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I stood by your bed last night…

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.

I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
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Posted by on June 4, 2011 in Dog Blog, Stories

 

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Cheyenne: A short story of a devoted dog and his elderly master

‘Watch out! You nearly broadsided that car!‘ My father yelled at me. ‘Can’t you do anything right?‘ Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle.

‘I saw the car, Dad.. Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving.’ My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then, turned away and settled back. At home, I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.

What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day, I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned and then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm.  We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory.  He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon, I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue.   Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day, I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, ‘I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.’ I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one, but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen, a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

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Posted by on June 4, 2011 in Dog Blog, Stories

 

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Heeling Hearts of NM – a dog rescue program combined with the Women’s Prison of NM

PB & J Family Services, a 501c3 non-profit entity, has also provided a program, Heeling Hearts, at the New Mexico women’s prison in Grants NM where dogs are rescued from the Cibola County shelter and placed into the loving care of participating women in the prison. Here the dogs receive the love and attention they have lacked, as well as helping the women, many of which have lived a life of abuse and addiction, how to love once again – and sometimes for the first time in their life.

Heeling Hearts participated in the annual NM Humane Society’s Doggie Dash & Dawdle 2010 whose goal is to gain support for the dogs at the shelters within the state.

I volunteer with this program. If you would like more information or are interested in adopting a dog, please contact Heeling Hearts directly.  Here is their website:  Heeling Hearts of New Mexico

Here is a slideshow showing the booth provided by Heeling Hearts.  Below the video are some pictures of the program at the prison.  Pictures are from the Heeling Hearts website.



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Cheri is the Animal Control for Grants County in New Mexico, and runs the local shelter – which is a “no kill” shelter.  Oftentimes, she is the first kind, loving soul that these abandoned dogs have met.  They all adore her.  I have not met a person more devoted to rescuing of dogs, and other pets, than Cheri.  It is truly amazing to watch the dogs at the shelter when she enters… their eyes light up, and you can see in their body language how much they love her.

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Gathering up the next group of dogs to take to the prison.

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This is the first group of dogs which entered into the prison program back in 2007.

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It is not uncommon for a pregnant female to arrive at the shelter close to whelping.  Due to the small amount of staff at the shelter, and overabundance of dogs, the decision was made to take the pregnant females into the prison to whelp.  This would ensure they received 24/7 care, and an incredible amount of love.  The women were nervous the first time they assisted, but very quickly became old pro’s at whelping.  The women then care for the new litter until they are old enough to adopt out.


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The mother of these puppies died only days after they were born. The litter was brought into the prison where the women could feed and care for them around the clock – just as though their birth mother would have done.

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Here is a small sample of the dogs which have graduated the prison training program, and have since been adopted out.  Each dog, prior to leaving, passes their AKC CGC test.





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Please go to the Heeling Hearts website to view the dogs currently up for adoption – or just to see the beautiful dogs that were rescued, graduated, and adopted out. Heeling Hearts of New Mexico

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2011 in Dog Blog, My dogs, My videos, Rescues, Videos

 

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Portuguese Water Dog puppies at play

Video I created of my dear friends litter of Porty pups about 8 weeks old.  They think to themselves, “what a wonderful world….”

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2011 in Dog Blog, My videos, Videos

 

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