You Saved Me

 

grandpa2

Dear Grandpa,

I miss you so badly. It is strange, but I can still smell the cream that you rubbed on your skin, see you with the hose in the back yard, watering the bird fountains, with that goofy, Gilligan hat. I remember hiding behind your chaise while you read, only to pop out and scare you. I loved to torment you for some reason, but you never really got mad. You were grumpy and funny, and you made me laugh so hard.

Most of all, I remember holding your hand and the way your long fingers wrapped around mine. And then I remember how your hand was growing cold because I didn’t want to get out of your bed.

The loss will be there, always haunting and hovering over my head. I’m so thankful that it isn’t as gut wrenching anymore, but why must it still hurt so bad?

Happy Father’s Day. You saved me from a fatherless life.

#iloveyousomuch

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY ;0

family

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, ROSS!!

To the man that drove hours every single weekend to collect his firstborn, NO MATTER WHAT. The man who NEVER disappointed Tyler and always made him a priority. Their bond is a force to be reckoned with, and that bond pulled them through some difficult times. It also is what drew me to him, this man who was so relentless in being a constant presence in his child’s life.

When Reagan came along, he pulled out all the stops, and made fatherhood a world of its own. This mini Ross adored his father, and mimicked all of his goofy antics, and the 3 of the boys have had some crazy times together, and will continue to do so.

When Bailey came into this world, Ross was challenged to a whole new level. This patient, calm man was STILL fighting to keep his composure, even though his stress level was through the roof…..but we all know a Daddy with their girls….instant mush. Ross has given autism a run for it’s money.

Ross works his tail off to provide for his family, and makes sacrifices even to the detriment of his health. He is my rock when I am falling apart at the seams and always seems to know what I need.

I love you!!  Happy Father’s Day!

#bestdadever

Levi

levi

There is this special dog by the name of Levi.  Levi is a canaan mix boy that has had quite an adventurous life already at age 4.

Levi was a stray on the streets of San Antonio, when he was picked up by animal control and transported to the high kill city shelter.  He awaited his fate, and was thankfully pulled to safety by the rescue that I am with, SA R.O.C.K.S.

He went into foster care, where we learned that he wasn’t a fan of other dogs. He was dog reactive, not aggressive. There is a difference, though a fine line between the two.

Honestly, I can’t say that I blame him. I can’t imagine being alone on the streets, having to scavenge and even fight to feed your empty stomach pains, to always be looking over your shoulder, never getting a good nights rest because you are always unsettled. I am shocked that more dogs are not reactive, or even aggressive. We have discovered that it is mostly fearful dogs right out of the shelter, but dear lord, that shelter is a nightmare. Every time that I have visited the shelter, I am physically sick to my stomach. Just looking into the eyes of these animals is enough to break your heart on the spot. If they are lucky to escape, they carry the weight of that fear, the smell of death, and they KNOW. They are grateful.

Levi had to go into boarding after a few days in his first foster home.  In boarding, he grew progressively depressed. He shut down. He spent his days with his face pressed up against the bars. He had no interaction. His dog reactive issues intensified as he was taken out to attend adoption events. And back he would go into boarding, into isolation. His own little hell where he felt nothing. It broke our hearts to see his spirit broken. I cried….literally…..every time he was taken back to that boarding facility.

Especially this one time, where he went missing for two years.

Levi came to our event.  I was leading that event at Starbucks in Leon Springs, and Levi was being handled by one our long term volunteers who was always willing to help break him out of boarding when he could. It was time for me to break down and load up my event supplies, and Levi was at my feet. I remember looking down into his big brown eyes, and how sad and soulful they were. I bent over and told him, “oh Levi, I’m so sorry. I wish I had found you a home today.”  He moved forward and sat right on my feet, and he gingerly lifted one paw up towards me. I could feel my tears welling up right there. I stooped and embraced him in a huge, warm hug. He leaned in to me. I should have never let him go, because after that, he was gone for a long time.

He escaped his volunteer at a local walking trail shortly after. He was frightened by a jogger, and backed out of his collar, and jetted off into the woodsey area of the park. A few of us headed out right away, in search of him. Calling his name, sporting treats and food, and slip leads. All day and into the evening. On that first day of his disappearance, I stumbled upon a rattler. Seriously, there it was, under a boulder. I froze and slowly backed away. In my mind, I could see it all play out, the striking out, my screams, and the news caption, “local rescuer dies from snake bit searching for missing dog”. And yes, I can laugh about it now. But guess what?  I would do it again, almost piss my pants searching for this sweet, special boy.

Three months pass, and there I was, still looking. First I went every morning, and then it was every other morning, but I never stopped. After awhile, I stopped talking about him to my other rescue ladies, because life went on, and lives still needed to be saved. I kept looking for Levi. I would never forget those eyes, and the way that he looked at me on that last day. I knew he was out there. I could FEEL IT.

When he finally was found, it was TWO YEARS LATER. The power of the microchip, people!!  His finder had taken him to a local vet for a bath, where he was scanned and we were contacted.

He was pretty chubby, so somehow, along the way, good Samaritans were keeping him fed. I am gathering he made his way from human to human, gathering enough scraps to keep himself alive. He may have been malnourished and had some battle scars, but he did not go hungry.

His story was compelling, so another foster gave it a shot with him. There were several other dogs in the household, so we were crossing our fingers. He was kept segregated from the other dogs, and we received several hopeful pictures of him laying on a doggie bed, and all seemed well. I imagine that after very careful introductions were made, there was a moment of pure chaos, and there was a bite incident. Truth be told, moments of chaos for ANY dog can result in a bite or a fight, but there he went, back to boarding. We chose a different facility this time. We would never subject any of our dogs to a facility where they received no interaction, and we refused to let him go back to that dark place. where he shut himself off from the rest of the world.

This next boarding facility had huge open play areas for each dog. The staff was loving, attentive, and they CARED about Levi’s emotional and physical well being. He lived there for almost a year. Our rescue marketed him like crazy, I made Levi his own Facebook page, we recruited volunteers to spent time with him, and I took my kids to play with him as much as I could. And many times I went alone, to sit with him, and let him know he wasn’t forgotten. Because sadly, Levi was one of those dogs that most people would walk by, without a second glance, if that. He wasn’t unique to the eye. Most people did not know what he really was, but I did, and several of our volunteers knew, and they were his advocates. They had his back the entire time he was in boarding. These volunteers are the reason why he is in a foster home right now, where he will most likely because a permanent resident. And yes, I know what you are thinking…..I said it out loud. Doggie prayers. Human prayers would be even better, because if this works, and Levi has his home, I will have a new outlook on the human race, and their capacity to love and show kindness.

This young lady asked for Levi, out of all of the dogs that we had available for adoption. I wanted to know why, why Levi? She said, “because he reminds me of ME.” And right there, peeps, I wanted to cry. That is FAMILY.  The pretty young lady was looking for a FAMILY MEMBER, not just a dog. God bless her, and her beautiful young soul, to look at Levi, and recognize his worth. He is special, different. He has been so patient, waiting for his person. I will pray every single morning, that she is his person, and that he is her person. I will pray that she will be happily married one day, and we will receive pictures her children laying across Levi, him sitting there with his tongue out, and his lazy sweet self looking so happy, content, and finally at peace. Yes, I am dreaming WAY in advance. I am hopeful.

Thank GOD for fosters, saving lives one dog at a time. Thank GOD for volunteers, sacrificing their time away from their families and friends, to open their hearts to care for these dogs that have no one else. You KNOW who I am talking about :)

And Levi….how I love you so. My heart breaks with happiness for you. I cry happy tears. And I ache from praying so hard that you have found your forever.

#onespecialdog

 

This thing called Motherhood

 

motherhood

Every mother has a different perspective of motherhood.

For me, motherhood is a blessing that I never knew would come. My firstborn, Reagan, is my miracle baby, because the pregnancy before him was a phantom of a dream that I once had. I will always wonder what my life would be like, had this phantom baby were real, and would I have two children or three?  Blighted ovum is a difficult pill to swallow, much like Alzheimers. You see a human being, but they are not there. Not really. Much like an empty shell.

Motherhood has given me a brutal beating, but you know what?  I remember sitting in restaurants, staring at children and giggling babies at other tables, with my heart ripped into shreds. I wanted to be a mother so badly, that it hurt to see my closet friends give birth, raise their children, and see their unmistakable bonds. I hated that I felt such resentment, but it was there like an elephant in the room.

Choosing the words “brutal beating” is harsh, I know. When I use these words, I am referring to fleeting moments of autistic meltdowns…..punches and bites and screaming. Strong bitterness and back talk from the sibling of an autistic child. There are so many dynamics involved under the roof of a family that has a special needs child or adult. Dynamics that cannot be understood to the fullest, even if you have a special needs family member. Because guess what?  Just like each person is different from the next, this applies to autism, down syndrome, lupus, muscular dystrophy, mental illness, etc. Everyone copes and processes differently. This is my journey of motherhood.

Reagan was this perfect Gerber baby, chubby and happy. He slept fairly well, with his tiny fists on each side of his face, squishing his cheeks together. Watching him sleep was peaceful. He made me feel such a happiness that I couldn’t even fathom how life was before he was here. He was a good baby. As he grew into a toddler, his personality was hysterical, and he kept us all laughing. He looked like Charlie Brown with his big, bald head. He was my sweet boy, and he loved me so much. His heart could move mountains, it was so big, and because of that he was a very sensitive boy. Still is. I love this about him, because he loves so intently, and cares so much, however, once Bailey came, he had to share his time with us, and that didn’t always sit well with him. I don’t think there is enough credit given to the siblings in a special needs family. Reagan is affected by every one of Bailey’s meltdowns. Each one breaks him down a little bit more. He has high anxiety all the time, even has trouble falling asleep at times. We have to treat him with kid gloves, and there are some judgements about this. Those judgements don’t concern me anymore.

Reagan needs more one on one time with each of us separately. He needs to always be assured that he matters and is loved. He needs to reminded that he is a very smart boy, even though he has had struggles at school this year. He is so deserving. We have had some rough patches, but he is an amazing nine year old boy, that has the world at his feet. He will make a wonderful, tender hearted husband, and father, one day, and he makes my heart burst. Every night he lets me rub his head and he tells me about his day and all of his woes. Thank GOD I have those nights, because I wouldn’t be able to stand being disconnected from my firstborne. Being his mother makes me so proud.

Bailey is my Velcro child, always right there, always stumbling over her. She can’t fall asleep without me, and she wraps around me like a spider monkey so that I can’t get up and sneak away. Bailey was always behind the game, through no fault of her own, and not my fault, either, though it took me many years to stop punishing myself. Bailey is a lovely, blue-eyed little girl with an off the wall personality, a memory like a steel trap, and this insurmountable creativity and love of art.

We gave her everything she needed as parents after her diagnosis, and she has blossomed beyond our expectations. It took great strength to parent her, and it has been a rollercoaster, but she flourishes every day. Till this day, I watch her play with her toys, doing her “thing”, as she calls it, and I hear her pronounce all of these words into these beautiful sentences. Being a witness to her growth has defined me as a mother. Her disability has challenged me more than anything else in my life. Her meltdowns have broken me down, but forced me to conjer strength to put myself back together again. She is this little person with such fight and determination. We have a long way to go, and we need more help, but it is only uphill from here. I am so blown away by her perseverance. What a wonderful little girl she has become.

Admittedly, I enjoy my community of mothers with children with autism, and being labeled a Warrior Mom, but you know what?  All mothers are warriors. We wipe noses, we cook meals, we transport, we clean and make lunches. But let’s be honest, what really matters?  Our nurturing spirits, our limitless amount of love for our children, and our fierce protective nature when our child has been hurt. They will grow and become teenagers, and we will still smell their sweet skin on our faces, and remember the softness of their hair, and they way they used to look up at us with such adoration.

This motherhood thing. It’s amazing.

Time Is Ticking

Within the past year, I took some time to reflect on my life.  Grudges, old, stale bitterness, and resentment I held for individuals who had no concern for my well being. You know the quote, Let It Go, but it is not an easy feat. Not at all.

Why do we waste so much time on stupid, petty anger?  Why do we let it consume our relationships and poison them like a disease?  At what point did we decide the relationship wasn’t worth the effort?  Why do we try to control all of those around us, those that are precious to us?

Toxic friends, we all have at least one. Those can be dismissed without a glance back, as in the expression, “Don’t look back, you aren’t going that way.” So don’t!!

Family is a whole different ball of wax. I resented my mother for EIGHT years after her death. One day this overwhelming forgiveness hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was blindsided with grief. But she was already gone, and I was left with regret. And regret……it never goes away.

My Grandpa died of pneumonia and alzheimers. I spent his last months by his side as much as I could, and he left this world knowing that he was loved. His death made me feel empty, and it still hurts like hell, but I l chose to not take precious time for granted, and because of that, I can look back at our relationship and feel at peace. I want that for everyone.

Make it right. Take it upon yourself to salvage your relationships that matter to you. Most likely, the other person wants to do the same, but fears rejection. If you are a parent, it is your job to make it right, tom nurture, protect, and help guide your children into adulthood. If you are disconnected from your child, change that. Make it right. I suffer from not having a mother in my life. The struggle is real, and even at age 45, I still need a mother. Days, weeks, and months went by, and I had no mother. I went to school, I struggled with insecurities, I reveled in dreams that I would have loved to have shared with my mother, but she was not there. Death, absence, whatever……sometimes they just aren’t there.

Now my grandma has dementia, and she doesn’t know who I am anymore. How do you make it right, when they are there, but absent in your life?

I am all over the place with this blog, because there are so many different stages of emotions all at once. I had a point to make, and I am not sure that I have made it. I have been told by many that I tend to try to be the peacemaker, and I am proud of that.

My children love me like crazy, and that is a beautiful feeling. They can come to me for anything. I have made a point to be their best friend and confidant so that there would never be any secrets. Open your doors, people!!  Stop closing them because of your own hatred, animosity, and stubbornness. Lower your expectations of others. Why put such pressure on someone who only wants your love?  Do you think that tightening those reins will make them love you more? Most certainly not. They will suffocate, and you will end up alone.

I am not all koon-by-ya type of person (excuse the misspelling),  but I am over watching these families tear each other down, when they should be supporting each other, spending valuable time having heart to heart talks and laughing and sharing. Break down the barriers and take a chance. Time is ticking, and one day you will be gone. How do you want to be remembered?

#makeitright

LESSON LEARNED

learning

1) Do not settle. Settling is a discredit to yourself, and to the other person. There may be the perfect match for THEM out there.

*I have done this many times over the years. In the moment, especially when you are young, you feel passionately for someone, but come to find out, they were never there for you when you really needed them. You never listened to your gut, and your questioned whether you were truly happy or not.

2) Do not assume everyone is your friend, nor do they want to hear your personal sagas. Genuine, honest, and trustworthy friendships are a rare find. Not all of your “friends” have your back, nor are they reliable confidants.

*There is a huge difference between a friend and an acquaintance. I learned this brutal reality after Bailey was diagnosed with autism. It was my lowest point, rock bottom. When I came up for air, and took a look around, those who I thought were my friends were gone. Lesson learned.

3) Just say NO. You will run out of steam really fast, if you are at everyone’s beckon command.

*This is still an issue with me, but I am working on it. I want to help everyone, and if I don’t, I feel very guilty. I have to stop and ask myself….,would they do the same for me?

4) Lower your expectations of those around you. Not everyone has the capacity to care as much as you do, nor will they exert the same effort. Seriously, THEY WILL NOT EXERT THE SAME EFFORT!

* I learned this is dog rescue. There are many dog lovers out there, but not many of those who consider their dogs/cats as part of their family. I am GLAD that I cannot understand this, because I don’t want to be one of those people. They are the ones that have the world fooled, the ones who drive past animals in need, those who buy  their animals from breeders while others die in the shelters, and they are the ones who dump their animals on the side of the road. It is my  job to educate and be a resource for the rescue community.

And two of my favorites……

9) Only surround yourself with those who will bring you UP, not down. Those who judge you, are not worth your frustrations.

Family and friends…..yes, sad, but true. If you are around a person that makes you feel small, belittled, or worse, like you aren’t doing your job as a parent, in THEIR opinion, off with their heads. No one knows the struggles you live every single day. Placing judgement on you is unfair, cruel, and NON-Christian (if you  are the praying type).

10) Take baby steps. Everything comes at once…..reflect, breathe. Take baby steps, make a mental list, and tackle one problem at  a time. Break it down into pieces so it isn’t so consuming.

I am still working on this one as well. I am always telling everyone how overwhelmed I am. I know they are tired of hearing this, because in their minds, I am not making time for THEM. It is about them, not about me. If they lived one day in my shoes, they would give me space and not put additional stress on me. I wish I knew a way to word how my life is, without hurting feelings or coming across like I don’t care. I would love to spend more time with my friends. I would love to spread out, relax and chat on the phone. My life doesn’t allow this anymore. It is what it is, and I am doing the best that I can.

The Golden Years. Or not.

Aging is terrifying when you are alone. Your joints are sore, you become slower in all of  your daily activities, you forget the little things, and eventually, the bigger things. You turn to your family for support, and if you are blessed, then your family helps you along your journey. Family is everything, and if the elderly don’t have anyone to reach out to, tend to  become lost, confused, depressed, and lonely. All of these feelings of isolation, coupled with degenerative health issues and even untreated injuries, not to mention dementia, is extremely heartbreaking for them, not to mention bearing a heavy weight on the family as a whole. Your loved one will eventually come and live with you, or they will reside in an assisted living facility where they are cared for 24/7. They get health care, physical therapy, and emotional fulfillment, etc. This is in a perfect world, of course.

So let’s talk about dogs. Is a dog just a dog?  Did I lose you when I mentioned “dogs”?  Do you feel like elderly dogs and cats are not as important as elderly humans?  If  you feel this way, then I have no words. Well, I DO, but you don’t want to hear them.

I question a person’s heart and soul when they are not compassionate for animals.  I truly do.  Many others in the rescue community feel this way, and that is why I have chosen to surround myself with those who fight night and day to save these lives. If you do not consider your “pet” part of your family, do not get one.

A person who can walk away from their dog after making the decision to leave them in a KILL shelter does not have a heart. When a person walks away from their sick, elderly dog in a KILL shelter is a MONSTER.

Have they gotten old and need more medical care?  Are they are urinating on your floors and losing muscle mass in their backs legs? Are they wandering around your house, bumping into the walls and standing still in a state of confusion?  Losing their sight and hearing?

You would not abandon your grandparent in a cage, and leave them there, knowing full and well that they can be killed.  Knowing they can’t see or hear well, in a lot of pain, and knowing they are terrified because they can sense death all the way to their core. Shivering cold, and flinching from the others screaming in confusion and fear. Would you desert your grandparent there and never look back?

Our mindset needs to change, and change NOW. NEWSFLASH:  Our furry family members FEEL!!!  They feel love, loss, sadness, fear, and they feel isolation. They shake and cry, and they miss you terribly when you leave them. If you are okay with leaving them on death row, then you need to check yourself right now.

There are NO excuses. NO EXCUSES. There is ALWAYS another option. There are rescues, NO KILL shelters, family members and friends. KILL SHELTERS and CRAIGSLIST should not even enter your brain. There ARE programs set up for the military.  USE THEM. Dogs on Deployment is one, for example. There are many. If you are deployed, you have options. Dumping your dog in a kill shelter is extremely cruel. Dumping your dog in a kill shelter, no matter what the circumstance, is cruel.

If you feel like it is their time to go, and your VET is on the same page, then HOLD YOUR BABY while they pass on. Hold them and love on them, and let them leave this world knowing they mattered to someone. Do not be a cowardly, cruel human being, and leave them in a kill shelter, where they  are killed on a cold metal table by a stranger’s hands. They will leave this world in a sadly twisted and fearful state.

Don’t dump your dog in the kill shelter. Dumping your SENIOR dog in a kill shelter is much worse, since most adopters are looking for playful, healthy dogs. They don’t stand a chance there.

#noexcuses

 

Going Crazy?

memory

I really put myself out there on this blog. I reveal many personal shortcomings and insecurities. My main goal, for me personally, is to have an outlet, and putting it out there gives me a sense of relief.  Unfortunately, it does put a target on my back for harsh judgement, and this might be one of those posts. I am a mother, and that has certain expectations from family.

I watched my Grandpa suffer through Alzheimers.  He would exhibit PTSD episodes from the Vietnam War right in front of me.  He was a Prisoner of War.  He sustained unmentionable atrocities. He couldn’t barely discuss it without getting choked up, so he chose not to, but I knew it was like a cancer, eating away at him.

My Grandma doesn’t know who I am. She isn’t recognizable anymore as my Grandma. She has slipped away as well. It breaks my heart to see them both go down this path of nothingness.

These past couple of months, I have been experiencing short term memory loss. Some small things, like misplacing my coffee mug, keys, phone, etc. I misplace them within minutes, and I stand there and try to search my mind and back track where I have been. I finally give up and move on to something else. I make a new cup of coffee, I bug my husband about it. “Where the heck are my keys?  Where is my phone?”.  I can’t follow my personal trainer’s instructions, and he grows frustrated with me. All I can do it laugh it off, because that is what I do.

The other day, we were running errands, and I was frantically searching for my phone. I had this new huge purse, which is NOT a good idea for someone who loses stuff, lol.  I grew increasingly upset, and my heart was beating out of my chest.  Was this an anxiety attack?  I don’t know, but it sucked.

Finally, my husband told me, “you JUST gave your phone to Bailey.”  I took a minute and reflected. She was in the back seat, watching a YouTube video, clearing giggling and talking about it, and it was loud. I didn’t hear anything in the moment, but the thumping of my heart.

I am terrified that I have early onset dementia. It is no secret that I am overwhelmed and stressed out, and even scatterbrained. I have been for most of my life. But this feels different. I recognize similarities in me, and moments that my grandparents went through.  I know this is genetic.

Please pray for me, if you are a praying type.

#whereismycoffee

HEROES

FOSTER

Fostering.  Many people are scared of this word, because they automatically believe it is a long term commitment, that the dogs are all mangy, ill, and aggressive.

I always refer to my blog The Life of a Stray, because many times, the dogs on death row, fighting for their lives, belong to someone. They escaped their leash, their yard, or their “owners” dumped them in our kill shelter and didn’t think twice about it. If they DID think twice about it, shame on them for not going back.

Let’s break this down, okay?  These sad eyes that are looking up at you, as you walk through our city shelter, are very much scared, confused, and many of them are suffering from physical pain and even PTSD. Yes, dogs can get PTSD, thanks to humans and their cruel nature. There are dogs that have gotten lost and couldn’t find their way home. Their families were not aware that San Antonio KILLS A LOT of dogs/cats everly day, despite the recent pledge of San Antonio being No Kill. There are dogs that have gotten lost, the owner actually was responsible enough to microchip them, but they made the decision to leave them there. There are dogs that have been on the streets their entire life, only to find comfort in woodsy areas, curled up against trees as shelter from the weather, and battling for any morsel they can get. They are emaciated, sick, and slowly dying in the worst way. Does this make them less worthy to bring them into your family?  If that is your mindset, then you have no business having a dog at all. People like that make me want to throw up in my mouth.

I call our good quality fosters, Roll With The Punches Fosters, because that is exactly what they are. A little poop on their carpet?  Ain’t nothing but a chicken wing. A sprinkled leg lift on your couch? Okay, so we are looking at some basic obedience training. Let’s do it. Fearful, hiding under the bed?  Let’s take a step back and give them some space, and let them come out when they feel comfortable enough to do so, when they know you are there to help them, not hurt them. There is help out there, there are traps and rescuers who are experienced with these situations. A growl? Oh yikes, call the calvary!!  It’s a vicious dog that must be returned!!!  Spare the heck out of me. You try being locked up in a noisy, scary kennel for days, having a history of abuse and neglect, and not feeling good!!  You try having to fight for each scrap of food with other dogs that are bigger or more stronger than you. You would be pretty unsettled, to say the least. Most of the time, these dogs are not “aggressive”, so take a chill pill and stop with the labels. There is a reason for everything, and these dogs can be rehabilitied,  and sometimes just love and care does the trick.Do you not have love and care?

Stop returning dogs to these rescues that are saving them. When you return a dog, you are taking the place of another dog that needs out of the kill shelter. To put it bluntly, you are killing another dog, to get rid of this one, because you don’t want to put forth the effort to make the necessary adjustments.

Let’s talk adjustment period. One day will not do, so if the dog is not perfect, they WILL MOST DEFINELTY need at least a week, even two!!  If your lifestyle does not allow at least 30 minutes-1 hour a day to work with your foster dog, then don’t even bother. Rescues beg and  plead for a foster home!!!  There are not all of these fosters lined up to take them in, and most rescues are foster-based, so there is no shelter space in which to keep them safe. You are doing the rescue and the dog a great disservice. These dogs have NO WHERE to go, and you are putting back the responsibility and stress on the team leaders of these rescues, which is cowardly and irresponsible.

If you are a serial dog returner, off with your head. Just stop. You are not helping these rescues by bringing them back, when they have to spend countless hours trying to find another foster home, when they could be saving another life instead.

Please, consider that dog, and what they need to grow, and move forward into an adoptable and flourishing family member. There will never be enough fosters, but the ones that do step up, and make grand gestures to keep these dogs safe, fed, loved, and medically healthy….they are HEROES. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts, and they should never doubt that their efforts go unnoticed. Saving lives is everything, just look at the frightened faces in the shelter, and on the streets, and look at them now. Fosters save these lives, they nourish them back to an emotional and physical state of health, and they show them that all humans are not bad. They are HEROES.

A Different Kind of Grief

grandma

As I have written in prior blogs, my grandparents raised me since I was eight years old. They saved my life, and I mean that in the literal sense.

As my Grandpa developed dementia and progressed into Alzheimers, he was always “present” with me for some reason.  He had fleeting moments of confusion when I was near, but he always came back. I was his “daughter”, all the way to the week that I lost him. He knew me. I will always be so grateful for that. The grief that I suffered in his absence was consuming. I knew he would die, but I wasn’t emotionally prepared, because he was always with me, emotionally and physically.

As my Grandma has traveled down her own path of dementia, it has been slow and steady. She has experienced mood swings of uncontrollable tears, anger, and has had such a fight in her to desperately hold on to her mind. She always told me, “when my mind goes, so will I.”  And here we are.

I spent several years with her, bringing my kids over to visit, helping her clean her home, making her meals, anything that I could do to feel helpful. She had these awful mean setbacks with me and my babies (they WERE babies at the time) back then, and I tried to roll with the punches, but anyone who knows me well, already knows that is impossible for me.  I feel too much, care too much, and am quick to feel hurt. Deep down, though, I knew that she couldn’t help it. The disease was taking away her life as she knew it. She was struggling with it all, and fighting it tooth and nail.

She is lost now. Completely. She looks through me, not at me. She is in her own world of whatever it is that brings her comfort. She has left us, and her body will be next. I will have so many beautiful memories to share and remember her by.

I had been carrying around such a heavy weight of guilt, not visiting with her very much this past year.  I have decided to let myself off the hook, though, because one person can only do so much, and as my blog says, my  cup runneth over.  I am really trying so hard, just to live and thrive from day to day. My Grandma knows that I love her, she knows that I was there during a confusing time for her, and she knows that I am a presence that resembles family to her.

Dementia sucks. It devours a person’s sense of being, their whole purpose, and it spreads through them like a cancer. When they leave you in this manner, it is a grief that hurts as bad as when they are no longer physically there. To the core. Anyone who begs to differ has not loved someone with dementia or alzheimers.

Make amends. Stop holding childish grudges. Stop waiting for the other person to apologize first, and make your wrongs right. Own up to your mistakes, because chances are, you are responsible for someone else’s heartache.

We always make grand elaborate comments and gestures about FOREVER. But you know what?  We don’t have forever. We are supposed to live each day as if it were our last, but we do not. That one person that has your heart won’t always be there. Why leave words unsaid?

#getyourheadoutofyourass