Tag Archives: pets

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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Filed under General Mumblings, humor, Photos - Travel and Other, Uncategorized

Woman’s Best Friend – 90 Pounds of Pure Love

I am on the road with my beautiful dog, Shelby the Wonder Shepherd.  She is not only my best friend, there have been times over the last few months when I have felt like she was my only friend.

I moved 1300 miles from my friends and family last fall.  To say that I was lonely would be an understatement.  I had a particularly bad time over the holidays.  Sure, I kept busy with a new job and working on our new digs, but I missed my sons, grandchildren, friends, and even my grandpuppies, Sampson and Bosco.

I decided, in the last week of 2010 to see about getting a pet, a rescued animal if possible, but at the very least, a shelter animal.  I visited the local shelter, which was full of Rottweilers and Pit Bulls of various ages, but none that were a perfect match.  I picked up a card for a German Shepherd Rescue organization.  I visited their website and asked that they keep me in mind for future adoptions.  I received an e-mail within seconds.  Seems they had an adoptee who was eligible that very day after completing her long, arduous treatment for heartworm.  We made arrangements to meet Suzy Q, as she had been named, on New Year’s Eve.  We had to be interviewed and filled out several applications.

Suzy Q was thin, with a patch of hair shaved from her back where her heartworm treatments had been administered.  She was pretty lethargic.  She had obviously had a litter of puppies recently, and she looked and acted scared.  Not shivering, hulking down scared – but uncertain about everyone and everything.  Except me.  She bounded up to me and kissed me generously.  I knelt and buried my face in the fluffy hair around her ruff.  It was not only a Kodak moment – it was magical.

Sweet Cheeks and I went home and gave the idea of bringing Suzy Q home with us a lot of thought.  There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that she was the one I wanted, but owning an animal that is nearly the size of a small horse is not a decision to be entered into lightly.  We had been pet-less for many years due to my traveling position and his general dislike of being tied down by animals.  Our yard was adequate but not fenced.  Our home was small and perhaps a little crowded, but yet seemed so empty.  We agreed to bring the dog into our home, but I refused to call such a magnificent animal Suzy Q.  She became Shelby, the Wonder Shepherd. I wanted to name her Cybil Shepherd, but that name had already been used.

Shelby was a nervous girl for the first few days in our home, patrolling relentlessly around and around the open kitchen/dining room/living room circuit.  She barked at night at every sound.  She did not relax for even a second during those first few weeks.  Every motion by humans in her vicinity was met with flinching on her part – every broom or mop brought out for cleaning caused her to slink away and hide.  What had this dog been subjected to?  How did she come to be abandoned?  What became of her puppies?

With her history a question mark, we began to chart her future.  Shelby excelled at the obedience classes we enrolled her in.  We began exercising (she had been crated for 4 weeks during her heartworm treatment – coming out only for feeding and taking care of her “business”). She could barely walk 20 feet without distress, but we kept at it, adding a few yards each day.  Soon she was walking blocks, and finally miles without problems.  Her hair grew in, and her coat became lustrous after hours of brushing, bathing and grooming.  Shelby began to trust not only us, but herself.  She relaxed at last – sleeping for long stretches, often lying on her back and exposing her belly during sleep – so vulnerable.  She is still easily overwhelmed, but can be calmed easily.

We began taking Shelby everywhere we went – dog friendly restaurants, beaches, parks, festivals – in an attempt to get her and keep her comfortable around people.  We are working at being comfortable around other animals.  She gets lots of attention – and is always very well behaved.  Shelby could not sleep outside her crate, however.  She could not settle down at night enough to sleep.  Finally, after a couple of evenings of non-stop pacing and jumping up at every sound, she began sleeping on the floor next to my side of the bed, checking on me every few hours, then lying back down with a whoosh.  Now she sleeps wherever she likes in the house, but still makes periodic checks to ensure Mama is still sleeping.

I am filled with love for this animal who is always so glad to see me.  Even my worst days are made better by her devotion to me.  If I am home, she is by my side – always within petting distance, attentive to every word.  I put a magnet on my car from the organization that managed our adoption.  It reads “Who Rescued Who?”

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