The New Hibdonville

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” 

Roger A. Caras

When you walk through our front door these days our house resembles a doggy day care center. Which, when you think about it, is absolutely true.

Four weeks ago Abby Rose joined our family, bringing us all joy after a month of illness and two giant losses. Of course Abby can never replace our Duffy and Ruby. What she did do was bring us pure, innocent love wrapped up in one busy little furry Lhasa body.

As I’ve watched Abby these past few weeks I’ve been amazed how different her behavior is from what I saw with my Ruby when she was a puppy. Ruby, as many of you know, was a Tibetan Terrier we had to euthanize a month ago due to genetic condition called neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinoses (NCL). What I see daily makes it important to me to help educate people before they bring a puppy or dog into their family.

I had so much help from other Tibetan Terrier owners and breeders when I reached out for help with Ruby. Many people spent hours with me as I tried to figure out what was wrong with my beautiful dog. NCL is a horrible disease and one I’d never heard of until I started asking questions. As things became clear, I had many loving people taking care of me while I awaited the confirming DNA tests.

One very special owner/breeder, Susan Hettinger, a lady involved with dogs since 1971, shared the following list of questions and advice when I asked her what she wished people knew before buying a puppy/dog. Until I talked with other owners and breeders, I didn’t realize I should be asking questions. I was surprised how much breeders knew about other breeders. Don’t be fooled by well run websites. When the time comes to get serious about getting a puppy, don’t hesitate to ask serious questions.

Question to ask your puppy seller:

1.  Why did you breed this litter?

2.  Do you have a pedigree for me to look at?

3.  How often do you inbreed in your pedigrees?

4.  What genetic testing / screening do you perform?

5.  What are the results of those tests?

6.  Are you a member of your parent breed club?

7.  What is your source of continuing education with respect to your breed?

8.  What do you do to socialize your puppies?

9.  Do you do any performance training (obedience, agility, etc.)

10.  How long do your dogs live? What are the ages of the dogs you have?

11.  Are you dealing with any health issues?

12. What health guarantees do you offer?

13. What are your expectations of me as a buyer?

14. Which puppy are you keeping, and why?

15. What can you tell me about breed history, and breed standard?

16. Do have references from buyers or other breeders?

In order to know if the breeder’s answers are responsible, the buyer has to do THEIR homework. You need to check out OFA, and the Parent Club website. Puppies should be individually screened for temperment. Anyone that tells you they have never had health issues, is dishonest. If they are not keeping a puppy, they are breeding for money, not to advance their bloodlines for the breed. If they can’t talk to you about breed history, breed standard,  how to socialize, care for, your puppy etc., they may not be responsible. For example, I have a 17 page booklet, I WROTE, to advise buyers, and it lists  education resources. I advise them that I attend annual education seminars at my Parent Club’s National Specialty Week. I would take back, any puppy / dog that for whatever reason could not stay with you. (I once had a 14 year old dog returned to me, when the owner had to go into a nursing home). I would replace any puppy that was found to be ill in any way. 

I was so pleased Susan shared her knowledge with me so I could pass it on to others. My goal is to educate others so we can put bad breeders out of business. Knowledge is powerful and we need to share it whenever and however we can!

“I, too, had set out to be remembered. I had wanted to create something permanent in my life- some proof that everything in its way mattered, that working hard mattered, that feeling things mattered, that even sadness and loss mattered, because it was all part of something that would live on. But I had also come to recognize that not everything needs to be durable. the lesson we have yet to learn from dogs, that could sustain us, is that having no apprehension of the past or future is not limiting but liberating. Rin Tin Tin did not need to be remembered in order to be happy; for him, it was always enough to have that instant when the sun was soft, when the ball was tossed and caught, when the beloved rubber doll was squeaked. Such a moment was complete in itself, pure and sufficient.”

Susan Orlean

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Taking a Breath

Dear God, 

Thank you for the wisdom that comes with age. Thank you for all the joys, the heartbreaks, the successes and the failures that have shaped me into who I am today. Life isn’t always easy, but I love that you have granted me the gift of always growing and evolving.  Amen.

~Maria Shriver, Sunday Paper

It’s been a busy weekend and an even busier Tuesday–one of those Tuesdays that definitely feels like a Monday.

I’ve started a little notebook filled with prayers. The one above is one of my favorites. As the day winds down, I thought it’d be a perfect one to share.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thanks again, Michael Hibdon, for letting me use another one of your pictures from the ranch. I love you.

Memorial Day Weekend 2019

“it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!” 

Kenny Chesney

For many different reasons, time seems to have eluded me these past few months.

How is it possible this is Memorial Day weekend and the start of summer?

The weather here in Texas has certainly done its best to clue me in. Both of us like to have the house open but even we’ve had to close things up and turn on the air.

The reality is this weekend is much more than the start of summer.

It is a time for all of us to remember and honor those who lost their lives defending our county.

Gracious God, on this Memorial Day weekend,

we remember and give thanks

for those who have given their lives

in the service of our country.

When the need was greatest,

they stepped forward and did their duty

to defend the freedoms that we enjoy,

and to win the same for others.

O God, you yourself have taught us

that no love is greater than that

which gives itself for another.

These honored dead gave the most precious gift they had,

life itself,

for loved ones and neighbors,

for comrades and country – and for us.

Help us to honor their memory

by caring for the family members

they have left behind,

by ensuring that their wounded comrades

are properly cared for,

by being watchful caretakers of the freedoms

for which they gave their lives,

and by demanding that no other young men and women

follow them to a soldier’s grave

unless the reason is worthy and the cause is just.

Holy One, help us to remember that freedom is not free.

There are times when its cost is, indeed, dear.

Never let us forget those who paid so terrible a price

to ensure that freedom would be our legacy.

Though their names may fade with the passing of generations,

may we never forget what they have done.

Help us to be worthy of their sacrifice,

O God, help us to be worthy. 

– J. Veltri, S.J.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thanks, Michael R. Hibdon, for sharing another one of your great pictures. I love you. 

 

The Fight Continues

“When someone has cancer, the whole family and everyone who loves them does, too.” Terri Clark

In my little circle of friends there are many who are fighting cancer.

Some have been on the battlefield for a long time and some are just beginning.

I’ve been on the sidelines for many battles–cheering on loved ones as I prayed the different therapies would work.

I have learned to pray hard and prepare my heart for God’s answer. I understand His plans may not always match my petitions.

Take a moment to join me in prayer.

Father God, we humbly pray for all those who are fighting cancer. Give them the hope and courage they need each day. Comfort them in their pain and bless them with healing. Strengthen their family, friends, and caregivers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thank you, Michael, for letting me use your picture of the ranch near Mason, Texas. It is beautiful. I love you. 

 

 

 

Ruby’s Lessons

“Over the years I’ve come to appreciate how animals enter our lives prepared to teach and far from being burdened by an inability to speak they have many different ways to communicate. It is up to us to listen more than hear, to look into more than past.” 

Nick Trout, Love Is the Best Medicine: What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian about Hope, Humility, and Everyday Miracles

I’ve learned over the past few months how much I didn’t know about dogs–it is yet another example of not knowing what I didn’t know.

I’ve also been blessed by meeting several people who’ve helped me through the illness of my Ruby. Their kindness, knowledge, guidance, and support as I waited for the genetic confirmation of her illness is something I will always remember.

As a tribute to my precious Tibetan Terrier, I want to spend time sharing Ruby’s story and the lessons she taught me. By doing this I hope I can help anyone who’s thinking about adding a dog to their household.

It didn’t take me long to figure out even after having dogs most of  my adult life, I’d shortened some preparatory steps or side stepped some entirely.

Ruby taught me that it is very important to do breed research.

We’d had Lhasa Apso dogs for many years and I anticipated Ruby to be just a big Lhasa. I quickly skimmed the breed description and saw that the Tibetan Terrier (TT) and the Lhasa do have similar characteristics. For me at that time, I felt that was all I needed to know. I was ready to forge ahead.

I did not investigate any health issues this breed may have or may be prone to develop. I did not know the hereditary diseases breeders are supposed to screen their dogs for before they breed them nor did not know the screening breeders are supposed to do on the puppies before selling them.

Ruby taught me to dig deep when doing breeder research.

Breeders have become very sophisticated in how they present themselves. I did not know breeders can make themselves look very reputable when they are not. The biggest mistake we made was becoming obsessed with finding a puppy. There were no puppies available in our area so we broadened our search area. Finding a puppy became the focus. We had no idea how critical a good breeder is to the whole process. We ignored many read flags because we wanted a puppy.

Ruby taught me to visit the kennel and see that environment before making any decision.

We found Ruby on the internet. The pictures of her and her litter mates showed beautiful, healthy looking puppies. The breeder’s website told us about her kennel and the history of her champion dogs.  She had published reviews praising her business, the beauty of her dogs, and how happy each owner was with their entire experience. We could not find a negative review.

Ruby taught me to listen to my gut.

For a very long time Ruby tried to tell me something was not right–my gut agreed but my heart told me to let it pass.

Ruby’s lessons:

  • Be patient. Learn before so you aren’t surprised later.
  • Don’t rush. Make that life long commitment slowly and seriously. I’ve had people tell me the dog will find you. In a very clumsy way, I do believe things happened exactly as they were supposed to–Ruby really did find us. I would not change having her in my life–my only wish would be for a much different outcome.
  • If you have not seen the puppy in person and seen where the puppy was raised, pass on the deal. I have heard breeders are showing their puppies in rented places so the buyer does not see their actual kennels. Be wary.
  • Go to The American Kennel Club, http://akc.org, for general breed information, general trading education, reputable breeders listed by state, and links to other websites for more specific information.
  • Go to The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, http://ofa.org, for breed specific health information. This foundation also has genetic registry that has history for each reported genetic disorder in individual dogs in an effort to stop breeders from using these affected dogs in their breeding stock.
  • Check out social media for owner’s groups. You will find out a lot of information shared by other dog owners. This type is unfiltered information is incredibly valuable. Thanks to this network of loving people, I have some great things to share in upcoming stories.
  • If your gut tells you something is wrong, believe it. The genetic disorder Ruby had, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis or NCL, is not very well known. I learned about it only after I reached out for help from other TT owners.

“We who choose to surround ourselves

with lives even more temporary than our

own, live within a fragile circle;

easily and often breached.

Unable to accept its awful gaps,

we would still live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only

certain immortality, never fully

understanding the necessary plan.” 

Irving Townsend

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

A Day When Words Fail

May God heal you, body and soul.
May your pain cease,
May your strength increase,
May your fears be released,
May blessings, love and joy surround you.
Amen.
-Rabbi Naomi Levy
Talking to God: Personal Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle and Celebration

Today I learned the son of a woman I adore committed suicide.

I have no words.

As I write I’m sending love and prayers to Debbie, Russ, and the rest of their family. Please know you will be in my prayers today and in the days to come. May we all be comforted by the memories we have of this “outstanding” young man.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Kindness

“A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.” 

Roy Bennett

Yesterday was a tough day for me.

We were finishing up a few days of dog sitting and I knew our two “guests” would be leaving soon.

Having two extra dogs kept me busy. What that really means is my mind had been completely occupied. As I packed things up for our visitors to head home, I was hit with memories of Duffy and Ruby.

Once again, I was caught off guard.

Even little Abby tried to console me. As I was getting dress she kept coming up and grabbing at my shoe strings–just like Duffy used to do. Her completely perfect and innocent actions created a whole new flood of tears.

God bless her little intuitive soul.

All this meant I had to find something to do.

Of course, my job of choice was and always will be–working in the yard.

After I finished weeding and watering our newest plants, Michael asked me to take a break. As I sat down he handed me his tall insulated glass full of ice water along with a beautiful little bouquet of violas.

In my typical form, I said thank you as I took a few small sips of water, jumped up, and continued on with my work.

Also holding true to my usual form, I pushed this perfect gift to the back of my mind.

Luckily he took this picture.

I found it earlier today in my morning messages.

Ummm, yes, awareness is my word for the year for a very good reason.

I fought the tears and ran outside

From human eye I’d try to hide

But there are Eyes that always see

He ever watches over me

And so He sent a gentle breeze

to kiss my cheek and comfort me.

And look who came to write with me today.

IMG_1476

 

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

 

 

Patience

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” 

David G. Allen

Life lessons come whether you’re ready or not–I’ve been reminded of that important fact this past month.

I’d become very comfortable with the status quo. I’d had this illusion of what my future held and I’d assumed things would follow that path.

I was pretty much 100% wrong.

I’ve been reminded life can change in a fraction of a second and in ways I’d never imagined. I’ve been reminded loss takes many forms, making it so important to love all those in your life without reserve. I’ve been reminded how one loss can change so many other things I’d never realized were intertwined. I’ve been reminded to pay attention to my word for the year–awareness–prompting me to stay mindful, slow down, and appreciate all aspects of my life. I’ve been reminded to stay in the present because those planned tomorrows are never promised. I’ve been reminded of the importance of my tight little cluster of friends as I’ve experienced the amazing kindness of strangers. Once again, I’ve been reminded of the depth and darkness of grief along with the renewed knowledge my faith is resilient and strong.

Most of all, I’ve been reminded to trust in myself, in my family and friends, and most of all–in God.

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.” 

Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.” 

Ashly LorenzanaIMG_1457

 

Choices

“Whether you choose to move on from your struggles and enjoy life or waddle in your misery, life will continue.” 

Germany Kent

This past Saturday we buckled Bud into his Fido Rido and headed off to Sequin, Texas. As we drove through the magnificent wildflowers we knew we were starting a brand new chapter in the book entitled, Life In Hibdonville.

Everyone has an opinion about just about everything. Getting a new dog after the death of another dog is certainly one. No matter who you ask, there’s always very focal “yay and nay” sayers. Now, I’m not sure how many of those opinion holders have had the experience of losing two dogs in one month. This level of loss has been hard on us all–including our oldest Lhasa, Bud. After all the anguish and tears, we felt it was time to bring in the highest level of healing-the healing energy only another dog spirit can bring.

By the grace of God, on Saturday, May 4th, we picked up our newest family member–Abby Rose.

As you can see demonstrated in the attached picture, she has already started weaving her magic.

“But that’s the wonderful thing about man; he never gets so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and worth the doing.” 

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Resting

“He died that day because his body had served its purpose. His soul had done what it came to do, learned what it came to learn, and then was free to leave.” 

Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

It’s been especially quiet in Hibdonville today–the three of us are hanging close and resting.

Parts of yesterday are a blur but this orchid remains a powerful reminder of an important part of the day.

We’d been watching this flower start its blooming process for weeks. For days, this flower looked like it would explode. Early yesterday morning it did exactly that!

While I was marveling at the vibrant colors, my heart skipped a little beat. I knew at that moment Duffy, in typical Prince of Royal Court fashion, sent that burst of energy to us.

Duffy was telling Michael and I he was waiting for Ruby. It was time for us to get ready for a very different walk.

Duffy and Ruby had always waited for each other during our walks.  As we leashed everyone up, Duffy would be nipping at Ruby’s legs, trying to speed her up and Ruby would be waiting for Duffy at each and every corner because Duffy had only one walking speed–slow.

It was such warm and comforting memory on this dark and gloomy day. Sometimes God works in very subtle ways.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 

Anne Lamott

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~