Happy Holidays

Well, it’s the holiday season, in fact Christmas Eve is tomorrow, and the end of 2018 is nearing. This morning I did a short slide show for my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/RESCUEDthebookbyJoanZammit/?ref=bookmarks, that one of my best friends (Jennifer) and I run.  Of course it’s all about rescuing, dogs and cats in need of homes and feel good posts.  The slide show are pictures of some of my dogs and cats and Jennifer’s dogs, not all of the pets are still with us and pulling up the old photos got me recalling the past.

I was thinking of just last weekend where I was enjoying a night out doing Karaoke with some friends, old and new and an Anne Murray song was sang.  I’m not sure why that song ran into my head this morning, but it lead me to think of the time Jennifer and I went to a cottage for week with our then dogs, Chloe and Dupont.

While we were getting ourselves organized we had put the radio on, Anne Murray’s You Needed Me came on.  As we unpacked food and listened the lyrics, we both broke down in tears.  Not because of the strong bond and friendship we share or because of any other person, but because her dog, Chloe, and my dog, Dupont.  They were our rocks and our everything.

As we laughed and cried we talked about how much we needed them and how we would not survive without them.  They were only 2 and 3 years old at the time, but still the thought of the inevitable happening one day pained us so.

Well, Dupont passed away almost 4 years ago, Chloe followed 1-1/2 years ago, both events marked days of our lives that neither Jennifer or myself thought we’d survive, but we did, somehow, although those days still feel like yesterday in our hearts.

Life is unpredictable, you can be happy one minute and have a song bring you to tears the next. But while life does have its up and downs it is nice to know that no matter how horrible and painful it can be, in  time even the painful memories can bring a smile through our tears.

Happy Holidays in memory of Chloe, Dupont, Jasmine, Buddy and Sabre.

 

 

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Siblings

I write a lot about the relationship Flipflop has with my fosters, how he takes care of them and teaches them, but I seldom talk about his relationship with, Dahlia.  Dahlia arrived in our home in  April 2017.  She was to be foster number 4 but I ended up adopting her and she became part of my forever family.

Dahlia is 9 or 10 years old (9 if you go by the birth date I gave her, but I don’t know for certain when she was born), and Flipflop is 4.  Despite her being the senior dog, she was very broken when she moved in with me, and she too got schooled by Flipflop (and continues to learn from him).

She looks up to her baby brother and he looks out for her. I am so used to seeing them together every day, I often forget how sweet their bond is, but was reminded this morning.

Last night I was at a Christmas party, hosted by my good friend and neighbour.  When the crowd thinned out late in the evening, I went and got the dogs (my neighbours dog, Miss Ellie, was at my place during the party as well).

Dahlia eventually laid and slept, she had a very long walk that day with Flipflop and Miss Ellie.  She had also met Santa for the first time that afternoon so it was an eventful day for her.  When I got up to leave the party, Flipflop followed me to the door and I put his leash on.  I called Dahlia and grabbed her leash, she wasn’t moving.  She was exhausted!  It’s not the first time Dahlia visited my neighbour and invited herself to sleep over, by refusing to get up.  I thanked my neighbour for the fun evening and allowing Dahlia to spend the night.

This morning, Flipflop and I got up and went out for our usual long walk. When we got home, I was certain he was going to eat breakfast and fall asleep.  But I was wrong. Flipflop was expecting to see Dahlia when he got home.

He ran into our apartment and bolted to the bedroom, upon seeing Dahlia was not there, he ran to the living room and was looking for her.  He immediately became concerned and wanted on the balcony to check for her there.  I told him she would be home later and made his breakfast.

Normally Flipflop ravenously eats his meals, but today he took a couple of pieces of his kibble and dropped them on the floor.  He had no interest in food, and just kept walking around looking for Dahlia.  He sat beside me and whined with concern.

I texted my neighbour asking when I could come and get Dahlia to soothe Flipflop’s concern.  I waited for my neighbour to respond and remembered I had a marrow bone in my cupboard which I gave Flipflop to busy him.  He gnawed on the bone but after a few minutes left it, something he never does, he usually chews on the bones until there is no trace of marrow left.  But today he had too much on his mind, his sister was no where to be found.

Dahlia did make it home and when she did, Flipflop was so relieved and happy to see her.  He sniffed her from nose to tail to make sure she was OK, Dahlia was also happy to be home.  The two of them danced around and then they both ate their breakfasts (every last bit) before Flipflop went back to his bone and finished it! He then joined Dahlia in a content sleep.

At this moment I am watching the two of them peacefully sleeping, happy  to be home together.

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The strangers we know

Lynne Nikolopoulos passed away on  December 3rd, 2018 after a long fearless battle with cancer.  I do not know Lynne, we have some mutual friends and she and I are Facebook “friends”.  I have never met Lynne, nor even spoken to her in my life, and yet hearing of her death brought tears to my eyes.

Lynne is a rescuer, she dedicated her life to Potcakes and from what I hear from those who do know her, she was an angel on earth to all living things.

Being a foster mom, I feel a connection to those who rescue, I know the heartache, the sadness, pure joy and love that come with it.  Lynne is no different, even while battling cancer, she fought for animals in need and continued to do her part.

Although this blog is short, I wanted to take a moment to honour Lynne and all the heroes we have loved and lost. Lynne was a stranger to me but I feel like I knew her, through our commitment, bond and love for animals in need.

Lynne was an angel on earth and her spirit will live on through all those she saved, all those who knew her and loved her and through strangers like me, who know her, even without ever meeting her.

Rescue Rainbow Bridge Poem (Author Unknown)

Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.

It wasn’t long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.

He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be.

But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.

With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren’t playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.

One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn’t understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a while to explain it to him.
You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge.

The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, “So what will happen now?” As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life.

“Watch, and see” said the second animal. A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.

“What happened?”

“That was a rescuer.” The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work. They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn’t place on earth, across The Rainbow Bridge.

“I think I like rescuers,” said the first animal.

“So does GOD,” was the reply.

 

 

 

The Power of Duck Jerky

My Potcake, Flipflop, is a mix of a lot of different breeds, however; the one breed that is dominate in him is the Jack Russell.  Jack Russell’s are very smart, intelligent dogs, as is Flipflop.  They are also very high energy, as if Flipflop!  Flipflop, Dahlia and I go for a lot of long walks and when we’re lucky we find a safe place for Flipflop to run, play fetch, wrestle, or play tug.  Even when he’s tired, he loves to play and today was no different.

After our morning walk (including some fetch and wrestling), Flipflop contently went to bed as soon as he finished his breakfast.  I ran out and did some errands and when I got home an hour later, Flipflop was ready to go again.

I put him and Dahlia on their leashes and off we went.  We got to the large fenced off baseball field, used in the summer by many dog owners as a safe place for our dogs to run and play off leash, it is now locked up for the winter.  I knew Flipflop could fit through the opening in the gate, so let him go off on his own. He had so much fun running and sniffing on his own, while Dahlia and I waited for him outside of the field.

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When  Flipflop had his full of running he ran back to the gate where Dahlia and I were waiting.  It then occurred to me that in his excitement to run free he ran through the opening with no hesitation.  But now that he was no longer excited, he didn’t have the momentum to run through the gate and with every attempt would back away, fearful.

It broke my heart because I knew he was so worried and upset that he was trapped away from Dahlia and I.  I crouched down, encouraging him to come to me.  I had his leash in hand and tried to gently pull him through, but as soon as he got his head out he’d back away again.

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After a few minutes, I remembered I had some crumbs left of duck jerky in my pocket.  Flipflop (and Dahlia) love duck jerky, and I sometimes carry it with me on walks to work on some training reinforcement with them.  As soon as I remember I had the bag in my pocket (even with only crumbs left in the bag), I pulled it out.

As soon as Flipflop saw the treat bag out of my pocket, he poked his head through the gate.  I put some crumbs on my hand, and called him to me, he backed away again. So I put some excitement into my voice, while I encouraged him.  I could tell he was still really unsure, but the smell of duck jerky was too much to resist.  And with a slight pause, Flipflop barreled through the gate and gobbled down the crumbs of jerky.

He then jumped up for a hug (he loves to be hugged) and we continued our walk home.  Mental note to me, not to let Flipflop go through the gate alone again, unless I have some trusty jerky in my pocket!