Saturday, June 21, 2008


We picked up Danny's ashes today.

Danny will be buried in a peaceful spot along side our two other dogs. When we find the perfect bush or tree that reflects Danny's spirit, we will plant it in memory of this wonderful dog.

As Danny's story has ended, so will my updates to this blog. For me, Danny was the soul of Wilton Diaries and to write about a life that does not include him is just too hard.

Jeff will take over with occasional updates.

I thank everyone who took the time to read about our Wilton adventures and shared our laughter and tears.

The New Roof

This post was going to have pictures of the house with it's roof half done. But as you can see, Rick's Main Roofing was able to get the whole thing done in a day.

The crew showed up a little before 8:00AM and immediately got to work. Both Valerie and were leaving for the day, but we fully expected to come home to a house with half of the roof done and half not done.

At about 9:30AM, I got a call from the foreman. The plywood on the left side of the house had de-laminated after 40 years. In other words, the layers of plywood had started to separate from each other. So, of course we had to replace that.

We also had them cover up the skylight in our bedroom. It was the stupidest placement and was probably the cheapest skylight on the market. I was just waiting for it to start leaking.

When Valerie got home about 5:30PM, they were just finishing up. The whole thing! Other than the dumpster in the driveway, you'd never know they were here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Week

It's been one long week since our Danny boy passed to the other side.

First the remainder of his food was tossed. After a couple days his bowls got picked up. His bed still awaits his return right next to me. Maybe it will remain a permanent fixture.

I woke up in the middle of the night a couple days ago with the weight of his head on my hip. Am I crazy?

Thanks to everyone who has sent their well wishes. It's good to know you have people on your side when you are going through tough times.

I sure am glad we chronicled his life on Wilton Diaries. I look at his pictures and relive the little moments every day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


The house was way too quiet last night.

As violent thunderstorms raged through western Fairfield county, I expected to be nudged by my boy, a little scared by the sounds. The nudge never came. Yet with all the thunder, an absence was felt.

The routines are hard to break. A pat on the bed when I get in to call him up. Expecting to see him lounging on the bed as I step out of the shower. His bed still lays next to my side of the bed. I can't put it away just yet.

We took all three boys along in spirit on our morning walk today. I truly believe dogs go to heaven and they were looking down on us as we turned the corner for home. While he was only with us for 20 months, I like to think we packed a full lifetime of love in that time.

He was a Golden to the end. Never cross, never angry. If he was in pain, we couldn't tell. Even on Monday night he played fetch to near exhaustion.

My heart is broken, again. I swore off dogs when Jake passed away, this part is just too hard. I will never forget you my friend.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Danny's Gone

Danny had surgery today. When the vet opened Danny up, he found that the cancer had spread to most of Danny's organs. At best, they said Danny would have a few days to live.

We decided to let Danny pass, while he was still under sedation and before he began to feel the pain of surgery.

Jeff and I both got to see him one last time and say goodbye.

I hope that Danny knows how much we loved him and how much we will miss him.

Danny was a very special dog that will never be forgotten.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


This is Franklin. Franklin was made by a family friend and arrived at our doorstep several years ago during a very dark time.

The first time I looked at this bear, I thought "Franklin" and thus he was named.

Franklin now sits in in the office, high up and out of harms way. (Did I ever mention that Danny loves to tear apart soft objects ?)

Franklin is a symbol of the bleakest and the best days in our life. He silently reminds me of how much a small gesture can mean. So now, when I hear a friend is ill or going through a tough time, I pick up the phone or send a card or email.

Who would have ever thought that a little bear could be so wise ?

Saturday, June 07, 2008


With only two of us in the house and not eating too many meals at home this week, it took a while to fill up the dishwasher.

I finally ran a load of dishes and I have to say that the Bosch is definitely quieter than our old Maytag dishwasher.

There is still some noise when the dishwasher runs, but not much.

Friday, June 06, 2008


The radiologist read the ultrasound and said that Danny's tumor is either in the spleen or omentum. The recommendation is to have surgery to remove the mass and then a biopsy.

The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. If there are no complications, Danny should be home on Thursday. That would be the best birthday gift.

I asked about the need for chemotherapy or radiation. The Dr. said that once we have the biopsy results, future treatment recommendations will be determined.The vet said that depending on the type of cancer, the prognosis could be 3 months to 2 years.

During the surgery, there will be a visual inspection of lymph nodes and other organs. The vet warned that the cancer could have spread, but we just don't see it yet. I find it odd that cancers are discussed as good cancer or bad cancer, when in fact all are terrible. I guess it is just really a way to measure survival rates.

We are trying to stay positive and take this one step at a time. At least for today, we have hope that we can slow this disease without causing Danny too much pain.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pink Belly

Danny had the ultrasound today. The vet said he was a great patient, no need for anesthesia. Danny just laid down and let the technician do his job.

As you can see, Danny's beautiful coat was shaved off and he now has the new nickname of "pink belly".

The radiologist will read the ultrasound tomorrow and then we will decide how to proceed.

The tumor is on Danny's spleen. The technician did not see any tumors in the liver or lungs. If this is true, then the vet recommends surgery.

Surgery would hopefully give us some additional time with this special dog. How much time will depend on the type of cancer.

To everyone who has called or emailed or said a prayer, thank you!

I think that Danny may be the most loved dog in Wilton.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Danny's Sick

Cancer. One word, one moment and everything changes.

Danny has cancer.

Danny has been skipping meals and we decided that he should see the vet to be sure that there was nothing seriously wrong. The vet thought she felt something in his abdomen and said perhaps he ate a rock or a piece of rawhide.

The X-ray revealed my greatest fear, a large tumor in his abdomen. I asked if it could not be cancer and the answer was no. Such a large mass in such a young dog is definitely cancer.

Tomorrow Danny will have an ultrasound. If the tumor has spread to his lungs or liver, his prognosis (at best) is 3 months.

If the cancer has not spread, surgery could be a possibility. The surgery is complex and recovery time is 2 months. The vet did not want to go into details until we know what we are dealing with.

I am heartbroken, but managed to not break down in the vet's office. Driving home was a different matter.

I don't know if it is wrong to pray for an animal. However, I hope you will pray for Danny or pray that Jeff and I find the strength and wisdom to choose what is best for this wonderful dog.

Catching some rays

I let Danny out this afternoon and he immediately rolled over and over in the grass.

When Danny stopped, he just stretched out on his side with his eyes closed and did not move. I called to him, but he just continued to lay there.

I went over to Danny, thinking that perhaps he was having a seizure. I looked closely, but there was no shaking. Danny slowly opened one eye and gave me a smile.

It's then I realized he was just soaking up the sunshine. I sat with him for a few minutes and thought this really does feel good.

Maybe dogs know the secret to the good life after all!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Divvying up the silver

I read an interesting article in Business Week (6-9-08) about how people divide their estates before/after their death. Estate planning has come up in several conversations recently, so I thought I would share what I learned.

Many people create the standard list and assign a name to each item. Some people put colored dots on the backs of items and say blue is for x and red goes to y. If you are doing either of these, the article suggests you explain why one child gets x and not y, so there are no misunderstandings later. It turns out that these 2 methods may not be legally binding!

The article also says you should ask your heirs what they would like. You may be surprised to find out they have no interest in x but really want y. One family had a "select your favorite items" Thanksgiving (when everyone was gathered together).

If you have only one every expensive item, and child A gets that item, then child B should get more money.

The most interesting idea was the auction. A women who was downsizing had an appraiser estimate the worth of her possessions. She then divide the value by the number of heirs (ex. $400K/4 kids = $100K each). She then allowed each child to select up to 100K of items that they wanted.

The biggest thing that I learned was that if you discuss splitting your estate while you are alive, it will make it much easier for your family after you are gone.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Maddy and Paddy have disappeared. I assume that they have migrated to their summer home.

The last few days, the ducks were coming 3-4 times a day for a snack. At that time, Jeff said they are getting ready to leave and he was right.

The life of a wild duck cannot be easy, you have to survive the wild predators and the hunters. I never know if Maddy and Paddy will return or if this is the last time we will see them.

With any luck, they will join us again next spring.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Veriegated Weigela

The most precious bush in our garden is now in bloom.

Our first weigela was planted at our first home in NC.

We have moved twice since then and we always plant one to remind us of NC and the happy memories of our time there.