This is Lady, our regal Australian-Shepherd-Mix who overcame a very abusive background. Part of her story is in the devotion The Abiding Leash. Lady reigned as alpha over Jake and Mindy even when she was near-blind and crippled with age. She mentored many strays including a blind rabbit. I did not choose Lady, she choose me. Out of a crowd of people at the Humane Society that day - she gripped my hand with her paw in a desperate plea for help. I am forever grateful she did.
Meet our opinionated Samoyed-Malamute. Mindy was a character, a very vocal character. She learned to 'speak quiet' so that only her lips moved. She lived life BIG - and on her own terms. She love to play catch - but only with herself. She slid down the hill on her back in the snow. Loved puddles, hated the lake. And she tattle on Jake whenever she choose to be good instead of joining his misadventure across the property line. She kept the gophers and moles out of the yard. And she kept the deer and raccoons out of the garden. She refused to come in the house during snowstorms. In the morning, she'd be happily buried under a blanket of snow.
Jake was our gentle giant. A German-Shepherd Mix from a rescued mother.
Although twice Lady's size, younger and stronger, Jake never challenged her status as alpha. He picked apples and tomatoes for her. His play with her was gentle and on her level - while Mindy pulled on his hind leg until he laced into her for a wild dash around the yard. Then the three of them would cuddle up for a nap. He was great with kids. Even those who were afraid of dogs, loved to put treats on his nose. Our feline, Stacy, adored him, although he loved to ambush Jake, then box him in the face. Jake tolerated the little feline brat and defended him against other dogs or woodchucks.
Affectionately known as Nut Mutt.
Our Border Collie-Terrier Mix. Gus 'wrote' a devotion about overcoming the terrifying new kitchen floor. It will appear in a future book. Everything was a game to him, including discipline. Eventually he learned (or maybe I learned) a variety of words and commands. He is our only canine to share the spotlight with two cats. Our feline, Stacy, adopted Gus when we did. Later, he was as smitten by Denali as we were. He protected her, played with her. And although her food dish was only three feet from his, he never once stole her dinner. He was unique - and totally awesome.
You met Chops in the poem The Green Football. Chops was rescued just before he was a year old. He'd been chained up inside a barn with no access to the outside. His health was severely compromised, but not his big heart. He loved life. Selectively, he loved people. He was not keen on making new friends. When our neighbor's dog came into our yard, Chops promptly escorted him home, then stole one of his toys. Not exactly what a good neighbor does. He was always kind to our feline, Denali, although she never warmed up to him. During their paws-to-paws stare-downs, Chops was known to slap the floor to which Denali turned up her tail to him and walked away. He was always the gentleman and never chased her.
Li’l Bits represents countless rescued strays. When we picked her up on the side of the road, she was full of ticks, burrs, and filth. I had to clip her before I could bathe her. Our three resident canines plus Stacy, our feline, helped her overcome the trauma of being abandoned. Li’l Bits wiggled her way into the hearts, laps, and bed of our elderly Aunt and Uncle. They changed her name to Penny after a neighbor mistakenly accused Auntie of yelling an obscenity when she called Li’l Bits to come in the house. She lived a pampered life with our Auntie and Uncle. Their grandchildren adored her, too.
Stacy began his nine lives in a box on our kitchen floor with a note that said, "Hi Honey. We have a cat." His three canine siblings curiously guarded the box while I took my sister-in-law home. Stacy loved to teased our 125 pound shepherd-mix, Jake. Yet Jake is the one Stacy ran to when a woodchuck was after him. Jake took care of the woodchuck, and Stacy resumed his teasing. Stacy refused to drink the water if it had too much dog slobber in it. He would bat the water dish until we refilled it. He came to a whistle and learned to knock when he wanted in. When Gus was a puppy, Stacy would chase other dogs out of the yard.
This is Denali, the Feline Queen. Our polydactyl tri-colored cali-tabby had a huge personality. Denali is featured in Spiritual Whiskers and Smitten by Mittens. She adored her canine sibling, Gus, but never warmed up to Chops. She tolerated Chops with a regal strut through his legs when he was in her way - but I think she was always wondering when he would 'go home.' Her baby blue eyes turned green as she aged. She could walk without a sound or make as much noise as a herd of Clydesdales when chasing her toys. She was also quite vocal, I guess that's another common trait of tri-colored cali-tabbies.
This little bundle of joy is an Australian Cattle-dog mix - our current resident rescue. We had to wait until Dixie's nine pups were whelped and weaned - but she was worth the wait. She has attitude, personality, intelligence, energy, and charm. She has truly been an answer to prayer. She loves to run, play, and cuddle. The squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits have also learned her boundaries. It is comical to watch them scurry six feet beyond the line and stop - as if to laugh at her. Their games have 'rules.' Sometimes we are able to discern them - sometimes not.
This is Jinks. His ticking (marbling) is becoming more prominent (aka darker) as he matures. He is a German Short-haired Pointer pup. God must have really enjoyed creating this guy. Jinks is an intense retriever - gotta get that ball at all costs. And he loves to hide stuff, then find it. Sometimes he needs help - like when he shoves it too far under the couch or chair or alongside the refrigerator. Once his ball rolled down an abandoned woodchuck hole. By the time he and I excavated the site, the hole was over 4.5 feet long and 2.5 feet deep. But that is where the ball landed, so he had to retrieve it. It was so much fun, he reburied it and dug it up again a few times before I piled a bunch of logs on the site. Mercy - What a pup.