Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

Bella for Dogkisses

Hello, Dear Readers!

I’ve been blessed with a dog!  Her name is Bella.  She’s a beauty and sweet as strawberry pie.

Bella's pretty eyes

Bella is a small dog with long legs.  She weighs all of 15 pounds.  Some days, 15 and a half!  Yet, for such a little girl, she sure fills my heart with love.

My most recent post was a long time ago.  I had a wonderful dog then too, named Roscoe.  He had to go live with a new family.

Roscoe is doing great in his new home.  He moved to the coast, where he lives with a terrific family and three other dogs. 

Roscoe’s new parents have a designated room, a pantry they call it, for dog treats.  That says a lot.  Roscoe has a good life.

After more than a year without dog hairs in my home or the sound of paws prancing on the floors, I started to wonder if I would ever get another dog.

Eventually, I started looking at photos online.  Late nights, when I couldn’t sleep, I’d scroll through what seemed like and probably was, thousands of photos.

I heard about Bella before I saw her.  I knew in my heart that I’d probably adopt her the first time I heard her name and I was right.  

Bella was in a training program, A New Leash on Life, in Spindale, North Carolina.  She lived with her trainer, an inmate at a minimum security correctional facility.  

Puppy Bella 

Sometimes, I tell her about Roscoe or one of her other predecessors.  Mostly, Bella and I have our own unique experiences and adventures together. 

I love her to peices, of course.  I’m very proud of Bella too.  She sits like she’s been to the finest training school in the world.  Maybe she has! 

Bella goes everywhere with me.  She makes people smile and laugh pretty much every time we venture out into the world together. 

Bella’s trainer taught her to dance.  He taught her a lot, such as how to jump through hoops and the important skills too, like how to heel, sit, and stay. 

Bella is my emotional supoort animal (ESA), but she’s also a Therapy dog.  She won a blue ribbon!  She loves and I mean loves making people happy!  I adore this about Bella.  

Bella, my little beauty

Ms. Bella

I needed this dog.  She’s my best friend and makes me hope for a long life together.  

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Our dear friend, Tiny

A man named Happy named Tiny.  I used to get their names confused all the time.  Happy was my son’s first roommate when my son was only a teenager and decided to live on his own.  He wanted to take our dog, Free, with him.  Of course, I said no.  

I lived twenty miles outside of town in the hills of the beautiful Blueridge mountains of North Carolina when my son left home.  I took Free to spend the night with him two, maybe three times.  Each time I had left her with him, I woke up around 2am hearing Free’s footsteps in the house, only to realize she wasn’t there.  I couldn’t stand the feeling, so I drove into town, knocked on my son’s door and demanded that Free come home with me.

My son was quite serious about her living with him, which I couldn’t believe, but the bigger surprise came when he called one night to tell me he had gone out and found himself a dog. 

“I got a Rottweiler,” he said.

My heart sank.  He was not ready for the responsibility and I was especially concerned about the breed.  Images passed through my mind that I never wanted to see realized.  Fortunately, they never came to pass.  I don’t know how much my prayers had to do with the way Tiny turned out, but I prayed every day about it.

“Please God,” I asked.  “Please don’t let Tiny be a really big dog.”  I remember saying this prayer many times, until Tiny was about a year old.  I knew then that he would never be the Rottweiler my son had expected.  Also as fortunate, is that my son loved the dog Tiny became.

Tiny love here

You can scroll down to the end of this post to view Tiny’s photo gallery.

It turned out that the Basset Hound in Tiny is the predominate trait.  His little legs are somewhat bowed.  As a youngster, he always slept nearly upside down on the end of a bed or sofa , with all four legs in the air and his giant head falling toward the floor.  He hunts like a Basset Hound.  He plays like one.  And of course, he has those eyes!  He howled like a hound dog when he had a girlfriend, and he had several until he moved to the country.  He met Ruthie when he was five years old and she’s been his only girl ever since. 

Tiny recently had his eleventh birthday, which makes him the elder in our home.  He’s also the cutest member of my family.  His soft floppy hound-dog ears and big brown eyes melt most people’s heart at first sight.

Tiny licks his nose!

As you can see, Tiny isn’t so tiny. 

My son was going to name him Wilbur, which would have fit his personality.  The vet once suggested “Hoover,” to honor the power of his large and terrific nose.

For most of Tiny’s life, even with his relatively short legs and cute features, his large head and a healthy dose of Rottweiler has caused men to walk backwards down my front porch steps.  They were repair men who worked for the landlord and didn’t know us.  “He won’t bite,” I told them through the open window by the door where Tiny’s big head was visible.  Most of the time the men left and never returned.

Off the top of my head, I can think of only three times that Tiny has jumped on people’s lap (each were men), after they sat down on my sofa.  He went straight for their throats to smell their necks, which caused me tremendous anxiety.  He learned to play like that in the mornings when he was a puppy.  Every morning he would ‘search’ for my son’s neck under the covers.  Boy those were the days.  I had forgotten about so much, until I started writing this blog post.  Tiny’s life is full of interesting stories.

Other than those few times when he jumped on those men, Tiny has been a sweetheart to every person he met.  He has been and is tremendously adored! 

Tiny hasn’t always lived with me.  For the first five and a half years of his life, he lived with my son, who Tiny remains loyal to in his heart, but he has always communicated with me.  In the most amazing ways, he has told me where he was when he needed help and where my son was when he was not well and for the most part, living on the streets.  He and Tiny both were young and resilient, thank God.

Sadly, Tiny was recently diagnosed with intestinal Lymphoma.  I’ve tried writing about it before now, but my heart hurts too much.  There are a few things in my life that I simply can’t write about. 

I’ve nursed him for several weeks.  My sweet seven year-old girl, Ruthie, has been a good nurse too, which is a big part of her nature.  She has always been a good little friend to Tiny and honestly, I fear the sadness she will feel when that day that I don’t want to think about inevitably comes. 

Alas.

I do think about it.  In fact, not many moments have passed since I found out that Tiny has cancer, that I haven’t been aware of this approaching time.

Over the course of several weeks, Tiny went from having foul-smelling gas to explosive vomiting and diarrhea, which meant an emergency veterinary visit.  After x-rays and an ultra sound, the vet and radiologist said his lymph glands were inflamed and the walls of his intestines are, “thickened.”  With this information, along with his symptoms, they concluded his diagnosis of intestinal cancer.

They said the diarrhea would never go away, but it did.  As I write, he is eating well, but he is taking a steroid, which I’m not sure is working out too well.  He is so hungry.  I can’t stand seeing him starve, so I’ve cut the night dosage in half. 

I don’t know how long the steroid will work.  The vet said maybe two months, and possibly three.

Note: A week or so later, after first starting this post, I realize that each time I come back to it, things have changed.  No day has been the same.  The steroid makes him too hungry.

For the most part, at least during the day, Tiny acts like most older dogs, but with less than his usual amount of energy.  He isn’t taking the bone or dog toys from Ruthie when she holds them in front of him, hoping as she always has, that he will chase her, catch her, finally taking whatever it is she teases him with.  He does enjoy chewing what he loves most, which is a tennis ball, but they don’t last long before he rips them apart.

He Wants my Sandwich

I think I’ll have some Mom.

Tiny is a very loved dog.  He has given us many, many happy times.  He has saved my son’s life several times.  He has telepathically communicated with me when danger was impending and as a result, I was able to intervene just in time.  Tiny is a special dog indeed, and very special to me.  I call him my grand-boy.

In the process of diagnosing Tiny we discovered that he had a Tape worm.  I’m not sure what role this has played in his level of illness.  Part of me wishes (no, all of me wishes) that it was only the worm that made him so sick, and that he would be okay if I stopped the steroids.  I may indeed have to stop the steroid sooner than I had hoped or expected, but I do not think Tiny will be okay.  I can tell.  I’ve known for a while that something was wrong.

Tiny.  Our boy.  Our dear friend.  Ruthie’s mate.  My big guy who protects me.  My son’s loyal companion.  Tiny.  We Love You!

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She knows better,

She knows better, by Rosa Blue
She knows better,, a photo by Rosa Blue on Flickr.

Via Flickr: than to lie on the sofa, but she was enjoying herself, immensely, right in front of me.  And, not just curled up in the corner of the sofa, but she had all the cushions, fixed just right, for a dog!

🙂  My pretty girl, Ruthie Mae.

A wise chew…

I was not in the nieghbor's garbage Mom!I knew I didn’t have much time left when I spotted it on her sparkling clean desk.  A pen was lying on top of it.  I’d seen her use it many times crossing off things she thought she needed to do.

As soon as she left, I’d inspected the place.  I had to search more than usual after all those hours she spent cleaning, but there were still a few things I could chew. 

There were some shoes, one of which smelled pretty good and a tennis ball that I had hidden under the sofa months earlier.

It had to be something different this time.  Something that would definitely make her stop and think. 

She had worked and worked and worked.  I had waited and waited and waited!

I put my front legs on the chair and swept the list off the table with my muzzle.  Perfect!

I thought for a second, maybe two, was it going to be a good chew?  How would I know if I didn’t try?

More importantly than a good chew, I had to save my human mistress from a time warp of never-ending indoor chores!

I would have to choose my chew wisely.  I can get away with just about anything.   She loves me a whole bunch! 

As far as things to chew, it was rather tasteless and boring, but that didn’t stop me.

I chewed the paper into as many pieces as possible.  I spit out the remains, which created a tidy, but easily visible thick pile on the floor.

I didn’t have time to jump up in my chair when I heard the car pulling into the driveway.  I lied down, pretending to be asleep.

She opened the door carrying as many groceries as she could.  She was always doing more than she should.  She put the bags on the counter and shut the door.

“Hi Free! I’m finally home,” she said.

I didn’t move. I waited.

“What are you doing lying there like that?” she asked.  She put away the groceries.  Normally, I would have greeted her at the door.

She walked over to check on me.  She looked around to see if I had damaged anything.  I’ve had to in the past to get her attention, but not in a long time and only as a last resort.

Finally, she spotted my work.  She picked up a few pieces of the paper.  What had been words were now little blotches of ink.

She looked perplexed.  She glanced at her tidy little desk and then back to the floor.  Leaning over, she inspected the small pieces of paper again.

She’s a little slow, but she soon realized that it was true.

Of all the things to chew, it was her list if things to do!

I saw a glitter in her eyes.  She gave me a great hug and started laughing.

Right away she grabbed my collar and even though I’m Free, she put me on a leash.

She says this protects me from the Momma bear who recently became our neighbor.  I’m not afraid of bears like she is, but I admit my powerlessness over my highly sensitive olfaction, as well as my penchant for stealing neighbor-dog toys.

“You’re a funny dog Free,” she said as we set out for our walk to the grassy meadow where I graze and she relaxes on the wide flat rock with a view of the sunset.  “I sure do love you,” she tells me in a way that makes me know I did the right thing.

I am Free.  I’m teaching my human mistress to be a little more like me.

In Memory of Free. “A happy dog” she was always called.

She Lived and Loved from 1993—2006, Forever in my heart and memories.

Taken from my journal, Lessons from Free, May 8, 2006.

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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.


A friend with paws

A lovely poem by a young girl who loves a dog

 Ruthie Mae

She’s as beautiful as a bay

She loves to play

She loves it when I tell her to sit and stay

She gets mad when I don’t say hey

She loves to drink lattes

She was born in May

She loves to run and walk on a beautiful day.

Golden fur like Autumn leaves

When we run together we feel the breeze

I’ll chase the dragonflies

She’ll chase the bees

She gives me her paw

when I’m on my knees

She gives me her paw

Then I know

She’ll be there with me through it all.

Ruthie Mae,

Ruthie Mae.

A lovely poem written by and offered as a gift from my sweet and dear friend about her relationship with and her love for my dog, sweet Ruthie. 

“She gives me her paw when I’m on my knees.  She gives me her paw, then I know she’ll be there with me through it all.”  –by a girl who loves a dog!

Image via Wikimedia Commons (File: Joshua Reynolds – A Young Girl and Her Dog.jpg)

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