Monthly Archives: July 2012

Dog is Love.

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This morning, a friend of mine lost one of her dogs…a 12 year old dobie, who died peacefully in his sleep. I immediately started crying when I learned of it. The loss of a dog, almost any dog, hits me in the soft spot in my heart where only love lives. And, always, someone else’s loss reminds me of my own and all of the pain and heartbreak feels brand new. I am reminded that the pain and heartache exist because of all of the love.
Before learning of this news, I was already thinking about dogs and aging and illness. Rocco, the 12 year old Greek, didn’t want to get out of bed this morning and I snapped a picture of him after he threw a pillow on top of himself to create one of his little nests. I was thinking about how lucky we have been that he has been so healthy and how, if not for the old man lumps and the graying muzzle, you would never know he was 12. Paul and I also went to visit some dogs early this morning on our petsitting rounds, one of whom was a 14 year old standard poodle and his 4 year old labradoodle brother. The elderly poodle is in fantastic shape, other than being almost entirely blind. The way that he relied on his younger brother through sound and touch was amazing and I couldn’t help but wonder what one would do without the other, because the younger dog was very scattered outside without big brother there, and big brother needed little brother to lead the way.
When I lost Taz, my first dog as an adult, I was hit with such overwhelming sadness and a greater sense of loss than I had ever experienced. Taz developed pancreatic cancer and, though surgery was an option, he was not given a very good prognosis and would likely only live another 3 months. And, those 3 months would not have been easy ones for him. After many conversations with my vet, I decided to let him go, as any other decision would have been about me and what I wanted and not what was best for him. It was the hardest decision I have ever made, and in a card from my vet, she wrote “I know in time, thoughts of Taz will bring a smile to your heart and not a tear to your eye.” Seven years later, I still get both. Last year, Paul and I said goodbye to our Sugar, and my best friend lost 2 of her dogs, one of whom I had the pleasure of living with for a few years. Each of these goodbyes were heartbreaking and I think of all the love, laughter and compassion those dogs brought out in those who loved them.
I think a lot about why I (and so many people I know) love dogs so much, and I think it hit me this morning. I love dogs because it is uncomplicated. Dogs don’t lie, they don’t betray and they don’t deceive. They wear their emotions of their sleeve (or tail!)..out there for all to see. Dogs are a big responsibility and a commitment. In return, if we treat them well, we get wags and kisses and sloppy toys dropped on us and slobbered on and smiled at and, in some cases, like Rocco, we actually get hugged. We are protected by our dogs and we protect them. Dogs are amazing creatures…and I think this quote sums up how so many of us feel:
“There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken, seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive: our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.”- Suzanne Clothier
So, today, my heart is with my friend Helen and I know that her dear friend, Ollie Vern will be met at the bridge by friends who came before him. I am sure that Taz and Sugar will be there, as well.
My sweet Tazzie.

Our little bunny beagle, Sugar.

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.”
Gilda Radner

Dog. Is. Love. 🙂

 

 

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See Ya, Sweet Hazel.

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The day that your foster dog is being adopted is a strange one. You have the excitement of knowing what lies ahead for the dog, the sadness of knowing that it may be the last time you see her and the duty of handing over the leash to someone else. It’s stressful while you are at the shelter, for the humans and for the dogs. I have this constant banter in my head- wondering if I forgot anything, if we are making the right choice, is the dog going to miss us, how much we are going to miss the dog, hoping the dog doesn’t puke in the back of her new mama’s car and on and on….and on.
Deciding on who is the right fit for your foster dog is a big decision. For us, the bottom line is: can this person give more to this dog than we can? In Angie’s case, a mom and her three older sons living at home were the right choice because someone would pretty much always be home and the guys wanted a dog who would really play. In Jenga’s case, a young couple just setting out on their lives together in the city, with access to dog parks and other dogs was the right choice. And, in Hazel’s case, a young woman who lives on her own, works for a vet and wants to do agility with her was the right choice. Hazel will have lots of other dogs to play with, get to go to work with her mama and be spoiled just like the other two. And, that is a great feeling…and it sort of trumps the other feelings- loss being one of them.
Jenga was toughest on me, I loved that dog (and still do) the way I loved my very first dog as an adult, Taz. Taz was my “Heart Dog”, and Jenga is a close second. There is something very special about Jenga for me, and I am thrilled that her parents will be allowing us the honor of dog- sitting her while they are on vacation. Hazel was toughest on Paul, he bonded with her in a very special way and it really touched me how much he loved her. It is a very topsy-turvy ride being a foster parent, and one well worth every second of love, doubt, fear and sadness.
For now, the Nanan’s are on a foster hiatus…we will probably pick another dog towards the end of August. Rocco, Savannah, Trixie and Zooby will be glad for the break, I am sure. Until then, Paul will probably be counting down days until I move into the back bedroom again and I will probably be wondering who we could be helping.  But, one thing we have come to realize is that we have to have some balance. We need to give our own pets a break….and we need a vacation. Well, 3 days in Florida will have to do for now, but, it’s better than nothing 😉
So, last night, Hazel got to meet some new people and made some doggie friends and that makes me so very happy. As with the others, there is a hole in our house and in our hearts that she filled for the 2 and a half months she was here, but, knowing she is safe and will be loved makes the hole bearable. And, sadly, we know that there will always be another dog to fill that hole. So, we will just keep trying to do what we can to save as many as humanly possible and send them on to a better life.
Please consider fostering…it will add such love to your life and improve your karma! It’s a beautiful thing 🙂

Here’s Paul and Hazel yesterday morning. He was saying up until that time that he didn’t want to let her go.
Here’s me and Hazel’s adopter…a young woman who could not have been more excited to be adopting this amazing little girl!
And, this is my little tribute to our fosters. I have had this statue for years…and up until a few months ago, it did nothing more than collect dust…now it has a very important job to do 🙂
That’s all for now…Live Well and Foster!

Hazel’s Hope

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Our sweet, sweet Hazel is STILL looking for her forever home! I am so surprised that she has not been scooped up yet to be loved and cherished by the perfect family. Maybe my posts about wanting to keep her messed up my karma or something, but, the wanting to keep her hasn’t changed….neither has the knowing that she can’t stay.
I have been away from home for 4 days now, petsitting for a nervous doberman and in all honesty, I miss Hazel more than my own animals….that’s a secret between us….please don’t tell Rocco, Savannah, Zooby or Trixie. Well, Trixie won’t care, anyway 😉
So, what is it about Hazel that makes her so special? I think that, just like our other fosters, the knowing that she won’t be with us forever is part of it, but, more than that, I think Hazel is just a special little dog. She is so easy and go with the flow, and with her over-sized paws and silly spotted nose, she is just…..well, amazing. She has one of the best personalities of any dog I have ever met: goofy, silly, loves to do training exercises and play. Playing for Hazel means puzzle toys and Nylabones, and, if she can find another willing doggie partner to tumble and wrestle, even better. And, therein, lies the major issue: our residents don’t want to play with her. And, that’s not fair to her. She deserves a full life, with play and fun…not grumpy old housemates who just want to snooze all day. But, to her credit; she does not let this get her down, she entertains herself, knows that the dogs aren’t interested…and keeps trying with the cats 🙂
I have had only a few people express interest in Hazel. It kind of breaks my heart for her that she still does not have her forever home. I don’t think I have done anything differently than I did with Angie and Jenga in terms of marketing. So maybe she looks a little funny in pictures sometimes…to those of us who know her, it just adds to her charm.
She just looks cute in this one…
She does look a little silly here… 😉

Here you can kinda see her awesome Mickey Mouse spot…when her leg is in a certain position, I swear it is the perfect Mickey!
And, here she is in her second favorite spot: chillin’ on the bed. This is one of the coolest things about her: she is totally fine spending time on her own. Hazel has no separation anxiety and knows how to stay out of trouble when no one is home. She often wanders off on her own for a nap or to enjoy her bones and this is truly a great quality in a dog!
Actually, now that I think about it- if chilling on the bed is her second favorite spot, lying in the sun is tied with snuggling up next to you for first!
Please share Hazel with your friends and family. You never know who might be the one to fall in love with her! Here is her ad…you can share the blog, too…lots of Hazel stories here 🙂

http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/pet/3108729600.html.