Catching Up

Hello everyone – It’s been quite a while since I last wrote for my blog.  I’ve been busy, really busy, and I want to tell you all about it.

Since I last wrote, a lot has happened.  My dad had some surgeries (he’s doing just fine) which had mom in the waiting room of the local hospital.  While she was there she had the opportunity to have a visit from a Therapy Dog.  She said it was really nice to have a ‘fur-baby’ to pet and talk to while she was waiting.  She said that got her thinking . . . about me, and if perhaps being a Therapy Dog would be a good fit for us.

She was able to attend / watch a Therapy Dog Evaluation at the local hospital.  She came home really excited and told me all about it.  She said most all of the exercises the Therapy Dogs and Handlers had to do for their evaluation we could already do.  Well, maybe not exactly, but with a little training she said it would be a natural fit for us.

Let me explain a little about me and my disposition.  I really, really, really love people.  Sometimes I like them more than I do other dogs.  When I was first adopted by mom and dad I was a little fearful of other dogs.  You see, I had been intimidated by other dogs while running on the Rez and I didn’t trust them.  Mom helped me through that fear by taking me to the dog park in Prescott – that’s a town a little way from our home. 

The dog park in Prescott is really nice.  It was built with grant money a few years ago and has artificial grass, some gravel, a few different obstacles, and best of all it is separated into a BIG dog side and a small dog side.  Now, at 55 pounds I could be considered a big dog, but mom decided I needed to build some confidence and took me into the small dog side.  I was still fearful of the small dogs so we stayed in the corner, on a bench far away so I could just sit and watch.  We did this for a few weeks.  Eventually, I started greeting some of the other small dogs and even found a playmate or two.  I was enjoying my time in the park!  We still visit the small dog side occasionally, I’m not too keen on the bigger dogs.  They tend to play a little too aggressively.  But, that’s OK, mom talked to the people in the small dog side to make sure they were OK with me being there, you know, considering my size and all.  They assured mom that it was just fine and more about temperament than size.  They are really nice.

To continue with the Therapy Dog story, the next step was a little training for me.  Mom found a really great trainer, Deb with Pawsitively Awesome, which has been fantastic.  We would meet with Deb and some of her other clients at different locations and go through some training moves.  Deb knows a lot about the Therapy Dog evaluation so she would train with that in mind, making sure mom and I went through different exercises that would be similar to what we’d have to do to pass our evaluation.  We’re still training with Deb; I really like her, a lot.

Mom also had to do some work on the computer.  Through Pet Partners she took, and passed (of course), the handlers course.  The next step for us would be the actual evaluation.  Originally that was scheduled for June 15th, but the evaluator had an emergency so the evaluation was cancelled.  It has been re-scheduled for August 3rd and I’m really excited to get through the final phase.  If we’re successful in our evaluation and get certified as a therapy team we’ll start visiting hospitals and other locations where people may need some cheering up.

So, for now, we continue to train.  Mom takes me out about five times a week to different places and we go through our paces.  We train in Home Depot, Lowe’s, the local mall, the amphitheater in Prescott Valley, and even in Town Hall.  All these places are ‘dog-friendly’ which helps us quite a bit.  Mom tries to take me to lots of different places and stores so I can get familiar with different surroundings, noises, and people.  My favorite place is Michael’s Craft Store.  I’ve picked out my ‘woobies’ there.  Mom let me rummage through the stuffed toy bin and I picked out my favorite, actually over a few weeks, I’ve picked out three favorites.  Mom says she has to stop taking me in to Michael’s, or at least keep me away from the stuffed toy bin.

For this post, I chose a photo taken by mom’s friend, Heidi, when we were visiting her office a few weeks ago.  I’m sporting my ‘training harness’ that mom bought for me.  I look good in purple, don’t you think?  Stay tuned for updates on my therapy dog training and hopefully, my certification.  I’m looking forward to being able to give back to society through my therapy dog work. 

Advertisements

Merry Christmas

This will be my first Christmas in my forever home.  Actually, my first Christmas in any home.  I am warm, dry, safe, and best of all, loved.

I have been enjoying my home and all the attendant accoutrements that go along with a forever home.  I especially love my mom and dad and all the attention I receive.  I am brushed, petted, walked, and get to play with lots of toys.  I get kisses and hugs for no reason at all, that’s the best part. 

I have a warm place to sleep, actually lots of warm and comfy places to sleep (you can probably tell that by my photo).  My belly is full of good food and there are treats as well.  Even my cat sister, Maya, is getting used to me.  She’ll stay on the futon when I jump up for a nap and she’s even come over to sniff at my ear a few times.  She doesn’t want to play though, I’ve tried.  I hope she’ll come around in that area as well, but for now she’s accepted me in the house and that’s great.  Mom called me a ‘couch potato’ today, not sure what that means, but I like potatoes so I guess it’s OK.

We have had a few really cold nights and I am grateful for a warm place.  It was tough finding someplace warm when I was running free on the reservation in New Mexico.  I don’t have a long, thick coat of fur and I get cold quickly.  I hope those I left behind on the res have been as lucky as me and found forever homes.

At this time of year, it seems customary to give and receive gifts.  I have been so lucky to receive the gift of a forever home where there is unlimited love.  I try my best to give some love back and show how grateful I am.  If you have a furbaby in your home, give them an extra hug, let them know how much you love them, and that you will always be there to take care of them.  Believe me, we understand when you talk to us and tell us these things.  Look into our eyes, there is understanding there.

If you can find it in your heart to give a home to a homeless dog (or cat, they need homes too) and help them know there is love and kindness in the world that would be great.  I know there are so many out there who would love to have a forever family.  And remember, older dogs/cats are just as cute as puppies/kittens.  The older ones need homes too, and probably have the most difficulty finding one. 

There is a new year coming soon, wouldn’t it be wonderful to start off sharing it with a dog or cat who desperately needs a home.  Adopt, there are plenty of shelters and rescue organizations out there and they have the perfect companion for you.  I know, I found my perfect home.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

In the Beginning

Where to begin . . . as close to the beginning as I can remember; at least the parts that my foster mom told me about my beginning.

Before I arrived at my foster mom’s home, she said they had some photos and X-rays.  She said I looked pretty sad.  I vaguely remember that I was not feeling well and not looking forward to my life as it was.  I was in a lot of pain, and I was hungry most of the time.  Apparently, trying to find things to eat, I started eating things that were not good for me, like rocks and sticks and bones.  These things showed up on the x-rays along with the reason my rear leg hurt so much.  It was broken in a few places and my hip was crushed.  I think this happened when I was struck by a vehicle while running on the Reservation.  There was no one to take care of me and I had no real home, so I did a lot of wandering around. 

It was also difficult to find something to drink.  I was so thirsty that I drank some water that didn’t smell too good.  As a result, I got sick with an infection.  I tried to hold it in but I couldn’t help pooping all over myself.  It was really smelly and I was embarrassed.  My foster mom said not to worry, that she would take care of me because that’s what moms do, they take care of you.  My foster mom also gave me my name, Cruiser.  Up until that time I didn’t have a name.  I liked the name Cruiser, I think it fits me perfectly.

I was in pretty bad shape when United Animal Friends initially found me.  I ended up in a vet clinic in New Mexico where I got a rabies shot but nothing else.  I think that was because UAF had already decided they were going to take me to Arizona and help me heal.  I was barely tipping the scale at 35 pounds, and I was really weak and in a lot of pain.  My foster mom said “yes” immediately when asked if she would take me in.  I’m glad she did and really happy that UAF decided to take a chance on me.

Even though I was in really bad pain and no one on the Res helped me, I knew in my heart that people must be compassionate.  I was right and wanted to be close to the people who were now helping me.  I tried my best to show how much I appreciated their help and love.  I hope I was able to get my message across to them.

Once I was safely with my foster mom I went to a Vet here in Arizona.  They tried to rehabilitate my rear leg.  I remember being in a water tank and trying to walk on it, but it was too painful.  I was thankful for all the help I was getting but I just couldn’t put any weight on my leg.  My foster mom told me they would have to amputate my leg.  I really didn’t know what she meant but I trusted her to take care of me; after all, she did promise me that my life would get better.

I also had surgery to remove the all the rocks and other hard objects from my stomach and intestines.  Sorry if this is a little gross for you to read, but I really want you to understand what had happened to me.  I also want to be sure you know about United Animal Friends here in Arizona.  They are a great group of volunteers who go to extraordinary lengths to help dogs like me.

When my foster mom went to fill the medications prescribed by the Vet, she was asked for my date of birth, my foster mom told them it was February 14, 2016, Valentine’s Day.  I don’t remember being born, but from what I’ve been told, Valentine’s Day is full of love, like me!

So, I had my surgeries and felt 100% better almost immediately.  I was thankful for the love I was receiving and the good food and water as well.  It was such a relief to have something to eat/drink and a warm, soft place to sleep.  I got lots of attention and got to go to a few different places so prospective “forever home parents” could see me.  I was really fortunate that my forever mom saw my photo on the UAF website and decided to meet me.  My life really did get better, and it keeps getting better.  I’m so happy that United Animal Friends decided to take me in and help me. 

I’d like to encourage anyone who is looking for a forever friend to adopt one who doesn’t have a home, one who has been abandoned and may not be a cute little puppy.  Everyone deserves a home, everyone deserves to be wanted, everyone deserves to be loved.  There are more like me out there who need a home and need love.  Please take some time to give someone like me a second chance at life.  You’ll save two lives, yours and the one you adopt.  I know, it happened to me, now I hope it happens to all the others out there wandering around looking for love.

 

Greetings!

Hello Everyone

My name is Cruiser and I’m relatively new around here.

I arrived in late June, brought to what would be my new forever home by what I now understand was my ‘foster mom.’  She’s called a foster mom because those who stay with her typically are there on a temporary basis, until they find their forever homes.  I’ll get into my background and history a little later, I really just wanted to introduce myself and let you know a little about me.

I’m probably a little under 2 years old about now, I really don’t know, my puppyhood was all very confusing and a bit frightening.  You see, I’m what they call a ‘rez dog’ having been found on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico.  My foster mom gave me an arbitrary birth date of February 14, 2016.

I’m of indeterminate breeding, maybe a little terrier, perhaps some pointer/retriever, maybe even some Airedale mixed in there somewhere.  Personally, I think I’m just made of a bunch of love and joy.  I’m about 60 pounds now, but when I first got here I was a scrawny 48 pounds.  See what love, regular feeding, and lots of exercise can do for you.

So, as I mentioned earlier, I arrived here at the end of June.  Mom told me she saw my photo on the United Animal Friends website, read my bio, and just had to meet me.  When I originally arrived at my foster mom’s home I was in pretty bad shape but she promised me that my life was going to get better.  She said from that point on I would not have anything to worry about and I would be loved.  Boy, was she right.

I adapted pretty quickly to my forever home and began to enjoy my new life.  Mom and dad were really loving, I got lots of attention, a bit of training (to which I responded really well, you see I’m pretty smart), great food, and I was introduced to some playmates on different outings.  Every now and then, Mom would call me “Bear” and I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me or someone else.  I asked her about it one day and she told me all about Bear, who lived here before me.  Mom was a little sad as she talked about Bear, but said he had a great life while he was here.  She told me some of the fun things they did like camping, and I started to look forward to the times I’d get to go camping too.

Then she told me that Bear was the one who started this blog.  She had to explain what a ‘blog’ was, you see I didn’t have access to a computer on the Navajo Reservation, actually I didn’t have access to much during my time there.  Once she explained what a blog was, I asked if I could start writing.  I told her it would be just fine if she didn’t want me to do it, I know she and Bear had a special relationship that was shared on this blog, and if it was still too painful for her I made sure she understood that I was OK with any decision she made.  She thought it would be a good idea for me to start expressing my thoughts, but for now wanted to keep the original name “Bear’s Blog.”  I thought that was a fitting tribute to Bear.  Even though I never met him, I feel as if I know him through Mom.  She mentioned the word ‘essence’ and I think I know what she meant.

Well, that’s it for now.  As I said earlier, I just wanted to introduce myself and let you all know that I’ll be writing down some of my thoughts about life, love, and my adventures.  I think I got really lucky when Mom found me on the UAF website.  It’s almost as if we were made for each other.  I hope to have lots of fun adventures to write about and lots of years full of love, happiness, and peace.

Talk to you soon.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been writing this entry for some time now.  We’re never sure how much time we have on earth and with our loved ones, and I wanted to be sure to get these thoughts written out.

I talked to mom about it and she agreed to post this for me, you see by the time you read this I will have crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  Mom got a little upset while we were talking and I did my best to console her.  She asked if she could add a post script to this final post and, of course, I said she could and that I would be honored if she would.  It will be nice for you to hear from my mom at this time.  If you have a little bit of time, I’m sure she’d appreciate a comment or two.

Well, here goes. 

I loved my life and the ones who shared it with me.  They were caring and fun to be with. 

I went on a few adventures with mom and dad.  I loved camping with them.  We would sit outside the camper and enjoy the outdoors.  Those were some of my favorite times.  I wish I could have done more of that with them, but I am grateful for the memories we made.

I appreciated all the good food and the wonderful care I had over the years.  It’s tough getting old and as we age we need more medical attention sometimes.  My mom was always keen to my medical needs.  She knew when I wasn’t feeling well or when something wasn’t just quite right.  I had a wonderful Vet, Dr. Julia Lynn at Kachina Animal Hospital.  She, and all those who worked there were fabulous.

I loved my dog brothers who went before me (Taz and Joey) as well as my cat brother (Dante) and cat sister (Maya) who I left behind to comfort mom and dad.  I hope they are up to the task.  Dante was sad when his dog brother, Taz, crossed the bridge.  You see, Taz used to clean Dante’s ears all the time, but I think you may already know that.  Anyway, after Taz passed, I took up that job.  Dante seemed OK with it and we bonded over many an ear-cleaning session.  Maya never liked her ears cleaned, but she would occasionally lie on the dog bed with me.  She was nice.

I enjoyed playing in the snow, even though we didn’t have much in our area.  When we did, mom would run around with me out front, throwing snow balls for me to either catch or find.  You know, it’s tough to find a snowball after it falls in the snow.

Mom took lots and lots of photographs of me.  Besides being a Personal Trainer she is somewhat of an amateur photographer.  I didn’t really enjoy having my picture taken, but I tolerated it, for mom’s sake.  One thing I want to pass on to you is to take lots of photographs, there are no cameras at the Rainbow Bridge.

Last but not least, my mom.  What can I say about the human who loved me unconditionally and provided for my every need throughout my life with her.  I wish we could have found each other sooner, so we would have had more time together, but the time we did share was absolutely wonderful.  I love her with all my heart and I hope that someday I will find my way back to her, and she to me.  If you recall in an earlier post I talked about us exchanging pieces of our hearts, so we are able to keep each other near, now and in the future.  I just wanted to let you all know that I have a piece of mom’s heart with me, something I will cherish always.  She has a piece of my heart as well.  She said when our hearts beat together we are always together, regardless of time and distance.  I like that.

 

Post Script:

I stroked his fur until it no longer felt familiar.  I breathed in his scent until it no longer held his essence.  I closed my eyes, let the tears fall, and said my last goodbye.

I knew this day was coming.  I was not prepared.

Hi, Bear’s mom here.  The journey with Bear has been difficult for me but he was strong throughout it, so I did my best to be strong for him as well.  Thank you for your care, concern, comments, encouragement, and sharing of stories.  I have read all of Bear’s posts and the responses by his many followers.  I cannot begin to express my appreciation, and love, for all.

I believe Bear wrote about anthropomorphism in his first blog in January of 2017.  He was correct when he told you about my academic writing and how I had to be extremely cautious to avoid anthropomorphizing things that were not human.  I succeeded in my academic writings but not in my personal life, but that’s OK, and I would have it no other way.

We are all connected in this universe, at a molecular level.  Everything in the universe has an essence, that’s what makes them what they are.  Bear had that, which is why anthropomorphizing is not applicable to him.  He was family and always will be.  I have had a number of fur-babies pass through my life; they never stay long enough.  And, although my heart is breaking and a piece has left with Bear, there will be another entering my life in the future.  I am sure of it; and, this new family member will join a heart that is comprised of many, many pieces of those who have passed through on their journey.  I don’t know who it will be, when or where, but it will be soon, of that I am sure.

Bear started something here that is important and I’m sure he would want that to continue.  I don’t know who will pick it up, perhaps Dante or Maya will begin to express their thoughts, then perhaps another who has yet to join us will take over.  Whoever it is, someone will step in.  They will never take Bear’s place, but they will add to the essence that remains in our home, the essence of all who have passed through as well as those yet to come.

I will leave you with a few thoughts of others:

Search for and read Rudyard Kipling’s “The Power of the Dog” and you will find the following lines near the end of some stanzas, (https://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/power_of_dog.html)

Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware

Of giving your heart to a dog to tear. . . .

You will discover how much you care,

And will give your heart to a dog to tear. . . .

So why in — Heaven (before we are there)

Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear

I believe, giving our heart to a dog to tear makes us whole, makes us care for others, makes us genuinely compassionate.  And while the pain is unbearable as our heart tears at their passing, we are stronger for it.

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”  Pericles (495 BC – 425 BC)

With any luck, you have had, and will continue to have a fur-baby who has woven itself into your life.

My Cat Brother – Dante

Hi everyone – Bear here again.  It’s been a while since I last wrote, but things have been a little hectic lately.

I finished my final scheduled IV chemo treatment on May 2.  The few days afterward were a little rough.  Mom had to stay with me to help me get through them.  Unfortunately, that meant she missed her most favorite trip, Special Olympics State Competition.  I felt bad that she decided to stay home, but I’m glad she did.  I do so much better when mom is with me.  She got updates throughout the weekend about Bradshaw Mountain Special Olympics and how they were doing.  Apparently, they did very well, most of them having their best scores (time and distance) in their events.  Josh and Ryan, mom’s pentathletes, beat their scores as well.  She was very happy for them, but I know she missed seeing it first hand, and taking photos of all the activity.

I had a 2-week wash out period before I could begin my low-dose chemo pills.  Those started on May 16th, and so far I’m doing OK.  I’m still a little fussy about what I like to eat; things just don’t smell that good to me yet.  Mom has an infinite amount of patience with me and sits on the floor trying to get me to eat.  Sometimes it takes 4, 5, or 6 tries of me sniffing at the food she offers.  Most times I end up finally eating, and it tastes really good.  Mom is still cooking my meals and giving me a variety of protein and carbohydrates.  There is love in her cooking.

This past Sunday we had some trouble, this time with Dante my cat brother.  That’s him in the photo.  Dante has renal issues, that’s kidney problems, and was diagnosed last year with lowered kidney function.  Well, his kidneys must be getting worse.  This past Saturday, mom and dad couldn’t find Dante in the house.  They were calling and searching for a while and I was getting worried.  They finally found him, tucked in mom’s closet, on top of her shoe boxes.  Mom brought him out and sat with him in the living room, brushing his orange coat.  He was purring loudly, I could hear him across the room.

On Sunday he ended up hiding again, this time under mom’s printer table near the computer.  When mom reached under to get him she said he was wet.  Poor Dante had actually peed on himself.  I felt really bad for him as I know that’s not good and he must have felt terrible not being able to make it to his litter box.

Mom grabbed the cat carrier, put Dante in it, and then called the Emergency Vet Office.  Luckily we have an ER Vet in the area.  When she put Dante in the carrier, I knew something was wrong and I got really anxious.  I was pacing around and sniffing at the carrier.  I tried to tell Dante that mom would take good care of him and that he should try to relax, but he was meowing a bit.  That made me a little upset as well.

Mom took off for the ER Vet and left me home.  She said she’d be right back and that dad would be home soon.  Sure enough, dad got home a little while later and together we waited for mom and Dante.  Well, when mom got home, she didn’t have Dante with her and I was a little confused.  I was wondering where he was and when he would be home.

Mom sat down with me and told me that Dante was very sick and had to stay in the hospital overnight.  He need constant care and some medical attention.  She said he would get the best care possible and I know she was telling me the truth because, well, look at me and the care I’ve received.  Then she started talking about that bridge again, and that there was a possibility that it may be time for Dante to cross that bridge, without us.  She was crying as she was telling me this and I tried to comfort her.  I stuck close by her side for the rest of the night.  We were together until about midnight when I went out for another pee-break and she finally went to bed.

Mom called the ER Vet Monday morning for an update and told me that Dante was resting, that he was not in any pain, but we wouldn’t know much more than that until they did some blood tests later in the day.  Mom’s crying a little today as we talk about it, but she’s holding up pretty well.  I’m going to stick close today as well.  I ate all my breakfast, and then all my mid-morning snack.  She feels better when I eat, so I’m doing my best to help her through this.

I guess we wait now.  I hope Dante is doing OK and that he realizes that mom is thinking about him and making sure he gets whatever he needs at his point in his life.  I hope he doesn’t have to cross the bridge, I like hanging out with him and cleaning his ears.  I trust mom to make the right decisions.  Her decisions are always made out of love.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate

Hello everyone I’m doing a bit better after my 4th chemo treatment and thought I’d stop by for a quick chat.

Chemo was on April 11th and I managed to get in and out of the Oncologist’s office in a little over an hour.  Not having to go through an ultrasound and x-rays like last time really made a difference.  I was well behaved and let the techs and the doctor do what they needed to do to get me through quickly.

After I got out of the doctor’s office, mom and I headed north, toward home.  She pulled over just north of Phoenix, into Anthem, and said we were going to stop for a break.  She went in to Baskin Robbins and bought a small cup of ice cream.  We drove across the street, into the park, to enjoy it together.

The park is really nice.  It was my first time there, mom’s too.  This is the park that has the Veteran’s Memorial, a uniquely designed memorial of five pillars with slanted/oblong openings at different heights.  These openings are lined up so that on every November 11, at 11:11 AM, the sun shines through the openings and illuminates the Great Seal of the United States on the ground in front of the five pillars.  Now, we were there in the late afternoon in April so of course we did not get to see this beautiful sight; but, it was certainly impressive.

Anyway, there is a lot of soft, green grass throughout the park with sidewalks winding through and around some of the small lakes.  There is a train station, for kids, but the train was not running while we were there.  Besides, there was sign that stated no dogs were allowed on the train.  I think that’s discrimination, but I guess they can do what they want since it is their train.

Mom sat on a bench while I stood near.  I knew what was coming and was excited.  She took the top off the ice cream and gave me a small amount on a spoon.  She ate some as well.  I wanted more and I wanted it quickly, but mom said I needed to slow down so I didn’t get an ‘ice cream headache’ whatever that is.  I got a few more spoons of delicious vanilla ice cream – what a treat!

We finished the ice cream then took a walk around an area of the park.  I enjoyed the shade and the grass.  It was nice to take some time to smell all the different smells that were all around me.  There had been quite a few other dogs through this park, I could tell, and they left all kinds of messages for me.  I did my best to leave some messages of my own, but after a few well-placed messages I didn’t have much left, if you get my meaning.

I had a drink of water before we climbed back in the truck to start for home.  Mom always brings a container of water on our trips.  I’ve become used to drinking our filtered well water.  When I get offered ‘city water’ I tend to refuse it as it smells different.

I’m glad that the days following my chemo treatment were not as bad as before.  Mom has the whole food issue figured out so I was eating grilled beef or turkey burgers right away.  I think having some good food in me helped to get me through the worst part.  I still have to take meds to stave off nausea and to help me get over the diarrhea (sorry about that), but I take those pretty well as long as they are wrapped in a piece of mozzarella.   I should get my sense of taste and smell back a little more over the next few days which means I’ll start eating the chicken mom cooks for me and maybe the scrambled eggs she makes for me each morning.  It just takes a few days for everything to get back on track.