White Dog and I sat together watching the long slanted rays of afternoon sun struggling to reach and warm us through the wind whipped branches. Today, at the crux of another ending/beginning cycle, we were reviewing this past year and thinking about how different our journey was looking back than it was looking forward.
As the year began twelve months ago, we were a family of three, stable, and comfortable in most regards. A week into 2010 we bundled into our car and drove into the depths of Midwestern winter to bury my father. A month later, Michael's family was torn apart when his mother fell ill...and suddenly we added a challenged teen to our lives.
At the end of February, we witnessed a miracle unfold as the blog and FaceBook world united to help us save one poor scared little Eskie boy at the end of the road on death row in California. The Mighty Quinn, The Other White Dog, came to us and made us believe in the power of good hearted people everywhere. When Quinn, the Eskimo got here, everybody did, indeed, jump for joy.
During the Spring we learned how to be parents and White Dog struggled to be a sister and mentor. It wasn't always easy but we did our best. Believe me, there were tears and and cheers and every emotion in between. It was a period of adjustment for all of us.
In June, Michael began volunteering and discovered for the first time, the joy of giving something back. He took his responsibilities to the Shelter pups and kitties seriously and displayed tenacity in not giving up when challenged. Today, he is a regular at Watermelon Ranch Sanctuary and is devoted to rescue.
Over the Summer, TOWD and Michael learned about the beauty of this place where we live as we hiked and toured and explored--new places and our old favorites. WD taught Quinn the joys of walking in the Park in the early morning when the grass was still damp and cool. Michael (and TOWD) found palettas and car picnics to their liking. And both soon understood why White Dog napped under the cool breezes of the swamp cooler exhaust in the heat of the afternoon.
In October, I joined forces with friends met through blogging, a sculptor and a photographer, and we mounted a three-woman exhibit that was amazing and invigorating. Again, the support and encouragement we received flamed our confidence and fed our hearts. It was the most wonderful weekend for its camaraderie as well as its creative display.
The 2MillionDog Puppy Up! Walk in November gave us a physical outlet to make a stand against a horrible monster that over the year had caused so much heartache, pain and loss. Like the Power of the Paw, this Event was galvanizing and filled us with hope that we will win...and provided us with a motto to drive us on...Cancer.Touches.Everyone.
The month of Thanksgiving was truly that as Nuka joined our family and proved all her record keepers wrong by being not a tortured soul, but a loving clown looking for an outlet and attention. Another White Dog is the one who makes us all laugh and who walked into our lives as if she had be meant to be here from her start.
The Worldwide Moment of Silence joining the strength and energy of the Power of the Paw was palpable in its connectivity and positive force. We were proud to be a part of this reaching out to all in need and for the billionth time in 2010, we were reminded of just how blessed and proud we are to be a part of this community and its wonderful family.
Without time for a breath, and totally without warning, we found ourselves saying yes to adding a seventh member to our family in mid-November, as we took in Puff, a timid heartworm positive breeder from a puppy mill. At first, White Dog and I saw her as our challenge, but now with a little time to see her in action, we view Still Another White Dog as a flower bud slowly starting to unfurl.
In December we reached our 2,000th post and White Dog turned six. Michael and three of the White Dog Army experienced The Endless Christmas Eve Open House. White Dog was interviewed for a magazine article.
In between and throughout the past 365 days we have lost some whom we love; we have felt helpless that we haven't changed the world enough and that war and hate and sadness and homelessness and cruelty still exist; we have felt sorry for ourselves and shook our fists at the setbacks. But we have found hope in dear friends reminding us that small steps count; we have found joy in family and togetherness; we have made new friends who bring the promise of discovery. We have been enriched and blessed and given the grace to stay true to what is ultimately most important...laughing more than crying, listening more than talking, giving more than taking, and loving even when it seems impossibly hard.
So, White Dog and I have concluded that as years go, this one about to leave us had enough extraordinary moments to fill us with confidence for the new one and enough room for improvement for us to hope that 2011 will be better.
All of us in The White Dog Army wish all of you a New Year's Eve filled with introspection and a magical glimpse at the bright future ahead...and a New Year filled with opportunity, wonder, and love.
Thanks for sharing 2010 with us.
The White Dog Army waits for celebratory duck jerky treats as momma counts out the strips! Hope your New Year's festivities include lots of tasty treats!