Meet Our Dogs

Dogs don't ask for much but they provide us with something that cannot be measured, unconditional love

I didn't have a dog growing up but I remember my sister's boyfriend getting 
her a dog. Well, we all went to the rescue to pick him out and we ended up with
a pure bred black lab. The next day he became my dog (my sister was NOT a dog person). His name was Butch (bf's nickname) and he was amazing. Slept with me, protected me from monsters (I loved SiFi) and actually saved me from being hit by a car. Great dog but unfortunately we had to find him a new home when a neighbors child tormented him with a stick until Butch snapped. He never touched the kid but we were forced to find a home for my poor dog. I was devastated and started rescuing strays and finding them good homes. My mother put up with it but they never stayed long. When I grew up and lived on
my own I got my first friend. Not knowing much about dogs back then I got her at a pet shop and unfortunately at the tender age of 4 she had to be put to sleep due to non treatable medical problems. I learned a very hard lesson about puppy mills and from that moment on I swore never to support puppy mills.

These are some of the dogs that have passed through our lives. Some were rescues that came and never left, some were show rejects that breeders needed to re-home but each one gave us something very special. 

The photo above pictured the 3 Goldens. Jada a rescue, Max, a show reject we got from his breeder and Rufus, also a rescue. The 2nd photo is Max (on the right) and his half sister Amber. They were both from the same breeder. The breeder asked me to take Amber who she thought had an eating behavior problem and she was unable to deal with it. She had kept Amber (6 months at the time) to show and was heartsick over not being able to keep her. I took Amber and eventually discovered that Amber's problem was not behavioral (notice the tongue). The problem was that Amber was unable to swallow because she could not control the muscles in her throat to contract the tongue and was unable to swallow. I hand made her food and spoon fed her standing up so gravity would help the food go down. Occasionally she still chocked but I helped her through it. The vet wanted to send her to Texas A&M for experimental (it had never been done) surgery. I refused and spent the next 1-1/2 years spoon feeding her by hand. She crossed the rainbow bridge just before her 2nd birthday. Although eating was a constant struggle for her, Amber's time between meals was heaven. She had a huge (1/2 acre fenced backyard) to run and chase Max and boy did they play. She had a very wonderful life right up until the day she died.

Al is not a "dog person" & over the last 19 years together he has put up with LOTS of dogs coming & going in our lives. I've been rescuing dogs since I was a kid & didn't even know the meaning of the word rescue. My mother said it was the Social Worker in me.

Some of the dogs who have entered our lives came to us as fosters (rescues). We helped rehabilitate & heal them & then find forever homes. Some rescues came & never left. Some we got from breeders who needed to find homes for their dogs such as my first golden, Max, Allie & Myah. 

I have taken a couple of video's of our kids & as I get them edited I will post them here or on my You Tube account. I'm still learning how to use the camera so please bear with me.


Allie came to live with us as a result of people who no longer could take care of her...or to more accurately say, couldn't handle the monster they created due to neglect. After searching through rescue groups & breeders for dogs that were not suitable for show I was not having much luck....until I received an email from a wonderful breeder, Michelle Orvis, in CO who had heard I was looking for a young Golden. She had a dog that was bought from her by a couple who could no longer keep her because Molly (now known as Allie) had eaten their hot tub cover. Michelle helped put me & the owners together & helped coordinate everything. I was thrilled that Allie's owners, probably out of frustration, agreed to give Allie to us FREE. I think eating their hot tub cover was the last straw. They had created a monster & then blamed her for misbehaving. Go figure!
After spending the morning emailing back & forth Michelle had agreed that I was the perfect  person to take Allie. All she had to do was to coordinate it with the owners. To make a long story short the people gave her to us. All we had to do is drive to Colorado to pick her up. Two days later we were in a motel room in Colorado Springs with our new wild child & Myah.
Allie at 2 weeks with mom

It didn't take me long to discover that she was a hand full but mostly because she had been left outside by herself, crated all day & ignored or placed in a boarding kennel. She was bored, craving attention & just didn't know what to do with herself so when she finally was allowed out on her own she got creative which meant destroying things. With nobody there to teach her what was acceptable, what was not & to give her attention Allie resorted to drastic measures to get that attention.
Allie at 8 weeks

I quickly discovered that she was very anxious & had developed the bad habit of self-mutilating & pacing. At first I thought she had a bad groomer but what I discovered was that she was chewing on her feet & pulling fur out in chunks from her legs, tail & chest. This was her way of coping with boredom & stress. She just didn't know any better so she developed obsessive compulsive behavior (OCD). And yes they get it too but I'm convinced they get it from us. To say we had our hands full was an understatement & our neighbors soon started calling her "Marley"....I wonder why!

This was a very sad story about a little girl who came from wonderful beginnings
Allie at 6 months
(Allie comes from over 5 generations of champions) & ended up getting ruined by neglectful owners. Not sorry for saying that because it was true. Her bad behavior was a result of bad, neglectful owners.

Michelle, Allie's breeder was wonderful. She sent me Allie's baby photos so we could see how she grew up before being sold to the people we got her from. Michelle sent the first two photos to me of Allie at 2 weeks old with mom. The owners only had one photo of her at 6 months of age & nothing else. Pretty sad when you only have 1 photo of a dog you have owned for almost a year & paid $1200 for.

The first photo is at Allie at 2 weeks with her mom, Maggie. The second photo is Allie at 8 weeks. The third photo is Allie at 6 months that her owner had taken of her & was kind enough to email to me. At 6 months old Allie still had her puppy coat so she looked kind of scrawny but still a beautiful girl.

She was an adorable puppy but then I have yet to see a Golden pup that wasn't. She is an equally beautiful adult.

10/31/08 - We drove to Colorado Springs to pick up our new baby. I called & gave them an ETA but I said I'd call when we hit Pueblo so they had plenty of time to get there. I called but told them we would be delayed due to construction & I'd call when we arrived at the motel in Colorado Springs. They didn't wait for my call, they were waiting in the parking lot when we drove in. Hmm, guess they were a bit anxious to get rid of her. They were so anxious to get out of their before we could discover what Allie was like. As soon as we got into the motel room they immediately signed over the paperwork, gave me the breeders book & beat it out the door as fast as they could.

Trying to make it through the night with this "wild animal" was a challenge. We survived but poor Myah was in shock & I can't say that I blamed her, so was I.
We made it home the next day & within minutes of arriving home she had a new name & quickly worked her way through all her new toys & 3 dog beds. Her new name....Allie "ooooops!"

I did call Michelle & talked to her at great length about Allie & to say she was upset was putting it mildly but she was so glad we had her & she said she was praying we could help her. We kept in touch & I sent her photos & updates on how she was progressing. I do believe she was very relieved that Allie had found a home that would give her the love & attention she needed.

Allie's New Home

11/1/08 - Day 1: These were all taken when she got home. Allie home & had a
Allie smiling
bath (gosh she reeked...turned out to be impacted anal glands & stress). She still seems to have her puppy coat but it also looks as though it was trimmed by a lawn mower but turns out that Allie self-mutilates by pulling out her fur & chewing on her paws. A result of boredom & stress. Both of which should no longer be an issue. She's a gorgeous girl & obviously very happy now. Just look at that smile! 
Myah's not too thrilled with her right now but hopefully she'll get used to the giant bull & they'll start to play. Allie keeps trying to get Myah to play but right now she's like a bull in a china shop & poor Myah doesn't know what to make of her. She's been around all kinds of dogs but none quite as exuberant as Allie.

11/2/08 - Day 2: She's a handful but oh so sweet. She's emptied her toy box
Allie's new bed!
several times but hasn't  learned to put things back yet. We'll work on that. She got a new toy today (cute hippo above on the left) & immediately destroyed it. Guess we find some indestructible toys! She also decided she likes eating rocks so we gotta try to nip that in the bud ASAP. I guess a lot of this is due to lack of supervision & boredom with her previous owners.

It is obvious that Allie is settling in quite fast & is enjoying her new home & her new bed. As you can see Allie really knows how to relax where ever she can find a spot, even if it's on top of Al! Of course I'm not too sure how her new bed feels about her lying on him! I am sure they will work it out....

11/3/08 - Last night was a disaster trying to trim the fur on her paws & trim her nails. She acted as though we were trying to kill her so we stopped & since we're heading to the vet in the morning we'll let them deal with it.

Off to the vet this morning to get micro chipped & see what's going on with her feet & thank god I did. Poor thing had goad heads embedded in between her toes. They were in her skin & all caught in her fur so they had to shave all four paws & then clean out the skin. She also had a bad ear infection but otherwise she was in good health. When we got home she was sooooo happy & as you can see she was just beside herself (& a bit upside down)!  Now that her feet are feeling better she went for a 2 mile walk with Al when she got home & got lots more hugs from the even stopped his car to get out & pet her.

12/18/08 - It's been a while since I posted any photos or updates. She's still
Allie & Turkey Neck
a wild child but I've been doing clicker training & she's doing remarkably well. She's learned hand signals for sit, down & come. We're working on walking on a loose leash & then stay. She's doing great & really responds well to the clicker. Actually even Myah has done great. She's actually learning to be quiet which is a remarkable trick for a sheltie. Myah is also learning to tolerate her BIG sister a bit too. Mostly I try to keep them apart!

January, 2009 - Yuma, AZ: This was Allie's first trip in the motorhome & it was like she was a born RVer. She loved it! So much so that now we can't get her
Allie & Harley
out. As soon as she sees the keys to the RV she is chomping at the bit to go on a trip. Allie's all grown up now (relatively speaking for her) so no more crate & no more chewing (well, that depends on if she's not bored or stressed)! 

Allie has a new BFF named Harley that she met at the RV park in Yuma. They act like they were like kids in love. the minute they see each other they start getting all excited & once they get in the dog run it's a game of slap & tickle until their tongues are hanging out about 2 inches. They met daily while we were in Yuma for play dates in the small fenced dog run at the RV Resort we stayed at. They had so much fun that Allie was crusty when she got home & had to get a bath. It's hard work being beautiful! 

Feb, 2009 - Mesa, AZ area: We spent 10 days in Mesa before the woodcarving
Allie 1st day at the park
show. While there we took Allie & Myah to one of the local dog parks that I had read about. It was rated as the best dog park in America & by gosh Allie agreed. The funny part is that she had never seen water so it was just a hoot watching her. Allie did not swim but she still had a lot of fun. Perhaps next year she will learn that goldens can swim. No rush, it's best to let her discover it on her own terms.

Myah at the park
Even Myah enjoyed a dip in the water but Allie had a blast. She came home so exhausted every day but one day she crashed & burned on her toy that's tired! 

Allie had such a good time there we decided to come back next year for 2 months. It takes a lot to tire her out but going to the dog park certainly takes the starch right out of her.

We even found a new place to stay that has nice big sites & close to everything.

Allie's Family Reunion

Well, it's been about 8 months since we got Allie & we all decided it was time for
Michelle & John to meet "the new Allie".  She's watched her evolve from the website but it was time to get them all together. 

We drove up to Colorado (outside of Denver) & stopped at their house for the afternoon. It was a wonderful day for everyone. We drove up in the motorhome & just parked in front of their house for the day & then headed down to Littleton for the weekend.

The first photo is Maggie (mom) & Allie. I think Maggie was checking her youngest daughter out to be sure it was her child.

The second photo is Michelle with Elliot & Allie. Michelle was amazed at how much alike they were...both looked alike & both were very active & mouthy. Michelle did tell me that they were together in the womb & they were the last to come out...out one right after the other. It was obvious from watching them together that there was a definite connection between the two of them. 

None of us really knew if they actually recognized each other but you really gotta think that mom knew Allie was her baby. 

After an afternoon of frolicking outside, they were all ready to come in & rest. It was apparent that Maggie was really in need of getting away from those crazy
kids of hers. We weren't quite sure who was who until they came in. The two kids had been roughhousing outside for some time & they were finally getting tired. Unless you got close enough to look at the collars you couldn't tell these goldens apart. But that is Elliott on the left, Maggie in the middle & Allie on the right. Maggie definitely wanted to get her away from those two lunatics ;)

Now tell me the photo on the bottom left isn't two siblings who miss & love each
other...besides being exhausted!

What a family reunion we had. Nobody's sure if Maggie & Elliott remembered that Allie is family but in true golden way they all had a blast. It was definitely obvious that Elliott & Allie were siblings. Their every movement was identical. I guess being #9 & #10 in the litter gave them a lot of time to get to know what moves to make & they sure mastered being wild children. Watching Allie & Elliott walk back & forth synchronized was like watching Esther Williams swimming with a group in a synchronized swim. We were all amazed at how they were behaving together like they were still in the womb together.

Shadow (aka Rye), Our Colorado Prison Dog

The Colorado State prisons have a dog program. They train service dogs, working dogs & companion dogs for adoption. We are exploring adopting a
companion for Allie & it didn't take long for me to find just the right guy. He actually adopted me, but I won't get into that. Let's just say he wasn't letting me leave without him...he insisted & he wasn't too subtle about it either.
Shadow came into our lives on April, 17, 2010 not too long after Myah crossed the Rainbow Bridge due to advanced Alzheimer's (yes, dogs get this horrible disease & it's just as bad for them). 

Rye was approximately 1 1/2 - 2 years old. He had been a stray brought in to the Pueblo Humane Society after an attack by another animal. He had no chip & nobody claimed him. They operated on his face, leg & pad in December & because of his wonderful temperament he was donated to the Colorado Prison Dog Program. He arrived there on January 19, 2010 & started his training two days later.

I found the first photo on their website & made an appointment to meet him & another dog (just in case). When he first came into the room & sat down next to me he through his head back, looked at me & his eyes told me we were meant to be together & he was coming home with me...he was right! The other dog didn't stand a chance. I decided to name him Shadow (named after the very wise Golden Retriever in the movie Homeward Bound) & he is living up to the name...he is my shadow.

Our trip to CO was amazing. We stayed with our friends in Pueblo West & on Saturday morning Bob went with us to the old Women's Prison in Canyon City. This is one of the facilities where they do the training & where people come to meet their potential dogs & then go through the "Go Home Class" with their new friend.  It is also where people pick up their dogs after their month long training.
On April 17, 2010, we met 2 dogs but Rye won my heart the moment I looked into his eyes. He is sweet, affectionate, smart & definitely a charmer, even though he needs some cleaning up. From the moment he sat next to me, threw his head back & looked me in the eye I knew this boy was coming home with me & so did he.

He came home with us & it didn't take long for him to settle in. His first night was at Bob & Virginia's home & he slept in his crate next to the bed on my side. In the morning he walked to the door to go out but when I turned my back he disappeared. I looked all around & then discovered him curled up on the bed on my side of the bed next to my pillow. He was soooo cute but when I called him to come he did & went right outside.

We all (less dogs) went out to breakfast & then headed home to NM. He did great in the back of the car with Allie & when he got home he seemed to settle in like he has been here forever. We all went for a walk to get the kinks out & he did great. We did some work together on leash & then got home & did some off leash work before we played ball. He LOVES chasing the ball.

The photo above is Shadow (aka Rye) before we got him. He sure was a scruffy looking guy.

Shadow's First Night

Let's just say that Shadow is neither camera shy or nervous about leaving the
"big house". He spent  the first night with us at Bob & Virginia's home & got to know their back yard & the pond intimately. He even played with Allie for a few minutes. Not bad for his first day with us.

I was totally amazed when Shadow actually engaged Allie to play. It didn't last long, but they had a wonderful few minutes...& on the first day which was pretty surprising!

Shadow discovered their little pond & decided it was the biggest water bowl he'd ever seen so he took a drink. Good thing there weren't any fish in there.

The rest of the evening was spent playing cards & letting Shadow get used to being around us & someplace other than a prison. He seemed to do pretty well & there were no problems between him & Allie or their little dog Blondie.

He didn't have any accidents & went right into the crate we brought with us for him to sleep in. He slept through the night & not a peep out of him.

Ride Home & First Day in His New Home

To say that Shadow is as perfect as you can get in a dog is putting it mildly.

For most of the trip home from Colorado Allie & Shadow rode in the back of the wagon in silence. Every now & then they would pop up with tongues hanging out & a big grin on each of their faces trying to remind us they were there. Of course how could we forget! 

There were no squabbles or anything, they just acted like they have known each other forever.

Allie & Shadow are fast becoming best friends. They are playing more every day & at  times we have to call a time out because they are getting too wound up from playing with each other. He plays very well but Allie is a bit rough so we are working with her to exercise some restraint. Her training next month will help with that....hopefully!

Shadow also seems to have settled in quite well. He lies under my desk when I am working &stretches out on the couch when relaxing in front of the TV. He's never far! So he is really living up to his name as my Shadow.

He's a little quiet & shy but he seems to have adopted me & trusts that I will take care of him & I do! It seems as though he likes his new home!

He met his new vet for a quick check up. She gave him a once over & declared him healthy but THIN...52.5 lbs. He needs to put some weight on but otherwise in good shape. So, we are now on a campaign to get some meat on his skinny bones. I started weaning him off the "junk" food he was eating & he's now eating all natural dry kibble mixed with some gourmet, organic canned from our local "doggie health food store". He was eating ok before but leaving some food over but now he really seems to look forward to the food & doesn't hesitate. He is definitely a connoisseur & doesn't leave any food over now.

Allie & Shadow settling in together

Frick & Frack are getting along great & having a good time learning from each other. Allie is definitely showing Shadow the lay of the land & he's certainly learning how to relax after a hard day playing. Life after "the big house" is certainly agreeing with Shadow.

May, 2010: Allie has gone up to the Colorado Prison for some training.

 Shadow is a bit lonely without Allie who is at Camp Arrowhead (CO Prison) getting trained. Shadow is hoping they whip her into shape & she comes back as smart as he is. We're not expecting miracles but we are praying!

He's learning to enjoy his toys without Allie destroying them. This seems to be something new for him. He wasn't sure what to do with them but it hasn't taken him long to figure it out. He is a true retriever,  he carries them around where ever he goes & often can't figure out which one to carry. 
The photo on the left is Shadow crashed in my office (this is his favorite spot since this is where I am frequently when I'm working. He is next to one of his new favorite toys.

At bedtime we have to move all his stuffed toys from the bed into the toy bin. Now if he was REALLY smart he'd learn to put them back!

Our first trip as a family

We picked up Allie from "boot camp" & headed out for our first vacation
together to the Oregon Coast. They had worked on all her bad behaviors & taught her & us how to deal with her OCD. She is much calmer & in control. They said she is better but many of the behaviors are ingrained & we will have to deal with it.

We (They) were very fortunate because we were able to take them on all of our excursions so they got to see some sights & they got lots of attention although they did their best to look  like they were neglected & unloved so people would pay attention to them. 

Shadow tried on several occasions to drive but his paws couldn't reach the gas pedal...thank god!
Shadow definitely settled into the motorhome quite nicely & in fact he marched in the first time we opened the door & jumped into my lazy boy as though he knew he was going on a trip. He did great the entire time & acted as though it was old hat.

Our first stop was at a great RV park in UT. This was the first time we had been to this park but the website said they had a dog park. It turned out to be a great one & big. They also had a smaller one for the small dogs. Allie & Shadow got reacquainted & a good time was had by all!

 Shadow definitely settled into the motorhome quite nicely & in fact he marched
in the first time we opened the door & jumped into my lazy boy as though he knew he was going on a trip. He did great the entire time & acted as though it was old hat for him...perhaps it was but nobody knows his background & if someone had actually loved him they lost a wonderful boy & we're glad we found him!

We already knew that Allie loved traveling in the motorhome but it was a totally new experience for Shadow. It was obvious he was born to travel. It was like he's been traveling all his life! He is a real ham & just loves attention...& getting his photo taken. Every time we stopped for gas Shadow would hop in the drivers seat & the truckers just got the biggest kick out of him sitting there like he was driving.

Oregon Coast  June, 2010

First stop is Coos Bay for 3 days. Coos Bay is a small coastal town but has
something for everyone, including Allie & Shadow. I've been to as far south as Newport but this is "virgin" territory for both of us. First order of business was to find a beach for Allie & Shadow. Fortunately our neighbor has a black lab mix who loves the beach as well so he's given me the hottest beach sites for the dogs. 

Allie has been in the water but has never seen a wave. She wasn't afraid but she actually was cautious. He stuck close by my side but as I entered the FRIGID water he was right by my side. I kept telling him how wonderful he was & he slowly gathered
more confidence. By the next day Al was able to coax him in. After that he was in the water up to his tummy but would not go near the waves. By the second day he was chasing Allie through the water & cautiously approached the waves. He was cool as long as there were no white waves. He still wasn't thrilled with those but we have lots of time to get used  to those. Al reluctantly let Allie off lead but she did great. She returned when called & never went to far.

The top three photos are at the beach in Coos Bay, OR. We discovered a small
beach about 5 miles south of the RV park. It was actually quite nice because it was in a cove & not very large waves which was a good way to introduce them both to waves.

By the time we got to our next stop all they had to say was kawa bunga! The rest of the photos were taken at the beach across the street from the Thousand Trails RV Resort in South Beach. It is an awesome beach...clear & lots of room to run around. The waves were not fierce but enough to give Allie a run for her money. She was good & learned to stay
fairly close to shore which made me very happy as the under toe can be quite strong out here.

Our next stop was Newport & this turned out to be a lot of fun for both of them. There were more waves because they were in the middle of the ocean as opposed to a sheltered cove in Coos Bay. Shadow had no desire to go far from my side but he was completely soaked by the end of our first outing & he didn't even make it past
the tidal pools which were quite deep. They both ran until they were exhausted & slept most of the afternoon. It's obvious that Shadow likes water as much as Allie so I think he will have fun next year when we go back to AZ.

Although Shadow has not learned how to swim on this trip he learned a lot....water is his friend & even the great white waves don't scare him....well maybe the great big ones do, but those little ones are NO PROBLEM! It's obvious that both of them love the beach & after this trip we decided to return next year for a month! After all, we go out in the morning for a run on the beach & the rest of the day they crash & burn leaving the day to do whatever we want while they sleep it off!

Shadow showing off his new accomplishment

Less than a year after coming into my life I am proud to say that Shadow is now
a certified therapy dog. The evaluation was done while we were in Arizona & we only had 3 days to prepare for it. I knew exactly what to expect so Shadow & I went to Sportsmen's Warehouse a couple of times & we worked together with shopping carts, clothes racks, meeting & greeting, etc. 

On evaluation day he was absolutely perfect. We worked together life peanut butter & jelly & we each (& together) got perfect scores....even better than I expected. Shadow was so proud of himself he was almost jumping for joy. Me, well, I was so proud of him I gave him the biggest hug possible.

I couldn't believe that this quiet, shy & very timid dog not only passed but passed with flying colors...& that was even considering they messed up the
evaluation & did something they shouldn't have (as an evaluator for Delta Society I know what the rules are) & dropped the cane right next to him instead of 3 ft away. He hardly flinched but he did & they took off a point (again since he regained his composure they should not have taken off any points).

I might never work with him but I thought this would help boost his confidence a bit & it did help...but he still freaks out when it thunders. 

Now that Shadow has passed & is officially a certified therapy dog we needed a photo of us together as a team. Black dogs are not easy to photograph but he is very obliging when it comes time to take a photo & thank god for Photoshop!

Shadow My Heart Dog

February 13, 2011: The events of that day & how Shadow helped me cope with the trauma & the after effects!
The last day of our stay in Arizona for the winter started off with a bang....literally! At 7 am we were heading out of our motorhome to walk the dogs before heading off to the  woodcarving show.
Al took the dogs out first as usual & then I followed. Just as I put my foot on the steps of the motorhome one side of the steps broke & I landed on the concrete. My hands (right, dominant hand first) went down first bracing me & next thing I know there's a bone protruding from my right wrist. My left ankle twisted & I landed on the ground with my legs in a circle. Next thing I know Shadow broke free from Al ran over to me & sat on my lap pushing into my chest with his body & nesting his head between my chest & neck. I couldn't get him to leave & I wasn't sure what was going on but I was in severe pain, my heart was racing & I wasn't aware of my surroundings other than Shadow & I had no clue what
My Hero!
Shadow was doing & why (I was later told I was in shock & he was trying to slow my heart rate). 
Then all of a sudden Shadow got up & walked back to Al. I felt calm & told Al we needed to go to the ER. He was able to help me up & carefully back into the motorhome. I was able to dress & we left for the ER. Thank god it was a Sunday & we were the only ones there so I got in immediately. I had fractured the radial bone & it was protruding just far enough without breaking the skin. My left ankle was sprained but not broken. I was given something for pain & then they set my wrist & put it in a pressure cast with instructions to see an orthopedic doctor within 4 days to put it in a regular cast.

Friends at the woodcarving show helped Al pack up our booth & we started driving home to New Mexico. When I got home I called to schedule an appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon. He took an xray to make sure it was set correctly & as he suspected it was not. After much discussion of options & chances of recovery it was decided the best course of action was to surgically reset the bone & insert a plate. Surgery was scheduled for the next day.

In the weeks that followed we ate out a lot because I couldn't cook...not good but better than Al's cooking. On my birthday (shortly after the cast came off) I felt my heart racing & I felt "weird" & then Shadow was acting weird. I started to take my blood pressure & suddenly Shadow jumped on the bed & put his head on my arm as I was taking the BP. It was way too high (190/113). Having spent half my career as a Social Worker in Oncology, Cardiology & General Medicine I knew it was past stroke level & I was panicking which didn't help much either. Shadow never left my side. I did deep breathing & tried to relax & took it again with Shadow's head on my was higher. I called the 24 nursing hotline & she recommended the ER. Shadow would not leave my side & kept pushing into me trying to get me to pet him. I knew by this time he was trying to work his magic on me to get my heart rate & BP down. Having done animal assisted therapy I knew that dogs "normally" can help lower BP but no matter how hard he tried it wasn't working. I was just totally amazed at how hard he was trying to get me to calm down. What a guy he is.

By the time I got to the ER my BP was 200/116 & I spent my birthday in the ER. The tests showed I did not have a heart attack or stroke & my BP had already started to come down a little. They were blaming the circumstances of the last few & said I probably would be fine. I was released & told to see my doctor who put me on BP meds. The first few days were up & down but Shadow never left my side. Every time I took my BP he was right there on the bed with his head on my arm. As I started feeling better he would still come in & stand by my side as I took it until I touched him & then he would walk away. He knew before the monitor finished my BP was ok & he wasn't needed.
Once it was under control Shadow went back to business as usual but whenever there is a problem or my BP spikes again he's right there trying to work his magic to make things ok. My doctors think he is amazing with his uncanny ability to know when I am having problems & I need him to comfort me.

I've heard of dogs doing things like this but never in my life had I personally experienced it. I know now that Shadow is my "heart" dog & he has been sent to me for a reason. I knew the moment I saw him he was special but I just had no idea just how special he was. I grew up watching Lassie & Shadow has become my hero!

Pagosa Springs - August, 2012

Allie & Shadow have discovered that they love the San Juan River. Not the
boring part where it's just  Allie white water body surfing.sitting there but the rapids (well a calmer version of the rapids). Shadow is definitely evolving & coming out of his shell because his first day at the river he actually walked across the river on the rocks while the water was running over them. Scared the crap out of us but he did it & lived to tell about it.

He then rode the rapids & swam briefly. He was so excited he came running back to mom for some treats before running back in the water.

Shadow even ventured farther down the river all by himself & walked out into the middle of the river through the current. He walked back to short & ran up to me on the rocks & did his happy dance. If you have never seen Shadow's happy dance it is his wiggling from head to toe as his butt wiggles against my leg from side to side. But this time he was wiggling & hopping which was a real happy dance. I think he was just so excited at this great new adventure that he was just beside himself with joy. That little wiggle dance (without the hopping) is also his way of getting attention. The hopping is a new addition which I've never seen until today. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next to add to his repertoire.

Below is the video of his great run across the rocks
Below is the video of Allie & Shadow - She was a real hoot swimming around like a fish!

Shadow Fall, 2013

Our groomer noticed a lump on Shadow's cheek just below his eye which just
suddenly appeared. After taking him to the vet the next day she discovered he had a Shadow immediately after surgery.fractured tooth which was abscessed. After some antibiotics for a week she removed the tooth & discovered that the root had fractured as well as the tooth which explained a lot. Poor guy must have been hurting because once he recovered by the next day he was playing slap & tickle with Allie. He's on a soft diet for 2 weeks but he doesn't seem to mind since he is eating a gourmet organic raw diet.

The vet was wonderful. I told her that Shadow freaked out if he is taken away from me. She let me stay in an exam room & I was able to
stay with him until he was under anesthesia & I was with him when he woke up. So although he was not a happy camper he seemed to feel better having me close by. He is very slow waking from anesthesia so I was there until late in the afternoon but after all he's done for me when I had health problems it was the least I could do.

While he was still half under he was crawling off the mat to get closer to me. It got a chuckle out of everybody watching him try to drag himself over to me but once there he closed his eyes & was back to sleep for a while.

By bedtime Shadow mostly had his sea legs back & by the next morning he was chasing Allie around the yard playing slap & tickle so he didn't seem to be in much pain even with all the stitches. I'm guessing the pain after surgery was probably a lot less than the pain from the fracture & abscess.

May, 2013

Well, it was my 65th birthday & we took a trip east. Part of the trip was to visit
my family. We parked in my my niece's driveway for a few days & Allie & Shadow got to meet their new cousin Cisco. He & Shadow looked a lot alike & they really seemed to have fun together. 

Every time Cisco would come outside he would come to the coach & look in the door to see if Allie & Shadow would come out & play. It was soooo cute & some times they would just look at each other & other times they whimpered wanting to go out & play so of course I had to open the door for them.

It was a great trip & they all we all had a great visit...including the dogs. 

It was kinda sad when we had to leave because we don't get to see them very often.

June, 2015

We are now living in South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. Unlike New Mexico
we have fleas, tick, grass, twigs & other assorted treats that make living with a VERY furry dog a challenge.

So it was suggested we give Shadow a hair cut so it is short but still insulates him from hot & cold temperatures. the new Shadow! Now he's sleek & not
"Scruffy". He actually looks pretty good & he seems to like having the new hair cut. Me, I love it...he's so much easier to brush now.

Not only does Shadow have a new hairdo but he has a new BFF. Our friends came over to the house to visit. Actually Bob came to help Bob install the new RO unit & Barb just came to visit. Shadow must have really liked her because he was making himself real comfortable on her lap...not something that's typical for him.

Of course Allie wanted to get in on the action also but
she had to settle for getting hugs with all 4 on the floor. Shadow really seemed to have a great time cuddling with his new BFF & I don't think Barb minded it very much either.

The newest addition to our family arrived on our door step in April, 2016. Her name is Christi who arrived on our doorstep after being dumped in our area & was found wandering across the street from our community. Neighbors slowed down for her & she followed them to our doorstep. I decided to foster her & she was in quarantine for 10 days in our coach house & once she was spayed & deemed non contagious (she had mange) we moved her over to our house until we found a forever home. She got along great with Allie & Shadow so it worked out great. Allie had been pretty sick & tests were done but inconclusive but seemed to rallie a few days later & started eating. About a month after Christi arrived she crashed & I could not get her to eat. She was having trouble breathing so xrays were done & showed her lungs were a mess. Tests were sent off to A&M to see if it was fungal & the vet gave her some meds to get her started just in case. The next morning she crashed, unable to breathe & a friend went with me to the vet immediately. I knew the prognosis was not good & that in my heart I knew it was not a fungus but cancer. The vet was wonderful & went over treatment options with me & prognosis. It was not good, with or without any treatment because based on all the tests, treatment & symptoms it was more likely cancer than fungal infection. Allie had been a martyr for almost 2 months & after the first episode where she started star gazing, stopped eating & was lethargic & unresponsive I knew in my heart that this golden girl probably had cancer. Goldens are cancer magnets & anything after the age of 9 is a blessing & she was at that age. When she crashed a month later it was worse than before so I was prepared but it still broke my heart. When she looked at me I knew that it was time & she was asking for me to let her go.

That was truly the hardest thing I have had to do. She had a troubled childhood but she had 8 wonderful years with us & while she was always a little troubled due to all the neglect she had before she came to us but she had a heart as big as Texas & loved life. She adored Christi & seemed to "mother" her & after she passed it was clear that she had been "weaning" Christi to take over after she left.

After she passed we decided to keep Christi & both she & Shadow have become best of friends. All the future photos of their life together can be found in my posts.

The photo on the right is Christi when I was fostering her. You can see the mange on her face. Thank god it was not advanced nor the contagious version. She also had Erlychiosis & Ana-plasma but after two treatments she seems to be fully recovered.

The second photo is of her as she is now...happy, full of life & very healthy. She has also learned how to relax!


  1. LOVE the blog. Thank you for sharing all these things. Miss you both, wish I could come visit but unfortunately not likely to happen. Ellen

  2. Glad you like the blog. I know Al would love you to visit but we both understand that it's not likely that you will be able to.