Thursday, August 8, 2013

Must Love Dogs... by Karen Rock

When I think about my childhood, there are few memories that don’t include a beloved family dog. From a Siberian husky named Nugget who turned up her nose at pulling my sled, but slept at my feet every night, to a mischievous beagle mix named Happy whom we dubbed ‘Queen of the Garbage Cans’ for good reasons, dogs have meant the world to me.

As an adult, I was sure of three things. I would get married, have a child, and own a dog. However, while my husband Greg was excited to start a family, his version of it did not include a four-legged pet. He’d never had a dog and needed lots of convincing that dogs are called your best friends for a reason. Desperate to make our home complete, I scoured the internet, finding picture after picture of dog breeds until he finally weakened. His resolve wavered after viewing the kryptonite known as a Cavalier King Cocker Spaniel. Mere mortals cannot resist the charms of large, melt-your-heart brown eyes, long, curly ears, and a voracious tail wag that resembles a jet propeller.

Within a month, we’d adopted Lizzie, a ten-week-old puppy who flew all the way from Missouri to become a Rock. The moment my finger touched her wet nose through the pet carrier, I fell in love. Yet it was my husband who pulled her out of the container, cuddled her to his chest, and was so reluctant to let her go, that he consented to let me drive home- something he never, ever, lets me do. Lizzie was Greg’s first dog love and he fell hard. Within hours of reaching her new home, Lizzie had Greg wrapped around her tiny paw. I couldn’t help but laugh to see him scurry around the house, finding treats and toys to tempt her with, giving up most of his pillow when she howled, alone, in her bedtime kennel. As time went on, the affection between them deepened. So much so that Lizzie moped when Greg left for work and brought out her favorite toy (a cheetah–print octopus- go figure!) when she heard the garage door open.

Despite our happiness, a part of me felt a bit let down. Prior to Lizzie, my dogs had always been rescues, not pure breeds, and I felt guilty that we hadn’t opened up our lives to a dog in need. In secret, I began scouring ASPCA websites, looking for Cavalier King Cocker Spaniel’s less fortunate than our Lizzie. Then I found a five-year-old named Little Bit. Little Bit had lived a solitary life with an elderly woman who, unfortunately, had grown ill and could no longer care for her loyal puppy. After much cajoling, I convinced Greg to take the drive out to Niagara Falls to “see the dog” knowing that his heart had room in it for one more pet.

And I was right. We adopted Little Bit, who outweighs Lizzie by fifteen pounds, by the way, and our home was complete. Even our cat, Angel, seemed to like the gregarious Little Bit. She didn't have a favorite like Lizzie, and lavished her love on anyone within her tongue’s reach. Despite the fact that Little Bit is now deaf and responds only to touch, floor vibrations and hand signals, and Lizzie is a diabetic who requires Insulin shots twice a day, Greg’s love of dogs has never wavered. And neither has mine. If anything, owning special needs dogs has given me a deeper affection for these challenged canines. I know that I was fated to own them and I take my responsibility seriously. I’ve fed them freshly cooked chicken and rice ever since Lizzie decided she’d rather go into to Insulin shock than eat more dried dog food, and bought Little Bit a Thunder Shirt to help her through the anxiety her hearing impairment produced.

Sure, puppies are adorable, bright and shiny with the promise of long walks and loads of play time. But my life has taught me to weather the rhythms of dog lives the way I’ve learned to navigate the changes in my own. I’m forgiving of messes made on floors when an overloaded kidney can’t wait another minute, or of the need to carry a dog outside because she’s afraid to go out alone, in the dark, with only her sense of smell to guide her. I can only hope that someday, someone will do the same for me.

My upcoming novel, WISH ME TOMORROW, features a diabetic therapy dog named- drum roll- Lizzie J I couldn’t imagine better medicine for the oncology patients my heroine, Christie, councils, than this perky, affectionate dog who, like them, is battling a chronic, life-threatening illness. Please tell me about your significant pet others in the comment’s section below and be entered to win an autographed copy of my upcoming September release. I look forward to hearing about them J Please check www.facebook.com/karenrockauthor tomorrow for the name of the winner. Thanks!     

47 comments:

  1. I love animals so much that I've been vegetarian for 7 and a half years. On a more domestic level, though, I must say my pet loves are all someone else's. I love my mom's cat, Static, but she's one of those moody felines that only likes the person she belongs to. Alas. My brother has a dog named Oscar who is a pit bull/wiener dog mix. He's super strong with the muscles and head (complete with jaw and everything) of a pit bull, but he has short legs and a long body. Everyone says he looks weird, but I'm so used to seeing his stature that I see a "normal" dog and think they look strange. Oops. He's so sweet though. There's also a cat named Shadow. He's soft and nice and a little chubby. He's totally an attention whore and really likes people. Oh, and has a tendency to roll around in the dirt... all. the. time. *sigh* I love them so much. When they still lived with me I took tons of pictures of them all the time.

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    1. Lisa, I fall in love with other people's pets all time! And even beg to babysit them :) I completely understand your devotion to your family's four-legged members. I can see that you miss them very much and hope you are in a place to have one soon! Please give Static a wave from me because if she's like me cat Angel, if she's not in the mood, that's as close as I dare get. Oscar sounds gorgeous and please give his long belly a rub from me! As for Shadow, I'll play in the dirt with him anytime. But I might disappear when it's bath time- lol. Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  2. I think that love is love, no matter form. I mean, I love, adore my four-legged, furry children. They are really my sunshine in my life. We have 3 dogs: a schnauzer, a silky terrier, and a half-breed schnauzer, the latter two are adopted.

    I can't imagine my life without them, even they costs us more in their vet, food, and medicines, than I can spend in clothing. That's how much I love these little guys. They love us unconditionally.

    I think every single human must have an animal to take care and viceversa, because you don't adopt them: they adopt you.

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    1. Oh Gabby that is such a great point! I believe that they adopt us too- and we're the lucky ones who get to be a part of their "pack" :) And agreed on my clothing allowance going to vet bills (especially now that both my pups are elderly and require medicine) but I could care less about having the latest pair of shoes when it means I get to keep my pet family healthy and together as long as possible!! Thanks so much for telling us about your adorable dogs. My cousins have a silky terrier and he has the funniest personality. He loves doing thing to get everyone's attention- even hiding people's shoes so that when we go to leave it's hide and seek time, which Scotty loves!

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  3. What a great title and awesome cover.
    I have a long-haired domestic that we adopted from Petsmart. He has seven toes on his front feet. They named him Tiger. Boring. I changed it to Tyre. He's named after a goodlooking cowboy in the movie Silverado.

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    1. Thanks, Pam! And agreed that a seven toed cat needs a distinctive name. Tyre sounds awesome :) I'm always dragged away from the back of Petsmart by my concerned family because they know I'm a rescuer. With three pets, our family is large enough, but my heart never seems to get that memo!

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  4. Dogs rule! Yes, I believe that mantra with all my heart. The Elswick family consists of my husband and I, three children, and at last count, five dogs. Yes, I did say five.

    Murphy is a ten year old cairn terrier. The breed's protectiveness runs deep with this fifteen pounder! He walks our property the first thing every morning, rain or shine, and we know he wouldn't hesitate to attack any intruder, real or imagined.

    Our only female is nine year old Molly, a prissy westie diva. She rules the boys with an iron paw, reminding them that she eats first and that ALL of the toys belong to her.

    Next oldest, is three year old Moe. Moe is short for Moby Dick, aptly named for he is a solid white boxer. Moe was our first boxer, after owning terriers since we were first married. (By the way, today is our thirty-third anniversary)We have learned that there is no sweeter kiss than a sloppy, slurpy, Moe kiss! Moe's job is to try each day to fit his eighty pound body on our laps. It doesn't matter how much of him hangs over, he considers it a job well done.

    Boo Radley is a one and a half year old beagle we rescued from the pound. He earned his name because from the day we brought him home, he shook with fear when we took him outside. The person who had him had never let him outside, but rather kept him in a room where he was alone most of the time. It is one of my greatest joys to watch him run across the yard in hot pursuit of one of his siblings. I never fuss when he comes in with muddy paws and nose from digging one of his numerous holes. Boo is no longer afraid of the outside. I'm happy to report, Boo is not afraid of anything!

    And last but not least, is our newest addition, Scout. Yes, you guessed it, also named for my favorite book, "To Kill a Mockingbird." Scout is a four month old brindle boxer who is all feet! Heaven help us if he grows into those feet! Of course, everything he does is cute, but when he wants attention, he flops those big feet up on you and gives you this look that says, "I love you!"

    As you can see, dogs have always been and will always be a part of my life. As long as I live in the mountains of southwestern Virginia on a large rolling piece of property that is indeed a doggy paradise, I will have dogs. There is no love, no loyalty, no protection like that a dog can give you.

    Yes, indeed, dogs rule!

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    1. oh my goodness, Rebecca, I want to visit your doggy paradise and meet these wonderful characters you described so beautifully! To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books too and I love that you named a couple of your dogs after characters from the story. Moe sounds like one of my Grandmother's dogs, Iwo, (named from a battle my grandfather fought in). Iwo never got the "size" memo either and it is so adorable to see a big dog need the same cuddling that a little one does. Conversely, it is so cute when a little dog gets his 'tough guy' game on like Murphy and will throw all 15lbs of themselves into any fight. The alpha in my house is also an unexpected pet, like your Molly (who sounds like my kind of gal btw!). Our 9 lb cat, Angel, rules our roost and even makes the dogs wait while he sniffs their food first before letting them eat. I love the dynamics of a large pet family and yours is so special! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. And Happy Anniversary!!

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  5. That is just so sweet! I'm more of a cat person, but my brother had a dog named Teddy when he was growing up. Hubby had 2 German Shepherds named Sultan and Swing (yep, it was the Dire Straits era!).

    When I was 8, my dad brought me a cat rescued from his sister's home - she was my birthday gift. I named her Mimi. At the time, we didn't know she was pregnant, and a few months later, we woke up to the sound of soft mewling. She'd given birth overnight...to a single kitten!
    Sadly, within the next year, Mimi passed away - we think she was abused at her former 'home'. But her kitten became mine - I named her Pupuce (which is a term of endearment in French reserved for little kids). She became mine like my own kid; from the age of 9, we were together all the time when I was home. She would hog my bed and almost push me out coz she needed all the space, had 'her' fave cushion no one was allowed to touch, and ate only one version of cat food (no rice for her, no!). The funny thing was, she never drank milk! She'd eat cream and even yoghurt, but would turn her nose up at milk.

    I had gotten engaged to my now-husband when one night, Pupuce walked out of the house and never came back. Later on we found out one of the neighbours dogs had killed her and they'd hushed it all up...

    I like to think she gave me her side when I was alone (and yes, even during my first marriage, that lasted a few months) and she knew she could walk out when the man I now call my husband walked into my life. Actually, he walked in 2 days after Pupuce had disappeared.

    My son is pestering me for a cat now, but with my stepson's asthma, we gotta be careful. I so wish he would know the joy of having a furry pet to call his own.

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    1. Zee, your story brought me to tears! Pupuce had such an incredible life. Her dramatic unexpected birth, her loyalty and fussiness that make her a person rather than a pet, and her tragic end. As you said, she may have walked out as a way because she knew you'd never be alone again, and that makes her such a beautiful and selfless kitty. I'm mourning Pupuce with you, Zee! I hope there is a breed of cat out there that is okay with children suffering from asthma because the joys of pet ownership are such a special privilege. But your stepson's health must come first, of course :) Thank you so much for stopping by, Zee!

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  6. I share your love of animals and enjoyed reading about the animals that have touched your life. As a child I had a beautiful tabby cat called Josephine and a black and white called Samantha. When I married nearly 30 years ago. I adopted two kittens (Sophie and Teddy) from my new neighbour before these left their mother another long haired black and white kitten had adopted me Toby and before we left we had collected two more Mac and Fluffy both strays :-)

    My first dog was a Labrador called Zoe who we had for ten years.

    When my children were young we had two cats from the cat rescue called Tabetha and Tom. We still have Tom who is a stately 14 and keeps my current dog Jazz in line.
    Jazz features on my Twitter account and is my best friend and constant companion when writing. So there you go you did ask.... :-)

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    1. Joli, I adore hearing about your pets!! You're cat/dog history sounds as long and memorable as mine- even more I think! I'm so glad to hear Tom is still with you at 14! It gives me hope since Angel is my first indoor cat and I've never had a cat live that long due to busy roads or other outdoor troubles. I will have to check out Jazz on your website since I must have a visual! I think it is so cute that Tom keeps Jazz in line just like my cat runs my two dogs! Thank you so very much for stopping by! Keep these great stories coming :)

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  7. First off, your Cavalier is GORGEOUS! and so freakin' cute. My ex boyfriend's family had two/ They were adorable doggies. And so sweet. I love animals. Have had cats pretty much all my life. My first cat was Meow, yup, named him that. I was three what do you want? He was a bit nutty. Lived until I went to college. When I finally got my own place, I got a cat. Named her Nala (I'm a Disney fan). She was cute. Then moved home and got another kitty. Moved in with my then fiance and inherited a greyhound, a cockatoo, a red capped Conure and a lab. When we got our own house, we got ANOTHER dog, a dotty/German mix. We had to give her up, tho, she didn't like small animals. During that time we also had a few tortoises, and another two cats. Then we had some Bearded Dragons. Then we got another Greyhound and a lab. Then a few more birds. See the pattern here???? Now we just have a dog and a cat. The dog is Hally, she's a 12 year old yellow Lab. She's great, but she's getting old and I fear she doesn't have much time left. The cat is 4. His name is Walle (yup, another Disney name). Already thinking I want another dog, but not sure I want to take on the responsibility, and my kids really can't be trusted yet (too young). And that's my story!

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    1. Brooke, I love your pet story!! You are such an animal lover and a generous soul to have opened your home to such a variety of animals from reptiles to birds, cats, dogs, and even more dogs! My sister, Cathy, rescues greyhounds and though they've ever an an issue with one, the rest have made such amazing additions to her family. I love visiting her because wherever we are sitting, I can always see a long, black nose nudging around a corner, sniffing us out! Too cute. Your Disney names are so precious and, like you, I'm facing the end of my dogs' lives (Little Bit is 13 and her life expectancy is about that) In fact, she had a serious health complication when I was at RWA this July in Atlanta and my husband called to tell me they were going to euthanize her. It was a heartbreaking moment. I HAD to be there to hold my puppy at her very last minutes. I begged them to wait until I got back and luckily they did, her prognosis improved as she rebounded and PHEW- she is still with me. Thank you so much for stopping by, Brooke!

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  8. That's so sweet! I love reading about your dogs! It's such a sweet story and it's obvious how much you love your dogs!

    While I have am terrified of dogs, I love animals. I do think dogs are cute, but for some reason since I was a little child I am afraid of dogs and I still haven't been able to overcome that fear.

    When I was little we never had many pets, because for some reason my mom is not a pet person. My sister and I kept asking for pets, but the only pets we ever had as a child where a few rabbits and a few goldfishes (which died really quickly and I thought the rabits where usually kinda boring). When my mom left our house to move to the other side of the country for her work(yeah weird story) she finally got us a cat from a shelter.

    Our cat is called Miku (or Mimi or Miemster). While she is really cute, she really is my sister's cat. She sleeps on her bed and even runs into the hallway to greet her when she comes home. So eventually me and my boyfriend decided we wanted some pets for ourselves and my boyfriend spend some time convincing me rats are great pets. So now we have 4 rats and I absolutely love all 4 of them, they are called Skittles, Smarties, Snickers and Pita. They are adorable and I really like having rats.

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    1. Lola- I've seen pictures of Skittles, Smarties, Snickers and Pita!!! They are gorgeous and so adorable. Rats are actually really smart and make great pets. I've never owned one, but I've thought about it... though I'm not sure how my cat Angel (whose actions make me sometimes question that name choice- lol) would react. And I love that you named them after my favorite candies! Could the next one be Reeses?

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    2. Naming one Reeses is a great idea! I love their peanut butter cups! We still are thinking of once buying a chocolate coloured rat, so Reeses would be perfect for a rat like that. But for now we keep it to these 4 rats.

      In theorie rats and cats together is possible (the person from whom we bought our rats had rats, cats and dogs and somehow it worked, although the rats had their own room basically), I think they need to get used to each other. We also have a cat and we keep her far away from the rats, she once jumped on the sofa when the rats where on there and while she didn't do anything, but the rats where scared shitless for the rest of the day. So usually we keep the rats with us or we lock the cat into my sister's room so the rats can run free on the sofa.

      At this moment I can't believe my boyfriend had to convince me that rats are great pets, I love them! They are so adorable and I love standing in front of their cage and just looking at them (they usually manage to convince me to take them out of their cage).

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    3. YAY! I would be so excited if you named your next rat after my favorite candy!! It sounds like a great name for a chocolate colored rat. I can imagine your cat loved the 'play date' with your rats- lol. If we get a rat, and Lola- you are tempting me!- I will keep it in my writing office so it can keep me company. But then again, I think it would tempt me to take it out of his cage and play so I might need to think about it a little longer... okay- no more pictures of your adorable pets, Lola! I'm weakening!

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    1. Thank you, Jen! Dogs are like having a new baby. You can't stop taking new photos of them... or at least I can't...

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  10. A lovely story! Pets are so important in our lives and bring so much joy and love.

    Best,

    Jacqueline Seewald
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DTV0750
    http://www.harlequin.com/author.html;jsessionid=1393C3C686B0F8B9EDEDD9B62B0A54F8?authorid=2189

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    1. Thank you, Jacqueline! I can't imaging my life ever feeling complete without them. They do bring so much joy and love. Whenever I travel, I miss them terribly and can't wait for the hurricane of greetings I get when I roll my suitcase through the door!

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  11. Sounds like this will be a heartwarming story!

    I currently have a 12 year old Golden Retriever named Annie. In her younger years, she was an adorable puppy (as most Goldens are!) but crazy rambunctious! She finally mellowed out around the age of 2, and now that she's in her senior years has become quite the demanding and quirky girl! She has her routines and is quick to tell you with a vocal growl (as if she is actually talking to you!) when we're not following her program. She knows she gets a dentastick every day at 2pm. Sometimes, if you're watching tv, she'll come over at like 1:30 and give you that expectant look and dance on the spot, wanting her treat. If you tell her it's too early and that it's not time yet, she actually seems to understand and will go away and come back when it is. While she is in her senior years, that doesn't stop her from acting like that rambunctious puppy she was whenever she goes swimming or gets a bath in the tub...she'll come out soaking wet and gets all wiggly and hyper.

    Gotta love dogs for all their quirks!

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    1. YES! You've gotta love dogs and their quirks!! And Annie has the most adorable quirks :) My dogs get a Pupperoni before bed and because I'm the only one who remembers this ritual, they refuse to come inside after their final bathroom trip of the night unless I'm a the door. Annie is such an intelligent dog, and not afraid to work it a little by coming to you at 1:30 instead of 2! What a character. I love Golden Retrievers and Annie sounds like the best of the best! Thank you so much for stopping by the blog!

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  12. I love hearing people rhapsodize (sp?) about their pets! We've had a lengthy line of dogs and cats in our lives and despite messes, middle of the night howls, destruction of our favorite things, we wouldn't trade a moment. Nothing doubles your joy or provides comfort like the snuggle and kisses of our furry friends! (I swear they are often more intuitive and more generous than any of us.)

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    1. I agree, Muriel. They are more intuitive and generous than any of us :) When I had complications with my pregnancy, and was on forced bed rest for two months, my cat would lay in bed with my all day. Her presence was so reassuring and definitely got me through some dark moments when I started to lose hope. I'm so glad you stopped by the blog and commented! Pet lovers, unite :)

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  13. Oh Karen, that is such a heartwarming story. It brought tears to my eyes. I never really had any pets growing up, but I used to play with the strays near my home. I hope to own a pet one day. I want my own house though, so that they are free to roam, and do whatever they want. I especially want them to have a yard to play in.
    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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    1. Paula, I hope you get your wish! I home is just a house until there is love in it and pets bring so much love! I know you will be an amazing pet mom :) Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

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    2. Paula, you are the winner of my giveaway! Congratulations :) Please send your mailing info to karenrock@live.com. Thanks!

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  14. Why haven't we talked pets before? I have three dogs, all rescues, and four cats. Two of the dogs are Miniature Pinschers, and when I sit on the living room couch to write I have one on either side of my. The shepherd is usually at my feet, and my daughter's cat on top of the couch behind me. I complain a lot about always being surrounded, but really I love it. Littlest MinPin is allergic to everything (not an exaggeration, sadly), has recently developed diabetes and gone blind. He does fine being blind provided no snow falls to cover up all of his navigating scents *s*. Amazing how resilient they are, no? But I'm rambling...loved the story of how your husband fell in puppy love and now super looking forward to your September release!

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    1. Awwwwww! Thanks, Jennifer! Now I know why we've always clicked :) You adore your pet family like me. Miniature Pinschers are so CUTE and since my grandmother raised a number of German Shepherds, I have a special place in my heart for their intelligence, protectiveness, and loyalty. You are a lucky pet mom to be surrounded by so much love! And I'm raising a glass to you and all other owners of special needs dogs like us. We know the joys of loving a pet, but we also know those moments of despair that test us. Yet we pass the test by taking the very best care of them we can, and never giving up on them! Thank you Jen for sharing your beautiful pets with me :)

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  15. I love animals! I have a 10 1/2 year old boxer/lab mix who I've had since she was around 3 months old. She was found starving, eating scraps at a rural post office. Getting her changed my life - in a good way.
    We've also had an adopted guinea pig, who hated people but we loved him and spoiled him anyways.
    I volunteered at a no-kill animal (mostly dog) rescue for almost 5 years. I loved it. I am passionate about animal welfare (without being 'crazy' I hope).

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    1. Lea you are far from 'crazy'- and every kind of wonderful! You are such a good person to donate your time to a no-kill animal shelter. Think of all of the families you've connected with deserving pets, starting with your very own boxer/lab. How sad that her former owners had abandoned her that way. But very lucky for her that you happened along and saved her life. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your very heartwarming story :)

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  16. Sadly I don't have any pets, we did have a fish long ago but I didn't really like it, they're aren't that much fun.
    I feel kinda anxious being around pets since I didn't have any, but I've always dreamed of fm having a dog, they're so cute and I'm fascinated with how love and company they can give, hope I get to experience that someday soon. n__n
    Karen, I'm so happy for your upcoming release! You know I'm dying to read it.

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    1. Gaby, I wish I could find the perfect dog for you right now!! I know there is a best friend waiting for you who needs you... Did I lay on enough guilt to make you want to adopt, yet? lol. But seriously, I do hope that you get to experience the joy of unconditional love that only a pet can give! And thank you so much for your kind words about my novel! I'm so excited for you to read it :)

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  17. Awww, I've melted into a puddle of mush. What adorable pictures, and I love the story.

    My husband and I rescued both our cat and dog. Diva was found in a shed where the mama cat had abandoned her and her brothers/sisters. Jim's sister-in-law told us about them, so we had to go see them and we had to take one home LOL. Ceasar, our shih Tzu, belonged to a woman who got diagnosed with cancer and couldn't take care of him anymore. So we adopted him. There are days when I wonder what in the world were we thinking adopting them both just a day apart, but then they turn to me with those eyes and I can't imagine life without them!

    Great post, Karen!

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    1. Syndi, your story turned me in to a pile of mush!! What a beautiful, life-changing moment. And it's especially heartwarming that you and your husband rescued these pets together! Imagine where they'd be without you? But, as you said, how could you picture your life without your adorable Ceasar and Diva! (Love those names, btw :) I can tell that you love animals as much as I do, Syndi. Thank you for sharing your moving story with me.

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  18. This sounds like it's going to be a great story.

    I currently have a black lab puppy and a spaniel mix dog. My other dog, Taco, who i have had for 10-11 years just died not to long ago due to the heat. She had long fur and she couldn't take it.. At first i was numb, because i found her, but then once it hit me that she was gone i cried and it just hurt. It hurt so badly. My dad got her because my uncle was gonna bring them to a pound and he knew i wanted my own dog. I miss her so badly. She was a long haired chow mix, and she was beautiful. I don't know how some people deal with the pain of losing dogs or how some people just drop them off at pounds. Dogs are family, you can't just get rid of them.

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    1. Brittney, your story breaks my heart! Taco was a much loved pet and try to think of the joy you brought into her life rather than the way that it ended. I'm so sorry that you were the one who found her since you cared for her so much. But then again, who better to be with her at the end than her very best friend? When my dogs need to be put down (and I know that day is coming all too soon) I will hold them in my arms because, like you said, they are family. I can't imagine people who mistreat or abandon animals either! They don't seem like they can even be called people because that is such an in-human thing to do. I'm so glad you have a cute black lab puppy and a spaniel mix to comfort you. Dogs have a way of knowing when we need them, so I suspect they are lavishing you with lots of love! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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  19. I never had a pet growing up. I did share the neighbor's dog while he was alive.

    Shortly after I got married we adopted a black kitten, who was lost in the neighborhood. We named him Midnight Tiger after the movie Midnight Cowboy. Tiger was the smartest cat, he was leash trained and loved to go for car rides and walks. He put his footprints in the sand at both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and a few of the great lakes. He flew a few times as well. He routed a few big dogs in his time. He adopted the cat in the apartment next to ours. When the cat's owner went to jail, Fluffy came to live with us. Fluffy got very sick and died. We owned a house by then and Tiger went looking all over the place for him. We adopted Sesame so Tiger could have a buddy.

    Then a stray cat had two batches of kittens in our yard. We managed to catch mommy cat and all but one of the older kittens and found homes for them. We lured Bearcat into the house day by day by feeding him just a bit farther into our bedroom which had patio doors. Tiger and Sesame both passed away fairly close to each other and Bearcat lived under our couch for 6 months. It was summer again and I just let him go. He came back after a day and started to get friendlier with us. He passed away between my Mom's passing and my Dad's passing.

    We went to the Calgary Humane Society and adopted Saxon and Amber. Amber has since passed on but Saxon is still here. She's 16 and requires medication twice a day, put onto her ear for her thyroid problems. This limits our travelling a lot.

    Now I have to tell you about Dash, who we rescued from my sister's farm about 8 years ago. The dogs had treed this 2.2 pound kitten. Dash is the most affectionate cat I've owned but only to my husband and me. He runs and hides at the slightest indication that someone else might be around. He has developed an allergy which causes him to lose his fur. We had to take him to the vets which was not easy as he now weight 22 pounds and is very strong. We gave him a bit of a tranquilizing medication and got him to the vets. The vet's assistant was going to weigh him and I warned her not to do it. She picked him up and he freaked out and wreaked the room. We are now consulting by phone as we try and solve his allergy problem. Pills for him once a day which we hide in his food. He sometimes finds the pill and leaves it behind.

    The joys of owning a pet are so many that they make up for the problems of owning a pet and the sorrow that comes when a pet passes away.

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  20. Wow Kaelee! Your pet ownership is incredible. You've done so much, given and sacrificed for so many very grateful and worthy animals! When I read stories like yours, I feel so happy knowing that their are incredibly good people in this world; people like you, who would do anything to protect another living creature. I only got halfway through your post before needing a tissue because you moved me so much. I understand how hard it can be to care for a special needs animal- especially one who was as traumatized as Dash was when he was treed. I completely understand why he is so skittish and what a miracle that you came to his rescue and gave him the best life he could have ever imagined having while stuck up in that tree. You are a beautiful person, Kaelee, that is for sure! Thank you so very much for commenting.

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  21. Karen, your dogs are adorable! I love dogs and have owned a mix, cocker spaniel and now, two labradoodles in my life. I grew up with all varieties of pets, but there has always been a dog in my house, except for when I went off to college and my first few years of marriage. My hubby didn't grow up with pets in the house, so it took a lot of convincing. However, like in your case, he took to our first labradoodle pup in a flash.

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    1. Our stories are so similar, Rula! And I adores labradoodles. They're gorgeous, smart, loyal, and they don't shed! Dog hair is the bane of my existence! I'm glad your husband came around as mine did!

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  22. I didn't find out about this until today, so I know I'm past the deadline to enter for the giveaway...but I just had to leave a comment anyway. I LOVE this post! And I totally relate. We have 3 fur-kidz at home. They range in size from 50 pounds to 90 pounds. Only one is a pure bred (pit), the others are a lab-mix (picture a black lab with a beard), and a chow-shephard-mix (picture a little brown bushy fox). Each has their own personality. And all three sleep in the bed at night (yes, we bought a king size to accommodate this demand they placed upon us!) Oh! And LOVE the pic of you and all three of your fur-kidz!

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  23. Oh I love the phrase, fur-kidz!! I've never used it before and it's perfect. My pets are just like my children. Thank you for the compliment on my photo, and I would love to see one of your extended pet family all cuddled up! They sound amazing. They are big dogs, so I can see why the need for the King-size bed :) I'm so glad to hear about how happy you all are! Thanks so much for sharing on my blog.

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  24. Paula R, you are the winner of my giveaway! Congratulations :) Please send your mailing info to karenrock@live.com. Thanks!

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  25. I wanted to be a vet as a child but then realised I can't even draw blood! Too nasty :/
    I have two bunnies, a french lop boy and a miniature lop girl (you can see the pics and more about them in my blog www.bookbunnys.com) and I love them so much. They're part of the family. I don't know what I'd do without them! Generally I just can't live without animals! It's just impossible! Even when they destroy things ;)

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