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Current blog look inspired by and dedicated to Chance, Blaze, Fiona and Zappa who all kicked ass against cancer and liver disease.

Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

24 Paws Crossed For You...

For everyone who's going through some sad losses and tough times our paws are crossed for you.

We may not know all of you, but we understand the pain of losing a furry loved one or one who has an illness.

We'd like to send a special prayer for our friends KB and K,
May the Power of Paw carry all of us. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Memories-Brut 'Heart' Walk

It was something I could never explain.  Long before we joined the blogging world.  I just knew there was something different about Brut and I that I could never really put into words.  Brut was almost two years old and while we were out on a walk, my conscious translated that knowing feeling into a simple understanding.  Brut wasn't a part of me, nor was he an extension of me; we were a complete unit walking as one being.  My best description for a term I would later come to know as a 'heart dog

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Daddy Quotes

"They may not be human, but they are close enough for me.  I have never been showered with so much love like this before."

24 Paws of Love

Brought to you by Life with Dogs, The Two Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Brut Root

Dealing with Brut is sometimes like diffusing a time bomb.  It requires delicacy, patience and a gentle but firm hand.  The more we practice this approach with him, the more the root of his aggression begins to surface-FEAR.

Brut's larger than life exterior has masked much of the fear that runs through his veins and erupts into aggression.  As we began to touch on this fear we found ourselves dealing with a hurt and frightened puppy under that tough outer barrier and doing a balancing act between these inner and outer forces.    

The fear is so painful for him, it is like a blow to the head.  It is the intensity of this pain turned inside out that expands into this grandiose image that he uses to protect himself. 

I have known since Brut was young by his reactions that he riddled with fear, unlike any I'd ever seen in a dog, but he expressed it so violently it made it difficult to known how to handle it or even fully recognize it.  In the midst of a dog fight, my first reaction wasn't, "Gee, Brut looks scared maybe he needs a hug"  And while he did show his fear in other ways, there was no comparison to when he exploded with it.

It has been a long process.  For all of us.  When we began to help Brut make his decision for him, we turned down a road that is changing everything we know about dealing with a so-call aggressive dog and exposing that deep seeded fear that he has been protecting.  Finally we have found a way to work together and bring that fear out in the open so that it can safely be acknowledged and tended to.  Taking every measure we have with all the time, love and patience that Brut needs to heal from it.

The progress has been astounding.  No fights or threats of fights and only one small altercation that was diffuse quickly with no one getting hurt.  It is amazing.  Every step taking us further into the complex mind of a dog who learned way too early that he had to protect himself to survive.  It is working.  It IS working.

And as we continue into the next phase of our journey, we can not imagine where it will lead us, but know there will be oodles of hope along the way.

You can read the basis for our new method dealing with Brut's flare ups HERE. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Progress, not Perfection

Not exactly the same set up, but you get the point.
 (This is an old picture and the only one we have of Brut and Zappa on the couch together)
Daddy's on his spot-the far right of the couch.  Zappa comes in taking his spot on the couch, the far left.  Brut shortly follows to take his spot in the middle.  Any other time, Zappa would have gotten down but not without some grumbles and growls while Brut would patiently wait.  My husband and I are engrossed in a show, when Zappa decides to stand his ground, warning growls erupt and Brut is halfway on the couch.  Brut starts to slide on top of the couch, both dogs snapping and snarling until Zappa eventually retreats.

Zappa is on the far side of room standing, Brut is on couch and there is a low roar between the two of them.  Daddy ask Brut to get off couch, Brut complies, but can't get him to sit.  That's when I realize Zappa is standing and tell him to sit and lay down, he responds.  Brut immediately gives his attention to Daddy who sits and lays at my husband's feet.  (Thanks Five Sibes!!)  Brut was not about to "submit" to Zappa, Zappa had to go down first.   

The entire atmosphere even from the time this scene started was warm and calm.  Calm enough to think through and clear enough to respond quickly.

This encounter happened a couple of weeks ago and I am still reeling in the excitement.  I don't know who's response surprised me more, my husband or Brut.  This hands on method we have been practicing is doing wonders at bringing down the levels of intense energy that is usually emitted when their is a altercation.  Before a situation like that would have escalated with a emergency-panic reaction.   And my husband was phenomenal.  I can not begin to rave about how this calm, but direct method is changing everything we do AND my husband and I have found a way that we can both work with the dogs in a language that is easy for both of us to understand.  The results have far exceeded what I could have ever dreamed.

What a wonderful lesson of never giving up!!

Tomorrow I show you how we are getting to the root of Brut's aggression using this method.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sometimes it just takes Daddy's Touch

I was starting to give up entirely on dog sledding.  If it wasn't bad enough that this winter has sucked, lack of snow, ice, rain, I was also feeling like I was running out of hope with the dogs.

After a test run with Zappa that was a lot more of me running and him pulling an empty sled, only proved to me that Zappa needs a partner in the snow and I currently didn't have one for him.  My dreams for sledding were fading fast.  I was almost ready to give up entirely. 

So then my husband says, "Let's try Chance."  I had pretty much written off my favorite sled dog because he had become a bit apprehensive with his sledding harness. Come to find out I'd been using the wrong size harness for him all last year and it had made him uncomfortable.  I was still working with him getting used to one again and progress was slow.   I wasn't sure how Chance would do it, but I agreed.  Maybe with Daddy it would make a difference.

Daddy is the comforter, the one who holds and calms the dogs while I do all the "bad mom" stuff like medicine, ear cleanings and such.  The dogs practically jump into his arms at the vet while the vet pokes and probes.  Everything is better when Daddy is there.

So I set up the sled and without any discussion Daddy starts putting the harness on Chance.  Great idea!!  While he doesn't have a clue what he is doing, Chance stands calmly and lets him put it on while I assist.  Chance doesn't fuss as he puts all his trust in the greatest man alive.  Somehow everything is going to be alright.  We get him hooked up to the sled, Daddy opens the gate and we are off.  Not one qualm or hesitation, in fact he is so excited he runs straight across the driveway and over the embankment of snow.  We are all laughing and the grin on Chance's face is priceless.  Daddy guides Chance back to the road where Chance burst in a comfortable run.  His gate is smooth and strong.  The road isn't at it's best, but Chance has no problem taking charge.  We blend into a single harmony as Chance runs like a thoroughbred while feels as if I am hanging on to his wild mane.  The inevitable power and passion engages us as our hearts cling to each others, relishing the force and freedom of being one.  In one rush, the dream is alive again. 

How do you really thank the love of our lives for that??

  How about with one big sloppy kiss??

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Memories-Starring Chancer Dancer and the Milk Pumpers!

Monday Memories-our weekly trip down memory lane.  
This week:

We open with newbie Rocket, just minutes old, taking those tumbles and rolls with ease.   He is ready to play his part as milk pumper.  Then out of nowhere a silly girl tries to help by shooting Rocket to the top of the pile.  Not sure what she was trying to accomplish there, but it does cue the other puppies.  Look at those back legs go!  Can you believe the strength of those little legs pulsing to their own synchronized beat?  Only hours old, these puppies already have the milk pumping moves.   Lead by Chance,(the big white boy in the middle), the seven pups prepare the journey for their three sister who have yet to be born.  There is nothing like the Newborn Milk Pumping Dance to welcome everyone home.  :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Playbows for Snow!

After getting a dusting here and there and having it melt, FINALLY, we got about 8-10 inches of the white stuff that we can play in!
Here's Brut and Silver getting down in it!  

Anyone ready to jump in with us??

Now lets jump over to the Saturday Blog Hop
Hosted by Life with Dogs, The Two Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Secrets of Luigi

Boy, I bet those dogs would be surprised to find out the real reason she bothers to go outside every day in the freezing wind and snow is to take care of me!  Shhhh...let them think it's their silly tactics are working!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ONE wish

 Ready?  Set? LUNGE!!

If you were granted ONE wish that would eliminate ONE training problem that you and your dog have been struggling with, what would it be?  Something that you and your dog have been working on that has caused so much frustration between the two of you that you've just about given up hope, only to wake up the next day and find your dog executing your command perfectly.

If you could have ONE training problem completely solved, what would it be?

Mine would be leash walking.  I wish I never had to train my dogs to leash walk ever again.  I wish I could just hook them up and they would walk like it was bred into them.  So that every walk was a peaceful, smooth walk and I didn't have to worry about those occasional or not so occasional arm jerks. No lunges into the ditch.  No special collars or commands, just a great loose leash and heel, so that maybe I could walk more than one dog at a time!  Could you imagine??  That would be a dream come true!

So tell me, what is yours? 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Memories-Do You See What I See?

Our first summer with all six dogs...

My husband pulls out these photos and begins his story

 She interrupts him in a voice of quiet awe and says, "These dogs are loved."

A cashier at a feed store saw what we felt in our hearts.
She could tell just from the photos.
They were the most loving words I'd ever heard from someone I didn't know and needed to hear so badly during such a difficult time as we began this journey with two packs of dogs.
Her words still ring in my head when I feel I am not enough for them.
 I swear they were straight from heaven above.

I needed to "hear" them again today. 

Has a stranger ever touched you with such powerful words?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dedication Week-Simple

Our entire world has been transformed from ugly browns and grey to soft snowy white.  It has been such an exhausting day and the freshness of the new fallen snow was rejuvenating.  Because of our hectic day, the dog's scheduled ended up out of whack and there was nothing better than an evening out in the wet fluff to clear our heads.  We all stood in the quiet snowfall, listening to the stillness. I watched as Brut lay making snow angels, his eyes holding mine at just that right moment as he swished back and forth.  Zappa made his own snow angels while Fiona took the opportunity to pounce on him.  Somewhere out of the shadows Silver slide into view waiting for me to throw her favorite football.  I hear Blaze and Chance out front in conversation with a distant dog, knowing that their turn is next.  All of the tension and fatigue drain out of me as I thought to myself, "This is the life."

This is the life that makes my heart go round with the circle of love that surrounds me.    I could have laid down right there in the snow and fell asleep in the precious peacefulness.

I could thank each one of you every day for just being there.   

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dedication Week-Accepting Brut

For every blogger that I have encounter, we dedicate this next post to you as part of our Dedication Week.  It is the collaboration of every tale you tell, every cute, funny story and every heartache that you share that has given me a place to come and be with those who understand what a dog's love means.  A love that is still transforming the nucleus of our personal dog universe and creating a trickle down effect. 

  The King 
I started out on dog forums in a desperate attempt for information and was chastised for Brut's dog aggression .  I took some hard blows from this forum right about the time my husband kept pressing about starting a dog blog.  I could barely fathom the thought.  It hurt bad enough to deal with a behavior that I could barely understand and I was certain blogging about him would open me to more criticism than I could bear. 

I honestly don’t know how or why I but I began to check out dog blogs.  Something must of sparked because I suddenly began putting our site together and despite all my fears and apprehension, I bit the bullet and we created the 24 Paws of Love. 

I was cautious, I felt my way through and the feedback was positive. I began to test the waters a little further, with THIS POST, and not one person slam me for Brut’s nature.  The ice broke. 

Just think about what you've been a part of
From that point I took each step in those icy waters and found other dog lovers who may or my not have understood, but were open and empathic to a degree that completely blew my mind.   

I began to change, which meant Brut began to change because I was able to be open with you about the real struggles, the issues, my fears and sorrows.  Your acceptance became mine and helped to speed up an evolution of change to bring us to where we are now.  I still can not believe it.

 The trickle down effect
The hardest thing about having a dog that is dog aggressive is accepting Brut as he is.  I would have never thought that my husband's crazy idea would change our lives in a way that were so positive and rewarding.  And whether you agree or not with our situation, your acceptance of Brut has created an impact on the 24 Paws of Love as a whole by helping a wonderful family of dogs in a bizarre circumstance to feel right at home.

Because as the saying goes around here:  "When Brut is happy, everyone is happy."  And we know he is happier than he has ever been.  :)

***Pee.S.  We are hearing rumors of snow flying the next couple of days.
Please keep your paws crossed!
Our last snow fall turned into treacherous ice and mud.
We are HUSKIES!!  We need SNOW!!** 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dedication Week-Blaze's Anxiety

This post is dedicated to our readers and the dog blogging community as part of our dedication week, because without you we could not be sharing this wonderful news. 

 Where's that Chance?
I’ve dying to tell you about the progress of Blaze and her separation anxiety with Chance.  She has went from having straight panic in her eyes that has turned in pure excitement.  It has been so much fun working with her.  Before I get too far ahead here’s a little background:

Chance and Blaze grew up with related families and their bond is one of the strongest I have ever witnessed. They were both abused and only had each other. So when one is gone the other is in a constant worry. Blaze's anxiety is stronger than Chance's and so when Chance leaves, say to go for a walk with Daddy, Blaze would fly into sheer panic.

  Separation Anxiety? 
Not us!

I had heard to try and let the dog work it out for themselves.  The anxiety only intensified, so I began with clicker training and had her sit, click and reward. I did this for some time, building on the commands. Eventually she began to come to me and sit on her own when Chance would leave. I was quite amazed at this progress. I added in talking in a soothing voice, brushing, and petting to give her the security she needed while also making it a game of waiting and watching for Chance to come back.

One day I was in the middle of a project that I could not stop and when Daddy and Chance left, Blaze wandered around a bit then laid at my feet. She wasn't whining or crying or pacing. I couldn't believe it. This was such great progress!!  She was alert but her body and eyes were calm. She was confident and secure, not the manic mess I was used to witnessing.  Something was working.

 Chance, Shamance...Where's my treat?

Then we even took it a step further:
Daddy and Chance left, I was in the basement. I came up when they left. We did our clicker training thing for a minute. I told her I believed in her and that she could do this, I left telling her I would be right back. I went back downstairs to finish stacking wood and when I heard her start whining a little I talked to her through the floor and told her "just a minute." (a trusting phrase the dogs know) So when it was quiet, I went to say hi, talk to her for a minute, then repeated everything again. I can't remember when I have even seen her so confident and secure with herself. She was truly beginning to believe in herself and her pride was showing.  It was awesome!

 Now when Chance leaves Blaze can barely contain all her excitement because of all the wonderful and great things that happen when he's gone.  And let’s not forget when he returns, Blaze gets the best reward ever.  A walk with Daddy. 

And it doesn’t get any better than that!   

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dedication Week

You know that feeling when things start to gel and come together?  When that 1,000 piece puzzle has more than just the border and starts to come into focus?  Or all those times you've wondered if all those little baby steps were getting you anywhere only to come out of the storm and see the rainbow?

That's how we are feeling.  That's how the 24 Paws of Love is doing.

I feet like I am on Miracle Street after trudging through the mud for what has seemed a very long and grueling walk.  Sometimes I still can't believe it myself and I feel like I'm going to burst with so much excitement.  I had no idea all those little accomplishments would add up to so much.  For them and me.  

We would like to dedicate this week of the amazing progress of the 24 Paws of Love to you, our readers, who without your help, would have never been possible.  We would like to thank you all personally for being part of our journey and giving us more hope than we could imagine from your own personal stories and comments.  You have been a lifeline that we have desperately needed and have come to depend on dearly as no one else could fathom the amount of dog loving crazy that goes on in this home.  But you do.  And I think the best way to thank you, is to let the dogs tell you themselves and share in what you have become a part of by just being there.

  Won't you join us?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Monday Memories-Our Big Scare

With a house full of dogs, cats and plants, I have always taken extra precautions.  I have never had any issues with the animals and my plants.  For some reason they have always left them alone.  I have always checked which, if any of my plants were toxic and kept them out of harm’s way or just gotten rid of them.  Sharing this night of horror is one of the hardest things for me to admit because it was my neglect and anger that made this fearful event worse than it already was. 

I had a plant called a Sago Palm.  It was my third time cutting this ancient plant plant back at the base to restart it .  It is a fern like plant with plastic-like fronds that grows very slowly, maybe a frond or two a year.  After three years I had about 5-6 fronds on it and was thrilled.   

Enter Blaze.  I cleared all of my plants except for the Sago Palm, so Blaze could use the same ledge as the plant to help with her separation anxiety.  My plant was so happy in this spot, I never saw it on any of the toxic plant list for dogs and for unknown reason I left it there.  I had no idea that Blaze had been nibbling on the plant, but she had knocked it over more than once.  FIRST CLUE.  Why I did not move that plant, when I had been so careful with all of my others, was way beyond me.  I still doesn't make any sense to me to this day.

Well, one night Blaze had chewed an entire frond off and I had just had it with everything.  Chance and Blaze's return had been so difficult, not only their trauma, but trying to make a divided household work and all of the uproar it caused to everyone, that in my hurt, frustration and exhaustion I threw they plant outside.

In Chance and Blaze's yard.

"Now you can have it!!"  Words and actions that I could never take back.

A couple hours later.  The nightmare started.  Both dogs were vomiting while it came out their rears.  Over and over again.  I called the vet.  She had never heard of the plant.  I looked online and there it was under toxic plants:  Sago Palm.  Vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.

My heart sunk and terror of what I had incurred has haunted me to this day.  It was the most horrific night of my life.  I searched the snow covered yard for any signs left of the plant.  It was gone.  They had ingested all of it.  We knew that fact that they were working it out of their system so quickly after eating it was a good sign, but it didn't stop the fear that something more life threatening could happen.  All night of cleaning up vomit and diarrhea and being so terribly frightened that the worst was going to happen because of something stupid I'd done.  Neither my actions or lack of them with this plant made any sense and now my two babies lives were in jeopardy.

After a couple of hours of non stop action, the retching began to slow and eventually all the sickness came to halt.  Weak and exhausted Chance and Blaze finally were able to lay down and rest, with only some intermittent vomiting.  They were quiet the next day, but were doing OK.  Later in their day they began to bounce back to themselves.  They had made it.

It was the scariest night of my life. And I still have the hardest time forgiving myself for causing it all to happen.  I still don't know why I never moved the plant, whether it was poisonous or not.  I don't know what caused me to just leave it there in easy reach, or what made me think Blaze wouldn't chew on it at all.  Why I had taken great precautions with all of my other plants, yet left this one right in front of her face?  And what, just what had ever prompted me to throw in out in the yard for them to devour.  You can not believe how many times, I have wanted to write this and couldn't bear facing the world with something that could have been avoided and catastrophic because of something I had done. The results could have been fatal.   We have had some close calls in our lifetime with our dogs but this was by far the closest and most serious.

     Grateful, doesn't even begin to describe...

You can look on ASPCA -Animal Poison Control Center where they have a list of toxic and non-toxic houseplants and outdoor plants for more information.

If you see signs or symptoms of your animal that your pet may have ingested a plant or any other poison, please, do not wait, call your local vet for help.  Time is of the essence.   

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Great "Sledding" with Zappa

Before I pass out on the keyboards let me tell you about my fantastic time "sledding" with Zappa.

So I'm walking Fiona through this little wooded spot across from our house and like a light bulb exploding, I think, "I'll try out Zappa on these small trails."  Which I've been thinking about all summer, but it just now hits me like a brand new idea.  So when I get home, I get the little sled (the homemade version) because it will work better through the small trials.  Zappa is so excited that no matter what I say to him, he won't sit to get his harness on, until I ask him if he wants to pull.  Boom, butt to ground.

This "ride" would be classified under "New Context," since we usually just cruise down the road, turn around and come back.  So I get him hooked up and once he is on the trail, Zappa is doing good.  I've got one foot on the runner and I'm am pushing off with the other.  That's when it hits me, the snow is wet and heavy.  HOLY CRAP!  I'm going to have to run with Zappa.  He's not going to able to pull me.  So like every instant idea that pops into my head, I didn't plan this part out!!  We make it to the field and I am hopelessly trying to run with Zappa, who is still trying to figure out what is going on but handling it like a champ.  While he is staying a good trot, pace wise, I'm doing my best to keep up running in wet snow, 4 inches deep, in my heavy boots, blazing our own trail while trying to hold it together for Zappa's sake.  Did I mention I forgot my Superwoman cape in all the excitement?? 

After we are about half way through the loop I want to take, trying to show Zappa the way, while also having to untangle him each time I praise him because he would stop and turn around when I did;  I always think back to a mushing meeting we went to back when we were just starting with Brut and someone asked if you needed to be physically fit to participate in the sport.  While the speaker seem to skirt around an answer at the time, I always bust out laughing about halfway through a run and think HELL YEAH!  You better have some kind of stamina or gusto and a few muscles or your dogs will leave in you in a white dust  On and off the sled, guiding, untangling, running along side, or behind and starting all over again.  In fact it more common to be off the sled than one when training sled dogs.

I'm breathing so hard from the running and the excitement my heart feels like it is going to burst through my chest.  Zappa is concerned at times, maybe a little worried but he is trusting me which was the icing on the cake.  After the umpteenth time of untangling him, I wasn't sure how well he was going to hold, but he did great!

Then he had a bit of a glitch, Zappa stopped and turned around too quickly getting the sled wrapped around him and when he tried to get away it stayed with him.  He freaked out for a second, and was a bit scared to go again, but I got right up front with him and ran along side and you could feel his confidence soar as well as mine.  I slid to back of the sled and we ran the last couple turns of our loop together as smooth as silk.  We were both cruising like well oiled machines at this point.  I didn't even notice my legs were moving so fast, we were that in tune with each other.  So when we poked through the trails again, I told Zappa, "Let's go home," and he did.  Turning on the next path that lead to our house.

I was completely ecstatic!  With the snow conditions, going on a new route, not knowing any turn signals or commands, Zappa did great!!  And what a blessing it was to run this new course without the added fret and worry of cars, people or dogs, as it can be going down the road.  I think we were both on top of the world.  And the trust that has been building between us is paying off.  I know I say it every time I post about dog sledding, but I will say it again...THAT was the best ride of my life!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Obnoxious Cat Challenge

 Do I look worried?

An obnoxious, demanding cat.  
(She ain't seen nothing yet!)

Pamela's Challenge.
(Yeah, right.  We know who the boss is.)

Who's going to win?
(Like you have to ask?  Don't you know who I am?)
Watch for our post between Jan. 31-Feb 7 to find out. 

Find out more about the challenge HERE and join us!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

fear, trust, passion

Sometimes it is better not to know what you are getting into
                          or have any idea what to do

               Sometimes trusting your gut and heart
                                   can be wrenching

         when everyone thinks you're crazy,
                                                 including yourself

                   Sometimes the very thing we fear
                                              is the only true thing to hang onto

                It is the very notion of limitations
                                             That breaks the chains

Trust is a three way street

                     What almost killed us
                                 runs a rampant passion of love
                                                 and hate

Sometimes the very thing that rips apart our souls
Has the only power to heal it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Best Birthday Gift Ever!!

 What more could four almost-Sibe dogs want on their fourth Birthday??

Thank you so much for the warm Birthday wishes for Zappa, Fiona, Chance and Blaze.  

We passed them along in extra hugs and kisses.
Like there is such a thing as too many!! BOL!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Monday Memories/Happy Birthday Puppies!!

 One day old

Today is a very special Monday Memories.  Today is the "puppies" 4th Birthday!!  Zappa, Fiona, Chance and Blaze.  Four years ago today our eyes were opened to the wonder and miracle of ten healthy puppies as entered this world, four of which we have today.  Memories we still find ourselves in awe of and have become the bulk of many post for Monday Memories. 

Today we have a special guest speaker who would like to share his thoughts about that day and the many that have followed....so take it away Daddy!

Never would I have ever thought in my wildest dreams that I could be learn as much as I have since that early morning when Brut and Silver's puppies were born.  Since that day I have learned more about life and love than I have ever learned before. 

ZAPPA:  The first one we welcomed that early morning as I watched in amazement of his birth. I felt an instant unexplainable bond with Zappa from the moment I took care of him when Mommy Silver didn't know what to do after giving birth.  A bond that has continued to grow and deepen as we seem to think alike and have the same personalities, like we are twins.  It is hard to put into words this connection between us but that has been there from the first time I touched him, I think Zappa may be my heart dog.

FIONA:  Fiona was the last puppy born and when she got stuck in the birthing canal I had to pull her out. Ever since watching her grow from being the runt of the litter to catching up with her siblings we have had a strange, but wonderful relationship.  She reminds of someone I know who is trying to tell me something but can't because she is a dog.  Fiona always looks at me with those eyes of wanting to tell me something, something she just can't seem to relay to me.  On more than one occasion, I have said to my wife that Fiona's sweet, sassy attitude reminds me of my sister who passed away 15 years ago and sometimes it feels like she is right there living through Fiona.

BLAZE:  We couldn't have picked a better name for the 9th pup, born just before Fiona.  It seems as soon as Blaze was able to open her eyes and see what was going on she became the instigator.  Blaze was always the last one to go to sleep and was always trying to start something with the other pups.  Four years later...she's still the instigator and the last one to go to sleep.

When Blaze first came back, I would take her on the job with me and every time I would look out to check on her, she would be lying on the dashboard of the van.  She became my Dashboard gGrl.  Of course she is the only one of the dogs who could fit on the dashboard.  It was these car rides that we bonded as we both tried to heal from the abuse the happened to her with her previous owner and a friendship that continues to grow today.

CHANCE:  When he was the born, we called him Blue for the blue ribbon to separate him from his two white brothers.  He was the second biggest and though I don't remember as much as I wish I did when he was young, but I do remember when Chance came back home to us and the impact it had on me.  After Chance left, we would visit once a month and he seemed to be doing OK but when they didn't want him no more was when we noticed how thin he was.  For the first few months Chance would be in the front yard, sitting by the fence, just looking.  Looking for something or someone.  He was glad to be with us, but you could tell he missed his first owner, a boy.  He was so sad and it took some time for him to accept the boy wasn't coming.  It was a blessing for all of us that Blaze had been returned and that Chance was with his favorite sister again and he began to come around.  

Now Chance/Blue isn't Blue anymore and is doing well.  He is my Scooby Doo dog, goofy, serious and full of love.

I will always be amazed and awed at what I have witnessed from the beginning until this Happy 4th Birthday of Zappa, Fiona, Blaze and Chance.  How four inch puppies have become full grown dogs.  So every night when I sing "Rock-A-Bye Baby," I realize how grateful how our 24 Paws of Love Family has made this "little boy's" dreams come true.  The have become what they have taught me about myself, life and most of all love

Happy 4th Birthday

 Fiona, Zappa,
        Blaze and Chance!!

Thanks for ROCKING our world!!
Mom and Dad