Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Greetings from Floyd Street

Greetings from Floyd Street

Ellen Jo Roberts

The Fundamentals of Floyd. There will never be another like him. 
He was the first dog I owned as an adult and he changed my life in so many ways.

If I could write a bio about him, Wikipedia-style it may look something like this...

"Roberts Fivehead Floyd" (June 29, 2003-September 1, 2017) was an American Chihuahua, born in Arizona, and best known for his appearance in a series of travel photographs, "Greetings From Floyd Street". As president and founder of the Clarkdale Chihuahua Club he was known to march in parades and attend concerts in the park with fellow club members.

Floyd in 3D!

Early Life
Floyd was born along the Verde River at a ranch in Cottonwood, AZ in the summer of 2003.
His parents were the AKC-registered "Cowboy's Right Hand" and "Lil' Bit of Rain." 
Floyd’s registered AKC name, “Roberts Fivehead Floyd” was inspired by his huge dome-like noggin.
The owners of the ranch were long-time breeders of Chihuahuas and also owners of "Horses 'R Us", a feed store in Old Town Cottonwood. On August 8th, 2003, Ellen Roberts saw a "Chihuahua Puppies" sign propped outside the store which prompted an immediate u-turn. 

introducing floyd ! © 2003

"Oh my goodness, this little guy. He looked like a wind-up toy. They took him out of his pen and set him on the floor and immediately he pursued a young dachshund and bopped him squarely on the nose with one paw, wanting to play. I was instantly enchanted with overwhelming cuteness and bold confidence," said Roberts.

floyd and honey boy

A few hundred bucks later Floyd became a lifelong resident of Clarkdale where he quickly became a well-known local icon in the area, frequently spotted at the Clarkdale Park, strolling sidewalks and trails, and floating down the Verde River on rafts and kayaks.
6 24 my new favorite group photo of the dogs - at colorado river along utah highway 128

During his lifetime, Floyd shared his home with five other pets: two cats, Clyde (2000-2011), Ned (2011-) and three dogs, Ivan (2004-2017), Hazel (2011-) and Simon (2013-)

Earliest education in Floyd's life came from a cat, a big, mouthy Siamese-mix named Clyde, many times his size, who could have killed him but chose not to. Per Roberts, “They were pals. Clyde was graceful and refined. In many ways, Floyd learned to behave from Clyde. He was more cat-like that dog-like in many ways. He was gentlemanly and polite and never did rude dog-like things such as eat poop or roll in dead carcasses."

from the archives: clyde and floyd, august 2003

In autumn of 2003 Floyd attended and graduated from Academy 4 Paws in Cornville, AZ where he graduated with honors.

Modeling Career
An artist's muse, Floyd was depicted in innumerable paintings, photographs and cartoons during his life. From Floyd's youngest days he was keen on the camera and always ready when the lens was focused on him. “Floyd  inspired art, comic books, photos, joy,” said Roberts,
”He was always good sport about it. He tolerated hats and masks and funny glasses. He wore wigs. As long as there was a treat on the other side, he was game. He was always camera-ready. And sometimes the soulful look on his face could completely melt your heart.”
floyd in disguise 3lil' mexicano

Sticky, Volume 7, the Travel Issue
Vintage Blonde

It's Chihuahua Bunny season!

Floyd's Greetings from Floyd Street series was featured on the Flickr blog in July of 2007. In 2008 he also appeared on the cover of MTV's industry magazine, "Sticky" and was featured a full-length article in the May 2013 issue of the Chinese "Outdoor" magazine. From 2010-2015 Floyd and his cohort Ivan were poster models for Hair of the Dog, an annual animal rescue benefit in Florida. 

His entire life Floyd was in the public eye, beginning with his puppy appearance on the local KNAZ-TV NBC news, to his twilight years as part of the letter "A" in Clarkdale’s  award-winning "town hall selfie" in the summer of 2017.

Greetings from Floyd Street

Greetings from Floyd Street
Despite his tiny size, Floyd didn't get carted around like some pint-sized prince.
He scampered up rocky trails and floated down rivers. He was a gnarly wilderness Chihuahua.

He walked. He hiked. He traveled by plane, boat, bike, raft and rails. 

He rode on the backs of vintage fire trucks, and hid quietly under the table at Waffle House.
He shivered in snow and subzero and sizzled in summer deserts. He rode the Southshore Line train and was stuffed under airplane seats in a carrying case. He took a ship to Catalina Island, walked the sidewalks of Chicago, rode Pittsburgh's Monongahela Incline and stood outside the White House. Once Floyd strolled completely across the island of Key West from one side the the other, leaving behind a wake of smiles. He looked out over oceans and stood atop mountains. In the end, the thing that probably most defines the life of Floyd is his travels.
simon and floyd and schwinn

ellen and floyd and a hop knotch i.p.a.

When Floyd was just a puppy the Roberts started the "Greetings from Floyd Street" photo series. 
At that time the project didn't have a name yet... not until much later when they encountered a street called Floyd...But the basic concept never changed:

1. Find someplace awesome to take a photo (scenic, historic, nostalgic or all of the above)
2. Hold Floyd up high into the air in front of this scene.
3. Take a photo.

Greetings from Floyd Street, the beginning...

These were officially the very first "Greetings from Floyd Street" photos, taken at the Grand Canyon and nearby Tusayan, AZ in September of 2003.

very first photo in the series.... sept. 2003

Puppy Floyd and Fred Flintstone- 2003

“From that moment on, any time there was an important landmark, kitschy sign or any other point of interest anywhere even remotely near us, we voyaged there with Floyd in hand and took his photo," said Ellen Roberts, “Any place of significance in my life I took Floyd's photo there.The house where Chad and I met in DeKalb, Illinois. All of my alma maters. Every ocean, lake, river. As many favorite landmarks, national parks, monuments and vintage motels as possible.Any crazy roadside statue? We were there! Any cool old motel? Check us in! We sought the real, the authentic, the weird and wonderful.”

re-enactment of Floyd + Inyo Face, 12 years later

In his 14 years Floyd visited most of the National Parks and Monuments of the Four Corners. He stood at the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Sea of Cortez and the Great Lakes. He cruised Highway 1 through Big Sur Coast and Highway 1 through the Florida Keys. 

He climbed mountains in the Rockies and sank below sea level in Southern California.

As residents of Northern Arizona, Route 66 was a popular destination. Per Roberts, “We just naturally found ourselves on the old ‘Mother Road’ often, in both directions.”

A series of Floyd images was first shown to the public at the annual Made in Clarkdale art show in December of 2006.

Made In Clarkdale Dec. 1st, 2006

Also in 2006, Roberts joined Flickr, a photo storage and sharing website, posting a few years of Floyd travel pics on her photostream. Before everyone was Instagram -ing and sharing photos on smart phones every second, Flickr was one of the only photography communities, a very dynamic and active site. In July of  2007, a few years into the project, Flickr featured the Greetings from Floyd Street series on their blog and Floyd went "viral”..

Greetings from Floyd Street featured in Flickrblog July 31 2007

gatorland floyd

Floyd was famous! This internet renown spurred on the project even farther. “We continued taking far flung detours to capture all of the places on our photo wish list. Floyd went with on all of our family road trips, and via airplane more than once with me solo including several "Mother-Daughter" adventures my Mom and I took-- to Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Washington DC. With Chad's folks in Florida we took Floyd there a few times, capturing all of the local highlights to add to the photo series."

Greetings from Floyd Street
Click through to rockin' slide show featuring a few of Floyd's favorite adventures

Personal Life
Well known locally for his vicious demeanor, Floyd was often times rude to strange humans but always kind to strange animals.


After one unsuccessful attempt at breeding to pass on his AKC genes, Floyd was neutered in 2005. Just as well, due to a few defective DNA strands. For one, Floyd was mostly monorchid, which means he only had one testicle. "He did actually have two testicles, though only one dropped properly,", explained Roberts, "Also, his teeth were a mess. He got 11 of them pulled because they were baby teeth with nothing underneath."

i am thinking...about biting you.

Per Roberts, "Floyd liked to ride on my shoulders in the car. In general he was a bit aloof not overly affectionate, but he liked to snuggle sleep right up next to me under the blankets at night. He liked to sit on our laps. He liked to lick noses sometimes. He also liked to lick all of the other dog's ears. What a weirdo."

Though generally unfriendly to most people, he did have some favorite friends.

He howled when the phone rang.

Most of his life he ranged between 5-6 lbs.

He would try to drink your beer if given the chance.

He was the ring-bearer at the wedding of James Dahlberg and Carla Carton in 2007.

A lifelong Cubs fan, he chose the sweet spot to be alive, managing to see the Cubs win the World Series in 2016.

Lift the curse, Floyd!

Floydie Doodle, Five Pounds of Fury, The Tiny Jumping Peanut (thus dubbed by the children of the Clarkdale Park).

very first group photo, June 7th 2011

Floyd died on September 1st, 2017 at age 14, preceded in death by his beloved Boston Terrier buddy, Ivan. With a "hitch in his giddyup" for more than a year, he was arthritic and his eyes glazed blue with blindness.
Downright puny in his final months, weighing in at a bony 4 lbs., "Floyd's crooked gait had prompted complete strangers to point at him and ask, 'What's wrong with HIM?'," said Roberts,  "We'd shrug and say, 'he's old?', and they'd say, "Ohhh. He's OLD."

In late August of 2017, a few weeks after returning from his final road trip to the Oregon coast, Floyd became a bit paralyzed all at once and had stopped eating and drinking. He wasn't in any pain.
“He woke up that Friday morning, had a couple of funny hiccups, looked at us and peacefully died in our arms. It was the perfect, graceful departure from a long-life well-lived," said Roberts,"He checked out on his own. He woke up and died. It was kind of beautiful, really."

beloved chihuahua


Our lives have been forever changed by Floyd.
He will live on forever in the artwork and images he inspired.

floyd portrait 2010

floyd the tourist

on the beach in mexico

dogs and dog portrait

Friday, August 11, 2017

Our Journey With Mast Cell Tumors: a Very Dear Boston Terrier

ivan at the south rim- argus


July 2, 2004 - July 14, 2017

Perhaps the story of Ivan's mast cell tumor, which eventually ended his life, can provide assistance or comfort to another pet owner going through the same thing. In the past year I learned more about mast cell tumors than I ever wanted to know. Essentially an allergy in tumor form, it's comprised of mast cells, the body's natural response to allergens, but in such an abundant and overzealous state that it's a bit berserk and prone to becoming cancerous. It's a sadly common condition in Boston Terriers like Ivan, as well as fellow smush-faced breeds like Boxers, Pugs and Bulldogs. Mast cell tumours also occur frequently in Beagles, Weimeraners and Golden Retrievers. I even know folks with Ferrets who've had to deal with this issue.

They're a pretty common problem. They aren't always a death sentence. In fact, most times they're not.  Frequently they can easily be surgically removed, and frequently they don't spread. As the vet put it, "Mast cell tumors are always malignant, but not always metastasizing."

Googie Ghosttown Ivan
Route 66, Amboy, California, February 2007

What a sweet, handsome silly-head.
Ivan was a prince among dogs, so full of pure joy and great gusto. Boston Terriers are known as the "American Gentleman" since they come ready-equipped with a tuxedo.

Big Face Ivan

The Ivan story begins when I was a kid.

My dream of owning a Boston Terrier was inspired by a vintage cast-iron doorstop my grandma owned. Such a handsome, 1930s -lookin' pup. Tough, unwavering, that little metal Boston Terrier. It enchanted me. It wasn't until I was 32 years old that the dream became a reality. I saw a "Boston Terrier Pups" sign hanging somewhere in my view, the kind with the pull-off phone numbers. I called and soon after was headed out to Rimrock, AZ about 20 miles from home, to meet a little male pudgeball called "Winston", the last unclaimed puppy from the litter born July 2nd, 2004. He was not quite 8 weeks old and not quite ready to leave his mom. We paid a deposit for him and upon returning from a trip to Chicago we picked him up in a dentist parking lot in Cottonwood.

ivan as a puppy, sept. 2004 

He was bashful at first, but it wasn't long before he was in his full, exuberant goofball glory.

Yosemite Ivan
Yosemite National Park, California, 2005
Ivan was a great traveler and joined us on all of our adventures. He was an excellent road tripper, hiker and kayak passenger. He even flew on a plane and went through airport security. He aced it all.
He went to Utah, California, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado. He hiked canyons, scaled mountains and cooled down in rivers, He got salty on seashores. He slept in tents and cabins and strange motels in odd towns.

Wherever we went, Ivan always attracted admirers because he was such handsome, beautifully brindley, well-built and friendly guy. And there is such affection for Boston Terriers from folks who have had one in their past, or just have a genuine fondness for them as a breed. I mean, we thought our Chihuahua Floyd was the cutest thing ever but he was chopped liver next to Ivan when it came to outside admirers. People didn't give Floyd a second glance. It was Ivan they wanted to touch and talk about.

dogs on table 2 

dogs and their portrait2

For a long time it was just Ivan and Floyd, one year his senior.
And a big cat. Clyde for a long time. Then when Clyde died there was Ned.

all the pets on a tuesday afternoon

But as far as canines, it was that way for almost 10 years, that dynamic duo, Floyd and Ivan.

In 2013 Hazel the Chiweenie showed up. 

group portrait 

And in early 2014 there was suddenly Simon. 

size order 

We were a four dog family! (?) ! It was a bit nuts sometimes. But, they were a pack and loved each other. Even with the tangle of leashes and everyone sometimes going in different directions, all four went with us everywhere. We planned ahead, picking pet-friendly trails, lodging and locations, paying extra surcharges when necessary.

6 24 my new favorite group photo of the dogs - at colorado river along utah highway 128 

Ivan was such a good sport. He never complained about anything.
And he put up with all of my artistic shenanigans!

hair of dog 2

blue-eyed ivan

Ivan's only flaw, perhaps, was his immediate dislike for strange dogs. He got really intense and a bit aggressive towards other canines he didn't know. In the park this was sometimes a problem. We had to hold him back and pull him away. He never bit or hurt anyone, but sometimes the look on his face just seemed a lil' deranged.

However, he did have dog pals beyond our home, like our friend's Pointer mix, Loosey who he had a crush on, and our buddy's Miniature Pinscher, Harrison, whom he adored.

pals 4 sure 

He also knew and loved Chad's folks' dogs, Blossom and Mary.
So it wasn't really a "problem". Once everyone calmed down about that crazy face he made (us included) and they got to know each other a little he was fine.

all 5 dogs!

Really, any dog who ever met Ivan ended up adoring him. He was everyone's favorite.
Case in point: when puppy Simon showed up it was obvious early on who he considered his favorite big brother.

sleepy time close up 

ivan and simon in the kayak

And now to the sad part of the story.

The mast cell situation can be perhaps traced back to Ivan's funny allergies. He was the only dog I ever knew to get hives! The first time it happened he came in from the yard with his entire body covered in odd bumps and his face all swollen. We don't know what he got into but took him to the vet immediately. Benadryl soothed him back to normalcy. He got hives maybe two or three times over the years and we were never sure what set them off-- a bloom, a bug bite, something he ate? It happened in places other than home, too, notably once along a road trip home from Utah. There was no common thread or clue.

Around the time Ivan turned 12, in the summer of 2016, we noticed a new thing --a swelling on his belly, like a big mosquito bite in the crease next to his penis. It seemed to ebb in size and color. Some days it got bigger and redder and other days it receded some and looked benign, like a fatty lump. When he was a young dog he'd had a benign tumor removed from his belly so we thought it might be more of that.

mast cell tumor

The tumor's strange and changing behavior indicated to the vet it might be a mast cell tumor, so she aspirated it with a long needle and microscopic view of the cells confirmed it. I had read a bit about this condition already since mast cell tumors are so common in Boston Terriers, so I wasn't surprised.

Due to the delicate location of the tumor, adjacent to all of the complicated structure of his penis, his "advanced age" and his bracheocephalic (smushed) face, Ivan was not a great candidate for surgery.
The young vet suggested instead we "manage" the tumor with a daily dose of antihistamines. Our other option was to drive two hours to Phoenix to consult with a surgeon we didn't know and spend thousands of dollars to have this elderly dog operated on. This did not sound like a great option for Ivan or for us.

He got Benadryl once a day at lunch, and sometimes two if the tumor was flaring up. It usually helped. We had no idea what the histamines in the tumor were responding to or what his actual allergies were. He already had been on a grain-free diet for a long time, but we also stopped feeding him any fish as that supposedly aggravates mast cell tumors.
We also added Vitamin C powder (Ester-C capsules broken open over his food), and gave him CBD oil.

For a couple of seasons the tumor was more or less "managed".
His regimen of supplements and Benadryl mostly worked.

Until it didn't.

mast cell tumor- very aggravated 

In April of 2017 the tumor got very angry very quickly, in a matter of a day or two, and swelled up far beyond what it ever had before.Ivan, normally never one to complain, seemed miserable and in pain. We were in a panic for him.

sad ivan, malignant mast cell tumor

At the vet I asked for a second opinion from a more senior vet in the office--the one who had removed the benign tumor from his belly during his younger years but had since been relegated to taking over all of the "big dog" patients, leaving the small dogs to the younger vet.

The older vet agreed to "debulk" the tumor in early May, with no promises that the mast cells hadn't already extended beyond the area she could surgically remove. Truly clear margins were not an option for him due to the location, which risked him becoming mutilated and/or incontinent. If the tumor was a medium or high grade in pathology it was fairly certain it would return, and possibly even angrier than before.

For Ivan we thought it was worth the gamble to give him a better quality of life. Whether he survived the surgery or not, the situation as it was was unsustainable. Having the mass removed was moving forward. It was doing something...anything...and we had huge hopes it would help him.

As it was, we were dealing with this tumor's wildly fluctuating behavior daily. Ivan had to wear a cone almost all the time to stop licking the tumor (aggravating it worse). Steroids were prescribed and that kicked the swelling down some prior to surgery. The thing about steroids though is they're kinda terrible.
1. They cause acidic stomach which meant he had to add a Pepcid-type med to his regimen (at a different time than the steroid which the antacid negated the absorption of) and
2. They also made him so thirsty, causing him to drink and piss a ton. A few times he peed his bed while sleeping, or peed on the living room carpet during the night. We'd wake up to him looking so forlorn and humiliated by this. It's against a good dog's nature to urinate in the house, even when he can't control it.

 Ivan, 4/28/17 

We put all of our positive energy into his operation. I started a fund for the surgery (nearly $700) selling 14 Ivan portraits for $50 each. I sold them faster than I could paint them because our friends and family are awesome. Everyone wanted an Ivan portrait. Everyone wanted to contribute to the good energy and power of positivity. I ended up painting more than 14 Ivan portraits due to the demand. His surgery was more than paid for. It was quite overwhelming the emotional and financial support we got from folks for Ivan.

Focusing all of my extra energy on making the paintings was also a good distraction during the weeks leading up to the operation.


Ivan's surgery was bumped up a week, from May 15th to May 8th and all went well.
He survived the anesthesia and came home looking very strong! The doc did a great job. Neat surgical scar, tidy and quiet. We were so happy.

Post surgery- Ivan


About a week after the surgery the vet called with the pathology report on the tumor. As she suspected, it was very "high grade" (which though sounds good is exactly the opposite in this case) and chances were probable it would return. This was very disappointing to hear, though not unexpected. It did take the wind out of my sails a bit. I tried not to think of it, as if ignoring it I could somehow "block" the tumor from coming back. "It's not gonna come back," I thought conjuring up all of the positive energy we had created and had been shared with us, like a force field.

Ivan got his stitches removed and no longer had to wear a cone. He was like a normal dog again....for now.  We loved on him and hugged him and brought him along on all of our adventures as usual, as if every day could be his last. (This in fact, is how we loved him every day of his life so it was truly nothing different).

Ivan and Chad

He had a good month or so before I noticed odd swelling stirring up again in the vicinity of where his tumor had been. Along the scar line there was now a small constellation of lumps, like an island chain. Like Hawaii. No longer one specific lump, or one specific side, it was now the entire area. It seemed to flare up and then subside. Flare and subside. It was the same but now somehow worse. We got a supply of steroids for him to use when it swelled and they worked for a little bit.
Until they didn't.

I continued to research options. There is some new drug called Palladia that we can't even get in the Verde Valley yet, but besides that its track record was pretty bad. Like 10% chance of success. I did lots of reading. We even tried something I found recommended online from a holistic vet: a mix of Asian herbs called Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, or "Drive out Stasis in the Mansion of Blood Decoction."
Hell, why not?  I mean it was like Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon-- we tried conventional medicine, alternative medicine, holistic medicine, surgery, supplements. We gave it our all. 
But in the end, we failed Ivan. We tried not to second-guess ourselves too much, but I wondered if we'd been more aggressive about surgery early on might we have nipped it in time?

ivan- post surgery follow up

The tumor indeed had come back and mutated into some big overall swellings surrounding his penis on both sides now. Back on the steroids, back with the cone on his head (though this time we got him a comfier "donut").

We called friends more than once to "say goodbye" but Ivan always made a comeback. We were hopeful. He wasn't ready to go yet. 

However, over the course of his final month the "good periods" got shorter and farther apart.
The swelling, discomfort and painful times got longer and closer together. The steroids no longer worked. Then came the day when he had a hard time walking up the front steps and the look on his face just told me it was time for this to be over.

Ivan's not doing so hot

Last photos of Ivan
Ivan's last day
Tears poured from our reddened faces as we took Ivan out to the car to head to the vet to have him euthanized. 
Chad, standing by the driver's door, reluctant to get into the car, since that meant we would drive away to Ivan's death: "I'm not ready to let him go."
"Me neither!", I cried, while trying to be strong and logical (and convince myself),"We'll never be ready! But he's suffering now and we have to let him go."

The vet said we were the best kind of pet owners because we made the right choice for what was best for Ivan even though it was such a difficult choice. She said she knew how much we loved him. She knew what a sweet dog he was and said everyone at the office loved him. Still, her kind words, while a soothing balm for our sadness didn't make it any easier for us. He was very subdued, like he knew, like he was ready to go, laying across my lap. First they installed a needle port in a vein. The doctor administered the first shot, one to relax him, followed by the shot that would end his life.  I was holding him when his heart stopped beating.

We wrapped him up and a cloth bag we'd brought and held him close as we exited the side door of the veterinarian's office. As soon as we reached the fresh air outdoors we were suddenly nearly incapacitated in bottomless sobs, the kind coming from some deep place below the earth. Oh Ivan. Poor Ivan. He didn't deserve to go out like this. He deserved to die like an old dog-- blind, arthritic, bony, slow, tired, and in his sleep. Ivan, though technically elderly and in his twilight years, never acted like an old dog. He was youthful and rambunctious until the tumor took that from him.

ivan 2007 ivan 2017
Ivan 2007 and 2017
For many Ivan was the best and most beloved of all of our dogs. Friends adored him. Chad's mother said, "Ivan was always my favorite." We were so outnumbered by pets it didn't fully occur to me the huge place he took in our lives and home until he was gone. His burly personality and energy was a balancing force to three tiny dogs and one big cat he shared our house with.

When we got home from the vet we put Ivan's body on a sheet in the yard so the other dogs could say goodbye. Floyd, age 14, lingered the longest. He and Ivan had been together a long time. Then we buried Ivan under a eucalyptus tree in the side yard, in a hole we'd dug a month earlier and in a cantaloupe box we'd saved to use as his coffin. We buried him with his food bowl, a favorite toy, and one of Chad's favorite photos of him, snapped at Yosemite National Park when he was 1 year old.

For days after he died I was still looking for him, still grabbing his leash by mistake, at lunchtime still looking for the 4th dog food bowl before realizing I'd buried his bowl with him and he was gone.
Sometimes it felt like he was still there, bursting out of the front door.

rest in peace, Ivan

But, every day he seemed a bit further away. I thought, "Soon every last hair of his will be vacuumed up and all of the dog blankets will be washed clean of his scent". 

The dynamic of our home shifted without him. His absence casts quite a shadow. 

In general our happy memories keep us buoyant. I try not to think about it too much, but every now and then something random strikes. A sweet photo or a poignant memory or the realization Ivan is not standing in front of my breakfast plate watching me eat as he did every morning before I left for work.
He also used to use his front foot to tap me like a button when he wanted attention, pawing at me as if to say, "Hey. Love me."

I certainly can't listen to the Flaming Lips "Do You Realize?" without completely losing it.

"Do you realize?
That everyone you know
Will die.
And instead saying all of those goodbyes,
Let them know you realize that life goes fast.
It's hard to make the good things last.
You realize the sun duddn't go down.
It's just an illusion caused by the world
Spinning 'round."

Ivan, you were the best. What a good boy. 
Always game for any adventure, always the first one to bound out the front door, always staring at me while I ate my breakfast. Always wanting to snuggle next to me while I watched the news. Snoring, farting, Howling at the phone when it rang.
We are so happy to have had you in our lives for so many years.
I am sorry we couldn't give you more time, friend. 
But the years we had, oh what fun they were. 13 is a long time. 
Your legend will live on forever, in the memories and photos and paintings that make us smile.

When we were going through this with Ivan I wished I had found a story like this, about someone's journey with this horrible health problem. It would have provided me some comfort and perspective during the struggle. That's why I wrote this. To help provide some comfort to another suffering pet-owner. I hope this story helped you, dear reader.

13 years of Ivan

ivan sox