Saturday, February 28, 2015

Making it Official!!

It really wasn't all that long ago that we moved in together. We had practically just met.  I didn't know what to expect.  I'll admit, I was nervous.  There was so much to consider. But once we were together, it honestly all seemed so "natural," like it was just meant to be. Looking back on our first year, things actually went along pretty smoothly as we got to know one another.  I think we had and still have a great time and genuinely enjoy being together. Of course not everything has been perfect.  There have been a few hiccups and a few things to work out along the way. But I can honestly say we've worked through it, and we share a close bond.

I guess in all the time we've been together, I've just forgotten that it should be made official. I've no doubt whatsoever that some people think we already are "official," and will be surprised to find that we weren't.  I'll admit, this is all my fault, because I didn't see the importance of it.  But "the powers that be" have insisted on it.  They are right.

So, after nearly two years of living together, Cissy is now an "official" adopted member of Golden Pines.  Her adoption fee and contract to the rescue has been filled out, and mailed.
Cissy is here to stay.  (Did you think I was talking about something else?) And was there ever a doubt when she came to us nearly two years ago?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ending on a Good Note

A quite week for us, that for me, was a welcomed respite.
We had a light snowfall this morning. It was just enough to cover the icy snow from last weekend and cause numerous cancellations.  The local weathermen have been bragging on the news all day that they got this latest storm correct.  Considering how many times they get it wrong, I can see why they are perhaps feeling good about their forecast this time.
After working this morning, I think I've gotten something right too, a non eventful afternoon spent at home with the dogs.
~Todd and Josh, "if we come in, will we get a treat?"~
I was somewhat concerned when I got back from Kentucky and Gus was having a bit more trouble getting around and needed more help getting to his feet. The snow hasn't made it any easier for him. Even though I had labeled and organized all the pills for the dogs before I left, because I left in a bit of a rush, I didn't get the chance to refill a couple of them before I left town. With all that was happening while there, I forgot all about them.    
~Sleepy Gus~
I'd also forgotten to include Gus's daily supplements, so he was not given those while I was out of town. Now nearly a week later, Gus is back on all his medications and the supplements.  Thankfully today he is getting up and around much easier and is even following us around the house.  
~Gus wrapped in a warmed towel after being outside in the cold~
 That has our day ending on a good note. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Strangers in Wrong Places

I may have driven to Kentucky on the best day in February, but I came back in the worst. Hoping to get in front of a snow-storm, I left in the early morning hours, only to end up in the middle of it.  I pressed forward hoping the weather would improve, but the conditions of the roads and the weather only worsened. After 12 hours of white-knuckle driving and seeing several accidents I'd only covered the distance that in good weather takes about six.
~Stopped for an accident~
Just as I finished slip-sliding and crawling over the mountains of the West Virginia Turnpike, I became a road-side casualty with a flat-tire.  With no shoulder to pull off onto, I stopped in one of the two barely passable lanes. I'd just gotten out of my car when two young Marines from South Carolina stopped to help me. They quickly changed my tire while a State Trooper and I looked on. The officer told me where to get a new one, and even called to let them know I was on my way.  The Officer couldn't get in touch with the shop, but assured me they were probably still open. When I got there, they weren't. With nearly a foot of snow already on the ground most businesses were already closed as night fell on the snow covered roads in Beckley West Virginia.
I'd not been able to make any stops for Sheba and Charley since we'd gotten on the road, and I'd run out of water for them several hours before. We were exhausted and hungry and with the spare tire on the car, I knew I couldn't (and shouldn't) drive any farther.  I had to find a hotel to stay for the night. I was turned away at two places because of the dogs and after getting stuck in deep snow more times than I can count, I got really stuck one more time in the parking lot of a hotel that had closed for the night. After trying to dig my own way out, I realized I couldn't.  I hit rock-bottom as the thought of spending the night in my car seemed to be a reality I would face.

It may have been a rock-bottom moment, but another hero would arrive. A young man would come and with a shovel in hand he dug me out. I told him my story and he told me that he worked at a hotel that accepted dogs.  He'd just gotten off work, and knew that they had 3 rooms left for the night. In about 20 minutes I was checking in to the local Howard Johnson's.  Sheba and Charlie were ecstatic to be out of the car and romped and played in the freshly fallen snow. Back in our room I fed them what little dog-food I had and warmed my cold wet feet in the tub.

We were soon all settled in and were asleep by 9. The next morning, I fed a hungry Sheba and Charlie oatmeal from the breakfast bar. Letting my fingers do the walking through the phone book I found an opened repair shop where we made new dog-loving friends who gave Sheba and Charlie lots of attention, and even offered to get them food.  By 10 o'clock with a brand new tire, I was on the road again with sunshine and clear roads!

Three hours later, I crossed the border into Virginia....
and in another three I was home!
Carl did a great job caring for all the dogs while I was gone. Beau and Gus, the two I was most worried about were (of course) just fine!
Todd whined and cried when he saw us -- He's happy to have his pal Sheba back!  
~Sheba and Todd playing in the snow today~
Four days later I am still grateful for the "tender mercies" and a safe trip.  I'm also thankful for the kindness of strangers that were in the right place at my wrong moments.
I'm especially thankful that Sheba and Charlie were kept safe too.  They were perfect traveling companions who were always seemingly happy about the adventure...When they were awake.
Today we've had a full day of snow and I'm enjoying being home instead of driving home! .

Thursday, February 19, 2015

He Was My Brother

I would arrive home in Kentucky in the late evening of Sunday February 8th with Sheba and Charlie as my traveling companions.
It was a perfect day for traveling and unseasonably warm for February.  
I would get them both settled in and my youngest brother and I were off to the hospital. A heart attack along with complications from a diagnosis given in late December of pulmonary fibrosis gave my brother who was just a little more than a year older than me, very little chance of survival. I would spend a couple of hours at the hospital and leave to get some much needed sleep at the home my two brothers shared. My youngest brother works nights, and I'd just barely gotten to bed when a call from the hospital would come telling me I needed to come back to the hospital right away.  By the time I got there 20 minutes later, they had been able to stabilize my brother. A long day of ups and downs would follow. 
There were numerous calls and text messages to my other two brothers who were making their way to Kentucky while my youngest brother and I both tried to come to grips with the reality we were facing. In the late evening hours of Monday February 9th, my brother John would pass away as my youngest brother and I would stand next to his bed, our arms around one another for both comfort and strength.        

The arrival of my oldest and another younger brother and his wife was a reminder of the importance of family. We would tell stories, laugh and reconnect with one another and share our grief.  A blur of days filled with kindness from family and old friends along with unexpected random acts of kindness from strangers was humbling.

The day of my brother's funeral was cold and gloomy.  I would give my brothers eulogy being reminded of how fragile and short life can be.  And that even though my brother had made his share of mistakes and had bumps and stumbles, he got back up and tried to persevere. I would make the joke that in going through his belongings afterwards, that "I knew more about my brother than any sister should ever know about her brother!"

My brother John and I hadn't always gotten along.  We had our share of disagreements. Maybe because we were so different. Maybe because we were so close in age. Maybe because we were siblings. Maybe it was all of those reasons.
My favorite childhood photo of my brother John and me, circa 1965
But I was grateful that in our last conversation a couple of weeks ago I'd told him how much I cared about him because he was my brother and how worried I was about him. After the service, a trip to the cemetery and a blessing of my brother's final resting place next to our parents. The last good-bye.
Finally an indelible image in my mind of the backs of my three brothers in dark suits, slumped shoulders as they slowly walked together and the arm of my oldest brother around the shoulder of our youngest. I felt a wave of gratitude and gave silent thanks for having four good, kind and caring men to call my brothers.

I know this grief and the ache of the loss of my brother John will dull as the days pass and life goes on without him.  But I will always miss him -- Because he was my brother.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

We'll Be Back Soon!

~Gus, resting on Beau's back~
As I was trying to keep life on track this week and keep our routine going, life had other plans. A phone call in the very early morning hours trumped whatever plans I may have had. This evening plans are finalized for an out of town trip. I'm not sure how long I'll be gone, but I'm hopeful that there may be some time to "escape" and keep up with your news.

Before I'm off, I want to thank-you all for your kind thoughts and good wishes for Beau.  At the moment he seems to be stable, and has regained his appetite.  I'm of course worried about leaving both he and Gus. But I will just have to trust that they will be okay until I return.

See you soon!   

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Routine Continues

~A pretty but obnoxious Starling on my porch rail~
It has been a week of all work and no play with a change in our daily routine. I just don't adjust well to the changes of getting up and going to bed earlier.  I should take my cues from the dogs who never seem to notice or really mind--As long as they're being fed of course.
Beau is one dog that is really a creature of habit. At hour house, we have a routine. The dogs always go outside first thing in the morining, and we go for a walk.  Then shortly after, they're fed their breakfast and onward with the day we go.  When Beau first came to us last summer, he would have no part of that routine.  We would have to literally drag him outside in the morning because he refused to go. I'm not sure how long this went on, but I dreaded trying to get him outside. At some point I realized that he would go out willingly AFTER he'd eaten his breakfast. I could only guess that was the routine that he knew before he came to us in July. Life became so much easier when I didn't try to change him. Now six months later, his routine is woven into part of ours.
This week Beau changed his routine and didn't want to go out at all. When he finally did go out he was struggling on the two steps to get back into the house, and not eating as much if any of his morning or evening meals. I'd hoped that it was just the strong medications that he's been taking for his ears affecting his appetite. Unfortunately,  it's not.  A trip to the vet and x-Rays show that he has 3 masses in his chest. If there is any good in this news, it's that there appears to be no evidence that he's bleeding internally. (Note: I hope I've pointed out the masses correctly on the photo below)
It goes without saying that I'm saddened by this news. I hope that our plan to put him back on a steroid, discontinue the ear medications, (and treat topically) will give us more time with Beau. And our goal will be one that never changes despite whatever our daily routine may be, and that's to keep him comfortable and happy for as long as possible.
~Beau and Gus~

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Before or After?

As most Saturdays go yesterday it was a little busier than usual with several errands to run.
One stop was a 9 o'clock appointment for Charlie and Todd at the groomers. Charlie has a thick double (non-shedding) coat that keeps him really warm.  It also mats easily and traps in moisture that can irritate his skin. For this reason, he goes to the groomer about 3 times a year. I can never decide if I like him best "before or after."
Todd just needed some "tidying up" on his coat that I could probably do myself.  But I decided to take him in anyway. We arrived to a bit of a flustered groomer who told me her assistant was home sick. With 8 dogs to be groomed that day, I volunteered to just take Todd home.  He wasn't too happy about getting his nails trimmed, but he was so excited when we left that I think that if he could have done a somersault, he would have!
Today our winter weather advisory was discontinued because our temps were well above freezing and are expected to stay there. Once again, no snow for us....  But that doesn't stop the fun and games.
But then every day is fun and games for Todd, and Buddy too!