Tag Archives: animal shelters

Impakter Ezine Features My Mutinous Boomer Dog Tales & More!

1 Mar

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For several months I’ve been writing a column for Impakter Magazine called “Diary of a Positive Soul.” Not a title I would have come up with, but when they approached me about it, I found the concept irresistible! The point of the articles has been to explore not just how to be happy, but how to stay happy. Here is the latest in this series:

DESTINY AND A DOG

Remember the scene in “Young Frankenstein” when Gene Wilder is twisting fitfully in bed screaming, “Destiny! Destiny! No escaping destiny!”

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Ha! I love that! But even though it makes for a great Mel Brooks joke, is it for real? Do you believe in destiny?

This is the second of a three part series on a favorite theme of mine: dogs! The first one was about our indomitable dachshund, Zack, which you can find here:  http://impakter.com/diary-positive-soul-3/

When the next dog came into our lives, the question of destiny entered into the picture, as you’ll see.

It all started when our son Matt was sixteen. We packed up and moved 650 miles away from the home he had lived in from the time he was born and he wasn’t happy about it, to say the least! So, like all responsible parents, we bribed him into cooperating. He agreed to move without too much of a fuss if we’d get him a Golden Retriever puppy. Fair enough. However, when we actually moved, we found it was better to rent a home while we got used to the area, which meant we couldn’t get a puppy. We were legitimately off the hook!

Fast forward two years and we bought the house we were renting. Matt didn’t miss a beat. No sooner had the ink dried on the loan than he reminded us of our promise. OK, OK, we’ll do it, and promptly began looking for a Golden Retriever puppy, only to find that the price tag was no less than $1,800! But a deal was a deal and we put our names in the pot for the next litter of puppies. Shortly after that we traveled back to our original home for a big family Thanksgiving celebration. One set of cousins brought a terrific dog they had adopted from an animal shelter. Matt fell in love with him and to our delight, on the long 650 mile drive back, he said that he hated for us to have to spend $1,800 on a Golden Retriever puppy (yeah, so did we…) when we could rescue one from a shelter and have just as good of a dog. We told him it was a brilliant idea and I was calling local shelters the next week.

It wasn’t long before we found a new batch of puppies that had literally been left on the doorstep of an animal shelter. One of these was a funny looking, floppy-eared, short-legged German-Shepherd-something with an enthusiastic long tail. It was love at first sight.

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Matt named him Smokey McDoggerson!

When we brought the little fellow home it was not love at all for Zack. To him the young whippersnapper had way too much energy and was ridiculously friendly! And to make matters worse, he was already larger than Zack at only ten weeks old. Zack tried his best to ignore him. He was determined to have nothing to do with Smokey. Period.

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A few weeks later we could see Smokey was having significant problems with his legs. He was hobbling and noticeably in pain. One of Smokey’s parents had clearly been a full-size German Shepherd, but the other part of his heritage was evidently a short-legged dog because one of the bones in Smokey’s front legs was growing faster than the other. He was going to need surgery immediately on both legs, no question about it. The cost? Yep. $1,800 on the nose! Exactly what we would have paid for a Golden Retriever puppy.

Was this a coincidence? It sure didn’t feel like it at the time. It felt inevitable. It felt like destiny. When the surgeon told us the price, we were nodding our heads, yes, we know, eighteen hundred dollars…

After surgery both of Smokey’s front legs were in casts, which was too much for Zack. His big heart got the best of him. He simply couldn’t hold a grudge any longer. He licked Smokey in the face and snuggled up next to him as if he’d been there all along.

The surgery worked, but he was still short-legged and always would be, even when he filled out to his full eighty pound adult weight, which makes him very odd looking indeed (in an incredibly handsome way!).

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Now we’re back to the question of destiny. Obviously it was inescapable: we were going to spend $1800 on a dog for Matt no matter what! Ha!

Being “destined” to spend that money on a puppy was certainly not a life changing experience. It was one of those humorous moments in life when you think you’ve outsmarted fate ~ as if we could! But our personal destiny? That’s a big one for all of us. So, do I believe in destiny? Yes. And no…

In my experience it seems there can be a force at work in our lives if we let it. Call it Fate, Destiny, The Universe ~ I prefer God. I think of this force rather like a spiritual jet stream, invisible but very powerful and going in a specific direction. When I’m “riding the jet stream” as I call it, I feel completely connected to all that’s right and good for my life. When I’m not, I’m stumbling all over the place to find my way. When I lift up my spiritual “legs” and let this prevailing wind take me where I’m suppose to be, then yes, I’m in tune with destiny and it feels great!

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Am I able to live like that all the time? Of course not. Invariably I choose to put my feet down, stubbornly stand my ground, refuse to feel the flow and BAM! What was that thing called “destiny”? It’s gone because I’ve obstinately chosen to do it all myself. The flow is still there somewhere, but I’m not part of it.

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Today was one of those magnificent days that I was riding the jet stream. It feels wonderful and it’s my intention to ride it again tomorrow. It makes me extraordinarily happy when I’m carried along by my destiny, I feel connected to The Universe ~ to God. And that’s the point of it all, isn’t it? Figuring out how to be happy and stay happy. But that’s just me.

This isn’t the end of our destiny discussion, just the end for today. Next time you get to meet the funniest dog I’ve ever known: Shadow. AKA Stinker Bell! Until then, be as happy as you can possibly be ~ I insist!

Marsha

Marsha Roberts, Author of “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant” which can be found on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007H0RS60

More information about Marsha and her book can be found on her website: http://www.mutinousbabyboomer.com/

 

Angels, Miracles and Dogs: The Thanksgiving Dog

4 Dec

Now that the big Thanksgiving push is over and before everyone is totally focused on Christmas, I wanted to share a true story that’s full of improbabilities (that I call miracles!), coincidences (that I believe are staged by angels!) and, of course – dogs!

Matt&Amber7-27-07My son Matt and his incredible wife Amber are unquestionably “Dog People.” They have two rambunctiously adorable canines named Precious and Depaula and would love to have a third one if they could find the right fit with their eccentric crew. Well, Depaula isn’t terribly eccentric, but Precious defines the word!

I’ll never forget the first time I met Precious. Matt and Amber had just bought her a few days before and they were bringing their new Boxer puppy over to meet us and our two dogs, Smokey and Shadow. I have to say that had not been a huge fan of Boxers. I tend to like dog faces that are hound-shaped, not squished! (sorry to all of you Boxer and Bulldog fans, but that’s what it looks like to me…) But Precious is something else all together and changed my view of Boxers forever. The thing is, she is just so female! In spite of her muscular build and her tongue that’s so long she can hardly fit the whole thing in her mouth, PreciousTounge-ashe exudes femininity! She even bats her eyelashes and, as Amber imitates her, like she’s saying, “But, I’m PRECIOUS! I’m beautiful! You just have to love me!”

However, that first meeting with Smokey was a no-go, nothing doing, you are not winning me over encounter. Maybe it was because Smokey had originally been Matt’s dog who eventually became “The Family Dog” Smokey8-09-aand so he stayed put when Matt moved out – so perhaps there was a little jealousy there. Regardless, he was not impressed with Precious and she was devastated.

Smokey is a short-legged, floppy-eared German Shepherd-and-something-else mix and all male. Precious did everything except stand on her head to get Smokey to like her. She flirted and when that didn’t work, she humbled herself and batted those big eyes at Smokey. His answer was to plop down on the floor with a disgusted Harrumph! Finally, when it was completely clear she was not going to get an ounce of affection from Smokey, she sat up proudly with her back to him and stuck her bottom lip out and pouted like a five-year-old princess, glancing at Smokey occasionally as if to say, “How can you do this to me? I’m Precious!” It was hysterical to see this puppy with her bottom lip out, pouting!

And that just begins to describe how eccentric Precious is. You’d swear she sees ghosts, she’ll go after a flash of light on a wall as if it were a critter that must be destroyed and no matter who is in the room, she is the most dominating personality and always the most energetic! Depaula is her partner-in-crime. Being a Pit mix, he’s a little larger than Precious, but he’s a gentle soul who seems to have been born to keep her company and calm her excited spirit down a bit. They are big buds.Precious&Depaula-a

Understanding the nature of Precious and Depaula is important if you’re going to be able to visualize the events surrounding The Thanksgiving Dog.

It all started at about 4:00 am the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving. Matt is a musician and a writer, so he’s always kept odd hours. He had just gotten up and was going to let the dogs out. They live in a quaint townhouse with a front stoop and small fenced-in yard. The gate is always closed.

When he opened the front door there was a surprise waiting for him on the stoop: a large, unfamiliar dog laying there, shivering from the cold. He had the body shape of a Pit Bull and the coloring of a Dalmatian – one of his black spots went around his left eye, giving him a distinctive look. No way Matt was going to leave a dog out in the cold, so he brought him into the warmth and got him food and water. The Dynamic Duo of Precious and Depaula seemed to recognize the plight of a fellow pooch and didn’t argue the point.

It wasn’t long before Amber was up and they decided to take him over to the vet so the Stoop Dog could get scanned for a microchip to try and find his family. He didn’t have on a collar, but was clean and groomed and appeared to be so very well cared for that they thought he would probably be chipped. He wasn’t. So they took him in.

The three dogs dominated the living room as they worked at getting to know each other that day, but Matt got a kick out of it and thought they might be able to keep the Stoop Dog if they couldn’t find his family. Later, when he let the three-some out into the front yard to do their business, the new dog suddenly got excited about something and jumped the fence. This isn’t an easy thing to do because of the height, but he was strong and made it appear effortless. Matt figured he just wanted to try and find his home, so he let him go.

Ten minutes later, the big guy was back on their stoop again! At that point it was clear they had been “chosen” by this dog for some reason and decided it was the right thing to put up fliers and try and find his family.

During the day, Matt wrote us about what was going on, telling us what a “sweet guy” the Stoop Dog was and that the three of them got along pretty well, considering his sudden arrival! But, after awhile, Matt said the new dog seemed to get sad, laying his head down on Matt’s leg, looking up at him like he was waiting for something. I’ll let Matt (from his email) tell the story from here:

So Amber came home a bit early from work and we decided to take him to the local shelter, even though we really didn’t want to leave him there. We just figured he’d have the best chance of finding his family at the local shelter. I mean, that’s where I would first go if we lost one of ours. Anyway, we get in the shelter (a really nice one, in our county) and tell them we found this dog, and the woman goes “Well look who it is. You two just made someone’s day. His owner was in here this morning crying her eyes out because she’d been looking for him all night.” Sure enough, she pulled out the pictures that the woman had left and it was the very same dog. They put us in contact with her, and when Amber called and told her we found her dog and kept him safe all day, she about lost her mind crying and thanking us. She left work right then and came to our house to get him. They were so happy to see each other. The dog (his name turned out to be Rico) just started wiggling and dog-dancing as soon as he saw her. She thanked us profusely…

Now Matt and Amber would no doubt tell the story differently, they experienced it themselves. But, witnessing this wonderful story unfold from a distance, it seemed very magical to me. As Matt told me, Rico specifically came to their house three different times, once when he found him on the stoop and twice when he saw something and jumped the fence. But he came back each time, as Matt said, “like he knew he had to be here for a reason or something.”

Matt isn’t one who believes in miracles and angels like his mom, but since I’ve decided to “live as if everything is a miracle,” this is my interpretation of the events. Rico’s instinct obviously told him to go to that house, sit on that stoop and that’s where he would find help. What is instinct? In my world it is either an angel whispering in your ear or miraculous forces making your next step abundantly clear. Either way, a miracle.

You could say that Matt and Amber taking Rico to that particular shelter was logical. Which is true. And you could say that Rico’s owner was doing the logical thing by bringing photos of the dog to that particular shelter to see if anyone had found him. And, that would also be true. But, when you add up the number of “coincidences” and place them side-by-side with all of the coinciding instincts to do the “logical” thing and mix them with the deep desire that everyone involved had to do the right thing, the loving thing – I think all of that energy is very powerful. I believe that kind of positive, full-of-love energy (from the people and the dogs!) brings into play an even more powerful force. I call it God, you may call it The Universe, but for me, it all results in a miracle.

Because that’s what a miracle is to me – love in action – in big ways and in small, everyday things. It’s all around us, all the time.

That’s it for The Thanksgiving Dog. Everyone was reunited just in time for Thanksgiving. And Precious and Depaula didn’t have to share their mom and dad for Thanksgiving, which I’m sure made The Boxer Princess happy as a clam.

And here’s to my son and his wife – Matt and Amber Matt&Amber8-10 fantastic, loving people doing the right thing at the right time. Miraculous!

Marsha

Marsha Roberts
Author of “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer”
website: http://www.mutinousbabyboomer.com/

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