Just as fast as I posted my last thoughts today, Hugo agreed to getting a second puppy!! We will now be getting the first pick male (boy pick of the litter, if you will) from the next batch of puppies slated to be whelped in late December with our breeder. Our girl will now have a best friend for life, permanent wrestling opponent and partner in crime as it relates to chewing on our newly renovated kitchen cabinets. I can’t wait to see what fun and joy the next chapter brings ♥
I am beyond excited for December 28th now. Not only because the date is smack dab in the middle of the holiday season but mainly because that is the planned date that we will be picking up our new female pup! We are so fortunate to have found a local, ethical breeder who has true respect for our favorite breed, the Rottweiler. Vom Bustos Hause is owned by Frank Bustos and based in Temecula, a few hours away from us. The mama Rottweiler is pregnant as I type this, with a due date of November 3rd. Eight weeks after that date is the end of December, when the pups will be weened and ready to go off to their new homes.
I can’t sum up how happy and overwhelmed I feel at the thought of our new puppy joining our family. It was a rough summer, that included knee surgery and the painful loss of our two beloved dogs, and Hugo and I are ready for happiness to once again be the presiding emotion in our home. After months of deep sadness, fading hope, declining health and feeling broken losing our two best friends, I have so much love to give to someone new. Our ‘someone new’ isn’t even in this world yet and I already love her ♥
Since she will be of European descent, with her father being a Serbian show champion, Hugo and I intend to pay homage to her German ancestry by naming her accordingly. I have been trolling German dog name sites, compiling a list of suitable two-syllable names for potential future use. If anyone reading this has any good name ideas in German for a bad ass female Rottweiler, please do share.
Hugo and I debated getting two puppies at once but we decided the cons might outweigh the pros. The cons include difficulty in training two puppies at the same time and being overwhelmed, almost outnumbered and possibly taken over by puppies. Some of those actually might be pros if you think about it. The pros, on the other hand, include the fact that we would have two adorable puppies in our home at once, they would be brother and sister, and it would bring such joy to my heart watching them have fun together. As I type this, I realize I am going to keep hounding Hugo about getting a second puppy in late December because it really would be amazing.
I really can’t wait for all of this love to enter our home again. But rest assured, the fond memories of Nala and Kaiser will forever be imprinted on our hearts. We buried Nala yesterday in the same spot as Kaiser and Hugo is currently working on sealing both of their paw prints. Once the sealed prints are ready for outdoor exposure, we will place them on their co-ed burial spot and remember them every time we walk past them. Sometimes I catch myself looking out of the window and looking at their grave, just sending them love and wishing they were close to me. But, like Hugo says, they still are.
My husband loves space. From space travel and the discussion of life on Mars to touring our local Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Hugo’s inner little boy ignites when he hears Neil deGrasse Tyson speak. I love how he loves it and because of his passion and fascination with the cosmos, I have slowly but surely become more engrossed with it all. Sometimes at night we will shut the television off, grab a blanket, and lay in the middle of the driveway, watching and waiting patiently for shooting stars or the recent Perseid Meteor Shower. On that particular night, our sick and dying Kaiser crawled on the blanket with Hugo and had a quiet moment alone under the night sky.
Last night, at 7:22 pm, we ran upstairs and perched ourselves on our western-facing 2nd floor balcony, ready for the rocket launch that Hugo had heard about. From what he saw on TV, Vandenberg Airforce Base, which is about 100 miles northwest of us, was scheduled to launch a SpaceX rocket. We waited for ten minutes, re-positioned ourselves in an open field adjacent to our house, and waited some more. Nothing. The only thing that happened was a scary bug crawled over my exposed sandal-clad foot, causing me to descend into minor panic. And that’s when we realized we had the wrong night.
So, tonight, a little past 7 o’clock, while my husband was working and I sat online shopping for school books, Hugo texted me that it was about to start. It being the SpaceX two-part launch that included a satellite being sent into space and the ‘first part’ (what I gather is part of the rocket launching mechanism) returning back to the launch pad at the base. We both got into our respective positions, me at home and he outside of his car at work, and waited. With the live stream countdown hitting zero, the bright rocket show began.
Over the course of a few minutes, the launch and separation illuminated the night sky so beautifully. I toggled between taking photos, listening to the SpaceX commentary regarding the success of it all, and texting Hugo with excitement. It is because of him, after all, that I got to enjoy such an awe-inspiring moment. There’s something about watching an object lifting off from our planet and traveling out into the dark unknown that gives me chills.
The most marvelous part of learning to love and appreciate space, and all of its unique and limitless possibilities, is that I feel more centered and humbled. By taking a few moments, like this launch or our night sky viewings laying in the driveway, you realize just how small we are down here on Earth. My favorite part of that realization is the fact that our problems, worries and frustrations, despite feeling overwhelming and grandiose at times, are truly so small. We are all just little ants floating on a big mass of water and dirt, surrounded by darkness and the unknown. Now that is pretty cool.
A girl that I work with was bitten by a black widow while working a few days ago. Not a huge deal since it is SoCal where black widows, among other spider species, are common. Also not that devastating of a situation seeing as she only sustained swelling and mild discomfort. The most frustrating aspect of the entire ordeal is that fact that our organization has decided to drastically increase their application of insecticides. They intend to do so by having our contracted pest control company come to spray in more areas of our building and on a more frequent basis.
I am so disturbed by this response, considering the building itself is old and extremely dirty. Rather than cleaning and approaching a potential bug problem with a natural, common-sense approach, our management, who is not health conscious in the least, went with the quick fix. I understand that pesticides and insecticides are household products that countless citizens use in their homes without thought. However, I am not one of them and I do not appreciate having to be exposed to toxins based on others’ ignorance. I wish people would educate themselves regarding the risks of exposure to chemicals and be more aware of how they were taking care of themselves and one another.
Although she passed one short week before her ninth birthday, today we celebrate all the good, loving and wonderful that was Nala. We miss her dearly and feel the void she left in our home. It is quiet and I am lonely. Adjusting to life without a guard dog isn’t any fun as every small noise I hear through the open slider doors makes me feel helpless at the thought of a prowling burglar. With Nala and Kaiser close by, I always felt that I not only had an early warning system for impending threats but I knew deep down that those dogs would be there for me if I ever needed them. Little love bugs at the core, those two beasts would’ve battled if the circumstances dictated such. And I truly loved them for it, even if it was just at the thought of them protecting me.
In other news – I almost fell for a phone scam this afternoon! Around 4pm, I received a call on our land line from a heavily accented male who claimed to work for AT&T. The caller congratulated me on being a valued customer and offered me a ‘too good to be true’ promotional rate, plus free movie channels (I mean, come on…who can resist free HBO?). When I asked what the catch was, if anything, he replied that since the promo was sponsored by Amazon, it was necessary to pay three months up front with a $450 Amazon e-gift card, which would have to be purchased through the Amazon website. Despite $450 sounding like a steep rate, the offer was actually a huge savings. In addition, we would receive a Visa check card as a thank-you gift. As I clung to every word, he had me…hook, line and sinker.
Suspicious as I was, I asked a variety of questions, all of which were met with reassuring responses. The scammer ended our conversation by providing me with my unique promotional code and a DirecTV promo phone number to call once I had my gift card number. I called the number and I was met with the same automated menu that I have heard during prior DirecTV calls so it immediately appeared legitimate. Then, the male voice who answered validated all of my account info so I once again felt reassured.
At this point, I had also purchased the Amazon gift card but for some reason it hadn’t been delivered to my email inbox yet. The order info from Amazon said that it would arrive within 24 hours and thankfully it was delayed. Had I received it instantaneously, I probably would have handed it over via phone to my second scam artist right away. Thankfully, the email was delayed for about forty-five minutes at this point so I called my level-headed Hugo (code name – smartest man alive) to tell him about his great offer. He yelled, “Babe, it’s a scam, don’t do it!” Within seconds, Hugo had conducted an online search that revealed his wife had almost fallen victim to a popular scam. Thankfully I have Hugo to conduct checks and balances on me. We all need a second set of eyes from time to time – I am just happy that it happened before I gave that swindler our money!
I think I was even more susceptible to being hoodwinked because I have been beyond annoyed with both DirecTV and AT&T recently, due to constantly increasing rates and the lies both companies have told us through the years. Having just switched from Sprint to AT&T for our cell phones, Hugo and I were initially offered an outstanding rate for service and two new Samsung S9 phones. I got the purple, he got the black and we were thrilled (Side note: The phones are just swell). However, once we received the bill, the rate was quite a bit higher than we had agreed upon. This pissed me off as it felt unfair, considering our whole purpose in switching was due to the reduced rate. So, needless to say, when I got that 4pm phone call, my internal voice said, “Well, it’s about time that they did something good to us!” Boy was I wrong! That should have been my first clue that it was a scam – big corporations never do anything good for the consumer.
The biggest learning lesson that I took away from this was to double-check with the actual company when something appears too good to be. When I first told Hugo on the phone about it, he told me to call DirecTV on the regular customer service number to ask them if they were offering the promotion. Rather than call the number the scammer provided, which in hindsight was obviously a bullshit number as well, call the legitimate number to verify. When I did, I was told outright that they have never offered a promotion like that and confirmed it was fraudulent. I feel embarrassed even writing that I fell for this nonsense but hopefully I can prevent someone else from giving their hard-earned cash away.
In my line of work, there is a phrase used as a catch-all on a routine basis. Adjust as needed is commonly slapped on the tail-end of our project plans, in order to cover the contingency aspect if things happen to change. Supervisors alike will say, “Just adjust as needed, depending on circumstances,” making the act of changing plans on the fly sound like a simple task.
Over these past two months, life as Hugo and I know it has changed drastically. Things, most of which were out of our control, have changed and we are desperately trying to adjust as best we can. Our house is quiet and lacking energy after the passing of sweet Kaiser and Nala. We miss them so incredibly much and the feelings make me sick. Every time I look at my cell phone, Nala’s precious black and white photo adorns the lock screen. She is staring back at me as if to say, “I’m right here.” It’s just that she’s not right here with me and I wish she was. I might have needed her more than she needed me in life and I feel a little lost without my two little love bugs. Thank God and the Perseids that I have Hugo as my best friend and partner in crime. I can’t imagine the sickening state I would be in if he ever left my life.
Two nights ago I emailed five different breeders, as well as the Rottweiler Rescue of Los Angeles. Simple inquiries about puppy availability and the age of some rescues, that’s all. I feel guilty for even having considered new puppies to join our family. Nala and Kaiser won’t be replaced though. In due time, however, we will find someone, or someones, to bring into our family again. We have a lot of love to give and it would be a shame to waste that. Even when we have had dogs, we still have more love to give. One day we plan to build a barn and fill it with a couple of horses, chickens and whoever else strikes our fancy. Hugo has suggested an emu or rescue pig so who knows. Whomever joins our ever-expanding family will most surely be met with open arms and a warm heart.
As we lose those we love, I realize just how much we have learned from and grown with the animals that spent all of their years in our lives. Hugo and I got Kaiser as soon as we returned from our wedding party in Costa Rica. Prior to getting married in Los Angeles and flying to Costa Rica to celebrate with our family, there was Marley Bear. Marley was our first Rottweiler, who drove cross-country with us during our big move and occupied our first 800 sq. ft. apartment. We were three peas in a pod until she passed away from kidney failure while we were out of the country. Marley was only five years old when she passed away – her death didn’t hit me in exactly the same way because we never saw her suffer badly, she died suddenly, without warning, and we weren’t present for any of it since she was staying with our neighbor in our absence. Marley was a tough girl who lived in frigid northern Vermont, wearing gortex booties on the frozen asphalt for walks, and lived in three different states as I bounced around during my college years. She taught me to be flexible and to let some things go. Most importantly, Marley showed us how to live in the moment because you never know when all of this bright and sparkly reality will disappear.
Nala and Kaiser gave us nine beautiful years as a family of four. Hugo and I realized the other day that they grew with us so beautifully as we all evolved into adults together. We almost made it one decade, during that time Hugo and I accomplished a lot, matured into adults and forged an even stronger bond and clearer path with one another. We bought and sold houses, advanced tremendously with our careers, and grew to love one another on a surreal level. And when it was all said and done, we couldn’t have done it without Nala and Kaiser’s love.
Not even twenty-four hours ago, I was sitting here writing about Nala’s resilience. Well, today, just after noon, her time finally came to an end. As I stood in the kitchen cleaning the grounds out of our coffee grinder, I heard a shrill cry come from Nala as she speedily ascended our brick stairs. I ran over to her as she was standing, weakly balancing on three legs, in the living room. Her body was shaking and she looked miserable. I yelled for Hugo, who ran over to us, and we both knew that it was time. Nala’s cancerous shoulder had finally snapped and she was suffering. We loaded her into the Jeep and off we went to the vet to put our second puppy down in less than two months.
What a miserable experience this has been. She was in such pain at the vet’s office, I asked them if there was anything they could give her to relax her and ease her discomfort. The vet returned with a shot that ended up almost knocking her out, because when they wheeled her back into the room after inserting her catheter for euthanasia, her eyes were in a hard, fixed position, as her tongue flopped two inches out of her mouth without care. We hated to see her like this but at least she was out of pain.
As the vet administered the two-shot series, Hugo and I hugged her and cried as she parted with us. I pet the single white hair that sat just to the left of her eye. That white hair sprouted up months ago and refused to fall out. It was just as resilient as her spirit, that literally fought to the bitter end.