Malaya is growing our little heart band aid in there!!! She deserves serious treats for that right?!?!?!?

Now, as you know Arlie's real name is "Arlington" after the city Greg and I were married and lived when we got Arlie Bear. We have since moved out of  Arlington and already have a name for our next pup already! It's going to be good. We will let you know once we have the little pup in our hands.

Jackson has already proclaimed this new puppy will be his "best buddy" and Gia has said that he will be "her newest pillow pet". Naturally Greg and I are super excited as well. You know who else is super excited???? My readers, friends, and family, neighbors, and a part of Arlie I think. He knows we have more love to give and wants us to be his happy humans. This new pup is going to be one loved and VERY wanted little guy.

Carry on.....

Love and Paws,
Andrea and angel Arlie