A Dog Named Remi

Remi

My story begins last year when I bought a new home in Belgrade, MO. On the day of closing I drove out to my new home to take a look around. Upon arrival I exited the truck to only be met by a very angry dog.

Now I had never seen this dog and was to find out later that it was the previous owners dog. Now they had not only not told me about the dog but they seemed to have forgot to tell her they were moving and she no longer lived there. Bad, bad owners.

It seemed she was very protective of her abode and had no intentions of letting me in the house. She became even more angry and at one point had me by the pants leg.

My house

Well I managed to get loose and back in the truck and pulled out. Now all I could think was what in the hell am I going to do now. I can’t call animal control because she would have probably eventually been euthanized.

I returned the next day armed to the hilt with treats. The neighbor met me and explained that he had agreed to take care of her until they could get her. So he introduced us and we became friends. It is very difficult to explain to a dog that the home where she lived for five years was no longer hers. Being the sucker I am I let her in and she had no intentions of leaving.

My bed my house

So now I have a dog. She still goes and visits the neighbor. We are best of friends and she is a joy to have around. The old owners never returned to get her. She seems to be quite content and I don’t think she really misses them. I said I would never have another dog when I lost my two to cancer. Shows you how little I know.

Ahh. Home sweet home.

Importance of Trust

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”Stephen Covey

Trust is as critical to a relationship as the blood that courses through our body giving us life. Relationships are built on trust. It is only as strong as the trust it was built on. It takes time to build trust yet it can be destroyed in a blink of an eye. Two of the biggest causes are cheating and lying. The best way to preserve trust is to not give a reason to be mistrusted. When we give a reason the seed of doubt is planted in our minds where it festers and infects our minds until it totally destroys the trust that had been built. Once that trust is broke it is hard to get back and if you do it is never as strong as the original trust. So many people seem to take trust for granted putting their relationship in jeopardy. Trust shouldn’t be taken lightly. If one values their relationship they should be careful to not leave any room for doubt to destroy it.

Let the Healing Begin

St. Francis River near Frederiktown River

“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.”

Steve Goodier

At the moment, the world is in great need of lots of love and healing. Presently there is so much hate and discontent and it looks as if it is going to get worse before it gets better. Turmoil and confusion are the new norm. People are being controlled through fear, intimidation and misinformation. It has come to the point that one doesn’t know what to believe.

St. Francis River near Fredericktown, MO.

Pray, pray and pray some more. We are told that, “the truth shall set you free!” What is the truth? The whole truth and nothing but the truth. That’s a $64 question.

I don’t know what is in our future. We can’t give up or lose sight of what we believe in or our dreams. We have to be kind to each other even if we disagree with each other. Healing won’t start until we learn to love one another. I pray that we learn from all of this so that we will be stronger in the future.

St. Francis River near Fredericktown, MO

I chose the pictures I used because of the peace and solace it gives me. It is my safe place and my place for healing. The rocks represent me, and the river is life. Every day the rocks (me) get pounded by the river (life) and the rocks persevere. The river just takes the rough edges off the rocks.

The Dark Side of Christmas

My Precious Kate

I love the Christmas Holidays but unfortunately there is a dark side to Christmas.

Soon the shelters and rescues will begin filling up with older dogs that were surrendered by heartless owners. The only thing they are guilty of is growing old.

Dogs that have been with the same family for 10 to 15 years find themselves in a strange place surrounded by strangers. They are scared and soon become depressed. Yes, dogs can suffer from depression. They have feelings too. When are they coming back to get me? What did I do to deserve this?

I just can’t understand how people can be so heartless and cold to an animal that gave them nothing but unconditional love.

Kate as a puppy.

Then a month or two after Christmas the shelters and rescues begin filling up with Christmas puppies. Owners who didn’t really research puppy ownership have decided it is too much work.

I beg of you, if you are thinking about getting someone a puppy for Christmas, stop and think. First are you going to consider this new puppy part of the family? Second can you make the commitment to give this new pup a forever home? If the answer is not sure or no then walk away from it. They deserve a forever home.

My Eros as a pup.
My Eros all grown up.

I unfortunately lost them 28 days apart to cancer.

As Christmas approaches I beg of you to not be heartless and surrender your old dog to a shelter or rescue. If you are thinking of buying one for a present STOP and ask yourself if you can be fully committed to accepting the pup as a family member and giving it the forever home it deserves. If you have any doubt at all then PLEASE walk away.

Remi
Remi

There is an interesting story about Remi. I bought a house and the people who owned the house left Remi and a neighbor took the job of caring for her.

On the day I closed on the property I went to the house and was greeted by Remi. Teeth bared she wasn’t going to let me in the house. At one point she had me by the pants leg. I managed to make it back to the truck without getting bit. She was just protecting her house from a stranger. No one told her it wasn’t her house anymore.

The next day I came back and the neighbor met me and properly introduced Remi and I. Now we are the best of friends and she lives between both houses. She really has the best of both worlds.

The Curse of Opinions

“Everyone has his or her own opinion and I welcome criticism. That’s why we have freedom of expression and that’s also what I stand for – but I won’t stand for insults.” – Ilkay Gundogan

Talk to the hand because the ears aren’t listening. This seems to be the mantra of today’s society. There use to be a time in this country when two people of different opinions could partake of a little spirited debate and walk away still friends. Not so much anymore. No such thing as peaceful debate. Instead insults and juvenile name calling is more the norm.

Everyone is different. We all have different likes and dislikes. Some people like summer some like winter. There are those that prefer more government and those that prefer less. They are opinions based upon a person’s thoughts and life experiences. It doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong.

The reality is everyone is going to have a difference of opinion. It’s a given and we as a society need to learn to accept it, learn to live with it and move on. We have to learn to agree to disagree.

“The only sin that we never forgive is a difference of opinions.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I watch with great sadness as friends and family turn their backs on each other because of their differences of opinions. I myself have been called stupid, ignorant, moron etc. because my opinion is different than theirs.

I won’t apologize for my opinions nor do I expect you to apologize for yours. I am entitled to my opinion and you yours.

I am not responsible for your happiness. I am only responsible for mine. What I am responsible for is to be kind to you and to respect your opinions. No insults or name calling and to love you as I love myself.

It is time for us to stop, take a deep breath, think about what we are doing and fix it. To bury our differences, embrace each other and seek harmony. We need to eliminate the hate that is running rampant in our society. Can it be done? I don’t know but I do know the world would be a much better place and certainly worth the effort.

Gone But Not Forgotte

My best friend and me.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

On January 1, 2011 a wonderful Australian Shepherd was born. Little did I know how much she would change my life and bring so much joy to me. She unfortunately had a rough start in life. She was plagued with crystals in her urine that caused immense pain and at a year old she would have hip dysplasia surgery.

After surgery.

She was comfortable on the couch so this would be her hospital bed. I slept on the floor beside her until she was able to get on and off the couch by herself. She would try to chew her stitches and I refused to force her to wear the cursed collar so I improvised.

She adapted well to the shorts.

I was a farrier and Kate became my ride dog. We were together everyday and became quite inseparable. She loved going with me and took her job at riding shotgun very seriously.

Kate riding shotgun.
Kate with me on the job.

Kate was very well behaved and loved to take walks.

I think she is trying to tell me something.

I have never owned a dog as loving as Kate. She had to constantly be by my side and if she wasn’t she kept an eye on me to make sure I didn’t slip off without her.

My constant companion.
In the Christmas spirit.

I have had several dogs over the course of 60 plus years but none of them touched me like Kate did. I was her human. She was a great listener and after a rough day she always managed to make me smile and lift my spirits.

Then the fateful day of a vet visit, x-rays showed her lungs were filled with tumors and there was no cure. I was devastated and my whole world came falling down around me. I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it. She was my everything and more. I know there are those of you rolling your eyes and saying she is just a dog and to you I say you have never recognized nor appreciated the unconditional love of a dog. She was family. She filled me with joy and happiness.

Kate the puppy.
Her last day riding shotgun.

On Friday morning (Jan 24, 2020) I had to go into town. That morning she clung to me more than usual. When I opened the door she almost knocked me down to get to the truck. She was going with me come hell or high water. I had to help her into the truck and when we returned I had to help her out.

I had an appointment on Tuesday to have her euthanized to end her suffering. Little did I know but I think Kate did, that that would be her last ride and our last day together. We spent that day together and I cooked her a porterhouse steak for dinner. It was a good day.

She awoke me in the wee hours of Saturday morning, Jan 25 gasping for air. What happened then was down right ugly and heartbreaking. She fought hard and I felt so helpless. At 1:26 a.m. her fight was over. I had lost my best friend. At least her suffering was over.

Kate on her last day with me. RIP

Many won’t understand the devastation of losing a dog because they have not really understood the unconditional love they possess. The loss of Kate left a huge hole in my heart. I still come home looking for her to greet me. I am pretty much a loner by choice and I very rarely get lonely and when I do it is because of the void she left in my life. I will never forget her and the joy she brought me.

Meddlin’ Kate Jan 1, 2011 – Jan 25, 2020

Facing Fear

He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

At the end of Liberty Hollow, near the town named Fear, was a modest homestead occupied by a humble two room shack. Void of all the modern conveniences, electricity and running water. It backed up to a gentle slope of Freedom Mountain. Within the walls of this shack lived a mountain of a man, strong as an ox but as gentle as the falling snow.

He stayed to himself and lived a simple life. Lived off the land and never took more than what he needed to sustain his way of life.

Once a month he would venture into town to get supplies he couldn’t produce himself i.e., flour, lard, coffee and a plug or two of Days Work. Standing at 6’4” with his salt and pepper beard cascading to the middle of his chest, jet black hair resting on his shoulders and his chiseled physique made him quite intimidating to the towns people.

He was never violent, showed nothing but kindness and appeared happy, but the inhabitants of Fear were afraid of him. Was it the unknown that they feared? No one really knew anything about him. No one attempted to befriend him or get to know him. They would cross the street to avoid him. Fear was in control.

He was surrounded by mystery. He talked to the woodland creatures and doctored them when they were hurt. The “Keeper” of Mother Nature’s woodland creatures? They had no fear of him.

The inhabitants of the town of Fear thought he was possessed and added to their fear of him. This behavior wasn’t normal. It’s sad how when folks don’t understand something or somebody they are governed by fear.

Years went by with no change. One day he didn’t show up in town to pick up his supplies. Another month came and went and he was a no show. Town folk just assumed he died but their fear of him kept them from investigating.

Fear breeds rumors and it wasn’t long until rumors started circulating around town. Some said he died from a lonely heart, others said he went mad and took his own life and one rumor was that what possessed him transformed him into a coyote and is running wild in the wilderness to this day.

Some town folks recall one odd night when the coyotes became restless and their mournful howls could be heard throughout Liberty Hollow. It was as if they were mourning. The other woodland creatures seemed to go into hiding for a week. Had the “Keeper” of Mother Nature’s woodland creatures been called home? Fear kept the town’s people from ever knowing.

Never let fear rule your life. Always face your fears and put them behind you. You will be a better person for it. Facing fear not only changes your life it also encourages those around you to do the same. When we let fear control our lives we rob ourselves of peace, love, happiness and quality of life. Fear can be defeated but we have to do it ourselves, no one can do it for us. If just one person would have faced their fear of this man it could have turned the whole town around and there could have been a happy ending. After all the animals had no fear of him. They saw the good in him.

Tough Choice For Pet Owners

I wrestled with writing about this particular subject but I felt it might be beneficial to other pet owners facing this tough decision. I was faced with it in November 2019 and again in January 2020.

To euthanize or let nature take its course. It’s a very tough decision and when you do decide you almost always second guess yourself. Did I make the right decision? Who knows what the right decision is? We really don’t have anyway of knowing for sure. We have to ask ourselves if we are keeping them alive for them or for us. They can’t talk so we really don’t know if they are suffering.

In my case the first decision came when my Great Pyrenees, Eros, was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. The veterinarian gave me my options. Treat with steroids, chemotherapy or euthanasia. I didn’t want to put him through chemo so I opted for steroids and pain pills.

Eros responded well the first 3 days. Then he had a couple bad days. He began to get worse. I knew I had to make a decision and it was gut wrenching. I weighed the pros and cons and looking at them I asked myself if I was keeping him alive for me or him. In my case I decided it was for me so I made an appointment for him to cross the bridge.

I almost waited too long. The night before he got down and the only way he could get up was if I lifted him up on his legs. I practically had to carry him to the truck and load him to go to the vet’s office.

They had a room for us to go to without going through the waiting room. It was nice but just seemed such a cold impersonal place for him to take his last breath. I got down on the floor and held him as the vet injected him with the death serum. It was over quickly.

My second decision came in January 2020. My beloved Australian Shepherd, my ride dog, had developed a strange cough. I made Kate an appointment at the vets. I was afraid it was heart worms but that test came back negative. They decided to take some X-Rays. Her lungs were riddled with tumors. This was a Wednesday and when I asked the vet how long he thought she had he said a week two weeks tops. With Eros fresh in my mind I made the first appointment they had available. It was for Monday of the following week.

The vet had prescribed her some pain pills to help make her comfortable. Friday morning I needed to go to town so I took Kate with me. She had a rough time getting in the truck. We headed to town. Little did I know this would be our last ride together.

Back at the house I had to literally pick her up and set her on the ground. That’s when I noticed the spark was gone from her eyes. She got worse as the night progressed. I am not going to go into detail but the last 15 minutes of her life was not pretty. She took her last breath at 12:21 a.m. at home with just me and her.

I had hoped Eros would pass in his sleep but the memory of his death isn’t marred by a death struggle. I will always have Kate’s terrible fight haunting me.

I don’t second guess myself on my decision for Eros anymore. I had made the right decision with Kate but the appointment was too late.

For anyone having to make this decision I hope my experience helps you with your decision. Most of all I hope you don’t ever second guess yourself.

If you choose euthanasia promise yourself you will be there with them when they take their last breath. You being there helps their anxiety. Please don’t let them take their last breath alone with strangers. You owe them that much.

In Memory Of

Eros

Kate

Gone But Never Forgotten

Meddlin’ Kate

January 1, 2011

January 25, 2020

The picture at the top was taken Friday morning on our way into town. I had no idea it would be our last ride together. Somehow I think she knew it was.

Poor Kate was a victim of bad breeding. She had hip dysplasia and when she reached a year old surgery was performed. She recovered well. As a pup she suffered from crystals in her urine. They were quite painful.

This picture was after we brought her home from surgery. She slept on the couch after surgery and I slept on the floor beside her.

There are so many memories. I have never felt alone in my life but today I for the first time feel alone. RIP my precious girl.

Don’t Know How Much I Can Endure

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.” – Thom Jones

I just had to have my Great Pyrenees euthanized on November 6, 2019. Cancer had attacked his body and he lost the war. He was only six years old.

Today, January 22,2020 I had a veterinarian appointment for my Australian Shepherd, Kate. X-Rays showed her lungs were riddled with tumors. I was devastated.

Kate was born on January 1, 2011. We became very attached to each other. I was a horseshoer and she was my ride dog. We were inseparable.

The vet thinks she has 1 to 2 weeks left with me before she crosses the bridge. Her crossing will leave a huge hole in my heart. Those who don’t love and respect animals like I do think I am being silly. For those of you who understand what it is like to love or be loved by a dog I thank God for you because you get it.

Wayne White

“The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of its master.” – Unknown