Happy Memorial Day...

As I have said before, if you ever love an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember...

The first day is blessed with happiness, when you bring your new puppy home.

The second day will occur eight to ten years later and be a day like no other.  Routine and undistinguished, but for a surprising instant, you will look at your long-time buddy and see age where you once saw youth.

The third important day is the one we all dread, when that time comes. Your day is filled with grief that is hard to explain.  And many times, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand.

Friday I got a call from the owner of a dog we know well.  I thought it was strange in the beginning but in an instance, I knew something was wrong, so very wrong.  “Jackson passed away today” he said.
Jackson was such a beautiful and loving dog and it literally broke my heart to think I would never see him again.  I also took a walk down our driveway where at the end, is our “family” graveyard where we have buried every pet and dog that has passed since we left Kentucky years ago.  With Memorial Day upon us, I want us to think of our past pets we have lost. I have spoken to literally hundreds of people who have lost their beloved pet and have even cried with them when they told me their story.  Some people I never met, but they just needed to talk.  We are who we are, because of our past, and our pets have shaped us more than we choose to believe or may know.  I know the day will come when “that time” will come again and it breaks my heart to even think of it as we all do.

Because of our dog circles and rescues, we get to know many people and parents of our pups and dogs we have helped.  Something some may not realize is that “we” truly get attached to your dogs that we rescue, work with or help in several ways.  It’s big enough to worry about the health and injuries with “our” own dogs but because of our relationship with others, we do fall in love and worry about your dog too, even if it’s not one of our pups as in the case with Jackson.     
Jackson was a remarkable dog and reminded me so much of another dog that we fell in love with, Roxie.  They both were Doberman Pinschers and although, Jackson was a boy and Roxie was a girl, they were very much alike and very loving and we loved them so.  They died two years apart nearly to the day and I remember the last time I saw them and will keep Jackson’s photos on the computer just like I still have Roxie’s. 

We have crossed this bridge before and yes, this is the sad part but I truly loved and remember the all of the dogs that we knew that have passed.  As we celebrate Memorial Day, remember “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” — Joseph Campbell. 

Remember to honor the men and women of our armed services who gave everything for us but remember our past pets too and the funny, cute and loving way they loved us and know they always remembered us…  Take a munute to look into their eyes, stroke their fur and assure them that they are everything to us because someday before we know it, it may be too late.   Ken

“Hey who are you, you seem familiar?”  “I’ve never seen you but I know you too!”  “My name is Jackson and I just got here”  “My name is Roxie and I’ve been here for a blink of an eye”  “I know we have never met but I seem to know you, let's play..."  and as they scamper off to play into the tall green grass, they both carry a small part of a heart that’s on the other side of the bridge, until me meet again… 

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Sleepy time...

I have noticed this before but last night, it was more noticeable than ever.  When I finished up my work in the office, as always I turn the desk light off, get up in the darkness and walk to the stares.  I know it’s unsafe but I usually walk slow always expecting something in the way.  Last night, Dutchess was in the middle of the floor and I bumped her walking through.  Although there is a dog bed in the room, she was laying on the floor close to me.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.

For some reason, all of our dogs want to be around me or Elaine.  Later that night, I was getting ready to sit in my recliner to watch a little TV when I noticed 4 dogs waiting for me to sit.  All of them were anxiously waiting to make their move and jump in my lap, trying to beat the other out.  I have noticed this before and when I back my chair in the office they are usually right behind me, startling me and them but why do they do this?  Is it the breed or how they were raised?  I do notice a difference between our Border Collies and our German Shepherd Dahlia.  While the collies are more loving, Dahlia won’t give it up.  She is loving, don’t get me wrong, but not like the BC’s. 

This caused me to think about the jest of this.  While Dahlia will lay with us on the bed or sit next to us on the couch, after a short time, she is off to her space on the spare bed.  She loves sugar and belly rubs but loves her space.  On the other hand, all of the BC’s will seek, pester, annoy and tease me to do something with them.  If I am sitting and one is my lap, as soon as they get up, another takes their spot and so on.  Dutchess is the worst and if someone is in my lap, she will sit and watch.  Looking first at me and then at the other dog, back and forth until they get up, up she comes, sometimes staying until my legs go to sleep spending hours at a time.   

Dutchess in her spot... Meggie waiting...
I have literally had 5 dogs on the couch with me and no one is comfortable but no-one moves fearing they will lose their spot.  I have grown accustom to this affection and to be growing in intensity and at one time, I only allowed one dog in bed with me.  Just two nights ago, Abbie was at my head laying on the spare pillow, Meggie was stretched out along my back and Dutchess was curled up at the foot of the bed and it was tight to say the least.  When I thought it couldn’t get any more crowded, Clancy decided to join in the fellowship.  While the entire bed was full with furry critters it appeared there was no more room or so I thought.  Clancy climbed up from the foot of the bed and walked on top of my body pillow and settled near my head.  I now had 3 dogs on one side and Clancy stretched out on the pillow that ran from the head to the foot of the bed.  What made matters worse, he slowly slid down in-between me and the pillow which I put between my legs for comfort and fell fast asleep.  It was a tight fit but we made it.  At times, I hear Molly walking on the wood floor near the bed and when I put my hand over the side of the bed and she will lick my fingers.  Because she is getting older and the bed is high, I get up of bed and put her up with the others.  Everybody joins in the fun.

Bed time, Molly & Clancy...
I have often said that until you really experience the love of a dog you’ve never experienced such sweet devotion.  As I write this short story Doc is laying by my feet and every so often, he will get up and put his nose on the desk, wanting nothing but a little attention and a pat on the head.  Today, I pushed my chair back and hugged him and telling him I loved him.  He laid back down and was content, wanting nothing more than reassurance that I did.  I have started taking more time to notice all of them and after running into Dutchess the other night, I reached down to rub her too.  Dogs are pretty amazing…  Ken

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