Category Archives: Your Stories

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Onto the Glaciers

The boat recedes into the distance, taking our injured ice team member away. We stand on the beach surrounded by tall peaks in all directions. North along the beach we hike, among stranded Mars rover-sized icebergs, and reach our entry point into the Schweizerland glacier system – a very long terminal moraine left behind as the glacier pulls back.

IntoTheGlaciers-1

As we trek towards the glacier, to our right, a loud stream carries the melt from the glacier. It has cut a handsome waterfall through a layer of softer rock. We climb and admire the waterfall from above, standing on hard, deep purple rocks. As we approach the ice, we run into “quicksand” pits – a mix of water and glacier flour – where our legs sink to the knees and come back repainted in gray. All around us, bright moss puts a green splash on this white, gray, brown, and…

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I Don’t Call Myself a Dog Mom, But I Don’t Care If You Do

by Lara of Rubicon Days

Laraa with Ruby and Boca

Laraa with Ruby and Boca

There has been an editorial circulating lately, not unlike articles before it, written by an oddly bitter mother of three admonishing pet guardians who choose to refer to their dogs as “babies” or “furkids.” It’s not the first of its kind, but it’s drawn a lot of attention because it is particularly critical and overly defensive, and the author attests that it is an insult to “real” mothers for people to compare pets to children. This woman is really angry. I’m not going to link to it here, but if you haven’t seen it, just Google “No, Your Dog Is Not Your Baby.”

I don’t call myself a dog mom. I prefer to refer to myself as their guardian, because my dogs had mothers, and I’m not their mother. It’s a semantics thing – perhaps being a poet, I want the exactly right word to describe my relationship to them, and to be completely honest  I haven’t found it yet, but ‘guardian’ sits well with me. By that same token, my friends, family and pet professionals often refer to me as such. When my dogs greet me after work my dad says to them “Your mom’s home!” When my vet brings Boca up from the back of the office she say’s “There’s mom!” My best friend says “You’re such a good dog mom.” My girlfriends threw me a dog shower to celebrate Boca’s adoption. Sometimes I use the hashtag “dog mom” on my Instagram pictures because I know it will get them more views. Plenty of my blogger friends like Amanda from Dog Mom Days and Kimberly from Keep the Tail Waggingrefer to themselves as dog moms and it doesn’t bother me in the least – why should it? Their dogs, their families, their identities. It doesn’t infringe on my relationship with my dogs or what I choose to call them.

Why, then, are some of these mommy bloggers so up in arms about it? I must admit that it reminds me a little of people who feel threatened by gay marriage. Why is someone else’s idea of motherhood an insult to your own? I also wonder if it is one of the last holdovers of the perceived threat or discomfort with the unmarried, single and/or childless woman. So what if someone wants to dress their dog up or push it around in a stroller (as long as these things don’t cause stress for the dog)? So what if someone wants to call their dog their baby, furkid, son or dogter? I have trouble understanding how this is a personal affront to someone who has chosen to have children. Read more . . 

My Dad and Bailey – Saying Goodbye

My Dad and Bailey – Saying Goodbye

By Melanie Ross

Bailey is our Border Collie. He’s amazing! He goes to work with my husband almost everyday and has most of the guys trained to keeping the kind of treats he likes in their work stations. My Dad worked for my husband and did lots of deliveries for him, usually taking Bailey along. He was my Dad’s co-pilot.

MelanieandDad2

My father was diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer in September of 2012. Dad was kind of a silent observer and didn’t waste much time on what he would consider useless chatter. My Dad didn’t always have a ‘way with’ people, but he had a ‘way with’ dogs.

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Towards the end of his first round of chemotherapy he would have almost a week of feeling poorly. I spent a lot of evenings and weekends over at their house just hanging out and watching tv. Our Border Collie, Bailey, was always with me. All I had to do was walk to the door and ask if he wanted to go see his pappy and he was at my side.

MelanieandDad5

Bailey’s personality isn’t what most people think of when they think Border Collie. He’s a hard core player when he is outside, but when he is inside, he is like a 90 year old man. He’s just laid back and extremely docile. He’s also kind of an independent dog. He loves people, but he pretty much likes to be at your feet rather than on the couch beside you. So Bailey spent a lot of time laying at my Dad’s feet, which was good because my Dad’s skin was so fragile you could hardly touch him without hurting him or tearing his skin. We had to be careful the dogs didn’t get excited and jump up and hurt him.

About a year into his treatment Dad decided the treatments were just too hard on him and he was having so few good days that he made the decision to just let things take their course and enjoy what remaining days he had. He did pretty well for about six months and then he really started to decline. He went from a cane to a walker, to a wheelchair, to being mostly bed bound in a short span of time. Our visits increased and Bailey was always happy to go and just lie near Dad, wherever he was.

My Dad’s last two weeks were hard. He could barely get around and it took my husband, brother, mother and myself to be able to keep him at home. Hospice was called in at this point and we moved a hospital bed into the living room so he could be where everybody else was. My husband, brother and I took turns staying there. Anytime I was there, so was Bailey.

MelanieandDad

Dad’s final two nights were bad and we ended up calling hospice in both nights. The morning my a Dad died I was getting ready to take Bailey for our morning run. We had slept on the couch to be near him and hospice had been in the night before because he had such a bad night the previous night. At this visit we decided we should put him on morphine to get ahead of his pain rather than to try and catch up with it once something happened. As I was getting ready to run, I was texting my brother and my husband to ask if they thought I should wake Dad to administer morphine or let him be because he was breathing so steadily and he was so peaceful. During this time Bailey walked into the room and laid his head on my Dad’s bed at his hand and just stood there. After a minute or two he walked over to me and laid his head on my lap, too. I looked at my Dad and realized Bailey was trying to tell me my father had passed away and he had been there for him. I walked over to check on my Dad and he was gone. Bailey knew the time had come and he was there for him.

Lots of things have to happen when someone passes away at home. Hospice comes and pronounces the person deceased, family members come to pay respects, and the funeral director comes. They take care of your loved one and then take them to fulfill their final wishes. As they took my Dad out on a stretcher and loaded him in the van Bailey came outside with us all. We were all standing there when Bailey put his paw on the bumper with full intentions to take my Dad’s final ride with him. We had to call him back.

It is unbelievable to me what a dog can sense and I don’t know how he knew, but he did. All I know is I feel better knowing that Bailey was there for Dad in his final moments and I know it was a comfort to my Dad, too. What Bailey did for my Dad that day is something I won’t ever forget. As I said, he’s an amazing dog.

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This Dog’s Aggression Was Thought To Be Incurable, Until They Did This

When people say aggressive dogs should be put to sleep, just show them this. Social behavior in canines is very similar to humans. A dog that’s raised in a caring environment with a family that loves him will show good behavior and will be approachable and friendly. Those dogs that have abusive owners who keep them locked up in cages or very small spaces will usually be aggressive and dangerous. Unfortunately those are the dogs that are usually euthanized when they get in trouble.

Now this case is very special, watch how the people at the The Behavioral Rehabilitation Center of the ASPCA helped a very troubled and anti-social dog transform into one of the most friendly dogs ever:

Click image to play

Click image to play

Shadrak

By Phil Deaver

Shadrak at One Year

Shadrak at One Year

There’s an ad on TV about the SPCA. Just 18 cents a day, or 19 dollars a month, to help save abused animals. The ad features long holds on the suffering eyes of dogs and cats shivering and lonely in their cages or being held in the arms of beautiful young female volunteers. When I see the ad, my mind goes back to Shadrak. In 1974 my ex-, Cyndie, and I had just moved to Charlottesville where I was to get a doctorate. We had no children and had been struggling with that problem for a few years. We were the proud owners of an Alaskan Malamute, Shadrak, age three. We got him as a fluffy little puppy in Southern Indiana when we were living in a great apartment on Meridian near 38th in Indianapolis. Continue reading

Two Dog Poems by Laura Sobbott Ross

Grace Sleeps through Poetry

 

First Friday Writing Group, Rollins Campus

sheltie face

Obligingly, into the circle of us, she falls,

clack and hum and hiss of our tongues

catching in the soft folds of her ears.

Intonations of syllables, rise and fall, Continue reading

Gracie – Our Life’s Journey

Trialing With Grace

By Judy Bonner

Gracie and I recently competed in the first east coast and the second in the country fully sanctioned NACSWTM  K9 Nose Work® Level 1 Element Specialty trials hosted by Sarah Woodruff of Paws N’ Sniff in Stroudsburg PA.

The Level 1 Interior Element Specialty trial was in the morning and the Level 1 Container Element Specialty trial was set to run in the afternoon.  I registered both dogs, Gracie and Banner, in both trials.  Gracie and Banner were both Continue reading