Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Sunny Morning


We have had some beautiful mornings here in the 
foothills of the Cascade Mountains inWashington State. 


This was the temperature around 11 a.m. 
Last week we had an afternoon temperature over 70 degrees! 

I can't say this is unusual because I have noticed over 
the years that we always have a warm stretch around
the 1st of February for a week or longer. 

I have always scheduled my early spring cleanup
 in the gardens for this time.

I do have to admit that we have 
had an unusually mild winter, though,  


Our mornings have been much more subdued since
losing Champ. 
We are slowly creating a new 'normal'. 

Here you can see Weenie Baby peeking in 
through the glass door. 
(She is free to come in and out through the pet door)

She is enjoying the morning sunshine on the deck. 


I always put a dog bed out on sunny mornings
so she can sunbathe. 
My 'Glacier' pansies have started blooming in
this warm weather. 


This little 'Johnny Jump Up' self seeded among my succulents
from a hanging basket last year. 

It has truly brightened my spirits to see these sweet little faces
smiling up at me. 


Sunshine is very much appreciated, as winters 
here can be very gray and dismal. 


My 'accidental' crystal sculpture glows 
in the morning light. 

I had set them here with plans to pack them away
after the holidays, but when I saw 
how they captured the light the next morning, 
I let them stay. 


They make me smile. :)


My Ramblin' Man has been keeping me in flowers
to lift my spirits. 


And I've been keeping him in baked goods
to do the same. 

He's had a tough time the last two weeks, 
not only has he lost Champ, but his best 
friend and boss of 15 years will no longer be 
working with him side by side - 
a victim of corporate down-sizing. 

Of course his best friend will always be just that, 
but work will never be the same. 

He said that he just lost his two best friends :(

So as we move forward, we try to keep busy and stick 
to routine. 

Whitey is once again finding interest in our morning
walks, accompanied by Weenie Baby and Peanut, 
my daughter's mini-dachshunds who will be 
staying with us for a few months so my daughter
can save for a home of her own while living as a room-mate.


It was tough going for
Whitey since losing his best friend, and he wouldn't
even get up off his bed, but he is coming around
and starting to enjoy life once again. 


I have been busy in the sunshine, making piles of brambles
and weeds for Ramblin' Man to pick up on his days off! 

I like to keep him busy to take his mind off 
his troubles. *grin*


Look what I uncovered! Daffodils getting ready to bloom! 


These were planted years ago from a bargain bag
of assorted un-named varieties. 

They are always the first to bloom, planted
in the sunniest corner of the property. 

Isn't it surprising that Washington State, being so far
North, would have such mild winters?

We have a true maritime climate.  

It is not the same on the other side of the Cascade Mountains. 
Here we have a modified climate due to the warm
South Pacific jet stream that comes up from Hawaii, 
but when that stream shifts, we can get blasted
from Alaska and Canada. 

We are not done with winter yet! These daffodils have bloomed
in a foot of snow before! The snow never lasts long, though. 


We are considered a 'Temperate Rain Forest'
due to the copious amounts of rain we always get
in the spring, fall and winter, with moderate
temperatures - not too hot and not too cold.

The average temperatures range from 46 degrees
in winter, to 76 degrees in summer.



It is a wonderful climate, if you like moss! Anything that
stays stationary long enough gets a nice coating!

They joke that Seattle-ites have webbed feet!


It does give clay pots that lovely antique patina!


So while that sun is shining, I am taking full advantage
of it. I love getting a head start on my gardening chores.


I never know when Old Man Winter will strike again!

Sending loving thoughts and prayers to all of
my friends and family suffering through
 the storms on the East Coast.
I remember them well.

xoxo

Thank you, Dear Friends, once again for your sweet
condolences for the loss of our dog, Champ.

I am glad to be back among you once again,
and will be catching up with all of you in the next few days.

'When the path that you're on turns surprisingly rough...
When wherever you're going, the going gets tough...
When you're giving your all but it's just not enough...
...all you need is a friend!'

-Jan Miller Girando-

from the book 'The Blessings of Friendship'

Mary Engelbreit

xoxo


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Heartfelt Thankyou


I want to thank you, Dear Friends, for your 
kind and caring expressions of sympathy 
for the loss of our rescue dog, Champ. 

Reading all of your kind words has helped so much, 
and makes me realize, once again, 
how very Dear you all are to me. 

You are a community of the most thoughtful, 
lovely, empathetic people and it is 
the one reason I love to blog. 

I know that losing a pet is not the most world
shaking event in the scheme of things, 
and that a pet can never equal the loss and 
pain that occurs with family members, 
or the daily struggle of those dealing
with serious health issues and 
other tragedies. 

But you have extended your love and kindness, 
for this small grief, sharing your own 
personal experiences to ease the sadness. 
For that I am most humbly grateful. 


I think what touches us most about our pets is
their capacity for unconditional love, loyalty, 
patience, and their silent long suffering. 

Most of all, I think it is their innocence
and openness that captures our hearts. 

All qualities that we, as humans, 
find so difficult to sustain, 
except for those in the sainthood. 

It is the loss of this innocence that effects us
so deeply when we lose these 
precious companions. 

It is this that we recognize as the common
bond we share as pet owners, 
and what makes us kindred spirits. 


I know some of you have expressed concern over Whitey, 
in the loss of his best friend, once again. 

He is definitely grieving, and we are doing all we can
to help him along. He is doing the same for us. 


We have brought in reinforcements in the form 
of these two little sweetie-pies - Weenie Baby
and Peanut, my daughter's mini-dachshunds. 

They have been frequent house-guests over the years, 
and once again, they will be having an extended
stay here, as my daughter is preparing to move
in as a room-mate, to save for a home of her own
for a few months, and can't take these little ones with her. 


They are a wonderful distraction and companions
for Whitey at this time, and they all get along
very well. 

It is a blessing for me, too, having these little 
charmers to cheer up my days.


They bring some happiness to our morning walks, 
as this was a favorite activity for Whitey
with Champ. 

Whitey has most definitely lost his enthusiasm, 
but I am hoping in the next few weeks that these
little bundles of activity will help bring him around. 

Of course, we will have to find him a companion
eventually, but for now we can't even begin
to think of replacing Champ. 


We also have this little character to keep us company -
Ling Ling, my Dear Mother's cat,
 who is always full of mischief. 

We took her jingly bell collar off because she has
no protection from those wild things with Champ gone
(until Whitey recovers and is interested in going outside once again). 

I hope the birds watch out, but luckily she hates the cold and wet 
weather and mostly stays inside. 


As does Miss Maggie, who wouldn't think of getting her 
little toes wet and stays burrowed in the blankets
until spring arrives. 



Like all cats, they keep us entertained! 



And then there is this guy - Birdy Boy, 
the cockatiel, who shares my time
in between, especially when I am blogging, 
as the computer is in 'his room'. 

Here he is taking a peek out the window
on a furlough from his cage. 


What would we do without these sweet, innocent
companions we take into our hearts? 

If only they could live forever. 

I want to thank you all, once again, for your kindness
and compassion. All of your words have helped
to mend a broken heart. 

A special thanks to Claudia for sharing the 'Rainbow Bridge'
with me and my readers. 
It gives all of us as animal lover's, hope. 

xoxo

I will be taking a short break 
and hope to return soon
with a stitched together, mended heart. 

xoxo

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Losing Champ


In the wee hours of Monday morning we lost our beloved 
dog, Champ. 

Champ was a rescue dog from Border Collie Rescue, 
and we adopted him in June of 2012, 
one month after our sweet Little Bear had died of old age. 


Whitey and Little Bear were best friends and 
Whitey was showing signs of serious depression
and we knew we had to find him another companion. 


And so I found Champ. Champ was the only Border Collie
available for adoption at the time, up for
adoption for over a year. 

He had very special needs. Lots of space to run, no children, 
no livestock, and someone willing to love  him despite his many
challenges. 

He was an abused dog with severe trust issues, that
made him unpredictable. 



But we had big hearts, lots of room, and one look
at those amazingly intelligent eyes won us over. 

His foster 'Mom', Joy, had done an incredible job
of training him and he was very obedient, responsive, 
and full of energy. 

We knew we could win his trust, and so we agreed to adopt him. 
We had a two week grace period in which we came and 
visited him several times to 'get acquainted' and we 
also had to submit to a home inspection before we were allowed
to adopt. Most rescue dogs come from trauma, and the 
last thing the rescue league wanted was a failed adoption. 

We passed with flying colors and we prepared 
to pick him up June 30, 2012. 

And then my Father died after a long battle with Alzheimer's, 
and his funeral was right before Champ's adoption, but we 
went ahead because we needed this wonderful distraction
in our time of sorrow. 


Champ and Whitey became best pals very quickly
and Whitey came out of his depression. 
Oh, the adventures they had - always together, racing
each other, playing with balls, digging holes, and 
being the best guardians and companions 
to my Mr. and I up here on the edge of the wilderness. 

We always felt safe with these two alert and protective
companions by our side. 

I kept in touch with Champ's foster 'Mom' and 
she helped us through some of Champ's baffling behaviors, 
one of which was his propensity for aggressively ripping
out grass, shrubs and biting at any thing we swept, 
raked or cut with clippers. 
Once, he got a branch lodged in the roof of 
his mouth after 'helping' the Mr. clear brush all day. 
We didn't realize until a couple days later 
when he completely stopped
eating and took him to the Vet and she pulled it out. 

Six months into our adoption, 
Champ's foster 'Mom', Joy, 
died in a tragic accident. 
She loved to take her little pack of Border Collies, 
some her own and others she was fostering, 
into the mountain forests
for long hikes.  On one such hike, 
an avalanche triggered high
above, came down and swept her away.
 Her beloved dogs survived and led rescuers to her,
 but it was too late. 


We were on our own, but Champ gradually 
lost his distrust of people and became
 a lovable, goofy, energetic
companion, full of joy and energy 
and constantly wanting to play ball. 

He especially loved my Ramblin' Man and they
 were inseparable when the Mr. was home. 

But we couldn't completely stop 
one of  his behavior's and that 
was the aggressive reaction to frustration 
or loud noises, such as gun shots, 
power tools, even my vacuum cleaner. 
If we were aware of these things, 
we would lovingly calm him down 
and put him in his safe place on his bed
in the kitchen. 

But when we were unaware, 
or didn't catch him in time, 
he would rip and tear
and swallow things whole. He had two previous 
operations for bowel obstruction
due to swallowing foreign objects 
before we adopted him. 


That is how we lost our beloved companion 
in the early hours of Monday morning. 

We noticed he was walking a little 'hunched', 
with his tail tucked,  Sunday morning, 
although he seemed fine later in the day, 
but by evening it was clear that
 there was something very wrong. 

We could see the pain in his eyes
 and this normally energetic dog, 
was lethargic and reluctant to move. 

Earlier in the day, someone was shooting a gun 
in the valley below,and we found Champ 
ripping up mouthfuls of sod before
 we brought him inside. 

We took the long, dark ride to the emergency vet clinic, 
and after examinations and x-rays, 
the prognosis was grave. 

He had swallowed a large rock 
and it had perforated his intestines. 
The vet was clear - 
she didn't think he would survive. 

And so, we had to say goodbye 
to this brave and courageous dog, 
who survived his early abuse and trauma, 
only to succumb to the residual effects. 


We are completely heartbroken. 
He was such a wonderful part
 of our little 'circle of trust', 
as my Ramblin' Man called us. 

Although we only had this remarkable dog 
for such a short time, 
he taught us so many things. 
The value of unconditional love, 
joy, patience, tolerance, 
resilience and the value of play. 

He had just recently started smiling
 - actually smiling in such a loving and trusting way. 
His once wary eyes were soft with 
love and trust - something that we knew
 was very difficult for him. 


Now poor Whitey has lost his best friend
 once more, and so have we. 

I like to think that he is romping in doggy paradise
 right now, reunited with Joy, his foster Mom, 
hiking the trails together once more. 

Some companions leave indelible marks 
on your spirit, 
and Champ was one. 

We didn't rescue him, he rescued us. 
Our life has been enriched immeasurably by 
the humble love and devotion
 of this courageous dog. 

We will always love and miss you, Champ. 
We will never forget you. 
Rest in Peace, our beloved friend. 

xoxo

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