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Riley was a temporary challenge that became a permanent member of the family.
She came to us as a rescue in need of some pretty significant care and attention.
Investigation into the treatment options indicated that could well have required us to make numerous long drives to one of two, University Veterinary Hospitals and pay $5000-$10,000 for surgeries that might...or might not work.
Putting her down seemed to be the only reasonable
option. But every hour we spent watching her unwavering
spirit and joy, made coughing up the dough seem more
and more plausible.
Then we tried something different....Have a look.
A couple of very Special Friends
English Bulldogs. Some find them incredibly cute, some incredibly homely.
We found Pork Chop to be simply…incredible.
He was found wandering the streets of our small Minnesota town, without an
owner, without food, without much of anything. After getting him food, water and
looked over by a Vet, Pork Chop was placed into foster care with Linda, a caring
lady willing to deal with this snorting, farting, drool flinging bundle of personality.
The breed’s face naturally looks as though it were made of wax, which had been
exposed to a bit too much heat. Squished, wrinkled and droopy, Pork Chop’s
God-given appearance was further altered by fiery red eyes and a skin infection,
causing puss to ooze from the folds around his face and neck. His look was
somewhat disturbing, and the smell caused by the skin infection, was challenging
to say the least.
It appeared that his infected eyes just might need to be removed, for they seemed to lack function and were most likely causing him pain with each and every blink.
However, ointments, care and cleaning soon reversed his sore skin. His reddened eyes
took on a much-improved appearance and his vision improved. Even the odor passed…Well, except for those occasional gaseous events, neither an improved diet, nor God himself, seems capable or inclined to control an English Bull dog.
Linda asked, no, allowed us to watch Pork Chop for a couple of days. After undergoing a careful sniffing and visual assessment from our other dogs, Pork Chop quickly became a welcomed member of our pack.
Never having been around an English Bull dog, we found this one to be a walking array of joy filled lessons. Perhaps the least athletic looking animal that ever walked the earth, this guy was surprisingly able to launch himself like a rocket from the floor onto anyone foolish enough to take a seat and make eye contact with him. The leap was always followed by 2, 3, or 4 thousand kisses before he’d move off either play elsewhere or just drop with a thud, for a nap that within minutes, sounded like a sleeping cartoon character.
We took Pork Chop for a day at or business, where he would wander about to visit or sleep next to most everyone. Oddly enough, he seemed most comfortable parking himself on the floor next to our office’s non-dog-people people.
I don’t know about other Bulldogs, but meeting and getting to know Pork Chop was a process of enlightenment. Sadness or pity might be the first reaction, but you soon realize that it is misplaced. That there is a gift, a special blessing at play.
Appearances are quite often deceiving and judging on appearance is quite always wrong. Pork Chop, like many labeled before given a chance, showed himself to be a magical ambassador of joy and unconditional friendship. You just can't help but wanna be around Pork Chop...Perhaps, because can’t help but wanna be around you.
Weekend with Manny
This past weekend we were fortunate, no blessed, to have had a weekend with Manny.
This multi-colored Coonhound with adorable and expressive brown eyebrows, showed
up at a local farmers home looking for food and a friend. Probably less than a year old,
Manny began to play with the farmer’s dogs and although he seamed right at home,
this home already had its share of hounds to feed. The kindness of the farmer got
Manny some food and something to drink, and then a trip to the Humane Society to
help find this guy a home of his own.
Unfortunately, that was 3-months ago and although this “loves to be petted” puppy has
been kept safe and with most of his needs met, the one most important need, a forever
family or friend in need, has yet to show-up.
To give Manny a vacation from his kennel, we took him home for a weekend with our Newfoundland, Mastiff and Riley, a crippled Coonhound we took in to provide temporary care. Never having or wanting a Coonhound as a pet, we soon discover that they are more like a friendly cartoon character than canine. Laughter turned into love and Riley, crooked legs and trumping bark, is now considered a gift that we’ll hold on to for as long as God allows us.
Manny, wrestled and ran with his new-found friends and joyously grappled with our 15-year old son. We kept him on a leash when out to play, knowing that he’ll need training before set free to explore. But the delight he brought to us all in just 72 hours will be remembered for Manny years to come. This delight inspired us to write and pay for newspaper ads, hoping that Manny’s meant-to-be family or best friend will find it.
Until then, he’ll remain with us on permanent loan from the Humane Society. We’ll do our best to provide Manny with toys to chew, grass to run on and what he seems to want most of all…someone nearby when he go to sleep.
UPDATE: We found Manny his forever home. He is now called "Bruce" and he gets to go Kajaking, visiting the family farm and running with his friends, two labs, after which he goes home exausted with two wonderful people who heard about Manny and decided he would be their "first dog" together. He is being loved to no end and they couldn't imagine life without him anymore. We wish you a happy life Bruce!
Jimmy the Bull
A Story of Love and Creativity
On Rafael Mantesso’s 30th birthday, his wife left him. She took their cookware, their furniture, their photos, their decorations. She left Rafael alone in an empty all-white apartment. The only thing she didn’t take was their bull terrier…Jimmy.
Rafael found inspiration in his blank walls and his best friend and started snapping photos of Jimmy as he trotted and cavorted around the house in glee. Then, on a whim Rafael grabbed a marker and drew a new world around his ginger-eared pup.
Hundreds of charming and cheeky images chronicling the owner and dog’s relationship and adventures have now been crafted into a book that is as heartwarming as it is hilarious. A Dog Named Jimmy will delight animal lovers everywhere.
Our Most "Full-Time" Employees
Our company adopted these guys years ago and here they stay, 24/7. They left Humane Society cages and now lurk the halls and desks at Comfortex.
Although we like to brag on our corporate creativity, the names we gave this board of directors should discredit any illusions we have regarding our creative abilities. Lucky is Lucky, because on the morning he arrived, our company recieved its largest order ever. After struggling with dozens of cute and clever names for the yellow and gray tomcats, Yellow Tommy and Gray Tommy were what stuck.
Sharing our office with three cats has its ups and downs. Up's are when they curl on your lap and gaze up at you like you're the most brilliant person that ever touched a keyboard. Down's are when one of them launches their lunch into...said keyboard.
I'm sure they all think we work for them...they're probabaly right.
I returned from the store, grocery bag in arm. I couldn't have been gone more than an hour and yet you greeted me like a mother, welcoming her child's return from the war.
As I emptied each bag, you watched in wonder, as though I were perfoming amazing feats of magic, the likes the world had never seen. As I moved about the kitchen you weave between my feet, a bit like a ballet dancer, or perhaps a linebacker working to bring
me to my knees.
I bent to scratch you behind the ears and whispered, " I missed you too."
What I meant to say was...
"When left alone, you move about our home watching over it all. Caring for us like a hired sentry, or better yet, a Guardian Angel.
Upon my return, you demonstrate a greeting of unmatched warmth and enthusiasm.
You sit beside us providing far more comfort than you take. The passing of my hand across your fur moves effortlessly. And your magic works to slow the heart and calm the soul.
Although at times our furnishings have paid the price for getting in your way or for being so inviting that no self respecting pet could ever resist. But the price paid for your presence in our lives is worth it all.
You remind us to Love without condition, to always seek adventure, and that we'd be wise to take joy from life's simplest things."
From the Book "What I Meant To Say" by Michael Murphy
I'll wait for Grandma
My grandmother was nearly 90-years old and no longer able to live on her own. As her health and capabilities changed, so did her addresses. From her own home, to an Assisted Living Center, to the Hospital and then Nursing Home. Each change of address, each fade in memory, each stumble to the floor, prepared us for what would soon be her crossing into her creator's home.
Several times each week I would swing by the Nursing Home to sit with her and talk about the past, present and 24 hours of future. Coming along for the ride and the visit was Bentley, my 190 lb. Newfoundland. Walking the halls of a small-town Nursing Home with a dog that could be saddled, never failed to draw attention.
Residents that struggled to remember the names of their own
children, never failed to extend their arms and holler
" Bentley ", hoping that we would draw close and share a hug
and some drool.
Perhaps the most memorable resident was a girl with Down's
Syndrome that was just far to young to be where she was.
With every visit I would look to the corner of the common area
where she would sit with her can of Dr. Pepper, rocking the day
away. Bentley always sought her out and the residents and
staff would watch with a smile as he laid his massive head atop
her lap, her tiny hands brushing accross his soft, fluffy face.
My heart was crushed when my kind, gentle giant's life came
to an unexpected end as a result of Bloat. His stomach had
become twisted and despite emergency surgery, my last few Grandma visits were without my beloved beast...Or were they?
Two days after Bentley's passing, I sat again with my Grandmother, unable to tell her that he died. During our visit, this fading, somewhat confused old woman, pointed to the spot where Bentley would normally lay. She informed me that he was going to stay with her in her room and go with her when she could go home. Two more days passed and then so did my grandmother. But she did so with a very large Angel at her side.
Thank you God...and Thank you Bentley
Bentley was a Gift..
...A Beautiful Gift.
An early morning commute, headed for my office like a million times before, the
radio played and my mind, drifted from the task of driving a car and an array
of random, rambling thoughts.
The road before me was as clear and uneventful as it had been most every day
or every week. I blinked…no change. I blinked…no change. I blinked…a deer.
Time slowed, allowing me to choose a safe maneuver, avoiding the animal as it
bound across my path. Events, still in slow-motion, took an ugly turn when the
fleeing deer, only a few feet from safety, was struck in the oncoming lane.
Like a rag doll tossed into the air, it flipped and spun off the hood of the car,
disappearing into the heavily brushed, roadside ditch.
Knowing that the driver might need assistance, I drove to the nearest turn around and headed back to see if help was needed. The car was pulled off to the side and the driver stood, angrily checking out the damage to his already crappy vehicle. “Are you okay, do you need any help” I yelled from my half-opened door.
The driver, a charming man whom possessed a remarkable ability to jamb his XXL framed body into what appeared to be a T-Shirt, size boy’s medium, did not respond to me. Instead he stared at his front-end, swore three times, climbed back into the car and drove angrily away.
Still parked along the highway, watching the deer slayer drive off, I caught sight of something moving in the brush beside me. It was the deer, struggling to climb up the side hill and run to safety.
My heart sank when I saw that the doe’s efforts were limited to its front legs only, as both rear limbs were snapped, nearly in half.
Standing in the roadside ditch with traffic whizzing by, I called my office and asked my partner to call the police to send someone to come and put this animal down. Minutes later, she called back to tell me that this was not a priority and help was not available…or was it.
Looking up the hill, I watched the wounded deer continue to struggle to find refuge deeper in the woods, away from the frightening sounds of the highway and some guy wearing a suit and tie, staring at her. I just couldn’t walk away, because aside from her unusable back legs, she seemed strong. Strong enough to suffer for days before time would take her.
My half-century on this planet has taught me that when in over your head, look upward and ask for help. And so I did. Not for me, but for this life that events had crippled and for a long suffering I prayed would not take place.
Now, dress pants be damned, kneeling in the dirt, I asked God to provide the help that I could not. That this life, no lesser than any other, would be taken and her struggle here, brought to a kind, if not loving end.
The next few minutes were for my witness only and they will remain with me as one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever been allowed. The deer turned away from her uphill climb and with only her front legs, pulled herself across the brush, moving in my direction. Her dangling hind legs followed her as she made her way over the 15 or 20 feet, coming to a stop within my reach.
The human in me didn’t want to scare her, but extending my hands to support her head, seemed the obvious thing to do. She allowed my reach and rested her face in my hands and her gaze fixed on, if not into me. Again, I asked that given the injuries and my lack of resources, or a gun, that she be taken now and not later.
With a few puffs of air from a soft, leathery nose, my prayer was granted.
Back into my car, I again called the office to tell my partner what had happened and how we both, the deer and I, were blessed with something truly amazing.