Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

God is good. Many of us already knew that, but it's always nice for reassurance. Spencer is thriving...growing and gaining strength by the day. He is now in a fancy, crib with a musical mobile, an attached toy that shows moving animals, projects light and plays music, and an assortment of other things. It is apparent that he is receiving optimal care and is likely the favorite for quite a few of the nurses! When you couple all of that the devotion of his loving parents...well, no wonder he is doing so well! Yesterday, his weight was 4 lb 14 oz.  More than double his birth weight. Go, Spencer!

Last night, Kate and I went to the hospital together. After she had held him for awhile, she stood up and handed him over to me! What an experience! I felt blessed to be entrusted to hold that tiny person. He was opening his eyes off and on, stretching, making noises...Spencer is precious and eager to live.

And it felt like such a privilege to spend an extended bit of quiet time in the NICU with Kate and Spencer. Oh, sure, I've been up there often as I can, yet this was different. Maybe the Saturday night quietness, Spencer's improvement, Kate's calmness all contributed. The fact that she was willing to open her heart and share him with me in that way meant more than I can ever say.

I have been so proud of her as I watch her walk this journey with her baby. The calm yet determined focus she has maintained is impressive. I was able to get this sweet shot of her talking to her son.

Here is one more shot that will show just how healthy Spencer has become. As I said, God is good! Many thanks to all of you offering prayers, support, prayer chains, etc. You've been a positive presence and have helped tremendously. Hopefully, Spencer will continue to grow and thrive until his projected release in mid May. I'll definitely continue the updates because there is a lot more work for this little guy! My love to each of you.

Now, on to other things...
Zeke is gradually becoming settled in his new home. He and his new person, Titus, have bonded. Zeke has been taught to shake with left and right paws, find hidden treats among a group of inverted cups, loose leash walk, sleep in bed with Titus, and the list goes on! Zeke lives with a loving, gentle, soft-spoken family with three generations to love him. They said that he regularly goes in the car with Titus, they jog each day, he accompanies Titus to social gatherings and has even unearthed a possum living under a set of steps. I know he is going through adjustments because I have been as well, I missed him so much at first that I continually doubted my decision. Now, I am certain that all will be well. As my special friend, Jyl, told me--Zeke  has someone solely devoted to him. And we all know that is really what a Border Collie needs and, more importantly, deserves!  Connie, his new mom, has been quite gracious about staying in touch about Zeke's progress. Another thing that Jyl told me is that once Zeke realizes that he is no longer waiting for me, it will kick in that he is in his permanent new home and life is good. From the progress Titus has made in the first 3 weeks with Zeke, I'm more than impressed with his dedication and devotion to that pup. I'll always miss my Zeke, but I feel better knowing that he has Titus.

Last weekend, I took Caleb, my 8-month old Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd pup, to a rescue fund raiser.  It was a lot of fun with lots of nice people and dogs. In fact, Laurie, who adopted my very first foster dog about 5 years ago, was there with her two dogs, and we had a chance to visit and let the dogs socialize. Since the event was the weekend  before Easter and lots of families were expected, there was an Easter bunny there to interact with the children, take photos with dogs, and to add to the happy atmosphere. He/she approached us to greet Caleb.  When I told him to sit, he did...after he took two steps back and sat behind me! A couple of times, he stretched his neck around the side of my legs, but it was clear that he wanted no part of that bunny! A group of people were observing and chuckling at the fact that a 90-pound pup was afraid of an Easter bunny. The interaction with lots of people, children and other dogs was good for him. He and I begin Canine Good Citizen class in mid May. I'm looking forward to the work and watching him develop special skills. He is the sweetest dog and always seems to have a muppet smile on his face.

Iris. Well, the little princess is really gaining trust. This photo was taken after a long walk. It appears that she has claimed my red leather chair as her throne! When she, Caleb and I were on that walk in the neighborhood this evening, we stopped to chat with some other rescue neighbors. Iris actually let the gentleman bend over and pet her, and she showed no cowering or fear. I praised her lavishly! What a huge step for her...especially to let an unknown man touch her. She is accustomed to the wonderful staff in our office at UT. Mando is especially tender to her, and frequently talks to her and bends down to her level to show affection, and the lovely and gentle Maia does the same. Their work has contributed to Iris' growth, and I appreciate it!

On April 28, Iris and I will begin Tricks and Triumphs class out at the Mannix Center. This course  was developed for handicapped, abused, and/or wallflower dogs. As hard as it is to imagine, Iris was the recipient of abuse and neglect the first ten months of her life--then she was brought to me--that was December of '08, and I can't even describe the progress she has made. And I have learned so much from her. I've always been a large dog person, but Iris and I were definitely meant to be together, and she has as much love and spunk as the largest of creatures. My friends call her my velcro dog because she always wants to be near me. Anyway, this class will provide the ideal environment for her to build more trust and confidence. My hope is that Iris will be interested and willing to participate in small dog agility later on. Zeke and I had fun with agility, and I love the exercise and general environment. Time will tell, I suppose, but I have faith in Iris.

A busy week awaits me. My garden is thriving and loaded with blooms--I'll include some photos with my next posting. Thanks for reading...have a good week.

My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet.  ~Edith Wharton