Life is busy! Thought I should keep you posted as to why I haven’t been very active on the blog though. Roxanne is failing so I have been spending a lot of time taking care of her. She went through this a couple months ago and I thought we were going to lose her then but she rallied that time. She had two feet in the grave but apparently used the other two to pull herself back out. I don’t expect that it will end that way this time but you can never count the old girl out. She had two very good quality months after the last episode.
This translates into me spending additional portions of my day taking care of her though. I wake up and put the other 4 dogs out then locate Roxanne who will be in one of her three usual sleeping areas in the house. I see if I can get her upright (not too often anymore in the morning) or then carry her outside to do her business. Even if she is ambulatory I then carry her back in the house because she can’t climb the stairs anyway and it saves time. I put her down and point her in the direction of the water bowl. She is still drinking water. When I’m sure she is done drinking, I give her the pill she gets every day. Then I find a way to get some food into her. She doesn’t want to eat anymore so this takes a long time.
After work I spend much of the evening carrying her outside and back inside. Sometimes I let her stay out for a while because she seems to enjoy it and the weather is warmer now. If she gets up during the evening and begins to wander around, I jump up and put her outside so it does not end with an accident. If I was not fast enough, or not paying attention, then I get out the mop, Lysol, etc. and take care of it. I repeat the trying to get food into her procedure in the evening too. Right now this involves boiled chicken. If she is having “potty issues” I put her in the bathtub, give her a rinse, dry her off, and then make sure she gets to the dog bed. She may make it under her own power or I may carry her. It just depends on how well she is doing.
Who knows how long this routine will last? I know our time together is limited because Roxanne is 15 years old and she is just about worn out. This girl never ceases to amaze me though!
I love the many faces of the grilled cheese sandwich. It is such a versatile food that can be prepared in so many ways. Above, you see it on Italian bread made with Muenster cheese and freshly sliced avocado. It was the most delightful thing I had tasted in a long time. And it was only a lowly grilled cheese. But it had been elevated to new heights.
The first consideration in making one of these sandwiches is the bread. Which one to pick? Oh, so many choices. I tend to prefer the “white” breads for this use. Not just your squishy store brand white bread though. I prefer something like a crusty Italian, French, sourdough, olive oil, ciabatta, or some other bread with a nice texture. Wheat bread is not my favorite for grilled cheese but it will do. The texture of the wheat interferes with the overall sandwich for me.
The next decision is what cheese to use. There is always good old American cheese. This is my last choice. One of my favorites is Muenster. It is mild but with good flavor and oh, so creamy. The various cheddars are also good bets. New York White, extra sharp, medium, or mild, excellent choices all. Brick, farmer’s cheese, provolone, mozzarella, these are all good to use. Although I like the taste of smoked cheeses, in my experience, they don’t melt well. If you want to use a smoked cheese, I would add a little of it with another type of cheese. You get the smoked flavor but still have the “meltiness” of the other cheese.
At this point you may have everything that you want in your sandwich. Not me. I like to put in extras. Thinly sliced onion is the most basic choice. Other add-ins that I might use are the afore mentioned avocado, alfalfa sprouts, sliced tomato, or fresh spinach. I also enjoy grilled cheese with jam, a nice raspberry or strawberry is good. I thought this sounded odd the first time I heard of it but it is delicious.
When getting ready to grill the sandwich, melt some butter in a non-stick pan and coat one side of each slice of bread with it. I like to then sprinkle the buttered bread with some garlic powder (except for the jam version) and grill on a medium heat until it turns that beautiful golden brown color.
I spent a couple of hours cleaning out the rose bed this afternoon. I foolishly thought I could get it all done in that amount of time. So far I have spent twice that working on it. One more session should finish it up. Unless you count the bulbs I want to plant next to the roses. I also have numerous punctures and scratches covering my arms that make it look like we have a kitten. These are from encounters while trimming the roses bushes, and they won. Oh well, by summer time I will have glorious pictures of flowers to show you.
After working outside I took a walk through the woods. Beautiful daffodils are in bloom. We did not plant them. Someone who came before put them there and we are reaping the benefits.
And I came upon this cross section of log that I thought was intriguing to look at. All the rings bespeak of years of life and make me ponder what happened on this property in the years before we came here.
I stumbled upon this fallen nest. The high winds we have had must have knocked it down. It is early enough in the year that it is probably a nest from last year. Of course it has copious amounts of dog fur woven into it. How soft and warm for the hatchlings.
And what first got me out in the woods today. The ground was finally thawed out enough to bury my Romeo Kitten. His grave is marked with the cross and unmarked stone. Soon it will have his name engraved on it. Beside him is dear Trevor whose stone already bears his name.
More daffodils on the way back to the house. They look so happy with their sunny faces saying “look, we survived, spring is here”.
And to complete an enjoyable weekend, hanging out with the family. Baxter puppers and Lacey cat shown, snuggling on the couch. And once again, life is good!
This is a blog post that I first published in 2015, and am sharing again in the hopes that you will enjoy the dogs’ stories as much as I do! Some of them have since gone to the Rainbow Bridge, but all went to loving homes.
One of the things I sometimes hear about animal rescue work is “Why don’t you spend your time helping people?” This irritates me for a number of reasons.
Reason number one is because animals are God’s creatures. The God I know wants us to be kind to every living thing. Animals are God’s creation just as we are. Do you really think that God will think it is ok if we let animals suffer when we could have helped? I think not. I realize that not everyone is capable of dealing with the things I encounter in dog rescue. But I am capable and it is my passion so I should do the work.
Reason number two for me is, helping animals is not mutually exclusive to helping people. Doing one does not take away from the other. Helping humans, and animals, can coexist. Just because there are people who need help does not mean it is ok for harm to come to animals until all humans are safe.
And lastly, (for this post anyway!), if you think that I don’t help people while doing dog rescue work then you really don’t understand what I do. I have a few stories to illustrate this point.
Pictured above are Gracie and Zoey. Their owner had terminal cancer. He knew he was not long for this world but he stayed at home as long as he could for his girls, Gracie and Zoey. He didn’t want anything bad to happen to them. But eventually he became too ill. He had to drop his girls off at a local shelter on his way to hospice. He was an older gentleman and didn’t know about breed rescues. He was so sick by this time that he had to sit down and rest on his way into the shelter. I’m sure it broke his heart to leave them there. A couple of nice ladies that volunteer at the shelter saw that the girls were not doing very well in the shelter environment as most shelties don’t. They tend to shut down in this setting. The ladies took Gracie and Zoey home with them for a few day and then set about finding a rescue because, of course, there would be more who needed them. This is how these two shelties came into Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue and specifically came to be fostered at my house. Their owner wanted them to be adopted together and that is what I agreed to do. I knew this poor man must being worrying about his dogs all the time and did not want this to weigh on his mind during his final days. I called the shelter and got the man’s phone number so that I could try to call and let him know that his girls were ok. That I would make sure that they got a good home. The man was not at home but I left a message on an answering machine with the hope that a relative or friend would stop by and hear the message to let him know his dogs were ok. I don’t know if that ever happened but I desperately hope so. By the way, after spending a few months at our house, Gracie and Zoey (now Selah) did get adopted together to a wonderful new home where they are dearly loved.
And here is Princess. She is a wonderful girl that I would have loved to keep. She played so beautifully with our own dogs. Her owners have a story too. They also loved Princess dearly. Her owners had to separate and live in different house holds even though they didn’t want to for reasons I won’t disclose. Neither was able to get housing that would enable them to keep her. Luckily they did learn about breed rescue and were able to drop her off at my house. They cried and I cried with them. I listened to their tale and sympathized and hopefully made them feel just a little bit better. They had fallen on hard times and saw this as their last option. I was blessed to have Princess in my life for the time we fostered her and to find owners that loved her.
And then there was Blitz. He also came from a loving home. The husband of the couple passed away and the wife had to move to be closer to her children. She did try to keep Blitz. She brought him to her new condo but the ice of winter was too severe. She was an older lady and while taking Blitz out for potty breaks, fell on the ice three times. Blitz is a good dog. The weather conditions were just too harsh for the owner to safely care for him. The lady loved him very much. He arrived at our house with a large bag of dog food, an entire garbage bag of toys, his bed, vet records and a card with his baby teeth taped to it. This boy had a good life. I went to pick him up and the lady cried. Her family was present to support her. I stayed for an hour and talked with them to ease yet another loss. I told them how we care for the dogs and take them in as a part of our family until their forever family comes along. I told the owner she could call me to check on his progress and she did. I told her how he plays with our dogs and has fun. I called to let her know when he got his permanent home and it eased her mind and the guilt she felt. Blitz on the Job, Even at his Foster Home
So, tell me again how I should be helping people and not animals. I hope at the end of the day that I have helped all living things that have crossed my path and left the world to be a slightly better place.
This winter has seemed to go on forever and I usually like winter. Enough is enough though. So I was very happy to see that our first flowers for the year are in bloom! I was outside picking up some branches and pine cones from the yard and taking them to the pile in the woods where we keep yard waste. And there it was along the side of the path.
Some previous owner of this property must have planted these little gems. They come up every spring before I expect such beauty. I’ve looked them up and they appear to be called Glory of the Snow. This is the blue variety. There is also a pink variety which we do not have. Seeing the one reminded me that we have an area with a carpet of these beauties in another area. So of course I had to stop what I was doing and see if those were blooming too. They were! This made me happy. Spring is here!
Lacey is continuing with her goal of spreading love and acceptance throughout the canine world. Former foster dog, Sky, is staying with us for a week. He is quite the canine presence. Does this bother Lacey? Not one bit! She just continues on with her quest.
She reaches out to make a connection with him. Sky doesn’t know what to think but Lacey is not daunted.
She even tries to rub her head on him in hopes of winning him over. He does tolerate her but seems confused by the whole thing. But Lacey is persistent. She comes and sits by him every evening. I imagine in time she will win him over. Yet another lesson to be learned from this little feline messenger with the heart of gold. Don’t give up.
We like to walk dogs at a local cemetery. It is an old cemetery and some of the stones are beautiful pieces of art work. It is a rather large place too. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times we go there, I always see something that I never noticed before. I always learn something too. From the surnames on some of the stones, I learn how some of the streets and roads in the area were named. I notice that some first names seem unusual and have gone out of fashion. From seeing the different types of monuments you call tell what medium holds up the best and what was in fashion at the time. There is zinc, marble, and granite. Some are plain, others are ornate, big, small, with urns, human likenesses, floral carvings, or symbols.
You can also tell how some of the people likely passed from the period of time. Lots of folks have dates on their stones from the time of World War I and World War II and also from the time of the great flu epidemic early in the 1900’s. Also lots of infants and young children have grave stones from times when growing to adulthood was not so certain.
The dogs are just happy to go for walks. They don’t care where. Blitz and Shelby are pictured. Since this cemetery is large, paved, and picturesque, many people exercise here. There are other dog walkers like me, and lone walkers and joggers too, with sometimes occasional picnickers thrown in. Once in a while I encounter someone I know who is also walking. It is an especially nice place to be in the spring and early summer months. The old plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers are beautiful.
I think it is rather nice to take a place that was set aside for the dearly (or some not so dearly) departed and infuse a bit of life into it. I know it would make me happy to know that the final resting place of my earthly body was a place that brought joy to children, dogs, and other fellow humans.
So it turned out that it was not a mouse that Harley and Morty were hunting. In fact it was a half grown squirrel. I don’t know how he managed to fit in that tiny space. The cover had to be removed from the heating baseboard before Mr. (Ms.?) Squirrel would come out. No small wonder with two fierce hunters waiting.
Well, when Harley found out it was a squirrel that was already half grown, he immediately lost interest. The wise old man seemed to know that this was more than he should mess with and walked away leaving it for the humans to deal with. Wisdom being the better part of valor and all that. See Harley below.
Morty, being younger and less experienced, thought that he would handle the situation himself. The dastardly human intervened so as to keep our hero safe. Even now Morty keeps returning to the bathroom. I don’t know if he is looking for action or reliving his big adventure.
This is the sight I came downstairs to this morning. They are hunting. Something is obviously behind the baseboard heater cover. Most likely it is a mouse. I have been seeing evidence. Mortimer and Harley didn’t even leave their post when three of the dogs came in to see what was going on. On my way out I shut the door so all the drama and carnage would be contained.
Mortimer, aka Morty, is on the left. He is about 4 years old. On the right, in the shadows, is Harley. He is about 13 or 14 years old. These two cats are not related, both are male, and they vary greatly in age but Harley taught Morty to hunt. They both live in the house but as our house was built in 1830 there is often prey to be had. Harley has always been an excellent mouser although he is not limited to mice. He will also catch moles and baby squirrels. He taught Morty how to hunt when Morty was still young. Around a year old. They often work in tandem. Now after they make a catch Harley will usually let Morty have the prey after he has chewed on it a few times. I ponder over their relationship because none of our other cats would willingly hunt together. Hunting amongst the other cats usually involved much growling and hissing as they tried to defend their prize and would run away with it to keep it safe.
We explain this by saying that Harley is Morty’s honorary uncle. In reality I have no idea why they work so well together. I can’t help but feel that if I could figure it out, I would have some insight as to how we could all get along better in the world.
Having a stockpile of things that you need is a good feeling. You can never have too much dog food, dog treats , or cat litter. In fact I am never able to keep a stash of cat litter. We seem to go through it like water. There is a certain comfort to knowing you have enough supplies. I imagine the pioneers and how good they must have felt looking at their larders and fuel supplies as they were heading into winter. Of course it is vastly different for us. If we run out of something, we can just by more.
We spent a portion of Monday splitting wood and now have a full wood box. This means we will have heat until this long winter is over. We have fuel oil heat too but the tank is running low and we don’t want to have more delivered this late in the season. Burning wood will stretch out how long it will last.
Having these reserves is very comforting. Kind of like a squirrel hoarding his stash of nuts.