Some Days Are Better Left Unsaid


Dearest Readers:

Some days are better left unsaid, or forgotten. Such was the case yesterday, November 9, 2015. The morning started with a discovery that the tarp protecting our roof from further damage after the catastrophic rains of October 2 – October 5 in Charleston, SC was missing in certain areas. Waking my husband up, I rushed around the house, covering furniture, sopping up the puddles of rainwater, covering the furnishings with plastic – still waiting for my husband to crawl out of bed. When we awoke, he looked at the living room, noticing the tents of plastic covering the sofas.

“What happened?” He groaned.

“I suppose the gusting winds we had yesterday and this morning blew the tarp loose, and now it is pouring outside once again. Will this rain NEVER stop? What a dreadful way to begin the early morning.”

Our insurance adjuster was scheduled to come to the house that afternoon to review the damage and determine IF we had wind and hail damage. Meanwhile, the house was a mess due to the plastic tents pitched in several places, and the wet ceilings. I wanted to run away.

My husband phoned work, taking the day off to get the tarp covered again. About 9:00 the phone rang. The insurance adjuster needed to reschedule due to the heavy rains. Another day shot, I thought.

Deciding Monday was not a day to worry about cleaning the house like I normally do on Monday’s, I rested. My body is so exhausted from these torrential rains and a home not exactly in the condition I desire it to be. During the rains of October, my ability to sleep was almost non-existent. Just how much stress can one tolerate?

Later that afternoon, the roof was covered again. The rain was only a light mist now. We ate dinner in the den, settling in for the night to watch “Dancing With the Stars,” and to relax to the point I could finally sleep.

About 9:30, I walked to the door of the back of the house to let the dogs inside. Surprise! They were nowhere in sight. I glanced towards the gate — opened. My heart did flip-flops. Rushing outside, standing on the dark street filled with a thick gray blanket of fog, I called for them. No response. I listened to the darkness of night. I heard a clicking noise – the sound dog collars with tags make when the dog runs. Moments later, Hanks rushes to me. Next was Toby, and finally Shakespeare. I gathered them up, let them in the house and wanted to choke my husband for leaving the gate open.

Why was the gate open?

Earlier that evening my husband unlocked the back gate, leaving it open so he could get something from his car. He failed to close the gate, so when I let the dogs out, I did not check to make certain the gate was closed. Trust me, I will from this day forward!

I screamed for my husband to come help me find the dogs. Of course, he was clueless, unable to hear my screams. Rushing back inside with three of the dogs, I screamed once again. This time, my husband who is ALWAYS glued to the TV, heard me.

“What the Hell is wrong with you?” He shouted.

“You left the d— gate open. Now I’ve got to find the rest of the dogs.” How I wanted to jump on him for becoming so forgetful once again. Instead, I grabbed my bag and car keys. Rushing outside, dressed in my PJ’s and slippers, I drove off. I rolled all the windows down screaming for my remaining dogs – missing. I wanted them to hear me, and I listened carefully to see IF I could hear them.

“Just where do I go?” I spoke aloud, hoping God could hear me.

A voice spoke to me, so I drove on Simmons Street, shouting their names. “Here, Shadow. Here Sandy Bear…Here boys.”

I prayed I would not see a blonde or a solid black dog laying on the roads. I saw a boy walking along the streets, so I asked him if he’d seen a black or a blonde dog.

“No. I ain’t seen nothing,” he responded.

I thanked him and continued my search. I prayed for God to guide me.

“Drive in the direction you always walk them.” God spoke to me. I turned the car, heading in the directions the dogs were accustomed to walking with me.

By now, I’m certain my neighbors must think I’ve completely lost my mind. All of them know to bring animals to me if something happens to one. There have been many times someone rang my doorbell asking me if I knew who the lost animal belonged to. Each time, I’ve managed to find the owners. Sometimes it pays to be active with the Neighborhood Crime Watch.

As I am shouting for Sandy Bear and Shadow, I hear sirens. Please God, don’t let them be coming after me, or rushing to a car accident with animals involved.

Or, could it be someone has reported a woman driving an unfamiliar car around and around while shouting out the car windows? “Please God, don’t let them be coming to arrest me.”

Cars are behind me now, so I pull over, almost dropping my right wheel in a ditch. Moaning a few more expletives, I’m certain I’ve already reached my weekly allowance of ‘dirty words’ on this night. Always wishing to be in control of my temper and character, when something goes wrong I have the tendency to ‘lose my dignity with my off-color language’ when I am angry at my husband and his forgetfulness. Tonight was no exception.

“Heavenly Father,” I prayed, tears rolling down my cheeks. “Please help me find Shadow and Sandy Bear soon. Sandy Bear doesn’t like the dark of night, and he doesn’t like to walk far from the house. Please, dear God, guide me to where they are.”

Again, I shout for Shadow and Sandy Bear. At the end of the road by the stop sign, I imagine something dark on the road. “It can’t be…”

I inhaled. Exhaled. “Shadow…Here Boy.”

I hear a bark. The image in the road rushes closer to me, running at a fast pace. I place the car in Park. Open the drivers’ door, forgetting to remove my seat belt. As the door opens, Shadow jumps inside!

Tears rush down my face. “Thank you, God. Thank you so much!”

Shadow hops into the passenger seat. Jumping around with excitement, or could he be overjoyed with gratitude, I hug him tight, noticing his fur is soaked and muddy, and he has a nasty smelling odor. I was curious as to what he thought while running around the neighborhood. Did he recall the sad memories of abandonment when he was left in the dark of night at an animal shelter in Georgia? If only I could dig deeper into his mind, just to communicate his thoughts.

“Just where have you been, boy?” Shadow licks my face. Driving, I pet his head. “Was Sandy Bear with you, boy? Do you know where he is?”

We drive around the block. My husband is walking around with a flashlight. “I found Shadow,” I scream at him, letting him know what street he was found. Turning in the direction of the area where Sandy Bear and I walk, I remember how skittish he gets while walking. I’m convinced he must be nearby. The night is dark with a thick, blanket of fog. It is difficult to make out images nearby, but I’m determined. I will not lose my animals again like I did when our little buddy Cletus escaped.

While driving and screaming Sandy Bear’s name, I think of what I must do in the event I do not find him tonight. I’ll make a poster, include his picture and I’ll put it on Facebook. Tomorrow morning, I’ll post flyers all over the neighborhood. Please God, let me find Sandy Bear. It is so damp out here. He must be horrified and cold.

I drive around the block once again, still screaming Sandy Bear’s name. The fog is so thick now; one could cut it with a knife. I hear a familiar sound, hoping it is Sandy Bear barking this time and not a neighbor’s dog. “Sandy Bear,” I scream. “Is that you barking?”

I glance at the stop sign I am approaching. I see a shadow. Blonde. Small, shaped like Sandy Bear, and I squint my eyes, hoping to make out the image. I hear a familiar bark.

“Sandy Bear,” I squeal! He rushes towards me. This time, I jump out of the car, closing the door hoping Shadow will not jump out. Looking back at Shadow, I see he is not moving! His black fur is curled up on the seat, probably hoping he will soon be safe at home.

I scoop Sandy Bear into my arms. He is soaked, with mud and a musty smell. Just WHERE have you been? I hold him close, placing him next to Shadow. I see my husband walking in the middle of the road.

“I found them,” I shout to him. He rushes to the car. As soon as he gets inside, he apologizes. I do believe this is a first for him. Vietnam Veterans with PTSD have difficulty with apologies. Although I wanted to scream at him, to beat his chest with my fists, I do not. “Apology accepted,” I smile – that devious smile I give him that says so much without uttering a word.

“What is that smell?” He asks.

“They’ve been somewhere they shouldn’t be. I’ll bathe them when we get home.”

Rushing into the house, I prepare both dogs for a bath, removing my smelly night shirt.

At bedtime, both dogs smell delicious. As soon as they jump up on the bed, they fall asleep. Early this morning, all of my precious family sleeps together, in the same positions and locations where they fell asleep. “Welcome Home, Boys. Do you want to go potty?” None of them respond. They must be exhausted. I laugh, so thankful to have them safe at home. I kiss each one of them good morning while I walk to the kitchen for coffee.

I glance out the garden window in the kitchen. “Thank you, God for a new day, a special day of thanksgiving with my precious family, and for my husband! Now — If only you could do something about his forgetful ways!”

The Adventures of Cletus Cleet, Cleet Runs Away


The Adventures of Cletus
Cleet, Cleet Runs Away
By
Barbie Perkins-Cooper
Copyright ©2012 Barbie Perkins-Cooper, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 8, 2012, was a bitter day, with an early and cold winter’s chill, the first for the fall in Charleston, South Carolina. The morning sunshine could not warm the grounds of the coastal area where Cletus rested. He sniffed the coldness under his belly. Shivering, he was so tired, weak and getting thinner every day.

How long has it been since he ran away? Although he struggled to remember, his brain was tired from so many nights of little sleep. He dug deeper under the house. He heard the noise of a motor. Someone’s coming. I need to hide. She might see me again and this time, she might catch me.

With his docked tail tucked between his legs, he rushed away. The dark skinned lady with white hair knew where he hid at night. She tried without luck to catch him, but he always managed to move quicker than her crimpled body would permit. Her arthritic legs would not bend so she could stoop down to get him. Cletus knew how to outsmart humans. Yes, they were taller than he was. Bigger, and humans had long arms that stretched out with fingers that felt more like shovels than something warm to touch him. His sandy blonde and cream colored fur usually kept him warm, but this morning it was cold in Mt. Pleasant.

Cletus looked back as he moved. Why can’t I run like I did when I ran away? Why is every step feeling like I will fall and never get up?

Cletus crept down under the bushes. She could not see him here. “Here little puppy. Come here to me. I got some food for you. You look so skinny. I just want to feed you little puppy.” The lady walked with a cane, dragging it behind her as she shook the food bowl. For three early mornings, Cletus ate the food, warm with runny looking yellow grains of corn, oats, bread, egg, and other ingredients. Cletus didn’t care what it was. He ate every bite, wanting more.

Cletus heard the softness of a human voice before, at the house where he escaped. The woman living there was blonde, with big green eyes, colorful red fingernails and a sweet sounding voice, and a great smile. Every time Cletus looked at her, she smiled at him. Yes, her voice was a nicer tone than before…in the puppy mill. When Cletus lived there all he ever heard was a harsh shouting of Move…get on over there…do your work boy…now get! Cletus knew what to do, and he rushed away before the bald headed man with a belly that jiggled every time he moved, turned the water hose on again. He didn’t want to get wet again. The waters stung him every time they hit his tiny body. The waters made him feel like he was drowning. He didn’t want to drown. He hated when the man picked up the shovel, grabbed him, throwing him into the next kennel where a frightened girl dog shook next to him. He wanted to hear the soft voice again…the gentle voice and the sweet words, “Cleet…Cleet…Come on Little Buddy. It’s OK. No one will hurt you here.”

Cleetus curled into a ball to get warm. His tired eyes closed. Cleet. Cleet. He dreamed. The soft, musical voice of a woman soothed his tired, emaciated body. Cleet….Cleet…Hi, Little Buddy. It’s ok. No one will ever hurt you here. Your sadness ends, starting today.

Isn’t that what the blonde headed human said when she met him? The day he left Maddy, his little black schnauzer friend, and the vet’s office? Yes, she called me Cleet…Cleet. I didn’t know what it meant, so I jumped out of her arms. Humans hurt. I was afraid she might hurt me while smiling at me. If only I could find my way back to the place. The red brick house with a gold car in the front and a white ornament next to it. There were trees in the yard. Sweet Jasmine. A magnolia tree. Dogs…Dogs barked at me. Dogs played with me. Dogs told me I would be happy here. One dog, a salt and pepper color talked to me, telling me I would be happy here, but he said I had to learn the rules. Try not to poop on the floor. If you have to poop, do it on the doggie papers, or wait until you’re outside. Cletus didn’t like the outside. He didn’t like rules. He wanted to make his decisions. He was scared.

The world outside is a cold, cruel world. Cars are on the road. Kids rush around and on bikes. Bells rang during the day from a big brick building with lots of children. When they’re on bikes, they play games, trying to run over me. Just like today. A boy in a gray hoodie and jeans rode on a bike. When he saw me on the sidewalk, he darted over to me. “Get out of the way you stupid dog.” The bike tires caught up to Cletus, but he ran, not as fast as before; he managed to scatter away from the bike, bumping into a fence. The gate was open. Cletus rushed to the corner of the fence, waiting for the boy to come after him. The boy stopped the bike. “Stupid dog. You’re nothing but a scaredy cat! You know I can’t go back there. Stupid…stupid dog!”

Cletus took a deep breath. He fell fast asleep. If only he could find his way back to the red brick house.

Dreaming again, he thought of the place he left. If only he hadn’t been so curious. Walking around the fence, he found a loose piece of wood. His feet scratched at it. The soil was soft. Before he knew it, the hole was big enough for him to slide through. He looked back, at the door. The blonde headed lady with a sweet voice wasn’t there. Cletus wasn’t certain he should leave, but something inside of him said Run. Go on. Set yourself free…where humans can’t hurt you. Go…Run!

The dogs told him he was in a safe house. Shakespeare, the alpha dog, teased him, but he could tell that Shakespeare, Sandy Bear, and Shadow were happy in the red house. Shakespeare didn’t know what a cruel world it was. Sandy Bear knew. Sandy Bear was the same color of Cletus. He told Cletus he might want to give these humans a chance. Sandy Bear barked, “If you give her a chance, you’ll love her. She pets you. She rubs your belly, and at night, she lets you snuggle up close to her. Sometimes she sings to us. We watch TV together. Sometimes we watch doggie shows, and she laughs, telling us Doggies on TV. And if you’re scared when storms happen, she’ll hold you close and sing to you. Such a soft and sweet voice, you’ll feel safe and warm. She doesn’t raise her hands to hit you, and she’ll give you treats and make sure you eat well. There’s no violence here. Ever.”

Shakespeare jumped. “Violence?” He barked. “What’s violence?”

“Oh get real,” Shadow interrupted. “Don’t you know what violence is? I forgot – you came to this house when you were a puppy. No one’s ever been mean to you.” Shadow was midnight black, a giant schnauzer that loved to jump high in the air. Tall with wiry fur that shined in the sun, Shadow pranced around with grace. “Violence is when humans throw their hands up and hit you. Sometimes they’ll kick you with their big feet with hard shoes. And sometimes they’ll get a shovel, and poke it at you. Sometimes the shovel cuts. It hurts. Humans don’t give you food. And if you tear up things, they’ll take you for a ride and drop you off somewhere. You’ll end up sleeping outside in the dark of night. Alone. You’ll have to find your own food. Maybe that’s why I love to catch squirrels. Humans are mean. But Mommy and Daddy, well, they’re from a different world. The sweet lady I call Mommy has a pretty smile. They drove all the way to Georgia to rescue me. They let me sleep on a soft and warm blanket in the back seat and drove a long ways to bring me here. I met Shakespeare and Sandy Bear when we arrived. They told me to let these humans love me, but Shakespeare said, he was first…the most important and alpha dog. He gets the most attention. At least he thinks he does. Never have I seen these humans hit any of us. They sit with us on the floor when feeding us. I’ve never seen a human do that. And the lady? She walks us, but she won’t allow us to chase squirrels. I guess that’s the only bad thing I can say. She wants us to behave and prance around with grace. She combs us. Heck, she even sings to us. This house is a good and happy place to live. You’ll learn to find out what love is.”

“Love?” Cletus barked. “What’s love?”

“Oh silly. Hush,” Sandy Bear spoke. “Love is something that makes you feel warm and toasty inside. Just like you feel after eating a good meal. I fell in love with Mommy when she looked into my eyes after rescuing me. She rubbed my floppy ears, smiled and kissed my forehead. She told me I was going to a new home with her and some more doggies who would play with me. She said I’d have a warm, fluffy bed and a soft blanket to sleep on. Mommy gives us all attention. If she feeds one, she feeds us all. She even sits in the floor with us, to make certain we all eat and no one steals the food. This family will give you a good life, Cletus. You might be sorry if you escape.”

Cletus turned to look at all of them. “Don’t you want to go with me, guys? I can dig a deeper hole, Shadow.”

Barking in unison, they sang, “No. Don’t go, Cletus. Don’t go!”

Cletus rushed away. Shakespeare poked his head out, watching him as he ran away. “You’ll be sorry!”

Sandy Bear rushed to the back door, barking a high pitch. “Mommy. Help!” Mommy!”
Sandy Bear jumped by the window. Mommy wasn’t there. “But she’s always here,” he barked. “She sits there and has her hands working across some silly board with a big picture screen on a shelf.”

“Computer, stupid,” Shakespeare grumbled. “Mommy’s always at the computer.”

“Not now,” Sandy Bear barked.

“I hear her,” Shadow shouted. “See. She had to get some coffee.”

“Mommy!” Sandy Bear screamed. “Help Cletus!”

The door opened. The dogs rushed inside. “What’s all that barking for? Where’s Cletus?” Mommy said. “Cleet…Cleet…Here Cleet Cleet. Here Little Buddy…”

Cletus was gone. Escaping into the sidewalks, woods, bushes, roads, and shrubs of the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

Mommy rushed around the back yard, looking, sighing, singing, “Cletus…Here Cleet…Cleet. Come here, Cleet…Cleet…Mommy won’t hurt you.”

Cletus heard her sobs but he kept running. No one will ever mistreat me again, He cried.

Later, as Cletus frolicked along the sidewalks, he chased squirrels. He drank from a stream. He heard sounds from a school. Children on bicycles. His eyes widened. Quickly he dove into the shrubs. The ground was warm. For the first time in his sad life, Cletus felt safe. He curled his body into a tightly woven frame and slept, the first real sleep he felt in much too long. When he awoke, it was dark. He listened. Only the sounds of night were around. An owl on a tree. A cat meowed a frightening sound. A fog horn hummed along the coast. Cletus heard a growl recognizing it was his stomach.

I should’ve caught that squirrel. I could’ve had a nice meal with him. I’m hungry. Maybe I should go back. He stood, rushing away from the shrubs. Which way do I go? Oh no. I’m lost. Help me. Shadow. Shakespeare, Sandy Bear — where are you?

The next morning, Cletus awoke lost and frightened. He heard a familiar voice.

“Cleet…Cleet…Here Cleet…Cleet.”

He ignored it. He sniffed the familiar scents of Shakespeare and Shadow, choosing not to respond.

I’ll be all right. The world is a big place. I don’t need humans to take care of me. No one will mistreat me again. Ever! I am free. Tears rushed down his face.

“Here Cleet Cleet…Little buddy…”

Cletus lifted his head. She’s here. He lifted his tired body, praying she would not hear his growling stomach. He sniffed. That smells like her.

Moving closer, he heard the school bells ringing. Cletus dropped to the ground.

“Come here, little Buddy. I’ve got you some food. Aren’t you hungry?” She shook a brown bag dropping it. Cletus sniffed. Food!

Shivering, Cletus did not move. If he moved or made a sound, she could grab him. He was tired of people thrashing their long, extended arms to him, only to hit him or push him around. The lady seemed nice, but he was still afraid what she might do. He let out a gentle sigh falling into an exhausted sleep as the lady turned and walked away.

The next morning, Cletus sniffed the bag, finding kernels of dog food. He tore the bag open, eating every bite, hoping she would return soon.

-30-

Let The Rehearsals Begin…


Dearest Readers:

Good morning, World. Another beautiful sunshiny day! After two cups of coffee and my morning yogurt parfait, I decided to rehearse the tentative songs for the show scheduled for late May — May 30, to be exact! All of my pups, with exception of grouchy little Hanks, were outside while I popped the CDG’s in the stereo. Turning the microphone on, I recognized it is not working. “Rats!”

“Unchained Melody,” starting playing, so I belted out the notes, moving and dancing around, I glanced at the carpet. Hanks the Tank sat motionless — something extremely out of character for him. His eyes stared at me, still motionless while listening to me sing.

I patted his head to thank him for his attention. The first notes of “At Last,” began, so I belted those long notes out. Hank is still mesmerized while listening to me singing.

The last song, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” is a duet I will sing with another singer. He has a great voice and I am honored to sing with him at rehearsals. As I sing the female notes, Hanks is still sitting about three feet from where I am dancing around. His eyes are still glued to me!

When I finish, Hanks approaches me…grumbling…as if to tell me he is enjoying listening to me. Funny. I’ve never noticed him listening to me while I sing. For me, this is the ultimate compliment. My energetic, grouchy, once terribly abused and unloved mini-schnauzer, Hanks the Tank, is letting me know how much he enjoys hearing me sing!

If all goes well, I will sing one song, and a duet at the show. I suppose I’ll share more details later. Now, I must decide what dress to wear. Those decisions are for a later date…after all, we still have rehearsals for all of us. We have a great bunch of singers for this variety show. No doubt it will be fun for all.

I cannot wait to get up on that stage and sing. Of course, you, my readers, know that — don’t you! This girl simply comes alive on stage! Yes, I was born to sing — and that is why I do it!

Today is a beautiful day. Think I’ll go work on my tan! Have a great weekend readers, and keep listening for more songs. Hanks is rubbing my leg now as if to say, “Sing…Sing…SING!”  Silly boy! Some people believe dogs do not enjoy music. I say — oh, yes — dogs LOVE music!

Maybe one day I will record a CD to share and to play — for my little Hanks! More details — LATER!

Simple Start, Weight Watchers — Why? Because It Works!


Dearest Readers:

Yes, I know…I’ve been quiet. As you recall, the new year started with a loss…not at Weight Watchers, but a loss of a loved one — our precious little Maltese, Shasta Daisy Shampagne. She was at least ten-years-old, probably closer to twelve. For approximately six months we watched her slowly fading away from us. At first, she stopped jumping across the gate. Then, she started to sleep — a lot…almost all day long. Occasionally she wouldn’t eat. During her wellness check at the vets, we discovered our suspicions — she was now completely blind, and that is why when she was awake, she raised her head high, to look at the bright lights she could see from the skyline of our windows. She could see a bright image, but nothing more. Each time I reached to pick her up, I would rub her and speak to her softly. She responded by struggling to jump into my arms. When she needed something, she did not whine or bark. She paced herself and I fully believe she knew exactly how many steps she needed to take to find the water bowl. She stopped playing with her favorite toys. When the seizures began, we strove to accept Shasta was fading away. I’ve never been a believer in ‘putting a dog down’ although we have let two go in this way. Their quality of life was gone, and so we made the decision to let them go peacefully, with us by their sides. With Shasta, it was different. Every time we considered making that dreadful call, she bounced back. Just like the Energizer Bunny. Twenty-four hours after a seizure, she worked hard to show us she could still walk and move. She could take care of her body functions. She could still drink and eat. Little Miss Independent Shasta wasn’t ready to go. Unfortunately, on January 4, early in the morning, I went to pick her up to let her go outside with me. She did not respond. She went on her terms. She did not want us to make that dreadful call. And so, we started the new year with the loss of our precious Shasta.

Life has taught me the fact of life that after death, we must continue. The question is how? How do we learn to live without those we loved? It is a known fact that we must continue to move. Demands in life force us to pick ourselves up. To take baby steps. To move. Simply — just to move. After losing Shasta, I wanted to just shut the world away, but the phone rang, door bells screamed, and I realized, I had to move on. I forced myself to get up and to return to my life. On January 9, I returned to Weight Watchers, anticipating more dismay, much to my surprise, I lost 1.8 pounds. This week, I lost .02 pounds. Baby steps. Now, I’ve discovered for me, it takes baby steps to continue my weight loss.

I do have a confession. Years ago, my husband bought a treadmill — one for him to use after heart surgery. Funny. He’s only used it twice. He used the excuse it was boring. He needed a TV so he could watch it while on the treadmill. We moved a TV into the room. The treadmill sat, all by itself, still awaiting my husband to move it! For years, I used it — to air dry clothes. After joining Weight Watchers, I stared at that treadmill. By now, it was dusty and needed attention, so I hopped on. ‘If only I can do ten minutes,’ I said. The treadmill is a 1998 version. The timer would not work, so I counted it down, while watching the clock and gasping for air. I’m asthmatic. Exercise is a bit difficult for me, but I was determined to do just ten minutes. At first, after five minutes, I had to jump off while gasping for air. That treadmill was getting the best of me!

Those of you who really know me understand how stubborn, independent and determined I can be when something intimidates me. I continued my pursuit. After joining Weight Watchers, I learned we must move to be successful with weight loss. I walked. I exercised, occasionally, but that silly treadmill all but stared and laughed at me. It was beating me, and I was just a bit annoyed.

Last year, I decided to set a goal of ten minutes again on the treadmill; after all, I had lost about 30 pounds. Just how hard can a treadmill be? My newest mini-schnauzer, Hankster the Prankster showed me. One morning while letting the treadmill down, he hopped onboard, as if to say, “Ha…Ha…I can do the treadmill and you cannot!” I turned it on just to see what he would do. That silly four-legged friend moved…and moved…and moved. Then, he barked, looked up at me as if to say, “Make it go faster,” so I did. Now he was running! A four-legged friend who knew much about me was using the treadmill. His little legs moved quickly and he barked a happy bark. I wanted to spank him!

Baby steps! The next day, I gave myself five minutes on the treadmill…a few days later, ten, and this time, I did not stop! Ten minutes was an achievement and I was proud of myself. I am happy to say, now, I can move on a treadmill for 50 minutes — non-stop! Then, I do an upper body workout. All to the credit of Weight Watchers!

This year, there is another new program with Weight Watchers — Simple Start, a two-week jump-start program that is easy to do. At the meeting this morning, many of the members shared weight losses and how easy the program is. As for me, I suppose you could say, I lose ever so slowly, but what I have learned this time with Weight Watchers is something simple. Weight Watchers works. No longer is it a difficult program. No longer is there a beige curtain with an intimidating scale staring in my face. The weigh ins are ‘confidential.’ Never do we share how much we weighed when we joined, and now, even a small weight loss of .02 is still — A LOSS!

Perhaps I owe the credit to Hankster the Prankster for teaching me that IF a tiny dog could work out on a treadmill, then I could too! There are days when he still wants to show me up on the treadmill, after a few minutes he hops off, as if to say, “OK…it’s your turn now!”

Thank you, Hanks. Yes, it is a new year. A new year to remember little Miss Shasta, and I still hear her little bark sometimes. When I walk by her bed, I still speak to her. As the year continues to move forward, I must focus on the blessings I have, including my precious four-legged children, and I must continue to move on to accomplish my weight loss.

Thank you, Weight Watchers. Thank you Hanks for teaching me I can do the treadmill, and Little Miss Shasta, thank you for the spunk and determination you taught me. I suppose people who do not have animals cannot understand how much they nourish, teach and inspire our life. These four-legged friends are there for us when we need a hug. They will lick away your tears, and melt your heart. I am blessed to have them in my life, and I am blessed to have a new inspiration and determined with Weight Watchers. It is a new year with Simple Start. A new year to count my blessings. Now, if I could only convince Hank I must use the treadmill before he does! Baby Steps!

To a New Year, New Beginnings, Goals and Promises – Learning to Move On


Dearest Readers:

My last post, Saturday, January 4, 2014 was written with a broken heart after we lost our precious Maltese, Shasta Daisy Shampagne. To say it has been a stressful, depressing and an almost unbearable week is an understatement. I have caught myself bursting into tears as the sea of grief rushes over me once again. Nevertheless, after losing many loved ones, friends, and family members, I recognize that life continues. Just because we have lost someone so special does not cause our lives to stop. We awaken in the morning. Demands of life still need attention. We still must pick up the pieces and “Move On!”

I must say, I am a bit proud of myself and how I have dealt with the grief and emptiness that Little Miss Shasta Daisy left. Shasta lost the remainder of her eye sight last year. I am convinced she counted the steps to where the water bowls were, along with the pillow she loved to rest on. This pillow is located next to my desk. Daily, she curled her tiny body by the pillow, and when she was thirsty, never did she whine for me to carry her to the water bowl. She was a feisty and most independent little girl. She loved doing things her way! Today, her pillow and blankie rest by my desk. I haven’t found the courage to wash her pillow or the blankie. Our newest little boy, a Maltese, named Toby Keith has adopted the spot, pillow and blankie as his comfort zone. Funny. Never did he claim this territory as his until Monday of this week. We were blessed to be the foster parent of Toby in early December after Shasta became weaker and weaker. As I’ve written before, Shasta’s seizures became more violent in December. Christmas Day was her worst. The amazing thing about Shasta is after a seizure, after Phil and I decided we should consult with our vet once again about her, Shasta chose to prove to us that she was still our little energizer bunny. Mornings after she suffered a seizure, she would go outside to potty and to walk around the back yard, as if to say, “See…I’m OK!”

We did not call the vet. I am convinced that little Miss Shasta Daisy chose to leave us on her terms — after she was certain we would be ok. Maybe she and Toby communicated, and maybe Toby convinced her that all would be OK. I am convinced animals communicate, to us, and to each other.

So, while it is a New Year and we had to build new goals, promises and beginnings, I am learning to move on. Yes, I miss Shasta, and I certainly miss my precious Prince Marmaduke Shamus; although, our home is filled with the love of our precious four-legged children. Together, we strive to make each day a new and good day. Yes, at times, I am sad, but I am learning to work through the grief. After all, life continues.

Today was my first day back at Weight Watchers after the holidays. Let’s just say, during the holidays I was a most naughty girl. Just before Christmas, I broke the plateau and I was so proud to accomplish that goal. Attending parties, I found myself craving Christmas cookies. I asked Phil to get us a few Christmas cookies and when he brought them home, I continued to eat and eat those blasted temptations until I was furious with myself. Then, I decided to do a bit of Christmas baking. My mistake! Going back to Weight Watchers, I hopped on the scales — gaining four pounds. I missed the next meeting — intentionally, and I continued to binge. No matter what I said to myself, I could not stop eating desserts.

“It’s the holidays,” people said. “Enjoy yourself.”

Thanks so much for your encouragement! Then I realized, I was the one out of control. After all, no one was forcing these delicacies on me, but myself! Naughty…NAUGHTY — OH SO NAUGHTY GIRL!

Now, my scales were reading a 10 pound gain. I was ready to jump off the bridge I was so angry with myself. I had a serious talk with myself and hopped back on the treadmill. After all, if my life was spinning out of control and I was gaining weight, shouldn’t I jump on a treadmill to stop this craziness?

Today was a good day. I am proud to say, the scales showed a loss of two pounds. Yes, even when life is spinning out of control and I am depressed from watching my precious friend Shasta fading away…even when I felt my life was losing its balance, I am happy to say, I have rejuvenated myself…after many tears and discussions at my special window. Today, I am moving on with life, goals, dreams and promises made to myself. Today is a new day. A new beginning. I have started the new year with a two pound loss! Thank you, Weight Watchers! This holiday season taught me something special. I have always been described as a strong, independent and opinionated woman. Yep. That is me. However, when a craving enters my brain, I become weak. Because of the weight gain, I have discovered that I must get back in control. I have lost 36 pounds, thanks to Weight Watchers. How many inches have I lost? I haven’t a clue, but my body is changing, along with my attitude about food. I must remember to be strong, independent and eat healthy. Yes, there will be times when I am tempted. At parties…dances…and other special events… Now, I must remember, I hold the key. I have the strength. I have the courage. After all, no one is spoon feeding me. When temptations occur, I will think twice! And then, I will think again…and AGAIN!

Rest in peace, Little Miss Shasta Daisy Shampagne. You were such a blessing to rescue and to become such an amazing loving part of our family. Watching you and the determination you had taught me that life must go on and with each day, we must continue to make the most of each day…Just like you did, precious Shasta!

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In Memory of Precious Shasta Daisy Shampagne, Our Adorable Maltese


Dearest Readers:

Only moments ago, when I awoke, I rushed to check on our precious, weakened little girl, our adorable Maltese, Shasta Daisy Shampagne. Today, when I touched her to whisper love words and good morning to her, she did not respond. I uncovered her from the blankets keeping her warm. Only this time, she did not move her head. Carefully, I lifted her into my arms, discovering her spirit and fight were gone. Over the night, Shasta left us, crossing Rainbow Bridge. I cannot stop crying.

If you read my blog regularly, you will remember little Shasta and her battle to survive while having seizures. We spoke with the vet about the seizures. He felt she was much too weak to survive any treatments. We were told to make her comfortable and to help her work thru the seizures. “She will let you know when she’s ready,” he said. Christmas Day was a rough day for Shasta. She suffered three long seizures. Her head rolled back. She gasped for breath and her tongue turned as blue as the sky at dark. We cradled her in our arms. I sang to her. With each seizure, she used all of the strength she could find, just to survive.

“Dear God,” I prayed. “Please don’t let her die on Christmas Day.” She survived, sleeping comfortably next to Phil. When she walked around, her walk was more of a weakened, confusing crawl, her body turned to the right. Her tongue hung out, but later, she was back to almost normal. She drank water, and she ate every bite of her food, wanting more. She wasn’t ready to go.

Phil and I discussed her situation. We agreed it was time. We decided we would call the vet, the day after Christmas to find out what he would suggest. We anticipated it would be to ‘let her go.’ The day after Christmas, she appeared better. We didn’t make the call. Carefully, we watched Shasta, counting her intake and her body functions. She drank water. She pottied. She kissed us. She loved us. She played with our boys, so it appeared that for now, Shasta was back. Remembering our vets words, “She’ll let you know when she’s ready,” we cared for Shasta, carrying her outside to potty and bringing her back inside to rest. After Christmas, she walked around the back yard, and she snapped at our newest family member, Toby, another rambunctious Maltese. After Christmas Day, no seizures.

We rescued Shasta from a shelter in July, 2005. She was about two or three years old and had been left at a shelter in Florida. She was tiny, as white as snow, fluffy, with only one minor problem. She had a crooked neck. Her face always appeared to be cocked to one side. When I met her, her face was cocked to the left, but she was just adorable. I drove to Jacksonville to adopt her. Full of spunk when I met her, she jumped into my arms, as if to say, “Hey there. I’m your new girl!” Phil fell in love with her the moment he met her. We massaged her neck and she appeared to enjoy our touch and she moved her neck a bit straighter.

Our vet checked her over, telling us to massage her neck. “It might help her straighten a bit.” She did not have any difficulty with her spine and he thought she was born with a slight disability; however, for Shasta, the crooked neck only added to her charm. It never stopped her! Over the years, she loved to walk. She was the little princess on the right. Shakespeare walked next to her, and to the left, Prince Marmaduke Shamus guided us as we walked for 2.5 miles. Last year, when Shasta started having the seizures, I stopped walking her. She wasn’t strong enough anymore. Slowly, I watched Shasta fading away from us, and although at times I thought about letting her go, Phil and I agreed we were not ready, nor was Shasta.

Today, Shasta has crossed Rainbow Bridge. She was ready, so she left us. I pray that Shamus was waiting for her and that they are playing together again, or maybe they are walking together. I will miss Little Miss Shasta Daisy Shampagne, but I am thankful that now, she will not suffer any more seizures. Now, she can run and play, eat and rest, while knowing she was loved by Phil and I and our children. Rest in peace, Little Miss. Mommy and Daddy love you and miss you terribly.

Animals Communicate to Us…


Dearest Readers:

Today, I awaken to another gray day in Charleston. Now, it is raining outside. Raindrops tap, tap, tap, on the windows and I’m thankful I called my four-legged family members inside only moments ago. They are so funny when it rains. When the back door opens, they rush inside, only to stop as the back door closes. They lift their little heads up. Their eyes stare at me, as if to say, “Where’s my towel? I don’t like being wet!”

Drying them is a funny site. First, Sir Shakespeare rushes to the front of the line, to get dried. Sometimes, Sandy Bear is second. He loves to feel the soft, fluffy towel rubbing his fur. Many times, he will moan, as if to say, “Um-mmm. That feels so good.”

Hankster the Prankster is usually third in line to get dried. He doesn’t really care to be touched, but he does allow the soft towel to rub his fur, while he growls, and growls and growls. I continue rubbing him until he backs away. He is such a funny and grouchy little character. Saved from a kill shelter, only to live for a bit with people who did not understand him, this precious, confused little mini-schnauzer communicates his needs to me. After he left our foster home, he communicated to me in three different dreams that he wanted to come back to us. One dream said he wasn’t happy and the people did not understand him. Later, in another dream, I awoke early one morning, in the early gray darkness of an extremely early morning, to hear whining and a familiar bark. In my dream, I slumbered towards the front door. Opening it, I discovered a cold and wet Hankster. He lifted his face towards me as if to say, “May I please come in? I ran away and I’m tired. Hungry and cold. Please, Mom.”

If you, my readers, read my blog at all, you will remember I have visions. Sometimes these visions are so strong that I know, deep inside, that this vision will come true. My last vision about Hankster was the strongest one. In this dream, I was driving along the Interstate. Traffic was bumper to bumper. I was curious as to why the traffic was moving at a snail’s pace. I didn’t see any emergency vehicles. No sign at all of an emergency; however, as my car crawled along, horns were blowing. People were shouting. I looked to the right of the road. In the emergency lane, there stood a small little dog, hovering down. Afraid. The animal advocate in me kicked in and I pulled over. Carefully getting out of the car, I prayed, “Dear God. Keep me safe and please let me capture this scared little fellow.” I moved slowly, making soft noises so the tiny dog would not be afraid of me. He crawled towards me, and when I was able to touch his fur, he howled. Carefully, I picked him up, thinking, wishing and hoping that he was Hankster.

Placing the frightened animal in the back seat, I covered him with a blanket and buckled him. I lifted his collar. “Hank,” I read.

My eyes opened. I looked into the darkened room, hopped out of bed and turned the light on. This dream was so visual…vivid…almost as if Hank was communicating with me. I kissed the pups sleeping soundly in their beds and I rushed to my computer. Downloading e-mail, I discovered an e-mail titled “Hank isn’t working out,” in the subject line. I opened the e-mail. Tears rushed down my face as I realized those dreams were now a reality that Hank needed me.

Two days later I was informed that Hank was coming back to the rescue center. He would be placed in a kennel and re-entered into the foster and adoption program for the rescue center. As silly as my dreams sounded, I notified the director that I needed to be the one to rescue and foster Hank. I mentioned my dreams. Much to my surprise, when I got a reply, the director understood my dreams. She thought our family would be perfect to assist Hankster.

That weekend, we rescued Hankster again. At first, he barked. I allowed him to smell my scent and scooped him in my arms, placing him in the back seat. On the drive home, Hank was fine. He curled himself into a little ball and slept the entire two-hour drive. Arriving home, he rushed inside to the water bowl, then to the toy box. He remembered our home and our four-legged-family.

Some people say that animals cannot communicate simply because they cannot speak our language. I correct those people, letting them know that animals do communicate their needs by their actions, and sometimes, in their dreams. I am convinced that Hankster was communicating to me for weeks and that is why I kept dreaming about him.

Today, Hankster is happy. We adopted him and slowly he took baby steps to improve his attitude and disposition. For a few weeks, he bit my husband’s hand and he chased after his feet, especially whenever my husband moved closer to me. It was obvious that Hank did not like men, nor did he appreciate Phil giving me a hug. His story is one of abuse. After he lost his first home due to death, the family members took him to a kill shelter. Fortunately, Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas stepped in to save him. He went to a foster home, then to our home for us to foster him. A few months later, a family adopted him but Hank wasn’t happy, so we re-fostered him, only to fall in love with him and adopt him. Today, Hankster the Prankster is curled at my feet while I write this. Yes, he growls at my husband, but when he realizes he has no reason to growl or be ugly to Phil, he rushes up to him, as if to say, “Hi Daddy. Pet me please.” Hankster has truly grown into a little guy capable but skeptical of trust. Yes, he is still protective with me, and I imagine he always will be my little protector, but he does know how to love and how to accept love. Baby steps. Hankster has finally found the road to happiness.

This morning as the rain pours from the heavens, I give thanks for this precious little bundle that could’ve been put to sleep alone, without anyone to care for him. People ask me why we foster animals. I think Hankster tells the story better than I, or anyone, could by his actions. I will let you, my readers, decide. As for me, I feel blessed to love Hankster and to be the one he rushes to whenever he is wet from raindrops, cold, hungry, or just needing a little pat on his head while he growls. What is his growl saying to me? One word. One syllable. “Thanks…!”

Yes, animals communicate. All we need to do is open our hearts, and our minds, to listen to and welcome them!

Communicating With My Precious Animals


My silly pups. Prince Midnight Shadow, my cold black giant schnauzer rushes inside to brush against the leashes, hanging near my office. He is telling me he is ready to walk today. “Mommy,” he says, staring into my eyes. “It’s nice outside today. The heat will not burn my paws. Can we go for a walk later?” I smile. Nod at him. Now, he is resting by the leashes. And to think, I’ve actually been told that only a ‘crazy person would believe that dogs communicate and understand what we are saying to them.’ I smile, snickering to those people saying, “Maybe you are the crazy one…I communicate with my animals. They understand what I say, and they love me for communicating and understanding their needs.’ Like earlier this morning, when Hankster the Prankster, my smallest mini-schnauzer, raised up by my legs, wanting me to pick him up. He doesn’t like to be picked up. He’s always afraid that he might get hurt. It is so obvious that he was mistreated by someone. It doesn’t matter who mistreated him. All that matters now is he is not closed inside a crate where he was barking…barking…barking…at the top of his little lungs when I agreed to foster him. It doesn’t matter that someone raised their arms to him, ready to attack him. It doesn’t matter that he was dropped off at a kill shelter, to end his life. What does matter is this little guy has found a home that loves him, regardless of his demeanor, temperament, and personality. He is finally getting more comfortable with us, and he hasn’t snapped at my husband’s hands in a few days. That is an accomplishment for him. Although he is small, he is powerful and quick with his mouth. He defends me from everyone!

Hank is unafraid and will protect his mommy, at all cost. He doesn’t care that something or someone could harm him. He cares about me and his home. That is, now that he has a home that accepts him and is teaching him he doesn’t need to snap at others. All he needs to do is trust. Today, when he raised up on my legs, he scratched his little paw on my leg, as if to say, ‘pick me up, Mommy.’

“What’s the matter, little buddy,” I asked him? “Do you want Mommy to pick you up?” He growled. When he growls it is usually a warning to back off, but I carefully scoop him up in my arms. He grunts, placing his little salt and pepper fur next to me, then he cuddles next to my neck. This is something he has never done before. He rears back, to look into my eyes. “What’s the matter, Hankster? Are you finally saying how much you love me and this home?”

He grunts again. I place him down. Moments later, he returns. He wants me to pick him up again, and so, I do. We talk for a bit without saying words. Our eyes stare into one another. He moans, moves his head close to my chest. He is telling me how much he loves me. My eyes fill with tears.

Today is Wednesday, a day of remembrance for me. On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, I lost my precious Prince Marmaduke Shamus, also known as “Shamey-Pooh.” Wednesdays are still a sad day for me. Words cannot express how deeply my heart ached after losing Shamey-Pooh. A tsunami of grief appeared to wash over me, like a gigantic, rushing, angry tide and for weeks I wasn’t certain if I would survive. I did survive. The sun still rose in the morning, and set at night. Bills still needed to be paid, and Father Time continued to tick, tick, tick the minutes of life by. Still, my heart ache for the loss of Shamus continued, and that is when I decided to foster Hank, until Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas could find a suitable home. Hankster and I bonded, even after he left our home for an adoptive home. I dreamed about him on several occasions, dreaming he wanted to come back to us. That dream came true, like many of my dreams.

Last October, Hankster returned. When I suggested allowing us to pick him up from his adoptive parents, some people were afraid he would not remember us. At first, he seemed aggressive, only to relax inside the car when he heard me singing. Silly dog. I think he remembered that I liked to sing. Arriving home, he rushed inside, to the water bowl, the toy box, and to greet our children. Hankster announced, “Hey guys, I’m back!”

Today, Hankster communicated to me — as if to say — thank you! Snuggling next to me for a few minutes, he grunted, and then he brushed my face with a soft kiss, something he never does! Now, he is resting next to me, along with Shasta, and Sandy Bear. Hankster is home! It is such a beautiful, cooler day outside so I’ve decided a brisk walk with my babies will be more healing to me than a treadmill!

Caring For A Sick Baby — Our Little Maltese


Dearest Readers:

To those of you who read my blog regularly, you recognize what an advocate I am for animals, especially rescued dogs. We are the proud family with five dogs, four which are rescues. Yes, they are expensive to keep up and care for, but words cannot express how fulfilling it is to see them grow under our care. Last month, Shasta, our aging Maltese, and Shakespeare, our oldest mini-schnauzer had their wellness checkups. We were concerned about Shasta because she has a slight growth on her nose. Our vet checked it. According to the reports, she has a slight cancer of the nose, so we are treating it with a medication. We must administer the medication — two pills every three weeks – with gloved hands. Upon giving her the pills, mixed with peanut butter so she could swallow them easier, I could not help wondering if I had to wear gloves to administer the medication, just what would these pills do to a tiny less than seven pound Maltese. Last week Shasta received her second dosage. Yesterday, I noticed how lethargic she is, lying around, barely moving at all, and she refused to eat her food. Knowing she must have fluids, I managed to get her to lick ice chips. When my husband got home, I shared with him my observations of how weakened she is. He tried to coax her to eat. She turned her head, locking her mouth. At dinner time, I had leftover mashed potatoes. Phil scooped a few bites of mashed potatoes on a spoon, and Shasta opened her mouth to eat – a bit.

Later, I noticed her blankets were soiled, so I placed fresh towels around a pillow so she could rest comfortably in the breakfast room. We managed to get her to drink ice chips again, deciding to leave her alone for the evening.

This morning, Shasta went outside to potty, flopping down in exhaustion. I’ve spoken to the vet’s office and this was anticipated. They reassured me we are giving her the proper care and this too shall pass — just like it did with the first dosage. Gathering all of her blankets and bedding to wash them, I placed a pillow inside a plastic container, a nice red blanket over it (her favorite) and I have Shasta resting next to me while I write and do laundry. Frustrated that she would not eat or drink again, I gave her ice chips. She locked her mouth down once again.

Earlier, for lunch, I decided I didn’t want to prepare anything time-consuming, so I made a fresh smoothie with bananas, yogurt, blueberries and strawberries. Shadow, my youngest, and most energetic giant schnauzer, loves yogurt. While I attempted to drink my smoothie, Shadow whined for his share. I poured a small amount into a bowl and he consumed it in moments. Now that he is outside, I decided to see if Shasta would drink a bit of smoothie. Pouring just enough to barely cover the bottom of the small bowl, I am pleased to announce, Shasta licked every bit of it and she is a bit more energetic now. Suppose it could be due to the storm and thunder brewing outside, but I suspect she is feeling just a tad better.

Her nose is almost healed now, but I cannot help wondering — when an animal gets sick from medications that they must have, should we administer them? I suppose I am questioning the ‘quality of life’ for now…and I do feel a bit of guilt while recognizing that I was the one who gave her the pills that have weakened her tiny body so much. She looks up at me with weakened eyes that cannot see me since she is blind now and can only see bright shadows. It breaks my heart to see her so weak and I have prayed that God is guiding me to care for her properly.

For today, she is enjoying her smoothie. If she wants more, you must believe her mommy will make certain she gets another one. We rescued Shasta in June 2005. She has blessed our lives with her sassy little demeanor and energy.

Looks like I must cut this short. It is lightning outside. I must cut the computer off. I will share more updates about our sweet little “Shasta Daisy Shampagne…She is white, like a Shasta daisy…bubbly like champagne. Such a little princess. At the moment, she holds her head high. Shakespeare, our oldest schnauzer that must snoop his nose into everything, is sniffing at her, making certain all is AOK.

More later, Readers — after the brewing storm!

The Journey of Cleet…Cleet Continues…


Good morning, World. It is a beautiful, sunshiny day in Charleston, SC — a beautiful day where I can see clearly now! What a relief! Thank you, God. To all who have asked, my foster child, Sweet Little Cleet…Cleet… is doing well with his new family. The moment I met them, I knew they were indeed the perfect family for him. His new name is Buddy and every day he takes a ‘baby step’ to his happiness. Truly, he was the hardest foster for me to let go of…but I learned something significant with him…I learned how to communicate with an animal. Occasionally, I will hear his bark and he and I will chat a bit.

Yesterday, he told me he was getting better…The confusion of my giving him to another family is easing, and he recognizes that he was loved by me, but he had to find a true, forever home. My mission was to teach him that humans are trustworthy, and many are loving, wanting only the best for him, a well deserving, gentle but fearful foster child. He said he was sad for a few days, and he watched the actions of his adoptive family, seeing many of the behaviors he saw in our home…the gentleness, kindness, the sweet, soft stroking of his skin…the soft whispers…no shouts…the encouragement. He said he still missed me, but he understands that he needed to go to another home where he could continue his journey to love and trust ‘humans.’ I am so happy for him. Tears drip down my face when I remember how dreadfully sad and terrified he was of me and my husband…at first…and that is probably why he chose to run away. When he saw the posters with his picture on the poles, signs and every location we could post, he recognized that someone actually cared enough to find him…to search and show that he was worthy of love. And when he returned, three weeks later, that is why he was different to us. No longer did he pull his face away, and he learned to look into my eyes! From a dog’s perspective, looking into a human’s eyes is a significant sign of trust! To quote the adoptive mommy, “Baby Steps!”

Today is a beautiful day for us, and for sweet little Buddy. Continue your journey while knowing that you are loved by many…and you are indeed worthy of L-O-V-E!