Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We would like to wish all of our friends a very Happy Holiday season!

May all of your Christmas wishes come true.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eye Candy -Photo challenge

Deborah, the Snowcatcher, has invited us to a photo challenge. She states that the challenge is called meme here in the USA. It’s supposed to be something like an Easter Egg Hunt. In order to find the hidden treasure, you have to read the other participants blogs.

The challenge is to go to the fourth or seventh folder in your My Pictures folder and post on your blog the fourth or seventh image from that folder. You then challenge friends to participate by inviting them via the blog entry. If you don’t use the My Pictures folder, find the 4th or 7th folder with pictures and choose the 4th or 7th picture. It does not have to be related to your blog! If you have folders within folders, you can choose the fourth folder within the fourth folder and the fourth image within that folder. You get the idea!

I realize everyone is really busy right now; however I would like to pass this challenge on to Three Dog Blog, The OP Pack, Sierra Rose, and A Vintage Cottage Home. Hopefully this will make it around the dog blog community so that all of our friends and readers will be participants. I’m a week late posting myself so whenever you get around to it is fine.

Be sure and link everyone so that our friends and readers can refer to each blog.

I’ve chosen the 7th image from my 7th folder taken in August 2007 when my husband and I made the trip to Alabama to decide on which new job offer he would accept. Our daughter would be changing schools, but was not happy about relocating for the second time in three years. We drove around the University and took pictures for her. She is studying to be a High School English Teacher. She told me last night she would like to continue with school until she has her Masters and go straight into teaching at a University level.

"The Hands." The sculpture, actually titled "Becoming," depicts a pair of large bronze hands, one holding a pair of keys, with the other hand guiding the first upwards. The hands represent the student grasping the keys of knowledge, with the second hand representing the professor's guiding touch.

bronze scupture,The Hands,Becoming,Photo Challenge

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Darlin’s first picture and Christmas story.

I’m posting this on both blogs because it seems appropriate.

A year ago today I took Darlin’s first picture. If I had taken her picture when I first started feeding her it would have made some people cry. She was so skinny that she looked hunched over with her stomach pulled up inside of her. She didn’t have her winter coat when we met, as a result her hair was thin and closer to her body. I thought she was some kind of hound dog. I was in such a hurry to feed her on schedule that taking her picture never crossed my mind. As soon as darkness fell I would watch the clock until it was time for me to leave the house.

So why Dec. 6th, 2008?

A local breeder had been shut down by the ASPCA. There were about 50 dogs that they had to surrender. The Humane Society took several, some went to rescues, and 16 were transported to a Michigan rescue. The ASPCA asked the breeder to pay for the gas needed to transport the dogs out of state. She said she wouldn’t do it because she didn’t want to give them up. When I heard about the gas, I made the donation because those dogs were not going to be delayed a chance at freedom if I had anything to do with it.

My husband and I met with the breeder’s husband at 8:00 in the morning at a grocery store parking lot. The same one that Darlin’ would be eating at once it turned dark. He was supposed to be bringing three Jack Russell’s going to Russell Rescue in Tennessee. They were not Jack Russell’s, they were Rat Terriers, but that’s okay, Russell Rescue wouldn’t turn them away. I had my camera along so that I could email the pictures to everyone involved in their rescue.

I asked the breeders husband for their names and any information he had. When he handed over the male he called JR, he said that JR had never been used for anything other than making puppies. They were frightened. In fact JR was in the back of the crate when we arrived at rescue and I didn’t realize it at the time, but he had to use the bathroom.

Rat Terrier rescued
Rat Terrier rescued
Rat Terrier rescued

My daughter’s great grandmother (89 yrs at the time) lives in Tennessee so we stopped to visit with her that afternoon. Granny had a stroke in 2007 and moved into an assisted living home. We always take her out to lunch when we visit. It’s usually getting dark by the time we head home so I had Darlin’s food with me so that I could feed her on the way to our house. That day I had my camera too. It was hard getting Darlin’s picture because the camera I used isn’t good for taking pictures at night. Darlin’ was fearful too therefore I kept my distance as she ate over at her tree.

stray dog,stray rescue
stray dog,stray rescue,homeless dog

Yesterday we went to visit Granny in a North Alabama Rehab because she broke her hip in November and still isn’t able to walk. Darlin’ had been alone all afternoon and was really missing me. She cries, whines, barks, and gets overly-excited when I come in the door. All of are dogs are excited to see Mom and Dad even though the kids were home, but Darlin’ is different - and special. She usually hides in my room while I’m away. I’m sure she feels abandoned by me when I’m gone.

Last night I stood outside as Darlin’ went potty before bed. She still won’t stay in the yard without me and most times she will not go down unless I do. It was freezing cold and the ground was covered in frost. I wore my oversized coat with the hood over my head and I was still freezing, yet the night reminded me that it wasn’t quite as cold as some of the nights that Darlin’ spent alone outside last winter. As I stood there shivering waiting on the dogs, I was thankful that my mind is at peace this month.

Standing out in the cold last night took me back to last winter and winters past. It was December when my daughter asked what my intentions were concerning Darlin’. That’s when I told my family with tears on my eyes that I only intended to keep Darlin’ alive through winter by feeding her and the rest was in Gods hands. I didn’t want her, I had three dogs already. Besides, she didn’t want me, she wouldn’t come near me.

I knew my family was tiring of me not wanting to go places or do anything that might interfere with feeding Darlin’. I understood what was going on with them; they had to help me too. The questions hurt because it put what I had been doing into perspective. I knew that I was neglecting some of my own responsibilities because of Darlin’. How long was I going to continue with her feeding routine? How long could I keep doing it? I had to drive six miles every night. That’s not very far, but it was inconvenient. I couldn’t abandon her, especially not after three months. I couldn’t skip a feeding, not after establishing a routine. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing that I was capable of feeding her and without me she would be hungry. What if I ever missed a meal, would she wait for me? It was hard enough knowing she was hiding in the cold somewhere. December was an emotional time for me.

It was Dec. 13th when we went to see Trans Siberian Orchestra in concert. The concert started about the same time I would be feeding Darlin’. Afterwards we went to dinner. The concert was wonderful, but Darlin’ weighed heavy on my mind because I would be so late getting to her. We took my husband’s car that night therefore I knew I would have to ask him to stop so that I could buy food on the way home. There was more food than we could eat at dinner. I asked everyone to pass their plates and I scraped everything together in a carryout container for Darlin’. We pulled into the parking lot at the grocery store on our way home when I thought I saw something by her tree. As we got closer she lifted her head and I realized it was Darlin’ lying there napping and waiting for me! She waited over three hours!

It was raining and the wind blew hard for three days the week of Christmas. I knew Darlin’ wouldn’t come out in the rain, but I left her food anyway by putting a bowl out with a stick on top to keep the rain out. I figured if the rain slowed down she would come to eat. At that point I hadn’t seen her for two nights and I was getting worried. The food was gone, but I couldn’t be sure that Darlin’ was the one who ate it. On Christmas Eve we put her food out early so that I wouldn’t have to leave the house later. My husband bought a large basted bone for her as a Christmas gift and we left that too. She didn’t show up.

As we drove home I recalled the year before we were living in Missouri. Our cat Abbey had been bit by something and it tore a large piece of skin off of her that required stitches. Abbey had to go outside, she ran to every door in the house and begged to go out. She loved to lie around on the porch and play with our neighbor’s cat, but they also had one that was mean and attacked her. Going through my photos I found the picture of her wound was taken and emailed to my husband on Dec. 6, 2008. He had transferred and was already working at his new job in Alabama while I stayed in Missouri with the children so they could finish out the first semester at school before we relocated them.

I didn’t know until I wrote this post that Abbeys picture and Darlin’ pictures were taken at the same time a year apart. It seems significant to me because there is so much synchronicity in my life when it comes to animals. I will write more on this subject in the future.

cat wound,cat attacked

My husband came home for Christmas in 2007. We were sitting in the living room on Christmas Eve when I spotted something that looked like eyes in our tree. It was Abbey lying in the branches! I pulled her out and noticed her stitches broke open and the wound was infected and oozing. We called an emergency vet and drove Abbey over right away. Two Christmas Eves a year apart we were out at night because of an animal.

cat in Christmas tree

We gathered around the tree a little earlier than usual last year. The kids open one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning. Since it was still early and the house was quite I thought about making a second trip to check on Darlin’. The rain and wind had slowed so my thoughts turned to Darlin’ and whether she might show up. I asked my husband if he would mind if I drove over to check the food to see if Darlin’ was around. He said that he would drive me. It was at that moment when he offered to drive me that I didn’t feel bad about asking. When we arrived the bowls were empty, but the Christmas bone was still there. I had to believe that she had eaten and would come back for her bone later.

This year Darlin’ will spend Christmas next to me on the couch. Her head will be dry, her belly will be full, and this will be the first of many Christmases to come for her in a real home.

stray rescue,fearful dog

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy 9th Birthday to Sam!

A few things about our boy:

Born in Missouri, adopted in 2004 as a companion for Chloe.

We’ve had him five years. His previous owners wrote down his information.

He chewed on his feet when we got him. I did some research and took him off of Iams dog food to see if he was allergic to corn. He stopped chewing his feet.

blue heeler,cattle dog,dog

He eats canned dog food with boiled chicken and a little broth for dinner every night. If dinner is late, he’ll let me know by whimpering or whistling. I look at the clock and realize he wants his supper. I free feed dry, but he only eats a few bites a day, if that. He gets dog bones, biscuits, or a dog cookie when he comes in from outside. He goes straight to the kitchen and sits for his treat. A few nights a week I give him a small bully stick in the evenings while we’re watching TV. He could stand to lose 5 pounds, but he’s not as active as he used to be.

He likes all white cheese, but not American cheese. He doesn’t mind if you pass him up because he’ll usually spit it out.

blue heeler,cattle dog,australian cattle dog,Eskie,Eskimo Spitz,jack russell,dogs

He likes getting his picture made, he’s my camera hound.

blue heeler,australian cattle dog,cattle dog

He LOVES the smell of perfume or lotion. If you smell sweet, he’ll be all over you!

He loves getting pampered: baths, blowing drying, and brushing.

He doesn’t mind the rain unless it’s really pouring down and windy. He loves snow, but may never see it again because we live in the south now.

jack russell,cattle dog,blue heeler,jack russell puppy and blue heeler

He has no fears or phobias.

He has good recall. I’m not afraid that he’ll run off.

cattle dog,australian cattle dog,blue heeler

He blows his coat at least twice a year - which means lots of brushing.

He used to play with stuffed toys, but not so much anymore.

May 2006, Abbey's first day home.

blue heeler,cattle dog,cats,dog,australian cattle dog
australian cattle dog,blue heeler,dog cat

He will not chase a ball - he will chase the dog that is running after the ball.

He breaks up play wrestling between the other dogs by rushing in at them.

cattle dog,blue heeler,australian cattle dog

He sticks his muzzle down in the water bowl and dips for drinks. I have never seen him lap up water like other dogs.

He walks through the pool almost every time he goes outside. He has never laid down in the water to cool off, he just stands there cooling his feet.

His favorite playmate is Bonnie, Chloe comes in second place, but he loves his Bon Bon.

jack russell,cattle dog,blue heeler,australian cattle dog

He licks Bonnie and Toby’s ears. It appears affectionate, but can cause ear infections or inflammation so I stop them if I see it. The dogs go to him and lie down because it feels good for them.

He enjoys walks. He can hardly contain himself when we open the closet where the leashes are. He will pull out the door, but once he’s walked a little he’s a good walking buddy.

He barks when he hears anyone at the door, even when my children come home. He will not bark when my husband or I come home.

A stranger can come into our home and Sam acts like they are here to see him. He’s very friendly.

He LOVES to ride in the car, but his tongue drips on me out of excitement, not slimy slobber though.

He loves the attention at the Vet, but starts to cry like a baby as soon as they lift his tail for a fecal. The Vet tech usually laughs and skips that test!

This year we discovered a fatty tumor on his side. He laid in the floor on his side and let the Vet do a needle aspiration. He didn’t budge. They love him there because he’s so good.

He’s good with other dogs, but corrects Lucie, a Boston Terrier, that comes for play dates. She gets overly excited and bugs the crap out of him and tries to mount him. He has been wonderful around fosters and rescues.

He wanted to be near Darlin' when she had her heartworm injections. You can see in his eyes he knows something is wrong. It was aweful for her.

cattle dog,australian cattle dog,blue heeler,mixed breed,heartworm treatment

Sam has never wet in the house. He had one accident not long after we got him. He and Chloe got into an old garden spot at their new home. I think they ate a rotten squash and it went straight through them. I walked in the kitchen the next morning and Sam held his head down. I said, “Oh Sam.” Poor thing, I could see he was very sorry. It was an easy clean-up on tile. He has never had any other accidents in the house.

He has never chewed or destroyed anything.

We went to the St. Louis Arch in August 2007. We left Sam, Chloe, and Bonnie outside all day. They had a fresh bucket of water and the pool was full of fresh water. We arrived home about 8pm and they were dying to get inside. Sam came crashing through that door like he had seen his last day outside! I checked and all of their water was hot! So I’m sure he got hot too! I could barely get him to go outside for a month afterwards. He ran to the grass and did his thing and no sooner did I slide the door closed he was on it ready to run inside. There we’re a few times I had to push him back out! He was traumatized out in that heat all day!

He sleeps on his orthopedic mattress in the living room, stretches out across the hall a lot, and sleeps on the leather sofa in the TV room, as long as someone is in the room with him.

cattle dog,blue heeler

He will whistle through his nose if we are sleeping and he has to go out. He used to sleep all night, but this past year he wakes my husband between 3-4 am to go out. I think as he ages he may not be able to hold his bladder as long.

He’s been slowing down over the last year. It takes him longer to go up and down the stairs, but occasionally Bonnie will get him to chase her around the yard which is always nice to see.

Sam is a good boy. He listens, obeys all of us, and is just an easy going dog with no issues or demands whatsoever. Dad loved him the first time they met. Sam really loves his Dad, but he is affectionate with everyone that he meets. If you scratch his head, he’ll turn over and give you his belly.

blue heeler,cattle dog

We love you, Sambo!

blue heeler,cattle dog

Wednesday, December 2, 2009