Dorian

It’s all over the news, Hurricane Dorian, ripped through Bahamas and now threatening the U.S. Coast.  A horrible storm, if not the worst, definitely one of the worst in history.  It’s not the first time I’ve seen the news reporting’s of hurricanes destroying lives and leaving a path of such destruction, it’s unimaginable to those of us living inland.

I have always cared and felt empathy for those impacted by these “acts of God”, but Dorian, unlike others, hit me harder than I expected.  Why?  Because it devastated the very spot that Flipflop was born 5 years ago, it devastated those who saved my dog.

One thing people don’t always realize is the islands are not a safe place for dogs, even when it’s not hurricane season. With the lack of funding to spay and neuter, strays run rapid, being viewed as “pests” they are beaten, poisoned, tormented and worse by some.  And then there are the others on the island, that work to rescue and save as many dogs and cats as they can.

So with Dorian approaching, many who I consider friends and extended family, went into action.  There is a story that went viral about Chella Phillips, who took in 97, bless her!  My own friends worked tirelessly to remove dogs from the line of the storm and relocate them to safer havens throughout the island.   Everyone did what they could.  I checked faithfully on my extended family, those who saved Flipflop 5 years ago, and allowed me become his momma.

Angie, after ensuring all the dogs on Puppy Island were out of harms way and safe, took her own furbabies and left for Nassau with her husband.  But before doing so, gave supplies to all that decided to stay behind. Angie is one of the most amazing women I know, not only was she directly involved in saving Flipflop’s life, she has saved and re-homed hundreds of street dogs. I was blessed to meet her a few years ago and thank her in person for bringing Flipflop to me.

And then there is Marlana, who was Flipflop’s foster momma.  Upon Angie introducing us via social media, Marlana went through her photos and sent me all she had of my baby when he was in foster care with her.  She has now fostered over 200 dogs and still demonstrates how special each foster is to her.  She and I keep in touch and I love sharing Flipflop’s amazing life with her.

Dave, another advocate for animals was last heard from securing his three dogs and himself prior to the storm hitting.

And then it came………….as it pounded Flipflop’s home land and so many strangers I have come to love, my heart wept.  I know everyone did their best to get strays off the street but I cried for how many strays loss their lives.  My greatest want in life is for every creature to know love.  How many animals lost their lives to Dorian without knowing the kindness that many humans are capable of?  I cried.

The storm passed and then the wait started…………….YAY Angie posted, she and Steve are safe, whew, so glad to hear.  I stocked Marlana’s Facebook page, every 10 minutes, waiting for an update, one day passed, then two.  My good friend Sarah (fellow Canadian foster momma) connected with me, have you heard anything?  Do you know who is safe, who isn’t?  The silence was killing us.  We wept, we prayed, we hoped……………..

Finally word from Marlana was delivered through her daughter, they are ok and are safe! They survived, thankfully!

Dave? Where is Dave?  It’s a bad situation and the reality is anything can happen. We still haven’t heard from Dave.  There is posts going around in hopes of someone knowing where he is, that can bring word to us on his safety.

Now that the storm has passed, the waiting begins.  Where is everyone? Are they safe? What is the damage?  The rebuild of Bahamas, like other islands before them will begin and it will not be easy.

If you are able to give to help the animals affected:

If you prefer to donate to human causes:

If you can’t afford to give anything, thoughts and prayers are welcomed.

 

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Letting go

Everyone knows the amazing bond I have with Flipflop, he is my baby and brings so much joy to my life. Seeing how he takes care of Dahlia warms my heart, and my morning snuggles with him are the best.  He rescued me when I had to release Dupont to the rainbow bridge.

It pains me to recall these memories as I am so close to Flipflop now, he is such an amazing dog and I love him more than life. But our first year together was a struggle for me.

As is known, I wasn’t looking for another dog, I had no intention of getting another dog, as Dupont aged, I decided in time I would foster but I would never have another dog……so glad I broke that promise to myself!

Early one morning I looked at my emails and saw one from my friend, Sarah, a dog, cat and foster mom.   Sarah just decided to randomly send me her next fosters photo via email.  Before I even knew what I was doing, I said we needed to introduce this foster to Dupont……The story I have shared many times, a force greater than myself, something that I have no idea how or way came over me and I adopted Flipflop (then named Smokey).

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The photo that stole my heart.

So here I was with an ailing senior and puppy I totally didn’t expect to have.  Even with the cuteness of baby Flipflop I was very careful to ensure Dupont remained my #1.  Dupont was good with Flipflop and things were going well.

Flip & D

Just 2-1/2 months after Flipflop joined our pack, Dupont fell, he was done, he gave me all he could and needed me to repay him for his years of love and loyalty.  My heart broke, it broke like it never had before.  Laying on blanket on the floor of the vet office, beside my loyal companion, I stayed with Dupont while he took his last breath. I stayed with him for a while afterward, hugging him (I knew he hated hugs and snuggles and I managed a weak smile knowing he was looking down on me cursing me for hugging his body so tightly).

Like many dog owners, I struggled with the loss of Dupont, I had hard time not blaming myself, even through my vet assured me I did everything right with him.

My grief of losing Dupont made it hard for me to allow myself to bond with Flipflop.  I felt guilty for loving him so much.  I felt bonding with this puppy would somehow lesson the love I had for Dupont.

Flipflop did his job, he got me out of bed every morning and I was so grateful to have him to help me through the horrible grief.  But he was exhausting, he had more energy than I knew what do with, he earned his nickname – Flipflop the pup who won’t stop (and to this day he still has those moments).  I was so scared of losing Flipflop, as I did Dupont, I completely lapsed on his training and let him get away with things Dupont never would have been allowed to do.

At 6 months old, a daycare opened up down the road from me and I enrolled Flipflop on opening day!  He needed this outlet!  He was a hit at the daycare, with is antics and energy, the staff loved having him there, and I was happy I found a place for him to use up his excess energy and be happy.

Flipflop’s daycare was having a fundraiser for The Bello Project, they would have Santa there, dog business booths and a communicator.  I have blogged about communicators before and believe in them or not, the interaction I had with the communicator at Dogtopia that day, changed my relationship with Flipflop.

I had brought Dupont’s collar, in hopes the communicator could connect with him, it was almost a year since he passed away and I was unable to let go of my “what ifs” What if I did this that day instead of that, would Dupont still be here…..the truth is I know there is nothing that could have prolonged Dupont’s life, he was ready to go and he knew his baby brother would take care of me, but losing him still haunted me.

When I gave the communicator Dupont’s collar, she focused for a few minutes and then said, “he’s a big furry guy, isn’t he, ” I immediately broke into tears.  She told me that Dupont no longer wanted to see me so sad, he was happy now and was able to run without any discomfort.  He didn’t blame me or hold resentment toward me, he was ready to leave when he did.  And most importantly he didn’t begrudge my love for Flipflop.

Whether she really saw Dupont that day or somehow just knew what I needed to hear, I don’t care, her words to me allowed me to let go my guilt and allow me to fully open my heart to Flipflop.  I hadn’t realized how much I was holding back from Flipflop until after that conversation when a weight lifted off my shoulders and I knew that Dupont wanted me be happy and he knew how much he was and still is  loved.

As Flipflop and I continue our life together, I kept my promise to myself to foster and we gave second changes to 13 fosters and ended up with Dahlia along the way. Dupont will always be my eldest son and will always be a large part of my heart .

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The last picture I took of Dupont, ever, little did I know an hour later he would be laying in the snow unable to move and I would be rushing him to the vet.

 

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