Time

Time is a funny thing. It seems like there is never enough when you want it, but there are also times where there is just too much. In some cases a lot of time makes things easier, dealing with loss for example, but in other cases the passage of too much time makes it difficult to do the thing you have been putting off. A good example of the latter is this blog.  So much time has passed since I posted regularly that I don’t even know where to start with the blog again. So, instead of trying to go back and talk about everything that has happened in the time since I last posted, I will give you a snapshot of what is going on at the MMNK household at this particular moment in time.IMG_6104
We have two dogs, but not the same two as the last time I posted. Sarge has been gone for almost three months, and it is still very difficult to talk about. I am planning to write a lot more about that later. Laynie has been a permanent member of our family for two months. She is doing really well and she is adjusting to our lifestyle. Nola seems to like tolerate her, so things are going pretty smoothly.
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We have been in our new house about a year now. We love the area and the fact that we are no longer crammed in a small house with a small yard in the city. The wild turkeys that frequent our neighborhood are a bit challenging with the dogs, but our fenced-in yard is amazing! Side note: did you know turkeys CAN fly? I didn’t believe it until one scared the bejeezus out of me when it flew out of a tree during a walk in the woods.

I am starting a new job next week! I left my previous job at the end of December and have been able to be at home with the dogs for the past three months. Although the job search was stressful, I am so grateful I had the time to spend with Sarge during his last days, with Laynie during her first days, and with Nola while she adjusts to the changes with the dogs in her life. My main goal was to find a career that merged my skills in marketing with my passion for dogs, but that is a challenge in Maine because there is limited opportunity. I am very excited about my new position, but will continue to pursue my dream career and am confident it will happen eventually.
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So there you have it: a lot of time has passed, but we have been trying to enjoy every minute. Some of the time was hard, some was sad, most of it has been happy, and we are glad we’ve had it. We hope during our time off from blogging you all enjoyed the time you’ve had as well. Remember:

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey MacKay

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It’s My Birthday!

Today I turn the big 2-8. While it is a pretty insignificant number, I was a little uneasy about it when I went to bed last night. But this morning, when I woke up with the Mr. next to me and Nola on top of me, I was reminded that I am happy no matter what age I turn, as long as my family is there. And, who were the first two posts on my Facebook wall from this morning (besides the Mr.)? BOTH of my former fosters’ families! I couldn’t have asked for a better present. How cute is this?

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Laynie Monkey and her sis’ Daisy wishing me a Happy Birthday!

Coincidentally, today is also the day Coffee with a Canine featured Mr. & Mrs. & Nola Kisses on their blog. Another great birthday present! Check it out!

So, even though I am now only two years away from the big 3-0, the day looks like it’s going to be a good one!

Pitties on Parade!

Guess who we got to see Saturday? Laynie! I was SO excited to see her in person. I have been seeing lots of update posts from her family on Facebook, but it has been two months since we brought her to her forever home and I really miss her. The occasion was the Old Hallowell Day Parade. BURN is based near Hallowell (for all you non-Mainers, it’s about an hour from Portland, near Augusta, the state capital), so they invited us to walk with them.

Photo courtesy of P, Laynie’s forever mom

Nola, the Mr. and I were the first ones to arrive in the meeting place. We found a shady spot and waited. I could hardly contain my excitement. I could not wait to see Monkey! It was worth the wait, when she arrived she looked great! She was so happy and she even had her pre-baby body back! Nola was not as excited as I was, she gave Laynie a bit of a “no way in hell you’re coming home with us again” warning growl when Laynie got too excited and in her face. Once they both settled down a bit, and I reassured Nola that Laynie had a new family and would not be coming with us, they were fine.

Look at that svelte body!

Monkey looking all pretty in her BURN bandana.

Exploring together, just like the old days.

As if seeing Laynie Monkey wasn’t enough, we also got to meet one of her puppies, Hazzard, who is still up for adoption. He is 7 months old now and such a sweetie! He’s got Laynie’s petite body, but is much taller and has a MASSIVE head and paws. I think he’s going to be a big guy. He also reminds me of Nola Muffin. He has her coloring and her eyes. It was hard to tell them apart in some of these pictures!

Look at that handsome mug!

Nola, Laynie and Hazzard. If it weren’t for her yellow harness it would have been tough to tell Nola and Hazzard apart!

Hazzard is such a sweet boy.

I always wonder if mom dogs recognize their puppies after they are separated. It was hard to tell with Laynie. She didn’t seem overly exited to see him, but she didn’t completely ignore him either. All I know is that I was as giddy as a school girl to see both of them!

Me loving on Hazzard and Laynie.

The parade itself was not that great. It was just too hot for the pups. We were 24th in the line, and we kept stopping. A 1/2 mile parade took an over an hour to walk.

Hazzard lead the way.

Nola and Laynie brought up the rear of the group.

The pups were panting pretty heavily and we were doing our best to keep them cool with water and wet bandanas. Nola and the Mr. turned around half way through because we were nervous about doing too much walking for her leg if we went to the end of the parade and then had to walk all the way back to the car. I continued with Laynie and her mom and sister. She was a trooper, but she needed shade and more water by the end.

I miss that face!

On the car ride home it was a mix of emotions. The most overwhelming feeling was that of happiness and love. Laynie looked great and seemed wicked happy. She has come so far from when she came into our lives that night in March. It is amazing what love, patience, and attention can do for a dog. I was also happy that she seemed to remembered me. At one point I was sitting in the shade and she came right over and laid next to me. It was sweet. I was hoping she would, because I know I will never forget her. I was also a little sad. I miss her, a lot. I miss her snuggles and her grunts and her toothy grin. I miss her tail wagging a mile a minute all the time. And most of all I miss that monkey face. But, I know that she is loved and happy and that’s all that matters. I made plans with her mom to meet up again for a hike when Nola’s leg is better. I am so glad we got to see her and I already can’t wait to see her again!

The Final Stop on the Farewell Tour- Laynie’s Forever Home

We brought Laynie to her forever home Saturday. The whole ride there I was anxious about how it was going to go. I think Laynie could sense it; she came and climbed on my lap in the front seat. Normally I would tell her to go to the back seat, but this time was different. I enjoyed every last second I had to pet her. When we got to her new house I went through all the stuff I brought for her- her harness, gentle leader, food, blankets, toys, etc. Her new mom was very gracious and humored me as I described every last detail about our routine with the monkey. I set up her new crate with her blankets and pillows so she would feel more at home. We chatted for a little while as Laynie explored the house. Then Jim and I knew the time had come. We said on the ride up that we wouldn’t stay too long, it would be too hard on everyone. Each of us said our goodbyes to Laynie. I kissed her, and Jim picked her up and held her like a baby. Her forever mom gave her the duck she loves and when she ran into the other room to chew him, we knew that was our cue to leave.

I cried almost the whole way home, all two hours. Then when I got home and cleaned the house and put away all of her stuff, the crate, her food bowls, the blankets she snuggled on, I lost it. I mean lost it. The uncontrollable, can’t breathe in between sobs crying. It was just so final, she was gone. Things got better as I opened the shades that had been shut for two months to help curb Laynie’s barking, let Nola go in her toy box that had been closed because they couldn’t share, and when Nola just seemed like her old happy self- playing with Daddy in the backyard.  And then I got this update from Laynie’s mom:

Danielle,
Thank you so much for bringing Laynie to us, along with all her goodies. I just wanted to drop you a quick e-mail to let you know that these first few hours with her have gone very smoothly.  We have spent a lot of time outside. I got the pool set up for the girls, so Laynie has been in an out of that. She played ball for a little while, but mostly has just been walking around the yard investigating. She has done really well with sticking near me in the yard and she has been listening good when I say “here”. I think she is tired now as she just curled up on the couch. I will keep you posted as things progress and will let you know if I have any questions or concerns.

Thanks again for all you have done for Laynie. She says thank you and that she loves you 🙂

A flood of emotions came over me after I read that. I was happy that she had a good day, but it made me miss her so much. The rest of the night was full of sadness and hopes that Laynie was still doing ok. Then on Sunday, I woke up with a migraine and proceeded to cry most of the morning while trying to deal with the pain. I got another update from her mom later that afternoon:

Laynie has had a very busy day. A took her for a ride in the car. She said Laynie rode really good and just sat in the back seat looking out the window. She got to meet some of A’s friends. She has done awesome today. We played tug for a bit and she did her little crazy run for few seconds….lol. She helped me get my flower boxes ready for planting and she helped me clean up the last pile of leaves.
She seems to be settling in well. I will send you more updates tomorrow and I will post more pics 🙂

P

Again, I was so happy to hear she had another good day, but it made me cry even more. Why was this so hard? Am I just the type of person that falls too much in love with a dog to be able to do this more than once? I found this article from the ASPCA about saying goodbye to a foster and I realized how I am feeling is normal. A few things stood out to me:

It gets easier with time. For many people, the first time you say goodbye to a foster pet is the hardest—the second time is easier, the third, even more so. While you never stop caring for the foster animals that come into your home, you will soon realize that the sadness is often replaced with the satisfaction of knowing you were instrumental in saving a life.

“Don’t feel guilty. After days, weeks or even months of bonding, it can be painful to say goodbye to a foster pet. You may even experience strong feelings of guilt for not adopting the animal yourself—this is to be expected. However, it’s important to understand that while these feelings are natural for you, animals are incredibly resilient and adaptable—your foster pet will become part of his new family and be living happily ever after in no time!

“Take a break. With the constant demands of foster work, you may begin to feel a bit burned out—and that’s completely understandable. You may also simply need time to process your feelings in between fosters. It is important to recognize these feelings and follow through with the break. While you may feel guilty or pressured to immediately open your home to another foster pet, if you burn out completely, there will be one less foster home available—so take time!”

Reading that my guilt, sadness, and thoughts of needing time to process everything were common helped me so much. And the last thing the article suggested:

“Cherish the memories.”

I will never forget the little monkey and the fact that we helped her as much as we could. From her snoring, to her snuggling, to her uncontrollable tail wag and goofy personality; there are so many things that make me smile when I think about her. I may never stop missing her completely, but that’s ok. I think in time the sadness will go away and the happy memories will take over. She was a very important part of our lives, and us to her’s. She will always have a special place in our heart as our very first foster dog.

Nola and Laynie’s Day at the Beach

One of our stops on Laynie’s “Farewell Tour” this weekend was Ferry Beach in Scarborough. We weren’t sure if Laynie had ever been to the beach since she spent most of her short life in a crate in Northern Maine. We discovered almost immediately after we got Nola that she was a beach pup, and we knew Laynie loved the water, so we wanted to see how she would like the sandy paradise.

To say she liked it would be an understatement. She loved chasing Nola through the water, chasing her ball, and playing with all the friendly pups we met along the way. She REALLY loved chasing the seagulls, and we let her since there was really no where for her to run off to.

She ran and played so much that she was covered in sand and tired as heck when we got to the car.

We’re glad we could enjoy another adventure with the little monkey and experience one more moment of pure joy (and slobber) her face.