Sunday, November 25, 2012

Update on Home for the Holidays

I posted on Friday about the Home for the Holidays program at the shelter where I work.  You can read it HERE

I have some updates on the doggies.  I was at the shelter Friday and Saturday.  Kira, Cutty and Mo (mama dog) are all back at the shelter.  They came in one by one, we had about an hour to spend with each alone before another returned.

Mona was the first.  She did great in her holiday home.  She was playful and well behaved.  I had been worried about her because she would be away from her puppies and she had trouble with that in the previous weeks.  It sounds like she enjoyed the peace and quiet.  When she got back to the shelter she was playful.  When she went back to her kennel she was much calmer than she had been before the holidays.  She wasn't so stressed, she quietly played with her toys.

Cutty came back next.  His home for the holidays person said he did great.  He also said he couldn't believe how excited Cutty was to come back to the shelter.  This guy has been with us for a year and so he probably feels like we are his family and so he was glad to get back to us.  I sat on the floor in the office with him for a while.  He was happy to see us all and snuggled right up against me.

Then Kira came back.  She had slept on a bed for two nights and laid against her person.  The woman who took Kira had her two dogs sleep in a different room and let Kira be the dog on the bed.  What a gift.  I took Kira out into the yard and we played fetch for about 30 minutes.  We had a blast.

I know there was concern that the dogs would be depressed when they came back, I wasn't seeing that.  They were all doing just fine and that made me feel good.  Kira's home said they could take her again in December if we needed.  Great news!

Over the weekend, I got a few more updates.  Chelsey's home messaged me to say what a good girl she was and how she was settling in.  The message finished with "we can't bring her back, what do we need to do to adopt her".  This is fabulous news.

Today, I saw my friend who has Toby and she said "I can't bring him back".  At first I thought she meant she had to work or be somewhere else and so couldn't physically bring him back. Then she said "I would like to keep him as a foster until he finds a forever home, let me know how I do that".  Even better.

Then I got a text that says "Alfred has decided he would like to stay with us until he finds his forever home".  I love it!!

That just leaves DeeDee. She was scheduled to come back today. I will be at the shelter tomorrow and can't wait to hear all about her weekend.

We had 5 puppies go home for the holidays, they are all going to forever homes this week after they are spayed or neutered.  I would say our program was a success. One dog got adopted by her home for the holidays, two others now have foster homes when they didn't before and at least four other doggies got to enjoy some time away.

In addition to all this, my previous post on Friday has been viewed more than 2200 times. Its been shared on facebook over and over again.  I started this blog for my family and friends and usually my posts get 30-40 views.  The most has been around 100, so this is quite a few more than usual!  That can only mean good things for our shelter and for animals everywhere.  So please, share, tell our story, create your own.  But DO something.  The animals are depending on us.

Saying goodbye to Lady

I was at the shelter on Friday and it was a pretty quite day - most of the doggies were still at their homes for the holidays.  It was a rainy cold day out and we didn't have much traffic.  Then, a man came in with a little dog wrapped in his sweatshirt. He said his girlfriend found the dog and they had been taking care of it, but it wouldn't eat, so he was bringing it to us.  He took the little dog out of his sweatshirt and I let out a gasp.  She was a chihuahua and weighed probably 3 pounds - she was all skin and bones.  Her tail was between her legs, her eyes were dialated and she was struggling to breath.

I asked him how long they had her and he said two days.  Well, she should have been to a vet two days ago.  I took his information and told him I would take care of it.  I wrapped the little doggie in a blanket and held her while I called the vet.  They could see her right away so I got in the car to take her.  I sang a little song to her during the drive and hoped with all my might that she was going to be okay, that this was fixable.

I got to the vet and they asked me her name, she didn't have one, so I called her Lady.  I filled out the paperwork and went back to the shelter.  A short while later, my phone rang.  Lady had parvo and was too far gone to save.  They were going to euthanize her.  I didn't want her to die alone, I told them I would be right there and to please wait for me.

I jumped in the car and headed back to the vet.  Lady was in their isolation room.  They took me and gave me a chair to sit in.  They placed Lady in my lap, wrapped in her blanket.  She opened her eyes and looked up at me, she was ready to go.  This world was too much for her and I could tell by the look on her face she knew that.  She laid her head down on my arm.

The nurse said it would be about 20 minutes and to settle in.  I gently pet Lady and told her what a good dog she was. I told her that she was going to doggie heaven and that my dogs Wookie and Opal and my cat Gus, who are already there would be waiting for her.  I knew they would take care of her and show her the way. I told her not to be afraid and that it was okay to let go.  I wasn't sure what she had endured, but it was about to be over and that was okay.

The vet said she was about 5 months old and she was very very sick.  She was just a baby, never had a chance at life.  Who knows where she came from or what her story is.  It didn't matter to me, what mattered was that we had this time in this place and I had to give her as much love as I could in the short time she had left.

Of course I was crying.  I was crying about this little dog, whom I had met less than two hours earlier, whom I loved as if she was my own.  They all deserve to be held at the end - no matter how the reach that point and I was determined to do that for her.

The vet came into the isolation room. I have been through this process before with my own pets and I knew what to expect.  As always it was over so quickly.  I told her goodbye and felt her silently slip away.

I was heartbroken.  And at the same time, I felt so honored to have been there for her at the end.  A life was over, this little dog had come into my world just a short time ago and I was able to give her a gift. I was able to be there when she transitioned from this world to the next and that is an amazing thing.   She didn't have to be alone and she felt love, if only for a little while.

I am still sad about it.  I am sure I always will be.  The shelter posted about it on facebook and there were many wonderful comments.  One of our most consistent supporters contacted the vet and made arrangements for Lady to be cremated.  He had a box with Lady's name and picture on it.  She will be an honorary member of his family, right there along with his pets who have passed on.  Isn't that amazing.  Lady will not be forgotten and I love that.

Rest in Peace Lady, I hope the next world brings you comfort.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Home for the Holidays

The shelter where I work (West Columbia Gorge Humane Society - started this awesome program last year called Home for the Holidays.  We find temporary foster homes for the dogs in the shelter over the holidays.  This gives our pups a break from the shelter and allows people who either can't foster long term or who want to try out a particular dog, the chance to help out.

We have several doggies whom we all knew would be a challenge.  Kira, Cutty and DeeDee are our special cases.  They need homes where they are the only animal or they are very selective about the dogs they will tolerate.  I'll be honest, I didn't think we would get them all out of the shelter. Trevor and I were already planning to go down on Thanksgiving and spend time with the ones who didn't get out.


I was particularly concerned about DeeDee.  She is our longest resident and she has got be an only dog.  She tolerates no one.  She is a sweet girl that would make a great pet, she just needs to be alone and there is nothing wrong with that.  It just makes it more challenging to find someone who can take her.

DeeDee weighed on my mind, I was trying to think of anyone who could take her.  I kept telling Trevor that I wasn' sure where she would go.  I love my husband...he is such a man of action.  He contacted a friend of ours who owns a local rescue.  She recently was part of a story that involved a pitbull named London.  London had been so badly abused that his front legs had to be amputated.  Amanda facilitated the medical care, finding a cart for London to use to get around and finding him an amazing forever home.  This has given Amanda and her rescue, Panda Paws, world wide recognition.  She has thousands of fans on facebook.  Trevor asked Amanda if she could help us find DeeDee a home for the holidays.

Amanda posted the plea on facebook and within an hour, it had been shared almost 800 times and had over 1000 likes.  There were lots of "I wish I could help, but....".  Then one woman said "my dog passed away recently, I have no other pets....I can take her".  I didn't get too excited because you just never know.  The next day, I got a text from Clint, our kennel manager.  "DeeDee has a home for the holidays".  I sobbed.  Then I realized....we could do this - if DeeDee has a home - why not Kira and Cutty.  And the great things is that everyone else thought that too.

The wheels set in motion, as each day passed, another text would  be exchanged among us "Rabbit has a home for the holidays", "Alfred has a home for the holidays".  Every day, I waited for it to say Kira or Cutty.  


I had two friends who offered to take dogs for the weekend.  That made me so proud.  One took Alfred, the other took Toby


Then I had another friend who offered.  A dog had just come into our shelter that I knew would be perfect for them.  Her name is Chelsey.  She is 7.  Her family got her as a puppy and she lived with their kids until she was about 4.  Then the kids developed allergies and she was forced to live outside.  Finally, animal control convinced the family to surrender her.  She is so scared in the shelter, her nose is cut up from trying to get out of the kennel. I go and sit with her and she leans all her body weight onto me.


We took Chelsey to a gift fair and she was excited to see every person who walked past her.  And then there were the kids.  She went nuts when kids past by.  It was obvious that she loved them all. To think of her loving her kids and then be put outside breaks my heart.  And I am sure it broke hers.  Well, my friend Tory has two girls.  They came to get Chelsey for the weekend and she was thrilled.  She walked out to the car and got right in, like she knew she was supposed to be with them.

I have been getting updates all weekend long and Chelsey is really enjoying herself.  My friends have all sent updates and it gives me such tremendous joy to see these sweet animals getting some much needed love and rest.  It also makes me tremendous proud to be friends with these people.  I know how much I love them and I know those animals love them too.

Wednesday was the day we needed to get all the doggies homes.  Finally I got word that Cutty had a place and then Kira.  I was so relieved.  But then we had several options for a dog named Mona...we call her Mo.  She had a litter of puppies and everyone wanted the puppies, but no one wanted Mama.  As Wednesday wore on, each option backed by one.  We could not believe that Mo was the dog we were having trouble placing.  Finally around 4 pm when the last option really didn't seem like a good option, I said "we will take her".  I had already asked Trevor if that would be okay and he, of course, said yes. 

I had a 5:30 cycling class to teach, so I left and was going to come back and get Mo.  Right after I left the shelter, I got a message "Mo has a home for the holidays".  A woman and her mother had come to the shelter to bring Thanksgiving treats to the dogs - they told her Mo's predicament and she said "we can take her".  Leah did a quick home visit and it seemed like a good fit, so Mo went home.


The shelter was empty....quiet.  They were all in homes.  Not forever homes, but that's okay.  Even a little break is good for them - reminds them what its like to be a dog, to sleep in a bed, lay on a couch and be around people.  Yes, it may confuse some of them when they have to come back to the shelter, but I just know they understand.  I have to believe it will give them hope and help them get through until they find their forever homes. It will remind them that people outside our walls care about them.

We posted this picture on facebook and it currently has almost 6000 likes and
 has been shared about 700 times!

 When they come back, they will all have stories to tell about the things the did and the people who loved them. They will compare notes - Cutty will talk about the big field he got to run through, DeeDee will talk about the car ride she took and the condo she was so comfortable at.  Toby will tell about learning to wait on the rug when he came back in the house because that is where dogs get their paws wiped off.  Alfred will talk about the cat bed he commanded and slept in.  Chelsey will tell of little girls and comfy couches.  Mo will talk about the quiet time away from her puppies and kindness of a stranger.  Kira will talk about being in a home with a person who understands that she is special and needs a special situation - about a woman who felt so sick but wasn't going to back out on her.

They will tell each other and us their stories, we will see it in their eyes and we will be even more committed to finding the right homes for these amazing creatures.  They will rest their heads and have hope that they won't spend the rest of their days in their kennels at the shelter.  They will have hope that someday, forever is waiting for them.  And even though it was just a brief few days, they will always remember their Home for the Holidays.  And so will we.  

Thank you to all the volunteers and staff, friends and strangers who helped us with this project.  Thank you to everyone who opened their homes or who shared our story.  We know not everyone can give the same things, but everyone has something to give.  Find out what that something is for you....and give it..  

Here is Chelsey in her home for the holidays

Here is Alfred in his (he is the one in the middle of it all)

 Here is Toby

And here is a video of Cutty

If you are interested in adopting or fostering any of these doggies, please contact West Columbia Gorge Humane Society:  We will be doing Home for the Holidays again in December, let us know if you are interested in helping.

Fosters Anastasia and Peppe and Romeo

 Our guy Romeo had a second chance at adoption. I talked to this family and was sure they would be perfect.  They said they were patient and could give him as much time as he needed.  Trevor and I took Romeo to their house on a Friday night, he seemed to like everyone just fine, was making himself at home.  He wasn't thrilled with the dad and would bark at him, but I figured that would dissapate over time.

Well, Sunday morning I got an email from the mom asking if we could talk.  When she called me, she was crying.  Romeo was so afraid of the dad that he had bitten everyone - he was growling and cowering and they couldn't keep him.  I am sure he would have settled down after some time, but there was no he came back to us.  Romeo was thrilled to be home and got right back into his routine.  We figure he will be with us for a while and started talking about bringing another foster dog into the mix.

I wasn't so sure we were ready for another dog in the house.  In the meantime, I got an email from the foster coordinator at the Humane Society of SW Washington - about a cat named Anastasia. She had been in an adoption center at a petstore for several months and was getting very depressed. She didn't want to be petted or held anymore.  She needed a break. I hit reply immediately and said we would take her.

I picked her up and brought her home to the cat room and she was so happy to be there.  She purred and rubbed against me. I told her she could stay with us as along as she liked.  It was nice to have a healthy cat in that room so we could bring our other pets in to see her.  Trevor spends about an hour with her every night before bed and then we both spend time with her during the day.  She likes being alone and is content in her room.    We are looking for the right home for her.

At the same time, we were still debating another foster dog.  I then got an eamil from the foster coordinator at SW about a dog named Peppe.  He is a Lhaso Apso who was an owner surrender because he barked at company and didn't get along with their other dog.  Peppe was so scared at the shelter that he curled up in a ball in the corner and would growl and charge anyone who got near him. He was so aggressive that the couldn't show him for adoption.  They had labeled him unadoptable and that means possible death at the shelter.  We were his last chance - they wanted him to come live with us and see if he was aggressive in our home.  This is so funny to me because our home is the ultimate test - 4 dogs and 5 cats....what a test. 

I wasn't sure this was the right thing, I was concerned, but Trevor said "go get him"  And I did.

We brought home this sweet little muppet face and have not had a single issue.  He gets along with EVERYONE.  He is so soft and loveable.  He seems very concerned about things and is constantly looking for permission.  Our dogs have done a great job showing him how we do things here.  Over the course of a week, he has learned how to fit into our pack.

I am so proud of our doggies, with each new foster that comes, they are less and less concerned.  When Wishbone, our first little foster dog came, they were obsessed with her, followed her everywhere and wouldn't let up.  With Peppe, they checked him out and then were like "okay, whatever, come lay on the couch" 

Peppe has finally relaxed, he will lay on the couch and roll onto his back while he sleeps - the ultimate show of comfort and trust.  We love this little guy and can't believe that someone gave him up.  The good news is that he has a meeting with a potential family tonight.  Romeo has been giving him pointers...hopefully he isn't listening, will do well and end up with his forever family by the end of the weekend.

For now, we continue to love our fosters, to show them a safe and warm place to lay their weary heads and to give them hope for better days

If you are interested in any of our foster, please contact the Humane Society of SW Washington.  Please adopt don't buy, foster, volunteer, donate, share.  The lives of animals literally depends on it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

20 year high school reunion weekend

This past weekend was my 20 year high school reunion.  I refuse to believe it has been that many years since I walked across the stage on a sunny June New Jersey Day.   I left NJ in August of 1992 and have only been back to visit.  I have lost touch with most of the people I went to high school with, for no other reason that laziness and life.  We've all kind of done our own thing and gone our own way. Then facebook came along and I slowly started to reconnect with many of my classmates. I found that I had things in common with the most unexpected people.  I was super excited to go back for my reunion and the weekend did not disappoint.

Trevor and I headed back east on Thursday.  We flew into NYC's JFK airport.  Trevor and our friend Doug were going to work a triathlon in Westchester NY, about 2 and a half hours from South Jersey where my reunion was.  The two of them drove north to New York and I drove south to Philadelphia.  The plan was that Trevor would drive down for my reunion on Saturday night and then drive back up to continue working.  I had the weekend pretty much to myself - a very rare occurrence.

I really wanted to run the Kelly Drive Loop by the Philly Art Museum, that was one reason I stayed in Philadelphia instead of 15 miles east in Washington Township where I went to high school.  Also, my friend Karen and her husband Scott were staying downtown on Saturday and I wanted to be close to them.

I arrived at my hotel on Thursday evening.  Got settled and went to dinner by myself.  It was a nice change from the hectic pace we've been keeping lately.  I went to bed at a reasonable time. It was the first time that I can remember getting into bed without Trevor, our cats and dogs and not being TOTALLY exhausted from one thing or another. It was great.

Friday morning, I got up and went for that run I had been wanting to do!  Along Kelly Drive, there are boat houses where all the college rowing teams keep their boats. The Drexel University Womens' Rowing Team was headed out for their training run and I ran along with them for a bit.  I went about 8 miles total.

I have traveled across country many times and always when I am driving home, I'll be coming into Philly and I will see the Art Museum. It always signals that I am almost home.  During my run, I saw it on my way back and I had the same feeling I had every summer coming back from college...I am almost home.

After my run, I got cleaned up and headed to meet my friend Amy for lunch.  In high school, especially my senior year, Amy was my best friend. We did everything together. We had classes together and hung out on the weekends.  We carpooled to the senior prom and spent prom weekend at a beach house in Ocean City Maryland.   I spent graduation night at her house - talking about the future. We were always talking about the future.

Amy went to college in Boston, I went to Colorado and because we were lazy, we lost touch.  Back then, there was no facebook or email and so you had to put effort into keeping up with each other.  And we didn't.  I have always wished that was different.  I moved back to NJ in 1999 for about 8 months and I believe we talked on the phone or via email.  But we never saw each other.

Over the last couple years we've reconnected on facebook and we share so many of the same interests.  Our lives are similar in many ways and I feel like we still know each other like the back of our hands.  So when Amy walked into the restaurant, it was like no time had passed.

We sat and had lunch and caught up on all the happenings of our lives - talked about husbands and families, triathlons and jobs.  Her voice, her mannerisms...all the same as 20 years ago and for a minute, I felt like we were 18 again.  We said our goodbyes. I went back to the hotel and did some work and some laundry.  Amy texted me later in the day and asked if I wanted to meet her and her sister for drinks.  So my day with Amy continued....

I met Amy, her sister and a couple friends for drinks at the Four Seasons.  It was a lot of fun and I wished that we could do it every Friday!!!  I headed back to the hotel and had some dinner...feeling really good about how this reunion weekend was starting.

Saturday morning I got up and headed into NJ. I was going to meet Tina Petrilli for coffee.  I went to school with Tina from first grade on.  She lived around the corner from me in Heritage Valley. It was her, Christine Morabito, Chris Convery, Matt Streb, Heather Lipson, Missy Donaldson and me.  Over the years we added Mike Powers and Pete Drolet.  Those are the people whom I remember always being together.

I wasn't close with Tina in high school but for some reason we have really connected over the past few years.  Again because of facebook.  She reads my blog and I had posted something once about coffee and she messaged me that if I was ever back in NJ she would take me to her favorite coffee place.  I was not going to miss that opportunity so when I knew I was coming, I asked if she wanted to meet.

I walked into the Crescent Moon Coffee House and we were in first grade all over again.  Tina looks the same, only grown up.  She had her daughters with her - one was in first grade - the age we were when we met.  It was a totally surreal experience.  After we sat for a bit, we had a surprise guest - Kelly Kuterbach came in with her twins in under each arm.

Kelly and I were not friends in high school. We have only connected through facebook and I have to say that not being friends with her longer is something I wish was different.  I seriously love this chick.  We talk on facebook ALL the time - she is super cool, smart, funny and totally awesome.  I was SO happy to see her.  I don't remember any conversation ever with her in high school and yet she was at the top of my life of people to see while home.

She, Tina and I sat and talked for at least an hour. We laughed, shared stories and predicitons for the reunion. We talked about who we were and who we are.  It was so comfortable.  I really enjoyed it.

We went our separate ways to get ready for the evenings festivities!!!  I headed back into town to meet up with Karen.  Kelly wasn't going to be too far behind me - she was meeting up with Karen too.

I parked me car and walked a couple blocks to the Ritz Carlton, where Karen and Scott were staying. I walked in and there they were - sitting in the most beautiful lobby eating little soft pretzel sticks like only the Ritz Carlton would do. I gave Karen the biggest hug of my life. I have known her since first grade and only in the last five years have we connected.  But we have connected big time.

We chatted for a bit, then Karen headed off to get her hair done and I saw with Scott for a bit.  We had a great talk.  What a nice guy.  What could have been a half hour of small talk, killing time while waiting for me to eat my burgers, was instead, a half our of meaningful conversation.  It was great. I could see why Karen loved him.

I headed up to the Spa at the Ritz and used the sauna and steam room as Karen's guest.  Kelly was there to get  a massage and popped her head in to say hello!  After I had sweated out all the toxins from my burger, I headed back to my hotel.

Trevor drove down from NY and arrived around 5.  We cleaned up and headed to the reunion.  I was so excited to see these people!

I felt like I knew everything about my classmates.  I knew them 20 years ago and I know them now - mostly because of facebook.  It was going to make the evening so much easier because there wouldn't be so much catching up to do!

I could go on and on about all the people I talked to, all the ones I caught up with.   Instead I will just say that I had the time of my life. These are my people and this is my place.  There have been other people and other places, but it all started here, with them.  Something about that is so comforting.  I think that is what being "home" is all about.  I have never felt more at ease and comfortable with who I am.  And I loved that.

I wish I would have taken 100 more pictures.  Here are the ones I did take...

Alaina Chip - I admire her more than just about anyone ever.  She is an amazing mom who has gone to the ends of the earth to raise a healthy happy child against all odds.  Plus she's beautiful.

 Amy was my best friend my senior year and hasn't changed one bit.
 One of my oldest friends, Kristen (we were in girl scouts/brownies together), Heather Coco and her partner - Heather is one of the few not on facebook, wish I knew more about her now and Chris, another amazing person who is living a life of which to be proud.
 Then there is Karen - I've blogged about her many times before.  One of my favs for sure.
 MEG!  I don't remember a time when I wasn't friends with Meg.  I LOVE her.  Her husband reminds me so much of Trevor too. I just love them.
My dear friend Pete.  I rode the bus to kindergarten with him.  I spent just about every year of my school life with him.  We laughed....alot...through the years. All my memories of him are good ones.  Well, just about all of them!

And then there is THIS guy....couldn't love him more.  He drove three hours to get to my reunion, stay for a couple hours and then drive another three hours to get back to work. 

The night ended for me around 11 pm, I was exhausted and overwhelmed.  I got a ride back to my hotel in the city with Karen and Scott. I went to bed and had trouble sleeping because I was replaying the night in my mind.  At 2 am, I got a call from our petsitter that Romeo was acting weird and ended up on the phone with her all night while she took him to the ER (He's fine).

After about an hour of sleep, I got up and headed to meet Meg for coffee.  We had planned a picnic to extend the weekend, but I wanted some time alone with Meg first.  Every time I come home, I spend time with Meg and its always like no time has passed.  Its been about five years since we last saw each other in person, but you would never have known it.

At 11, we headed to the park. I was expecting there to be lots of people, but it was just me, Meg, Jenn Sieminiski and Tina.  Which was fine because I didn't get to talk to Jenn much at the reunion.  Then there is  Tina.  She is one of the people I talk to the most but didn't spend even a minute with her since I've been home.  This was a great chance to catch up with them.

Jenn had her kids and after a bit went on her way.  Meg, Tina and I decided to take some pictures and then hit the road.  I had one stop to make and then a long drive up to NY to see Trevor.  Our picture session turned into a stump jumping competition and about an hour of laughing and acting stupid.  Just the way I like it!

Just as we were leaving, Chris Convery and his family arrived.  I didn't get a picture, but we talked for a while. He's another one that I LOVE. It was so great to see him and his wife and catch up some more.

We said our goodbyes, I hit the road, stopped and saw my friend Lorraine and then made the long drive north to meet up with Trevor. Finally, it was time to head  back west.  It was the oddest feeling - leaving home to head for home. 

I feel so fortunate to have grown up with such an amazing group of people. All of them.  I certainly don't want to wait another 20 years to see them all again.

Guest blogger Asha!!

I just realized that its been about six months since my last blog post.  You can read it HERE  I know my mom has talked about me some, but I have to tell you MY side of the story.  You know how moms are.

I guess I will just start where I left off last time.  Everyone was excited that I was going to start sleeping through the night.  Well, I don't like to do what people expect, so I have NOT started sleeping through the night.  A while back my mom and dad gave in and just started sleeping on the couch with me. They would take turns.  They say its not the best option but at least they get to sleep all night.  The problem is that I go to sleep downstairs just fine, but I wake up several times a night - I jump up, starting running, barking and spinning.  If my mom or dad aren't right there to touch me and tell me its okay I get real worked up.  For them, its easier just to be there with me instead of having to come downstairs.  Its just the way we do things right now. 

I have been seeing lots of Dr Hope Valentine - I get accupuncture about once a month and even thought I act like I hate it, I really do like it.  When we arrive at her office, I wag my tail like crazy and run all over the place until I find Dr Valentine and then I lean up against her and fall to the floor in a pile of happiness!  Once she gets the needles in, I climb on the couch, lay on my mom's lap and fall into a deep sleep.

My eyes used to have a lot of movement, that was my fire.  But now they have slowed down alot and my eyes are almost like normal eyes - except that I can't see.

In July, we added two new kitties to our home.  I used to love going upstairs to see Daisy but then one of the new cats started to swat me in the face and that made me nervous for a while. I didn't like going upstairs.  But now we are friends and I don't mind so much anymore. 

Right after those kitties came to live with us, I started to realize that we have other cats in the house too. There is one room, I never go in there, but I can always smell under the door. There's different cats in there all the time.  Buster says they are fosters, that means that they only stay here for a little while and then they go to their real home. 

The biggest news of all happened back in September, doggies come to live with us now!  We are on our 3rd.  Little doggies - these guys are fosters too.  I don't really understand the little dogs because they move so fast. They always want to touch my face and I can't keep track of them.

The one we have now, Romeo, he is growing on me.  He has been here the longest and so I am able to figure him out. Sometimes, at night, if he is laying where I want to lay, I get mad at him.  Then my mom moves him and its all okay.

I think its a good sign that mom and dad feel like they can handle having foster dogs and cats.  Last year at this time, I was a mess and so was my family.  I didn't start going to see Dr Pach el until December and I remember around Thanksgiving was the worst. That's when Maggie started getting mad at me and all I ever did was bark.  My mom was always crying.  It was really bad.  But here we are, a year later and we have fosters.  I can't believe we have opened up our home to more mayhem, but it seems to be working just fine.

My mom says that all of us permanent residents show the foster dogs how to be dogs.  I guess they have had a rough life and aren't so sure of things.  We may be crazy and our house may be mayhem, but there is love here.  Lots of love and patience.  My mom didn't think she would ever say that!
When our trainer came to the house and saw that we had a foster dog she started laughing and said that we have come so far.  She's one of the only people who know just how bad things were here.  We don't like to talk about that, especially me, because I caused it all. 

Over the last couple months, my mom and dad have been traveling a lot for work. They have been gone for 5 out of the last 10 weeks.  We've had a couple different people stay at our house.  Its not an easy job.  We have lots of routines and I don't sleep much especially if things aren't exactly as I like them.  I can't see or hear, you know, and so my life depends on routine. Otherwise I get real upset.

The first guy who stayed here in August quit pet sitting after being with me.  I didn't let him sleep at all the entire 5 nights he was here.   The next one we had after that has been great and I love her, but I still don't sleep. When she is here, I am so excited that I want her to stay awake all night and pay attention to me. Plus I miss my mom and dad, so I get stressed out and that's not good for any of us.

Mom says its good for me to do different things, meet new people and learn to have variety in my routine.  I say "NO".

Oh, that's another thing....up until this last week, I didn't know the word "no".  There was no signal or sign that had been effective.  The other day I did something dad didn't like and he jabbed me in the ribs with his thumb.  I got the message...I went into the corner and pouted until he came over and told me it was okay.  Mom and Dad were a little too excited to have figured out how to tell me no.  Now they thumb jab me when I jump up on the counters or do stuff they don't like. I've been doing less of it because of that....but I still don't like to be told no. 

I am growing up.  I'm a year and a half old.  Another year and I should be super well behaved.  Mom and Dad are learning how to deal with me better and I am learning so many things about the world around me.  We may not have the ideal life, but Maggie says NO ONE has an ideal life.

I think we have a good life and I know that there is no where I would rather be that in my house with my family....all of them - even the fosters.

The holiday season is here and I am really excited to see what I get for Christmas and Romeo says we need to make New Year's Resolutions.( I'd like to lose some weight) I am hoping the cats will help me do that. Daisy has been around the longest, I bet she'll have some tips.