My Fitness Journey Part 1: How it All Began

Superhero

Fit to be a Wonder Woman… or not.

Sometime first week of October 2017…

So there we were one morning, the hubby and I, waiting outside the clinic of our Orthopedic Surgeon friend.

The hubby has been complaining of back pains for several days. After going to the gym and then boxing and then cleaning the garage, his back started aching (I blamed the house chores but he didn’t find it funny). He tried to dismiss the discomfort for some time until he couldn’t anymore, so off we went for a consult with our favorite ortho. 

As we waited for his turn, I noticed a sign in the clinic that says “free bone density test upstairs.” I teased the hubby about it. Told him he probably needed it because of his age and because he was complaining of back aches. He just shrugged.

Finally we were inside the doctor’s clinic. The good doctor asked what was wrong, hubby told her about his routine, then she made him do some bending– front, back, left side, right side, a little squats, etc.  She said there doesn’t appear to be any broken bones since the pain isn’t excruciating. There’s no swelling, either. It was most likely just muscle pains. He was given some pain medication and we were told to just observe for a few more days. 

I, on the other hand, was not done teasing the hubby, and wouldn’t let up. So I blurted out, “There’s a bone density test upstairs. Maybe he should take it!

The doctor’s face lit up when she remembered the test and said, “Oh yes! That’s free. Why not take the test?” I gave my husband a smug look.

Women have higher risk of osteoporosis and weakening bones.” she continued.

Only then did I realize that she was talking to ME. Not my hubby-with-the-back-pains. Her full attention was directed towards me. 

“How old are you again?” she asked. I was so tempted to give her a fake age (like I always do when asked), but she’s a doctor so I couldn’t lie. When I told her how old I was, she replied, “Go ahead. Take the bone density test upstairs. It’s free anyway! Just come back to me for the results. It won’t take long.”

Okay, so my teasing pretty much backfired.

Half an hour later, bone density test done, we were back at the orthopedic doctor’s clinic… And she was giving me tips on how to strengthen my bones. 

Suffice it to say, I failed the bone density test miserably. No, I don’t have osteoporosis* yet, but my results were pretty much gearing towards that end. I got a negative T-score which meant I had low bone density (medical term is osteopenia). And it was a high negative, ergo closer to osteoporosis… and I mean really close.

Osteo- what?! Weak bones?? All I could think of was — At my age?! But I’m still young! 

I was in a daze as the doctor rattled along. “Your bone density is way below normal so you are more prone to bone injuries and fractures. But you can still fix that by drinking milk… Walk in the mornings so you’ll get a good dose of Vitamin D… Exercise to strengthen your bones. Do these before your bones get brittle.” 

Milk? Sun?! Exercise??!! Is she enumerating the things I dislike? I never liked drinking milk… In fact, coffee flows through my veins!… I totally loathe staying under the sun, getting all sticky and sweaty… And exercise?! Didn’t I just say that I don’t like getting sweaty? My idea of exercise is taking long walks — at the mall!! 

Am I being punished??

“You need a lifestyle check,” she continues, “I don’t want you to just rely on calcium supplements, also to avoid developing kidney stones. So drink milk, eat veggies, have proper diet, sunlight for vitamin D, exercise. Do these first. We’ll do full body bone density scan after a year.”

She lost me at ‘You need a lifestyle check…’

On the side I could hear the hubby saying, “See? I have been telling you for the longest time to exercise. Not for aesthetics but to strengthen yourself,” he said emphatically.  I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I heard voices but the words were swimming in my head.

Before leaving the clinic, still overwhelmed and very confused, I had one last question… “Looking at my bone density results, how old do you say are my bones?” I asked.

Without batting an eyelash, the doctor replied, “Oh, about ten years older than your actual age.”

Ouch.

And so we left her clinic that morning with my husband having muscle pains, and me having, well, weak bones.

Guess who came out the clinic with a smug look on the face? Wasn’t me. 😦 

Watch out for My Fitness Journey Part 2! 

 

Credits: Wonder Woman photo via google images (highbrownmagazine.com file) 

*Osteoporosis is a condition of fragile bone with an increased susceptibility to fracture. Osteoporosis weakens bone and increases risk of bones breaking (source: Medicinenet.com). Osteopenia refers to bone density that is lower than normal peak density but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Bone density is a measurement of how dense and strong the bones are. If your bone density is low compared to normal peak density, you are said to have osteopenia (source: Webmd.com).

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Merry Month of December

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I was able to decorate my Christmas tree after all!

To say that I don’t feel bad for not being able to write nor blog for quite some time now would be an understatement. 

For the past several nights, as I lie in bed waiting to fall asleep, I mutter to myself, “I should have written something today.” At times I even attempt to sit back up, look at my computer and try and see if it will entice me enough to write. And then I think about the events of the day… and I think of the number of hours that it normally take me to upload a single blog, with photos and all, and yeah before I realize it, I have dozed off.  The spirit is truly willing, but well, the body is tired and the brain cells don’t want to cooperate.

It’s December. A lot of things have been happening. The hustle and bustle of Christmastime seems to keep everyone preoccupied. It is a festive season… it can be an exhausting one, too.

December is about family…

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We began the month with a birthday celebration for my mom. 

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Just outside Peri Peri

Whenever possible, I find time to hang out with my parents, whether at their favorite  place for jamming —

 

… or watching my hubby perform at the Christmas Cantata.

December is also about Christmas get-togethers…

 

Running like a kid again… ❤ Night baseball with Habagat parents.

4habagat Winners all!

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Christmas fellowship with my Lifegroup, my spiritual family.

Home hosts for almost 8 years and counting. Serving the Lord is never tiring. 

In between festivities, I was able to do this…

 

Book sales!!! 🙂

Guys, my book‘s still out. Shameless plug, but yeah, if you still have not grabbed a copy, go get one NOW!! ❤

This also happened this December…

14tag2My baby boy is home!!! 🙂

And because he is home, we thought of going on a short out of town vacay…

 

It was so cold… but it was so fun, too!

 

Doing what I do best… Indulge me, please 😉

And then this…

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Happy 27th (+18) to me!!! ❤ 

And then came another round of get-togethers and meet ups…

 

Planned and unplanned…

 

 

Christmas Eve celebration with family

This month, we have had quite a number of opportunities to bond as a family —

From family gym time… 

… to hotel hopping while unico is out partying. 😉

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Or simply just hanging out.

It was a busy month filled with endless Christmas shopping and gift wrapping, party preparations, get-togethers, and all the in-betweens. But thinking about it, though I haven’t been writing, well, I was busy living my life.  

Yes, it may seem exhausting, but my heart is full.

Because really, this is what it’s all about. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

ON TO THE NEXT CHAPTER… Hello 2018!

Before the year ends, I would like to take this chance to thank you, dear readers, for sticking it out with me and this blog this past year. 

Truth be told, I still get amazed every time someone tells me that he or she has read my blog (pure ecstasy when someone tells me he/she is a follower!). For the longest time, I thought I was just talking to myself — or to the air… or to some random person in the blog universe. 

But knowing that I have real readers inspire me to write more. It is because of you that I am more mindful of what I blog about… You keep me from nonsensical rants… You keep me from being preachy and self-righteous… It is also because of you that I try to make every blog post as perfect as it can possibly be, sans grammatical or spelling errors. (I try. I really do!)

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, my stories. Hopefully you have learned something from me or I have inspired you — or at the very least, I pray my blogs have entertained you somewhat. 

I believe life is meant to be lived… and stories are meant to be told. 

Here’s to more storytelling this coming year! 😉

Lastly, I would like to leave you with this prayer:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
  The Lord make His face shine upon you,
  And be gracious to you;
  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” 

Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV

Daily Dose of Betsy signing off for 2017…

(My work space — yes, I have girly stuff on my computer table… you’ll never know where inspiration may come from; My drafts on yellow pad; Me… This is how I roll!)

Hello, 2018!

 

*****

photos are mostly mine 😉

 

 

The Little Outfielder that Could

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Catch me if you can…

        The 12 year old batter stands at the batter’s box… confident, ready to swing his bat. And when he did, he hit the ball hard. The ball went high and far. By the looks of it, the ball would drop at the space right between centerfield and leftfield. The batter started to run, hoping he had hit a double at the very least.

      The small 10 year old centerfielder ran as fast as he could to get to the ball before it reaches the ground. He dove – and caught the ball. ‘OUT!’ cried the umpire.

        The parents clapped, cheered, went into a frenzy.

        Several plays later, another big boy stood at the batter’s box, swung his bat perfectly, allowing it to hit the ball and send it flying once again to the outfield.

        The same centerfielder took his time, tracked the ball like a pro, then ran to the right spot where the ball was going to fall. OUT! 3rd out! The inning ends.

        As the parents were cheering and exchanging high-fives, I took a glimpse of the boy’s father who was beaming with pride. When he saw me looking at him, he said quietly, “He remembers what you told him. He listened to you…”

About a month before that international tournament, I went to watch this team of 10 year olds play in the local setting. It was the first tournament they played in as a team. Come to think of it, it was their first time to seriously play together. At that time, the coaches were still gauging which position suits each player best. 

During one of the games, I noticed this player – their centerfielder – looking a bit lost. I think distracted is a better word. Since there was no action in the outfield at that time – meaning no ball was going to him, I could see him fidgety and his attention was wandering elsewhere. At some point he seemed to be watching the ongoing game on the other field. He looked bored out of his wits.

After the game, as the boy and his dad were saying goodbye to the team and to me, I heard the boy say to his dad, “I don’t like being an outfielder.” I saw the look of boredom on his young face. In his mind, he was probably thinking being a pitcher was way cooler. Or, catchers control the game. The action was almost always in the infield. But the outfield is far… And for the most part of the game, nothing happened in the outfield. He probably felt he barely contributed anything.

I couldn’t help myself so I went up to the boy and said, “You know, my son used to play baseball. He was also an outfielder like you. And you know what, he was one of the best – if not, the best outfielder in his age group. He was really good!” The little boy looked at me expectantly, so I continued, “You know, when you are playing against really good players… the ones who can hit hard… you know the balls that go really high and really far?well, the team needs a good outfielder for that. Someone who can catch a really high fly ball or block a line drive. And when you play in international tournaments, you will get a lot of those. You will face a lot of big batters. So your team relies on you to get that out… You’ll see.”

The boy smiled at me shyly. I added, “So don’t think your position is not important. Be the best outfielder you can be.” I ended with, ”I’ll introduce you to my son when he’s around. He can tell you stories.”

I am not a coach. Okay, I admit I sometimes get too involved in the games that I seem to coach from the bleachers. Yet that afternoon, I wasn’t talking to the boy as a pseudo-coach. I was talking to him as a parent.

Early on my husband and I have ingrained in our own son the value of hard work and diligence. We don’t expect him to be perfect, but we expect him to give his best all the time. Whether in his academics or in sports, we trained him to give his 100% because not doing so will mean shortchanging himself.

We also taught our son the value of respect. Respect for authority and respect for whatever position given him. When my son started playing baseball at age 8, for the most part of his first season, he was the “wanderer.” He was the 10th player on the field. He was placed somewhere between the centerfielder and the second baseman. We told him, “If you’re going to be a wanderer, be the best wanderer there is!” He took that to heart and true to form, he never lost focus and fielded whatever ball came his way.

When my son started training as an outfielder, his training was pretty intense. I remember the first time I watched him train this way – he was 12 years old then. My husband and another coach will take turns batting really high fly balls to the outfield. My son learned how to track the ball so he’d know where to position himself for an easy catch. Other times he would need to dive to get to the ball. I was really scared as I watched him darting left and right across the wide field.

More than being scared, I was impressed, too. It was just practice but my son showed determination and tenacity. Imagine how he performs during actual games.

To some people, his position was “just” outfielder. He was no star player. But he gave his 100% all the time. His teammates knew they can count on him when the need arises.  He will catch that fly ball. He will block that hot line drive to outfield. He will do what he is trained to do, just the way he trained for it. He will get that out.

From zero to hero…

To this day, my son faces whatever situation, game or challenge that he is up against, with the same determination, hard work and grit. Mediocrity is never an option.

In life, we don’t always readily get that “position” that we want. Most of the time, we have to work hard to achieve it. We either have to start somewhere – or we are given something different from what we aspire for.  I personally believe that you can be a star, regardless of what position you hold. What you make of yourself is more important.

What matters most is that you do what is expected of you, you give value to what you can do, and you give your best, every single time. Your time to shine is bound to come.

        After the game, centerfielder came up to me with a big smile on his face. Their team may have lost the game, but he had two winning moments. That was more than enough.

        I smiled back, letting him know that I was glad I was there to witness it, and that I couldn’t have been more proud.

beginner

Note to self! 

********

photos via personal FB account and google images

When the unexpected happens

So, it has been a month since I last posted a blog entry. Time flies when you’re having fun a lot of things are happening. 

If I can remember correctly, my last blog was about my son’s short visit from college. Yey, good times! Though unplanned, and truly short (it was only five days long), it was a fun reunion with the family. 

After that Quarter Break in September, the plan was for me and my husband to fly to Singapore to attend the College’s Parents’ Orientation Weekend from Oct. 13-15. I was really looking forward to that trip. For one, we would see the unico again after only three weeks — no chance to miss him too much, right?

Also, well, I love Singapore. The flight is just 3 1/2 hours, so it’s bearable. The country is safe, it’s not polluted, the commute is easy. I can go places by myself and not get scared out of my wits. Then there’s Sephora and Victoria’s Secret (aren’t these good enough reasons to be excited??!).

And of course we go back to the fact that my son goes to college there — so yes, I was looking forward to the trip.  So I booked our flights early, even decided to extend our stay for a couple more days (for shopping, what else?!).

Three days before our scheduled departure, I received a message from my son saying he had an accident in his dorm. His foot and leg went numb while he was walking, he had a bad fall… and he broke a toe.

Yes, he broke one of the little piggies — to be more specific, the one who didn’t go to market, nor stayed home, nor had roast beef. It was the little piggy who had none (the ring toe). 

If you can’t imagine how he broke it nor how it looked broken, well, you are not alone. I couldn’t imagine it at first either. In fact, when I called him up to check on him, I was even quite cool and dismissive, I told him that the hospital will probably just pop it right back — like what people normally do with dislocated shoulders or knees.

We respond to accidents differently. On hindsight, I believe I was cool and not panicking because I was a thousand miles away and I couldn’t see the extent of the injury. Plus, when I was talking to him, I couldn’t quite tell if he was crying or laughing. Mom, I broke my toe!! *giggle*giggle*giggle* ” And I could hear laughter in the background, as well. Apparently it was one of his room mates who was making my son laugh to keep him from passing out. (When I saw a photo of the broken toe, I thought I was going to pass out.)

My son’s dorm mates had the presence of mind to call an ambulance right away. One of them placed pillows under my son’s leg to keep it elevated. And despite the scary, icky sight of his broken toe, they kept him conscious and alert. God bless them for being there!

The ambulance came right away. He was brought to the emergency room of the nearby hospital. And then we didn’t hear from him for quite sometime. At this point I surmised that the doctors were cleaning the wound… or popping the bone back in. 

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Do you see the fourth little piggy? Of course you don’t… because it’s bent. 😦 I have a photo of the broken toe, but I will spare you. Believe me it’s not a sight to behold. 

When we finally got to talk to someone from the hospital, we were told that the bone cannot be just popped back in (actually they tried, but it was much too painful and it didn’t really work). So my son had to undergo surgery. Right away. That same afternoon. 

The doctors will have to put a wire to straighten the bone again and correct the alignment. And they had to stitch the open wound up. Everything had to be done in a rush also to prevent infection.

And so my son had to undergo surgery, in another country, without us there beside him. 

Thank God he had such great dorm mates and friends who waited for him at the hospital. Thank God for our Singaporean friends who rushed to the hospital the moment we informed them about the accident.  

Patient B32

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Not at all related to B1 or B2

After about three hours, my son was awake, and back from surgery and recovery room.

He was able to text and update us. Told us he was asleep the whole time, and that when he woke up, his toe was already all stitched up, with a wire holding it straight. He was to stay in the hospital for the time being so the doctors can monitor him, xray his toe and check the outcome.

At this point we all decided there’s no need anymore to rebook our flight to an earlier day since the surgery was over anyway. We told him to just rest and relax in the hospital and that we will go straight to him the moment we arrive on Friday morning. 

The following day — which was a Wednesday — we were told that the xray showed that although there’s already a wire, the bone was still not perfectly aligned. The doctor explained to my son that they could leave the wire as is, but the bone will still be a little crooked when it heals and there’s a risk of the joints experiencing some pain eventually. So my son was given an option to have another surgery, this time a ‘not rushed’ one, to fix the bone properly. The hospital called in their best orthopedic and trauma surgeon to do it. 

My son being 18 decided for himself. He said he opted to have the toe fixed. Yup, that very day. And we were a thousand miles away still.

Two surgeries in two days. How’s that for independence and adulting?

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Post 2nd surgery. Little piggy has a wire sticking out. 

To say that I don’t feel bad for not being there for him from the moment of the accident to the surgeries (both of them) will be an understatement. For a mom who prides herself on being “always there” during important moments, well, this time I wasn’t there. I couldn’t be there. 

Yet I believe that the accident showed my son’s independence. It gave him the chance to make mature decisions. It made him decide on certain matters that concerned his physical well-being.

It gave him a taste of the real world — a world where mom and dad are not always there to make things easy. 

I can say he was able to hold his own pretty well while we were still away. I couldn’t be more proud. 

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Welcome to adulthood. 

We arrived in Singapore –and the hospital — Friday morning, as originally planned. 🙂 

❤ ❤

More stories to tell… About the accident, our visit, and our extended stay. Do stay tuned! 

 

photo credits: Most of the photos were sent to us by my son…Because truly, why wouldn’t one want to document something as exciting as this?! 😉 

 

That Yellow Lab Named Bunso

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King of the Outdoors

Our 7 year old pet labrador’s death last week did not come as a shock. He had been ill for a couple of months already. We have gone to the vet quite a number of times and three times we had to leave him there so they can observe and monitor his condition closely. 

It started with hind leg paralysis caused by blood parasites. Then he had kidney issues. Both the blood parasites and kidney issues were resolved, but not the paralysis. Every time he tried to move or walk, he had to drag his right hind leg. Eventually he got tired of trying. He seemed to have lost the will to move, even to stand. His pressure points began having sores and wounds which we had to clean and dress twice a day, every single day. 

Maybe in his mind our dog was thinking labradors were born to run wild and free… that it goes against their nature to stay still and be immobilized by paralysis, sores and wounds. 

In our minds, once his wounds are thoroughly healed, we can send him to a dog therapist so his hind leg can regain movement. Because that was the plan. We would solve the blood and the wound issues first and then we can explore the leg therapy option so he can walk again.

But how do you explain that to a dog? Does he truly understand what you are saying whenever you give him the reassurance that everything will be okay? When he looks into your eyes with that loving, doggie look of his, is he saying, yes he understands what’s happening — or is he merely trying to tell you that he is in pain?

Or is he just trying to tell you how thankful he is for the love and care that you are showing him?

Eventually the vet discovered other complications. Supplements and pain medications can only manage whatever pain he may have. The meds may make him a bit more comfortable, but they won’t cure him. We knew that sooner or later he would go. We prayed it would be later — much, much later. 

Our dog never regained the energy that he had prior to his illness…Yet he had a way of showing us that he was happy and content enough just having us around him. 

I guess we will never know how much physical pain he was feeling all throughout. He would cry, he would whimper, he would bark and call our attention, but the moment someone is with him, he keeps quiet. Like he just wanted company.

Much like all those times he kept us company when we were alone outside. No frills, no expectations, just silent companionship, selflessness and yes, unconditional love.

Our dog’s death did not come as a shock… but that doesn’t make it any less painful for us. Our hearts are broken just the same.

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How do you say goodbye? 

I realized recently that I wrote about him years back, when he was still a puppy. The article came out in Action and Fitness Magazine.

I was a newbie dog owner then. I didn’t know anything about dogs, I never had pets before because — well, I guess I was afraid of the responsibility and the attachment. 

Thought of sharing with you said write up…

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He was a puppy once… 

A Girl’s Best Friend  

By: Betsy G. Ochosa

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend.  They are very loyal and they will love you unconditionally (yes, i am still talking about the dog). 

I, for one, never experienced such friendship with an animal because i never — ever — had a pet when i was growing up.  Oh, okay, so maybe i had a fish. But what relationship can you have with a fish, right? (especially when their life expectancy isn’t exactly that long)

The other day, we bought my son a labrador puppy.  We promised to get him one for his birthday and we searched far and wide to get the “right” one.  We were directed to someone who really knows about dogs and breeds champions.  After visiting her house and seeing her litter of 8, we ended up choosing the youngest of the bunch.  Youngest, and definitely biggest, of them all.  Welcome to our world, Mr. big, yellow, labrador puppy… We called him “Bunso” for being the youngest.

Yesterday, Bunso’s second day here, he was just content playing inside his crate… or sleeping mostly.  He almost never made a sound. He only barked when he needed to go (out of his crate to do his thing… he IS well trained for a two-month old).  Come early evening, my husband got a little worried that he was lethargic.  He seemed too laid back for a labrador! (Though that really isn’t an issue with me because I like being stress-free and laid back…But the hubby is type A, and he knows more about dogs…)

10:00pm… just about the time we were preparing to sleep… Bunso suddenly realized he had too much stored energy… and decided to bark… and howl… and wake the whole household up.  Maybe he’s from another time zone.  He was just so awake!  And worse, he wanted to play.  He eventually calmed down after an hour of playtime.

… and stayed calm until 4:30 in the morning… and then he barked… and howled… and growled… and gave this guttural cry that seemed to sound like he was begging for someone to wake up and play with him again – or at the very least, mind him.  Of course he had his way… we couldn’t risk having the neighbors reporting us to village administration for disturbing the peace at 4am.

It is almost 12 noon as I am writing this and Bunso, so far, has been pretty calm.  I have to thank my helper, of course, for simply being there because I know that I won’t be able to handle this guy alone.  I can only play with him while he’s inside the crate… or when someone else is holding him… and when i’m wearing jeans… I’m still a newbie puppy owner and I haven’t insured my legs yet so i won’t even attempt to pretend i know how to handle a playful giant of a puppy like this one.

But i know he already knows me.  He goes to the side of his crate and lies down so i can rub his fur, and he’ll just calmly stare at me… like he’s memorizing my face– and my voice –or maybe finding out a way grab my long hair.  It’s like he knows that he is stuck with me for the most part of his everyday – so he might as well know the face that goes with the hand that would feed him.  When i stood up to take a walk, he stood up as well, and started howling the moment i was out of his vision. 

It is a challenge taking care of another living creature.  But I believe the rewards are great.  Hopefully Bunso will be as loyal to me as he will be to the rest of the family. I pray that he grows up – grows old — with us, and will love us unconditionally.  Hopefully, my legs will never get bitten nor scratched… And that we get to share many wonderful years and memories with him. 

In time I will get to say that a dog can be a woman’s best friend, too. 

Bunso was with us for 7 years. He was our welcoming committee… always the most excited every time one of us comes home. He was too friendly to the mail and delivery men that we couldn’t call him a ‘guard dog.’  Several times we would catch neighborhood kids scratching his back, petting him, as he positions himself by the gate. He was happy enough just resting his heavy head on my feet whenever I was outside. I helped take care of him, I got attached, but I didn’t mind. Because of him I experienced the joys that come with having a pet.

Yes, he showed us unconditional love. 

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Goodnight My Sweetie 

Hopefully we were able to give him seven good years.

 

*****

Bunso, April 21,2010 – June 23, 2017.

Photos are all ours. Article “A Girl’s Best Friend,” first published in Action and Fitness Magazine, 2010.