Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I thought you'd like this story.  I am not a "rescue type dog person" but a lot of these stories still touch my heart.  Jessi, my first Bichon was a Puppy Mill dog, although we didn't know what puppy mills were at that time. So, we sort of feel like she was our "rescue dog."  And it's a great story even if it's not about a Maltese or a Bichon.  LOL
Enjoy it--at you leisure.

by Peggy Ellingson

      I still remember the morning of December 30, 1999, reading the "Found" ad in the paper describing a stray female Shih Tzu who was taken to the local shelter four days earlier.
      I had moved into my first home in June and couldn't wait to add a dog to my already full home of 4 cats.  I had the fenced yard and growing up, we always had multiple pets.  I loved dogs, but living in apartments and commuting so far to work, I knew I couldn't give one the perfect home.  But now I had that opportunity.
      This was one of the breeds I was interested in for no other
reason than the size and they were cute.  I called the shelter when they opened and found out she was still unclaimed and would be available after 11:30am.
      I informed my boss I needed to take an early lunch and may be a bit longer than usual -- I was adopting a dog.  I knew, as I drove to the shelter, she would be coming home with me, no matter what.
      When I arrived I was directed to "stray lane" and there, huddled at the back of a huge kennel was a mass of black and white fur.  I asked a volunteer if I could take her somewhere a bit quieter.
We were taken to the kitchen/lunch room area. What I had before me was the most matted, tiny, stinky little girl, but all I could see was her beautiful brown eyes and we bonded  immediately.  This little girl was coming home with me -- my mind was made up.  I even had a new name for her -- Taijah.
      I completed the necessary paperwork, bought some supplies and we headed to the nearest "beauty parlor" to find out just what was under all that mess.  After work, I came back and I picked up the prettiest little Shih Tzu with red bows on her ears and sporting her new collar.  She looked like a totally different dog.
      From the moment she came home, she was a perfect little girl. Once she learned that squeaky toys were fun, she always met me at the door with one in her mouth.  She didn't have a problem sharing our home with the cats, as long as she had her spot on the bed, or on the couch with me, holding her or rubbing her belly.  
      Not long after Taijah came home, I adopted another Shih Tzu, Dolly, from the same shelter and then it started -- I got involved with rescue.
      One more into the home, then another, along with fosters, Taijah was the mama to every one of them.  She lovingly accepted every pup coming into our home and helped them feel welcome with a good ear and face bath, until they were placed with their new families.  She stood by my side as the "foster mom" for four years -- welcoming the new ones, always patient with me when things got a bit overwhelming and always on the bed, by my side.
      Everyone commented over the years, about her personality, her patience, her perfect-ness, always wanting to know where I got her and asking "how old is she?"  Well, a perfect lady never tells her real age, so we always left that to guessing.  But I always proudly shared the rest of the story. 
      Earlier this year, Taijah really wasn't looking or acting like
herself.  Tests were run and we tried everything, but there was no change in her health, no matter what we tried.  She was only getting worse.  She would still greet me at the door, but no squeaky toy was in her mouth.  
      Then came our last weekend together.  I headed off Saturday morning to pick up our newest foster pups and brought them home. When I returned, Taijah welcomed them, but I knew something was not right.
      By Monday morning, after I had just spent the early hours
holding her and telling her how much I loved her and to please get better, I knew there was nothing more I could do.  With the heaviest heart, I helped her with her journey to the Rainbow Bridge.  Our 6 years together were not enough, but no matter how selfish I wanted to be, I couldn't let her continue to suffer.  She needed me to allow her to leave.
      Within two days, I received an email from our local shelter
about a "nasty Shih Tzu" they knew they couldn't place on the
adoption floor.  I replied that I would work on something and be
there to meet her as soon as possible.  One way or another, I would help her get out of there, rather than face the alternative.
      I got to the shelter after work and met "Minnie" with the
assistance of an employee there.  We had an agreement that I could bring her home for assessment, just to get her away from that atmosphere where I knew she was scared beyond belief.
      When I spoke to my mom, she asked why I brought her home.  I told her that maybe this was something Taijah wanted me to do.
      The night went well and I picked up her paperwork the next day to help begin the search for her new family.  To my surprise her AKC  paperwork was included with everything they gave me.
      When I looked at Minnie's date of birth, I was stunned!  It read December 26, 1999 -- the EXACT day Taijah was turned into the shelter as a stray!
      I had to double check it when I got home, and yes, this was the date.  Taijah had her hand in this rescue once again.  My sweet baby girl made sure that I helped another girl who so desperately needed a mom to take care of her.
      God speed and, baby girl, we will be together again one day.
Please take care of all the pups until I get there.  I love you.

                 -- Peggy Ellingson    <Peg4tzus @>

Peggy is lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and is involved in
rescue work.  She says, "My family consists of two elderly cats,
Ebony and Maxi, along with Dolly, Jazz , Jozey and Minnie (the Shih Tzus) and Meiko, Danji and Kimi (my Japanese Chins) and numerous foster pups along the way, which right now are Artie and Sneakers

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Powers of Love

by Kathy Whirity

      By all accounts, the Powers' household was like any other in the
Mt. Greenwood community.
      With five daughters close in age, and a son, there was, no
doubt, never a dull moment for their patient parents.  And I thought
having two daughters less than two years apart was a challenge!
      Like any other family overflowing with females, they fought,
snuck each others clothes and, in coming of age years, shared the all
important teen-age secrets.  They supported each other in bad times
and shared the laughter in happy times.
      Not much has changed in the years since they have grown into
adults.  I recently read an empowering story about the Powers women.
      They have joined forces to fight breast cancer with what they
call Team KA-POW.  Membership to this team includes many friends and
family who support Annie and Kathleen, both cancer patients who are
dedicated to raising funds to find a cure for this dreaded disease.
      Breast cancer is not the only medical affliction affecting women
in the Powers family.
      Along with her mother Marilyn, Debbie frequently fights the
painful flare-ups that Rheumatoid arthritis brings.  However, it
doesn't divert her efforts to support the cause of cancer research on
behalf of her sisters.
      But there is another side to this story -- an inspiring show of
their sisterly love that is a profound example of sodality in
overcoming adversity.
      Kathleen was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001.  Her sister
Annie would also be diagnosed with the same disease, one year later.
Sadly, in 2005, Kathleen's cancer was found to have spread to her
pelvis and spine, while Annie's breast cancer had also returned.
      Through the demands of dealing with cancer and undergoing the
rigorous chemo regimens to treat it, a story of pure love and hope is
born amid the medical challenges.
      For Annie the desire to become a mother never faded though it
seemed unlikely.  Medications and cancer treatments would prevent her
from becoming pregnant.  And then, the "Powers of love" shone
brightly on a promising situation.
      Annie wanted a baby of her own but wouldn't be able to carry
one.  But, her sister Mary could.  So Mary became a surrogate mother
for Annie -- an unselfish act of love that not many women would be
able to commit to.
      Little Mary Elise was born July 2, 2006, lovingly named after
the aunt who carried her, allowing her to grow right below her heart.
To her mom, Mary is a wee angel of pure love, an answered prayer from
God above.
      Sisters, they share many things throughout a life time.  They
celebrate good times and hold each other up when bad times threaten
to knock them down.  When family ties are sewn securely within the
heart, there is nothing that can't be done or overcome.
      In writing this story I am reminded of an old expression, "It's
not what life hands you but how you handle it that counts."
      The determination of these women is a gift of inspiration to us
all and a true testament to their parents, Marilyn and Gene Powers,
who can be so proud of raising such loving, caring and compassionate
      There is no denying the Powers of sisterly love.

                 -- Kathy Whirity    <kathywhirity @>

Monday, August 14, 2006

Dear John Letter

(Again, Credit goes to Rhonda, (call me a copy-cat) but I can't resist as this is so funny, I think!  Rhonda sends the BEST stuff doesn't she?)
The Best Dear John letter:

A young girl on a years training course in South Africa recently
received a "Dear John" letter from her boyfriend back home.

It read as follows:

Dear Mary,

I can no longer continue our relationship. The distance between
us is just too great. I must admit that I have cheated on you twice, since you've
been gone, and it's not fair to either of us. I'm sorry. Please return the picture of me that I sent to you.

Love, John

Mary, with hurt feelings, asked her colleagues for any snapshots they could spare of their boyfriends, brothers, ex-boyfriends, uncles, cousins, etc. In addition to the picture of John, Mary included all the other pictures of the pretty lads she had collected from her buddies. There were 57 photos in that
envelope.... along with this note:

Dear John,
I'm so sorry, but I can't quite remember who the H*#!* you are.
Please take your picture from the pile, and send the rest back
to me.

Take Care, Mary

Growing Up

From my dear soulmate Rhonda (yeah, I copied it pal, thank you so much!
Beautifully stated

 As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably  more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best  friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'll cry  because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you  love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've  never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute  of happiness you'll never get back. So send this to all of your friends  (and me) in the next 5 minutes and a miracle will happen tonight.
 Don't be afraid that your life will end,
 be afraid that it will never begin!

Friday, August 11, 2006


I came across and it was just too good not to share.  I usually have NO trouble talking at the doctor's office, (or anywhere else,  -you know me!- LOL) BUT it is easy to forget things you MEAN to ask that doctor, you don't even write them down because they are such easy questions, you just "know" you will remember them!
Anyway, hope you enjoy this one.
Your pal,
by Kathy Pippig Harris

      It is something I suffer from -- a malady I have dealt with
since childhood.
      I suspect I am not the only individual who has this infirmity,
and knowing that, gives me some comfort.
      This ailment has the power to render me witless.
      My speech only functions on the primal level and my ability to
think clearly and form intelligent sentences often flees from my
ordered thought processes before I leave the house... to visit my
      If I have the wherewithal to remember ahead of time, I sit down,
and taking a calming breath, write a list of questions, comments, and
salutations I wish to use when I see the doctor.
      After arriving at the office, I sign in and pay my insurance
deductible.  I'm early for my appointment, but I'm prepared.  I've
brought a book to read.
      I look around at the folks in the doctor's waiting room.  People
who have come in after me are called before me.  I patiently tell
myself they are probably seeing another doctor.  Three doctors share the same office.
     I whip my head up from its dangling position to find several people
looking at me in disgust.  I realize those noises had come from me!
I grin weakly and nod my head, finding great interest, now, in
reading the book I've brought along.
      Finally, an assistant opens the door and calls my name.  I'm
directed to the step-up scales.  I take off my shoes; drop my purse,
keys and book on a nearby counter.  I whisper to her, "Please, I'm
going to cover my eyes.  Whatever the scale says, I do not want to
hear it.  I'm serious."
      I turn my head to one side, step up on the scale, and close my
eyes.  I can hear her fiddling with the slides on the scale until she
finds the right combination.  Then she reads the result out loud.
Out loud!
      I cringe, step off the scale, and turn around to find the entire
staff at reception staring at me.  By now, she is halfway down the
hall, waving the clipboard, beckoning me to follow her into an
examination room.
      After I'm shown into the exam room, she takes my blood pressure,
checks my pulse and asks me my purpose for being there.  I explain
what I'm there for, trying to keep it brief.  But she urges me on,
exhibiting sound interest in hearing my explanation.  Before she
leaves, she tells me the doctor will be with me shortly.
      And I wait.
      Later, the doctor enters the room, and asks me, "Well, what are
you here for today?"
      I didn't hear that!  I must have misunderstood.  I had gone into
great detail about that with the assistant.  Why did she ask me, if
not to relay that information to the doctor?
      I jabber an answer, fully saturated now in my ailment -- Doctor
Visit Dumb Syndrome.  The crude and elementary answers I am able to give leave me feeling embarrassed.  I lapse into episodes of blank
mental activity.
      Twenty minutes later it is all over and I'm in my car.
      With relief, my mental faculties return to me -- I shall not be
permanently incapacitated.  Then I realize I had forgotten the
questions and comments I'd jotted down.  The list is still jammed
between the pages of my book, useless to me now.
      Ah, well...

                 -- Kathy Pippig Harris   <kappi00 @>

Never take friendship for granted, you never know what tomorrow holds.
Catherine Pulsifer

FFriendship flourishes at the fountain of forgiveness.
<A href=">William%20Arthur%20Ward%20</a><p>There%20are%20good%20ships,%20and%20there%20are%20wood%20ships,%20the%20ships%20that%20sail%20the%20sea.%20<br>But%20the%20best%20ships%20are%20friendships,%20and%20may%20they%20always%20be.%20<br><a%20href=" http: irishproverbs index.html?>Irish Saying


Buy at
Miracle of Friendship

The "as if" principle works. Act "as if" you were not afraid and you will become courageous, "as if" you could and you'll find you can. Act "as if" you like a person and you'll find a friendship.
Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Dog Pounds

 A dear friend sent me this, and I am going to post it, but it is LONG and I may have to divide it up for it to work for my Journal.  Anyway, this was a definite tear jerker!  I bawled like a baby.  It was moving, that's for sure.  I could never go to the pound as I could just never pick one.
Interview at the Dog Pound
As a journalist, I decided to go to the dog pound, and interview some of the "inmates". I wanted to know what it was like in there from their perspective. What follows is not for the faint of heart.
I entered the building, and one of the workers accompanied me to the holding area. This is where dogs are kept before they are allowed up for adoption. IF they are allowed up for adoption. If the dogs are found to be aggressive in any way, euthanasia is employed. Fortunately, if "fortunately" is the word to be
used here, this is a Canadian establishment, and they use lethal injection, not a gas chamber.

The pound worker led me past a big steel door that says "Employees Only". "What is in there?" I asked. From the look he gave me, I knew that this is where dogs go in, and never return.

We moved on to a row of kennels. The dogs were barking loudly, there was the acrid smell of urine and feces, and a feeling of despair seemed to permeate the room.

"Go ahead," the worker said. "They're all yours."

I looked into the first kennel, and saw only the back of a medium sized dog who was curled up in the corner of his kennel, shivering. He was mostly white, with some black spots. "Hello?" I said. "May I come in?" He lifted his head, as though it weighed more than he could bear. When he looked at me, I could see he was a Pitbull. His eyes were gentle, but filled with grief. "Enter," was all he

I stepped in, closing the gate behind me. He put his head back down, facing away from me. I crouched down a few feet away.

"My name is Pete. Petey my Master called me," he said, still not looking at me. "Why are you here Pete?" I asked.

"I am here because Master cannot afford to move to another province. I am here because someone with power said I am vicious, and a killer. Someone who never met me. Master took me for a walk one day, and some lady started to scream when she saw me. I got frightened, and barked at her. The dog police came, and they took me away. I have been with Master for 10 years. The last time I saw him, he just held me and cried. He kept telling me he was sorry. I worry for him. Whatever will he do without me?" Pete shivered even more.

A tear slid down my face. I am supposed to remain objective, but this was wrong, so wrong.

"Thank you Pete." I said. He said nothing as I got up and left his kennel.


The kennel next to Pete's held a very young looking dog. Pure Border Collie by my guess. He stood on his hind legs, looking at me through the gate.  "Hello. My name's Popper. He tilted his head. "Are you here to take me home?" "No, I'm sorry," I replied. "But I would like to talk with you." "Sure. What would you like to talk about?"  "Popper, how did you come to be in this place?" I asked.
Popper dropped down from the gate, with a perplexed look on his face. He walked to the back of the kennel, then back to the front. I noticed he had one blue eye, and one brown. He was quite beautiful. His black and white coat was shiny and thick.

"I am not certain WHY I am here. I think maybe my family will come back for me. They bought me when I was only 6 weeks old. I remember they said how smart Border Collies are, and how it would be so easy to train me. They were very excited at first. The little ones played with me all the time. But the trouble
with little Masters is, they refuse to stay in a group. I constantly had to nip their heels to keep them together." He looked confused. "Why won't they stay in a group?" he sighed. "So I did what I thought I should do. I am not quite sure why the little ones screamed when I did my job, but they did, and the Masters
got very angry at me. They also got angry when I had to relieve myself, and did so in the house. I am not sure where they expected me to go. All they said was that I was the smartest breed in the world, and I should just KNOW better. Then they left me in the yard for a month or so. I got bored a lot, and I dug holes in the grass. The next thing I knew, the Masters brought me here."

Popper jumped back up on the gate, his white paws protruding through the links. He looked at me with his lovely eyes, and asked "Will you please let them know I want to come home? Please tell them I promise I will be good?"

"I will Popper," I said.


My heart was breaking. I was beginning to regret coming here, but their stories had to be told. I moved along. The next dog I saw looked to be easily 100 lbs., a Rottweiler. He was handsome indeed, except for the scars on his face and back. He tilted his head, and looked me right in the eyes.

"Hello. Who are you?" he asked.

"I am a reporter," I replied. "May I speak with you for a little while?"

"Most certainly. My name is Spartan. You can come in, I won't bite," he said.  "Thank you Spartan. I will."

I entered his kennel, reached out and stroked his giant head. He made a loud grumbling noise, and closed his eyes.

"Spartan, why are you here?"

Before he could answer my question, he was suddenly in the grip of a nasty coughing spasm. It sounded painful. "Please excuse me," he said when it passed. "Kennel cough. It seems all of us
who come in here get it. "Why am I here? Well, about two years ago, I was born in the backyard of some person I can't even recall. I had 11 brothers and sisters. I recall a day when a big man came and gave that person some money, and
took me away from my mother. They had to chain her up, as she was very angry that he took me. They chained her and beat her. I came to know the man by the name of Jim. I overheard him telling his friends that I would grow up to be big and mean like my mother. But as I grew older, all I wanted to do was play and be friends with everyone. Jim said I needed to be taught how to be mean, so he
chained me up in the yard. No more house for me, he said, I was too spoiled.
When people came by to visit, I was so happy to see them. I wanted them to come and play. But that made Jim angry, so he beat me with sticks and chains. When he came near, I would roll onto my back so he would know I wasn't a bad dog. That
made him beat me more." Spartan's eyes clouded with grief. "Then he brought me here."

I reached out and stroked Spartan's massive gentle head once more. "I am so sorry Spartan. Some people are just plain evil." I gave him a kiss and left his kennel. As I walked away, Spartan called out, "What will happen to me, nice lady?"  I shook my head. "I can't say Spartan. Maybe someone kind will come and get you.
We can only hope."


I walked a little further down. I could see a shape moving at the back of the next kennel. "Hello?" I called out. Suddenly the shape lunged at the gate in a fury, barking and gnashing its teeth. I stumbled backwards, and crashed into an adjacent kennel. The other dogs began barking loudly and jumping at their gates.

"Don't go near her," a small female voice came from behind me. "She's mad." I gathered myself back together, and saw a little Jack Russell Terrier behind me.

"Thanks for the warning," I was still trembling. Across the way, the other dog, apparently a Husky and German Shepherd cross, was glaring at me, lips curled back revealing brown stained teeth. Her ribs and hips showed through her dull, matted grey coat. The little dog invited me into her kennel, and I gladly went in.

"Who are you?" "My name is Patsy." The little brown and white dog held a paw up to the gate in greeting.  "My owner surrendered me. She said she wanted a cute little dog like the one on the TV show, Frasier. She didn't bother to look into the type of dog I am." Patsy heaved a sigh.  "I suppose she expected me to just lie about and only need a short walk each day, just like Eddie, but my energy was so high that I needed to run and play."
She glanced at her surroundings. "Now I am here. I suppose it could be worse. I could be like her." Patsy looked towards the still growling dog across the way.  "What happened to make her so vicious?" I asked.

"From what we could gather," she replied. "she was found tied in a back yard. She only had a three foot chain. Some days there was no water. Rarely was there any food. One day a nice neighbor came by and brought her some meat. By then it was too late. She was already mad. She broke off her chain, and bit the poor man badly. We know she will be going behind the steel door. I am sad to say, I think it will be best. Perhaps then she will know some peace."

Just then, the door at the end of the building opened, and a woman stepped inside. All the dogs began to bark wildly, then one by one, they went quiet.

I whispered to Patsy, "Who is that? Why have all the dogs gone quiet?" Patsy breathed deeply through her little nose, and closed her eyes. "SHE is a Rescuer. Can't you smell it?" she asked.
"Smell what?" I was confused.

"Compassion. Love. Sorrow. It emanates from her pores. She is here for one of us, but nobody knows who just yet." Patsy looked hopeful.

The Rescuer moved from kennel to kennel, looking at each dog. I sat quietly watching. I could see tears in her eyes as she made eye contact with each one. She stopped at Spartan's cage and spoke quietly to him.

"No more beatings my man. No more. You are coming with me. From here on in, it's all going to get better."

The Rescuer produced a leash, opened the kennel door, and took Spartan away. As he walked beside her, his little stubby tail wagged with delight.

Patsy sighed again. I could see the disappointment in her eyes, and it grieved me. They all had the same look, as they watched The Rescuer depart."I am so sorry Patsy," I said in a whisper. "But you are a little dog, and everyone loves little dogs. I am convinced you will be rescued soon." Patsy's brown eyes twinkled at me, a little bit of hope returning.

I had heard and seen enough. I needed to tell people how it was for these unfortunate creatures. They were all here through no fault of their own. I stood to leave. I passed by many other dogs I did not interview, looking at each one, wishing I could take them all home with me and give them the love they deserved.

I stood by the door taking one last glance back, when it opened, and one of the pound workers came in. His face was drawn and sad. He walked by without a word, and stopped at Pete's kennel. I heard him take a deep breath, then he paused, and opened the kennel door.

The words were muffled, but I am sure I heard him say "I'm sorry old boy." He came out, with Petey in tow. The old dog's head hung down in resignation, and they both disappeared behind the big steel door.

It had been two weeks since I visited the local dog pound and its denizen. The story, not surprisingly, had attracted a lot of attention from rescue groups in the area. They were pleased someone from the city paper had taken the time to write a story on why dogs end up in the pound. It was hoped it might raise some awareness.

I found my mind wandering back to that sad place time and again. I wondered how feisty little Patsy was, and if she had been adopted yet. I also worried for Popper, the young Border Collie. I was deeply troubled in my spirit. As I sat staring blankly at my computer screen, trying to concentrate on another story, I
felt the familiar warmth of a little chin resting on my knee.

"Hi Sweetie." I stroked the soft fur of my own dog, Sophie. She always knew when I was upset. They all seem to just know. There was then a gentle nudge of my arm on the oppositeside as my other dog, Banner, vied for my affections. Border Collies, both of them. "I have to go back," I said, looking into Sophie's intelligent eyes. "I have to know."

Return to the Pound
Once again, I found myself in that foul smelling kennel area. No matter how many times you clean a place like this, the stench is always there. It must be hell for dogs, having such a keen sense of smell.

Pete's old kennel had a new tenant, some sort of Labrador mix. She was black with small white markings on her chest and paws. There was a food dish in the corner, the kibble untouched by the look of it. She lay on her side, whining. I could see she had recently had pups by the swollen teats. Poor girl.

I moved past the Lab, to Spartan's old kennel. Empty. Good. I held my breath as I approached Popper's kennel, hoping beyond hope that he had been adopted. I was not prepared for what I saw. This once proud, handsome young Border Collie was
now a quivering mass in the corner of his kennel. He
glanced up at me briefly, a flicker of recognition in his eyes, then he began to cough violently. His tail was tucked tightly between his shaking legs. "Oh Popper!" I cried. "What has happened to you?" Popper simply cowered into the corner, shrinking away from my voice. "It's his breed," a familiar voice spoke from behind. "They're too sensitive. The noise and smells drive them crazy.
Intelligent fellows like him can't take the long hours of boredom and lack of companionship. " I turned around to see my little friend Patsy, the Jack Russell Terrier. I peered through her kennel gate.

"Ah Patsy," I shook my head. "I had hoped you would have found a nice home." "I did," Patsy replied. "Well, at least I thought I did. The day you came here, someone came in and chose me. It turned out the same. A nother person who wanted a cute little dog, but not the work it takes to keep them happy. She brought me back just three days later, tired of my constant playing and  running about, bouncing off the furniture." Patsy stood on her hind legs,
resting her little paws on the gate. "But guess what? A man and a little girl came here yesterday, they smelled VERY good too! They petted me, and played with me. Then they threw a ball for me. I brought it right back to them like a good dog!" Patsy was becoming very excited. Her stubby little tail wagged rapidly
back and forth, making me grin. "They kept talking about
something called flyball! The man said they were going to go talk to someone named Mom, and maybe they would come back."

I smiled. Maybe they would come back. In the meantime, I had some questions for Patsy. "What has happened in here since my last visit?" She dropped back down onto her haunches, and became sullen."I hate this place," she said. "That Lab down there?" I nodded. "Well, she came in with ten puppies. Someone just dumped them all like garbage at the front door. That was last week. Five days ago, some of her young became very, very ill. I remember smelling the sickness . T he smell of blood. The workers came
in, they called the sickness Parvo. They were very agitated. Six of her young died, the other four went behind the steel door." Patsy shuddered. "She has been mourning since, and will not eat."
"Lord have mercy," I whispered. "That's not all," she said. "The disease has run through the kennel, and others have gone behind the steel door. I suppose I was lucky, I was vaccinated. So was
Popper, but he has The Cough." As if on cue, Popper once again was seized by a coughing fit behind us.

"I have to get out of here," Patsy wailed. "I am so frightened!"

Once again I was questioning the logic of my return to this God forsaken place. "Oh Patsy," I opened the door to her kennel and picked her up in my arms, cuddling her close. I could feel her trembling. "You smell different," she said suddenly stopping and sniffing me.

"You smell like one of THEM."

"Them?" I asked.

"A Rescuer!" she sniffed me once more, her little tail wagging rapidly. Just then, the door to the kennel room opened, and a pound worker and a man with a little girl came in. The little girl rushed toward Patsy's kennel, but stopped abruptly when she saw me holding her. "Oh no!" she wailed. "You aren't taking my dog are you?" I quickly put Patsy into her waiting arms, and said "No young lady, she is all yours! But take very good care of her, she is one special little dog." "Yay! Daddy look!" she squealed as Patsy planted little dog kisses all over her cheeks. "Daddy, is she really mine?" "Yes Honey, she is really yours," her father beamed. The worker instructed them to be sure to bleach the bottoms of
their shoes as they left, and I saw a brilliant sparkle in Patsy's eyes as she looked at me over the shoulder of her new little master. This time, I was certain, it would be okay . A t least for this one little dog.

As I left the building, and the many sad and despairing dogs it held, I could not help but wonder how anyone with a heart could abandon their beloved and devoted pet. Ignorance and selfishness are the cause of so much grief. These amazing animals give humans their whole hearts. They serve them, protect them,
and give them unconditional love regardless of how they are treated. Their capacity for forgiveness is something I will never comprehend. And yet they are so often treated like trash by the very ones they trust. Their loyalty is repaid with blind indifference.

Opening the door to my car, I wiped a tear from my cheek, and looked down. "

Patsy isn't the only dog who will find out what flyball is, right Popper?"

Popper looked up at me, a glimmer of hope returning to his glazed eyes, his tail wagging slightly between his legs. I knelt down, cupped his sweet little face in my hands, and looked him in the eyes. "It's off to the vet with you, and then when you are well, you are going to meet your new brother and sister."
I use to volunteer at our local humane society. But the big dogs on the top kennels got to be too heavy for me to lift, and this is 15 yr. ago and my back troubles weren't bad yet, in fact, I hadn't even had surgery on it.  This was/is a "no kill" shelter.  They stay until they are adopted or die.  But we also have a pound in Mason City, and a dog catcher. If they pick up your dog you only get like so many days because they do put them down there.  The humane society that I worked at has a waiting list, because of the "no kill" rule.
I hope you were touched by this "Reality Story."  I was.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Yard Work - As Viewed From Heaven

Hi pals,
I am definitely not a yard person. I use to have a retired farmer neighbor who took beautiful care of all my flowers and shrubs, etc.  But he passed away after being in the nursing home a couple years.  He was like 95!  Since his passing, my yard has not been the same (to put it mildly)!  He would come and ask me if he could do my flowers and etc!  He even won blue ribbons at the state and county fairs for the Gladiolus he planted along both of the front sides of the length of my driveway.  He managed to keep the roses alive in the winter.  He "helped me" plant annuals.  He took care of the circle of Mums I have in the front yard, tulips here and there, day lilies, and other things I don't even know what all their names were. I would attach pictures, but unlike many of you, I am not a photographer either. 
I would worry about him being outside working that hard, but his children always said, that if anything happened to him, he'd pass on doing what he LOVED.  I miss him for many other reasons besides his gardening abilities.  Fortunately, his daughter now lives in his house, and is just a lovely neighbor, too.  She even has her entire back yard in a garden.  Sometime I will send pictures.  It's really something. It's too much for me, but she is in her 70's and loves working in the yard, too.  She even has a train that runs around the garden!  Very unusual, you'd have to see it to truly appreciate it.
I just had to preface this page with that, because I guess, I wanted to share about my friendship with a wonderful old  man who I know is in a better place today.  (But I still surely miss him.)


Overheard in a conversation between God and St. Francis):

 God: Francis, you know all about gardens and nature;what in the
 world is going on down there in the U.S.? What happened to the
 dandelions, violets, thistles and the stuff I started eons ago?
 I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow
 in any type of soil, withstand drought, and multiply with
 abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts
 butterflies, honeybees, and flocks of songbirds. I expected to
 see a vast garden of color by now. All I see are patches of
St. Francis: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. They are
called the Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers
weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them
 with grass.
God: Grass? But it is so boring, it's not colorful. It doesn't
attract butterflies, bees or birds, only grubs and sod worms.
 It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites
really want grass growing there?
 St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it has grown a
 little, they cut it....sometimes two times a week.
 God: They cut it? Do they bale it like hay?
 St. Francis: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put
 it in bags.
God: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
St. Francis: No sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
God: Now let me get this straight...they fertilize it to make it
 grow and when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it
 St. Francis: Yes, sir.
 God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we
 cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows
 the growth and saves them a lot of work.
 St. Francis: You aren't going to believe this Lord, but when the
 grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more
 money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get
 rid of it.
God: What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees.
 That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.
 The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade
 in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a
 natural blanket to keep the moisture in the soil and protect the
 trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves become compost
 to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.
St. Francis: You'd better sit down, Lord. As soon as the leaves
 fall, the Suburbanites rake them into great piles and pay to
 have them hauled away.
God: No way! What do they do to protect the shrubs and tree
 roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?
 St Francis: After throwing the leaves away, they go out and buy
 something called mulch. They haul it home and spread it around
 in place of the leaves.
God: And where do they get this mulch?
 St. Francis: They cut down the trees and grind them up to make
God: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore.
 Saint Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have
 you scheduled for us tonight?
St. Catherine: "Dumb and Dumber," Lord. It's a really stupid
 movie about....
God: Never mind--I think I just heard the whole story from Saint