My Sweet Amber Dog

We adopted Amber from Friends of New Haven animal shelter. Here is the original story which should be read before this one

Our sweet girl Amber had been licking her front paws excessively for a few days. I gave her a warm bath, cut her nails and shaved her paws however the paw licking got worse. I called my vet and they suggested I bring her in as paw licking is a sign something could be wrong.

On our way to the vets office Amber was very nervous. She was panting like crazy. I turned around to look at her and I noticed there was something on the bottom, right side of her mouth, on the gum line. It was a pink lump that looked sort of like bubble gum. I never noticed that before.

When we got to the vets office I mentioned the mass in her mouth. The vet looked at it and I could tell by the look on her face it was NOT good news. She said, “Amber has a sarcoma in her mouth. We need to test it to be sure”. We made an appointment for a biopsy and also to take as much of the tumor out as possible. That happened within a few day.

We dropped Amber off to get the procedure done. She did very well. 3 teeth had to be pulled due to the tumor but she seemed to be in good spirits. Now we wait for the results.

2 days later, the phone rang and it was the vet. As expected it was very bad news. Amber had a poorly differentiated sarcoma in her mouth. It was growing out of her jaw into the gums. It is an aggressive tumor that grows quickly. Doc said she removed as much as she could but it will grow back rapidly. The options were to remove part of Amber’s jaw, radiation and medicine. Amber is 11 years old. We decided not to put her through any of that mostly because there is no guarantee she will survive.

The next 4 weeks were very emotional for all of us. We kept her as comfortable as possible with some pain medication and hand feeding her. She was able to eat home made sweet potatoes, rice, chicken and some ground beef. The tumor would periodically bleed and seemed to be getting larger. She was sleeping most of the time and we carried her outside to the bathroom as she wasn’t interested in walking. I took her for many, many walks in the doggie stroller which she LOVED. She could feel the wind in her face and I would talk to her the whole time. I let her out on the grass to smell all the great smells outside. She loved that. Through all of this she would still wag her tail and look at us adoringly.

On July 31st, we took her back to the vet for a re-evaluaton. I rubbed her belly the whole way. If you read my original blog on how she and I first met, it involved belly rubbing. Every morning I would rub her belly before she got out of her crate for the day. She would hear my voice and turn over on her back waiting for me to rub her belly.

We arrived at 5:15. Doc looked in her mouth and said the tumor doubled in size, was infected and she also felt another lump in her jaw and her abdomen was swollen. We again discussed treatment however with all the tumors, we made the decision it was time for our Amber to be at peace and out of all the pain she was in. Amber willingly laid on her side. I was rubbing her belly as they shaved her small paw. Tears were streaming down my face as I told her how much I love her and she will be okay. No more pain baby girl. I told her I will miss her forever and I will never forget her. I thanked her for being such a great friend to us.

The needle went into her paw and within 2 seconds I heard doc say “She’s already gone”. It was that quick because Amber was so tired. I held her for 10 minutes before I could leave her there, stroking her beautiful white fur. I got back into the car without her and really had a difficult time keeping it together. I wiped the tears from my eyes and thought of all the great times we had with Amber and drove home.

Entering the house without her was difficult and the other dogs in the house knew something was different. It will take time to heal the heart after the loss of such an amazing friend. Amber left us the same way she met us. With loving belly rubs.

Amber and Marcus

Overweight Dog

If you are following my blog, you already know we adopted our Prince Harry, a Cavalier King Charles in August of 2019. If not, here is the story.

Our Prince Harry had his annual check up with the vet this week. He was around 20 pounds when we first brought him home. He is now tipping the scale at a whopping 26 pounds. As you can imagine our vet was concerned and suggested we put him on a calorie restriction along with more exercise.

How did he get that heavy? I didn’t even realize it as it happened over a period of 8 months. I looked back at pictures of him when we first got him and then picures of today. Huge difference. 6 pounds on a small dog is alot of weight.

I did some research on how to help your dog lose weight and all the sites are pretty much the same. Count the calories and exercise more. In order for Prince Harry to lose weight he needs to be on a 500 calorie diet per day for food and 50 calories for treats. Total calories 550. We will start measuring the food in a cup, counting calories and drastically reducing the homemade treats we feed him. He is especially fond of the pumpkin/peanut butter treats I make for him. I actually like them too. It’s flour, eggs, peanut butter, and pumpkin.

Today is day 1 of the “diet”. Previously I was just taking a hand full of kibble and topping it with a scoop of chicken. This morning I fed him 1/4 cup chicken and 1/2 cup of his kibble. He gobbled it down and looked at me with those beautiful eyes of his that were screaming at me that he was STARVING! I had to turn away and tell myself that he had enough food for now. Part of me wanted to give him a cookie because he looked sad but I knew better.

I will be writing an update in a few weeks to see how the new fitness regimine is going. Wish us luck!

First day with us
8 months later

Covid 19

I have interviewed 3 people in the Northeast who will remain nameless who had or thought they had the corona virus.

Patient 1 – Will refer to as P1: Age 40: Normally healthy no previous illnesses

In February P1 was at a work meeting for a few day in a large city. P1 started feeling sick 3 days after returning home from the meeting. Symptoms were body aches, dry cough, chest fullness, headache and a fever. P1 went to the doctor and the Dr. pretty much dismissed it and was sent home.

P1 tried to tough it out but then began to notice a fever was 103 and had trouble breathing. P1 went to the ER where they didn’t have any test kits to test for Covid 19. They did a chest xray which showed pneumonia in 1 lung. P1 was sent home after 1 day with antiobiotics. A few days later P1 returned to the ER where a test was administered and registered positive for Covid 19. IV fluids were given and some oxygen. Again sent home after a few hours. To recap: Fever, weakness, body aches and totally exhausted for 14 days. Finally feeling “better” however now her 2 family members have become ill with the same symptoms.

Patient 2: P2: Age 56. Started with a scratchy throat, fever, and then it escalated quickly into difficult breathing. Went to the ER, tested positive for Covid 19 and was admitted. Chest xray showed pneumonia. Hospitalized for 4 days. Sent home with meds and bed rest orders. P2 explained an excruciating head ache like never known before. Tylenol, motrin, advil, nothing would even begin to relieve the pain. The fever left P2 dehydrated and weak. The symptoms continued for 8 days. Today P2 was well enough to speak on the phone with me. P2 was taking a nap 2 times a day and has issues even walking down the driveway to get the mail. P2 feels the symptoms are getting better.

Patient 3: Age 59. Awoke with a head ache and sinus pressure and pain. P3 is known for occasional migraines. They especially occur around April when the tree pollen is at it’s highest. P3 took the usual dose of the migraine medicine and it didn’t work. P3 laid down and napped. After a few hours of napping woke up soaked in sweat. P3 tried to stand up only to tell me legs felt like they were filled with sand and so weak couldn’t stand. Pounding headache. P3 made it to the shower where the warm water helped with the congestion however the water hitting on the top of P3’s head hurt. It felt like the water was directly going into the brain nerves. It was like nothing ever experienced before. P3 called the doctor and a nurse called back within 15 minutes. Symptoms were discussed and the nurse advised P3 to go the ER if symptoms didn’t get better. A few days later, no relief at all. P3 began to vomit and couldn’t keep anything down, not even water.

P3 called the dr which this time the dr wanted to face time with P3. They went over symptoms. No fever, but so many odd symptoms. Body aches, severe head ache and muscle weakness. It didn’t sound the the typical Covid 19. P3 was advised to go to the ER if not better. 8 days later, the symptoms started to improve. P3 is still weak and tired but improving. P3 told me the story of how 2 weeks earlier they took a trip to pick up a college student who was on spring break down south. That college student was complaining of a sore throat and a slight cough but recovered within 2 days with no fever. No Covid 19 test was administered.

Blood test

Have you ever bruised after a blood test? I recently had a blood test through a company my employer hired to do the annual test for nicotine, drugs, cholesterol, and glucose. Our employees get a discount on the health insurance for not smoking and being healthy so the test is mandatory for those who wish to save some money.

I arrived at the facility at 7:30 am and was called in within a few minutes of waiting. The lady had me step on the scale (for BMI measurements) and took my height. I sat in the chair where she took my blood to be tested for all of the above things. I noticed the needle REALLY STUNG when it was put in and hurt even MORE when it was pulled out. It hurt alot more than it ever has in the past. The technician promptly put the little cotton ball over the injection site and taped it up with 2 pieces of tape nice and tight. I walked out, got into my car and thought, “WOW, did that hurt or what”. In fact I couldn’t even bend my arm because the pain was so bad. I waited about an hour and then took the bandage off. There was a lump at the injection site that was about as large as a nickel. The pain got worse as I was driving away.

I took the icepack out of my lunch bag and put it on my arm. It made it feel a little better. As the day went on, my arm hurt more and more. I kept putting the ice pack on it until the ice pack was no longer cold. I continued to work and made it though the day. I was glad it was a Friday so I had time to recover over the weekend.

I suffered the whole weekend, not being able to bend my arm and it hurt alot. I called my doctor and the nurse on call told me there’s not much I can do but to wait it out. She said it was a bad stick and the phlebotomist missed big time. If my arm was to get hot, swollen or ooze I was to call back asap.

On Monday I called the place I had the blood test to express my concern. The supervisor said she was very sorry this happened to me and she was going to better educate her staff on pulling the needle out, finding another vein or at least trying the other arm. She again apologized.

Day 3
day 4
Day 5-6
Day 8
Day 12 and it still hurts. I have a small lump at the injection site.

Needless to say I will not be going back to that same facility next year. Sometimes saying sorry just doesn’t cut it.


It’s that time again. Mammogram for me. I go faithfully every year. This year I went in on a Monday. The technician was excellent. She was very kind and gentle. She viewed the slides and said they came out good. If there were any issues, I would be getting a call back within a day.

I always get nervous because in 2017 I got a call back before I even got home from the mammogram. I was so scared. They asked me if I could come back right then and there for a few new x-rays on the right side. This was my very first time getting a call back. I was beyond scared and worried.

The technician explained that there was an asymmetrical shape in the right slide. I could see it when the technician showed me. It looked like an oval. She re-did the xrays, and then sent me in for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed nothing and when the x-rays came back, the radiologist reviewed them and said the asymmetrical shape was a flap of skin and nothing to worry about. It had something to do with the compression and the dense breast tissue.

So going back to the original paragraph, February 2020, I got my mammogram on a Monday. Tuesday early afternoon I received a call on my cell phone. I recognized the phone number right away as it was Baystate. I didn’t want to pick it up but I did. “Hello, this is Sharon” I said …….”Hello Sharon, this is Jaime from Baystate radiology. I wanted to let you know the radiologist saw something on the mammogram that is different from previous films and wants you to come in for another x-ray on your right breast. I started to cry a little. The next available appointment was the following Monday at 1:30 pm. I scheduled the appointment, hung up the phone and really cried. My mind began to race. OMG what if it’s cancer? What if I have to get a mastectomy. Am I going to die? I thought myself into the grave within 5 minutes of getting the phone call. I don’t have will, what about my dogs? Who will care for them when I am dead? I have too many clothes that don’t fit, I have to get my affairs in order.

I had to talk to someone so I called my sister and she talked some sense into me. She reminded me that there are 5 sisters in our family. 4 out of the 5 of us all got called back due to dense breast tissue. She made me feel better and I began to think more rationally. I know I still need a will but the rest can hold off for a week.

I kept myself very busy over the next week. I went for long runs and took the dogs for many walks. I organized my closet, got rid of some clothes that didn’t fit and also donated some things I no longer needed.

Finally, it’s Monday again. I worked 1/2 a day, then drove to the

I sat in the car for half an hour because I was early. I prayed, I cried and I then again thought of what my sister said. I got out of the car and walked slowly into the building. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. The office was on the 3rd floor. I took the stairs as it was a way for me to get the anxiety out by walking. I checked in, and within minutes my name was called. A very friendly lady greeted me and explained what was going to happen. I was guided into the room where I changed into a very pretty colored burgundy johnny. It was a one size fits all or as I say fits most. I wrapped it around me twice and tied it tight. It made me feel more secure. The tech was very kind and reassuring. She explained why the test was being redone and was extremely professional. After the test was done, I was placed back in the waiting room with many other women.

I couldn’t help but wonder if they were there for “recalls” or did they have breast cancer? Was their screening routine? It was so very quiet and no one was talking. I sat quietly and prayed.

After about 20 minutes, the technician called my name. I got up and followed her. She brought me back to the room where I originally changed into that burgundy johnny. She shut the curtain partway and she looked at me. I was trying to read her expressions but couldn’t. She finally spoke. She said I have nothing to worry about. The spot the radiologist saw on the original slide was an artifact. ” My brain said “Artifact? The last time I heard that word was in an Indiana Jones Movie? She explained it was most likely movement that cause blurring or it could have been improper compression. I was so relived I shed a few tears and hugged her.

In closing, getting called back after a mammogram doesn’t mean you have cancer. It means there is a difference in the previous xray. It could be a flap of skin, compression or the simple fact as women age, the breast tissue gets displaced with fat. From what I read, only 10% of women get a call back for a repeat mammogram. Most of the call backs have a happy ending like my story.

Lyme Disease In Dogs

As I look back 3 months ago, I can now see all the signs I missed regarding lyme disease in my dog. Usually my dog Pumpkin would eagerly await to be let out of her crate at 5:30 am each and every morning. However now that she is 9 years old she started sleeping a little later, getting out of her crate slower and really taking her time doing the doggie stretch before she went down the stairs to go to the “outhouse”. Her energy level quickly diminished. I was not aware this was most likely not signs of old age in a dog.

A few days ago, she suddenly started limping. She held up her right hind paw and was walking on 3 legs. She also had this shiver about her. She would sit down and just shake. I thought she sprained her leg, had a stone caught in her paw or it was the winter weather here in New England and some snow got in there. I even considered if it was luxating patella. After a day of her limping, she took a visit to the vet where I explained to Doc the chain of events going on.

The vet examined her completely, asked a ton of questions and took a blood test. From the look on Docs face I could tell she had a very good idea what it was. She left the room for 15 minutes to run the test and came back in with the news. Our dog Pumpkin had lyme disease. Prescribed Doxycycline, but that really upset her stomach and she refused to eat which also caused the problem of her not taking her medicine. The medication was quickly changed to Amoxicillin which as of tonight seems to be doing the trick.

At first I was relieved it wasn’t luxating patella but I wasn’t fully aware of the complications lyme can have on a dog. Lyme disease can attack not only the joints but the organs. This little bugger of a micro organism is called Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms include but are not limited to: loss of appetite, lethargic behavior, limping, joint pain, fever, swollen joints and the list goes on. It can come on suddenly or slowly rear it’s ugly head over time. Our pets are so good at hiding their pain. In the wild pain and sickness is a sign of weakness. That is why they hide it so well.

If your dog is diagnosed with lyme I would suggest having your Vet also test their organ levels to see how advanced the disease is. Ex: kidneys, liver, pancreatic function.

Our dogs are on the flea and tick prevention. I won’t mention the name of the very expensive cocktail they are on. It obviously doesn’t prevent lyme. It does kill the tick once the tick BITES them and infects the dog.

Advice: Check for ticks every day. Even in the winter. Notice the small progressive signs. Changes in behavior are a key sign. As we humans are so busy many times the pets slow behavioral changes are overlooked. Hiding under things or refusing affection are a big sign. Pumpkin starting hiding under my desk and didn’t want any affection.

Hiding under my desk
Resting after the medication from lyme disease

I have been sleeping with her along with her “friends” lampchops on the dog bed for 4 nights now. I don’t want her to be alone and feel scared or cold. Feeling safe, warm and comfortable is a big part in the healing process.

Thermipaq ICY Cold Pain Relief Wrap

A friend of mine told me about this product. I was having issues with pain in my elbow. It ended up being tendonitis. This product worked tremendously. It’s a flexible, all natural compound made from clay and its leak proof. You simply put it in the freezer and take it out when you need it. It comes with a velcro band which holds super tight and it doesn’t slip. It holds the cold up to 1 hour. It comes in different sizes. I opted for the large so I could also wear it on my lower back. It works well on back, knees, ankles and elbows.

If your in the market for a cold pain relief wrap then the Thermipaq ICY is for you. It’s available at Walmart, Walgreens, Amazon or many other retailers. Walgreens has one that is their brand.

Phillips Sonicare Diamond Clean

My dental hygienist suggested I look into purchasing a Sonicare electric toothbrush. When I had my last cleaning she noticed that my gums looked irritated. She felt it was from aggressive brushing. I do tend to brush aggressively, especially in the morning when I am rushing around getting ready for work and getting all stressed out about being late.

I have never used an electric toothbrush before so I was curious on how it would work. Would it make a difference in the amount of plaque on my teeth? Would it help the recent issue with irritated gums?

After much research I ended up getting the Phillips Sonicare Diamond toothbrush which came with extra brush heads. It removes ten times more plaque than a regular toothbrush. It has 3 intensities and 5 cleaning modes. My favorite option is it shuts off by itself after 2 minutes of brushing. I find myself taking my time brushing and actually enjoy brushing my teeth. I am actually brushing longer than I ever have and my teeth feel so clean and look great. My favorite brush head is the small one. You can really get it way back into those hard to reach places.

It comes with a travel case that keeps your Phillips sonicare diamond toothbrush safe and clean while traveling. The charging stand is very unique. The Phillips sonicare diamond toothbrush sits nicely in a classy looking glass charger. It also comes with a wall charger too.

I have been using the Phillips Sonicare Diamond toothbrush for 3 months now. I recently had an appointment for a routine cleaning. I didn’t tell my hygienist I purchased the Phillips Sonicare Diamond and wanted to see if she noticed the difference. She noticed immediately. She smiled at me and said, “Wow, your gums looks SO MUCH better and three is hardly any plaque.”

The product is available on Amazon and Costco. Costco which is where I purchased mine. Got it on their website with FREE shipping. It came as a 2 count and additional brush heads so my husband has one also.

Loss of a loved one

I recently lost a special person in my life. It is my cousin Lucas. He was only 42 years young. He was diagnosed with Leukemia 2 years ago. He fought a very tough and courageous battle. We thought for a brief moment in time he was going to be okay. He had a stem cell transplant and everything was going GREAT! He was 98% donor and 2% himself. He joked and said ” I hope you all still LOVE me even though I am 98% someone else.” How he kept a sense of humor was beyond me. He recently got the clear from his doctor to go back to work. He has young children which he loves dearly.

On August 25th 2019 we got the devastating news he passed away suddenly.

Stepping back into the early 1980’s when I was 14 years old, I had the pleasure of babysitting Lucas Monday through Thursday. Every day after school I would walk to their house right next door and take care of him while his parents worked. My aunt and uncle worked different shifts so they could coordinate care. I arrived promptly at 3:00 pm and sleep there until 5:00 am where I would get up and go home to get ready for school. The best part was my Grama Rose was there with me too. She and my aunt and uncle along with Lucas lived together.

What a pleasure it was to have a job at 14. I think back now and realized it was never a “job”. It was being there to help my family. The money was amazing $40 a week back in the day was amazing, and all I had to do was play and love my cousin. That was the most rewarding and easiest “job” I now now realize I will ever have.

I attended the service for Lucas this past Sunday in Connecticut. It was well attended by all of our loving family and friends. I did the best I could to assist in the service and provide things to help the family. I designed a slide show with music that celebrated all the different times of his life. I also made up some forget me nots in packets that were handed out and will be planted in his honor in the Spring. They are so good for the environment and pollination.

A flash back: I’ll never forget the day as Lucas got older, we were playing ball out in the yard. I had just gotten engaged. We were taking turns pitching and hitting. All of a sudden, Lucas looked down and picked up a very shiny something in the grass. He said ” Wow, look at the pretty shiny ring I found”. I looked down at my finger and and almost lost it. He found my engagement ring in the thick grass that I never even noticed was missing! It must have fallen off when we were exchanging the baseball glove. THANK YOU LUCAS!

In closing, I am organizing a fundraiser for his children. The forget me nots are $2.00 per packet. Plant in the spring. All profits will go directly to his children. NO personal profit taken from me or anyone else. Email me to donate. As always God bless you and thank you for your support!

The red cardinal has many traditions and myths. They revolve around good health, renewal, happy, and healthy relationships. If you dig deep into the life of these birds you can see why so many good things are associated with their sightings.

Unlike other birds that are polygamous, red cardinals are monogamous. They mate for life and living within a small area for the rest of their lives they protect fiercely. When their babies are hatched, both parents are responsible for taking care of them to ensure their survival and security