Tag Archives: dogs

What I Learned from Having a Rescued Dog

On December 31, 2010 I met my beloved German Shepherd for the very first time. She was being fostered by the good folks at German Shepherd Rescue of Southwest Florida and needed a home. She had just finished treatment for heartworm and was quite weak. She’d had a litter of pups sometime before she was rescued from the mean streets of Naples, Florida. The veternarian speculated she had been used as a breeder and estimated her age between 3 and 5 years of age. In the 18 months since she joined our home, Shelby has taught me many lessons.

It’s only hair – it will grow back…(Photo credit: k8edid)

1.  It is Only Hair.  Shelby had a patch of hair shaved from her back so that a poisonous concoction could be administered that would kill the heartworms that threatened her life.  She taught me that there are far more important things than having a bad hair day or finding the perfect cut…like living and enjoying second chances.

In my own little bed…(Photo credit: k8edid)

2.  Sometimes you just need  your own space.  This was Shelby on her first day in our home.  She enjoyed the comfort of her crate – she had been crated for 30 days while she underwent treatment, and the world seemed to overwhelm her. We don’t put Shelby in the crate any more, but it is still available to her and she often goes to it for comfort.

Shelby gets PLENTY of beauty sleep (Photo credit: k8edid)

 3.  Naps are wasted on children.  Seriously.  Adults and dogs know that naps are really fun.

Shelby’s been digging…

4.  If you mess up, someone will notice, no matter how small you try to make yourself.  Shelby likes to dig up things her Mama plants in the yard.  Here she is after rescuing me from some evil flowers.

I’m going to rest now.

5.  Know when to rest.  Shelby completed the Lee County Heart Walk 5K last fall. It was hot and she was used to walking early in the morning – not in the middle of the day.  When we were done, she was overheated, cranky, and tired.  She plopped down in a shady spot and would not get up, lying on her side and panting rapidly.  Walk officials were very concerned for her and encouraged me to call for a vet.  She rested for about 15 minutes, drank another of Mama’s bottled waters, then right after I snapped this shot she got up and trotted off toward the car.  I’m learning to rest when I’m tired, drink when I need to, and listen to my body.

Shelby cools off by Charlotte Harbor. (Photo credit: k8edid)

6.  It is always cooler by the water.  At a large party thrown for dogs and their humans, Shelby sought peace and quiet near the water.  Sometimes you just need to walk away from the crowd and find your peace – and a cool breeze.

Play like a kid. (Photo credit: k8edid).

7.  Take time to play.  Even if you can’t push the merry-go-round, you can still enjoy the ride.  Don’t let others define what you can and can’t do for fun.

Waiting for Papa (Photo credit: k8edid)

8.  Waiting can be hard.  Shelby is happiest when both parents are home and she alternates between laying beside one or the other of us, seeking out pats and scratches…and treats.  I have to wait long periods of time between visits with my loved ones – and the waiting is hard.  The joy when we are finally together knows no bounds, though I usually refrain from licking their faces or sniffing their crotches.

Patience is a virtue (Photo credit: k8edid)

9.  Sometimes service is slow.  Be patient.

If you can’t stand the heat – head to the kitchen…(Photo credit: k8edid)

10. If you can’t stand the heat – head to the kitchen.  The coolest spot in our house is the kitchen.  My late father-in-law was a genius when he put in an industrial-strength exhaust fan (it seriously sounds like an airplane and can suck dust off the floor) and a strategically placed air conditioning vent directed at the cooking space.  Not that anyone is going to cook with 90 pounds of canine laying in front of the stove.  On really hot days you can find Shelby stretched out in her second favorite spot…so make reservations or get take-out ’cause she’s not moving.

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No S’more left behind – lessons from my summer vacation

Headed for the graham cracker

Lesson #1.  Travelling with a 90 pound dog will not keep you “safe”.

Shelby at the playground

Shelby, the pampered camper

See my blog about Shelby the Wonder Shepherd https://k8edid.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/ and unwanted male attention https://k8edid.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/ive-still-got-…ants-to-see-it/ .  I would say that more men approached me and started conversations when I was walking my dog this summer than during any other activity.  Ms. Shelby is an attention whore, and she appears to prefer males to females.  Just my luck.

What I did get, in addition to dog pee on my foot, was a lot of time to bond with Ms. Shelby.  I also got a ton of dog hair in my car, which, when I opened the windows for fresh air (Ms. Shelby farts a lot) seemed to fly directly into my mouth.  Ahhh, the joys of pet ownership.

Lesson #2. All things in moderation.

Ribs, pork loin, beef loin, and various edibles

I ate a lot.  I drank (not a lot, but I seldom drink anyway, so it seemed like a lot).  I guess the only thing that kept me from ballooning to the size of the Goodyear Blimp was the fact that I swam every day, walked my dog a lot, dodged unwanted male attention, spent an inordinant amount of time swatting mosquitoes and biting flies, and scratching.  This was the smoked meats array that was consumed at Sweet Cheeks’ Birthday party, and only a small fraction of the food presented.  If I never eat another s’more, hot dog, or grilled hamburger I will not feel cheated…

Lesson #3.  Everything boys can do girls can do better.

Catch of the Day

That is what her T-shirt says.  This child outfished every adult without even trying.  In fact, most of the time she was playing sudoku on my otherwise useless cell phone.  This lovely young woman is my granddaughter Clarissa, who will not be invited on future fishing expeditions.

Lesson #4. Camping is fun.

Lesson #5.  Camping is REALLY fun.

Lesson #6. Naps are wasted on children.

Shelby at Rest

I believe that dogs and senior citizens appreciate naps more than any other groups; and as such, should be allowed to indulge whenever the urge strikes.  Shelby agrees wholeheartedly.

Lesson #7. Everything is better when shared.

Shelby and Sweet Cheeks

Of the 51 days that I spent in Michigan, Sweet Cheeks was able to join me for only 10 days.  Those were the best 10 days of the entire summer.  After all, what better than sharing mosquitoes, biting flies, campfire smoke in your eyes, burnt hotdogs, hangovers and tons of sand?  My point exactly.

Lesson #8.  You never know when you will be “mooned”, but when your sons are in the vicinity, there’s usually a pretty good chance.

Conspiracy

I won’t show the actual mooning photo here, out of deference to my nearly teen-aged granddaughter who was mortified when I put the picture on Facebook (it has since been removed).  Suffice it to say that it was an important lesson to her about baring body parts in the vicinity of cell phones and cameras.

Lesson #9.  Sunsets are AWESOME.

No explanation needed.  These photos were taken on Lilley Lake near Harrison, Michigan.

Lesson #10.  Forgiveness is easy when you have a very bad memory.

Dad & Me

I was reunited, after many years of no contact, with my father.  We never were close.  In fact, I was a teenager before I ever met him.  He is very forgetful now – I believe he has Alzheimer’s, although I am not a doctor and I only spent an hour or two with him.  My memory is still pretty sharp, but I am glad that I finally stopped wishing things had been different in the past.  The only way I could accomplish that was by “forgetting” more.  I’m still a work in progress.

I can’t wait for next summer – I plan on doing it all again.

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