Blessed by an angel

Sometimes an angel comes into your life.

If she visits a second time, I call it a blessing.

I’d adopted a scared little senior chi named Greta about seven years ago. For the first few months, Greta was terrified of me and most everyone else she encountered. My vet even had to muzzle Greta for her visits as Greta’s great fear sometimes transfered to a display of aggression when frightened.

Yet Greta’s heart would melt whenever she heard the voice of a special lady named Patty each time I had to board her.

In fact, Greta would take off in a run and leap up into her arms as soon as Patty entered the room. I began to think of Patty as a ‘chi whisperer.’

Eventually Greta did mellow and we had six wonderful years together before she passed away last year.

I had been thinking that someday I would adopt a senior dog again. Perhaps another chihuahua to keep my young chi-terrier Rex company.

Occasionally I’d research available senior chihuahuas online and had stopped by to meet a couple of them at local shelters. They were all sweet pups, but I was looking for just the right personality to mesh with my household.

I thought I would wait until spring until one rainy Friday night I spotted a special little girl on a local rescue group’s website.

In fact, she was VERY little.

Junie B. Jones’s bio said she was two pounds and a little over six years of age. Must be a error, I thought. I figured the numbers had been transposed and the little girl in the picture was actually 6 pounds in weight and two years old.

Still curious, I decided to drive over to the shelter just to take a look before they closed.

I found Junie B. resting over in a crate by the puppies.

And she sure was tiny.

Weighing in at just 2.9 pounds, Junie B. wasn’t looking too happy and wasn’t eating. Found as a stray in a big city alley, she’d just started meds for kennel cough that morning and was also recovering from several tooth extractions.

Yet I sensed a special sparkle beneath that sad expression as I held her shaking little body for a while.

I decided to put her on hold with a adoption specialist as it was near closing time. I needed to mull this adoption decision through overnight I thought.

I admit I was trying to talk myself out of an adopting later that evening. Junie B. was a little younger and definitely smaller than I was looking for, and with the way she was feeling I couldn’t really be sure of her temperament.

Yet there was that look of love Junie B. had given me as I held her. With much effort she had slowly raised her tiny head up as if to say, “Can you take me home?”

The following afternoon I returned to the shelter to check back on Junie B.

Still unsure of my final decision while walking into the building, I made my way back over by to the puppies where I found Junie B. still resting. She lifted her head again and looked at me straight in the eye.

It seemed as if she was smiling and had recognized me.

Or was I just imagining it, I wondered?

The two of us soon entered a small room to get reacquainted. A shelter volunteer stopped by to answer any additional medical questions I had. Then we both gave Junie B. treats that she happily accepted.

Afterwards, I waited on the busy adoption floor to speak to the next available adoption specialist. I soon found myself becoming a protective mother hen of Junie B. She was attracting a lot of attention from visiting children in the puppy area who were amazed at Junie B.’s tiny size, yet mature age.

I just wanted her to get some more sleep.

Suddenly I saw two female employees cut through the crowd to approach Junie B. The pair looked concerned. One of them opened her crate. A little nervous, I walked on over to see what was happening.

They appeared to be vet technicians checking in on Junie B., and they were trying to figure out why she still wasn’t eating.

“Oh, but she is,” I said as the taller of the two turned my direction. ”Junie B. was just enjoying some treats.”

I immediately recognized the pleasant face before me and remembered the distinctive voice.

It was Patty, the same woman who had cared so lovingly for my first chihuahua Greta at the boarding facility across town, and had now done the same for little Junie B.

Just as I started to reintroduce myself, we were joined by the adoption specialist. Soon all of us were smiling, and more than my eyes were moist as I told Patty how Greta had passed on and that I had put a hold in place on Junie B.

We all knew then and there that the sweet girl before us was going home with very lucky me.

As my new pup and I left, I was thinking what a gift it was that Greta received such great care years ago by one angel of a vet tech.

And I smiled, knowing how blessed I am today that Junie B. received such loving care by that very same vet tech.

Perhaps it’s even a miracle.

Seniors need a hug, too


I turned over the calendar page to the new month at work this morning. I read the words, ‘Adopt a Senior Pet Month.” I’m very fond of senior dogs. In fact, I even have a couple.

But I won’t be adopting another senior dog this month or in the foreseeable future. There’s no room at the inn called ‘my house’. But I am making plans on adopting some seniors of the two legged variety in the next few weeks.

Too many seniors in my area are without family around, and as the days of November get colder they won’t be able to get out as much. With so many gray days, it becomes even easier to feel isolated once the holidays roll in.

Last year about this time I started to write down some small items I could pick up for this special, often overlooked group in the community. I’d also received a specific request from a group coordinating a gift drive for the seniors.

It was one very short list for a kind woman with simple wishes. A tube of lipstick, a bottle of nail polish, a hair brush, cookies, and a calendar. No mention of color or brand, she was grateful for anything that came her way.

This year I hope to help out several more seniors in a nearby care facility, as well as residents of my husband’s group home. I expect I’ll start shopping soon to stay clear of the stores by Thanksgiving.

And maybe just one Saturday while I’m out, I’ll stop over at my rescue group to donate dog food and pick up a senior dog to help out in the one way I can. As a short term foster.

That is if one of my senior pups is willing to share their dog bed for a few weeks.

After all, I’m going to have to look at the same calendar page with the same sweet senior dog for 31 long days this month.

Bringing Joy


I was asked the other day if I still foster dogs anymore. I responded, ” I do, when it makes sense for me and especially the dog.”

But I admit it can be emotionally challenging at times. Once I volunteered to help out by being an emergency foster on a short term basis for a young, larger dog Jimmy. He was a ‘Heinz 57’ due to his origin of unknown history and variety of mixed ‘flavors’ (breeds)’. I quickly discovered the pup was a ‘flight risk’. The first time Jimmy took off my husband Richard had left the car door open too long when exiting.

We were just running in to drop off a prescription at Mom’s care facility. My heart was pounding as I ran up and down the crowded street, terrified the dog had run on to the adjacent freeway. Luckily, he’d gone the other direction after smelling brats, burgers and beer at a picnic a block away. He looked very content and full when I found him right after wolfing down a cheeseburger.

Jimmy managed to sneak out of his collar a few more times, but also managed to sneak his way into my heart. Rather than keeping him for just a week, I told the adoption coordinator he could stay with us until he found a permanent home. At least I’d discovered he was consistent when he ran off. All I needed to do was put my nose in the air and figure out who was grilling in the neighborhood. That would always be where I’d find Jimmy.

Jimmy did quickly charm himself into the home of an adoptive family. They provided him all the toys, treats and food that he loved. But Jimmy was anxious and unhappy, and so was the family with Jimmy.

Rather than bringing him back to the rescue group, as required, they brought him elsewhere indicating they had just found him. But as Jimmy was microchipped, the dog was soon returned to the rescue group.

I was contacted by the group, asking if I could foster him again. But by that time, Mom’s health had worsened and so had my husband’s. It broke my heart to hear the story and to have to say no on fostering Jimmy again, but I knew it was best for the dog as well as my family. Jimmy did eventually find the right home and the right owners.

I do still help out by occasionally fostering a small, senior dog when I can. It spite of the emotional roller coster, there have been many moments of bliss. There’s nothing like uniting a sweet senior dog with a senior owner who’s recently lost one.

Especially when the adoption has been carefully thought out with a willing, younger relative as a backup owner in case illness would occur.

I’ve often been thanked by new owners for bringing joy to their life by fostering their senior dogs, but actually the owners and the dogs are the ones who have brought much joy to mine.