Archive for August, 2011

Worth The Broken Heart?

It was December 4th, 2005 and I was at the county shelter for some sort of business. It was not to pick up a dog, I’m certain but there was just no way to leave this old lady behind. I don’t remember her exact reason for being there but it doesn’t matter. She was there and she needed a soft place to land. It was obvious she’d been bred way to many times, Lord knows what became of all her babies and it was also obvious she was simply sweet. An old, used up dog usually gets overlooked amongst the cacophony of young, agile hounds all vying for anyone’s attention. But that December day happened to be this old gal’s lucky day.

I named her Sophia and brought her home. Scottie wasn’t expected for a few hours so I knew I’d have time to acclimate her to the rest of the pack and figure out what the heck I was gonna tell him – this time! Sophia walked in as if she’d done it a hundred times before. None of our dogs batted an eye in her direction, looked like she wasn’t going to cause any problems. So much so, when Scottie walked in to his usual greeting of  wagging and barking, he looks over at me and says, “so when did we get a beagle?” Yeah, she was fine.

I began looking for a retirement home for our old lady beagle. Clients are a good place to start and I just so happened to know a lovely couple with an affinity toward these long eared hounds. It was love at first sight and they took this thrown away gal into their home and hearts without hesitation. Sophia became their Sophie. That takes a special person. Taking an older dog means you will feel that heartbreak all the more sooner. You know what heartbreak. Taking an older dog means you will have ailments to deal with sooner rather than later. But, there is something so special about an old dog… they’ve already been there and done all that. They are wise and funny, oftentimes downright cranky but they are always, always appreciative of the soft bed, kind word and loving touch. They deserve your broken heart.

I received this email today. I did not cry… I smiled knowing that there is now a happy dog looking down upon us with her grace because we felt she was worth it.

Hi Kathleen,

Just wanted you to know that Sophie passed away yesterday, after living with cancer for almost two years. She only had one horrible day tho her age had started to catch up with her. Both Andy and I want to thank you for “introducing” us to her over five years ago. I loved her as soon as I saw her at Louise’s, and we enjoyed taking care of – and spoiling – her from the day she came into our home. She was a great pet, and we believe she totally forgot her previous life. I sure hope you are enjoying your horse and all the other animals you love and care for.

Best, Grace 

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Who’d A Thunk It?!

I was a bit worried about training in the heat today because Gary couldn’t get to the barn until after 11am. Then I realized, it’s just as hot at 8am as it is noon! So, I brought the girls into their stalls and let them nap under the fans before work began. We never know what we’re going to do with our lessons. We let Cass tell us what she’s ready to do. She started off more reactive than usual. Gary had brought some tools she’d never seen before. One saddle is not just like another saddle, one saddle blanket is not like one of a different color, nor is one whip just like another. This is true, especially to Cass.

Gary’s saddle made noises unlike the saddle Cass is used to. It was cinched up tighter and felt completely different since it has a tree and hers doesn’t. She got right into her Zen-like state, though and realized things being different were no big deal.

You are seeing a first! Cass has never allowed Gary to get his leg all the way over! She stood perfectly still and then…

He’s able to sit on her! Gary doesn’t just stop things there, oh no. He got on and off several times. She was such a good girl!

She did several turns around the pasture and remembered previous lessons in “Whoa”.

It is amazing to me this is the same girl that got off that horrible truck 3 years ago. She’s comfortable with her world now and I’m so proud to have been able to give her that.

Gary felt we were ready for me to lose the safety line but I didn’t feel ready so he still walked with us. My girl did her stops and forwards like a pro! I didn’t even have to give her little taps this time, she moved simply off slight leg pressure. We’re just tickled at ourselves!

Gary took a little time to work with Becca after Cass was done. The past few weeks I’ve been able to work with her more on our ground manners and such and it showed today. Gary says she is more than ready to be started under saddle.

The major difference in personalities with my girls is where Cass is suspicious and cautious of new things, Becca is curious and will go check it out. Cass is an introvert where Becca is an extrovert. Since I’m not an experienced rider, Gary will be the one getting on Becca’s back! We’ve got two different training worlds going on to get to the same goal.

Becca wants to push through her world so Gary uses his extended arm and hand to move her.

She was asking all the right questions and here she seems to be saying, “yeah, ok… toss that thing all around my head, see if I care!”

Becca and Cass, mother and daughter… so much alike, yet completely different. We are truly blessed and I just pray I can always keep them safe and happy.

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Dear Dog Lovers,

My name is Shades and I’m learning about the goodness there still is in this world. I’ve done my best in my 9 years to be a good girl but when it came down to it my family simply didn’t love me enough. You see, not too long ago I began getting a strange feeling in my… you know… private parts. I’m no pushover so I didn’t complain any, I tried to act like nothing was wrong. But then my privates started actually coming out of my body! I know, gross… huh? I still didn’t complain but I really was hoping my family would take me to see a doctor who could make me all better. They did take me to the doctor and he said I need something called surgery to repair my “prolapsed vaginal polyp” (I looked that up!). But it was gonna cost way more than my measly grocery store dog food so they decided to not fix me and were talking about just putting me to sleep. I know what that means! I’m not ready to die! I still have a lot of lizards to chase and bones to chew and beds to roll on! 

I prayed real hard and God answered my prayers because he loves dogs, too. He sent me a guardian angel family that is trying their darndest to raise the money needed to put me back together. My former family gave me away but it’s gonna be the best thing that could’ve happened! The daddy took me to see a really nice doctor today who was so nice and made me feel like I mattered. He started me on pills so I don’t get any bad infection and he is planning on fixing me next week. He has to cut off the polyp that’s hanging out of my privates and then spay me – I hear if my first family would have done this when I was young I wouldn’t be in this position now. Sigh. I’m trying real hard to keep on blankets so I don’t get yucky stuff all over their house. They want to keep me. That makes me smile. They keep telling me what a good girl I am and I’m gonna try real hard not to disappoint them. 

This is where I have to ask for you… to help them… help me. They don’t have tons of money, they have tons of love but this nice doctor has to be paid after he fixes me. I heard people saying how much of a great price he’s giving them and I know he wants to help as much as possible because he whispered so in my ear. He does a lot of good for all sorts of rescue animals in our town. It sure would make me the happiest girl in the world if you could just send in a bit of money to help my new family. You can pay the doctor directly so you know it’s going right to help me. I promise to be worth it and I will continue to say my prayers each night that every dog can be as lucky and loved as me!  


Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, especially for animals who are suffering; for animals that are overworked, underfed and cruelly treated; for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death. We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals, and so to share the blessings of the merciful.

~ Albert Schweitzer ~


(Credit cards can be given over the phone) 

Phone 407-331-1161 

434 Animal Hospital – Dr. Ehlers 

 212 E. State Road 434, Longwood, FL 32750   


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