Thursday, December 31, 2015

Onward to 2016!

The last day of 2015.  Looking back, just as so many of you have also had, we've had our share of  loss, heartache and happiness.
~A rare view of our resident Barred Owl~
Of course I can't help but reflect on our losses.  Each had its own personal sadness and sorrow.  We said good-bye to four dogs in 2015....

The lovely little Cricket.
The gentle and easy-going Beau.
The charming, silly and handsome Gus.
And the endearing and carefree Buddy
The subtractions brought additions.  We fostered our first senior boy for Lab Rescue, welcoming George in the spring. I just couldn't let him go, reasoning that he shouldn't have to go through another change in homes, so he became a permanent addition.
We got to meet Lexi from the Golden Retrieve Rescue and helped her find her way to a forever home where she's truly a star!
Then of course there was the arrival of Bella, who despite her diva-moments, has a gentle and joyful soul.
And lets not forget the five kittens that were living behind the gas station in my town.  I volunteered to foster them when no one else would.  It introduced me to someone from the SPCA who found homes for all of them.  We've since welcomed two more kittens from the rescue, and still have "Flurry" (Jack-Frost) in  residence.
At the end of the summer we welcomed the ever patient, quiet and affectionate boy, Dusty.   
Lastly we have welcomed Sherlock, who I call Reggie, from Lab Rescue.  His story is still being written, Will he stay, or will he go? But he's looking so much healthier these days, don't you think?
~Sherlock, or Reggie as I call him~
Of course there was the loss of my brother, John, in February.  The sale of my family home in the spring.  The celebration of my nephews wedding in July. Each event brought me closer to my brothers and reminded me of the importance of family.

Through those good and not so good times, there have been the antics and mischief of the star of our household, Todd.  His energy and high-spirit have made us laugh, cheering me up through the not so good times of 2015.
Yes, every star has its supporting cast, and needs an audience and there's no question, our house has a great collection of co-stars.  Together they ALL teach me so much.
~A few of the co-stars at Golden Pines~
One thing is that joy can and should be found in the simple things in life.
~Charlie's new toy, or is it Todd's?~
The dogs remind me not to worry about the past or what's behind you -- But to instead focus on what's in front, and enjoy the moments, and live in the present. 
And to bound through life with a smile.  
Happy, Happy New Year from all of us at Golden Pines!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Job Well Done

~Christmas Day~
It was quiet at our house on Saturday for a couple of reasons.  One was because I'd taken my brother to the airport to catch an afternoon flight home.

~Dulles International Airport~
I'd also gotten a call from the SPCA about "Flurry" (Jack Frost?) telling me there was a spot for him at the local store, and I was asked to bring him. (A reminder that I need to decide if he'll be staying with us, or going to another home.)     
So, we were minus one person and a rambunctious kitten. The dogs were worn out from not getting their daily 20 hour naps last week.
~Sheba, worn out from Christmas~ 
It was eerily quiet.  Too quiet actually.  It was then that I realized it had been awhile since I had seen or heard Todd.  He wasn't inside.  I called him outside, and he didn't come.  If you're a dog owner you'll know that nervous feeling I was having. Another quick search inside, and I was outside calling him again. Then I saw *it*  It looked like Todd, but *it* was totally covered and caked in mud from head to toe.  Todd.  I don't think I'd ever seen him so covered in mud.  His tongue that was practically hanging down to the ground was even mud colored.  He was smiling and out of breath from digging, and I wish now I'd gotten a picture.  But you'll have to take my word for it because all I could think about was giving him a bath.
He didn't seem to mind too much.  Afterwards Todd was basking in the glow of what he knew was an excavating job well done.
~Todd, post yard work and bath~

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Our weather for this Christmas Eve in no way reflects the season.  The news is reporting that it's the second warmest December in history.
~In front of me on the way to lunch today~ 
Even though it doesn't feel like Christmas, it certainly hasn't been stopped from coming.  Time has not been on my side, because I ran out of it, and never did get my baking started.  But I have high hopes to get the final package out to a good friend for their New Years.
Its been a busy week with my youngest brother who arrived on Sunday.  The dogs adore him, and its been great fun to have him here.  We think its been more than 20 years since we were together for Christmas. Today we celebrated by having lunch at my favorite restaurant.  Afterwards my brother and Carl were off to see Star Wars.
~Clydes at Willow Creek Farm -- My favorite!~
This evening, as I wait for them to come home, I want to take a moment to say Merry Christmas to all of you, my friends and readers!  I can’t thank you enough for coming by to visit us and keeping me and this blog going with your kind comments and support.  I will be honest and say that I have struggled with continuing to blog this year. But what has kept me going is knowing how much I would miss the glimpses into your lives and your friendship, which I never take for granted.  Despite my being erratic in posting this year, you have stuck with us, always taking a moment to stop by and leave your thoughts; it really does mean so much, and I cannot thank you enough for that.
From all us at Golden Pines, we hope you all have an amazingly wonderful Christmas! I hope you spend it surrounded with love, laughter, warmth, good food, and great memories.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Racing With Christmas

Has it really been a week since I posted?  It's not because I've not thought about it.  It's finding that spare time that as we all know tends to be a bit elusive this time of year.  However, despite the pressure of the race with Christmas, I'm closing in on it. Or maybe Christmas is closing in on me, I'm not quite which it is. What I've not done is any baking whatsoever.  I'm hoping I can at least get it started this weekend before company arrives on Sunday afternoon.  Hopefully I'll be sending out the last of the packages on Monday.
The dogs have no idea what the fuss is all about. Although they are curious about the tree that took up residence in our garage on Friday. We've never had a "live" tree with several of them before, so we'll see how they do. We'll also see how our foster kitten "Flurry" does with the appearance of what will no doubt seem to him as a fun playground.
-Foster Kitten, Flurry -- Who has made himself at home~
Away from all the Christmas rush, there's been work, and a discussion with the rescue about Bella.  My contact on the Board of Directors called me, and we discussed their decision about Bella.  We all agree that she has "special needs" and will require a certain type of home.  Given this, they (still) feel that an attempt at finding her a forever home should be made.  It's a decision that I understand, respect, and I support.  So, after the holidays, I'll do a write up for Bella for the rescue's website, and a search will begin.  
Until then, it's full speed ahead with the holidays!  Earlier in the week we had warm weather and soaking rain.
Today began with cold blustery wind and temperatures below freezing, that's supposed to hang on through the weekend.  So, keeping moving is the best way to keep warm!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cissy's Rules

Our weather today has been more like a warm spring day, rather than December.  The dogs were feeling frisky on our afternoon walk.  Cissy doesn't wait for warmer weather to feel good, she feels frisky on most days. We were on the far-side of our property where the tall grass marks the boundary. The driveway for the home in back of us is on the other side, and the dogs who are off lead, know not to cross.  Cissy went into the grass, and stood there for a moment.  I had a feeling about what she was about to do.  I told her "no" and to come to me.
The warm weather must have been getting to her because she was suddenly deaf.  I watched her turn left and look.
I told her no again, as she looked right...
And as if she knew no cars were coming, she was off and running, and so was I!  Thankfully I caught her before she got too far. But I've a feeling that Cissy is under the impression that the rules don't apply to her.  Okay, she's right about that, but I'm not going to tell her.  But then again, she may already know.
We hope you're enjoying your weekend and your holidays!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sherlock, Bella and a Ball

A typical week at our house, with all the usual busyness of work and commuting and trying to get ready for Christmas. Behind the scenes I've been talking to Lab Rescue about Sherlock (who's having an identity crisis because I keep calling him Reggie). I've also been discussing Bella with the Golden Retriever Rescue.
With Sherlock (Reggie?) because he's just the second dog I've had for Lab Rescue, and I've never personally met anyone from the rescue, I don't know really what to expect and how they manage dogs with issues like Sherlock has. Are they willing to provide whatever is needed, or do they have a limit as to what they will do?  Of course they don't really know me either. So, maybe we're each treading a little lightly.  The approach seemed to work in my phone conversations with them this week.  Its been decided that we'll put Sherlock on the anti-inflammatory medications and supplements to see if that makes a difference for him.  After the holidays we're going to add in either swim therapy or acupuncture. I agree with that, but what I don't agree with, is to letting him remain available for adoption while this is all worked through.  But it's a decision I can live with.  
For Bella, it's a bit more complicated. It's time to make a decision about her remaining with us permanently and the rescue continuing to cover her medical expenses, or finding another home for her. Of course I would love for her to stay here. But as much as we care about Bella, we need to consider the dogs that we own and their expenses.  I personally know several on the board of the rescue and know them to be fair and always having the best interest of the dogs in mind as decisions are made.  All this will be needed when considering Bella,  Her "diva moments" where she lets us know that she doesn't want any dogs or even cats around her, is a concern.  Its lessened over time with us, but I worry about  her behavior unintentionally being allowed to escalate in another home.  Added to that is Bella's inability to do steps, and tripping over her back legs when she tries to run. Those things together, make her a challenge to find a home for. And if one was found, is it what's best for her?  The board of the rescue will have to decide, and I'll support that decision.  
Todd on the flip side has no interest whatsoever in "rescue politics."  His only concern yesterday was the early Christmas present that he refuses to share or give up.  
Todd wouldn't give it to me, and kept it close by, insisting on taking it to bed with him last night. When I moved it to the nightstand, he would have none of that, and wanted it back.  Just like a kid with a new toy, he wanted it by his side as he slept.  Of course I let him have his way.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Glimpse Into Sherlock's Past

An early start on a cold frosty morning with temperatures just below freezing to take Sherlock to the vet.
You may recall I've been concerned that he doesn't shift weight onto a back leg. I've not ever taken any dogs to this particular practice in Maryland, so I wasn't sure what to expect.
The vet reminded me more of a drill sergeant than a vet because she was all business and no nonsense.  Getting right to the point after examining Sherlock, she told me to "go back to the waiting area while x-rays were done, and to leave the door open to the examining room."  About an hour later I was asked by the Drill Sergeant Vet to come to the back and get Sherlock and review the films. The Drill Sergeant had already called Lab Rescue and discussed everything with them. She quickly reviewed everything with me, told me to return in 4-5 weeks for a revaluation, told the techs what medications to dispense for Sherlock, and said "she needed to get caught up," and with that, we were done.

It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that's so true about the x-rays that were taken of Sherlock today, that gave us a glimpse into his past.  At some point in his life, he had a broken pelvis that was (probably) caused by getting hit by a car. Injuries to a dogs pelvis are typically allowed to heal by being confined. But as dogs age, the healed injury can lead to arthritis, and compressed vertebrae in the spine.  That's what's happened with Sherlock and caused his muscles to atrophy in his back legs.
The Drill Sergeant Vet thinks there isn't anything that can be done for him other than palliative care to help maintain his quality of life.  I'm not sure what Lab Rescue does in these instances, so I'll need to discuss everything with them. But there's no rush, and Sherlock who is still sleepy from the anesthetic, isn't in a hurry either.
So, while Todd is checking to see if there's more digging that can be done in a place that he's dug up more times than we can count....
 I hope you're enjoying your weekend!
~Sheba modeling our wreath~