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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

Thursday, December 28, 2017

FINALLY! Dog walks today

This last week with Christmas as been touch and go as far as walks.  Then when the temperature plummeted, the dogs and I were feeling so disconnected from each other.  There isn't much "playtime" with these four, not even between them anymore.  There only form of chase is chasing squirrels and even they were few and far between with the dipping temperatures.  So walks are pretty important on all levels, including me.

Everyone was feeling it yesterday, but our chance finally came today as the temperatures rose to 15F.  I didn't feel like going out in the cold, but I know I had to take the opportunity and it was so worth it!

I took everyone separate.  It's easier on my back that way.  It wasn't as cold as I thought and it didn't take long to get into the grove.  Zappa was first as he usually is.  He's my easy walker until he gets by himself and wants to direct the entire walk.  He's so bossy!  :) 

Fiona wanted to walk through the woods.  The trudge through the thick snow was difficult even with snowmobile tracks going down the path, but at least there was some kind of path.  The walk was short and sweet, just like Fiona.

Blaze wanted to pull.  And I mean PULL.  I was so tempted to hook her up to the sled and let her take me down the road.  She was so focused and centered.  And the road...the road was perfect for sledding.  But I resisted temptation, wrapped the leash around my shoulder blade and let her pull me up and down the road.

And then, last but not least was Chance.  My sweet boy Chance.  He has a way of wooing that sends tickles up and down my spine.  He had become the grouchiest of all the dogs with that lack of connection and finally we were going to connect.  To the road, the snow, the cold and to each other.  And that we did. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

So cold, but the snow is pretty

We saw the sun for the first time in about a month, after waking up to -2F.

Our high was 11F.  
We haven't been able to walk the dogs.
It is too cold for them part-time Huskies.

The Back Dogs were out back and after business was taken care of, you'd see one foot lift up, then another, as they hobbled to the door.

We have a whole week of this arctic weather and don't know when we will "warm up."  
I miss our walks.  I know the dogs do too.
Hopefully we'll catch a break soon.

Keep warm my friends.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas Blogville!

From the wisdom of Zappa's eyes,

to the bottom of our 24 Paws...

We wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Header-Now there are two

I was going to wait until Christmas Eve to unveil the header, but what fun would that be?  :)

This year's Christmas header was especially difficult.  It was hard to find a good face shot of Silver.  Which meant I went through almost every picture I had of her.  After two weeks of looking, I finally broke down and cried and cried and cried.  Last year at this time Silver was sick from cancer and we were trying to get her to eat.  As much as it all hurts, at least she is free now from all pain.  

Taking pics of the kids was pretty easy.  They'll do anything for a treat...well, almost anything!  They are part Husky you know.  For Chance and Blaze it is second nature for them to pose, they are like professional models.  It's a little different for Fiona and Zappa, as Fiona doesn't let Zappa get too close to him when there are treats.  She is so much like her Father, Brut.  lol

One thing I realized looking through all those pictures of Silver, Brut and family, is that I didn't have enough.  I went through a couple of really tough years of depression and I barely took any photos those years.  I have repeated this same cycle grieving through Brut and then Silver.  I don't want to look back and not have enough memories of my puppies. 

Enough said.

p.s.I'd like to thank my husband for the awesome design idea for the Christmas header.  It was all his idea.  All I did was take and find photos and put it all together.  ;)

We make a good team.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Fighting through personal obstacles

For the past year, I haven't had the words I want to express.  To share in the pain of losing Silver and the joy of bonding with her kids on a deeper and strengthened level. 

I don't know how to tell you of the strides we are making, in some of the most complex areas of our four dog's life.  I always feel so guilty for not being able to write about them for they have become of lives now.  I can not count the number of times I've sat down at my computer with great intent to share a particular event only to have it all vanish the minute my fingers pose over the keys.

I've also discover that the words aren't going to just come to me like before.  No it seems I have to work through them to find where I am going. 

So I'm pushing through...

To show you the miracles that are happening every day at the 24 Paws of Love.  The incredible relationships that are happening with Brut and Silver's kids.  And all the trials and errors that we go through on a daily basis. 

I guess I feel like it is my comeback song.  I want the records I have of Chance, Fiona, Blaze and Zappa like I do for Brut and Silver.  I want to look back and have all those memories written down, not only to share with you, my dear readers, but for me as well. 

I'm tired of mourning.  Not that it isn't going to happen.  This will be our first Christmas without Silver and I don't expect it will be easy.  Just like when her year anniversary comes about in January, I expect to have a mourning period. 


I don't want to miss out on our time with the these beautiful, wonderful dogs and not have those memories stored away, so I can look back some day after they are gone and know they got their equal time on the blog. 

So if you can bear with me as I push through my obstacles, we'll get the 24 Paws of Love blog rolling!  And with more pics.  I'm so far behind on my photography!  I'll share some of my discoveries about that after Christmas!

Love you guys!

Monday, December 11, 2017

That would be heaven to me

I never know where my words will take me and the discoveries I will make when I write.  Sometimes it is my own personal revelations, but most of the time it is about that symbiotic relationship with the dogs and I.  It becomes mind opening and mind blowing all at the same time.

The last couple of days we have gotten a foot of snow for the dogs to play in.  There is nothing like watching Huskies in their element.  Their entire being just comes to life.  Their blood just vibrates with sheer excitement as all their senses are awakened.

I too feel the same way about the snow and cold.  I feel I can breathe deeper and reach further.  I feel my blood pump with ice and relish in the quiet serenity that surrounds me.

The dogs want to run instead of walk.  And I would give anything to shed this crappy human body and be transformed into a dog, so we could run together.  The closest I can come to that is when we dog sled.  But that too, is limited.  I want to suck in that freedom that comes when running like a Husky dog in the snow.  I don't know what Heaven will be like, but that would be heaven to me.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

10 months after losing Silver

I did not expect to lose Silver so quickly after losing Brut.  Silver's gene's were strong on her dad's side and I really thought she had a good 3 or 4 more years to live.  Sometimes I'm still in shock over her death from 10 months ago.  Sometimes it is still hard to believe Silver isn't here, her presence is still strong.  I feel her at my side throughout the day and night.

Morning times are my mourning times.  It is when the sadness spills all through my body and I don't know how I am going to go on that day.  I am never alone during these crying spells though, and it is Silver's kids that keep me going knowing that their love and hope will carry me through another day without their mother.

I have been grieving for almost a year now and Silver's anniversary is in January.  Silver is the dog we've had the longest.  Maybe that's why it feels like she is always here and never really left.  Her body may have died, but her spirit is strong with me.  Maybe that is why I've never written about her death on her page.  I just can't bring myself to do it.

I miss my girl.  This time last year we knew she had cancer and we didn't know how long she had.  My time was spent taking care of her until the end.  I miss my little Momma Dog Silver.  I miss her mothering intuition and how she always took care of me.  Her perfect timing, her all knowing and the touch of her velvety fur.  She was so awesome like that.

I'm glad she still here.  I don't feel so alone with her by my side.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Every day is a Gotcha Day with Brut

Eleven years ago today we brought home a 6-week old bundle of fluff and holy terror.  I have never been so terrified of a puppy before but Brut scared the crap out of me! 

Hubby, Mark actually asked me rather sarcastically if I wanted to give Brut back to the breeder.  He didn't understand what the problem was.  I didn't know either, but there was definitely something different about Brut. 

Something very different that would become the foundation of his being.  The foundation that would be built upon and become the magnificent dog he was. 

The dog that would never die, live forever in my heart and where every day is a Gotcha Day with Brut. 

He changed the course of time for me and lead me down his path for all the world to see.  Brut was a being beyond any I've ever known. 

And he is still leading me down his path for all the world to see.

Life has never been the same since Brut entered our lives on this day.

And it never will be again. 

                                  Happy Gotcha Day Brut!


Monday, November 20, 2017

Where there was Brut...there was Silver.

 Brut and Silver were a pair, a match made in heaven if you will.  There was no Brut without Silver and no Silver without Brut.  Ever since little Brut joined the family, he was spellbound with Silver.  I have video of a seven-week old Brut humping Silver while she laid on the floor on her back.  Even since that first time, he never stopped trying.  Brut was pretty much enamored with Silver.  So much so that he never tried to leave the yard after another female scent.  And for an unaltered male, that's intense.

I have unfinished post about Brut and Silver's "monogamy," and the curiosity if there is such a thing.  I'm sure if Brut had the opportunity to mate with another female, he would have done it, but I find it unique that he never try to escape for it.  He never roamed. He didn't have to, he had his girl right at home.

This "monogamy" that Brut and Silver carried out was so intense for Brut, I think it was the reason he died first.  Hence, he would have never survived the loss of Silver.  I had these feelings years before Brut died with what I witnessed between them.  Since Brut was an aggressive dog and threw out his feelings instead of withdrawing the situation would have been worse than any dog fight that we've ever had.  Obviously God must have had the same thoughts and we were blessed without knowing what would have happened if Brut hadn't of died first.

And like most couples who live together for years, when one goes, shortly afterwards the second one follows.  Silver was no exception.  After a year and a half without her boy, she followed Brut home.  She had her time with just the kids, preparing them for their new roles they would undertake as the Alpha dogs of the Back Pack.  While she prepared for heaven and her reunion with Brut.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Saying Hello!

We had our first snow flurry today.  It started with sleet, then turned to snow and then rain, so nothing stuck. 

Took Blaze in for blood test.  Nothing is wrong, just wanted to do a check on her.  She was the last one to get it done out of the four and we just wanted to get a baseline now that they will all be turning ten years old at the first of the year.  All the dogs are healthy, all of their blood test and x-rays came back good.   

Ten years...seems like the blink of an eye and yet so long ago.  Such a different world back then when all ten little bundles were born and Brut and Silver were so young.  I would've never guessed they would both be gone now.  There is still that emptiness with the two remaining Back Dogs.  Brut and Silver are missing and so much has changed. 

Zappa is King now and Fiona is the Queen of the Back Dogs.  I now have four Alpha Dogs between the two packs.  While not a new position for the Front Dogs who have always been a pack of two, but for the Zappa and Fiona it is a completely new being for them.  It is also one of many reason I don't think the two packs will ever merge.  Some day though, there will be new blood entering their world.  It will be interesting to see what happens with a new puppy in the house, turning their worlds upside down.  :)

I procrastinated on walks today.  I wasn't ready for the wet cold that was out there.  With just enough daylight left, I finally bit the bullet.  Chance was feeling it.  He was ready to run and pull.  He kept making these little attempts to run and looked like a mini bucking horse.  lol  And not to be outdone, Blaze proved she was ready as well.  Good signs that both dogs want to pull in the snow.  Hopefully I will be able to have them pull me on my three wheel bike before we get too much snow.  A good warm-up for when we can dog sled.  Can't wait!

That's all for today.  Hope everyone is having a Happy Halloween! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

I know, I know...more about the cats...

Cat lovers, I need your help on how to handle an all of the sudden aggressive Boxer with the dogs.  Any and all advice, suggestions, prayers, thoughts, welcomed!

Read about it HERE.

Thank you in advance.  

Monday, October 23, 2017

Green Bean Escapades

Taking a look back at summer photos and videos, I found this one of Blaze eating green beans from the garden.  

I grow the pole beans on the fence for the dogs pleasure and convenience. 

It is something the Front Dogs look forward to each summer.

Like having their own little farmer's market. :)

Watch here or on YouTube

Can't wait until next summer!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

36 Claws of Attitude Update

We are taking a little hiatus from the dog blog today and wanted to share a post on the cat blog.  Click HERE to check out the latest news about the cats and how the death of Silver has affected them.

Boxer and Silver's blanket

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Love still found a way

As crazy as it might sound, I'm really OK with the dogs being separated.  Well, most of the time.  Of course it would be great if they could all be together, but as it stands now, it isn't possible.

It isn't the separation that bothers me, it is the aggression.  Eight years of Brut was enough for me to throw in the towel.  I used to think I wanted to work with aggressive dogs, but all those years of Brut steadily changed my mind.  It's another reason the separation doesn't bother me because I still get to keep all our dogs despite the fact that they can be aggressive and reactive with each other.  I still see it as a win-win.

There is also a real peace of mind.  It would've killed to have to give up any one them because they couldn't be together.  I still believe this is a viable solution and in many ways is kind of cool, like living in two different worlds.  There is also a little more personal time when you're only with two dogs at a time.  It has made for more quality time for everyone even though it is split between the two packs.

Ya know, we haven't had a fight in this house in three years and Brut has only been gone for two.  Pretty amazing.  The only reason this last one happened with Fiona and Blaze was because the separation door didn't shut all the way.  We were careless and in a rush and didn't notice it didn't shut. We are taking care of the door and being more aware whether it closes all the way or not.  Just another reminder of how our dogs are animals, with instincts that they act upon, whether we understand it or not.

So this isn't a bad deal.  Having four dogs divided in twos.  And it is hardly the end of the world because they are still "together" here with us and that makes the whole separation worth it.

If you really, really want something, love will find a way.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

It is not meant to be

If I had any hope of the dogs merging as one, they were shattered the minute I broke up a dog fight between Fiona and Blaze.  And the more the fight plays in my head, the more I realized that it is not meant to be.  It is not meant for the Front Dogs and the Back Dogs to become one pack at least with current members.  I while I am hurt by the thought, I think I've known it all along.  

It is probably why Mark's busy schedule doesn't leave us any time to actually work on the two packs together.  Or why we can't afford a trainer and why there are no good trainers in our area.  We have come as far as we can be for now.  There is still some hope left for Zappa and Chance, but not at this time.  It is probably why we haven't pressed further for integration.  I don't know why or how, but I believe there is a reason for everything and for the dogs that means two packs.  

Something in our future why we are set up with a split house and yard?  Perhaps.  But I do believe it is time to let go of the notion of one pack for these guys.  One pack at a time.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Chance's Shopping Adventure

There was no stopping to get a picture.  Video would have been better as Chance and I sprinted through the isles of plywood and 2x4's.  I was still in shock that when the large glass doors parted, he looked up and walked right in.  My shy, nervous, hyper and anxious dog who had never been anywhere else, except the vet, walked into Lowe's Home Improvement store as if on a mission that only he knew.  We met up with Daddy who was looking at bolts and it was if Chance couldn't stand the waiting.  He wanted to stay on the move, so he started wooing with a low howl.  He didn't have time to stop, we were going somewhere and had to get going.  So I waved to hubby as Chance continued his search swiftly up and down the isles, until he reached the large loading dock.  Chance had found it!  Outside!!  His purpose of the mission:  to find the way out.  So much like me. I laughed.  We headed back to the Front Exit doors with Chance's mission accomplished.

You'd think that would be enough for the day, but our adventure didn't end there...

We headed out to buy dog food at our local Tractor Supply Co. and Chance lead the way.  His "find it" game for this store became very clear the moment we entered the store.  Lost nuggets of food on the floor.  He was in heaven.

The cashier came over and gave his scruffy neck a good scratching that came with a treat.  He took it eagerly.  I couldn't believe he didn't cower away when she went to pet him.  It was a high for all of us.  Another treat came as we checked out.  I think Chance was excited and enjoyed his outing with us.

It is so amazing to me how time, the right people and what positive exposure can do for a dog.  I couldn't say for sure if he would've been ready for this excursion, say a year or two before this, but I don't think I would have been.  I keep finding my security is the dogs safety net.  When I'm ready, they become ready.  So awesome isn't it?  One of the many differences of having mature dogs and having a lifetime together.  To be able to be patient with one another while growing and changing at the same time.  Taking challenges with each other and discovering new life every day.  This is the dream I'm living and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Need your ideas for another name for a Heart Dog

It's hard to beat a Heart Dog like Brut.  That kind of intensity can only be match.

I'd been walking Chance and Blaze together most of the time, when I decided we needed some one-on-one time.  That is when I noticed that Chance and I were walking in sync.  We completely had the same rhythm, enthusiasm, and centering in our core.  We seemed to be thinking and feeling as a unit.

Even though I had mention it before on this blog that I thought I had a second heart dog, I kind of forgot about it until these recent walks with Chance.  Not to mention the grieving I've went through these last two years over Brut,  I didn't think I'd have a heart dog again until Chance slowly reminded me, he was it.

Well, Brut will always be my Heart Dog, and I couldn't call Chance that.  I needed another word that would carry a meaning just for Chance.

So I'm asking you readers to give me your suggestions on another name for a Heart Dog.  I've come up with one but I'd like to hear your ideas.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Another Level of Reality

In 6 days it will be Silver's six month anniversary since she passed away.  She had her first bloom on her roses today.  It has brought me much sadness in the beauty.

I miss my girl so much.  By the time of July 13th, her roses will be half in bloom.  They are Old English Roses called Winchester Cathedral.  A name that has special meaning to a Crosby, Stills and Nash song we love.  We planted them a month ago today.  Added rocks around her from our favorite place called Copper Harbor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a place we took Silver and our first dog Alex several times.    Then put up new fencing and post around Silver and Brut.  Surreal. Somber.  Peaceful and Beautiful.  Our new cycle of life for the Momma and Daddy Dogs of the 24 Paws of Love.

Someday I hope to find the love and joy in Silver's roses  like I have with Brut and the spirit that lives on in her.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Zappa's Rant

Zappa...aka The MOUTH!

Ever have one of those dogs who likes to give his opinion whether you want to hear it or not?  That's Zappa, aka The Mouth.  Zappa has no problem sharing his dislikes, but mostly he loves to rant about all the unfair injustices in his life, especially when it comes to Chance and the Front Pack.  Zappa is the dog that is undeniably done wrong  in this family and he never lets you forget it.

So, my story starts with needing to finish mowing the back lawn.  The terrain of the Back Dogs, Zappa and Fiona.  Where I precede with asking them to come in the house so they can be out of the path of flying sticks and small rocks.  Both comply, although Zappa gives me that one eyed leary look as he looks out the glass sliding door.

You can't believe a words she says.
Just look how sweet and innocent I am.

The rant starts slowly.  He demands to know what is going on.   There are no sad eyes or begging faces to get what he wants.  Zappa is mad and believes I should meet his demands...

The rant starts to build.  I should never have to come in if I don't want to! If you are out there than I have all alpha status to right to be out there too.  How dare you class me as a second rate citizen and make me listen to you!   How dare you treat me like a dog!  We are equal!  EQUAL!  LET ME BACK OUTSIDE THIS MINUTE, WOMAN!  I WANT BACK OUTSIDE, NOW! 

I'm watching this whole charade and I'm thinking, do I know you?

Sensing my lack of interest in his blatant abuse sends him into a Classic Zappa tirade.  Glaring eyes, shouting obscenities, and how he's going to call his lawyers to report such a violations of his doghood.

Such discrimination...

I went to mow the lawn.

I am much too cute to be a ranting loon.

Once done with the mowing, Zappa is standing like a pretty boy, wagging his tail and smiling with a sheepish glint.  He pretends to take back all his words and even acts a little guilty as I opened the door for him.  Zappa trots outside like the Emperor with no fur and that 'don't you just love me' look. Like nothing happened and everything worked in favor of his elaborate plan.

Until Zappa's next personal injustice is served...

I'll get you my pretty!

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Things settled back to semi-normal today with the dogs and cats after recognizing Brut's second anniversary since he left us.  Chance was still a little quieter than normal, but then I was still tearing up on and off through the morning.  I don't remember much about that next day after Brut died, but I felt the ups and downs today.  So glad there has been some time in between, some space to lessen the blow.  I don't ever want to go through it again.

I feel so blessed with the puppies we have and I am ever grateful to have them here under our roof, safe and loved.  I can not begin to tell you how much the four mean to us and especially that Chance and Blaze came back to us.  I can't put it into words or feelings I am just so humbled before God that we have them.   They are such a blessing.  A miracle.  For I have no control what happens to the rest of the litter, even with the two puppies we visit every now and again, but these two Chance and Blaze are safe.  They are here.  And I am forever grateful that we were able to keep Zappa and Fiona and then Chance and Blaze.  I can't even begin to describe the beauty of that alone.

I can't begin to count the number of times in my life that I have been suicidal and felt like a burden to the dogs, or thought they would be better off without me.   The sufferings of PTSD from childhood abuse have almost destroyed me where I was taught I would never make a good pet parent. Every day I learn what a good dog mom I really am, in spite of being told different and killing myself would devastate them.  Not to mention they would never understand.  I never thought thought the dogs and cats would mourn with me on Brut's anniversary except I witnessed it for myself.  I can't imagine what it would be like for them to lose me too.

It takes a lot of courage and strength to live, but being surrounded by so many blessings, softens the blow and gives me a wonderful and beautiful reason to carry on and a reason to love.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Brut Thursday- 104 weeks gone

It has been a somber and yet enlightening day here at the 24 Paws of Love.  104 weeks ago we said good bye to Brut.

We said goodbye to the dog who ruled the roost with an iron paw and stole our hearts with his unconditional love.

Through rough times and quiet times, the love never stopped.  Reality was hard with Brut, but he never lied about it.

All the dogs and cats were quiet today.  They knew what today was.  Brut's 2 year anniversary.

Zappa, who has taken to Brut's "den" outside and has practically lived in it the last few weeks, only laid next to it today.  As if to pay his respects to his father.

Boxer (the cat) who always rushes to go outside after breakfast, took to the couch today in a nap.  As if not going outside was paying respect to his leader and mentor.

And Chance, the most sensitive of all the dogs, was sad and lay next to me, deep in thought.

The usual in and out action at the doors was quiet and strange.

It was a beautiful and sad movement that all shared together in honor of the one the best dogs that I have had the humble pleasure of ever knowing.

We love you Brut.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Excavators

These last couple of weeks we have been getting the garden bed ready for planting.   We took out all the old dirt and replaced it with fresh top soil because I used straw in my compost.  Straw has seeds that have a very thick, strong root system that took over my garden and practically choked out my veggies.  So hubby, Mark thought it was a good idea to just get rid of the straw infested dirt and start all over.  So with the help of our wonderful and gracious neighbors and their tractor, they dug up the old garden bed and filled it with the new soil. Then hubby built new garden walls for the raised bed.

What does this have to do with the dogs?

We dumped a good couple of yards of the old garden soil in the front yard, which starting a digging exposition that hasn't quit yet!

Can it get any better than this??  :)

I think you need a tunnel here, mom!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Where to start?

Where in the world to I start?  :)  With about a month's worth of news to share, I don't know where to begin!

I guess I'll start with our little blogging break...it wasn't planned, but was definitely needed.  I went through a deep grievance of Brut and the grave loss that overtook me.  It tore my soul up, but I came through it.  My sweet Bruter Boy is coming up on his second anniversary.  I don't know how that can be.  Two years gone.  Sometimes I just can't believe it.

Fiona is definitely Brut's child.  She is taking after her father in ways I only saw in small blips throughout the last year.  Now that Zappa and her are the Alpha Dogs of the Back Pack, her true colors and what she learned from Daddy Dog Brut are shining through.  The possessiveness, being territorial, and just wanting things her own way are a just a few things.  She learned from her Daddy quite well how to rule a pack, now she's going to do it her way!  (I'll share more about this issue in a later post.)

We started walking one Front Dog and one Back Dog together.  And it went well.
We took the boys together and the girls together.  Boys first.  We started on opposite sides of the road, but Zappa just couldn't handle it, so we ended up walking behind Chance and hubby, Mark.  And with about a car or two distance between us, it was a smash!  We did the same with the girls, which also went well.

I am hoping that we are able to find a comfort level, to be able to walk side by side, but until then I am very excited about our progress.

Sorry about the lack of photos, I haven't picked up my camera in months.  That is soon to change.  :)

More news to come...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Brut Thursday-Growing Together: A special plant.

When we dug Brut's grave, we dug it about 5 feet deep.  At the very bottom was pure, untouched lake/river sand.  As probably many years ago there was water running through where our house now stands.  Hubby, Mark, grabbed a scoopful of this sand from Brut's grave and we have saved it.  Not really sure for what, just to have a part of the Earth where Brut lays.

Fast forward to November 2016 and the day we found out that Silver had a mammary gland tumor.  I took cuttings off of my Kalanchoe plant and placed them in water.  I wanted the hope and growth that plants bring, hoping Silver would get better.  When she passed away in January of this year, I almost forgot about the cuttings and their meaning.  I had a jar full of roots and stalks that needed planting.  I think it was the end of February when I finally got around to doing so.

There is nothing specific about the Kalanchoe plant that I felt was attached to Silver when I took the cuttings.  I needed to trim back the original plant in hopes of getting it to flower and I hate just throwing cuttings away, so I planned to grow the cuttings for Silver.

Kalanchoe plants are a succulent plant, meaning they needed a sandy, loose soil, much like cacti.  This is where Brut's sand came into play.  I took the cuttings for Silver and the sand from Brut and mixed it in the soil creating fertile ground those little plants to thrive.  And thrive it has as you can tell from the picture above.

A very special plant that combines tragedy and loss and brings them together for life and growth.

A wonderful gift that keeps giving, my Silver and Brut.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Treat Time!

Waiting for a goody from Daddy...

and Zappa tries to speak.

(on Youtube)

My apologies for the little tiff hubby and I had at the end of this.  I posted it without realizing it was on there and my editing software won't let me edit for some reason.  We get into it over the silliest things.  lol

Friday, April 14, 2017

Second Step of Integration-The Door

First I'd like to thank our readers and supporters.  You guys are terrific!  We wouldn't be this far in our dog journey if it wasn't for all of you.  So, THANK YOU!

I started a couple of weeks ago with step 1 of integrating the two dogs packs, which was separating them while fixing their food, because they were fighting at the door that divides them.  It is something that has went on for some time, on occasion, but since Brut's death and recently with Silver's passing the fighting (growling, snarling, snapping, teeth bared) has increased in frequency and intensity.  So I took them away from the door, by putting them in their rooms while I get their meals together.  Worked out great!

That same day after they ate for the first time without all that worked up anxiety, I started blocking the door with my body, making them back up from it to stop the barking at the door.  When I got one side settled I went to the other side and settle that dog.  And I just kept going back and forth until they gave up.

Now Chance has a habit of rushing the door when he comes in from outside and Zappa is always on the other side ready to do battle.  I couldn't figure out how to stop him for the longest time.  It took a couple of days before it dawned on me I could open the fridge door and block the hallway that leads to separation door.  Don't worry, hubby is making me a board to slide back and forth.  No need to pay the energy company more than they need!  So after Chance circles back after seeing the blockage, I give him a treat when he comes to me.  Then I go to the other side and make Zappa back up and sit then treat.  Problem he's caught on how to get a treat, bark and here I come.  So one time when Zappa was being a royal pain and wouldn't stop barking because I wouldn't give him a treat, I put him in his room, he shut up and that worked out great.

And for those times I don't make it in time to stop a debate, I have a shaker can and a cowbell to get their attention.  Thankfully I have only had to use them a few times, but they are nice to have around.

So far it is going good.  The first 4 or 5 days were a little hairy, but now they only bark at the door with each other, instead of fight. At least the ones I don't get to in time.  They are short burst of "talking."  Things have really calmed down this last week.  I doubt it is all over, given the chance they would do it again, but for now we are moving forward with our "plan" as it comes to me.  :)

Here's a short video of our progress:  (or on YouTube)

Forgive me if this post may seem a little jumbly, for some reason it was difficult to write.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

STEP 1 of INTEGRATING THE TWO PACKS-Diffuse the Tension!

Please forgive my silence as I have been grieving again.  Two years ago in the spring we saw the first signs of Brut's tumor on his spleen.  Now that can only be seen in retrospect and I am remembering my dear boy and Silver.   I miss them so much.  Some days are harder than others.

With that said, their spirits haven't left me and Silver in particular guided me through this next experience.  The beginning of the integration of our two packs starts with:
Diffusing the tension!

Two packs of dogs, each with their own side of the house and a door that separates them. The boys, Zappa and Chance only fight/talk with each other, while the girls, Fiona and Blaze keep to each other as well. Most of the time Zappa is the instigator, but Chance has gotten many digs in as well. 

This door is the focal point for the two packs.  Most of the time they "talk" to each other, but there are other times when there are "fights."  Growling, snarling and just being nasty to each other at the door.   And mealtime was the worst!  I used to have their dinners prepared so there was no time but to bark and be happy about food.  As they've aged I've added to their menus, which takes more time which in turn has grown into an all out riot while preparing their food!

I have never known how to stop this behavior.   I could never figure out how to be on both sides of the door.  

The light bulb.... I put Chance and Blaze in their room and Zappa and Fiona in theirs and then I got their food ready.  Cutting the tension in half, theirs and mine.  They ate a little slower and I notice a huge differences in their demeanor.  All that pent up anxiety, fear and anger was diffused.  Finally!

I finally had made a breakthrough.

It was a step in the right direction.

I hadn't realize until that first time of putting them in their rooms, just how much tension there really was and the impact it was having them.  This is a sort a new thing with the food since Brut and Silver died, with each death it increased.  It's not like I am oblivious to the strain and tension between them, their behavior at the door has been going on since Chance and Blaze first moved back with us, I just hadn't found a solution.  It's not in any book I know of, so we just keep plugging along until the next light bulb goes off.

I'll tell you more about the next step of diffusing the situation in my next post and I will try to have some video too!  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Exciting News!

There's been a lot happening here at the 24 Paws of Love, so it will take a few post to get it all in.  The best and most exciting news is in relation to the post about Silver's Last Song.  It seemed like within days of writing that post and sharing how quiet the house was since Silver was the one who always starting the Howling Choir, the four pups sang!

Blaze started it, followed by Chance, then Fiona and Zappa.  They sang their little hearts out.  They blew the roof off and it was beautiful.  So completely awesome.

So all it takes is Blaze to start and the others follow.

And the Howling Choir tradition carries on with this little girl...

"And a 1 and a 2 and a..."

And this is just the beginning of the good news.  Stay tuned for more!

Friday, March 24, 2017

sadness overload

It's been 10 weeks today that we buried Silver.  It seems like it was so, so long ago.  Like eons of time have past.  Sometimes it seems so long that I wonder if she was ever really here.  I can't explain how it feels but it is an eerie feeling.  I see and feel all of the aftereffects of her death, the dogs, the cats all still stressing now that the mortar of the family is gone, but I don't feel her.  I don't feel my Silver.  She has just vanished somehow, someway, in ways I don't understand.  It leaves me so empty and open and vulnerable.  I feel like I can't reach her and will never be able to do so again.

Grave sadness that kills the soul.  I've lost my girl.  My Silver.

This is how I feel:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Changing Pack Dynamics

I've been struggling to wrap my head around the fact that both Brut and Silver are gone.  The Back Dogs look so empty with just Zappa and Fiona.  There is a huge space missing without Daddy Dog Brut and Momma Dog Silver.  There are changes happening within the Back Dogs as a pack now that Brut and Silver are gone.

At first when Brut died, Fiona took over the pack, as she has always done when Brut was away.  His death was no different, she took the leading role and kept everyone in line.  When Silver died, things stay the same for a little while, Fiona keeping them together, but eventually as time has worn on  Zappa is taking the place of Brut.  He gives off warning barks to Fiona who turns her head or when with hubby, Mark, is on the couch with Zappa, Zappa becomes possessive.  Just like his dad, Brut.  Only not to the degree that Brut would have taken it, but all with the same attitude and style.  As if to say, now we are going to play by MY rules!  It is my turn to be KING!

He is so ready to prove his royalty to Chance, except with Chance, Zappa doesn't stand a chance.  Any one-on-one they have had together, Zappa submits to Chance and in all actuality is scare of him.  No matter how many times he barks otherwise.

It kind of tears me up that Zappa is acting like Brut and carrying on about himself.  He has really come out of his shell, with the death of his parents.  It is amazing how much they can really change when the pack changes.  Zappa has never been innocent.  I've seen this sly side of him many times through the years, but it only came out in little blips.  Now it full fledged.  It's a lot to take in, in such a short period of time.  Silver's only been gone 9 weeks.  It is like Zappa and Fiona are babies anymore and suddenly grew up.  So hard to believe sometimes.  Hard to imagine.  And it makes for interesting pack dynamics.

I just wonder what it will be like now, when we start the integration between the two packs....

Friday, March 10, 2017

Brut Thursday-The Fight Within

Brut Thursday, a day late, but not forgotten.

I was thinking about Brut today.  My husband, Mark and I were a little huffy with one another and I my boy came to mind.

Nobody really understood Brut's anger issues.  I don't even think Mark could fully comprehend them, but I got it.  It made total sense to me once I discovered his puppy hood before us.  I knew what it was like to be betrayed and to fight for yourself by yourself.  From a depth that is scarring and sacred, you hold on to survive with that last breath.  Because it is all you have.  It becomes all you know as the fear swells in you, fighting to destroy everything you have, your heart and soul.  You become the fight you feared to save them.  Only to find you are killing yourself in the process. So you thrash harder not understanding why it hurts so.  But it is the only way you know.

I don't know how Brut and I ever picked apart all those needles in our gut, but we did it together.  I don't know that either of us "healed" right but learned in each other that we were not alone in our fight.  In fact Brut taught me how to fight and stand up for myself turning that turmoil inside out.

Brut had a way of calming me because I was understood.  Something I hadn't found in my journey until him.  I witnessed first hand the "home" life he had before me.  Vicious.  Daunting.  Many angry dogs all living on survival mode.  Scary.  It was no wonder Brut scared the crap out of me from a young puppy.  The boy was crazy with fear.  And hurting so deep.  Was it any wonder we bonded so deeply?

To say I was blessed with Brut is an understatement.  I don't know that there is a word for it that would do our relationship justice.  I miss my boy every day.  If I didn't know his spirit is right there for me, I don't know what I would do.  Connecting with Brut is my strength.  Knowing and healing with him brings me right back here.  To this blog to share my story of the greatest dog I have ever known.