Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cinnamon & Ephram


We rescued Cinnamon on June 10, 1994. She was found wandering the streets of Maplewood, NJ by a local rescue group. They told us that her fur was all matted and she looked a mess. When they brought her to the groomer, they said that she sat so nicely and was so calm about it all. That was Cinnamon. She was the most mellow, laid back dog I've ever known. The only real issue was that she suffered from separation anxiety for most of her life with us. We can only assume that she was abandoned, so I certainly understood her fear of it happening again. The vet estimated her age to be about two.

When we brought her home for the first time, she flopped down on the floor, rolled over and exposed her tummy. I would think that most rescued dogs don't do this right off the bat, but Cinnamon was so grateful and so trusting from the start. She always let me groom her without a fight, even nail clipping!

She never knew how to play with toys and I couldn't get her to show any interest. Whenever I gave her a new toy, I usually found it buried under one of the couch cushions! Cinnamon never met a meal she didn't like! Her favorite seemed to be garbage, and she was very creative in figuring out how to get to the garbage no matter where we stowed it. I even put a latch on the cabinet door to prevent her from getting into it, but one day I came home to find the drawer above the cabinet had been pulled out and my silverware was scattered all over the kitchen floor. Plus she broke the panel off the drawer and it had to be glued back on! ok...she actually never got to the garbage, so the latch thing worked, but at that point, she trained us to take the garbage out nightly!

We had discovered a new dog park not far from where we were living, so we decided to take Cinnamon there to see if she would like it. When we stepped through the fence, Cinnamon sat there for a moment taking it all in. She was beside herself! She probably thought that a place like this only existed in her dreams, yet here it was in real life! The look on her face was priceless! Five minutes later, she was completely hooked on dog parks! When we moved about an hour south, I found another dog park in the area. That was definitely Cinnamon's favorite thing to do. She became the unofficial mediator, barking at dogs that were playing too rough, trying to break it up! She literally shrieked when she knew we were going to the park and I picked up her leash.

During her time with us, we adopted three other dogs (not at the same time). Cori was our first cardigan welsh corgi who we adopted when she was 10. Cinnamon & Cori tolerated each other's presence, but they never really interacted all that much. We fell in love with the cardigan corgi when we met one at Cinnamon's obedience class. Cori passed at age 14. We then brought in another cardi named Cody. Cody was an 8 year old retired show dog. Cinnamon seemed to warm up to Cody a little more, but, unfortunately, 8 months later, Cody died from liver disease. I was having a really hard time with losing these dogs and was reticent about bringing another into the house, but in March 2005, Ephram came into our lives.

Ephram's breeder, who lives in Indiana, was going to be traveling to North Carolina to evaluate a litter, and since North Carolina was closer than Indiana, we made arrangements to meet her there to pick up Ephram. We brought Cinnamon along, because after all, she had to approve! Cinnamon seemed to give her approval, and was having fun running around with all the cardi pups in the backyard. But something happened that day that was very unusual for Cinnamon. She had an accident in the house. I was very apologetic, but was told not to worry about it, since there were plenty of accidents with all the puppies in the house.

When we returned to NJ, Cinnamon had a few more accidents at home. She kept being treated for UTI's, but finally, in December 2005, we did an ultrasound and found out that there was an inoperable tumor on her bladder. Our goal was to keep her comfortable and to make sure her quality of life was good. She had always been a couch potato, so hanging out at home and being the couch potato that she was, was just fine with her. I still brought her to the dog park when I could, and if you saw her running around there, you would never know she was sick. Ephram was the only dog that was able to get a rise out of her. He was relentless in trying to get her to play or chase him, and he was successful quite a few times! I think that because of Ephram, Cinnamon lived longer than if he wasn't with us. At one point, it almost seemed like Cinnamon was passing the torch to him, knowing that she had to go soon, and giving her approval for Ephram to take over her responsibilities.

Cinnamon was starting to have other problems associated with the tumor. It was getting larger and pressing on her bladder, that she felt like she constantly had to go. We had to get up many
times during the night to let her out. She still enjoyed her park visits almost up to the last day, but on March 18, 2006, she had trouble getting up and refused to eat. When Cinnamon wouldn't eat, you knew there was a problem. We knew then that it was her time and we called the vet to make the arrangements. My husband and I were with her to the end, and when it was over, I flung myself over her and in tears, said that I couldn't do this anymore. I was so heartbroken, losing a dog a year (first Cori, then Cody a year later, and then Cinnamon a year after that) that I didn't want to go through it again. A few weeks later, me, my husband and Ephram were on our way to Indiana to pick up one of Ephram's sisters!

Cinnamon was with us for 12 of her 14 years and not counting some little bits of destruction on her part, she was a beautiful, wonderful companion and we miss her dearly.


Ephram was the most sweetest, shyest, handsome momma's boy! He was born on 7/9/04 and came into our lives on 3/5/05 at 8 months old. As it is, cardigan welsh corgis aren't that common, but Ephram really had some unusual things about him. The first thing one would notice was the cowlick on the top of his head that looked like a mowhawk! Then there were his eyes. One blue and one brown with a blue speck! So, he wasn't show quality, but we were never interested in that. He was very shy (cardigans tend to be kind of reserved) and when he went to his first obedience class, he tried hiding under the chair! Of course, I wouldn't have any of that! Not only did he pass the course, but he received a special ribbon from the trainer as most improved!

Ephram enjoyed playing ball and frisbee and was really relentless when it came to both activities. He learned very quickly to bring the item back to me and as long as I threw it, he would bring it back! He'd do it for hours if I was willing (I wasn't!) He also enjoyed stuffed toys and was very rough on them. I wish someone would make an indestructable dog toy!

He constantly tried to get Cinnamon to play, and every so often, she would chase him. She was so good with him. He'd climb all over her and she would calmly let him. Eventually, Ephram got introduced to the dog park. He wasn't as crazy about it as Cinnamon was at first, but, eventually, he started having fun in spite of himself! He was more comfortable though around other dogs than people other than his family. He was afraid when we brought him to Petsmart or places like that, but I kept trying to get him accustomed to those situations.

In May 2006, he developed conjunctivitis and was limping a bit. He was treated at the vet, but while the limp seemed to be better, his eye problems seemed to be getting worse. We ended up taking him to a veterinary opthalmologist. Eventually, with several different medicines, the eyes got better. He did limp occasionally, but we thought he might have hurt himself jumping for the frisbee or running at the dog park. In January 2007, he developed a cough. My vet thought it might be kennel cough, so he gave him medicine for that, but when the cough persisted, he took an x-ray. It was revealed that there were masses on his lungs. My vet had never seen anything like that in such a young dog, so he referred us to a specialized animal hospital. We did not want him to be cut open, so they first tried a needle biopsy, then a true-cut biopsy to get a bigger piece of tissue. The internist there was fairly sure it was cancer, but the pathology showed that it might be pulmonary lymphomatoid granulomatosis, which is treatable. So the plan was for him to get 4 rounds of chemotherapy followed by another x-ray to see if the masses had shrunk. Unfortunately, some of the masses had gotten larger and they informed us that there was nothing else they could do. Since he was so young, I wanted to give holistic medicine a shot as a last resort. I found a holistic vet and Ephram was treated there for several weeks, but again, the masses had gotten larger. Between my local vet, the specialized hospital and the holistic vet, you'd probably faint if you knew what we spent, but if Ephram could have been saved, it would have been worth every penny. We never did find out what kind of cancer it was. Primary lung cancer in such a young dog is extremely rare, so it most likely started elsewhere and spread to his lungs. With the limping he had on occasion, I suspect it could have been an osteosarcoma, but we will never know.

As with Cinnamon, we wanted to keep him comfortable with a good quality of life for as long as possible. We now had his sister, Kayla, who joined the family shortly after Cinnamon's passing. Ephram & Kayla enjoyed each other's company and played with each other for hours on end. As with Cinnamon, you would never know he was sick if you were watching him play. I decided that I was going to continue taking him to the park and doing things with him that he enjoyed like ball and frisbee and whatever else he wanted to do. On May 9, 2007, two months shy of his 3rd birthday, I brought Ephram & Kayla to the dog park. At this particular park, there are 2 separate areas; one for small dogs and one for large dogs. We were in the large dog area where the pups were hanging out with some of their friends. They often enjoyed running the fence between the large and small areas chasing the dogs behind that fence. Both Ephram & Kayla started chasing some of the small dogs on the other side of the fence when Ephram just collapsed and died. The park attendant helped me with getting him to the car. I had to drop Kayla at home and then brought Ephram to the vet to send him for cremation. I have Cori's, Cody's, Cinnamon's & Ephram's ashes along with some of their favorite toys and other personal objects on a shelf in my bedroom. I guess it's almost like a shrine, but it gives me comfort. Afterwards, I felt so guilty for bringing him to the park, but someone said to me that Ephram gave us a gift that day. Had it not happened the way it did, he would have ultimately gotten worse and it would most likely have gotten to the point where we would have to make that dreadful decision. It took a long time for me to realize it, but what that person said was right. Not only did he give us a gift, he went doing something he loved!

Not a day goes by that I don't think of all my pups. Their photos are by my computer so I see them everyday and I can only hope that they all found each other somewhere over the rainbow bridge and are happily romping there, healthy and without pain.

I know this was a long post and thank you for reading this far! I want to conclude by saying how in awe I am of Luke. I am so grateful for his massive undertaking and have been following his journey from almost the beginning. I pray for his, Hudson and Murphy's safety and I offer my humble abode to them should their journey take them into New Jersey.


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness...I had many tears over reading Cinnamon and Ephram's stories. Bless you for never giving up on the love dogs have to offer. I know every time I have to put one of my dogs down, I always say I'll never get another one but I now have 7! But bless you for never giving up on the love of a dog.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful dogs. I am so sorry your lost Ephram at such a young age, but be comforted in knowing he died having a wonderful time at the dog park. It is hard to lose a dog at any age, especially to something as dreadful as cancer, but the love you shared with Cinnamon and Ephram and your other dogs can never be forgotten nor extinguished.

MyFuZZyButtZ said...

I enjoyed reading about your fuzzy loves. Bless you for willingly accepting their absolute love - AND what ultimately becomes the joyous pain of having shared life with a dog, or 2 or 3, or more!

gasha25 said...

Wonderful. I was crying. You write so well. A+ job. I loved your dogs.

Codi's Mom said...

I loved your beautiful stories about your two babies. I remember Cinnamon from the calendar and thought how beautiful he was. He looks like he is about to say something in the photo you used! I am so sorry for your losses. From your stories, it sounds like they had and gave a lot of love!

Kristina AKA "Codi's Mom"

Uncle Big Dog said...

A beautiful story of Cinnamon and Ephram. May they meet Malcolm and all become eternal mates! We eagerly anticipate meeting you & Kayla in Jersey!

Hudson, Murphy, & Luke