Tuesday, April 1, 2014


We got Ciena after a bit of prodding on my part. Okay, more like a dramatic cry that "if we don't get her today, we'll never get a dog." I had had my eyes on her for a few weeks on one of the lovely internet sites that are surely full of puppy mill "pure breeds." She was "Tammy" from North Dakota and I just knew I had to save her. A rescue in its own way. I talked with the "breeder" a few times, asked what I thought were intelligent questions and when Ciena was 8 weeks old, she boarded the under carry of a plane and landed at JFK a bunch of traumatic hours later. When I met her at the cargo area of JFK, she was such a tiny little thing in a crate surrounded by giant planes and forklifts. No wonder she was shaking and had pooped all over her crate. I had arranged for a cab to take us back to the city and the poor guy had no idea what he was getting himself into when he showed up. I put the disgusting crate in his trunk and put the poopy Ciena on my lap. She threw up most of the ride into the city because she was car sick and when we finally pulled up to our apt. building I tipped the driver very well and left him with a big, smelly mess. Despite a few rough early days, Doug and I were smitten. 

Happy little (young) family!
How could you not love that face?
We took her rollerblading around the city in a backpack every weekend that first fall (back when people actually rollerbladed).
I see you!
She accompanied us on various adventures up and down the coast like Acadia National Park, Stowe Vermont and to our house in the Pocono's every weekend. 

Hiking in Acadia
Hiking in the Poconos

Playing in the snow
Ciena was the only child for 3 years before we decided that she would do well having a playmate to entertain her while we were at work. So, since we loved Ciena and her personality so much, we got another Wheaten Terrier, this time from a real breeder in upstate New York. Zoe came to us at 8 weeks old as well and she and Ciena were fast friends...there weren't many dogs that Ciena wasn't friends with. 
Zoe & Ciena
Ciena & Zoe
For 3 years these two were great buddies. They kept each other good company and played very well together. Until suddenly they couldn't bear to be around each other and started fighting very badly. Zoe often started the fights and Ciena usually got the brunt of them. We started separating the dogs behind different gates around the house and we hired a dog trainer to work with them, but the fighting continued on and got worse with each fight. Once Darby came along we knew it wasn't safe to keep them together for everyone's sake so Doug's parents offered to take Ciena and care for her. As hard as it was for us to not have Ciena with us anymore, we knew it was in her best interest to not be with Zoe anymore and Zoe wouldn't have done well with Doug's parents because they had another dog at the time. And luckily, we knew we would get to see her every weekend since she would be living full time in the Poconos. 

Ciena adapted very quickly to the new arrangement and was seemingly as happy as she had ever been. She had two retired parents that were home with her all day to cater to her every need and every feeding. She spent a lot of time at the local dog park playing with all of her friends and a lot of time cuddling on the couch. 

Unfortunately, Ciena's time with the Jamison's was way too short. Doug's parents had planned a trip to go to Florida for the month of March and drove to Charlotte on the way down to see Doug's sister. On the first morning they were there we got a call that Ciena woke up and wouldn't eat and couldn't walk. They rushed her to a vet who thought she was having a neurological problem and sent them to a specialist. The specialist decided that she wasn't having a neurological problem and that her strange behavior was caused by a very high fever. They did a full body scan to determine the root of the fever and found that she had a large tumor in her intestines that had ruptured through the wall. At that time they rushed her into surgery to remove the mass and do a biopsy of the cells. The 3 days it took for the results to come back felt like a lifetime and poor Ciena was in the hospital recovering from surgery the whole time. Doug's parents called us with the news that we all hoped we wouldn't hear...the tumor was cancerous and had spread everywhere. We all decided together that it wasn't worth putting Ciena through rounds of chemo that would only add at most 4 months to her life. The hardest part for Doug and me was not being with her during all of this. Doug's parents decided to head down to Florida as planned with Ciena and just hope that she made it through the month until they got back to their house in the Poconos and we would get to see her again. I couldn't fathom not being able to say goodbye, so I booked a flight and Darby and I were down there in 2 days. Sadly, Doug couldn't make it, but we gave her plenty of cuddles and love from him. 

We went for walks on the beach and spent hours cuddling on the couch with our Ciena dog. Leaving her to come back home that last day was one of the saddest days of my life, but I was so glad to have had the time at all. Sadly, Ciena didn't make it back to the Poconos, she passed away on March 24th after a quick decline. Her last days were spent hanging out in the sun on the porch and cuddling on the couch, so I know she was in peace and happy. We are planning a day this Spring to spread her ashes in some of her favorite places to memorialize this sweet, sweet dog. 

We miss you so much Ciena!

Such a lover 
 Ciena Bieber
Yogi dog

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