8.20.2014

August 19, 2014

White Dog hopped back on the bed. "It is just pathetic," she mumbled and nested in the empty spot next to me. "When I die, it will be from embarrassment caused by one or another of my White Dog brothers or sisters." I was still half asleep and drew her close to me for snuggling; soon we were both dozing...

...Only to be awakened by the joyful song of Skye and Daisy taking their morning business break in the yard. Sachi went flying by the bed and was out of the dog door in just three bounds (no small feat for such a little legs).

Later, as I was saying WDA good mornings, Steve filled me in.

Sachi gets up early with Steve to supervise his schoolwork. But today when Steve looked around his partner was no where to be found. Steve DID find him, sitting outside the Studio door, forlornly waiting for the blinds to be opened and his girlfriend to appear. Every so often he would scratch at the door and then sigh. Steve wanted to capture the moment but thought of the inappropriate possibility of photographing the door and having Candace step out to feel her privacy violated.

The funny thing is later Candace mentioned that SHE had tried to snap a picture of poor Sachi's silhouette against the blinds but could not get a good shot. The world loves a lover, right?

Our boy is quite smitten with both girls but Daisy is his Special Girl. When they come inside the big house to visit he jumps up and sits on the couch between them. And just to let the world know she is HIS sweetie, he has marked their doorway and every single spot Daisy has gone to in the yard.

Tonight YoYoMa asked if I wanted him, our resident Stud Muffin, to take Sachi aside and give him some tips on not being so head over heels obvious. "No," I told my confident Big Boy, "let your little bro march to the beat of his own heart. He seems to be doing fine."

8.19.2014

August 18, 2014

White Dog batted the charging Little One back and exclaimed, "SEVEN pounds! She weighs SEVEN pounds! Oh momma, she is going to weigh more than me in no time!"

Szofia had just returned from meeting Dr. Julia, our vet, and getting her first puppy shots. Our vet came breezing into the exam room and then did a double-take. "She;'s not white!" Dr. Julia exclaimed. I looked at Steve and winked..."THIS is why we go to the best vet in the world...nothing gets by her!"

But she got a chance to turn the tables and laugh as Zsofia grabbed my shirt collar and started to tug. "Why is it that you decided you needed a puppy?" Dr. Julia chuckled. "Seems the Universe thought I wasn't reminded of my age enough," was my response. ""She'll be a handful but you guys will raise a wonderful girl."

"She's a SIBE, from all reports that challenge doesn't end at adulthood." Dr. Julia nodded, "Had several. They are great companions as long as you train, train, train...starting now. And you have a houseful of stubborn white dogs, Zsofia will not throw anything at you that you have not experienced...only at a little bigger scale."

Zsofia received a clean bill of health, her new puppy pack, and a belly rub from our great vet. She needs to return in 3 weeks for round two of shots and we were warned to keep her away from places where other dogs socialize until she is through with her shots. "Don't want her to pick anything up until she is fully protected. In the meantime," Dr. Julia said lifting my hand filled with the cuts and bites of over rambunctious puppy play, "those teeth are needle sharp and will be for a while so take care not to get infected."

We returned home expecting Zsofia to be sleepy from the shots and activity. Instead she was a hellion leaping on her siblings and demanding them to play. Poor Puff was tortured down the hall until she escaped out of the dog door.

Steve had to go into the office for a brief teleconference. "Everyone at work is dying to meet our new girl," he told the WDA, "how about I take her with me since it is just a short time and you can all have a break?" Wagging tails of gratitude greeted him.

Of course, everyone at school thought she was the sweetest, best behaved, adorable pup ever...not the Psycho Puppy of the White Dog Army...but isn't that always the way?

8.18.2014

August 17, 2014

White Dog barked the Song of Greeting as we heard an unfamiliar voice at the yard gate as we sat out on the deck. "They are here! They are FINALLY here!" she sang and all of the White Dog Army rushed the gate as Steve opened it to reveal that WD was, indeed, correct.

It was Candace, and Skye and Daisy come to stay with us for a while as they got settled in their new hometown and became established. We were overjoyed to see them all; hugs and nuzzles were exchanged...along with a huge sigh of relief.

They had encountered problems with the rental car they used to get here and were stranded in Texas overnight as the rental agency worked things out and got them a new vehicle. They were as glad to be here as we were happy that they had "landed" safely.

Skye and Daisy came into the yard and met the White Dog Army. Both girls are well mannered cuties and the Army instantly accepted and liked them. All are getting along famously. In fact, our Little Man, Sachi, may just have found a special girlfriend in Daisy.

Our lovestruck boy follows her around and stares at her with moony eyes as they rest side-by-side. Candace came in from the Studio to ask if it was ok for Sachi to "visit" and hang out with Daisy in her kennel.

Skye and our Bella have dashed around exploring the yard. Skye loves the big space right outside her side door...and in the small courtyard at the front of the Studio, Candace has set up a nice private sun basking area for the girls. They can watch the neighborhood action through the gate and relax under the shade of the pinon tree.

The melding of families is going smoothly and we love having two more White Dogs in the Army. Join us in welcoming our new family and in wishing them great luck as they start the process of becoming Residents of Burque!
Skye with her back to the camera, tries to get down to continue exploring the gazebo. Daisy coyly ignores Sachi, the suitor, waiting for Candace to put his sweetheart down so that he can continue to "show her the best spots."

8.16.2014

August 16, 2014

White Dog, YoYoMa, Puff, Taiko, Bella, Sachi, and Zsofia wish the most awesome dad in the Universe--our dad---a happy birthday filled with all of the blessings and bounties of the Universe...LOTS of friends and celebration (we have party White Dog style planned)...and a heart that knows he is the best of the best.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! DAD! We love you!!!!!


8.15.2014

August 15, 2014

White Dog rested tightly at my side early this bittersweet anniversary morning. No one else was awake and we sat together in the darkness. "I still miss The Mighty Quinn, too," she whispered.

8.14.2014

August 14, 2014

White Dog and the White Dog Army have already discovered quite a bit about their new sister, Zsofia...
...she is vocal and already has started practicing her part in the WDA song of greeting for delivery people...her favorite time to practice singing? Three thirty in the morning;

...duck jerky is a swoonful YES!!! in Zsofia's book. She nommed the small bit for almost an hour savoring the softening  meat;

...those little needle-like teeth and toenails are fierce weapons (instead of baby gifts, momma requests gifts of gauze and bandaids). WDAH endured her first nail trimming bravely howling at the top of her lungs and kicking her legs;

...for the first time ever, we have a chewer on our hands, this weekend will include shopping for lots of distracting chewable toys. In the meantime, the WDA has emptied out all of the best chewies from the toy box in hopes to save their furs, paws, pants legs, shoes;

...already she responds to her name. Zsofia is the Hungarian version of Sophia, which means Wisdom. Our good friend Asta and her Mommi have helped us translate her name, Zsofia, the Sky-Eyed (she was born with blue eyes) in honor of my grandmother...zsofia, az eg-szemu;

...little Miss Zsofia is determined and stubborn which thrills White Dog. She has already decided that she prefers being out and about the house to her playpen. She drags her leash along so that i can step on it or get her out of "NO!" places but she is working on eliminating that boundary by trying to chew through the leash;

...she runs a bit like a windup toy, full speed buzzing everywhere for a time and then suddenly just lies down and goes to sleep, totally without warning. She managed to entice Bella to play chase and run and Bella nimbly lept over the baby only to look back over her shoulder to discover Zsofia curled in a ball where she left her, fast asleep;

...she is the daughter of two purebred Siberian Huskies that are a bonded pair and she is part of a litter of nine.The parents were mated as a prelude to being fixed and each of the pups was promised to a special person. We met both dogs, medium sized for Sibes, very sweet, well mannered, and adored by their family.

Here are some photos of the initial meeting, getting to know each other and making herself at home moments:

8.13.2014

August 13, 2014

White Dog was sitting next to Steve on the couch and the rest of the White Dog Army formed a half circle around him on the floor. Steve had asked for a meeting of the White Dog Army to discuss a gift that was being offered to him.

Steve is a marvelous department head at the college but he truly shines as spectacular when it comes to interacting and motivating his students. A good portion of his "kids" are sort of aimless with no confidence or idea of what it takes to create yourself into a strong, social contributor with skills. He counsels, he tutors, he mentors, he listens to problems that go beyond the classroom...but most of all by the respect and genuineness he gives each student, he inspires them to achieve because they know someone believes in them. He truly changes lives.

Recently, Steve graduated one student, a Native American (this is only important because of their culture), who struggled from day one in his program. The young man had a family and had already tried and abandoned several other fields of study. "Please get him through this," his wife quietly requested at his orientation. There were personal problems to conquer, study skills to teach, confidence building to do, much hand holding and tutoring...but Steve told this student he would go the distance if the student would. Well, he did and graduated with a "b" average AND found a job. His family was astonished and overcome with joy.

In his culture, this is the importance of his heritage, what Steve did is considered a HUGE debt that the family felt obligated to repay in some fashion. They needed to share something with Steve that was significant and important. For him to refuse would have been an insult.

"Momma told us that being a gracious and loving recipient is just as important as being a good giver," White Dog said indicating they understood. The family's beloved and prized dog was about to give birth...and the family, who of course knew about the White Dog Army wanted Steve to have one of this special litter.

THAT was the topic under discussion. "Wow! A puppy! Are we up for all of the energy and training and boundlessness of such a wee one?" "Can the WDA stretch to fit one more?"...there were lots of questions but you already know the decision made.

The pups were born on the Fourth of July and today the White Dog Army picked up its newest and youngest recruit.

Siku Marie (THE White Dog), YoYoMa (Yet Another White Dog), Puff The Magical (Still Another White Dog), Taiko the Tender Heart (Oh Yes! Another White Dog), Bella E. Premurosa (Tiny White Dog) , and Sachi the Undaunted (Of Course, A White Dog) .introduce...

Zsofia, The Sky-Eyed (White Dog At Heart)

8.12.2014

August 12, 2014

White Dog came into the office and pushed her way past YoYoMa and Bella so she could sit against my leg. "How come Michael is so crabby?" she asked as Sachi scooted into the room and hid under the desk. From the living room I heard Michael yelling, "Dang it Sachi! Come back here, I didn't mean it!"

I looked under the desk and then petted the Little Man who showed no desire to go back out to the other room. Taiko came down the hall, looked deliberately at me, then sighed as he went to offer himself to Michael. "Remind me to tell Tai that he is a very tolerant boy," White Dog mumbled.

Michael, now that he had an audience, was enjoying a major pity party. Everything was going wrong and the Universe was "conspiring to make him fail." I started to get up to go in there but YoYoMa stopped me. "Let him talk to Taiko for a while, he's a good listener and they share some of the same problems. Michael doesn't want you to go out there and help him think right now, he just wants to vent and complain."

"But why?" Bella asked; she gets nervous around him at normal times and when he is off-balance she is filled with fear. "Because, Tiny Dancer, he is scared. School starts in just a week and it will all be new to him. He is in a bigger more demanding environment and the expectations are different. Things are different and he is not sheltered; out of his comfort zone. He is not focusing on success; he is being overwhelmed with the idea he will fail."

"He should stop that thinking," Sachi said, "because it is better to stay positive and embrace the new experience. Also, because all his negativity is making him say stuff he doesn't mean like none of us care about him."

Michael, after waffling all through his senior year in the Community Transitions Program and having no luck job hunting over the summer, decided to sign up for a couple of courses at the Community College. He was nervous through the placement testing and was outright mad at the assessment that he needed remedial classes in Math and English. "I already studied that stuff in high school and they are telling me I am stupid." "No, Michael," I explained at the time. "it means the college wants to make sure that you are ready for the full college curriculum. They DON'T want you to fail and believe that a little brush up will help you remember stuff you might have studied long ago in high school." He calmed down after awhile and we decided that he would sign up for Math and the College Prep general ed class that all freshmen must take.

But now it was all closing in. Next week classes begin. He has walked around and found the buildings where his classes are. A student volunteer took him on a full tour of the campus. He has compared prices at the Bookstore with the Used Textbook Store over by the University and found one of his books at a nearly $70 savings. "I am spending all of this money and I might not even pass." I get frustrated because I can seem to break through his fixation on negativity. The WDA is afraid he is going to talk himself into failing or giving up.

Taiko walked back down the hallway and I knew it was my turn. The others followed me only as far as the door. "Good luck," White Dog whispered. "What? Were you listening in and now you are coming out to laugh at me?" was my greeting. Mentally I took a deep breath. "Nope," I said calmly, "came out for a computer break and to watch the sunset."

August 11, 2014

White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army joined Steve and I as he started the movie. What Dreams May Come is one of my favorite movies and it seemed a fitting tribute to its star who was in the headlines for his sudden, shocking death. I sobbed during parts of the film and prayed that there is more Universal compassion for those driven to suicide than the film portrayed. At least, I hope with all of my heart there is some one in every life willing to march into Hell to save their soul.

We all cheered at the end of the movie and embraced the hopefulness. "Why is it," White Dog asked, "that humans get so lost that they believe the world better off without them?" The others looked at me, waiting for understanding.

"I suppose the answer to that is as individual as the person," I told her. "But depression is a very real catastrophic disease. It is as insidious and evil as cancer. You don't just snap out of it or think a happy thought to get well. It is awful and eats away at your thoughts and your heart and your soul until there is only emptiness. It is the most fearful and despairing place to be."

"Why doesn't anyone help them," Bella asked, her voice trembling. I held her in my arms.  "In our society we are still afraid of any mental illness so we ignore it, or are embarrassed and don't talk about it. Think about how people react to Michael. So we hide when we don't feel whole and people don't generally press because they are not sure what to say. There are thousands of people who suffer from depression severe enough that they have contemplated suicide. Some have even attempted to kill themselves. But mostly it is not a subject we talk about.

"I know you White Dogs already know the validity of studies that show owning a dog or a pet helps pull people back from the edge. Your unconditional nonjudgmental and complete love often is a literally a lifesaver. Pets provide love and a purpose, which turn out to be VERY powerful weapons in the fight against depression.

"But I believe we have to do more. Humans have lost their connections to each other. As much as we network and electronically stretch across the world we feel alone. We physically do not touch each other enough. We don't say I care...I understand...I love you. People accept puppy kisses and joyful jumping but go rigid at the thought of a human stranger giving them a hug. And we are less for holding others at bay. I am not saying these simple acts cure depression but I DO believe a culture that is open and nurturing and positive provides a safety net for those in need.

"I will get off of my soapbox now for the WDA well knows my belief that every person CAN make a difference to those around them. I just wish every creature could feel, as I do, that they lived a life of wonder and miracles and that nothing was insurmountable. I guess I am really wishing that all creatures had a White Dog Army and a Steve that made them feel safe, meaningful and loved."

8.11.2014

August 10, 2014

White Dog was sitting next to YoYoMa waiting for me to hand out treats. She peered at his neck, the shaved part with the stitches from where he had lumps removed several weeks ago. Her gaze was starting to make Yo uncomfortable and I gave her "the look" to be more polite.

"What?" She responded. "I just was going to say that everything is healing up well and that my brother's furs are starting to grow back nicely." She touched her nose to the spot and he jumped back.

"Geez, why did you do that," he sputtered. "I wondered if the new hairs were soft or if they were whiskery and scratchy." "AND!" he demanded. "And they are soft; that part of your neck is velvety like momma's fancy jacket or a baby's stuffed teddybear," she replied.

WD continued, "It seems like everything will grow back just like before and your full thick ruff will be perfect as ever. And your leg furs are coming back pretty quickly, too. I am glad."

YoYoMa was looking at her suspiciously. "Why are you suddenly so worried about my appearance?" he asked. "Do you suddenly find me sexy?" She bared her teeth as he moved closer suggestively.

"It is my job to make sure all of the White Dog Army is healthy and looks their best," was her response. "No doubt about it even shaved you are a striking member of the Army but fully grown out, you are quite handsome...but don't get a big head about what I just said, I am really only thinking about the Christmas card. You know, wondering whether I will have to pose you facing one way or the other to get your good side."

"Enough!" I intervened. "you are making Yo very self-conscious; that is not kind. Besides Christmas is still a long way off."

"Not really," my smart girl slung back, "only 135 days, 7 hours, 8 minutes." "Oh Dog!," Puffy sighed, "White Dog has dad's Droid again!"