Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Signs of Fall

Spider Lilies

Miss. Katie "Scarlet"

Boon and Scarlet stop to smell the flowers.

**UPDATED:  For those who have asked - Spider Lilies appear here in South Mississippi at the beginning of Fall.  They are a wild flower that signal the end of one season and the start of another.**


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Boon's Sunday Sermon #6 - Little Black Dog

Today we'd like to share a writing with you by one of our favorite authors: Elisabeth Elliot.  This piece is beautifully written and describes her thoughts on a dog's 'mortality'.  We hope it touches your heart as it has ours. 

Little Black Dog by Elisabeth Elliot

It is a late October morning of glorious sunshine in New Hampshire and I sit in an antique rocking chair by the window of an old house which was once a barn. The gray rocks on Mount Lafayette's broad summit are dusted with snow, and the sky is as blue as a sky can be. All that is still green today is the evergreens. Between them are the black line drawings of the thin leafless maples, wild cherries, aspens and birches. The feathery tamaracks are dark gold. Little yellow apples hang on one of the gnarled old trees of the orchard. I keep hoping a deer will come for them.

My friend Miriam and I drove up yesterday from Boston for a few days of quiet at my brother's place. Both of us brought a load of desk work. No one else is here except Daisy, Miriam's new friend, a little white Pekingese. (Her old friend, Pity Sing, died a few weeks ago.)

MacDuff, my six-year-old Scottish terrier, is not here this time either. We went for a short climb yesterday afternoon, up a rocky wooded trail that he used to love. He would race after the chattering chipmunks, bound up the steep granite slabs, and wait, panting, at the top for us to catch up. I missed him yesterday on that trail. I miss him today when I look out of the window.
MacDuff died of cancer last week. I knew he was sick during the summer when his routines changed. He sat in the middle of the back yard one morning, instead of in his usual place by the fence, looking bewildered instead of in charge. One rainy day he was not on his chair in the screened porch, but I found him lying in a hollow place under a bush. He no longer leaped for his Milk-Bone at the breakfast table. But he kept his ears and tail up, and thus kept my hopes up.

The vet said he had an infection and gave us pills. MacDuff got very cagey at detecting where those pills had been hidden in his food, so I had to try ever sneakier methods of getting them into him. They worked fine. He was well again--for a while faithfully putting in his self-appointed barking time each day, letting neighbor dogs know who was in charge, and keeping off trespassers, some of whom must have been demons since none of us humans could see them.

But I saw that he was losing weight. I could feel the shoulder blades and spine through his heavy, ragged coat. I bought new kinds of dog food, special hamburger, yogurt. He was apologetic when he couldn't eat it, his eyes limpid with a plea for understanding, his stiff brush-tail quivering to explain.

"Little Duffer, little black dog--could you try this?" I would ask, offering some tidbit that would surely be irresistible. He would lift his black nose, take it slowly and delicately in his teeth, hold it for a moment hoping I would look away, and then place it on the floor as tactfully as he could. He did not want to disappoint me.

His suffering was a hard thing to watch. He was alone in it, as all creatures, human or animal, are alone in their pain. "The toad beneath the harrow knows exactly where each sharp tooth goes." There is no qualitative or quantitative measurement for pain. It is simply there sharp or dull, shooting or stabbing, bearable or excruciating, local or general, it is unexplained, uninvited, unavoidable. It takes command. It is all-encompassing, implacable, exigent. But of course I am speaking only of what I know of pain. How was it for MacDuff?

He expected no special treatment. He did not pity himself. He took for granted that he would be able to go on about his accustomed terrier business and when he found that it was somehow not working well, he made his own adjustments as unobtrusively as he could. It was still the supreme object of his life to see that I was happy. I think he lay under the bush in the rain not in order to wallow in solitary self-pity, but in order that I might not see him in trouble. He liked to please me. He delighted to do my will.

Is animal suffering different from human suffering? I hope so. Animals surely must not suffer the agonies of anxiety which accompany much human pain. "How shall I carry out my duties? What am I to do if this doesn't clear up quickly? Can I bear it if it gets worse?" The element of time is not a philosophical torment to them. They live as we have to be told to live--one day at a time, trustfully. I don't know whether it is accurate to say that "faith" is required of them, but if it is, they fulfill the requirement perfectly. They look to God, the Psalmist tells us, for provision for their needs. They are watched over and cared for by a kind Father. Not the least sparrow falls without his notice. Surely MacDuff was of more value than many sparrows!

I watched him try to lie down on his side, but something obstructed his breathing. When he was asleep he would begin to pant and would waken to change his position, sometimes with little muffled groans. This fellow-creature, I thought, formed by the Hand that formed me, suffers for my sin--for I am of the race of men who brought evil into the world, and without evil there could be no pain, no death. A Scotty would not have had cancer.

His wonderful face bearded, with tufts of eyebrows springing and black eyes shining--had reminded me of George MacDonald's belief that dogs always behold the face of the Father. MacDuff knew things--what did he know? What were the mysteries he saw--too deep or too high or too pure for me to be entrusted with yet? I think they helped him endure the pain. He was not bewildered, of course, by the questions that needle my mind--the origin of evil, God's permission of an animal's or a child's suffering. He was a dog, and to ponder such questions was not required of him. What was required of him he did, in an authentically, thoroughly dog-like style.

I will not weep more for him. I will be thankful for such a gift of grace. He was, I am sure, "assigned" to me. In the sorrow of my late husband's illness, when life seemed a desolate wasteland, MacDuff was there. Jesus, the Bible tells us, during his temptation in the wilderness, was "with the wild beasts." I used to think of that phrase as descriptive of one of the elements of his dereliction, but it may be that the wild beasts, like the angels, ministered to him. Is it mere sentimentality to believe that? Is it too much to say that Duffer "ministered" to me? He did. He was my little wild beast in that wilderness.

The Bible does not speak specifically of the destiny of animals but there is a promise in the Letter to the Ephesians which surely must include them, "Everything that exists in heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in Christ" (Eph. 1:10 Phillips).

Paul expresses his hope in the eighth chapter of Romans (verse 21 Phillips) "that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God!"

Copyright 1979, by Elisabeth Elliot
all rights reserved.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happily Ever Afters After All

You guys do remember how Kudzu came to be with us, huh?  Mom received an email from her buddy at the shelter telling his tale.  Mom melted.  Now there are seven of us doggies here at The Love Shack.

People remember that Mom's a softy - especially when it comes to us retrievers - so it is no surprise that we have received a couple of phone calls in the past few weeks about other dogs like Kudzu who are looking for a good home.

The first call came from a dear friend at Brookhaven Animal Rescue League.  "Samantha, we've had a gentleman drop off a mother and daughter Golden Retriever.  He'd lost his job and house.  They are in great condition, but need a home.  You know anyone?" 

Hot dog!  Did Mom know someone?  This was just the kind of call she'd been waiting for!  When we had the dog camp at the end of summer, Mom had formed a special bond with one of her young campers.  "Moon" was drawn to our Goldens and had helped Mom with Kudzu and Scarlet some during the week.  Mom knew that Moon's family would be the perfect home for these two dears.  She called Moon's mom right away and sure enough, they wanted them both! 

Moon with Scarlet during camp.

Moon with her very own Golden girl, Liette.

Another few weeks passed before Mom received the call about our foster pup Melody.  You remember?  She'd been thrown out at a vet clinic and had a broken front leg, torn tendon in her rear leg, and a bruised eye.  She couldn't walk when we got her but made a miraclous recovery soon after.

Well, it looks like she has found her fairy tale ending too.  She has gone to live in a home similar to ours - a bunch of kids and a bunch of dogs.  It does our hearts good to know we were the difference in life and death for this precious pup who is now enjoying the good life.

Melody stealing Mom's camera bag a couple of weeks ago.

Melody now in her new home giving her big sis the 'how-to'.
We've really missed Melody but knew from the get-go that we wouldn't be able to be her furr-ever home. 

We're looking forward to planning some retriever play days with all our new buddies soon.  It'll be a dog gone good time for sure don't ya know!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Birthday Girls

Last week marked the birfday of two of our family's girls:  Dacey (a human) turned 13 on 9/15 and Rose Bud (a dog) turned two on 9/10.  Since RB is Dacey's dog, they had no problem sharing the celebration.

Dacey became a teenager.  I'm not sure why, but mom has shed lots of tears and asked most well wishers to pray for her as she enters the next few years.  Oh well...  those humans sure can be silly sometimes.

In dog years, RoseBud also became a teenager - a full year older than her human. 

Tonight we had a party to celebrate the birfday ladies.

From left to right: Cosmo & Isaac, Rose Bud & Dacey, Connor with Scarlet & Kudzu, Boondocks, Jaden with Ohno & Joy.

Dacey couldn't wait until tonight to celebrate.  (She isn't as patient as Rose Bud.)  So Mom and Nana took her out on her actual big day last week.  When they came home, it looked like they'd brought the mall back with 'em.  (Mom says Dacey already has the 'shopping like a teenager down good!)

Tonight Rose Bud finally got to open her presents.  Dacey asked her which she wanted to open first.  She chose the one on the right and wasted  no time tearing into the gift.  (She got a new collar to match Dacey's new bike and a pack of Cesar dog treats.)

There was also cake that Mom and Dacey made special just for us doggies:

As you can see, we all dressed our best for the pawty.  Of course, Dacey and RoseBud dressed to match.  Even the Morkies got all gussied up for the occassion.

Happy Birfday, Dacey and Rose Bud.  We wuf vu two so vewy much!!!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Boon's Sunday Sermon #5 - God's Love

"The truth of God's love is not that he allows bad things to happen. It's His promise that He'll be here with us when they do." - Love Comes Softly

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:5-7

Have a blessed week, y'all!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ball Obsessed

I know that being a Golden Retriever I am suppose to enjoy 'retrieving'.  A yellow ball is suppose to be a source of great joy for me.  Yet I do not get the whole 'fetch' thing.  I prefer to stand near mom and beg for treats rather than to work for them doing a job that serves no real purpose.  Scarlet on the other hand lives to run after tennis balls.  She can go for as long as the human's arms hold out - probably much longer, but you know how easy those humans wear down.  Don't get me wrong.  There are times that I'll give the ball a chase to provide the two-leggers with a bit of excitement.  I'm nothing like Scarlet though.
That dog is obsessed!


"Gotta get the ball!"



"I believe I can fly..."

"There you are.  You can't hide from me!"
"Ok, I picked it up.  Now what?"
"Here I come."


Come back by tomorrow for my Sunday Sermon, y'all!!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Boon's Sunday Sermon #4 - Remembering 911

Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 
John 15:13

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 
2nd Chronicles 7:14


Friday, September 9, 2011

Life at The Love Shack

Well, peeps, it has fur sure been a busy week here at The Love Shack. 

Before I get into all that though...

Mom says I've grown.  According to her I've gotten HUGE. 

I'm not so sure.

What do you think? 

Yesterday was the youngest two legger's birfday.  They don't have barkdays like us pooches - although after hearing mom, dad, and the big kids sing to the birfday boy I'm not sure why.

Anyways, Connor turned FIVE.  Wowsers - he's as old as mommy in dog years!  He had a great party but wouldn't share any of his cake with us.  HUMPH!  See if he gets a milk bone from me on my barkday!

Before Connor's big celebration, Mom and Dacey took Scarlet and Kudzu to the elementary school.  I was really jealous cause I didn't get to go.  Apparently, mom doesn't think I can behave myself for more than two minutes at a time.  Mom, Dacey, and canines went into six classrooms and spoke to over a hundred students on the importance of being a responsible dog owner and about how to be safe around strange dogs.  They had a lot of fun and can't wait to go back and do it again.  Maybe next time I can go too!

Our lil foster pup, Melody is doing really great.  I think mom wishes we could keep her, but I'm glad she knows that her attention is already stretched thin between dad, the four human kids, us seven dogs, and the three cats.  It has given us all a boost of encouragement to see what a miraculous recovery the yellow dog has made. - When she came to us nine days ago, she could hardly walk.  Look at her now:

Trying to take the camera case away from Mom.  HA!

Chewing on Jaden

Happy go lucky, spunky, full of life puppy!

Ooops, she does chew!!  Socks are a favorite.  (Second only to human flesh!)

Just a regular little party animal!

Showing off her new running abilities.

She's fussing at me here.  I couldn't help but think it was cute!

Well, y'all come back tomorrow for my Sunday sermon!  See you then!