“Just” a mutt

I get asked all the time, what breed Flipflop is.  “He’s a Potcake” I say, and then 95% of the time I get asked “a what?” So, I explain where the term Potcake comes from and that Flipflop is a street pup from Bahamas.  From there, people either lose interest in him, or comment how cool that is or worse say “he’s good looking for a mutt.”  WTF…………I hate that, I almost as much as people who say they can’t foster as they would get attached.

Some people are also unsatisfied with hearing he’s a mixed breed and me not knowing what MIX he is.  Well, I know he’s got a ton of terrier in him, as that’s his dominate  behaviour, maybe some Rottweiler as his eyes are very rotti like.  The truth is, I don’t care what he is, he’s my baby.

He rescued me, and I know we often say our dogs rescue us, and I don’t disagree,  Dupont helped me through losing someone very important to me to heroin and got me out of bed on days when my depression was so bad, I felt there was no reason.  But he was my reason.

And now that reason has passed down to Flipflop.  Flipflop was there when I lost Dupont, the love of my life, and he gave me reason to get out of bed.  He gives me reason every day.

I have anxiety and depression, I’ve been on medication for more than half my life, it’s not something I share with  a lot of people and hesitated putting in this blog, but its party of my journey in this life and a huge reason why my dogs are my everything.  I truly believe I would not be here if not for the love the dogs in my life, past and present.

Last night, I was horribly depressed, it hit me out of the blue and I wanted to drop off the face of the earth.  A feeling I know many of my friends have felt. I know in my head, it’s not real, these feelings, I know it’s my illness, my life is good, I have friends who love me, I live in paradise (at lease my version of paradise) and there really is no reason for me to have felt that way.  But even as I tell myself there is no reason to feel this way, the feelings don’t go away.

I often laugh at those posts on social media, so many people put them out there, “talk to me”, “I’m listening”……A person I care very much about, tried to take their life about a month ago, fortunately they were found in time and going through their treatment plan.  But someone said to me, “I told her I’m always here, she can talk to me, and I told her you are there for her too.  I told her, Joan cares about you and would never judge, you can talk to her if you don’t want to talk to me.”  It’s true, I do care for this person and I never judge anyone, but I also know talking to someone is the last thing I want to do when I’m depressed.

I had a conversation with my doctor about three months before I left for B.C. I was feeling great at the time, but told her I had an episode, much like the one I had last night, but this one lasted a few days.  She asked me why I didn’t come see her, and I looked at her and said “why? you can’t do anything to help when I’m feeling that way.”

And unfortunately, I truly feel that way, at least in my situation, that no amount of people, talking, love, friends, etc. can help me. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t care to talk to anyone, I just want to vanish from the world.  But I don’t, I don’t because, in my case, I always have a dog (now two of them!).

When I want to vanish into thin air, the love for my dogs always keeps me here.  Flipflop, who doesn’t care about his mom’s mental state, demands his belly be pet, and trust me when I’m down I get totally frustrated with it as I just want to be left alone. But he doesn’t care, and he loves me no matter how broken I am.

I am so undeserving of my dogs.  And although Flipflop may be “just” a mutt, to so many dog snobs out there, and under appreciated for his insane personality.  To me, just like his brother before him, he is my world.  He saves me just by being my dog.  He saved me by JUST being a mutt!

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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.

Dahlia Rescue

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

Trusting

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.

Toy

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!