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Jackson's Journey with Osteosarcoma

Beating the odds of bone cancer one day at a time!

Jackson's Journey with Osteosarcoma

Letter to Angel Jackson, missing you so much!

May 14th, 2016 · 11 Comments · Uncategorized

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Dear Angel Jackson,
Words cannot fully express the magnitude of sorrow I’ve felt these past couple of weeks without you in my world & on this earth.  I will & am forever grateful for the signs that you have given me to let me know you’re OK I know they are direct messages from you and your love from above.  Thank you Jackson for showing me the true essence of “being”.   I miss your soft velvety ears and the ability to scratch behind them and rub your belly, its this type of  affection that is so hard to describe to someone who’s never experienced this kind of connection with an animal or a soulful being.    It’s real it’s tangible you where here, but now you’re not and I have to take comfort in the signs you continue to share with me.  It’s these signs that will continue to bring me comfort in my time of sorrow for the next couple of days to months & years ahead.  This feeling deep inside is all encompassing but I don’t want it to rule my life and make it impossible to move on, I know you wouldn’t want that for me.  Its a heaviness of sorts that descends on my chest as the tears continue to flow.  I feel numb at times having trouble enjoying the things around me, but knowing this wouldn’t make you happy to see me this way.  I keep looking back at all the wonderful photos and videos I took of you in your favorite spots at the beach, swimming in the ocean & pond, sitting on the hill like a Sphinx, romping through the snow, chewing your sticks & chasing your frisbee.  All these moments collectively bring a smile across my face because I know they are acts of pure JOY!  This is what I need to feel again myself but it’s so hard without you here, something is missing and it’s YOU!   I continue to be amazed at the times that I stop to look,  breathe and see the beauty and the animals that you’ve sent into my life to ease the sorrow and bring me back to this “joy of being”.


Like the day when I went to Nonni and Granpa’s to stop by and say hello and next to their garage were two female turkeys and one male turkey who came walking from the garden where you are buried.  He continued to strut around the house to the other side, so I could show my Mom from the window above.  My first thought was Jackson wouldn’t come back as a turkey he didn’t like those birds, but then I thought maybe this was you as spirit.

Turkeys strutting around the yard My mother and I were amazed because the turkey was very purposeful in his movements, looking right up at us & making eye contact twice.

Turkey looking at us above

Turkey looking at us above


Turkey continues to look above at us upstairs

Then the turkey proceeded to strut to the back of the lawn & within seconds the 2 females took flight across the pond & the other turkey (you) took its time & then took a running jump to soar his wings, stretched out wide to fly to the other side of the pond.  My mom and I were truly amazed we had never seen turkeys in the yard before EVER and we both had never seen them fly, it was truly a magical experience.

Turkey taking flight across the pond

Then the other evening at sunset I took a walk down to the beach at Nelson Park where we use to walk and contemplated life.  I walked the beach, smelled the salt air and said a couple of times give me something/send me something that is rare a piece of blue Seaglass shaped as a heart or a rock from above, tell me that you’re here with me Jackson.




I settled on an area of the beach that we had never walked before & took several photos of old wood pilings in the sand.  They were majestic and artful and it got my excitement going again for taking photography I felt joy and peace and a calm came over me that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Mallard ducks following me!

Mallard ducks following me!


Beauty everywhere I look!

As I walked my gaze kept drifting to the sand below my feet searching & searching.  I found beautiful brown, clear & green pieces of seaglass, then my eyes took me to a piece of purple seaglass with large ruffles on the edges just sitting in the sand waiting for me. Truly magnificent & yes oh so thankful for this was the message, the token of love from, above & it wasn’t till later when a friend said to me that it looks like a crown, from “King Jacskon” Of course!


An amazing piece of purple seaglass, thank you Jackson!

As I continued to walk back toward the car I noticed that four Mallard ducks had been following me the entire walk down the beach & back bobbing in and out of the water and at one point coming up on the sandbar and cleaning themselves.  As the sun continued to set the magnificent colors of purple, pink, orange & yellow just melted into the horizon and reflected into the sandbar creating a mirror of beauty.  All the while the ducks began to waddle back into the water & of course I took photos of them, knowing that this was just another sign from you.


Four Mallard ducks stopped on the sand bar

I know your spirit is guiding me to be gentle with myself and allow myself to grieve and remind me not to get stuck in the sorrow, but to open my eyes to the beauty that surrounds me and keep my eyes wide open to your messages of love, hope, peace and joy.  I am forever grateful of our animal/ human connection Jackson and I promise to keep looking, searching and talking to you.  I know that you are happy & at peace, running free & watching over me. I will continue to live fully in the moment honoring you in everything I do.

Love Forever Maw

Jackson & Roo playing tug of war at Easter 2016

Jackson & Roo playing tug of war at Easter 2016


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A letter from Heaven…

April 22nd, 2016 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

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Hi Maw,

It’s me Jackson, today would have been my 7 month ampuversary and I am forever grateful for you giving me the chance to live the life I did, right up until the end.   I want you to know that I’m ok, but you already know this because when you left the hospital after I crossed the rainbow bridge I sent you a beautiful sunset and I know you saw it as you and Steve drove to the Cape.

Sunset over the bridge going to Cape IMG_1086

Sunset as we crossed the bridge to go home

I even sent Nonni a message and she took this gorgeous photo from the back of her porch to show you.

Nonni Sunset Thank youIMG_1090

Then Danette (your sister) told you about the beautiful rainbow she saw only for a brief moment as she drove to Nonni and Grandpa’s.  I sent you a sunset and rainbow because I know that you love them so much and they make you feel like your closer to heaven and me.  It was even great when an acquaintance of yours on Facebook shared with you the photo of the sunset and the rainbow together, as it was a rare moment in time and unusual to see a rainbow at sunset, all the more reason I wanted you to see it too.  Sunset & Rainbow I'm okIMG_1094

Then on Wednesday, the day after you let me go Terri (your other sister) shared a truly divine experience of walking in the woods with Gregory (her son) and Roo (my dog cousin).  She tells it perfectly, “Roo normally walks in the vicinity of where we walk and only goes ahead once and awhile, but Wednesday was different.  Roo raced ahead and turned his head from side to side like he was looking at something and then with excitement raced back to where we had just walked and did the same thing.  I thought it was such odd behavior because Roo never usually acted this way and he proceeded to do it the entire walk.  I finally realized what was going on and asked Roo, “Are you playing with Jackson?” Roo looked directly into my eyes, almost to confirm the impossible and I told him go play and he turned around and raced back down the trail.”  It wasn’t until later when Terri was telling you the story did she realize Roo was playing with all of us “our family pack” and it made perfect sense.  I’m so happy Terri shared her experience with you as I know she has a connection with us after we leave this earthly place that many people don’t have in their lifetime.

2011-11-05 006

I loved my walks on the trails ~ Nov 2011

Jackson 10-8-15 w Roo

Roo, Maw and Me ~ Dec 2015

Then on Thursday when you went to your art therapy session to see your clients I know you experienced something magical!  Hilda one of your clients who can’t really hold a conversation looked you right in the eyes and starting singing “Don’t Worry Be Happy” a couple of times, something she’s never done before.  Then a couple minutes later she sang “Na, na, na, na…Na, na, na, na hey, hey, hey Good-Bye”, she repeated this a couple of times and it was very clear to you that this was a message from me and I’m so glad you got it.   You thanked Hilda for singing to you and you said to her “How did you know I needed to hear that right now”.  I know it made you feel very good inside and I’m so pawhappy!

In the last several days the radio has also been my way of sharing with you that I’m ok through the songs that you have tuned into.  I’m telling you how wonderful it was to be loved by you and “I’m Already There”, “Listen to Your Heart”, “One Call Away”, “Two Hearts”, “Stay With ME”, “Stand By You”, “Say Something”, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”, “In Your Eyes”, “Faithfully”.  I think after the third song or so you knew this wasn’t normal, but rather messages from me.


Me perched on my hill, my favorite spot in the yard ~ Jan 2016

I am forever grateful for you giving me the quality of life to “BE” and live my dog’s life purpose.  Some people would not have done what you did to keep me alive and allow me to live with dignity and grace.   At times I think I enjoyed myself more this last 6 months than at I did at other times in my life.  I know I was an anxious pup most of my life, but you brought me comfort when I needed it the most and now it’s my turn to bring you comfort.


Me and my soul’s shadow ~ December 2010

So be kind to yourself Maw, cry when you need to and I know lately it’s been a lot and take care of yourself ~ don’t throw yourself into work like you usually do.  Focus on your father who needs you now (I’m keeping an eye on him too) as he try’s to rebuild his strength from this infection.  Allow your family and friends (the Tripawd community), especially Steve and Jake to be the constants in your life, don’t be afraid to reach out to them for love and support.

I want you to know that I am here with you always in spirit; in the wind as it rustles the trees, the birds as they tweet their song, the sun as it warms your face, the water as it refreshes your soul and the moon as it shines down upon you.  At night when the world is quiet all around you look up at the stars, I’ll be twinkling down at you with love for all that you gave me and all that you allowed me to be while we were together on this earth.  Until we meet again Breath and Be Joyful for having loved me so deeply.

Love Angel Jackson

2012-05-27 001

Happy Me at the beach ~ May 2012


Maw & Me!



The end is here…walking across the rainbow bridge!

April 13th, 2016 · 18 Comments · Uncategorized


We ended up coming to my house last night as I wanted Jackson to be home & I was hoping this would help Jackson be more settled. Yet early this morning Jackson woke at 2:30 am again crying out & then settled back to sleep, when I woke I found him under his favorite place the coffee table sleeping.  I found two BM on his bed & realized that the end was here as he couldn’t control his bowl movements anymore. I called the vet not wanting to think of the inevitable to come, she confirmed it must be related to the nerve issue & stated if he couldn’t go pee & the bathroom today we would have to bring him in.  The tears started flowing & wouldn’t stop as I sat next to Jackson & whispered in his ear that it was going to be ok that he was going to be at peace soon.  I knew he was listening as he let out a couple of big sighs & adjusted himself into a better position on the rug.  I began to do Reiki on his bladder & back trying to help him relax, which he did.  The true test would come when we went outside to see if he could pee.

As afternoon approached we went outside, it had begun to rain slightly  but I was determined to see if he would pee. We walked gingerly around the back of the yard as Jackson’s gait had gotten worse in the last couple of days, his “Get Him Up” harness was helping like so many times before.  His nose in the air he sniffed the squirrel as it passed overhead on a tree branch, then he peed a dribble here then there but nothing like normal.

I made the call to Steve & waited for him to get to my house from work. The rest as you all know is the hardest thing we ever have to do to our furry friends.  I whispered in Jackson’s ear that he would soon be chasing squirrels, eating crabs, swimming in the ocean & chewing piles of sticks, as a Cancer FREE & Happy dog.  I told him to look out for my dog’s from youth Brandy & Boggs along with his cousins Bo & Gus who had just past away in the last couple of years, they would be his pack and would greet him.  I thanked him for the almost 11 years (his birthday would have been in May) of cherished memories together and giving me the world.  He went peacefully and we buried him in my parents back yard alongside his family pack.

I say goodbye to my best friend, my buddy, my partner in crime, my child that I never had, my companion and my guardian angel. I feel so blessed and honored to be his student and learn some of life’s precious lessons from him. We went through more in the past 11 yrs than most people do in a lifetime, from divorce and heartache, to joy, happiness and love. He played an integral role my daily life, he was more than just a dog (as most of you know who are going through this journey) he has taken a piece of my heart with him.
I am forever grateful to have been graced by his presence and I don’t regret the past almost 7 months. If I had to do it all over again I would just to give him the quality of life
that he deserved so much and to try to beat the odds of cancer!   Just to see the little smile that came across the jowls of his jaw was priceless and the excitement and joy he expressed when he would go swimming was something I’ll never forget.
Jackson run Free, chase squirrels, chew sticks, eat crabs and swim to your hearts content ~ your free of pain and worry and at peace. I Love You to the moon and back ~ Maw


Jackson homecoming ~ adoption day Sept. 2005


Jackson doing what he loved ~ eating crabs at the beach!

2012-05-12 002

Jackson on his one of many hikes in the woods with his prized possession ~ his stick!

Jackson as a puppy!

Jackson as a puppy!

Jackson swimming w stick 07IMG_1170

Swim, swim, swim to your hearts content!


Jackson until we meet again!



Uncertainity knocks…

April 13th, 2016 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized


This past week has been a tough one, lots of uncertainty & questions re: Jackson decline this past week.

On Wed. he ripped open his toenail down to the wick on his only good back leg, really Jackson!  I had to leave him at the store for a couple hours while I went out to a store event. I got a text from one of my employees saying Jackson foot was bleeding, so I raced back to the store to find he had bitten into one of toenails so badly that the wick was cut & of course bleeding pretty bad. I am very thankful to have such wonderful friends because on my way home I called my friend Nicole who is an ER vet & she helped create a bandage around the foot to protect it & so he wouldn’t chew it anymore. I was afraid with it being on his back leg that he would have trouble hopping, which he did at first but when we finally got home he surprised me by hopping across the yard & back to his old self.  Thank God.

On Thurs.  I noticed his tail was acting funny hanging straight down at times against his hind quarters & not really moving, it usually is straight out behind him (perpendicular to the ground) acting as his rudder to help him with his balance.  At first I didn’t think much about it then I noticed it slightly on Fri & Steve said he noticed it too.  I thought about upping his Gabepentin as we had 100mg from before so I gave home (1) 300mg & (1) 100mg = 400mg figuring if he was in pain from his foot maybe it would help. It didn’t seem to do much.

On Sat we kept his back foot bandaged to avoid infection & from him licking it, he didn’t like it much but he knew we were doing the right thing.  We started to notice his bowl movements became more difficult & we had to hold him up with his harness.  He began to be more vocal than normal & at night like most nights recently at Steve’s he wanted to be in the bedroom with us.

On Sunday we upped the Gabepentin to 500mg to see if this would help, but it made him worse. (It had a similar reaction to in Sept. after his X-ray they had given him 600mg & he was agitated, panting & whining.) At night I was woken at 2:30 am with him crying out, so I took him outside & he peed & did his business. After bringing him back inside he continued being unsettled whining & crying out, it was toture & I felt horrible.  Was he in pain, was it the medication?  I got out of bed & tried to lay next to him & comfort him but it only worked for a short period & then he started up again. Finally at 4am I got out of bed & took him to the living room & settled in next to him on the coach & rested my hand on his chest. He finally settled down & went to sleep.

On Monday I finally got word back from our vet, she asked me to pinch Jacskon’s tail to see if he reacted, so I did & he didn’t do anything.  Her assumption was that he was experiencing some type of nerve damage, from what we don’t Know?  I think Jacskon’s unsettledness was definitely the higher dose of Gabepentin that caused his increased symptoms because on Mon we backed down to 300mg & he seemed much better the whining & crying stopped. Now we just had to deal with this nerve issue…It was very unsettling for us & Jackson too as I could tell he wasn’t himself, no wagging tail meant he couldn’t feel anything down there & now I was thinking this had to do with his increased inability to go the bathroom.   Life has a way of stopping you in your tracks, so breath, give lots of kisses & pats & hold on to HOPE!


Spring brings April snow showers…

April 11th, 2016 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized


Spring has always been elusive in New England & it doesn’t disappoint again this year. We got snow showers on Mon. (3 in) & then a good snow fall on Tues. totaling another (8 in).  Jackson despite his continued lameness in his right front leg made the best of it romping through the snow & at one point camouflaged himself as I was calling him to get in the car & go to work.  The little sneak!


Jackson being camouflaged in the woods!


Jackson romping through the snow!