Saturday, February 1, 2014

Absolutely NOTHING to do with running...

Thursday was the anniversary of Sage’s passing.  Sometimes it seems like she is right here and other times it seems like we never had those 10 years with her. 

We really hadn't seen any signs of anything other than  old age.  Sage live every single minute of her short life, November 10, 2002 – January 30, 2013, as hard as she could.   When she was younger she was either off or on, it was amazing to see. That morning, she just didn't look or behave like herself,  Dave took her to Ocean State Veterinary hospital, West Greenwich RI, amazing vets there!  When the vets looked at her and reviewed her chart and the x-ray, it appeared that the mass they removed with her spleen two years ago was back and was bleeding out.  There were two choice, to remove this mass, test it for cancer, as they did with the mass two years ago (miraculously it was not cancer – which was a relief as we had just lost Diesel to cancer a few months earlier).  Neither of us even remembered that emergency surgery or the waiting for the pathology reports to come back. We eventually did remember getting a call at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night from OSV, we were terrified to pick up the phone either this was really really good news or really really bad news.  The vet was so amazed he couldn't wait till regular business hours to tell us.  Guess stress does some amazing things with blocking out bad experiences.  We talked about it, and remembered we had our extra two years with her and why put our 10 year old girl through the recovery process from a major surgery and potentially chemo.  I was in NY for the day, and couldn't be there, Dave said she went peacefully. 

She was giving the young ones hell on the beach the Sunday before, and she was gone a few days later she was a tough dog who didn't have time for nonsense.  Makes me think of Sweet Brown “Ain’t nobody got time for this.”  That was Sage. 

Walking Jax (Dave finally got the harness adjusted so Mr. Squiggy can’t wiggle out of it – touch wood – a black dog who likes to chase cars is a recipe for disaster, considering we ended up with him because he was hit by a car and his owners didn't want to pay for surgery or deal with rehab even if someone paid for the surgery) last night I was thinking about all the foster dogs we've had over the years since getting Gizmo from Northeastern Boxer Rescue on New Year’s Day 2003, he was just 2 and a young curmudgeon.  

He has looking pathetic down to a science
Lola.  That first week with Gizmo was fun, he adjusted well enough, we were figuring out how to communicate with him and him with us,  then we got the call.  We have a 6 month old boxer girl desperately in need of a foster home, Gizmo has the right temperament to deal with her.  He is a calming influence and not really all about being the alpha dog and exerting his authority, perfect for Lola.   

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The picture of innocence....
OMG… she was a nut case, terrified of her own shadow and aggressive as hell all packed in one 45 lb boxer girl.  She was so stressed out for the first few days, she slept a lot but when she was finally awake, she ran roughshod over our poor Gizzy.  I am sure he wanted nothing more than to go back into rescue and hope for a better luck of the draw.  Eventually, over the course of a few weeks, we figured out most of Lola’s trigger points and Gizmo just let her be her, even if it involved her sleeping on him in his favorite chair.  About 6 weeks in to Lola’s stay with us, Gizmo and she found common ground, barking at the gas meter reader person, and at that point they seemed to be just fine cohabitating.  She was with us 5 months.

Diesel. About 3 months into 2003 there was a call from rescue about someone to temporarily home Diesel, his current foster home couldn't handle him and all of his energy.  Dave though, oh what the heck, nothing could be as bad as Lola and she seemed to do ok with other boxers.  Dave picked up this crazy Diesel boxer boy (he was 18 months old complete with all sorts of GI issues and a possible case of mange) and snuck him into the basement. 

Maybe if he just appeared Lola would think he had been here the whole time and not have a fit.  Well that seemed to have worked, Diesel wandered up stairs as Lola was passing through the kitchen and she was OK with this additional dog, oh where have you been all this time seemed to be her reaction.  Fortunately this was near meter reading time and the three of them bonded over barking over the meter reader.  Diesel can best be described as a Maserati, very very expensive and very very fun.  Figuring out he did not have some weird skin condition, he had serious allergies to most food causing him all sorts of internal and external issues was quite the adventure.  He could eat canned venison dog food, he preferred venison itself, when it was available.  My brother sent me home with some Venison jerky one visit and the poor dog was beside himself smelling it and I think he managed to climb onto the counter to get at it.  He also wanted to play, all. the. time.  Ok so he wasn't insane he was just very very busy.

Diesel in hot pursuit of Giz

Sage. May of 2003 Lola was finally placed in the perfect home for her, an only dog and two doting humans. The call came in June, a 6 month old uncontrollable boxer girl needed to be transported from the Long Island, the vet would bring her on the ferry to New London, could we  pick her up and she was sure to get placed really really quick, she was cute as a button and probably her only behavioral issue was she was 6 months old. 

Her owners had gotten her when their first baby was born because it is a smart thing to have a puppy and a newborn at the same time.  Dave pulled up in front of the house with this adorable brindle boxer with the goofiest look on her puppy face.  I fell in love with this girl.  OMG so cute and so much energy, so much fun!  She managed to get all top marks in her puppy training and socialization classes, but out in the real world she forgot all of her lessons.

Sage giving Giz a run for his money!
OK so maybe all boxer girls weren't insane like Lola.

Gracie. Rescue called, fall 2003, there was a 12 week old puppy with a club foot who needed a home until surgery and she would be placed in her furever home.  

Not a great pic but you can see the clubbing of her left foot (Giz butt in the background, Sage to the side)

The left foot is sticking up over her right leg
Gracie was amazing.  That club foot did make her pretty miserable, and she drug it around for the 3 weeks she was with us.  We took her on a beach outing and that little girl tucked that club foot up under her and ran on three legs with those boys and was in her glory.  She did get the foot amputated and went to live with another 3 legged boxer girl in NYC. 

Deuce. Spring 2004 Our first rehab dog, 9 months old, two broken front legs, hit by a car.  6 weeks in the crate only out for bathroom.  By the end Deuce hated Dave, Dave would take him out of the crate and put him back in the crate, Dave sucked.  He healed, two metal plates in both his front legs, and was able to run around with our guys and just had a blast with people and other dogs. 

Deuce, he liked me, but then I wasn't the one continually putting him back in is crate!

Giz and Deuce
He ended up in Stamford CT as an only dog, as the months with us went on it became pretty clear while Deuce liked other dogs, he really thought he needed to be the only dog. All good stuff to know when placing a dog in a furever home.  Deuce also was in People magazine, the church his family went to also had Sunday service for pets!

Ugh, poor guy!

His legs looked pretty good!

Greco. Spring 2005 our second rehab dog, 6 months old, broken hip, fell down the stairs.  

Handsome boy!
He only had to be in the crate for two weeks but limited activity.  Bwahaaaa, a boxer boy to remain calm, like that is going to happen.  When he could finally go to the beach and run with Treacherous Trio, he was so happy.  They had a fun rough and tumble play session on the beach, he was a little sore for a few days.  He went to a family in Maryland, and they sent us status reports on him for a couple years.  He was a skinny little thing when we had him and filled out into a very handsome 80 lb boxer boy.  I couldn't find a pic of him with Giz...  oh well..

Georgia. Fall of 2005 a semi load of dogs from a kill shelter in Georgia, a boxer girl, apparently used as a breeder dog arrived at the CT Humane Society, were we interested.  I picked her up, all skin and bones and scared, oh so scared.

Georgia - such a happy girl!
I brought her home and put her in the back yard, locking the threesome in the house.  She could at least smell them in the yard and I would see if this would relax her a bit.  She was ok with other dogs and rather happy to be in the yard.  She scratched around and sniffed a bit and found a place to lie down.  And seemed to be at home.  Oh this was going to be fun, she didn't know about houses.  I opened up the doggy door and our three came tumbling out everyone behaving appropriately.  Eventually they all lost interest and went inside and Georgia went back to the nest she was making.  I encouraged her inside and she found a nice pile of wood shavings and began this nesting process again, looking a little dubious about this inside business.  I didn't let her stay there long and she started heading towards the door, having no idea how to use the doggy door was a good thing. I herded her towards the stairs and she looked at them and looked at me and gave me this ‘ok lady what are you looking for me to do here?’  I picked her up and carried her up the stairs, our three were curious about this…  and I set her down next to me on the couch.  She stood up, looked around, turned around and for the rest of the time she was in our home that was HER spot on the couch.  I think she was with us 4 months, and we were honored to name this little peanut of a boxer girl Georgia Peanuts.   Her fur ever family were an older couple, looking for a low maintenance pup to take on walks and grow old with them.  Georgia was the perfect fit.  Her new human parent said she got in the house and found ‘her’ spot on the couch and whenever they needed to find her, that is where she was!

Faith. Spring 2006 Faith was found on the streets, abandoned, she had kidney failure, only a few weeks to live.  I picked her up from the ferry in New London, she was too weak to walk and I placed her in a kennel in the truck, no one knew how she would react to being transported.  She was OK with it.  I received instructions on how to administer her daily 1500 ml of fluid subcutaneously to flush out her kidneys.  

Faith (Diesel in the background)
After a couple weeks, she started to thrive, the vet was amazed, this dog should be dead by all rights, yet all of her kidney levels are in the normal range and she will never get better however she is healthier and healthier.  From the dog that I had to carry into the house, a few weeks later she was starting to get a little rough and tumble with the Treacherous Trio.  They all seemed to enjoy playing together for the majority of the many many months she was with us.  After about 6 months it became obvious Faith’s health was fading fast as was her tolerance for other dogs.  She was not in a good environment for what truly would be her last few weeks.  Sadly we agreed and she was placed in a home, where she was the only dog, until she passed peacefully a month later.

We didn't have any more foster dogs after that, Diesel was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2008, we were happy to have a couple healthy years with just the Treacherous Trio until Diesel passed in July of 2010.

Phoenix.  Our first attempt at rehabilitating a dog placed in a kennel for an extended period of time.  3 year old boxer boy, came to us in the late fall 2010, he had been in a kennel for many months year, previous to that his story was one of multiple homes and abuse.  

All in all a happy boy, on his terms!
Quite sad.  He had quite the aversion to construction tools, hammers, screwdrivers, tape measures to name a few.  He was very good at self entertainment, which seems to be a trend with kennel dogs.  In the back yard he would spend hours chasing a ball on a rope back and forth and all over the yard.  For the first month he was crated most of the time and let out to play, this sounds mean, however it really is for the benefit of the dog to understand the routine and have minimal expectations placed on them.  So his hour a couple times a day in the back yard was grand for him and we took turns playing with him.  He was placed as a single dog in a home and did very well, he passed away last year, such a short life for a special boy.

Gus. Our second kennel dog, Gus, 3, came to us on New Year’s Eve 2010, he had the same treatment of being crated most of the time first alone and then down stairs with the family and when he became agitated covering his crate with a blanket.  Gus was in ‘puppy prison’ for 18 months, this is a very long time.  Most dogs do not live this long in the kennel.  He was extremely stressed out.  It was not until March of last year that he was completely crate free in our home.  He needed to be crated when we were gone because he would panic, and we would see destruction when we came home.  

He loves his freedom!
We still have a crate in the bedroom and from time to time he enjoys escaping to the “Gus Hut”  the door never gets closed, he likes his little den. Although lately we’ve noticed that he more enjoys burrowing under the covers on our bed to make his own little den.  Fortunately, he retires to the “Gus Hut” at bedtime and will come wake me up to snuggle around 5 a.m.

Jax Our 3rd rehab dog, Jax 8 months old was run over by his owner in the summer of 2011 and when the vet explained the cost of putting his leg back together the owner said to put him down.  The vet contacted rescue and rescue offered to pay for the surgery if the owner did the rehab, still no interest.  Surgery was done and Jax was place in a foster home who just could not fathom leaving him in a crate to rehabilitate and Jax was far far to active and his leg was not going to mend properly.  He came to us and was set up in his crate.  Having learned a lesson or two we kept him on the lowest floor, easier to get him in and out for the bathroom and more likely for him to get plenty of rest.  We also learned a few tricks for bribing him into the crate.  He became kind of wise to them and sort of accepted them all at the same time.  The 8 weeks seemed like they didn't take as long as 8 weeks seems, at least to us.  Jax was thrilled to join Gizmo, Sage, and Gus and they were OK with him and is all boxer all the time energy. 

Bouncea bouncea bouncea - eventually I'll be able to take a non blurry picture of him!
I can't think that I am missing any of them.  12 that sounds about right...  and oh yeah, what started this whole boxer thing off was Moe (Dave's dog from his previous relationship) passing away in November of 2002. Moe was physically challenged, she had a breathing issue which caused her throat to partially close up when she drew in a breath and it appeared she was having an asthma attack.  An experimental surgery at Michigan State University Veterinary School in 1998 was thought to give her a few more months of life.  Dave didn't know the few more months until AFTER the surgery. Year after year went by and while it was a shock to wake up and find her gone, those few months turned into nearly 4 years!  

She was a small goofball, Christmas 2001

He was sure he didn't want another dog, I was sure to keep the option open, that it was his call, I love having pets and he was very much allergic to my cats, so...  A dog was the best option.  The second day after Moe passed Dave called me at work and said the house was way to quiet and he just couldn't bear it.

And Gizmo came into our lives and well you read the story.  Our families and friends think we are a little overboard and weird, a dozen dogs in 10 years, however at the core of it they know we have big hearts and it is hard to see anyone suffer if we have the ability to give them a second chance.

Beth who will update you with this week in running tomorrow.


  1. Beth, I really enjoyed reading this. What amazing people you and Dave are for loving and caring for each of these dogs. I think you gave them a beautiful home and I am sure they know how much they are loved and were loved.

    Looking forward to you next running recap. I am in need of some motivation. I have not run since Monday and today, I choose a bag of chips and a couple beers instead of my sneakers.

    1. Thanks! We rescued them is one part and they rescued us is the other part. The unconditional love they show us when humans haven't always been a positive part of their pre-rescue life is pretty amazing. The process of them trusting us and trusting other dogs is pretty amazing to experience.

      Oh, sounds like you are in need of a little running encouragement!!

  2. You've given so many dogs a happy life!

  3. Reading this absolutely made my day. Even though I've read bits and pieces of the story along the way, it is marvelous to read the entire tale in one place. Big hearts, indeed. You and Dave are beyond amazing. So much love to give, so much love needed.
    Bread cast upon the waters return to you a hundredfold.