Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sometimes being older has a challenge or two.....

A hard bark life - By Ben Aaronson Thursday, December 28, 2006 - Updated: 05:00 AM EST

At 12 going on 13, Holling Holdner is beginning to show his age. Much of his once dark hair has faded to gray. Eating has become a chore as he is missing several front teeth and part of his tongue. And with his hearing all but gone and his eyesight going, he must rely on his keen sense of smell to get around. While 12 may seem young by human standards, for most dogs it is the start of the “golden years.”

Retrieved online 12/28/06 Bedford Minuteman

I recently contacted our local newspaper to see if there might be room for a human (dog) interest story in the weekly publication. I did it for two reasons. If you read the accounts of H's life for the past few years (Life According to Holling and Mo Chuisle Molly ) you have an idea of what H went through before the dedicated and compassionate folks at German Shepherd Rescue New England took him under their wing(s).

It appears that H had been left to his own devices for a long time and had miraculously survived the perils of the streets. I am amazed by the gentleness and devotion of this special guy. There's no doubt that despite his trials and tribulations, he still has a lot of heart.

One thing that has troubled me for a long time is the number of challenges that we face when trying to take a peaceful walk. Dogs need to go for their daily walks with their pack. It's part of normal canine behavior. Although H and I are only a pack of two, he looks forward to our daily strolls. We do the best that we can by crossing streets and going behind bushes when I see other dogs approaching, but sometimes the dogs - in packs, come rushing at us from unexpected places.

It's gotten to the point that when H sees a strange shape that rushes at him, he becomes stressed out. Since his eyesight is considerably diminished, he's not always able to determine whether these shapes are other dogs or not. We've been working on desensitizing him, but it seems that every time we make some progress, there is a setback which is prompted by a rush from some canines looking for playmates.

So, dear reader, do know that H and I really do love dogs! We're just not in a position to play with you. If you see us in the field (conservation area) or walking down the street, please extend the "paw of empathy" and put your dog on a leash. Our friends who have smaller dogs tell us that they would appreciate the same consideration. Thanks so much.

Please take a minute and surf on out to read about the work that GSRNE does on behalf of those who can't fend for themselves. While you're there, take a look at the pictures of all the beautiful pets that have found homes this year. Please consider providing foster care for those who are waiting for their forever homes.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Secret Santa(s) came early Christmas morning

I was surprised to find the red flag up on my mailbox early Christmas morning as H and I started out for our leisurely morning stroll. When we returned home I opened the mail box to find a special Christmas present from two dog lovers and friends of ours, Dao and Jack.

Angel Dogs is a quick and delightful read! I've always believed that animals are among our best teachers and the stories in this book serve to reaffirm that belief. H must have shared my thoughts as he contentedly slept by my chair while I read through parts of the book yesterday. Occasionally he would awaken briefly and glance at me with his wise German Shepherd Dog gaze.

The connection between animals and their people is unique. Ever since I was a tiny child I have had a deep love of and respect for four legged-furries. In my case, there's been a connection with the furries that spans over half of a century. The bonus for me has been the terrific people that I've met through our shared love of animals. It's been my experience that "animal people" are usually pretty decent folks!

The authors, Allen and Linda Anderson maintain a website full of interesting stories and links. They've also written a new book about animals in disasters like hurricane Katrina.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Introduction to my "new" old dog

This old dog has a large piece of my heart. He's my dog and I'm his person.

If you'd like to know about how he came into my life, you can read his story on the following blogs:



We've been hanging around together for the past year and he finally decided that he likes it enough to stay with me forever.

As his eyesight becomes dimmer, his hearing faint and his gait hesitant, I find myself reflecting on our year together and looking forward to the next year.

We've enjoyed some adventures and it's time that I started to journal them so that we don't lose the meaning of each moment.