What A Difference..!

After a very slow and mild start to the winter season in south central Alaska the last couple of weeks have done wonders in catching up with more ‘normal’ conditions.  We went from no snow pack on Thanksgiving Day – the first time in six such holidays I saw no snow on the ground – to a 21.5 inch (54.6 cm) snow pack as of this morning with more light snow coming down.  As is typical for the this area – for those wondering I live around 7 miles (11.3 km) south of the village of Talkeetna and maybe 0.5 miles (0.8 km) east of the Spur Road – our recent snow events have seen calm conditions which allows the new snow to really accumulate on any almost horizontal surface.  This makes the trees and brush look gorgeous sporting a thick layer of pristine, white snow.

Our weather conditions are much closer to what we should be seeing in early to middle December although there remains a rock hard 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) layer of ice atop the ground from earlier bouts of freezing rain and rain.  I’m pleased no end as I feared with the existing El Nino and that warm pool of water remaining in the north Pacific we might well see yet another ‘winter that wasn’t’.  Even so we have yet to see a real Alaskan snow event; one in which over 12 inches (30.5 cm) is dumped within a 24 hour period.  To this point the most snow I’ve measured in a 24 hour period was 8.8 inches (22.4 cm) on December 3rd.  I miss the truly heavy snowfalls I did experience the first few winters up here; they are truly a beautiful event at least as long as one doesn’t have any commitments requiring driving until the roads are plowed.

However, I’m not complaining as I have also seen a couple of winters when we struggled to even reach a 21 inch (53.3 cm) snow pack.  As the snow continues to fall as I write this I suspect we’re probably closer to seeing a 22 inch (55.8 cm) snow pack and our forecast is calling for on again/off again snow across the next week along with some more seasonal (i.e. ‘colder’) air temps.  The dogs are loving the weather as well; Delilah, my mostly ‘Russian Bear Dog’ – more properly known as a ‘Caucasian Shepherd Dog’ – truly loves the snow and I often see her both rolling in it and hunkering down next to snow drifts.  Qanuk, my German Shepherd Dog, has always loved snow and he really enjoyed running through the couple inches of new snow during this morning’s walk.  Even little Skye, the mix I’m currently fostering, was having great fun running through the snow and attacking Delilah and Qanuk from hiding places created by snow piles.  We’re all snow and cold lovers so this season is made for us!

I’ve included some images showing the difference in the outside conditions between Thanksgiving Day and this morning as well as some shots of the ‘winter wonderland’ that’s the Talkeetna area when it snows.  Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful holiday and, as I know Qanuk, Delilah and Skye would agree, ‘let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..!!’

Icy Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day 2018…plenty of ice but where’s the snow..?!?

21 Days Later..

The same view but around 21 days, and 21+ inches of snow, later…

Windless Back 40 Snow

Deep accumulated snow underscores the lack of wind!

Delilah, Skye & Qanuk at Play

Delilah, Skye & Qanuk at play!

Early AM Snow with Skye

Early AM Snow with Skye’s butt visible in lower left corner…

 

Extreme Earthquake – Even by Alaskan Standards!

This will be an uncharacteristically brief entry into this blog as I still have a lot of correspondence to answer regarding yesterday’s powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake.  But I wanted to let everyone know we came through the event in relatively good shape owing to the fact we were 100+ miles from the quake’s epicenter which was around 7 miles NW of JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson); the base is on the northern rim of the Anchorage area.  This is not to say we didn’t experience quite an event!  At 08:29 I was working at my desk when I felt the initial shudders within the earth that often presage a tremblor; I paused briefly as the dogs ran into the room and clustered about my chair.  I glanced at the clock and noted the intensity of the tremblor was still increasing as was the noise.  This continued for another 20+ seconds before tapering off.  I was actually gripping my desk to stabilize myself and considering getting under it.  I had heard lots of loud and unusual noises which I later learned were a couple of shelves collapsing and a number of pictures being knocked off the walls.

My damage was minimal and in this I was very lucky; the further south one heads down the Parks Highway (AK 3) the more severe the damage.  I spoke to a dear friend in Willow – around 30 miles to the south – perhaps an hour after the main seismic event; she, her husband and her cat were a bit frazzled but safe.  However, they have many cracked and broken windows and their power was out.  As of Saturday morning I believe this is still the case in much of Willow.  Being true Alaskans, they have two generators and thus are able to power their furnace, fridge, water pump and similar while awaiting the restoration of electricity.  I lost a couple of fragile personal items and when a shelf collapsed in a spare room which contains all my network associated gear my 2 TB NAS fell five feet to the floor.  As it was operational the impact has most likely trashed the mechanical HDDs.  The case impacted on a corner which ‘sprung’ the enclosure; I had to dissemble a portion to get everything back in place and then re-seated the two HDDs.  However, while the unit will power up I never get beyond the flashing ‘initializing’ LED and the system will not recognize the NAS.  I’ve pulled the two HDDs from the enclosure and will see if I can re-initialize them as standalone drives.

Even with these losses I count us very lucky!  The canines were really freaked out by the intensity and the duration of the main tremblor; the frequent aftershocks across the next ten hours didn’t help them regain their composure.  This isn’t surprising as one aftershock was a magnitude 4.2 while another was a magnitude 5.8; either of these by themselves would’ve been noticed up here.  I did notice my GSD (Qanuk) acting a bit flaky maybe a half hour before the main tremor; he was pacing and trying to get really close to me.  While the latter isn’t all that unusual the former was different enough to grab my attention.  None of the dogs liked the experience but Delilah, my newly adopted ‘Russian Bear Dog’ – more properly known as a ‘Caucasian Shepherd Dog’ – did shrug off the entire experience within a few minutes and was snoring again maybe fifteen minutes after the main quake.  She did wake up for a couple of the aftershocks but only yawned, shifted her position a bit and went back to sleep.

Please keep your hopes and prayers focused on the folks in the Anchorage bowl and the western Matanuska Valley and the southern Susitna Valley as they were hammered.  Anchorage is again accessible by road but there is a lot of earthquake damage and it will take months and months to even begin to get repairs underway.  Given it is late fall and snow is on the ground I don’t know how many of the destroyed sections of road can be repaired; perhaps they will only do temporary repairs until spring..?  Thanks for everyone’s concerns!

113018 Earthquake Damage

Aftermath of magnitude 7.0 earthquake on 11/30/18; this is the small room where I keep most of my network related hardware

 

Educational Embarrassment or Intended Ignorance?

While perusing some news articles last week I again saw a story on a statue to a southern Civil War hero being removed from its display location to be hidden away in some dark warehouse.  Apparently, the driving force behind this decision was outrage expressed by students at a local college.  Of course, this entire sad situation has often derived its impetus from the younger generation and has been ongoing for more than a year to this point.  For whatever reason, this article engaged the ole ‘gray matter’ and I began to review this, to me, strange situation from the vantage point of a sixty five year old white male with a college education.

I remember being much more liberal in my ideology during my college years; I believe this is pretty much the norm.  But I also know after spending just a decade as a ‘functioning’ member of American society I began to realize much of progressive outlook was based upon idealism and lacked much basis in the reality of life in the United States.  This is not to say being idealistic is a bad thing; Heaven knows we could use more people willing to dream of better situations and work towards said situations!  But desiring major cultural and social changes without considering the ramifications be they political, cultural and/or fiscal is a fool’s errand.  And often times such dreamers deliberately ignore the facts because as John Adams said; “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”  But upon deeper introspection I began to wonder if this ‘statue hysteria’ was simply a matter of youthful liberalism.

Without question I am dead set against all the destructive frenzy centered on the ‘history’ of those embodied in our statues and I believe the forced removal of these statues is tantamount to fascism.  But I’ve come to believe the driving force behind this wave of hysteria is not just based in youthful exuberance but rather in a total failure of our educational system to teach not just history but why it is important.  In a nutshell, George Santayana distilled the issue down to his famous quote; “Those who do not learn history and doomed to repeat it…”.  This doesn’t just refer to learning about human history in terms of dates and events but also understanding the culture and the mindset of those different times.  It is in this area I find our educational system has failed and failed dramatically.

Because our educational system has failed to teach this absolutely necessary perspective I cannot fault the younger generations for their reaction to statues glorifying Civil War heroes who fought to maintain slavery of other human beings.  They do not appear to grasp the fact that when viewing such statues one must remember the time and events which spawned their creation.  Of course, it was far different from today yet so many of the younger generations tend to view these monuments as though they were created only yesterday.  Without question, part of this perception is based upon the solipsism endorsed and even encouraged by so many progressives; it champions the idea that we put ourselves before the greater good and are all important and unique individuals.  By espousing this concept one is encouraged to view everything through the lens of the ‘now’ without regard for past perceptions and beliefs.  But if our educational system was doing its job these same young people would have learned about ‘historical perspective’ and why it is vital to understanding history.  And, as George Santayana noted, if we do not learn from our history we are condemned to repeat it.

If I were a conspiracy minded individual, which I’m not, I could make a pretty good case for this deficiency being deliberate and based in an attempt by the decidedly liberal colleges and teachers unions to create a generation of Americans lacking in basic skills required to evaluate historical events and outcomes.  Such a population would be unable to fathom current events as compared to those of the past allowing those in power to begin maneuvering the people towards even more governmental control of their existence.  In short, creating a new generation lacking the ability to learn from their history would make them much easier to control.  This conjures up frightening memories of Nazi Germany in the 1930’s or Russia in the 1920’s.

While I do not subscribe to the ‘world-wide educational conspiracy’ idea I can see how many other folks could do so and I cannot irrefutably shoot down the idea.  I do believe there is a conscious effort by uber-progressive zealots to undermine the analytical thinking capabilities of the ‘average’ American with the ultimate goal of creating a populace who doesn’t think through the consequences of radical changes in policies and laws.  They have solid support from American universities which are now hot-beds of liberal, progressive ideologies.  And there is something to be said for those controlling the education of upcoming generations being able to better control the same.  One of the tools now being employed to ultimately promote some of this ‘control’, often as a bludgeon, is political correctness.  I’ve written previously on the evil of political correctness and how it throttles open and honest communication under the guise of making communications more ‘civilized’.  I remain convinced that political correctness is one of the major issues facing American culture and a weapon often employed by ultra-left zealots to push their agendas.

Without question this country is facing challenging and tumultuous times well beyond the seemingly insurmountable political polarization.  If we are to move forward in positive direction we need a well-educated, critically thinking populace.  Under the current climate it is mistake to believe our universities and school systems will provide the needed education.  It remains the duty of every American to be as educated and aware as possible.  Without doing so we are sure to succumb to radical ideals with little to no basis in fact presented by those with education and an agenda.

Mt Rushmore

Do we really want to destroy this monument in the name of ‘political correctness’..?!

 

I’m Back..!!

It has been quite a while since my last posting to this blog and while I’ve been meaning to get back into writing the fates, and my own poor time management skills, have conspired to keep me from satisfying this urge.  But now I finally have some time so I’m going to use it.  October is usually a pretty full month for me as I often have my college buddy (Sarge) visit me for two to three weeks of project work ‘round the ole homestead.  This month was no different as he spent 20 days here and we accomplished a lot of planned projects and tackled a few which were unplanned.  But this covers just October so where was I during much of August and all of September..?

The answer is contained in my last entry which was around August 8th; at that time I was really getting involved in fostering large, older rescue canines.  I found I love the work but I’m also discovering it can truly be a handful and there are times I wonder just what was I thinking when I started this process.  But the efforts are so rewarding and ‘AK Cat & Dog Rescue’ has some of the most caring, loving and willing members; I always find myself amazed at how much they give of themselves!  Across August and into September I fostered a number of rescues and seriously thought about ‘foster failing’ with some of them but I stayed the course and helped them find their new ‘forever homes’.  I found it difficult to give up most of them but also found the knowledge they were going to situations which were much better for them to be of some comfort.

Everybody's Chillin'

From left to right Qanuk, Izzy and Delilah just chillin’..!

Then, on September 21st, I agreed to foster a roughly two year old, 80+ pound female who is mostly ‘Russian Bear Dog’ more properly known as ‘Caucasian Shepherd Dogs’.  Her name is Delilah and I met with her current foster who had to give her up because Delilah wouldn’t leave her daughter’s ferrets alone.  I knew nothing of the breed but some quick research suggested this breed has a bad reputation and makes a poor ‘pet’.  Although I was a bit concerned I also knew Delilah wasn’t a purebred and I know of many breeds which have been unfairly stigmatized so I went ahead with the ‘meet and greet’.  Delilah is a large fur ball full of energy, playfulness, mischievousness and love.  Her original owners must’ve really traumatized her with a lead as she refuses to wear one; if I can even get one on her she just sits down, refuses to budge and howls mournfully.  Usually, if she sees me even pick up a lead she runs away and will not come to me as long as I’m holding it.  This is something I’ve begun working on as she has to be able to work with a lead when we visit the vet and similar activities.  She also had no understanding of boundaries; she crowds the exterior door when she thinks we’re going outside, she will just suddenly stop in front of me when we’re walking, she has no issue walking on my feet and she puts her front paws on counters and tables to see what is on them.  I know I have my work cut out for me but I also know she’s a very smart girl and already we’re making progress on these undesirable habits.

Wet & Tired Delilah

One wet and tired dog!

As I’ve come to know Delilah I am seeing so much of my beloved Alaskan malamute (Anana) in her; sometimes it feels like Anana’s ghost is wandering the house.  Delilah loves anything on two legs just as Anana did; she also will howl which is something I’ve so missed since Anana’s passing.  Delilah has a HUGE stubborn streak which, again, reminds me of my Anana.  Thankfully, my ‘little’ angel was a patient teacher even when she was young and she taught me all about picking my battles and coming to ‘agreements’ regarding behaviors and training.  These are all learning’s which have served me well thus far with Delilah and allowed me to work with her.  If someone didn’t have these skills and experience they would be for a very tough time; I well remember my frustrations with these traits when raising Anana!  Typical training techniques like using a stern, loud voice and chastising when the dog has done something wrong will not work with either breed.  One can sometimes verbally impress upon them that a behavior is unacceptable but the best way to reinforce this is to remove the dog from the rest of the pack for a time.  And just like Anana, when Delilah gets fixated on something or someone no amount of screaming will get through their thick skulls.  We’re going to work on this in a bit using a just purchased e collar but I also know this is a breed characteristic and hence can only be ‘modified’ under the best of circumstances.

Delilah Looking Cute

Delilah doing her “aren’t I just too cute” routine.

By the middle of October I decided I would ‘foster fail’ with Delilah and started the paperwork to formally adopt her.  I find just having her around provides me with a challenge but she is also a very loving canine worthy of another chance.  Sure, she has some very rough edges – don’t we all – but I can see a very special canine in her.  She is a wonderful watch dog yet she has already visited most of my neighbors; all of them have told me what a marvelous girl she is and how much personality she exudes.  She plays well with other canines and barks at moose but doesn’t chase them.  All told, having Delilah as part of the ‘WasAK’ pack has been a very positive experience for Qanuk and me.  Yet another example of just how rewarding fostering rescue canines can be!  I’m watching the rescue site for yet another older, large canine in need of a foster; while two large dogs are really enough I still want to give a little something back to the canine world and I believe fostering rescues is such an activity for me.

Delilah - Qanuk Tug of War

Delilah and Qanuk in a tug of war match…

 

My Latest Foster

If you’ve read the previous posting you know I’m entering a new facet in my life and it revolves around fostering large canine rescues for ‘AK Cat & Dog Rescue’.  I wrote about an adorable emaciated Black Lab I nursed back to health – actually he did virtually all the work by himself, I just provided some shelter, food, love and vet care – named ‘Shadow’ who was my first foster.  Shadow is now fully healed from his ordeal as well as some follow up medical treatments and will soon be seeking his ‘forever home’.  I will be sad to see him go but just knowing he’ll be going to a lifestyle and number of people which will be a better ‘fit’ will help me over my sense of loss.

Fifteen days ago I agreed to take in a second foster; she was a ‘hurry up’ situation as she was flown into Anchorage from King Cove at almost a moment’s notice and then driven to my place.  Her name is ‘Izzy’ and she is supposedly a Pyrenees/Lab mix ; although I can see the Lab in her head and general body build the Pyrenees portion still escapes me.  She is around two years of age and was returned to ‘AK Cat & Dog Rescue’ when her family went through some ‘personal issues’.  Izzy was staked out on a long rope for quite a while; add this to being separated from her humans, loaded in a crate, flown in a plane and then driven in a car to someplace she’s never before known it was no surprise she was terribly traumatized.  For days she wouldn’t let me touch her and she wanted to spend all her time outside.  At least she was willing to stay on the front porch so I didn’t have to keep her on a line or similar.  She was very anxious when inside the house and it took three days before she came into the place on her own.

She immediately felt comfortable around my male GSD (Qanuk) but she had issues with Shadow; this surprised me as Shadow is such a sweet boy but then his gregarious Black Lab personality can be a bit much at times.  I allowed Izzy to set the pace at which we developed a relationship; it was slow but steady.  She really is sweetheart and I feel for her lack of stability and her apparent lack of socialization at a younger age.  She also seemed to have had a bad experience with an adult male which caused further difficulties in establishing a relationship with her.  As with so many of these poor animals all she really needed was time to adjust to her sweeping changes, shelter, food, love and a sense she belongs here.

She now spends most of time inside with none of the anxiety indications she initially displayed; she competes with Shadow for a spot on my bed when we call it a day.  She plays with both Qanuk and Shadow inside and outdoors.  And she can rings around both of them which is saying something!  Due to a lack of sufficient socialization when young she can initially show trepidation around ‘new’ people but this also makes her an extraordinary watch dog.  And within a few minutes she’ll warm up to people who like dogs.  A couple days back I learned she has a ‘thing’ for moose; when I let all three out first thing in the early morning I saw her run into the driveway, scent something and then take off down the driveway like she was shot from a canon with Qanuk and Shadow eating her dust.  She was also really barking; at 06:30 it is dead quiet here and while I have no really ‘close by’ neighbors – at least compared to most situations in the lower 48 – there are folks living plenty close enough to hear her barking especially as it sounded loud enough to awaken the dead!  I called and called; I finally managed to get Qanuk and Shadow back into the house but Izzy just wasn’t gonna give up on that cow moose and her two spring calves.  I finally reigned her in but I also now know she will chase moose and they are almost ubiquitous to this area.  I’m thinking I’ll need to pay close attention to her just before I let her outside especially in the mornings.  If she, or the other two canines, display any signs they believe wildlife is around I’ll have to take her out on a lead.

Izzy is a truly special canine and I have a feeling she could become my first ‘foster fail’ especially as she and Qanuk are such good buddies.  I’ll need a bit more time with her before I make that decision and I’ll continue to work with her.  She was a much more challenging foster as compared to Shadow – I knew he had spoiled me – but she has progressed wonderfully and she also taught me I could handle a more demanding foster and be successful.  Regardless, I have found my calling and will continue to foster large canines for the foreseeable future!  Here are some images of my latest foster: 

Izzy In Escape

Izzy discovering she likes to ride in my Escape

Qanuk & Izzy Tug of War 2

Izzy and her buddy Qanuk in a tug of war with Shadow looking on

Affectionate Izzy

Izzy looking for attention by resting her head on my leg

Izzy Gettin' Comfy

Izzy discovers she likes that foam doggie pillow!

An Unlady-like Pose

Izzy in her ‘no shame here’ pose… Shadow had a ‘flower pot’ on his head for a week after his medical procedures

 

Foster or ‘Foster Fail’..?

It has been quite a while since I last posted anything to my blog but I haven’t been just sitting around idle.  Summer is typically the time when my blog production drops off in favor of more outdoor activities and social engagements.  Only the darned mosquitoes can put a dent in such activities and this year they truly did so.  But I’m also experiencing a brand new situation for me, one which is proving to be extremely rewarding albeit often time consuming.  But first, a bit of background…

In March of 2018 I was sure my beloved 8.5 year old female Alaskan Malamute (Anana) didn’t have long to live; she was slowing down dramatically and spending so much time just sleeping.  Sadly, I was correct as my ‘little’ angel passed away in the wee hours of May 4th.  I had been concerned about my male GSD (Qanuk) and his reaction to the loss of his life-long pal and mentor.  As such I had thought about a companion for Qanuk when Anana passed on; thankfully, I discovered one of the staff at the Sunshine Community Health Clinic (Crickett) – I sit on their board – was very active in ‘AK Cat & Dog Rescue’.  As an aside, this is another example of the rewards from volunteering!  I spoke with Crickett a number of times about getting a rescue dog as a companion for Qanuk.  She was very knowledgeable, helpful and understanding.  During our discussions she suggested I might look at fostering canines for the organization.  At first, I couldn’t see myself doing so as my four legged companions are family members and one doesn’t just give them away at some point.  But the more we spoke and the more I reflected upon the idea the more I thought I might like to give it a try.  AK Cat & Dog Rescue did a thorough background check and decided I was acceptable as a foster; this thrilled me but also generated a bit of concern as both rescue canines and fostering were brand new situations for me.  I’d always had purebred canines but now felt I needed to give something back to the canine world which had given me so much in previous years.

Early in the week of June 10th Crickett notified me of a brand new rescue needing a foster.  I am listed as preferring larger canines at least a year old with no preference regarding gender or color.  An emaciated Black Lab had been rescued while wandering aimlessly and was close to starving to death; he appeared to be a senior dog and was in dire need of food, shelter and love.  I agreed to meet Crickett and Lisa (the head of the rescue) at the Trapper Creek Trading post the afternoon of Saturday, June 16th.  I brought Qanuk with me to insure he was ‘okay’ with the potential foster.  I met a rail thin, energetic, curious and playful male Black Lab without a name.  He wasn’t neutered and had an inactive micro-chip.  The poor guy had been found wandering south of this area and was in sad shape.  As Qanuk appeared okay with this dog I agreed to foster him and we went through what was required; we knew he needed dental surgery for an abscessed tooth, had to be neutered and needed an active micro-chip.  All these procedures were arranged to be handled by Dr. Hagee in Trapper Creek.  But first I needed to get some weight on this boy to the tune of fifteen to twenty pounds.

Shadow's 1st Day

Shadow’s first afternoon at our place

I brought him back to our house and immediately took him around the property encouraging him to mark his territory.  I wanted to insure if he every wandered off he could find his way ‘home’.  As soon as I let him in the house it was obvious he had been a house dog as he was completely comfortable with lounging/playing inside.  That night he climbed into my bed and spent almost the entire night sleeping next to me.  He was potty trained but as his age was originally estimated at 10 to 12 years I treated him as a senior canine and made sure he went outside around 01:00 in the morning.  He is a voracious eater and literally attacks his food bowl.  I’d been warned to feed him small amounts many times a day as he literally inhaled his food and often this would make him sick and he’d lose the meal.  Dr. Hagee told me of a trick which has worked wonderfully; I place two fist sized rocks in his food dish and then add his food.  This forces him to ‘eat around’ the rocks and really slows down his intake.  What a great idea, so simple yet effective!

Shadow Attacking Food Dish

Shadow Attacking His Food Dish

In the five weeks Shadow has been with us he’s become a true ‘wonder dog’ in so many respects.  He really helped Qanuk who was obviously much more impacted by the loss of Anana than I realized.  Although a bit standoffish at first, Qanuk had almost no choice but to succumb to Shadow’s playful nature; ever so slowly Shadow drew him out of his shell.  As he had no name I was allowed to name him; the name ‘Shadow’ actually works on a couple of levels.  He is always under my feet or within a few feet of me so he really is like my shadow.  And his shiny black coat makes him look like a shadow.  He has a marvelous sense of humor and a deep mischievous streak which I find so adorable.  Every morning when I arise I go on a ‘scavenger hunt’ to locate my socks; Shadow carries them all over the house during the night.  He and Qanuk really play indoors; the scrappy now 65 pound Black Lab more than holds his own against Qanuk’s 96 pounds.  Shadow has also helped my own grieving/healing process; the loss of my beloved Anana hit me very hard and initially I couldn’t see getting another canine.  But Qanuk needed a pal so I waited a month and then pursued the idea.  A friend told me she suspected Anana had something to do with Shadow coming into my life; I can believe it.  Actually, Shadow is much like Anana in his innate love of anything on two legs, his friendly outgoing personality and that previously mentioned deep mischievous streak.  Although it has hardly been five weeks since Shadow came into our lives the magic he has worked for both Qanuk and I is amazing!

Shadow & Qanuk at Play

Shadow encouraging Qanuk to play

But, as a foster, I have to be ready to surrender my charge to an approved adopter when one is found.  Of course, I could keep Shadow myself and become what is referred to as a ‘foster fail’.  To be honest, if no one steps up once Shadow is ready to find his ‘forever home’ I will gladly keep him.  But I also believe Shadow would do best with a younger family with at least a couple of kids and maybe another ‘canine friendly’ dog.  Shadow craves attention and lives to run and play; as such I feel a family would offer him all the affection and activity he might desire.  I try to give him what he wants but it is beyond my available time and energy.  He is so sweet and affectionate!  It breaks my heart when I have to ask him to ‘back off’ when I have other chores to handle.  He is the perfect companion in that he’s always ready to go, full of energy, wants only to be loved and shown affection and – of course – needs lots of play.  Dr. Hagee believes he is actually around seven years of age and I can believe this is the case.  Qanuk lives to run yet Shadow keeps up with him on our two plus mile walks with no problem.  Given all this and most importantly the fact I want the best for Shadow I would surrender him when that time comes although not without remorse!  He deserves the very best!!

Shadow Looking Soulful

Shadow looking soulful

I’m sure when I have to surrender him I will be hurting for a while but as long as he’s going to a better situation I believe I’ll be okay with giving him up.  As with so many things of this nature, I won’t really know until it occurs.  On an intellectual level I’ve gone over the possibilities ‘ad nauseum’ but there’s such a huge emotional component to such situations one cannot really know how they will react until they are actually involved.  Regardless, I’ve learned that rescue animals can be truly amazing and often their only ‘crime’ was being born.  I love the warm feeling I get when I realize I’m helping a wonderful canine find a bit of stability and love in an otherwise cold and unfriendly world.  And the desire to continue to do so burns very brightly within my essence!  It is truly amazing to see these poor abandoned and/or mistreated animals blossom with just a modicum of care and love; the unconditional love they return is boundless!!  They really seem to want what all of us desire at our most basic level; shelter, food and a bit of love and affection.  I’d often read or heard that taking in a rescue animal is a most rewarding activity; I can now confirm this is spot on and I suspect acting as a foster will increase the rewards by orders of magnitude… 

Here They Come!

Shadow with Qanuk in trail

Five School Kid Rules the World DESPERATELY Needs to Start Following

I just had to reblog this piece; it is simple yet remarkably insightful!

CrapPile

Let’s face it. Our society is a real mess right now. People are doing things and saying things that even fifteen, twenty years ago would have been unthinkable, and in our parents’ and grandparents’ times would have been outrageous or even scandalous. There’s a major case of hostility affecting the world today, especially when it comes to news and social media. Most days, if you read through Facebook comments you will find more death threats and arguing going on that intelligent conversation. There are more broken homes, false accusations, and embarrassments happening than ever before. It is truly a Dark Age, not only for this country but for the world at large.

So how do we solve this problem? I propose that not only do we do a better job of raising our kids—those of you that have kids—and that we go back and try to raise ourselves, as well…

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