Monday, August 4, 2014

4 Superfood Recipes

These all sound delicious: 4 Superfood Recipes

Friday, May 30, 2014

have I mentioned I hate this house?

it hasn't rained in days, but the basement is flooded (including half the cat room). I guess the sump pump stopped working at some point last night? Anyway, the whole thing is flooded and the minor river that flows through the basement for several days after it rains is now a complete flood... and Matt & I can't do anything about it because we need to go to work to make money to get out of this hell hole crumbling mess of a house...

I moved the litter boxes to the dry side and put down a couple crates over the flooded section of the cat room so the cats have more things to be up on because of course they still keep walking through the water - ugh, what a damn mess.

I woke up so excited about today and now I'm just going to worry about the cats all day :/ I'm suppose to look at 3 houses today, only one of which I was excited about and it looks like it's falling apart, but at this point, it's going to look like a move-in-ready mansion compared to this place.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

happy 60

My dad would be 60 today.

Last night I cried and cried ... and then cried some more when I realized I wasn't just missing him, but felt so very lucky just to have had that big guy in my life in general...

And then I cried some more as I remembered him saying (teasingly with a big smile on his face), "You're so lucky to have me, kid."

Oh, papa bear, you have no idea...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Believe...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blogging Outside

Guess where I am blogging? Outside and loving it!

Ok, technically when I post this I will most likely be back inside, but for now I am outside with the doggies, taking pics and enjoying the awesome weather we have today. Here's some exciting outside stuff...

The catnip I planted last year survived our crazy white, icy, snowy, multi-polar vortex winter and re-emerged. I was very excited to see this in the yard.

Speaking of things that are back - the single sprig of mint I planted has most definitely multiplied.

Bought this clematis plant over the weekend. I wanted to plant stuff and Matt has wanted something to spruce up the lamp post, so this is the solution we came up with :)

Bought these gorgeous flowers over the weekend too

Amazingly beautiful, right? How could I resist it!

Here are the two gorgeous flowers I bought and a clump of what I think are purple Johhny Jump Up's.

All in all, an excellent day outside and some beauty added to this yard weekend is a nice bonus.

I kept telling Matt over the last few years that I've been here with him that I didn't want to plant anything because I didn't want to be here, but we're here and aside from planting and the dogs, there's not a lot of good excuses to be outside here on such a nice day like today. So, planting with the dogs outside it will be because we are here and I should make the best of it, right?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

remember

What a good thing to keep in mind...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Feeding Time

In a multi kitty home (let alone one of multi-ages and special needs), nothing can be as tough as feeding time. So, we use carriers and crates for some of our kitties.

First, it was Kreacher for his extra protein diet and slow eating tendencies. Then, Candice was getting crated too since she's so bi-polar. Then, we started with Oscar because she was getting medication and usually walks away when another cat approaches her dish. The most recent kitty has been Lil Dani who seems to get over-stimulated at feeding time and goes after some of the kitties... and this has been no easy task because he'll leap, jump, run, hide and, if caught, will wiggle, push away from and (though mostly accidental) scratch to get away from being put in the crate.

Well, last night, he jumped in the crate on his own!! I was beyond excited that he caught on to this so quickly (we've only been crating him for like a week) ... and relieved there would be no chasing or scratching for the night :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

"I've realized that my most valuable friends are the ones who stand for my soul, even when that means saying something my ego doesn't want to hear." - Dr. Lissa Rankin

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Grateful

Today I am grateful for the people that step up for the merry misfits (Joa's Arc).

In order to save the special ones, Joa's Arc needs to have at least: an agreed upon commitment, a foster and/or the funds to do so. We don't always have all three, but love when people step up by offering to foster in our time of need... even when it leads to us committing only to find out the pet is already safe.

There's no shortage of pets in need though, so don't stop volunteering, friends :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

patio in memory

Work started on the farm this weekend for my dad's memorial garden - before we can plant/garden, we had to tear up and start on the beautiful patio dad's friend, Pat, planned out. It's going to be amazing ... and there were some wonderful people that showed up to help out...

Donnie & Matt 


Matt, Pat and mom figuring out what rocks around the property we could incorporate


Donnie, Kris and Matt moving pavers over to use


ladies supervising: me, Ali and mom

A group shot of some of my favorite people

Last photo I took before Matt & I headed out on Sunday afternoon

Matt and I could only stay a bit both days between my work schedule, Matt's back (old car accident injury) and our dogs' bladders, but I loved being with everyone and seeing the work get done. I loved that after a long work week for most of those people and with it being such a nice weekend to do just about anything, that they turned out to work on this project. It was also nice to hear Pat bring up how the first design he and my dad every did together is still together and holding up well too... and at one point when they were putting down sand and evening it out, I was taken back to a memory of my dad doing the same thing - evening out the sand, tossing some loose dirt back on top and evening it out again - it was just a flash of a memory, but nice to get there in that moment with the guys working on this project in memory of dad.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

for dad

Michelle, me, dad & baby Honey
"Those good times with your dad are happening right now. They’ll always be happening. You deserve to keep those alive." - Bones

"I used to joke that you could probably give my dad the street name and local plants growing nearby and he could tell you exactly how to get home from where you were based on that. The truth is, my dad was good for a lot of things: tractor rides, good hugs, sound advice ... and if you ever needed a scary-looking guy standing beside you." - I wrote that down more than a year ago. They were words I wanted to say about my dad when he passed away ... but I didn't say them during his memorial. I couldn't and it was probably for the best because no words were really necessary after his friend, Rick (I love Mr. Nezzie), did.

It's been a year since he passed now though, a year today...

I'm not going to detail this past year because as much as I'm a sharer, this past year has made very little sense to me. Like when his birthday went to hell last year, I bought a bottle of good gin because I just couldn't get the imagine of my dad stirring gin, tonic, ice and lime around with the knife he'd use to cut the lime. What an odd thing to be so focused on, right? Just a knife swirling around those ingredients. I can see it so clearly, something so simple and pretty ridiculous. Then, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the bathtub (with those ingredients in a glass on the side of the tub) because mermaid behaviors make everything better - not all better, but better.

I'm not going to write about our last conversation even though I could - I remember it so distinctly even though I've tried not to by not really writing it down or talking about it.

dad, Sadie & Kyleigh
I won't go into the ridiculous, but very real confusion when I arrived at the hospital and wasn't sure what was going on - why were we waiting? What was going on? I couldn't get myself to ask those questions and no one actually said, "He's gone."

I'm not going to go into all the times I've forgotten he's gone, looked for him waving to me from the bathroom window or wondered when he'd slip out during a gathering to try to sneak food.

There are lots of sad things I could write about, but I'm going to try not to...


Instead I'm going to try to lay out things I was lucky to have, even though they are lots of things I'll never find again in anybody else... And, please don't confuse the following - I'm not saying this is who my dad was. I'm just saying this is who my dad was to me...

~~~

dad and his 1969 Camaro convertible
He built that Camaro (with a lot of help) piece by piece - I know this isn't unique, but I don't know many dads that have done that. He had work, he had us, but he still had hobbies too and I think that's pretty cool when so many people come home from work already completely spent or exhausted.

When I was very little (and even when I was not so little) and sleepy or sick, my dad would rub my ear lobe - back and forth, big calloused fingers so soft on my ear. I'm not sure if this is why I pulled on my ear in my sleep or if I did that first and then he started the rubbing, but to this day one ear is bigger than the other and it's the one I pulled on/my dad rubbed.

My dad had a good laugh and smile.

Goldens - granted Sunshine was BOTH my parents' first baby, but I will forever need a Golden in my life since one has been there for every moment.

My dad did landscaping for a very long time and I can remember the way he would sketch out the way things would grow - he didn't just think about what would look good in the moment, but how things would grow, when different plants/shrubs/trees would bloom and what kind of care would be necessary.

He had strange collections. He always had good taste, don't get me wrong, but my dad had straight up collections of some very random things - clocks of any size, chairs (even if they weren't whole - missing legs, backs, rods, etc), oil lamps, jars of coins, binoculars (in hindsight, we had a lot of pairs of binoculars than most people, I think), clamps, shovels of various shapes & sizes (and they each had a purpose, I'm sure), etc.

My dad was my softball assistant coach and a timer for the swim meets that my sister and I were in.

On one of my first rescue missions, a hoarder's house, I was so desperate to get cats out that I was handing them out to just about anyone willing to take them... One place was not so great and when I went to get the cat back, they refused - they sent me awful, awful emails and said I'd never get the cat back. Teen-aged me headed over to their address ... with my dad. A guy answered the door, looked down at me and, loosely held a not so nicely barking Doberman, he told me to go away. My dad stepped up behind me, put his hand on the door (so they guy couldn't shut it) and said, "Dobermans. Nice dogs. We've had them." Then something to the extent of, "We've called the police. They're not on your side. Now where's my daughter's cat?" I don't think I would have gotten that cat back if anyone else was with me.

Unk, Uncle Dick & dad on Thanksgiving
I can't think of a time my dad didn't have a pocket knife on him. It was a good go-to gift for him (and I got him a couple on vacations I took) and he really did always find a use for them - like cutting off drink straws that were way too big. He did that a lot for us when Shell & I were little.

The man gave really good hugs - I mean, really good hugs - big, warm hugs with sometimes a little shake, extra squeeze, pat on the back or a little back rub thrown in at the end.

I always felt my dad was really generous - like at the very fiber of who he was, he was generous with his time and attention.

I know I mentioned this above, but the drink mixing thing. I don't know why that's so distinct in my mind, but it is - just mixing away.

My middle name it Lyn, my sister's is Marie, my dad's mom's name was Marilyn - I always thought that was a really neat, really creative way to indirectly honor his mom with both of us and another way to forever connect my sister and I equally to one another and to her.

The rescue I was with when I was younger had an annual yard sale. It was usually me, a couple other volunteers (ladies mostly) and my dad unloading the tables for the yard sale early in the morning. He was at every one...

Obviously with his giant-ness, he was one of the best for throwing you up in the air in the pool.

Back in the days before Facebook, you'd just get these weekly emails of dogs that would either be saved or killed. One of my first dog rescues I did was a transport up from Georgia. A dog I had been emailed about no one else was stepping up for, so I did. Well, the transport was running late - really late - a whole day late! The dog's transport was no longer arriving early Saturday, but Sunday ... right in the middle of a friend's wedding. My dad and I left in between the wedding ceremony and the reception to go pick the dog up.

If my dad didn't know someone in a room, he would soon enough. Without a doubt, the man could seriously make friends (or at least get a conversation going) with just about anyone and anywhere ... I can't deny I feel a little lost in a crowd without him now.

My dad always reminded me of a bear up against a tree when he'd scratch his back on the corner of a wall.

Although my dad had a very "I'm doing it and I don't care what you think about it" attitude, he also had a very deep rooted sense of what was right and wrong. He had strong opinions, but they were often hard to argue with because they weren't just based on "because I said so" or "that's just how I feel", he had sound reasons behind them. He was a meticulous guy, even in his opinions.

It takes some time to pull the memory sometimes, but I can close my eyes and see all the outlined tools - different hammers, saws, wrenches, etc - on the basement wall and the garage wall. Everything had a place ... even if that place was a old glass jar filled with similar knots, bolts or screws.

Heather, dad & me
Although tractor rides in the bucket around the farm were fun, I don't think there was anything quite like tractor rides around Wenonah with my dad. Who had a tractor in Wenonah? And who in the world loaded up their kids (and used the gas) just to take a spin around? My dad. The tractor also came in handy for Wenonah parade floats too!

He may not have always been patient, he may not have walked me through every step to teach me, but my dad never left me out - if there was a project, I was going to be there even if it was just to hand him a nail when he needed it or pick up the big sticks/twigs around the property so he could rake.

Avalon beach
When I couldn't drive myself, my dad drove me everywhere and we always listened to my music. It didn't occur to me until a lot later that aside from a handful of musicians and bands, I had no idea what some of my dad's favorites were because he always just listened to whatever I wanted to put on. I love music, I hate listening to stuff I don't know to hum along to or don't like, so in my opinion, that was pretty selfless of my dad.

Speaking of that, there was never any shame in calling my dad or guilt trips when he picked me up no matter what time it was or where it was. He'd show up. I hope he knew I knew (and appreciated) how reliable he was...

I know there's a logical pattern that's best to cut grass and how you can down-shift the gears in your car to slow down if all else fails because of my dad.

mom & dad
BOTH my parents made such an awesome team together - at the very bottom of everything they made an awesome team and I think that was such an amazing gift as an example of how a relationship should be.

I remember painting the little sitting room in the Pittsgrove house a light blue with him. He was done work and I had skipped class - it was just us, alone, talking and making that house a little bit better.

Two years old or twenty-two years old, the man could pick me up. One of the last times I was horribly sick, I was house sitting. My dad drove there, scooped me up off the bathroom floor, put me in the back of the car, drove me home, picked me up again and put me in bed (for my mom to take care of me).

When we moved to the Pittsgrove property, we had two ducks of a mystery age - dad loved them! One winter we had not seen one for awhile and we finally spotted them with our binoculars on the island. The lake was frozen and I will never forget my dad wrapping a rope around a tree and the other end to himself. All I could think was "I know the reasoning behind this, but, dad, you're huge. I don't know how I'm reeling you in if you fall through!" Thankfully, he didn't! He walked out across the ice and checked on the duck.

If anyone has a Doug Wesh story or even just a characteristic you saw in him & miss, please send them to jerseyjennyw@gmail.com I'm going to compile them, so please share.

my college graduation
Lots and lots of people remember and obsess about just the good when someone passes, but seriously my dad was a good guy with a lot of people that loved him. I was lucky to have him, lucky he was my dad and lucky he was 110% there for me. Yard sales, plays, soft ball, rescues, car rides, late nights out partying, swimming ... if my dad wasn't involved, he was there.

“If only given
four words to say they would be
Thanks For Loving Me.”
— Daily Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson


Monday, April 7, 2014

"It is hard to say goodbye. It is hard to understand that the vibrant light of who they were is gone. To never look into their eyes and see love and understanding. I do not know how to say goodbye..."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

auto correct

My phone just changed "ewww" to "ewes" ~ oh, auto correct, it's quite clear we're destined to be farm girls together :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

dream*

I had a dream last night...

In my dream, my dad and I were in the Wenonah house.

We were standing in the living room area, dad was leaning over, hands on the back of a sofa, and we were discussing where we had furniture around the living room and comparing the stuff we had to the crap the family that lived there had around it now.

I then asked my dad if we were doing a walk through (it was for sale) or if we were breaking and entering and he did that laugh where the skin around his eyes crinkled. With that, I was sure we were breaking and entering :)

And then he pushed off the back of the sofa, stood up crossing his arms and he looked right at me and said, "I bought it. It's yours."

My first reactio? Looking out the windows out to the backyard just like we left it (a big, green yard with the gardens and the thread-leaf maple, the gate leading to to the Sprigman's yard and my cousin's old backyard just beyond), my first reaction was: "I can't have sheep here!"

And then all these thoughts were running through my head "I wonder if I can get away with a couple hens? ... Who turns down a free house? ... Oh my gosh, it's mine! It's mine again!" as I ran from room to room, up the steps, into the walk-in closet in the master bedroom.

Needless to say, I woke up in this sorry excuse of a roof over our heads (a roof which, coincidentally, was leaking all night long in the kitchen) and realized that none of that was true and that it couldn't/wouldn't become a reality because my dad was dead. Ugh... So I'll wear some feathers (shirt, earrings), try to feel him with me all the same and try not to cry thinking about that dream all day.

* - updated from the original post of: I had a dream last night that my dad and I were in the Wenonah house and we were discussing where we had furniture around the living room and comparing the stuff we had to the crap the family that lived there had. I then asked my dad if we were doing a walk through (it was for sale) or if we were breaking and entering and he did that laugh where the skin around his eyes crinkled. So, then I was sure we were breaking and entering :) And he looked right at me and said, "I bought it. It's yours."

My first reaction? Looking out the windows out back to the big yard: "I can't have a sheep here!"

And then all these thoughts were running through my head "I wonder if I can get away with a couple hens? ... Who turns down a free house? ... Oh my gosh, it's mine! It's mine again!" as I ran from room to room.

I'll post more later (need to run to work), but needless to say, I woke up and realized it wasn't true and that it couldn't/wouldn't be because my dad was dead. Ugh... So I'll wear some feathers (shirt, earrings), try to feel him with me all the same and try not to cry thinking about that all dream all day.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ugh!! I need this day, mood, mode or crazy black cloud to please move on from me... Or maybe I'm just too quick to be nice/offer help.

In any case, OVER IT!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lady Bird Johnson

Came across this quote and had to share it ... "For the environment after all is where we all meet; it is one thing that all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become." - Lady Bird Johnson

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

happy birthday!

Happiest of birthdays to the most beautiful, spirited, creative, smiley, all around lovely friends a girl can have (yes, we're still just girls in my head)!!

Although we're getting older wiser, it just means we get to add more years to our friendship ... and it's pretty cool to admit I've had a best friend for more than 25 years.

Happy birthday, Ali! Love ya, lady!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Came Across This...

I just came across this (below). It's from almost 3 years ago and at first I was completely confused, but the more I think about it, I want to say it was a list of what I'd do if I hit the lottery (visualizing, yay!). Ugh...

THE LIST

- a house
- a cell phone
- money to go back to school (counseling)
- some place nice for my dad to go/spend time at &/OR someone certified to take care of dad

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Gorgeous gift

Check out the beautiful scarf Pip's mom got me while she was on vacation & we were babysitting Pip!

Not only is this scarf absolutely gorgeous, but it came from a store that supports the rehabilitation & integration of people with special needs into Israeli society. The store in Tel Aviv is called Kelim Shloovim and you can find more info on it here http://www.haaretz.com/culture/arts-leisure/buying-gifts-for-charity-but-not-simply-out-of-charity.premium-1.443978 & here http://zehlezeh.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/kelim-shloovim-the-shopping-experience-that-gives-as-well-as-gets/

Friday, March 7, 2014

Droopy-ness Spreads

As some of you might know, Sadie Lady has had only half a smile for a little more than a year - some nerve damage that would or would no go away. Well, a few days ago, Sadie started having her eye on that side of her face only half open - it seems the droopy-ness has spread.

After some meds and some testing (x-ray of her skull to look for an obvious tumor causing this), we are left assuming her paralysis has spread because not only is her eyelid only half open, her third eyelid is coming up to protect eye, which isn't dilating.

I can take her to see an eye specialist to see if there's anything going on behind her eye, but I don't know... I think that just like her lack of a smile, this is just deep nerve damage - just like how her mouth opens and moves, but she can't smile that her eye blinks, third eyelid works, but the eye isn't dilating. It doesn't seem to bother her that much, so for now we are leaving her be. Plus, I'd rather save the money for something like acupuncture than a specialist who can't do much more than tell me it's never damage/paralysis.

Oh well, so much for having one normal pet.

Monday, March 3, 2014

More Snow

This winter is just not giving up and though lots of people are soo over it, I love seeing the joy the dogs get every time they see it... well, most of the dogs like Pip! Here he is bouncing around in the snow we got while we are babysitting him. We let him out in the middle of the night (little body = little bladder) and he was just having one heck of a time bouncing around!

It was so cute to see our little Pip all grown up, but still pouncing like he did as a pup. Little did Pip know though that the snow had just started...

By the time the snow ended the next day, it was up to his belly and we needed to dig paths for Pip to use when going to the bathroom.

It definitely wasn't the most snow we've accumulated during our many winter storms this year, but it absolutely looked like a lot with such a little dog romping around in it.

Oh! And you know what was also a trip? Trying to dry him off! Apparently he hasn't outgrown the idea that a towel is a vicious, vicious beast he needs to terrify with growls and try his hardest to shake to death - talk about spicing up what should be a pretty simple task when going from outside to back inside.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday Want

I sent the fiance a text earlier: "I can't wait to have a house with gutters to clean so they don't leak all over our steps making them icky (and icy tonight) - And we can be starting seeds now for the garden where we'll have fruits/veggies to can for next winter - And I can go pet {the sheep} in the morning."

Ugh, so much to look forward to! Shame I haven't really got that thing called patience :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dreams

I just woke up from a dream where I was vacationing somewhere and walking back along a crowded boardwalk, passing some random people I've known through out my life (people from high school, people from work, etc - all mixed in with a lot of strangers). Among the crowds I passed was a group of Wenonah guyss - Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Danner & Mr. Montemore.

After a moment's hesitation, I turned around to go join them - (one of those dream things - I just knew where they were going).

Again, it was very crowded with weird random people I've known through my life mixed in, so I ended up running into a group of friends including a very old high school friend. I said some hello's, but it was brief so I could find the guys and I did, a few moments later, at some outside bar sitting around a table with Mr. Locastro, my uncle Dick and my dad who was his usual goofy self and had a big grin on. Kev (Ali's brother) and Nick (Mr. Locastro's son) joined us too. The friends I had run into stopped by, saying their hello's and I introduced all the Wenonah dads, saying my dad last. He stood up to greet the old high school friend and cracked some joke about still being a good lookin old man. He did look old too, not old old, but like I imagined he'd look now if he were healthy (and alive) - whiter beard, some white in his dark brown hair.

I don't remember his voice in the dream, but it was good to see his smile... That didn't stop me from crying though when I woke up with the slow realization that the gathering didn't happen and that it wouldn't happen because he's dead.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

soap box

My cousin made a comment the other night about narrowing down a date and how we really had to because they were getting booked up with weddings, especially around the time I have in mind (more than 9 months away). I laughed it off, said something light (to ease the hurt I was feeling and avoid a confrontation) along the lines of she was my cousin and of course she'd make herself free for mine if that's when I chose to do it... and she seemed pissed I said that.

This is my cousin, someone I've known forever, someone I was a bride's maid for, someone I planned on asking to be mine. I was upset. First, it was just "well, I guess I can't ask her to be a bride's maid since she might not be free."

Then, the more I thought about what she said, her attitude, the whole thing, well, I got really upset! Ummm, I think I had about a month to buy the dress she picked out and get ready for the wedding she randomly announced (after years of being engaged) in less than 6 months? Oh and she bought a dress (without us - prob the most fun part). I did it though because I said I'd be your bride's maid, I did it because I'm her family and I love her ... but I guess all that's not reciprocated? Good to know.

Let's not even get into the fact I wasn't expecting to get engaged (only a few months ago). Let's not get into what this past year has been and all that's happened or the fact we have like no money or that looking at wedding stuff = thinking about my wedding = thoughts of our wedding without my dad.

Oh, and then there's people like Bucks Meghan, one of the busiest bees I know who I asked for dates when she knew she already had plans. Her response? "It's your wedding. You plan it and I'll be there with the biggest smile on my face." <3 her

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dogs on Thursday: Annie

"Annie and Molly had lived with their caregiver in Florida since they were pups. But these two red and white dogs -sister Cavalier King Charles Spaniels— saw their lives change suddenly when they were five years old. That’s when their owner passed away. Taken in by a rescue agency, the pair was placed together in a new home in Virginia. They were barely settled in when they lost that home as well, due to no fault on their part. A home willing to take both sisters was proving difficult to find (after some time in foster care). It was beginning to look like these girls, who had been together their whole lives, might need to be separated for them to ever find a new home.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, sisters Sadie and Diana were grieving over the losses of two of their beloved dogs. Tara, a liver and white Brittany, lost her courageous battle against cancer. Then, just a week after losing Tara, the sisters found themselves back at the animal hospital with their boy Cooper, a red and white Brittany, who was in advanced lung failure. Both deaths, so close together, were heartbreaking to Sadie, Diana and their remaining dog, Emma.

Although not nearly ready emotionally, Sadie and Diana considered adopting another dog because Emma was in a severe depression, having lost her best friends. Their now lone Brittany refused to leave the living room even at night when she would normally be tucked into bed with Diana. It was the room that all three dogs had played in together their whole lives. When left alone now, even if only for a moment, Emma would sit in the living room and let out the most sorrowful howl. Sadie and Diana’s hearts were broken. Emma’s seemed to be broken too. Perhaps a companion for Emma would help?"

That's the way the story I wrote, "They Find You", starts and though some details are changed (like names and places), it's the story of how Annie & Molly and my aunts Sally & Dianne would come to find each another - both pairs in need, both exactly when they needed each other the most.

As you know, I do special needs rescue. I love it and talk about the special animals in my life all the time, so I guess it's bound to rub off on those who love me. Well, when my aunts found themselves looking for a new dog to add to their family, it was proving difficult - after looking at a few dogs, they were getting a little dis-hearted about the whole thing. One dog's foster didn't seem like they were actually going to give the dog up and the other dog they met with didn't get along with Emma, my aunts' now lone dog and their main reason for looking for a new dog so soon.

Just when they were thinking maybe this wasn't the right time, maybe there wasn't a dog out there for them now, my aunts found out about a pair of pups - they were smaller than my aunts were looking for (they were used to Brittanys and this was a pair of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) and a pair of pups rather than one dog, but something pulled them to the little dogs ... even when they found out the one sister in the pair of dogs, Annie, was also deaf and born with a heart condition.

These ladies (related to me, remember) had no hesitation even with Annie's "special-ness," which is and of its self is commendable, I think.

Deaf and a heart defect? We're up for that! Love them!!

My aunt drove several hours, picked up the pair of girls and the sisters fit in perfectly (Emma slowly accepting them)! Fate had found my aunts the perfect fit for their home and the girls had finally found their forever family. My aunts, being good new owners, quickly set up appointments to have Annie's heart evaluated, even when they had her previous medical information, and, when necessary, they started her on medication.

Over the past year and a half, Annie could often be found in a corner napping. A time or two she also quietly slipped in behind my aunt as she walked into the bathroom and was left in there. Did Annie bark? Panic? Tear things apart? No, my aunts would find Annie a few minutes later just napping in the bathroom. When not in a corner or quietly padding around, Annie could be found on top of a pillow ... or two or three pillows, if she could find that many - the more, the better in Annie's opinion! She even had a pillow in the car she could prop herself up on. Oh! And there was often the frequent joke that Annie's deafness was caused perhaps by her far from quiet sister, Molly, who is pretty much always barking - the opposite of her quiet sister, Annie.

As with special animals though, they are sometimes not with us long enough. Unfortunately, and very unexpectedly, Annie passed away last week after having a heart attack in the middle of the night and passing on the way to the vet. There's no denying that there is simply nothing that could have been done for Annie - she was happily romping around in the yard with her sister, Molly, and Emma just a few hours before passing. However, as we all know, the pain is not easily soothed even with facts like that.

Thank you, Aunt Sally & Aunt Dianne, for taking this sweet, special girl in and loving her as much as you did for as long as you could. She was loved right until the end and her fate could have been so different, her time with her sister so much shorter if you had not found them and adopted them together.

Though Annie's time with my aunts was far too short, she was deeply loved, spoiled and will forever be in our hearts.

Rest in Peace, sweet Annie

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Caturday: Sneakers pt 2

I know I went into some details about Sneakers last week, but let me add on some more. They'll seem random, but they do piece together, I promise - My great uncle John (my mom's uncle) has not had a pet since he was a small child and it was a dog. My great uncle (Unk) has also lived in the same house, the first home he bought with his wife (my great Aunt Anne), since the 1950's. Unk and Aunt Anne had no children and no plans other than to travel when they were older - unfortunately my great Aunt Anne got cancer and passed before they could do that. She has been gone for a dozen+ years now (I just remember being young) and yet my uncle still has all the poster boards with her photos from her viewing set up in his bedroom, has never dated since, still sleeps on "his" side of the bed and often made the trip to her grave site on a weekly basis even if that required walking the mile or so to the cemetery.

Then came Sneakers ... Sneakers who Unk referred to as "the boss". Sneakers who Unk said was his "best bud", his "reason for getting up in the morning". Sneakers who ate whatever he wanted (for example, Sneakers liked gravy, so not only did he get gravy cat food, Unk would often add gravy to it). Sneakers who got his name in holiday cards ("Love, Unk & Sneakers, the boss"). Sneakers who slept on my aunt's side of the bed. Sneakers and my great Uncle John have been the most important thing in each others lives for years now... but now they can no longer be together.

Sneakers, who can no longer be cared for by my great uncle due to Unk's dementia, went to the "Disney World" for cats, as my Aunt Sally referred to it: Tabby's Place.

Friday morning, my aunt and I loaded up her SUV with donations, leaving enough room for Sneaker's crate. We picked him up from West Deptford Animal Hospital, who has done wonders for Sneakers - feeding him, brushing him, loving on him. They've just been so kind! We thanked everyone there and then headed up to Tabby's Place where Sneakers was warmly welcomed with pets, snuggles and kind words. After a couple weeks in quarantine (with the entertainment of several kitties saved from Hunterdon Humane), Sneakers will be out, living the life in the cage-free sanctuary with his every need taken care of. If we could all be so lucky...

Today I am thankful - I am thankful there is a place like Tabby's Place and I am thankful to be a part of that family - it is overwhelming to be a part of a circle of people like that. Truly, I don't know of kinder, more loving people and knowing Sneakers will forever have the best of care thanks to Tabby's Place is just about the only bright spot in this very sad situation for the bond broken between my great uncle and his cat.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Caturday: Sneakers

Some of you might have seen my super thankful post last week:

Well here's what it was in reference too - Sneakers.

Sneakers is my great uncle's kitty cat and has been for roughly 10 years now. Uncle John (Unk) fed a stray or two on and off through the years, but one must have really caught his heart because Unk spent weeks - maybe even close to a couple months - with his door open trying to convince Sneakers ("Sneaks") that the inside-life was the life to lead. Unk was eventually successful and since then, he's referred to Sneaks as "his boy" and "his reason to get up in the morning." Though the fat cat (he used to be huge) often hid from company, Unk talked about a kitty who liked pets, sat on his lap and curled up on the long-empty side of the bed that had belonged to Aunt Anne when she was still alive.

Unfortunately, before Christmas, Unk was hospitalized and ended up not going home. A neighbor was kind enough to check on Sneakers and put food and fresh water out for him, but with a change in weather (and, I truly believe, depression with Unk gone), Sneakers became over-run with fleas, lost a great deal of weight and stopped using the litter box. After living alone for about a month and hearing how poorly he was doing, I headed over with Advantage and a hope I'd find the fairly elusive kitty... and he was bad! Buried under a bunch of my great uncle's stuff, Sneakers was much thinner than I'd even seen him, covered in scabs (from scratching at flea bites) and smelled awful from pretty much never leaving the room he was in (and not using a litter box). The house was also warm, making the smell that much more awful. My oh so wonderful vet tech buddy not only answered the phone when I dialed her number, but she answered all my random questions and she inspired that wonderful post above - I've been so lucky to meet some wonderful, sweet, truly self-less people who answer my random calls.

Not only did I get Advantage on Sneakers, but I got him into a crate to be on his way to the vet too. Thank you, West Deptford Animal Hospital for taking him in ans loving this stinky, scabby boy - he's already doing so much better!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Signs

This song reminds me of my dad.

I lit a fire with the love you left behind
And it burned wild and crept up the mountain side
I followed your ashes into outer space
I can't look out the window, I can't look at this place.
I can't look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven's boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you've gone too far
So I, I can't look at the stars.

Well, the other night I had a dream and in it, I was sitting in this big field and I was singing this song, the chorus from what I remember...

And I can't look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven's boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you've gone too far
So I, I can't look at the stars.
Stars
Stars, they make me wonder where you are

And as I was singing, this beautiful snowy owl flew out of the woods near by and drifted around in the sky, a semi-circle before flying back into the woods. It was beautiful and I thought, "Wow, was that a sign? Was that him?" I'm singing this song that reminds me of him and this beautiful bird flies out - birds like that remind me of my dad, mostly red-tailed hawks and bald eagles, but birds of prey in general really.

Just as I was thinking this, just as I was questioning it (I mean, it was a snowy old, not a red-tailed hawk, I thought, over-analyzing), this tree near by erupted (there's no other word for it) with these birds that burst out of the tree and flew in every direction out, up and then they came together in the sky before landing near me - and there they were, an arm's length away from me and they were what must have been 15, maybe 20 red-tailed hawk fledglings.

That was it, that was the dream.

As if all that weren't enough "signs", this song came on while I was in the car with my aunt a couple days later and I said, "This song reminds me of my dad" and I went to tell her about my dream (I hadn't told anyone at this point). Just as I opened my mouth to begin, she cut me off: "Look at that!"

On the car ahead of us, after a couple random numbers, the last three letters on the license plate were "D-A-D"

I hear you, Dad, and I hope you hear me too - I miss you, I miss you, I miss you.