Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

So my new favorite Atmar family tradition is getting baby ducks from the local feed store on Easter weekend. No, I'm not talking about toy ducks (like the one pictured above), but real freshly hatched baby ducks! This tradition started last year with two ducks named Hank and Willie. Now, my parents would have NEVER done anything like this when I was a kid, but since my little sister (age 12) is the baby of the family (and not to mention the 3rd child) anything goes I guess!

Hank & Willie
Hank and Willie quickly became the family favorites as we watched them grow, change and mature into adult Mallard ducks. So when the time came for Hank and Willie to be released, there was a sadness that settled over us all. However, plans were instantly made for new Easter ducks the next year. And well, here we are...Meet Bimba, Lola, Donald and Daffy (yes there are 4 this year!).

They're pretty cute and cuddly...but also pretty messy!

For fear of the blog becoming a duck blog, I arranged a meeting between the newly acquired ducks and Sage. I'd say it went pretty well...

Besides Sage trying to see what they tasted like, of course.

My Dad mentioned how confusing Sage must be since sometimes she's told to "be sweet" to ducks while other times she's retrieving dead ducks, and all the time, playing with her MANY duck toys of all shapes and sizes (and sounds)!

Speaking of toy ducks...the one that greeted you at the beginning of this post was my Easter present to Sage. Notice I said "was." Unfortunately, Puddles didn't make it.  

I will spare you all the horrible details, but let's just say Puddles will be paying a visit to Sage's toy graveyard.

Well, all in all we had a wonderful Easter weekend celebrating family and an empty tomb! We hope you did too!

"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" -Revelation 5:12

Monday, April 18, 2011

So This Is A Little Embarassing...

**Before I begin this post I would like to say THANK YOU for all of your sweet words and encouragement concerning Rita. She was such a good dog and I'm so glad that Sage was able to spend her first two years of life with her; learning from her along the way.

What a privilege it was for me to have my Dad be a guest blogger! His words of wisdom have been speaking truth in my life ever since I was old enough (and smart enough) to listen. Thanks Dad, you're kind of my hero...

Ok, enough of that stuff...

So, this is a very sensitive topic and, as you can see from the photo above, Sage is a little embarrassed to talk about it. But when I explained to her that her "problem" might help someone else, she told me that it was ok for me to mention it to you guys. So here it goes...I'm just going to say it:

                                                   Sage has been wetting her bed at night.

Yes, it's true. Sage started wetting the bed around December or January when I moved back home after I graduated from A&M (although I do remember a time or two when she had an accident at A&M). At first there were only a few isolated accidents, then right before the wedding it was happening every night and sometime multiple times during the day: all when she was asleep. I took her to the vet and they tried antibiotics to rule out a bladder or urinary tract infection...but unfortunately that didn't solve the problem. After that, those vets started throwing around the word "incontinent."

Hormone-responsive incontinence most commonly occurs in female dogs that are spayed because the hormone estrogen is in charge of the sphincter that controls the passing of urine. Thus, when you get your dog spayed, the production of estrogen decreases. Over time, this causes the sphincter to become weaker. Apparently, this problem has a high occurrence in Labrador retrievers...and why not? Sage seems to be a magnet for problems that occur often in labs!

Don't worry! There is a good ending to this story. It's called Proin 75.

One-half of a chewable tablet twice daily by mouth fixes the problem immediately!

No more plastic sheets, extra towels for absorption, or baby gate to keep her confined...she's free!

Sage has been on her medicine for almost a week and we've had no accidents (knock on wood). We've also been working extensively to restore her self-esteem. But all in all, she's doing really well.

We'll keep you posted!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goodbye for now Rita

Hello friends. I come to you with a heavy heart because today, our family lost Rita, our 14 year old black lab. She has been a loyal and constant companion to our family since I was 8 years old.  Like it was when I turned 16 and my Dad let me "borrow" HIS car, Rita was really HIS dog. So, I thought the best way to pay tribute to our 6th family member was to ask my Dad to be a guest blogger:
What a privilege to be a guest blogger on the Daily Adventures of Sage Blog. Thanks for your readership and support - sharing the journey with my daughter, Erin.

I introduced Erin to the wonderful world of water dogs (black labs) and to duck hunting at the age of three (I would have done it sooner, if it had been possible).
Erin, age 3
Back then, I had a great big, wonderful male lab named: Primo.
Erin & Primo
Erin & Primo
He went everywhere with me and retrieved so many ducks that he became pretty good at it. He could read hand signals and he could read my mind.  When he died, I was heartbroken so my family bought me a new female lab named Rita.  She was much smaller, never slobbered and was always happy to see me.

Dad & Rita
I was pretty careful with my heart as I got to know Rita - knowing that someday, she too would die. Nevertheless, Rita won me over and became my constant companion on trips to the beach, on hunting trips and on walks.

Rita at the beach

My kids grew up with her and she made my wife feel safe when I was not at home. Her big, brown eyes, her wagging tail and her willingness to go with you anywhere made her irresistible.

Marie, age 3, with Rita at the beach
Marie, age 10, with Rita
Still, as she grew old and blind and cripple, I kept my heart prepared in case something ever happened to her.

Well, it happened last night.

I tried to warn Erin not to buy a puppy until she was totally prepared for the ENTIRE experience of owning a dog.  But, what a joke that was!  (not only would Erin not listen to my reason, there was really no "preparing" for life's disappointments). Life just happens and we live this adventure with HUGE blessings like our beloved pets and lots of amazing adventures and the best way to "prepare" is to enjoy each day - one at a time... thanking God always for both the ups and the downs.

Thank you God for Rita!

Rita & Izzy
 My favorite dog poem is by Jimmy Stewart (please watch):