Wednesday, February 19, 2014

a new normal and sad news

Greetings friends, from the sunny south! 

We are adjusting to our new life down here in coastal South Carolina. So much to explore.. the area is full of scenic views, friendly people, lots of good restaurants, great weather and plenty of places for outdoor adventures.

Here is a bit of what we have been up to lately.....

Andy tied up, waiting for us, in Savannah last week. 

Our Andy is loving life down here. He is so happy sniffing out his new neighborhood, getting wet at the beach, sticking his head out the window smelling saltwater, checking out passing boats as we cross bridges and meeting so many friendly people everywhere we go. 

Sadly, we have very bad news about our sweet soft boy. He has a growing tumor on his back between his shoulders that is quite obvious. It has been visible since last fall and was diagnosed before we moved as a soft tissue sarcoma that is inoperable. We were quite shocked as he is almost 9 years old and our other golden retrievers lived until 13. 

We are taking the news in stride and trying to have a positive attitude. We have had a wonderful time with him and given him much love. He has given us so much in return. He really has been a joy for our whole family and many of our friends and our kids friends as well.

   Resting after a big day last week.

Andy has not shown any signs of illness so far. Everything appears normal... his energy, curiosity, appetite and activity level.  But at some point things will change.  We are not going to subject him to needless tests and procedures. We are going to let his behavior tell us how to handle things. We do not need tests to determine what stage the cancer is and surgery to remove the tumor will only cause it to metastasize faster because the sarcoma is deep rooted and reacts swiftly to invasion.  His veterinarian fully endorses this plan.

There is the visible hump on this back. It is so big and a constant reminder.

So his days are numbered, as are all of ours. We are just taking it a day at a time. We are enjoying spoiling him with more treats and extra hugs and sharing our new lifestyle with him as we explore our new surroundings. 

So moving on....

 our rental home is quite comfortable. It has been fun going from a 6 bedroom large family house to a much smaller 4 bedroom house. The house sits on a pond with two families of wood ducks that I have not been able to photograph because they quickly swim away and hide among the plants every time I get close to the edge with my phone but I will keep trying.

It is a coastal style cottage with two front porches that is similar to what we will build in another area of Beaufort. I hung a pair of ferns and potted two next to the front door and planted pansies so far.

The grass has not greened up yet and the leaves are not yet in on the deciduous trees. 
There is a thicket of pine trees to the left of the house with a floor of soft natural pine needle mulch and on the other side is

 beautiful Battery Creek, a scenic waterway off the Broad River. This is our favorite spot.

I used  the Waterlogue app for one of the views of the creek....

We attended and loved seeing lots of films last week at The Beaufort International Film Festival. There were many interesting shorts, documentaries and feature films.  They were also celebrating the 20th anniversary of Forrest Gump which was filmed in Beaufort. Many movies have been filmed here, The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, The Big Chill, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and others. 

There are wonderful farmers markets throughout the area. Many will open later in the spring but the Port Royal Farmers Market is year round. 

The only local crops available right now are kale, collard greens and squashes. But there were many vendors with prepared dishes, smoked meats, shellfish, baked goods, jams and condiments etc.

There was another Andy there, in an old  Plymouth Woody! Looked just like him.

So that is all for now, we have been enjoying bike rides, walks through our new neighborhood where we are going to build our house and cooking and eating lots of yummy food but usually forget to take photos. Will try to be better. Will post soon about our day trip to St Helena Island. Until then, 

Thanks for visiting!


  1. Cindy, thank you for your sweet comments about my fur baby passing away. It is sad but I know it was the best thing to do instead of subjecting her to more complications and stress. So i completely understand and support (not that my support matters) your decision. Enjoy his life and make many wonderful memories with your beautiful boy.

    Now, on to you moving to SC. Oh my goodness you are making me miss the south! I just moved to Kansas from NC in April and miss it terribly. And I love Beaufort! My fiancé when I was in college was from there and I loved going there. You will love it! Thank you for letting me find your lovely blog!


  2. Oh, my dear friend hearing your sad news brought me to tears, you know I have a special place in my heart for goldens and always love your posts that include sweet Andy. Give him an extra hug and belly rub for me!

  3. Oh the heartache we go through with our dogs. I am so so sorry for all of you. We had such a difficult time with our terrier towards the end that my husband says he will never have another dog and go through that. It's hard, no matter how or when. Just love him all you can for now! Enjoy this warm weather and all the exploring you can do. And keep posting here!

  4. Dear Cindy - You know I am a big doggie lover. Really upset to read about sweet Andy. Especially since Panda (14) and Mocha (13) are both experiencing more health issues these days. It's been very difficult. All I can do is give them extra hugs, attention and love. Please do the same with Andy. Take care!

  5. Cindy, I'm so sorry to hear about Andy. You may recall that we have three dogs. Our oldest, Phoebe, has a soft tissue sarcoma. It was first detected when she was 10 and it was small so we had it surgically removed. The vet did not get good margins however, and at that time we did not know that the best thing we could have done was to take her to a specialist, a surgeon who deals with cancerous tumor removal. So, the tumor came back in a couple of years and we had it removed again. But it grew back a third time. Now, at almost age 15, Phoebe is lugging around a very large growth on her chest. It is growing outward and spreading in all directions. But she seems to feels no pain and is getting around just fine. She was quite spry and playful recently during our big snowfall, just like a youngster. All of this is to say that I feel your heartache over what you are dealing with and completely understand how hard it is. We did take Phoebe for a second opinion last fall and that's when we learned from the surgeon that he probably could have helped her had we taken her to see him all those years ago. Our vet, who does surgery himself, never suggested we take her to a specialist. Looking back, I wish we had handled this differently, but then I remind myself that it has been 5 years since her initial diagnosis. She's had five great years. What more could we ask for. Yes, it's hard seeing this tumor grow and knowing that we will eventually have to put her to sleep. But she's happy for now and that's all that matters. I wish the same for Andy. It may be a long time before you have to face the hard truth, and until then just enjoy every day with him. I'll be thinking of you.

  6. Oh I am so sorry to hear about Andy! I think that you are doing the best you can do and that is to give him all of the love you can while he is here. My thoughts are with you and prayers for Andy!

  7. Dear Cindy,
    I am so sorry to hear about your Andy. We lost our dearly loved Beau to cancer two years ago (a standard poodle, still a puppy at 11 years!). It's so difficult, but Andy is fortunate to be in your gentle care. Thinking of you, Suzanne

  8. I'm just so sorry Andy is sick. I think for all the experiences in life that do in fact get easier with time, losing a pet is not one of them. I am glad you won't be doing drastic treatments. He's a lucky boy to live out his days in such a beautiful place with a loving family.
    I can't wait to see more of the plants you buy! Please plant a patch of shell ginger in my honor. I love it love it love it but of course can't even think about growing it. The rental house looks just perfect. I'm JEALOUS but mainly happy for you :)

  9. I am so sad to hear of your beloved Andy's diagnosis - I lost our beloved Bo a year ago to a similar thing - he was 11 and is greatly missed. But I am sure that you are doing the right thing in leaving it alone, and enjoying every minute with him now. That is what we did, and I don't regret it at all. Remember - sweet Andy does not know he has this 'problem' ! Nothing has changed for him - and as long as he continues to receive your kind and gentle love and attention - he is happy ! Sounds like you give him just that - enjoy every minute and let Andy take the lead !

  10. Dear Cindy, I am so sorry to read about Andy's condition. I hope you have many more happy days together in your new surroundings; it looks like an absolutely beautiful spot. Sending love and best wishes to you all. Phyllis

  11. Hi Cindy. That really is sad news about Andy's health. I know that he will be getting an extra portion of cuddles and love on top of the wonderful life you give him. Give him a big cuddle from me.
    I have been am really looking forward to catching up on all the goings on in Beaufort. Happy Springtime!

  12. Cindy
    My heart goes out to you with the bad news for Andy. They become such a huge member of the family, my beloved is 8 and I am already starting to worry.
    Oh how I love your part of the world, this winter in Chicagoland has had its challenges!


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