Archive for the ‘companion animals’ Category

Dogs Make Good Neighbors

Four-legged Neighbors

Ruthie and Happy sure know how to be good neighbors.  They’re polite and respectful to one another.  They always greet each other with a bark or if there is time, several dogkisses!  They are good friends.

Happy has a busy schedule of walks, playing and sleeping, but she enthusiastically remembers Ruthie on her way home from her morning walks.  Ruthie is always happy to see her friend and neighbor, the dog, Happy!

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She’s the Sweetest

RUTHIE

We walked down the corridor in the shelter for the second time. 

“Look at this one,” my friend curiously remarked.

She was the only dog not barking.  

We stopped to look, which is all I had planned on doing that day. 

“Oh,” my friend added.  “Her name is Ruthie.  How sweet.”

What an odd name for a dog, I thought to myself.

Ruthie.

Most dogs have exotic or quirky and whimsical names these days, it seems, but Ruthie is such a simple name, you know?

She put her paw up against the cage.  I touched it and so did my friend.

“She has puppy paws!” my friend exclaimed excitedly. 

My friend, Tiffany, was a dog whisperer in her own way.  Actually, she was more like a dog’s angel.  I was never sure whose side she was on when it came to her helping people and their beloved pets, a career which she had temporarily chosen.

“What do you mean puppy paws?” I asked.

“They’re soft!  Touch them,” Tiffany answered.

I’m pretty sure Ruthie became my dog the second I touched her paw and it was unusually soft!

“You should change her name,” the little boy who lived across the street from us told me the first day I took Ruthie out for a walk.

“Yeah!” agreed his young playmates.

“To what?” I asked, but none had an answer.

The children walked closer to us.  They tried petting Ruthie, but she became frightened by the youngest one.

She had been adopted for two weeks and returned to the shelter before I met her.  The shelter staff said the family had a toddler who was allergic to her.  That’s all they could tell me about her past.

Ruthie was indeed shedding a lot, but my gut told me it was from stress.  I was right too. 

After several days of living with me, she started to shine and I discovered, I had the softest dog in the world!  Everyone said so too.

I didn’t yet know she is also the sweetest, but I tell you, there isn’t one any sweeter than Ruthie is.

For the first few days of our lives together, her name came up for consideration.  Mostly because people remarked on how it wasn’t snazzy enough.

I forgot who it was, but somebody suggested that I read from the Book of Ruth in the Christian Bible. 

“In Ruth 1:16 and 17 Ruth tells Naomi, her Israelite mother in law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.”  (SOURCE: Wikipedia).

I read the story and I knew my girl had the perfect name.

Ruth was loyal to Naomi, even after her husband, Naomi’s son, died.  Naomi had lost her husband and later lost her other son, leaving her widowed and without children. 

According to the law of the land, Ruth could have left for a better life, but instead she chose to stay with Naomi.  She married again and gave Naomi a grandson.

How could I think of changing little Ruthie’s name after reading that!  I had been given a gift, I believed. 

In the spirit of dogs and the love they give, my gift was a new dog.

I needed rescuing and I fully embraced the love from my new four-legged friend who had come to save my life.

After taking Ruthie to the dog store to show her off and buy a pretty new collar, we went home and I looked over her papers from the shelter.

I was surprised to see that Ruthie’s overall grade was an A-.

How could such a sweet loving dog not get an A, I wondered, so I read on.

“Ruthie pulls back when people lean in toward her,” the report read.

To get an A, a dog must also lean in when strange humans try to pet them, which I found curious.  I mean, if I had been abused, and I could tell that Ruthie had, then I wouldn’t lean in when strangers come toward me either.

I knew I had a smart dog!

Ruthie Mae is the sweetest dog in the world

Ruthie in her element hunting insects!

Without Ruthie Mae, I may not be alive today.

Ruthie didn’t save me from a burning building.  I’m not blind.  I have both legs, which I’m grateful for, and both arms too.  I am not in a wheelchair.

I am disabled by illnesses most people can’t see with their eyes. 

These illnesses have changed my life, and me.  I spend more time alone than I did before I got sick. 

I’ve also experienced significant loss of connection and sense of belonging, both in community and family, as a direct result of disability.  I lost my career and many people have judged me for what they can’t see or understand. 

Ruthie is my medical companion animal.  She’s officially an emotional support dog.   

Ruthie gets me outside.

She helps me want to keep going when chronic illness takes away my hope.

Ruthie is a teacher, like all dogs, I believe.  She shows me what love looks like. 

She teaches me compassion, tenderness and acceptance. 

It’s hard to put into words what all Ruthie means to me and how she helps me live.

Ruthie Mae’s love and companionship is always there for me.  No matter how sick I get, she loves me.  I don’t have to put on a well face for Ruthie.

Just yesterday, I was sad.  Ruthie jumped up on the bed and put her little paws across my ankles.  She gently laid her head on my leg.

“You really are the sweetest dog in the world,” I told her.  The tears stopped and I couldn’t help but take joy from the love I felt.

I thought about the kind of life she could have had if she had been adopted by a healthier person and one who has more money than I do.  I imagined her running in an open field of grass with her pack.  Then, I remembered the story of Ruth. 

Perhaps if Ruthie could choose, I imagined, she might choose me over anyone else, no matter what they had to offer her.

One thing I know.  I am loved. 

Ruthie Mae’s Human Mom,
Michelle.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Note:

This post is a follow up from the most recent one, “Help the Sweetest Dog in the World.” 

Thanks for reading, and if your heart moves you, please visit my campaign page here.

 


My Best Friend Walks on Four Legs

The original Miss ‘dogkisses’ is Ruthie Mae.  She’s from a royal bloodline!  I don’t know how such a grand dog ended up at the shelter, but she did, and I am one lucky woman to have met and adopted her!

Ruthie is home

Ruthie has been declared an Egyptian Beetle Hound Insect Hunter!  This makes her a very special dog.

I love her like I have all the dogs I’ve loved… Times ten!  Dog lovin’ is like that, I guess.  They are each special and unique.

Our Family Dog, a wonderful being!

I told you in a recent blog post about a camping trip with my family, and shared photos of the beautiful Blueridge mountains in North Carolina.

Ruthie is part of my small family, so of course, she went with us on our end of Summer, rather spontaneous outdoor adventure.

Alas.

I forgot Ruthie’s regular dog food.

It was several days after we returned home that Ruthie got an upset tummy.  Within 24 hours, her condition had become a veterinary emergency.  She had bloody diarrhea and was vomiting. 

We drove her to a nearby animal emergency clinic, which is also a teaching hospital, where I trust the doctors and staff.  I believed Ruthie was in the best hands around.  This gave me much comfort, but I was still afraid for my best friend and companion.

Since adopting Ruthie Mae in 2006, when she was about seven months old, I’ve never boarded or left her behind.  Watching her walk into the cage at the hospital clinic reminded me of when we first met, but it was a nice big cage and there were interns and residents who stayed in the room around the clock.  They doted over Ruthie.

Fortunately, she only had to stay in the hospital one night.  They gave her much needed fluids, intravenous medicines and watched her closely. 

She was diagnosed with possible HGE, but for sure a serious gastroenteritis, due to a change of diet and dietary indiscretion while camping.  Abdominal x-rays showed also three small rocks in her stomach and small intestines.  The surgeon said she believes Ruthie will pass the rocks without a problem.

I am very grateful that Ruthie Mae was able to receive good health care.  She’s relatively young, in otherwise good health, and has many years of loving left to offer!  

She has recovered very well, but she did have a setback when I tried to re-start her regular diet of salmon and sweet potato.  As a result, she’s back on a prescription food and two medications. 

Because of Ruthie’s sensitive digestive system, she may need more time to fully recover, but I think she will. 

I’m very happy to report that she is again recovering well! 

dogs are awesome

I am a dog, Mom. See my Nose?

Ruthie likes to put her nose to the ground when we walk.  It’s possible she got into something again (dietary indiscretion), when my son took her out for a short walk.  She’s fast and strong for a girl almost eight! 

I’m working on keeping her nose (and GI tract) clean, but I must admit, this takes constant attention.  We may have to get a special harness, but I’ll try training her first.  Walking without smelling stuff on the ground is against Ruthie’s nature, but that’s the way it has to be from now on.

As to what I’ll feed her in the future remains in question.

All you dogs out there, give a shout out to the sky or a great healing howl for Ruthie Mae!  She’s a beauty ain’t she!? 🙂

Thanks for visiting dogkisses, a blog, by a woman, who loves a dog!

UPDATE March 2014

Ruthie is now on a prescription diet.  It’s expensive, but so far, it is the only food that keeps her tender tummy at ease.   I’m hoping to meet with either the nutritionists at the school of veterinarian medicine, which is around $200.00, or meet with a holistic vet to discuss other options for Ruthie’s diet.

We have incurred a lot of medical expenses since Ruthie was hospitalized in September, but the tests helped us to rule out common diseases and also, x-rays and ultra sound did not show impressive findings.

Ruthie Mae may well have HGE, but she has also been diagnosed with Intestinal Bowel Disease and will most likely be on a special diet for the rest of her life, which I hope is a very long and healthy one!

You may give to my campaign at www.GoFundMe.ruthiemae (Link is also on my right sidebar in this blog).

My goal is to raise money to help me pay off the debts from the medical bills, so that I may better provide for Ruthie’s ongoing healthcare needs.

Thanks for reading about Ruthie Mae!

Ruthie Mae’s Birthdays

Ruthie Mae is a happy dog!

My Companion Smiling

My sweet dog, Ruthie Mae, will have two birthday celebrations this year.  We recently enjoyed the first one, but at the end of the day, I realized her true birthday is most likely in early November.  As you can see from the photo (above), Ruthie was having fun.

We went to the awesome dog food and supply store, where people are only allowed inside because we must pay for our goods.

Ruthie’s favorite treat is a meat chew called a, “Bully Stick.”  The store stocks these chewy treasures in bins exactly the height of an average size dog’s nose.  I’m glad they don’t put the really big (and expensive) ones in those bins!

The dog park is on our way home from town so we stopped in, but it was late in the evening by then, so there was only one dog and he wasn’t social.  Darkness had set in and we went home.

I was happy to have accidentally celebrated with Ruthie.  We both needed time for fun and joy.  I’m excited to celebrate again in Fall.

Thank you for visiting my dogkisses blog.  My apologies for not being able to write more often.  Life is challenging me in several ways lately, but I am managing to have a little fun once in a while.  I hope to get my writing groove back before the year is over.

Here is a link to my other blog, Green Healing Notes, where I posted a photo of a pretty butterfly I saw a few days ago.

 

A Dog Smile

Thanks for the hike Mom! by Rosa Blue
Thanks for the hike Mom!, a photo by Rosa Blue on Flickr.

Dear Human Mom,

Thanks for the hike!  I had a great time.

Love,

Your friend,

Sweet Ruthie.

Homeless with Dog

People and Pets

Her name was Free.

“A day-tripper,” I had jokingly called myself before that day, which was the day I became homeless.  It was also 9/11/01.

My headlights on my otherwise wonderful little Subaru didn’t work.

“You can go to Walmart parking lot to sleep,” a teenage friend of my son’s suggested.

My son said I could sleep on his sofa, but I gratefully declined.

I had just moved out of a house where the well water was seriously contaminated.  Eventually, sewage backed up into the bathtub.  My landlord was twiddling her thumbs across the street, where the water was good.  I’d had no choice but to leave.

My furniture was in storage and I’d made a good plan, but like all plans, you need a backup.  I failed to make one.

I had obtained a house sitting position from a friend who was leaving for one month.

She was flying to Connecticut on September, 12th, 2001.  Her house was in town and convenient for me to go look at rental places.   She said my dog was welcome.  Like I said, it was a good plan.

I moved out of the sewage filled house a few days before my friend’s scheduled flight.   After bringing in drinking and cooking water for an entire year, living beside people who put rebel flags in their yard and a few times called me in the middle of the night to tell me that I was, “going to hell in a hand-basket,” things were looking up for me.

I used the first few days of my transition freely.  My dog and I went to my favorite camping spot on Mt. Pisgah.  I would meet my friend and get her house key the night before her flight.

That morning I packed my things.  It was foggy and quiet on top of the mountain.  I was the only camper, which is how I liked it up there.  I had my coffee and took a slow walk around the campground with Free.

That afternoon I drove down the mountain into town and decided to visit my son and use his phone to call my friend.  I walked inside his apartment and as usual the television was on.  I sensed something was wrong.  My son and several friends were sitting there with stunned looks on their faces.

“Do you know what happened Mom?” my son asked.

“No.”

“We’ve been attacked by terrorists,” he said.  I thought for a second that it was another conspiracy idea one of his friend’s had.

I didn’t have my glasses on and couldn’t see the details of the television footage.  “What is that?” I asked.

“Dude!” one of the visitors said.   “It’s the Twin Towers burning.”

I watched the billowing smoke on the small television screen for a few moments.  I was confused.  I didn’t know what to think or feel or do.

Terrorists I thought.  What the hell does that mean exactly?  I wasn’t used to hearing we’ve been attacked.

I walked outside and called my friend about meeting her for the house key.  Being a day-tripper meant I needed to work my plan before dark.  Shelter was on my mind and time was getting away from me.

The basic necessities in life call you to action no matter what else is happening.

“Everything is cancelled until further notice.  I don’t think I’ll be flying anywhere for a while,” my friend said.  “I’m sorry,” she added.  “I know you were depending on staying here while you looked for a place, but I’ll be working since I can’t leave.”

My friend worked at home as an acupuncturist.  The environment was not right for my dog and I to stay there with people coming for quiet healing sessions.

I didn’t know where to go or what to do.

The thought of sleeping in my son’s apartment was intolerable to me for several reasons, one of which was the condition of his girlfriend’s cat’s litter box and another was the hippies who drifted in and out from all parts of the world.

My son moved out when he was sixteen to travel across the country with his girlfriend.  They returned after a couple of months, got jobs and rented an apartment together.

I never imagined that my son would leave home that early, nor had I imagined I would ever be on his or anyone’s doorstep wondering where to sleep.

I’ve learned in my life that anything can happen.  Things we imagine could never happen to us, can and do.

I knew many people.  I had many friends.  I’d be fine, I thought.

I assured my son I was safe for the night, but when I told him I was going to the nearby Blueridge Parkway to sleep in my car at one of the look out points, he became worried.  “I wish you would stay here, but Walmart would be safer than the parkway Mom,” he said.

I wasn’t going to Walmart to sleep.  I knew that much.

Free was with me and I felt that she would keep me safe.  I figured the parkway would be quiet at night.  I soon discovered that my son knew more about that than I had.

I left my son’s apartment and went to a place where I could think, The Waffle House.   Free slept in the car.

It was late Autumn and the weather was nice, but that would soon be over.  Winter was on the way, which I suddenly became acutely aware of.

“James!” I said.  “What a surprise seeing you here.”

He pointed to his table.  A woman smiled and waved.  I assumed he was on a date.

James was an eccentric, but level-headed man in his late fifties.  I knew him from downtown Asheville.  We often found ourselves in the same groups; gathering around coffee, artists and good conversation.

I told James of my unexpected plight.  I tried to keep myself together, but James was an odd character.  Being around him made people want to tell the truth.  His eyes filled with compassion and understanding.

“Here, take this,” and he put a fifty dollar bill on my table. “Go across the street and get you and your dog a room tonight.  I know the owner.  I’ll call him and tell him your dog won’t hurt anything and he’ll let you stay.  The price is forty-five even.  That’s all I have now or I’d give you more.”

James always did show up at the strangest times.  People often talked about him downtown.  The hippies thought maybe he was an informant.  They were a little paranoid.  Others thought he was with the CIA and some spoke of him being an angel.  They said he would show up right when somebody needed saving from a situation.  I’d seen it happen a few times myself.

“Thank you James.  I really appreciate this.”  I remember him holding my hand for a minute before returning to his table.

I don’t remember anymore the order in which the events occurred over the following weeks after 9/11.

I remember feeling numb about being homeless.  I listened to the radio stations reporting on the tragedy every day.  I felt like I didn’t have the right to feel bad over my situation.  My family and I were alive and this became the most important thing in my mind and heart.

My family lived four hours away.  I wanted to stay in the mountains to be near my son.  He may have moved out, but he still needed a parent.  I just had to go about it in a different way than most parents of teenagers do.

The friends I had either couldn’t or in a few cases, simply wouldn’t let me stay with them because I had a dog.

The way people treated me when I didn’t have a place to live surprised me.  Perhaps the tragedy of 9/11 had an effect on their perception of my situation as it did mine.  I’m not sure, but the people whom I had considered close friends sure changed when they feared I might ask something of them.  I don’t know what they thought I would ask for, other than a place to sleep for a few nights and a phone during the day, which I quickly learned was too much to ask.

I think people are scared that if they help someone a little, then the person will take advantage of them and never stop needing the help.

Other people quickly assume that no matter what the situation, like a bathtub full of sewage and contaminated drinking water, that if you’re homeless, then you got yourself there.

Three nights of sleeping in my car on the Blueridge Parkway was enough.  My son was right.  Walmart parking lot would have been safer.

My next plan was to rest for a couple of days at my mother’s home, which was about four hours away.  I needed to recover from shingles.  I needed a bed.  I needed to know that somebody cared if I lived or died.

My only and older brother called while I was there.

“Hello,” I answered.

“Michelle!” my brother said surprised.  “What are you doing home?”

My brother and I had always had a knack for using humor to talk about hard times or difficult emotions.

“Well,” I responded. “I’m homeless.”  It was the first time I had used the word and I used it casually hoping, I guess, that we would laugh about the situation.

“You’re what!” he screamed.

“Homeless,” I said, truly clueless about what was coming next.

Fortunately, the time I was homeless lasted less than three months.

Telling how it all came to be, what it was like being homeless and all that happened as a result is a lot of telling.

The family ordeal over the harsh words my brother said to me over the phone that day had a strong and long-lasting impact on me and my heart.  My relationship with my brother has never been the same.

I could tell about the amazing cell phone my mother helped me buy.  Amazing not in features, but in power.  I haven’t charged it in years and it still works! 

The phone was my connection to my son and Mother.  I’d never before felt such a strong need to be in contact with the both of them every day, as I did during the weeks following 9/11.  I wanted to know where they were and that they were both safe.  I wanted them to know I loved them.  I was scared.

I could tell about the beautiful camping area Free and I stayed for a few weeks and what happened there, but that story stands alone.

I could tell about the mysterious way I met the housing inspector who knew about the bad water where I had lived and who offered me a garage apartment without charge, which is where I stayed for one month.

The photo above is my beloved Free lying beside the bed in that apartment.  It was a brand new bed with the plastic still on it.  The place had hot water and power.  I was very blessed.

Mostly, I remember the radio.  All day, every day and at night, I would lie there on that bed beside Free with a camp light on and listen.  

I remember having to take medication for anxiety.  It was a very hard time. 

I called hundred of landlords, but nobody would allow a dog.

Finally, I received a call from a woman whom I had never heard of.  “I’m calling you about the rondette,” she said.  I had never heard of those either.

“I’m not sure you have the right person,” I said to her.  I assumed the place she was describing would be way out of my price range.

“Oh yes,” she said in her self-assured way I would learn to like.  I wrote your name and number down to call you back about it.”

“Okay,” I said.  “How much is the rent?”  A rondette on the side of a mountain sounded pretty cool.

I gasped when she told me it was only $350.00 per month.  “Do you allow dogs?”  I asked her right away.

“I’m actually leery of people who don’t have dogs,” she said laughing.  “Tell me about your baby.”

I was there shaking hands with her within an hour.

It was a magical beautiful place.  There were old time flowers growing in the garden by the bedroom window.  They smelled like my grandmother’s face and hand creams.  Windows surrounded the little space.  From the small, but very green and cozy backyard was a view of the city below.

“I don’t know if this place is big enough for you and your dog,” she said.

I liked her.  We had on nearly the same outfit and literally, the same brand of shirt, same color and same size.  A purple soft cotton LL Bean button down.  

She turned out to be the best landlord I’ve ever had.  She was trusting, helpful, kept her properties in great condition and rented below the fair market price.

“If you don’t rent the place to me now,” I told her, “tonight we’ll have to sleep there,” I added, pointing at my little Subaru.

Her eyes widened, but I had told the truth.  The garage apartment had been rented to a family and I had to move out.

“Call it home then you two!”  She smiled, handed me a key and went on her unusually merry way to a funeral.

It was home and it was sweet.

Free learned to walk backwards in the small rondette

Free in her chair in our little rondette.

Free bit his nose to remind him it was her home and he was a guest.

Tiny visits and curls up in my new bedroom.

From this room I could literally watch the old time flower garden grow. 

Eight legs walkin’

we love mom

Eight legs ‘a walkin’

Walkin’ round my home.

All just so,

I don’t walk alone.


Eight legs ‘a walkin’

Walkin’ round my home.

Oh, don’t you know?

I love you so!


My sweet little Ruthie,

You hold your head high,

Your spirit made strong,

Furry tail up,

wagging all the time!

Now that you know,

I love you so!


My sweet little Ruthie,

I remember you then.

Your head was down,

Furry tail drawn in.


Sweet little Ruthie,

I remember you then.

Jumping in my car,

Never looking back.

How did you know?

We would love each other so?

I know you were kissed,

From the angel I missed.

She waited ’til she knew,

I found you.


Every moment since,

You’ve celebrated your life.

Yes!

Hallelujah!!!


Your head is in the air,

high and mighty strong!

You are a big girl now!

So you be certain,

I am very proud!


Tiny…

He puts his large head,

so soft…

gently on my leg.

He knows where it hurts.

His big deep brown eyes,

gazing into mine.

Mine with fears,

loneliness and tears.


Oh, how I love YOU!

This is what Tiny tells.

He always knows when to tell,

Oh yes, he knows!

I’m amazed every time,

He lays his head next to mine.


He hears my heart call,

his little legs start walkin’

lovin’ is a dog’s law.

Tiny knows…

He knows when it’s time to tell.


Right when I was thinking,

It was too late for me,

Tiny comes closer.

Oh, can’t you see?

Oh, don’t you know?

We do love you so?


Yes, I say,

I can see!

I can surely see!

 

My sweet little Ruthie,

My dear boy Tiny,

I have not forgotten.

I hope you know,

I do love you so!


I don’t understand,

why took the two-legged left.

Oh no,

I don’t understand.


I cry and wonder why.

Why does it have to be this way?

Every silent day,

Every silent moment,

I wonder why.


I always end the silence,

Saying Yes,

I remember!

I remember that you’re here.

Yes,

I remember!


Eight legs ‘a walkin’

Walkin’ round my home

All just so,

I don’t have to walk alone.


I don’t know how to make it,

I don’t know what to do.

I only know,

I sure do love you.


I thank Lord Jesus.

I thank Great Spirit.

Praise Jah!

For the Dogs!


Thank You for the Dogs!!!

These dogs You have given me.


Love renews my spirit,

moving through my body,

healing my wounds.


These dogs,

they keep saying,

We are eight legs ‘a walkin’

Walkin’ round this home,

All just so,

You never walk alone.

 

Yes!

Hallelujah!!!

These are my blessings,

These eight legs ‘a walkin’


I always know,

I don’t have to walk this road alone.

big hound dog eyes says I sure do love you

Dogs give...

In Memory of my sweet Free…

Perched on the wood,

Crow spoke.

You can’t walk this road alone.

Not anymore…

You can’t walk this road alone.

From Free,

Crow spoke.

Thank You Free!


Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.