Life is a Highway

You guys. Have you ever known me to be speechless? I wouldn’t go quite that far, but I’m seriously close. Some of you may remember (smarties!) that I am currently in the scenic, rolling hills of New York attending the Animal Farm Foundation Language and Advocacy Internship! The trip has only just begun, and it is already vastly exceeding my lofty expectations. I’m seriously in my own version of heaven. My schedule is jam-packed with amazing dog-related seminars, lectures, and activities the next few days, and I promise I am collecting lots of information and photos to share with all of you! That is, if I ever decide to return (that is to be determined… if someone could deliver my dogs to me, there might not be any question! Oh, and that ol’ ball & chain of mine, too! I kid, I kid.) The scenery on my way here was so drop dead gorgeous that I almost teared up at the good fortune and serendipity that has led me to such an amazing opportunity. I am so blessed.

Ok sorry but this one upload took 10 minutes... so you'll have to wait in anticipation for the rest upon my return!

Ok sorry but this one upload took 10 minutes… so you’ll have to wait in anticipation for the rest upon my return!

(Please note, I risked my life on the side of back roads and blind turns to obtain these pictures for my loyal readers. You’re welcome.)

On my travels, I was able to stop in and visit some of the amazing women behind our rescue, LCPO (soon to undergo a name change). Those of you out there that are geography wizards might have picked up on the fact that we are located about 4 hours from the rescue with which we volunteer. The whole story behind that is one for another day, but because of that, I don’t often get to interact with the other leaders face-to-face as often as I’d like. I took this trip as an opportunity to do just that! Some of you may know that our rescue recently pulled a mom and 8 pups from a shelter in the south, and so I couldn’t resist stopping in to do some puppy snuggling!

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Baby Marshmellow!

Baby Marshmellow!

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I may not have time to squeeze in a post tomorrow, but please know that while I will of course have lots to share with you from this exciting trip, we also have a busy weekend jam packed with some fun dog adventures. We will be crossing some things off of our Summer Dog Bowl List! So next week will be full of fun posts and awesome pictures. Be sure to check in with us!

All Creatures Great & Small

Pit bull lovers are a crazy bunch. We are doctors and lawyers, teachers and truck drivers, stay at home mamas and college students. The only defining thread in our lives is that we have come to know and love our pit bull-type dogs, and stand strong to defend them. We face discrimination with a quiet yet strong presence, armed with facts and figures, stories and snapshots.

Only recently, I have come to realize that I myself am occasionally guilty of discriminatory thoughts. It has nothing to do with breeds, per se… but I have been ‘size-ist’. I have a strong preference for big dogs, and while I know better, I’ve always looked down the tip of my nose at tiny pups and their owners. I thought that their experiences of dog ownership must be vastly different than my own… while we are off doing adventurous activities like hiking and swimming, they probably do terrible things like:

-Dressing their dogs up in costumes

DSC_0090 DSC_0023-Spoiling their dogs like their children

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Easter egg hunt for our dogs... that's normal right?

Easter egg hunt for our dogs… that’s normal right?

-And carting their dogs around with them everywhere they go

(It has taken us 3 months to find a vacation rental that is dog-friendly… and I refused to go, otherwise.)

So, maybe we aren’t as different as I thought?

Now, don’t hate me just yet. These were never conscious thoughts, and certainly nothing I’d ever said out loud. But I am recognizing and admitting my flaw… and it is all thanks to a little pup named Harold.

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I always had the idea in my head that big dogs had fun personalities: they were ready to play and run and fetch, but also content to cuddle up on the couch for a snooze. While I was happy to meet a little dog, I imagined that owning one could never be as ideal. They would be less active, but also less snuggly, more independent but also prone to anxiety. Essentially, I was an idiot a jerk uninformed all of the above! And it is all thanks to Harold, who is essentially, just like my big dogs, in a conveniently sized package.

IMG_0903We spent a few hours together last week, while his mama (an incredibly talented videographer) had some meetings. I fell in love. It was entirely my pleasure to have him pal around with me. He was playful and sweet and cuddly and silly… everything that anyone would want in a pet!

IMG_0890So while I still believe that Harold is a special dog, I also now realize my hypocrisy… big or little, brown or blue, pit or poodle… a dog, is a dog, is a dog!

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As if all of that wasn’t enough to make you fall in love with Harold, check him out, live and in color (and sound!) HERE. It will seriously make. your. day. His mama brilliantly captures what life is like when you’re a (little) puppy.

Cherish Me

I won’t always cry out at night,

When you leave me all alone,

Or chew on your brand new shoes,

Instead of my brand new bone.

 

My puppy breath won’t always linger,

from big yawns and dozing naps.

I won’t always be small and cozy,

Enough to cuddle on your lap.

 

Soon I will begin to grow,

Into my super-sized puppy paws.

I will start to want my freedom,

And our cuddles will take pause.

 

I will not always trip and tumble

When you call me down the hall.

Cherish every snuggle, snore and slumber,

For I won’t always be this small.

Baby Tonk

Baby Tonk

~~~

I won’t always love to run and romp,

After toys and tennis balls.

I won’t always want to tug and fetch,

or (almost) always come when you call.

 

When I was small you taught me well,

‘best friend’ is what you call me now.

Wherever you are, I’m by your side,

Loyalty is my solemn vow.

 

No matter the roads you take in life

I am your companion, willing and able

But I won’t always ride shotgun in your car

Or keep watch beneath the dinner table.

 

I won’t always be up for a new adventure

My body athletic and strong

Cherish every shake, sit, and stay,

For I will grow old before too long

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~~~

My puppy transgressions a thing of the past,

Obedience is now my middle name.

Wisdom collected as your lifelong companion,

‘Good dog’ is my claim to fame.

 

Achy joints and stumbling movements,

My body betrays me as age creeps in.

Our adventures decrease, yet I am brave,

Because of the memories I hold within.

 

I won’t always struggle to catch up.

Still so many roads left unexplored.

Yet I yearn to please you, however I may,

Your love is my favorite reward.

 

Though I grow weak, gray and tired,

Unable to lift my body from the ground,

Cherish every snore, stare and struggle,

For I won’t always be around.

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~~~

You have to face your life without me now

You see what a void there is to fill.

No one to play and fetch and run with you,

Or to cuddle quietly when you’re ill.

 

You used to grow frustrated

with all of the little things.

And now you wish to have them back

With all the joy they bring.

 

You miss the jingle of my tags,

The weight of my paw in your hand.

You’d even embrace my fur and drool,

Just to have me at home again.

 

Though the tears will fall like rain

Don’t let the grief tear you apart.

Cherish every story, sign, and snapshot

For I will always be in your heart.

 

An Extra Special Pup-date!

By now, all of you lovely readers probably know that Georgia came to LCPO because she and her 6 newborn pups were slated to be euthanized in a shelter in Georgia. This all happened just days before Christmas, so it was an incredibly stressful and chaotic process. However, like all of their many rescue stories, the happy endings are so worth the effort put forth by the rescue and its volunteers. The adoptive family of one of Georgia’s pups reached out to me a few weeks ago, and I am so thrilled to share their story with all of you.

Everyone who knew Georgia when she first came to LCPO, marveled at her strength and courage. She was a super-skinny YOUNG mama, who had been through hell with her babes. In spite of all of the chaos that surrounded her, she was kind and sweet with everyone she met, from shelter volunteers, to transport drivers, and of course, the volunteers and foster from LCPO. She was a devoted mom, but she seemed to understand instinctively that these people were here to help. Her life was about to change in some BIG ways!

Baby Enzo

Baby Enzo, formerly known as Everitt.

It eventually came time to find forever homes for each of the pups. The story below is told to me by Kristen, a lucky lady who came to adopt Enzo, who was one of Georgia’s lucky pups. How adorable is that face?!

Although Kristen possessed extensive experience with fostering, volunteering and rescuing animals from the age of 20, she had a very negative connotation in her mind when it came to pit bulls. To put it bluntly, she wanted nothing to do with them, and believed all of those silly stereotypes we all work so hard to erase.

Kristen had a Saint Bernard who she says was her ‘life, and protector in the house’. She and her children lived alone, and having gone through some really hard times, Yogi was all that they had. He was always nearby for cuddles and kisses, but was also fiercely protective of his family.

Unfortunately, in July of 2010, Yogi passed away suddenly from an unnoticed massive brain tumor. Yogi had been a perfectly healthy pup all of his life, and so his sudden passing left his family especially heartbroken. Kristen was crushed. She was never going to get another dog, because she knew that none could compare to her beloved Yogi.

The next summer, Kristen saw a rash of burglary in her neighborhood, and even had the horror of being robbed herself, when someone entered her garage at 2 AM. This was enough of a wake up call for her to realize that she needed to protect herself and her children, and she felt that a big dog would be the best way to do it.

She searched relentlessly for a dog that would meet her family’s needs, and soon realized what a plethora of pitties were waiting in shelters and rescues. She was still hesitant to have one around her children, but she then came across Everitt! She loved that his markings reminded her of Yogi’s, and she soon became obsessed with reading as much as possible about the little heart breaker. In her own words, Kristen says that Everitt’s face slowly began to change her mind, and her heart. “I decided maybe I had been a chicken, and a jerk, and maybe they were really ok…maybe.”

Soon, she submitted her application to LCPO, and eventually went to meet two of Georgia’s pups, one of whom was Everitt. She noticed that Everitt was the less dominant of the two. It wasn’t love at first sight, to be sure. “While he was cute, he still wasn’t Yogi, but he would work,” Kristen said, with resignation.

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Kristen was the first adopter to take a puppy from Miss Georgia, and she felt so badly that she couldn’t help but cry. However, the foster at the time assured Kristen that Georgia had a home after the pups were gone.

Can you believe this shot?! That is Mr. Enzo himself! What a good mama she is <3

Can you believe this shot?! That is Mr. Enzo himself! What a good mama she is ❤

Kristen took her word for it, and took home little Everitt- soon to be dubbed “Enzo Yellow Valentine”. (Can you guess who else had a hand in that name?!)

She says that Enzo was a smart pup from the very beginning, but always very serious. It took him a long time to show off his clownish antics (boy, does that remind me of someone I know!) His quick witted nature also lent him to be a bit of a hand-full, as he could be pushy and also wary of strangers. Kristen had plenty of moments where she doubted her decision, but as they continued to work, with Enzo testing her every step of the way, they started to form an unbreakable bond.

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This BIG boy eventually turned one year old, and all of a sudden he became almost angelic. Kristen proudly shares his talents, “He knows all his commands, comes when he’s called, and goes to “time out” when he’s been bad. He rings a bell to go outside, talks to me like Pee-Wee Herman, snuggles, wiggles, and would die to protect our family. This dog rocks. He is so funny, and such a giant oaf (my 6lb baby now weighs 68lbs). He is always on alert, and I know I always have to be on point when he is around new people. (Nobody’s allowed in this guy’s grill, he likes to be wined and dined a little first:). I made the right choice, probably will again, and am proud to say that Enzo’s running a very close 2nd to my Yogi, and he’s just getting started. Thanks Georgia!!!”

Enzo practices his 'leave it'... to perfection!

Enzo practices his ‘leave it’… to perfection!

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While I can’t say that their story surprises me at all, I do love hearing about how Georgia’s life has touched others so deeply. Enzo reminds me so much of his mama! Every day I learn more about her, and fall more in love with her spirit. I hope you do, too! Thanks for sharing your story, Kristen. We wish you all the best with Enzo!

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