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.