New Year – New Challenges

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

Those of you who have hung in with me over the years know that I usually try to interject some humor into my posts. This one is going to be just a little different. I want to talk, very seriously, about rescue.

Chief Guin Liesel

Chief (White), Guinevere (Black), and Liesel (Black & Tan)

As most of you know, we have been very involved with both canine and equine rescues over the past years. This post is all about dogs.

Blizzard Stairs

Blizzard, left tied to a tree without food or water when his “humans” skipped out on their rent.

All of our dogs (who I refer to as my “furkids”) have come through rescues. We didn’t start out to go that route (our initial plan was to buy a puppy). Rather than deal in negativity, I want to tell you that we’re so very glad, now, that we have adopted all our “kids” through rescues.

dogs4

Cheyenne, the one who started it all!

If you haven’t been with me for the long haul, let me tell you that a dear friend of mine was an officer with a rescue in Georgia when we lived there. She introduced the idea of adoption to me as a logical alternative to purchasing a puppy, as she knew that we both work and that we would, necessarily, be away from home for longer hours than was good for a puppy. She could not have been more correct. I’ve never once regretted adopting an adult (or mostly-adult) dog.

 

Let me tell you a few of the great benefits of adoption.

 

  1. Rescue dogs are almost always past the “puppy” stage. “Puppy stage?” you ask. Yes, this is one of the first reasons we decided against buying a puppy. Puppies need to be raised very carefully. They need lots more constant attention than many feel able to give. Puppies need to be taught where they need to do their “business” and they need constant supervision and socialization to help them achieve their potential.

 

  1. Rescue dogs have (most often) lived with foster families who have learned the talents (and foibles) of each dog. They have learned how well housebroken (or not) a dog is. They’ve learned how each foster gets along with other dogs, often with children of differing ages, and frequently with cats. When you adopt from a rescue, you know – for the most part – who you are bringing into your family.

 

  1. Rescue dogs are already spayed/neutered. These are not inexpensive operations. For the girls, it’s a bit harder; but, for them all, it’s surgery. The rescues have already taken care of the medical bills associated with making sure your new “kid” won’t be having “kids” of his/her own. What this world does NOT need are more unplanned pups!

 

  1. Rescue dogs already are current on inoculations, heartworm preventative, etc. Two of our dogs had been heartworm positive prior to reaching rescue. The rescue went to all the expense and spent all the time required (extensive hands-on care to make sure the dog doesn’t become too active while on the remedy) to cure them before they allowed them to be adopted.

 

  1. Rescue dogs are (again, for the most part) already microchipped. If you wonder whether or not this is a necessity, please go back and read my posts about Nitro – or read “Nitro’s Journey Home” page on Facebook. Microchipping can be the difference between losing your beloved dog forever and having him/her returned to you.
2012-11-16_Nitro

Nitro saying, “Why, YES, it IS Snow! I think I’m going HOME!”

  1. Rescue dogs often have had at least rudimentary training. Once again, because they’ve been in a foster situation or spending lots of quality time with those involved with the rescue, most rescue dogs have, at least, some knowledge of how to act on leash. Many know other commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” (“Stay” and “come” are extremely important for them to know whether they know it before or you teach them after they join your family.) Many have learned other fun tricks, as well.
Bears Obedience Grad Bear

Our Boy, Bear, The Graduate from Obedience Class

  1. Rescue dogs have known rejection. They appreciate when they are brought into a loving home. They show their love (sometimes it might take a while to earn their trust, but they will learn) in more ways than you can ever imagine. A dog’s love – once earned – is unconditional. They will give every fiber of their beings to their family. There are so many stories about how dogs have saved their humans’ lives or protected them from harm. Think of the German Shepherd Dog in Alaska who got the attention of the State Trooper and forced him to follow him to his family’s burning home. Then there are also stories of rescued dogs alerting their families to carbon monoxide, fires, a child having a seizure, and so on.
11707471_10206943883179549_2576268159414834267_n

Our Much-loved Miracle (#307) Dog, Dolly! (Read her story in an earlier post)

  1. Rescuing a dog actually rescues three. The dog you bring into your family is one. The one who comes out of a possible high-kill shelter into the rescue is number two; and the dog that gets picked up off the dangerous streets is the third.
Syd & Dadcrp

Our beloved Sydney with Dad. This was the day we brought her home!

I want to add that adopting senior dogs is one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done. We have adopted two senior females over the years. By senior, I mean over age 7 (in the case of German Shepherd Dogs – our breed of choice). Both girls had originally had loving homes, but human circumstances had changed their lives. One was caught up in a divisive divorce and, consequently, neglected by the one party she had to stay with. The other’s humans had developed health issues which negated their ability to properly care for their dogs.

received_10203470036004748

Our current senior, Cinder! (You can read her story in an earlier post!)

If you’ve read my recent stories about the Miracle GSD Network and, especially, The Thulani Program, you’ve seen what wonderful older dogs are out there. Granted, adopting a senior is not for everyone. It naturally follows that these dogs will not be with you for a very long time, but the time that you give them will often be the best of their lives. Giving care and love to an older dog comes back 100-fold.

Guthrie T 1

Guthrie in the Shelter (Before rescue by the Miracle GSD Network)

Guthrie T 3

Guthrie T’s a Happy, HEALTHY boy  with the Thulani Program Now!

Let me finish this post with the one truism that encompasses everything I’ve talked about. I’ve said it, easily, 100 times. When it comes right down to it, I didn’t rescue my dogs – my dogs rescued me. They can do the same for you. You’ll see what I mean.

 

 

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Leave a Reply” link and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about.

 

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

Advertisements

A Post I Don’t Want to Write – Tissue Alert!

This is a post I really don’t want to write. There’s no way to prepare for this, so I’m just going to tell you. Nitro passed away last night.

Nitro

Nitro

He crossed the Rainbow Bridge in his sleep. He was in his favorite place in Nichole and Tehya’s living room. His girls were safe in their beds. God called the old boy home.

 

Rather than focusing on the immediate sadness of this, I’d like to remember the joy and happiness Nitro brought us all. The mere fact that he made it home, and all the things that had to fall into place for him to do so, still dumbfounds me. In case you haven’t followed the story from the beginning, here’s something of a timeline that highlights the amazing intricacies that made his homecoming possible.

Nitro in the Orange County Animal Shelter

Nitro in the Orange County Animal Shelter

1.   Miracle #1: Jim got an email from “Home Again” telling us that Nitro had been found – in CALIFORNIA (we’re in Michigan). That, in itself, was something in that Nitro had only been with us a short time before he and our other dogs became totally incompatible. It was, however, long enough for us to get him micro-chipped and registered before he went to a home we thought would be forever.

 

2.   We talked to the shelter (Orange County) and they told us he’d been on the street for quite a long time from the look of him. His photo showed a shell of the dog who had once been so vibrant and beautiful. We needed to get him moved in a very short time, as his time there wasn’t going to be long.

 

What a GREAT DOG he was in his prime!

What a GREAT DOG he was in his prime!

3.   I gave it up to God and put a plea out on Facebook in every rescue and German Shepherd site I could find to see if there was any rescue or anyone who could help us save Nitro.

 

4.   Miracle #2: I got a Facebook message from California. Did I want Nitro to come home to Michigan or just find a rescue. I was completely gob-smacked! Was this really someone willing to help? Then the message went on to say that this angel was going to be leaving California to drive to Michigan for the holidays. She was leaving the VERY next day! She was willing to go get Nitro from the shelter and bring him home with her to Michigan. (I can’t help but marvel that if we’d gotten the first message ONE DAY later, none of this – or the rest – would have been possible.)

 

5.   Miracle #3: Our vet’s still had Nitro’s records on file so we could prove past ownership which was required for his release from the shelter. (That’s another thing that had very little time left. The vets would have purged the records after only a few more months.)

Leaving the Shelter

Leaving the Shelter

 6.   Miracle #4: Vinessa got to the shelter and, with her own funds, got Nitro released and to her vet for a physical, which he passed. There was grave concern as he was terribly mal-nourished and under-weight, but other than that his health appeared good. (Amazing considering that he had obviously been on the street for quite a long time.) 

Nitro's First Bath since?????

Nitro’s First Bath since?????

7.   Once Vinessa got Nitro home, he got his first bath in probably years and the first good night’s rest in equally long. All this time, Vinessa is packing up her car with her four VERY small children (oldest is 6), her young, German Shepherd puppy, and herself for the drive from California to Michigan.

 

First Good Night's Sleep

First Good Night’s Sleep

8.   The first part of the trip went quite well. The family headed to Montana for a Thanksgiving visit with friends. It would also be a reunion with Vinessa’s husband, David. David was already in Montana for work, so the voyage across country was a one-woman sojourn. After a pleasant stay, the crew headed off, once again. The destination was Michigan and Vinessa’s family here.

No time for gambling, Nitro! You've already hit the Jackpot!

No time for gambling, Nitro! You’ve already hit the Jackpot!

Is that SNOW?

Is that SNOW?

Why, YES, it IS Snow! I think I'm going HOME!

Why, YES, it IS Snow! I think I’m going HOME!

Almost HOME!

Almost HOME!

Here is the first video we saw of Nitro with Laela (Vinessa’s puppy) 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzJ6I5HfxJ4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

9.   Miracle #5: In South Dakota, the trip took a frightening turn. Somewhere in the dark, Vinessa encountered a patch of “black ice.” The Expedition made a series of six, 360-degree spins and ended up in a farmer’s field. By the grace of God, it didn’t flip (even though the whole load on the top shifted to one side). The children were all buckled in and asleep, but poor Laela ended up on Vinessa’s lap. Nitro, thankfully, was not thrown around too much. Vinessa said she saw her life and the lives of all in her car flash before her eyes.

After the Spins

After the Spins

Vinessa was able to get road service out in a reasonable amount of time. The repairman looked at her car and said that he didn’t see anything physically wrong with the car (other than that the tire lost air due to being rocked so hard). He put the spare on and helped them get the load redistributed back on the roof. If you check the photo below, you’ll see the angel. Yes, I do believe in angels and there was one looking over Vinessa and her little band that night. In the photo, I definitely see an angel peering in the back window. Vinessa took several other similar shots, and only in this one does the angel appear. It’s not a lens aberration.

There's An Angel Watching Over them

There’s An Angel Watching Over them

After all that, Vinessa and her little band made it home to Michigan with no other scares or drama. We made plans to finally meet this angel to bring Nitro back to where he would be loved and cared for for the rest of his days..

Nitro with his "Angel" Vinessa

Nitro with his “Angel” Vinessa

10. Miracle #6: Our friend and coworker, Nichole, recently had moved back to our area. She and her daughter, Tehya, had been wanting a dog, but with work and Tehya in school, a puppy was out of the question. Nichole had been very involved in all of our struggles to bring Nitro home. I really don’t remember who brought up the subject first, but we quickly realized that Nitro was supposed to come home to join Nichole and Tehya.

Nitro with Jim, Vinessa, and me

Nitro with Jim, Vinessa, and me

Tehya went to visit her friend the weekend we went to meet Vinessa and pick Nitro up. It might easily be considered another “miracle” that Nichole was able to keep the secret from Tehya as long as she did. From the moment Nitro and Tehya set eyes on each other, it was love.

Tehya Meets Nitro

Tehya Meets Nitro

 

He' MY Doggie, Now!

He’ MY Doggie, Now!

 

Fast Friends!

Fast Friends!

 

Nitro Says, "Are You Taking Me Away?"

Nitro Says, “Are You Taking Me Away?”

After a very short while, Nitro settled into his new home and Nichole, Tehya and he were a happy family. I have to reiterate that Nitro was an old dog. He had been a full adult dog when he’d been with our family for that short while all those years ago. Since he was a rescue, there’s no way to be absolute, but he had to be at the very least 12 years old, and more likely 13 or more. He’d also been on the street in California for such a long time. He still showed signs of his old, noble self on so many occasions.

 

Nitro & His Girl

Nitro & His Girl

Gradually, through much love and care, Nitro gained back healthy weight and strength. Maybe even more than that, he brought people from many diverse backgrounds and all over the world together with his story. Nitro’s Journey Home on Facebook was begun, with love, by Vinessa. She, Nichole, and I have tried to tell this miraculous and happy story throughout our all too short time with Nitro. People from other countries even donated to help defray all the costs associated with the expense of bringing our boy home. Everyone who hears his astonishing story, are astounded that so many things had to fall into place so intricately for it all to work. Surely, there was a greater plan at work than we could even guess.

 

Nitro Put on Weight

Nitro Put on Weight

 

Not Takin' The Frisbee Away!

Not Takin’ The Frisbee Away!

Here in Michigan, Nitro brought us new, close, dear friends in Vinessa and her family. One very happy outcome of the trials of the journey is that Vinessa and her family have, since, moved back to Michigan. He also brought us closer to Nichole and Tehya. For the time that Nitro was with us all, Nitro brought laughter, smiles and joy.

My dear, dear friend Caz in England asked me to include this poem with this post. I’m so glad she did. So, farewell, noble Nitro. Run free at the Rainbow Bridge. Farewell.

 

            Those we love don’t go away

            They walk beside us every day

            Remembrance is a golden chain

            That links us ‘til we meet again

Hodgpodge

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

I know that I’ve been away awhile. No, I didn’t drink too many Hot Bourbon Balls. Work can be very cyclical, and this has been our heaviest season. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to a more “normal” blogging schedule.

 

Christmas

The Tree is Up!

Our Tree

We had a nice, quiet Christmas day. That is, until we started getting ready for the family dinner. I got a little smarter this year (amazing, huh?) and started cooking and preparing several days in advance. Our meal was like the title of this post – a hodgepodge. Although there were a few dishes that nodded to our present area (Michigan – land of ice and snow), most of the menu had a distinctly southern bent.

Our Christmas Village

Our Christmas Village

We had Turduckhen (yes, they actually can stuff a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey). We had both Cajun rice and cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes (real potatoes), squash casserole (thanks to my sister-in-law, Deb), cranberry/pineapple/walnut salad, crescents, and pecan pie. While it was a lot of work and I was really bushed by the time it was over, dinner was a great success. Do you like my “tablescape?”

Christmas Table

Christmas Table

 

Some Sad News

Sydney with Her Dad & His Dad

Sydney with Her Dad & His Dad

Sadly, our girl, Sydney, has been diagnosed with DM (Degenerative Myelopathy). Without getting real technical, it’s a condition in which dogs (mainly seen in German Shepherd Dogs) lose the use of their hind quarters. There is no cure.

Sydney in Her Prime

Sydney in Her Prime

At present, we are doing our best to keep Sydney up and active as much as possible. We are using some holistic herbs and vitamins that have helped others who have had this diagnosis for their dogs. It’s not a “fix,” but if it can keep Syd up and moving longer, we’ll try it. There’s absolutely nothing in it that could possibly hurt her, so we’re hopeful that it will help her to be happy and mobile longer.

 

The GREAT News!

Nitro & His Girl

Nitro & His Girl

Now that I’ve given you the sad news, I want to update you on Nitro. He’s a happy boy. He and his girl, Tehya, are best friends. It’s like he’s been meant for her and Nichole his whole life. It’s just sad that he had to go through so much bad to get to his forever home.

Nitro's Put on Weight

Nitro’s Put on Weight

If you haven’t been following Nitro’s story on my blog (newcomer? WELCOME!), you can page back through my posts and find his amazing, miraculous story. Nitro also has a page on Facebook “Nitro’s Journey Home.” It’s a truly unique story – one with a happy ending.

Doesn't He Look Great

Doesn’t He Look Great

Nitro and Nichole went to his new vet a short time ago. They already knew his story and were very much looking forward to meeting this stalwart animal who had been through so much only to find his purpose with two ladies who love him. His weight was up to within only about 10 or 15 pounds from where it should be. His bloodwork came back with all normal levels. He was a perfect gentleman and allowed everyone to fuss over him to their hearts’ content. He even got his PAWdicure without protest. His demeanor, after the years of a neglect, completely amazes me.

He's Still a Frisbee Dog

He’s Still a Frisbee Dog

Wanna Play?

Wanna Play?

Not Takin' it Away!

Not Takin’ it Away!

Here are photos of Nitro with his new Frisbee. If you look back at earlier Nitro posts, you’ll see that Nitro used to be a fabulous Frisbee player. He obviously never lost his love of playing with the flying disk. He’s not capable of the running as fast, nor jumping high, but he can still play. Most importantly, he enjoys the activity.

Happy New Year

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s 2013.

 

This is a “major” year for me. I can’t believe that this much time has gone under my bridge. In retrospect, I’m happy to say that my regrets are few (cue Frank Sinatra and “My Way). I’ve filled a little of my “bucket list,” but there are so many more things I want to see and do. I guess I’m going to have to live as long as my wonderful, great-aunt, Ruth, who lived to be 104.

I hope you will come along with me as I post them on my blog! Until then…

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) Hopefully, you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. From there, click on “Follow.” I hope you will. You will be notified of each new posting. I also hope you will jump in and comment on my posts.

 

Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!

A Little of This and A Little of That (of course, a Nitro Update)

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I seriously doubt that I’ll get another blog out before the big day, so I want to make absolutely certain that I wish all of you the happiest of holidays!

 

The Tree is Up!

The Tree is Up!

This year, I vowed that I would have all my decorating and package wrapping done at least a week before Christmas. Uh, no, it just didn’t happen. I did get my house decorated somewhat for Christmas the weekend following Thanksgiving; but this year my baking, package wrapping, and prep for Christmas dinner is WAY behind! I don’t know where the time went at all! I do work, so my time is fractured, but that really doesn’t explain it. I’ve worked ever since I was a kid (starting in high school and college), and time has never gotten away from me like it has now. Maybe the organizational skills reduce as the silver hairs increase…

 

Progress!

 

For those of you who are wondering how I’m doing with my diet, I’m pretty pleased with myself. I’ve lost just a little over 20 pounds. I really feel like I’ve turned the corner with my new plan. In case you haven’t read that post, I’m keeping track of every morsel I eat. I found myfitnesspal.com , and it’s working for me. I have to admit, though, that I absolutely do not intend to track a single thing I eat during our group Christmas party at work or for Christmas Eve or Christmas day. This is a program that I will have to live by for the rest of my days. Depriving myself of all goodies at all times is a recipe for failure. A wise man (a doctor) once told me, “It’s not what you eat between Thanksgiving and Christmas that hurts you. It’s what you eat from Christmas to Thanksgiving.”

 

Another real plus for us is that there are several, top-of-the-line exercise machines in our hangar. This has been a real benefit for me. Every morning before I start work, I use the elliptical trainer for about seven minutes and an exercycle for another five to seven minutes. There are also weights and toning machines that really make a difference. I truly haven’t felt this healthy in a number of years.

 

A Terrific Addition!

 

Vinessa with Nitro

Vinessa with Nitro

I am giddy with joy! Vinessa – our angel – has decided that she and her family are staying in Michigan! She’s a Michigan girl to begin with. Ever since that terribly frightening accident on the way to Michigan from Montana, Vinessa has known that she wanted to live in her native state with all her family around her.

 

She and her family used to make the amazing trek from California to Michigan (and back) four times a year. What kind of toll would that take on anyone? I just can’t imagine it. This decision makes complete sense for her and her little ones.

 

At present, Vinessa is considering starting her own German Shepherd Dog rescue. They’ve already located a house and she’s got a line on a shepherd in need of a foster home. I have to hand it to this gal, when she puts her mind to something, it’s done. If you want to watch, don’t blink!

 

Nitro!

 

Nitro is doing absolutely fabulously! He is absolute proof that miracles DO happen and that there is a plan. I certainly can’t explain all the myriad of things that had to fall into place, perfectly, to save him and bring him home to Nichole, Teyha, Jack, and us any other way. There had to be a “plan.”

 

Here are some photos just a short six days since we met Vinessa and brought Nitro to his furever home. He’s put on weight and he’s getting very strong.

 

This photo is Nitro showing how much weight he’s put on and that his ribs are no longer standing out.

 

Nitro getting STRONGER!

Nitro getting STRONGER!

Here he is almost pulling Jack’s arm out of the socket.

 

Hang on Jack!

Hang on Jack!

One of the most remarkable things about Nitro (and there are so many) is that he’s still a very friendly boy. One would expect that he would be a little shy around strangers. Since he, somehow, ended up on the street, you would think that someone didn’t treat him very well. He also shows signs that he wasn’t well cared for for quite some time. This is why it completely amazes me that he is so happy to meet new people. The photo below shows one of my coworkers right after getting a complete “face wash” from a quick Nitro tongue.

 

Her face tasted GOOD!

Her face tasted GOOD!

Nitro has completely adopted his new family. He is completely smitten with “his girl.” He welcomes her home with joyous yodels and dancing. A happier dog I’ve never seen.

 

Like They Should Be

Like They Should Be

Once again, I want to thank all of you who have been praying for our boy and us. I can’t imagine a happier outcome for him (and for his family).

 

Keep believing!

 

Up Next: We Made It!

 

Would you like to subscribe to my blog? (Oh, yes, it’s free!) Hopefully, you have already clicked on the title and are now directly in my blog page. If you have not gotten to the blog page, click on the title of the Posting and it will take you to the blog. From there, click on “Follow.” I hope you will. You will be notified of each new posting. I also hope you will jump in and comment on my posts.

 

Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!