Thursday, January 31, 2013
You may be familiar with Craig's list which is a classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, items for sale, service offered, etc. There is also a 'free section' where various things are given away. Unfortunately animals are sometimes among the listings that are "free." Knowing what terrible things can happen when animals are given away, thankfully there are people who watch this site for these ads. One day there was a listing for a 'free senior Golden Retriever to a good home.' It immediately was brought to the attention of the rescue I volunteer with. Someone contacted the person who had placed the ad and inquired about turning the dog over to the rescue. The answer was an emphatic 'no.' This was because the couple had been misinformed about rescues, and didn't want this particular dog to be put-to-sleep if he was unable to find a home. Despite the efforts of the rescue to try and explain to them that this wouldn't happen, they still refused. This is where I came into the picture. The plan was for me to contact the couple and convince them to personally give me the dog--I would then sign the dog over to the rescue and I would foster him--It was a perfect plan! The only thing that wasn't perfect was the timing which could not have been worse. We were not living at 'Golden Pines' and our current house was already on the market for sale. So taking in another dog was really not something we wanted to do, but my heart took over and any rational thinking to not do it was totally gone. I contacted them.
Aaron and Beth brought Manny to us from Baltimore on a hot rainy day in June. Along with them in their old Honda were their two dogs, whose names I don't remember. None of us had any idea how old Manny was, but he was old, thin and frail and there was no question, he'd had a difficult life.
|~The Gang in 2007, Cubby is the 2nd on the far right~|
|~Cubby, (front) and Logan~|
Cubby found peace and solitude at Golden Pines and thrived in the quiet routine. We let him set his own pace and decide what he would do and when. When he seemed like he needed help to find his way back to the house, we helped him find his way. When he wanted to come inside, we helped him up the steps. When he was looking for water, we would place the bowl in front of him. Cubby ate his meals alone and he could take an hour to eat, but we gave him all the time he wanted. When he had his 'accidents' we cleaned him up afterwards. It was his routine, and his life and we loved that he was part of our lives.
|~Part of the gang in 2008, Cubby is 2nd on the right~|
It is said that love is one of the greatest gifts we can share with our dogs. In those quiet moments we truly shared and felt that from Cubby. For that, and for all he taught me about love, I will always be grateful.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
It was November of 2006, and the rescue was contacted by another group about taking a senior Golden that had been rescued from a shelter. His family had brought him there saying they were afraid he was going to bite their grandchildren. With overcrowding in the small rural shelter, and with the 'fear' of a possible behavior issue with children, the paperwork was completed and Logan was to be euthanized as soon as possible. However, as you may know, small shelters can be understaffed and employees overworked, and this particular shelter was no exception--Because that night, for whatever reason, the animal warden given the job to euthanize Logan did not get around to it. The next morning when a shelter worker arrived and she saw Logan, looking at her and wagging his tail, it kindled something inside her--She felt strongly at that moment, that Logan did not deserve the fate that was awaiting him and she took the bold step to hide Logan and keep him safe. Logan's story at this point gets a little fuzzy, and the details are not very clear about what happened next--All I know is that Logan found his way to safety and was truly rescued that day!
Logan was said to be about 13 years old, but seemed much older because he had only known life as an outdoor dog. He was plagued with terrible food allergies, sores on his skin and around his eyes from rubbing them, and if it could be worse, it was because he had tapeworms. He would constantly lick his feet and chew his paws. Logan's ears were so badly infected that they were swollen shut and he was unable to hear. He had arthritis and had trouble even walking up a few simple steps--His coat, so oily and thin that I am ashamed to admit that I could barely stand to pet him and when I did, I felt only bones. It would be months before all of his health issues were completely resolved. Through all the treatment, Logan never made a sound or uttered a single noise. He would lay there so stoically as I cleaned his ears and and other sores and when our eyes would meet, he would look at me with gratitude and wag his tail. Logan knew I was helping him. His eyes would show that same expression when he would be given a meal. In my mind I can still see him standing in the back of the crowd at mealtime. His head held high, his eyes so intense and focused and full of expression. His front feet moving up and down like he was dancing, all reflecting love and thankfulness. Even even now when I think about it, it touches my heart and soul beyond words.
I'm not exactly sure when I first noticed that Logan's hearing had returned or that his coat gleamed so beautifully in the sun. I suppose it was at about the same time I realized that the hair on his feet had grown to a point where it needed trimming because he was no longer chewing them--However, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I felt that we had waited so long for it to grow that it deserved to stay, and so it did. Logan stayed too--we officially adopted him in the spring of 2007.
|~Logan (right) and Cubby~|
Logan's time with us would end in the late spring of 2008. It was his favorite kind of day, warm and sunny. At the time I was mourning the death of my Mother, and his loss would mark the first at Golden Pines. If Logan had any faults it would be that he was the least photogenic of all the goldens we've ever had. I was never able to capture that perfect picture of his soulful eyes, the quiet reassurance of his spirit, and gentleness, love and calm of his personality. But those are all things that can't be captured in a single picture--You can only show and feel them, and Logan truly felt them all, and from him, I felt it too.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Scout was surrendered to the rescue in 1994 as a young, wild maniac that was out of control. The dog that I met in June of 2005, was not that dog, but was a gentleman in every sense. The family that had adopted Scout had a change in their family circumstances, and were moving to California. They felt that the trip across country would be too much for a 14 year old dog, and they made the decision to return him to the rescue.
|~Scouts designer collar~|
Scout had lived his entire life as an only dog and his now being part of a multi-dog household was very upsetting for him. I can still remember him standing in the corner of my kitchen that first day, scared and shaking because of how upside down his world had become. Needless to say, I felt terrible! I recall thinking that if his family could have seen him, they would have changed their minds about returning Scout because he was so miserable.
Thankfully with time, Scout got used to the household and his new life and routine. He was such an enjoyable, gentle and affectionate companion and like Kasey, I loved taking him with me whenever I could. People were astonished by Scout's age and how healthy and vibrant he was; I told people every chance I got about the dog I called either 'my little boy-scout' or 'my little rich boy.'
|~Our Gang in 2005: Scout far left, Kasey, Charlie, Josh, in the back Wendy & Tosh~|
Thursday, June 21, 2012
The foster home would rename her 'Lily' and while she was in pretty good health, she had a puncture in her sternum that had become infected and surgery would be needed. I wouldn't see Lily again until afterwards when she was being groomed. All cleaned up, she was even more beautiful. At the time dogs were not being micro-chipped and it was not unusual for them to be tattooed as a way of permanently identifying them. While being groomed one was found on Lily's stomach with what looked to be a social security number, and the letter 'K' after the numbers. A friend of mine contacted the state police to see if the number could be connected to someone, but no information was found. Lily's past life would remain a mystery.
So, Lily came to live with us. While I had been totally smitten with her in the beginning that all changed when the honeymoon ended. She wasn't house trained and she was constantly getting into the trash. Added to that, she didn't listen or really respond to me. Lily also had a borderline obsession with tennis balls. I think she named every single one that we had. She was always nudging me to throw it for her. At the time we had birds and they were another obsession; it became life threatening for them to have her around. So, needless to say, I just didn't feel that Lily was going to be a fit for our household and so I made her available for adoption. The calls came but in the end, no one seemed to really want her.
However fate had something else in mind, and played yet another card. Lily became very ill with pancreatitus. My having to take care of her, created a bond between us. One day as she was sleeping on a dog bed next to me, I was thinking about the letter 'K' that was part of her tattoo. At the time it was a practice for breeders to tattoo a letter indicating a litter or a name of a particular dog. With that in mind I started saying 'K' names to her. I tried several and there was no response from her. Then I said the name 'Kasey' and she put her head up and looked at me. Just to make sure it wasn't a coincidence, I would try several more times, and each time she responded to it--With that, her name became Kasey!
With a name change, good health, house-training all worked out, my bond with Kasey continued to grow. What I had felt the moment I met her became even more clear, and I knew I couldn't part with her. We officially adopted Kasey in September of 2003.
|~Our Gang in 2003 (left to right) Ben, Josh, Kasey, CarrieAnne and Wendy ~|
|~Kasey (left) and Wendy~|
Kasey found her place as matriarch of the pack and was respected by all the dogs. She and Wendy were the top dogs in the pack and become companions to one another. She was also a mentor and stabilizing influence for Rudi. By the time we moved to Golden Pines in 2007, Kasey was probably about 14 years old and she was starting to slow down. Walks that at one time had to be on lead, could now be off leash because she wouldn't venture very far. We would start our walks all together, and she would eventually lag behind and I would leave her to do whatever she wanted. Afterwards I would come back and find her laying in the grass, waiting for me to help her get back to her feet and we'd walk back to the house. Kasey loved living in the country. She especially loved the front porch and spent as much time there as she could.
|~Rudi and Kasey (right) on the porch~|
Saturday, April 14, 2012
With time running out, a determined board member was finally able to reach the owner on her third and last day. She roused this young man out of bed, and in her very best Mother voice, told him to go to the shelter, reclaim his dog, and give her to someone who would meet him in the parking lot. Thankfully, he did just that. I was the person who met him.
I found out her name was Lacey. She was a small, red Golden with a beautiful white face. Her previous owner, whose name I don't remember was only 22 years old. He'd gotten Lacey when he was eight years old. I later couldn't help but marvel at all the things she must've witnessed in her lifetime with him. The boy who she first met and grew up with. The young man who graduated from high school and went to college. Did he notice her growing old, or was she always that young vibrant puppy he had known so many years ago? Did he feel any remorse or worry about her being left alone in the shelter? I'll never know the answers to those questions, but I do know that in the end he did the right thing by giving her to me.
Miss Lacey, as I came to call her, was truly a lady; a lady that I thought should wear pearls and a scarf. She was a quiet, gentle and affectionate golden that loved walks and laying in the warm sun. She attended events for the rescue was a perfect example of dignity and grace. She became an ambassador for the rescue and for senior Goldens like her who needed someone. We had her with us until the end of May. Our time was much too brief. But I am grateful to have known her, and that her life didn't end in the shelter, but with someone who cared about her. Miss Lacey ignited my love for senior Golden Retrievers, and our lives have never been the same.
Miss Lacey's paw-print