The Life of a Stray

dietoday

Hi, my name is Georgia. I’m what humans call a yellow lab.

One morning I was chewing my femur bone out in the back yard.  The sun was so warm against my fur, and I stopped chewing to close my eyes, and take in the warmth.  I heard giggles from  my home, and stretched out my legs and yawned.  My little Savannah was such a delight.  Her giggles made me excited, and I’ve been working on not jumping on her, but I do get in trouble from time to time, because I just love her SO much.

I drifted off into the most luxurious and heavy sleep.  The sun was still soaking into my old body, and I exhaled deeply.

There was a squirrel calling my name.  “Georgia!!!  Come and get me, Georgia!!” over and over again.  My pumped  my legs like crazy. I awoke with a start and realized my beloved squirrel snack was all but a dream.  I yawned and went to work on my bone, tail wagging as I heard my Savannah squeal from the house.  I considered running in and giving her a good lick, but then….

There WAS a squirrel!!  I sat erect. I was as still as a huntress in the night, like a lioness stalking her prey. Oh squirrel, how you think you are so smart!!  I took a few steps towards the fence. He was standing right at the fence line, burrowing in the grass.  I started panting. I couldn’t help it.  I was an older gal, and my excitement was always very expressive.

I took off in a hurried state, though everything seemed like slow motion.   The squirrel quickly ran through a missing plank. I stopped short, sending a whirlwind of dirt every which way. If a dog could curse, now would be the time!

I pawed at the fence, which was actually pretty loose.  I could see that darn squirrel, sitting on the other side at the foot of a tree, taunting me with those crazy come hither eyes. Oh, you squirrel, I will show you a thing or two!!

I pawed and pawed, and dug and dug.  My legs started to get sore, but I did not stop.  I refused to let him get the better of me. Seriously, a little bitty squirrel, pulling one over Miss Georgia? Nope, not in MY yard!!

Suddenly, my heart thumped into my chest and I sucked in air with utter joy.  I had my opening!!!

Off I went through the fence, tearing after that squirrel, who proceeded to take cover in the tree. I barked and barked for what seemed like hours.  I told him to come down, to meet his maker, but he would not budge. He sat up there, and I could have sworn that he danced on that branch, telling me, “you can’t get me”!  OH, I hated that squirrel!!!

But wait, there were OTHER squirrels!! Oh, the possibilities!!!!  I ran from tree to tree, chasing these juicy little rodents, barking at them and jumping up onto the trees as far as my tired body would let me.  Stretching and bending and barking and panting.  Why must these squirrels torment me this way?  Do they have nothing better to do?

I sat my rear down to catch my breath. Surely, there was a bowl of water somewhere?  Hmmm, nope.  I stretched out, panting like crazy.  My heart was beating so hard that I thought it might burst.  I sat for awhile to catch my breath.  I didn’t know where I was.  I was lost.

It was getting dark and cold.  I picked myself up, and started trotting from street to street, until I met a treeline.  The trees loomed over me like a menacing shadow.  Dare I enter?  I went for it, because I was a brave big girl, and there was nothing that would ever scare me, surely not dark woods. Besides, there was probably a puddle or lake for me to drink out of.  My throat hurt and my legs ached from my adventure.

I walked for what felt like miles, and then found refuge in a large bush.  I laid down in the middle of it, and listened.  A stick  cracked, as if someone were walking by.  I frantically leaped out of my bush, very eager to find my owner standing there, leash in hand, telling me, “Georgia, why did you run away?”  But there was nothing there, but darkness.  Back I went, into my coven of safety.

There were many noises throughout the night.  Owls, more sounds of something walking, and a coyote in the distance. It grew very cold, and I couldn’t stop shivering.  I cried. I couldn’t help it.  I cried because my old bones were hurting, I was so cold, and I was scared of what would become of me. I was all alone.

Where was my Savannah?  Why wasn’t she looking for me?  Where were my owners?  Did the squirrels bring me here on purpose?  Were they leaving me to die, out here in the woods, all by myself?  I never slept that night.

The seasons changed, I think?  It got cooler in the mornings, but I found a special place on a huge boulder where the sun hit. It was big and warm and wonderful on my aching body. I watched butterflies and other wildlife go about their business around me. And the squirrels….well, I left them alone.

For about 12 nights, I walked and walked.  I ate berries, grass, leaves, dirt, rocks, and every now and then, I would come across an unsuspecting mouse or lizard, which were quite rubbery and got stuck in my teeth. My prowling abilities weren’t what they once were, so I grew very hungry. I did find a creek, and drank greedily all day.  The woods became my home, and my visions of my Savannah slowly slipped away from me.

I was done trying.  I found myself wandering in a daze, my head handing low.  Where was I going?  Who cared, as long as I kept moving. Maybe, just maybe, someone would take pity on me, and let me into their warm home. I yearned for pets, scratches. I yearned for my soft cushy bed.  I yearned for Savannah riding me like a horse. I wanted to crawl into her bed and feel her sleepy breath upon my nose. I’d open my eyes the next day, and she would still be gone. I was so very done.

When he caught me, I didn’t even know it.  Then I was wrangled and choked and thrown into a truck.  There were other dogs around me, in what appeared to be cages.  I wagged my tail, and was SO happy to see other dogs!!  Oh my, could this be it?  Could I be going to a dog park to play with my new friends?  But still…..there was something in my stomach that told me otherwise. And there was something scary and dark in my new friends eyes.

I was choked and wrangled again, out of the truck.  He barely let me put my feet on the ground, before dragging me to a huge building with more noisy dogs. I was trying to screech to a halt, but he kept dragging me and the gravel was cutting up my legs. I winced and whined, but he didn’t care. I stopped fighting, because I could feel the warm blood on my paws.  He pushed me into a cage.  I sat down and looked around.

There was a smaller white girl in the cage next to me.  She was no bigger than my squirrel enemies. She was shaking and crying.  On the other side was a very large Rottweiler looking boy, who leered at me.  He didn’t care for me, and I took a step back and laid down on the concrete. It didn’t feel cool like I thought it would. As a matter of fact, something was very wrong with everything.

My stomach growled. My body was throbbing. My paws were burning. I started licking, and I licked all the way until the sky grew dark outside the window.  The dogs around me never stopped barking.  I did not sleep again.

The next day, I sat up to the sound of voices.  Little humans!!!! Oh my god, oh my god, could it be her??  I paced the short length of my cage, sniffing the air and trying to smell her sweet lavender smell from her freshly washed hair.  I didn’t stop pacing until the humans were standing in front of me.  It was not my family. They looked different. They smelled different. They did seem nice, though, so I rolled over, and showed them how cute I was. It wasn’t very easy, because I was in so much pain, and my ribs were throbbing, too, but I did my best.  When I got back up, they were gone.  I watched them go into a little room.  A couple of minutes, a human came to retrieve the Rottie that didn’t like me, and he glanced  back at me with this look of defeat in his eyes. He went the other way, not the way that I had come in. I watched him disappear. My stomach was queezy.

I finally got some food and water and I gulped and chewed with a vengence, choking and spurting.  After my bowls were empty, I laid back down and took a little snoozer, but I could never fully drift off, because there was that one thing that wasn’t right.  Just wasn’t right.

The same voices!!  Here came that family again!!!! Oh my god, could they be coming for me?? I was beside myself with eagerness!!!  But then they stopped short, and another human opened the cage next to mine, and picked up the little white female that was so scared. She snapped and snarled at him, and the family ooh’d and ahh’d at her.  I pressed my nose through my cage to watch them. The little boy was staring at me. He put his fingers through my cage and I gave him wet kisses and wagged my tail.  I liked this boy.  He was a gentle little human. I sensed his kindness. I wanted to go with him, but he was quickly scolded to told that I had a disease!!  I most certainly did NOT!

They didn’t take me, they took the little biting female.  I watched them walk away from me, that little dog squirming frantically in their clutch, and the little boy looking over his shoulder at me.  He loved me, too.

The day was so long.  I heard many different voices and there were many different humans staring at me. Some were nice and fed me treats and touched me through the gate.  Some took paper from my cage and looked it at, and then were gone. I heard many different banterings like “old”, “senior”, “too big”, “injured”, “cataracts”, etc.

I was empty inside.  I hardly moved.  I longed to feel the sun, the hear the birds, to be back in my forest.  I closed my eyes and felt my Savannah’s touch, her little kisses on my nose. Oh, how I wanted to hear her lovely voice singing to me. I was so empty.

Days went on, families came in and out, and no one ever took me home.  I always looked for my person, my Savannah.  Surely she missed me?  Surely she wanted me back?  Where was my family?  Did they not love me anymore?  What did I do wrong?  I felt ashamed.

Humans came and went, and though I tried to appease them, I was defeated.  No one wanted me, and there was still that one thing that was off about this cage.

One rainy morning, I found out what that one thing was.

He came and got me.  At first I wagged my tail, because just maybe, he was taking me home. I studied his face and he never once looked into my eyes. He had a disconnect that was unfamiliar, terrifying. Panic set in. My heart was pounding, and I barked at him and pleaded with him the best I could.  I was a big girl, surely I could overpower him?  He was taking me somewhere, and it wasn’t to a home or a field of butterflies.  He was taking me to die.

So there you have it.  I had a home, and I was loved.  I wanted to play, and I got lost.  My family never came for me, so now I am dead.  He put a needle in my leg. I cried softly for my Savannah and could almost hear her lovely singing voice as I drifted away.

 

 

 

Loving Yourself

valentine

Why are we, as women, so consumed with the way that we look?  We are too fat, we hate our hair, we aren’t pretty enough.  If I could change things about my own appearance in an instant, I would have a very long list.  Why can’t we love ourselves as we are?  How do we get past our own vanity?

I don’t have any answers, I’m sorry to say, but I DO have a refreshing revelation.

You’ve heard this before and probably rolled your eyes, but looking within yourself really does work!  Focus on your positive attributes.  For example, I love that I am generous and that I care about animals, so I continue to help others. That makes me feel good about myself, which in turn, makes my external insecurities seem smaller and insignificant.

I promise, it does work.  What do you LOVE about yourself? #Love&Loss

Did you know?

lost

Something you might not know, and it is essential information for the avid dog lover and owner…..if your dog gets away from you, or gets out of your yard, you cannot waste a single minute to chase after them, to secure them and keep them safe.  Why, you ask?

Yes, they can get hit and killed by a car.  Yes, they can get stolen.  Here is what you probably AREN’T aware of:

The city of San Antonio is NOT a no kill city.  Our city WILL indeed euthanize your dog. Here is a run down of what happens to your pet after they are picked up by animal control:

(1) Animal (dog/cat) is listed on the Animal Care Services website with a short description and picture, which is linked to other sites such as Pet Harbor.  Keep in mind that many times the information is not accurate, such as the sex of the dog, or the age. The intake pictures are not always so clear nor do they showcase them well.  There are too many, and not enough ACS (Animal Care Services) employees to have a photo shoot. These animals are terrified and lost, and some of very bad condition. Do NOT go by these terrible pictures.

http://www.sanantonio.gov/animalcare/

www.petharbor.com

(2) The animal has 72 hours to be saved. Here are the different ways their lives can be spared:

FOSTERED:  Being fostered through ACS (Animal Care Services), SAPA (San Antonio Pets Alive), or any rescues that have partnered with ACS or SAPA.  Fosters take them into their homes and provide all of the basic needs for the pet, while they are marketed for adoption.

“PULLED” BY A RESCUE:  ACS has a list of rescue partners that are authorized to pull these animals to safety.  They place a “hold” on the animal to ensure their safely. After the animals is taken out of the ACS facility, the animal belongs to the rescue and they have their own adoption policies to follow moving forward.

ADOPTED:  The animal can be adopted straight from the ACS or SAPA facility.  Adoption from ACS or SAPA will always trump a rescue hold. If a rescue places a hold on an animal, and a family walks in to ACS and wants to adopt that animal, they get first dibs.

RETURN TO OWNER:  In most cases, this is great, because that means the owner cares enough to search for their pet, not to mention paying the owner reclaim fee. Unfortunately, lots of owners don’t microchip or tag their pets, or even update their chips and tags. Even worse, sometimes ACS contacts the owners, and they don’t want them back, even though they know their pet can be killed at the shelter.

LOST IN CARE:  You read that right, lost in care. This could mean either the animal escaped the shelter, or was euthanized by accident, among other things.

(3) If you are lucky, you will have gone to the KILL shelter and reclaimed your pet.  If not, these are his/her only chances above, before he/she is put down.  There are transition kennels that they are placed in right before they are killed, which is called EBI, which stands for Euthanasia By Injection.  Most of our animals do not make it out alive, and these families that have lost their family pet never know what became of them.

SPAY/NEUTER!! UPDATE YOUR MICROCHIPS! UPDATE YOUR TAGS!  LOOK FOR YOUR DOG AS SOON AS THEY ESCAPE!!

Rescues have a VERY hard job, and they cannot do it alone.  Our community needs to be more responsible and take accountability for these deaths.  Do NOT be part of the problem. Be PROACTIVE and do your part to make San Antonio NO KILL.

I completely left out all of my personal opinions of the policy at ACS, just fyi  ;)

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort

With the holidays, everyone is frantic and racing around, and doing their last minute shopping and baking.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to stop and smell any dang roses!!  But January…..great time to decompress and reflect on our new year.  Where do you want to be?  What do you want to accomplish?

I have too much going on at once, as many of us mothers and dog rescuers do, but you HAVE to force yourself to take a step back.  My problem, though, is that when I do sit still, and when I am in a quiet solitude, there is still noise in my head.  Not sure how to stop that, with the exception of a med increase, HA!

I find that keeping myself busy is comforting to me.  When I am alone in my thoughts, my mind and my heart goes to places that I’d rather not visit, and slowly….those dark places change me in small ways.

So I go back to my comfort level and “crazy”.

Letter to my son

Reagan1

Reagan, some of these words that you say….I believe I understand now.  You feel so intently.  You have a tender heart and a sensitive soul, and that is what I love about you the most.  When you say words that take us by surprise, those ugly words are so foreign upon your lips, because that is not what your heart speaks.

You have a tremendous love for animals and you will save lives one day.  You torment your sister, but at the same time, you will have her back when she is crossing the street. Family is everything to you, and though you will not tell me, I know you love me.  I do not think that video games are your priority, I think that time alone with your dad is what you want, and that is the activity that you choose. You look up to your older brother, and miss him all the time because he is older now and has his own life that is separate from you. You must know you will always have a special connection with him.

My dear son, how you are such a worrier.  What I would do, to take those stresses away from what burdens you and keeps you up at night.  You worry about what your friends think of you, you are consumed with time, and you want to please your teachers and it hurts you when you don’t feel you’ve worked hard enough.  I’m proud of all you have done, and you have to know that you can do no wrong in my eyes.

Be free, and just let it go.  Life is just beginning, and there will be plenty of time to worry about bigger problems. Be a kid and be silly and carefree. Stop agonizing over all the little things that don’t matter.

I love you so much.  It is like looking into my mother’s eyes every day, and I love that God has graced me with this through you. You have such a big heart, and I never want you to change, Reagan, but please stay guarded.  Life is so cruel, and people can be ugly spirited. Stay true to yourself, and loyal to your sensitive nature.  Protect your heart, but love freely and unconditionally.

 

Patience

thankful

You do it, admit it.  You get overwhelmed with life’s stresses. It consumes you all day, keeps you up at night. You worry about everything to the point of having physical discomfort. The non-stop doom pressing down, causing migraines and anxiety, shortness of breath, and restlessness.

Why?  Did we forget to turn off the coffee pot?  Were we late on a deadline?  Did we forget to send our kids’ school lunch?

STOP.  BREATHE. LOOK AROUND.  Sit, and make a list. Scratch off your list as you go so that you have a sense of accomplishment. Try not to FEEL so much, and get organized.

Go OUTSIDE.  Be one with nature. Take everything in, and BREATHE.

It will come when you are ready.  Your answers, your closure, and your solace.

PATIENCE.

My Special Boy

IMG_4193

Here is what I have learned about Special Needs, and this is what makes it tougher.

When you have a child with special needs in your family, it affects every member, ESPECIALLY the siblings(s).  Reagan is constantly fighting for attention, recognition, and feels the need to interject his ideas, opinions and thoughts, even when it is an interruption of our interactions with Bailey.  I am not oblivious to what is happening, and I do know that he needs more from us, as a result of Bailey’s disability.

I believe that I have two special needs children. Maybe Reagan is not officially diagnosed, but he needs more than the average child.  He needs the reassurance that he is worthy, being heard, and that he is just as loved as Bailey.

It may cause behavior problems from time to time, but quick corrections (and threatening to take away video games) are  normally successful.  He is not a bad kid, he is a wonderful son.  He has a tender heart, is very sensitive to what is happening around him, and he tends to be a follower with his classmates.  He wants his friends to like him.  He enjoys being the center of the universe, as he is.

I love that his heart is so big, and that he loves HUGE when he wants to.

Asian Salmon & Veggie Casserole

Salmon

I love to create my own recipes, though you will never hear me brag on my failures, LOL.  Hence the burnt chicken and dumplings and chicken enchiladas that had NO sauce and were hard as a rock.

I LOVE the Asian flare of sweet & salty, so I made a mixture of soy sauce and brown sugar.  No specific measurements, but I coated the salmon with a ton of it, and then baked it for about 20-25 minutes in a 350 preheated oven.  It was absolutely delicious!!  A TON of flavor, which mean this is one of my go-to meals from now on.

As my side, I sauted fresh veggies that I had on hand (pictured here, it is potatoes, squash, zucchini, onions).  After they are soft, I poured the mixture until a greased casserole dish, and sprinkled cheddar cheese and bread crumbs. You are basically just doing a reheat to melt your cheese and get the top to crust over.  This is a dish that I make all the time, because you can use any vegetables that you have in stock that day.  It is yummy!!

Thanks ALL, Enjoy!

Hilarious

bailey

Bailey will fixate on something, and refuses to let it go.  She will repeat it over and over again….”Christmas is today”, “There is no school tomorrow”, and it doesn’t matter what my response is, she will beat it to the ground.

I am not the type of person who can “let go”.  I will hold on to something and keep it in for the LONGEST time, as to not upset or hurt anyone.  I don’t enjoy making waves or trouble.

Bailey has been testing my limits.  When she doesn’t like my response, she will scream, throw herself down. She will hit herself, and even “fake” choke herself.  If she is near me, or sitting with me, she will strike out with her fists, or pinch and pull my hair.  I have had many bruises from this, and I just lick my wounds and try to move on. Emotionally, it is not an easy task.

Long after her meltdown has simmered, and she is back to herself, I am still holding on to it.  I hide it well from most people.  I’ve been told that I am hilarious, but truth be told, when I am at my most “hilarious”, is when I am struggling the most.

Into The Storm

Bailey2014

Before I get going with my blogging about Autism, I wanted to clarify that this is MY perception of autism, and my personal experiences only.  Occasionally, I may refer to educational links, but this blog’s purpose is to express myself and everything that I go through as a parent with a special needs child.  With that being said…..

I was in denial with Bailey’s diagnosis for quite some time.  I would observe other parent’s children, and think to myself, “Bailey doesn’t do that”, or “wow, I’m so glad she isn’t that bad”.  I always said that she didn’t have sensory issues.  She loves the movie theater and the loud noises don’t phase her.  She doesn’t grow anxious during fireworks.  She really never had many of the typical traits that other children do on the spectrum.

However, as I learn more about this developmental disorder, it all becomes more clear to me. I have a new discovery about her every day. Bailey DOES have sensory issues, but strangely, only recently.

Thunderstorms…..one night we were laying down and it was raining outside.  No big deal, right?  And she was fine.  We were chatting and she was giggling.  Then the rain started pounding on the roof, and here came the thunder and lightening.  She was a little taken aback, and rolled over and cuddled with me.  A little bit later, we noticed that some rain was coming in from under the sliding glass door.

That was a moment that she cannot let go.  From then on, during a rainstorm, she would go around the house and put towels around any of our roof leaks, she would remove ANY of our personal belongings when waking up in the morning…..bottled waters, tissue box, and even my cell phone charger cord.  I asked her why, and she said, “because it will blow away”.  Needless to say, when my husband and I wanted to watch Into The Storm, we decided against it.

When it rains now, she will crawl into my lap and cover her ears.  She will put the palms of her heads over them, or stick her fingers in them, anything to drown it out.  She is constantly worried that it will rain.  It bothers my heart that she is so anxious about this, that she misses the beauty and peacefulness of the rain.

If anything scares her at all, she covers her ears.  Bailey has sensory issues.

There, I said it.