Monthly Archives: September 2011

Echo’s New Chapter

Echo’s New Chapter

I don’t know the family that surrendered their Great Dane nearly two and a half years ago.  I know they had fallen on challenging times. A change in their financial situation required a move to a trailer home, and the landlord wouldn’t allow an inside dog. I know they tried to keep her outside, chained up near the trailer, because there was a 10 year old boy in that family who loved this dog. Loved her a lot.

Eventually, they realized that this sweet animal couldn’t live like that anymore, and surrendered her to the Humane Society.

I know that must have been a sad day for all of them, humans and canine alike.

A couple of days after Echo was surrendered, I got a call to ask if I’d be willing to foster her.  I was told she was a big sweetie, a little under weight, and a lot scared.  Steve and I loaded up our other dog, Moose, to go meet Echo and see if we could let her crash with us until she found a new home.

We weren’t looking for another dog permanently.  On the contrary, we’d decided that being a one dog family was best for us.  No one told Echo that, though.

We arrived at the meeting place and let Moose outside to sniff around, hoping that if they met in a neutral outdoor spot they’d be less intimidated by each other.  Echo’s caretaker waited until we were all out in the open before leading Echo out on a leash to make introductions.

She pulled so hard that the caretaker dropped the leash.  Echo started towards me at a dead run.  I didn’t have time to react at all, let alone get out of the way.  In mere seconds, she was up against me, nuzzling her head against my rib cage, then nudging her nose against my hand.  She was forcing me to pet her head.

Amazingly, she and Moose had zero reaction to each other.  My faithful Moo-Pie, who I have always known would protect any of his humans to the death, had not paid one iota of attention when some strange dog had made a bee-line for me.

My husband, the caretaker, and I all looked back and forth at each other.  The caretaker said, “If I didn’t know better, I would swear this was your dog.”

Finally, we forced Echo and Moose to say hello. It happened again.  Both dogs acted like they’d known each other since they were pups.  It was amazing.  We came prepared to spend a couple of hours getting everyone acclimated, and 10 minutes after our arrival, it was like we’d been a unit forever.

The question was in the air, and both the caretaker and my husband were waiting for me to address it.   Was this really going to be a foster situation?  If ever a human had been adopted by a dog, I had just been.

Finally, the caretaker said that if I was amenable, the Humane Society would like to give Echo some time to relax and maybe put on a pound or two before trying to place her permanently.  I nodded.  We all knew I’d be writing a check for the adoption fee, but at least I could wait a few days before admitting that Echo had already chosen her new home.

That was the beginning.  For several days, she wouldn’t let me leave her sight.  I took her to work with me.  She laid on the floor next to my bed when I went to sleep at night, and I woke every morning with all six feet of her stretched out on the bed.  She put on those couple of pounds… about 20 more.  She ate all the cupcakes for my daughter’s baby shower while we were in the other room opening gifts.  She has intestinal challenges (due to situations like the cupcake incident) that require carpet cleaning on a regular basis.  There was no “establishing Alpha Dog” in the house, she just automatically knew that Moose was in charge; there’s never been the slightest scuffle.  She chases deer and squirrels out of her yard.  When there are children here, she must remember that boy who loved her so much, because she is simply joyful.

I will be forever grateful to that family for doing the right thing by Echo.    My entire family is grateful, too, because she’s brought so much to our lives.     They surrendered her on faith that the Humane Society would find a good home for her, and I think they’d approve  of the life she has now.

I’m sorry that they don’t know the rest of the story, but maybe, somehow, they’ll see this.  I hope so.

Echo The Great Dane

Are you talking about me?

100 Things

100 Things

If you had to think of 100 things that make you happy, could you? Not ridiculous things, like winning the lottery, or once-in-a-blue-moon things, like a tropical vacation, but those little things that might just go unnoticed until you think about them.

By the way, if “tropical vacation” is a “regular thing” in your life, just skip this post.  Maybe even this entire blog.  I’m not sure I like you.

Here’s my hundred, in no particular order.  I hope you take the time to think about yours, and realize that every day gives us reason to smile, to celebrate, to be grateful.

  1.  Bacon
  2. The first hummingbird of the season
  3. Having morning coffee on the porch with Steve
  4. The smell of BBQ wafting up into the house
  5. Watching the fountain show at Bellagio
  6. A St. Louis Cardinal baseball game at Busch Stadium, even in the crappy seats
  7. Changing the seasonal wreath on the front porch
  8. Baking Christmas cookies
  9. A really good haircut
  10. Moose sneaking up on the couch to fall asleep with his head in my lap
  11. Gathering chicken eggs in the morning
  12. A good thunderstorm, with plenty of lightning
  13. Jack in the Box tacos, the ones that have fake meat in them
  14. Our ornamental plum tree, when it’s in full bloom
  15. A good fresh tomato
  16. Turning the kitchen calendar, which is always purchased for beautiful photos, to a new month
  17. Watching it snow
  18. A good book
  19. Shark Week on Discovery Channel
  20. Darsee & David’s Hemingway scented candles
  21. Making menus for a family meal
  22. Playing Spades with friends, or Poker with anyone
  23. Bumpy airplane flights
  24. Making a new decorative wreath
  25. Writing….anything
  26. People watching anywhere, but especially from a comfy chair with a refreshment
  27. Queso & chips, the homemade kind with white cheese
  28. Watching the St. Louis Cardinals on TV
  29. Strolling Soulard Market
  30. Picking out new paint colors for a wall
  31. A road trip to ANYWHERE with Steve
  32. An hour in Barnes & Noble
  33. Trying out a new recipe, bonus if it turns out correctly
  34. Putting up the Christmas Tree
  35. Towels right out of the dryer
  36. Windows down, 45 mph or faster, singing at the top of my lungs
  37. Ice crystals in the trees
  38. All the other hummingbirds
  39. Having a standoff with a fence lizard on the porch to see who moves first
  40. Watching the bats swoop around at dusk
  41. Seeing the Clydesdales, extra points for full regalia and in formation
  42. Kids on Halloween
  43. Fishing with Steve
  44. Having my house full of people
  45. A Sunday newspaper spread out on the bed
  46. Helping kids write letters to Santa
  47. Holding a puppy that still has “puppy smell”
  48. Turning the lights on the Christmas Village every night,  bonus for the first time each season
  49. Finding money I didn’t know I had in my pocket
  50. Taking photographs
  51. Snuggling up to watch a movie
  52. Popcorn popped on the stove, in a big heavy pot, with real butter
  53. Sitting around a fire in the backyard
  54. Coming home to a miraculously clean house, thanks to my husband
  55. Watching the roosters chase each other around in the yard
  56. An email or phone call from a friend that I’ve not seen in awhile
  57. Stumbling onto a Fall Festival or Craft Fair
  58. Getting the new Rand McNally Road Atlas that comes out every year (WalMart, $5.97)
  59. Making green pancakes for my grandson
  60. Cardinals huddling in the tree during the winter
  61. A trip to the St. Louis Zoo
  62. Watching deer on the trail behind the house, when they don’t notice me
  63. Listening to my mother-in-law tell a story
  64. Watching my adult children transform into teenagers whenever they’re in a room together
  65. The smell of freshly cut grass, especially when it’s mine and I can enjoy a well manicured lawn
  66. Listening to Louie Armstrong sing “What a Wonderful World”
  67. Listening to the dogs snore
  68. Re-reading “To Kill A Mockingbird” for the umpteenth time
  69. Making Easter baskets, and choosing which color grass to use for each one
  70. A really good watermelon
  71. A wander through any nature preserve, state park, or national forest
  72. Bull riding (watching bull riding….I know my limits)
  73. Watching toddlers spontaneously start dancing
  74. Repotting a plant
  75. Putting on flannel pajamas on a cold night
  76. Making donuts out of refrigerator biscuits with the grandkids
  77. Finding a bird’s nest tucked into a bush (or Steve’s work bench)
  78. Christmas music blasting through the house….especially pre-1970 recordings
  79. Catching a movie version of a classic musical on TV, especially West Side Story or The Music Man
  80. Parades, especially those featuring high school marching bands
  81. The smell of burning leaves
  82. A well applied new coat of nail polish on my toes, with no “oopsies”
  83. Seeing a hot air balloon in the sky
  84. Really good, really authentic English Toffee
  85. Driving on the High Road during peak “color changing” weeks in the Fall
  86. Listening to peepers in the evening
  87. Playing Scrabble
  88. An unplanned afternoon nap on the couch
  89. Finding out my hotel room has complimentary CONDITIONER along with the shampoo
  90. A blooming flower garden, bonus for purple flowers
  91. Hot cocoa made from scratch, with real vanilla in it
  92. Getting together with my siblings
  93. Watching the light bulb go on when teaching one of the grandkids something
  94. Getting a new catalog in the mail, even though I’m not going to order anything from it
  95. Having all the windows open in the house instead of using the furnace or AC
  96. Realizing that I’ve hit the airplane seat assignment jackpot:  Exit Row, Aisle
  97. Perusing the olive oil store (yes, we have a store dedicated to olive oil) or the candle store
  98. Watching the sun rise from the back deck
  99. Realizing it’s Girl Scout Cookie season


Looking up through the trees

And, finally, 100.  Finishing a project, whether it be writing Christmas cards, rearranging the pantry, or making a list of 100 things that make me happy.