Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bark-friendly Beer Gardens

Hey there readers-I just wanted to throw together a quick blog post about my trip to Philly yesterday into today. Yes-I know I just wrote about Philly in two previous posts, but I am having a great time getting to know the city better now that our good friends Katie and Jackie are living here. So I came down for an overnight visit, largely because I wanted to visit a special "pop-up" beer garden I had read about, sponsored by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society

The girls and I went to South Street, where we spotted a pretty colorful pet store.

Philadelphia has a great Mural Arts program, and while this may not be a part of it, art like this certainly isn't a rare sight around here. 

We headed down to the Philly AIDS Thrift store where I got this awesome shirt:

Remember readers, I do need to keep a day job, since blogging (at least about rescue dogs) is not exactly lucrative. My day job is English Teacher, so I couldn't pass up a shirt like that. 

Anyway, let's be honest, you are not reading this to find out about my trip to the thrift store. If you were, you'd be interested to know I saw this there too!

AHHHHHH! Terrifying. Seriously.  

But my purpose of this post is just to tell you that the Beer Garden was very dog friendly, with water dishes out for the pooches, and lots of people with their pets.  I took some time enjoying this, a delicious beverage of lemonade, basil, and another ingredient that shall remain nameless. 

By the time I got around to socializing with some of the people and their pets, it was a bit dark to get good pictures. But this is Molly.  Molly was a super flirt, approaching everyone with her pretty puppy eyes, tilting her head from side to side. At the slightest encouragement I got many kisses from Molly.

While I was fussing over Molly, little Riley wanted me to notice her. She was also very sweet and gave many kisses and tail wags.  I wish I could have gotten a better picture. I'm hoping that if her mom sees her here she'll send in a better one and a picture of her other dog too. It's a cute lab mix but I didn't get to meet him/her; I just saw a photo. 

Riley was adopted through Operation Ava, an organization we just featured a few weeks ago! 

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't share Rambo. He is an Aussie mix; his dad said he is mixed with an Old Time Farm Shepherd. 

I can never resist an Aussie of course, and speaking of Aussie mixes, here's my guy stealing Jenny's ball but trying to act nonchalant about it. 

Jenny's response? Well in this picture she is turning her head and front paws 180 degrees to glare in my direction (I knew she was inherently evil), while her back feet are still pointing towards the wall. And will you look at her tail? It looks like a ferret-like a whole separate animal!

Of course these two didn't join me on my trip. They're at home with Hubs, but I'm sure they'll both be at the door when I get home later today.

Don't forget you can email  me at pabibliophile@gmail.com with your rescue stories, and be sure to follow us on social media. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rescues Near and Far

Ok time to tie up some mental loose ends around here. I've been meaning to write about these things for the past month, but with prepping our house for the Adoption home study I just couldn't get around to it. First of all, I want to tell you about my experience with the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League.   

They were at a local Walmart back in June, and like a little child I got ridiculously excited and almost forgot what I came to Walmart for in the first place. Part of what makes me so happy to see rescue organizations like these is that is helps to dispel the idea that in order to get a certain breed someone needs to go to a breeder. That is completely false. 

Thanks to the internet it is easier than it's ever been to get whatever breed you want via rescue, as long as you are patient if you have a long list of demands.  Even better about going through a rescue system like this is it eliminates other excuses people give for not adopting a pet, such as "Well you just don't know what you're getting into with a rescue pet," or "rescues are pets people got rid of for a reason."  

MAGDRL has an abundance of information about every dog because their dogs are fostered. They spend time in a home with dog-savvy people who know exactly what to take note of and share. 

Just head to their Available Dogs page and you'll see the kinds of information they can share, such as which dogs are good with cats, other dogs, kids, strangers, and even cows! 
 They'll tell you about the temperament, the health, and the training of each dog.

 It really is a perfect way to save an animal and a great way to get into rescuing if you're hesitant. Please check out MAGDRL and if you're local you can try to support their fundraisers.  

When they were at Walmart they were selling these goody bags for dogs and cats, and they were very reasonably priced.

 I got one for Jenny and one for Wiley, but since they are such divas they didn't want the treats, and they have plenty of toys,  I sent the bags to the Hillside SPCA when my friends Luke and Kim were taking their previous Hillside resident, Fanny, and her brother Leroy for a reunion visit with her shelter friends.

Here they are when they pulled up in the car to pick up the goods.

 Leroy was just a bit excited to see me!


I also wanted to share some pictures that were shared with me by long-time Friend of the Blog (and of me!), Katie. She works in Philadelphia for a company called Shutterbooth, from which people and organizations rent photo booths like the type typically seen over the decades at places like amusement parks and boardwalks. 

Back in June they worked at something called the Super Run, which is a nationwide charity race with a Superhero theme. One of the charities represented was called the City of Elderly Love. I'm sure you can guess what their specialty is, but just in case you need it spelled out: they rescue senior pets and adopt them out.  

I can't say enough good things about their mission. These animals seldom want anything more than to be comfortable and around humans, and for reasons beyond their control they wind up helpless and homeless, just like all the rest. The difference is people are far more reluctant to adopt an older dog or cat who may come with medical needs and a much shorter life span. If you are in a position to do so, head to their website to see how you can help.

And, just in case you think it will be too sad to see these senior pets, I'm letting you know they have a page they call Storybook Endings, which is exactly what it sounds like, shorter versions of the positive types of stories we feature here on the Rescue Dog Blog.

Ok, one last thing. Another longtime Friend of the Blog and friend in general, Lauren, came to visit the other night. Wiley hadn't seen her in quite some time and poor Lauren nearly got the skin licked off her face.  This picture is when he finally came up for air. 

Anyway, Lauren just got two new additions to her house full of pets. Her sister Kristen found some kittens, and because she couldn't decide which one she liked best she brought home two!

Meet Winnie and Pippa. This is Winnie.

And Pippa is the one with the darker gray coat.

Come on. You don't have to be a cat-lover to find these two adorable.

Speaking of adorable, here is your gratuitous adorable Wiley picture for today's post, as he sleeps on the couch, with a pillow and his beat-up tennis ball. He has it pretty rough at our house, doesn't he? 

And just so Jenny doesn't feel left out, here is a picture of her I took today. I feel like her expression here says "HA! I conquered all your silly toys human. Now surrender your arm to me for biting and scratching please."

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AND EMAIL YOUR RESCUE STORY TO ME! pabibliophile@gmail.com

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Different Kind of Adoption Story

Today's blog post is the most significant and scariest one I've written to date! I agonized over how to word this just right, to communicate just what I want to say. How do I share such big news within the context of this blog and the readers here? I've enlisted Wiley's help, and you'll see his pictures scattered throughout the post, with a significant hint hidden in each one. Some of you already know what that is, but I won't give the spoilers out just yet. 

So let's start with today, July 10, 2014. 10 years since we got married. The 10th anniversary of any occasion is a milestone, and I certainly feel like being married to my husband for 10 years is a huge occasion. Our wedding was a fun day. Between the two of us, we had been in around 20 weddings by the time we were ready to walk down the aisle, and what we wanted most of all was to keep it low-key. At the end of the day I just wanted to be married to him. In the picture below I'm pretending to be a good, obedient wife. Even Wiley would say "BOL!"

Our actual wedding congregation was quite small. Maybe around 40-50 people, mostly family. We had a great dinner/reception that evening, and a few weeks later a big reception. But that day, July 10, 2004, we got to dress up, exchange vows, have fun, spend time with everyone, and make a lasting memory. And yes, he’s wearing a baseball uniform. It’s a replica of a Philadelphia Athletics jersey from the 1920s, handmade by a company in Connecticut who makes them for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.   It cost less than a tuxedo rental and he still has it!

When I think about how I pictured us in ten years, how I thought our life would look, I couldn’t have possibly seen what God had in store. I thought Hubs would be a head or fulltime college baseball coach by now. Thought he loves where he is, that he doesn’t have his own program yet has shown me that the world is full of other people with different advantages, and that the most capable and talented person may get turned down for the one with better connections. That’s a lesson we all have to learn at some point, and it stinks. It's part of the perpetual life lesson that It Isn't Fair. But if he did have his own program, would he be going back to graduate school now to get his MSW? Would he be on track to be a counselor? How many lives will he reach with his new titles to come?  It’s impossible to predict, but I do know he is going to be amazing, however he uses his next degree.

And as for me. . . well I don’t even know where I thought I’d be. Still teaching, yes. Still a lover of animals and travel and family. And a mom. A mother. I thought I’d be a mother. Maybe to a few kids by now. Yes, I have my beautiful furkids, Wiley and Jenny. I care for them like they are humans and I love them like crazy. But I thought I’d have children by now. I wanted to have my husband’s children. I couldn’t wait to see if they would look like him, act like him, swing a bat like him.  Or would they be less athletically inclined, like me? Maybe they would be curious little bookworms. Nerdy math kids. Maybe we’d have dark haired, curly-haired, curve-ball hitting, piano-playing, Harry Potter-reading, brown-and-hazel eyed, straight A getting children, destined for great things.

Except we don’t. We can’t. Well, I can’t actually. I have Premature Ovarian Failure. It’s a story I plan to tell in greater detail over the next few weeks for those who are interested, not to bum people out, but because for anyone else dealing with it knowing they’re not alone is essential.

So what does that mean for us?  Well, for starters it means my husband has stood by me through one of the worst imaginable scenarios. It means he had to hear me say “I can’t have kids. I can never have your child.” Well, actually he had to try to make out what I was saying through the choked out sobs. This is something he had to hear 5 years into our marriage-into that lifelong commitment.  So when my dream derailed, his did too.

But at that moment, he knew the right thing to say. I’ll be honest, there are many times that he, like so many other people, doesn’t know what to say in troublesome situations. This was not one of those times. Instead, after a pause, he said “Well, there has to be a child out there who needs the Dercks as parents. We’ll adopt.” I thank God all the time, and it still isn’t often enough, for providing me with someone who shared my new and improved dream, to become a parent, period. Curly hair, dark hair, no hair. Baseball, reading, music, or none of the above. Who knows what our child will be like? Even biological parents have no idea what their children will be like. Maybe someday I’ll have to learn all the rules of tennis, or Dungeons and Dragons, or French, or economics, because that’s what our child will want to pursue. I know one thing, though. We are ready to be parents.

So it is with great joy that I share the news that we have been legally approved via the Home Study process to become adoptive parents!!!!!

Our dream is back on track, and we pray that with our network of friends, family, and acquaintances, people will just keep sharing our story until someone out there knows of a baby who needs us. We both have learned, time and again, that we have a powerful capacity for love regardless of biology, from our furry family to our dysfunctional non-biological family God has blessed us with, from our own relatives to our former students and players, we have seen that we can love deeply and powerfully, devotedly and thoroughly. We are now ready for a baby to call our own, and we pray that you can help support us in this journey.

I will be putting together some information about the process, particularly if we continue to go through the agency we have started with, rather than finding a match through word of mouth. They are an excellent agency, but I can tell you the cost for domestic infant adoption can be obscenely high. You may have questions about why we are choosing this type of adoption, or why exactly it costs so much, and I hope to answer those over the next few weeks as well. We will be starting a fund to help raise money, and will likely be doing fundraisers as well. Many of our friends and family have asked how they can help, and for now the best thing to do is spread the word. If you can picture us as capable and loving parents please tell others. The more people who know, the better the chances of a scared, reluctant, but very brave birth mother hearing about us and our desire to have a bigger family.

Wiley knows how important adoption is, and so do you Gentle Readers. It's something I have considered since childhood, always keeping it as an option, never realizing how important it would one day become to me. We would have started the process a long time ago, were it not for the daunting price and a series of very traumatic other events we were dealing with, briefly covered in Wiley's Rescue Story. Now it is our hope that you will support us in this most important endeavor. God is saving us for a child or children who will join our family so we can make each other whole. Please pass it on.

Email me at pabibliophile@gmail.com. Follow the blog, where I will continue to post rescue stories and fun Wiley pictures, but I will also use the site to update our process. I will keep the two separate, so if you're only hanging around for the doggie stories don't sweat it. In the meantime, make sure you follow us on Social Media.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Doggie Style: The PETSTORE

Yesterday Hubs and I had the good fortune of visiting one of our favorite couples in Philadelphia, Katie and Jackie, and spending the day with them. They live in the Newbold section of Philly, which is located near a fun string of boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants on Passyunk Avenue. That's where I discovered Doggie Style

You knew I was talking about a pet store, right?  Anyway. . . Doggie Style is not part of the evil empire of pet stores that sells puppy mill puppies. There was, however, a doggie in the window. Meet Sammy!

Sammy is a 2 year old Dachshund mix available for adoption.  Doggie Style works with Operation Ava, a Philadelphia no-kill rescue organization, to help find their babies homes.

 If you go to this link you will see their available animals. Scroll down to find Sammy. If he isn't there then maybe by the time you are reading this he got adopted!  Still, there are way too many more where he came from, so be sure to check this organization out. They do a lot to prevent unwanted pets through their spay/neuter program, which is so vital. 

It was tough to get just the right picture of Sammy because he wouldn't stand still long enough. He was busy wagging his tail, licking our hands, and getting his toys out to show us.  

Another pretty guest in Doggie Style was Greta. She was there with her human, just chilling while he catered to her every whim.

And speaking of catering to your pets' every whim, this store had quite the selection of treats. Of course with Hubs's background in baseball I was partial to these:

But in the end, when you're getting your pet a souvenir from Philly it has to be this:

Wiley made pretty short and slobbery work of it too.

And don't worry, I didn't forget Jenny. She got a Phillies' bow. 

I thought for sure I'd get scratched putting it on but instead I just got vigorously groomed.

I think it's helping her live up to her name: Jennyanydots!

As you may have noticed, Wiley got a snazzy new bandana. Actually, he got more than one, and I will unveil the other bold fashion statement later this week. Until then, you can enjoy him in all his Rescue Dog Blog glory.

By the way, I can't be the only one with a dog who loves nothing more than to play fetch, but will not give his ball up.  Do you have a dog who does that?  It's the silliest thing.

Wiley may not enjoy these days when we're away from home, but we always leave him in good hands and spoil him rotten once we get back. Today there was lots of ball throwing and a long walk and hopefully he's forgiven us. As long as my guilty conscience keeps responding to this 

he's got me right where he wants me. BOL!

Don't forget you can email  me at pabibliophile@gmail.com with your rescue stories, and be sure to follow us on social media.