Remembering Dupont

“He gave you three more years than I ever expected him to,” my vet said, as I made the painful decision to let Dupont go.  And as I sit here now, all these years later, snuggling with Flipflop,  I am telling him, for the hundredth time, how Dupont brought him to me. I find myself reliving those last moths with Dupont, when he was ready for me to let him go, but waited for Flipflop to arrive before telling me it was time.

The human/animal bond is one that only those who have opened their hearts up to a pet understand.  I have been so blessed to have so many dogs and cats touch my soul and I hope they all know how much they have touched me.

My blog started as a tribute to my passion for animal rescue and has grown to be more about my pets and life today, as we moved from Ontario to BC. Despite the changes, one thing has never changed, my love for animals and my belief that they all deserve a loving, safe environment.

It was Dupont who, through his love and companionship, made me want to pay it forward and foster in my future.  It was through Flipflop I learned the real need out there for more people to get involved and it was though Dahlia that I fell in love with the idea of forever adopting senior dogs in my future.

But this blog is for Dupont, my first dog (as an adult) who I loved so fiercely,  I wrongly believed I could love no other dog.  Dupont saw my hearts potential and knew that I could provide a home and just as much love for other dogs.

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For those new to my blog, Dupont was my Collie/Shepherd.  My ex-husband and I got him when he was 6 weeks old. I will never forget when my ex called me at work and read me the ad for Dupont and his litter.  He had called and there were only 2 pups left and we were the third interested party.  It was a first come, first serve type of situation.  I emailed my boss that I had to leave and drove home to grab my ex and drive to the farm where Dupont and his siblings were.

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On Dupont’s first birthday, my ex and I decided to separate, Dupont coming with me wasn’t even a question, I would have killed for this dog and my ex knew it. Dupont was my rock through so much over the years.  I started calling him “my heart” because, as I would say him, I couldn’t live without my heart, and I didn’t want to live without Dupont.

At the age of three, Dupont was diagnosed with arthritis, very young to have such a condition, but my vet and I started longevity treatment to give him the best quality of life.  And it worked, it worked for another 7 years before he wanted me to let him go.

Around the age of 7 or 8, Dupont stopped wanting to go for our long walks, I was devastated.  A friend of mine said when her dog got to that state, she embraced it.  She would take a book with her and when her dog wanted to rest, she would sit down and read.  I loved the idea and for the last couple years of his life, that’s what we did.  We would find a shady tree and just sit under it and chill out for hours.  I got to meet so many wonderful people walking by, as Dupont laid there watching the world go by.  I wouldn’t trade those moments with him for anything in the world.

As he aged, his walks went from going to our local park to lay down, to just going across the parking lot of our building.  But I didn’t care, as long as he was with me and he was happy.  As he found life more challenging, I made it easier, I bought the supplies and had my brother in-law build a ramp for him to be able to get up on my bed.  I purchased a “help ’em up” harness for him to wear.  I purchased collapsible stairs for him to be able to get in and out of my car with ease.  Whatever he needed, I got for him!

We celebrated his 10th and last birthday by going to the pet store and me buying him anything he looked at and then we laid out under a shady tree for most of the day.  I had a feeling it was our last birthday together, but I would never speak the words aloud.  My motherly instincts just knew that this sweet boy was ready to leave me soon. This was in July of 2014.

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In October that same year, I inexplicably told my friend, Sarah, that I needed to introduce Dupont to her foster, who was enroute from Bahamas.  To this day, I have zero idea why I did this.  My plan was never to get another dog, but to foster and help other dogs in need on their path to their happy ending.  All I do know is I believe Dupont, through divine intervention, made me do it.  He was ready to leave this earth, but he needed to make sure I was going to be ok.

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Two and half months after Flipflop’s adoption, Dupont left this earth, with me by his side, thanking him for all his love and devotion to me.  January 14th of 2015, Dupont went to the rainbow bridge taking a large part of broken heart with him.  But he left me a puppy, who needed me.  His gift to me was Flipflop, although sometimes I wonder if it was a gift or a practical joke, lol, but either way, I found a way to move on with Flipflop by my side. I couldn’t stay in bed and cry all day, the puppy needed me, and I truly believe this was Dupont’s way of making sure I would go on without him.

It’s been 5 years since Dupont left me and for five years not a day goes by that he’s not been on my mind. To some this will make no sense at all, after all, Dupont was “just” a dog, but to me he was my baby.  And 3 years ago, on January 14th, the second anniversary of Dupont’s passing, my sister’s son was born.  My awesome nephew, Kasen, who I have such a great relationship with, despite our distance.  My sister, likely doesn’t even remember saying this to me, but I remember it so clearly, she said to me, “it’s kind of weird how my baby was born on the same day you lost yours.”

Kasen’s birthdate may have been another divine intervention by Dupont, as now on January 14th, I celebrate Kasen, while never forgetting about the loss of my boy.  I can’t help but to wonder if Dupont, once again, through his divine intervention, arranged for Kasen to be born on January 14th, to stop me from being devastated on this day, but rather to remember him fondly and find joy in my life through Kasen.

Some may think I’m crazy, others may believe as I do, or some may just not know, but whatever others think, doesn’t matter to me.  I know in my heart, Dupont was placed in my life to take care of me, he is my guardian angel, both while on earth and now on the rainbow bridge.  He is with me always, both in my heart and in my daily life as he shows me time and time again, there really is no love like the love of one’s dog.

 

Flipflop and his Pawscout

It happens every year and  I’m never ready for it.  The days start getting longer, the temperature doesn’t dip below zero as often, and Flipflop starts misbehaving…….he’s got Spring Fever!  I will never understand why he gets so hyped up when spring is arriving, he hates the summer heat, so we typically are out more during the cold months than the warm ones.  But whatever the reason, when the winter weather starts to turn into spring days, Flipflop goes crazy.

I was at the pet store about three weeks ago and at the cash I saw a display for Pawscout. I was intrigued, having a runner for a dog (although he always comes back to me, 95% of the time on the first call, the other 5% on his own timing). I wanted to learn more about it.  It runs off the Bluetooth on your phone letting you know, through an app on your phone, the whereabouts of your dog for approximately 200 meters (pawscout.com).  I thought for $20 why not check it out!

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The very next morning, as if on cue to test the Pawscout, Flipflop went running into the mountains, he was gone, and I had no idea where he was off to. My Pawscout told me he was out of range.

At first, I didn’t worry, as he’s chased deer in the past year, and within a minute or two I expected him come running back to me.  But he didn’t this time.  I couldn’t hear him or see him, I climbed up the mountain and kept calling him.

After half an hour, of calling him and waiting, I realized we were no longer in Ontario and my dog was now lost in the wild. I wanted to start looking further up the mountains for him.  But I also knew Dahlia couldn’t do that with me, so I decided to take her home.  The 10-minute walk back to our place, seemed to take an hour, I brought her home and left to try and find my dog.

The mountain was icy and slippery and it was really hard for me to climb but I was a mom on a mission.  My baby boy was lost and I knew this was not how our story was to end. Our story is to end in many years from now when he is old and ready to leave this life and wait for me on the bridge with my beloved other past babies.  I had to find him!

As I slipped and slid through the side of the mountain, I finally got to a flat area, I stopped to catch my breath and I started calling him and looking for signs that he’d been there (with the altitude there was snow in the area so I was looking for tracks).  My Pawscout still said he was out of range.  I looked around trying to decide next steps, I looked down toward the untraveled dirt road and he was standing there, looking up at me….

“Hi” I said, and as soon as he heard my voice, he ran up the mountain side, so happy to see me. Admittedly, I was probably happier to see him! When he got to me he started running, as if to continue a hike with me.  “NO,” I said, “Flipflop, Come!”  This time he did listen and I leashed him up.

I took a few minutes to get myself together and noticed his Pawscout still said he was out of range.  That really upset me, as he could have been near me at times and not showing. I made a mental note to contact the company.  I also decided Flipflop was grounded from being off leash for a while!

Taking a moment with my boy.

I emailed Pawscout and asked if I did something incorrect with the set up.  I was amazed by the customer service I received and within a week, a brand new Pawscout was in my mailbox.

I set up the new tag and put it on Flipflop’s collar.  The new tag is working great, and fortunately, so are Flipflop’s listening ears now that the spring weather has been around for a few weeks.

This weekend we went for a hike and Flipflop went running into the thick bush, as he ran back and forth, in and out of my Pawscout’s range, it would alert me when he was close.  About midway up the mountain the people trail ends, so we usually turn around and start heading down at that point.  I couldn’t see or hear Flipflop, but I looked at my phone and saw he was nearby, so I just had to say “this way” and within seconds he came from the thick bush and happily started down the mountain with me.

While I never like when Flipflop is out of sight, I also recognize his need for exercise and the awesome opportunity he has here living in BC, to run and be free.  And now that I have a working Pawscout tag, it’s been even better as he and I enjoy the mountains.

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King of the mountain. 

 

My hearts calling

I was talking to my good friend, Joanne, this week.  I met Joanne a year ago, on March 2nd, when she and her family came to my place for a meet and greet with Solo.  She and I were reminiscing about that special day, when my most “famous” foster dog met his forever family and how much has changed since that day.

A year ago, I was interviewing for the job I currently have, 4000 KM away from where I was living. Rome (Joanne’s mastiff) was terribly mourning the loss of his big brother, Merle, who had passed away just weeks before.  Solo was afraid of everyone but me and my tight-knit group of friends I had been socializing him with over the weeks of fostering. Joanne and I were strangers.

Joanne and her family had two meet and greets scheduled that day, Solo and I were the second one.  I had shared all my blogs about Solo and my experiences with Joanne so the family understood his past before meeting him.  I wanted Solo to feel safe with me at all times, so I wanted to ensure the family didn’t do anything to freak him out. I was sure they would be scared off by his insecurity and I was all ready broken hearted about having to send this sweet boy to a new foster home, as my timeline for moving out west drew closer.

Joanne and her family were all ready in love with Solo before meeting him, but Rome was the decision maker on his new sibling.  Joanne told me first meet and greet did not go well, Rome didn’t have any interest in the first dog. Upon moments after meeting Solo Joanne noticed that Rome was much more relaxed with Solo.

Solo and his sweet brother Rome.

Within minutes we were up in apartment chatting and letting the dogs interact.  It was a match made in brother heaven.  Rome wanted Solo and the family was willing to put the time and commitment into Solo’s recovery from his terrible abusive past.

On Sunday, March 9th, it’ll be one year since Solo left for his forever home and started his incredible journey.  It also marks the last time I said good bye to a beloved foster, as within weeks I accepted a job offer and was preparing to move to British Columbia.

My intentions hadn’t changed, I planned to continue to my work with rescue out here and within in weeks of moving here, I made some connections.  I wasn’t ready to foster, I needed my pets to adjust and become comfortable in their new surroundings, and I was going through a lot of change myself.

I was preparing to start application screening for the local rescue, as my way of being involved until I was ready to foster.  Unfortunately just as I started working with them, I saw a disturbing picture the President of the rescue posted on social media.  She had done something to one of her own dogs, that I would never do and I felt my values didn’t align with the rescue.  That said, they are still saving dogs, and therefore I will not bash them or shame them publicly.  I respectfully withdrew my offer to volunteer.

Now that we’ve been here for almost a year, my heart and pack are ready to start taking fosters in again, once Big Lady (now named Hazel) is integrated into the pack.

I’m hoping within the next 6 months I will be able to work with the SPCA or find another rescue in a near by town that I can foster for.  My heart will break again and again, as it did in Ontario every time a foster left to go to their forever home, but I also know my heart will heal and being part of so many wonderful, amazing dogs journeys to their happy endings, out weighs any pieces of my broken heart that leaves with each dog.