From our Poodle to you and yours,
Happy Valentines Day!
This classic popped into my YouTube feed moments ago. I have no reason to know why as I haven’t ever searched Nicolette Larson. However there is a reason I stopped everything to push play.
Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love – 1978
My first dog that I ever brought to my own home after leaving my parents house was a blonde cocker spaniel named Nicholas. Unfortunately in the first week of his stay at my home he got loose and ran into a busy street about 3 blocks away. We found his body lying in the bushes of the median the next day.
I returned to the SPCA where I had adopted him and a new litter of puppies had arrived. They were mixed Shepard puppies, 8 of them. As I sat on the floor with them and they played and played it was so hard to decide as to which one would be mine. All of the sudden it was obvious. One of them, a little girl, had gotten comfortable in my crossed legged lap and fallen asleep. It was a match.
After bringing her home the first thing was to name her. Nicholas had a name from his previous owner, she was just an 8 week old ball of fur. Naming her after him seemed fitting. Nicolette came to mind which was immediately followed by this song popping into my head from one of my favorite late 1970s artist, remember this was the early 1980s so late ‘70s artist were relatively fresh. That would be it, her name would be Nicolette Larson.
From that day forward she was my baby and her name sake a favorite artist. Now to find a photo from the days long before digital photography.
…I’ll post a photo as soon as I find a good one.
Cheers to both Nicolette Larson the singer and Nicolette Larson my dearest first dog as both of you are long on the other side of the rainbow bridge. One day I’ll see you both again.
As many of you already know we rescued a German Shepard just over three weeks ago. He is a wonderful dog. His health has improved well and his progress continues.
Just for reference this is a photo from the shelter just before adpotion:
And here he is on June 22 at home:
He is young boy and is quite the handsome gentleman. What a treasure!
As many of you dear readers know we lost our beloved Gilda to old age on April 19. She was an amazing Belgian Shepard whom we rescued done 14 years ago who lived until almost her 17th birthday. When she passed I knew that another dog would come into our lives at some point. Most likely a dog that needed help just as she had.
Last Monday May 24 a video popped into my YouTube feed from the San Diego Humane Society. I clicked play and then made a comment that he was a handsome boy.
The very next day on Tuesday I was scheduled to meet with my friend and SDHS philanthropy representative Carol to make a donation in the honor of Gilda. It was a beautiful day and we sat out on the patio to catch up since Covid had kept me away from an in person meeting for more than a year. I even got to meet the SDHS President, Gary Weitzman’s, new Shepard pup as we got caught up on all the changes around the shelter as well as the new programs that are in the works.
After we met, Carol took me on a tour of the medical facilities and then at my request, the adoption floor. I wasn’t looking for Stubbs but recognized him immediately from his You Tube video when we walked past his kennel. He seemed sweet but was way larger than I have ever even desired a dog for my home, much larger than Gilda ever was and she was large for me. We kept on moving and I saw many more dogs. There was a chihuahua that caught my eye but nothing clicked that bell saying this is the one. We said goodbye and I went home.
However Stubbs and the Chihuahua both stayed on my mind. So on Wednesday I e-mailed Carol and she put me in touch with an adoption counselor. I set up an appointment to come in and meet the two pups Thursday morning.
The chihuahua was definitely sweet and much more my cup of tea, but Stubbs needed help. Turns out he had been found abandoned and tied up to a coffee shop railing in the La Jolla area of San Diego on April 25. Severely malnourished and underweight he had mange, mites, pyoderma, ear infections, severe skin infections, diarrhea and had very little fur left anywhere on his body. He was a dog that should weight 80-85 lbs who weighed in at 54lbs upon admission. By the time I met him and in these photos he has gained 10 lbs and you can still see every bone in his body.
I didn’t adopt Stubbs at that moment but I made an appointment to come back Friday afternoon at 3:30 so The Better Half could meet both. As many of you know, Friday morning I received the news our beloved Anne Marie had passed away. I was devastated. At least I had something to look forward to in the afternoon.
The Better Half came home from work and off to SDHS we went. The adoption counselor greeted us and asked which one we wanted to meet with first. I said Stubbs. We were escorted into the agility yard and Stubbs was brought in. He was just a wonderful gentle soul who exudes love and joy even though he’s in such poor condition and obvious discomfort. It was a match. Ken looked at me and said “this is what we do, we rescue those who need us the most”.
After some paperwork, he was in the car and off to Petsmart for supplies we were going to need then home to meet the pack.
Oliver became his name in that short trip home as Oliver means “of the olive tree” and the olive tree means “Friendship”, he couldn’t be a friendlier guy. It just fit. He is adjusting well, knows how to sit and stay, is verbally expressive like a husky when interacting and he has not yet barked. He’s been to his new vet and has a dermatologist consult next week. He walks well on his leash, has had two baths and just a few days later he seems more comfortable in his skin.
Oliver is just a big goofy gentle soul who has a forever home with two men and 5 little dogs who love him.
He’s even a gentleman when riding to the vet!
My heart is filled with joy. Oliver is a gift of love and joy!
Gilda came into our lives as a stray whom we rescued some 14 years ago when she was about 2 years old. It was actually a very long, stressful and convoluted story but we were fortunate to legally adopt her from her owners with the help of our local shelter. She was also fortunate that it was my car she stepped out into the road in front of that day. I first wrote about her HERE and also celebrated her 12th birthday HERE .
Gilda was a Belgian Laekenois and Belgian Malinois cross. She had been purchased by a young family in our neighborhood to be a guard dog. Belgians are a special breed that can be difficult for inexperienced dog owners to handle. It was not a good mix and she found herself in a horrible situation. I won’t go any further into details except that by the time she stepped into traffic in front of my moving car she was malnourished and maladjusted. At the moment my eyes landed on her I didn’t yet realize the blessing the universe had just placed into my path, I just knew I had to get this strange and frightened dog to safety.
After many healthy years here with us, Gilda started her decline about a year ago. It was slow and she had many wonderful days, but she had some struggles too. It’s when the struggles outweigh the good days that we owners have to make that final hard choice. Last Saturday it appeared it was about time to call the vet for the home visit, by Sunday evening it was obvious. Monday morning at 8 am the phone weighed about 20 pounds as I dialed the number, fortunately they had a 12 noon opening for the same day.
Monday was a beautiful day and The Better Half had the day off. We were able to open all the doors and windows and spend the morning right here on the house giving her her favorite treats, help her out into her yard for a few last trips and lounge on the floor with her in her comfy bed. We were all blessed as the breeze blew through the house and she could part this life peacefully with us and all her sibling dogs at her side.
While we will never see her beautiful sparkling eyes again in this life, we know we will on the other side. She was the most loyal, loving and gentle soul that anyone could ever be blessed with in life.
Goodbye for now Gilda. Please say hello to Mitzi, Virgil, Diva, & Nina for us. We love you and look forward to the day we can hold you close again.
Cause we all need this about right now.
It’s Christmas Time – Macklemore feat. Dan Caplen – 2019
For those who regularly read throughout the year, you will see why this video resonates with me at this time. Christmas will just be different without our dear Mitzi and Virgil this year for we will deeply miss them.
Hazel, may your first Christmas with us be amazing.
Love, hugs and wet kisses!
Thanksgiving 2019, Fearsome holding Abner as Hazel lounges on his back.
Let us officially introduce …
Hazel has been adjusting quite well. She had her first veterinary visit today and has a clean bill of health. She is a happy girl!
Naming dogs ain’t easy.
What would you name this adorable girl?
The first three photographs were from the San Diego Humane Society website. The fourth photo is from my iPhone when I met her in person this morning. The name given her upon her transfer into SDHS August 13 up until her adoption this afternoon at 5 pm was Riley. She doesn’t respond to Riley and we don’t think it fits her.
Oh, did I forget to mention that we adopted a dog today?
This summer has been one of loss for us after first losing Mitzi back in June and then losing her brother Virgil unexpectedly last week. The better half wasn’t so sure me going from shelter to shelter was the best way to deal with my grief. I mean after all we still had 5 dogs. However I saw our girl to soon be named on the SDHS website when grieving the day after Virgil passed and was immediately taken with her.
I went to SDHS to take a look at her that same day last week and she was asleep when I found her so I went out to talk to the receptionist and find out more. Her story goes like this:
She apparently was at a shelter out on El Centro CA (about a 2-3 hour drive east of San Diego out in the desert) where they have way more dogs than adopters. SDHS contracts to take 30-40 of this shelter’s dogs headed for euthanasia monthly in order to lessen the number of dogs needlessly killed in that community. She was a lucky one on August 13. She arrived here, was spayed and then went up for adoption.
She was adopted fairly soon thereafter, but was returned back to SDHS as she reportedly did not get along with the man of the household. She was shortly thereafter adopted again and then returned after she snapped at one of the children who had swatted her with a flip flop for peeing in the house. It was after that return I found her last week.
After hearing her story I had to think about it as dogs that have bounced in and out can develop behavior issues, or ones they have can be reinforced or exacerbated. Plus was it healthy for me to bring a dog home the day after Virgil had died in my arms? The next day I was extremely busy with work. The day after when I went to look for her and she had been adopted. I was glad to hear the news.
Last evening she popped up on the SDHS website as having been relinquished by her owner. This morning I couldn’t stay away, I had to know what had happened. Apparently the third adopter had her for five days and discovered she was allergic to our girl who has yet to be named and returned her yet again.
Saved from euthanasia only to become a boomerang.
This morning I met the most sweet little girl in person. She’s about 3 years old, is overweight at 14 lbs (at her size she should weight 9-10lbs), gentle, trusting, loving and very easy going. I left to think some more and get some work done. I went back before my personal training appointment and put a hold on her until I could return. I returned and had another one on one meeting with her and the bond was made. I cried tears of joy as I signed the paperwork and then sobbed tears of joy when the adoption counselor placed my newly purchased pink collar and leash on her for me to walk her out.
She strutted proudly out of SDHS, hopped right into my car and clung tightly to me all the way home.
She may have struck out three times after her life was spared, but on her way back to the dugout she somehow managed to cross home plate. She who has yet to be named has a new forever home. A new forever home with five other dogs that accepted her right into the pack.
San Diego Humane Society or SDHS has not euthanized an adoptable animal since the summer of 2014. They have committed to taking in all animals from other organizations in San Diego County to prevent the euthanasia of any adoptable animal in our county. This mission makes San Diego County one of only very few counties nationwide, or localities worldwide, with zero euthanasia. SDHS also takes in animals from our neighboring counties, thus saving the lives of pets beyond our county’s borders. Without SDHS expanding their mission, our new little girl would otherwise have met an early and unnecessary death.
If you would like to support such an organization as SDHS in their no kill mission, please click HERE.
In memory of our beloved boy Virgil May 5, 2002 – September 10, 2019
Our little old man has passed on. He has now joined his sister Mitzi in a spiritual realm.
Virgil joined us in October of 2002 as a first birthday present of sorts for his older half sister Mitzi. He was from a second litter her mother had from a different father 8 months after her birth. He was an awkward looking puppy that actually seemed as if he might have a slight birth defect. Possibly from an unhealthy mother did who had her litters to close together. The owner of the mother had him left as no one would take him and was about to take him to the humane society. I gave the guy money to have the mother fixed and I brought Virgil home to foster until I could find him a home.
Needless to say he was a hit with Mitzi from moment one.
Our Dalmatian, Mattie, was having issues with a rambunctious 5 month old playing with a wild one year old and got snappy with him. I had a favorite line from Greater Tuna that popped out of my mouth when scolding Mattie for scolding the puppies. I sternly warned her and said “Mattie! Quit it now! …. Mattie, I’m gonna knock you into next week!” That line was used by the character Vera Carp in the funeral home scene toward her son Virgil so the original line was “Virgil! quit it now! …”
I don’t know how to cut it out of here but if you just want to see that line, start at 26:00 and run through 28:10. (This is actually the HBO production of the entire play, if you have time it’s fantastic.)
At that moment not only did Virgil now have a name, but he also had a home. That scared little dog that I took from the back seat of the marina dockworker’s car to foster had a forever home where he continued to live a long, happy and very healthy life for the next 16 years and 11 months. His home was right here with us.
Over his years here our family has lost, and our family has grown.
Others that Virgil shared our home with that passed on before him were our beloved Liver spotted Dalmatian Mattie, our sweet Chocolate Lab Diva and the rescue of our senior Border Collie Nina that was featured here on Fearsome Beard in 2014. Right now instead of here in our bed, he is there with his familiar housemates and sister that he hasn’t been with in a while.
Virgil was a happy and healthy boy until the very end. Yesterday he was out on our patio sunning with Betty. He was mobile and out their on his own accord. It wasn’t until last night just before bedtime that he showed signs something may be amiss. He lost his balance and couldn’t stand. He was just off balance, we’ve seen that in other older dogs before and seen it pass quickly so we did not worry. We carried him to bed and he actually had a good night. However this morning he worsened and his deterioration was fast and he did not suffer. He died very unexpectedly in my arms.
He had a great life here with us as we had with him.
Virgil we will forever love you. We will forever be grateful that you were part of our lives. You will live on in us as we share the love you placed into our hearts with all the others we touch.
Virgil, this is not goodbye as we will see you on the other side. Until then continue to share your love with your canine family that has been awaiting your arrival. Your kisses enrich us. Your snuggles comfort us. Your love fills us.
Virgil, I love you, we all love you.
Until then, Godspeed.
On May 5, 2019 our beloved boy Virgil turned 17. Virgil is Mitzi’s younger half brother.
On May 5 we were in Philadelphia visiting family and three dear blogger friends (who I still haven’t posted about, but will). We returned home and life happened. Before we knew it almost a month had passed and poor Virgil hadn’t yet had a party.
Yesterday I baked a cake and last night it was official.
Happy belated birthday my dear Virgil.
My Angel, you kissed me one last time an hour ago. You were my angel from the day I met you and brought you home. You were only 8 weeks and weighed about a half of a pound. You are my Angel today although you’ve left your earthy bounds for a heaven I do not yet know, you are still with me. I promised you the day I first held you that I’d always take care of you, love you and be here for you, I still am. We may be apart, yet we will always be together. That’s what love is. Love sets us free. Together or apart we care, we love.
Godspeed my dear little girl. Give Nikki, Tess, Mattie, Diva and Nina a kiss for me. I’ll sure miss you here with me but I know I will hold you and kiss you again when I get to the other side. Until then may you find as many Itty Bitty Balls to chase and fetch as you desire.
Mitzi October 15, 2001 – June 2, 2019
I love you.
Hapoy Birthday Mitzi!