Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Little Fish Story

It's been a long couple of days. I would really like to thank everyone for your positive thoughts, comments and support on "Sam's Saga." It really means a lot to have your input and insight on this issue. I'm meeting with the family on Sunday, and will let you know what happens.

I really needed some "alone time" today and with our internet connection having problems I thought I'd just leave Carl to do his own thing and take Rudi for a drive. We drove over to Harpers Ferry West Virginia which is about 40 minutes from where we live and is situated on the banks of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers where Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia meet. Harpers Ferry is best known for John Brown's raid on the Armory in 1859 which brought national attention to the emotional divisions concerning slavery. As you can see, it's really a beautiful place, especially in the summer, we love to spend time there!

I remembered that we needed some bird food so I stopped by the "Petco" in the next town over called Charles Town. I took Rudi inside with me. She's usually pretty good when I take her places, but Rudi being Rudi, she bores easily and starts to act up--She didn't disappoint. When I was standing in line to check out, I noticed a well dressed older couple standing in back of me with a bag of two goldfish. Rudi was starting to get restless and started playfully barking at the man holding the fish who in return gave me a stern look of disapproval. As I was paying, I felt Rudi jump up and I turned around just in time to see that the bag that held the goldfish had a hole in it and there was water everywhere! I was given a look of disbelief and astonishment that was accompanied by something said by the couple and the cashier that I can't even remember--I quickly finished paying and Rudi and I made a quick retreat over the border and back to Virginia.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What to do About Sam?

I know I've already posted today, but I don't think there's a set rule that I can't post twice in a day, so I'm going to just because I need to unload something that of course it involves one of the dogs.

Believe it or not, one of our dogs is not from a rescue...At least not in the sense that our others are. His name is Sam, and we guess he is about 8-9 years old. He came to us last August from a family we know from church. He has a bit of mysterious past, and we call him "Sam the Spy" The family that we got him from had only had him two years. His life before that is unknown. The story I was told is that the Husband who works for "a Government Agency" came home one day with him. He told his wife that Sam's owner "was gone" and Sam needed to disappear. The wife said that she knew better than to ask any more questions -- But she really felt that "Sam" was not his name at all because he didn't respond to it. It's anyone's guess what it could be!! I have joked that some night I'll be sitting with him and say something off the wall like "Kwasimoto" and he'll go crazy!!

Whatever his past was, and whatever Sam is not telling us, he's really a nice dog! The family gave him up for several reasons. One being that they just didn't have time for him. Another was the health of "the wife." She was diagnosed with cancer and just felt that Sam was a bit too much to take care of along with a job and active young children. They also had to move out of the home they were in, into a smaller home in a subdivision that just happens to be around the corner from where we used to live. But they felt that they weren't going to have room inside or out for him. The family had thought about turning him over to the Golden Retriever Rescue. But they were on the fence about giving Sam to rescue and I thought it was only because they wanted to know what happened to him, and wanted to make sure that he had a good home--At least this is what I was told by the wife. But this is how I entered the picture. The wife contacted me, because they knew we had Goldens and asked if we would take him--Of course we said yes, and promised that he'd be loved, well cared for, etc. I know the kids were (naturally) upset about giving him up, but I told them they could come anytime to visit! I've kept up with them via Facebook and sent a few pictures telling them how he was doing. They've never come to visit, or initiated any contact. ...

Well, guess what has happened? Yes, they have asked if they could have Sam back. I find myself really torn about it. I have to ask, what has changed that all of the sudden the issues that they said kept them from keeping him 6 months ago are not problems six months later? How do they suddenly have the room for Sam? How does the Mom all of the sudden have time and energy for it all given her health concerns? I also have to ask myself why didn't they love him enough when they had him to try and make it work and keep him? I don't understand--I would do anything for my dogs, and that includes doing what I can to keep them; but that's me. I did hint around about my concerns, but the husband only told me that they felt that they could now make it work with Sam~~Just as a caveat I'll add that a friend of mine told me that we don't "legally" own Sam because we never signed a formal agreement. Even though I should know the laws of dog ownership in Virginia because of the rescue, I have to admit that I do not.

I know it goes without saying that we do love Sam. He's a terrific dog--Whatever he has been through, it hasn't kept him from being a confident, friendly and outgoing Golden. But it took several weeks for him to get used to living in a "group home" and being with other dogs, as well as a whole new routine. But Sam has settled in and does seem happy and of course he seems to have made a connection with Carl and I and has found his place in the pack.

I know that we have so many Goldens here, and maybe one leaving us shouldn't be such a big deal and they are a good kind family. But despite knowing his, it doesn't keep me from being torn, and having doubts about them and not knowing what I should do...Is it selfish and wrong to want to keep Sam and know for sure that he is happy and okay? I worry that if something happens and they decide they aren't able to keep him that they may not contact me again even if I made them promise they would. What a dilemma and what's the right thing to do?

A Simple Boring Life...

I mentioned last week that my life "had returned to boring." It really has! Each day pretty much starts out the same.

Of course I get up in the morning...Which is a good way to start the day...

We feed the dogs...Yes, we cook for them in the morning too--Just steamed green-beans mixed with canned food that we put on top of their kibble.

All the dogs get out for a morning walk. The rule is that all the dogs have to stop barking and settle down before we open the garage door--This morning "Josh" burped when everyone was quiet--There's always a comedian in the bunch!

This morning CC (our cat) came along--I guess she thought we needed an escort--Or maybe she's just as happy as we are that enough snow has melted that we can now see the entire driveway! We also dodged another snowstorm that was predicted for today. We get everyone back in, which is sometimes no easy task because we have our renegades running around everywhere, then I get myself together and make the hour drive to work...

Because Carl works 10-hour days, I get home first. I get the dogs out for a nightime romp, give them all their needed attention and fix our dinner--Carl gets home around 9 PM and after about an hour or so, it's off to bed for about 7-ish hours of quiet quality time with the dogs...I told you, I was a bit boring right now...Please stay tuned...It has to change...Right? I just hope this isn't the calm before the storm!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wendy & The Lost Boys

A few of you asked about the rescue stories of the Goldens that reside at "Golden Pines." Because my life has returned to boring, I will use today to tell you about one member of our crew named Wendy, who is our "top dog." Get comfy and I will tell you her story...

I had heard somewhere that when you get a dog, you should get your first one from a breeder and your second from a rescue--That's exactly what we did. Our first Golden, named Tod, came from a breeder. Because we thought Tod was perfect, it of course made us want another one just like him. But what came to us in the summer of 1999, was our introduction into rescue and a dog that was so unlike our first one.

She came to us at almost two years old, and her name was Amber. I didn't think the name fit her, so we changed it to Wendy who is my favorite character in Peter Pan. Little did I know at the time, how perfect and appropriate this name would become. Wendy, a border collie and Golden mix had been given up by her owners because of her exuberance and boldness; qualities of a Border Collie. She had so much energy, and ran everywhere she went. She also got into everything, was independent and jumped up on everyone!! She was so unlike our first Golden, who we thought could do no-wrong! I used to say that if we'd gotten her first, we may not have ever gotten another dog. At first Tod, who was so laid back and reserved was a bit overwhelmed by her antics. Wendy did not score any points with him when she chewed up a favorite bear that he'd treasured for a long time. But eventually everything came together, and we were a pretty happy little family. **This is a photo of Tod & Wendy**
Carl and I really wanted to "make a difference" so in the spring of 2000, we became a foster home for the Golden Retriever Rescue. For some reason, many of the Goldens coming into rescue at the time were young male strays that had been in a shelter. Because we have no children, these Goldens were placed with us. Wendy became the companion and mentor to what we would eventually call "the lost boys." These young rambunctious Goldens were the perfect outlet for Wendy who loved to run and play games! Her favorite thing was to chase and be chased. Being in touch with her Border Collie genes, a tennis ball was never interesting to Wendy; she adored the Frisbee, and never tired of catching and running after it.

I don't know where the time has gone, but it has now been almost 11 years since Wendy came to us. She is our only connection to all of the additions and subtractions in our household. She has been my constant companion on road-trips and walks, and sleeps at the foot of the bed. Wendy's loyalty, love, and dedication has had a deep impact on me. Many times I have sat with her and shared my dreams, secrets, fears and disappointments. Wendy always listens and seems to understand because the look that she gives seems to always find a way to reassure me that everything will be okay.

Wendy is no longer able to run and play like she used too; this winter has been a difficult one for her because she has developed arthritis in her hips. I have to admit that I have a hard time thinking of Wendy as anything but that young, crazy-wild-dog we adopted in 1999, especially because that spark, spunk and spirit is still very much there! I never would have thought that "Wendy" whose name came from a character that symbolized mothering, caring, loyalty, and undying friendship, would mean the same to our household as it did to Peter Pan and the Lost Boys!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Valentine's Day Gift

Today on Valentine's Day, I pay tribute to one of our dogs, Cowboy. Two years ago on Valentine's Day, I was asked to foster a senior Golden that was picked up as a stray, and was on his "last day" in a shelter in West Virginia. Here was fate again....Carl and I just happened to be off work the next day and could meet the transport that was bringing him to our part of Virginia; so that made it easy to say "yes."

When we first saw him, he was leashed to a tree in a backyard. He stood up and started happily barking at us, as if to ask where we'd been. With the leash in hand, he walked right to our van and put his front feet up on the open side door, a signal for us to help him in and to get on with his adventure! Of course a couple of people suggested we name him something associated with Valentine's Day. But I named him "Cowboy" for a couple of reasons--He had on a rope-like collar, and with bow-legs bent because of age, a few missing teeth, all reminded me of an "old" cowboy--The name just seemed to fit him.

As we got to know Cowboy, I thought he was sweet old fellow (aren't they all?) and I thought it was a bit endearing that when he wagged his tail, it went in a big circle that never seemed to stop going. We found him to be a happy, big goofy Golden with a little bit of laryngeal paralysis that causes him to have a raspy old dog bark that is always telling you when he wants something--If his barking doesn't get your attention, then he'll grab your hand, your shirt, or whatever he can and pull you to what he wants, which is usually something related to the kitchen.

I've no idea what Cowboy's past was like, and of course we have no idea how old he really is. But what I do know, is that we couldn't love him anymore if he'd been with us his entire life. I feel that with Cowboy and all the other senior Goldens, that when I look into their eyes, we have been given an extraordinary gift to love, and to be loved unconditionally in return--For me, it's the perfect Valentine's Day gift!

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Normal Day?

It's my last day of being snowbound, our driveway is cleared!!

I'm not really sure if it's just my state of mind, but today there were a few things that happened that gave me a little bit of a grin....

It started first thing this morning when we opened the garage door to let the dogs out. Left by the door were 2 packages that had been delivered by Federal Express yesterday. The delivery person had to walk through our snow-filled-drive way to get to our house--Kudos to him for doing that!! However, the packages that were delivered belong to our neighbors...

I must've been on a roll with the mail--This came from my Aunt today--It's a cat toy, that's for cats...What if the dogs want to play with it, I wonder if they would want too?

I've been resisting making brownies--It ended up probably being a good thing, because when I opened the brownie mix to make them today, this was on the inside...I think it's a cake mix...
Since the snow started, I've been missing a house-shoe--Today Sheba came to me with it in her mouth. I wish she could tell me where she found it.

Having a bit of cabin fever, we spent a little bit of time outside with the dogs. I noticed our rain-gauge has become a snow gauge; I think it's pretty accurate.
The drama for the day came when we came back in, I couldn't find our cat, CC. I was pretty sure she'd been outside with us. We looked, and looked for her, and called her as well. Carl had been clearing the snow off the roof, and being a worrier of course I imagined that maybe some snow fell on top of her, or maybe the hawk we've been seeing carried her off...It could happen, right??!!

Well, maybe not. Eventually I noticed that CC was napping in a spot that she's not used in quite sometime on top of our kitchen cabinets. Do you think that she heard us calling her and promising her a meal if she came? Of course she did....

I think all this is a sign that life is returning back to normal; whatever that is!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thank doG It's Friday!!

FINALLY it's the end of a long snowy week!! The Federal Government has been closed all week, so Carl has been off as a result. My office closed 2 days, but unable to get to work today it seems like I have been home for days and days... We found (and paid) someone to plow out our driveway on Tuesday. But Murphy's Law being what it is, the Wednesday snowstorm that brought another foot of snow was accompanied by high winds which caused snow to drift across the driveway, snowing us in yet again. Carl is working on shoveling (yes, I said shovel) and we're hoping that by Saturday night we'll be able to get out again. If not, we may have our own episode of "The Shining" with me playing the role of Jack Torrance! Thankfully our power has stayed on, and we are well stocked with all that we need.
I think that the dogs are getting tired of the snow too. I know they are missing being able to run and play in the woods that they love so much. Rudi (below) was on her way to the bird feeder for her favorite snack--Can't blame her for trying to get there--There's always something on the ground that she thinks she can't live without!
Charlie waits patiently by the gate--Is he hoping to make an escape too? I wish it were as easy as opening a gate to leave!

Enjoy your weekend!!

Sunshine Award!

It's been kind of a crummy week,
but today was made a bit better today by
Amy at "Bubbles Thoughts"
who gave me a "sunshine award" that I will
be passing on to other blogging friends. I've really enjoyed my visits to her blog, and I'm sure you would too!!
THANK YOU for thinking of me Amy!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Video Premiere: Our Crew!

Below is a REALLY amateur attempt to do a video of our crew while I was fixing their dinner; of course they were excited!! This is the first video I've ever done, and I know it shows--But it does give you an idea about the dogs we share our lives with. My next video will be better--I'll make sure you can see the cat!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Say it Ain't Snow!!

The weather report for Tuesday says 5-10 more inches of snow is on the way. I think the look on Maguire's face on Saturday pretty much says how I'm feeling about it all too.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Grasshopper Ways...

You may remember the story of the “Grasshopper and the Ant.” I remember this story not because I read it in a book, but because I saw the Disney cartoon. In the cartoon, the grasshopper fiddles, sings, and eats the leaves off trees while the queen of the ants warn him that he'd better prepare for winter too. But the grasshopper continues fiddling and singing. When winter finally comes, the grasshopper becomes almost frozen from the cold. He can no longer play his fiddle. In desperation, he knocks at the tree where the ants live and begs them to let him in. The queen ant gives her “I told you so” speech and ends with “Take your fiddle...” and after the long pause she says “and play!” So in the end, the grasshopper earns the warmth and food of the ants by playing his fiddle.

I am reminded of this story because Carl and I are like the grasshopper in the story. We are SO unprepared for this winter!! These last 2 snowstorms have really held challenges for us. I had hoped that the lessons learned from the last snowstorm would get us through this one; they really haven't. Our power went out on Saturday afternoon. With almost 3 feet of snow, no firewood and temps below freezing outside, it was getting chilly inside. The dogs however, were great warmers last night--There's nothing like a Golden Retriever or two (or three) to help you to feel cozy!! But with very little food that didn't need to be cooked, no running water, (everything in our house is electric) I have to confess that I was getting a little concerned and we both were a little hungry too. Carl and I worked today and got my van and part of the driveway all shoveled out. About 2 hours later we were wet and pretty cold. I was trying to warm up and feeling pretty discouraged about it all and was just about at rock-bottom when suddenly the power was restored!!!! An answer to a prayer!! We've now had a hot meal, have warmed up and feel like we can again conquer the elements--Who needs the Ants?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hunkering down again!

Well, here we go again!! The snow is back, and the prediction for this storm is for 2-3 feet before it all ends on Saturday night. I know this may not sound like much to some of you, but for an area that is only used to getting around 17 inches a year it's a big deal--The bottom line, we are real wimps here in Virginia!!

At the start of the winter, I didn't mind the snow because I really enjoy a good snow day and having a good reason to stay home! But I have to admit that with all we've had this year it is starting to lose its novelty because I'm not nearly as excited about this snowfall as I was about the others we've had.

I know you're probably tired of looking at my snow pictures, but it seems to be what my life is all about the last couple of weeks...Below is the view of our road as I was coming home from work this afternoon. You can see that the road was starting to get a glaze on it.

The 22 inches of snow we had in December really caught us off guard and unprepared with a way to "get out." Because we had no one to plow for us, or a snow-blower, we ended up shoveling the entire driveway. Since we've not been able to get a plow for our "lawn-tractor" we decided to park my van close to the bottom of the driveway to make getting out easier--At least that's our hope! This is the "old road" in back of our house that leads up to the open field. It certainly looks different in the snow, doen't it?

Home snowy-home!!! Which is where we'll be for the next couple of days--If the power stays on and we have an internet connection, it's not such a bad place to be snowbound!!!

Hmmmm...There were no pictures of the dogs or mention of them in this post...How'd that happen??

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Ground-DOG Day Prediction!

Today was Groundhog Day! The day when thousands of revelers converged on the small Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney to hear a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil predict the weather! Apparently the day grew out of a mainly German superstition that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow February 2--the Christian holiday of Candlemas--winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will be early.

Having a lot of confidence in this scientific method for predicting the weather, but being unable to make it to Punxsutawney, we decided to see for ourselves if spring would come early or late. However, our resident groundhogs are all in hibernation right now. So, we opted to use the next best thing for our own Ground-DOG Day prediction, the dogs. When we had them out this morning, we tried in several different places to see if one of them would cast a shadow. No matter what they did, there was no shadow!! So it was official, spring will come early!!!

However, as we looked out our backdoor tonight it was confirmed that our dogs and Punxsutawney Phil are just as good of weathermen as the ones with two legs--It is definitely NOT looking like an early spring! Oh well...