Sunday, September 29, 2013


I’ve been blessed all my life with good and kind friends.  Across the country and internationally I have old and new friendships that I cherish and (thanks to technology) I can keep in touch with.  One of those friends came on Thursday with her Golden, named Ranger and spent a few days with us.  Her visit was planned more than a month ago, but could not have come at a better time after the past week. We had a great time catching up, staying up too late, laughing, shopping and eating all the wrong things.
~One of the 'wrong things' I indulged in this weekend~
Of course, I told "Sid" all about Sunny and asked her to (please!!) be mindful of him and not grab his collar.  After dinner one evening as we were clearing the table Sunny put his front feet on a chair to see if there was something for him on the table.  In that one moment she did just what the trainer said someone not thinking would do, she tugged Sunny's collar and asked him to get down. And without a flinch, he did what he was asked. She and I both feel that there's hope for him.  
~Sunny this morning, he still doesn't like the camera~
Our friend left early this morning in fog and temperatures in the 40's. Standing outside saying good-bye, we were all feeling pretty chilled by the crisp autumn air.  Afterwards I did the only thing I could do, got another blanket and went back to bed.  I do love the fall.  
~New boy Shadow~

E-TOWN KY: 137 visits by 9/29

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sunny: A Bittersweet End and New Beginning

Some of you were able to read between the lines in my post this past Saturday about Sunny.  Yes, he was supposed to be euthanized on Monday.  Because Sunny belonged to the rescue, it was their decision to make.  We all know that we unfortunately live in a litigious society.  Knowing that you have a dog like Sunny who has "a history" and is one that you have been told by a trainer may bite again, and cannot be safely placed in another home, is a liability to a rescue.  Having served on the board of the rescue for 4 years, I respected and fully understood why the decision was made and as Sunny's foster home, I was willing to follow through on their decision, or so I thought I was.

I found that it ripped me (and Carl) apart inside. We are only supposed to be the foster home that takes in the senior dogs and gives them a good home for whatever time they have left.  We are not the ones who are supposed to have to support a decision to euthanize a dog that sleeps by the bed at night. Who is so happy to see us when we get home, gets along well with the other dogs (and the cat) and has been living with us for nearly 3 months.  I don't know how many of you have ever had to euthanize a pet for reasons other than illness or old age, if you have, you know what we were going through.  It’s hard enough to euthanize a pet when they are ill and you know that you are easing their pain.  But it is much harder to do it when it involves a dog like Sunny who has many good qualities, and you aren't totally, 100% convinced that it's the right thing. The decision to euthanize Sunny followed me around like a huge dark cloud, it was totally consuming.  And so when Monday morning came, I did the only thing I felt I could do and that was to call and cancel the appointment.  I contacted the rescue and told them what I'd done.  Of course they were not happy with me and we were given 24 hours....  (I will add that I think in doing this, I pretty much got us 'fired' from our 14 year fostering career with the rescue.)  

I will skip to the end of the story and tell you that the board of the rescue voted to turn Sunny over to Carl and I.  We signed papers releasing the rescue from any and all future liability and responsibility for Sunny and he has become a permanent member of the gang at Golden Pines. It was a bittersweet moment when I unceremoniously removed his rescue tags from his collar.  Carl and I know that there may be a time when we will be making the decision to let Sunny go because of his behavior. But it will be "our" decision alone to make and not a board of directors.

And so Thursday officially began Sunny's new life and another chance.  I feel strongly that he deserves that.  I also feel strongly that things are how they are meant to be and I am finding great peace in that.

E-TOWN KY: 137 visits by 9/29

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Birthday and A New Addition!

We are back from our overnight road-trip that took us near the border of Virginia and Tennessee to celebrate a milestone birthday of a friend many of you know, Lynn of Rocky Creek Scotties. Lynn is the person we got Todd from, so of course he accompanied me on this trip.  Despite the cold pouring rain for most of the day, it stopped just before dinner making it a perfect evening to enjoy really great food, live Blue Grass music and the chance to make new friends and see a few members of Todd's family.  Unfortunately because the darkness the pictures I took of Todd's little family reunion didn't turn out so well, but Todd (bottom left of photo below) is still the biggest in his family.
It was really a great time, and Todd really loved the bed in the hotel. 
But it was NOT just Todd and I in the hotel room and Lynn's birthday party wasn't our only reason for our visit to her neck of the woods.  Those of you who are "friends" with me on Facebook know that I've been really missing having a senior-male-Golden Retriever as part of our household.  I've even been combing listings of dogs on the websites of other rescues in hopes of finding that senior boy that has been so elusive. But fate seems to have played a card because Lynn works with someone who had a 12 year old male Golden Retriever that they were hoping to rehome. To respect the family's privacy I won't go into the details about them and only say that because of the very long hours that 'Shadow' was being left alone, it was felt that it was unfair for him to spend so much time by himself.  We all know that lives change and I respect this family for making what I know is a tough choice, and trusting us to give 'Shadow' a good home.
We met Shadow on Saturday and he has become the newest addition to our home.  He has enjoyed a good life and has been very well cared for and loved.  He's easy going and very affectionate. But for whatever reason he and Todd got off on the wrong foot--However they made up in the hotel and are just fine.  The intros to the rest of the pack went really well, even Sunny was fine with him.  Unfortunately in my discussions with the previous owner, I never asked if he got along with cats and we had a little incident with our cat late last night.  CC is just fine, and I think that once he learns that she is to left alone, (a lesson many dogs have had to learn) I think Shadow is going to be just what I already think he is, a wonderful addition to the gang at Golden Pines.      

Post Script:  Sunny remains with us for now.  I will do an update on him very soon. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Needed Road Trip

I'd like to start with a special thank you to all those who commented on my last post.  The blogging community is truly a place of great kindness, support and invaluable advice. You provided a lot of encouragement and hope when it was felt that there was none.  After much discussion a decision about Sunny's future was made by the board of directors of the rescue and he will leave our home on Monday. I have really agonized over this.  I wanted him to be able to stay with us, and in letting him go I feel like I've failed him. But that is my heart speaking because I know that intellectually where he is going is the best and safest choice for him.  I can only hope that Sunny finds peace and that his wounded soul and spirit heals.  

Carl, who has been gone all week returns this evening.  Tomorrow I off on an overnight trip for a little family-reunion of sorts.  Rain is predicted, but I have a feeling that won't spoil the fun--And after what has been a long, exhausting week in more ways than one, fun and getting away is what I need most.
I hope you enjoy your weekend too! 

E-Town KY: 134 visits.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunny: Free in His Dreams

The trainer came yesterday and evaluated Sunny and we talked at length about his issues and his good qualities.I appreciated her candor and respected her opinions as she helped me to articulate what I've been feeling about Sunny since he came to us.  Having a dog that you care about trying to bite you and growling at you is literally a visceral slam to your gut. Your heart feels a betrayal of trust by a canine that you are very fond of and you feel a rip deep in your soul.

The behavior issues that Sunny has are not ones that can be solved. Yes, exercises and training could be done to help lengthen his short fuse.  But he refuses to wear a harness (believe me, we've tried) and so in the moments of every day life when his collar is accidentally grabbed to keep him from taking something, or you simply ask him to stop what he's intent on doing, it will be difficult if not impossible to avoid being bitten by him--And experience is starting to prove that will happen.  Because of this, it's the feeling of the trainer and mine as well, that Sunny cannot and should not be placed up for adoption to the general public.

Based on the evaluation given by the trainer, the decisions about Sunny's future are being discussed by the board of directors of the rescue.  I've spoken at length to my contact on the board and my recommendations are also part of the discussion.  The decisions about his future will not be easy to make. But for tonight and this moment, the future seems so far away.  Right now he is sleeping at my feet.  His body, legs and eyes are twitching and there are short woofs and whines as he dreams. And I find myself so fervently hoping that in that place that I cannot see, that his fears and the scars that have become a part of him in this life are gone and that he is free.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Little Moments

~Crossing the Potomac River near Brunswick Maryland~
As you can probably guess, my lack of blogging always indicates that we've had a very busy week and that's certainly been the case!  With Carl out of town this past week, it left me hardly any free time. He's back just in time for the weekend, to clean our house, put the laundry away for me (both things he does very well!) but he will be off again next week.

The weekend is going to be a busy one as well.  This morning a dog-trainer is coming to work with Sunny and I.  You may recall that Sunny doesn't like anyone to grab his collar.  Our dog walker and I have both had instances where he has growled and snapped at us when we've needed him to do something that he didn't want too. The trainer, Nancy, told me that because of Sunny's age (around 9-10) that this behavior will probably always be part of who he is. She feels, as do I, that Sunny was probably grabbed by his collar and mistreated.  It's times like this when you wish they could tell you.  But it may help to explain why he becomes reactive at those times when you touch him around his neck or collar. But the goal and hope is that we can perhaps desensitize him to being touched around his collar, and make it positive for him. Maybe we'll even solve his camera shyness along the way too.
Through the break-neck pace of the past week, the dogs always provide those little moments that make me stop and pause.  Cissy provided one.  When she finishes a meal, she always puts her paw in her empty dish.  There's something so sweet about that...
And Todd provided another, doing something that he does quite often, which is sitting alone in the yard.  There's always a feeling of peace. I can't help but wonder what he's thinking?  Is he thinking about the mysteries of the universe, or chasing the cat?   Do I dare ask?  
One thing I couldn't ask for is better weather.  A beautiful September day is on tap for us today, and after meeting with the trainer I look forward to doing a few things outside.  I'm sorry I've missed visiting your blogs this week, but I am looking forward to catching up on your news later today!  Enjoy your Saturday!
~An old barn on our road~ 

E-Town KY: 132 visits...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Terrier or Golden Retriever?

I recently read an article that suggested that the type of dog breed that you own can tell a lot about your personality.

The article said that owners of Labs and Golden Retrievers are friendly, good-natured, easy going, carefree, and put their families first.  And that the people who own these breeds are known to be very social, honest and very likable.
The article went on to say that people who own terriers are flexible and able to focus on the task at hand. Terrier owners resemble the breed in that they are feisty, brave, and often competitive. Owners can even be described as extremely talkative and with a good sense of humor. Other than my being "talkative and having a good sense of humor" I don't really think I fit the description of the typical terrier owner.

But one thing I do know for certain as the owner of a Scottish Terrier, is that I really like the way they look after they've been groomed.  You may remember earlier in the summer Todd and I 'cheated' on our regular groomer.  He was taken to another shop and he ended up with a more 'Westie' appearance.  I personally didn't think the look worked for him, but Todd didn't seem to notice and he was happy afterwards, and so I was too.
~Todd and the girls in July after his Westie-Haircut~
But yesterday Todd went to his regular groomer for his fall-haircut. I have to say that I do love the iconic silhouette of a Scottish Terrier...
The pointed ears, 
the elongated nose and body, 
and that bushy beard and eyebrows. 
Which takes me to that sense of humor.  It's one of my favorite things!  
Maybe I really am more Terrier than Golden Retriever...

If you'd like to read the full article about what your choice of dog-breed may say about you, click here

E-Town KY: 130 visits... 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lucky This Time

~Mailboxes on our road~
In the past month, the house in back of us that took nearly a year to build is finally occupied.  It did give me a grin when I saw that the mailbox the new neighbors put up is a locking one.  No one, and I mean no one who lives on the entire 12 mile stretch of our country road has one that locks, and neither does anyone else on the routes that I regularly take.  Is it a lack of trust of  those of us who live around here, or is that what living in the city did to them?  I'll probably never know.
But just as we hoped, their moving here hasn't affected us much at all.  However today when I was out with the dogs where the driveway passes by our property, a work truck that was driving way too fast flew up their driveway, and before I knew what was happening, CarrieAnne was running after it.  With my heart in my throat I ran after her, but of course couldn't catch her in time.  As I rounded the corner of the driveway all I could see was Carrie continuing her pursuit of the truck.  When it stopped thankfully she ran back to me and was unharmed.
~CarrieAnne after her chase~
Needless to say, it reinforced what I've thought since the hedge was cleared by the power company, that we need to consider putting up a fence and hope that the hedge that we've let grow all summer, grows a little faster. Carrie was lucky this time, but we all know that next time, she or one of the other dogs, might not be.
~Annie standing on our side of the new driveway~

Monday, September 2, 2013

Muddy Paws

Our temperatures may be saying summer, but the calendar and the lack of light in the morning say that fall is on the way. This morning as dawn was approaching, the dogs ran through the wet grass following the smells from overnight.  Behind the dogs were 2 bats in acrobatic flight eating the bugs they stirred up.  I've seen a few more bats this year, and hope that their numbers are again on the rise.  Afterwards all the dogs were happy to go back inside because they knew what was coming next, breakfast!

But outside, Sheba decided that she didn't want to come back in.  She wanted the adventure to continue and used her best rag-doll impression to let me know that as I tried to get her to her feet.  I even tried to pull her lifeless body down the driveway, but then I gave up and just left her laying there.
And I did the only thing I could do, take pictures of her dirty feet.
I used to try to keep the dogs from tracking their muddy paws into the house. I would get a bucket of warm water and clean their feet before allowing them back inside.  The look of joy they had after their walk would be quickly replaced with a look of "how can you do this to us?"  It didn't take long to realize that having dogs in the country usually means having dirty paw prints inside on a fairly regular basis. Paw prints in the mud and muddy paw prints in the house are all part of the joy of dog ownership, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Yes, there’s a hassle factor because you've got to clean them up, but the incredible happiness on the dogs' faces after they've dug a hole or had an adventure that took them through the mud and dirt is worth it. At least that's what I keep telling myself.