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27 January 2011

Grocery List for a Happy Life

I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I shall do. ~Edward Everest Hale

We all have dreams right? And just how often do we follow those dreams? Regrettably, we seem to be lacking in follow-through. Too many obstacles appear to stand in the way. ‘What if's’ abound and doubting Thomas' overloads you with disparaging dissuasions. Soon, our dreams are demoted to silly pipe dreams and eventually, as we realize the error of our ways, are consigned to remorseful 'could have beens.’

No way, not me. You won't find me mourning or apologetic for failing to attend to my heart’s desires, which consist of a steady diet of love, kindness and comfort. This so-called grocery list for a happy life isn’t made up of tangible items that can be purchased or collected. However, they definitely can be earned, shared, and most simply, gratifying. Take any human being, for example, and peel away the layers of money, status, material things, heartbreak and baggage. At the core of their being lies the most delicate layer of all. Peer in closely and you will unearth the most humble, barest essentials required for us to flourish: the need for utter kindness and to know love in all its immeasurable bounds.

These innate prerequisites for a happy life may be accessible in us all, but only those of us who choose to share these fundamentals with others in need, can really experience the reality of pursuing our dreams. Whatever your aspirations are for your life, you must make a difference. You must always look for a chance to show compassion and offer a plateful of thoughtfulness, initiating the birth of someone else's dreams. You are part of the universe, along with every plant, animal, human and dirt particle. Every act of goodwill weighs heavily on the scales of humanity. Only when you have done this, can you finally toss those preconceived notions aside, open your heart, and take the first stride towards what makes you happy. It is then that you will find the determination that you can, you will, and you shall make your dreams come true.

09 January 2011

Baby Mama

I got lucky this holiday season.  Two weeks off of work! I had big plans that included doing a lot of nothing.  A slothful break from every day routine was definitely in my book, that is, until I received an email from a local dog rescuer who was in need of a foster home for a puppy.  We haven't fostered a dog since we adopted our last foster, turning our two dogs into a happy, unstoppable pack of three.  But this puppy, oh this puppy was adorable.  A 10 week old white pitbull baby with the sweetest puppy dog eyes stared out longingly at me, begging me to be her foster mama.  Plus, with a pending two week vacation and no set plans, it would be the perfect situation to train her.  Knowing that I'd have to convince my husband, I casually mentioned it to him then stategically showed him her picture.  It worked, he was hooked right along with me and soon plans were set into motion and a date was set for her arrival the following sunday.

Having raised 3 puppies in the last 5 years, I had no misguided notions about the work that puppies require, not to mention that we had no idea how our 3 dogs would adapt to a puppy in the house.  What I was not prepared for was how attached I would become to this little darling.  Lilly, arrived at our house on a rainy cold evening.  She looked so much smaller that her pictures.  All white with black spots on her ears and nose, she sported a pink little coat and shivered in the freezing wind as we tried to get her to pee before coming inside.  Her little tail wagged and wagged as we petted her, cooing over her sweet little muffine face. 

After a nervous introduction with our dogs, it was quickly determined that not everyone was going to get along.  Out came the baby gate, separating the kitchen from the dining room, creating a safe place for Lilly to roam without fear of becoming dinner. Our female, Huckleberry, instantly took to Lilly and donned the momma bear role as if she'd raised puppies all her life.  Our life settled right into the new routine of taking Lilly out to pee every 20 mins or so, supervising play time, crate training, making sure our dogs got their share of attention, and discouraging biting (damn puppy teeth are sharp!).  At night after Lilly was in her crate and all the dogs asleep, I dropped into bed completely exhausted. Luckily for us, Lilly slept through the night with no accidents so a good nights sleep was a given.  Her favorite thing to do was to crawl into bed to snuggle with Warren before breakfast.  She insisted upon it and would not eat until she had cuddle time. 

Of course Lilly had many suitors who called to inquire about her and a couple of people even came to meet her.  As carefully as we screened potential adopters, it was Lilly who told us who she wanted to be her forever family.  It turned out to be a young couple, way to young we thought at first.  But Lilly insisted and the couple turned out to be just what Lilly needed.  Both were raised with pit bulls and other dogs, and were very knowledgeable about the breed.  They had just bought a house and the girl had always wanted an all white pitbull, which apparently are not that common.  Lilly bonded with them right away, just as we did.  After passing a home visit and an intense application interview process, everyone new these folks would be her forever family.

Lilly's new parents came to pick her up on the last day of my vacation.  It was tearful, full of hugs, promises to keep in touch and laughter.  As they drove away with Lilly, I knew I'd done my job.  We gave Lilly a little over 2 weeks of constant love, training, and socialization.  Just what she needed to be able to start her life on four solid paws.  We will miss her as she etched out a piece of our hearts just for her.   But it feels so good knowing that another dog has a forever home and another dog will be loved and cared for forever. 

In the end, my slothful vacation days were much more action packed that I had planned.  Bein a baby mama takes a lot of work, focus and time.  Yet when I returned to work the next day, I was fulfilled and in a good place knowing that as a bonafide dog rescuer, I had done only what I could have done, and that was to open my heart and home to a dog in need.