Zolton Pektor, January 1, 2000 – May 10, 2012

It is, with an extremely heavy heart, that I report that our precious, family dog of over twelve years has moved on to greener pastures, freedom from pain, and forever love.

Will we ever see him again? I choose to believe we will. God loves them more than we do. He created them, by darn, and He knows the relationships we have with our beloved companions.

I have a lot to say about grief and loss. I am still formulating my thoughts and writing that part of the book I am working on with my dear friend and co-author, Marjolein Brugman (http://www.lighterliving.com/). Please do check out her website and buy an Aero Pilates machine while you are at it. The best at-home exercise platform I have ever used. You won’t be sorry.

Stay tuned for more on Grief and Loss as it pertains to Life.

And as a side-note, I will be talking, in future posts, about the perils of pediatric neutering….something that the animal rescue community insists on (and of course spaying and neutering a pet should not even be an option–it’s just dangerous to do to babies) which prevents wonderful people (like me and my friends 🙂 from saving a dog BECAUSE THEY WON’T FLEX ON THIS RULE. Vets and rescuers that know about the perils of pediatric neutering won’t speak up about it. A very political topic in the animal community….and so very charged with vehemence. How can we save animals by adopting from shelters with agreement to have the dog/cat neutered when it is prudently safe to do so???

Love to hear from you.

Melissa xx

Chasing After Heaven’s Dreams–Happy (Belated) Easter

Happy Easter, Everyone,

I just didn’t want to let the sun set on today, Easter Sunday, without a shout-out from the waling wall. 😦

We are down in lower Virginia at our summer house on the Chesapeake Bay…..actually, the eastern tip of the Piankatank River such that we have a little surround of land on either side of the river-bay, for which I’m grateful as it serves to protect us (just a bit) from getting hammered when the hurricanes hit…..AND THEY DO. I withstood Ernesto and have never in my life experienced such a radical turn of nature, but that’s a topic for another time.

I love it here in the “red-neck Hamptons!” Peaceful and easy. Only jammies and bathing suits needed. Hairdryers and makeup can stay at home.

View from the water to the house

As just about everyone who knows me knows, I’m in a dark, sad place watching my dog, Zolton, slip away from this earthly existence.

I think a big part of it, for me, is that I know my precious Zolton’s days with me are too few. He loves this house. He’s a water dog–part Newfoundland-part Labrador and this place is paradise. Plus he knows how happy we all are when we are here–a respite away from our busy lives up north.

He was thrilled to arrive, albeit a long, long car ride when he became quite accustomed to traveling there by private jet, only about 25 minutes in the air versus 5 – 7 hours in a car (I have told you that I have withstood some extreme lifestyle changes).

Zolton and George resting on the ride

We had to stop every two hours to let him out to go potty and to give him a good long drink–the steroids are nasty yet I think they are making him more comfortable. Quality of life decisions!

Yet to our great surprise, his spirits picked up the moment we drove in our driveway. Wagging tail took to the air. Head up high. Smile on his grey snout.

In the days to follow, we took our ritualistic walks with our friends and their dogs.

We’d visit friends’ cottages and their dogs and love each other to pieces. We snapped lots of photos and kissed each other a lot.

We even rolled in the dirt and jumped in the water to rinse off. Well, he did; I didn’t.

We watched the moon rise….

And we had cocktails on the deck….it was a little chilly but we snuggled on the double chaise (minus the Hermes towels).

Our friends and their four dogs came to visit!

It really was a beautiful day. It began with a lovely church service and ended with a yummy dinner shared with friends (and even more dogs) such that this post is coming, not on Easter Sunday, as intended, but Monday….Easter Monday.

What strikes me most on this glorious day of hope is why I have so much trouble living in the moment. I mean I was able to forget the pain for a few moments here and there but the weekend was pretty much clouded over with sorrow….at least for me. Once I hear about a grim medical diagnosis, I’m always burying that person-dog (I do it with people, too) rather than being grateful for the very moment embracing me that very second. We were never promised much more than what is in front of us. Why? I wonder can’t I just enjoy the good days. Do other people feel this way, too?

It was just so bittersweet for I know Zolton will never return to his most favorite spot on the Chesapeake Bay. We won’t be returning until the summer and I know I am dealing with an aggressive enemy. I have nearly fallen apart. I’ve lost 6 pounds in 10 days; my hands shake; I can’t paint, write or think straight. I feel pain so deeply; I am more sensitive than most. That being said, I also feel joy, when I feel it, probably more than most. Oddly (given what I have put forth in these blogs), I am pretty much the life of a party. I am the “fun” friend….I am usually upbeat and FILLED with joy….when I am. And when I’m not, I’m morose…like I’ve been in these blog entries. Completely morbid. It’s been a tough two years but I’m ready for the new season in my life when joy is restored.

I’m reminded by the words of Kahlil Gibran on Joy and Sorrow:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

We need to remember that the most sorrowful moments will give way, in good time, to moments that are overflowing with peace, joy and contentment….and maybe even a good dance party! And perhaps there is a purpose to in it all, after all…

Happy Easter Monday, Everyone.
Love,
Melissa

My puppy is very sick

Well, sadly my beautiful dog of 12+ years was recently diagnosed with cancer–just about EVERYWHERE in his lovely, large body. I knew something was wrong but I had no idea the extent. I started a new blog, The Zolton Chronicles: The Last Days with my Canine Companion as to document the dying process and the grief that goes along with it. I’m shaking so hard that I can hardly write but I know I need to. As if losing my most wonderful father last year, wasn’t enough, this reality seems to have magnified the severe grief that hasn’t yet assuaged itself. The thought of publicizing the demise of my dog (and me, obviously) kept me from attending to the movie last night; had me spacing out in church today and has pretty much consumed me for the past 10 days. But as I searched the net yesterday, it became very clear that there was no blog, at least one that I could locate, which would shed light on, not only the emotional roller coaster I am about to embark, but sane solutions to dealing with the physicality of the disease–e.g. when to know he is experiencing pain and how to know when to lovingly end that pain. What I did find on the internet, were many, many deeply affected people, crying their hearts out looking for answers and solutions and damn scared to make the decisions of which they were confronted. I’m not trying to sensationalize anything, but rather, I’m trying to find healing for myself in the process of writing….my style is very unfiltered, you will see. I thought you might want to take a look: http://thezoltonchronicles.wordpress.com/ realizing it is very new and not very spiffed up yet (nor will it be) as I’d rather put my energies into research and psychic repair. Perhaps my words will touch you or a friend. If it’s something that resonates, please check back frequently, as it’s bound to evolve daily. It’s my way of icing the cake which was LIFE with a beautiful, lovely, sensitive companion and hopefully offering a tribute to him as well, Zolton (the Wonder Dog) Shelly-Pektor. It’s amazing how derailed I have become and I’m hoping to share plenty of insights as I go on my journey of how to cope with this major life change and how to handle the dog, kindly, lovingly and with utmost sensitivity.

I’m hoping to keep this blog reserved more for my musings on life (and art) yet isn’t it all related?