When one of the GBHS staff members told me about a recent surrender who was in need of a temporary foster home, I couldn't help but want to be a part of this guy's journey. His condition was skin and bones plus being heartworm positive with the addition of some deep gashes and open wounds from a recent injury had me wondering what kind of story he had.
He weighed in at roughly 29lbs.. which brought back many recent memories with how Millie was when we first brought her home. I was preparing myself to have a similar experience with him when I went to pick him up.
Nope.. Nothing alike.. He immediately ran towards me as I met him for the first time.. Many of you may recall my first encounter with Millie, my rescue. She wouldn't even make eye contact with me and she would sit with her back towards me in hopes to avoid all human contact.. she was scared to move and was shut down towards everyone and everything.
This guy, who goes by the GBHS name, Chevy, has done nothing but seek out our affection and the affection of every single person he makes contact with. He has already made himself at home and is making my foster experience much easier. He walks everywhere I go, loud noises don't startle him, he rarely barks, he asks to go outside to use the bathroom, he has a great temperament towards all people and aims to please with with anything that I ask of him.
I have gathered that Chevy seems to be more of a people pleaser than he is interested in bonding with other dogs as he rarely acknowledges Lola or Millie. If I'm not careful, he will try to boss them around with a domineering attitude.. but it just took a few days of patience, observation and learning his personality so I could work with him accordingly to his disposition.
This little skinny dog has the confidence of a 100 lb Mastiff.. which amazes me. He most definitely has a zest for life and a love for people. I know he is going to make someone a very, lucky owner one day.. and if I had to give my report on him right now.. I would say, he loves interacting with people more than dogs.. BUT he would make a great pet for someone who may have other dogs within the home as long as the potential adopter is assertive and shows authority.
Chevy is also extremely intelligent. He is a quick learner and only needs to be corrected once if he gets into something he shouldn't or behaves towards Millie or Lola in a negative way. He aims to please and seems to have a deep longing for human interaction. He just needs to find the right person so he can shine like the star he is meant to be!!
When I was asked to help and photograph five dogs in need of fostering or a forever home, I made sure to be available. They are currently being boarded at the Oporto Animal Clinic off of Oporto-Madrid Blvd. in Birmingham.
The caring and loving folks over at K9 ResQ of Alabama are doing all they can to try and rehome them. I am hoping that by posting this information here on my site as well as social media outlets that somewhere, someone will connect to one of these loving pups.
I assure you there is a personality out there to fit anyone. I fell in love with Suzy, a shy and reserved little girl who took a few minutes to warm up to me.. Paul was also one that I connected with. He is a cute, black shaggy medium sized adult male who is shy at first.. but once he warms up to you.. he is so full of smiles and personality!
If you are active and want a running partner, then without a doubt you should consider Meri, the beautiful Pit-Mix. She is very athletic and would love to have hiking adventures!
Ofcourse, Peter, the Beagle just melted my heart too!! He has an easy, go lucky personality that seems to want to fit in wherever he goes.
These five rescue dogs are more than deserving of a loving home. Their eyes each spoke to me.. Some told me that they would do anything to be loved, to protect, to have a place all their own while another's told me they just wanted to trust again.. another one just wanted to have a family who could throw endless tennis balls in a big back yard and go on adventures with.
Please open your heart and your home! It takes only one person to change the life of another. Lets pay it forward!
If interested.. you can contact K9 ResQ of Alabama .. https://www.k9resqofal.org/
they are located at Oporto Animal Clinic .. http://oportoanimalclinic.com/contact.html
Just incase you don't recognize this sweet girl.. IT'S MILLIE VANILLI, as the carefree attitude and big smiles may mislead you as she splashes and plays in water.
Yes.. we had a major break through the other day.
I had literally accepted that she was terrified of water and only on a need basis would she be willing to tip toe rapidly through a shallow, narrow creek bed to cross the other side.
Well folks, not anymore! She willingly runs and splashes through water as though she's done it her whole life!
It only took a little over a year and one month!
Although I would love to take all the credit for Millie's new endeavors it wouldn't be fair to not give all the glory to our Lolacoaster!! Lola really has been the source to Millie's recovery. Our Frenchie has shown Millie confidence, love, acceptance and yes.. from time to time.. tough love and boundaries.
I truly believe that Lola and Millie are soul-sisters. They are never apart.
Millie trust and follows this girl anywhere.. so over time when we would go to the park, Millie would continue to observe Lola play in the creek.. until one day Millie was tired of watching from the shoreline and wanted to see what was so fun about playing in water.
I hope that the pictures are proof enough that there is no fear here! She just may have to agree with Lola that playing in the water is the best thing since Dog Biscuits!
This breakthrough was just a simple reminder to me that Millie is still progressing and growing everyday. No, I don't believe Millie's story has been written yet.
It is only beginning!
I want to first and foremost thank Clay and Elizabeth for allowing me to come into their home and document this very emotional time for them. I realize that being a dog owner will bless you with some of the happiest days of our life and also one of our worst.
It is something that all dog owners eventually will experience sooner or later and it never gets easy.. NEVER!
Champ was diagnosed with cancer recently and these guys are still trying to cope with his diagnosis as well as appreciate the time that they do have left with him .. It could be days, weeks or months.. but I do know that no matter how much time we do have with our furry companions, it is never long enough.
I broke all rules of being a 'professional' and found myself crying off and on throughout the session.. so my apologies.
The purpose of documenting this time was not to pretend that everything is pretty and perfect.. but to honor and remember Champ while he is here with them and that he is loved always and forever.
Sometimes people want to avoid any grief or sadness but I think more individuals should face these emotions head on. It connects you to humanity and it is what makes us human.
During Champs session we reminisced a little on his life journey. He was part of so much with these guys. From his early puppy years to the beginning of their relationship, their ventures in college, graduation, their wedding day, moving into their first home, starting their careers.
That is when they proceeded to show me a photo from their wedding day that I had forgotten that I took. Champ sat proudly between Elizabeth and Clay with a big smile.. Mouth open, tongue hanging out and the look that they all could conquer the world as they embraced one another.
I again, proceeded to cry. By now it was probably my 3rd or 4th time to tear up.. I again apologized as we took a small moment to regain composure.
I am going to keep all these guys in my thoughts and prayers as they try to embrace, comfort and appreciate the final days of their beloved. I know that this was not an easy session to face but I do hope that they will remember this time as a time for reflecting and also as a reminder that life is short, it is precious and most importantly.. it is fleeting.
'Until one has loved an animal, a part of ones soul remains unawakened. - Anatole France
Oh how it kills me to write this post. We have lost another beloved pet to a very close friend of ours. The hardest part about being so connected to these amazing animals is that we often, more times than not.. outlive them. It doesn't matter how long they are here, it's never quite long enough.
Twelve years is a very good life and I knew time was on her side as her health began to fade over the past few months but it is something that no one can ever prepare for.
Mabel became a fixture to many of those who would frequent the loft. She never failed to greet guest at the door with a wagging butt and a welcoming dance. She was a part of so many chapters for all that came to know her over the years.
Losing Mabel in the 'band' family can be compared to that of losing a part of the glue that holds things together.. or a key note to a song.. Without her presence, I feel that there is a missing piece to the puzzle.
This is why I find it so important to take a moment and reflect on her life.. on the laughter she brought to many.. the way she would talk to guest with her howl and agree to wear anything from hats to sunglasses. Her eyes were always full of expression and with one look, she knew how to melt the heart of many.
If love could have saved her.. she would have lived forever! Rest easy sweet girl.. you will forever be in my heart, and my memory.
Date: Thursday July 20, 2017
Hi! I called earlier this week and was asking about a Found dog.. Her ID# is 187971 .
They said she had not been claimed and are waiting for further evaluation of her disposition and also her health.
Would you be kind enough to keep me updated if she will be available for adoption in the near future? I volunteer once a week on Monday and would love to meet her if able.
Thank you in advance,
That was the email I had sent to the GBHS the day I first laid eyes on Millie. Her picture was so sad and it appeared she had no confidence or any feeling of self-worth. She was all skin and bones with big, sad droopy eyes. Weighing in at 31 lbs, Her head looked too heavy for her to lift compared to that of her frail, weak body.. so she hung it down low as if it were dragging the ground.. and her tail was tucked tightly between her hind legs.
She looked as though she was just waiting on someone to be her voice.. speak up for her and give her a chance.. I wasn't looking to get another dog.. The extra expense, the time needed, how would Lola react.. would they get along? It really wasn't in my plan.. but then again.. how many people actually feel that caring for a dying dog is part of a plan.. NO.. it's not.. It's a moral obligation.. and I felt because I saw her photo and I felt convicted over this image that it was my duty to act..
So I did.
This past year seemed to fly by all too fast as Millie transitioned into our family. I often wondered this past year if she will ever be a normal, fearless and carefree pup and after our full year together my conclusion is.. she is as close to it as she will ever be.
Millie still has tremendous fear of people and will often stop mid-stance or slow to a dead stop until any unknown individuals pass us by. I wait alongside with her until she is ready to start walking again.
I find that she is very loyal to those who she has learned to love and trust. She never leaves my side when at home and when in public locations. I am able to take her off lead at many of the hiking trails we frequent as she is always a step behind me. She is too fearful to stray too far from me and I feel that she finds most of her confidence when she is with me or our other pup, Lola.
Lola and Millie seriously have become inseparable. I feel that Lola has started to rely on Millie as much as Millie has to Lola. They will spend all evening on the couch taking turns licking one another's eyes and face.. and often play a nice game of tug with one another and the long rope toy they share.
Not having a plan to get Millie has been one of the BEST PLANS I've ever had.
I would love to wish a Happy One Year to Millie as this is when I truly feel her life began.
Last week our family lost one of our beloved fur babies. Elizabeth belonged to my sister. I wanted to spend a moment or two remembering this sweet face because my belief is, if we don't speak about our lost loved ones.. it muddies that memory of them.. and I want to remember Lizzie for who she was and keep her energy alive for as long as I am able.
She fell ill suddenly and we all did not know why.. but it turned out she was born with an enlarged heart. Her breathing became rapid one morning and her heart gave out on her. She lived to be 10.
I know she lived a full life. She never had to wonder where her next meal would come from. Lizzie never doubted that she was loved and she always had a nice soft bed to sleep in.
There wasn't a time that I can remember when she didn't beg for a belly rub. She felt safest being held in her mommy's arms and she was often considered the 'guard' dog of the home. She never missed a stranger coming into the house as she was always the first to bark and alert.
Yes, the house seems to be quieter than ever now.. The bed has a little more room in it and there is one less begging face looking up as dinner is served.
Sometimes the chaos that our pups bring is the one thing that we miss the most once they are gone. Don't ever take for granted a chewed up shoe, a begging pup or the sound of your dog's bark. Although these things may be nuisances they soon become the first thing we look for once our companion crosses over the rainbow bridge.
What used to feel like forever actually was only a blink of an eye.
Cherish those moments.. the good and bad. The mishaps and mischief our pups can often bring as well as the unconditional love they show us.
Smiles for days for these pups!! These furry pals were loved on all day long at the Magnolia Festival where I was honored to take some snap shots for The Greater Birmingham Humane Society this past weekend. They participated in Gardendale's annual Magnolia Festival and were able to show some adorable and lovable pups who were up for adoption.
There were big pups, small pups, old pups and young ones too.. Furry and friendly, shy and reserved.. something for everyone!
Out of the twelve dogs out at the event, eight of them found homes!!!
I was very excited to hear about the ones that were adopted and hopefully the ones that were not selected that day will be able to find their forever home soon.
The staff and other volunteers are so amazing and I truly always have an awesome time being involved with others who hope to make a difference.
It is literally 4 months to the day since Millie has joined into her forever home with us. As many of you are already familiar with what a hot mess she was and untrusting of everyone earlier on. We have since then set a lot of goals over the past couple months.. where as with the majority of 'normal' dogs, these goals may seem like a walk in the park.. but to Millie, these goals are huge milestones.
Not only is she preparing for her first 5k in April for the annual Mutt Strut ( where as she use to not be able to complete one mile )but she is also working on her social skills at the Homewood Library.. as before she would pee out of fear and collapse when approached by strangers.
Millie met so many sweet, caring children who would come up to read their favorite books to her. She didn't quite know what to think of these little humans who she's never encountered before. She stood quietly as they practiced reading. Her head was held low and her tail was tucked beneath her.
I sensed she was a little scared but was still trusting of these children as she stood on. I was proud of her! I realize that there are still going to be new situations that will make her feel uncomfortable and unsure of her surroundings but the most important thing is SHE DID IT!
You can't grow without being a little uncomfortable from time to time, so I still feel that it doesn't matter how much time goes by, I am still wanting to continue to seek out new challenges for her.
I don't think she has ever in her life experienced so much love and attention at one time. She didn't know what to do with herself..
The GBHS hopes to have these weekly reading sessions after school every Monday at the Homewood Public Library. I do hope that Millie can continue going to meet with the children and let this be a learning experience for her as well.
I don't know which one to use.. 217 days since Millie's arrival into our home or three months since her adoption into her forever home with us.. Regardless, time sure has flown by and we have enjoyed her company soo much..
She has been a busy little lady and it seems that she doesn't have a care in the world now days. If you were to pass us on the street you would have never known that she was once emaciated, abused and neglected. She is almost as normal as they come now!
We had a videographer come to our home to shoot a short film about her story for the GBHS'S Jazz Cat Ball and they also did a write up about her in their holiday newsletter. She has not only touched my life but so it seems, the lives of many others.
Millie has become extremely playful and active that if she isn't walked daily, she becomes anxious and loves to chew.. so I have put her on an exercise regime with daily walks which have now gradually turned into a slow jog/trot.. and there isn't many places that she won't follow my lead.
I can say it's safe to say that she trust me with all of her heart which just melts mine! We are like two peas in a pod and where I go, she usually isn't too far behind.
Helping shelter animals one click at a time!