Bobo. Jack. Anna. Napoleon (okay, he was a cat). Abbe. Josey. Pebbles. Molly. Rosie. Sara. Monty. Lily. Julia. LeeLoo. Zoë. These are the dogs I’ve personally experienced and love, and they have spanned more than four decades on Earth. They have all played a part in my “single step.”
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.Chinese Proverb
Have you ever loved something so much that it’s as if a gravitational pull is bringing you closer? One where every sign directs to that place where you’re meant to be?
It’s a force that’s difficult to explain, and it may be one where others look at you a bit cross-eyed if you were to try to share the sheer determination you have to get there.
My place is helping dogs. Quite specifically, my place is to help the underdogs. The forgotten. Those cast aside. The voiceless.
And while I don’t know quite what it will look like when I arrive, I’ve decided to begin the journey by adopting, sharing, donating, raising funds for rescues, and writing to help give voice to the innocent and help the humans who love them.
This blog is the manifestation of all of those things, and I also hope it’s a place where others will laugh, cry, share, learn, and get inspired to help the underdogs, too.
And who am I?
Probably someone like you…
Someone who loves dogs.
I suppose you could say that I’ve almost always been with a dog (or dogs), with the exception of my college days where I had a momentary lapse in judgment and saved a cat. (I’m KIDDING. I love all animals, and Napoleon [said cat] was with me for almost 13 blissful years after that. He taught me a lot.)
Bobo was the first (Mom’s dog when I was a baby), and he was a black Cockapoo. Jack was next–a goofy black lab who just showed up one day and whose owner said, “Just keep him! I don’t want him anymore!”
So, we did–keep him, that is.
And he escaped.
But he kept coming back.
Anna was a fiesty yellow lab who delighted in reminding me during my teenage years that she was put on the planet to eat my socks and tease me with my own shoes.
Napoleon, well, you know he was a cat, bless his soul. But, let’s keep moving.
Abbe, another one of Mom and Dad’s yellow labs, left an indelible first impression by visiting my corporate job right out of college. She waltzed in, quickly squatted, and piddled in the middle of the office floor. I had roared with laughter. (Thank goodness I had a better sense of humor than I did when I was a teen.)
Josey was a partial white wolf mix who I loved dearly.
Pebbles was a yellow lab who gave birth to many litters of yellow labs until the breeder adopted her out to Mom and Dad. She was quite possibly the sweetest and most mellow dog on the planet.
Molly (named after the Irish band, Flogging Molly) was a pit bull mix who my husband, Jake, saved from the pound. She had been abused. Molly was one of the most loving and sweet animals and was a key player in teaching me how to trust again, and she is at least partially responsible for this blog, well, her and a couple of her younger cohorts.
Rosie came into my life like a sunrise. Her and her littermates were a day from being euthanized at the pound (they had worms and the pound didn’t have the resources to nurse them back to health). A secretary at the pound dialed up Terry with Palomino Valley Pet Rescue, and no pleading was necessary. Terry went to get them and nursed them back to health. Rosie was the first with a clean bill of health, and I still remember Terry telling me how special Rosie was. “I’ve seen a lot of dogs. She is special.”
And I believed her.
I’ll tell more of Rosie’s stories and how she touched my life so profoundly through this blog. Writing about her makes tears flow. Her life was far too short, but I truly believe that she left early so many more could be helped.
Mom and Dad had Sara, Monty, and Lily. Sara was a Goldendoodle who brought love and light to my parents during a period of health difficulties for Dad. Monty, a (giant) black Standard Poodle, still has eyes that seem to look right through you, and this goofy lapdog soul has a heart of gold. Lily will forever be known as the Goldendoodle in the litter who “ruthlessly” pulled toys under the breeder’s couch rather than playing with the rest of her brothers and sisters. Mom and Dad instantly fell in love with this silly, sassy, smart beauty.
Julia joined our family several months after Molly’s passing. I’ll never forget showing Jake her adoption photo on Halloween. “She will be ours,” I promised. And, so she was–after a very rough start in life. Julia had been dumped and left for dead, then adopted, and then surrendered. When she came to us, she was sick, but her health improved. Julia took months to decompress from her early life traumas. On a particularly tough day, I remember catching her as she sprinted through the family room. I held and hugged her tightly for a long moment. “No one will ever leave you again,” I whispered. “I promise you.” For a quick moment in time, I felt our hearts connect. From that day, she began to trust us. As I write this, she is nestled on the couch with me.
LeeLoo, aka Loofus the Goofus, had been adopted initially, but her first family wouldn’t spend the time to potty-train, discipline, or socialize her. This black lab was then relegated to the outdoors in dreadful conditions with scant shelter and even less water. When it came time for her owners to move, she would be dumped. A plea for help on Facebook came from a photographer friend who had come to know about Loo’s circumstances, and Jake and I picked her up out of the dirt–quite literally–as a foster.
But LeeLoo knew more than I did, and I’ll never forget the way she first looked at me.
And she never looked away.
She was right. Two and a half years after our “foster fail,” and we are so thankful for our sweet Goofus who always reminds us to stay peaceful and not take life so seriously.
Zoë is our double merle, kick-in-the-pants, larger-than-life, riotous soul who hooked our hearts. An independent rescue (also known as an angel walking the Earth) saved her, her momma, and her littermates from a backyard breeder gone wrong. Zoë’s condition was so grave that the veterinarian recommended euthanasia multiple times, but Taylor, Zoë’s rescuer, kept pushing, and she never gave up. She is the reason Zoë lives today. This tough-as-nails puppy prefers long, warbling conversations with humans, climbing atop furniture and “cannon-balling” on those below, and snuggling on the couch. Zoë is one-of-a-kind, and you’ll hear her stories here, too.
Of course, this short history doesn’t do justice to what each dog means to me, but I hope to share those stories (and many more) here.
I’d love it if you’d visit with me again. I’ll put on a pot of peppermint bark coffee, and we’ll swap stories of the innocent and voiceless who have changed our lives.