Rescue groups.

Growing up, I had a total of four dogs.  All were obtained as puppies from a breeder. As an adult,  I got Melvin from a lab rescue group.  At the time I was in a breed specific mode, about to lose one lab and hoping for another and the rescue part felt reciprocal.

Since then, my love affair with all things rescue has grown exponentially.  It may border on stalkish behavior I get so involved in each profile, trying to think through who that dog would be perfect for and then emailing that person about him/her. While I appreciate breed specific rescue groups, I also love that there are rescue groups out there that take in every dog they can, regardless of breed.

Two of my current obsessions favorites are Lost Dog Rescue and Danny & Ron’s Rescue.  Lost Dog is a local (VA/DC/MD) rescue group who takes in all breeds, all ages, all circumstances.  Lost Dog fosters most of the dogs (and cats) however they also have a 61-acre ranch where they can house overflow dogs and cats as well as other animals (who they won’t adopt out but will give a lifelong home to), including chickens, goats, INSERT ANIMAL HERE.  I mean seriously, how awesome is that?! They have upwards of 50-70 adoptions per week, due greatly in part to several adoptions events throughout each and every weekend.

Danny & Ron’s is another ‘come one, come all’ rescue group with a wider geographical reach.  Danny & Ron are affiliated with the horse show community so while they take in dogs who are mostly in SC, they are able to adopt out across several states as they can do transports via horse-show trailer caravans.  Brilliant.  They also work closely with Paws for Seniors.   Are you kidding?  You had me at hello.

Daily, I’m thankful for all the wonders of the Internet and this World Wide Web thing, mostly for what it has done to catapult the reach that rescue groups have to potential adopters. And of course that it brought you to this blog, doy!

Mary Poppins.

Melvin is around little ones from time to time, although he is not well-versed in all things youngster.  I have a lot of faith in his intentions but I also recognize and respect that new situations require supervision.

At Christmas, my then one-year-old niece was crawling toward him/on him and he made a noise.  It was somewhere between a growl and a moan-of-delight (because she tasted like Cheerios) but I was quickly reminded that he was outside of his comfort zone and we took it slow.  He did great.

Yesterday, his human GF Hadley came over and Melvin made her giggle with delight.  I trust him, but I stayed close by. Hadley is an animal lover so it’s always nice when Melvin can practice his ‘be-gentle-you-can’t-step-on-her-or-you’ll-crush-her’ manners.

As you can see, it was just tortuous for everyone.

Tracey Tuesday.

As the decorator of Melvin’s house, I wanted to share two new photos I’ve purchased recently.

Those of you who know me have probably heard one (or all) of the below from me at one point or another.  I love every, single, sentiment on this new framed photo!

This next sign just makes me smile!  It’s so true, the people (and animals) in our life are best cared for when we are sure to take care of ourselves also…

Mount you? Don’t mind if I do.

Melvin thinks he’s small.  This is evident when he greets people as well as when he climbs up on them.  Take this weekend for instance…

Melvin ‘leaned’ on my dad for a while until finally my dad lost feeling in his legs.


I love Grampy!

Later, my friend V stopped over.  No sooner had she taken a load off than a larger load mounted her, literally…


Mind if I come up on this seat for one?


Stay still while I maneuver.


I’m comfortable, are you?


Actually, I’d be more comfy if I sat. Please hold me.


I like to sit facing the other way. Let’s do this.


Quote from V at this point: “Is he going to try to make love to me?”


Hold my butt while I stare out the window.


Do downward dog on a girl on a pink chair. Check.

Message from Melvin: I’m perfect.

I’m the best dog in the whole world.  I have no bad habits and all dogs should be just like me.  Why She can’t see this is a bit of a mystery to me.  I mean, I live with Her.  She sees first hand how completely wonderfully awesome I am.

When someone walks by the front windows I do one of two things, I bark to scare them away or I bark to say hello. These are very different barks.  I guess I can sorta see why She would not be sure which bark I’m using since She isn’t very good at barking and thus does not understand the complex bark styles in my wep-o-twa.. Often, when I’m running for the front of the house to determine which bark I need to use, she will say something like ‘do you want me to squirt you?’.  What does that mean?  I don’t understand words, all I hear is blah, blah, blah  but I do know that most times after saying those funny sounding noises she will get a squirting machine out. She knows I hate being wet.  No, really, you don’t understand.  If even one drop of water gets on me I want to cry like a baby move so that it does not happen again. I’ll let my bladder burst before going out in the rain. Anyway, lately I’ve been rethinking my barking and you know what, on times when I don’t get up and bark, she gives me treats!  What the…?  Who knew this was even an option.  Eating is almost always better than barking.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though I’m the most-perfect dog in the whole wide world and even though my barking is like sweet music to so many ears, sometimes I have to hold back and not bark so I can get me some treats. Humans are so weird.

PS.  She’s trying to kick me out of the big bed again.  She’s so funny.  Here is where she found me just this morning after she used the noisy hair fan, in MY bed.  Of course this is after I pushed the stupid fluffy things off of my spot and onto the floor.

Fashion police.

I love shoes and bags.  And bags.  And, well, bags.  Lately I’ve noticed that every time I open the doors to the purse/shoe closet (insert angels singing), Melvin gets up from wherever he is and goes in.  I’m not sure if it’s the fluffy rug, the den like feeling or that he can sense it’s my happy place.  I sort of expect him to shake his head if he feels I make a bad choice when getting ready.

Beauty-ful.

If you recall, my dear friends lost their dog Sosa suddenly on January 2nd.  Seven months later, Sosa’s memory brings pause, followed by gentle smiles.  Sosa made the world better and his family is trying to carry that legacy on. The grief remains raw, but it’s healing.

My friend V would take in one billion dogs if she had the space (and if she didn’t actually care if she stayed married, which she does).  The days after Sosa’s death she said to me, “I will never get another dog”.

Grief can crush you.

I nodded, knowing it would change.  After a few weeks she said “I think it will be a while before we can get another dog”.  Ok, she didn’t say never, this is good.  Shortly after that, we were doing what we do best, stalking internet rescue sites, still tearing up over Sosa but hunting nonetheless.

One rainy day, her and I loaded up her three-month-old and headed to Home Goods.  There is a Home Goods five miles from our house but for some reason my car opted for the Home Goods that is twenty miles away and that happens to be next to a PetSmart that was hosting an adoption event.  This is our definition of coincidence.  V’s husband still argues just how coincidental such a purposeful act can be.  Also, we are no longer allowed to go to Home Goods together.

V walked up to the dogs, was petting them all until suddenly she said: “I want that one”. Wait, we’re taking one home? Which one? The puppy?  No.  The bouncy lab? No.  The one way in the back that seems very arthritic and extremely overweight. And old?  Yes! She fell instantly in love with Beauty.  Beauty (we are guessing she was named after Black Beauty) had been adopted from this same rescue group ten years ago and had suddenly shown back up that day. Her family was moving out of the country and apparently forgot they were not taking Beauty along so they rushed over to drop her off, never even asking if the rescue had room for her.  Of course the rescue group took her back, that is their core value.

It took Beauty a full minute to lower herself to the floor.  She was not spry.  V walked her around the store, snuggled with her on the floor and then called husband to tell him she was coming home with a dog. I won’t print his response, this Blog is rated PG-13. In his defense, there may or may not have already been a few fosters brought home recently (did I mention they also have three children, one resident dog, a horse and a cat?). V hung up and  we left with Beauty (who we now call Booty). Fast forward to today, she has lost tons of weight, runs around with the energy of a puppy, loves on her new family with a fierce vengeance and even husband agrees, she was meant to be.  She is the perfect dog for them to transition back into a multi-dog household.

For every animal that creates a void when they leave, there is a another waiting to carve out fresh space in our hearts.  We don’t replace, we just replenish.

Beauty has this way about her, it’s like she has an opinion.  Her mind is constantly in motion and she is always trying to figure out how she can obtain more food (diets stink).  One thing I don’t see when I look at her are thoughts of being abandoned.  Quite the opposite, she feels found.

This is Booty, the day she was dropped off by her family of 10 years and then rescued by the best people imaginable (and also just before people started singing “Bootylicious” whenever she walks in a room):

Poop and vomit.

I’m guessing that many of you who read the title of this post, who also have a dog, nodded a little. Let’s be honest, dog ownership is not all adorable photo ops and snuggles.  There are unfortunate moments.  Most of us walk our dogs and thus have to pick up after our dogs.  On average, I pick up about 730 piles of poop a year. Add that to a dog that has regurgitation issues and I also clean up roughly 200 post-meal liquid-burps.  Oh yes, I said it, liquid-burps. Did I mention he also excited-pees.  I have an entire cabinet dedicated solely to Nature’s Miracle products.

On Sunday, Melvin ate an ice cream sandwich that fell onto the floor. He is allergic to every single ingredient in an ice cream sandwich so I knew the stomach upset was coming.  A day later, he projectile vomited down the steps.  He had just eaten dinner (that included pumpkin, to poetically help aid his digestion) so this throw up was bright orange.  It managed to land on four stairs.  The runner on the stairs is cream-colored.  Now, with orange splatter.

Every time a new person comes to the house, they tell me I have a leak in the kitchen.  Nope, that’s just water that dripped from Melvin’s jowls.  Yes, it can drip for ten feet.

Not every moment is glamorous, but it’s absolutely, without any question whatsoever, 100% always worth it. Love conquers gagging.

Where’s Melvin.

I have mentioned several hundred times before that Melvin’s favorite place to be in the whole-wide-world, is underfoot.  At the very least, he opts to be no more than two-feet away.  The other day I was watching TV and realized, for the first time in a very long time, I did not have a visual on him.

I found him, wedged between a leg of the kitchen table and a bench.  Facing a wall.  I have no idea what made him choose that spot.  After a thorough investigation I confirmed he had done nothing wrong.  Maybe he was playing prison?

Sleep is overrated.

Prior to leaving on vacation, Melvin had developed a wonderful love affair with his bed. He’d get on it and a deep sleep would follow.  We were both well-rested, winners in this battle.

While on vacation he was allowed to snuggle with his dog sitter.  I encouraged it, I wanted him to enjoy every minute of my absence. However, breaking him of the big bed has been much harder this time.  For the past two weeks it has gone a little like this:

  • Me: “Your bed”
  • Melvin, begrudgingly, gets in
  • One hour later he gets up and stands at the foot of my bed
  • Me: “Your bed”
  • Melvin, begrudgingly, gets back in
  • REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT

It can be a tough sleep with him in the big bed but this tango has been far more sleepless. I have stood firm.  Until last night.

I had read A Dog’s Purpose a while back (loved it!) and last night I moved onto A Dog’s Journey (the sequel) and I knew when the book opened and Buddy was already old that I was in for teary night.  Thirty pages in there is a paragraph that Buddy (of course) narrates.  Despite it being Spring and the snow melting and it being his favorite time of the year, Buddy just doesn’t feel like going outside anymore.  Close book.  Reflect on how familiar I am in real life with this chapter. Realize life is short.  Call Melvin to the big bed.  The End.