August 28, 2015

White Dog oversaw the lighting of the memorial candle we light every Friday night  and said to the White Dog Army,"This is a very special memorial night. Tonight our entire Blog family comes together to specially celebrate, remember and honor those over the Rainbow Bridge." Here is The White Dog Army, Rainbow Bridge Battalion:

This is Sheena. She was the first dog Steve and I shared our lives with. A rescue from a situation we knew, Sheena was loyal and always grateful for her calm and safe home with us. It was her unknown until too late battle with liver cancer that awakened us to the horrors of the c monster in pets.
This is The Mighty Quinn, The Other White Dog and co-founder of the White Dog Army. The story of the world wide effort to save him from death row in Los Angeles CA and bring him to us is legend. Many of you had a part in creating his miracle. Gentle enigma with soulful eyes, Quinn had a past he never wanted to talk about. He was devoted to Steve.  He was a seizure dog and n he end the c monster of another kind got him, brain cancer. He taught us about the Ultimate Gift.
This is Nuka Angel Marie, Another White Dog. She never believed she was beautiful, despite her skin tags and deafness. Quinn's attentions were the center of her life; he was a friend...and when he died, she could not bear to continue without him. She slept in my arms every night as her grieving took her closer and closer to Quinn. She was my efficient office manager, our fashionista and my wiggy-waggy girl.
This is Oso the Fearless, Oh, Another White Dog. He walked into the WDA as if he knew all his life this is where he belonged. The serious boy always carried an air of old soul wisdom about him. The dementia that ravaged him was mean but his trust was an inspiration as the WDA sheltered and protected him right up until the disease made his body forget how to do its vital functions.
This is Darby Daisy Marie. She came to us as a foster. A 17 yo senior, crushed by being abandoned. With us, she was loved and made to feel wanted as she tried to recover from ill-advised surgery. She was only with us long enough, to feel a sense of belonging (three days) before she joined the others over the Bridge.
This is Taiko the Tender-Heart, Oh Yes! Another White Dog. Broken in spirit and bearing the physical scars of a life of abuse, Taiko found a soulmate in Steve. Together, they rediscovered the ability to love (Quinn saw Steve's pain at HIS loss and sent this special boy). We were shocked and given no real chance to say goodbye when we discovered the c monster had again reached into our lives...in the form of pancreatic cancer.
This is our Gentle Storm, Teensy Wheensy White Dog. She just left us a few weeks ago, totally without warning. And we thought she was on the road to a long life, healed of her ailments, to enjoy years of pampering and family...to live the dream of every mill dog. Alas, it was not to be.
We earth-bound White Dogs and humans, feel our rainbow Bridge family visit us often. They are never really gone from us because our promise to each other has been ..."Always."


August 27, 2015

White Dog can barely contain her amazement when people see the White Dog Army all together and say, "How can you tell them apart?" She thinks me too patient when I reply that a momma never confuses her children, that each is different and unique.

What I really want to tell these curious humans is to kneel and hold White Dog in your arms. Close your eyes and bury your face in her thick silky furs that have just the tiniest bit of a wave to them. Now hold Ferguson and feel his short thick hairs that provide a pillow for your cheek. Or Puff's thinning but downy soft coat.

Keep those eyes closed, I want to say. Cup YoYoMa's face in your hands. Do you feel him press against you in sort of a face hug? Bella turns her head to prevent beng enveloped but she stretches toward your fingers as you smooth the side of her muzzle. Nilla lifts her face so you can stroke her throat.

Satchi's wheezey little way of breathing can never be mistaken for Nilla's gentle snore or Zsofia's throaty grunts as she sleeps. Puff sleeps so soundlessly that at her age sometimes I worry until I hear her shift.  I can sit in the dark at night and hear each of the individual elements of the White Dog Army Sleep Symphony.

Nilla is the one rediscovering the joy of being brushed and sitting on laps. Yo is my stable partner so confident that he can set aside his ego and walk away from trouble. Puff has a feral look she now uses to punctuate her opinions. Bella is my timid mouse that roars and is alwas at my side. Sachi is the fierce warrior protector of our house...and our silly clown. Zsofia is our vocal teenager still learning, and testing, her own magic. Ferguson has the most engaging smile as he so very patiently waits for the mere sight of Steve.

And White Dog is a natural leader, a problem solver, way more capable than people think of dogs as being. She and I have shared the entirety of her life; I am certain that if I were in a room of mirrors and eight million WD clones, that I would find her without distraction.

How can I tell them apart? I want to say...the heart knows, it is as simple as that. And your question, I long to reveal, isn't even the magical one. What you SHOULD ask me is "How can they all fit together so incredibly?"


August 26, 2015

White Dog saw the tray of turkey burgers and her eyes lit up. She counted them quickly and wagged her tail. "The White Dog Army is getting special burgers for dinner?" she did not so much ask but confirmed. "What is the occasion? "

"Happy National Dog Day!" I told her. "It is the world's holiday to celebrate all the great things dogs do for us and to promote adoption. Since the White Dog Army does so much and most of you are adopted, it seemed a fiesta was in order."

The members of the WDA each brings unique character and gifts to our pack. Combined, we can face any challenge, weather any storm, conquer any obstacle. They keep us humans safe, sane, and loved.

Thank you White Ones. I am blessed beyond measure to have such an amazing pack.
White Dog and Bella make important shopping decisions
Bella guarantees that I get fresh air and Vitamin D
Zsofia and Sachi supervise Steve's grooming of Nilla
Nilla points out that it is PAST breakfast time.
YoYoMa, Nilla and Zso are my coffee club taste testers to make sure not much coffee has gotten mixed with my cream.
Puff, my proofreader
Ferguson and Sachi are Team 2 to exercise Steve before bed


August 25, 2015

White Dog sniffed the air and gave me a look. Steve was harnessing up members of the White Dog Army for bedtime walks; it was time for Puff and Bella to head out.

"Momma," she said, "I am kind of worried about the smokey air. Breathing it can't be good for Puff." "I know, Sweet One. Dad will keep her walk short and pay close attention. It is just that she thinks she is being punished if she is denied her nite-nite stroll. I worry about Sachi, too."

For the past few day Albuquerque has been under a health advisory regarding our air quality. Those with breathing, asthma, and pulmonary issues are being asked to stay indoors and to use caution during times of exertion. The smoke is thick enough that even this poorly sensed human can smell it so I can only imagine how much more potent it is to the White Dog Army.

The smoke is a result of air currents sweeping the polluted air from the fire ravaged Pacific Northwest and California east and south to become trapped in our city's valley. "But that is so far away," YoYoMa commented. He is from Northern California. "It is amazing that something going wrong in one place can reach so far as to potentially make our Puff sick."

Candace had complained earlier that her throat was feeling raw. Several of the White Dog Army have itchy eyes and are sneezing. When Steve came back with the girls, he put Puff in the oxygen kennel for a little extra support while he walked the rest of the Army...and he took a hit on his asthma inhaler before heading out with Ferguson and Sachi.

We ask the Universe to provide rain, an end to the drought and whatever resources are needed to help contain these fires that are destroying millions of acres that are homes for so many creatures and which are putting so many lives in jeopardy (both from the actual fires and from their side effects).

So much has been forever lost that we ache at the thought. Please let it end so the air can clear and the healing can begin.


August 24, 2015

White Dog looked at Steve. "Hey, aren't you forgetting to give Ferguson his breakfast?" she asked. Steve shook his head as he reached down to stroke his devoted boy's face. Fergus was miserable and we had promised him some kind of relief this morning.

He had an appointment with Dr. Julia mid-morning to look at the spot in his mouth that was red and puffy. He has been chewing only on the other side and has been grateful to Steve for adding a bit of moisture to his normal mix of soft, crisp, and crunchy foods. There was instant empathy just looking at his sad eyes and careful mouth movements from any creature that has ever suffered a toothache.

It does not help that our rescue boy comes with teeth that show the abuse of living on the street and not having proper dental care. The wonderful rescue he comes from, Chicagoland Eskie Rescue, had his teeth cleaned in March but their thorough vet even commented that our boy's teeth were among the worst she had ever seen.

So we stopped food after midnight last night on the possibility that Dr. Julia would want to take immediate action. Ferguson wanted pain relief more than breakfast as he plodded out to the van.

Despite his discomfort our elegant boy kept his cool in the crowded office. This was his fist encounter with our beloved vet. Ferg was calm and curiously watched the other dogs and kitties in the office while staying close to Steve's side.

Passing the doorway into the exam room, however, unleashed the frightened snapping pup in pain. He usually is very gentle in swinging his head in your direction if you try to do something he does not like; he pushes your hand away. Apparently he did not think anyone noticed as Steve picked him up to help him on to the hydraulic exam table and by the time the table has risen to exam height, Ferguson was snapping in earnest and scrambling to get down.

Steve stood at his side with his arm around the panicked boy but Ferguson would NOT let Dr. Julia handle his face or roll back his lips to get a good look. She bobbed around like a fighter to catch glimpses and finally called for a muzzle.

With Steve's arm reassuringly wrapped around Ferg's belly and our boy pressed against him, I gently held his head between my hands. He allowed me to slowly pull back the swollen area enough for our vet to clearly see but he clearly did not want her to touch his mouth. We slid the muzzle on so she could check over the rest of him.

Moving away from his mouth seemed to calm Fergus enough to let Dr. Julia check him over. She referred to his medical records that came with him and wondered about his crusty nose...a condition he has had since the day he arrived. The second she was done she indicated we could remove the blue cloth around his muzzle.

"OK," she began, "here is what we are going to do. He has some gingivitis going on around that one area so I am going to prescribe an antibiotic. I am also going to but him on the surgical schedule for next Monday in case the tooth needs to come out. I don't think we need to do a full dental although his teeth are nasty but just a better exam and single extraction. We can always cancel that if it all clears up but I want him to have a slot. In any case, I want to see him. He is a good weight and in good health. In fact, I would like to cut the rimadyl for his arthritis down a bit, just a little. No need to give him more than necessary. Let's put oil on his nose and see if that helps the crustiness." Steve mentioned that he started doing exactly that with coconut oil about a week ago and had noticed some improvement. "Then let's keep it up," she replied.

The White Dog Army tentatively gathered around when we got home, not sure if Ferguson would be up to the usual greeting. He went into the kitchen to be by himself. Steve took him out into the yard while I filled in the White Dog Army. When they came in, he got his first pill and breakfast, and then he settled down to rest.
Dad, my mouth hurts.

August 23, 2015

White Dog smiled at Bella's backside as the Tiny Dancer headed down the hallway. "She is totally devoted to you, momma. Constantly near you. I trust that she will keep you safe whenever I am not there."

"She is such a dedicated companion and I am glad her attentions do not make you jealous, Sweet One," I replied. "But I am glad she is developing a desire to interact more with your brothers and sisters."

Zsofia and Sachi were have a terrific game of chase through the house and into the yard. Each loop that made they added a member of the White Dog Army to their high speed conga line. First, Yo got up to add his deep bark and hot breath to the back of Zsofia's flanks. Then Nilla, trotted out to join in.

The next cycle through the house, Bella, who was sitting at my side in the office, excitedly watched the gang charge in and tear around the living room. When Sachi, now the leader, passed our door, Bella looked at me. Her little monkey chirps told me she wanted to take part in the fun.

"Go on Little Dancer," I encouraged her. "I will be right here and White Dog is with me. Go and have fun." She looked at me as if to make sure that I was sure. Bella squeaked a note of indecision. The WDA was nearly all back in the yard. "Go on! You will miss the chase. It is all right."

She did not wait for another prod and dashed off to take part in the joyful barking zoomies of a family at play.

I reached down and carressed White Dog. "You may go, too, Sweet One!" I said. "What? And join those barbarians? No thanks. Besides SOME pup has to keep an eye on you." "I love you, Baby Girl!"


August 22, 2015

White Dog's absolutely favorite treat is a lamb shank bone; one preferably that still has bits of meat and tastiness clinging to it. There was a time, long ago, before the White Dog Army, that I could order lamb shanks (one of MY favorite Greek cuisine choices) and bring her home the bone.

In fact, we used to frequent a restaurant that given notice would save the bones from earlier customers so that we would have sometimes as many as four bones to bring home to the growing WDA.  But at eight, the WDA usually exceeds the public's dinner demand for this entree.

I thought of these things tonight as we dined with friends and I stared at my stripped bone. There was simply no way to bring home a bone just for White Dog; the others would feel foresaken or worse, envious enough to try to claim the prize.

"Please do not tell the Little White Dog of My Heart," I said to Steve as I allowed the waiter to clear my plate.


August 21, 2015

White Dog insisted on going into her "usual" waiting room--stepping around Scot to go inside the lead kennel. YoYoMa was not so picky; he pawed around to make sure the cushion was fluffy and then settled down to be called for his appointment.

It was spa day. Scot made sure the top dogs of the White Dog Army had nice cool water and some chews while they waited, then left them to chat with the other pups and catch up on the neighborhood gossip.

Just after lunch, Steve picked them up. The shining white Angels that came through the door drew White Dog Army sniffs and wags. Gone was Yo's shaggy shedding coat and his owl feet, replaced by flowing spun silk that glistened and feet that had defined shape and contour. White Dog was the essence of perfection; her furs so soft you could not resist burying your face in her side. "Please! Momma! My furs! Don't tangle my furs!"


August 20, 2015

White Dog looked at Ferguson and said "Could we dress him in a white jumpsuit and market him as an Elvis impersonator?" "Don't be mean," I scolded. "Who is being mean," she replied, "maybe we could make some money from his talents."

Poor Fergus was not showing hidden talent with his newly started right lip curl. His tooth hurt. Steve rolled back his lips to reveal red gums surrounding a nasty looking tooth. Ferguson has really bad teeth; the curse of many rescues taken in as strays. We had hoped to let him settle in a while longer before doing a dental, but...

At breakfast he was chewing only on one side of his mouth.

I called Dr. Julia. We made an appointment for Monday for her to do both Ferguson's introduction physical and, more importantly, to look at his mouth. She gave us advice and a protocol to follow just in case the tooth issue worsened over the weekend.  But Fergus is stalwart and has refused to be "babied." He eats kibble a little slower and chews cookies on only one side of his mouth. Every so often he does his Elvis curl but does not flinch in pain if you touch the redness. We are keeping watch to make sure the tooth does not develop an abscess or the gum swell with infection. Paws crossed that we will get to Monday morning without trauma.

In the meantime, I will have to have a talk with White Dog. She is fixated on the Elvis impersonator idea. I caught her with Fergus and Steve's ancient iPod. This is what she kept playing for our quiet, elegant boy as she encouraged him to try singing along...


August 19, 2015

White Dog climbed higher onto the arm of the chair. The whole thing was so gross to her that she felt we ought to consider selling the house and moving. "I think you are over reacting," I told the leader of our pack.

It all started when Zsofia, ever the adventurer, took advantage of a loosely latched gate to the laundry room and an open basement door. Our Itty Bitty Clever One nosed the gate latch up and was down the stairs in an eye blink.

"Hey! You KNOW you are NOT allowed in the basement," I hollered. "Get back up here!" I tried to hide my surprise when she immediately came up and checked in with me. "Good girl!" I complimented and stroked her side.

Then I noticed that her paws were wet. All of them. "Ummm, Zso, why are your feetsies all wet?"  I called Steve who went downstairs to investigate.

Next, we heard strong language and Steve reappeared. "There is water everywhere!" he said. "About 4" in the empty room and lots standing in the main area. Looks like the hot water heater has died."

WD moved to higher ground and half of the White Dog Army rushed to the gate in an attempt to go down and check out the new White Dog indoor pool. Steve called the plumber. And then the Rent-All place to get a submersible pump.

This was SUPPOSED to be a vacation day, a just do nothing because I deserve it day, for Steve. And a new hot water heater was not the gift I had in mind for his birthday.

The hot water heater WAS 33 years old, to be fair. But ultimately that meant the installation would require upgrades to make the space and piping and wiring all up to more modern code...and the newer units had venting at the top which actually required us to put in a smaller unit than we had. But it will be more energy efficient.

The WDA was VERY unhappy about two strangers in the basement with Steve with all kinds of strange tools and making LOTS of noises. They tried to warn Steve of the security risks he was taking. Zsofia and some of the others howled at the sound of the pump sucking water out of the basement, erasing their pool...

...but then they realized the water was going into the dirt on the side of the house creating a new play area of mud!

I called everyone back inside and locked down the doggie door. Then I toweled off muddied feet. Complaints were duly noted.

The plumbers could not complete the task today and will be back first thing in the morning. There were parts they needed to purchase to make our installation safe; parts that are now just standard features. No hot water means no dishes can be washed and despite the heat, showers will be postponed...not that this concerns the WDA.

The most important things right now to them is that Zsofia considers herself a hero who should be lavished with thanks and treats...and the rest of the WDA feels treats are necessary to help them cope with this crisis without lasting trauma.

I think Steve deserves treats for spending his holiday ridding the basement of all the water (and the WDA agrees he should get his share).