My amazing Dahlia

Well, it has been over 4 years since I met Lady Dahlia and started fostering her.  Many have read her stories, and why I ended up adopting her.

Short recap:  Dahlia slipped out of her collar on a walk, and was missing for 3-1/2 hours, only for me to find her waiting outside my apartment to be let back in!   I realized this sweet senior dog would spend her life looking for me, and I could not let her go.

Four years later, she is still a blessing in my life, enjoying the benefits of living out west.

It is not uncommon here for dogs to be off leash.  I live in a dog-friendly town and a very dog-friendly community, which has its pros and cons (which I will save for another blog).  So today was no different than many other days, Flipflop and Dahlia were off leash walking with me.

We were taking our usual route.   Less than 5 minutes down the road from where I live is an abandoned dirt road, only used now and then by construction trucks.  The north side of the road is a large open field, on the south side are more mountains and lots of great hiking trails.  Some days, we take the trails but most days, when Dahlia is with us, we stick to the road.

Today I decided to mix it up slightly and we went to the field.  Flipflop ran and played while Dahlia decided to lay down and rest. Not uncommon for her, so I continued to keep an eye on Flipflop.  He started making his way quickly across the field, which leads to the Trans Canada Highway, so I called him back.  He came and then proceeded to run again, I called him back and leashed him.  Since he was listening to me, I decided I would still let him go see what he was interested in, leashed, so I could make sure he was safe.

Not so surprisingly, he wanted to go to some deceased animal bones and some form of wildlife feces.  I turned him back and unleashed him to go back to his sister. When we returned to the long grassy area where I left Dahlia waiting, she was nowhere to be found.

Flipflop did not seem to know where she was either.

I quickly got out my phone and called my neighbour, whose two-year-old Doodle named Oreo can make Dahlia jump through hoops at the sight of him. While explaining to Dawn that I needed her to bring Oreo out as Dahlia was somewhere in this field, I could not see her and sadly, as she is deaf, she can no longer hear me calling out to her.

Just as Dawn said she would be right out, I saw this lone dog, walking a kilometre down the road!  She was doing our long morning walk on her own, looking for Flipflop and I!  She had gotten confused when I left her in the field, and she thought we were on the road so went searching for us!  My heart broke, my poor sweet girl.  I screwed up and left her alone and she wanted us near her.

I quickly told Flipflop to go get his sister, a command he has come to know and usually goes to her.  But today he decided it was more fun to run beside me as I made my way up the hill, struggling with the limits of my cardio!  I kept calling Dahlia’s name, knowing she could not hear me, but hoping for a miracle.  I knew she was safe, but I was worried a truck would come unexpectedly and she would not hear it. The construction workers are great, they are always going slow and watching for dogs, but Dahlia always needs me to guide her off the road when a truck is coming.

In what was likely five minutes, but felt like two hours, we caught up with Dahlia, as soon as Flipflop ran to her, she turned around and saw me.  Just like the first time she went missing, as soon as she saw me, she came running to me.  I gave her lots of treats and an apology for her thinking I would ever leave her and not come back!

This was not the first time I have left Dahlia to rest for a few minutes while I took Flipflop on a short adventure, but it will 100%, definitely be the last!

Hazel

I cannot believe that it has been almost a year since Hazel (aka Big Lady) came into our lives. 

I also cannot believe that I have only dedicated one blog to her, although, admittedly, I have taken a respite from blogging and am just getting back into it!

Hazel is Miss Ellie’s baby sister.  On February 14th, 2020, Janet brought her little girl home, and she was instantly enamored by us all.

Well, by us humans and Dahlia anyway. 

Flipflop and Miss Ellie took some time…..

The past twelve months have flown by, and it is difficult to believe that for the first few months of Hazel’s arrival, I had to keep her and Flipflop separated.  He was extremely jealous of the new puppy joining his pack.  He had navigated his way through numerous foster siblings, but somehow, he knew that Hazel’s situation was unique, that she was Auntie Janet’s baby and that she would be sticking around!

In April of 2020, Flipflop finally started to engage Hazel in play, but only if we were in Janet’s home. When Janet visited in our home, Flipflop still did not like it.  I am not certain when he started changing his tune with her, but the memory of him wanting nothing to do with Hazel is a blur now! 

He loves her! 

Hazel has brought so much joy into the pack, and she reminds me so much of Flipflop when he was just a couple of years younger.  Her energy is endless, she climbs the mountainsides like a goat, and she loves love.

When Janet was getting Hazel, I knew I would love her, I have yet to meet a dog that I have not been smitten with! 

What I did not expect was to be so infatuated with this sweet pup and for her to remind me so much of Flipflop that I simply cannot get enough of her!  

(Please do not misunderstand that this means that I love Dahlia and Miss Ellie any less than with my whole heart.  I adore those two ladies more than words can describe.)

Hazel and Flipflop have this energy around them that makes me want to just squeeze them with everything that I have.  My heart melts at the sight of them, their zest for life, their crazy personalities, and the fact that, at the end of it all, they both just want to curl up and snuggle with their mommas.

I find humour and nostalgia in Janet’s exhaustion when Hazel hasn’t tired and wants to keep going.  I have lived through it with Flipflop (and still do some days).  I love watching how Hazel incites a youthfulness in Miss Ellie, and how Miss Ellie will engage her baby sister in play.  I so enjoy hiking with Hazel and Flipflop and watching her follow him everywhere as they run. 

Now that Miss Ellie and Flipflop have accepted Hazel, Dahlia no longer feels it necessary to coddle her, but, on every visit, Hazel makes a point to approach Dahlia and give her kisses.  It’s such a dear gesture; Hazel wants to let her old friend know that she still loves her.

Hazel’s special personality endears her to everyone whom she encounters, even my cat Angel who generally avoids the dogs at all costs.  Hazel is so kind and gentle that Angel will allow her to approach him.  Hazel will even seek him out if he’s hiding when she visits.

To meet Hazel is to love Hazel.  This lovely pup has such a special soul, she melts my heart, and I am so proud to be her Auntie!

This Sunday (February 14th), we’ll be celebrating Hazel’s first Gotcha Day, and of course, the three-year engagement of Miss Ellie and Flipflop!

I LOVE LUCY!

As a past foster mom, I always think and worry about the dogs who have come into my life.

Some of them have moms who have become friends and we chat often; others touch base periodically and sadly, a few have moved on and I just hope that my former fosters are as loved as I want them to be.  I’m pretty sure that they are, but I miss not hearing about them. 

However, I know that fostering is a job, I am just a moment in time in a dogs life to help get a pup in crisis off the street, away from abuse, or just a place to chill while they got ready for a forever home.

As with any experience in life, time goes on and so does life, and although you carry all those you loved in your heart, it wasn’t until recently that I was reminded how you really never stop loving your foster dogs! 

Lucy, a terrier mix, had come to me after being surrendered back to the rescue because her deadbeat humans were getting divorced and neither of them wanted her (they had three dogs, took one each and surrendered Lucy). 

While this pisses me off to no end, it was definitely Lucy’s good fortune! 

Lucy stayed with us for six months before finding her perfect home, and I was completely confident that her forever mom would love and care for her, and I was right.

I speak with Lucy’s mom every now and then, just a quick check-in to see how they are doing. I last spoke with her in December, and Lucy was doing great.  She and her mom moved last year and Lucy had made lots of friends in her new neighbourhood.

So, when my friend, Jen, forwarded an “available for adoption” posting featuring Lucy to me, my heart stopped!!

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!  I literally thought I would throw up. 

Why was Lucy back up for adoption???

Why didn’t the rescue contact me to tell me???

I know that the rescue isn’t obligated to keep me updated, but Sherri and I have become great friends, and she knows that every one of my foster kids are a piece of my heart.  And although I no longer fostered for Sherri (because I had moved across the country), I would have asked to have Lucy flown out to stay with us if she was not in a good place.

While a million thoughts raced through my head, I noticed all the pictures I submitted for Lucy’s adoption were on the ad.

I frantically messaged Jen back……..

Is this a new post for Lucy??? She’s one of mine!!!!”

“Oh hon, NO!” she wrote back, “This was in my [Facebook] memories today!”

My breathing slowly returned to normal as Jen continued to type…

“I remembered when you fostered her, and she is so cute!   I would NEVER scare you like that!”

Needless to say, relief overcame me instantly and eventually my heart rate returned to normal. 

But it did remind me how much of my heart I gave to all those who came into my life, and how that will never change. Truthfully, I wouldn’t want it to!

Much to Lucy’s displeasure I dressed her up as a Christmas Elf!

Prince Charming ❤

I don’t believe in fairy tales.  Life doesn’t always give us happy endings.  But, in some cases, for some lucky humans and dogs, it can. 

I know this because a very special Prince is giving a dear friend of mine a happy ending that she never saw coming.

A few weeks before Christmas, I received a text from Jen (the mom of Chloe, Jasmine and Hope who I have posted about before).   She and her husband decided to foster for the first time.  There was a senior German Shepherd in need of urgent fostering and Jen felt compelled to help.

Knowing the grief that Jen was going though after losing Hope in September, I knew this would be so beneficial for her.  I knew what Jen did not.  I knew that no matter how much your heart is breaking, having another dog around to care for really helps. 

No dog ever replaces another dog, that is impossible, but they do help remind us that we can love again.

And not long after Prince arrived, Jen confided in me that she was falling in love.

Jen shared with me that she didn’t expect to become attached to Prince as much and as soon as she did and was surprised by her own ability to love so much after having felt such heartbreak.

Despite Jen’s heart opening to love Prince, she was determined to honour her agreement with Prince’s rescue and foster Prince until they found a suitable forever home for him. 

Again, I knew something that Jen did not! 

Us foster moms think no other home will be as good as ours is for our fosters!  I went through that with every foster dog, and everyone I know who has fostered feels that way. 

But of course, we are wrong.  We just love them so much; we cannot imagine anyone loving them as much as we do.  Our dogs always end up with amazing families, and sometimes we end up with awesome new friends!

Like many dogs who find themselves in rescue, Prince had not had a great life.  He lived most of his life locked up in a garage and at 10 years old, his interactions with humans had not always been positive.  Jen and her husband did an amazing job with Prince.  They followed my advice and that of the rescue, gave him space to feel comfortable and safe and gained his trust in a very short time. 

If you ask Jen, she would attribute that to Prince being so brave in so many new situations in such a short period of time.  She is so proud of him.

It has been over a month since Prince arrived at his foster home, and he’s been doing great.  Jen is teaching Prince how to do stairs, and he is starting to act like the “Diva Prince” that he was meant to be, and he is learning how to be a proper dog. 

His lack of socialization does make him anxious around other dogs and cats, so Jen avoids those situations with him and even though he had never been walked on a leash, Jen has gotten him on a routine and he thoroughly enjoys his strolls around the neighbourhood.

A week ago, I received a text from Jen.  “It’s official” was all it said.  I didn’t even have to ask.  “You’re adopting Prince!!”, I replied, and I was right. 

It was then that I confessed to Jen that when contacted for a reference for fostering, I had told the rescue that she would likely adopt Prince. 

I would have never said that to Jen because I know how insulting that is to say to a foster parent, as we really do go into it with the intentions of breaking our hearts when the dogs leave us. 

But I also knew that her heart wasn’t ready to hear that she would be able to love another dog and give it a home. 

It’s so easy for us to say we will never get another dog; it hurts too much when they pass. 

But we don’t realize how resilient our hearts are, and how there is infinite love to give if we open ourselves up to giving good homes to dogs in need.

And although Jen found her human Prince Charming many years ago, I’m glad she found her canine Prince Charming to remind her that there is always room to love another.

Flipflop’s DNA Test

I have stated this before, and stand by it, I don’t care what breed(s) a dog is.  Nothing ticks me off more than when people won’t accept “mutt” as an answer and keep pushing to ask what breeds are in a dog.  I get the curiosity but some dogs, like Flipflop, really are a classic mutt with more breeds than one could imagine.  Of course, his official breed is a Royal Bahamian Potcake, which confuses people more than when I say, “he’s a mutt.”

That said I always did wonder what made up my boy, he has such a big personality and can go from sweet to terror in the flash of an eye.  His energy can go for days, and although he would exhaust me to point of tears, when he was a pup, I wouldn’t have traded him for the world!  After 6 years of wondering and guessing that he had a lot of Jack Russell Terrier in him and some Rottweiler for sure, I decided to do a DNA test, for fun.

The results came in the day before my birthday, it took all I had but I didn’t look at the results and waited to do a live breed reveal on Facebook.  It was SO fun.  As I expected 50% of Flipflop came back undetermined, likely terrier, but could be Asian or Guard breeds.  The balance of the 50% were:

12.5% German Shepherd, 12.5% Papillon, 12.5% Australian Shepherd and 12.5% McNab.  Some of my friends guessed he had German Shepherd in him!!  I wasn’t surprised by the 50% but was shocked to see no Rottweiler in him.  He is so broad and muscular like one, I thought for sure I’d see that.

Learning this information was really interesting, it did help me understand his personality better and make more sense of some of his quirks!  I really enjoyed finding out the information and Wisdom Panel even did a family tree down to his great-grand parents.

The test also shares Flipflop’s ideal weight, based on his make up and some basic information about the breeds that make him up. 

Today I decided to take it a step further. Wisdom Panel sent me an email for a discount if I wanted them to break down Flipflop’s DNA down to 1%, this means no guessing at the 50% and they would also do 211 genetic health tests to see if Flipflop is at risk.  I could not resist!!

I got the results back immediately, which tells me it’s a total marketing scam to get more money since they had the results but didn’t share them before, but that’s ok!  It’s still worth it, as Flipflop is clear of all 211 genetic health conditions and it was fun learning more about my Potcake! 

And his official breed breakdown is:

The updated results also came with an analysis, based on Flipflop’s DNA, what markings he likely has, and they were surprisingly accurate!

I would recommend doing a DNA test for anyone who is interested in their dog’s genetics or for some entertainment. It’s a great way to better understand some of your pup’s personality and what makes them who they are! 

Hope is gone

I knew the month was coming, the signs were all there. Jen, Hope’s mom, was doing everything in her power to give Hope the best quality of life when her mobility started giving out. And she succeeded for quite some time.

I knew the day was coming, when Jen told me she and her vet decided Jen would take one more week with her girl to love on her before letting her go peacefully. Jen kept Hope completely comfortable and loved in her final days, there was no suffering on Hope’s end, Jen would never allow it.

I knew the time was coming when I felt my heart instantly break and tears ran down my face without notice. Hope is leaving us…….it all seemed so real all of a sudden.

I met Hope as a puppy, I was living with Jen when she brought her home, I remember asking if we could keep her. I lived with Hope for a few years before moving out but of course would see her whenever I visited Jen.

Hope and I on her first day home.

Hope and I would do dance routines, much to Jen’s amusement and we got quite good at them. Hope……..she was so naughty and yet so loved. She would urinate on Dupont’s bed, she ate a couch of mine, Flipflop still wears the scar she gave him as a pup when she didn’t want him in her home. I was looking at that little mark on him with so much love today, for both him and Hope. Hope would drive Jen to the brink of insanity with her antics, but she was so loved by us, and still is.

Hope and her beautiful mom

Hope’s leaving this physical world, is hitting me hard, much harder than I expected. She is the last of Dupont’s friends, the ones he grew up with. Its the end of an era.

Hope was the last of Jen’s three dogs to pass away, as we said goodbye to Chloe and Jasmine a few years ago. I can’t even imagine, well that’s a lie, I can totally imagine the pain my dear friend is in. I know how much pain I am in, 4000 KM away from them, with my birthday boy (Flipflop is 6 today) and my Benjamin Button senior, Dahlia. I know Jen’s pain is indescribable, I know that there are no human words, or actions that will take away the pain for her. Time won’t, time will just help her learn to live with the pain, as we both know all too well.

I take comfort, as I hope Hope’s mom and dad do, that Hope is with her sisters again. Dupont is there with his feline sister, Sabre. Hope loved Sabre, so I hope they are reuniting and reminiscing of their time together with their crazy moms and how much they are all so loved and always will be.

We will love you forever Hope. XO

Darling Dahlia

I can’t get enough of how sweet and kind darling Dahlia is.  Despite a rough eight long years, she thrives. As heartbreaking as it is to think about, the day her previous “owner” left her with a broken body in a ditch to die, may have been the luckiest day of her life.  Because she was rescued that day, and is loved more than she probably could have imagined. Despite her broken bones, her spirit was not broken.  It just needed some TLC and this girl bounced back.

If the greatest revenge is living well, Dahlia is seeking the best revenge of all.  And this sweet Catahoula never fails to amaze me every day.

Dahlia has slowed down since we moved out west, she no longer can scale the trials like she did a year ago, but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying her walks.  After starting her on pain management medication, Dahlia is living her third lease on life.  And is more special than ever before.

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How she protects us

One of our walks is a long dirt road, only used by construction trucks and vacant most of the time, short of dogs, their walkers and bike riders. Along this road is a large flat area. Flipflop loves to stop at this area and play tug with his leash.  I use it as a way to let Dahlia rest as well.

One morning while Flipflop and I were engaged in an intense game of tug, Dahlia let out a single bark.  A bark from Dahlia immediately gets Flipflop’s attention.  He immediately stopped his play and started looking for what made Dahlia bark, so he could defend her.  I quickly went over to secure Dahlia, with Flipflop, as I wasn’t sure if she sensed a wild animal coming toward us.  And that’s when I saw it, a truck was coming down the road.  Dahlia must have felt the vibration and warned us it was coming so we could all be safe.

This was not the first time Dahlia has let out a single bark to let the other dog(s) know to pay attention.  A few years ago, Miss Ellie crossed a river, and wouldn’t come back to her mom. Dahlia let out one loud bark and immediately Miss Ellie came back to us all.  No one messes with Miss Dahlia when she “speaks!”.

How she babies Hazel

Hazel is Miss Ellie’s six month old Golden Doodle sister.  Dahlia has always loved puppies and always wants to be around them. Hazel is no different. Dahlia lets Hazel crawl all over her and jump on her and Hazel gives Dahlia endless kisses.

Since the day Dahlia met Hazel she has loved her, to the point she often wants to go home with Janet and Hazel (just last week, she jumped in Janet’s car to go home with her – so we let her!) and she will often refuse to come home with me, if we’re visiting, so she can spend more time with Hazel.

None of this surprises me, as I know Dahlia has always been a grandmother to younger dogs, she’s such a special soul.  She will let Hazel know when she needs to settle down and Hazel is very respectful.

Last week we were at Janet’s and Flipflop got upset with Hazel, Hazel ran away and Dahlia immediately went to Hazel to make sure she was ok.  Once she gave Hazel some comfort and a sniff over to ensure the pup was good, Dahlia immediately went back to sleep.  I have said for a long time, Dahlia is constantly between naps! If she’s not out on a walk or eating, she’s sleeping!!

Not too long ago, Dahlia was resting and Hazel was crawling on her, normally Dahlia has no issues with this.  But she may have been a bit sore that day, for whatever reason, she got very upset with Hazel. Janet lifted Hazel off Dahlia, and immediately after Hazel was off of her, Dahlia moved her head to be near Hazel and gave her kisses. As if to say, “sorry, I’m sore but I still love you!”

I personally love how Dahlia is with Hazel, as Miss Ellie and Flipflop are taking much longer to adapt to the fourth member of my pack, Dahlia is giving Hazel the love and acceptance she needs to feel secure in the group.

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Dahlia playing with Hazel

At this point I want to share, Hazel has another pack of Doodles.  Her dad and biological sister are part of that pack, as well as another 1 year Doodled and Miss Ellie’s, older sister.  The Doodle pack love Hazel and it warms my heart to know Hazel has so many dogs to love her and shape her into an amazing dog.

The crazy Schnauzer

The last story of my amazing girl, I want to share is about this crazy Schnauzer in our building.  This dog is so cute (well of course I say that of all dogs……), but he’s such an excitable dog, his owners don’t let him near other dogs.  Every time this dog sees another dog, he yelps and screeches and whines, a whole mix of noise and excited emotion!!  Flipflop immediately avoids this little guy anytime we see him, but not Dahlia.

Whenever we see this little dog, Flipflop goes as far away from him as he can, but Dahlia starts crying and wants to go to him to make sure he’s ok.   One day, I explained to the owners that Dahlia really just wants to say hello and make sure he’s ok, she’s not scared or worried about his excitement.  So they let the two dogs say hi.

It warmed my heart and the heart of the Schnauzer’s owners, they shared with me, because he’s so excitable he scares dogs away!  I told them, that Dahlia is like a grandma who wants to make sure all the kids are ok.

She is such a special girl. And while I no longer can say she’s a Benjamin Button as time goes on, I can say she’s got the sweetest spirit and such a will to live.  There are moments where she gets confused and isn’t sure where she is. I go to her, give her some pets, and talk to her.  This usually brings her back to the present.  There’s many times she can’t hear me when I talk to her, but she still looks at me with so much love in eyes and that darling smile, I know she knows she is so loved.  And there are days where I think she is ready to give up on this life, just for me to wake up the next morning and get out of bed to her dancing around that I’m awake and can pet her.

Dahlia is such an inspiration, she is kind, despite her past, she loves with her whole heart and despite her body showing signs of her age, her spirit is that of a young dog, who just wants to love and be loved by all who enter her path.

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We’re not in the GTA anymore

It’s been just over year since we moved from Ontario to beautiful British Columbia.  It was noted for years that Flipflop was a B.C. boy and he would love it out here, rather than in the confines of our busy city.

The truth is, for most of my life I loved living in the city. I loved having 24/7 access to pretty much anything I wanted and all within walking distance. But two years ago I came to a crossroad in my life. My career, that I have given so much to, no longer excited me, I rarely saw my friends, aside from those who lived in my building, and the overcrowded parks, shops and roads were wearing on me.

I’ve wanted to move to B.C. since the very first time I visited it here, and with a lot of soul searching and encouragement from a few good friends, I decided it was time.  I put my plan into place and six months later we arrived in Kamloops.

Flipflop thrived, as expected, in his new environment, being a such a dog friendly town, several parks are dog friendly (leash free), and Flipflop is able to run and explore.

Despite my knowing we were in the mountains, I still wasn’t fully prepared for living amongst wildlife. Don’t get me wrong we’re not in the middle of no where, but we are in a mountain town where we share our lands with deer, bears, foxes, coyotes, big horned sheep, heck we even have wild horses! We have encountered  all except for the bears, but have seen a lot of evidence that they are around us.

We have seen several reminders of the circle of life and torn up deer carcasses, bird parts and fur are found on several of our walks.   For an animal lover like me, it’s very hard to see.  For a dog like Flipflop, it’s like Christmas!!  Just this morning he came running out of the the bush with fur in his mouth.

He is delighted on his walks walks when he finds “treats”  and as luck would have it, his little pack of dog friends he’s met in the passed year, make sure they show one another where the good finds are along our trials.  And Flipflop never forgets!

It is a reminder how dangerous life can be out here for our domesticated animals. Flipflop is fitted with a bell on his collar, this helps alert any near by wildlife we are around.  I was told this prevents the dog from startling bears as well. It also helps me to hear if he is near by, when in thick bush, along with his PawScout.

A couple months ago, much to dismay and absolute heartbreak, I stated to look into e-collars.  When moving to BC, I noticed many dogs wore them here.  I have never been a fan of e-collars. I’ve never been a fan of any device that could potentially cause discomfort to my dogs.

A few friends of mine use them on their dogs and I interviewed them as part of my research.  Two of my friends even lent me theirs to play with and try if on Flipflop, if I wanted to.

The collars sat on my counter, I still couldn’t bring myself to put them on Flipflop.  But I did start trying them on myself, as a way to understand how they work, sound and feel around ones neck.  I would never do anything to my animals that I would not do to myself!

After many more days of pulling dead animal parts from Flipflop’s mouth, having him take off on me, to eat bones or worse, I knew I had to do something, for the sake of his health and well-being.

I put the e-collar on Flipflop, and started using the sound feature.  Every time the collar beeped around Flipflop’s neck he was rewarded with a treat and praise by me.  On our next couple walks, I would use the collar to send a sound to him and he would come running to me. Basically I retrained him on his recalls, using the sound of the collar.  Flipflop had great recalls in Ontario, but he also didn’t have the temptations he has out here!

Flipflop and I can now enjoy exploring our mountains and he is responding very well with his new collar.  Unlike, when we lived in the GTA, Flipflop is able to be off leash every day, and loves to explore.

And now that he’s doing very well with this recalls again, we’re able to explore more and he is a very happy and content mountain dog.

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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.