Monday, September 15, 2014

A Dog's Life by Kate James (and contributed to by Harley and Logan)


My husband and I met because of our love of dogs and . . . well . . . because of the dogs we loved. Our blended family consisted of our Alaskan Malamute, Casper, German Shepherd, Kylie, and yellow Labrador Retriever, Buster.

It was heart wrenching when we had to say goodbye to them one by one over the past few years. We didn't think we were ready to add to our family again, but two young black Labs proved us wrong.


They came into our lives unplanned. They were fourteen and sixteen months respectively when we first met them, intelligent and with great temperaments. They'd been held back by the breeder for show and breeding, but she'd decided to sell them. Looking into their adoring chocolate-brown eyes, we knew instantly that their forever home would be with us.

It was my editor, Paula Eykelhof, who first commented on how wonderful it was that we had brought these rescue dogs into our lives. I protested that they weren't rescue dogs. After all, they had been cared for and never abused. But, as with most things, Paula was right. Having lived their entire lives in kennels, their behaviors told their own story as we gradually introduced them to the big wide world.

I have never crated a dog before, but Harley and Logan needed the comfort and security. Over a year later, they still love to spend time in their kennels, but they prefer to curl up, or stretch out, together in one kennel.



They have their own cushy beds in our bedroom, but still tend to share one. And, yes, they like to sleep on their backs . . . or on top of each other.


And during the day, they seek out the warmth of the sunshine and snuggle.



Logan can't bear to be without us and would love to be able to curl up in our laps.

Harley sees a butterfly (or anything resembling one) and a little switch trips in his head and all else ceases to exist in his world.

Logan's need to be close has resulted in a damaged laptop screen. (I'll spare you the details!)

Yes, that's a tooth mark on the left middle.
Harley's predilection for chasing butterflies has caused more than a few trampled perennials.

Before

After


Here is a video clip of Harley at our cottage. You'll hear my husband's voice after Harley catches a Frisbee but abandons the game to pursue a butterfly: http://youtu.be/MwRVhfIdMSQ. Clearly, Harley does not yet consistently heed his master's voice . . . it's that little switch thing! ;-)

Harley and Logan have come so far in the year they have been with us, and continue to delight us each and every day. A computer screen is easily replaced and perennials grow back, but the unconditional love and affection they bring into our lives is limitless and unparalleled.

Do you have an animal story you would like to share? Please leave a comment here or tweet me a picture @KateJamesBooks. One reader leaving a comment or tweeting a picture will be randomly selected to receive a copy of my November Heartwarming release, A Child's Christmas.

Happy reading!

Kate

58 comments:

  1. What a fun post. Harely & Logan are adorable and the video of Harley following the butterfly is sweet - beautiful yard! We'll be sharing. As you know, we have only fictional pet stories in our home. :) I can't wait to read, A Child's Christmas!

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  2. Thank you, Cool Mom!

    Having only had dogs from the time they were puppies prior to Harley and Logan, we never anticipated the . . . ummm . . . challenges associated with bringing home two young adults. As they had not been together prior to finding their forever home, we were thrilled and admittedly a little relieved by how well they've bonded.

    If Felicia would like a bit of inspiration for her books, we have lots of Harley and Logan stories to share!

    Happy reading!

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    1. Love animal stories. I have two rescue cats, neither of whom is a lap cat. But 13 year old Blossom has a new way to show her affection when I'm on my laptop. She jumps on the right arm of my chair, goes around behind my head and comes over my left shoulder to curl up on my chest in front of the laptop. I never have the heart to make her move.

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    2. Why would you want to get her to move, Patricia?! I can picture it and it's endearing.

      Your cat curled up on your chest is also likely more manageable then Logan trying to crawl into my lap as I'm typing. I'm convinced that it's less about snuggling with me and more about wanting to learn how to send e-mails to his furry, four-legged pals!

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    3. What a blast that video was....your husband's voice just before the crash through the flowers was great. So, authentic.

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    4. What a blast that video was....your husband's voice just before the crash through the flowers was great. So, authentic.

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    5. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Fortunately, our dogs mean far more to us than our gardens! Harley is definitely coming along, as this year we haven't yet experienced a flower-bed casualty with him. It's the abundance of bunnies we have to be concerned about right now.

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  3. I loved the Harley-Logan stories, and all the pictures, too. I have cats who sit outside the office door and look in at me--obviously if I'm working, they should be eating.

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    1. Thank you, Liz!

      The beauty of having two (or more) dogs is that they are able to amuse themselves for short periods of time. You can tell from the picture of my laptop screen what can happen when they decide it's time to play and I (foolishly) want to write another chapter or two!

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  4. They are ridiculously cute. So the bull mastif next door..he's a digger. They've started putting him on a leash when they let him into their yard and several times on the weekend he ended up on my side of a chain link and privacy fence, still chained to their house! Poor boy. Makes me want to just keep him on my side. I think he needs a little cat companionship.... (Am I being naive? Would I end up with four dead cats on my hands?)

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    1. You know what they say . . . possession is nine-tenths of the law!

      As for dogs and cats together, I had two Huskies raised by an older cat. The Huskies grew to be seventy-five pounds each and remained submissive to cats their entire lives, not willing to even make eye contact with a cat. Your cats might just influence the bullmastiff to be a better behaved dog!

      Ummm, on second thought, please don't try the introduction on my advice.

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    2. This reminds me of that line by Bill Murray concerning chaos "...cats and dogs living together..." Our cat tolerates our young dog, but the cat follows the dog around, so I'm sure it's just an act.

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    4. :-) Our dogs follow us around because they know we invariably have doggie treats in our pockets!

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. I may have to do another post showing their mischievous side!

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  6. I'm usually a cat person, but when my girls were little they wanted a dog. We got a Samoyed from friends whose dog had puppies. He was such a fabulous dog and we had him for 17 years. It was too hard when we lost him and we couldn't bear to get another dog. But our cats loved him. They loved to burrow in his soft fur. When we lived in Oregon a woman stopped one day when I was brushing him on the front porch. She asked if she could come brush him every day and collect the fur. She wove the fur, dyed part of it. Made a suit that took 2nd place in the State fair. It was cool.

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    1. Seventeen years is such a good age for a dog that size. Thank you for sharing his story, Roz. I am a long-time supporter of the Alaskan Malamute Help League. Due to the size of the dogs, they are harder to accommodate at traditional shelters. Over the years, they have done a variety of fundraising initiatives. One of them was selling scarfs and hats made from brushed-out Malamute fur. I expect a suit from Samoyed fur would be quite comfy! It must have taken a LOT of time to make it.

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  7. I've always said I wasn't a cat person. Nada. No. So when I found a 4-week old kitty on a hot parking lot, I first drove away...then went back and took the little fellow who was bleeding from the nose home to die. Well, he didn't die and grew to be a 17 pound cat. That cat never did like me, but I grew to love him and only had him three years when he had a stroke. Probably a result of what happened when he was a kitty.

    Didn't think I'd get another cat...then just happened to stop by the shelter and fell in love with a little 6-month-old female black and gray tabby. Now, this kitty loves me and likes to sit in my lap while I type. Will tweet you a photo. Great post.

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    1. Oh, Patricia, I teared up over your story about the kitten. I can never turn my back on a lost or injured animal. The good news is, when I've brought them home (a little dog with a stubby tail comes to mind in particular) we've been able to find their owners. Otherwise, we'd need a bigger house!

      I look forward to seeing the pic of your gray tabby.

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    1. There's nothing that compares to that unconditional love, Pamela! You're more than welcome to come visit with our guys any time for a bit of puppy love!!

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  9. Kate! Ron and I are both sniffling. Two dogs ago, we adopted Fred from the Shelter He'd been in a cage with his sister, Ginger, and she'd been placed, so he sat in a corner, obviously lonely. He was 4 months old. I stopped to talk. He said, "If you take me home with you, I will be the best friend you ever had." So we did and he kept his promise. He died in our arms at 10 of lymphoma. I swear, there is nothing like a Black Lab - except for all the other wonderful breeds out there. Victoria - the dog between Fred and Cheyenne was an English Mastiff, who came to us at 9 years old and loved our cats. But it's always good to be careful. Love your boys, Kate!

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    1. Oh, gosh, Muriel. Now I'm sniffling, too. Of our last three, we were able to say goodbye too Kylie and Buster in our arms at home. They really are the best friends a person can ever have.

      Okay, I'm going to give Harley and Logan big hugs now (or perhaps more accurately receive big hugs from them).

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  10. Your dogs are beautiful, Kate! We had a wonderful chocolate lab for years. He was our first baby. When he passed, we adopted a mutt from a rescue shelter. I think she's a mix between a lab and maybe a Border Collie. She, her five siblings, and her mom were in a kill shelter in Alabama. I am so thankful someone went down and got them out of there. I have never met such a loving puppy as our Macy. She loves our family so much, she goes looking for us if one of us leaves the room for too long! There's something very heartwarming about dogs :)

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    1. I, too, am so glad those dogs were rescued, and that you gave one of them such a wonderful home, Amy. Speaking of "heartwarming" and dogs, I don't think I could write a book without at least one furry, four-legged character in it!

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  11. We started with an Irish Setter, followed by a Miniature Poodle, Siberian Husky, Toy Poodle and a Bichon Frise. Everyone but the first and last was a delight. As I began replying to your post, I realized I could do a whole post of my own on the dogs I’ve either raised or known. Thanks for the idea.

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    1. I look forward to reading your future post on your four-legged family members, Marion. My Siberian Huskies (first dogs I shared my life with as an adult) were loving but with a mind of their own!

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    2. Our Siberian Husky, Yukon Jackie, was an alpha, and considered herself above everyone and everything, with a fantastic personality. She looked like a wolf and most people stayed clear of her from fear, but she was so gentle and loving.

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    3. I've never met a Husky or Malamute that wasn't gentle. I understand that they tend to have fewer behavioral and other genetic problems because they haven't been bred as pure for as long as more traditional breeds. My female, Sheena, was a rescue, and I suspect she had been abused as she was very shy with people. If I had guests, she would find a quiet room to spend time in. She was the sleekest, fastest dog I have owned (or seen). When she ran, all her considerable energy was exerted in forward motion. Her shoulders would barely move up and down. Much like Harley with his butterflies, when she ran, she tended to be in a world of her own.

      Thank you, Marion, for bringing back such wonderful memories of my Huskies.

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  12. I have a cocker spaniel who was born to a line of agility dogs. He tested as not a good fit as a puppy. He's a great dog and loves his runs on the Oregon Coast beaches the best.

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    1. Thank you for visiting the blog and sharing your story, Mindy. Personally, I think it's far preferable to have him as a "good fit" for your family than agility! Our Logan sleeps in such odd positions, I often wonder how he'd do with agility. Please check back tomorrow morning to see if you are the winner of my November release.

      Happy reading!

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  13. Kate, they're so beautiful! I've always been dog crazy, so when I was vastly grown up and entirely certain I could handle everything (age 23), I adopted my first rescue, a lab mix named Darcy (because, you know, I could). When I had to say good-bye after 14 years, I was pretty she was it for me. Then on the way home from work one day, I met a sweet guy who resisted my best efforts to save him without getting attached. And I love him fiercely. I can't imagine life without him.

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    1. Cheryl, you brought tears of sadness (at having to say good-bye) to tears of joy (your sweet guy . . . and I happen to know he's very handsome, too) to my eyes.

      We like to say Harley and Logan adopted us. Our home had been very empty without the pitter-patter of doggie feet. Now our home--and hearts--are full again.

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  14. Kate, what a charming post. Your two boys are gorgeous--and obviously, they are characters too. At present I have my cat Daisy (who appeared in my last blog post), the fifth cat to grace my house. She's a rescue cat and the day we adopted her the woman at PetSmart told us some guy had dropped her at a shelter saying "Just kill her." Can you imagine?? Years ago we had a Great Pyrenees. Beautiful, sweet dog but we haven't had one since--although we talk about it a lot. Maybe one of these days….And two of our cats were siblings. They knew it too. If one came in the house, she/he waited for the other. They were always looking out for each other. Enjoy Harley and Logan!

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    1. Oh, Leigh, what a sad story about Daisy, but I am so glad she found such a wonderful forever home with you.

      Great Pyrenees is a beautiful breed. I nearly welcomed one into my family once, but he found another good home before I could. I actually thought we would end up with two Malamute pups when we were ready again, but Harley and Logan adopted us first. Our vet was humorous when she first met them. Knowing we had planned on two Mal pups, she commented that with they glossy black coats these two "Malamutes" were non-traditional in their coloring!

      Thank you for sharing your story.

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    2. Yes, indeed. Daisy is the luckiest cat in creation. And the most spoiled. It is my mission in life.

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    3. A very worthwhile mission that Harley and Logan note should be mine, too, where they're concerned!

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  15. Ahhhhhh! I'm loving every word as I read it, K:) Your first pictures, of your angels, brought me to tears. What a beautiful trio and I know they are happily wagging their tails from above as they watch Logan and Harley's antics! They are so adorable and bursting with personality. I've seen the video before when you sent it to me to make me laugh in a time of need! The pictures of them sleeping on their backs, cuddling are just too precious. Thank you for this beautiful post :)

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    1. Karen, as you well know the feeling, we still dearly miss Casper, Kylie and Buster. All three were gentle and loving. You would never have known who was alpha, as they always seemed to favor competing for the omega spot.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Karen, and thank you for your kind words about our furry, four-legged kids.

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  16. Beautiful dogs, Kate. My current wire-haired fox terrier (number seven) is a retired show dog who lived in a kennel for ten years. Adjusting to a home has been a challenge but after a year now, he's pretty well settled in. He's very sweet and lovable, as they all have been.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. As I noted, they've come such a long way in a year, and are truly well-mannered and even tempered. It was fascinating watching them with all their first.

      As young adults, learning to walk up and down stairs and to swim have been amusing to watch. Logan tends to dive right in with four paws and figure it all out later, while Harley is much more reserved and needs time to consider and experiment. Only the second time in the water, Logan of his own volition tried dock diving.

      I'm very glad your wire-haired terrier found his forever home with you.

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    2. Too funny, your labs learning to walk up and down stairs. You should have seen our Great Pyrenees trying to learn because at the time we lived in a sixth floor walk-up apartment in NYC! Poor baby, she had a challenge to meet. Good thing we moved upstate soon after we got her.

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    3. Harley didn't want to have anything to do with it at first. Coaxing him with treats didn't even do it! When they finally mastered it, the next worry was that at our cottage they would go right through the wall at a landing as slowing down near the bottom was not in their repertoire at first.

      Harley still wont swim. He wades in but doesn't feel comfortable if he can't stand on the bottom. All in good time . . .!

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  17. I'm so glad Harley and Logan have such a wonderful home now. I can tell you enjoy them and that they're having lots of fun! We had a black cat for about 14 years that my sister found outside her house. Velvet was very affectionate, and in her later years started watching television.

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    1. I truly love to hear all the wonderful stories about animals needing homes have found them.I am glad Velvet found a loving home with you.

      With television, I find it interesting--if not entirely surprising--that our dogs can tell if it's a real dog barking or a synthesised sound.

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  18. Harley and Logan are pleased to announce that Mindy Hardwick is the winner of a copy of my November Heartwarming release, A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS!

    Mindy, please e-mail me at readers@kate-james, let me know if you prefer an e-book or print copy, and give me your coordinates. Please expect your copy early in November, after its release.

    Thank you for visiting the blog and leaving your comment!

    Happy reading!

    Kate

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  19. Hi Kate,
    All the animals in our house are rescues...two cats and a dog. I find it rewarding to know I've saved an animal vs paying for one. Our dog, Dash, a stray from a high kill shelter in Quebec, is a mutt. I'm often asked what breed he is, and I hostestly can't tell. I used to make things up, lol. But now we call him our Heinz 57. The first year with him was challenging to say the least. Since he wasn't neutered until he was a year, he had some bad habits. My sisters tells me that the reason we found him is because no one else would have put up with his naughtiness. I'm not sure about that, but I can tell you he has brought lots of excitement to our household ;-)

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  20. Marcy, thank you for visiting the blog and for your comment.

    I truly wish there was no such thing as a "kill shelter" (it's actually an oxymoron). How wonderful of you to open your home and heart to two cats and a dog needing a forever home!

    Reading your comment reminded me that the female protagonist in my second Heartwarming novel runs an animal shelter with a partner. No surprise that they are adamant about accommodating all animals--whether injured or in need of a home--that come their way. I couldn't write it any other way.

    Best wishes to you and your furry, four-legged family members, Marcy, and thanks again for stopping by!

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  21. I would love to meet Harley and Logan. We also have a rescue - and Paula was giving me advice every step of the way as we got him back to health and then socialized him. And we have a little princess, Taylor, who is named after her Mama and is right now on her padded rug on my chair with me. My dog story tells on me...There was a fire in my mother's neighborhood. The only part of the house that survived the flames was the master bedroom closet. Thankfully the elderly couple escaped unharmed. As did their little dog. In telling my aunt about this episode, I went on and on about the dog. Calling him by name. She asked me the names of the people. I had no idea. Her response - 'That's so you, Tara.'

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  22. Thank you for visiting the blog, Tara, and sharing your story. How wonderful (although having met you, not surprising) that you opened your home and heart to those two very lucky pups.

    I hate to admit it, but I tend to remember a dog's name before their human's, too!

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  23. What beautiful dogs Kate. I know how difficult it is to lose a beloved dog(s), but I'm so happy you found Harley and Logan. They are so beautiful too, and I always admire the pictures you post on Facebook of the two of them. (Loved the YouTube video too!!) As most of you know I'm partial to German Shepherds because I had an awesome one, April, who was so incredibly smart, but very jealous. When I was a child I remember my mom received a box of chocolate from her new boyfriend. They went out together and when he dropped my mom back home they found the entire box of chocolate ripped to shreds. April was very possessive of my mom and wasn't afraid to let anyone know it. ( :

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    1. Thank you, very much, Laurie. Yes, it's very hard to say good-bye to our furry, four-legged kids, but Harley and Logan have completed our lives again. Interesting about April. Our Shepherd, Kylie, was raised by our Malamute from a young pup. It was fascinating to see she was more like a Mal than a Shepherd. Hmm...nature versus nurture?!

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  24. What a beautiful story and heartwarming We lost a beautiful ray of sunshine in January. His name was Marmite he was born in Ireland. My daughter and I was doing a car boot sale with the proceeds going to the local Kennels. I notice his picture on the board with other dog's to adopt. So on the Monday 12/5/08 we visited the Kennels to see this dog, my daughter fell in love with him his kennel name was Scooby. We already had a rescued Staffie who was used as a Breeding machine she was 5.5 yrs old. Both dog's got on well together, Dolly made it clear she was Top dog. My daughter wanted call him Marmite bcos he had a shiny black coat with Tan coloured eyebrows and brown legs.
    Later in the year I found a cute puppy for my son. The puppy was 18 weeks old and had been dumped at the bus station. The local dog-eared Coral rescued the puppy and took it home to the Kennels she owned, we took our friend down to the Kennels bcos she wanted a small dog. But she made no attempt to talk or play games with him and in the end she didn't really want him. Shel who helped out at the Kennels although she was blind dog's loved her. Shel lent me the donation money to get this small ball of fluff. His name is Kalou and his 7yrs old, his birthday is the first of April.
    Since Marmite passed away peacefully, although he was very ill he never showed any sign of illness no crying if he was in pain. I know Kalou misses Marmite so much bcos Kalou doesn't know how to play with a ball. Marmite use to teach him, yes they times wen they had fights, but over the yrs fights disappeared and they became the best of friends.
    So Kalou and I are getting through this together, at the moment I'm really enjoying taking Kalou out, I know that Marmite is with us all the time. Perhaps one day I may rescue another dog but not at the moment.
    I loved the story of your wonderful Dog's past and present. Blessed Be xx

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  25. What a beautiful story and heartwarming We lost a beautiful ray of sunshine in January. His name was Marmite he was born in Ireland. My daughter and I was doing a car boot sale with the proceeds going to the local Kennels. I notice his picture on the board with other dog's to adopt. So on the Monday 12/5/08 we visited the Kennels to see this dog, my daughter fell in love with him his kennel name was Scooby. We already had a rescued Staffie who was used as a Breeding machine she was 5.5 yrs old. Both dog's got on well together, Dolly made it clear she was Top dog. My daughter wanted call him Marmite bcos he had a shiny black coat with Tan coloured eyebrows and brown legs.
    Later in the year I found a cute puppy for my son. The puppy was 18 weeks old and had been dumped at the bus station. The local dog-eared Coral rescued the puppy and took it home to the Kennels she owned, we took our friend down to the Kennels bcos she wanted a small dog. But she made no attempt to talk or play games with him and in the end she didn't really want him. Shel who helped out at the Kennels although she was blind dog's loved her. Shel lent me the donation money to get this small ball of fluff. His name is Kalou and his 7yrs old, his birthday is the first of April.
    Since Marmite passed away peacefully, although he was very ill he never showed any sign of illness no crying if he was in pain. I know Kalou misses Marmite so much bcos Kalou doesn't know how to play with a ball. Marmite use to teach him, yes they times wen they had fights, but over the yrs fights disappeared and they became the best of friends.
    So Kalou and I are getting through this together, at the moment I'm really enjoying taking Kalou out, I know that Marmite is with us all the time. Perhaps one day I may rescue another dog but not at the moment.
    I loved the story of your wonderful Dog's past and present. Blessed Be xx

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