Puppy Love

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Way back in the day teen heartthrob Donny Osmond crooned out his hit song Puppy Love. (Way before my timeI was but a youth…Ok, you caught me…it was my first 45 purchased with my birthday $ for my tenth birthday!)  Young girls went crazy for him and for that song in particular. Nowadays if you go see him in concert not much has changed, except for the fact that those “teens” are now middle-aged gals who transform back into their dreamy-eyed teeny-bopper selves when Donny teases the opening bars to that particular song.Image result for puppy love 45

Ahhh puppy love… that euphoric feeling of a first crush. A powerful sort of love reserved only for the very young.

Or  is  it?

(use your best Keith voice…)

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There is a type of joy that is akin to that happy “newly in love” feeling of youth. Don’t believe me? Just snuggle a puppy and you can’t help but feel it.

And they call it…

Puppy Love 

(I know quoting Donny’s lyrics was lame.)

Luckily this type of puppy love comes without the added baggage of teen angst and a broken heart. 💔

Previously, I’ve shared about the many pets I had  growing up and the tremendous blessing they were in my life. (Gimme Shelter Oct.2015)  To be accurate, I said some of my best friends were animals-and some of my family members were too! (Still the truth any way you slice it).Image result for faithful snoopy

 

Poster: Oriental Trading Co.

Horses, cows, cats, dogs-it’s all the same. Good day? Your pet is always there. Bad day? Your pet is always there. Mediocre day? You get my drift…. With happy spirits and unconditional love, pet family members have provided countless hours of companionship, comfort, and the best part-humor.

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Sylvester & Tweety

That’s not to say I haven’t done my share of complaining about my diva cat Jellybean, or rambunctious dogs that bark out trouble at every mailman, school kid, and squirrel. I’ve done that. Like Dr. Dolittle I talk to the animals-albeit sometimes in a caterwauling or barking tone of voice. 😼🐶  But pets being who they are, never respond in kind. (There’s that example of pets and unconditional love again.)

IMG_5830Bailey & Zoey BFF’S

Of course animals are a huge responsibility and it’s not all fun and games. Animals can be hard work–but as we all know, anything worthwhile is. And they give so much back, it really can’t be compared to what we do for them.

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BAILEY

This year has tested my puppy-love to the breaking point. In February our senior dog Bailey suffered a stroke and had to be put down on her 13th Birthday. She had exhibited all the old-age infirmities so we knew her time was limited, but it was so hard to let her go. As we returned home it felt different. Empty. Quiet. So many fun memories with our family revolved around her presence.

Her spirit was sorely missed in our home, and we grieved our loss. Luckily, Zoey our Maltipoo cheered us with her exuberant nature-even as she grieved her own loss. Spending time with Zoey helped us in our reminiscences about the two of them together. The doggy road trips, meandering walks and swims along the Boise river,  their silly canine hi-jinks. We were able to laugh and be grateful for the time we shared and the happy memories.zoey1

ZOEY

Mindful she was adjusting to a new normal, we took Zoey to the drive-in, on car rides, played hours of fetch, and tried to ease her loss even as she comforted ours.
Suddenly, last week we noticed a stumble here-a wobble there. Goofball. What was she up to? A day or so later a fall and some twitching. My daughter promptly took Zoey into the vet, where she on-cue exhibited no symptoms at all so the doc prescribed steroid therapy. Slight improvement and then more aggressive issues and rapid decline. Meds were changed, daily vet contact and still no answers. What was happening to Zoey?
Imagine our shock when one week after her first symptom we had to release her from this life by euthanasia. A mere 3 months after we had lost Bailey. Bailey to old age and a stroke, and Zoey-full of life and playful a week ago-seemingly to a brain tumor.
It’s nothing we could have imagined, and yet even in death we felt as if Bailey had gone on ahead to prepare us for the quick and unexpected demise of Zoey.

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Picture credits: Rescue Angels, Inc.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, All Dogs Go To Heaven…(ok, so I stole it from a movie-still true!) Today we feel the peace of sister dogs reunited, playing together in heavenly fields, chasing squirrels and freed from pain.

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Together Forever…

As raw as we feel, and even though we never want to go through this again (in theory), We know we happily will. Because having them in our lives was so worth it. One day soon this heartache will heal and we will adopt a new pet family member. In fact, we’re thinking maybe two. Sisters. Just like Bailey, Zoey, and all those beloved family pets that have gone on before. Why put yourself through it you ask?

 They call it Puppy Love. 🐾Image result for snoopy

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

~Josh Billings

Hissy Fit

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My son is currently on an adventure cruising the high seas. My only cruising experience has been watching cheesy episodes of The Love Boat back in the day. As it turns out though, I am having a little adventure of my own.  Pet-sitter. Only it’s not a cute puppy or kitten that I’m tending. More like a menagerie. Two of them are cute and furry, nibbling on carrots and sweet peppers, Brownie and Lily, my grand-Guinea’s.(Pigs, that is.)

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This is Brownie 💜  (Lily is bashful…)

It’s the rest of the pet family that is giving me the Addams Family creeps. First, there is a small snake named  Blanka. A Brazilian Rainbow Boa. Don’t let the rainbow part fool ya. There’s no pot of gold at the end-just more snake!  As if that wasn’t bad enough, He has a stepbrother.  Yup, another snake-and this ones a big one.

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A Ball Python named Royal. Supposedly shy. Or should I say sssshhhhhyyyy….Who cares if a snake is shy?  It’s still a snake!!!

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Snakes and me. 🐍 Me and snakes.

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Remember Pee-wee Herman and the burning  pet shop scene? Well, that pretty much sums it up. All Creatures Great and Small…Does God really expect you to save snakes in case of fire? (Hopefully not a test I will get…) I will say, I have had more than my share of snake experiences in my life, so there is no love lost between me and anything that slithers.

When I was a kid, we played Barbies outdoors every day in the summer.  As kids often do, I would get lazy about picking up my toys.  One morning as I headed out to play, I found my Barbie case had been left out over night in the damp grass. As I flipped the lid open, out slithered a black snake.  It felt like he leaped out-he was airborne for a minute there. Or maybe I was. Oh well. Potato/potato. Needless to say, I never left a toy out ever again.  Or played Barbies for that matter. A more clever child would’ve snagged an apple and played pretend Adam and Eve, complete with snaky action. Me-not so much. Sadly, those vintage Barbies would fetch a kings ransom now. But snakes…ewwww…Childhood sure can change on a dime.  barbie

The dude on the right is named Alan…Who needs Ken with a stud like Alan around?

Fast forward to my dads garden years later. My kiddos and I were helping grandpa pick some green beans and grandpa was wink-wink, nudge-nudge entertaining them by telling tall tales of his “pet snake” that lived in the garden, and how ferocious he could be. I drew the lucky straw and as I plunged my hands in harvesting green beans, I pulled out a handful of snake instead!
Well the moment I realized, I reflexively tossed that snake and we all watched as my old dad leapt the barbed wire (and electric!) fence in his Jed Clampett boots and hightailed it to the house, screaming like a banshee the whole time.

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I was left, mouth hanging open, to grab two small children and the  bucket ‘o beans and navigate us safely home. Pet snake indeed! Who knew grandpa’s garden snake had roughly the same  circumference as a green bean?  I still shudder at the memory every time I handle green beans.  Yikes! Probably a descendant of the Barbie-snake years prior.
A few years back, my daughter and I used to walk along the Boise River trails.  One day as we were enjoying Mother Nature, I did the high-step over a large stick.  The sturdy stick suddenly slithered like a sidewinder and my drill team high-step turned into a jig as I freaked out.image

Sadly there were other walkers out, but they were far enough behind that they witnessed me dancing around like a lunatic but never saw the snakes part. Awkward. (Me and exercise, never BFF’s.) Turns out the Boise River is a tributary of the Snake River.  Well duh. Lesson learned.
So to tend snakes under any condition–greater love hath no mom! And I’m not just talking snakes here. There is a Pixie Frog that looks just like Jabba the Hut. Pixie is way too flattering a title for this particular frog.  Woof! How they ever came up with that name for a frog that looks like this is beyond me:

PIXIE:                                                                         

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 PIXIE FROG:                                                          

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Then there are three Pac-Man Frogs, which conjure up a cute picture reminiscent of a favorite video-game.pac-man-hd-07-535x535
Chomp-chomp.  Which is how they got their names. Froggys who can draw blood. Charming.  Which makes you wonder how they ever came up with the fairytale. Kiss a Frog  to find your Prince Charming? 💋 Not this girl. frog

Well truthfully, there are a couple of more attractive frogs, Pancho and Lefty. Colorful Tree Frogs. And not at all interested in biting me.  That’s a plus-over snap, crackle, and pop baring their froggy teeth in the other cage.
If the frogs don’t kill ya, there’s a Leopard Gecko just for giggles. Frank. He comes right to the glass and gives me the side-eye every time I do pet duty.

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Frank is smiling for his blog debut…

Funny thing is, these pets are all supposed to be nocturnal. As in-sleeping the day awaySo that’s when I attempt to feed them. Well all I have to say is… nocturnal my fanny!

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These pets are deliberately setting their clocks just to torment me. I have one frog that sits belligerently in the space left by his water bowl while I’m busy cleaning it. I tried to move him with my mind, but he wasn’t  having it.

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I tried a stare-down but no luck there either.  (Maybe the threat of a menu of frogs legs…) No worries. I will survive. My daughter has been my faithful sidekick in this adventure. It takes two because of the fear factor. In case one of us passes out and hits the floor. That way, the other one can keep the pets alive till my son gets home. I’m already a few days in and it’s only a ten-day gig. Plus, my son will owe me big time! And I’ve got some crazy pets of my own, albeit two dogs and a cat aren’t as terrifying as lions, tigers and bears.  I mean, snakes, frogs, and lizards.

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Surely, if I can make it through this I can make it through anything. But if those snakes dare to even look my way with their hypnotic snaky eyes, not only am I going to be cruisin’…I’m going to be literally throwing a hissy-fit!