Blog Archives

Dogs are like Glass Slippers

Once again I take too long between blog posts.  I just haven’t had any big doings in my life to report on — no trips, no big changes, no crazy silly stories.  We’ve just been kinda settling in to empty nesting.  It’s going well.  Trying to do date nights every week, but life sometimes gets in the way.  HWSNBN has been travelling, I spent October getting ready for our annual Halloween bash. Oh: and we got back into fostering.

As you know, we have had a gigantic hole in our hearts and lives since we lost Penny.  Fostering was just too much.  But before we went on our Greece and Croatia trip, there was a dog languishing in the office, waiting for a foster with no kids, no dogs, no cats.  That was us.  I told the family if Sirius was still looking when we got back, we were taking him.  So we did.

IMG_E2187

He wasn’t an especially easy foster, but so sweet. He had become increasingly aggressive in his adoptive home.  The owners tried everything they could, but he was just too afraid of the world.  Interestingly enough, this was from birth.  He had been the most skittish puppy in the litter, but everyone assumed he would grow out of t with love.  But he didn’t.  Just like some people are naturally shy or hesitant, Sirius needed to learn how to control his environment.  Moving him into a kidless, dogless environment would be a good way to reset to factory settings as it were.  There were a few days when I was worried he would never be adoptable, but Second Hand Hounds believed in him, and footed the bill for an in home trainer, leash aggression classes, and a doggy behavioralist.

With time and training and medication, he became a happy dog.  The cutest couple ever applied for him, and we all took a chance.  Would he be OK in their urban yard with a short, see-through chain link fence? With dogs and humans and cars and critters and kids everywhere?  He was.  He is now renamed Pico de Gallo, and is well loved.

We are often asked “are you going to keep this one? How do you let them go?”  We loved Sirius, but he was not our dog.  We entertain too much, and want a dog that likes to party at home and go out in public, not to mention one that will welcome other dogs into his home so we can continue to foster.  Our life would’ve been awful for him.  And I often say the best part of fostering IS the letting go: it’s when you get to complete a family circuit.  My favorite moment is taking and  sharing that photo of the once-lost dog going home with his new family.  Best feeling in the world.

But what about us?

After Sirius, we took in Goober, a temp foster.  Goober was a silly, intensely lovable pit bull that seriously wanted to be with us 24-7.  And by with us, I mean physically a part of us.  When I showered, he stood with his nose pressed up against the glass, as if fearful I would wash down the drain.  HWSNBN thought Goober was great, but couldn’t commit to a pitty.  “Too affectionate,” he said.  “I need my personal space.”

Goober

So Goober was not our dog.

Next came Lady.  On paper, Lady seemed very much like what we would want.  House trained, crate trained, god with kids and dogs.  She was some sort of greyhound mix we thought, so probably a good running partner.

We brought her home and set about getting to know her.  She was easy: slept through the night, didn’t steal food, didn’t bark when folks came to the door, etc.  Very sweet, but not overly clingy.  But there was something missing.  We just didn’t feel it.  I asked my husband what he thought. “About adopting her? I mean, she’s great and all.  But shouldn’t she go to someone who is excited about her?” He made an excellent point.

Lady

So she went on the website, and shortly we received an application from a veterinarian.  She, her husband and their two young daughters had lost their two dogs a few months back, and were looking for a new one to fill their family’s dog-shaped hole.  They met lady, and loved her.  They were giddy about her.  The little girls couldn’t stop talking about her.  She was THEIR dog.

Shortly after Lady left us, I got an email from her adopters.  They had renamed her, as most do.  Her new name was going to be Penny.

They did not know about the sweet beast that left us in April.  They had picked her name for the color of her fur — the exact same reason we had named ours Penny.

It was a sign to me that our Penny had moved on, and now it was time for us to welcome a new furry family member.

Meanwhile, I had seen a picture of a dog on the Facebook page of one of our partner rescues in Kentucky.  Something hit me in the heart, and I immediately asked if she was coming to Minnesota.  If so, she was mine.

And she is!

She came to us as Sissy, but has now been renamed Stevie Nicks.  We don’t know what she is (DNA pending) so not sure how big she will grow to be.  Some say she is done at 6 months old, others think he will get bigger.  She’s only about 26 pounds, which is small for us.  She is a complete ragamuffin thing.  She is not house broken.  She may never be a runner.  She is not a late sleeper (we’re hoping she grows out of that quickly).  But we love her. On paper, she is very wrong for us.

My kids think it’s weird that she is so similar to our Penny, but most folks adopt a type.  I mean, if we always did yellow labs, or chihuahuas, or boxers, wouldn’t they all be similar? But they are all different.  And they are all perfect.

Over the years I have had to say no to many adopters, not because they weren’t great but because  simply can’t share a dog between applicants.  Often they come back to me later and thank me for saying no — because they had since adopted THEIR dog.  Had they taken the other, they would never have known this one.  I feel that way about Stevie.  I am grossly infatuated with her, and can’t keep my eyes and hands off her.

The perfect dog is a fairy tale — or, as I called it when I told folks we were “fostering with intent,” looking for our unicorn.  But they are like glass slippers.  They don’t fit everyone.  But they fit the right one.

IMG_0591

 

 

Our Respite

Every Labor Day weekend we travel to Madeline Island, Wisconsin.  You travel to Bayfield, and catch the ferry.  When you drive onto that boat, you leave a lot of the day to day worries behind.

We have done this for years, meeting up with friends who introduced us to the island’s charms.  You can do a lot , or nothing. Golf, lay by the pool, paddle board, boat, nap.  Hike.  Go to fine dining restaurants (but don’t bother dressing up), shop for artistic creations, hear tons of live music.

Over the years our trips evolved.  At first the moms were exhausted, supervising 8 crazy kids who ran between lake and pool all day.  Then the kids were old enough to wander the town unsupervised, then they could rent mopeds and then they started graduating high school and moving away.  This would be our first weekend without kids.

Our dogs loved the island.  Monte and Penny were married on the shuffleboard court, and spent hours chasing fetching sticks in the lake.  This weekend, we released some of Penny’s ashes in her favorite place on earth.  Our first Madeline trip without a dog.

I was nervous that the weekend would be sad.  So I made sure we did some things we had never done before.  We ate at a restaurant I’d always wanted to try.  We went kayaking.  I explored parts of the island I’d never gotten around to before — heck, I even golfed! Yes, there were definitely sad moments, but we also managed a lot f laughter and smiles.  As always, the island gave me many reasons to pull out my camera.  I hope you enjoy these glimpses of Madeline as much as we enjoy being there.  Maybe, next year’s pics will have a new dog in them!

 

IMG_0446

IMG_0462

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

IMG_0466

 

IMG_2769

What I Love

80s Hair Metal

Unexpected compliments

Making people laugh

Hearing babies laugh

Cheese

People with differing opinions listening to each other, respecting those differences and learning from them

The way my son now wants to go to theater with me

The way he loves his girlfriend

The way my daughter loves her boyfriend

Makeup

Madeline Island

Scolding my husband and my BFF for being too silly together (the time they almost knocked the tree over, though…)

Getting Christmas cards

First flowers blooming in spring

My new car

Sweatpants

The full moon

When my nail polish stays on

People’s reactions when I hand them puppies at a puppy party

Game night

Planning travel

Books and the people who read them (shout out to my book club!)

Food and the people who eat it (shout out to my Gourmet Club)

Volunteering and the people who make it happen (shout out to my Senior Party staff!)

Dogs and the people who save them (shout out to Secondhand Hounds)

My husband’s commitment to French lessons with me, even though he hates it

Taking off my bra at the end of the day

Wine with my girlfriends

Cheese

That I forgot I’d already said cheese, which kinda shows my true feelings

The smell of asphalt after a rain

The Oscars

Historical dramas on BBC

Seeing a formerly traumatized dog become what it was meant to be, and finding the perfect forever home

The sound of a champagne cork

Crossing stuff off my list

Making a new list

The way my daughter teaches me things

The way my dad still says I love you, even though he isn’t sure who I am #fuckAlzheimers

That my mom still wants to help me every day in every way

That I am still in contact with friends made when I was a toddler (thank you Facebook)

That people who I used to fear/be intimidated by/look up to/have massive crushes on in high school have become my friends (social media plus time: the great equalizers)

Discovering new links on Ancestry.com

Not caring if people think I am weird

Being recognized for my accomplishments

Hair dye (shout out to Chelsea at Spalon Montage)

My Vegas group (shout out to the Unicorn Poop Squad)

Online shopping

Mom and Pop stores

People who don’t untag themselves from photos

That my son asks me for advice — even when the subject matter makes my butt  cheeks clench

40 degrees in February

Puzzles

Lake Tahoe

Watching the parents of Olympic athletes realize it was all worth it

Sunsets over the water with a glass of Chardonnay

A clean house

All the laundry done

Cooking for my family

Having them all there to eat it

Having a long, hot roll … at craps

Free champagne in Vegas!

Massages

Surprises

Someone else planning everything, rather than asking me what I want to do

Big fat scary pitbulls that are really lapdogs who want to give kisses and receive pets

My dog’s patience as a foster-trainer

The “unfollow this post” button on Facebook

Being retweeted

Having random people in cities I am visiting decide I am the bomb and follow me on instagram

Being a fly on the wall during fun school activities

The pile of shoes near the door when there are kids in the house

Watching Singer Girl do her thing

The look on a family’s face when they take home a newly adopted, once-my-foster dog

That my kids both bring soup to their significant others when theya re sick

My kids righteaous indigantion over the mistreatment of others

Doing new things

That my husband remembered that one of my dreams has been to dance on the Champs Elysees on my birthday — so is taking me there for my 50th

Sailor Boy wanting to be the party host (gets it from his mama, ya know)

Everyone’s excitement about my annual Halloween party

My friends’ disappointment when I can’t host Dec 23rd

Dressing up for any and all holidays and events, whether it means black tie or bunny ears

Knowing that my kids have amazing lives in front of them

Knowing that I have an amazing life in front of me

And did I mention cheese?

Enjoy all that you love this Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: