#TakeAChance

Well, that was quite the cliffhanger, wasn’t it? I meant to finish out the Tale of the Blues and talke about “Iron’s” hashtag on Friday, but not only did scheduling not permit, but Fate intervened as well. Chance’s story was going to be about how Asia regretfully decided to let him go. She had told him during her visits that he would be coming home to live with her and ultimately with all of the newness, as well as a foster pup, she agreed to see if his true family would show up. She gave them 30 days.

August 15

On Saturday August 15th I had an urge to visit “Iron” at the shelter and as I was driving down there, I received a text that a wonderful couple were in and going to adopt Iron. As luck would have it, I was able to meet this couple and they were, in fact wonderful. 

  

In the back of my mind, I felt a little sad for “Iron.” He would be an “only dog” which may make him a little sad, but it might work out in the end. That is the story we would have published on Friday.

August 22

A beautiful day dawned full of promise and anticipation. Today our little Pets for Life team would finally be hitting the streets and knocking on doors to begin our mission of helping our neighbors retain their pets. We were going to be able to offer spay/neuter, vaccines, preventatives and food among other things all for free to this specific area. What nearly marred this glorious day was the message I received that “Iron” was coming back to the shelter. The funny thing about this, though, is that it didn’t upset me or even make me sad. It felt right somehow. 

  

The adopters were distraught to return him (along with the mountain of belongings he had amassed in just 7 days) but due to some neighboring dogs trying to fence-fight, he returned as they say “through no fault of his own” and with the feedback that he is, in fact, perfect in a home. I’m not sure why, but I just couldn’t feel upset about this return. I hugged the big wiggly lug when I saw him and I let him know that it was ok and I would always be around to look after him.

August 23

Another Sunday and another Pack Walk with The Bully Collective. As has been her custom, Lisa had arranged for a couple of volunteers to come and walk adoptable dogs. One of those dogs was meant to be Bitsy, Asia’s foster dog but as fate would have it, Bitsy had been on a two-night trial and on Saturday night we received the message that Bitsy had found her forever home. That allowed for her walking partner to be available for Iron/Chance.

  

Julius and I picked him from the shelter and left with the message that while I’d try to have him back by noon, I wasn’t going to promise. (Side note, Julius is the only dog I know who gets excited to roll up to the shelter as if we’re going to Disney.)

A nice long pack walk was followed by some impromptu Bro time as Clyde came over and the three boys had some quality play time in the yard. 

  

I loved seeing Chance waddle-trundle along after the sleeker Clyde and Julius. It was so much like a little brother trying to keep up with the big guys. As Lisa and I watched the adora-bulls play in the yard we agreed that someone in our large family of friends needed to adopt Chance. We couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing him regularly. I considered it over and over again. He and Julius got on well and Ray would be given all the time and space he needed and even the name could work. My boys are named after football players, so Chance might not work but Iron? Iron Mike, of course would be perfect!

After Clyde went home, I loaded Chance in the car and decided to make a pit stop at Asia’s house. Since she had company over everyone was in the back yard I text her to make sure Ms. Cranky (Sugar) was on a leash. 95% of the time Sugar is great with other dogs but there have been a couple that she wouldn’t tolerate so I wanted to be sure there would be no incidents. There weren’t. Asia didn’t receive my text on time and as Chance and I walked in the far gate, Sugar greeted him as if he were a long lost brother.

  

Chance played with Sugar, romped around the yard, followed the little (human) girls around and drank his fill from the water spurting out of the Slip ‘n Slide.

An hour before the shelter was to close, I called and got assurances that no one had come in to visit with him so I let them know he wouldn’t be back for “curfew” and since the shelter is closed to the public on Mondays, he wouldn’t be back until Tuesday.

There’s no mistaking the joy on Chance’s face when enjoying all of the activities of the day. Going from Pack Walk to a play date with the Big Boys, to a play date with Sugar, Slip ‘n Slide fun with three girls ranging from 1 – 5 years of age to all of the different locations in just one day back from another home would make anyone exhausted or even over-stimulated. Chance aced the day as if it was just business as usual.

Are you a believer in fate? Karma? Everything happens for a reason? The very evening that Chance was returned to the shelter Bitsy was adopted 

 

Bitsy and Bentley

 

and on Monday morning Asia emailed me, “I think he is meant to be with us. It’s been one month since I met him, I tried to let someone else adopt him, and it didn’t work. It’s a sign.” My response?

  

Okay.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way From the Front

The end of July and the beginning of  August are definitely times for reflection around here.  Two years ago a happy little “scruffian” bound into our lives and never left.  Once we decide he was going to stay with us, we had such big plans for our Julius.  He would be the ambassador that Ray didn’t want to be and he would open hearts and minds just with his sweet, open  demeanor.  Well on the way to that were some stumbling blocks like this and many more  instances of the same ilk.

Chewbacca.  

Julius started going to Dayplay mostly because whenever he’d see a dog he would go apeshitcrazy nuts to play with them.  We figured playing with a multitude of dogs on a weekly basis would cure that, but not so much.  I guess the bonus was that in the Vet’s office we usually don’t have to wait because they like to bring him in to a room quickly.  Go figure.  Then we thought that Pack Walk would  be a good way to get him used to being in a crowd of dogs without needing to be all up in everyone’s business.  After a full year, I’d say that is beginning to happen.

Leader of the Pack

Over the course of the past year, I have been going round and round about Julius and his need to be in the lead.  I don’t really believe that he wants to be “leader of the pack” as much as if he sees a dog he wants to be with that dog, so following just made him strain that much more. I was often told, he has to learn sometime that he can’t always be in front.  On one had I agreed and yet on the other hand I thought why does he have to learn that?  Was there a hidden agenda?  What  if he never learned that?

Growing Up

Well a funny thing happened to my ambassador/not ambassador dog.  He became a Foster Step Father and his behavior and demeanor grew to accommodate his new status.  Although the staff at day play always remark on how “appropriate” he is, it was wonderous to see him in action with not only the Sugar Babies, but also with Sugar herself.  He was the self appointed guardian of all things and even kept a watchful eye on his “big brother” Ray to ensure proper behavior towards our guests.  While I found this new Julius mindblowing remarkable, I didn’t realize how much so until a recent pack walk.

We had invited the family of one of the puppy’s adopters.  They have a Granddog who needed a bit of socialization and like with Ray, the early years, the more full of assholery vinegar he acted, the less I was inclined to socialize him until it became a downward spiral.

Backseat

So this handsome dog, Diesel, brought his family to pack walk and after the first five minutes there my heart went out to the family.  I had been there so many times already with Julius.  The jumping, the screaching, the all out shenanigans and the tears.  I suggested that they lead and while I thought to fall in second with our usual walking partner, I realized that if Julius could see Dahey he might be ok, so we fell into third place and had a very successful walk.  Diesel settled very quickly (faster than Juli ever did) and by the end of the walk, smiles were miles wide.

It takes a village..

It takes a village..

The following week, we fell into the same order and immediately all could see a vast difference.

The Change

While Julius isn’t done growing and maturing by a long shot, the difference in him is just astounding.  Recently I took him to my daughter’s house so he could play mediator between Sugar and the new foster dog, Bitsy.  Sugar  wasn’t a huge fan yet and through some play and supervision the girls settled into a deeper appreciation of each other but the proudest moment came when the neighbor’s little dog stood on its deck and repeatedly yapped but got no reaction from Julius (or the girls.)

Ladies love Julius

Ladies love Julius

The Icing 

Tonight, after taking Ray for his rehab walk, I decided to take Juli around the neighborhood too.  This is something I rarely do-walk Julius without Ray’s steady presence however it is impossible at the moment.  While he isn’t even close to perfect on leash yet, we did walk past several people, kids and at least 4 barking dogs and Julius kept calm and quiet.  I was bursting with pride and possibly strutting a bit. At one point, a neighbor apologized to us about his dog barking.  I wanted to ask him to video us!

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I don’t know.  At two and a half, Julius just seems to have found his stride and because of that we are walking pretty proudly. Happy Gotcha week to my Ambassador.

Gotcha!

I see from my TimeHop that today is Ray’s Gotcha Day and truth be told, I knew it was around now but I’ve let the exact date escape my consciousness. You see, because I was there to witness his birth I would have always considered him “mine” in some way. Connected.
I don’t feel the need to celebrate the day he came to live in my house as much as I celebrate and cherish the day he came into my world and into my heart.

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So while I might not be able to cradle him in exactly the same way, you can be sure that if we are in the house together, chances are we’re near each other.

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I know that my life course has dramatically altered since my little piggy came into my life. There are things I do and think and want and feel just because of him so with that inspiration, after just one more sleep, I’ll be leaving my Gotcha boy in the very capable hands of his human sister while the hubby accompanies me on the fulfillment of a dream.

What’s in a Date?

There are some dates that you just don’t forget. Major holidays (except for Thanksgiving…what is the rule for that, again?) and birthdays of close relatives would be the first to come to mind. If you’re a CDM, Gotcha Day is often one of those dates as well.

To tell the truth, last year I was really looking forward to Ray’s Gotcha Day celebration and we did a nice Blog Hop to celebrate, but this year we kind of allowed it to go by the wayside. Obviously, I knew that it was sometime in January, but I had to go back to the blog archives to figure out the exact date. I could have counted it out on the calendar as well. It would be seven weeks after December 1 and then whatever the date of that Friday was.

December 1, 2011 was a Thursday and because I was present for Ray’s birth and had such a vested interest in his little family that is the day I celebrate. In my mind, other than for want of a few minor details, Ray’s day of birth IS his Gotcha day for me. He was always mine, in my mind and in my heart, so that only makes sense to me.

Julius, on the other hand, was probably born in February. The day in the last week of July that I picked that little ragamuffin off the street and took him to the vet, we got a guesstimated age of five to six months. At his next visit in August, I remember a different vet in that office estimating his age slightly differently, though I can’t remember exactly what the variance was. Because of that, I “decided” that Juli’s birthday would be February 1. I chose February because that would have been about six months roughly before and the first in honor of his brother’s birthday. That is now his official birthdate on his vet records. Who knows when we’ll actually celebrate? My guess is we may give it a nod sometime during the month, but for me, the day I picked Julius up and brought him to my house will probably be the official date we observe. Or maybe the day before that, which is when I had him vetted, or maybe the 30th, which is when I had him neutered. It might even be July 31 just because I have it in my head that that is his Gotcha Day.

So with all of that rambling in mind, I’d like to wish Ray a Happy not-really-Gotcha-because-you-were-born-to-be-mine-day.

Gotcha Day Celebration!

On December 1, 2011 Ray and his siblings, who were to be dubbed “The Sparkle Puppies” were born.  The one’s who survived are all in loving homes and this is Ray’s story. 

I was fortunate enough to be present the night Ray was born.  Not many adopters can say that and I know how special that is.  I helped rescue his little family and I feel a connection to all of them to this day which I’m sure will last a lifetime.  When we finally knew we were going to commit to adopting one of these puppies, what followed was the longest seven weeks of my life.  I got updates and pictures of the litter, but in the early days, I wasn’t completely sure which pup we’d end up adopting. 
True, the moment I laid eyes on Ray, I thought, “I want the green guy.”  He was nearly covered with …something green and icky, but he was the most adorable little piggy.  Kimmel, now known as Chloe, was the only surviving girl of the litter, so if we decided to adopt based on gender, she would have been the choice.  But when it comes right down to it, I think Ray was always our boy.

There were definitely challenges all along the way.  It took a while before Sparkles was nursing the litter but we breathed a sigh of relief when she finally did.  One of the babies above (the smaller black one) was nearly frozen when rescued wouldn’t thrive so we supplemented with food but he didn’t survive the month of December.  Finally when all were settled in, Sparkles began guarding her food from the puppies. 

Because they were on mushy solid food early and by six and a half to seven weeks weren’t nursing, I got the ok to pick up my baby.

The week we were to pick up Ray, I scurried out to do some shopping, after all, everybody knows these little short haired babies would get cold without some coverings.  Let me tell you, by mid to late January, there are some pretty darned good sales on dog clothes and just by guessing sizes, I was able to procure an impressive wardrobe for one so young.  I didn’t, however, bring the clothes with me and I went to pick him up on a very snowy Friday night.  I plowed slowly over the roads in my truck, arriving at his Foster Mama’s home well after dark.  We chatted, signed paperwork and when it was time to carry my naked piggy out into the cold, I whipped my pashmina off and wraped him in it and cuddled my baby on my lap for the drive home.

When we got him home, I will admit that he had a couple of differentoutfits on and maybe I should have let him get a little more settled before making him be my dress up doll.

This one was only worn once before being donated but the one below became his regular outfit until he outgrew it. 


That first evening, Ray was mostly interested in snuggling and that was to set a standard for the next twelve months of his life.  We were pleasantly shocked to find that he slept in his crate as if he owned it and not once whimpered or cried at night.  During the day, if we were together, he was on my lap-in the early days that mostly consisted of me holding a nylabone or some other chew toy and trying to keep him directed there rather than on fingers, toes or anything else that moved and seemed like fair game.  My six pound puppy grew up, right before my eyes and from the comfort of Mama’s lap and 74 pounds later, he can usually still be found there.

This past year has been full of ups and downs, but on reflection, the ups have been great enough to outweigh the downs.  Recently as I bent down to ask for a kiss, I realized I expected a kiss.  I knew I would get a big, sloppy, Pit bull kiss and would not get a lungey over excited shark mouth kiss. 

I’m crazy about this boy, and I have something to declare.  I haven’t said it.  Ever.  Not once in the past year have I said this.  It isn’t anything to be said lightly and it can’t be unsaid. 

Ray is my heart dog.

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Time Passages

How do you mark the passage of time?  I tend to use actual markers and then calculate rather than just knowing.  “What the heck is this chick babbling about?” is probably going through your mind right now, but bear with me. 

In 2011 we put our house on the market and had to fill out the usual disclosure forms.  How long have we owned this home?  How old is the roof? The doors? The windows, etc.  I usually have to count the years in relation to what grade my daughter was in at the time and then count up from there.  There is usually a specific time marker for that I can use for counting, depending on the situation.

How old are my cats?  I “met” Boo Kitty in 1998 and Kevin had seen her in the fields around his house for nearly a year before that.  He doesn’t ever remember seeing her as a kitten, ergo she must be at least 15, going on 16 this year.  She is Jae’s mom and I have a picture of him from 1999 when he was a kitten.  For Miko, I had adoption papers.

Boo Kitty enjoying her retirement.

As I was reading a post about some past fosters, I realized that I was able to mark a passage of time by who a certain foster was when I began following a blog.  I found that I’ve been reading some longer than I imagined, but others were harder to put a time reference on.  I believe most of my reading/following/lurking began in 2011.  I remember when Ginger Rogers made her debut in  Blogville but I also know that I once spent the better part of a weekend pouring over archives.  Time flies.

One of the longest stretches of time for me in recent history would be the six or seven weeks while we waited for Ray.  Born on December 1, 2011, I don’t think it was any more than a week later that we committed to adopting a “Sparkle puppy.”  Taken into an already full foster situation with Smiling K9’s, this little family was slated to go to another foster/rescue once they were able to be transported, so we needed to make our intentions known early and stick to them.  We couldn’t commit to a puppy, have it stay and then reverse our commitment.  Not to worry, though, because as the littles were growing, their foster mama/rescuer was becoming  less able to send them and she ended up adopting them out of her own rescue.  Good news for us, as we were still doing the male/female debate.  The moment I laid eyes on Ray, I knew I wanted “the little green guy” but the hubby wasn’t sure about gender. 

Once we had committed, the longest seven-ish weeks of my life began…

Come back tomorrow to read about Ray’s Gotcha Day and celebrat with us by sharing your Gotcha day story and joining our Blog Hop!

See you then!

Wordless Wednesday

Coming Soon….

 
The Ray-Ray Gotcha Day Blog Hop Celebration. 
January 18-22, 2013
 
 
I know that is a random time to have it…mostly over a weekend, and the majority of us don’t post on the weekend.  Well, I really have no huge rhyme or reason as to the timing.  I might start it Thursday night for those of you who are late night readers and posters. 
 
Feel free to share and cross post our little sign.  The more the merrier!