Zing! went the strings of my heart

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By , July 4, 2016 10:52 am

How do you explain love at first sight? I had no idea, as I struggled last night to explain to a husky rescue organization how my family had fallen in love with a dog named “Indy.”


Was it the look on her face? A message in her eyes?


I don’t know, but I knew as soon as I saw her. And maybe the fact that she’s named “Indy” was God’s way of making sure I got the message that she was meant to be with us. I wouldn’t even want to change her name. It’s…. perfect.

Yes, she has challenges. So what if she does? Almost everyone in my family and two of our previous three dogs had challenges – challenges that we’ve always managed to overcome.

I don’t know whether the rescue organization will agree to let us adopt her. We’re so far away from them and I could certainly appreciate any hesitation on their part. They want the best for her. So do we.

So we’re hoping and waiting.  Maybe our veterinarian will tell them about how our past dogs were treated and they’ll be reassured. Or maybe when they do a home visit, they’ll see that every room has dog art and that it’s filled with love. I don’t know how we assure them that Indy is right for us and we’re right for Indy.  I just know.

In the meantime, I hope the rescue organization tells Indy that there’s a family who wants her and a “furever” home waiting for her. Every dog deserves to know they’re loved.

Update July 7: She’s ours! We’ve been approved and look forward to going out to Illinois to bring her home after we get the back yard suitably Indy-friendly!

Finding a small measure of comfort… at a dump

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By , July 4, 2016 9:55 am

My husband went to the town dump yesterday to get rid of stuff as we continue to try to clear out decades of accumulated… well, stuff.

While he was there, he noticed a woman unloading boxes and bins of her own.  She looked to be in her 70s. When he saw that she was going to throw away some great plastic bins with covers, he said, “Are you throwing those bins away?”

“Yes,” she said. “My husband died, and I’m clearing out some of his things.”

“I’m sorry for your loss,” my husband said, and paused. “But if you’re really going to throw them away, I could use them. They’re great for wood.”

“Wood?” she asked, her face growing animated. “That’s what my husband used them for! Do you make things out of wood, too?””

“Yes,” my husband told her. “I have a woodworking shop as a hobby, and those bins are great for storing small pieces of wood that I use for making boxes.”

“Wait, then,” she said, and happily pulled out a box of sandpaper. “My son was going to get rid of this, too. Would you like it?”

My husband saw that the sandpaper was not high quality and mostly used, but said, “Yes, that would be very helpful, thanks!”

So a widow, who was dealing with the sadness of saying goodbye to her husband’s memories, wound up smiling at a town dump, because her husband’s belongings were now going to someone who would appreciate them. Somehow, it makes loss a little more bearable when you can tell yourself that the person you loved lives on – even if it’s just the knowledge that some fellow woodworker is using their supplies.

And because he said he could use the sandpaper, well, that’s just another reason I really love my husband.

A dog named “Rally.”

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By , July 17, 2015 10:10 pm

We got Rally from a shelter.  The tag on her cage said she was a 3-month-old German Shepherd/collie mix, and since we already had one dog with that mix, we thought she’d make a great companion for the older dog. In time, we would come to realize that Rally was really a Heinz 57 varieties mutt, with a lot of terrier and almost no detectable German Shepherd or collie, but by then, it no longer mattered – she was our little nut job.

The shelter’s records also showed that “Nutter Butter,” as they had named her, had survived Parvo, something that kills about 90% of the dogs that contract it if they are not treated. Clearly, this little puppy was a survivor, but the illness had taken a toll and she seemed somewhat subdued as I took her out of her cage, held her in my arms, and fell in love with her. Minutes later, as I went to take her to the desk to complete the last paperwork in the adoption process, I found out why she was so subdued. The staff ran a final check on her and discovered that she was running a fever and had several infections. They took her away from me to examine her further. When they came back, they gently suggested I pick another puppy, as they didn’t think she would make it.

“No,” I told them. “She’s my puppy and she’s going to get better.” They tried again to convince me to pick another puppy. I resisted again and told them that they had to save her.

For the next week, she was in ICU. The staff would call me and give me bad news and suggest again and again that I find another puppy. And I’d refuse and ask them what they were doing to help her recover.  Every night, my family would drive to the shelter and visit her in the ICU. We’d hold her and explain to her that we wanted her to rally and get better so she could come home with us.

And so after yet another call from the ICU suggesting we let her go and pick another puppy, we turned our baseball caps backwards, formally re-named her “Rally,” and asked everyone to keep her in their prayers.

That was 11 years ago, and for the last 11 years, Rally has brought us laughter and love. Her early illnesses took a toll on her system and she’s had some problems, but overall, she’s done remarkably well for a dog who had such a rough start in life.

Tonight, though, Rally collapsed in the back yard. Suddenly unable to walk, she cried pitifully.

We rushed her to an emergency veterinary service who sent us to another hospital where they would be able to run an MRI. They gave her a pain injection to try to ease her misery and anxiety as she was in obvious and severe distress.

We do not know what caused this sudden problem – a slipped disc, a tumor, a stroke? We’ll find out more tomorrow after the surgical team evaluates her. I don’t know at what point they’ll run the MRI, but I expect they’ll need it to make the differential diagnosis. And what happens next, well, it will all depend on what they find.

So if you happen to see this post, please keep Rally in your prayers.  She could use lots of positive energy right now.

Thank you.

“Remember me with love and laughter”

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By , March 22, 2015 7:16 pm

My mother lived a long life, filled with family, good friends, and lots of laughter. In fact, it was her direct instruction to me that “Remember me with love and laughter” be on her grave marker.

It’s been over three years now since Mom passed away peacefully.  Today, my daughter and I laughed all over again remembering some of our favorite stories about her. And I’ve decided to share some of them with you, so here’s the first one:

Circa 2005, and well into her 80s, Mom went into a store to buy some cards and gift wrap. The young cashier rang up her purchases, and said, “That will be $18.65.”

“1865,” said Mom. “That was a very big year.”

“Why?” asked the young cashier. “Is that the year you were born?”

And yes, anyone who says our public education system works should meet that cashier….

More soon…



Wait, what?

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By , August 26, 2014 7:43 am

“A free society cannot tolerate its tolerance being trampled on,” Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP), the Austrian Interior Minister, was quoted as saying.

When I first read that, I thought, “Oh, she’s strongly protective of free speech and doesn’t wany laws that would restrict unpopular speech.”  But I was wrong, I guess, because it seems that she made the comment in the context of supporting a proposal that Austria should ban membership in Isis and ban the wearing of all Isis symbols.

Read more on The Local, which I go scratch my head some more and get more coffee.

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