Tag: Suzann Reeve

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Fifty-Eight

The last of dear Su’s photos.

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So, so beautiful! Especially loved the photo of the chimp bottle feeding the tiger.

How about your favourite?

P.S. Later on yesterday, at 13 minutes past 4pm to be precise, we had rain. Thus ended 111 days without rain.

Then shortly after we had eaten supper and I was washing the dishes, I looked up to see the most beautiful rainbow over the hills to the East of us.

This photo doesn’t do it justice!

Reggie the Black Lab.

To whomsoever gets my dog!

With thanks to Suzann Reeve who sent this on to me.

You all have a very wonderful Autumn weekend.

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They told me the big black Lab’s name was Reggie,
as I looked at him lying in his pen.
The shelter was clean, no-kill,
and the people really friendly.

lab1I’d only been in the area for six months, but
everywhere I went in the small college town, people
were welcoming and open. Everyone waves
when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to settle
in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn’t hurt.
Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen
Reggie’s advertisement on the local news. The shelter
said they had received numerous calls right after,
but they said the people who had come down
to see him just didn’t look like “Lab people,”
whatever that meant. They must’ve thought I did.

But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me
in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted
of a dog pad, a bag of toys almost all of which were
brand new tennis balls, his dishes and
a sealed letter from his previous owner.

lab2See, Reggie and I didn’t really hit it off when we got home.
We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter
told me to give him to adjust to his new home).

Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too.
Maybe we were too much alike.

lab3I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten
about that. “Okay, Reggie,” I said out loud, “let’s see
if your previous owner has any advice.”

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To Whomever Gets My Dog:

Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this,
a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by
Reggie’s new owner. I’m not even happy writing it.

He knew something was different.

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So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes
that it will help you bond with him and he with you.
First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier.
Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hoards them.
He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn’t done it yet.

Doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll bound after them, so be careful.  Don’t do it by any roads.

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Next, commands. Reggie knows the
obvious ones —“sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.”
He knows hand signals, too: He knows “ball”
and “food” and “bone” and “treat” like nobody’s business.
Feeding schedule: twice a day, regular
store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.
He’s up on his shots. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet.
Good luck getting him in the car. I don’t know how he
knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he knows.
Finally, give him some time. It’s only been Reggie and
me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me,
so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.
He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn’t bark
or complain. He just loves to be around people,
and me most especially.

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And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you…His name’s not Reggie. He’s a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name. But if someone is reading this …well it means that his new owner should know his real name.
His real name is “Tank.” Because, that is what I drive.
I told the shelter that they couldn’t make “Reggie” available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.
You see, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could’ve left Tank with … and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter …in the “event” … to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.
Luckily, my CO is a dog-guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he’d do it personally. And if you’re reading this, then he made good on his word.  Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family, too, and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.
If I have to give up Tank to keep those terrible people from coming to the US I am glad to have done so. He is my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.
All right, that’s enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. Maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.
Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and
give him an extra kiss goodnight – every night – from me.
Thank you,
Paul Mallory

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I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.

Sure, I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies.  Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

lab8I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.
“Hey, Tank,” I said quietly.
The dog’s head whipped up, his ears
cocked and his eyes bright.

lab9He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor.  He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months. “Tank,” I whispered.  His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.
“It’s me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me.”
Tank reached up and licked my cheek.
“So whatdaya say we play some ball?”
His ears perked again.
“Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?”
Tank tore from my hands and disappeared into the next room.  And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

lab10If you can read this without getting a lump in your
throat or a tear in your eye, you just ain’t right.
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“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” G.K. Chesterton

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Millions of us have to fight our demons, both real and imagined. Doing it without a dog by one’s side is so much harder!

Staying with the memory of Lilly

A republication of a post from February, 2014

Yesterday, I offered the first of two previous posts about Lilly. Here is the second, originally published in February, 2014.

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Lilly, the second of our nine dogs.

Last week was the start of a series of posts giving you, dear reader, background on each of our nine dogs.  Thus last week, Jean wrote about Paloma.  Here is Jean’s account of how Lilly came into her life.

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Lilly

Lilly - Taken in the last two weeks.
Lilly – Taken 26th January, 2014

Lilly came into my life fourteen years ago. I had taken my car into the mechanics workshop in San Carlos, Mexico for an oil change and was beckoned over to an old junk car in their lot. It had no glass in the windows and in the hatch-back area lay a smallish dog with five young, suckling puppies. She had apparently walked in off the street and chosen the old airy car as a suitable ‘house’ in which to have her babies. The workers had supplied her with an old greasy towel for a mattress.

My girlfriend, Suze, and I immediately set about making her comfortable with a small quilt and plenty of water and good dog food. She had been dining on tacos and tamales scraps up until then.

Suze and I visited frequently and took plenty of food and at the same time went about looking for homes for the pups. However, one day we arrived and found all the beautiful babies gone. The mechanics had given them away. We were shattered and could only hope that they had gone to loving homes.

‘Rabbit’, as she was then called, continued hanging around the workshop and the men seemed to like her. Rabbit had this trick of leaping on her hind legs, twirling and landing on her four legs; hence her name Rabbit, I guess.

Suze and I would see her once a week on average and had also arranged for Rabbit to be spayed. All seemed well until Easter came (I think we are talking of the year 2000). As is common in Mexico, during Easter week in San Carlos everything shuts down. It’s carnival time. The streets are busy with tourists and there is much traffic. I was worried about Rabbit as the mechanic’s shop was locked up tight and Rabbit was outside in the lot by the street. I planned to take her home for the rest of the holiday but fate intervened. On my way to collect her, I was aghast to see her motionless by the side of the road, obviously having been hit by a car.  I gently picked her up and took her home.  On inspection, it was clear that she had two broken legs on her right-hand side.  Her injuries were so bad that I knew the local vet did not have the skills or instruments to heal her. My late husband, Ben, and I ended up driving her two hours South to Obregon where there was an orthopaedic vet. He put pins in both legs and she stoically set about mending herself. Rabbit became Lilly. Irrespective of name, she was an assertive but sweet young dog and settled in nicely with my burgeoning pack; I had twelve rescue dogs in those days.  Her legs healed nicely and she resumed her twirling.

Lilly became a particular favourite of Ben, my late husband. When in 2005 Ben lay dying at home, Lilly slept non-stop by his side on the bed, only leaving to eat or go outside.  I knew for sure that Ben had died in the night when one morning I awoke to feel Lilly beside me on my bed. Lilly sensed that now I needed her more.

Lilly is still with us.  Now a dowager old lady of at least fifteen years of age, she still enjoys going out with her buddies whom she tends to boss somewhat.  (Paul thinks that Lilly is an ‘alpha’ dog, in other words has pack leadership in her genes.) But one thing that Lilly doesn’t now do; she doesn’t twirl anymore, but then neither do I.

It will be a very sad day when Paul and I have to say goodbye to this treasure of a dog. [As indeed, it was] In the meantime we endeavour to make each day that she has left as rich as possible.

Another very recent photograph of Lilly.
Another very recent photograph of Lilly.

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I think it would wonderful to also include a section from an email that Suzann Reeve, a good friend of this blog, sent to Jeannie yesterday.

The story of Lily and her origins:

(I of course burst into tears when reading your email, Paul.) I knew it was coming. I wish I could have seen her one more time.

Poor baby, I hope she did not suffer much.

In 1998, Don and I went to a junk yard, which at the time was next to the telephone company in San Carlos. As we were talking to the men, out of a shell of an old car behind us popped a small mama dog, heavy with milk. I of course went right over there after hearing puppies cry to see many little baby puppies were mewling for mommy’s milk! The dog was so sweet and jumped around like a rabbit. I brought food and water for her and found her a nice blanket for her and the pups.
I told Jeannie about them and we went back the next day to check it out. We told the men we would care for them, but one day when we came to feed, the puppies were gone! I begged Don to let me take her, but as I lived in an RV, he would not let me, and I also had 3 dogs at the time, Poncho, and his sister and Destina….., plus the men wanted her, which almost led to her death.
After Don and I left town for the summer sometime later, if i remember correctly, Jean and Ben were driving down the main road in town when they saw LLevre (rabbit in Spanish) injured on the road. I believe they took her down to Obregon for an operation right away, and after a successful operation, she was theirs! They saved her life!
She has lived a very full and happy life. I am so sad that she is gone.

 

Picture parade one hundred and six

The theme for the next three Picture Parades: The Perfect Puppy

Suzann sent me some wonderful pictures with the following background story:

A family in New York began visiting shelters to look for the perfect pup. After a few weeks of searching local shelters, they found a puppy that they fell in love with – Theo. He craved human friendship and attention. Three days after coming home with them, he joined their son Beau for his daily nap. Beau’s mother began taking “nap” pictures and now they are warming hearts around the world.

So here is the first set of seven pictures.

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Theo1

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Theo6

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Another wonderful set of pictures in a week’s time.