So, I got tired of depending on what I could find online to share as Spirit Lifters and decided to really focus on finding things closer to home!
Look what I found!
Our newest family member is Milo, a 5 month old Border Collie/Golden Retriever mix, and is he ever a sweetheart. If you know both breeds, you can see them very clearly in Milo’s demeanor, looks and behavior. He has a ton of Collie energy and is an absolute lover of everyone, people, dogs, and cats, like a Golden.
We had been looking for a playmate in the neighborhood for Milo, for play/training, as well as to burn some of that Border Collie energy…since we don’t happen to own a herd of sheep. 😋
Milo already adores his personal cat, a gorgeous Maine Coon kitten about 8 months old now. Instant friends, but mostly indoors.
So Milo needed an outside playmate too.
A friend who visits us regularly got a puppy a couple of weeks after us, also named Milo. This Milo is supposedly part Pit and part Shepherd but we sure can’t see it. Maybe Pit bull in the face and in loyalty, but to us he looks more like a tall, lanky Black Lab mix.
Here’s their first meeting!
You can see our Milo wanting to “herd”.
It was so cute! They each took a turn bringing their favorite stick to the other one.
Come on! Let’s PLAY!
They are so uplifting to watch together!
Two Milo’s…hopefully life long friends.
If you have discovered surprising and uplifting things around your home, will you please share in Comments?
I disappeared again. Not that you would necessarily notice, but I am house sitting for three weeks and it has turned out to be more time and energy consuming than I expected.
I thought I’d be writing beautiful posts and taking amazing photos to share, but I am exhausted!
It’s a lovely home in a beautiful (and surprising) setting…a bit of country right here in the city!
My primary charges, two wonderful dogs, are a huge handful of sweet, with more energy than hummingbirds!
Even though this property is unusually big for the area where we live, besides playing in the yard, the dogs require a lot of additional walking every day, especially the small Setter. Even though he only has three legs (a recent change for him), he could run for hours, like a full size Irish Setter!
I discovered on my first day here, because of my ailing hip, I have a hard time even making it up the hill (driveway) from the house to the road, so have had to take the dogs in the car to find some flat land to exercise on.
Then there are the fish…I have no idea how many there are but their huge tank needs cleaning…badly. The schedule says not until Wednesday, but I’m going to have to break down and do it today…which requires remembering all the faucets and hose nozzles and twists of valves and different positions and, and. and…
Day one vs Day six
Even as my temporary employers were demonstrating the process before they left, the tank overflowed all over the floor. (Hmm, I wonder where they put that huge, clever twist-able mop…you know, just in case…) And the big tube they used to suck the water out, they almost lost a tiny fish up that tube, right in front of me!
Maybe I’ll just fill the bathtub and let the fish have a leisurely soak while I’m cleaning their home.
Lastly, but actually first each day, are the 7 chickens and 3 ducks! I panicked the first day as I could have sworn they told me there were 13 chickens. I knew they had had a recent Great Horned Owl incident and were down one duck so that first day when I only counted 7 chickens, I lost it! My people were still en-route to their destination so I could not confirm poultry numbers for 36 hours!! Stressful to say the least.
Then, on my second day, I had to quickly learn the difference between a chicken that is almost dead, (unmovable, head lolling to one side, stuck inside the laying house) and what’s called “broody”.
I finally found this article which helped immensely with my panic and guilt! Interesting read, whether or not you ever care for chickens. I moved her yesterday so we’ll see if she stayed moved this morning. (Nope, she was back!)
The whole thing was strangely poignant, until I remembered all those years in my late thirties and early forties when I would have done obscene things to be able to have another child!! And, I have “adopted” countless adult children over the years.
I understand “broody”.
The next issue with these chickens is a plethora of eggs! I’ve carried 2 and 1/2 dozen eggs over to my nearby home to share with my neighbors.
All in all, this has been a wonderful, enlightening experience.
Ola, the Wonder Dog, left us this week. She hadn’t been herself , activity-wise for a while, but her essence never changed.
“Ola” (the African definition, not “hello” in Spanish), was rescued as a precious puppy, by my sister and her husband more than 10 years ago. Soon after they brought her home, they left on an amazing trip abroad for several weeks. So James and I got to be Ola’s Foster Parents while they were gone.
We seriously bonded with her during that time. I mean, look at this face! Who wouldn’t??
John and Lenore had wanted a young dog while their elderly one, Lily, the Three Legged Miracle, was still able to teach a new dog the lay of the land.
This family lives on a glorious piece of land on San Juan Island. The property includes lots of acreage, a large pond with a variety of water fowl, a Bamboo Farm, and arguably some of the most beautiful and prolific vegetable and flower gardens in the Northwest.
And they live in what James and I lovingly call the Hobbit House. Built by John, using lots of found and custom designed materials, it is so fairy tale-like, you are transported to another world.
I write about this place, our second home, often. Here’s one example:
When they chose Ola as a puppy, they wanted another smallish dog that would not overwhelm Lily, and they predicted Ola was another small, lab mix’ just like Lily.
Being very familiar with Rottweilers and Pit bulls, I took one look at Ola’s sweet face, and said “Uh oh.”
Not many months later, Ola had grown into a HUGE, beautiful, regal dog, over 100 pounds. But she still seemed guided by that angel on her chest.
Lily immediate adopted young Ola, and trained her to be a “stick right close to your Humans” dog.
No fences in the Hippie Valley part of San Juan Island. Dogs (and deer) are free to roam and except for the occasional “play date” with a neighbor Dog, both Lily and Ola were right there, watching over the homestead, 24/7.
Lily left us not long after Ola joined the family but the two of them had some really good times together before she died. She taught Ola how to play Tug O War with ropes and sticks when Ola was still very young.
And she trained Ola to leave the cats alone (probably for her own safety!)
Ola became such a big part of our house-sitting experience all these years. For several weeks at a time, she became “our” dog again. No matter how much time passed between our babysitting jobs, she would greet us with 100 pounds of enthusiasm!
She hung out with us where ever we went,
and stayed close to us at home.
Yep, she was our dog…..But only until her real parents came home!
Ola was always within feet (or calling distance) of John and Lenore during their daily routines.
Ola was one of the sweetest, most gentle dogs I’ve ever met. I will miss her so much. I can only imagine how long it will take her family to get used to the huge empty space she leaves behind.
Ooh, ohh, I just found another photo challenge although I am having a hard time keeping all these new challenges straight.
Here are the topics I missed so far:
Start with O
Inspired by poem
Wonder how many of these I can catch up on…hmmm.
1.) Welcome October
I both love and feel sad when I see the last few apples for the year. This season, from our Apple Cider pressing parties, we had about 50 gallons!
One winter we took my grandsons down to Hood Canal during the Holidays. It was well below freezing but there was no snow. There was a house decorated with layers and layers of water sprayed on the trees which then froze.
3.) Start with O.
What can I say. I always start with “OH!” when the Blue Angels fly over my house!
You’d think I would be slowed in my Cobalt Collecting obsession by the numbers of pieces I have….but NO!
My favorite thing to photograph…well, one of my favorites.
6.) Inspired by poem
(complete blank here…)
Our friend Marc’s sweet Akita, Razor, and our dog “nephew” (my sister’s dog) Ola, who is even sweeter!
Well, that wore me out but now I am caught up…except for that poetry thingy.
The wonderful friends I house and dog sit for live in such a lovely area. I spend a lot of my dog-walking time making my buddy Doogan sit and wait while I snap photos with my little old phone (Samsung Galaxy S4). But at this time of year I was just sure there wouldn’t be a single thing to capture…No flowers, no green, gray skies, etc.
I should have known better. I guess I wasn’t connecting with my Dad as much as I usually do when out in Nature. He would remind me that there is beauty in every single square inch of the world. You just have to look for it.
But Doogan pointed out what I was missing…by peeing on it!
What amazing variety, and it started me on a whole train of deep philosophical thought about beauty and skin and outer covering and image and, and, and…
I take a lot of “perspective” photos but the word this week brought up a completely different image for me.
Most animal people have that one special relationship, that stays with them forever…a “heart pet”…sort of an animal “soulmate”.
For many years, mine was an animal I won at a Saturday afternoon matinee. It was close to Easter and there was a drawing for a baby bunny, a tiny chick and a duckling. My ticket stub was the winning number for my very own DUCK!! I raised that duck in my bedroom, even “house broke” her. I was nine years old and simply didn’t know that was impossible to do.
Many animal friends later, I had a huge, beautiful purebred German Shepherd named Joy. Another heart animal for me….She lived until she was sixteen years old!
I have never been so in sync, so bonded, so in love with an animal before. He is 16 years old now himself and has his own long story. I treasure every single day with him. I am very clingy with the Big Z right now, but Zorro is not the focus of this week’s post so back to the theme for the week.
“Edge” is the name of my daughter’s most beloved cat. Edge only very recently left, after too short an illness for my daughter to prepare herself at all. A quick trip to the Vet, lots of tests and boom, he was gone. This loss completely broke her heart.
I have often thought that sometimes the loss of a pet can hit us even harder than when a human loved one dies, in part because we can love our pets from such an innocent, child-like place in our hearts.
And really, what human in our adult lives can love us as unconditionally as our heart- animals do?
Edge’s sudden departure and my daughter’s devastation are why poor Zorro is getting smothered these days. I know when I lose Zorro, I will undoubtedly be a nine year old, inconsolable child for quite a long while.
Below is my daughter’s story about her sweet “Edge”. She took this picture.
I met Edge on Valentines Day in 2003 at the animal shelter. He’d been abandoned at 6 months old and all 4 paws were severely frostbitten as it was -20º outside here in Minnesota. It was love at first sight. I didn’t claim him as much as he claimed me. He had gigantic, long white whiskers and his face had odd splatters of white, making him look like he’d been in a paint fight. I named him The Edge on the way home in the car after the U2 guitarist. Some of my favorite things about him – when I’d come home from work and open the front door, he’d be on the stairs waiting but would act startled and then hop sideways with his hackles up back up the stairs. It made me laugh every time. He also would flop on my head whenever possible, whether I was sleeping, doing yoga, reading, he didn’t care. If my head was accessible, he was on it. From the time I got him, he made a loud, rattling noise when he breathed, like a 90 year old man, which had limited charm when he camped on my head. When Sarah would come over to visit, I’d let Edge out the door and he would run down the corridor meowing to greet her. He knew how to open the medicine chest in the bathroom and if he felt ignored, he’d open it and knock everything off the shelves and into the sink. He was such a good companion, loved to be picked up and hang out with me on the patio. This is one of my favorite photo’s from my patio a few years back. I love how crazy his whiskers are, how happy he looks and how much we enjoyed hanging out in the sunshine together.
Joy, a purebred German Shepherd, rescued from a materialistic breeder, and Bandit, a Mother’s Day gift from my son. These two were so close I think when Joy died at the ripe old age of 16, Bandit, only 11, was lost without her and he passed just a few weeks later.
Their deaths were such a powerful thing in my life. Their passings would have been huge for me anyway as I loved these two beyond reason. But they died in the middle of the longest stretch of losses I have ever experienced.
During that 17 month period we lost 11 people in or very close to our family, in unrelated deaths…one after another after another.
We absolutely could not catch our breaths! No breaks. Just constant grief! And so many funerals.
And then our other cat, Surprise, was run over by our housemate in our own garage. “Surprise”, the miracle cat, named because she was the runt of her litter and born almost 2 hours after the others. We were constantly surprised that she survived. Surprise was 26 years old!
When I tell you the dates of this stretch, I will accept any empathy (or sympathy) you have to offer as I still reel from these memories at times and will appreciate any support.
July, 2000 through December 2001.
911 happened right in the middle of all of this loss, and though I did not personally know anyone who died that day, in my raw emotional condition I took that tragedy deep into my heart and soul. In my private therapy practice I had 15 clients who did lose friends because they worked for companies whose home offices were in one of the Towers. They had each been there before. We all grieved together for a very long time.
The direction of this post has taken me by surprise…no place for me to put my usual humor or well intentioned sarcasm.
But hey, this is what the word “Partners” brought up for me. And since, so far these topics have been so stimulating and thought provoking, tomorrow, I’m sure, will likely be a different story….loaded with irony, provocation and my brand of humor.
This is Ola. She is one of the world’s sweetest dogs. The Angel she wears on her chest is perfect for her. My sister and her husband rescued Ola to keep Lily, their aging, 3 legged dog company toward the end of her life.
We bonded with Ola when she was very small. We dog-sat so her “parents” (my sis and her husband) could go on a long trip.
Everyone thought Ola would grow up to be a smallish black lab mix, smaller than Lily……
Ola is still an Angel of a dog but there is nothing “smallish” about her!
And Lily, Ola revived her and kept her busy and happy for a good while.