Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Dan and I hope that 2010 will be the best year ever - for us and for you! May your pockets be filled with wealth, your homes filled with love, your hearts filled with peace, and your couches filled with puppies!

Escaped Again!

Tom and his girls apparently felt they had escaped another year's holiday meals, because they came ambling up the hill to the front door yesterday. I'd never seen them this close before! Earlier in the morning, they were in the back dog run, hopping up and down (literally!) and trying to get out over the fence. Dopey creatures forgot they could fly! Once one of them remembered, out they all flew. A few hours later, they came trooping up the drive, up the hill to the house, and hung out on the lawn for about 20 minutes! Only when you live in the sticks can you see this kind of entertainment!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hello, Nala!

Nala came to live with us today! Her mom, Sue, and two human "brothers" brought her down from Stevens Point to her new home here at Hundenruhe Haven. She is a complete and total DOLL, and we are enjoying her already. Nala is fourteen and a half, but you'd never know it by the sparkle in her eye and the joy with which she has been exploring her new digs. She did great meeting the other crazies, and doesn't she just look so precious with New Year? (he's on the right) Nala has settled right in, letting crabby Twig hog her bed, but being happy to settle on her blanket next to me while I write about her on the computer. I am looking forward to getting to know her and all her quirks and charms. We are so lucky that Sue trusted us with her - Welcome to Hundenruhe Haven, Nala! [More pictures from Nala's first day can be found at: ]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Farewell, Sadie

Our beloved Sadie went to the Rainbow Bridge on Monday at the age of 17. She went to the doctor for a dental, and a large mass was discovered in her abdomen while she was there. It was bleeding internally, so we decided to let our precious girl go.
We called her "Sadie No-Trouble". She was a darling, darling rat terrier girl. Though she suffered from a wee bit of dementia (had her "spells", don't you know!), she still froliced behind me like a little filly when we go for walkies in the big field. She had just discovered pets in the last year, and was constantly at our fingertips . Sadie thought that Baci was her baby, and was often nearby, keeping an eye on his royal tininess. Her human mom passed away, and we were so happy that she was able to find her way north to Hundenruhe.
There will always be a hole in our hearts without our girl, but we know that she truly found "dog's peace" here. What she gave to us was immeasurable.
We love you, Sadie. See you at the bridge...

Friday, November 27, 2009

End of an Era

Today we'll say good-bye to an old friend and an era in my life. As a child, I dreamed of owning a horse, learning to ride, and showing at a horse show. Zeke, an Appaloosa, made all those dreams come true for me. He and I learned dressage together, he an 11-year-old green-broke cow horse, and I a 26-year-old city girl. At first sight, he reminded me of a camel - making funny faces over the wall of the stall. Definitely NOT the horse of my dreams. But, he was affordable, and quickly won my heart. Zeke did not like to work, so he used to pretend to be lame every month when the dressage instructor flew in from Michigan. Silly boy. Soon, Dan and I made over the dairy barn on our farm to accomodate Zeke, and many hours were spent pounding nails and fence posts. Zeke was soon joined by Buddy, Dan's aged quarter horse, and then Rhodes, my Holsteiner show horse. Over time, Buddy went to the Rainbow Bridge and Rhodes to a new home, and our Zeke was left to grace our pastures. He was a friend to the barn cats, snurffling them with his big nose, and loved to tease the dogs. His pasture paralleled the dog run, and he loved to lean over the fence and blow on the dogs. There are very few things that felt as wonderful as seeing him trot in to the barn when I called him. Today the vet will come and we will send him on his way to join Buddy at the Bridge. I will miss him - and all he represents. My first horse...and my last. Love you, Big Guy. Run free.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon the many things that one is grateful for. It is probably the very best holiday of all, because it is a chance to spend time with family, and express the gratitude that fills our hearts. I am so fortunate to have so many blessings - my husband and partner, my mom and step-dad, students who have become my extended family, the cutest heart-dogs in the world, a gorgeous place in the country to live, the opportunity to share my home with the sweet aged souls of the senior dogs that come to live with us, ample food to eat (sometimes too much!), and a great education. I feel lucky every day for what I have - and will continue to strive to do better and be better.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Our donated basket went for $51! Yay for Fluffy Butts!
Today was a gorgeous day, with the mist rising from the fields at Hundenruhe Haven. After a glorious walk in the warmer-than-normal morning air, I headed off to have lunch with my mom. I am so lucky to have her in my life! We had a lovely talk and it reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for. I have the very best possible partner in the world - my husband Dan. And we get to make a difference one dog at a time - getting to know these amazing old souls and receiving their sweet wisdom and spirits. During the week I am blessed with a job where I can inspire and be inspired by the most unique and cool kids on the planet. I live on a fantastic piece of land, where the delights of nature are at my doorstep every day. We have plenty to eat, and fairly reliable transportation. Though we don't get to have many frivolous items in our lives like vacations and big TV's, fancy cars, or expensive clothes, we are blessed with what matters. It is enough.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bid on Cool Stuff!

Fluffy Butts Rescue Resort in Iowa is having its annual auction to raise money to rehome the many animals that come to them in need each year. This is the organization that sent us Roody, and Chris is an amazing person, so I'd encourage you to support them in any way that you can. The auction starts on November 15, but you can register beginning November 14. Go to to find out more. The basket in the picture is our donation to the auction and includes: a snuggie sack dog blanket, gourmet doggie treats, handmade notecards, a cute plaque, and a toy basket. Bid high! I finished making the snuggie sack today, and made our pups an extra one because I liked the rubber duckie fleece so much. Skylar is testing out our blankie now and has declared it comfy and warm!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Well, at the risk of jinxing ourselves, it seems the storm has passed. All the pups are feeling much better. Roody is still having some tummy issues, but the liquid leavings are thankfully a thing of the past. Rudy gets his stitches out on Saturday, and Mimi gets her three year rabies shot. I hope that we are through at the vet's office for awhile!

It's that time of year again! I just signed up Baci, Olive, and myself to ring bells for the Salvation Army over the holiday season. We'll be ringing bells outside the Manitowoc Shopko every Tuesday evening beginning on November 24th. Please stop by and put some money in the kettle - its a great cause that really helps a lot of people. It is always chilly and every year I wonder why I am standing there freezing, but I meet the nicest people! Baci may even give you a kiss if you stop by!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh, Dear

Well, times are a wee bit rough at the Haven. Rudy just had surgery for his tumor (he's doing fine and finally back home after a night at the vet), Roody stayed overnight last night at the vet, too, as he has some sort of tummy bug, Sophia is throwing up, Sadie is sleeping more and more, and Frisbee is off his food. Something has hit us, and it isn't the Swine Flu! This is so hard on the old ones, and I hope we don't lose anyone. If you have faith, please send us some positive thoughts and prayers for these souls to recover (and quickly!). It is also hard on the budget when they are sick. Despite our vet's generous help, the bills are still so high - last month it was over $600 for the two dentals, and the Rudy's bill was $465 today. I'm not sure where the money is going to come from for this round, and I sure hope there isn't more to come. Don't worry - I'd never deny the dogs necessary care. I guess we'll have to shuffle around a few more expenses...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Treadmills, Tumors, and Turn-arounds

It was a productive Saturday at Hundenruhe Haven. Rudy, our 16-year-old Italian Greyhound, has been battling cancerous tumors on his belly for as long as he's lived with us - about 3 years now. He also takes medicine for his thyroid and for epilepsy. On Friday night, a very large tumor burst open and was giving him some discomfort, so I took him to the vet on Saturday morning. Poor fellow - it looks like raw meat! We decided that Rudy wasn't yet ready for the Rainbow Bridge, so he will have surgery to remove the tumor on Monday. Last month he lost 7 teeth, this month part of his skin! Please think good thoughts for his surgery and subsequent recovery. sister-in-law has purchased my treadmill. Hurray! I am too fat and have too much trouble with my joints to take up running again, so the treadmill has been a convenient blanket-hanger for some time now. Since she can't pick it up until Thanksgiving weekend, I managed to haul it out to the porch to await pick-up. Never one to pass up an opportunity to rearrange furniture, I moved a few things around in the dog room yesterday, and I'm quite pleased with the result. The dog room is a bit of a misnomer, as the dogs generally have free reign of the house when we are home. However, when we are away, we try to confine them to one room. All the dogs except for Uncle Mort and New Year are crated for breakfast and dinner to ensure proper medication and nutrition, but only Obie, Skylar, Mimi, Twig, Olive, and Baci are crated when we're away. They are the younger dogs, and are crated for their safety. Thankfully, that's never more than about four hours at a stretch. The older dogs hang out on dog beds or the futon in the dog room, and New Year is in a room of his own. Anyway, the dogs are enjoying a little more space in front of the electric fireplace, which we use as supplemental heating in the cold months. They are loving hanging out in their Bubble Butt Beds from Aunt Chris in Iowa, soaking up the heat coming from the fireplace. A couple of extra crates (a wee bit larger than their current ones) should be arriving this week, so Skye and Obie can have a little more room when their Dad is at work. I am so pleased with the result of decorating this long, skinny room that has to serve an unusual purpose! I love HGTV shows - maybe I could start one that decorates "dog rooms" in other people's houses! Okay, maybe not, but a girl can dream, can't she?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Turkeys and Snow

Another cold morning at Hundenruhe Haven. When we went out for the first outing of the day, snowflakes were drifting gently down from a gray and dreary sky. Fortunately, they didn't last long, but I have a feeling that they were a harbinger of things to come. The pups aren't thrilled with the chill, but they take delight in the bountiful scents that autumn provides. This morning Obie, Skylar, Mimi, and Tulip were entertained for quite awhile by this fellow. The dogs have been after him all summer (this photo was from a previous squirrel encounter with him!). Tulip's beagle nose scared him up out of a potted plant in the Tulip Garden, and he scampered up the chainlink fence and dove into one of the metal posts. Poor pups! They were so confused and frustrated by his scolding from inside the pipe, which amplified his protests! Their heads were cocked, ears up, listening to what I can only imagine they thought was the biggest squirrel in the universe!
Our other surprise this morning was a flock of turkeys in our Field 2, which can be seen from the house. We've found turkey feathers in the back fields before, but this was the first time we saw the turkeys from the yard. There were two toms, and about a dozen hens. Once the dogs started barking at Mr. Nutkin the Squirrel, the turkeys started ambling toward the hedgerow, and soon disappeared into the long grass. The dogs never saw the turkeys (thankfully!), so we didn't have to deal with the inevitable cacophony that would have followed that discovery! Turkeys are not very smart creatures, but it is so cool to see these huge birds still able to live in their natural environment.
The neighbor's elk are also reminding us that it is Fall. They call back and forth to their mates, and the sound is a cross between an elephant's trumpeting and a coyote's howl. They are just about done with this annual opera, but it has been so amazing to hear their love songs and see these giant shaggy beasts with huge antlers as they move about in their spacious home. We are so lucky to live next to Dennis, his family, and their elk. We get to enjoy the sights and sounds without all the work!
As usual, this weekend will be filled with cooking (for ourselves and the dogs), cleaning, and laundry. Soon it will be necessary to put all of the outdoor furniture and toys away for the season - but I just can't bear to do it yet!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall? What Fall?

The leaves are gorgeous right now, so Olive, Baci, and I went out Friday after school to take some pictures. These trees are on our road - aren't they lovely? You can almost smell the musty, papery smell of the leaves as they float gently to the ground to crackle underfoot. It put me in the mind of autumn foods, so on Saturday I made a huge pot of spicy chili and some homemade pumpkin pies. The house was redolent with the smell of cloves, ginger, and chili peppers. Autumn...right? Then WHY WAS IT 22 DEGREES THIS MORNING???? And, WHY DID IT SNOW ON SATURDAY??? It looks like fall, it smells like fall...but it feels like winter! Ahhh, Wisconsin, the land of two seasons - hot and snow. At least it looks pretty. Stay warm, everyone!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I had a revelation yesterday. When Roody (shown next to Rudy) came to live with us from Iowa, we tried to figure out a way to distinguish him from the other Rudy that we already had - for calling him, for the vet's office, for medications, etc. We decided that since he was so old, we would just spell his name with two "o's", and refer to him as "Roody 2". After awhile, we started calling him Toody for short. Yesterday I realized that it is the perfect name. Why? Because he has the biggest "tude" (attitude) of any dog that I've ever met! He doesn't see well, so we have to approach him gently so that he doesn't startle - otherwise he growls and bites - no teeth to harm us, but not very nice all the same. He also jumps as high as my shoulder and does a little dance when he is happy - more 'tude! And...he sings! No kidding - he has this high-pitched little song that he sings when he wants to be with us. What a character! Soooooo - Toody it is!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


It's coooolllldddd here! I miss the balmy summer breezes, but the chilly nights are wonderful for snuggling and sleeping. I am loving the opportunity to turn on the electric mattress pad warmer, cuddle up with the tinies, and read a good book. I just finished The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's new novel, and I'm ready to start a period piece, The White Queen. School is in full swing, so life around here has shifted to the other schedule - up by five to feed and out the dogs, off to school to arrive by 6:30, Dan off to pick up kids by six to get them to their various schools, and then he's in and out all day to let dogs in and out. Back home for me after five each day - walks in the field, feeding again, dinner for us, and then a bit of a cuddle in front of the TV before books and bed! Whew! Its a crazy life, but has its own rewards. Happy October!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Ambassa-Dogs (AKA The Tinies)

Olive and Baci are my heartbeats, and together act as Ambassa-Dogs for the Sanctuary. They are both toy fox terriers. They have worked with me at the Farmer's Market booth (I am quite sure they have waaaay more friends than I do!), traveled across the country to help me pick up residents for Hundenruhe, and come to school to read with my students. They are even famous! Our friend Barbara Techel was kind enough to include them in her book, "Frankie - The Walk 'n' Roll Dog". I could not have been more blessed with amazing companions.
Olive came to me via a wonderful rescue group called Southern Hope in Atlanta, GA. Stacey and her daughter gave her a great start after her original owners, an elderly couple, recognized that perhaps a puppy didn't suit their lives as well as they originally anticipated. Thankfully, they gave up Olive (then Daisy) to Stacey, and eventually when Olive was nine months old, I flew down to Atlanta to adopt her and fly home. She rode in the cabin and charmed everyone! Since she came to live with us in December, Olive is named after the title character in the book, "Olive - The Other Reindeer". She is now six years old, and weighs only six pounds!
Baci (formerly Rusty) was going to be euthanized at the Wisconsin Humane Society because they thought he had a chronic skin condition. Thankfully, it was simply that he had been pulling out his hair due to stress when his owners kept him in his crate for ten hours a day while they were at work, so he soon was back to normal after coming to live here at one year of age. I commend his owners for realizing that this was not the life for him, and giving him the chance for a different kind of life. They did a wonderful job with his early life, because he came to us delightfully snuggly, housebroken, and with the cute trick of doing spins for treats! He is tiny, tiny, tiny, weighing only 3.5 pounds! His name means "kisses" in Italian (he loves both giving and receiving!), and he is named after the Perugina chocolate by that name that comes wrapped in love notes.
The tinies have their own car seats in my car, and love being packed up (yes, dressed up, too!) and taken with me whereever I can get away with bringing them! Lucky, lucky me - to have been able to have four heartdogs in my lifetime - two have passed away, and two live with me now.

Da Girlz

Twiggy (top) and Metoo (Mimi, below) are our girls. Both girls were supposed to be foster dogs, but ended up staying for good. Twiggy came to us as an owner-surrender via the Wisconsin Humane Society. She was going to go live with Mama Wendy in Illinois, but she wasn't very polite to Mama Wendy's other dog, so she came back home to Hundenruhe. We decided that she could stay, because little Miss Mimi needed a friend. Twig is five, and is a toy fox terrier. She has a few white hairs on her forehead, so I tell her that's where the angels kissed her to remind her to be good. She loves playing fetch more than anything else on the planet, and runs like the wind on her stubby legs, tryng to get her toy, and barking to scare off any birds flying overhead. (How dare they fly over "her" house!)
Mimi is a puppy mill puppy, and is another dog saved by our vet's office. She came to us covered in ugly sores and raw skin due to a condition called atopic dematitis. Due to the dermatitis and her lack of early socialization, Mimi didn't get handled much by her previous family, causing lasting developmental and social problems. With a lot of ointment, oral medication, special food, and love, today Mimi is a healthy four year old rat terrier, but she still can't handle strangers of any kind or children. So on the day before Mimi was set to go to her foster home in Minnesota, she crawled up on Dan's lap, looked him straight in the eye and said, "Me, too? Can I stay, too?" Soft-hearted Dan consented, Mimi got a new name, and she is a lasting reminder of why puppy mills need to be put out of business. She will always need to be put in a separate room when we have guests at the sanctuary because the stress makes her ill. Mimi's great with Dan and I, however, so she will have a loving home here until she goes to the Bridge one day (hopefully) well into the future.

Da Boyz

These are my "little men". We've had Oberon (Obie, on the left) and Skylar (Skye, on the right) since they were six weeks old. I can't believe that this week they will turn 8 and officially be seniors with the rest of the crew. Obie is a little "off" and must take meds for his anxiety, and Skye is the boss of the pack here - sometimes a little too bossy! When they were tiny, they couldn't sleep without each other, and now they want to be as far apart as possible. Obie has always been my little "tank" - chunky and cuddly - constantly rolling over for belly rubs, and loving to rock on the outdoor swing. Sky has always been my "smoochie" - kissing and pushing his way in to give his version of puppy hugs - pushing himself against you as tightly as possible. They are a joy, and were the only puppies I ever purchased (or will purchase) from a breeder. They are rat terriers - a challenging breed - and are no healthier or have any better temperaments than those pups we have rescued. a pup...adopt!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Almost Forgot Sadie!

We call her "Sadie No-Trouble". She is a darling, darling rat terrier girl who is 16 years old. Though she suffers from a wee bit of dementia (has her "spells", don't you know!), she still frolics behind me like a little filly when we go for walkies in the big field. She has just discovered pets in the last year, and is constantly at our fingertips now. Sadie thinks that Baci is her baby, and is often nearby, keeping an eye on his royal tininess. Her human mom passed away, and we are happy that she was able to find her way north to Hundenruhe.

Don't Throw the Frisbee!

This is our little Frisbee (my handsome boyfriend). He came to Hundenruhe Haven via our amazing vet's office. Originally, his name was Frisky, but it didn't seem to match his charm, so we renamed him Frisbee. His human dad brought him in for his rabies shot, and decided to have him euthanized instead. The wonderful techs and doctor convinced his dad to surrender him, and he came to live with us instead. Fris is in the later stages of congestive heart failure, so he doesn't waddle out to the fields with us anymore, but he still yodels his "hellos" and gives tiny kisses on our noses every day. He enjoys napping on his futon couch and letting everyone know when we come home and rise in the morning. He is 12 years old.

Sophia's Choice

Sophia came to us with her sister Iggy (who we renamed Peggy) when they were 11. They had been the consolation to two children who lost their father in a tragic accident, and when the kids went to college, their mom decided that she didn't want the dogs around anymore. So sad. So, Peggy and Sophia came to Wisconsin from Indiana along with Rudy. Unfortunately, Peggy came to us with a rare form of lung cancer, and died within a month of arriving. Some good did come of her death, though, as our vet was able to learn about her type of cancer and let her go peacefully while she was under anaesthesia. Sophia is now nearly 14 and continues to charm our household with her throaty bark and silly wiggles. In the picture above, she is using New Year as a pillow. Sophia lost 17 teeth in her dental two weeks ago, poor darling. It hasn't slowed down her eating, though!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A New Year

New Year is a beautiful male greyhound who will turn 14 on December 4. He came to us shortly before his birthday last year, when his human mom and dad became elderly and unable to care for him and his sisters. New Year was quite the racer in his day, and won a lot of money for his owner. However, attempts to make little New Years failed (thankfully) and Newly was retired to a life of leisure. Newly is riddled with arthritis in his knees and hips - pain meds are dulling the pain for now, but even good food, pain meds, and nutriceuticals aren't keeping up anymore. Though he has brief joyful romps in the field, he pays for it later with soreness and pain. When his pain outweighs his joy, we will help him to the Bridge.

Uncle Mort

Uncle Mort is a 14.5 year old Italian Greyhound/Terrier mix. He's a little goofy, but in a nice sort of way. He, too, had to wait for a few days with his poodle companion before someone discovered that his human dad had passed away. Maybe that's why he's kind of odd, or maybe he's always been odd - we'll never know! He has no teeth, just like Roody, but fortunately for him it doesn't seem to slow his eating down or make his tongue hang out! Mort has recently discovered that he enjoys ear scritchies and other pets, so he's become a bit of a velcro dog lately. He also is quite accomodating to the other dogs who want to share his bed - I think that he enjoys the warmth and companionship. He's a sweet old guy, and we're lucky to have him around.


Rudy is our 16 year old Italian Greyhound. He has been with us for three years now and is originally from Indiana. Rudy's former human mom had dementia for the last few years of her life, so Rudy's care was sporadic. He tends to bark when he wants just about anything, but especially for his breakfast and dinner. Poor guy, when his human mom died, he had to stay there with her for awhile until her family discovered that she had passed on, so that had to be rather traumatic, too. Rudy is happy now (though still quite quirky and strange!) and enjoys pottering about the yard and sleeping on the cushy beds. His age hasn't slowed him down one iota, however, and he can still jump as high as the countertops to steal bread and rolls!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here's Tulip

Tulip entered our lives after a sad start. She spent the first fourteen years of her life without a name, a breeder beagle in Iowa. When her puppy-making years were over, she was turned loose to fend for herself in the fields. When the local sheriff tracked down her owner, he claimed the younger dog that she was running with, but wouldn't accept Tulip. Tulip found herself in a temporary home in a one-room cabin, filled with cages of other puppers. Rescued by caring friends, and transported by Jean and Dave, Tulip found her way to Hundenruhe Haven. We named her Tulip (LuLu or Tulli for short). When she arrived, she was in pretty tough shape. Her teeth were worn down, she had spinal spondilosis, a fracture in her spine from being kicked or hit by a car, double ear infections, and she was quite underweight. She didn't know how to play and didn't know that being petted was a good thing. I am happy to report that Tulip is now the poster pup for Hundenruhe Haven. She is 16, runs and plays (including playbows), hunts down imaginary rabbits, checks the fenceline daily, and loves to be petted and kissed on her forehead. Hundenruhe Haven gave her a name, a purpose for being, a warm bed, and love. She gives us her sweet smile, gentle gazes, and undying loyalty. A fair trade.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meet Roody

I thought it might be nice to introduce the residents here at Hundenruhe over the next few days! We'll start with the oldest, and work our way down to the youngest, shall we? The oldest dog is Roody, who is 17 years old. He is an Italian Greyhound, and came to us via the Fluffy Butts Rescue Resort in Iowa. My very patient mother and I drove to pick him up in August of this year, and he has been adjusting to life on the farm ever since. Roody's human mom decided to give him and his "sister" up when she had a life change. His rat terrier "sister", also 17, found a lovely home with a couple who will give her tons of love for the rest of her days. Roody had his last two teeth pulled and his manly bits removed shortly before he came to live with us. For awhile, his amorous ways were a big bother to our other Rudy, but he has settled down now to a more calm and contented existence. He must be handfed due to his very narrow muzzle and no teeth, but it is a nice chance for he and I to bond together twice a day, so I don't mind. Welcome to Hundenruhe, Roody!

Welcome to Hundenruhe Haven!

Well, I'm going to try this blogging thing again. Hopefully, it will be a place to keep everyone up to date with the sanctuary. Pass along this link to your friends, so they can keep up too!
Today is gorgeous on the farm. It is a lovely, autumn morning - the last cutting of hay is in huge rolls in the field, the trees on the ridge are changing, and the thunk, thunk of walnuts hitting the steel roof can be heard all over the land. The dogs and I took a lovely walk through the crisp leaves and sparkling dew this morning before heading back inside to get everyone fed and steep a lovely pot of Zen tea to start our day. Even New Year the greyhound managed to get his arthritic hips and knees going this morning for a short burst of chasing Roody in the field. The peace and contentment surrounded us this morning and I am filled with gratitude for the blessing of another day with the dogs here on the farm.