Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tears Dripped Onto My French Fries....

The girls are on Spring Break this week and having fun with their friends. The whole Gaggle Squad had gotten together at Harper's house so hubby and I had the evening to ourselves and decided to go and split a burger at Red Robin's.

We were sitting there enjoying the hub-bub of the atmosphere, good burgers and fries, along with our tower of onion rings when hubby looked at me and said with a big grin, "Well are you ever so happy with your new little baby boy?"

It was an honest and simple question, a question that deserved a fun and smiling answer. So you can imagine the shock on hubby's face when I welled up with tears and refused to speak for fear of blubbering all over the table. Poor hubby.

It surprised me too as my mind fought through the racing thoughts.....don't make a scene, it's is just a dog, get control of yourself, you are being way too emotional, come on now you pride yourself on being a steady and strong person, yeah and pride come before the fall.......
At the same time I worked through what words I would choose to try and explain myself as my memories passed through mental images stored in my heart of 1993 to 2001.

Bear with me please, because though many would say 'it's only a dog' my heart was forever tied......and then broken. I have to do this because it is part of healing.

His name was Samson. He was a Golden Retriever given to us in Okinawa by some friends of ours. We weren't shopping for a dog at the time. I had a toddler and a new baby at home and felt my plate was pretty full. But Jim and Barbie came to us with this little pup.

"He was the runt in a litter of 9", they said. "We felt so sad for him because there was just no room for him to grow properly in such a big litter and he is missing his front leg. We felt it only humane to put him down but our son Chris refused to let us. He is now three months old and has proven to be the strongest of all his brothers and sisters. Wouldn't you know he is now the biggest of all of them even though he is the last to hobble to his food bowl. We asked God what family could give him the attention he needs and you kept coming to our minds."

Hubby let it be my choice. Though he fell instantly in love, he knew I would be the one doing all the 'taking care of' since I was at home with the babies. One look at that little rolly polly guy and my heart melted. He was strong and sure of himself and had learned very well how to get around without a front leg. He even used his stub (He had a shoulder and part of a leg that extended a couple of inches down and ended with a tiny little paw pad.) for balance whenever he knelt down to smell the ground.

Samson was ever so smart and so quick to train. He became house broken after only 3 accidents. Leash or no leash was never a problem for him because he appointed himself the mighty protector to the girls and I. As a matter of fact, when he was only 8 months old he proved himself to be something of the movie famed Lassie. Our front yard was on a hillside slopping downward to the main street running through the base. As quick as quick can be, our toddler got up from our play area and started running down the hill....quickly losing her footing and control. Before I could even get completely on my feet, Samson ran passed her and stopped sideways. He had made himself to become something of a wall and caught her in his belly so that she bounced off him and fell to the ground. Then he nudged her with his nose to right herself up and waddle back to us.

Really, I promise it is a true store and no fabrication or truth stretching at all.

He went everywhere we went and did everything we did. It is hard to believe without seeing it but even with his missing front leg he loved to swim and did it with excellence. I could go on and on with so many stories but I fear of boring you.

When he was 8 years old, Samson started to slow down. He started to propel himself around the house by walking his hind feet and pushing his one good front leg in front of him, looking something like a wheel barrow I suppose. He was sore all the time but he never complained. He dutifully followed me everywhere around the house, always at my feet so that he could second guess whatever I needed. Eventually it became hard for him to even go outside to do his daily business, a fact that I could tell humiliated him. He would try so hard and then end up hurting himself with cuts and bruises from falling.

His front shoulder could no longer take the pressure of his 70 pound frame anymore. Surgery was not an option because there was no other leg to compensate during recovery. My husband and I did the only thing we could do for Samson. We held him and hugged him at the clinic as the vet helped him go to sleep one last time.

Oh Father God this still hurts so much. Please help me get through this and heal.

We did have a couple more dogs after that but it just wasn't the same for me. I tried to love them. I had compassion for them, I cared for them, but something was missing. I don't know if it was because my life was busy or if I was comparing or if I was just broken. I would often ask inside my heart....what is wrong with me? I didn't even want to be around friends pets and that confused me even more because I had always been something sort of an animal whisperer type of person. I began to think that maybe I just wasn't supposed to have animals anymore....

Until I started thinking about this little guy. When this thought started to grow in my head and heart almost a year ago to research Westies, things began to change in me. It took time to heal and change. God let it become a yearning for me because that is what I needed to clear away the emptiness that was in my heart.

Gosh I am so in love with this little fuzzball. It is only a week that he has been mine and he has completely changed my life. I am so grateful.
I had better stop writing for now and go clean the tears off my face. Thank you for listening and understanding. Thank you for letting me get it all out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Can Help Too.....

This reminds me of when the girls were little and they would want to help me do the chores.

I was at the local dollar store a couple of days ago and found this little white squeaker toy that he is nuts over. It is funny because all of his other little squeaky toys he jumps on and baby growls at. This little "pup" friend gets a friendly sniff, lick, and then an alpha bite.

I am getting ready to leave for youth group. It is the first time I have to leave him at home. No that isn't true. I have run to the grocery store for fast things. But tonight I will be gone for 4 hours. Hubby will be home giving him undivided attention. So why do I feel so silly worried and guilty?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 2 of Normal Living ......

This is Kekoa playing with a Nylabone. Isn't he the fearsome hunter? I find myself buying more toys every day for him....partly because he is in such a teething mode and partly because I just want to spoil him rotten.

Am I driving you nuts yet with talking about my little guy? I have to laugh at myself because I know I have gone off the deep end. I am so in love already. He has fun playing with hubby and the girls. But when he realizes I am not in the room he will stop playing to go look for me and then jump up and down in scattered puppy excitement when his mission succeeds. I don't really mind getting up with him in the middle of the night for a potty run either because he hugs my face and kisses me like I was lost for a long time.

Potty training is going well I think. We have had just a few piddle accidents. I praise him like crazy when we succeed. Everything I have read says that Westies are so smart that if the owner is diligent....even a 9 week old baby can learn the ropes of house training in a week or so. I do hope that is true.

The vet visit went well. He is a whopping 5.4 pounds right now and half way through getting all of his shots. I will be so glad for that last round of shots. Then we can go for walks without worrying about catching bad sick germs.

Okay my time is up for now. The "baby" needs me.

Blessings to you!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Say Awe......

Seriously, is there anyone who could even try to resist that face?

Saturday was of course all new for Kekoa and us both with the long distance driving and learning all the new things in this big new world. Car noises, giant people walking everywhere, taking a bath, being without his brothers and was all a shock.

Yesterday I had him in the car all day long. After church we went up to visit my folks and Kekoa met Lani and my brother's beautiful golden retriever.....another first for him to see a dog so big.

So that is why today is Day 1 of 'normal home living'. It is now 11am and we have played, eaten, done business several times, slept, played, and slept again. It is like having a baby in the house. He has to know where I am at all times and really prefers touching me when possible. House training has gone well and so far I have gotten him outside every time.

I think I will take him to the vet today to get an update on his baby shots. I are thinking "more trauma".

Blogger note....For some weird reason, only half of my comment notifications end up in my email box. I am having to make it a point to go to my blog and see if anyone has commented because many of them I don't see otherwise. And if someone comments on an older post I wonder if I will ever know........
Do you have any idea how I can fix this? I have tried to reset my email address in my preferences but that didn't do any good. It's frustrating. I don't want to miss anyone.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

In Which I Pick Out A Puppy......

We were up and out the door at 8am this morning so that we could make the 3 hour drive to the breeder's home before lunch. As the miles clicked away I found myself getting excited and then nervous with anticipation. Everything I have read and researched was circling around in my mind as if my random thoughts were playing tag with each other in a jumbled taunting sort of way.

I've never had a puppy this young before. Will I do things right?
Do I really want to use the crate?
Do I want to breed him later on or get things taken care of early on?
Did I buy the right food?
Do I have enough toys?

On and on it went until we pulled into her driveway. Then my mind went blank. There were 4 puppies in the cage begging to be held and given attention. One of them was a girl and she was sold already. The other three were boys and all were available for my picking. Me....the person who has always had dogs since before I could walk and has done all the proper 'research' said out loud, "Oh my I don't know what to do. How do I pick one?"

Sybil, the puppy breeder, just smiled at me and said, "hold this one first and see what happens." It seems that the first one she put into my arms did the deciding for me. He flattened himself out on my chest, wrapped his little paws around my neck, and nuzzled his head into my ear. Then he leaned back and with both paws on each side of my cheeks, he held my head in place while giving me proper hello kisses.

I tried to take turns holding the other two. Hubby really liked the runt and so I tried to hold him a few times to see if 'anything special' would grab me but in the end my Romeo won out. Hubby graciously let me make the decision and told me it was completely my choice.

Officially, Kekoa will be 9 weeks old on Monday. Sybil said he was a whopping 8 oz. at birth and one of 8 babies to be born in this litter.

River Poet asked me to explain a bit about the Westie breed and why I chose him.

West Highland White Terriers originally came about when the Cairn Terriers would whelp white pups. It is said that back in the 1800's that Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm was responsible for bringing the breed about for aiding in his hunting preferences. Apparently one day as he was hunting foxes, he mistook his prized reddish brown hunting dog for a fox and shot him by accident. The Colonel then decided that having a hunting dog that was a striking color difference would be helpful in avoiding tragedy.

The above information is legend sprinkled with truth. Now for some real facts.....
Westies are a hardy and energetic breed. They stand roughly 11 inches at the shoulders and weigh between 16 and 20 pounds in adulthood. They love to go walking and hiking without being typically dainty like more smaller breed dogs. Their stamina lasts well into their senior years and it is not uncommon to find a 16 year old Westie who still enjoys a good hike. At the same time, they are very versatile and are just as happy in a smaller environment like an apartment as long as they get to expend a bit of energy every now and again.

Westies are known for being very intelligent and eager to please so it makes training very easy. You will often see Westies as circus type show dogs because of the tricks they can learn and their obvious cuteness factor.

Also unlike most small breed dogs, Westies love all people and enjoy the whole family instead of choosing to love only one person and ignoring the rest of the home. Another perk is that while many small dogs tend to be yappers, the Westie will listen and stop when trained correctly.

The Westie coat is soft and coarse. Because of this they do not have the typical doggie type smell as they age and their coats repel dirt. This also makes them a great pet for people with allergies because their shedding and dander is very minimal.

Wow I guess I really did do my homework huh?

Here is a short 30 second video clip I took with my cell phone of Kekoa....because watching little pups trip around is just too cute.

(I am reading my post over again right now and it sounds like I might be slamming other little type dogs. Really that isn't the case. They are cute in their own right too and if you have a little dog I know you are just as happy as can be.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

For Real?.......

"So what do you think of the name Kekoa?" I said as we were driving home from the school bus stop.
Both girls commented that it sounded interesting but wanted to know what it meant.
"It means the courageous one in Hawaiian.........and I think it is what I will call the puppy that I am going to pick up on Saturday!"
Good golly there were so many squeals of delight filling my car.

Yes that is right. Saturday my prayers are being answered and I will be getting a little puppy.
As I have mentioned before, I have been researching for months about dog types and then everything about the one I want.
I am getting a West Highland White Terrier, or Westie for short.
There have been so many decisions to make.......boy or a girl, puppy or adult, food and care......
The more I learned the more the desire built up inside me. The really hard part has been the cost. With working to pay off all those bills and be debt free there is no play room to cover the cost of a breeder right now. So I have been telling myself to be mature and wait patiently. It didn't stop me from looking through the ads though. For a while it helped me just to look and know that some day I would have my turn. But lately I have been driving myself crazy with that desire.

So what changed? I happened to find a breeder that listened to my situation and decided it was more important to place her little one in my loving home than to earn a large fee.
I cannot even begin to explain to the fullest extent the excitement and favor I feel right now.

Be ready for tons of 10 week old puppy pictures in a couple of days.

Friday, March 6, 2009

God's Provision....

This picture of hubby and I on the California coast was taken a couple of years ago. It was a fun trip and you can read all about it if you go here and scroll half way down. I chose this picture for today simply because with our busy teen raising season we are in at the moment....I don't have many pictures of us together. But all of that isn't even important at the moment because right now I want to simply share about God's Provision.

Hubby is a very hard worker. He is never one for keeping very still (unless there is a fun movie on t.v. that is). As a high school senior way back in the day, he balanced school and three jobs at the same time. Then he made the Air Force a whirlwind of a career, settling into the sort of job that ......well that we could never talk about because it was a secret.

14 Years ago he retired and decided to follow his dad into the world of truck driving. Boy is he good at it. He can back a 73 foot truck and trailer combo into a tight spot faster than you can say "eighteen wheeler". He works for a local long haul family type trucking company and has been with them thru good times and slow times. (What does local long haul mean? It means that he can put up to some 500 miles on his truck in a single day and be home at the end of his shift.) He has built up seniority there and above all else has definitely shown his character.

Why am I telling you this? Well the basic story goes like this.......
With the current economy, as work is getting tight and the demand for product goes down, the company has had to put the drivers on an every other day rotation roster. All the drivers that is except my husband. They have asked him to be part of a new long term project and they changed his pay style. See, for the last 14 years, he has been paid by what he does. That is the way with most trucking establishments. A paycheck will vary each week depending on the loads and mileage that each driver does. It is honest pay for honest work.......but it had made poor hubby have to always compute in his head every day how much he needs to do so that we as a family can live. That can become a pretty stressful way of thinking. Now though, his pay is going to be based off of an hourly salary and guaranteed 55 hours a week.

Do you see God's provision there? For the last 4 years we have been working hard to pay off all of our bills and become debt free. We now have 10 months left to go and we are locked into our plan. If he would have been one chosen to work every other day, oh how quickly we would have spiraled into financial oblivion.
We are so humbled and grateful for God's favor.

I don't mean it to sound like we are jumping up and down in a virtual party here. I know that others are affected in a bad way with this company shift and I do feel for them and have compassion. Do you know what I mean?

(David at Authorblog honored this post with a mention in his post of the day column. I am so glad to be able to share our blessings with everyone.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

He said, "Happy Valentines Day".....

Maybe three weeks ago, my 'Rosie-girl' (who prefers now to be called Puddin' but I am slow to change) went out on a heart adventure with some friends. It wasn't the typical sort of thing one finds teens and young adults doing, but it suited them just fine.

Working together with The Father's Heart Ministry they cooked up a bunch of breakfast food, gathered up clothing and blankets from the warehouse, and set out in search of the familiar faces of those in need.

Puddin' said it was an amazing day for her. She was able to share smiles, prayers, and love with people whose only difference from us was the fact that they had not a roof over their heads.

Along the way, one gentleman came up to her and interestingly enough asked if she had a mom. When she replied yes he said, "I have made something here out of envelopes and it took me quite some time to make. I know if I keep a hold of it in my circumstances...... it will get ruined. Could you please give this to your mom and tell her Happy Valentines Day?"

Isn't that simply amazing?

Who knows the circumstances of how people end up on the streets. At times it is the sad situation of substance abuse, some are there just to take advantage of peoples generosity, then there are the ones who truly tried all that they could but had the doors of economy and hardship slammed in their faces.

And yet, they have joy and beauty flowing from their hearts, just waiting for someone to notice.

(David at Authorblog has honored this post with an award. Thank you so much David for sharing with everyone. )