Thursday, April 19, 2012

Foot Love

I saw these awesome Converse® tennies on Pinterest, and through a series of links I was able to locate them and buy them on And you know what? They make me happy. Every time I wear them I feel like I have an extra little bounce in my step, and some days a girl just needs that! Brutus loves it when I have a little extra bounce in my step, because it usually means that he gets to bounce along with me. :) Have a happy day today!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Update On Lily Girl

Lily shortly after arriving at her new forever home.
I was hanging out on my computer this morning, like I always seem to be doing, and a little notice came up that I had a new email. When I looked and saw that it was from my cousin Darla, I was SO excited. Darla is part of a friend couple that adopted Lily the Beagle. The other half of the friend couple is Roger. They have been life long friends, and share a duplex, so Lily gets double the loving. She looks so adorable and happy, and from the sound of it, all of her wrestling and barking and digging and chasing needs are being fulfilled and adored. I truly couldn't be happier.

Lily and Zep wrestling! Thank goodness it isn't the cats!

Just a few days after Roger came to pick Lily up from our house, I received an email from him that he had also committed to adopting a little 9 month old male Pomeranian named Zeppelin. I'm thinking that Zep may have a little rock and roll in him. Darla said that he is the pack leader, which cracks me up. In our house, Lily definitely ruled Brutus, and she was about 1/5th of his size! I think she maybe needed someone that could put her in her place. Brutus would just get sad and go outside and pout. Apparently her new brother Zep loves to play and run and wrestle, and they are becoming true siblings. My gratitude to Janice and Roger and Darla is just over flowing right now!

Tug of war
Ryan buddy, hopefully these will make you as happy as they made me. It's wonderful to know that if we all work together, animals can be loved, well taken care of and definitely find the right forever home. :)

Lily and Darla enjoying a beautiful day.

Where is she going?

Lily and Zeppelin stand at the window and watch Darla leave for work. Roger is retired from working outside of the home, and is currently remodeling the duplex, so the "kids" get to play all day with Dad. Roger put a fenced area in the back yard, and a doggy door in, so Lily and Zep are able to go in and out to play. How awesome is that?!

This has to be the most adorable picture ever. Apparently Lily claimed this end of the sofa as soon as this became her home, and I'm guessing that Zep just had to find his little bit of space to squeeze in to the snuggle pile.
The best Daddy ever.


Friday, April 13, 2012


I can't seem to get my brain to quit running in circles tonight, and the best way for me to get it to at least slow down is to write about what is troubling me, take a look at it, and see if I should throw it away or share. Since these thoughts involve "dogs", I'm putting them down in my Brutus Blog.

Something happened that has left me feeling just awful. I'm sure it's a story that has been repeated over and over again, and I don't know what the right answer to this problem would have been. There are so many scenarios, and no winners. As most of you out there that have followed my blog for a while now know, I have such a soft spot for animals, and not so much for (adult) humans. When you look at the "chosen" relationship between humans and animals, humans have the control. We have the choice to be kind or cruel. I don't see a lot of grey area there.

So, the story, keeping in mind that this is a very abbreviated version:

My friend went to one of his friend's homes for dinner. His friends have an American Bull Dog that they are very comfortable with, but my friend who went there for dinner is not. When my friend was greeting the hostess and giving her a hug, the dog let out a growl. Shortly after that my friend was bent over doing something with his shoe, and the dog went for his face, biting his cheek, leaving a puncture wound and a very sore cheek. The host, I'm sure being mortified and embarrassed, beat the crap out of the dog as punishment. Before you start to panic, the friend and dog are currently both fine. I'm sure both are somewhat emotionally scarred from being a part of that experience though. Dog bites are incredibly scary, and being beaten up isn't much better. (I know, I know, I'm putting human feelings in the animal, but c'mon).

So here are my thoughts. First, the couple is aware that the friend is fearful of the dog, so the dog should have been put in her kennel. If not, when it was obvious that the dog was being protective of her owner from this person, the hug should have been stopped immediately, the dog should have been introduced to said friend.....and then kenneled.

My friend did nothing wrong. Yes, dogs can feel a person's fear, there is no doubt in my mind. She may have felt his fear and feared for her owner, but I also feel like her people failed her in this situation. I feel like everybody lost, and the whole thing just has me feeling so sad.

When we first got Brutus, he had no training, had been hurt and was very protective of his toys. Don's brother tested him a little too far, and Brutus broke skin on his hand. I had warned him to stop, so honestly, I didn't feel too bad for the human in that situation, other than the fact that he was hurt, and it was my dog's teeth that hurt him (as he was trying to take the stuffed duck out of his mouth). Feel that mama bear defensiveness there? As humans, we have the ability to look ahead as to what might happen in certain situations. Not all, but some. In Don's brother's defense, he felt bad too. I thought he should have had antibiotics, and I absolutely would have covered all expenses to see that he got them, but he wouldn't do it. I think he may have after he left our house. He came back the next summer for a visit at the lake, and he and Brutus were new friends.

Brutus's teeth also broke skin on Andrew's hand during the first couple months we had him. Andrew came over the top of a box in the living room and it startled Brutus. It wasn't a hard "bite", but I'm sure it didn't feel good either. We didn't scold Brutus either time. We calmed him down and assured him everything was OK. That was our job. He was new to our home, scared, and didn't have a clue what life held for him after coming from a terrible situation. My hands would never land on that dog. There isn't a vicious bone in his body, and now that he is comfortable in his surroundings and feels safe, as long as you don't tease him or try to kill me, I'm pretty sure you'll be fine. He and Andrew are great friends now, thank goodness.

So what's the answer? I don't see a clear one. I don't think that this dog has a biting history. It may have been completely out of the blue and unexpected. I know and adore the man who owns the dog, and he is a dog lover. He does have a different view of dog training than I do and tends to use more physical force, but he also raises dogs that have reputations for being vicious. I have absolutely no animal expertise other than my gut, a few books I read on "Positive Reinforcement" training (Brutes' is obviously chicken treats...just ask me how many times the vet has mentioned that he's just a few pounds overweight) and a heart that can't bare to mistreat an animal, which includes the need to train them. If we don't train them, how can we make them responsible for not having acceptable behavior. With that said, how do you train to "not bite". If I was afraid that Brutus would actually go after someone, I'm not sure what choice I would make. The liability would be too high to let him live the life that he does now, but I wouldn't put him in a shelter. The death he would suffer in a shelter as a dog with a biting history could be cruel and cold, and I took on the responsibility to be his caretaker. Would the humane thing to do be to euthanize him? I'm trying to not even go there, but it's hard.

So yeah, those are the things that have been zooming around in my mind. Like I said, I'm sure that people have to face those decisions every day.

I have no answers. I'm just sad, and needed to write.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Hardest Decision I Have Ever Made

I had to make a decision this past week that literally shredded me. I have been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. I often say that I am perfectly content to just hang out with my cats and Brutus for company. Their love is so unconditional, they have never hurt me, and honestly, throw them a little food and they are there. There is just such a cozy love about an animal.

I have always known that I am not capable of fostering. My heart isn't strong enough, in the sense that I would feel the need to keep every single animal, especially the cats. It wouldn't be good for my current pets, or my family. And quite honestly, I'm not sure that I would have a husband! Don and I differ on our views of how many pets a household needs, and he has been very patient with my love of animals.

So, when I saw little Lily's face on my cousin Janice's animal rescue website P.A.W.S., my heart jumped. It stated that she wasn't a barker, and she was bell trained to go outside to go potty. After rescuing Brutus and going through months and months of training to get him to a point where we could leave him in the house for any period of time if we were gone, I knew that I couldn't go through potty training again, and I'm not tolerant of barking, so if those two biggies weren't an issue, I could certainly give this little sweetie a home. Any other issues that she might have could be dealt with with a lot of love and patience, which Don and I both have in endless supply.

Heading to Her New Home
I picked her up on a Tuesday, and immediately fell in love with her tiny little face. She has a forehead that has wrinkles in it that give her the look of always having an inquisitive expression on her face, and quite honestly, I think it fit what she was probably thinking. This little girl was busy and curious about everything. We had a three hour ride home, and even though I had stopped and walked her twice, she did have an accident in the car, but I didn't think a thing of it. This was a big day for this little girl. It was a new car, a new human and a great big new furry brother riding in the car with her. I might have wet myself too! There wasn't any barking, and I was thrilled!

When we got home, she was just an absolute love. We already had Poochie Bells hanging on the door handles, because we had trained Brutus to be bell trained to go outside to go potty. I took Lily around the house and showed her around, showed her each strand of bells, helped her ring them and took her out each door. It took her no time to ring the front door bells, and my heart just burst. I was so excited. Then I went downstairs, and there were two big piles of poop in the middle of the family room. Well, it's day one, and I wasn't about to hold anything against her yet.

Lily continued to be the love that I knew she was, but the potty training really didn't improve. She was peeing several times a day on the carpet, even though I was taking her outside OFTEN, and for long periods of time. Also, it never seemed to fail, as soon as she came in, she would run to a room and poop. I just couldn't understand what I was doing wrong. I never yelled at her, since I learned before we adopted Brutus that yelling at a dog for having an accident often does more damage than good. If I was lucky enough to actually catch her in the act, I would just scoop her up and take her outside while saying "potty".

For the first two days, our cat Sophie took a real interest in Lily, and they seemed to be getting along pretty good. Then things changed, and Sophie became a great thing to bark and chase. My thought on this one was that Lily became comfortable enough to be her little self. In some ways this made me happy because I was glad that she was acclimating so quickly, and in other ways it broke my heart. I knew that if the cats were becoming prey, or even play toys, this relationship wasn't going to work. Plus, I had some new, deep scratches across the top of my wooden furniture that I wasn't too happy about where Sophie had been running and gone for a skid.

On day three of Lily being with us, I needed to leash her to me. I was hoping that if I leashed her to my side, not only would I prevent her from having "accidents" in the house, but it would also diminish her "leader of the pack" roll, and she may leave the cats alone. Neither worked. In her defense, we were only at it for a few days. Lily was only with us for a week, and that is barely time to say "hello". It takes a really really long time to get a rescue animal trained, or even retrained when they come to be a member of your home. It wasn't my impatience with these issues that was telling me we weren't the right family for Lily, it was my gut. It was screaming at me, and at this point I just didn't know what to do. There was no place for this little punkin to go, and I absolutely will not take an animal to a regular shelter. The thought of her going from our home, where she was loved up bigtime 24/7,  to a cage where she might have a little cot or a blanket, and be surrounded by sad, scared dogs, just wasn't going to happen. With every ounce of shame that I had, I contacted my cousin Janice from P.A.W.S.. and cried for help.

Lily helping me make the bed. :)
I am so thankful that Janice and I have gotten reacquainted through the wonderful invention of social media. We come from an enormous family, and even though we saw each other as children, as adults we had lost touch. Thanks to Face book, we had reconnected. We both love animals, only she can do what I can't! Plus, she has contacts that I don't. Thanks to this lovely lady and her sister Darla, Lily now has a wonderful home with Darla's life long friend Roger. Roger grew up with Beagles, and knows much more about training dogs then I do. He is retired, so Lily doesn't have to be in a crate during the day on a regular basis. When Roger showed up at my door, the man that I opened the door to was soft spoken, had a very gentle and sweet demeanor, and Lily took to him immediately.

We had been outside a lot that morning, and had just come in when Roger arrived. Lily was wound up big time. She practically bowled Roger over! Thankfully she did settle down long enough so he could actually get a look at her, and we had a little bit of a chance to talk about her history, behavior, and what I had observed while I had her. When it came time to go, Lily practically pulled him to his car, and she jumped right in. There was no looking back.

My heart goes out to everyone that has touched Lily's life in a positive way, from Amy, who saved Lily from her terrible situation in the first place, all the way down the line to Roger, who will hopefully be able to carry her through to being a really great little girl. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And Ryan, if you are reading this, please know that if I ever hear any updates about Lily, I will put a little note up here. You are always welcome to check in on my blog to check on your Lily Bear.