From my soul to yours, feel the love. It’s real, and it’s forever.

Danny sniffing Monty Ross's stetson

Danny sniffing Monty Ross’s stetson

On June 14, 2014 the Canadian Mounted Police suffered one of their worst days. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Dave Ross, along with fellow officers Fabrice Gevaudan and Douglas Larche, were killed by a shooter in Mocton, New Brunswick while on duty. Constable Ross was a K9 officer, partnered with Danny. Danny was not hurt during rampage that killed his partner, not physically, anyway. At the regimental funeral Danny walked in the funeral procession alongside an officer who was holding Ross’s Stetson hat. Danny was heard whimpering throughout the service, according to the Global News. He understood that his partner was gone from this existence and he was suffering, just as we do when we lose a beloved. There are stories of animals that never recover from the loss of their beloved humans everywhere. “Hachi” is a movie based on the true story of a dog named Hachikō in the 1920s in Tokyo, Japan, owned by Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. The loyal Akita accompanied his master every day to the station and was waiting faithfully every day upon his return. When Hidesaburō Ueno died suddently in 1925, Hachikō spent the next nine years waiting daily at the Shibuya station. His faithfulness made him a national hero and a national symbol of loyalty. Statues have been erected in his name, and his stuffed body is on display in the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo. Then there is the Argentinian dog named Capitán who sat every evening for six years on his owner’s grave. According to theweek.com, Miguel Guzman bought Capitan for his son, Damian, in 2005. After Guzman died the next year, Capitan disappeared. A week after the funeral, the family returned to the cemetery in central Argentina and found Capitan there, howling. The heartbroken dog had found the cemetery and tomb on his own, and has lived there ever since, sleeping on Guzman’s grave. “I’ve tried to bring Capitan home several times,” Damian, 13, says, “but he always comes straight back… He’s looking after my dad.” Then there’s the story of Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson’s Lab Hawkeye, who laid down next to his casket throughout his funeral service, refusing to leave his side. Leao is a mixed breed who stayed at her owner’s side as she died during the 2011 flood and mudslides in Brazil, laying at the earthen grave of her beloved, refusing to leave. Then we have our very own Hachi, a Border collie from Montana named Shep, who maintained a vigil at the train station for six years beginning in 1936 after seeing the coffin of his master loaded onto a train. The stories go on and on. The love is real and it’s reciprocal. It cuts both ways. They suffer our loss just as we suffer theirs. This is why it’s so critical that you make plans and arrangements for your beloveds in the here and now because this kind of loyalty deserves to be rewarded, and if you don’t the travesty of what could be is unconscionable. I know because I have seen it during my years of donating time at the shelter. One especially egregious story is that of the beautiful Cocker Lela, who was left in the loving arms of Bruce when Jenny died, except Bruce found he couldn’t keep his promise because illness forced him to leave his home. Lela’s screams as she grabbed onto Bruce’s leg as he left her at the shelter are a sound that has seared my soul forever. Jenny’s children wanted no part of Lela, so Bruce was left was a heart broken by so much more than just the grief from the loss of Jenny, and Lela was lost with losing so much more than just Bruce and Jenny. Dying isn’t the hard part. It is in the living where the difficulties lie and grieving for the loss of an important presence in your life is almost unbearable. I know. I’ve been living with such a loss since I lost my Action Jackson last July, and I miss his smile in everything I do. The love between man and beast is real and true, and it’s forever. It changes the fabric of time. There is no forgetting, ever, and nothing is ever the same again for any involved. The naysayers will say you can read whatever you want into the behavior of animals. I feel sorry for them that they are so narrow in the ability of their heart to see love that they miss out on what could be the best part of living. So Danny, I understand your feelings of loss. I wish I were there to comfort you because we are kindred souls that are missing our beloveds. So from my soul to yours, feel the love.

And never forget, it is only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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I prayed this time would be the last time and my prayers were answered, but not as I wished.

 

My angel, Action Jackson

My angel, Action Jackson

It is one year July 14th since my Action Jackson went back to spirit as I held him in my arms during seizures. It had been an ongoing problem, with me praying that each seizure would be his last seizure. My prayers were answered, just not in the manner that I had hoped. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss his smile in my life. There are some animals that come into our life that make such a difference in the way we look at life from that day forward that we are forever changed. Jack was one of those. I remember the day we picked him up from the high kill shelter, just hours before he was scheduled to be euthanized, and made him ours. His name was Happy Jack, and he was the happiest soul I ever met. He brought joy to my soul. He taught me about living in the moment. He taught me the importance of being present. Through him I learned to live and how to love. I am so much better because of him. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss him. I try to sing his song and I cry because he’s not here to hear it. He let me know how much I was loved every moment of every day. I miss his smile. I know he’ll be waiting for me on the other side when I make my journey home. I can’t wait to see him. I know his tail will be wagging, and he’ll do that little dance of excitement that I could expect the moment our eyes met. And I can’t wait. If you haven’t learned how to live, get a dog. They will teach you things you need to know. They’ll teach you things you didn’t realize you didn’t understand. And when they leave you to prepare the way for you when you make the big journey home, you’ll miss them more than words can say but you’ll continue to receive gifts from them. I’ve made friendships that are so important in my life, and I have them only because of Jack. These people came into my life because Jack put me in that place at that time, and through him I was blessed. He died and I received more gifts. I’ve never had anything like this before in my life. The love that just continues on and on and on. Every day I notice another gift and I think, it’s Jack working in my life. Even after one year, he’s still here, blessing me. I don’t know many people that have blessed me in that way. So, I recommend that today you adopt a shelter dog. Open your heart and get ready, because it’s not just a dog. It’s so much more. But you’ll have to pay attention. And when you do, you’ll be given gifts of the heart that will surprise you at how much love you can receive in your life. It simply doesn’t get any better than this!

And never forget, it’s only through you that the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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Semper Fi, Sargent Diaz. Semper Fi.

 

Sgt Diaz and Dino

Sgt Diaz and Dino

You hear stories about Military Working Dogs (MWD) and the soldiers they work with, becoming one as a team that work in conditions that most of us cannot begin to imagine much less ever have to endure in our life times. I read a news story recently that spoke of one such team, but this story was different. This was a story about a Marine’s family that adopted the MWD that had worked with their son in the bomb sniffing unit and was with their son on the day he was killed. Because he was the last part of their son’s intimate life it was important to them that they bring his teammate home from Afghanistan and make him part of their family. It was important to them to pay homage to this animal that their son loved so and spent every waking moment with during the last of his days, so it became their mission. But before the military would release Dino to them he had to fulfill his military service, because when Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz paid the ultimate price his beloved partner was a young MWD and the military was not ready to release him from his commitment to service yet, so Sgt. Diaz’s family worked for three years before Dino was discharged into their care. Before they could bring him into their home Dino had to pass behavioral tests to insure he was suitable as a family pet, and the Diaz’s said Dino has all the personality traits of their son, and although he doesn’t replace Christopher, it’s like having Christopher home with them for a little while. I admire that they were diligent in making this happen. Dino was Christopher’s partner and friend. They understood this brotherhood, and rather than allowing Dino to be put down at the end of his service they insured their son’s companion was brought home from Afghanistan and into their home, and became a beloved part of their family. I can think of no greater way to honor their son than to honor his best friend to the end. Marines are brothers in arms, and I know that their son rests easier knowing they are honoring his beloved friend until his last breath, just as he would have done. There are some debts that cannot be repaid. The love you receive from your beloved pets, especially during the stress of war, are one of those. I admire this family. I am grateful for their sacrifice. I am grateful for their love. The world is a better place through their example. I know you rest easy in the knowledge your beloved Dino is safe forever with those that love you, and you’ll be there to welcome him when he returns home, Sargent Diaz. What a glorious homecoming that will be. Semper Fi, Sargent Diaz. Semper Fi.

Never forget, it is only through you that the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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Is ice safe for your dogs or are you putting your beloveds at risk with your treats?

There’s a document making it’s way around facebook that tells of the threat of bloat to dogs that are given ice or ice water during hot weather. Once again, this is misinformation that is being put forth as fact but it simply isn’t true. The internet can be a wealth of information to help you find your way in keeping your pets healthy and happy, and then there is the rest that is wrong that just makes you worry about the things that you do to keep your animals healthy and happy. So if you’ve heard the rumor, you can rest assured you won’t hurt your animals by giving them ice cubes, ice water, or ice treats during the summer. Bloat, however, is a serious issue that you should be aware of because if your dog suffers from it and it’s not addressed by the Vet immediately your dog will die due to inaction. Bloat, or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV), has very specific symptoms that you need to be aware of:

-Bloating, in which your dog’s belly grows very big with air.

-Episodes of unproductive belching, retching or vomiting. Your dog’s body is trying to expel air collected in his stomach.

-Intense abdominal pain that can prevent the dog from moving around.

-Initial restlessness followed shortly by a moribund (close to death) condition.

-Shallow, rapid breathing and pale gums.

If you see any of these symptoms in your dog, you should get him to your Vet or an emergency animal clinic immediately. If you’re unsure you should still take immediate action and get your dog to a Vet. The only way to tell the difference between simple bloating and GDV is with an x-ray. Due to the high mortality rate associated with GDV, it’s much better to be safe than sorry, so get your pet seen right away. If your dog belches, then it can relieve the air and it’s simple bloat, not life threatening. But if your dog has full GDV, it means both the entry to and exit from the stomach have been pinched off by the twist and there is no way to expel the air built up in his belly. There is no time to waste in getting help because organ failure will begin within as little as 20 minutes. So now you know. Pay attention to your dog if you see them panting and acting out of sorts. Check their gums today, when they’re healthy so you’ll know what it looks like when they’re not. You won’t have time to guess. And in all things, is it really worth inaction when the stakes are so high if you are mistaken in your diagnosis of the situation? If there is any doubt, get your beloved to your Vet. Know where emergency services are available if your Vet doesn’t offer them. Don’t wait until you have an emergency to find these numbers, have them on your refrigerator and programmed into your cell phone, ready to go at a moment’s notice. You’ll never forgive yourself if you do any less.

And never forget, it is only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

 

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Swoop and poop and other games we play.

 

Four cats chilling.

Four cats chilling.

I’m not sure if I’ve convinced you yet of the joys of living with cats and dogs, together, in the house but it is truly a joy to be had in every way in ever day. And there is something about having six cats in the house that just makes life even more interesting than it could be otherwise. The best and the worst are the same in my world, the cat boxes, the bane of my existence. I swear they fight to be the first ones to use the newly cleaned box, watching to see when I’ve finished scooping so they can swoop in and be the first to drop a load in the nice, clean sand. Of course it is followed with “really????” immediately out of my mouth, like, you couldn’t do that before I scooped, you had to wait until I was finished? I know they hold it, talking amongst themselves on who is going to get me the next time. They must have it planned in advance, waiting and watching for just that right moment, okay, she’s done, swoop in and poop NOW! The swoop and poop, an official duty (ha, ha, she said duty). Then we have the hairballs. We don’t have a lot of them, and they only seem to happen as an after effect from my two long haired black cats. When they appear on the floor they look like a cat turd, but I can tell immediately that no, this is different, because Zoey, the dog, would make short work of it if it were indeed a cat turd. I don’t know what the appeal is but that’s a special treat that she will go to any length to acquire, and I never know she’s imbibed unless I see the telltale signs of sand on her nose or get a whiff of Fresh Step on her breath. So we’ve gone to extreme lengths to hide the cat boxes while still making them accessible to the cats. Oh, the lengths we have to go through to have multiple species living, side by side, in the house. It is a constant dance. The dogs and cats don’t fight with each other, but the cat fights, OMG. Our sweet pea that was abused as a kitten and not loved by anyone, Dewey Whiskers, is the street fighter extraordinaire. She is playing, but no one else gets the game. She’s a tuxedo cat, and when she looks at me it’s with the look of “I am batman, you know.” And you know what? I believe she is. She could be a superhero. She’s one of mine. She overcame having firecrackers thrown at her because she was so hated when all she wanted was to be loved. She was locked in a vehicle with no food or water in the middle of a hot, humid, midwestern summer day, but she survived. She survived long enough to become one of my beloveds. She is an important part of our pack, as are they all. Sissy, the sister of Bubby our beloved that drowned in the pond and was lost emotionally without her other half for so long, has come into her own and is Miss Personality, but when she runs she sounds like she has a flat because she simply does not have the lithe cat movements. You know it’s Sissy when you hear “thump, thump, thump” as she’s chasing or being chased through the house. They each know their names and come when they’re called. They won’t come inside once they get to the door, but they’ll come to the door, just to let me know they’re okay. They’re like that. Always in charge and letting me know who is in charge in case there is any question or doubt. So worth it. Every second of every day. I joke a lot, but our lives are enriched because of the love we are blessed with from the animals in our care.

And never forget, it is only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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