Saturday, December 31, 2011

Endings and Beginnings...

2011 is drawing to a close tonight. It was a year of comings and goings, beginnings and endings, cycles of life. It would be easy to dwell on the heartaches of 2011...the biggest, of course, being the sudden loss of Olive. I still cry every day when I think of her - which is all the time. She is everywhere and nowhere...and I miss her beyond expression.
2011 also sent nine other dogs on their journey to the Rainbow Bridge: Kibble, Cubby, and Moses only made a brief stop at the Haven before ending their earthly journey; Foxy, Shae, and Coco graced us with their lives for a longer stay; and long-time residents Uncle Mort, Frisbee, and Sophia also said good-bye. It is hard to let them go...but the silver lining is the immense comfort that Dan and I were able to share with these little souls as they discovered family, space, and love.
We also were able to open our arms to Sera, Bergen, Lola, Barry, RooRoo, Edna, and little Bella. We have discovered the joys of miniature pinschers and through them met wonderful new friends like the Kims, Mendee, Clara, and Sylvia. Daily I am astonished at the wonderful people I have connected with through rescue via Facebook and this blog.
Dan and I continue to be grateful for Dr. Schuette and his staff at Kiel Vet Clinic - they take great care of our dogs (and us!) and we consider them part of our extended family. We are also fortunate to have some wonderful friends and family members who continue to support our mission and give us encouragement. Kind words and broad shoulders to cry upon are the best gifts we have received over the years!
Money continues to be a struggle, with changes in my salary due to political unrest in our state. However, I am SO thankful for a new job working with teachers, administrators, and students in my same school district where I can exercise my problem-solving skills and call upon my experience with teaching, while still learning many new things every day. I miss my students from McKinley Academy, but I remain in touch with a few of them and get to see them from time to time. Ah, more comings and goings...
I have also been fortunate to find a second freelance job that I can do from home to try to offset the reductions in my pay, and help to pay the enormous vet bills that we incur every month. We continue to have to evaluate our financial situation when called upon to take in new dogs and I wish we could do more and take more. Perhaps 2012 will be the year that we must decide whether to apply for non-profit status or scale back what we do here...I don't think that we will be able to continue in the way that we are without some help. A special thank you to those wonderful, generous folks who have sent us money and supplies this have kept us able to serve the dogs that we have and enabled us to say "yes" to the last couple of dogs that we would have had to turn away.
As I look ahead to 2012, I am hopeful that we will find the resources and energy to improve our environment for the dogs and ourselves. Major projects that I hope to accomplish include some fence repair, and expanding the dog run by fencing in the horse pasture so that we have a larger area in which to walk the dogs. They so enjoy our twice daily "amblings" where everyone goes their own pace - from RooRoo, Twiggy, Mimi and Bella's full-tilt mad dashes to Ozzy and Grammie Esther's slow toddling. Our land is beautiful, and my goal is use more of it regularly.
Of course, I'd like to lose weight and get fit again, spend more time with my photography and card making, explore the roads with Baci on my moped, and enjoy time on the deck and patio conversing with Dan. Most of all, my goal is to try to find the joy in the ordinary - I live in a spectacular setting, with some of the most interesting and entertaining souls. If I am cognizant of all that I have, I hope that the joy will reveal itself to me.
Wishing you peace, love, and prosperity in 2012...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hundenruhe Lost an Ambassa-Dog - I Lost My Heart

Olive the Other Reindeer, the best dog I've ever met, died today in my arms on the way to the vet's office for more tests. They tried, to no avail to revive her. I will never recover from her loss. I have had other heart dogs, but none like her. Olive was my best friend, my shadow, my ambassa-dog, my business partner, my lovey-alarm, Baci's big sissy, and my heart. I am empty now. I miss every dog we share our home with...but Olive was more than family and I am devastated. No Christmas miracle this year...8 years ago, four days before Christmas I picked up Olive in Atlanta from Southern Hope Rescue. She became my Christmas miracle, both for her perfection and effect on my life, but also to help me heal from a loss that happened in my life on the very day I returned home with her. Christmas will never be the same again.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pre-Holiday Frustration

Some years I am luckier than others...every year I TRY to get a cute photo of Olive and Baci for the digital holiday card. This year, I included little Bella in the "festivities". Well, it didn't work out so well...I may or may not try again, but in the meantime, here are some of the results. Hope your attempts are more successful than mine! LOL Don't forget to click to get the whole image!
"Wait Olive and Bella!! I hear Santa's reindeer on the roof!!"

Santa's Three Helpers

Beautiful Bella

Bella: "Okay, so this Christmas thing sounds great: extra yummies, new toys, the humans are home more...but I am worried about the naughty vs. nice thing. This elf guy next to me keeps staring at me, and I heard somethin' about Santa seeing you when you're sleeping and knowing when you're awake????"

Pretty Posing Olive

Olive the Other Reindeer

"Guess what, Baci? Santa comes down the chimney!"

"No way, Olive! He comes down the chimney?!!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Thanksgiving Challenge

I am really loving how Facebook brings a lot of people into my life that I would not otherwise have met. It is wonderful to hear other people's perspectives - even when they don't mesh with my own. Another benefit is that interesting challenges come across my computer screen. This year, the following message caught my eye: "November's Thankgiving Challenge: Every day until Thanksgiving, think of something that you are thankful for and post it as your status. "Today I am thankful for". If you think you can do it, then re-post this message as your status to invite others to take the challenge, then post what you are thankful for today...". I started out by being thankful for my mom, who recently very bravely went through radiation treatment for skin cancer this summer, and this month had both of her knees replaced. She is an extraordinary woman, and I am so proud that she (along with my dad) was chosen to raise me. I have been working for the last year or two on cultivating an "attitude of gratitude", and this challenge was a good way to keep me on track. Though I didn't manage to post every day, I did pretty well, and more importantly, I was blessed with the opportunity to stop and think about my many blessings. The following are the entries that I posted during the month of November. I hope that you are inspired to cultivate your own attitude of gratitude...
Today I am thankful for trained medical staff that sacrificed sleep and trained for hours, devoting years of their lives to learning their trade so that they could care for my mom when she needed them most. What are you thankful for today?
Today I am thankful for a husband and partner who is as passionate as I am about allowing as many old dogs as possible to enjoy the twilight years of their lives in comfort, warmth, and as little pain as possible, surrounded by love. Thank you, Dan, for helping me fulfill our mission.
Today I am thankful for the beautiful view that greets me every morning, living out here in the country. Every day the lighting and the landscape is different, changing with the seasons, including the wonderful scents of things growing, frost in the air, or flowers and trees blooming. I am grateful for the prompting that led us to buy this place twenty years ago.
Today I am grateful for a great vet. He takes great care of our pups, really listens, and is always there when we need him! Click like if you are thankful for your vet!
Tonight I am grateful for the new washer and dryer that are humming merrily along in my laundry room tonight. I am very, very appreciative of the means to pay them off over time so that we could get them washing those pee pee towels right away!
Today I am thankful for the brilliant and dedicated people that I work with. Educators and other staff involved in education are tremendously devoted to their work, and I for one am grateful not only for their positive impact on our society, but also that I can count myself among them.
Today I am thankful for a vehicle that is reliable enough to take me where and when I want to go. There were many times in my life when I could not have said this, so I am extra grateful now!
Today I am thankful that my parents raised me to be an independent person, willing to problem-solve when I really want to do something that seems impossible. I am so grateful that life wasn't handed to me on a platter so that I could gain skills needed to function as an adult, and be okay with things that at least come close to my dreams.
Tonight I am thankful for the food that graces my table and fills the bowls of our little four-legged loves here. Though sometimes I cannot resist the bounty, I am grateful that our bellies never growl with hunger.
Tonight I am thankful for the excitement and exuberance that comes with learning something new and the thrill that I get helping children to discover that feeling. Some days I am SO lucky!
Tonight I am thankful for the simple joy of running around in a big field with a passel of puppies streaming out behind and ahead of me. We need to take a lesson from little kids and dogs...sometimes it is good to run just for the fun of it!
Tonight I am grateful for a new additional job that I can do from home surrounded by Dan and the dogs. We need the extra money to pay for kibble and vet bills, and I feel very fortunate to have a way to earn that money!!
Today I am thankful for the heat that pours forth from my boiler every day to warm my feet and soothe my spirit. I am grateful to be able to pay my oil bill so that we (Dan, the dogs, and I) can enjoy each others' company without being uncomfortable now that the weather is getting colder!
Today I am thankful that my mom is home safe and sound, and able to sleep in her own bed tonight. :-)
Today I am thankful that I didn't have to be at work, toughing it out while I feel crappy. :-) A good nap is priceless!
Tonight I am thankful to have the blessing to work with a co-worker who is intelligent AND has a delightful personality. We make a good team, and I am so grateful for her help in making me a better educator.
Tonight I am thankful for all my rescue friends out there...working tirelessly every day, every night, holidays, of their money, homes, and time to help save as many animals as possible. Thank you for teaching me that there are many, many good people in this world. You inspire me.


Sorry I haven't updated this blog in a while. There's been a lot happening here since Frisbee passed away. Edna the min pin has joined us from IMPS - MN, I've taken on a second job to help pay for the vet bills, and we've been getting the Haven ready for another winter. I was cooking and baking all afternoon today, and while I was working, I was musing about how many of our little friends are celebrating their first Thanksgiving at Hundenruhe Haven. We've lost so many this year, but the silver lining is that we have so many new friends living out their twilight years with us. Enjoying their first holiday in our home are: Edna, Barry, Lola, Sera, Bergen, Bella, and Roo Roo. We are so thankful that they found their way to us, and for the rescue friends we've made along the way. It is with much gratitude that Dan, I, and the pups will spend the day tomorrow tucked in together - enjoying a nice meal, a warm house, clean blankets, and each others' company. Life is good.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Patience, please!

I just did some organization on PhotoBucket, so the links for some of the pictures are broken. I will fix them when I have time! Most of the older entries still are current, so please be patient until I can fix the others. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweet Dreams, Dear Frisbee

...see you at the Bridge. My tears are too great right now to write a proper tribute.

Monday, September 19, 2011

They're Heeeeeeeerrrreee!!



The new Hundenruhe Haven pups have arrived from National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado, thanks to help from Theresa and her volunteers at NMDR, Tom Beard, a kind trucker who brought them across the country, and my very own hubby Dan, who drove 700 miles yesterday to pick them up. Bella (formerly Tessie - her new name means "beautiful"), is a teeny, tiny toy fox terrier. She's even smaller than Baci!! Baci doesn't know what to do with a dog that looks up to him! Bella is the same age as Olive, eight, and is quite skittish and scared. She arrived late last night, so Baci and Olive let her share our bed. Bella spent the night tucked into the crook of my arm, sleeping the sleep of the exhausted. Less than twenty-four hours after her arrival, however, she was following us around in the field, and took her first joyful run around the big field. The sense of freedom and joy was so apparent on her face, when she realized that she could run to her heart's content. Bella ran so fast all by herself that her back legs overcame her front ones and stopped her in her tracks. But, she just pulled herself together and did a few more laps before coming back to sit at my feet.
Bergen the min pin is ten years old. He hasn't told us his name yet (maybe Bert?), so he's Bergen for now. Last night this chubby fellow walked in like he'd lived here his entire life, said his "how-do-you-do's", and immediately fit in. Bergen is already running with the pack when they go to investigate something, and had his first taste of peanut butter with the others this morning and again tonight at feeding time. He is absolutely adorable, and Sera is already in love with him.
It is so heartwarming to see these little babies, knowing how their lives started, enjoy the sun and grass, warm beds, and gentle hands. We are so blessed to be able to welcome them...hopefully very soon Bella will truly find "hundenruhe" (dogs' peace).

Cozy Blankets for Cool Nights

Our new friend Sylvia Thomas, whom we met through Saving Senior Min Mins on Facebook, made the dogs these beautiful blanket covers. All we need to do is slip a pillow or dog bed inside, and voila! The dogs can sleep on top of the blankets or burrow down underneath, which they love to do. Sylvia even embroidered paw prints and Hundenruhe Haven on each one! They are gorgeous, soft and cuddly. Thank you, Sylvia!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reflections on Rescue

Click on the pics to get the whole picture!!
Barry and Lola


Meme and Barry


My Boys - Baci, Roo, Teddy, & Barry

Over the past week, I was reminded of the goodness of people. Though sadness, carelessness and cruelty are a large part of what is experienced in rescue, the wonderful part is some of the dedicated and big-hearted folks that make a difference in the lives of these abandoned animals. I could write pages and pages about the woman in Ohio who runs a sanctuary for farm animals, or the group of volunteers who have never met in person who work to save senior miniature pinschers, or the individuals who give up evenings, weekends,and family time to make calls, share on Facebook, walk dogs at the shelters, or arrange transports. The list is endless of compassionate human beings who use their talents to help animals.
This week I am especially heartened by "meeting" (on the phone) Theresa Strader, founder of National Mill Dog Rescue. We are anxiously awaiting two former puppy mill dogs from NMDR, who rescues thousands of dogs from puppy mills in Missouri every year and starts them out on their new lives in loving forever homes. Despite this being their biggest weekend of the year, the day of their annual Open House, Theresa made time to talk to me on the phone, make sure the dogs that are coming to me got their veterinary needs taken care of, and found volunteers willing to get them to their transport pick-up. Daily she must overcome heartache and tragedy to make happy endings for the dogs she loves. I am in deep admiration and gratitude.
I also met Tom (again, via telephone and internet), a trucker with a heart as big as his rig. Tom volunteers his cab and his care to dogs needing a ride across the country - he's bringing Tessie and Bergen from NMDR to Effingham, IL, where Dan is meeting him to pick them up. Tom has helped hundreds of dogs to freedom - all as a volunteer whose only reward is the satisfaction of helping the dogs who need him. It brings a tear to my eye to know that he is out there on the road, with a dog or two keeping him company, heading for their new lives. may not even know it when you meet them at work, or on the street, or at your kids' sporting events. But if you do discover one, please thank them...they deserve our gratitude for the love they are quietly adding to the world each day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day is Over...

...and Autumn is here. It was a golden, crisp late afternoon and the pups enjoyed a last walk in the field after dinner tonight. Sera, the new girl, is fitting right in, and the pups were sereneded by Grandpa Squawkie (the sandhill crane) and his wife. There is a certain sadness to the end of summer, especially when one is a teacher, but the onset of Autumn brings its own loveliness. Bring on the apples, cider, pumpkins, and colored leaves. I may not be ready, but I will enjoy what each day brings...
Click on each picture to get the whole thing. For some reason, blogspot is cutting off the right side of each picture.




Sera and Roo

Sera and Olive


Barry Bear

Olive and her ball

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Go to Bed in Summer...Wake Up in Autumn!

Brrrrr! It was chilly when we woke up this morning to a gorgeous dew-dappled day at Hundenruhe Haven. Yesterday we had to have the air conditioners on for a little while when the heat and humidity got intense, and today the windows are only open a crack for fresh air. The dogs are all finding the sun spots on the floor in the house, and the brave few are laying on the deck in the sun. It is warming up, so it should be a very pleasant day, despite the chilly start.

Though it was raining in the morning yesterday, so I couldn't take Baci on the moped to the market (took the car instead), we still got out for a little ride into town later in the afternoon. Dan took a couple of pictures of us for posterity...isn't Baci the cutest thing ever??? He loves to ride with me, and his Doggles protect his eyes from flying debris and allow him to keep his eyes open and enjoy the ride. He doesn't want them on when we are stopped for any length of time, but doesn't fuss at all while we are on the road. He's such a great companion. Olive has always been my traveling companion, and when we adopted Baci he started joining her. However, Olive enjoys getting out in public less and less as she gets older, so I don't feel bad leaving her at home where she'd prefer to be.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Earning the Kibble

It was back to work (new school year) today, and I started a new job. It was exciting to work with some phenomenal new people, and have lunch with a friend from my previous position. But...I still missed Dan and the pups and the sun on my face. It was truly a joy when I got home to see all those eager faces at the gate, welcoming me back to the pack. At first, they were just barking, but as I called out to them, they recognized me and fifteen barking dogs became fifteen wriggling, wiggling backsides. Ah, how I love them!
Later, after all of the hellos were said, the work clothes shed for worn t-shirt and sweatpants, we were ready for our walkies in the field. Lola the blind min pin led us through the gate and took off running - how nice that she can safely run at full tilt without danger!! Obie and Skylar, the rat terrier brothers, played tag in the crown vetch, hopping and leaping so they could see each other to give chase. RooRoo, the baby, wants to be just like his big brothers, so he was tearing around after them, weaving in and out of the vetch like a professional kangaroo. Then he took off on his own, zooming around and around. His joy was so infectious that Teddy, the old puppy mill chihuahua, began making his own silly loops around the field, backside tucked under, tongue hanging out, and running like a maniac. Tired from their shenanigans, we all walked back to sit in the yard, Twig and Olive playing ball with Dan. Suddenly, our little Pekingnese Truvy started dancing and playing with her unstuffed toy - we call toys Truvy's "babies" - shaking it and prancing around with it. She even started soft-mouthing Dan's hand to get him to play with her - very soft-mouthed, as she only has two teeth! Truvy has really found "hundenruhe" (dogs' peace) this summer. Her itching is under control thanks to some great shampoo, so her hair is growing in thick and lush, and she has become spunky and silly. Her head is no longer tilted, and she can walk in a straight line - a huge improvement from when I first met her and Chris at FluffyButts was getting her rehabilitated after living in a puppy mill for nine years. I went inside to make dinner, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Grammie Esther's blanket making it's way outside. It was Truvy, being silly and sneaking off with Esther's blanket!!
After dinner, Dan and I sat outside with the dogs, he again playing with Olive, Twig, and Truvy, and I rocking Obie, Roo, and Mimi on the patio swing. As the shadows lengthened and the lowering sun gilded the trees and turned the cut oat straw to spun gold, the evensong of the meadow birds serenaded us.
And now, with crickets chirping in concert with the constant rumble and rattle of snoring pups, our day ends at Hundenruhe Haven. I'll return to work to earn the kibble to start it all over again tomorrow. "Day is done...gone the sun...from the the the sky. All is well...lay thee rest...God is nigh."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Uncle Mort - A Character Leaves Us

Heavy, heavy hearts abound at Hundenruhe Haven tonight. Our dear Uncle Mortie went to the Rainbow Bridge this morning. He was 16 years old. I cannot explain in words the impact his death leaves in our pack. Mortie was the Omega, the bottom of the pack, and often the brunt of the other dogs' pushing. He not only endured it, he met it head-on, with a grumble and a lift of his deformed lip - revealing empty gums. When he was younger, he loved to get "heinie happies" - scritching of his hips and backside. He would march in place with his back legs, rising up onto his front legs in sheer ecstasy.
Uncle Mort came to us with two green, rotting teeth hanging out of his mouth, his jaw rotted away and deformed. After removing the offenders, he blossomed and became a crazy, funny little fellow. He would stand in the middle of the kitchen, barking for no reason. He had petit mal seizures, where he would stand stock still and stare at the wall - so he was put on seizure meds, which helped a lot. As he aged, he needed more and more pain meds to manage his crippled and hunched back and fused hips. But it never got him down - he always participated in the walkies in the field, and followed the pack on all its adventures. Near the end, Dan made sure that Mortie got extra treats like ice cream and graham crackers from the palm of his hand.
Uncle Mort was with us for over five years - a long time for the seniors who come to us - and I can't believe he's gone.
Tonight, as Dan was in the yard reading, a gorgeous butterfly came and hovered around him - then landed on his cheek. Later, a huge swarm of multicolored dragon flies (Jodee's favorite) put on an aerial display. Uncle Mortie is fine and sending messages of love to us - running pain free and waiting for us at the Bridge.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fun Fundraiser!

I just got back from having a great time with the nice campers at Nature's Villa in Palmyra, WI. My mom lives there year around, and the other folks are there from May to October. I have a fondness for karaoke, and the equipment to run a show, so I went down to do a little karaoke show with them on Saturday night. This was my third time doing this, and we decorated the clubhouse with poster-sized blow-ups of some of the dogs' photos - it looked so cool to see all my past and present furkids up there on the walls!! I'd never mentioned the sanctuary before when we did karaoke (you all know how I hate tooting our horn!), but my mom and some of her friends thought that if people knew about what we did, they would want to help. They were right! I told the nice people who attended about Hundenruhe Haven, and by the end of the night these kind and generous folks had donated enough money to feed and medicate all the dogs for an entire month!! Thank you SO MUCH to the campers at Nature's Villa - I had a blast and I hope you did, too!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Run Free, Miss Crabby Coco Bean!

The lovely neurotic Coco has slipped quietly on her journey to the Rainbow Bridge. We took her in to see Dr. Jeff this Monday to see if she could handle another mammary surgery and dental, and found that her cancer had metastasized to the extent that it was causing her pain. Dr. Jeff couldn't be certain that we could manage her pain, and said that she had only about a month, even with pain management. We helped her along her way, and she was so relaxed and at ease. We miss her loud and irrational protestations of Mimi and Twiggy's occupation of the furniture, her 5:00 am wake-up calls (and then going back to bed once the whole household was up), and the tick-tick-tick of her toenails on the floor. Run free, darling.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We need some help

Roo Roo and Lola's vet bills have really put a big hole in our funds, along with a big repair bill on our transport Jeep. I hate asking for money, but if you can help, we'd sure appreciate it. I've started a chip-in (hope it works, never tried this before). Anything that you can spare, would be used exclusively for the vet fund. Thank you!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

T is for Trouble

Teddy, Barry, Baci, and Lola have discovered that it is outstanding fun to crawl inside of this dog bed and play inside. It started out as a tiny hole, and then became this:
This is Teddy showing you how to get inside and enjoy yourself! Usually, he comes up when I call him with just his head poking out - like a kayaker! But of course, today he wouldn't come out because I had the camera handy. Silly little bear!

He slept like that for a good twenty minutes after I took this picture. Bless his little heart...

Obie and his Bone

Obie is having such a wonderful time with the bones I bought for the pups from Miesfeld's Meats in Sheboygan. He even sleeps with them! Maybe if I show the butcher this picture he'll give me a discount next time!

Snuggling Pups

There's been quite a bit of bed sharing since Barry and Roo came to live with us. Barry, you may remember, came with Cubby, who sadly left abruptly for the Bridge. But Barry is really coming out of his shell now, he's talking to us ("Give me more peanut butter, please! Pet me now, please!"), he's running with a bounce in his step, he's got a girlfriend (he and Lola are quite an item - never far apart!), and he is sharing his bed with the other pups, especially Roo and Teddy. It is so gratifying to see a dog really reach "hundenruhe" (dogs' peace) here. Here's some cute pics to make you smile...
Barry, sleeping alone and with RooRoo
With Baci
And with RooRoo and Teddy
And a couple more with RooRoo - notice in the last picture how there's lots of empty beds all around, but they choose to sleep together. Too sweet.