>I Got an Email Today…

>…From Dogster reminding me that it was Goldie‘s birthday. Of course, I had to go to the website to check out her page, which reminded me to add Olivia and Lily to the site. For those who don’t know, or who aren’t dog nuts like I am, Dogster is a website that allows you to post photos, videos, stories, and other data about your dog, plus make “Pup Pals” with other dogs and their owners. Subscribers are also kept up to date about dog-related news and information. Cat lovers don’t despair, just direct your browser to Catster, which provides the same services to feline aficionados. I, of course, am a member of both.

Anyway, Goldie turned six today. Of course, since she was rescued off the street, her age is an estimate and we picked the date (which is also my sister Sue’s birthday, who died from cancer almost six years ago. That’s for another post on another day.) The same holds true for all of our dogs except Sidney, who was a puppy when we adopted him.

All this made me realize that I haven’t really posted the family story yet. The doggy family story, that is. I have written about Olivia and Lily, and their introduction to the pack, but this story really starts over 10 years ago…

The first pets that Alan and I brought home were Boris and Natasha. We had just moved in together, in 1998, and felt we were ready for “children.” We headed out to the Orphan Pet Oasis, the no-kill shelter in North Palm Springs, and adopted our two wonderful kittens. They are not related, but after 11 years together they certainly are family.

Later that year, we rescued Lulu. I was working at the La Quinta Senior Center at the time, and one day, she just walked in the automatic doors. Seriously. I brought her home that night, intending to take her to the Pet Oasis the next day. Long story short, Lulu became the first canine member of our little family. Sadly, Lulu was an escape artist. Impossible to keep her in the yard, it eventually led to her death, hit by a car only two years later. She was a wonderful dog and I still want to cry when I think about her life and her untimely death.

Before we lost Lulu, however, we adopted Morena. Ah, Morena, our Bloodhound. Alan had always wanted a Bloodhound and when his mother saw an ad in the Desert Sun, we jumped at the chance. The family who kept her also had three other dogs, including two Mastiffs, who picked on Morena. Although she weighed in at about 110 pounds at the time, these larger dogs nipped at her and chased her, until even the family who loved her realized she needed a better, safer home. She was three at the time and she spent 10 years with us, until her death earlier this year. I wrote about it at the time.

Lulu was an Australian Cattle Dog (mixed, we think with Akita–she looked like someone had stuck an Akita head on her body). After we lost her, Alan’s way of mourning was to look tirelessly at the ACD rescue websites. He spent hours looking at these wonderful dogs who needed good homes. Finally, we found Sidney, an Australian Cattle Dog puppy, offered by a “breeder” in Escondido. I put breeder in parentheses because she was a poor excuse for a breeder. We were led by our sadness and our need for a dog, but she ran a dirty operation. I have learned a lot about bad breeders over the last few years and now know we should never have dealt with this person. Not that I would give up our little boy Sidney for all the knowledge in the world.

When we took Sidney home, he was so infested with worms, the vet told us that he could have died if we hadn’t taken care of the problem as quickly as we did. Sidney is a sweet, smart, wonderful dog, but poor breeding has led to serious issues. He is now blind, after having undergone eye surgery several years ago. That is not to say that he is handicapped. He is so smart, he gets around so well you’d hardly know he can’t see. Sid is nine now, starting to get a little arthritis, but still going strong.
About a month after Sid came home, a neighbor knocked on our door. With him he had a Dalmatian that he said he had found hanging around his front yard. She had no collar. He said he was going to call local shelter to see if he could find the owner. By the time Alan and I came home from work the next day, the neighbor had called Animal Control and had the dog picked up. We were angry about that, fearing that sending her to the animal shelter was sending her to her death. I called up the shelter, put my name in (with a nine day waiting period), and set about finding her a home. The one person I found decided she was too old (around seven), so after the nine days, Dixie came home with us.

Dixie was our introduction to Dalmatians, and she was wonderful! She had a sweet, gentle disposition (although she really didn’t like our cats). We had Dixie in our lives for only one year. She became ill, then was finally diagnosed with a brain tumor. It broke our hearts the day we had to carry her into the Animal Specialty Hospital to say goodbye.

A few months later, Alan and I participated in a 5k race in Palm Springs that benefited the Animal Samaritans. We brought Sidney and Morena because it was a dog friendly race. Volunteers from local shelters also were out there, each with a dog wearing a vest that said “Adopt Me.” When we saw a young, skinny, scared Dalmatian wearing her vest, Alan and I exchanged a look. That was all it took. We knew that Penny would be a part of our family.

Today, Penny is our Alpha “Momma” dog. She makes it her responsibility to take care, watch over and reprimand all the other dogs.

A couple years later, although I know better, I was reading the “adoptable pets” section of the newspaper. I saw a picture of a young dog that I thought looked very much like Sidney, our Cattle Dog. The paper called her a “Kettle Terrier.” I called, and they said, yes, she is a Cattle Dog mixed with some type of terrier. I was hooked, and my lovely husband was right there with me.

We headed out to the shelter, where given an opportunity to take the dog out to a small fenced-in area, she quickly jumped up on Alan’s lap and gave him a hug. Really, she hugs, actually wraps her arms around you and hugs. One hug was all it took, Sassy was ours.

Not only does Sassy hug, she snuggles, cuddles, and kisses. She is our sweet, needy, baby, and when she got hit by a car a few years ago, it almost did us in. Fortunately, she survived and now is the “bossy little sister” of the household. She needs tons of attention, but returns it with tons of love.

When we first saw Goldie, she was alone in the streets, wandering behind a woman who wouldn’t claim her. We were walking our dogs, and certainly couldn’t leave a dog alone on the street. We brought her home. Goldie and Sassy have some “issues” and we keep them separate so they won’t fight. It is all in a days work at the Woodruff’s!

A few years ago, Goldie injured her back, to the point that we thought she may never be able to walk again. Again, off to the Animal Specialty Hospital. Either spend thousands for surgery, with about a 50% chance of walking again, or don’t, with about a 50% chance. Huh? We opted for no surgery, but Alan spent hours on physical therapy, working with Goldie, moving her back legs, walking her (using a strap to support her back end). Then came the day, after several months of this, that Goldie wagged her tail. The first time since her accident! From there on, it was all good. Now, Goldie walks, runs, jumps, leaps on the furniture. So, her back end is a little wobbly. She doesn’t care and it never slows her down.

So that was the story, up until the addition of Olivia and Lily. Now, you know why Alan and I are pretty busy and tend to stay close to home. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Goldie!

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  1. says

    >Debbie you and Alan are Saviors. Bless you both for having such big hearts. I love the write ups — heartbreaking stories and all. Keep on doing what you do. I almost went to N.Palm Springs spot earlier this summer :)I've got to sign all my babies up on this site.

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