Monday, November 18, 2013


A couple of weeks ago I posted a tribute to the pets I have lost in the past year. This post will be about the new animals in my life.

I lost my Boxer, Asterisk, in December of 2012. Thinking it would take a few months to find another rescue Boxer, I listed my name with Pacific Northwest Boxer Rescue. Two days later, I had a new Boxer! Actually, she's not a purebred. Judging by the shape of her head, she has some Pit Bull in her. Regardless, she's an utter delight.I named her Shona, and she'll be 3-years-old next month. She'd been picked up as a stray in California, and when they transported her to Washington State, where the Boxer rescue is located, she was emaciated. Now she's a sleek girl and, like all Boxers, she has that happy-go-lucky personality that is the Boxer's trademark.
Then, while having an Independence Day BBQ at my sister and brother-in-law's farm this past July, we kept hearing this loud chirping noise coming from the vicinity of their barn. The chirping became more and more distressed, and upon investigation a very hungry orphaned kitten was found. She was only 3 weeks old and weighed 9 ounces. I took her home and hand-raised her on KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer), bottle feeding her every 4 hours. It turns out she's a polydactyl--she has extra toes. You can see her "thumbs" in the picture on the right. She's now 5-months-old and living up to her name of Sparky Tabasco. Though she's diminutive at 5 pounds, she's an adventuresome soul and keeps me thoroughly entertained with her antics. She adores the dogs, and sleeps with Shona, my Boxer.

And speaking of dogs, I now have a new Doberman! Hoping I'd find one as quickly as I found Shona (2 days!) I listed my name with the Doberman rep at Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue. Alas, I had to wait 2 months before the right Dobe became available. She was a true charity case. Her original owners had her spayed, but the surgery went wrong and she developed a serious infection. Due to lack of funds, they waited until Kyanne was seriously ill before taking her to the emergency vet clinic. There, they abandoned her without paying for the second surgery to save her life. The good people at the clinic realized what a nice dog Kyanne was and decided she deserved a chance, so they cared for her until a good home could be found. That's where I came in. Kyanne arrived here two weeks ago and she fit right in. She's a 2-year-old black and rust Dobe with a sleek body and the longest legs I've ever seen on a Doberman. Though Shona is a muscular 65 pounds, Kyanne is a tall, slender, 75 pounds. She is very sweet natured and gets along great with Shona, and even puts up with Sparky's pestering, as you can see by the above picture.

I am very blessed. Shona, Sparky, and Kyanne have brought me much joy, and make my days brighter. And not to sound crass, but now that Christopher is gone, I plan on adopting another rescue kitten. I can't imagine life without critters in the house, and kittens are the best form of entertainment!

Friday, November 15, 2013


In approximately one year I've lost 5 pets. Each loss was like losing a family member. In July of 2012 I lost my 15-year-old cat, Lord Byron. Byron didn't have a lot between the ears, but he was a wonderful conversationalist and a great lap warmer. Here's his picture.

Then in December of 2012 I lost my 4-year-old Boxer, Asterisk, due to acute renal failure. She seemed perfectly normal until she started having seizures out of the blue. I rushed her to the vet, never expecting I'd return home with an empty collar and leash. That's her on the right as a 4-month-old puppy.

Then in February of 2013, my 30-year-old horse, Tempest, became very ill. I did everything I could for him, but advanced old age and cancer took their dreadful toll. I still find myself glancing out the window at the pasture, expecting to see him.

And then, dear God, my beloved Doberman, Nova, suddenly had trouble walking and became partially paralyzed. The diagnosis was devastating: Wobbler Syndrome, a congenital spinal disease. The meds gave only partial relief, and the side effects were almost
worse than the disease. Six weeks later I couldn't bear what she was going through and made the heartbreaking decision to end her suffering.

And now my remaining cat, 13-year-old Christopher the Assassin, has cancer. It's an aggressive, fast growing tumor on his thigh and in 3 weeks it has grown from the size of a small gumball to the size
of a large goose's egg. So far, he is in no pain and the tumor hasn't limited his mobility, but the end is fast approaching, and Christopher will soon be the 5th pet that I've lost in a year.

This is my tribute to those pets. They each deserve special recognition for the richness and companionship that they brought to my life. They will not be forgotten.

In a few days I will do another post . . . about the new pets that have entered my life and honored those who have gone before, by bringing me much joy and companionship.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Last week we had a storm with resultant power outage. By the second day I was hankering for a nice hot cup of coffee and a hot breakfast, so I bundled up and drove to the nearest McDonald's because I love their coffee. To my dismay, it looked like everyone else had the same idea. A double line of cars were queued at the drive up window, stretching far out into the road. The parking lot was full. By then, I was in line and couldn't turn around. So I crept forward by inches with everyone else.

Finally, I reached the speaker box and placed my order. But when I got to the payment window, the girl waved me on, saying a nice man several cars ahead of us (and now long gone) had given her a handful of cash and told her to use it to pay for the meals of everyone in line until the money ran out! She told me I was the last person to get a free meal, leaving a balance of 10¢.

I was so touched by such unexpected bounty that I handed her my money anyway, and told her to apply it to the next car in line. She beamed, and said, "Wouldn't it be nice if this started a chain reaction?!!" Indeed, wouldn't it be nice! That man's act of generosity made my week. For the rest of that day I was filled with goodwill, not only from the unexpected kindness of a stranger, but that I was able to pay it forward to another stranger.

This isn't the first time I've been involved in something like this. I was at a Starbucks in a grocery store once, and after placing my order, the clerk smiled and said someone had already paid for it. Shortly thereafter, I paid $5 for a raffle ticket and won a $100 Starbucks gift card. I love Starbucks, but it would take me a year to use up $100. So I went to that same grocery store and got myself a Starbucks mocha and then told the clerk to keep the card and use it to cover customers' orders until it was used up. I left feeling ten feet tall. It made me feel so good to be able to do that, and it was fun imagining the reactions of recipients.

In fact, it became addictive. Every so often, I give the Starbucks clerk a little extra, to cover the next person in line behind me. Most of the times I can make my getaway quietly, but one time a lady followed me up and down the grocery store aisles, trying to catch up to me to thank me for such a pleasant surprise. I blushed. She blushed. And we parted company, each of us glowing with goodwill.

We're approaching the holiday season. It's a time for sharing. Won't you consider paying it forward sometime, and making a stranger happy? I guarantee you'll benefit as richly as the recipient.