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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pool pictures!

Treasure is starting to enjoy the puppy pool this year!  Last year, she could not wait to hop out of it.  In her mind, it was only a large water bowl ... one that she should never stand in!  But this year I invented a new game called "hotdogs on a log," and she suddenly thinks the pool is great fun! 

My gorgeous girl enjoying the breeze by the pool. 

Treasure

Hotdogs on a log!  Treasure's new favorite game! 

It was Jasmine's first time with the pool, and she wasn't too sure about it, even with our new game.  It took her lots of time to get up the nerve to actually step into the pool to get those hotdogs!  But once she got the hang of it, she became a pro!  She even learned to fish out the floating treats by putting her nose into the water.


How far can I stretch?  Notice Treasure coming in from the left side!

It took a long time, but she's got two feet in! 

Yay, Jazzy!  All four feet in! 

And where was Grace this whole time?  Grace has never enjoyed the pool, but she will use it as a large water bowl, stealing sips between wrestling games with her buddies!


Grace (left) and Owen (right)

Grace says, "I am NOT getting in that pool!"








Saturday, May 19, 2012

Amazed!



I'm not sure why I am so surprised, but yet again, Treasure has amazed me!  Today was gorgeous.  The dogs and I hung out in the yard most of the day.  Treasure laid under my lawn chair and puttered around in the puppy pool.  Several times during this time, I left and went into the house and  returned.  Treasure stayed by my chair and the pool. 

The last time, I knew I was going to stay in the house, so before I left her, I touched her and gave her the cue for "home."  I use the cue "home" whenever we return home from somewhere and I am carrying her into the house.  I don't normally use the cue while we are in the yard.  And I don't use the cue unless I am carrying her toward the house. 

But I gathered up my things and headed to the house.  Half way across the yard, I turned and looked, and Treasure was making her way across the yard also, towards the house.  I went to the house and carried my things inside.  Treasure made her way to the back door, and came into the house. 

Was she following me?  Perhaps.  But why didn't she follow me the previous three times that I had left her to go into the house?  She patiently waited for me to return.  But this last time, after I gave her the cue "home," she didn't wait.  She responded immediately toward the house. 

She made it obvious to me today that she knows what "home" means, and that she could figure out how to get herself there without my help!  And she left me once again amazed at her intelligence and abilities!  Even after almost two years together, she continues to show me something new.

Anyone who doubts that Treasure leads a full and happy life should have been watching her today.  A warm sunny day with a gentle breeze blowing through her hair.  A smile on her face.  The picture of happiness! 


Hanging out under my chair enjoying the breeze.

My happy girl!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Carousel Park



Treasure is a PAWS for People therapy and READ dog, so this weekend she went with us to man a table at Carousel Park's Dog Day event.  Jasmine is a therapy dog trainee, so she got to come along too!  It was Jazzy's first vendor table event.  The weather was gorgeous and we had nice cool shade. 

Treasure took everything in stride.  She hung out with the other PAWS members, walked around and hung out in front of the table, rode in her stroller, and sampled lots of different dog goodies!!  Jasmine also enjoyed the dog goodies - she ate her way through the day I think!  She met a horse for the first time, and even though I was holding her, she did not like him one bit!  She started out curious until he stuck his big nose near her and snorted her with air.  That was the end of their friendship!  She enjoyed socializing with the other dogs, though, and all of the many children who are right on her level. 

Because both girls are so unusual looking, along with the fact that they were all fancied up in their collars, we had many people stopping to take pictures, ask questions, and pet them.  Many people were amazed and pleased to find out that Treasure is a therapy dog. 

By the middle of the day, Jazzy was getting tired and wanted a place to rest.  I stuck her in the stroller with Treasure.  It was a tight squeeze, but soon both girls were snoozing together as if they did it every day.  Jazzy only jumped out once while we were walking and quickly decided it was nicer to stay put and enjoy the breeze in her face. 



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coincidence?



Do you believe in coincidences? I  know I’ve had enough of them in my lifetime to know they are for real.  I started wondering just what a coincidence is.  I found a couple definitions that attempted to explain the phenomena.  One said, “Something that happens by chance in a surprising or remarkable way; the fact of happening by chance.” (Encarta World English Dictionary)  Another said, “A sequence of events that although accidental seems to have been planned or arranged.”  (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)

But I am not fully satisfied with those descriptions.  They both seem to assume that a coincidence is an accident.  I tend to disagree.  I’ve had enough of these “accidents” in my life to know that there must be some planning, some intention, behind them.
How do we recognize a coincidence? When something makes us stop in our day to day life and take notice, you can bet it’s not an accident.  When an act grabs us at our core and causes us to bolt upright and try to question the why and the how, it’s most likely not an accident. 
I think a coincidence is perhaps a little flag, a wake-up call if you will, that something magical is about to happen.  It’s God’s way of drawing our attention to something, causing us to search ourselves, offering us a choice in our lives.  I imagine it as coming to a fork in the path, not a clearly defined path, but one where the main path keeps going veering softly to one side.  From the other side, there is a clearing, not a clear path that’s already been trodden, but just a clearing in the brush, an open invitation to explore there and to create a new path of discovery and growth.
That little clearing, that possibility, is not a final decision.  It’s not a done deal.  In fact, you can choose to stay on the path that is already proven and well-used.  But that coincidence is an opportunity available to you.  You can pursue it, or you can overlook it. 
The coincidences in Treasure’s story makes people sit up and take notice.  But had I decided not to pursue them, those coincidences would be lost forever.  Lost opportunities and no one would have ever known.
I found Treasure in Missouri, right as she was being adopted by someone else … someone who just happened to live half way across the country, in PA, like me.  Coincidence?  You might say strange, perhaps.  Treasure then ended up at the same rescue in MD where I had adopted previously.  She could have ended up in any other sheltie rescue, or in any other place.  But she ended up there – where I had contacts. 
Coincidence?  Perhaps.  But I recognized those coincidences, those opportunities, and I asked about her description, and found out they had the exact same dog who I had been trying to adopt months previously.  In fact, Treasure was in a foster home only a half hour from my home!
It was that first coincidence that caused me to take notice.  What are the odds of a dog being adopted from a shelter half a continent away to the very state that I live in but not to me?  I wasn’t sure where that path was going, but I knew I had to keep an eye on it and be aware.  That something remarkable was about to happen.  I didn’t have to wait for her.  I could have pursued adopting a different dog once I knew Treasure had been adopted by someone else.  In fact, I did have that opportunity given to me. 
But by just being aware of that opportunity available to me, more and more coincidences (opportunities) made themselves available to me.  Treasure has opened my world in ways I never would have imagined.
When people hear our story, they always comment that “it was meant to be.”  It was meant to be.  So how could a coincidence be by chance, or be accidental, when it is so right and meant to be?  God had His hand in things from the start.  He arranged for these things to fall into place.  Things that I had no control over as they were happening.  Thankfully, I have learned to be aware of coincidences in my life as opportunities for learning and growth.  But sometimes they are subtle and would be easy to shrug off as I’m going through my hectic life.
I do believe in coincidences.  They usually lead to amazing opportunities for exploration.  I’ve made many new friends and relationships along the way.  I’ve had the chance to do things that otherwise, I may not have experienced.  I’ve been blessed to be able to share Treasure and her story with others, to touch their hearts.  To renew their faith.
Coincidence?  You decide. 

Update on Treasure's Friends!

I just got the wonderful news that ALL three of Treasure's friends (Crystal, Snow and Frost) that we featured in March got adopted and have wonderful new homes!!  Way to go!  That is what rescue and networking are all about!  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

National Specially-abled Pets Day!

from their website




Today is National Specially-abled Pets Day!  I celebrate my three special girls today ... Treasure, Grace, and Jasmine.  And I pray for all the special pets out there still waiting to find their forever homes!  May they find that special home today! 



Grace (deaf) rolling
Jasmine (deaf/partially blind)

Treasure (deaf-blind) sun bathing

Please remember that Treasure is in the running for the AHA Hero Dog awards!  She needs everyone's vote every day.  With your help, she can win this contest and show the world what specially-abled dogs can do!  Vote below ...





Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Want One!


Wow, she’s gorgeous!  Is she an albino?  What kind of dog is she?  I didn’t know shelties came in white!  Where did you get her? How can I get one?  I want one!  These are questions and comments I hear every day when I am out and about with my double merle shelties.  People are fascinated by them. 
Yes, my girls are gorgeous, but they are also very impaired due to people’s poor decisions.  My dogs are mostly white and are stunning to look at.  They are always kept well groomed and their coats are fluffy and clean.  I’m glad to have people interested in them because it gives me a chance to educate them that shelties are definitely NOT supposed to be all white! 
People are always drawn to the rare and unusual.  My job is to help them go away with the knowledge that double merles are not a new fad that is up and coming, like the multitude of “doodle” mixes out there now.  Nor are they rare and extra valuable.  They are victims of a very sad epidemic.  One in which people are creating dogs with severe impairments for their own gain.  Double merles do not just happen by falling out of the sky.  They only happen when two dogs carrying the merle gene are bred together.  Thus, double merles are totally preventable.
Once people realize that my dogs are blind and deaf, they are shocked and saddened that someone could be so irresponsible to cause this.  Sometimes they make cruel comments that my dogs would be better off dead.  While I know my dogs are happy and healthy, some people assume that I am the cruel one to have kept them alive in the first place.  Some try to convince me to put my dogs out of their misery.  What misery?
My dogs were born this way.  They don’t miss what they never had.  It is us, as humans that feel badly for the dogs, not the dogs that feel bad for themselves.  We tend to project our own feelings onto the dogs.  We imagine how we would feel if we suddenly lost our sight and our hearing.  Yet, we were not born both blind and deaf, so we cannot personally know what they are experiencing. 
That is my opportunity to educate even more, by telling them how my dogs get around and play and what they enjoy doing.  My dogs run and play and wrestle with each other.  They play with toys.  They enjoy dog beds and going for car rides.  They like to meet new friends, both dog and human – sometimes even something new like llamas or cows!  They enjoy rally obedience, agility, and learning tricks.  They excel at K9 nosework.  They wag their tails.  They lick my face.  They live their lives to the fullest every day. 
When people see my dogs in action, they are usually amazed at how happy and well-adjusted they are.  But my dogs are not this way because they are double merles; they are this way DESPITE the fact that they are double merles.  

So, do you really want a double merle? Double merles require all of the same things as other dogs.  They need good quality food, veterinary care, walks and exercise, play time and mental stimulation, grooming, management and supervision, and training. They will need to be housetrained and taught not to chew.  Yes, they do bark and shed just like other dogs do.  They dig and they destroy things sometimes too.  They need someone who will commit to them for a lifetime, not just for a few months while the relationship is new and exciting.
So many dogs are abandoned when the excitement wears off or when things get frustrating for the owner. Double merles are no exception.  Many are let loose by the side of the road or relinquished to shelters and rescues.  Many more are killed.  Dogs, whether double merle or not, depend on us for their every need.  Are you sure you can provide for those needs for the next 10-14 years?  Maybe even longer?
Often double merles need even more than the average dog.  They may need more veterinary care depending upon the impairments caused by poor breeding practices.  They need more supervision at times.  You will need to be much more aware of keeping your dog safe, because a dog that cannot see or hear trouble coming will be at a disadvantage.  Playtime and exercise may need to be done differently depending on the dog’s abilities, and you will most likely need to learn a new way of training and communicating with your dog.  A double merle may require new or different equipment and adaptations made to its environment to ensure its safety and quality of life. 
With a double merle, you will immediately be thrust into the field of education.  Everyone will have questions and comments.  You will need to keep your cool and remain professional while you educate others about the issue of merle to merle breeding.  There will be days when you are angry with people for wanting a dog just like yours because it’s rare and different.  There will be days when you are overjoyed because you helped someone who sincerely wanted to rescue a double merle and give it a wonderful life.  It is quite an adventure.
There are many double merle dogs in need of forever homes.  Please do adopt if you are so inspired, but do it for the right reasons; not because you want that cool looking white dog to draw attention to yourself.  Get to know the dog as an individual.  Be sure that you can commit to its needs before adopting.  Educate yourself so you are able to answer the public’s questions.  It is only by educating others in a kind way that we will change their thinking.