Saturday, March 23, 2013

When Worlds Collide…

On the day after tomorrow, a very sweet lady named Ashley will be coming to our house on behalf of the Golden Retriever Rescue to take Molly.  Another very kind woman by the name of Patti, who works with the Brittany Rescue group, called last week to say that she already has two different families who are interested in Toffee, so he will be leaving some time soon after.  After they are gone, a big part of my heart will be gone, too.  I feel that this is going to be one of those life-changing moments for me, and I am sure that I will never be exactly the same.

I have struggled with this for about a year now, hoping that it could be avoided, but the time has come for me to face reality.  My mother has had asthma for all of her life, although it was cats that had the worst effect on her.  After her last round of pneumonia (her third in less than a year-and-a-half), she has been put on oxygen.

Paisley also has a host of breathing issues (having pneumonia at least three times in the last year-and-a-half, too).  After Paisley suffered anaphylactic shock (peanut butter), some allergy testing was done.  Two of the things to which she is most allergic are peanuts and dogs.  For the longest time, I thought that if I cleaned the house really, really well before she came over, it would be enough.  And it worked…for awhile.  But lately, the time that she can spend at our house before having symptoms has become less and less.  The last time she was here, it took less than an hour before her eyes were red and puffy and her breathing became wheezy.  In an unrelated episode, her parents recently ended up rushing her to the ER because her breathing had totally shut down.  If they had not already had a pharmacy/ER in their own kitchen to start treatment before they left, it would have been pretty bad.

I know that this is the right thing to do…I can’t ask my family to suffer so much just because I have this insane attachment to animals…but it is still one the hardest things I’ve ever had to do (and I’ve had to do some hard things).  I console myself with the fact that rescue groups are the absolute best place to which a dog can go in a case like this.  I am amazed at the work these groups do, and I will be donating funds to them for the rest of my life so that other dogs may go on to benefit from their services.  The Basset Rescue Group helped Mandy and Jeromy find homes for Bacon and Turco a year ago, and we know that they went to wonderful homes, perfectly suited for each one.
This week was spent taking the kids to the vet to make sure their shots were current and to have the blood work and what-not done – it’s important to me that I am not surrendering dogs with some hidden health issues.  Both dogs came back with excellent bills of health (except that Molly needs to lose some weight, that big mama!), and I have heart-worm preventive to send with them. Today, we went shopping and got new beds, dishes, food, and chewies to send with them.  New life, new stuff.

Toffee will turn 7 in just a few days; he was one of Cookie’s puppies, so I am not lying when I tell him, “I loved you before you were even born.”  When Cookie was delivering them, that high-strung dog would just plop them out, then run around the house like a maniac until the next one delivered.  It was up to Robert and me to clean them off, get their circulation going, and tie the cords off.   She also didn’t have the milk, nor the patience, to nurse ten puppies, so we rotated them with bottle feeding and “mama” feeding until they were weaned.   Toffee was a beautiful puppy:

And he is still my beautiful boy:

He is loyal and true.  He used to sleep in Mom’s room before she got sick; his dog bed was on the floor at the end of her bed.  Whenever I would open the door in the morning to let him out, he would not leave the room until he went to her bed to see if she was okay.  “I’m okay, Top-Top,” Mom would say, and only then  would  he come trotting out.  Every night when I go out to tuck Opal Chicken in for the night, he walks the path with me.  He truly is a guardian.

And what can I say about Molly?  I loved her the minute I saw her over the fence in the neighbor’s yard. She is the most care-free, easy-going creature I have ever known.   Not exactly the brightest bulb in the string, mind you, but she delights in the simple things of life.  She is sheer joy and I have loved our three years together:

Cookie will be staying because she is getting old now, and is not the most spry of girls.  She spends a lot of time in our bedroom, just sleeping.  She is also so obnoxious when she is awake that anyone else would beat her to death within the first week.   And I’m pretty sure Robert would divorce me if he had to part with her.   I’m hoping that reducing the dog hair and dander by 2/3 will be enough to make a difference.  The rabbit will be living in our bedroom when the weather dictates and at night, while spending her days outside when it is nice, and I’m hoping that will allow her to stay.  We’ll see how that goes.  It’s just been a terrible year so far all the way around.

It is my prayer that my kids will find wonderful, loving "forever" homes.  I wish that home was mine - but alas, it is not to be.  I will never forget them, and I will love them forever.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


As I was coming out of the chicken coop the other morning, I was greeted by this beautiful sight:

Did it just suddenly bloom?  Or did I just suddenly, finally notice it?  I’m not sure which is true, but it certainly lifted my spirits.  I’ve been a little disconnected from things lately.  It seems that for the past several months, someone is always sick or there is a crisis of some sort.  After my recovery from feeling so awful during January, last month Mom spent five days in the hospital with another round of pneumonia.  The only good thing that came of it is that the doctors finally recognized that she needs to be on oxygen as part of her daily routine.  Before she could come home, the “oxygen people” had to come to the house and set up a little rig for her here and also bring  her a little stash of oxygen tanks for any outings we might undertake.  Mom has finally become accustomed to moving about the house while tethered to her oxygen unit.  We are still trying to get the hanging of the portable tanks, as we really haven’t ventured out much since she came home.  While still not her old self, Mom is at least feeling better than she did last month, and the oxygen seems to be helping her breathing a lot.

Poor Paisley is plagued with a variety of illness and issues, but her mother also has had a rough patch lately.  An old foot injury flared up, and poor Mandy has been a little encumbered herself as of late:

We’re hoping that she heals soon, for being pregnant can be physically challenging and being gimpy can be physically challenging, but being both is just miserable!  Speaking of which, my “most beautiful child” quandary has now been solved:

How great is that?

In other news, Alan has “come back” home…well, until mid-April, anyway.  He had a little lull between seasons at Yellowstone so he flew in last Thursday.  He is enjoying watching television and eating at restaurants; he even went to see “Oz the Great and Powerful” with a friend this weekend.  We are enjoying having him home, and Toffee was just over the moon to see him.  He’s still as cute as ever:

In addition to his company, I am enjoying how much help he can be.  I had ordered some bare-root strawberry plants (way more cost-effective) and he helped me get them planted in some containers that I had squirrelled away over the years:

This is not the final stop for these strawberry plants – I have a nifty thing that I am working on, but first I am trying to get as many 2-liter soda bottles as I can (Alan is helping with that, too).  I can’t wait to show you this new project once it is finished…it is just what we need here in the heat and drought that is Texas!
I’m hoping that the arrival of spring will bring renewed energy and good things for all of those I love.  Here’s  to enjoying “comebacks”!