When I first began fostering dogs some 20+ years ago I found an unknown skill. The group had set up an “Adoption Day” outside a Pet Supermarket, the dogs were all lined up in crates and donation jars were set out. I began hand writing signs with the individual stories of how the dogs came to be in the position to need rescuing. The donation jars began to fill. I learned people do care. If they can’t necessarily commit to caring for that dog for the next 15 years they can help buy it some food, or pay the vet bill. Helping makes us all feel better. That’s why us rescuers rescue in the first place. It makes us feel good.

I feel worthwhile when I’m actually helping another creature. I rescued my magnificent horse for purely selfish reasons. I knew my heart was soon to be broken in a zillion pieces when my heart dog finally left this world. I knew I’d need something “really big” to take my mind off my despair. Pregnant PMU mare Cass came and the rest is history. She made me feel better. The fact she never again has to worry about being used as a baby machine, is a plus. The fact she has been an ambassador for others on the fence about adopting a horse with a not-so-great background, is a plus. The fact she’s been instrumental in saving the lives of several other horses, is a plus. I selfishly needed to help her – to help myself.

Cass brings me peace & joy fills my heart just to be near her.

Cass brings me peace & joy fills my heart just to be near her.

Rosabelle, saved by Cass.

Rosabelle, saved by Cass.

Scottie and I are about the animals 24/7. Be it our own family of critters, client pets or those out in the shelters we need to help. We do not go on vacation. We do not clothes shop until what we have is literally falling apart. We keep our house duct taped together. The important thing is and always has been providing for the animals. In the past, having it cost well over $1,000 to save a dog (such as Eeyore) was never in any debate. We just saved her and worried about the finances later. Her adopters couldn’t be expected to foot a bill like that and we could never ask that of them. Her having a family was what mattered. Bills always got paid from our own pockets, sometimes slowly but they got paid. We have had help over the years from those that care. “Gifts” would show up on our vet bill from a good Samaritan just when we needed help most. We were humbled and blessed by every one.

Eeyore/Elkie the blue Doberman.

Eeyore/Elkie the blue Doberman.

I won’t go into detail about how things are different nowadays. Just know they are. We’ve hung on to our business by our fingernails. We’ve hung onto our family by those same fingernails. Bad economy, bad decisions, bad timing, all come into play. This past year our own potential bad health reared it’s ugly head. We stopped officially doing rescue over 6 years ago. It just was no longer possible. But it’s impossible to change who you are at your core. A handful of Hospice cases came to us. They needed a soft place to land in their final days and we lovingly gave them that. It’s not easy opening your heart to an animal you know you will loose in the not to distant future. But, it’s who we are.

They all stay w/the family.

They all stay w/the family.

We could use some help for our current Hospice girl, Grimm. She may surprise everyone. I don’t think she has any plans to leave us anytime soon. The fact she’s alive at all has some vets scratching their heads. We cannot change how she was built. We cannot change what may have happened to her in the past. We can only give her comfort and love now. You can be part of the miracle that is Grimm.

* Click on the link to go to Grimm’s fund-raising page. *


Our little Grimm

Our little Grimm

When in the line of work we’re in you form differing relationships. Some clients we see only once a year. Some several times throughout the year. We have some clients who’ve been with us from the very beginning, some 17 years ago. Children have grown up and gone to college while we’ve cared for their puppies who became old. We go through divorces, births, deaths, sickness and many, many joyous events. Then there are those that go above and beyond any descriptive word.

I share an unspoken bond with Tracy and her greyhounds. When we first met she only had the male, Elect. I had the pleasure of walking him daily while she worked. Not long after meeting, she found her house and wanted a friend for him. I was invited along to the GPA (Greyhound Pets of America) office to help them find that friend. We found Jelly.

Jelly (white) & Elect (brindle).

Jelly (white) & Elect (brindle).

I spent so much time at their house I felt like a roommate. Tracy had given me the go-ahead that it was fine with her however long or however much I wanted to hang with her pups. She traveled frequently. I would make her house my base of operations. I’ve watched many a movies with greyhounds at my feet. I’ve eaten many meals with them and that’s where we termed the phrase – “Jelly Sandwich” or “Jelly Soup” or “Jelly Salad” depending on what I was eating. Scottie knew where he could find me if I said I was going to take a “Jelly Nap”. Their momma had health difficulties and there were several times when we weren’t sure when she would be coming home. She knew the one thing she never had to worry about was if her dogs were being cared for as I would be there no matter what.

Jelly & Elect.

Jelly & Elect.

Our friendship and bond has endured even though she and the dogs have moved away a few times. During one stint in another city Elect died. She was devastated as was Jelly. Not long after, Lennon came along. When Tracy moved back I finally got to meet him and our old routines began again. More Jelly Sandwiches.

Jelly & Lennon

Jelly & Lennon

As with everyone, our lives are ever changing. Tracy fell in love and moved up North to marry. It was wonderful seeing her so happy! We kept in touch, of course. Then towards the end of last year, the unthinkable happened. Jelly, who was now a senior greyhound developed a limp. Bone cancer. The news felt like a kick in the gut. The worst part was not being able to be there to help or hug or anything. It progressed quickly. Jelly was given peace to be with her beloved Elect. Tracy was left with a huge hole in her heart.

Her Dad also loved Jelly very much. He was her caretaker for a long time, too, during one of her illnesses. Here is what he wrote:

Hi Tracy
I remember Jelly
* When she had a loaf of bread in her mouth
* When she (with style) flipped your bed spread on to your bed
* When she would prance around (look at me)
* When she taught Elect how to jump into the SUV on the way to CA
* When she just loved going for food without having to wait
* When she loved to go in the kitchen, and look around the corner to see if I noticed
* When she ripped the new bed
* When she loved to play and bark
* When she was always aware of the bunnies in your yard
* When she was the last one to wake up
* When she did not like the rain
* When she always lead both boy dogs around (she was in charge)
* When she would leave what she chewed up in the middle of the floor (see what I did)
Jelly made life a better place.
Love Daddy

Jelly did make life a better place. Tracy is a friend I love and cherish. I hope her heart is not hurting quite so much these days. I hope she likes the song I chose for our Jelly.

“You Saved Me” ~ The Winery Dogs

If you’ve ever spent time around a Blue Heeler aka Australian Cattledog then you know the one thing they live for in life is to WORK! Now that work can be lots of different things. It’s best for the owner to decide the dogs work rather than the dog since sometimes they don’t make the wisest choices when bored. When Eva (#1 dog) was a pup she decided her job was to make CindyLou (mutt of 5 lbs.) squeek at every opportunity. Not so good. Now that Eva is a mature nearly 7 year old she holds down a few job positions in our family.

She makes sure to always know where my knees are, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Nice to have her with me but not so nice when I trip over her! Eva makes sure the kitten, Evinrude, behaves and she does that best by poking him with her nose. She makes sure no other canines get close to our refrigerator. Eva makes sure when in the car no one else would ever think of approaching said car. When she feels the opportunity to get away with it, she makes sure the neighbor dog knows she will kill him if ever given the chance. But her all-time favorite job is being a barn dog.


It’s been a few months since she’s been able to go to the barn. Every time I am about to walk out our front door she gives me the look, “am I going?!”  I tell her on the days she doesn’t go, she’s in charge at home. Yesterday as soon as I put her collar on she knew she was indeed going! WhooHoo!


Eva and Cass have a wonderful relationship. I can leave the stall door open, Eva can go in and out and there is no danger Cass would ever stomp her. Becca, on the other hand, has stomped Eva. Just the difference in personalities. Thanks to all our intense training when Eva was a puppy (thanks Therese / Dogs Unlimited) I have control over this dog. She listens to me which is what keeps her safe. I can put her in a “sit/stay” at the front of the barn, let the horses in from the back and she will wait there until they are in their stalls. She takes her work seriously. I love having her with me.


The New Year brought us our old routine back to the barn. It’s just us girls again. A herd of 3 –  Cass, Becca and me. Our barnmate found a place to live with his horses. We’re jealous. We have no complaints, though, we love our little red barn. I’m fortunate the drive is just a few miles from home. At the first chance I took the little Blue Beastie and loaded her to the gills with hay. The guys at the feed store always look at me like I’m crazy when I pull around in my Scion. Hee! Hee!

That's 5 bales!

That’s 5 bales!

Good thing I don't need to see out the back!

Good thing I don’t need to see out the back!

You can distinctly see a difference in color between the bales. The brownish one is the cheapo hay. The pretty green bales are pricier but I got a couple dollars off on them. They were out of the type I actually wanted. I’m going to have to go back and grab some more of these nice ones.

Happy Horses!

Happy Horses!

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy, Hay-Filled New Year!


Auld Lang Syne

Though this story is heartbreaking, I have faith we will see more people come together in this New Year, simply because of Love. Prayers tonight for a dog named Kupa and the family missing him.

Reprinted with my friend, Becky’s, permission.

By Becky McPherson Johnston
This afternoon as we headed out to run errands we came upon an elderly man standing outside his SUV with a large dog on the ground beside his vehicle in the turning lane of a four-lane highway. Ronnie saw him first and said “Oh no. OH NO.” He did a U-turn but there was nowhere to park so I said “Let me out”. He did and then went to pull over and park. In the meantime several people were stop…ping. We pretty much had a four-lane highway blocked at this point with so many caring people that wanted to help.Someone hit the dog and left. The elderly man came along and had stopped to take him out of the road. He was still alive when he moved him, but barely. He was a big dog, a Rottweiler and Shepherd mix. He appeared to be well taken care of, an older dog. Not a mark on him he looked to be asleep, but his eyes were open. I knew what that meant. I reached down to squeeze his chest to check for a breath. Someone reminded me to be careful. I knew there was no danger. I reached towards his eyes and tapped the eyelids and there was nothing. He was gone.

He had two collars, a wireless fence controller and his regular collar. Some people were calling animal control and others calling the police to get him picked up. Everyone was trying to help in some way. I have volunteered at the humane society for a long time so I did what we did with all lost dogs. I reached for his rabies tag and called the vet. They would know his family and were best equipped to get in touch with them, if they could.

Ronnie dialed the vet’s number and handed me the phone. It was hard to see the numbers through the tears, but I gave them his rabies ID number. They asked “Is this a Rottweiler?” I said, “Yes”. She became upset and said she had just written his name on the back of his rabies tag the other day. I saw the black writing on the back, but couldn’t make it out.

About this time, an SUV came up and a maybe 40ish looking man with graying hair got out of the car heading cautiously towards us. We could pretty much tell by his ashen face that this was his dog. I told the vet’s office he was here and hung up. He asked, “Is he okay? He just jumped over the fence. Why would he jump over the fence?”

Gently the mostly female crew told him “No, he’s gone, we’re so sorry”. The man looked like he was in shock and he came up and knelt over the dog’s head and just bowed his head in his hand. We all gathered around him and I think we all had a hand on his back as we told him how sorry we were that it could have happened to any of us.

All he could say was “My kids”. He didn’t need to say anything else we knew what he meant.

His phone rang and it was obviously someone from home. He said in a positive tone, “I’ve got him.” He just looked at us. There was no need to tell them over the phone. We all understood that too.

Ronnie went to get a blanket out of the car that we had Sam lying on yesterday when he went to the vet. The dog’s owner and Ronnie wrapped him up in the green flannel blanket and they lifted him into the back of his SUV.

As much as I will never understand the person who hit him and LEFT, I admire so much this elderly man that had gotten him out of the road. He did the most honorable thing for this family. Then all the nice people that stopped. They were so compassionate.

Before I left, I hugged the man that got him out of the road and thanked him for caring. I could feel him shaking.

It will be a sad night and then some for this family and I have no idea who they are, but I know they loved a dog named Kupa.

Please Please keep an eye on your pets with the fireworks this evening.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Rummaging through our laundry / storage room the other day, I stumbled upon my Christmas Bear. He wasn’t in a box or a bag. He was simply sitting atop some junk, looking expectantly with his oh so pleasant and heartwarming expression. I snatched him up and began petting him as the memories began flowing. He isn’t from my childhood. He’s from my first broken heart.

My Christmas Bear

My Christmas Bear

I had spent my entire sophomore year of high school trying desperately to get the attention of a particular boy. He sat two seats in front of me in Algebra. He was a year older and a football player. This boy of my dreams wore Levis, always a perfectly tucked collared shirt and white Nike’s with the red swoosh. He had a great butt. Sigh. Seems I often had to go to the front of the class to ask the teacher a question. Not even my white jeans (it was the 80’s) seemed to catch a glance. Never even said hello. My junior year things changed quickly. I was a cheerleader (well, alternate for 1 semester) and had gym class 6th hour. This happened to be when all the football players had gym class. There he was again! This time I caught more than a glance. I had my first real boyfriend.

My Mom was reluctant from the first phone call asking me to a movie. I suppose all mom’s are in this situation. She knew I was going to fall and fall hard. Which I did. As that Christmas rolled around things were serious enough “the boyfriend” was invited for Christmas Eve. I’m sure he was terribly uncomfortable. My family can be tough. There’s a photo time stamping that night somewhere, the only one of us together, though he would be in and out of my life for over six years. The Christmas Bear with a necklace dangling was his gift. I still remember the kiss goodbye at the door, my family partying downstairs, me in a semi-dream state.

I have no idea what the necklace looked like or where it is. But my Christmas Bear has been with me through thick and thin. He’s flown on airplanes. He’s taken long car trips. He went to college. That next Christmas “the boyfriend” was again invited. This time he was home from college and I had been pining away my senior year of high school. Unbeknownst to me, my Mom took him aside and suggested he break off our relationship. What?! Yes, she really did. She knew he was fooling around with all sorts of girls away at school and I wouldn’t even go get a pizza with anyone. I cried with Christmas Bear that night. Probably a lot of nights afterward.

I did date other boys. I survived to high school graduation. I still went to his college hoping we’d be reunited. He’d quit before I got there. Oops!  “The boyfriend” drifted in and out of my college days. I once vomited at the mere thought he was coming into my dorm because his car was seen out the window. He had me fairly messed up.  I stuck it out and even thought I fell in love a couple more times. I graduated and got my degree. Then I got another chance with “the boyfriend” when I moved back home. Things were different, I was different. He really wasn’t. I was finally able to let go of the broken heart and be thankful for loves’ lessons. Christmas Bear moved to Florida with me and had his spot on my bed for many years. I’m sure he got relegated to the laundry room to save him from being torn apart by the dogs. It was good to see him again. I washed him and he’s been hanging out. Considered giving him away… just for a second. Nope. Can’t do it. He’s my Christmas Bear.

May need to save him from Grimm!

May need to save him from Grimm!