Beard of the day

Grateful Beard

Thanksgiving 2019, Fearsome holding Abner as Hazel lounges on his back.

She has a name!

Let us officially introduce …

Hazel

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!

Ethel or Gertrude?

Naming dogs ain’t easy.

What would you name this adorable girl?

Ethel?

Gertrude?

Darlene?

What name comes to your mind?

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.

Standing at the back Door of her new home.

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.

Thank you!

In Memory

In memory of our beloved boy Virgil May 5, 2002 – September 10, 2019

Virgil on his 17th Birthday Celebration 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.

Virgil and Mitzi circa October 2002

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.

From left to right in front the back are: Betty, Mitzi (deceased June 2019), Abner, Virgil, Phoebe, Patsy and then Gilda (way in the back).

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 and Mitzi in their golden years.

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 after a grooming cuddling with his youngest housemates Betty & Phoebe

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.

Virgil May 5, 2002 – September 10, 2019

Belated Happy Birthday to my boy

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.

Virgil 17 years

Mitzi

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 2001

Mitzi 2019

Mitzi October 15, 2001 – June 2, 2019

I love you.

First year

Just over a year ago we fostered then adopted Phoebe.

Shortly after Phoebe joined our pack, Betty came home with us as a foster. As either you know or guessed she was also permanently adopted.

The Better Half, Phoebe, Betty and Fearsome

Both Betty & Phoebe were rescued by the San Diego Humane Society from a horrid hoarding situation. Today more than a year later they are happy healthy little girls.

Abner(looking away), Phoebe, Betty & Patsy

Originally 92 Yorkies were found confined in a dark filthy room within a home here in a San Diego Suburb. They became known as The 92 Yorkies. Several weeks later another 30 or so were discovered hidden in a back room of a restaurant that the residents of the house owned. Then again several weeks after that one of the guilty owners was arrested in a motor home in Nevada escaping with yet another 40 or so Yorkies.

Betty and Phoebe were in that last rescue out of that escaping motor home.

We take a moment to honor the San Diego Humane Society for their heroic efforts and to also congratulate Betty & Phoebe for their first anniversary as part of our loving pack.

When all was said and done and the pregnant females all gave birth the total of rescued Yorkies came close to 200. We are honored and blessed that two of those came to our home and my father in law adapted a third one named Apple.

Apple

Apple and Fearsome’s Dad-in-Law

Someone is 16!

Over the weekend, May 5th, our beloved Virgil celebrated turning 16. Due to my busy schedule he had to wait until last night for his fresh baked cake.

Happy Birthday Virgil!

It was worth the wait.

Blessings

The Christmas tree is down and already in the alley for pick up.

Our tree this morning

All the decorations are boxed and in the attic. Most everything is back in its place. It’s been a great holiday season. The 7 dogs are snuggled in their places on the couch and in dog beds.

Mitzi (our oldest at 16) and Gilda (13)

We just had a wonderful New Year’s Eve dinner out at one of our favorite Italian spots in Hillcrest. Times Square plays on the tv as we enjoy the wonderful place we call home.

Blessed.

We have two wonderful god sons who have grown into young men.

Joshua (21), Fearsome, Markus (17) and The Better Half

We were there for each of their births and have been their god parents since each of those wonerdful days. Joshua is a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Markus is a senior in the International Baccalaureate program of San Diego High. Both speak three languages fluently. Their dad and The Better Half have been friends since high school, he and his wife are two of the best friends anyone could ever begin to wish for.

Blessed.

The two youngest dogs, our rescued Yorkies, have recovered extremely well from their double knee surgeries and are no longer confined to a nursery area but are living out with us and the rest of the pack.

Phoebe and Betty napping together in my lap, both are just 3 pounds each full grown.

Our home is full of love. We enjoy our community. Our careers are both fulfilling and lucrative.

Blessed.

With overwhelming gratitude, Fearsome and I wish each and every one of of you a very Happy New Year!

🎉🎈🍾🎊🎩

Grown men cry

We cry when we feel.

We cry because we are vulnerable.

We cry to heal.

We cry with gratitude, or sadness, or joy, or hope, or grief, or pain.

We cry to love.

Today has been a spectacular day around us. My feelings have flowed freely. From joy and gratitude to grief and sadness. I’ve experienced beauty and inspiration as well as bewilderment and confusion.

New art in the alley today beside my barber.

Inspirational sign on the sidewalk I passed this afternoon.

Crystal blue sky above me as I walked.

Our last selfie together just now.

I write as we wait. Nina has had a good day but her health has continued to slide. It’s time.

Grown men cry.

What of life?

Nina is still with us and peaceful in her bed.

Nina sleeping 12/28/17

It is a quintessential winter Southern California day. Crystal clear blue skies, bright winter sun and 72 degrees F. Nina has spent some time on her patio today, eaten well and napped in her beloved corner bed. Our housekeeper, whom Nina adores, is here cleaning. The other dogs are napping and occasionally barking at the construction workers doing the remodel next door. All in all a nothing unusual beautiful day. It is peaceful with just a little stimulation.

Planning it out couldn’t have turned it better. Our dog sitter who was with me as we rescued Nina together is out of town. Nina adores her as well and she will be back in San Diego tomorrow. She is coming over to be here with us when the veterinarian arrives about 5 pm. Tomorrow is forecast to be as beautiful as today. The Better Half already had scheduled the whole week off, so between the two of us someone will always be home tomorrow.

Earlier Abner and Patsy tried out the comfort of four beds piled together when or housekeeper was busy cleaning…

Patsy (with toy) and Abner reinact the Princess and the Pea. 

The joys of life are abundant around here. It’s not gloom and doom. It’s sweet, with the bitterness of reality. The big questions loom. Why? Why are we here? What? What is this about?

Should we loose ourselves in contemplation of the unknown? Or should we just enjoy the moment even though we know the inevitable?

My answer? Enjoy the moment.

I believe there is one sole purpose for life. The purpose I believe in is love.

I am here to love. I am here to share. I am here to give. I am here to serve.

What are giving, serving and sharing? Love.

I am here to love. Period.

Responsibilities of pet ownership

Last October marked the 3 year anniversary of our adoption of Nina. Nina’s owner had passed away and she had been left outside for a year behind an empty house. Her story starts HERE.

That was the day I discovered her. She was an older dog but full of energy, happy and playful. I wrote more about our decision to formally adopt her in this follow up POST.

We never really knew how old Nina was, but she has become a very old dog. In the past 6 months there has been a rapid deterioration. If you look back at her previous post there was a spark, a happiness and energy. Unfortunately due to age this is Nina today:

Nina on December 27, 2017. Official age unknown, estimated age 14-15 years.

Nina has a warm comfortable home that she has loved for the past three years. She has had regular medical care, dental care and grooming. She grew all her hair back after adoption and never had a flea again. She gained weight, ate well, played, walked and rarely ever barked. She had a short but happy life here.

I write because the time has come. We must make that decision that every loving pet owner never wishes to make.

She is confused. She’s not able to walk well. She can’t see nor hear. When she is able to walk, it is in circles as she has developed vestibular disease. She is often incontinent. She eats, but needs assistance. She appears uncomfortable.

We may not have to do it today, but we may. I just got the number for an in-home euthanisia Vet. I’m about to make the call to ask the questions and possibly schedule.

With tears I write. With written words I gain strength.

UPDATE: The in home appointment has been made for Friday 12/29 at 5 pm.