Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This is the time of year that causes me to reflect upon the past year and all that it entailed. I don't like standard "Christmas Letters", so I won't regale you with everything that's happened this year (you can look back at the blog for that!). However, I was rather surprised to discover that we've welcomed eight new dogs into the sanctuary's family since last Christmas (Teddy, Esther, Coco, Sammy, Nala, Shae, Foxy, and Truvy), and said good-bye to four (New Year, Nala, Roody, Tulip, and Sadie and our horse Zeke right before last Christmas). Working with the oldies is hard sometimes, because we love them so much and they must go so quickly. But the reward of feeling their love and watching them enjoy the simple pleasures of life makes it all worthwhile.
After much thought, and an applicant who turned down Truvy because of her special needs, we have added Truvy as a permanent member of the Hundenruhe family. She will have her special weekly spa baths, ear cleanings, and grain-free food for the rest of her life here at the sanctuary. Most of all, she will have our love - this quirky little girl has really won over our hearts!
Right now we are trying to get Moses, an ancient, blind little chihuahua up from Dallas, Texas to live here. My sister has really come through with an outstanding offer if all other help fails, but I am hoping someone comes forward to either fly with Moses here to Wisconsin, or drive him up. Thanks, Cindy, for supporting my dreams.
Over the past year, we have been so blessed with friends, both old and new, coming through with their own talents to help us out. We have had a new porch built, a new well-housing built, donations to our vet account, and a few cash donations. We've been turned down by Extreme Makeover Home Edition despite overwhelming support from family and friends, had our furnace die and borrowed the money to replace it, and flooded our barn because of a burst pipe. Through it all, my friends around the country (especially you crazy ladies at Fluffy Butts!) and in the UK (you Terrier Talk folks are amazing!), my husband and partner Dan, and the pups themselves have always kept me laughing and filled with hope. When my cup has run dry, you have filled it back up, and for that I am eternally grateful. Thank you so much!
In 2011, I hope that we can continue to help each other - with love, by sharing our talents, and by supporting each other in whatever way we can.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Thank you to IMPS - MinPin Rescue - for this poem:
’Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town,
every shelter is full—we are lost, but not found.
Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare,
we hope every minute that someone will care.
They’ll come to adopt us and give us the call,
...“Come here, Max and Sparkie — come fetch your new ball!”
But now we sit here and think of the days
we were treated so fondly — we had cute, baby ways.
Once we were little, then we grew and we grew.
Now we’re no longer young and we’re no longer new.
So out the back door we were thrown like the trash.
They reacted so quickly — why were they so rash?
We “jump on the children,” “don’t come when they call,”
we “bark when they leave us,” “climb over the wall.”
We should have been neutered, we should have been spayed,
now we suffer the consequence of the errors THEY made.
If only they’d trained us, if only we knew,
we’d have done what they asked us and worshiped them, too.
We were left in the backyard, or worse, let to roam.
Now we’re tired and lonely and out of a home.
They dropped us off here and they kissed us goodbye…
“Maybe someone else will give you a try.”
So now here we are, all confused and alone
in a shelter with others who long for a home.
The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat,
with so many to care for, they can’t stay to chat.
They move to the next kennel, giving each of us cheer…
we know that they wonder how long we’ll be here.
We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads
of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds.
Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears –
our friends filled with emptiness, worry, and fear.
If you can’t adopt us and there’s no room at the inn –
could you help with the bills and fill our food bin?
We count on your kindness each day of the year –
can you give more than hope to everyone here?
Please make a donation to pay for the heat…
and help get us something special to eat.
The shelter that cares for us wants us to live,
and more of us will, if more people will give.
–Author Unknown
We have been so blessed by friends' generosity this year - a gorgeous new and safe porch, a new well box, a few wonderful donations to help pay for the dogs' vet bills, and endless encouragement and love.
Dan and I continue to love what we do - the dogs who find their way here are so grateful for their warm beds, radiant heaters, playtime, laps, tasty food, and regular vet care. We in turn love them with all our hearts for as long as they are here - always hoping that it will be for a long time, though it never seems like its enough. I am looking forward to 2011 and the joys it is sure to bring - new friends through rescue, new pups to join us, and lots of laughs as we watch the fur-kids find their peace.
Our wish to you this holiday season is abundant time with the people and animals you love, some quiet time for reflection upon your blessings, and to be ever mindful of those who need a helping hand - not just at Christmastime, but throughout the year.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Well, its been awhile since I've had time to post, so I apologize for the lack of news about the furries here at the Haven! The new furnace boiler has finally been installed, but the in-floor heating isn't yet here, so the pups are still enjoying the radiant space heaters, like Truvy and Teddy are above. Truvy is still battling her skin issues, so she's getting two baths and blow-dries every week, along with two different meds and some special spray. So far, its working - she's itching far less, but it has affected her appetite. We are tempting her with all kinds of goodies, so I'm sure she'll come around soon.
The others are doing as well as can be expected. Uncle Mort and Sophia are really starting to show their ages, now that the weather is chilly. Sophia's sweater is on almost all the time now, and Mort's back is hunched up with arthritis. Several of the dogs are on daily pain medication, and it seems to help the achiness.
We've had an amazing breaththrough with Grandma Esther. We have finally beat the yeast infection that she came with, and she has come alive!! Esther now begs on her hind legs to be picked up and put on Dan's or my lap, and hollers at the dogs if they happen to choose the bed she wants to lay in. What a wonderful character she's turned out to be!
Lately I've been having to turn away so many dogs. It makes me sad to think of all the dogs that are missing their families and homes, and we are unable to afford to take them in. However, all these dogs are living here and enjoying hearth and home, so they at least can experience happiness. I know that I just need to think harder about how I can find more money to help more pups. I think we could probably handle four more here - a total of twenty - if we could just find the money to support them. I will put my thinking cap on...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fantastic Fall Weekend

It is a glorious autumn morning here at Hundenruhe. The mist rising from the fields muffled the few sounds that could be heard, including the distant honking of geese rising to begin their trek south. As the sun came up, the ridge across from the house burst into color - I just had to get a picture of it, even though the photo doesn't do justice to the brilliant oranges, reds, and golds that struck my eyes. I think this may be our Indian summer, and the last of the warm days before the chilly fall days take over.
We had a wonderful weekend. Friday night was spent sharing yummy pizza in our pajamas, and then toasting marshmallows over a campfire on the patio. Saturday was filled with the usual chores, but also included some time for walkies in the fields, and chatting whilst sitting outside - first on the patio, and later on the new deck. We capped off the day watching the classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" that we had DVR'd earlier. One of my favorite books, the movie was also excellent.
Today we are going to a local orchard for breakfast, and then coming home to bake pies and have a traditional Sunday chicken dinner at home with the pups. Truvy has already had her bath, the coffee is done brewing, dogs are fed, and it's time to wake up Dan to go have some breakfast.
Hundenruhe indeed - peace for people and dogs.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tentative Success...

Well, the furnace man was out again yesterday and we have some options now for a new boiler.Old houses are kind of funny - they limit your options for replacement - so we only have a couple of options. I am so thankful that we did some refinancing last week (thanks dear husband Dan!!), so we should be able to buy the new boiler.The nice thing is that it will be installed before it gets really cold, so we won't have to all sleep in our coats! I am hoping that it will save us money in the long run because it will be a little more efficient. We're waiting on the estimates now. Geothermal would be such a great thing - eco-friendly, less fuel usage and cost - but it is so cost-prohibitive for the average consumer. The same thing applies to both solar and wind power. My question is this: if these items save money (by a lot!!), then why can't the people who need to save money afford them? Another one of life's mysteries...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If it isn't one thing...

..it's another. The furnace man says our furnace is done - beyond repair. Now what? I will try to stay positive and figure something out...we have so many blessings and I am grateful. At least we found out before it's 30 below. But honestly, this one is really putting a damper on my positivity! Not sure how, but we'll find a way somehow...we always do.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Autumn has Arrived!

Brrrr! It was 48 degrees this morning! The snap of fall was in the air, the squirrels are trying to get in the basement to store their nut supply for the winter, and the walnut tree is pelting us with nuts. We don't quite have color on the trees yet, though the trees whose leaves just turn yellow and drop are showering us with every gust of wind. The dogs always have the hardest time adapting to the temperature change at this time of year. Later on in the winter, they will have built up their resistance, but right now they shiver and tremble with every damp step on the lawn. So, it's time to break out the.........sweaters! Some of the pups seem to be able to keep up their body heat without a problem, but a few need a little help. We got some beautiful handmade sweaters at YorkieStock in Iowa this summer, and our dear adopted Granny Scrapkins (Gloria) also knitted some sweaters for the kids that we love. I went out this morning and took these pictures of the kids as they enjoyed the gray and blustery Sunday morning at the Haven. There's lots of pictures...so enjoy!

Sophia and Baci

Obie cleaning Olive's eyes. He feels that this is his responsibility, and does it frequently. How cute is that?
Shae the Beagle
Shae and Sophie with Twig

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Fourteen dogs bathed in under an hour. Enough said. :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Extreme Makeover - Hundenruhe Edition

Well, we didn't get picked for the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Wisconsin home makeover. Another teacher and his family in Neenah were selected and received a really wonderful home last month. However, we weren't left entirely out of the loop! Our dear friends Halvor and Teri (really chosen family members) made our dreams come true over the past two weekends by surprising us with a new deck/front porch. The front door was the only door left unprotected from the outside world, but it is unsafe no longer! Halvor and Teri (with a tiny bit of help from Dan and I) built this amazing front porch with a doggie-safe gate. It is SO beautiful and I can rest easier now, knowing the pups can't get out.
Yet another miracle for us here. I am so blessed by these wonderful people in my life - and then they go and do something so incredibly generous and sweet. I know I don't really deserve this kind of love and kindness, but I am so grateful for them, and for this gift.
Here's what it looked like before, with its ancient cement slab steps and rickety iron railings:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Milestones and Miracles

When you are involved with dogs, you know that the smallest things can be the greatest miracles. Yesterday I was lucky enough to experience two more wondrous miracles at the Haven. I had the crew out for one of our twice daily walks in the big field. It was gorgeous! The breeze was just brisk enough to keep the mosquitoes from landing, the sun was warm on my shoulders, and the intense verdant green of the scenery around me was breathtaking. I was soaking it all in, bottling it in my memory for the time when the darkness is more common than the light, both in the landscape and in my heart. The dogs were zig-zagging back and forth across the field in their usual happy-go-lucky way and I was laughing at Mimi and Twiggy's faux duel-to-the-death chase across the field, when I spied a tiny white speck coming through the arbor gate from the yard into the field. I held my breath for a moment, because I couldn't believe it...Baci was venturing out to join us! For the past two years, Baci hasn't joined us on our walkies - I think primarily because he got bowled over once by one of the larger dogs. But there he was, bravely and steadily making his way out to me at the other end of the field. When he got about twenty feet from me, I called to him, and he broke into a bouncy little trot to get to me faster. I scooped him up and kissed his dear little cheek, telling him how brave he was. Baci is one of those dogs that actually smile like people - his lips turn up at the corners when he's happy - and he was smiling to beat the band. To some people, this might not be a big deal - to me, this was a huge gift.
The second miracle came from my other tiny heart boy, Teddy. As you may recall from my other posts, Teddy is a former puppy-mill dog who, until March of this year, spent his entire nine years of life in a cage, walking on wire mesh. Therefore, Teddy didn't experience some of the same things that the rest of us would consider normal experiences for a puppy. He learned about many of these things from his foster mom, Chris - like cuddling, belly rubs, sleeping in a bed, kisses on a cheek, and the warmth of a human lap. A couple of weeks ago, he started doing puppy zoomies in the house before bed. Now, mind you, our house isn't large, so there wasn't much room, but he seemed to enjoy himself nonetheless. Yesterday, he discovered one more benefit to living free - running for joy. On the same walk that Baci came out to join, Teddy started running in circles in the big field...he used every inch of that two acres in ever-widening circles. At first, it was like his little body had no idea how to coordinate everything with that much ground to cover. His legs went in all different directions and he looked a little silly, but with a wide, wide grin on his tiny face (like Baci, he smiles like a human). After a few laps, everything sort of clicked into place and he ran like the wind, ears back, tail out, and front and back legs working together in perfect harmony. My eyes teared up when I realized what I had just witnessed...a dog finally experiencing the ultimate freedom.
Yes, Virginia, miracles do still exist, and they happen every day if we look for them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Paws-ing for Gratitude

I am so grateful...I had a wonderful summer with Dan, and school is starting up again next week. While I would love to be retired and hang out with Dan and the pups all the time, I am SO thankful that unlike many teachers, I have a great teaching job to return to this fall. I have the best students on the planet (can't wait to see you guys!!). And finally, finally, my Baci is starting to feel more like himself and little Teddy is eating again. I was so worried about those little fellas!!
So, feeling a bit more contented and grateful for my blessings, I decided to finish off my tattoo yesterday after working at school. Here's what it looked like originally...
and here is what it looks like now:
I got this tattoo on my ankle in May, and it didn't seem quite finished, so I added to it yesterday. The dragonfly represents (in the Native American tradition) those that have passed on before me and overcoming a big challenge, the starfish represents how I feel about working with kids and dogs (the Starfish Story), the pawprints are Olive and Baci (one is slightly larger than the other) and the other heart dogs who have been part of my life, and the musical clef heart is for my love of singing. I think its done now, though I am considering another tiny Teddy print...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm Ready for my Stroll on the Boardwalk by the Shore...

Ah, Coco. What a character! She's feeling better now, so she's begun to notice that she has stitches and has been trying to scratch them out with her back foot. So, rather than putting an e-collar on her, I asked Dan to pick up a baby undershirt from the store to cover up the stitches until they heal. He came home with this...

Hahaha! Isn't it perfect?! It is one of those matching Garanimals shirts for kids...and it fit her like it was made for her! Doesn't it look like she's about to go strolling on the boardwalk in Atlantic City at the turn-of-the-century? Now if they only made doggie-sized parasols, picnic baskets, and boater straw hats!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Summer is screaming by, and I'm trying not to look too far ahead, since I have to go back to school in 2.5 weeks. I've already had to go in for a meeting, and had to do some work here at home.
The pups are all fine, for the most part. Foxy arrived on Wednesday. She's a gem, very perky and bossy, so Skylar has already put her in her place twice. :( It's not fun keeping an eye on that, but I'm sure it will settle down eventually. Bethany, the director of the shelter where Foxy is from, drove four hours each way with her boyfriend and little old lady dog to deliver Foxy to us. She and her boyfriend really wanted to adopt Foxy themselves, but they already have enough pets in their  apartment, so they were delighted that Foxy got to come here and live with us. I felt really good that they liked our place (Bethany said that she didn't want to leave!), and that they were comfortable leaving Foxy here when she was obviously so special to them. Foxy loved them too, and she kept going to the gate after they left to look for them.
Teddy is dealing with interdigital cysts on his one foot. They are big, owie puss-filled bumps that appear between his toes. Apparently this is very common with puppy mill dogs who have lived on wire mesh (which he had for his whole nine years), and they are kind of hard to treat. I am soaking his little paw in warm Epsom salt baths several times a day, and giving him antibiotics, so keep your fingers crossed for him!
Coco just had her third mammary surgery on Wednesday, so she is Frankendog for awhile until her stitches come out. Both in personality and in body!! She has always been our complainer, so she's walking around moaning and groaning. She isn't in any severe pain, so I have to laugh at her grumbling and chattering.
Frisbee just got re-evaluated for his heart condition, so there was blood drawn and more meds distributed. He's also due for a dental, but I'm waiting until September when we've got a little more money. Tomorrow Uncle Mort has to go in for his annual blood draw for his epilepsy meds. Oy Vey!  It has been an expensive summer for the vet this year!!
Finally, a weekend at home this weekend. I am hoping to get down to the Farmer's Market, and pick up some yummy veggies to make salsa. If I'm lucky, there will be some nice surprise foods that I can bring home as well. Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Poor Coco

Our dear Coco is having a bad night. She had her third mammary surgery today, and she is hurting something fierce, even with the pain meds. Poor darling is sitting and moaning (of course she complains about everything even when she's healthy, so its hard to tell if this is just being a drama queen or not). I feel bad for her, especially since the only thing that will help her is time...

Fabulous Foxy

The beautiful 10 lb Foxy, a terrier mix, arrived at Hundenruhe Haven today, thanks to Bethany from the Vernon County Humane Society. Bethany, her partner Brian, and little Penny brought Foxy all the way from Viroqua to live with us. Foxy is lovely, a little red-gold fuzzball, filled with confidence and moxie. We can't wait to get to know her better, but for now, we are simply happy that she has found her way home.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Baking Day at the Sanctuary

It was dog treat baking day today! I made Peanut Butter Pipsqueaks and Cini's Cheesies to take to Yorkiestock in Iowa this weekend. I made seven double-batches of treats, so there will be plenty for all of the pups at Yorkiestock to indulge in. Even Elmo will have a full belly after this. (Psssst, Elmo, the big bag in the middle is for you!) For those not in the know, Yorkiestock is the annual party-picnic fundraiser-bash held at FluffyButts Rescue Resort. Since Teddy comes from there, (as did Roody), we are honorary "FluffyButters" here at the Sanctuary. Kind of a "FluffyButts North". So, Olive, Baci, Teddy and I are going to set out tomorrow to enjoy the company of a lot of other kind folks and fur-kids. We couldn't come empty-handed, so we are bringing cheese curds, snuggle-sacks, and treats! Can you believe that there are people out there who don't know what cheese curds are? Well, the fur-kids and I are on a mission this weekend to educate the masses...starting with Iowa! In case there are fur-kids out there wondering if the treats are any good, the testing kitchen crew here thoroughly examined each batch today and declared them Grade A! Stay tuned for more from our big adventure...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Here's Another Video

This time I'll save you from having to listen to me and let you listen to Sarah MacLaughlin instead. It is a tribute to some of the Hundenruhe Angels...furkids who have gone on to the Rainbow Bridge. Enjoy!

I've Been Working...

on a couple of movies to showcase the pups. The first one is a montage of pictures of the dogs, past and present, that I set to my singing of "I'll Stand By You". I love that song, and it just seemed to fit some of the pictures of the dogs. Hope you enjoy it - and don't be too hard on the singer! :-)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Daddy's Little Helpers

These little monkeys wanted to "help" with the removal of the garbage to the recycling center this morning. Don't they look eager to help??

Even Granny Esther muscled her way to the front for a good look!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Olive and the Toad

This is Princess Olive on her royal throne. It is a special throne that overlooks her kingdom and swings gently to soothe her. Princess Olive is a happy but firm monarch, ruling her subjects with an iron paw in a velvet glove. However, Olive feels there is still something missing, and she is still looking for Prince Charming. On Sunday night, she came across a magical toad on her nightly constitutional around the grounds. Having heard some stories about magical frogs, she decided that it couldn't hurt to give him a kiss, to see if he turned into a gorgeous Prince TFT. Well, for the first time in her life (because the Princess is NEVER wrong), Princess Olive was mistaken. The toad was, well, a toad and he was a BAD kisser! He tasted icky. Really icky. After trying to eradicate every trace of the noxious beast from her mouth, Olive vowed never to kiss strangers ever again! Unfortunately, like a bad relationship, there seems to be lingering issues from the kiss, so Princess Olive will be visiting the royal physicians today to determine if something else must be done. Good luck, your Highness!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Teddy and Coco went to the doctor today. Coco is limping, and will need to have her toe soaked in Epsom salts twice a day. That should be interesting...! Teddy had some sad news. He has a grade 2 (out of 6) heart murmur. He had been throwing up some clear, yucky stuff and sounded congested, so Dr. Jeff checked him out. We decided to try him on heart meds for a week to see if it affects him, and then we'll know how to proceed. This isn't a serious condition as of yet, but its good to start addressing it early to halt any further deterioration of his heart. Teddy's heart is so big - we have to keep it healthy!

More Summer Smiles

How lucky am I, to see these  wonderful faces when I come home?! We had a hot, humid afternoon filled with scolding squirrels, rolls in the grass, wriggly bugs, fun with toys, and lots of naps on the doggie deck!