Miracles Happen

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 am sending along a wonderful article written by Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue. They are one of the approved shelters working with the Miracle GSD Network. This article was posted by them back on November 13, 2013. I have added a few details that weren’t available at the time of that writing. Those details are inserted in bold italics.

Members of Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue (from their website)

Members of Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue (from their website)

_______________________________

Miracles Happen

We work with a wonderful team called the Miracle Group to save dogs from across the US.

It’s an amazing story.

It started in 2012 with a comment made in a Facebook PM by the eventual founder that went something like “wouldn’t it be great if we all contributed regularly to a fund that could be used to rescue a dog a month”. Such lofty goals!! A Dog A Month. It was that one comment to a handful of people with a dream to make a difference in the lives of a handful of dogs that launched the Miracle GSD Group – and there was no looking back.

On October 29, 2012, the Miracle GSD Group pulled Taylor and Laku, 2 GSD’s from Coachella heading to the safety of Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Southern California dogs from a very full, high kill shelter safely transported across the country to a GSD rescue in Michigan that does not have the same overcrowding issues that California (and many other states) have. The  funds that were needed to pull, vet, board for a few days then transport these 2 lucky dogs were from “pledges” made on each dog’s public post, with the Miracle Group members filling in the difference.  And it worked! Those two dogs were adopted in to loving homes within weeks and SWMGSR wanted to know if they could get a couple more. Beautiful, loving GSD’s that were abandoned with little hope of surviving the overcrowded shelter life now being loved and spoiled in their forever homes. Yes, there were more, too many more.

The next month, November 2012 the Miracle Group pulled 13 dogs!! Three wonderful members of this group realized this could not continue without some serious organization and they got serious. New rescue partnerships were formed, “PLANS” were made and lives were saved. In July, 2013, the Group decided they needed a break. Nine months of chaos was wearing them out. They needed to slow down and take some time for themselves. That month they rescued 30 dogs! The most (at that time) in a month to date – on their break – because they would not say no to a dog with a PLAN.  In one year the Miracle Group saved 226 dogs, pulled dogs from 37 different places in 6 different states going to 17 different rescues.

These three ladies give their time, their skills and mostly their love and devotion (all with no remuneration) to save these dogs. They have families, soccer games, hockey games, jobs, business trips, dogs to walk, yet they find the time to save so many lives and all three of them live on the EAST COAST. THANK YOU, ladies, for ALL you do, for those you have saved and those yet to be saved and thank you to all the members of the Miracle Group who pledge, share, pull, transport, foster, board and help support the Miracle GSD Group.

We are thrilled and honored to be a part of this amazing group.

___________________________________________

If you would like to learn more about Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue (maybe you’re interested in adopting a family member?), please visit their website at: http://www.bayareagsr.org

Since this article was written, so many more dogs have been saved thanks to the combined efforts of the Network and their associated rescues. As of this writing, 574 dogs have been pulled from shelters and sent to rescues across the country. It’s so remarkable that such a small group can do so much good! I think it proves that if you really want to do something ‒ you CAN!

If you’re interested in learning more about Miracle GSD Network, you can visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/310605105708097/

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “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!

Tequila! (Not the Liquor or the Song, But Even MORE Uplifting)

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!)

Amazing Transformation! Just proves that, with love, anything is possible.

Amazing Transformation! Just proves that, with love, anything is possible.

This is the story of Tequila and her “mom,” Susan. I’ve asked other “Miracle Dog” (as well as other rescue dog) parents to share their stories. This is one that is especially heartwarming to me as this beauty was rescued through Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Dog Rescue just like our Dolly and Cinder. The “before” and “after” photos really tell the tale, but Susan’s heartfelt story, in her own words, resonates with the love she feels for her wonderful “miracle.”

Tequila now! I can hardly believe it's the same dog. She is absolutely stunning!

Tequila now! I can hardly believe it’s the same dog. She is absolutely stunning!

“I watched SWMGSDR’s FB page for over a year. At the time, I had my son’s shepherd here almost 4 years (till October 2014). She went back home to the UP. I was lonely for a dog after a couple months, so I seriously started watching Kristin’s postings and saw Tequila and her intake picture just got me in the gut. I applied and ended up getting her Dec. 23, 2014. The first couple days she was a little aloof – just watching me. I found an old tennis ball in the closet and she just lit right up. We played and played. After that she was at my side every minute, like most GSD’s are. It was challenging at times, at first. Noises really can set her off. Snapping, popping, scraping, blow dryer, vacuum…the list goes on. She pants and paces and drools a lot. Then she settles down. I try not to make a big deal about it and go about my business. It’s gotten much better now.

Tequila taking it easy

Tequila taking it easy

For a while, she would pee outside the bathroom door when I took a shower because she couldn’t see me, but won’t come in the bathroom because she doesn’t like the sound of the shower. She is terrified of stairs, so if I was in the basement too long she would get into the garbage or pee at top of steps.

Which toy to choose?

Which toy to choose?

There were times I wondered what I got myself into, but gradually things started getting better. She started to relax and got more confident. I stop and think she must of had a horrible life and who knows what happened to her. She has become my constant companion and snuggle buddy. She’s very obedient. I use a soft voice and it’s like she just gets what I’m saying. She sleeps on the foot of my bed. One night she was panting and rocking the whole bed, so I quietly said, “Quit panting,” and she sighed and quit panting!!

Are you SURE you don't want to play more?

Are you SURE you don’t want to play more?

She absolutely LOVES tennis balls. Chase, chase, chase! She will put the ball right in my lap and keep bumping it with her nose like reminding me to throw it. Or, if I’m standing, she puts it on my feet so I will kick it!.

Don't worry Mom, I got the car!

Don’t worry Mom, I got the car!

She’s a great watch dog – almost too good. I really have to watch her if anyone comes over. Out in public, she is fine. We go to TSC now and then she loves it. She’s always a little shy with strangers, but not aggressive. At home a whole other story!! In my vehicle, if someone comes too close while I am in it, she will bark – big time. She has given me love and makes me feel safe. We live in the country and who knows who may pull in your yard. I love having a dog to care for and love on again. I’ve had shepherds since 1996. They are the best breed out there. Even though she is a mix with some collie in her, she’s still very much a shepherd. We have come a long way in 8 months and I see her continuing to get better (but I think she will always be a garbage picker if I forget to put it up when I go to work). Still love her!! She is in the house loose while I’m at work. She meets me at the door with her ball. One time she couldn’t find her ball and she greets me with an old mousetrap that was laying behind the fridge (normally hidden by the garbage can). She has to greet me with something in her mouth. She has no accidents while I’m gone. At first, I crated her, but she hated it so I took a chance one day and left her out. No problems! She’s just the goodest girl in the world!!. That’s what I say to her when I come home.”

Is this the picture of a happy dog, or what?

Is this the picture of a happy dog, or what?

Isn’t that just the sweetest story? This match had to be made in Heaven, but the Miracle GSD Network and Kristin Bright at Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Dog Rescue were the vehicle used.

Ready for Mardi Gras (although every day is a celebration for Susan and Tequila)

Ready for the holidays (although every day is a celebration for Susan and Tequila)

It was terrific to meet Susan and Tequila at the recent “Homecoming” reunion. I hope to share more stories like this one in the coming weeks and months.

Tequila loves her

Tequila loves her “baby.”

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Comments” 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!

DON’T BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?–HERE’S A REAL ONE–MIRACLE GSD NETWORK

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!)

This story is a follow-up to my last post about the Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue 3rd Annual Reunion. I’ve had several people ask me about the Miracle GSDNetwork and the different rescues with which they work. Through the kind permission of The Miracle GSD Network team and Thulani Dogs, I am reposting a terrific article from their website. I’m sure you will enjoy it. These people ARE miracle workers.

Miracle GSD Network Team Members

Miracle GSD Network Team Members

“In the summer and early fall of 2012, a few people got together to see what they could do to help all the German Shepherds they were seeing that were dying in southern California shelters.  After talking for several weeks, they decided their best route would be to work with reputable rescues to move the dogs to places they could be adopted – where GSDs weren’t as common.  Their idea was to navigate the complicated California shelter system FOR the rescue.  Partner with the shelters, temp test the dogs, arrange with a rescue partner for the “pull”, arrange vet, board, and transport to the rescue – AND to raise the funds to do it.  They wanted to do this – to deliver the dog to the rescue – without the rescues having to figure all this out – taking away from the important job of taking care of the dogs, and getting them adopted.  Rescues already HAVE too much work to do!  After months of planning, Miracle GSD Network was formed, and “pulled” their first dogs in October 2012 from the Coachella Valley Shelter in CA for Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue.

Miracle GSD Network only works with a select few rescues that they have thoroughly checked out, and have processes in place that employ good and transparent rescue practices.   Since 2012 they have built a partnership with several rescues and shelters, and with many people on the “ground” assisting with temp tests, fostering, and transporting. They have earned the trust of so many people in rescue.  This small group of people is spread out all over the country – Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts and North Carolina…”

Thulani Dogs is one of the select rescues who has been approved to work with Miracle GSD Network.. They have a marvelous website. Thulani is not your “everyday” rescue. These are people with an amazing strength. Here are a couple of excerpts from their website:

“The Thulani Program is a subactivity of German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (GSRNC) that focuses on helping German Shepherds with limited life expectancy, typically measured in months or possibly as much as a year.  Although independently run, this program is fully integrated with the much broader activities of GSRNC…”

“The Thulani Program for providing hospice care and sanctuary for German Shepherd dogs with limited life expectancy was founded in mid-2009 as a German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California response  to a need identified by our shelter evaluators.  The evaluators were finding German Shepherd dogs in shelters that were wonderful dogs, but because of terminal medical conditions or extreme age, were not dogs that could successfully be adopted out to the public as part of regular adoption program. Yet these wonderful dogs have some quality life left for them, even though it might be short. The evaluators realized that, if they turned their backs on these dogs, they very likely would die alone and afraid in the shelter almost immediately…”

The Thulani Program has a wonderful website: http://thulanidogs.org/

Here are photos of “Morrie T.” He was a Miracle Dog who was adopted through Thulani.

“Morrie T” in the shelter (Just pitiful!)

Photographer, Jane Sobel Kronsky Morrie T with

Photographer, Jane Sobel Kronsky
Morrie T with “mom” Vicky (this year) – Just look at the happy, healthy, much-loved boy , now!

JUST ADDED!!!

Here are photos of two sweet, elderly dogs who were just rescued out of a shelter in California. They are going to the tremendous Thulani Program!

Shelter photo of Lucky and Sugar

Shelter photos of Lucky and Sugar

and NOW, here are their “Freedom” photos!

So good to see these two going to a place where they will be loved the rest of their days!

So good to see these two going to a place where they will be loved the rest of their days!

“Miracle GSD Network is PROUD to partner with the Thulani Program, to save Senior & Hospice German Shepherds – a cause near & dear to their hearts.  Miracle GSD Network is an “informal” organization dedicated to helping rescues navigate the difficult shelter system by coordinating “pulls” of dogs in need.  Visit (ask to join) our Facebook page – it is a HAPPY PLACE – where we post updates of all our “Miracle Dogs” – to date over 450 saved:”

Since this article was written, so many more dogs have been saved thanks to the combined efforts of the Network and their associated rescues. As of this writing, 564 dogs have been pulled from shelters and sent to rescues across the country. It’s so remarkable that such a small group can do so much good! I think it proves that if you really want to do something ‒ you CAN!

If you’re interested in learning more about Miracle GSD Network, you can visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/310605105708097/

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Comments” 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!

A Day of Celebration and Tears!

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!)

After a long hiatus, I’m back to blogging. Life has a funny way of rolling by faster and faster as each year passes. Work, home, dogs, birds…all seem to demand their amount of time and energy. Happily, I may have figured out a way to steal some time and tell all y’all about the wonderful celebration we attended. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy telling the story.

3rd Annual Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue Reunion

3rd Annual Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue Reunion

July 25 was the Third Annual Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue reunion. This was a day for all athe dogs who had been adopted through the rescue to come together with their owners and meet/reacquaint with others.

Some of the Reunion Attendees

Some of the Reunion Attendees

It was also time to meet some extraordinary people who are involved in saving so many German Shepherd Dogs from certain death in the overcrowded shelters in California.

Lisa & Kathy from the Miracle Network with one of the greatest contributors and two Miracle Dog owners.

Lisa & Kathy from the Miracle Network with one of the greatest contributors and two Miracle Dog owners.

This group is the Miracle GSD Network. You can find their page on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/310605105708097/

Lisa and Kathy from the Miracle Network flank Maz (one of the leading contributors)

Lisa and Kathy from the Miracle Network flank Maz (one of the leading contributors)

This group is especially dear to us, as they are the ones who saved our darling Dolly!It was our first opportunity to meet some of these dedicated women with whom we’ve become very dear Facebook friends over the past year. It was also the first opportunity for them to actually meet – face-to-face – with many of the dogs they’d worked so diligently to save. There were lots of happy tears shed over these first meetings. I’m not completely certain, but I think even the dogs realized how important and special these women were in their lives.

Dolly with Lisa (her first opportunity to meet the girl she helped to save!)

Dolly with Lisa (her first opportunity to meet the girl she helped to save!)

The group began when several of these women got together just a very few years ago to see if they could help with the dire situation in the shelters in California. The shelters were (and are) filled well past capacity and it has meant that hold times for dogs (especially large dogs like German Shepherds) have been cut to just the bare minimums required by law. Rescues were doing their best to try to save as many as possible, but sheer numbers and widely-spread locations and even crossed communications were hampering their abilities. The women from the Miracle Network have been able to help cut through these barriers. They have helped funnel dogs from the overrun shelters to reputable (strenuously checked) rescues throughout the country. They take absolutely NO funds for their work and spend hours upon hours on the computer and telephone with the yeoman’s job of coordinating getting the dogs from the shelters to the rescues which are all around the country.

One of the approved rescues is Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Kristin Bright has been involved from the very beginning. It is through her rescue that we adopted our adorable Dolly and our precious Cinder.

Kristin with Lynne's Kaiser

Kristin with Lynne’s Kaiser

Another great photo of Kristin with Kaiser

Another great photo of Kristin with Kaiser

A few months after Dolly came to live with us, we lost our Sydney. Not long after that, Kristin contacted us as a possible home for another senior girl who had recently been rescued from Ohio. Cinder was not part of the Miracle Network, but was an owner turn-in. You can read all about both Dolly and Cinder in previous posts, but they were alumnae at the reunion on Saturday.

Our Cinder at the SMGSR 3rd Annual Reunion

Our Cinder at the SMGSR 3rd Annual Reunion

Cinder Chilling at the Reunion

Cinder Chilling at the Reunion

All of the dogs here had amazing back stories. It’s impossible to share all the stories. Here are a few that will amaze you and which exemplify the work being done to save these fantastic dogs.

Naturally, you know I have to start with Dolly. The before and after are really something to see, and she was one of the dogs who wasn’t in very poor condition.

Our Dolly (Miracle Dog #307) - Intake Photo

Our Dolly (Miracle Dog #307) – Shelter Intake Photo

Our Dolly now!

Our Dolly now!

Dolly & Cinder Taking it Easy

Dolly & Cinder Taking it Easy

Here are photos of Kyra (Miracle Dog #38) before and after!

Kyra BEFORE the Miracle Network swooped in to save her

Kyra BEFORE the Miracle Network swooped in to save her

Kyra now! Three beautiful girls!

Kyra now! Three beautiful girls!

Kyra with her Dad

Kyra with her Dad

Kyra's a Happy Girl!

Kyra’s a Happy Girl!

Kyra Enjoys Looking at the World From Above

Kyra Enjoys Looking at the World From Above

Here is handsome Zeppelin (Zeppy) – Miracle Dog #69. It’s clear that he has gone from the depths to a wonderful, loving home.

Zeppelin (Zeppy) in the Shelter - Poor bedraggled boy!

Zeppelin (Zeppy) – Miracle Dog #69 – in the Shelter – Poor bedraggled boy!

Zeppy now! He's such a Happy, Handsome Boy

Zeppy now! He’s such a Happy, Handsome Boy. Who wouldn’t be with two lovely ladies!

Zeppy is Now a Gorgeous, Silky Boy - Miracle Dog, indeed!

Zeppy is Now a Gorgeous, Silky Boy – Miracle Dog, indeed!

This is Tequila! Of all the sad faces, she had one of the saddest. I fell in love with her when I first saw that sad face. I was so hoping the right person would come along and give her the home she so richly deserves. She sure hit the jackpot with her “mom”, Susan!

Tequila (Miracle #373). Have you ever seen SUCH a sad face?

Tequila (Miracle #373). Have you ever seen SUCH a sad face?

Tequila now! I can hardly believe it's the same dog. She is absolutely stunning!

Tequila now! I can hardly believe it’s the same dog. She is absolutely stunning!

Amazing Transformation! Just proves that, with love, anything is possible.

Amazing Transformation! Just proves that, with love, anything is possible.

The most amazing story of all (in my opinion) is that of Dulce (now named Cali). This poor dog looked so emaciated and rough. I can’t help but believe she would not have lasted more than a day or two more had the Miracle GSD Network not swooped in and saved her.

Dulce (now named Cali) in the shelter. It's hard to look at this photo. She's just skin and bone.

Dulce (now named Cali) in the shelter. It’s hard to look at this photo. She’s just skin and bone.

Dulce/Cali (Miracle Dog #383) after just a few short, loving months

Dulce/Cali (Miracle Dog #383) after just a short, loved period. Isn’t the difference amazing?

Everyone who saw her transformation (and her forever family hasn’t had her with them very long) was thrilled. I think more happy tears were cried over this pup than any other.

Sweet Cali! Safe and LOVED at last!

Sweet Cali! Safe and LOVED at last!

There are so many happy stories with the Rescue and Miracle Network. It was wonderful to get to meet other human family members who share with us the love of rescued dogs. I hope to be sharing many of these in future posts.

Another great story is that of Karu and her puppies. Karu wasn’t at the reunion, but two of her pups were. Karu was rescued and had puppies. Karu is full German Shepherd Dog, but dad was apparently a Mastiff/Boxer mix. Two of the pups – Augusta and Gunner – had not seen each other since they had been adopted. It was clear to all that they remembered each other. It was such a joy to watch them play together.

Karu's pups, Augusta and Gunner, meet again for the first time since adoption. Gunner (the brindle) looks a little tentative

Karu’s pups, Augusta and Gunner, meet again for the first time since adoption. Gunner (the brindle) looks a little tentative

I think they're starting to remember

I think they’re starting to remember

That's my BROTHER!

That’s my BROTHER!

Yep, they're brothers, all right

Yep, they’re brothers, all right

All in all, there were easily forty-plus German Shepherd Dogs all in one place. There were absolutely no instances of fights or difficulties because we all respected each other’s space. There was ample area to walk the dogs, kiddie pools to drink or cool off in, and activities to keep the dogs entertained. There were also many children around who really enjoyed being able to pet so many beautiful dogs. That was remarkable in that the dogs seemed to enjoy the kids as much (if not more).

German Shepherds everywhere

German Shepherds everywhere

The kids and dogs got along terrifically.

The kids and dogs got along terrifically.

There were contests for the dogs (like who could lie down and stay the longest) and “hot dog” eating contest. (Not really hot dogs – they were special doggie treats that floated.) I entered Dolly at the last minute.

Kiddie Pools for drinking and cooling off (for the dogs)

Kiddie Pools for drinking and cooling off (for the dogs)

She wasn’t sure at first, but got them all. Just as they were finishing the contest, Jim decided that Cinder needed a chance to beat Dolly’s time. Not only did Cinder beat Dolly’s time, she won the contest with all ten pieces snagged in 10 seconds! A new record! She won a prize bag full of fun toys and treats!

Dolly wasn't sure about this contest

Dolly wasn’t sure about this contest

There were cakes and treats for humans and canines alike. The door prizes and raffles were really top notch.

Treats for the Dogs

Treats for the Dogs

and Cake for the Humans

and Cake for the Humans

Just a few of the prizes

Just a few of the prizes

We all had a marvelous time and are very much looking forward to next year’s get together. We’re really hoping that many of those who couldn’t make it for this reunion will be able to join us next year.

I can’t say enough about all the work put in by Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Kristin has so much on her plate running the rescue; but she did a fantastic job of pulling everything together and assuring a great time for everyone. I can’t imagine how she found enough hours in the day to do everything she did. If Wonder Woman were real, I imagine she’d look a lot like Kristin.

The amazing Kristin

The amazing Kristin

Kristin taking a short break

Kristin taking a short break

Kristin greeting one of the pups she cared for before adoption.

Kristin greeting one of the pups she cared for before adoption.

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Comments” 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!

Cinder(ella)

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!)

After a long absence, I’m back. Work can put a real crimp on blogging, but I love my job and the people I work with, so I try to find a balance. In the transportation industry, things get really crazy for several months before Christmas, so work necessarily had to jump to the fore. I hope that I’m finally going to be able to get my blog rolling along again with new posts and updates to old stories. I hope you will hang in with me and follow along.
I wrote about losing our sweet Sydney last August. What I haven’t written about is the message we got only a few weeks after she went to the Rainbow Bridge. Kristin Bright from Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue got in touch with me to tell me about a wonderful, older girl that had come to be with their rescue.

Cinder (the day she arrived at SWMI Rescue)

Cinder (the day she arrived at SWMI Rescue)

 

Cinder - Skin and Bone (Day She Arrived at Rescue)

Cinder – Skin and Bone (Day She Arrived at Rescue)

2014-10-24 12.25.50

This gal had come in with another dog – a male – from an owner who had some severe medical issues and was going to have to go into assisted living. Neither of his dogs could go with him. It was obvious from the photos, that “Sinder” had not had proper care for some time. She was painfully thin, had some severe flea dermatitis, had hard callouses on her legs, had virtually no fur on her tail, and her toenails were incredibly (grotesquely) long. I don’t believe it was from lack of concern, rather lack of ability to do anything.

Grotesquely Long Nails (Photo taken day she arrived at Rescue)

Grotesquely Long Nails (Photo taken day she arrived at Rescue)

Kristin told us that she immediately thought of us as we had experience rescuing older dogs. She knew we were missing our Sidney and had room in our home and hearts for another dog. In case you’re relatively new to my blog, we had adopted eight previous German Shepherds – including Sydney – and fostered two others. Kristin told us that this girl was a real sweetheart and needed a loving home to help her bloom and get back in shape.

Beauty and Nobility Shone Through

Beauty and Nobility Shone Through

Maybe it was the nobility in her lovely face. Maybe it was the obvious need for a furever home. Maybe it was because we know how hard it is to place a dark-colored dog – especially an older one. Maybe it was just that both Jim and I hate the idea of a sweet, old dog not being with a loving family, but we immediately told Kristin that we would bring Bear and Dolly for a visit. If all went smoothly, we would adopt Sinder.

Despite All the Ills, Beauty and Sweetness Shown Through

Despite All the Ills, Beauty and Sweetness Shone Through

Before we could visit, Kristin had Sinder spayed. (Yes, we’re pretty sure she had been used for breeding.) At that time, while she was under, the vet cut and cauterized her nails. They were so long and misshapen that they had to be done under anesthesia. She had several baths with medicine for her skin and coat. She was on her way back to health.

The Day We Met & Brought Cinder Home

The Day We Met & Brought Cinder Home

As is obvious, the visit went very well. Dolly is an in-your-face kind of girl (although she’s finally learning to relax a little). She’s like one of those women who get right up in your face and talk very loud. She’s not at all malicious, she just grew up on the streets and had no manners. Even that didn’t faze good, old Sinder. (You’ve probably noticed that there are two spellings of her name. She was turned over to the rescue as “Sinder.” We changed the spelling to “Cinder” to match her coloration.)

Silly, happy girl. Cinder VERY much a part of the family

Silly, happy girl. Cinder VERY much a part of the family

Now Cinder is blossoming (Cinderella?). She gained the badly-needed weight. Her coat is shiny and full. Her tail looks like it should, and her dermatitis is long gone. She’s a happy, quirky dog. I say quirky because she’s of the opinion that every toy that comes into the house belongs to her. It’s rather comic, and it’s a good thing both of the other kids are easy-going. I wonder if she ever had a toy prior to coming to live with us. She’s also not good with small dogs or cats. That doesn’t matter at all to us as we don’t have either. As it turns out, Kristin knew we would be a perfect fit. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cinder with Her Lovely Coat and Tail

Cinder with Her Lovely Coat and Tail

 

Such a Pretty, Sweet Girl!

Such a Pretty, Sweet Girl!

Sweet Cinder (ella?)

Sweet Cinder (ella?)

Below is the link to the Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Please cut and paste it into your browser. Kristin does amazing things with very short funding and assistance. If you are in Michigan or close state and are considering adopting a new family member, you might want to see who is available. If you are considering making a financial donation to a tax-deductible charity, you might want to consider SWMGS Rescue.

http://www.swmigermanshepherdrescue.com/

 

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

Hello Dolly

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!)

 

“Hello Dolly,……well, hello, Dolly

It’s so nice to have you [back] where you belong”

It’s high time to introduce our Dolly!

 

Dolly is a California girl who was picked up as a stray by animal control. According to someone who saw them pick her up, she had been fed by an entire neighborhood, but no one had actually adopted her. Sadly, the shelters in California are way past capacity, and dogs and cats that are picked up rarely last past 4 days. By law, they have to keep an animal 3 days for an owner to look for them. If no owner in 3 days, the animals can possibly last for another day or two in case they are adopted. Then, well… you know what happens then.
Luckily, the German Shepherd Dog community has reached out and there are several groups who routinely take dogs from California (and other state) shelters and send them to rescues around the country. Dolly, thank God, was one of the lucky ones who got rescued and sent to Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue.

The Face That Popped Up on Facebook

The Face That Popped Up on Facebook

I just happened to be reading posts on Facebook one evening in March when up popped Dolly’s photo. I fell in love instantly! Jim had always said he’d love to have a female, white German Shepherd Dog. We’d had so much fun with our boys – Blizzard and Chief – that we thought it would be fun to have another. Here was an adorable face looking out at me and I knew she had to come live with us.  (I want to thank Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue for taking such great photos! These are photos that I took of the computer screen with my phone. Isn’t technology amazing?)

Just LOOK at That Face!

Just LOOK at That Face! (Seen here with Kristin Bright of SWMGS Rescue)

Once I showed her photo to Jim, it was a done deal – in our minds. Now, we just had to convince the rescue that we were the home for Dolly. I must say that SMGSR has a rigorous program in determining who is a good fit for their dogs. I was very happy to see this as it helps them to determine which humans are a good for their dogs; but it also helps the humans determine if the dog is a good fit for them. The first part is a questionnaire which I immediately filled out.

Dolly With A SWMGS Rescue Playmate

Dolly With A SWMGS Rescue Playmate

I guess I probably was something of a pest, because I couldn’t just wait the 10 days they say – up front – it will minimally take to go over the questionnaires. I called and left a message that I had filled out the questionnaire and that I wanted to reiterate that we are experienced with German Shepherd Dog rescues. At that point, we had adopted 7 German Shepherd Dogs since 1995. I wanted to be sure they knew that we really wanted to meet and hopefully adopt Dolly.

Sweet Girl Playing at SWMGSD Rescue

Sweet Girl Playing at SWMGS Rescue

Did I stop and wait there? Do you know me? Of course I didn’t. I called again just as the 10 day period ended and left another message about how much we wanted to bring Dolly into our family. At that point, I got a call back telling me that the director of the rescue was out of town, but that they could do the required telephone interview prior to that. I was overjoyed. We set up a time for that afternoon to complete the phone interview. I guess we must have passed muster with the questionnaire, vet interview, and telephone interview because I heard back from the director as soon as she got back into town. Kristin (who I now call a miracle worker because of all she is able to do with so little in terms of financing and also human help) called and asked if we’d like to bring our current “kids” Bear and Sydney to meet Dolly the next weekend to see how they meshed.

Just LOOK at that Precious Little Dog!

Just LOOK at that Precious Little Dog!

I was certain that Bear would be welcoming and friendly, but our Sydney (God rest her sweet soul) was an alpha female. I wasn’t so certain that she would appreciate a much younger, also female family member. The travel to the rescue (which is near Battle Creek, Michigan) went well. Sydney was having a good day and didn’t appear to be in any pain, so the ride was uneventful. Bear and Syd couldn’t figure out, though, why there was a crate in the back of the car.
While we walked Syd and Bear around, the rescue got Dolly brushed and ready for her public. As soon as Kristin brought her out, I was determined that I wasn’t leaving without her. She was the absolute cutest, fluffiest, little (mostly) German Shepherd Dog I’d ever seen. Also, she was a wiggling mass of affection. It did take some work getting Sydney not to be put off by Dolly’s exuberance; but Dolly seemed to instinctively know not to push Syd’s alpha dog buttons.
After an extended “getting to know you” walk around with Bear and Sydney and with only a minimum of posturing, Dolly officially became part of the family. Final paperwork was signed and we loaded our new girl into the crate. The other two spent most of the ride home sniffing the crate and trying to figure out exactly who this new dog was and where she fit in the scheme of things.

 

(The following photos – for better or worse – are mine… WELL except for a few taken by the remarkable Paula TenBrink of Pawla’s Pantry (purveyor of the best puppy treats in the world).

Yep, She's Home

Yep, She’s Home

 

You Talking About Me?

You Talking About Me?

I must tell you that our Dolly has been a fabulous addition to our family. She seemed to immediately comprehend that Sydney was the “in charge” dog in the house. Right up until Sydney’s last days, Dolly was exceedingly sweet to her. The largest worry I’d had – that Sydney and Dolly wouldn’t like each other – never came to fruition. If anything, Syd looked after Dolly and vice versa. I’m so grateful that we didn’t let that concern dissuade us.

Dolly Meets Paula of Pawla's Pantry (fabulous dog treats) at the Howell Farmers' Market

Dolly Meets Paula of Pawla’s Pantry (fabulous dog treats) at the Howell Farmers’ Market

20140504_100940

Yes, The Treat Booth – That’s Where I’ll Settle

Did Someone Say Cookie?

Did Someone Say Cookie?

Yes! I'm SURE I Heard "Cookie!"

Yes! I’m SURE I Heard “Cookie!” Pay No Attention to the Funny Dog with No Tail!

Since bringing Dolly home to the family, we had her DNA run. In a few of the photos you can tell that her body looks like a typical German Shepherd Dog, but her legs are really short, her paws are quite large and fluffy on the bottom, and her head and ears look like perhaps another breed.  Something you can’t see from photos is the way she walks. She sashays! It’s almost like she’s hinged in the middle.  We decided we just really wanted to know what parentage made for such a cute, yet incongruous, dog. Turns out she’s a German Shepherd (White Swiss Shepherd), German Shepherd Dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Keeshond mix (along with possible Chinook, Irish Setter, and/or Alaskan Malamute).

CHEESE!!!

CHEESE!!!

Yes, Dolly does have some work to do. She’s wonderful with people – especially once she gets to know them. She’s vocal and loud with other dogs (rather like one of those annoying people who come right up into your face to talk to you – loudly), but she’s not really aggressive. Considering her past and life on the streets, it’s not at all surprising. We are working on her socialization skills and I’m certain that her sweet personality will dominate and allow her to be more comfortable around other dogs and in unusual situations. She’s an adorable work-in-progress that we’ll take great joy in helping along that path.

Are You Done With the Camera YET?

Are You Done With the Camera YET?

Spoiled? Who ME?

Spoiled? Who ME?

I Have NO Idea What  "Spoiled" Means, but If This Is It, I'm Fine With It

I Have NO Idea What “Spoiled” Means, but If This Is It, I’m Fine With It

Below is the link to the Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Kristin does amazing things with very short funding and assistance. If you are in Michigan or close state and are considering adopting a new family member, you might want to see who is available. If you are considering making a financial donation to a tax-deductible charity, you might want to consider SWMGS Rescue.

http://www.swmigermanshepherdrescue.com/

 

Up Next: Michigan Maple – Syrup That Is

 

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!

Sydney

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!)

Sydney

Sydney

Before I get started, let me issue a tissue alert. This is not a happy post. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably cry all over my keyboard while I write this.

Sydney

Sydney

I’m sharing this story because so many have to make the same decision that Jim and I had to make. It’s the hardest decision we humans ever have to make when it comes to our beloved “furkids.” We don’t come by this decision easily, and it’s one that we question over and over again. We do know, however, that when we finally do determine that euthanasia is the best and kindest answer for our pets, it’s been done advisedly and with the best interest of our family member in mind and heart.

Sydney

Sydney

Sydney came to us by an unusual route – even for people who had adopted five previous “rescue” dogs. In August of 2010, our beautiful Liesel went to the Rainbow Bridge. She had lymphoma, and there was no hope for her. She’d become terribly sick and we just had to let her go. She and Jim had formed a very special bond. Anyone who has ever had pets in the family has probably had one who stood out as a “soul dog (or whatever species).” Liesel was Jim’s. I wrote an earlier post about Liesel leaving us. If you’re interested, it’s available in my back posts.

Sydney Was a Beauty!

Sydney Was a Beauty!

After Liesel left us, Jim was in a very sad, dark place. Our friends just happened to see an advertisement in the classified portion of their newspaper only about a month afterwards. People were looking for a home for their 7-year-old, female German Shepherd Dog. They called us to let us know, but realized that we might not be ready for another dog just yet. One of our remaining two, Guinevere, was quite ill with megaesophagus – but that’s another story. They did want to let us know, “just in case…”

Sydney LOVED Snow

Sydney LOVED Snow

Surprisingly, Jim said he wanted to go take a look and meet the dog. I called and made arrangements. This girl who needed a home was Sydney. The family had gotten her as a puppy, but the family dynamic had changed due to divorce. Sydney had been the husband’s dog. He had moved to a location where he couldn’t bring Sydney, and the ex-wife didn’t want her. It was either find a new home – and soon – or she would have been euthanized.

Syd & Dad (The Day We Brought Her Home)

Syd & Dad
(The Day We Brought Her Home)

You may have read this whole story in an earlier post, but I wanted to catch new readers up to speed on how Sydney came into our lives. It was very obvious – right from the start – that Sydney was to become a “daddy’s girl.” At first she basically tolerated me (although considering the lack of care she’d received from the previous female in her life, that wasn’t surprising). Thankfully, in the last year of her life, she came to love me, too. I’d never be as special to her as Jim, but she realized that I loved her and she let me into her heart, too.

Syd Loved Just Chillin' in the Snow

Syd Loved Just Chillin’ in the Snow

We had say goodbye to Sydney on July 7. Over the past year-and-a half, it had become increasingly difficult for her to walk on her hind end. We had her tested for Degenerative Myelopathy (a common affliction that German Shepherd Dogs are susceptible to). The good news wasn’t DM, the bad news was that we couldn’t pinpoint what was causing the difficulty. X-rays indicated some extensive arthritis in her back, so we surmise that this was the main problem she was encountering. We managed to prolong her ability to get around by using prednisone, but that wasn’t a cure.

Sydney in Her Pool (July 4, 2014)

Sydney in Her Pool
(July 4, 2014)

Ultimately, time, age, and the arthritis took such a toll that we had to let her go. On July 4, we managed to get Sydney downstairs one more time to go “swimming.” Sydney always loved her pool. She would allow Bear in it, but it was unequivocally her pool. I knew time was short, so I snapped these photos. She was so happy for one last “swim.”

IMG_20140704_141029_099

Sydney’s Last Swim (July 4, 2014)

Now, it’s time to heal. Everyone heals from the loss of a loved one differently. You may be surprised at how we choose to do that. You can read more about that in upcoming blogs. Until then, cherish those loved ones around you – be it human, canine, feline, equine or other. There are no promises of tomorrow.

 

Up Next: Hello Dolly!

 

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!