Martha Jane was a Wonderful Blue Dog
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Martha "Calamity" Jane
December 9, 1991 - August 28, 2002

Part I - August 29, 2002

"When it rains.."

It is with extreme sadness that I report that we have lost our beloved companion of more than 10 years, Martha "Calamity" Jane on August 28, 2002.

She was diagnosed with a large mass in or near the spleen, believed to be cancerous, with 80-100% certainty of spread to the right ventricle of the heart and life expectancy of 120 days. Due to her strong constitution, the tremendous pain of this developing tumor did not manifest until this last Monday. Even then she never made a sound, but in retrospect, we both identified the dozens of little signs over the past few weeks that something was wrong.

Monday and Tuesday she trooped on, not complaining, but bloated and not eating enough and drinking some. When the condition continued Wednesday, we took her to Pima Animal Hospital, where she had not been, but who had helped us before with a wonderful 24 hour phone hotline, through MJ's bouts with Colorado River Toads, Gopher Snakes, Desert (Valley) Fever, and Gila Monsters. She loved this place, but we could not let her roam free, because she could find the nastiest varmints in the Sonoran Desert, not to mention a nose or tail full of cactus needles.

It a day of bizarre revelations, our trip the vet turned into a nightmare, as a massive Arizona desert thunderstorm followed us into town, with torrential rain, hail, and lightening punctuating our initial consultation with the vet, waiting for X-Rays and other tests, the vet's diagnosis and limited treatment options. Our final decision to let her go on to the "Rainbow Bridge" to meet ChiliDog, Rita, Spike, Rags, Rufus, Ace, and the dozens of others we have all shared time and space with, was the correct one, even though it was made in a short time. One look at the X-rays, and a confirming plaintive look from our dog genius, helped me put aside my selfishness for "just one more day", and convinced us to let her go on her way. We are relieved that she is no longer in pain.

As we brought her back out to the desert where she loved to go for walks, the storms turned some of the low water crossings into near rivers, but not enough to block our path. We buried her under a stand of Sonoran Mesquite and Palo Verde trees west of the house, next to a Sanctuario placed there by a previous owner. The storms came and went all night long, and are still now stumbling around the area. As I write this, I am looking out to the west, and the morning is finally calming down, with blue sky and puffy white clouds replacing the storms. The overnight rains have settled MJ in her place, and the beautiful desert rocks we gathered for her monument look like they have already been there a long time.

We will miss her dearly, and we will carry her forward in our hearts forever.

Vail, Arizona
August 29, 2002

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