Sunday, May 11, 2014

DogMom: Happy DogMom Day!


I may not be a mom. A mom to human kids, anyway. But I still feel like a mom. I have an innate desire to protect and care for our dogs and I love them unconditionally. I think that counts for something. I'm a DogMom and, to me, that brings joy and fulfillment. This is who I was meant to be.

I grew up around animals of all kinds. Living on a farm, I was surrounded by cows, horses, chickens, ducks and the like, and of course dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, etc. I loved all of these sweet creatures. 

My dogs of childhood were Beethoven, Ben, Timothy, Gretchen and Holly. Beethoven and Ben were miniature schnauzers and they were a handful! Timothy and Gretchen were strays that showed up at the farm. I loved those dogs. Holly was one of Gretchen's puppies. She was precious.

The first cat I remember our family having was a kitten named Lucy. Unfortunately, my memory is of my brothers and the neighbor kids burying her. She had gotten hit by a car. Interesting what memories stick with us. I wonder how big of a role that memory has played in my desire to save animals. When I turned four years old my parents said I could pick any cat from the animal shelter to adopt. I chose an orange and white kitten and named him Tiger. I vividly remember him sticking his paw out of the cage trying to touch me. I knew then and there that Tiger was the cat for me. He may have grown to be big and tough, but we called him "Kitty." He was with us for 18 years. Gertie was an affectionate and beautiful kitty with long gray fur and gorgeous green eyes. I am thankful I decided to walk outside to look at the stars one cold November night because that is when that pretty gray kitten came running to me, practically jumping into my lap!

Since 1987, I've been blessed to be DogMom to ten sweet, loving, smart and beautiful dogs. All rescued either from life on the street or in the shelter. And I couldn't have done it without DogDad. I love our DogLovingLife!

Lindsey


Bogey


Annie


Gus


Buster


Hobbit


Huck


Abby Grace


Doc


Hope

Saturday, April 26, 2014

DogMom: Welcome Home, Potcake!

Meet Hope, our little Potcake from Turks & Caicos!

Yes, we have a new member of the family!

Last week DogDad and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on the beautiful island of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos islands of British West Indies. In preparation for our trip I decided to Google about the homeless dog situation in T&C. (I know. It's not the usual type of research when planning a vacation!) In my search, I came across a really cool organization called Potcake Place. Run solely by dedicated volunteers, the purpose of the organization is to reduce the number of homeless Potcakes on the islands. A Potcake is the name for the local mixed-breed dogs that roam the Turks & Caicos and the Bahamas. They are smart, loyal and loving with an average weight of about 45 lbs. Potcakes tend to have a shepherd look, often with long faces and cocked ears. Many are thought to be descendants of terriers, labs and shepherds. Their mixture varies throughout the islands. Our little girl definitely looks like she is of lab and shepherd heritage. (For more information about Potcakes, click here and here.)

On our first day in Provo we rented a car and drove straight to Potcake Place to check it out. (Yes, we headed for the local dog rescue before even hitting the beach!) We had no intentions of adopting a Potcake. (Really, truly!) We just wanted to make a donation and cuddle some cute island dogs. There were many puppies needing love and forever homes, and although we were tempted, we knew not to worry as they would get homes fast. They were simply that adorable. We hung around for over an hour and spoke with the staff and other potential adopters from the U.S. It was a heartwarming experience. So uplifting to see the love that humans from around the world will pour out to animals in need.

The next morning DogDad and I were walking along Grace Bay Beach when we came across a sweet little 12-week old pup named Hope. A nice family from Pittsburgh, PA, had volunteered to walk her on the beach and provide her with some socialization. We learned that Hope had been found at about five weeks of age, abandoned in a remote shopping center parking lot. She was almost completely hairless from mange, had a glazed eye and was starving. The volunteers didn't think she had much of a chance of surviving, so they named her Hope. When we met her on the beach she was quiet, timid, yet wanting to give and receive love. We could tell she was extra special. Needless to say, we fell in love with this angel of a puppy.

Friends and family members have heard DogDad and me state many times that the plan was for us to stick with just two dogs from now on. It's easier, we said. It's a manageable number, we said. We can travel with two dogs, we said. We sure sounded like we meant it! Such logical thinking. We honestly thought we had closed the chapter of being DogDad and DogMom to numerous dogs. Together over the years we raised seven loving, sweet and funny dogs: Lindsey, Bogey, Annie, Gus, Buster, Hobbit and Huck (and now Abby Grace and Doc) and we loved every happy, sad, joyous, trying, hilarious moment of it.

As we all know, life doesn't always go as planned. A new chapter of the same story was soon to begin for us. A couple of days after meeting Hope on the beach we found ourselves still thinking about her. It was our last morning in Provo and we had just finished packing our suitcases when DogDad suggested we call Potcake Place and inquire about adopting Hope. (I love how we always seem to end up on the same page!) I was thrilled at the possibility of getting her, yet nervous that we would be told "no" because our flight was due to depart soon.

Even though we had a short amount of time to complete the adoption process and get to the airport, it was clear that Hope was meant to be ours. Jane, the director of Potcake Place said a volunteer offered to take Hope out for a walk that very morning, but for some reason Jane thought it would be best to keep her at the facility instead. Five minutes after that decision DogDad called. If Hope had been out on that walk, she wouldn't have been able to go home with us. When we arrived at Potcake Place to pick up our little puppy we were smiling from ear to ear with tears of joy in our eyes that Hope would be ours.

Yesterday marked one week since Hope has been a part of our family. Doc and she became instant playmates. He loves having a shadow as he shows her around the yard. They play with toys together and chase and wrestle one another. And although Abby prefers humans over dogs, she has accepted Hope with no problem. She's just happy that Doc is too busy playing with Hope to bother her!

Hope fits in like the last piece of a puzzle. Like she was meant to be here all along. Welcome home, Hope!

DogDad telling Hope she is going with us to her forever home!

Gotcha, Hope!

In a comfy little carrier at our feet, 
Hope slept like a baby the entire plane ride home.

Exploring her new yard.

Hope has some long legs to grow into!

Look at that sweet face. I see a beautiful Potcake smile!

The official announcement :-)

Monday, November 25, 2013

DogMom: Our Sweet Gus

Fourteen years ago I walked into a 7-11 and found a cute puppy wandering the candy aisle trying his best to sniff all the sweet things on the bottom shelf. That funny little guy soon became an important part of our household, bringing us smiles, laughter and so much love. 

Last week, with great sadness, Wayne and I had to say goodbye to that sweet, grown-up puppy. Gus was such a good boy and so very patient with the other dogs. He was the last of the original gang of five (Bogey, Annie, Gus, Buster & Hobbit). Losing him was like losing the others all over again. It's the end of an amazing part of our lives. For several years those five dogs made our home crazy, chaotic, messy, loud and busy -  and we loved every minute of it. And, oh the joy and laughter they brought us! 

Every single dog had his/her own unique personality and quirks. Gus was the sweet and sensitive one. We'd had him longer than any other dog. At 14 1/2 he still managed to wag his tail, have a good appetite [granted, we fed him rotisserie chicken with warm broth], enjoy periodic walks down into the woods to smell "woodsy" things, and even enjoy playtime with puppy Doc. What he loved most was being with us and taking naps on our bed. 

After losing Hobbit and Buster last year, we were concerned about Gus. He was thirteen years old and limped around with arthritis. We knew we wouldn't have long with him. But the blessing was that he ended up having his best year yet! He seemed to thrive knowing that he was now Top Dog. Although he slept a lot, he appeared happier and more relaxed. He started enjoying his stuffed toys again and lavished in the extra one-on-one time DogDad and I were now able to give him.

When we brought Doc home four months ago we weren't sure how Gus would react. If he didn't like Doc, then we would've just considered it a foster situation and looked for a good home for the pup. Much to our relief, Gus loved that little frisky puppy! We noticed Gus was more alert, taking fewer naps, wagging his tail more and even playing and nuzzling little Doc. Gus was so patient with him and you could tell that Doc just thought he was the best! 

It was a good year for Gus, indeed. For that, as well as having fourteen years of looking at that sweet face, DogDad and I are very grateful and blessed.

Dear Gus, 

You finally get to meet Lindsey, our first dog. He was so very sweet, too. You will like one another. Please tell Lindsey, Bogey, Annie, Buster, Hobbit & Huck we miss them. We will see you all again someday.

We Love You
DogMom & DogDad

 Gus was a gentle, sweet soul and we will miss him dearly. 

Beautiful Gus.
  
Gus sleeping on our bed. His favorite!

Such a sweetheart!

Gus & Abby at sunrise, Pawleys Island, September 2013
We have a very similar picture taken 10 years earlier of Gus and Annie. 
I will post it as soon as I can find it.

DogMom & her sweet Gus, November 2012

DogDad and his big boy Gus, Christmas 2003 or 2004

Gus had a beautiful smile.

A happy Gus enjoying one of his favorite toys.

Our sweet angel boy.

Our our beloved Bogey, Annie, Gus, Buster & Hobbit, Christmas 2006

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Doc: Hi! I'm new here!

Hi! I'm Doc and two days ago I found my forever home! I have a mommy and daddy, a brother and sister, and a really big yard to play in! I'm too young to write, so my new mommy is doing it for me. I call her Momma. She is married to a very nice man who is my new daddy. I call him Pops.

A friend told them about me. I call her my Fairy DogMother. Another friend showed them my picture and Momma says Pops and she were smitten. The next morning Pops went to the animal shelter to meet me. I wasn't there at the time, so Pops and Momma came back later that afternoon. They both fell in love and so did I! They told the shelter people that they were going to "foster" me. That must be another word for "adopt" because that is just what they did. I heard Momma say, "In this house, fostering means forever!"

Pops and Momma said they were concerned how Gus might react to me. They thought I might bother him because he is older. Well, turns out Gus likes me! He even lets me play and snuggle with him. I love my big brother. He is very sweet and patient. My sister Abby is not as warm and inviting. I try to get her to play with me, but she doesn't seem very interested. She did let me follow her down to the lake yesterday to play ball. I think my charm will eventually win her over.

There was a little party for me when I came home from the shelter. Some nice people took turns holding me and playing with me. I also met a nice dog named Tom. He is BIG! I hope I grow up to be like him. We look a lot alike. He is a yellow lab. Everybody thinks I'm a golden retriever mixed with yellow lab. We don't know exactly how old I am right now, but the kind shelter people seem to think I'm between six and eight weeks old. Momma says I'm PURE puppy. I'm sure that's a good thing!

I found out that I was named after someone special. Doc was a very dear friend to Momma and Pops. He passed away a few years ago and they miss him very much. They said he had a sparkle in his eye and that I have that same glimmer. Sounds like Doc was a pretty neat guy. His first and middle names were Doctor Arnold, so that will be mine as well. He wasn't a doctor. He was a helicopter pilot. His mother said she always wanted a doctor in the family, so that's what she named him. Pops and Momma like that story. I do, too.

Momma and Pops said I wasn't planned, but that none of their doggies ever are. They feel like God brings them the ones that need them most. And the ones they need most, too.

I look forward to learning more about my new home and family. I'll be sure to have Momma write in The Doggy Diary for me again soon!

Puppy love and licks,
Doc

These pictures were taken at the animal shelter. Momma calls them my "school pictures." (The name of the shelter is Oconee Regional Humane Society. Here is their website: orhspets.org)

This is when Pops and I first met. As you can see I am very happy!

I like Momma's ear.

This is my new friend Tom. He is very big. His tail is a fun toy.

Gus let me snuggle with him my first night here.

video
I so sleepy.

My yard has lots of soft, fluffy pine mulch and cool shade. 
It also has big trees, plenty of grass and even a lake. I can't wait to explore it all!

I found a great spot for napping.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Abby: Things to smile about :-)


It's been a long time since I've written, but I'm happy to be back. Mommy, Daddy, Gus and I are still saddened by the loss of our dear Hobbit and sweet Buster, so we haven't much felt like writing in The Doggy Diary the past year. The other day, though, Mommy took a picture of me that really made her smile. :-) She said we should share it with others.

So, I went to Home Depot with Mommy to help her pick out some flowers. There were so many pretty ones and I got to see them up close because she put me in the cart. At first I wasn't sure what to think, but when all the nice people shopping stopped to say "hello" to me, I decided that I was going to enjoy the ride! We were successful in finding a big pot of red, white and purple petunias. Aren't they pretty? I think my smile shows how pleased I am with our selection!


You might like an update on Gus. He is doing so great! He turned 14 in April! He enjoys playing with his stuffed toys, taking naps and eating yummy doctored-up dinners of healthy canned dog food and warm chicken broth mixed with some real chicken or fish sometimes added in by Daddy. I'm happy to report that I also benefit from the special "Gus-Can-Have-Whatever-He-Wants-Because-He's-14-Years-Old" Diet. ;) Another reason Gus is feeling better these days is because he had surgery on both of his ears a few months ago. He can hear a little bit now, and it's obvious they don't hurt any more. Here he is with one of his favorite toys, Puff Dragon! Doesn't he look awesome for 14?! He makes Mommy and Daddy smile all the time. :-)


I hope to be back more often. Now that it's summertime I bet I'll have more adventures to share!

xoxo, 
Abby Grace

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DogMom: A new chapter.

It's been nearly six months since we lost our dear Hobbit and sweet Buster. Writing about it has proved difficult. Difficult because I don't even like to think about that time. DogDad and I can talk about the quirky and silly things that Hobbit and Buster used to do and the times they made us smile - which was everyday. Several times a day. What we don't discuss is what happened on August 7 and August 9 of 2012. To revisit that period of time would be too painful.

We instead choose to focus on the joy that Gus and Abby bring us today. Gus is nearing his 14th birthday (April) and any special attention we can give him is considered top priority. That usually means extra rubs, hugs, kisses and rotisserie chicken. Abby continues to keep us busy with her crazy antics and unceasing energy. She takes her self-assigned non-stop job of protecting our property very seriously. Right now we have a little family unit that seems to be working. It's small for us, but it seems right. Gus deserves some quiet in his golden years and we want to give him that. We do know, however, that we will eventually get another dog. That's what we do and who we are. We are dog people. 

I recently started volunteering at the local humane society (Oconee Regional Humane Society). During my most recent visit to the facility I was charged with the duty of playing with three puppies. A pretty good gig to get. They had been cooped up in a run for a couple of hours, so they needed to get out and do their puppy thing. That was good medicine for my soul. Seeing small, fuzzy, energetic and curious little doggies exploring their surroundings gave me a feeling of hope. Thinking about those little puppies makes me realize that there will be a time when the mourning will be less painful. I hope. There will soon be a time to rescue new dogs and bring into our home. A whole new chapter. 

Next month marks one year since DogDad and I packed up Gus, Buster, Hobbit and Abby and moved to Georgia. In two weeks we will be selling our house in West Virginia, the home where we raised a total of seven dogs through the years. Bogey, Annie, Gus, Buster, Hobbit, Abby and Huck. A lot of memories. It's bittersweet, but we trust in God and the plans he has for us. Good days are to come. Sad days. Trying days. But it's time for a new chapter and, by the grace of God, we have hope.

As part of my healing process, I have created a Facebook page dedicated to rescuing dogs and encouraging spay and neuter. Dogs are God's most loyal creatures. Dogs love us unconditionally. They deserve that love in return. I hope you will visit and "Like" the page called For The Love Of God and Dog.

Until next time,
DogMom

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gus: Finding good in the sadness.

I can't believe it's been eight weeks since we lost Hobbit and Buster. Mom, Dad and I can't get over losing them so quickly and so close together. Abby Grace seems to be doing just fine. Her daily routine and attitude haven't changed. She always did what she wanted anyway. I guess the biggest difference I notice is that she barks less. She doesn't have Buster to boss around anymore. Well, actually, Buster didn't let her boss her around. He just ignored her. It frustrated her like crazy!

As for me, I am doing great. To be honest, my life is less stressful now. As much as Mom and Dad miss Hobbit and Buster, they say they are happy to see me enjoying my golden years in peace. Hobbit and Buster picked on me a lot. It really bothered Mom and Dad and they tried everything they could to stop it. Maybe they were bullying me because I'm getting old. It didn't help that I don't have a mean bone in my body and would back down every time. I also wonder if they were cranky because they weren't feeling well. They were good boys, but I do have to say that my life has changed for the better. I can play with all my stuffed toys and not be fearful they will be taken from me. I have some favorites: Molly Meerkat, Sebastian Bunny and Benjamin Squirrel. My newest ones are Henny Hen and Kingston Koala. Abby plays with them, too. When I let her. I'm the boss now. I've regained my confidence. I sleep, eat and play in peace.

Another thing that is different is Abby and I get to travel with Mom and Dad now. Whenever they would drive the eight hours back to visit family and friends in West Virginia they had to leave us at home with a dog sitter. (Her name is Miss Sunny and she is very nice.) Now we get to go with them! But there's nothing like being with Mom and Dad. No matter where we are. I usually get a little nervous on car trips, but the more we travel together the more comfortable I get. Mom says is warms her heart that the whole family can be together. Dad says there's nothing better. Abby Grace and I like to snuggle in the back seat. We're buddies. Always have been. I'm glad we have one another.

We've felt a lot of pain over the past few weeks, but somehow God found a way to show us something positive. It seems in our our deepest sadness, goodness can be found.

God bless our Hobbit and Buster. We miss you and will see you in heaven where I know we will play and snuggle together happily.

Love,
Gus