Dahlia

Diva D, Sweet Girl, Little Lady, and of course Dahlia, are a few names that my Catahoula responds to.  Dahlia is my senior rescue (and foster fail).  I write about her a lot, and her strength and growth never fail to amaze me.

Dahlia lived a pretty suppressed life for the first 8 years, used as a hunting dog, kept in a cage unless out on a hunt, and smacked around if she got in the way of anything, she had no reason to like or trust humans.  When her hunting prime was over, she was hit with a car, breaking her leg in three spots and left in a ditch to die in the Florida heat.

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Dahlia after being picked up by Eddy & Sherri

That’s when two of my heroes, Eddy and Sherri-Lee sprang into action. They received a phone call, about Dahlia, and the person offered to shoot her, if they didn’t want to come and get her.  Needless to say, they went to her and the rest is history………………………..

Sherri gave Dahlia her name, a name that is so suiting to her strong, beautiful personality. The Dahlia flower means:

•Staying graceful under pressure, especially in challenging situations
•Drawing upon inner strength to succeed
•Traveling and making a major life change in a positive way
•Standing out from the crowd and following your own unique path
•Staying kind despite being tested by certain life events
•Finding a balance between adventure and relaxation

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Post Surgery learning to trust Eddy.

It’s been almost three years since that call was made and Dahlia has had quite the adventure, after 6 hours of surgery and 4 months recovery at Eddy’s Dogs, she made the long drive from Florida to Mississauga for foster care and further rehabilitation.  And two years later she drove from Mississauga, ON to Kamloops, B.C. with her mom and younger brother, Flipflop.

When I look at Dahlia today, that first month with her seems unreal. Is this really the same dog who would pee in fear if I looked at her?  Is this really the same dog, that would only be able to walk on 4 paws for a few minutes and then would not be able to put weight on her back left?  Was this really the same dog I thought I was failing as a foster parent and I thought she would do better in another foster home?

Even as I type this, she is siting beside me, looking up at me with so much love in her eyes.  After just a few short months of living here, in B.C., everyone in my building knows her, everyone knows that she’s the sweet dog who wants all their attention!  And fortunately, many indulge her.  Those who didn’t know her when……would never believe the shell of a dog she once was.  And those who met her then…..well now they marvel at what a different dog she is.

Dahlia is confident, happy, healthy (except her mom constantly has to put her on a diet! She’s a foodie like me!) and most importantly, she knows she is loved and safe.

And she loves to hike with Flipflop. She doesn’t do the crazy mountain cliffs like him, but she happily walks along beside me or slightly behind me. Stopping periodically to smell things along the way and then will run to catch up wth me.  Dahlia is the only dog I know that prefers to be on a leash secured to her mom, then be off lead running around and enjoying freedom.

It makes me laugh at how happy she is when she’s off leash and I go to her and put her lead back on her.  She looks up at me and smiles and dances.  I often refer to her as the Benjamin Button of dogs, and with good reason.

About a month ago, Dahlia seemed to be showing her age, for the first time since I got her, she seemed like she was getting older and not younger.  So I decided to introduce CBD oil into her diet.  And a couple weeks later, my young dog was back!  In fact yesterday, on our morning hike, she actually ran, a lot!!  She did amazing and she’s back to playing with toys and wanting to bring them out on her walks and being my silly girl again.

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Dahlia this week playing with a toy for the first time in a few weeks.

I know eventually, there will be a day when Dahlia’s age will catch up to her, and nothing I do will bring back my Benjamin Button, and at that time I’ll do what I can to keep her happy and comfortable until she wishes to leave and join her big brother Dupont. But I hope that day is years away!

I couldn’t imagine a world without my Dahlia in it.  Sherri and Eddy chose me as her foster mom, to help rehabilitate her and help her with her socialization.  Dahlia picked me to be her mom and it is really an honour and a privilege to be the love of this Sweet Girl’s life.

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My little lady enjoying some time in the mountains.

 

 

To all the pets we’ve loved before

Within the past couple of weeks,  I  have had so many friends back home in Ontario, and new friends here, that have had to say goodbye to their beloved pets.  It has made me recall my own losses and brings me to the realization that I have a senior large dog, who came to me on borrowed time 2-1/2 years ago.

I always wonder do my pets know how much I love them.  When Dupont left this earth 4-1/2 years ago, my biggest worry was if he knew how much he meant to me, how much he was loved.  I have to believe he did, I still feel him in my life from time to time.

Flipflop and Dahlia are loved and I think Flipflop knows it.  He is adored, even when he’s naughty.  I know in years from now though, when he needs to leave me I will have those same worries, does he know how much he truly is loved by me?

When I look at Dahlia, though, it’s different.  I know she KNOWS how much she is loved, without a doubt.  She is so grateful for my love, it literally breaks  my heart.  She cries in the morning with excitement that I am getting out of bed for the day.  When I am petting her she looks up at me with such love in her clouded eyes (thanks to her previous owner for the head trauma you gave her, that made her eyes cloudy – f**king asshole) and she smiles. And I tell her how much she is loved.

Thinking of my dear friends who have had to say goodbye to their beloved pets, just brings all these emotions to the forefront as I realize my girl is likely 11 years old.

I remember my past,  when I would wonder how I would live without Dupont, but I have managed to live without him. Thanks to the bundle of crazy I adopted a few months prior to Dupont passing away (you all know the bundle of crazy as Flipflop!).

I now am having those same thoughts, of how life will go on without a Dahlia or Flipflop in it…..but sadly I know it will, one day.  Hopefully not for many many days!  For now I just want to reassure Dahlia she is loved, as much as she loves me (maybe even a little bit more) and continue to enjoy the insanity Flipflop brings to my life.  The past couple of weeks have been a reminder to me, how our babies are with us temporarily and to enjoy every moment.

Meghan, if you read this post, my heart is breaking for you.  Chase was an amazing dog and friend.  I’m so glad I got to meet him and bond with you over being a dog mom.  And Marianne, I know Zeus was a senior feline rescue, and I know he was grateful for the love and second chance he was given by you and your family. I am also confident he found it in his heart to forgive you all for adopting Vanya.

And of course Joanne, although I met you after Merle passed away, I am so grateful Rome led you to Solo.  It breaks my heart to hear amazing pet owners say they will never have another dog/cat because it hurts so much when they leave us.  And it really does! But there are so many animals in need of great homes and they only ever break our hearts once.  And the love, joy and happiness they bring us is worth it all.

And to all the amazing pet parents I know who have loved and lost but found the strength to love again, I thank you!!

No pet replaces another, none of my cats or dogs have replaced one another, much like humans, they all have different personalities and each bring something new to my life.  And for each one of them and each one of my fosters (who I love so much) I am grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

The River

“Seriously, I feel like I am at a cottage every time I sit on my balcony,” I exclaimed into the phone.  “I see the mountains, the river, boats going by, sea planes flying over, it’s incredible.”  I was talking to Janet, who will be moving out here in about a months time with the lovable Miss Ellie!  Flipflop is going to lose his mind when he sees his best friend again, after all these months.

Life in Kamloops has been good to us since we arrived 3-1/2 months ago. The dogs enjoy their new environment. Flipflop has never been so happy and I have never been so happy, as I was a few weeks ago, when I noticed a sign “Valleyview Boat Launch” a mere 2 km down the road from me.

In Ontario, we were fortunate to have a large creek and other water sources in our park where Flipflop would be able to go into and cool off on every walk.  That is the one thing I really wished we had here in Kamloops on our mountain hikes.  Sometimes we run into a stream, but most of his hikes are pretty dry so I bring water.

The boat launch has become part of our regular routine on hot days.  I’ll drive down to it for them to cool off and it really helps with Flipflop’s allergies too!  It’s a popular spot for tubers as well.  I learned one of the summer things here in Kamloops, is to float down the river in an inflatable dinghy or a tube.  The river current will take you all the way from the Valleyview boat launch to Riverside Park, in downtown Kamloops.  It’s a real life size lazy river!!

This afternoon I was enjoying the view from my balcony and decided to take the dogs out for a swim.  We drove, as 2km would be too much in this heat for them, and it was packed!  We ended up parking down the street, and when we got to the launch there were several people hanging out, blowing up their dinghies, having drinks or putting life jackets on their dogs!  After taking in the scene, I decided I totally need to get myself a dinghy for next summer!

While Dahlia cried to say hello to everyone, her brother only had eyes for the river.  Flipflop gleefully ran into the water, ignoring all the people and dinghies around us.  He didn’t care, I was so proud of him!

After a few minutes we went for a short walk and then had another swim before heading back home.  On the way home I reflected about the days in Ontario, when Janet and I would get together and pack a cooler with some drinks and snacks and head to Lake Ontario for the day.  We would find a nice spot in the shade for us and the dogs and hang out for hours, going for swims for us all to stay cool.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a lot of shad at the boat launch but I think I may have to try and find one with some shade for us to hang out!

There is an awesome off leash dog beach in downtown Kamloops, but it gets pretty busy and I know my Flipflop.  He gets a little overwhelmed in crowds and I fear the dog beach with all the dogs and people may be too much for him. He’s much happier in a smaller pack!

A B.C. Adventure

It’s another beautiful Sunday morning in Kamloops, and it’s been a couple of weeks since I took Flipflop in the car to go for a hike.  One of my favourite places to hike him is Dallas Barnhartvale Nature Park.  It backs onto a horse riding ranch, which dogs are also welcomed to enter and hike.  And as most nature parks in BC, it’s dog friendly and has a selection of different trails of all levels.

Since we had a fairly easy walk day yesterday, I decided to bring Dahlia today as well, and stick to the green (easy) trails so she could enjoy herself.

One of the reasons I enjoy this park so much, is it’s quieter than most, I am yet to see a cyclist in the park. We run into the odd dog along the way, which depending on Flipflop’s mood he either ignores or has a play with.  It’s a great park for a nice walk, or so I thought!

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I naively expected a nice, chilled walk with the my dogs this morning, but was I ever wrong!!!!!!

When we arrived at the park, I parked and let the dogs out of the car, we were the only car in the lot, but it was still fairly early.  I unleashed them both, as I had all ready decided to take them to the riding ranch paths, as they are easier for Dahlia and the entrance was right behind my car.

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The hike started as any other, Flipflop running up ahead and then coming back to check on me, Dahlia taking her time strolling behind me. Every now and then I had to stop and encourage Dahlia to catch up to me.  And she would, she just loves to stop and smell the flowers, literally, along the way on her walks.

About 10 minutes into our walk, things started to derail…….Flipflop saw goats and a horse, grazing in a field.  Fortunately, they were safely gated and Flipflop couldn’t get in, nor could they get out.  The sweet goats ran when they heard Flipflop barking like an idiot on the other side of the fence.  The horse, who was right at the fence, calmly just walked away and started grazing about 10 feet away from it. Flipflop continued to bark and ignore my calls.  After a couple of minutes, I was able to get him, I leashed him and gave him a time out.

Usually his time outs are him being leashed for a few minutes and when he’s again released he behaves.  But today was a “jack” day for my boy.  A “jack” day is what I call Flipflop’s crazy days, as the Jack Russell in him comes out and he gets so hyped up, he’s insane, much like a Jack Russell who is not exercised enough.  And trust me, Flipflop is exercised a lot, he just has the odd day where he’s crazy and needs more of an outlet.

A few minutes after his time out, he took off on me again, and started barking.  “What now!” I mumbled to Dahlia, who was still just calmly walking behind me.  When I got a better view of what had Flipflop in a tizzy this time, my heart jumped to my throat.

There must have been about a dozen cattle in the park.  They, much like the horse and goats, were just grazing in the fields, but they were not behind a secure fence.  The only thing I can think of is a nearby rancher must have left their gate open in error.

Flipflop was wild, he would not listen to me and if I got close he would just run away.  He ran around the cattle making sure he took the time to bark at all of them as he ran around.  The cows started mooing, I leashed Dahlia and tied her to a tree for her safety, away from the cattle and her brother.

I entered the heard, hoping with all my might I didn’t scare the cattle and they didn’t decide to hoof me and trample Flipflop.  They were so beautiful and peaceful, and although seemed interested in Flipflop, weren’t particularly scared of him or me.  I talked to them (because I talk to all animals) and apologized for Flipflop.

After 5 minutes of Flipflop ignoring me and continuing to be a jerk, I gave up.  I went back to Dahlia and untied her.  I yelled “bye Flipflop” and Dahlia and I started walking back down the trail.  Usually when Flipflop sees me give up and walk away, he comes running, it’s like it’s all fun and games until he loses mom’s attention.  But today my plan backfired.  He’d never seen cattle before, and this was too exciting for him.

So back up the trail Dahlia and I went, because as angry as Flipflop can make me, I would never abandon him!  When Dahlia and I went back to where Flipflop was running around the cattle, the cattle must have heard something, and all of a sudden they started running. They started running up a hill and to, I assume, their ranch.  Flipflop got even more excited, they cattle were now moving prey!  I kept calling Flipflop to me and before long he was back down with me, but wouldn’t come close enough for me to leash him.  He still wanted to play his game.

Fortunately, the “cattle run” tired him out out, and within a minute of playing “stay away” he was on the ground rolling in the grass.  I leashed him immediately.  Another time out.

This one was a longer time out, we were going home!  I walked him down the trail, on leash a while, pass the horse and goats and basically until we were only a few minutes from the car.

I then let him off his leash again, as he was tired and honestly he’s usually not this bad!  I thought for sure he got his fill of being a “jack”.  Dahlia was off leash as well, but again, she just likes to putter and is never a worry for me, sweet girl.

It was less than a minute of being off leash that Flipflop jumped a fence to meet a dog that was having fun in its yard………He’s NEVER done that before.  As he ran and played with the dog, I again ended up tying up Dahlia so I could retrieve him.  Once again, Flipflop did not have his listening ears on, but as the dog ran over to me and then noticed Dahlia on the other side of the fence, Flipflop laid down……it’s tiring being bad!  So I was able to leash him up.

And this time his time out did not end.  After our hike, I drove to the nearby boat launch, so the dogs could cool down in the water, Flipflop was not allowed off his leash, I tired Dahlia’s leash to his to give him more freedom, and of course Dahlia was a good lady off her leash.

And now we are home and Flipflop is full of hugs and kisses for his momma.  He is such a naughty boy some days, but he is so loved and he knows it!

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Tessa

I had the honour of meeting Tessa at a fundraiser for a B.C. Rescue, Pommy & Pals.  Tessa is being fostered by a co-worker of mine and his wife.  I have been fortunate to spend some time with this amazing little lady.

Tessa came to Canada from Taiwan, where she was found at 2 months old in a ditch.  She is now 9 months old and is waiting for her forever family.  Her adoption is pending, and she’s going to a sleepover with her potential family tomorrow night.

Tessa’s journey has not been an easy one, at 9 months old. Tessa has degenerative disease in her left hip which she has under gone the surgery to repair (Legg-calve-perthes).  She is recovering nicely and receiving some rehabilitation from her foster mom.  It is expected she will eventually be able to have full use of her leg and put weight on it.  But even now, while she’s working on strengthening her leg, it doesn’t stop this fun loving girl from running around.

Tessa also has a neurological disorder, shaker syndrome, which causes this sweet lady to shake, as she calms down and becomes more comfortable her shaking does get better, and she’s on CBD oil to help her. But even as she shakes, it doesn’t stop this little lady from wanting to be cuddled and babied.

She also loved meeting the other dogs at the adoption fair and was very social with everyone, she is such a sweetie.

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Tessa engaging with the standard poodles (bonded pair for adoption)

When I met Tessa she was wearing a lovely pink dress with bows down the back, she was looking for her forever home at an adoption event.  Needless to say she stole a lot of hearts, but I was lucky enough to witness her picking her family.

They seem like a lovely couple, who lost their dog a couple years prior and feel they are now ready to open their hearts again to a dog in need.  As soon as they saw me holding Tessa they came over and started asking about her.  I asked if her potential future mom wanted to hold her and of course she did.  Tessa barely shook, she felt at home and she snuggled into her potential mom’s shoulder.  She held Tessa for long time as we chatted and I brought over Gina, Tessa’s foster mom, who actually knows Tessa’s potential dad!

I had a feeling, this would be the family for Tessa, as I’ve seen my fosters pick their families time and time again, I felt Tessa felt safe with this couple.  Although Tessa and I met many other amazing people that day, Tessa had a ton of interest, I was so happy when I was told by my co-worker, Darryn, that Tessa was going for a trial sleepover this weekend and it was a couple that he and Gina knew.  Before Darryn even told me which couple it was I knew.  I just had a feeling when I saw sweet little Tessa in her future parents arms.  I think they knew it too, but as every responsible adopter should do, they met other dogs and thought about it over a couple of days to make sure they were ready for her.

I am very optimistic that early next week, I will hear that the sleepover was a success and Tessa is officially adopted!

Tessa’s foster mom sent me pictures of Tessa today and shared with me how much she is going to miss her. I can relate, all too well!  Fostering is not easy, but it is worth it.

 

 

 

 

Rome & Solo

Rome adopted Solo in the early spring, mourning the loss of his big brother, Merle, Rome’s humans knew he needed a sibling.  The family wasn’t ready for another dog, their hearts still ached, Merle had only been gong a couple of weeks, but watching Rome’s grief just compounded their own even more.

“We’ve never rescued before,” the application read, ” but we would love to give a deserving dog a good home.” Promising, but as first time adopter, I worried the family may struggle with a dog like my foster, Solo.  But their application was strong, and they at least earned a phone call.

It was on the phone I first met Joanne.  I instantly liked her, and after talking about rescues, and the challenges Solo had faced in his life, she wasn’t scared off.  She told me how they had lost their dog Merle, just a couple weeks ago.  She and her family were heart broken, and so was their 3 year old dog, Rome.

I asked Joanne if they would be interested in meeting, Solo, and of course she was.  I recommended Rome come, she had planned to ask, as this dog was being adopted to help Rome, and Rome would be the being who decided what dog to adopt.  Rome had a meet and greet on a Saturday and we scheduled Solo’s for later the same day.

I sent Joanne all the information I had on Solo and the blogs I wrote on him to prepare her.  I found out later, those blogs made her fall in love him before even meeting him and she had hoped that Rome would feel the same way!!

And he did………….

Rome took it upon himself, as Flipflop does, to teach Solo.  Rome somehow understood Solo needed his guidance.  Solo had just started showing interest in playing when he was adopted. Rome continued Flipflop’s work, patiently waiting until Solo understood how to play with toys, tug, chase and wrestle.  The boys had a few territorial scrabbles but the family kept to the training of Solo and things smoothed out in a very short time between the boys.

The stories of Rome and Solo continue to warm my heart, but I thought I would share a few of my favourite ones:

Grandma’s visit:

Rome’s Grandma was visiting and was down in the basement.  Solo must have             forgotten she was there, or she startled him when she came up stairs. Solo started     barking and growling at his grandma.  Rome calmly stepped in the space between Solo and grandma, and showed Solo how grandma is nice.  He calmed Solo down by giving him some affection while getting love from his grandma.

Cousins

It’s been a few months since Solo got adopted and he was doing so well, the family felt they could introduce to him to cousins (3 dogs).  When they arrived at Joanne’s brother’s house, the first thing the humans noticed, was how Solo was a different dog.  He is confident, his eyes are happy (no longer sad) and he was behaving as a well adjusted happy dog.

Rome led Solo to his canine cousins and helped Solo remain calm and happy.  It wasn’t long when I got videos of Solo playing chase with all his cousins, having the time of his life.

Later that day, Rome and Solo made their way to Merle’s resting place.  Solo laid on top of  where Merle’s body was buried and Rome sat beside him.  It was an emotion moment for Joanne when she saw the boys.  I can only imagine.

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July 1st:

On Victoria day weekend it was discovered Solo is petrified of fireworks.  Unfortunately, July 1st is another holiday where fireworks are used to celebrate the day.  As they started Solo ran to safe place, his bed.  Rome went Solo and laid on top of him to try and comfort him and show him there was nothing to be afraid of.

Joanne and Tony (Solo’s dad) called Rome to bed and Joanne went and got Solo. Solo snuggled into Joanne for comfort, the same comfort he got from Rome a few moments ago. Rome also snuggled close, to Solo, ensuring he was there to provide comfort to his brother until the fireworks stopped and Solo calmed down.

I get so many videos and pictures of these two boys, and how they are best friends and brothers.  I am so grateful to Joanne and Tony for adopting Solo, being patient with him and giving him the love and trust he needed to excel.  And I am completely in love with Rome, who is such a special boy.  Solo would not be the same dog without him.

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My Flipflop…..

I always say he’s as bad as he is cute!  But the truth is Flipflop is not a bad dog, he’s a sweet boy, with a high amount of energy and a zest for life.  And it shines through every day now that we are in B.C.

Flipflop has a crazy hyper side, I call those his Jack days!  In Ontario, on his Jack days, even on his goods days, I was always worried.  I was worried he’d get hurt, I worried he wasn’t getting exercised enough because I knew he needed to run and in the city, finding safe places for Flipflop to run was tough.

It was tough because he didn’t like dog parks, neither did his big brother, Dupont.  They are “lone wolves” and being in an open field with other dogs did nothing to excite either of them.

I would take Flipflop to some areas where he could run and he enjoyed it but there were so many people who projected fear on their small dogs, and when Flipflop sensed fear he would turn into a “Jack” and the fun would be over.  He would get out of control, lose his “listening ears”, and would literally mock me, pretending he was coming to me and when he got within a foot of me, take off again.

Moving out to B.C.  I vowed Flipflop would not be off leash (as he wasn’t at home for a long time) and he would not be socialized with other dogs.  What I didn’t realize is I was moving to a very dog friendly community, where large and small dogs alike love to say hi to each other and all the humans love dogs!

In the past two months, I have seen this dog transform into the most amazing boy.  Now that we are living in the mountains, with dog friendly parks all around, Flipflop is excelling.

People don’t fear him, so he has not interest in them and most times he completely ignores them.  Dahlia gets petted by every one we see, and she loves it!  I feel like Flipflop and I have found the place we were meant for.  Despite my strict rules in Ontario and my intentions of keeping the same rules here, I quickly learned that Flipflop was free to be himself here.

Flipflop is definitely the pup who won’t stop, he always has been but now he really gets to go!  We go for hikes, he runs through the mountains like he’s been in them all his life.  And most importantly he listens to me!

He still would rather hang on his own than with other dogs, but occasionally he enjoys a wrestle or a chase with a dog we meet along the way.

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Flipflop with his friend Cash.

I am so proud of me Bahamian Potcake, and am so happy I get to give him the life he was meant to live, now that he’s a B.C. boy!

 

 

 

Angel – Today

My closet gave Angel comfort, a place to hide when he was unsure, when I had visitors or a foster dog.  Angel was a “cats cat” as I called him, very anti-social.  The fact he let me pet him and groom him was nothing short of a miracle.

Taking Angel to the vet was a nightmare, he wouldn’t let me pick him up, he wouldn’t allow himself feel “trapped” in a crate.

I made an appointment when I was prepared to move from Ontario to British Columbia, the cats needed their shots, and confirmation they were ok to fly.  Sixx let me put him in a crate immediately, after 20 minutes, I gave up on Angel, he was showing his ferrel traits and was not going to let me near him.  I went to the vet with just Sixx and told the doctor the struggle with getting Angel there.  The vet suggested I start feeding the cats in their crates and Angel will see it’s a good place to be.

I followed those instructions and a week later got Angel to his appointment. He was so scared he pooped in his crate and peed all over the vet technician, but he let them examine him and he got his shots.

The following week I was moving………there would be no more safe zone for Angel, he had to move to Auntie Janet’s.  The movers had come and the apartment was empty, I was going to spend a couple of nights at Janet’s before I started the drive out west with the dogs.  Janet graciously (despite her allergies) volunteered to keep the cats for a 2-3 weeks while I drove the dogs to Kamloops and got settled, and arranged for the cats to fly.

Flipflop and Dahlia had been staying at Janet’s for a few days all ready, Sixx was with them and time had run out for Angel.  I tried to trap him, he was too smart for me, he would not be tricked.  Hours passed……………………….

And then I thought of doing something I never thought of doing before……..what if I just tried to pick Angel up and put him in his crate.  I never thought of this before as Angel would NEVER let me pick him up!

In the completely empty  apartment, with nothing but me, Angel and a crate, I  just started petting Angel and then calmly picked him put and crated him…….It was so easy, I didn’t give him enough credit.

We went to Janet’s, where of course he hid for two days. I was leaving for B.C. and Angel was still in hiding.  I was worried he wouldn’t come out and I would be able to get him to B.C. I cried for close to two hours as I started the drive to my new life.

I knew Sixx And Angel were in the best care. I wasn’t concerned that Janet would be kind to them, she loved them. But what she wasn’t prepare for, was Angel. Angel came out of hiding the day after I left, and showed her the awesome cat he was.  He came out and snuggled her and let her get close to him.  She was so excited, sending me pictures of him and telling me Angel is such a cool cat, to which I replied, “I know!”

Angel and Sixx stayed with Janet for 3 weeks.  I wanted it to be two but it turned out they needed to return to the vet to get their travel certificate. 😦 .  Janet was amazing and happily helped me out.  Much to my surprise and relief the boys went to the vet with no issue.

Finally May 3rd, it was time to fly the boys out. Angel went into his crate, with no problem, Sixx put up a fight, which was so shocking, as he’s the easy going guy.  I was so proud of Angel, he was behaving in ways I never expected.  He was no longer fearful of new things.

Since arriving in B.C. Angel is a different cat.  He is ALWAYS out with me and the dogs, he’s social and never hides!  He even refuses to eat without his brother, Flipflop, so I now feed him when I feed Sixx and Angel.

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Angel eating breakfast with the dogs.

I cannot believe the difference in this cat, I’m so happy after 6 years, he is interacting with us, all the time.  He is no longer hiding, no longer fearful and he is an active part of my pact.  It turned out for me to show Angel he was truly safe with me, I had to turn his world on its side.  I don’t think he’ll ever be as social and out going as Sixx but it’s really nice having him out and about with the rest of my kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angel – The beginning

Angel and Sixx are my two cats, litter mates, they were rescued from the wild as kittens and rehabilitated with their mother and sister.  Their mom and sister were adopted quite fast, Angel and Sixx remained at the animal haven for the first year of their lives.

Sixx thrived with human contact, he was very social and loved everyone and everything, Angel remained unsocial, still a bit ferrel, he was untrusting and wanting nothing to do with anyone or thing, except his brother.

Ursula, who runs Haven of the Heart, thought Sixx and Angel were lost causes, no one seemed interested in adopting the dual.  She was making arrangements to send them to her mother (her mom provides a loving home to any of Ursula’s rescued cats that didn’t seem to be a match for any forever homes).  That very day she was about to send them to her mom, I called and left a message that I was interested in adopting two cats and wondered if she had any bonded pairs.

She immediately thought of Sixx and Angel and called me back to come meet them.  Haven of the Heart is located in Palgrave, ON, at the time it was about a 45 minute drive from where I was living.  I made arrangements to go that weekend.

Upon meeting Ursula I got to see so many of the wonderful dogs and cats she rescued and was trying to find loving homes for.  She brought me to the “cat” house, while telling of her work in rehabilitating ferrel cats, how she found Sixx and Angel with their mom and sister and had rehabilitated them. She told me how Sixx was very social and very loving (which is VERY true) and that Angel was still a bit unsure and for me not to be surprised if I hardly saw him during my visit.

While she held Sixx and I petted him, Angel came out of hiding, he curled up on a cushion near me and I started to talk to him.  After a few minutes I slowly raised my arm to stroke his cheek.  Angel laid there and let me quietly talk to him and stroke the whole time.

Ursula remarked he has never done that with anyone, and while she usually never lets her pets go home after a first meeting, seeing how Angel responded to me, was good enough for her. I was free to take the boys if I wanted that day.

That was when the Angel I was warned about showed himself.  He would not let us crate him. We tried for 15 minutes and he was so stressed out, he hid, we all agreed it was not good for him, so I left with Sixx, while Ursula set up a live trap to get Angel so I could pick him up.

While  Sixx was settling in my home with Dupont,  I worried he’d forget his brother.  I waited as each day went by, Ursula hadn’t seen Angel at all, he wasn’t even coming out of hiding to eat.

On the third day I got a call, they trapped him.  We all agreed trying to remove him from the live trap into a crate would be too stressful for him and there was a good chance we’d lose him again to another hiding spot.

I drove out to Palgrave that evening, it was pouring rain, I remember it perfectly, I was so stressed out Angel and Sixx would have forgotten each other and it would be awful.

I got Angel home and he immediately hid.  He hid for days, to be honest he basically hid for years!  As he got more comfortable with he would come out to eat and interact with his Sixx, but if I went near him he fled.

I had planned to call the boys Nikki and Sixx (for my rock God Nikki Sixx), but Angel was so good at making himself disappear, I gave him the name of my favourite magician Criss Angel.

It wasn’t until about 2 years ago, (after we enlisted the help of an animal spiritual healer for one of my fosters – and she did all my pets), Angel started coming out when I was around, and letting me pet him.  But he still would retreat to his “hiding” places when people came over.  And if he did come out when others were around, he would not let them pet him, but they would still delight that they finally got to see Angel!! I was so proud of him as he was becoming so much more social and less fearful.  That was until I turned his world around and moved him across the country.

It was such a stressful time for me and the pack, but what I didn’t expect, was turning Angel’s world upside down would be exactly what he needed to fully trust me and his pack………..

 

 

Where are they now??????

One of the things I talk about a lot is the emotional toll fostering has.  It’s not easy but it’s SO rewarding, the rewards out weigh my heart hurting/breaking when one gets adopted.  I have been so fortunate to have met so many amazing families/people who have adopted my fosters and so many have stayed in touch.  I am so grateful to those who have.

Here is an update, on the amazing dogs I have helped get to their forever homes and live happily ever after.

  1. Dougie (now Beo)

My first foster, a stray from Dominican Republic , who had been bullied by other dogs and beaten by people.  Scared of everything from dogs, my cats, people to even snow banks.  I had him for 7 weeks, when his family came along.  Now – this amazing dog is best friends with his feline brother, is a daddy’s boy and Grandpa is one of his favourite people.

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2. Marti (party pup)

Marti was from Tennessee, he was a young lab mix, and although he and his litter were dumped and left to die, he was rescued and we estimated he was only about 1-2 years old. I had Marti for a week before his family found him and it was love at first site for them all.  Adopted by a family with triplet boys and a daughter, the kids love Marti as much today as they did when they first me him two years ago and he is only too happy to accept their love!

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3. Hanna

Dumped in the Everglades with her brother to survive on her own, Hanna was with me for only one day when her family wanted to meet her.  One week late she was adopted by a young family, with two young sons.  Hanna is so proud of her family and watches her “siblings” like a hawk, knowing they are her kids.  Hanna and her family recently took in a foster and did a great job helping Stella find her forever home.  I’m so proud of them for paying it forward and I also know how very kind hearted Hanna’s mom is.  I was her “sponsor” to ensure she didn’t fail (not that being a foster fail is a bad thing!).

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4. Dahlia

My foster fail…….enough said!  LOL.  She’s loving  life in B.C. and is constantly surprising me with her youthful spirit.

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5.  Lucy (my Lulu)

Lucy was from Mexico, adopted out as a pup, and surrendered at 3 years old because her parents are assholes (that’s my opinion anyway!).  Lucy was with us for a long time, 7 months, she was unsure of anyone she met, until she met her family.  Lucy’s dad passed away suddenly about 6 months after she was adopted, but she and her mom are doing well.  I truly believe Lucy was waiting to find the family who needed her most, she is such a special spirit.

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6.  Ben (my button/now Doug)

This little guy was my boggle dog, his head looked so much bigger than the rest of his body!  That is until his mom got him healthy and strong!  Ben was with me for about 2 months when he met his family.  He is currently recovering from minor surgery, he had dewclaws removed from his back legs and a cyst on his tail needed to be removed.  He’s causing his mom a lot of grief pulling his sutures (and then replacement staples out), but he’s loved and adored.  He and his mom are also paying it forward and have also taken to fostering to help other dogs be as lucky as Ben is!

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Sweet button helps his mom by lifting his legs when she’s changing his bandages.

7. Daisy (my Roo)

Sweet Daisy was 10 weeks old when I got her.  I had her for just a couple weeks when a friend of mine adopted her!!  She is having a great life and is growing into a beautiful young lady.  She has an older brother Bailey and sadly her feline brother, Alex, passed away this week.  I’m sure Daisy will provide lots of comfort for her mom.

8. Willie and Bambi (now Vanya)

My twins as I called them!  Willie and Bambi came to me from Antique at about 7 months old.  They were such fun fosters.  Unfortunately they were not adopted together but both have been adopted by amazing homes.

Bambi, has been adopted by a lovely couple and their teenage son.  She is still a little minx and finds mischief every where. Her mom messages me often with updates on her antics and knows I know all too well what it’s like to have a Potcake with that much confidence (see Flipflop blogs!).  And we both know that “sorry mom” look they give when they’ve misbehaved but were having too much fun to stop when we try to get them to!

I knew Bambi would be ok no matter where she ended up.  But I worried about Willie, he was such a follower and so unsure of anything unless his sister was there.  Willie’s mom “watched hours of Ceaser Milan videos” and worked hard to help Willie get his confidence.  And confidence he got!  Willie loves everyone and everything.  He loves to play with other dogs and will run up to any dog to play and socialize, he no longer needs his sister to feel safe, he’s got his mom and he knows he’s safe now.

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9. Solo – by far the most popular foster to date

Solo’s past is horrid, but when he met his family, they knew!  Actually his mom said she knew from the moment she saw his photo.  When Solo got adopted, he was starting to show signs of confidence and being a real dog, but I knew he still had so much more in him.  And I was right.

His mom and I chat a lot because every day is such an amazing day with Solo.  He’s no longer afraid of people, he loves everyone.  And he especially loves playing chase and wrestling with his canine brother, Rome.

Solo is a dog now, he’s goofy, loves to play and has picked his person!  His teenage sister, Mya (who interestingly, he growled the most at when meeting the family).  Solo’s family also wants to get more involved and potentially foster down the road, but they recognize Solo still has a lot of adapting to do in his new life before starting down that path.

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Solo and his brother Rome, best friends!  Rome was patient and persistent and it paid off!

To me this is what rescue is all about, the front line rescuers take these dogs from horrific situations, and nurture them and help them get healthy and then us fosters come in.  We love them and start the ground work of what life in a loving home is like.  This is where Flipflop and Dahlia are amazing helpers too! And then the family comes, it’s bitter sweet but so worth it.

I feel so honoured that these amazing families stay in touch with me, because I have fallen in love with and still love their dogs  And I love these families too, for giving these sweet souls the best lives!

Unfortunately, not all my families are in touch, but these dogs still enter my thoughts all the time. Every foster takes a piece of my heart!  So here’s to Lola, Tess and Rose, I know they were adopted by amazing families and I’m sure are having the best life!!