Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Sarah the BlogDog Star

She got wind of my post from yesterday, and now she thinks she's a diva (look how she hogs the remote too, sheesh)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts - Gone to the Dogs

Check out Keely, she's always good for some RTT

Her name is Sarah...Sarah Dog Scott.  We chose her, but in fact I believe she was waiting for us.  Her arrival story is amazing--to me anyway.  For the first few years of our marriage, my husband said "no pets".  But he looked into the sad, begging eyes of three sweet girls and caved as he almost always does.  He didn't mention anything to me about his change of heart; one day I happened to stumble across the link that had been bookmarked in our browser.  I spoke to him about his intentions, and he admitted that he had been looking at dogs online.  We talked about what type of dog would best fit into our family.  We completely agreed on all of the important issues.  Well...I agreed with most of the issues and was willing to acquiesce to the rest because I really wanted a dog as much as the kids did.  Foremost, we decided to "adopt" a dog that needed a home.  We tried several times to be approved for adoption, but somehow other applications were always chosen over ours.  Finally, we saw a listing by a non-profit group called HARP.  They had two sweet looking small yellow lab mixes and were hosting a pet meetup at a pet store in a city an hour and a half away.

My hubby, our youngest, and I hopped in the car on a Sunday morning to make the drive to the meetup.  We arrived to find no dogs, but several cats.  We asked about the lab mixes (we intended to adopt both) and were told they had already been adopted, and HARP hadn't had a chance to update the website.  One of the ladies from HARP asked us what kind of dog we wanted.  We gave her a brief overview of size and age and breed.  She mentioned that she was fostering a dog that had been rescued during Hurricane Katrina.  Rescue groups in Louisiana had rounded up abandoned pets and distributed them to various animal rescue groups across the country.  The dog being fostered by the HARP volunteer had come to her via distribution in San Francisco.  HARP had taken several of the Katrina rescue dogs and this little dog was the last of the bunch.  We were told her name was Sarah and that she had a skin condition for which she was currently being treated.  She was not available for adoption until her skin condition was clear, but the HARP volunteer asked if we wanted to meet her, and of course, we did.

We followed the HARP volunteer to her house.  She had several cats which meant Sarah had to be tied in one room to prevent her from chasing the cats (to this day, she will chase a cat at any cost).  The volunteer brought Sarah into her foyer to meet us.  She was a little shy at first, but we soon discovered that she was obsessed with fetching a ball.  Even now, we can throw a ball and she will retrieve it until she literally can't stand up to run after it any longer.  She seemed so sweet and friendly and fun that we fell in love almost immediately.  Her breed mix was thought to be labrador retriever and jack russell terrier and her age was estimated by the HARP vet to be three years.  She was chubby and almost coal black.

The HARP volunteer explained that Sarah had one week left to finish her prescription and then the volunteer would bring her to our house.  She would then inspect the house and yard, and if she found it acceptable, we would then be permitted to adopt Sarah and pay the adoption fee (several hundred dollars).  We were also required to select a vet and provide that information to HARP.  We left the volunteer's home with our fingers crossed and hoping this would go smoothly.

The following week, the volunteer arrived at our home with Sarah.  After a brief tour inside and out, she declared our home worthy of Sarah.  We happily paid the fee and welcomed her.  In her doggy backpack was her blanket, some toys and some starter dog food.  Also included were the documents that provided information from her initial rescue and subsequent veterinary examinations and microchip identification.

Life with Sarah settled into a normal routine pretty quickly.  We found her to be very intelligent and she learned commands easily.  She was expertly house trained and did not have accidents.  We couldn't have asked for a better dog.

A year later, Sarah began limping and appeared to have joint discomfort with her hind legs, hips and back.   We took her to the vet and steroids were prescribed.  She began to get worse and became lethargic and incontinent.  The vet then ran a whole panel of tests and couldn't find anything specifically wrong.  He then decided to test her for diabetes which came back positive.  Sarah would have to have insulin shots twice a day for the rest of her life.  Additionally, our vet told us that Sarah's age was probably closer to seven years.  This seems to be a better guesstimate of her age as she has facial graying as older dogs often do.  Since then, her checkups have indicated that her glucose level is stable.  We have again settled into a normal routine.

Sarah sleeping with my daughter

As for all the house rules established by my husband, HE has broken every single one of them!  When Sarah arrived, she was not allowed upstairs, in any of the bedrooms, on any of the beds.  She was not allowed on the furniture downstairs either.  She was not allowed to watch us eat dinner; she had to lay with her back to us.  My how things have changed!  Now, most nights she sleeps with one of the kids.  Our bed was the last taboo, but even that changed when I had surgery.  Occasionally, when my husband is out of town overnight, she sleeps on our bed with her head on his pillow.  Once in a while, at dinner time, my husband will let Sarah jump on the bench beside him at the table and eat off his plate, albeit after he is finished.  I don't think there is one single piece of furniture she has not been on.  Her favorite spot is lying alongside of whoever sits in the recliner.  She waits until it's pushed back then hops up and slides into her spot.   As I write this, she is napping in an Ikea Poang chair that sits right next to my desk chair.  She is often my blogging companion from her perch on that chair.  She sits in her chair whenever any of us uses the computer.

Sarah in her Ikea chair

I could spout philosophical cliches about dogs' lives and the message to humans.  Indeed, the simplest things that we observe in dogs should be applied to our own lives.  If we could focus on our basic needs of food and shelter and then uphold love and companionship as a priority, our lives would not be so complicated and decisions about most things would be easier.  As far as I can tell, Sarah's goal each day is to eat, be comfortable, be happy and share time and space with her pack.  When my life becomes chaotic I try to follow her example.  And you know what?  It works.

Sarah in the garden

So your Random Tuesday Challenge for today is to eat, be comfortable, find something that makes you happy, and share time and space with your pack.  I leave you for now with these dog quotes I found at

"You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, `My God, you're RIGHT! I NEVER would've thought of that!'" - Dave Barry

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." - Milan Kundera

Friday, October 23, 2009

Highlights of Houseguests

So here I am crawling my way back into blogland after a whirlwind visit by my Mom and my Auntie Kate.  I had a wonderful time having them here, and I hope they had a wonderful time being here (so far the reviews have been very positive).  As I mentioned in my previous post, they are identical twins.  I, along with the rest of their children, affectionately refer to them as the Twinks and occasionally, the two-headed beast (THB).  Currently, my life is so full that something had to give.  The logical decision was to step away from the computer ( but I was still tethered by the crackberry umbilical cord) to manage my daily life and fully appreciate my visitors.  I have no regrets.

A few of the plans during their visit were up in the air.  Luckily, that worked in our favor.  Auntie Kate's arrival was complicated by some bad weather followed by some bad timing, missed connections, and last minute stand-by rejection.  She and Mom were to meet in Denver and arrive here on the same flight on Thursday, October 8.   Auntie Kate made it to Denver but ended up in a hotel.  The next morning, she called to say that she had been diverted to San Francisco.  It was a fast ball pitched at us, but we swung hard and nailed it.  SFO is a two hour drive from here, but we were happy to have an excuse to go into the city as we love San Francisco.  Plus, my aunt had never seen SF so it was a great opportunity.  My husband is a bottomless pit of useless information a treasure trove of fun and interesting facts about San Fran and knows the city well, so he is the consummate tour guide.  We took Auntie Kate and Mom on a highlights tour then had a good seafood dinner at Fisherman's Wharf.  Very touristy, but for SF first-timers, it's best to see and do those things and check them off the list.

On Saturday, my daughter's high school hosted a band competition.  She is a member of the colorguard in the band (yes, the very same one I teach) and she had to perform and serve as host to a guest band.  My husband entertained the Twinks and brought them to the competition so they could see my daughter perform.

Sunday, I accompanied the Twinks to a swim meet to watch their brother's granddaughter (did you follow that?) swim in two events, followed by a late lunch with their brother and his wife, his son and the granddaughter.

Monday, the Twinks entertained themselves at my house by picking tomatoes in my backyard, playing with my dog and chatting with various members of the family as we ran in and out to our various obligations.

Tuesday evening, we all piled into the family truckster (kids too because there was no school on Wednesday, but the dog stayed home) for an overnight trip to Reno to eat at the Sushi Club, and for marathon gambling and antiquing.

Wednesday and Thursday we were back home for more regular daily activities and then Friday, the Twinks went to stay with their brother and his wife.

Saturday, we met up for another band competition.

Sunday afternoon, my husband announced that he thought the adults should go back to Reno just for the evening to play Pai Gow poker as the Twinks did not get to play it on the first trip.  We hopped in the mini-SUV this time and headed up the "hill" (that would be the Sierra Nevada Mountains).  My husband then took a vote to see who wanted a side trip to Lake Tahoe.  All were in favor, so we diverted our trip long enough to show the Twinks, neither of whom had seen it.  We also saw snow (we prefer to visit snow and not have it visit us).  We then headed to Reno and played Pai Gow poker until about 2:30 am.  Pai Gow Poker is a slow table game, so it's easy to sit, play and sip cocktails without losing all your money.  It is a game more geared toward gamers as opposed to gamblers.  My husband and I fall into the gamers category and enjoy the leisurely social aspect of Pai Gow.  

Auntie Kate and Mom at Lake Tahoe

Monday was again filled with regular daily life obligations and the Twinks spent the day organizing and packing for their departure on Tuesday.  Tuesday's departure was bittersweet.  Everyone enjoyed the visit and, we were not ready for it to end, but as always, life's responsibilities called each of us to return to our daily routines. 

In between the comings and goings, I was able to have some great conversations with my mom and my aunt.  I'll admit (selfishly) that is was nice to have their undivided attention and to talk without really being interrupted.  When I'm on their turf, they must attend to their obligations the same way I attended to mine while they were here.  This means that I often have to stand in line and wait my turn to have quality time with them.  It makes me grateful to have had this opportunity to spend the time we had together and I know I will tuck this visit into the fond memories category for years to come.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun, Double the Trouble?

Dear Readers (all six of you plus you lovely blurkers--I know you are there), I apologize for being absent this week.  Life got in the way and to cap it all off, my mother arrives this evening, along with my aunt who is her identical twin sister.  They are young and spry at age 63.  I've heard many stories about their mischievous childhood, teenhood and adulthood.  They never cease to create excitement all around them. 

So for the next 10 days or so, I will be wading through the swift waters of my daily life and most likely towing the party barge inhabited by the two-headed beast these lovely ladies.  Indeed, we plan to steal away to exotic locales such as Reno for marathon gambling and San Francisco to be ultimate touristas.  Luckily, my husband is unbelievably patient the consummate tour guide and delights in entertaining crazy in-laws anyone and everyone.  PLEASE PRAY FOR US!  Just kidding.  Indeed, I am truly blessed to have my mother in my life.  She is kind, generous and fun-loving.  I am grateful that we are so close.  I am also blessed to have my aunt.  We have had a special bond since my childhood and my life has been truly wonderful because she is in it.  I wish these blessings of love for all of you.  And with that I may disappear for another week or so, but fear not I SHALL return.