Posted in celebrations, family, pandemic, rural life

Bittersweet supper

We had our first family supper last weekend. It was just as wonderful as one can imagine. The noise and motion that comes with 7 large dogs, 6 adults and 2 littles. It was so wonderful and yet, sadly, bittersweet.

The day dawned bright and sunny, the smoke had yet to roll in and choke out the sun. The wind stayed away and the temperature climbed. It was the kind of afternoon where the click of the beer can was heard and that cool beverage tasted so good. The littles got to have “special drinks” which are the Family “Secret” raspberry vinegar and club soda. The BBQ was cooking a chicken (the last of the fall run) and I had purchased baby potatoes from the farmers market as ours aren’t ready yet. The menu was simple but delicious and we topped it off with freshly picked raspberries folded into a fool.

Play time galore both with kids and all those dogs. With 3 puppies still sorting out who went where in the pack line up there was lots of jousting. There was close up play with Uncle’s old toys and there was even cuddling and sharing of desserts. How is it that children learn early that if they eat quickly their favourite adults will share more dessert with them? I was thrilled that neither child held back when it came to Auntie and Uncle despite no close physical contact in 16 months. Toys and dessert seem to have done the trick and Young A wanted Auntie for stories and to do her teeth.

But, and it’s a big but, something sinister was at play already and we were unaware. If we’d known, perhaps, the outcome would not have been so deadly.

Both my kids always “tease” me about taking so many photos. So I didn’t push it and just snagged “the annual summer on the rocks photo” with the grandkids.  We did indeed get some cute ones of the four of us.

But I regret not being bossy. We couldn’t do a full group one as we would have had no photographer but I could have done individual family ones. It would have been so easy but it didn’t happen and now the family groupings just won’t be the same.

Sunday morning our son and daughter in law’s youngest dog, Jura, was vomitting. This puppy is one we had originally fostered and they fell in love with and kept. We have a close friend who is a vet so they talked and made a plan. By Monday am he appeared to be worse and they took him to the clinic. He died Monday night of acute liver failure. More than a week later it still seems surreal.

Jura in Dec 2019 as our foster puppy

Two “common” causes of this would be a) ingestion of an entire bottle of Advil or Aleve or b)blue green algae.

Sadly it turns out that it was our big slough that was the culprit. It’s strange as he was not the only dog to swim but perhaps may have been the only one who drank. That’s the only logical explanation that we’ve all been able to come up with. Short term we have our puppy on a tether unless she is under our control. More long term we’ve purchased copper sulfate and will treat the water once we figure out what that looks like.

There are times when you have to roll with the punches. You wish, with all your heart, that things had turned out differently. Unfortunately we don’t get do overs in real life. Those family photos will never reflect that Jura was a wonderful four legged part of the family, albeit for far too little time.



I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

17 thoughts on “Bittersweet supper

  1. I am glad to hear you finally had a chance to get together. Losing a pet is almost like losing a family member or a well-loved friend, it leaves a hole in the heart. May the fond memories you have ease the pain of grief for your family at this difficult time. Aiva xxx


    1. Thanks Donna. He was just a puppy and it feels out of order that he went before our 15 year old retriever. And 4 of them swam and only 1 died. Thanks for the hug. Bernien


  2. So sad to here of this loss, Bernie. Blue Green Algae is a real problem across the prairies during this drought/heat wave. Glad your family got together though. Hope things settle down soon. Allan


    1. Thanks Allan. Yes some rain would be welcome on all fronts. Last droplets were just that – a 3 min shower. Last real rain June 10 and it was 1/4 “. We did enjoy our time together.


  3. So sorry to read about the loss of Jura, Bernie! Life can be sweet but also bitter, as you noted.


  4. Talk about bittersweet. So sorry about the loss of your dog, and during such an emotional high. I’ve read recently that blue-green algae is growing all over because of the heat, and it is having exactly those devastating consequences. So sad.


    1. I wish, so much, Jane that either of us had read that blue green algae was on the rise. It might have turned out differently although as I said to one reader it wasn’t there Friday. The heat definitely caused it to bloom. Thanks for stopping in.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janis. Our son and daughter-in-law were devastated. They kept Jura as their oldest big dog was already 6 at the time and his life expectancy is around 8 years. So it’s doubly sad that in a year or two they will lose old Freckles and just be left with Stevie.


    1. Yeah it’s sad and if only we had known. We were down there chasing a bull out of the water on Friday and it definitely was not there.
      As to the grandkids – gosh I see daddy in the wee lad. She’s got some of her mommy for sure which I guess translates to me. But her eyes – they are just drop dead gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by here, I see your comments over on D’s regularly, it’s nice you dropped one of on here. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

    1. In 14 years we’ve never had it. It was a “perfect storm” of hot hot, blue skies and no wind. I mean really how often do we have no wind? Thanks for stopping by and commenting Prairieblueeyes (aka Clairebear).


  5. Your family dinner sounds delightful, but I am sorry to read about the puppy. You have the right attitude about how you have to roll with the punches, but sometimes, as you know, that’s difficult to do. He looked like such a sweet doggo.


    1. The supper felt so special but a day later I wanted a do over. Jura was not your average northern rescue dog – he was a purebred Leonberger who has been dumped, potentially because of a heart murmur. I would have kept him but my other half didn’t buy in so I wasn’t at all surprised when our son decided to keep him. They had taken him while we were away for a few days and fell in love. He really was a sweetie despite his huge size.


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