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.

 

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.

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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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“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.

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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

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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.

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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!

A B.C. Adventure

It’s another beautiful Sunday morning in Kamloops, and it’s been a couple of weeks since I took Flipflop in the car to go for a hike.  One of my favourite places to hike him is Dallas Barnhartvale Nature Park.  It backs onto a horse riding ranch, which dogs are also welcomed to enter and hike.  And as most nature parks in BC, it’s dog friendly and has a selection of different trails of all levels.

Since we had a fairly easy walk day yesterday, I decided to bring Dahlia today as well, and stick to the green (easy) trails so she could enjoy herself.

One of the reasons I enjoy this park so much, is it’s quieter than most, I am yet to see a cyclist in the park. We run into the odd dog along the way, which depending on Flipflop’s mood he either ignores or has a play with.  It’s a great park for a nice walk, or so I thought!

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I naively expected a nice, chilled walk with the my dogs this morning, but was I ever wrong!!!!!!

When we arrived at the park, I parked and let the dogs out of the car, we were the only car in the lot, but it was still fairly early.  I unleashed them both, as I had all ready decided to take them to the riding ranch paths, as they are easier for Dahlia and the entrance was right behind my car.

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The hike started as any other, Flipflop running up ahead and then coming back to check on me, Dahlia taking her time strolling behind me. Every now and then I had to stop and encourage Dahlia to catch up to me.  And she would, she just loves to stop and smell the flowers, literally, along the way on her walks.

About 10 minutes into our walk, things started to derail…….Flipflop saw goats and a horse, grazing in a field.  Fortunately, they were safely gated and Flipflop couldn’t get in, nor could they get out.  The sweet goats ran when they heard Flipflop barking like an idiot on the other side of the fence.  The horse, who was right at the fence, calmly just walked away and started grazing about 10 feet away from it. Flipflop continued to bark and ignore my calls.  After a couple of minutes, I was able to get him, I leashed him and gave him a time out.

Usually his time outs are him being leashed for a few minutes and when he’s again released he behaves.  But today was a “jack” day for my boy.  A “jack” day is what I call Flipflop’s crazy days, as the Jack Russell in him comes out and he gets so hyped up, he’s insane, much like a Jack Russell who is not exercised enough.  And trust me, Flipflop is exercised a lot, he just has the odd day where he’s crazy and needs more of an outlet.

A few minutes after his time out, he took off on me again, and started barking.  “What now!” I mumbled to Dahlia, who was still just calmly walking behind me.  When I got a better view of what had Flipflop in a tizzy this time, my heart jumped to my throat.

There must have been about a dozen cattle in the park.  They, much like the horse and goats, were just grazing in the fields, but they were not behind a secure fence.  The only thing I can think of is a nearby rancher must have left their gate open in error.

Flipflop was wild, he would not listen to me and if I got close he would just run away.  He ran around the cattle making sure he took the time to bark at all of them as he ran around.  The cows started mooing, I leashed Dahlia and tied her to a tree for her safety, away from the cattle and her brother.

I entered the heard, hoping with all my might I didn’t scare the cattle and they didn’t decide to hoof me and trample Flipflop.  They were so beautiful and peaceful, and although seemed interested in Flipflop, weren’t particularly scared of him or me.  I talked to them (because I talk to all animals) and apologized for Flipflop.

After 5 minutes of Flipflop ignoring me and continuing to be a jerk, I gave up.  I went back to Dahlia and untied her.  I yelled “bye Flipflop” and Dahlia and I started walking back down the trail.  Usually when Flipflop sees me give up and walk away, he comes running, it’s like it’s all fun and games until he loses mom’s attention.  But today my plan backfired.  He’d never seen cattle before, and this was too exciting for him.

So back up the trail Dahlia and I went, because as angry as Flipflop can make me, I would never abandon him!  When Dahlia and I went back to where Flipflop was running around the cattle, the cattle must have heard something, and all of a sudden they started running. They started running up a hill and to, I assume, their ranch.  Flipflop got even more excited, they cattle were now moving prey!  I kept calling Flipflop to me and before long he was back down with me, but wouldn’t come close enough for me to leash him.  He still wanted to play his game.

Fortunately, the “cattle run” tired him out out, and within a minute of playing “stay away” he was on the ground rolling in the grass.  I leashed him immediately.  Another time out.

This one was a longer time out, we were going home!  I walked him down the trail, on leash a while, pass the horse and goats and basically until we were only a few minutes from the car.

I then let him off his leash again, as he was tired and honestly he’s usually not this bad!  I thought for sure he got his fill of being a “jack”.  Dahlia was off leash as well, but again, she just likes to putter and is never a worry for me, sweet girl.

It was less than a minute of being off leash that Flipflop jumped a fence to meet a dog that was having fun in its yard………He’s NEVER done that before.  As he ran and played with the dog, I again ended up tying up Dahlia so I could retrieve him.  Once again, Flipflop did not have his listening ears on, but as the dog ran over to me and then noticed Dahlia on the other side of the fence, Flipflop laid down……it’s tiring being bad!  So I was able to leash him up.

And this time his time out did not end.  After our hike, I drove to the nearby boat launch, so the dogs could cool down in the water, Flipflop was not allowed off his leash, I tired Dahlia’s leash to his to give him more freedom, and of course Dahlia was a good lady off her leash.

And now we are home and Flipflop is full of hugs and kisses for his momma.  He is such a naughty boy some days, but he is so loved and he knows it!

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Tessa

I had the honour of meeting Tessa at a fundraiser for a B.C. Rescue, Pommy & Pals.  Tessa is being fostered by a co-worker of mine and his wife.  I have been fortunate to spend some time with this amazing little lady.

Tessa came to Canada from Taiwan, where she was found at 2 months old in a ditch.  She is now 9 months old and is waiting for her forever family.  Her adoption is pending, and she’s going to a sleepover with her potential family tomorrow night.

Tessa’s journey has not been an easy one, at 9 months old. Tessa has degenerative disease in her left hip which she has under gone the surgery to repair (Legg-calve-perthes).  She is recovering nicely and receiving some rehabilitation from her foster mom.  It is expected she will eventually be able to have full use of her leg and put weight on it.  But even now, while she’s working on strengthening her leg, it doesn’t stop this fun loving girl from running around.

Tessa also has a neurological disorder, shaker syndrome, which causes this sweet lady to shake, as she calms down and becomes more comfortable her shaking does get better, and she’s on CBD oil to help her. But even as she shakes, it doesn’t stop this little lady from wanting to be cuddled and babied.

She also loved meeting the other dogs at the adoption fair and was very social with everyone, she is such a sweetie.

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Tessa engaging with the standard poodles (bonded pair for adoption)

When I met Tessa she was wearing a lovely pink dress with bows down the back, she was looking for her forever home at an adoption event.  Needless to say she stole a lot of hearts, but I was lucky enough to witness her picking her family.

They seem like a lovely couple, who lost their dog a couple years prior and feel they are now ready to open their hearts again to a dog in need.  As soon as they saw me holding Tessa they came over and started asking about her.  I asked if her potential future mom wanted to hold her and of course she did.  Tessa barely shook, she felt at home and she snuggled into her potential mom’s shoulder.  She held Tessa for long time as we chatted and I brought over Gina, Tessa’s foster mom, who actually knows Tessa’s potential dad!

I had a feeling, this would be the family for Tessa, as I’ve seen my fosters pick their families time and time again, I felt Tessa felt safe with this couple.  Although Tessa and I met many other amazing people that day, Tessa had a ton of interest, I was so happy when I was told by my co-worker, Darryn, that Tessa was going for a trial sleepover this weekend and it was a couple that he and Gina knew.  Before Darryn even told me which couple it was I knew.  I just had a feeling when I saw sweet little Tessa in her future parents arms.  I think they knew it too, but as every responsible adopter should do, they met other dogs and thought about it over a couple of days to make sure they were ready for her.

I am very optimistic that early next week, I will hear that the sleepover was a success and Tessa is officially adopted!

Tessa’s foster mom sent me pictures of Tessa today and shared with me how much she is going to miss her. I can relate, all too well!  Fostering is not easy, but it is worth it.

 

 

 

 

Rome & Solo

Rome adopted Solo in the early spring, mourning the loss of his big brother, Merle, Rome’s humans knew he needed a sibling.  The family wasn’t ready for another dog, their hearts still ached, Merle had only been gong a couple of weeks, but watching Rome’s grief just compounded their own even more.

“We’ve never rescued before,” the application read, ” but we would love to give a deserving dog a good home.” Promising, but as first time adopter, I worried the family may struggle with a dog like my foster, Solo.  But their application was strong, and they at least earned a phone call.

It was on the phone I first met Joanne.  I instantly liked her, and after talking about rescues, and the challenges Solo had faced in his life, she wasn’t scared off.  She told me how they had lost their dog Merle, just a couple weeks ago.  She and her family were heart broken, and so was their 3 year old dog, Rome.

I asked Joanne if they would be interested in meeting, Solo, and of course she was.  I recommended Rome come, she had planned to ask, as this dog was being adopted to help Rome, and Rome would be the being who decided what dog to adopt.  Rome had a meet and greet on a Saturday and we scheduled Solo’s for later the same day.

I sent Joanne all the information I had on Solo and the blogs I wrote on him to prepare her.  I found out later, those blogs made her fall in love him before even meeting him and she had hoped that Rome would feel the same way!!

And he did………….

Rome took it upon himself, as Flipflop does, to teach Solo.  Rome somehow understood Solo needed his guidance.  Solo had just started showing interest in playing when he was adopted. Rome continued Flipflop’s work, patiently waiting until Solo understood how to play with toys, tug, chase and wrestle.  The boys had a few territorial scrabbles but the family kept to the training of Solo and things smoothed out in a very short time between the boys.

The stories of Rome and Solo continue to warm my heart, but I thought I would share a few of my favourite ones:

Grandma’s visit:

Rome’s Grandma was visiting and was down in the basement.  Solo must have             forgotten she was there, or she startled him when she came up stairs. Solo started     barking and growling at his grandma.  Rome calmly stepped in the space between Solo and grandma, and showed Solo how grandma is nice.  He calmed Solo down by giving him some affection while getting love from his grandma.

Cousins

It’s been a few months since Solo got adopted and he was doing so well, the family felt they could introduce to him to cousins (3 dogs).  When they arrived at Joanne’s brother’s house, the first thing the humans noticed, was how Solo was a different dog.  He is confident, his eyes are happy (no longer sad) and he was behaving as a well adjusted happy dog.

Rome led Solo to his canine cousins and helped Solo remain calm and happy.  It wasn’t long when I got videos of Solo playing chase with all his cousins, having the time of his life.

Later that day, Rome and Solo made their way to Merle’s resting place.  Solo laid on top of  where Merle’s body was buried and Rome sat beside him.  It was an emotion moment for Joanne when she saw the boys.  I can only imagine.

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July 1st:

On Victoria day weekend it was discovered Solo is petrified of fireworks.  Unfortunately, July 1st is another holiday where fireworks are used to celebrate the day.  As they started Solo ran to safe place, his bed.  Rome went Solo and laid on top of him to try and comfort him and show him there was nothing to be afraid of.

Joanne and Tony (Solo’s dad) called Rome to bed and Joanne went and got Solo. Solo snuggled into Joanne for comfort, the same comfort he got from Rome a few moments ago. Rome also snuggled close, to Solo, ensuring he was there to provide comfort to his brother until the fireworks stopped and Solo calmed down.

I get so many videos and pictures of these two boys, and how they are best friends and brothers.  I am so grateful to Joanne and Tony for adopting Solo, being patient with him and giving him the love and trust he needed to excel.  And I am completely in love with Rome, who is such a special boy.  Solo would not be the same dog without him.

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My Flipflop…..

I always say he’s as bad as he is cute!  But the truth is Flipflop is not a bad dog, he’s a sweet boy, with a high amount of energy and a zest for life.  And it shines through every day now that we are in B.C.

Flipflop has a crazy hyper side, I call those his Jack days!  In Ontario, on his Jack days, even on his goods days, I was always worried.  I was worried he’d get hurt, I worried he wasn’t getting exercised enough because I knew he needed to run and in the city, finding safe places for Flipflop to run was tough.

It was tough because he didn’t like dog parks, neither did his big brother, Dupont.  They are “lone wolves” and being in an open field with other dogs did nothing to excite either of them.

I would take Flipflop to some areas where he could run and he enjoyed it but there were so many people who projected fear on their small dogs, and when Flipflop sensed fear he would turn into a “Jack” and the fun would be over.  He would get out of control, lose his “listening ears”, and would literally mock me, pretending he was coming to me and when he got within a foot of me, take off again.

Moving out to B.C.  I vowed Flipflop would not be off leash (as he wasn’t at home for a long time) and he would not be socialized with other dogs.  What I didn’t realize is I was moving to a very dog friendly community, where large and small dogs alike love to say hi to each other and all the humans love dogs!

In the past two months, I have seen this dog transform into the most amazing boy.  Now that we are living in the mountains, with dog friendly parks all around, Flipflop is excelling.

People don’t fear him, so he has not interest in them and most times he completely ignores them.  Dahlia gets petted by every one we see, and she loves it!  I feel like Flipflop and I have found the place we were meant for.  Despite my strict rules in Ontario and my intentions of keeping the same rules here, I quickly learned that Flipflop was free to be himself here.

Flipflop is definitely the pup who won’t stop, he always has been but now he really gets to go!  We go for hikes, he runs through the mountains like he’s been in them all his life.  And most importantly he listens to me!

He still would rather hang on his own than with other dogs, but occasionally he enjoys a wrestle or a chase with a dog we meet along the way.

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Flipflop with his friend Cash.

I am so proud of me Bahamian Potcake, and am so happy I get to give him the life he was meant to live, now that he’s a B.C. boy!