Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Weekend is in Sight!

Summer is really in full swing, and the July 4th holiday weekend is in sight!  Today is my last day of work until next Tuesday.  Carl however goes back to work for two more days.  We have no plans for the long weekend, but the town we live in is having a street fair and since we've never gone, we may have to go this year.  We'll see.  
The dogs are still getting used to having a puppy around the house.  Being Goldens they are pretty adaptable and don't seem to really mind the change in the routine and energy.  However Charlie remains in a real snit!!  I guess Todd knows that they are both terriers because despite what Charlie may be telling him, he remains undaunted and wants to make friends with his cousin, but Charlie will have nothing of it!  I am pretty sure he'll get over it, but he has to make a show of it first.  The cat and Todd have had a couple of encounters--Todd who is a little smaller than the cat is giving her the respect she commands, so she has given her tentative approval and warning that he needs to stay away from her--I think they'll be just fine!  I hope your Wednesday is 'just fine' too!!   I'll look forward to catching up on your blogs later today! 
~Todd & Sam~

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Little Things

I'd like to thank-you all for your ideas to tempt Rudi to eat something.  Since Saturday evening she's been eating what are called 'Satin Balls,' which are considered a total canine diet.  They can be fed by themselves or as a supplement. Rudi seems to like them, and that's what's most important.  But I know that may change at any time, so the next trick I have up my sleeve to get her to eat is all ready, which will be baby food.  

This is the tenth day of grace with Rudi.  She seems to be feeling pretty well, because last evening she got the cat food bowl off the kitchen counter.  I know it may sound silly, but it's the little things like that, that I've missed her doing the most.  Yesterday for the first time she grabbed a frisbee off the work bench in the garage and wanted to play a round.  But knowing she would overdo it, as she always does, and with the heat, I reluctantly told her no.  I've decided that at times like this, it all comes down to the small and sometimes trivial things, that you didn't think meant much at the time, you suddenly realize you miss them the most.

I really do love the little things...

And this 'little thing' too!  Enjoy your Tuesday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Reggie the Mother Hen

Its been exactly a week now since Reggie came to Golden Pines.  Her transition into our household has been seamless.  There has not been a moment of trouble from her and she has shown time and time again, what a nice dog she is.  Reggie seems to know things like sit, down, stay which makes me think that at one time she must have been a treasured companion--Why that would have changed is anyone's guess.

Reggie has adjusted the routine and has made herself right at home.  She continues to always wag her tail and does seems to be happy and content.
There seems to be a connection between Reggie and Todd.  Any noise that he makes, Reggie is right there checking on him.  When we're outside, she is never that far away keeping a watchful eye on him. Todd is always close to her too and when he sees her he'll run over to her.    
We decided that we're going to keep Reggie here for now.  And when her medial issues are all resolved, which won't be for a  few more months, we'll try to find her another home through the rescue, (does anyone really believe I'll do that??) Besides, I think she and Todd might miss one another.  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Todd and Everything is Just Fine!!

It was a whirlwind trip to Southwest Virginia but it could not have been a better one!  I really enjoyed meeting Lynn from Rocky Creek Scottie Adventures   who was just as I knew she would be, welcoming, kind, thoughtful and so easy to talk too--She has such a beautiful setting for her home and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her, meeting her husband and her pups too!  Of course the highlight and reason for my trip was to pick up our new addition, Todd.

Of course my heart melted when I saw him for the first time--He is bigger than I expected and just as precious as I knew he would be.

Eventually my visit with Lynn came to an end because it was time to get on the road and return to my neck of the woods.  Todd was as good as gold for the 6 hour drive.    
Speaking of Gold....Todd was a little overwhelmed yesterday at meeting all the Goldens for the first time.
That however has changed.  Today Todd is trying to get to know his new pack just a little bit better and is either following them around or....  
~Reggie & Todd~
laying around with them...
~Sam & Todd~
And really trying to make a friend out of Charlie who is, as expected, non too happy right now and is just trying to stay a few steps ahead. 
We are keeping him away from Rudi, who is mostly ignoring him, which is just fine--In fact as our first day together is coming to an end, I think everything is just fine!   

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Adventure Begins!

The day that I've been anticipating since April has finally arrived!!  I'm leaving shortly on a road trip to get our new addition and meet Lynn from the blog Rocky Creek Scottie Adventures.  I've never met a fellow blogger before, so it's going to be a first.  Another first will be having a Scottish Terrier--We are nervous but excited!!  I know that the timing may not be the best because of Rudi.  But I have been feeling for several weeks that this is the right time and so I know that it'll be okay.  Besides there's nothing like puppy antics to lift your spirits!!!  .....Or turn a household completely upside down!

Thank-you all again for your sending all your well wishes, good thoughts and prayers for Rudi! They have meant so much!!!  She is doing okay.  We have moments where she seems like herself, other times when she isn't.  Right now I am struggling with getting her to eat something--anything.  I thought I had fooled her when I got her to eat a meal out of the cat food bowl.  But she only fell for that twice.  Rudi has always been a real chow-hound--She's always been fed last, and finished first.  So this is really hard to see.  If any of you have any suggestions on how to get her to eat, that would really be appreciated.
I'm really sorry that I've not been able to visit your blogs very often this week.  It has really been a busy week with Reggie arriving and a few other things behind the scenes.  I will look forward to reading your news when I return on Friday.  With a new puppy, I'm sure I'll have time!!  Right??!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Arrival of a Girl Named Reggie

We have a new addition at least for now, that arrived on Monday.  At the beginning of June I was asked by the rescue if I would consider taking a 13 year old senior girl named Reggie. At the time, Hamlet was doing okay, and after really thinking about it I agreed. Because of some 'issues' and because she was 6+ hours away, it took some doing to bring her in this direction.  I was contacted on Sunday and told that everything had been arranged and she was on her way to me.  With everything that has been going on, I didn't think it was such a good idea for her to come here.  But with no place for her to go I agreed to take Reggie and see how it went.  I know that with Rudi not feeling well and the puppy arriving in a few days, the timing for this gal to become part of our household is not the best.  I think that she needs to perhaps go to another foster home.

Reggie was confiscated from her owner by Animal Control in the county where she lived because she was found lying on her owner’s porch with a ruptured dinner plate sized mass on her back that was infected with 'fly larva.'  Other sores on her body were infected as well, and understandably she was not feeling well and was having problems walking.  The owner was charged with animal cruelty and neglect and
had to surrender Reggie.  While the case is pending, the judge is NOT tolerant of animal abuse and neglect and they most definitely will be held accountable for their actions--Thank-goodness!!   Reggie has had the surgery to remove the mass.   Because of the condition of her coat and the other sores, she had to be shaved down to the skin.  She has a large mammory tumor but the vet felt it was too close to her heart to risk removing it. She is also thought to be in the early stages of heart failure. 

Reggie gets along nicely with our crew who don't mind her at all because they are seasoned veterans with dogs coming and going from our household.  Rudi is also un-phased by her and ignores her.  Reggie does seem a bit bewildered by what's happened to her.  I don't think she understood my taking her on a walk with us yesterday morning.  She was tenative and nervous the whole time and kept looking back towards the house.  When we let her into the backyard she hurries back onto the porch and stands with her head pushed into the door to be let back inside.  She is following us everywhere and I don't think her tail has stopped wagging.  I think she's grateful and happy...Yes, there is no question about it, she's a sweet old girl!  But as I mentioned, the timing of her arrival is not the best and she may have to use her charm to win a place in someone else's heart besides mine, which she has already done.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Days of Grace

We took Rudi to see our vet on Monday who looked at the x-rays, examined her and agreed with the diagnosis of  hemangiosarcoma.  We talked about the very few options that we have, and have decided to let nature take its course.  More than likely Rudi only has a matter of days left with us, weeks maybe, but nothing more.  Yesterday was a good day.  Her gum color is good, but we struggle with trying to get her to eat.  I'm hoping that putting her on an antacid will help because we think she may be feeling nauseous.  She remains really quiet and subdued, so we're letting her set her own pace and decide what she wants to do (she pretty much did that anyway).  But Rudi's days of wildly chasing the frisbee, running laps around the house and getting the cat food off the counter are behind us.

When some of you have been given a grim diagnosis for your own dogs, and they exceed the time a vet has predicted, those days have been called 'days of grace.'  I've never really known personally just how precious those days can be until I was told on Saturday that Rudi probably wouldn't live through the night.  It's Tuesday morning and she's still with us.  Knowing that this can change at anytime makes me realize just what a treasure each day (with Rudi) really is.  
~Rudi in May, playing frisbee~

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Riding a Wave

We are riding a wave.  Rudi had a relatively quiet night, although mine was a sleepless one.  This morning she's up and around a little bit and even wanted to go outside.  She's nowhere close to being 'just fine,' but that's okay, she's here with us, and seems to be comfortable and not in pain. I'm sure that her system is absorbing some of the blood that's in her abdomen which is why there seems to be an 'upswing' in her mood and attitude.  I'm just hoping that we can make it through another night and to my vet first thing on Monday.  Many many thanks for your continued good thoughts and prayers that are at the moment putting us on top of the wave, and helping me come to grips with what I know is coming.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another Loss At Golden Pines???

To start, I cannot begin to express how much your kind words on the loss of Hamlet have meant to me.  Your remembering Hamlet on your blogs, sending an e-card, and lighting candles for him have left me feeling humbled and grateful to all of you, my friends--You've made a difference and made his loss easier to bear, because you have shared it with me.

Yesterday on the way to the vet with Hamlet I didn't want to listen to the rambling on the radio, so I plugged in my iPod and the song by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole, Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Wonderful World started to play.  I thought it was an appropriate song to listen to.  I replayed it a couple of times and I held Hamlet's paw as I drove and sang along.  Last evening we were standing on the porch after a storm and over my house was a rainbow.
I stood and marveled at the rainbow because I knew that it was a reminder that everything was 'okay' and everything was how it should be.  I said a prayer of thanks for knowing that and felt that inner peace.

~Charlie & Rudi (right)~
The past week as you know has been an emotional one.  One of our dogs, Rudi, who is about 9 years old has always been really sensitive to my moods, when I'm upset she'll be upset as well.  Her refusing to eat during those times is not uncommon.  I'd noticed during the week that she was not quite herself and I attributed it to everything that was happening with Hamlet.  I thought that a fun outing would be good for her (and me) so today I decided to take Rudi with me as I visited a friend over in West Virginia.  Rudi hardly wanted to do anything but lay around.  When she had problems walking up a hill I checked her gums and noticed they were pale and her stomach seemed bloated...I took her to the animal emergency and x-rays were taken and the vet gave his diagnosis of Hemangiosarcoma   and thought that I should let her go because he thought she only had hours to live.  To say that I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach was and is an understatement.  I explained to the vet that I'd just let a dog go the day before and I wasn't ready to do it again.  However he felt that I should because he doesn't think she'll live through tonight.  I took Rudi outside and talked to Carl who had met me there.  Whether it's right or wrong, or selfish of me, I felt I just couldn't go through with it and so I've brought Rudi home.  Her gums remain pale and she's very quiet and I don't think she's in pain.  I'm just praying that she lives through the night and that somewhere and somehow I find the strength and the courage to let her go when it's time.
Just as a caveat I'll add that I know that you don't know Rudi that well.  She came to us in 2003 from a shelter in North Carolina.  We were her 4th home, and she was just over a year old.  Rudi is our undeniable pack leader.  She is very bright, active, sensitive, mischievous, into everything and always acts like she has a secret she wants you to guess.  She is truly a once in a lifetime dog that is one of the cornerstones of our pack Rudi has a way of always making me laugh and her loss will leave a huge hole in our pack and in my heart.  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Good-Bye & God Speed Hamlet

Dear Hamlet,
As I write this you are quietly resting nearby.  In just a couple of hours I'll hold you for one last time and say good-bye.  You're having problems standing, you've had no appetite the last few days and are drinking very little water...You and I both know it's time for you to leave us.   
~Hamlet, the first day I met him~
How well I remember the day you came into our lives 19 short months ago.  It seems like only yesterday, in some ways, I guess it was.  I remember being so firm in my decision to no longer foster for the rescue.  But then I got a call from a new volunteer asking me if I could pick up a dog named Hamlet who had been left in the garage of a house that had been foreclosed on.  I agreed because I was going to be in that direction that day, and where you needed to go was on my way home; I would hardly be going out of my way.  Needless to say, when I saw you, so ill and unable to stand, I knew I couldn't turn my back on you.  I called the foster home coordinator and asked if I could foster you.  The rest shall we say is history.  
You've enjoyed your health for the most part.  But in the shadows and always on our minds was the tumor on your shoulder.  You've had two major surgeries to remove it, and both times you've fully recovered.  I have marveled and given thanks so many times for that as well as your spark and zest for life.   Hamlet, I know that you've been happy here.  Its shown as your personality has blossomed.  My heart would literally leap each time you would run past me on our walks to get back to the house first, or prance around when I came home each day.  I loved how you would come to me quietly wagging your tail and bury your head in my lap for me to scratch your head.  We taught some 'important things' like how to beg and I never minded sharing a bite of whatever it was I was eating.  My attempts to try and get you to bark never worked--A small 'woof' was all I could ever get, but that spoke volumes.  

Hamlet you will be greatly missed!  You've shown over and over again what a quiet, kind, gentle soul you are.  I will never be the same, both for bearing your loss, and for the joy you've given us and others that I've told about you.  It has been a privilege to have such a noble dog like you as part of our lives.  God speed my precious, precious Hamlet.  We've lit our candle to help you find your way to the bridge where you'll meet and join our other Goldens, Tod, Ben, Cougar, Tucker, Scout, Tosh, Logan, Kasey, Cubby--Cowboy, Maguire and Tanner are there too.  Please give them our message and know that we'll see you all again one day.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We Wait

I stayed home from work today and spent it with Hamlet who is not doing so well.  I sat on the front porch with him and the other dogs enjoying a beautiful sunny morning where there were birds singing and a breeze.  Hamlet who was sleeping on the porch lifted his head and closing his eyes, sniffed the air that was blowing on his face.  As I watched him, the wind seemed to whisper in my ear that his time to leave us is drawing near.  Of course I don't know when that will be. So I wait for this most un-welcomed guest and pray for more time and peace.


Relief and Celebration!!

With my 'milestone birthday' behind me, we had another 'celebration' here at Golden Pines.  Some of you may recall that back last fall I was upset when the property behind us was put up for sale.  A couple of attempts by us to purchase part of it from the owner were turned down.  While the property was priced well with the current market, over the last 6 months we've noticed very few people looking at it.  I was contacted by our Realtor on Monday and told that the property had been 'withdrawn' from the market and yesterday the sign was taken down. I have to admit that I'm relieved that it didn't sell.  But the owner is a Realtor, and so I know at some point the property will once again be put back on the market to be sold.

CarrieAnne decided that she wanted to celebrate on her own and so she went for a private swim.  The water level must be up after the rain from this past weekend.  She returned very happy!

The celebration was short lived however because as we were getting the dogs in the house, Carrie was nowhere to be found.    We looked for her for almost 2 hours.  I called and called, and blew the whistle for her to return, but she didn't come.  I asked Carl several times if he checked the house for her and he assured me he had. This was so unlike her because CarrieAnne always, always comes when she's called...It was starting to get dark and so we came back into the house and when I came in I called her and there she was--She'd been in the house the entire time.  Once again, relief and celebration and the reminder to never ask Carl to find something for me!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Milestone Birthday

Along with the record making heat we had this week, another one which some of you know about (thank-you Facebook) is that I had a milestone birthday, I turned 50 on Friday.  I've thought a lot about that this week.  I know that  I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I know that I can be demanding and short when I am passionate about something. I really do try to have patience for life's little nonsense's and I have to admit that I have problems tolerating people who are unkind and pretentious.  I hope that I am a good person with a good heart and I'm fair minded. I hope I have somewhere, somehow made some small difference to others through my work with the rescue and other things I've been involved in.  I have good people in my life that I cherish dearly.  But what I truly hope that I have accomplished in my 50 years on the planet, more than anything else, is to be a good partner, a good friend, a good sister, and at my core, 'I hope I am the kind of person the dogs think I am.'   Enjoy your Sunday!!

~The Chub Brothers, Toby (left) and Bubba~ 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Signs of Summer

We are again chasing record heat here in northern Virginia. The temperature on our thermometer mid-afternoon said it was at almost 100°.  The National Weather Service reported that Washington DC hit 102° which tied the all-time June record set in 1874.  All I know is it was hot and the dogs and I spent little time outdoors.  I did get them all walked before 6 AM when it was already about 80°.  It's hot, humid, sticky and really 'buggy!'  When I took a good look, the signs of summer are all around!  Rudi and Sheba showed me this morning on our walk that the blackberries are starting to ripen.  Its been a race each year to see who will get more of them, the dogs, the birds or me--I'm hoping this year it'll be me, but they are pretty good at getting to the ripe ones before I do!  It makes me wonder if they would have made good 'truffle hunting dogs?'  
~Rudi enjoying  a blackberry snack!~
Today I saw another sign of summer, my first day lily!
(By the way, I read on another blog today that you should deadhead them to keep them blooming.  Am I the only one who didn't know that?)    
The thistle is starting to bloom too.  
And the dogs are starting to shed...
And so are the snakes...
Okay, there are some signs of summer that I really don't need to see, especially so close to the house!
I think I'm just going to stay inside where it's cool!   
What are you doing to stay cool?  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

First Milestone of the Week

This week there are a couple of milestones--One comes later in the week, and I'll tell you about it then.  But the first was on Monday morning on my drive to work.  The 5 year old van that I drive, has gone 100,000 miles...  Wow...

This is the second 'Dodge Caravan' I've owned, and I know it's not the sportiest or the coolest thing to drive.  But the biggest reason I have it is because after Hurricane Katrina people said they had to leave their pets behind because they didn't have a way to take them with them.  It started me thinking and I realized that if something were to happen and we needed to leave our home, I want to be able to take all of the dogs with us.  I know this may sound silly....
At any rate, it has been pretty dependable.  In the nearly 5 years I've had my van I wonder how many days and how many times I've sat in traffic in it?
Watching some drivers do some pretty dumb things.  Like this man yesterday morning.  I saw him a few times and each time his head was back and his eyes looked like they were closed--Sleeping while driving??!!

I notice a lot of people on their cell phones too.  In Virginia you don't have to use a 'hands free device.'  But I'm seeing more and more drivers texting while driving which makes me nervous!
   Then there are the vanity plates that I often see while driving.  Some, are simple in what they say. 
Some I have to think about for a minute or two...
Do you know what this says?  It's probably easy for you to figure out...
Carl has mentioned getting me another van and we chuckle at this persons approach to try and sell his car.
But I think that for now, I'll keep my van.  Besides, I've gotten used to finding it in a parking lot.
Are there any milestones for you this week? 
If so, I hope they are good ones, and your week is off to a good start! 
~The field next to our house~