Radar’s New Purpose

Each dog has a purpose. Isn’t that what the book and movie said? Radar’s purpose with us was to help us all heal from the loss of his sisters and to fill empty spaces in our lives….

Hubby keeps asking “when are we getting another Golden?” I keep saying “when the right one comes along.” Right now my heart still hurts from the sudden loss of this sweet boy….

Ducky needs a new playmate, another brother, companion, friend. And I’m seriously open to getting her one. In fact, I promised her that we would get her another one. WHEN Callie, Shadow, and Radar find us the right one. I’m sure they will at some point. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I miss all my furry angels. They were each special to me for different reasons. But this boy?

I have to admit that there was something extra special about him. Maybe because he was the latest one. Maybe because Ducky accepted him so easily. Maybe because despite whatever he went through in his “previous life”, he was still trusting of humans, loving, and easy-going. Maybe all those things plus some I haven’t thought of yet. Whatever the reason – or reasons – he was the perfect fit for all three of us and we miss him every minute of every day.

We’ve gotten back into our old routine of not having a set routine, and gotten comfortable with it; but I would gladly give up the old routine if it meant having Radar here with us, happy and on his way to being healthy. But that’s not going to happen.

We will always miss Radar, just as we will always miss Kissy, Callie, and Shadow. There’s an emptiness in our little corner of the world that he was filling while he was with us.

Now it’s up to Radar to help his sisters find us another boy to welcome into our home and hearts. His new purpose is to send us a new boy to pick up where he left off. Not to replace him (because no other dog ever could), but to carry on his mission.

He Changed Everything

“Every now and then a dog will come into your life and change everything.”

Radar was that dog for us.

Now before you say something like “what about Kissy, Callie, Shadow, and Ducky?” let me tell you that we still love each of our furry angels and our little earth angel and always will. Each of them holds her own special place in our hearts. Each was and is a source of joy and unconditional love, and always will be. They all came into our lives as puppies and we watched them grow into wonderful adult dogs.

Radar came to us as an already full grown adult dog so we didn’t get to enjoy his puppyhood. But when we first met him, it felt as though he had known us all his life. He was doing the Snoopy happy dance from the moment he saw hubby get out of the car. He gave me his paw and let Ducky “check him out.”I knew from the very first moment that Radar was meant to be with us for the rest of his life.

Radar’s previous life will never be known to any of us. He was found wandering the neighborhood of a friend of his first foster mom. It’s anyone’s guess how long the poor boy had been on his own. YET, he was happy, joyful, gentle, sweet, and full of love for every one who took him in, cared for him, and showed him any amount of kindness. No amount of shyness to this boy’s demeanor. He was an equal opportunity lover of humans and other dogs.

So what did he change?

Well, for one thing, he was the first male dog I’ve ever had. I grew up with female poodles; my own first dog (Kissy) was female; and all three dogs hubby and I have had before Radar (Callie, Shadow, and Ducky) were/are females.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against male dogs. My brother’s dog, Boozy, is a male and our granddog, Max, is a male. I love them both. I just stuck with what I knew from my life so far. Females. When we took Radar in as our foster-to-adopt, I had no idea how Ducky would act with him once he came to live with us. But Radar needed us, and we all needed him.

There was something special about our boy. Whatever his previous life was like, it didn’t rob him of his joy of life, his love of humans and other dogs, or his innate sweetness. He was pure joy. Even his heartworm disease couldn’t completely take that from him. He tried his best to wag his tail when he saw us in the ER clinic exam room that awful, heart-shattering day.

And me rescue an adult Golden Retriever instead of getting a puppy? A few years ago I’d have said “no way!” Radar – along with my lack of enthusiasm for house training another dog – changed that too. I wanted another Golden but I wanted one closer to Ducky’s age. Radar was such a special boy that I can’t see myself getting another dog who doesn’t need a second chance at life. While at this point in our life we can’t emotionally deal with taking in another unhealthy dog, we do want another Golden who can keep up with Ducky and become her best friend, companion, and loving sibling.

And ten months ago – when Shadow first reunited with Callie – I didn’t think I could even foster another Golden before a year had passed. I was even hesitant to put in our adoption application at first. But when we met Radar, I knew he was meant to be with us for the rest of his life. During those two months plus that he was with us, he helped me heal from the loss of Shadow, Callie, and Kissy. Oh, I still miss them – and always will – but the pain isn’t as sharp.

And he did something else to my heart. He opened it to letting him join Callie and Shadow when his time came so that we could give another Golden Boy a second chance at a happy life. My heart still hurts from the pain of losing Radar so suddenly. But I know when the time is right he and his sisters will send us another Golden Boy to whom we will open our hearts and home. Another Golden Boy who needs us as much as we need him.

We’re joining Brian’s Home Blog for the Thankful Thursday blog hop.

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Christmas Cactus for Radar

I can’t believe it’s nearly a week since Radar joined Callie and Shadow in Heaven.

Anyway, last Sunday after church hubby and I made a quick stop at our local grocery store. As we walked towards the bakery, we stopped at a tabletop display of Christmas Cactus plants. There were red ones and these white and pink ones. Hubby and I both needed cheering up, so we bought this one in memory of our boy.

More of the flowers have bloomed since Sunday. I like to think it’s because Radar likes our choice and is giving us a sign that he’s okay. I can just imagine him wagging his tail as Callie and Shadow greeted him at the Rainbow Bridge. That tail of his was almost always wagging! He was such a happy boy!

We are going to do our best to make this Christmas a merry one. Callie, Shadow, and Radar would want it that way. The last few years we’ve had a rather quiet Christmas without Callie. And until Radar came along in October, I didn’t feel much like celebrating without our sweet Shadow as well. But Radar brought so much joy back into all our lives that we have to find a way to keep that feeling alive. Radar and his sisters would want us to be at least cheerful.

Radar is back home now. I’m not one for setting up shrines, but his ashes are in this beautiful wooden box. And we also have this clay paw print.

Our boy – Ducky’s most special friend – is back home and I know his sweet, happy spirit is nearby. And I know Radar will help Callie and Shadow find us a new friend/brother for Ducky. The three of them know what we need and I trust their judgement. When all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over, we’ll have our 3 Golden Angels actively start the search for our next Golden Earth Angel.

So, as Radar’s Christmas Cactus blooms, we will take it as a sign that he is, indeed, here with us. And we will celebrate the joy of his life with us along with the true meaning of Christmas.

Gone Too Soon

Hubby, Ducky and I are devastated. Our sweet foster boy has gone ahead. He joined our family on October 4th and on December 7th he joined Callie and Shadow in Heaven. Sweet, loving Radar. Ducky’s best doggie friend and brother. She loved Callie and Shadow dearly; but Radar was her most special friend. He tolerated her antics and she willingly shared her toys and our attention with him.

He was our boy. He was our first-ever male dog, our friend. He was an equal-opportunity lover boy. He loved hubby and me equally.

He learned quickly that “Daddy” is the soft touch and buddy; and “Mommy” is the cook, nurse, teacher, nurturer, and friend.

Radar fit into our little family perfectly. He was gentle with Ducky, played with her, shared his toys with her, gave her space when she was feeling “snarky”, and let her get attention from us when she felt neglected.

He loved us humans equally. He loved to stand, sit or lay down between our chairs so we could both pet him at the same time. Loving on him was therapeutic for both of us. And he knew he had his “fur-ever” home and family. He trusted us and we trusted him. I had plans to work with him to earn his CGC (Canine Good Citizen) title after he finished his heartworm treatments. And possibly therapy certifications. He had the perfect personality/temperament for both.

Our boy is gone. Our special boy, Ducky’s most special friend. Ducky is as heartbroken as we are. The price of love.

Radar will always be in our hearts. Our love for him and his for us will help us help each other to heal. Ducky, hubby, and I will heal. Radar’s spirit – like Kissy’s, Callie’s and Shadow’s spirits – will always be nearby. He and the girls will watch over us. They will send us another friend to love and welcome into the family when the time is right.

Sleepy Sunday

Such a sweet sight – you can’t really see Ducky’s face because her head is right next to Radar’s back.

We had a stressful day yesterday. After two full days of almost perfect behavior around her Uncle Doug, yesterday Ducky was grumpy and vociferous all day. Yet, she didn’t take it out on Radar like she used to do to poor Shadow at times. She even let him chew on her Nylabones. She never let Shadow do that.

Anyway, her loud grumpiness made hubby grumpier, and his louder grumpiness made me “testy“. Not a good day. My brother – bless him! – stayed in my office most of the day working on my computer. Smart man!!

Anyway, Ducky woke hubby and me before 5 am this morning – barking, crying, and whining – not really surprising considering she doesn’t like being closed in her crate, especially if I’m not nearby. But she had slept quietly in her crate all of the two nights before. I came out to the living room to calm her down, but five minutes later she was complaining again. So I grabbed my pillows and a blanket and came out to sleep on the couch. But even opening the crate didn’t settle the little princess. And I just gave up on the idea of going back to sleep. I got dressed, grabbed my jacket and the flashlight, and took her out to the back yard. She did her business and we came back inside. But she still wouldn’t settle down. And Radar started getting “antsy” in his crate, so I opened his crate too. Then we all made two more trips out to the yard (about ten minutes apart).

Finally! Peace and quiet, and an end to Ducky’s earlier restlessness. I was – of course – wide awake after three trips out to the sloppy, rain-saturated, back yard; but my dogs settled down in close proximity to each other. It was when I looked up from my reading – I was catching up on some blog posts – that I saw the image I captured in the first photo. Now look at them.

And here I sit, still over-tired, groggy, and on my second cup of coffee. I’m going to have to keep a watchful eye on Ducky today. Normally she’s not grumpy, just demanding. If she’s back to her normal self today, I won’t worry; but if she’s grumpy again, I’ll call the vet tomorrow morning. When this little girl is grumpy, it’s normally something physical making her that way. And hubby’s impatience doesn’t help, either. Maybe she just needs more “Mom and Me” time.

Oh well, the sun is trying to come out from between the clouds, so maybe we’ll have a brighter day. Happy Sunday Everyone!

Playtime

Sorry the video is so dark and upside-down, but it happens. I just wanted to post one of my 2 hooligans having fun together.

Introducing Ducky’s Foster Brother, Radar

As of last Friday (October 4th), we have a new Golden Retriever in the family.

He’s a sweet, equal-opportunity loverboy.

He was found as a stray about two months ago. The lady who found him spent three days trying, unsuccessfully, to find this handsome boy’s owner. No tags, no microchip, no known owner. So, our local breed rescue took him in, vetted him, and placed him with a foster.

The poor boy’s fur was so matted that he had to be shaved down to the skin. The fur has been growing back, though he does still have some bald areas.

And he tested positive for heart worms. He was settling into his first foster home when his foster had to leave town indefinitely. This sweet boy was being boarded at the veterinary hospital that cares for all this rescue’s charges.

The volunteer coordinator called us last Tuesday, we met Radar on Wednesday morning, and on Friday afternoon I picked him up.

When Radar first saw my hubby on Wednesday morning, it was as though they had known each other all of the dog’s life. Radar practically did a Snoopy happy dance! He was barking and wagging his tail and bouncing around happily. Sorry, no photo of the bouncy boy, but here he is with hubby.

And here’s one of Radar giving me the happy paw.

And one where he and Ducky met each other. Ducky was so good! No growling, grumbling, or snarling. Just polite sniffing. The way Callie taught her so many years ago.

Once Radar’s heartworm treatments are complete and he tests negative, we will have first dibs on adopting him.

This boy is Heaven-sent. Callie and Shadow found him for us and intervened in his foster home placement. He’s a very handsome boy; and he’s a perfect fit for our little family. He’s the boy hubby and I need, the brother and friend Ducky needs, and we’re the permanent family he needs.

Some months ago a friend posted something on Facebook that asked her gal pals – in essence – “if you had to choose between a man and a dog, which breed would you choose?” My answer was “a male Golden Retriever that I could name Radar because he would instinctively know what’s about to happen. Just like my favorite character on my favorite tv show of all time, M*A*S*H.” That was only a few weeks after Shadow had been reunited with Callie. I wasn’t ready for another dog, not even a Golden. And Ducky wasn’t ready yet either. She missed Shadow, but she was enjoying all the extra attention from hubby and me.

Back in July I decided I was ready. And Ducky was ready. I think hubby was ready a week or two after Shadow had gone ahead.

On August 3rd, our local Golden Retriever rescue group had a meet and greet at the nearby Petco store. Hubby and I went and turned in our adoption application. In September, a volunteer called to schedule our home visit. We thought we were in for a long wait, so we relaxed and continued spoiling Ducky with extra love. I knew that when the time was right, Callie and Shadow would send us the right dog. Our angel girls know exactly what we need.

As I write this post Radar has been with us for two and a half days. Hubby and I love him already. This boy is so sweet, so easy-going, so gentle. And happy. That tail seems to wag constantly, sometimes even when he’s asleep. He seems to be “settling in” pretty easily. He loves Ducky, though Ducky’s not quite sure about him yet. She will be in time. At least he shrugs off her grumpy moments. And gives her a look like “what-ever” as he gives her some space. I think they’ll eventually be great friends as well as siblings.

Seven Years and Counting

Oh, Ducky! Seven years ago today I found your name (and photo) on the shelter’s super urgent list in the morning, and by 1 PM you were officially a member of our little family.

Seven years ago today, my life – and your Daddy’s, Callie’s, and Shadow’s lives – changed forever. I had no way of knowing then what it would be like raising a shelter pup. I started thinking you’d be better off with a different family; but then you spent a day at doggie daycare and your demeanor improved so much that I couldn’t give up on you.

Callie helped me so much with you. So did Maria and the other girls at A Dog’s Day Out. Daycare was great for you. It taught you how to get along with other dogs, helped you spend all that turbo-charged energy, and gave you some socialization time, too. And it gave Callie and Shadow a needed break from your rowdy puppy playfulness. As well as the quiet time together and with me that they cherished, that I cherished.

You were a little stinker. Always wanting to leave Shadow out of your fun with Callie. But Callie didn’t let you.

And that awful morning when we had to say goodbye to Callie. You gave her puppy kisses that said “I love you, sis.” And your attitude toward Shadow started to improve. Callie had taught you well.

You had your spats with Shadow over the next 3-1/2 years, but you always made up with her. And when I was at Uncle Doug’s house last year, you were a good girl for Daddy. Then, when Shadow got sick in February, you watched over her for me, along with Callie. You were always right there, keeping her company whenever we had to go out. And you looked for her that weekend when she was at the hospital. And that horrible Monday when we said goodbye to Shadow, you “protected” her in the exam room. And you kissed her, as you had Callie.

You’ve been my and Daddy’s rock since Shadow reunited with Callie. I don’t know what we would have done without you, especially those first few weeks. I know you’re fine on your own in the house when Daddy and I have to leave you for a time; but I miss you from the minute we leave to the minute we get home. If I could, I would take you every place I go, just so you wouldn’t have to be alone in the house. But, then you’re not really alone during those times. Callie and Shadow are here with you, in spirit, watching over you for me.

Ducky, you are definitely one of a kind! You exasperate me, you push my patience to its limits, and you make me question my sanity at times. BUT you are sweet, loving, fun, silly, challenging, and precious all wrapped up in one 30-pound package. And every day I thank God I adopted you from the shelter that warm September afternoon seven years ago!

Just Catching Up

Hi Everyone! We’ve been busy around here between Ducky and the bees, doctor appointments, and a ten-day visit from my brother.

I’ve been focusing on Ducky’s behavior – specifically her reactions to hubby – for quite some time now with help from my friend, Janet Finlay, who owns the Canine Confidence Academy (based in the UK). Janet’s website provides so many resources and courses for guardians of reactive dogs that I haven’t had a chance to peruse them all even after more than a few years as a member. I had actually signed up for and started her original course – Your End of the Lead – several years ago and it really helped me help Ducky; but as happens from time to time, life got in the way and I had to switch some priorities around for a while.

Janet has also written a book, Your End of the Lead, which is a condensed version of her original course by the same name, with some additional newer material as well. It’s well worth the read, in my opinion, and is available on Amazon, Dogwise, and another site I can’t remember at the moment. And there are also some closed Facebook groups and a forum you can join once you become a member of the club.

Just so y’all know – Janet is NOT paying me to review her website or book. I’m sharing the information with you because I believe in Janet’s approach to training/working with reactive dogs and helping the humans who live with and love them. I believe in them because using her approach has helped me to help Ducky.  (I don’t have any affiliate relationships with Amazon or Dogwise, or the third publisher, either, so I’ll make absolutely no money by promoting anything.)

Ducky is still somewhat reactive to strangers – especially here at home – but she was much more relaxed during my brother’s last visit than she has ever been.

Anyway, this past weekend found us reflecting on two anniversaries – Saturday (the 24th) was Callie’s 4th anniversary in Heaven; and Sunday (the 25th) was Shadow’s half-year anniversary being reunited with Callie. It was tough on me, emotionally; but I am thankful that my Golden Girls blessed hubby and me (and Ducky, too!) with so much unconditional love and so many wonderful memories. I’m also thankful that I was able to share their lives with you all for so many years. And, the reflection made me realize that I truly am ready to add another Golden Retriever to our family. We recently submitted an adoption application to our local breed rescue group, so please start sending us some really good vibes to help us get approved.

Well, that about sums up our lives for the past several weeks. Ducky’s doing great – watching a squirrel on the trunk of the oak tree at this moment – and enjoying life. She loves having all our attention; but she misses her sisters/favorite playmates.

Play with me, Mom! I want attention!

 

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