Monday, May 31, 2010

Inspiration and Nature on Mountain Road

Borrowing a quote from the blog Inspiration for Your Day I thought the quote posted today by Benjamin Eisenstat, "Inspiration comes from nature itself. I am enamored of nature, and that admiration has only increased as I age" really said what I was feeling today.
As I drove down Mountain Road today, I couldn't help but feel the inspiration that comes from so many different things that there are to see, if you just slow down for a moment and notice.
For instance, I just love this hay field! Each time they bail hay on it, I'm in awe of this beautiful rolling green field that meets the "Short Hill Mountains." I think belongs in a painting.

There are 2 wineries on our road too. I love to drive by and see them harvesting the grapes in the fall. Driving down our road it's easy to notice the mix of all kinds of animals from chickens all the way to these bison. Each have a place and a purpose.But of course there's no place like home and I don't have to go far to find something to enjoy. Just from the front porch we have...

A good view the place I call home...
Of the birds this morning taking dog hair that I'd put on the feeder pole. Can you see the Titmouse on the left in the picture?
A groundhog looking for his breakfast...
There was a time when I may not have admired the simple beauty of even a snail that we saw this morning... I didn't expect to see the bloom of a day-lily today or...
A bloom from a daisy either--That's one thing I love about nature, sometimes there are those unexpected surprises...
It was okay that Hamlet didn't notice...
Maybe he did later--But you can see that he's healed nicely from his surgery.
I really do try to appreciate everything around us. I've noticed this tree every year--I'd love to see its value in nature as well, but I've no idea what kind of tree it is--Is it a Huckleberry tree? Are the berries edible? Finally there is one sad thing in nature that we can't always understand and that's the loss of a pet. Several of you have lost your precious dogs lately. Today, someone that I'm particularly feeling badly for is John at Going Gently who unexpectedly lost his girl Maddie today. Losses are never easy, even when they are expected, but when our four-legged-family members are taken from our arms so suddenly, it makes the loss that much harder to take. With his birthday being Tuesday, I hope you'll take a moment from your busy day to think of him. ~God speed Maddie~

Thank-you for stopping by & I hope you have a good week!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Finally it's Friday!!

Another sign of summer is Memorial Day! Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as "Decoration Day" and it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. It also means a 3 day weekend for me!! I'm looking forward to being off and catching up.

The weather is feeling like summer. Along with the arrival of lightning bugs we've had hot and humid weather here in Virginia which has brought with it evening thunder storms, which has made everything so green and lush. The honeysuckle is blooming everywhere too. I love its sweet smell which is filling the air all around us. While there doesn't seem to be a shortage of bugs, I'm not seeing very many honey-bees, and have yet to see a bat this year--I worry and wonder what's become of them...We did take the dogs for a walk last evening. They love exploring and being able to wander around, especially after a long day of our being gone. Our "little CarrieAnne" who is a golden mix, disappeared at the end of our walk. I knew where she'd gone; she had decided she wanted to cool off. Her wandering off isn't a problem because she never goes far and returns when called. But for the last 2 years she has gone to a place that only she knows about and takes a swim. I've no idea where her private swimming hole is, and by looking at this picture, she's not going to tell!
Finally I'll let you know that Tanner continues to improve. He's now feeling confident enough to go down the 2 steps outside on his own. He head is still tilting to the left, but I'm hopeful that given time this will go away. His stubborness has returned though, because when I reach down to grab his collar to lead him back inside, he tries to run off--A good sign that he's feeling better!! I hope you have an enjoyable weekend!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Return of a Childhood Memory

Lightning bugs (or firefly's) are a sign that summer is here in the South. Tonight I stood on my porch and excitedly watched for the first time this year as a few of them lit up the darkness around me!! Seeing them always reminds me of my childhood, when I would catch lightning bugs and put them in a Mason jar with holes in the lid. I have to wonder if today’s generation of kids do this and do they feel the same about lightning bugs that myself and others my age did? And was capturing things and putting them in a Mason jar a "Southern thing?" Because I remember when my Mom would give me two or three Mason jars, and I would punch holes in the tops with a dinner-knife or whatever else I could find and put things like lightning bugs and grasshoppers and yes, even snails in them. Forty years ago, (YIKES!!) we "kids" called this kind of thing fun! My Dad was in the army and I grew up on an army post. For me summer was a time when we looked forward to being outside playing and going barefoot. We went swimming, to the movies on Saturday afternoons and rode our bikes all day without any worries. But when evening came and you could see the lightning bugs, we didn't need a watch to tell us that it was getting late and we'd better be getting home!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good News for Tanner

Monday was a bit more of a difficult day than I thought it would be. But the last couple of days have been made easier by the kindness from so many who took a moment out of their busy day to think of us and send best wishes for Tanner. I took Tanner to see "his vet" on Monday morning. I really wanted to make sure that the medications that the veterinarian at the animal emergency put him on were the ones she would use to treat vestibular syndrome. Of the 3 medications I was given, we are taking Tanner off 2 of them (weaning him off one) and he'll continue to take one to help with any nausea and dizziness. At the end of his fourth day, I would say that Tanner is probably 70% back to normal. He's now walking in straight lines, and not so much in a circle. His head is still tilting to the left but I'm encouraged and am so hopeful that he'll fully recover.

I've told all the dogs that we're done with trips to the vet and sick dogs--Of course they all listened and did exactly what they were told because they ate 2 suet cakes left on the counter for the birds and someone peed on the floor--Good dogs!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Day After

Many thanks to all of you for your kind and caring thoughts on the loss of Maguire, and for your concern for Tanner!

On Saturday night I left a candle burning in the fireplace for Maguire. I have to admit that with the downpour of rain we were having, it was comforting to see its glow when I woke up during the night. This morning the mood in the house matched the gloomy weather. Our morning walk in the rain without Tanner was quiet and subdued. For a change there were few birds that could be heard singing. Added to that was my feeling of guilt over a lack of preparedness for a Sunday School lesson I was to teach to a class of ten-13 year olds. Of course I went and have to admit that I felt good about the participation and how the lesson went.

As our day progressed, the mood in the house became lighter and even playful at times. I had a nap with the dogs, a late afternoon walk and we played a game of Frisbee in the rain. Tanner's condition is improved. He's able to focus and stand little better than yesterday and doesn't need as much help drinking and eating.

As I do with all our dogs that have passed, I hope for a sign letting me know that they are "okay." I wonder if its come because there's an undeniable feeling of peace and comfort all around us, just like the quiet glow of a candle.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Candle For Maguire--But No Time to Grieve

When we started fostering the senior Goldens for the rescue almost 7 years ago, I knew that our time with them would be limited. But I felt strongly that these dogs that had been dealt a bad hand at the end of their lives, and who had so much wisdom, dignity and courage, should have a place to live out whatever time they had left, and leave this life with someone who truly cared about them. These Goldens have broken my heart when they left us. But I have never looked back and regretted for a moment taking in any of them, in fact, if given the chance, I would do it all over again. I feel that we have been given an extraordinary gift to love and be loved unconditionally in return. Maguire was no exception. I have no regrets in opening my heart and our home to him just a year and-a-half ago. While I've no idea what his life was like before he came to us, how old he was, or what his name had been, I know that the last part of his life, was one where he was cared for and loved. Letting him go today was a difficult choice. It was a lonely journey at times trying to decide what was best. But today, as I looked into Maguire's eyes and saw that love and the trust, my doubts left me, and I knew we had made the right choice and the best choice. I know that Maguire is now in a place where he can enjoy those things that he was no longer able to in this life. I have a candle lit to help him find his way, and I so hope he was met by our Goldens, Tod, Ben, Cougar, Tosh, Tucker, Scout, Kasey, Logan, Cubby and Cowboy and he has given them our message.

We left the vets office and decided to have a light lunch. As we sat there with Maguire's collar on the table, our waiter politely asked us about it. When we told him, he joined us in a toast to Maguire and our memories. Carl and I then had our lunch and recounted stories of him and the others that have gone before him.

We were feeling a bit uplifted although worn out and tired, and I was so looking forward to getting home and spending time with our other dogs. But it was not meant to be. When we got home, we found that one of the dogs had gotten sick several times while we were gone. We quickly realized it was Tanner, (our 13 year old Golden who was treated for glaucoma) and he was having difficulties standing and his eyes were moving side-to-side . Having had this happen with another senior Golden, I knew it was Geriatric Vestibular Syndrome. Off to the Animal Emergency Room. But not before I was stopped for speeding by one of Loudoun County's finest police officers...I quickly explained what my day had been and I opened the door to my van and showed him Tanner; I was off with a warning. I will spare you the details of my visit to the animal ER, and just say that Tanner is resting and has been given medications. It's hard to trust a vet that you've never met, but I am hoping and praying that we are on the right track and Tanner will be okay. How much more can my old and broken heart take?

Godspeed Maguire, my big handsome boy...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Maguire & Making Up My Mind...

I don't know exactly where to start with my update on Maguire. I think the best place is with a thank-you to everyone because I have really felt peace from what I know are prayers being said in our behalf.

Last Saturday I really felt like it was okay to let Maguire go. When we took him out of the wheelchair and I saw his swollen leg, and he had a loss of appetite, I felt like that was the sign I was looking for and there seemed to be a feeling of peace about it all. I had previously made a "tentative" appointment with the vet to bring him in on Monday. But on Sunday afternoon, Maguire's demeanor changed and a spark returned. The swelling in his leg had gone down, he had an appetite, he also started wagging his tail, and even catching treats that were thrown in his direction. He was doing everything but standing up, which he was and is trying to do. I canceled Monday's appointment to give it a few more days. Because my vet doesn't work everyday at this particular office, I made another tentative appointment for Wednesday evening that I canceled for the same reasons and have made another one for this Saturday morning...

Maguire is still unable to stand on his own--Believe me, we have tried many, many times to get him to walk on his own. We are carrying him outside for everything, and he's spending the rest of the time on an orthopedic dog bed. I'm waking about every 2 hours during the night to change his position because he starts to whine. I know very well that this isn't a good quality of life; it's actually not much of a life at all. I am by no means an expert on when to put a dog down. However, with all but one of the Goldens we have lost, I have seen the look in their eyes or felt a tired spirit that told me without a doubt that their time on this earth was over and it was time to let go. I don't see that in Maguire's eyes or feel that he's tired. All I see is the brightness and spark that's always been there.

However, the last few days I keep remembering one of our first senior Goldens that we had named Cougar. We had him just about a year when we had to put him down. He'd been diagnosed with bone cancer a few months after he came to us--It was too late to do anything about it by the time it was discovered. But I remember when the cancer was at its height and he was in so much pain, Cougar still ate all of his meals, wagged his tail, and he held a tennis ball in his mouth, and above all, he had a spark in his eyes. We had the choice then to let him stay, or let him go. I decided to make the choice and let Cougar go, even though I thought he wasn't ready. But looking back at it, I think that spark and light in Cougar's eyes was his way of showing me that he trusted me, and he was giving me the reassurance that it was "okay." In my heart I feel that Maguire may be telling me the same thing. I just hope I can let go of the new doubts I have and find the needed strength and courage to do what's best...

An Award & A Picture of Me


Very shortly I will post an update on Maguire. But I thought I would lighten things up by posting an award that I've received from Amy at At Home With Amy, and Randy at Chicken Boys I enjoy both of these blogs and for those of you who aren't acquainted with them, I hope you'll stop by their blogs for a visit.

For the award I'm supposed to post 10 things about me, and 5 things I don't like and pass it onto 10 bloggers...So here goes...

Ten things about me...

1. I am six feet tall (that was an easy one!!)

2. From the time I was a young girl, I have always loved to make people laugh.

3. I lived in Anchorage Alaska for 10 years when my husband was in the army and we stayed after he got out.

4. I don't like to go barefoot, not even inside. I almost always have socks on. The only time I ever take them off is when it's really, really hot!

5. I can’t swim and am afraid of deep water. However, I taught swimming through the Red Cross for 2 summers in college.

6. Within my family I'm known as "The Informant" because I have a hard time keeping a secret, and because I used to tell on my siblings when we were growing up.

7. Dogs were not the animal I loved first. Cats were my favorites growing up.

8. I am terrible at being organized, but I like things to be that way.

9. I have never broken a bone. (Knock on wood!)

10. I have a really difficult time remembering names and people--I'm hoping it's an age thing (I'm 48)

And now, five things I don't like...

1. People coming by without calling first.

2. Having my picture taken (But I've included one at the bottom of this post so you can put a face to all of this).

3. Not being able to find things. Isn't that frustrating??

4. Being late--even though I'm so good at it!

5. I don't like most seafood...

I'm supposed to give this award to 10 bloggers. But because some of us are traveling in the same blogging circle, you have either been, or already are recipients of this award. However, I think there are a couple that are not, so I've chosen 3 blogs that you may not know about and I'd like to pass this award onto...I hope you'll take a moment to stop by their blogs too.

Sharon: Life with Jack n Jill

Lori: Woodbury World

Mimi: Dandelion Wishes

Oh, finally here's the picture of lil' ole me that I took today...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Feel Good Moments from Saturday

More than anything, I wish the news for Maguire was better. There's not been any improvement. I think we've even lost a little bit of ground. I can tell that the dogs are also feeling our stress too. Yesterday there was an unusual fight between CarrieAnne and Sheba over who knows what. We never have dog-fights; the two of them are pals and have great fun and adventures together. They are also the most "high spirited and high strung" in the group, next to Charlie of course. I just think they were feeling the tension.

On Saturday I tried to look for and found some "feel good moments for the day." I did find some, and here are a few of them...

To start, I went to a shop and found this little character for my garden. Something about him appealed to me. I think because it made me think of a saying that I love, "It is said it will happen when pigs fly."

I drove past our old house and took this picture. Ours was the one on the end. It made me feel good that we're no longer living here with all the dogs in a townhouse that we had out grown.

I then drove up the street to what we used to call "the forbidden field" because of the sign on the gate. It's a fenced in ball field where we used to love to bring the dogs because they could safely run off lead. We had ten years of fun and good times there!
When I got home we found this little fellow in the yard.
Later we found this little tike literally on our door. I had to grin because it had dog-hair stuck to it. But then everything around here has dog hair on it.
He wasn't really that big...
Of course my best "feel good moment" is being able to have Maguire with us. Yesterday I used my last bit of hope and we decided to tackle putting him in the wheelchair again. It didn't work. For some reason, he just doesn't want to stand up in it, or hardly at all for that matter. When we were taking him out of it, I noticed that one of his back legs is swollen. I've no idea what that means, but I think it's another indication that he's not going recover. Someone commented and my vet as well "mentioned quality of life." Maguire is a dog that always loves to go for walks and roll in the grass. He's a dog that doesn't give up new stuffed toys to any of the other dogs. He's a dog that at mealtime gets his most excited. He's no longer doing any of that or enjoying any of those simple things. We know the time is very close to let him go to a place where he can enjoy those things again and wait for us. These decisions as you all well know, do not come quickly and are not made easily. But there seems to be a new found peace and calm around us and in my heart. I think it's what I've been looking and waiting for.

If you have a moment, and would like to read
Maguire's story of rescue, here is the link:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Discouragement and Hope

Its been quite a week. While I've tried to maintain the "positive energy" around our house, the discouragement and emotions I feel about Maguire are very near the surface and sometimes can't help but come out.

There are times when Maguire seems to be happy. I'll look at him and see that spark in his eyes and a smile and feel that he's okay. But then there are other times that I'm looking for something from him, a sign that all is well and from him, I get nothing.

Despite this I try very hard to have hope and look for the positive...

Maguire is not able to stand or walk on his own...Maybe it will just takes some more time for the medications to work.

Despite being such a chow-hound he's not got much of an appetite...Maybe it's just the medications taking away Maguire's love for a meal.

Walking him with the rear-end-sling is really difficult and he almost always collapse onto the ground. I even borrowed a wheelchair for him thinking that would help, and he again tumbled into a heap...Maybe walking with the sling is too much weight shifted to his front-legs and maybe he needs time to get used to the wheelchair.

So what does all this mean? Am I grasping at straws and not seeing what some of you may see so clearly? Right now there's so much uncertainty and the seeds of doubt easily arise about where our journey together is going and I wonder if we are on the right path. There's a huge part of me that's so desperately hanging onto Maguire and doesn't want to let him go, and I wonder if it's time and I should.

But then I remember that when it's time to decide anything the storms of doubt in my heart will be replaced with peace and the answers as to the direction to take will be clear. But for tonight there's no need to think about any of that. Maguire is sleeping near by and we're together; there is calm.

A Peony and an Iris bloomed for the first time today...Where flowers bloom so does hope.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I'll post an update on Maguire later today...I guess this is a "Nearly Wordless Wednesday!"

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Manic Monday!

I don't know where to start with the events of my day. I took the day off work and got Maguire to the vet (where this photo was taken). After an extensive exam I was given several scenarios of what could be causing his almost complete loss of the use of his back legs. It included several options to pin point exactly what it is could be which range all the way to seeing a neurologist for a possible MRI. There's the thought that it could be a slipped disc in his back, degenerative myelopathy, or even recurrence of lyme disease that he was treated for when he came into the rescue last year. It was a lot to think about, but for now I've opted for a conservative approach with medications and hope (and pray) that this direction will be effective enough to get him back on his feet.

When I got home I managed to get Maguire inside and let the other dogs out. I was a bit preoccupied and didn't watch which dogs I allowed to be outside the fence off lead--The next thing I saw was Sam rounding the corner and out of sight. I ran after him (interestingly enough Hamlet was behind me) but Sam was too fast and was quickly gaining distance from me. My calling to him with words like "wait, stay, come here, lets get a cookie" all fell on the deaf ears of a renegade that only looked over his shoulder and kept going towards the road. I quickly got the other dogs inside and got my keys to chase him down in my van. I have to mention that during this time Rudi was with Sam. I backed out of the garage almost hitting Wendy (YIKES!) and once down on the road I could see Rudi down the road on the shoulder. When I drove towards her I noticed that she would disappear for a moment and reappear again. I quickly realized what she was doing was telling me where Sam was. Out of breath and nearly hoarse I managed to get his attention by shaking the treat jar that I'd grabbed, he came over to get one and I grabbed him!! YAY!!! I loaded both dogs into my van and returned home, praising Rudi and letting her help herself to as many treats as she wanted!

I would have liked this whole episode to end at that but....When I got back home with Rudi & Sam, I left my van parked outside and got the two inside. I was having problems breathing (I have asthma) and it took several minutes for me to stop coughing and catch my breath. About a half-hour later I heard barking outside and realized it was Carrie Anne, she was inside the van with the windows up!!! In my rush I remembered seeing her in the van sitting on the backseat and have to admit that in trying to hold onto Sam, I totally forgot about her and shut her inside. I'm so thankful that it was not a terribly hot day; I would have had an awful disaster!!

I counted the dogs several times, said many prayers of thanks, officially bestowed the honor of "Hero!!" on Rudi gave out more treats and we all took a nap.

I don't know what the days ahead will bring for Maguire. But for now I'm thankful that he's sleeping peacefully and all is quiet at Golden Pines. Thank-you all for your concern and well wishes Maguire; he and I are both very grateful for them!

A Candle for Digby

Fragile Circle
"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own,
live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."
(Irving Townsend)

My heartfelt sympathy to Angus, the Font, and Wilf on the loss of their precious Digby. Here their hearts are broken but in heaven tonight there is indeed mischief and laughter. ~God Speed Digby~

You can visit them at:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Heart is Not Ready

"There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear..."

This is the first verse of a poem written by Rudyard Kipling, titled "The Power of the Dog." And this verse has been tumbling around in my head practically all day.

Our senior Golden Maguire is not doing well. He's not able to stand up. When I get him to his feet, his back toes are curling under, not allowing him to stand. With Carl working until late tonight I've managed to get him outside, but it's not been easy because he's a big, stocky Golden weighing over 80 pounds. I can tell that Maguire is in pain. But I'm hoping that the return of cold weather has just caused a flare up of arthritis in his hips and with some medications by morning maybe he'll feel better, and I will too.
Our sweet senior Golden Cowboy just left us in March and I'm not ready to have my heart torn and broken again.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

If I Didn't Have Dogs...

I've been thinking that...

If I didn't have dogs, my furniture wouldn't need to be covered to protect it. I could sleep in until I wanted to get up, there would be no wet noses in my face telling me when it's time. If I didn't have dogs, the windows in my car and house would be clean...Well, maybe not...
If I didn't have dogs, I wouldn't be buying so many "odor eliminator" candles. I could eat dinner sitting on the floor and not have eyes watching me take each bite. There would be no one by my side, always following me around. But living in the country with no nearby neighbors, if I didn't have dogs I might need to invest in a "different kind" of an alarm system. But I would be able to walk in a straight line through my house.
But then again, with Carl now working nights sometimes, if I didn't have dogs what would protect me from those things that go bump in the night? And if I didn't have dogs, I wouldn't have anyone to tell and share my secrets with. I wouldn't get to enjoy the outdoors as much.Enjoying all the simple things in life, like a game of frisbee
might not be so apparent to me anymore.
The truth is, I wouldn't trade life as a pet owner for anything. I wouldn't want to experience a life without our crew. While they have broken my heart when they left, they have provided so much joy and everlasting friendship. My dogs have reminded me to live in the now and not so much in the past or the future. I think that our lives would be empty without them and I'm thankful that "they" are a part of my life!