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Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

My beautiful wife is the Pennsylvania State Foster Co-ordination for the National Great Pyrenees Rescue. For the lay people, Great Pyr’s are very large dogs who were bred to guard livestock. They are also known in the dog world as ‘Gentle Giants’. How did my wife end up with such an illustrious title? After we adopted Clary we were so impressed with the organization my wife decided to give back and asked if they could use some help, perhaps she could field applications and such. And they said, “sure, You are now the Pennsylvania State Foster Coordinator” After reading this and commenting in the comment section below, and of course hit the follow button if you are not already a loyal follower to this blog, you should go visit the National Great Pyranees website http://www.nationalpyr.org and see about adopting, volunteering or make a donation.

Usually when my wife is conducting a phone interview with a potential Foster/Adopter I can be found immersed in the world of the video game Assassins Creed. My ears perk up when my wife gets to what NGPR (National Great Pyranees Rescue) calls the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is when my wife tells the potential Adopter about the traits of a Pyr in order to make sure the victim knows just what they are getting involved with in order to secure a good fit between man and beast.
I can’t help but grin as I listen to my wife go through the litany: the over abundance of the hair, (y’all only think you know about shedding) their need to bark, they are nocturnal, stubborn, expensive, they drool oh yeah baby we got drool! Did I mention the shedding? If you walk them off leash they become a ‘disapyr’! Oh they…dig, jump and climb oh my. Did I mention the hair? Better be ready it’s everywhere.

I find myself wondering who would want such a dog? But then I look at my two beasts and I know, you know, we all know. This my friends brings me to the whole point of this post. ‘What Have I learned From My Dog?’ The following 10 lessons I either learned or already learned but re-enforced by our dogs.
1. There is a lot of shit in life, it works out better for all if we clean up after ourselves.

2. At least once a day find something to bark at, and do so without regret or remorse.

3. I am the Master of my domain.

4. I can yell all I want and it won’t change much. Keep calm, stay strong, take a breath and square up your shoulders. Everything will be just fine

5. Don’t surround yourself with clutter, have a space for everything and keep everything in its place.

6. Don’t go cheap on a vacuum cleaner. Learn to enjoy vacuuming and do it often.

7. Always have something handy to wipe stuff up with.

8. Get up and go out every single day. It doesn’t matter if you are sick, drunk or tired. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing or blistering hot, go outside every single day

9. Just because you don’t hear it, doesn’t mean it is not there.

10. A little mud never hurt anything.
The following were some of the responses I got from asking the question on Facebook. Both to my friends and the good people at NGPR.
-You have to have patience Dig deep to understand others.

-When you finally figure out what’s going on, it’s not the real story anyway.

-Unconditional love

-Why sweat when you find your stuff in pieces – it’s just… stuff… right?

-Never buy expensive shoes, only cheap ones.

-dog hair is edible

-You can be young all the way up to Your last days.

-Forgiveness, no matter how badly they were treated before they meet you they give you the benefit of being a good person.

-Love is free, give it away often

-How to “rule” non-violently. My Stinson could control an entire pack with a look and a woof.

-Be happy to see everybody.
If you are considering introducing a pet into your family please find a rescue and adopt.

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Pets don’t have many choices, they are completely at our mercy, I know it doesn’t always feel that way but they are, and we are responsible for them, every last one.  They are bred, for the most part, with little or no thought for the thousands of other dogs and cats who don’t have homes, don’t have anyone to look after them.  Most people don’t understand that when a dog is purchased from anywhere but a reputable breeder or some sort of humane society we are supporting puppy mills, supporting back yard breeders who out of ignorance are producing dogs that are probably going to end up with temperament or medical problems if not both, breeding dogs that are statistically going to end up on the loose living a miserable existence, or living in a shelter.  Either way it’s no way to live but at least at the shelter they have just that, shelter, food, people who care about them and with any luck, eventually a good home. 

Animals in our society don’t rate for much in any legal sense, they are simply property and not just property but the lowest sort of property.   In an emergency (such as a fire) the rule of thumb according to Emergency services is you save people, property and then animals (the last is usually optional).

Our pets give us so much otherwise why would there be so many of them?  No matter what we do to them they love us unconditionally, they help us in so many ways. How many times on the news do we hear about the pets that alert their owners to a fire and end up saving the family?  They are our constant companions, they are our eyes, there are alert dogs, rescue dogs, dogs that help us find criminals, find mines for soldiers and the list goes on.  

clicking on this link will enable you to donate to the Clearfield County SPCA where every bit helps.  Plus if Sequoia is one of the top donation earners she will be featured on their 2011 calendar.  Raising money is not really what my blog is about and I promise this won’t be a regular theme, but every once in a while you have to give back.  So thanks in advance, thanks to those that have already given. 

As always thanks for reading, and next post we will be back to our regularly scheduled programing.

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French class in high school lasted an hour a day for our entire youth, we were forced to do two things,  conjugate every verb on the planet and read the book,  “La Dynamite”.   ‘La Dynamite’ was about these guys who had to transport TNT over an old logging road to get to the job site.  The previous drivers died on the way because the truck hit a pothole and the TNT exploded.   

One fall day my wife and I found ourselves driving home with two pet carriers full of  skunks in our back seat.   Yes we were holding our breath for fear of setting one or all of them off.    Sparrow the wild life rehabilitator promised they would not spray.  I wasn’t sure how she could make such a promise, after all they are wild skunks, but she promised and we trusted.  Sparrow failed to mention, (and we didn’t know enough to ask) that skunks stink even when they don’t spray.  

With the windows open and the air cranked, we cringed at every stop light, turn and bump on the road.  As the skunks chattered away in the back seat I thought about those two guys in ‘La Dynamite’ and really, they were idiots! Why the heck didn’t they just keep the blasting caps separated from the TNT?  

 

  

 

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In the early 2000’s I was standing at my teller window when one of our regulars came in to make a deposit. She showed me a picture of the cutest little Siberian Husky puppies one could ever imagine.  Except for the fact that they were adorable and that for once somebody wasn’t showing me baby pictures,  I didn’t think too much about it.  Time passed, another litter of puppies came and went and life continued on its merry way as it tends to do.

Two years later my wife and I are standing in the parking lot of a grocery store in the tiny town of Phillipsburg when my wife tells me she is ready for a kitten, we already had four cats.  “I’m ready for a dog” came my reply.  She told me to start building a dog house.  Building a dog house sounded like fun so why not?  We thought about what kind of dog we would like, we both agreed it had to be big, no drooling, no barking, good both indoors and out, had to like cats and have some guarding instincts.   The doghouse had just gotten underway so we were not quite ready for a dog but we decided to check out the SPCA,  upon entering the dog room the first thing that struck me was the unimaginable amount of noise, it was truly an assault on my ears.  I made my announcement in the middle of the chaos.  “The first one of you who is not barking has a shot at coming home with me.” In a corner kennel was a massive black dog.  It wasn’t barking, it wasn’t paying the least bit of attention to me, the dogs or anything really just lost in his own world.   My wife and I looked at his information.  Shadow was the dog’s name, he was surrendered by the owner with no explanation and it came from our little town.  We asked if Shadow had any issues with cats.  Shadow was then taken to the cat room where a staff member shoved a cat right up into Shadows face.  Shadow could have swallowed the cat whole but he didn’t so much as bat an eyelash, the cat was too stunned to do anything, so far so good.  We put Shadow on a leash and took him outside. The minute he hit the fresh air he came alive and took me for a drag.  He probably knew his name but certainly didn’t care.  He didn’t stop, he didn’t sit, he didn’t even acknowledge our existence and he was amazingly strong, stopping him was quite the issue. My wife would not have been able to walk this dog. There was a mountain of issues involved with adopting Shadow, he had no manners making him difficult to control, he had some health issues as he was loosing hair, but there was something about him that touched both my wife and I so he became a possibility but we were not about to rush into anything, the responsible thing to do was wait, we were not at the point of dog ownership and Shadow was a large handful.

At the end of our road across the highway there is a travel trailer and a dog house which was home to a large black dog.  (At this point we have to travel back about a year from the above story) while driving to work one day we noticed that the travel trailer had disappeared but the dog  was still there, worried that somebody had abandoned the dog we knocked on the closest door we could find.  Turns out the people who owned the house also owned the dog.  That dog was Shadow. (Another jump in time, to our current story) Earlier in the week my wife had commented that we don’t see the dog anymore and we figured the owners schedule had changed (he was a security officer for Penn State) and we didn’t give it another thought until driving home from the SPCA when my wife put it all together.  Once again life in a small town rears its head.

We never saw Shadow again but I think about Shadow often, I feel I let him down. I know Shadow was never meant to be ours, life has a way of telling us what is and what isn’t, all you have to do is listen and in this case there were just too many obstacles being thrown between us and Shadow.  In the end we wound up with the right dog.  Still when I think of Shadow I can’t help but feel a little heaviness in my heart.  I can only hope he found a good home.

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This is not a work related post. The story however begins at work.  I called a local golf center to narrow down an issue they were having and schedule a time for a technician to go and resolve the problem, we made all the necessary arrangements and I went on with my day.

That evening my wife and I were meeting Sparrow, the director of the wild life rehab center and some of her volunteers for dinner.   There was one couple we had never met but we seemed to have a lot in common.  Imagine our surprise when we realized that he was the person I had spoken to earlier that day to arrange for a technician to come out and fix the problem he was having at work.  Such a small world and it was getting smaller.  Later my wife was talking about her work in the agricultural dept.  It turns out the very same day he had spoken to my wife about some soil samples he wanted analyzed!  What are the odds that we were eating dinner with somebody we had never met before yet we had both spoken to during the day on totally unrelated issues?    It is a small world, and it is about to get smaller.  It turns out that they were interested in purchasing a house just two doors away from ours, unfortunately somebody else beat them to it and the house sold before they even put in a bid.  But we had fun imagining how we could have set up a release site for the animals between the two properties.  But wait, the world was yet to get smaller.  Two years later the house came up for sale again.  We contacted our friends and they were still interested in the propery and are now our new neighbors.  Yes the same one featured in hospital and yes the very same who became attached to the raccoons in Magical moments.  Guess what? the world continues to get even smaller.  At the neighbours house-warming party we met the realtor, the realtor’s husband is an aerospace engineer who teaches at the university, (we didn’t know such a program even existed at the university).  He was from Spain so we got to exchange war stories about immigration and had a lot of fun.  Months later my wife and I went through a lot of time and effort trying to purchase two laptop computers from a company who’s online department  messed up the order in more ways than I thought was possible.  Our saviour was a sales rep at the local branch of the store who along with his manager managed to fix everything.  The day we were able to pick up the computers we were chatting with the sales rep and found out he was studying aerospace at the university and surprise, surprise one of his professors was our next door neighbours real estate agents husband.  Yes, the wold keeps getting smaller.  This week I found out that the new hire at my work previously worked with my neighbor. Why am I not surprised?

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My wife and I volunteer with a local wildlife rehaber to release small wild animals on our land.

Four squirrels brought to the shelter when they were just wee ones were now ready to be released. When we got to the shelter Sparrow, (yes it’s a fake name to protect the innocent and for those that know her it is kind of funny) the director of the facility handed us  two pillowcases, two squirrels in each, both sacks are knotted at the top, the contents of both were hissing, snarling and squirming.   As I held a squirming hissing sack as far from my body as possible, Sparrow  gave us our instructions,  ” just untie the knot but leave the top of the sack twisted,  gently place the whole thing into the squirrel box close the lid and let the squirrels be, they will slowly work themselves out of the pillowcases”.

Off we drove with two sacks of hissing, snarling squirrels in our back seat.  Not much was said on the way home, each lost in thought pretending we were not at all nervous about what may happen if whatever evil in those sacks managed to escape.

I was not feeling overly confident.  Raccoons and possums are much easier, open the cage let ’em out bring them some food and you are done.   Squirrels would seem easy enough to release, but frankly climbing up a ladder with a hissing, growling sack of squirrels in my hand was not overly comforting.

I’m in position for operation squirrel dump.  The plan: 1) Place the sack into the box.  2) Untie the knot.  3) Close the top of the box. 4) latch the top of the box closed. 5) scoot down the ladder for the safety of the ground, while my wife takes pictures.  In goes the hissing sack, top of box is closed and latched.  I’m halfway down the ladder but I’m not happy.  I can never seem to leave well enough alone.  The hissing has stopped there are now sounds at all.  I reach up and give a little knock on the box, nothing.   I climb back up the ladder and unlatch the lid.  All I remember is a grey blob heading towards me, soft fuzz against my check, a growl in my ear and weight on my shoulder and then nothing.  My heart pounding, I’m holding  the ladder in a white knuckle death grip, my wife is hunched over visibly shaking, tears of laughter streaming down her cheeks.  I get myself under control as I know there is another one in the box.  I make it to the ground we are both standing back from the tree watching the box.   “You know,” I said to my wife, my eyes never leaving the small hole in the box. “I never actually saw a squirrel.  How do we know what is really in there?” Her response?  gails of laughter.  My heart finally settling down,  slowly making my way to the tree to retrieve my ladder, that’s when I see it,  just a few feet away lying in the grass is the other hissing and snarling pillowcase…

It seems that if you click on the pictures it makes them better, I recommend clicking on the picture to the right.

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