The scene: A short, somewhat unkempt woman in a dirty shirt and a bad ponytail walked out onto a stage. A single spotlight illuminated her in the darkness. She was holding in her arms a small gray and white cat with wide green eyes and little, white Mickey Mouse paws. She stopped center stage and the cat jumped down, sat himself down at her feet, and wrapped his tail around his paws. He looked up to the woman and nodded.
“Thank you, Little Mo, and thank you all – friends – for coming. I know that yesterday's post was a shock and I wanted to tell you all what is going on.”
“First, thank you all for your well wishes and kind words. We have received some very, very bad news and are reeling from what we found out and what is going to happen.”
“I spent the whole day Friday at the OSU Veterinary Hospital with My Most Excellent Good Dog, Titan. It did not go well. Two extremely knowledgeable and kind doctors confirmed what my own vet told me the previous Monday. Ti has been diagnosed with the very worst kind of bone cancer, osteosarcoma. This is extremely aggressive and fast moving. They said by the time it presents like this it is already too late.”
“There is no treatment and there is no cure. The only thing we can do is treat his pain until it becomes unmanageable. This will be Titan's end. The doctors there said that he has “a few weeks” until it becomes unmanageable. We reviewed all of the options and the hard truth is, there are no options but pain management.”
“When you get a puppy, folks tell you that large dogs - especially some breeds - don't live very long....and you think, 'Well, ten years is a pretty long life.' But then the time passes very quickly and then before you know it you are told that your most beloved good dog will not live to see his eleventh birthday. It has been a terrible shock.”
“For now Titan is OK. But I am not. He has the right meds so that is helpful but his decline has already been sharp and steep. He, of course, has no idea what is going on other than I am extremely upset, I keep giving him treats, and he can't play ball like we normally do. He is also sick of my hovering around and giving him worried looks. The rest of the pack is on edge so we are trying very hard to have a normal routine and have regular days.”
“So why did I write that story if Ti is still with us? Because this is the final post of Adventures in the Good Land. My blog will end today.”
“I think it's weird when people just stop blogging so I feel like I owe you all at least an explanation and a proper goodbye. With everything going on with Ti, I honestly cannot think about anything else right now.”
“I also wanted Ti to be remembered as I see him, as a hero on our 'battlefield' - the both of us slaying foes and doing the best we can for the farm. I wanted him to be remembered in all his glory and valor. I wanted to have that picture of him to carry with me....and not as him dying in my arms as we lovingly send him to his final rest. I wanted you all to know him how I see him and I wanted you all to know that he is going on ahead of me. I wanted you to know how he changed me as a person and how much he changed my life.”
“Even tho I spend so much time talking about the details of our days, in real life I am an intensely private person. Most of you will not even know when Ti passes. So I wanted to give him one last glorious tribute because I don't think I can do it after he is gone. So that is why I wrote the story now, while he is still at my feet.”
“Yesterday was the first day that felt like fall here. It feels like the turning of the page and it feels like the right time to end my blog of our life here. I started this blog as our own record keeping... but then it turned into me teaching folks about farming. We have acquired a huge body of knowledge here and I'm glad that I could share it with you.”
“In a million years I never thought anyone would read this or care about our life. But you did and I thank you most heartily for your friendship. I have loved to watch you all start projects, begin your farm, try new things...and best of all – to be able to cheer you on. My greatest satisfaction is watching you all be successful in your efforts. Thank you for letting me be part of that. I have enjoyed letting you all come along as we all figured this out together.”
“But my grief for Ti is my own and is not for others to watch. I cannot talk about it or share his decline. The most respectful thing I can do for such a proud and noble dog is leave you with the memory of him being robust and full of life.”
“Of course, there is more.”
“Earlier in the year I felt like things were beginning to change. I didn't know what it was but I felt like we had to start preparing for changes. Big changes. It felt like how it was when I was getting ready to leave my old life. I recognized that feeling and so we have been preparing ourselves.. We've been trying to figure out what is going to happen next and getting ready for that next big thing.”
“The next big thing is that we are moving. We are ending our time here at the farm, packing up some kind of Noah's Arc (not ark but arc as in “story line arc”) to transport our cats and dogs, and heading out for the Land Where They Don't Have Winter.”
“Both my husband and I had that moment last winter when we just couldn't take the snow and the cold and the ice one more second. We realized that we are not tied here for any reason. We can go anywhere and do anything...and so we are.”
“We started reaching out, started wondering, started trying to see if we could make it work... and miraculously all the points lined up. Quite unexpectedly, and entirely surprisingly.... it looks like it is all going to come together in a way that we could not have believed or planned. But it is all happening in the very best way.”
“Nothing is set in stone right now but the momentum of the thing is picking up. Unexpected turning of events, a few “just so happened”, a couple of “right places and right times” are all weaving together a new story for us...and we are eager to get going.”
“Are we giving up? Selling out? Quitting? Nope. We love our life. We just want to do it where we can enjoy the entire year and not be stuck inside cursing the snow and ice. We think that is entirely reasonable. You see, we are actually ten years into a five year plan. We thought that being here was going to be short term but we actually ended up being trapped here when the economy turned. But we adapted, pivoted, dug deep and made this work. Gladly.”
“The best thing that happened during that time was that my husband got a CDL (commercial drivers license) and now we really can go anywhere and live where ever we want. He can also drive a huge greyhound style bus that has been converted into an RV-like dog and cat ark. So that is what we are doing. Why not? There are other adventures out there and we are going to find them.”
“So why not continue the story? Document our journey and The Long Drive with an unnatural number of cats and dogs in a huge bus?”
“Because my heart is broken and I cannot carry the burden of thinking about anything else except for my beloved Good Dog. I don't know if he will make the trip with us... in all likelihood he will not. While there is a poetic beauty to knowing that he will only ever know the farm and working with me outside and leading our pack... I simply cannot do this right now. The idea of writing about him after he is gone just breaks me. So that is why I wrote our final Adventure Tail .and that is why I am closing down the blog. ”
“For those of you who like to be in touch, I will mostly be offline. I need to concentrate on shutting down this part of our life. But most importantly, I need to take care of my Good Dog. My people are not given to grand shows of emotion or public displays. We don't even cry in public. So privately, respectfully, I will tend to my most beloved, most faithful, most valiant companion. And when it is time, I will not fail him. I will continue to praise God for providing me with such a wonderful friend and thank Him for all the time that Ti and I have spent together.”
“My Most Excellent Good Dog, Titan Wolfgang Maximus Big Bear. My Right Hand. The First in Command. The Other Half of My Sky. That day we randomly went to look at puppies... he picked me. He.picked.me. I have never been so thankful for anything in my life.”
“Thank you all, friends, for your well wishes and prayers. Thank you for our time together.”
The single spotlight fades to black.
Editor's Note: Thank you, everyone, for your kind words.
Hugs and godspeed.
I am tearful over here as I recall the same.exact.feelings when my own doggy soul mate crossed the rainbow bridge. I have enjoyed your blog immensely, and my suspicion is that many, many others have than you will ever know. My deepest condolences about Ti alongside the biggest well wishes for safe travels.
I'm so sorry you are going through this and will continue to go through this loss for years to come. I will miss your blog and advice and humor. I have enjoyed your blog for years and finally got my bit of land two years ago. I have referred to your advice often and made my husband read many of your posts to show him that you and I know best what to do. Thank you and good luck.
Oh, OFG! I came here right away this morning to find out what was happening, after reading your recent entries. I've been lurking on your blog for a long time, and have learned so much from you! I can't tell you how I'll miss you.
Of course you know you are a legend among writers in this little corner of the blogisphere. There are many who will be shaken by your decision to pull the plug.
My "big man" and I have two large dogs, Komondors, and the eldest is beginning to show signs of age, which I have noted with dread. So your news about Ti resonates with our own story, our "Adventures on the Good Sea".
I believe that there will come a time when you need to write again. You do it so well, and I think writing serves an important purpose in your life. I hope somehow, if you do, I will learn that you have reappeared in this electronic world, and I can enjoy your company again.
I wish you and yours an interesting journey throughout the rest of your life's adventures, and thank you for sharing those you've had up to this point.
Most affectionately, Tropical Grandma
I miss you already :( Sending more hugs...
:( Hugs to you and your family.
I'm so happy I was able to share in your journey. Best wishes for your new grand adventure and lots of love to Titan.
I'm crying! Selfishly I say "don't leave me "
Good bye. I wish you a continued rich life. I will miss you and the blog.
Love and miss you! My prayers are with you in your transition and I hope that , when the time is right, you will appear in my life again :-)
My heart is aching for you I'm so sorry about Ti. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I never commented much but I wanted to let you know that you have inspired me to be more self-sufficient and I have really enjoyed brief glimpses into your life and your wonderful stories. Best of luck to you.
I will miss you and your Titan soooo much. May the wind be at the tail of your rig; the tires safe and sturdy; your life grand and full of new adventures.
Ohiofarmgirl, I am so very sorry about your Ti. I imagine he is the Very Best Dog ever. My heart breaks for you.
Best wishes on your New Adventure. Please know that you will be sorely missed. I hope if you do start blogging again, you'll let us all know, somehow.
Love to you and all your family, from me.
So sad. Thank you for all that you have shared with us. You will be greatly missed.
Brave ones, you will be sorely missed. There are so many of us who love your writing, and have been grateful for your willingness to share those parts of your life that you have done. My heart goes out to you in your pain now, and in your courageous new start. Go safely, and with the well-wishes of this community that has gathered around you over the years. Know, though, that we will all of us, I suspect, never stop searching the internet for some inkling that you have seen fit to put (virtual) pen to paper once again. God speed.
I am so sorry OFG that you and your dog have to go through this. My prayers go out to you all. I just lost one of my own after 3 weeks of vet visits.......it was horrible the way Willie's live ended. Never been through such a bad time with one of my pets.Its so hard and was blessed the 4 short years we had him.
I just caught up on your post and my heart goes out to you. I started crying when I read about your Titan. I hope his end is peaceful and your good memories carry you through. I will miss your blog, wonderful stories, and everything you have given to us all. You are in inspiration and I hope your new life ahead of you is filled with adventure, wonder and love. Thanks for sharing your wonderful part of the world. Will miss your writings. Hugs to you all and God Bless You and your family and pets.
p.s your the reason I raised meat chickens last year.You gave me the confidence to try and succeed. I thank you so much for that.
I am so sorry to hear about Ti's diagnosis. I was laying in bed last night worrying about your little family and hoping it would all be ok, but i understand this part will not.
Thank you for everything, although we've never met. You have been a tremendous inspiration and a hand up to me over the years. Parts of your blog have absolutely leaked into my life, my little man "gets sips" and gets "his wiggles out". Abd I'm not afraid to jump in d try new things on my land.
So, thank you so very much and all the luck in the world on your new adventures. I hope we meet up again in internet land.
I am so sorry to hear your news, but there are no words to comfort you. Hold onto you memories... This awful time is the price we humans pay for loving our animal family - there is no other way to describe it. I wish you all well in your new life in the sun. And maybe, just maybe, you might want to come back blogging later - we'll all be here if you do. x
OFG, I am so very sad to hear your news. I completely understand your wish for privacy, but I will so miss all your writings and the glimpses into your life (don’t go, I cry!). I admire you, your strength and independence, and you have inspired me. I have learned a lot from you. I would always look forward to new posts from you. Your writing is excellent, your humor bringing a smile and laughter often. Thank you for sharing your life and record keeping with all of us. As others have said, I hope that one day you will return to your writing and that you will enjoy it once again. Well wishes on your life’s journey. May God give peace and comfort to you all and your wonderful friend, Titan.
Even though I never met you I have been encouraged by your words and I will miss you. I am so sorry to hear about your Ti. Some dogs just become part of your heart. I wish you good luck on your new adventures.
OFG--I don't believe I have commented except but a few times. I have been content to lurk and read whenever a new notification would pop up. I am so sorry to learn of your beloved Ti's diagnosis. How bittersweet to embark upon a new journey without your most faithful and loyal companion. I shall miss your blog posts-informative but mostly humorous--in I am laughing with you relatable kind of way as opposed to laughing at you.
I wish you well as your family begins a new adventure. Who knows, when I see a greyhound bus type RV rolling down the highway with a big man behind the wheel, a woman with a bad ponytail and a bevy of cat and dog noses peeking out the windows, rolling down the highway, I will give a little nod in passing and know that all is well in the good land-wherever that land may be. Instead of Auf Wiedersehen (goodbye) I say Bis zum nächsten Mal (see you next time) because perhaps some day you will feel the familiar pull to share your anecdotes and adventures from the road.
I am so sorry about Ti. He is very lucky to have you by his side. I will miss hearing about your adventures.
I´m so sorry, OFG. He knows he is loved.
Please know that your encouragement, hard working example, can-do spirit and take-no-prisoners attitude have been an inspiration. You and Ti are fortunate to have found each other, as I am to have found this blog and learned from it.
The very best of luck to you all on your new adventures.
My heart breaks for you and Ti. 😢
Oh, OFG... I'm so sorry about Titan. Their lives are so short compared to ours, but the love they give in those years makes it oh so worth it.
I do hope you will reconsider someday and write again. I've learned a lot from you and your blog is one of just a few I really look forward to reading. If not, it's okay - but if it becomes right again, I'll be here!
Thank you for your wonderful stories and advice. You & your blog will remain in mine and hearts of others. You will always be the special 'big' blogger who would post & comment on my tiny blog.
Its with understanding and sadness I say "good bye"
Best wishes on your new adventure.
I first "met" you on the self sufficient forum, and have been following you since. Sorry to hear about your pup. He is lucky to have such a good "mom" though. You are such a cool person, and I will miss hearing from you. I wish you happy and peaceful days as you embark on your new adventure.
i haven't been here long but very much enjoyed your blog, especially the things you taught or revealed to me about southern ohio. i'm so sorry to hear the news about titan - i went through something similar with my Best. Cat. Ever. five years ago. i have several Emergency Backups, as writer dave barry calls them, but that first love is still hard to let go. you are an inspiration, and i wish you happier trails and safe trails in your new adventures. --suz in northeast ohio
I am so sorry and will hold all of you in my thoughts and prayers. Losing a pet is horrible and so painful, I so feel for you all. May your next adventure be as good as this one. I will miss your blog very much. We live north of Dayton, on a farm east of Troy, OH. Love you writing, take care of yourselves.
Lucy (Troy, Oh)
I am so sorry-- losing a loved one is never easy.
Please know that your blog has been a great joy for me-- your stories are beyond hilarious!
You have a real gift for writing--thank you for sharing!
Prayers of comfort for Ti, you & your family~
Safe travels and many blessings on your new adventures!
MeanJean- Northern Idaho
I'm so so very sorry. I have no words of wisdom, just know that two guys in Texas that you've never met are sending you warm thoughts and best wishes.
I do hope you'll leave your blog up (you can always close comments so you don't have to get those reminders) but there is such valuable information and in a way it will make all you've done live on for a long time to come and help others.
As others have said it would be nice to hear from you on occasion. Maybe once a year, you could post an update. We do all get attached to our blog friends but we understand life moves on.
Just know that we'll all be here if you should stop back by.
Big hugs to you.
1st Man and 2nd Man
Sorry to see you go. I've become rather busy as of late and have neglected by blogging and blog reading. My condolences on the illness of you dog. I've been through that before.
Best of luck on your new adventure.
Utopia Farm in southwest Ohio.... we will miss reading your always-entertaining accounts of life in The Other Part of Ohio. On your new journey, remember 'What is the meaning of life? Whatever you want it to be'. (James Frey)
You will be missed.
Respect. I will miss you but I can handle that. Go take care of business, It and yourself.
Lots of love and cuddles for Nicholas.
I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our 2 big dogs at 17, one to cancer and one to severe arthritis and age. We also lost our 16 year old cat to cancer too, all 3 pets in 2 years. It about killed us. They had a great life, very comfortable and very loved. But it still hurts.
I think life is full of changes and the universe provides us with all kinds of options if we're open. Love your blog, but good luck to you! I do hope you start blogging in the future, whatever makes you happy...
From all the way over in Perth, Western Australia, we will miss you.
We salute your Excellent Good Sir and will remember him as the courageous, upright gentledog that he always will be.
All our best wishes for your future plans. It has been an honour and a privilege to share this part of your life with you.
You have been exceptionally generous with both your knowledge, your humour and your stories.
My heart aches for you, the Big Man and Number One Most Excellent Good Dog. Many thanks to you for sharing your funny, interesting tails and Adventures in the Good Land. May Peace, Happiness and Warm Days find you wherever you may go.
You made me laugh so many times. Like the comment before you are such a good writer I can't imagine you quitting forever. I hope I discover you again. As a fellow Ohio resident I can understand that feeling of not one more minute of winter please! But at 71 I will live the rest of my life here. And I have a great grandson who needs me. God speed and happy trails.
All the best on your new adventure and so many hugs coming your way. I respect your right to grieve and honor him as he deserves.
I'vefollowed your blog for many years. It has been a wealth of information. Good luck in all your future endeavors.
OFG, I so feel for you. Boolie died three weeks ago. He was my companion of fifteen years. Watching him over the last few months was harrowing. Bless you, my heart goes out to you.
And so your world is turning round, and soon you will be heading towards the next step in your life's journey. Good for you. You have been such a friend to me, that I would love to keep in touch, but I also know that sometimes people have to be left behind so that the life ahead can be brand new.
I shall miss you. Early this morning it came into my head that you had not posted for a while, so I came on to my blog and found that I had missed your last blog entry because you posted about the time that Boolie died.
So, wishing you and your partner many happy adventures ahead, and thanking you so much for the learning you have given me, for the times when you have helped me feel that I am not alone as I struggle with learning to be a homesteader, for the times when you have nudged me into getting another blog written when I have not posted for some time, and for making me smile.
I wish you Godspeed. And I leave this poem for you. I'm an old lady and I've shared this with many.
A SMALL QUESTION
If you can start the day without caffeine; if you can get going without pep pills; if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains; if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles; if you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it; if you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time; if you can forgive a friend’s lack of consideration; if you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of your own, something goes wrong; if you can take criticism and blame without resentment; if you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him; if you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend; if you can face the world without lies and deceit; if you can conquer tension without medical help; if you can relax without liquor; if you can sleep without the aid of drugs; if you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed or color, religion or politics; then, my friend, you’re almost as good as your dog. Almost, but not quite!
I keep thinking of you all, so I keep checking, just in case. I hope all is well with you all. Have realized even more how much I enjoyed your blog! Living here in Ohio is as you know a challenge and it's definitely living up to that so far!
Take care and know that I think of you and yours often.
Lucy (Troy, Ohio)
Thank you, Lucy, and everyone or your kind words and warm thoughts.
I first found you and your blog when I began keeping goats. You told me to milk those doggone goats and let them know who the boss is. I smile when I think back on that. What a long way I have come. Like many others, I have gone to your blogs so many times and learned things! And laughed the whole way.
You're brave and smart to start over. Many people can't take that step. Regret is a terrible thing. I am proud of you for all that you have done, and the great things you will do. God has a great plan for you.
Write soon when your heart heals and you put down new roots. We will all be waiting for you...
thank you, Carol, for your loving words.
Having been off the blogging scene myself for a while, I've only just spotted this. Farewell and missing you. Heiko
I'm so sorry that I have for so long been out of touch. Whatever you are doing or decide to do, all the best to you and all yours. Life goes on in Saint-Aignan. Ken
As a former Ohioan I can't help but wonder where you hope to go and garden all year. California? I am there now and yes we sure can garden all year. It has its downs. Bugs don't die out as no freezing etc. Garden work all year..droughts..but they are all over the country. I will never though stop missing Ohio and my people. You can feel close anywhere but I have never felt as close in a community as I did back there. I wish the best for you and hope you find the place for you to live and thrive.
We lost our Good and Faithful dog several years back. He was our special special dog. We will miss him forever. God blessed us with him and we are so glad to have had him for as long as we did. I hope you have found some peace.
Thank you for allowing us to be a small part of your life for so long. From your weather reports and such it sounded like you lived in Ohio close to where I used to live and still have friends there. It felt like I was hearing from a neighbor when I read your passages.
I am wishing you love and happiness in our new life. Sarah
Miss you and hope all is well with you.
Thank you, PJ, for your warm thoughts.
Still missing you. Blessing on you wherever you are.
thank you, Charlotte, for your loving thoughts. we are doing well.
As it gets close to Christmas I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you found your place. Miss reading your blog and think of you often. Ohio weather is screwy as usual, picked the last bit of kale Thursday!
Take care and know that I hold you in my thoughts and prayers,
Lucy (Troy, Ohio)
thank you, Lucy, for your warm wishes. we are well.
sending all my best wishes.
Was just randomly looking at my blogroll on the side, saw your blog and clicked over here to just say hi. Not sure if you still read these but thought I'd say hi, hoping that you found a great place to land and things are going well for you all!!!
thank you, 1st Man, for your kind words. we are well. :-)
I miss you, I hope you all are well.
I must have not hit publish your comment the other day, rats! I'll try again to send a little note...As warmer weather is arriving, tree a leafing, manic husbands are planting gardens like there is no tomorrow, and all in all it looks like winter has finally left us I thought of you! Want you all to know that I do think of you and pray that you did find a perfect warm place to plant yourselves again!
Take care & know that I still hold you in my thoughts & prayers,
Lucy (Troy, Ohio)
THank you, Onevikinggirl and also Lucy.
we are well. thank you for your loving thoughts.
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