Monday, December 29, 2008

My Max

When I first saw him, he was chained in the backyard wearing a bandana around his neck - a four month old puppy who had been abandoned along a mountain road. His rescuer had named him Buck after the hunting trip that led to his discovery. There was no question, not an instant of hesitation, I knew he was my dog. He knew it too. "Buck" never paused as he trotted beside me out of that house and into the beginning of our too short nine years together. Hopping into the front seat of my old valiant, he wagged his tail, leaned into the seat and was ready to go. Whenever I asked, Max was always ready to go.

Max, you are forever in my heart,
yet how desperately
I miss you by my side.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Beloved Steadfast Max is Gone

In His Sweet Memory 1999 - December 28 2008


He is my other eyes that can see above
the clouds; my other ears that hear above
the winds. He is the part of me that can
reach out into the sea.

He has told me a thousand times over that
I am his reason for being: by the way he
rests against my leg; by the way he thumps
his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he
shows his hurt when I leave without taking him.
(I think it makes him sick with worry when he
is not along to care for me.)

When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive.
When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile.
When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.
When I am a fool, he ignores it.
When I succeed, he brags.
Without him, I am only another woman. With him,
I am all-powerful.
He is loyalty itself.
He has taught me the meaning of devotion.
With him, I know a secret comfort and a
private peace. He has brought me understanding
where before I was ignorant.
His head on my knee can heal my human hurts.
His presence by my side is protection against
my fears of dark and unknown things.
He has promised to wait for me...
...wherever--in case I need him.
And I expect I will--as I always have.

He is just my dog.
--- Gene Hill ---

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun!

Put 3 good pittie friends together in a back yard with one Tuffie Mega Ring and what do you have? Three VERY happy dogs doing the two things they love best - fetch AND tug-of-war. Recognize Stella?

She is with Ben and Willow, my son's two dogs. Both were adopted through the Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation (WARF) in Incline Village, CA. Both dogs lived with at my house for a couple of years while Jesse and Shauna saved for their first house. When these three get together, it is a wild time! We have been quite pleased with Tuffie Dog Toys. They seem to be the one brand that Stella AKA Mouth of Doom is not able to shred.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vampire Dog and the Mouth of Doom

One thing I love and appreciate about my canine friends - they keep me amused and laughing, two great stress relievers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Touched by Winter

When I viewed these pictures of Max, taken December 4th, I came face to face with the reality that my steadfast one is quickly aging. Winter is claiming my sweet dog. While his face may be more silver than golden, Max's spirit is strong and playful still. He has canine discoid lupus. I think this has speeded the aging process for my boy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Otis - Trail Dog, Friend and Protector for 14 Years

Last July Otis was the youngest looking 14 year old dog you might hope to meet. His amazing vitality, a joy to watch over the years, served him well in his senior years. Then, within a matter of days, Otis began to age. It happened quickly - he lost muscle tone, his hind end began to waiver. Worry shadowed his eyes, he was not used to being the vulnerable one.

One Saturday in November my dear friend, Otis' mom, called to say he was gone. That morning he could no longer walk and she knew it was time to say goodbye. Goodbye Otis, Good Boy! Thanks for all the laughs, the carefully guarded camps, the joyous, wild runs at the beach. And thanks for teaching Riley to swim. May Riley be there to greet you on the far side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Riley - My Forever Dog

Parted by death on April 23, 2005 a few hours after
my dear boy was hit by a hit-and-run driver.

Throughout my life I've been fortunate to love and be loved by many amazing dogs. Riley is one held forever in the center of my heart. One day, a few months after my son Jesse and I said goodbye to our dear friend Oscar, I got an urge to visit our local shelter. Slowly I walked up and down the aisles, looking into the stricken, wild, angry, grieving eyes of the dogs in the cages. Many a fine dog, but nowhere did I see "my" dog. Then, in the very last cage, was a little golden retriever mix puppy. He saw me, whined, lifted one paw in greeting and gave me a hopeful wag with his tail. We fell instantly in love.

Riley grew up long, lean, and golden. Throughout his life we put in many, many miles backpacking in the Trinity Alps Wilderness with Max, my friend Liz and her dogs Otis and Peaches. They were trail dogs and were a sight to behold - four large dogs coming down the trail, each with their own dog pack, accompanying the two middle aged women who gamely trudged up the hills. Riley learned to swim in Caribou Basin with the help of his friend Otis who put a helpful paw on Riley's back to stabilize him and position him lower in the water.

Never sure of Riley's heritage, I liked to believe that he was a golden retriever/greyhound mix. He loved to run. When the trail dogs went to the beach they would play "chase the gazelle" trailing behind Riley as he flowed in front of the pack, so beautiful as he led his friends in wild joy across the sand. They would try endless maneuvers to catch him, but with Riley's grace and speed it was rare that his friends would win the game . Silly boy just never learned not to drink from the ocean!

Miss you always, sweet dog of mine.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Too Late for Skywatch Friday

This photo is from Florence, Oregon on a trip to visit my Dad who lives in Blaine, Washington. Stella ran and ran and ran in the water. It is one of my favorite memories.

Lena - Cute with Attitude

OK, I just couldn't resist her cuteness when I saw her sitting next to a volunteer at a Bones Rescue Adoption event at The Farm Store in Eureka. All that cuteness was only a cover for her Aussie/Kelpie obsession with herding me with her every waking breath. Wherever I walk through my house, Lena is sure to follow - exactly three inches behind me.

Lena loves going to Freshwater Stables. She is fearless among the horses, regarding them with the professional assurance that comes from the blood of generations of herding dogs running through her veins. She knows every inch of the general pasture and excels at finding piles of stinky unmentionables to wriggle and roll in.

There is not a fence made that can contain Lena. I have caught her flying over a five foot gate, perching on the top like a cat, and bounding free when she didn't think I was looking. If I am at home, she will stay put. Otherwise I do not dare leave her in my fenced backyard. She wares a tag with her name and my phone number so I can be contacted if she runs away. Before her Bones' rescue, Lena was picked up by Animal Control in Redding as she ran down a sidewalk. No doubt she had just flown over her former owner's fence and was looking for something or someone to herd.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Steadfast One . . .

. . . is Max. Years ago I was doing a home visit and heard there was a puppy chained in the yard next door. The woman who answered the door told me that her son had found the puppy wandering along a mountain road, possible abandoned there. He was about 4 months old and wore a red bandanna around his neck. We recognized each other the instant our eyes met. My offer of a home was accepted and Max trotted beside me, hopped into the car, and was ready to go. Ten years later Max is still always ready to go.

Friday, November 28, 2008

More About Stella

Stella had been at the Humboldt County Pound for a few months when she met mom for the first time. One of us, Riley, had just been killed by a evil, curse their hides, hit and run driver (we will tell the story later) and mom, though heartbroken, figured there was room in our pack needing to be filled. Back then Stella was called Skids, can you believe such a dumb name, cuz she had fallen out of something moving and skinned off the top of her head. She still has a tiny diamond scar.

When Stella saw mom both new they were meant for each other. Stell roodled (she talks) at mom, flipped over on her back, and looked all adorable. Mom sort of chuckled, not bad as she had been crying for days. The rest of us were pretty low, missing Riley, and Stella's riotous humor and enthusiasm helped us to grieve Riley without becoming depressed.

Some people are scared of Stella when they first see her. We call that doggie breedism. Stella is the most gentle and kind of us. She has a gentle spirit and the gift of connecting with people from her heart. She makes friends wherever she goes. Here are some of her favorite things:
  • Going to the Farm Store where dogs can come inside and choose their own treats
  • Anything soft
  • Tug-of-war
  • Roodling
  • Doing tricks
  • Running in circles
  • Visiting her friends
  • Cookies
  • Playing the game "Scritches"
Stella used to like to go into the general pasture to visit the horses with mom. This big, nasty bully changed all that. The bully's name is Elsie. One day, when Stella was minding her business, following mom through the GP, Elsie charged her and tried to butt Stellish with her head. Since then, horses scare Stella. She still goes into the GP with mom, but it isn't much fun anymore cuz Stella is worried that some mean horse will pick on her.

The Bully Named Elsie (Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

Stella loves to visit mom's father in Blaine, Washington where she is best friends with Rosie, a little poodle. Mom cracks up how people stop and stare at Rosie and Stella playing. We think Stella is about 7 or 8 years old. She would be a great spy dog because she has natural camoflague. Her friend Esther Garvey says she looks like one of the wild dogs around Zinder. Heh, heh - hear that ELSIE!!!! Mess with Stella and she'll get her WILD DOG friends to chase your mean self!

Skywatch Friday

Skywatch - Lena runs through the general pasture at Freshwater Valley Stables.

All Eyes On Us

And get them off the dang horses folks! OK. Sure our mom takes an occasional picture of us and posts it on Baba Yaga's Mirror. Whatever. We are sick of riding second saddle (grrrrrr) to Red and Lyra. We demand better food, more walks, and OUR OWN BLOG. Got it, right here!

So here is Stella, she is the bed hog dog. Dang lazy thing won't even get up to pee in the morning unless mom screams her name. Stella is a pit bull/german shepherd mix. She is a myth-breaker when it comes to unsavory beliefs about pitties. Stella is the heart dog.

And check out Max - Mr. Substantial! Max has not paid many visits to the ranch lately. He has discoid lupus and it has slowed him down. Max is a lab/rhodie ridgeback comb. He is the steadfast dog.

Meet Lena, the escape artist. Kind folks read about her running away awhile ago and gave mom alot of enouragement on the horsie smorsie blog. She follows mom around the house about 3 inches behind her. Well, what do you expect for an Aussie/Kelpie girl? Herding dogs just got to herd. Lena is the watching dog.