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Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Meet Beans…

All tongue, all nose, all heart.

 Like hundreds of wonderful dogs, Beans started life in Tennessee but will soon call New England home.  Beans was abandoned here in Jackson.  It could have happened intentionally, or perhaps Beans escaped the tether that was so tight it left wounds on his neck.  Either way, Beans’ luck changed when he wandered into the Carlson family’s yard during a birthday celebration.  Rachel Carlson is a dog trainer here in Jackson, and her family owns Wagging Tail Resort, a state-of-the-art boarding facility and “day spa” for dogs, who generously assists our rescue annually with fundraising efforts, as well as educating folks on responsible pet ownership.  Rachel settled on the name “Beans” because it somehow seemed to fit this 9 month-old goofy bundle of love.  As Rachel puts it, “he was just full of beans!”

Beans patiently awaits a treat at his first vet visit.
Rachel contacted us to see if we had room for Beans…
 
The first thing you learn when you become involved in rescue in West Tennessee is that when you refuse to discriminate based on age, breed, or color, you are always going to be full. 
 
There is never going to be enough room for another dog.  There is never going to be enough money to vet another dog.
 
The second thing you learn is to never say “never”.  Where there is a will, there is always a way.  “We just can’t.”  becomes “We’ll figure something out.” 
 

"Am I handsome, or what!"

 You see the picture.  The face.  You remember why you do this.  As I’ve heard it put many times, “you don’t choose rescue…rescue chooses you.”

 
Rachel agrees to keep Beans for a couple of days while we figure out what to do…which turns into a few weeks, because Beans has stolen Rachel’s heart.  After a check-up and a little mending from Dr. Lisa at Parkway Animal Hospital, we posted Beans for adoption with Rescue Angels, one of our favorite rescue agencies in the northeast.  Although we do adopt dogs and cats to local homes, many of our dogs travel for adoption into more progressive states where overpopulation, abandonment, and neglect are not as common.  After several inquiries about Beans, he has been adopted by a wonderful couple who can’t wait to make him a part of their family.
 
Beans is on his way to his new home today, traveling on Peterson’s Transport, one of the many great transport companies whose business is taking this precious cargo to a happy destination, and we can’t wait for our first update from his new family!
 
It’s a good day 🙂
 
 
 

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Happiness is two days in the mountains with Walt and my girls.

Shelby & Chaps in their carseats, ready to hit the road!
 
My grandfather helped build the hiking trails and roads in Cades Cove when he was a teenager working for the Civilian Conservation Corps around 1941.  I grew up visiting the Smoky Mountains at least once a year with both sets of grandparents, so this place is very special to me.
 
One of the many mountain streams

…..

 
Chaps loves hiking…

….. 

...and Shelby wants to follow every trail.

 
 
 I always forget how beautiful this place is, even on a cloudy winter day.
 

In the higher elevations, at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line.

 

We drove to Cherokee, NC, which is almost unchanged in 35 years (with the exception of the casino nearby).
 
A small rain blew into the valley, bringing a rainbow!
 

Stormy skies

 
 A new friend gets in a few more bites before the rain starts.
 

Windy!

 
 Taking the back roads…

Cades Cove

 
 
 Stopping to watch every waterfall for a while…

Under one of the stone bridges

 
Rising early for an incredible sunrise…

Gatlinburg, still sleepy

It was an amazing weekend.  And like these two turkeys…

"WE SURVIVED THANKSGIVING!"

 …we had an incredibly peaceful holiday.  For this I am truly thankful!
 
 
 
 
 

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Quinn the Hedgehog, following his blessing & a sprinkling of Holy Water.

Despite my religious upbringing, (or perhaps, in part, because of it), I often struggle with matters of a spiritual nature.  But I have come to realize that even after many years of doubt, I still have a strong faith that is always going to be a part of who I am.  There is spirit here, around us and inside us, pervading every living thing.   I still believe there is a Creator, a Plan…and there is Love.

So often I have sought comfort in organized religion, only to find it lacking in forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion…the very tenets on which it was built.  Yet from time to time, I’m reminded that real love for ALL of God’s creatures is alive and well.  One of the most moving events we attend as a rescue group each October is the Blessing of the Pets at our local Catholic church, St. Mary’s.  This year, we were fortunate enough to attend a second blessing at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Brother and sister team Daniel & Mira socialize after the ceremony.

Among the young dogs of velvety fur and puppy breath, the older but wiser canines with their grey muzzles and gentle eyes, and the occasional pretentious cat, you never know what you might see.  This year’s hedgehog sighting was a first for me.  Quinn was a little shy, but seemed to enjoy the attention.  This was also the first time I’ve seen a turtle receive God’s blessings.

"Speedy" is Blessed

 There is a reverent calm among the animals as they are receiving the sacred blessing.  It’s almost like they know, as animals so often do, with an awareness superior to our own.

JT, blessed by Msgr. Kirk: “Creature of God, be blessed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

The writer of this poem gives credit to “the Lord God” for “all things bright and beautiful”, but I believe her words of gratitude are fitting to all, no matter what you call your Spirit, your Creator.

 
Maker of Heaven and Earth
 
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
 
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
 
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.
 
The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning,
That brightens up the sky.
 
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
 
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;
 
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
 
-Cecil Frances Alexander
 
 

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Let me first qualify this post by stating that I would never be arrogant enough to compare anything I do with Mother Teresa.  I may be crazy, but I’m not completely impaired…yet 🙂

Everyone who reads this blog knows that I rescue dogs from situations of abandonment, neglect, and abuse.  Dogs, dogs, dogs.  After my full-time job ends, rescue is what I do with every spare moment, dime, thought and ounce of energy.  Rescuing dogs (and cats) is my “thing”, as my mother put it last week, when we were once again arguing about the toll rescue is taking on my life.  “I thought surely Walt’s health problems and your own would be a sign it’s time to slow down.”  Or as my dad said, “Why don’t you back off that rescue “thing” and let Walt have a normal life?  It’s killing y’all with all this stress.”   The “thing” is, they’re right.

The last several months have been hell.  I found myself in a very tearful place yesterday where the only emotion I could feel was failure: failure as a wife, employee, rescuer, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend.   The logical part of me knows this is temporary, a symptom of worse-than-usual burnout, yet my heart knows there is truth to it, and that something has to change.  The rescue that has always brought me joy and fed my soul now brings a sense of begrudging obligation, and I have found myself starting to resent anyone I know that is perky, happy, or lives with any degree of normalcy.  

In a nutshell, I’m freaking tired of being punished for doing good.

I once read that Mother Teresa, in sharp contrast to the tireless humanitarian she was painted to be, suffered severe bouts of depression; dark nights of the soul in which she found herself not only separated from God, but doubted His existence entirely because of the endless suffering she witnessed.  Since then, I have read a lot about her, hoping to glean insights into how she kept going, and where she found motivation to continue.  Mother Teresa said, in the context of feeding the poor, “I always fill my own bowl first.”  She was also quoted as saying, “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.  What we need is to love without getting tired.” 

So yeah, she “got it” that you put yourself first, or you can’t help anybody else.  What Mother Teresa DIDN’T elaborate on is the HOW.  

So I have three questions for anyone who is up for a little deep thinking, questions for which I have sought answers for years and still not discovered a solution that works for me:

1.  How do you say NO when you know nobody else will do something but you?  Or that somebody else WILL do it, but you’ll be guilt-ridden and might as well do it yourself? 

2. Are we really obligated to give back here in our brief time on earth?  To what extent?  Why are those who work to end suffering punished and robbed of happiness, while those who call it a day after the 9 – 5 and family drama, those folks seem to have some pleasure in life?  Are we supposed to live in hell here, hoping for some relief  in the hereafter?

3. How do you REALLY find balance in life?  If you DO feel obligated to give back, and every day brings a request to which you CAN’T say NO without GUILT – where’s the balance?

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What a week!

Think I should run away as fast as I can?

Hit the open road?

Maybe I’ll stay in town, but wear a clever disguise…

…and hope there are enough hugs…

…and laughter…

…and planking

…and bar-b-que

…and libations…

…to make it all better.

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Most of you who read this blog are used to happy, perky content, where even the occasional sadness is spun with meaning, the painful is given hope.  That’s one of the reasons I created this blog, to stay positive amidst the negativeWarning:  This is not one of those posts.  Warning II:  This is raw, but this is ME – and some of you might not think as highly of me after reading this.

This morning, as I was getting dressed for my “day job”, I was planning a happy post in my head (which I’ll create another time) called “The Faces of Rescue.”  I was going to work hard on it tonight and include some photos from Saturday’s work day at two of the sanctuaries, as well as some other pictures I had of our dogs, cats, and the people who care for them.  It had been an exhausting and emotional weekend for a variety of reasons; but it had also been a productive weekend, sprinkled with a few good moments and some happy personal news to be shared later.  So after a semi-decent sleep, I woke to a fresh Monday morning and vowed to leave any negativity of the weekend in the past. 

Oh, what a few hours of Monday can do to a girl.

I took a first step and realized I’d pulled the daylights out of a couple of muscles – that’s ok, I’m thankful to have my arms and legs, blessed to walk.  En route to work, the insignia blew off the hood of my car, hitting my windshield before disappearing  –  no biggie – I’m lucky to drive a nice car, and at least the hood didn’t blow off.    The first voicemail of the day is “I hate to bother you, but I found this abandoned puppy, can you take it?” – I’ll deal with it, it’s what I do in my “spare time”; at least it’s a puppy and not a 7 year-old heartworm-positive, starving, aggressive pit bull, which is the usual call.   “Don’t forget, you owe $1,260 Tuesday…” – I don’t get paid til Thursday, but I’ll figure it out, at least I do get paid Thursday.  Work started out in an uproar – that’s ok, I’m blessed to have a job, and I’ve had much worse mornings than this.  I took a break to check my personal email, and received a barrage of criticism and problems with my rescue – that’s alright, I’ve been ripped to shreds and laden with guilt before, and have survived thus far.

Then, I somehow received this, on my work email, where I have such items blocked:

In case you can’t read the smaller print, it says, “Our lab HoneyBear has chewed through our air conditioning line for the second time and my husband has lost patience with her and is taking her to the Memphis Animal Shelter on June 27 unless she can find another home before then.” It goes on to describe what sounds like a fantastic 1 year-old lab, then says, “I would be so grateful if someone would come get HoneyBear so she doesn’t have to go to the shelter.”

She would be “so grateful”…indeed.  Memphis Animal “Shelter” is a high-kill rabies control facility.  It’s the pound.  In the Grand Ole South, dogs are killed in all the pounds when they fill to capacity, in most cases every few days.  Those of you outside West Tennessee may not be aware of this, but I guarantee you this family knows it.  In case anyone panics like I did, this notice was originally sent June 21, and HoneyBear has since been adopted into a loving home.  Why this came to me with “June 27” clearly at the top, and I didn’t receive a follow-up about the adoption, is beyond me.  Maybe it’s the gods’ way of telling me to give it up and stop being so damnedchipper today. Well, it worked.

So let me share a part of my real self and tell you how I feel about this family (whose name and email address I cropped off the notice after much deliberation).  This family, who is sitting somewhere smug today, thinking what a great thing they did by their horrible dog – why, after all, they went to all the trouble of calling a dog rescue to help find their dog a new home, sent pictures, and gave the rescue 6 whole days to help before killing the dog! 

The woman in the picture, happily holding her trusting dog who has no idea he’s about to be sent to death?  I’d like to take her naturally curly hair with the lovely white flower, and smash her face into the pavement.  I’d like to bring the husband to my house, ignore him until he’s so bored he chews my air conditioner wires in half, then take him to our local pound for a 3-day stay followed by what they lovingly call euthanasia.  I’d like to take their poor son and teach him what it means to have compassion, responsibility, and heart, which are hopefully lessons he’ll somehow learn on his own, because he won’t be getting them from these idiots.  Will I act on any of this? Sadly, no, I’d go to jail. 

Want to unsubscribe to Putting on the Dog?  Feel free.  Because from time to time, honesty ain’t pretty.

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Hello, Snoopy!

I’ve said it a million times, so pardon my redundancy…it’s the updates from our rescued dogs – loved, happy, and safe in their new homes – that keep us rescuers going.  Even the tiniest glimpse inside their new lives brings me indescribable joy.  It’s like a fireworks show in my heart.  Emily, our Adoption Coordinator, received this little update yesterday.  Thank you, Jen, and all our fabulous adopters.  Keep the pictures coming!
“Emily,
 Here is Snoopy at the top of the stairs waiting for the kids to get home from school. She will sit there for about an hour waiting. She knows they will give her lots of treats.
Love, Jen”

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