October 14, 2017

Letters to Piri // 012

Dear Piri, 

Hi. How are you?

I'm doing ok. You know.. it's already been a year since we said good bye. I don't know how we managed to go on living a whole year without you, but .. we got through it.

After you left, the never ending "firsts without Piri" were hard. First Halloween and pumpkin carving without Piri, first birthday without Piri, first Christmas, first cherry blossom season, first time not renewing your dog license - I remember opening up the mail for your dog license and it broke me down.

The list of firsts was never ending. And I presume that there will continue to be firsts without you even after today.

While these firsts have become more bearable, there is still a feeling of emptiness that lingers on. I now try to take this as a sign that you are still very much an important part of our lives, and always will be.

In all honesty, I didn't know how to approach a day like today. I didn't know if I should be happy and celebrate the fact that I had you in my life, or be sad or maybe indifferent. I think it's a mix of everything.

I am so very happy that I had you in my life and I am so very sad that you are no longer in my life. I think feeling this way is ok.

For a long time, I thought maybe there was something wrong with me. People told me how I should be happy that you are no longer in pain. How I should be happy that you lived to be 17 years old - so many dogs die much sooner. How I should be happy that you were surrounded by love when you passed - there are so many who die a painful, sad and lonely death. So I should be happy. Just be happy damn it.... And I couldn't do that.

It made me feel worse that even though I had all these privileges that others did not have - having a dog grow old with me, having a dog pass in his favorite bed, having a dog surrounded by love up until his last breath, I was still sad. How much more greedy can I be? How much more could I have wanted? It's maybe feelings I still wrestle with today.

The weeks leading up to today, I kept telling Yangkyu how much I miss you. I kept calling out your name, more than usual. I like to think that I keep calling out your name because over across the rainbow bridge you're still calling out mine. 

Yangkyu and I continue to build stories where you and Bartles and the rest of the gang of misfits are so very much tied to our lives. Little signs we pick up while grocery shopping or at Yangkyu's school to little frustrating things that happen. We somehow come up with a storyline that involves you. Sometimes you guys are looking out for us, other times you guys are playing jokes on us. Either way, it always makes us smile. For an entire year we have been doing this. It's helped us keep going. 

A week ago when we were in the AT&T store there was a kids show playing on the TV (I later found out that it's called The Octonauts). I have never seen it before but it immediately made me think of you and the gang of misfits. There was a polar bear who was the leader and his crew of various sorts of animals, including a floppy eared dog (there was something urgent that happened and she turned around with a concerned look and had the cutest hair pin on her head. It was a girl dog but her cuteness reminded me of Bartles. I literally bursted out laughing by myself because I saw Bartles on TV).

Anyway, they went on adventures on a big ole ship in the shape of an octopus. Their team work and friendship put a smile on my face and I thought that you all would have the same sort of camaraderie and love for each other. And so I took the show playing when we were in the store as a sign that you all were on similar adventures and having the time of your lives.

About three or four months ago, when I was still had harrowing crying episodes from missing you, I was reminded of the time when I found you on your bed, already gone. That night, I buried my head in Yangkyu's chest and muffled out words that have haunted me since you died. I was afraid that you passed without being able to breathe. Even after 9 months since you passed, I felt guilty for not changing your sleeping position. For falling asleep. For falling asleep on the sofa and not right next to you. For just not being next to you when you might have possibly needed me the most. That was my last crying episode involving that moment. 

The last few times I cried these past weeks, I start by thinking of you but then my mind wonders to Bartles. I think of how you passed at home on your favorite bed and blanket, and how I left Bartles in that cold hospital thinking that he would make it till the morning. When I kissed him and told him I will come get him in the morning, I really thought that was what we were going to do. Instead, he passed without us next to him. Without his favorites things near by. And that eats away at me. It makes me cry and my heart breaks all over again. 

Last night I asked Yangkyu, if he could have anything in the world - even impossible things like bringing people back from the dead - what would it be? He thought about it and then said, "Piri. I would bring Piri back." I replied, "What about Bartles? He would be lonely." He agreed and said, "That's true. We can't have that."

We ended by saying that we would want all the members of the misfits come to life, even the imaginary ones. I said how wonderful it would be to wake up one morning to find you, Mr. Bartles, a goat and Russian Dog in our home like you all have been here all along. I think Lady would have a field day with that. 

I miss you Piri. I hope you and Mr. Bartles are taking good care of each other. And I hope you continue to drop us signs that you are still thinking of us.


Your human girl.

PS - We gave the gang of misfits a name. You guys are now The Rainbownauts. Yangkyu coined it. He always comes up with the best stories and names.

October 6, 2017

Mr. Bartles is in the 2018 OBG Cocker Rescue Calendar!

A couple of days ago, I got an email from OBG Cocker Rescue where I was delighted to find out that Bartles was among a handful of other OBG alums who had made it in the 2018 OBG Cocker Rescue Calendar. I submitted this picture of him, when he was still with us, and we crossed our hands and fingers and paws that this handsome fella would get to grace one of the months. While Bartles wasn't with us when we got the news, we were still happy. And we purchased our copy right away. 

If you would like to see Mr. Bartles and other OBG alums while helping out a great cocker spaniel rescue organization, you can purchase your copy today by following this link.

Mr. B says thank you in advance!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

October 4, 2017


This was our crew for the past couple of days. Two of the dogs, Spootie and Clover, leave today and we have yet another friend joining our gang. Boo the Westie, who is almost blind and diabetic. He needs insulin shots after his meals which always makes me slightly nervous but we get through them just fine. 

We normally only take in two dogs at a time for overnight stays but all our wonderful repeat clients needed boarding and so we made room for everyone to have their own little vacation here while their humans are away. 

Mornings are a little bit more hectic with lots more doggy bowls to fill and clean and lots of paws scurrying around whenever I move around in hopes for a special surprise treat. The laundry gets folded just a little bit on the messier side and there is less room on the bed for us to stretch out our legs as there is always a dog on top of our legs, or heads resting on our tummies or snuggly sleeping right by our side, sharing a pillow, or two. But that's ok. I like this a lot. It's my kind of vibe. 

I have been determined to take more pictures - I recently upgraded my phone to the iPhone 8 (I apparently have been living under a rock because I had no idea there was a new iPhone out) and have been on friendlier terms with my Fuji X100T and also have been carrying my Canon 7D around the house all the time as well. I have also bought and downloaded patterns for a couple of knit hats and cowels and have been eyeing this recipe to make soon. We also have little Halloween decorations that still need to go up and I am still trying to convince Yangkyu (and myself frankly) that we need to buy the huge plastic pumpkin at Target to store all our Halloween candy this year. I mean, do we really need that? The irrational part of me says yes, the more practical part of me says no way.

I thought it would be crazy hectic with so many guest dogs and Yangkyu with his work and grad school classes, but I am liking this current vibe of ours. 

We'll be busy until October 28th when the last of our guest dogs leave. We don't get a single break inbetween but I think we'll be ok. 

Happy October everyone.

What's going on in your neck of the woods?

September 30, 2017


Today I took out Piri's old lead and used it on my walk with Lady. I haven't held it since Piri crossed the rainbow bridge. It fit like a glove. Like it was meant for my hands. Lady and I enjoyed a nice walk - 40 minutes. Our favorite route includes my occasional jogging route. Lady also has been wearing Bartles' old harness. It's like her brothers are always near her, watching out for her. And me. 

Tomorrow marks 3 months since Bartles crossed the rainbow bridge and 14 days until Piri's 1 year of his passing. I have been going through a wave of emotions. Sometimes I just want to be sad. Sometimes I want to be happy. Sometimes I'm anxious because I don't know how to feel. And sometimes just don't have any feelings at all. I just presume that this is normal behavior. 

I've just finished reading The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs. I finished the last 150 pages sitting at a Panera near our home while Yangkyu finished up his homework for one of his grad school courses. At the tail end of the book, I began to bawl. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It's poignant, sad and beautifully written. 

When Piri was fighting cancer, for some reason I began to read about cancer and children. At the time, Humans of New York was holding a fundraiser for a hospital in New York treating children with cancer. Their pictures and stories broke my heart and I cried every night reading a new story. Then I came across this article, When Do you Give Up on Treating a Child with Cancer in the Times, and I bawled and was amazed at what had happened to this child. It wasn't the same, but I kept trying to imagine the heartache of these parents, families and children as they fought a terminal disease. I was a wreck with my old senior dog fighting cancer, I wondered how much more frightening, tiring, hopeful and at times hopeless it was for these young warriors and the adults who would do anything to protect them. Heal them. It was what I had wanted to do for Piri. I don't meant to sound insensitive comparing Piri's fight to theirs. It might be a tactless way to try and relate, but I couldn't help but try to make a connection. 

I have never done well with death for as long as I remember. Every time I try to figure it out, I talk it out with Yangkyu but we never seem to find an answer.

Tonight is very quiet. Just the sound of my keyboard typing. We'll soon all get ready to go to bed and starting tomorrow, it'll be busy with guest dogs coming and going for most of October. 

One night a couple of weeks ago, Lady got up in the middle of the night, looked in the direction of my closet and started to growl. I was scared but then wondered if maybe Bartles and Piri had come to visit. I coaxed her and told her it was ok. And in my head I thought, "It's just your brothers. It's ok. Go back to sleep." She hasn't growled since that night. I am hoping that it's not because they haven't visited, but because she now realizes that they are kindred spirits, coming to say hello.

September 18, 2017

Korea, according to my iPhone (pt. 2) + 5 years of blogging!

 // Travel Korea: Seoul
 // Trave Korea : Seoul

*Our blog turns 5 years old today. I looked back on the first ever post and it brought me right back to that moment. I'm happy now, but I think from this moment on from when Piri crossed the rainbow bridge last year were the happiest years of my life.

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