Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Meet Roo - PupZilla

Roo - PupZilla - Look at her lovely eyes.

Sometimes through grief we find joy. 

After Muggie's passing I really thought I did not want another dog.  In a few short days however, I realized very quickly that I am definitely a person who loves having a dog in my life.  There was a hole in my life, yes it may have been grief talking and making its palpable presence felt. After a few days of very intense inconsolable grieving, I felt I needed to move forward and look to the future and I started looking at dogs.  I really wanted another Bichon Shih Tzu, but decided that there had to be distinct differences so as not to draw similarities to Muggie, because she was one of a kind and irreplaceable.  I wanted a new member of our family, so the search began. 

I immediately thought rescue dog, because I can make a difference in a dog's life and give them a good loving family.  Muggie was a rescue doggis and she was lovely and amazing.  Unfortunately little dogs don't come into the shelter very often and I did not want an older dog because I did not want to go through losing them too soon.  I scoured the ads and did find a lovely little rescue female Bichon Shih Tzu who was between 1-3 and unfortunately she came from a puppy mill.  She had a sweet disposition and looked perfect, except for one thing, she was the spitting image of my Muggie.  This would not work, it wouldn't, just wouldn't.  

The search began and we went and looked at puppies one night and left because the puppies were just not right for us and we weren't very thrilled about the environment they were being raised in.  I also had the benefit of a friend who worked as a kennel master for a very reputable shelter and she helped me a lot with information and giving me questions to ask the 'breeder'.  I did not want to get a dog from a puppy mill.  We had also decided that if we did not find a dog to our liking there was no rush and we had time to find the right pup. Until we found this......

Roo - 9 weeks old, a bundle of fluff, cuteness, energy and gnashing puppy teeth - those babies put Jaws or the Twilight vampires to shame.  Don't let the cuteness fool you, Grand Duchess Roo is plotting to take over my life and make me her dog treat slave.

On Saturday we were looking through the local ads on the net and I spotted this wee girl and her equally cute little brother.  This breed is a Zuchon or Shichon, which is fancy speak for Bichon Shih Tzu cross.  Her brother was a light apricot color.  Part of this process for me has been about interviewing the breeder (grilling them actually - ask my hub, it was intense) and looking at the parent dogs and seeing the environment the pups were raised in.  I wanted to make sure that the mother dog was in good condition, well fed, shiny coat, clean with no mats and most importantly how the owners interacted with her and her pups.  I asked pertinent questions about health, age of mother, how many litters she has had in the last year, dog family history, etc. you get the idea.  

The more forth coming the breeder is and happy to share information about your puppy the better chance that it is a good place to get the pup from.  If they know everything about the dog and breed and are willing to answer your questions and not rush you to make the decision then it is more about the dog and not about money. There should be no pressure to put a deposit down and they should be more concerned that the puppy is going to a good home and that you are a good fit.  

Puppy playtime

Off we went to meet the puppies.  There were only two puppies in the litter, a female and male.  The dad was a Shih Tzu and mom was Bichon Cross.  Puppy dad's name was Ed - he was a very cool dog and man could he jump.  Daddy Ed also has champion Shih Tzu bloodlines from his granddaddy.  Mom's name was Chyna and she was so chill and just a lovely dog.  We met the owners and they were a lovely couple who adored their dogs and they doted on them.  The momma Chyna was 3 and has only had a few litters and this is her last. She is very well cared for and healthy. You could tell that she was the princess of the house and very loved.  Both parents were very sociable and friendly.  When I was kneeling down playing with the fluff balls dad Ed walked up and gave me a big puppy smooch on my face, according to the owners he never does this.  I guess it was  his approval of me.  My hub said to them, "She is a dog person and dogs know this." 

We sat there for almost two hours chatting with them and snuggling and cuddling the two pups. The owners where checking us out just as much as we were checking them out. I wanted to take both puppies, but gave myself a reality check.  

The people I really needed to win over were my hub and daughter. I was watching my hubby and he was happy and at ease, I could tell from his body language that we were going home with one of these wonderful little puppies today.  My daughter was in love with both and I knew it was going to be a hard decision.  

Now to pick which one, they were both wonderful.  Roo seemed to be a fireball and her face was beautiful and we loved her colouring and markings and she is the polar opposite to Muggie.  Her coat will probably lighten up as she gets older. We all fell in love with her and decided she was the one.  

Someone doesn't like to leave her dish on the placemat, she likes to carry it around the kitchen and find her eating spot.  Its pretty darn cute. 

Miss Roo is definitely a baby and I had forgotten what it was like to have a baby in the house.  Hello sleepless nights!  But all that being equal it isn't a big deal, she is only little for a short time.  The first night was very adventuresome because Grand Duchess Roo had decided that she was lonely and missed her litter mate, so I became the substitute and foolishly I engaged in her cuteness and played with her in the middle of the night.  Wrong thing to do because it starts habits  for PupZilla and the next night it was all down to business, I learned my lesson.  

She is adjusting to her new surroundings and family and she is now 10 weeks old.  We are keeping her pretty close to home right now because she has only had her first shots and needs time to build immunity until her second set of puppy shots.  She is pretty smart too, because she is potty training for outside already and has only had an accident or two in the house, hopefully this trend will continue.  

Check out the fangs she has, she puts a vampire to shame.  She likes to lay on her back.

So at present I am busy reading The Dog Whisper's book and trying to learn to be a good pack leader to a puppy.  On the whole I think we are getting there.  I have traded several emails with the folks we adopted Roo from and I am glad that they are interested in her welfare and are happy to hear how she is doing.  

On her first night in our house when I was cuddling her in the middle of the night I told her the story of Muggie and promised Roo she would be just as loved and cared for, she seemed content and fell asleep. I think I needed to do this to share my dear Muggie with her and I think that Muggie would be happy that we are sharing our hearts and home with this little fireball.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Story of Muggins - my beloved dog

Muggie on Long beach in Tofino

Where to begin...My family has been very sad, as we have been dealing with the loss of our beloved dog, Muggins or Muggie as we called her.  She has been part of our family for 13 years and she was an amazing intelligent loving little rescue dog.  She came to us in 1999 when my daughter was 2.  

My hubby and I discussed getting a dog, but never could decide what breed, big, little, or medium sized.  I keenly missed my dog when I got married, but we were prohibited from having one when we lived on our floathome.  So when we moved off and back onto land I would broach the topic from time to time and then we would just get busy with our life.

My mom and dad really wanted to get a dog for their granddaughter and I conspired with them.  Sometimes you have to act and then ask for forgiveness after the fact.  One day I got a telephone call from my folks, they had found a lovely little black and white Bichon Shih Tzu who was between 1-3 years old, she was at a shelter.  (This is where the sneaky side of me comes out) I desperately wanted my little girl to experience growing up with a dog.  Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat when they were a kid knows of the special bond and love you have with a pet.  So along came Muggie. 

Muggie's start was sad because a young couple who were breeding dogs decided to break-up and when they went their separate ways they booted the puppies out the door.  This was up north and it was in October/November when it happened and it was really cold. Apparently the neighbours rescued two of the three pups, but unfortunately Muggie was on a grand adventure it would seem and she was elusive.  One day someone found this poor miserable matted little waif and took her to the shelter.  That was a fortuitous day as my dad just happened to drive by the shelter and decided to pull in and take a look at the dogs. 

One of the shelter workers accidently took my dad back to the room where Muggie was and at that point she wasn't up for adoption, again fate intervened. My dad is a charming fellow and somehow talked the caregiver to letting him see the stinky little doggis.  He said when he saw her she ran to him, bolted into his arms and it was love at first sight.  Dad called my mom and she came down to see the wee doggis and again it was love at first sight.  You may be wondering how Muggins got her name, when my dad looked at her he said to my mom, "She has such a cute little mug", so they called her Muggins.

This is the part where the begging for forgiveness comes in.... My mom arranged to fly down for a visit on December 5th, she was bringing a furry package.  I still had not told my hub what was happening, because I knew when he saw her it would be love.  Fates were conspiring against me a little though, Kirk ended up having to go out of town and had no idea what was waiting for him on his return.  He actually called and was talking to our daughter, remember she was 2 - she spilled the beans to her dad. I can still remember her side of the conversation, "We have a doggy Da da".  Uh Oh!  Of course he wanted to speak to mommy and lets just say he wasn't all that thrilled and was a tad upset.  I didn't let that phase me because I was already in love with the dog and eventually he would be too. 

When Kirk came home he had a very stern look on his face when I met him at the door with child, dog and mother-in-law in tow.  But then just as I knew would happen the cute little ball of fluff sat up on her haunches and crossed her paws, almost looking like she was praying, she whimpered and looked cute.  The rest is history, I promised Kirk I wouldn't do that again and I apologized and he forgave me.  After that Muggie and Kirk were inseparable.  She was smart as a whip and we taught her several tricks and she was a great loving little dog who loved to eat bacon, hang out and go to Tofino and roam on the beach.  She was a sociable little creature and used to go visit our neighbours for snacks.  

This summer somehow I felt that it was going to be her last.  My hubby and I were on a beach walk in Tofino and I leaned over and hugged him as we watched Muggie romp like a puppy, but I felt very sad suddenly and said to him, "I think this is going to be Mugg's last summer."  I have no idea why I thought this.  She was starting to slow down a little, but when you are a 15 year old lady that is normal.  Muggie had a glorious vacation, played on the beach, ate bacon, pancakes and potatoes (her faves) and snuggled with our daughter.  It was a great summer.

Early in the morning on Sunday, September 16th, our beloved little girl suffered 2 heart attacks.  We took her to the vet, he explained that he could possibly get her through the crisis, but her life would be one with lots of medication and drastically altered, she would not be able to go for walks or even up or down stairs.  He also indicated that it was a matter of months only and we decided that we did not want to be selfish and that Muggie needed dignity, love and respect and we had to have courage to do the right thing and let her go.  I was with my sweet girl when she crossed the rainbow bridge and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but when you love a dog you have to sometimes make this hard decision.  She was gone in a whisper and a look of peace came over her face.  I cried and cuddled her and said my goodbyes.  Our family's grief was palpable and we felt as though we had lost a part of us.  We have been very lucky because our family and friends have been very supportive and loving and it has made it easier to bear.  Muggie's ashes are home and are in a special place and I talk to her as I go by.  I know she is running on the beach and chasing butterflies and with her puppy friends that have gone before her. Rest In Peace my beloved little friend, you are missed and loved.  

"It was love right from the start, Nose to nose, heart to heart, Forever together our love lives on, I feel you here, though you are gone."  *verse on a prayer flag given to me by a friend 

           Muggie on her way to Tofino to run on the beach.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blog interrupted

Hey Scooterpie peeps - I haven't forgotten about my blog or YOUR blogs!  I have been lurking, it has just been a busy start to fall with back to school and work after vacation!  New posts coming and even a road trip adventure!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kayaking Clayoquot sound summer 2012

Last year we went kayaking for the first time and it was amazing, so we decided to do it again this year.  When we booked the trip it was a brilliantly sunny morning and as we left the fog and clouds started to roll in.  We paddled around Clayoquot sound and it was fairly calm.  Our kayak tour was with Paddle West and our guide Nick was very knowledgeable about Tofino and wildlife.  When we were between the islands there was a little wave action happening and I have to say it got my heart pitter pattering a little and I was definitely feeling vulnerable.  It was a lovely night, we saw some eagles, a raccoon trying to wrest some mussles off the shore.  There were starfish aplenty and Coho were jumping all around us -if only I had a net! We were out there paddling for about 3 hours and it was fabulous.  I think a kayak is in my future.  

 I thought motorcycling caused anxious moments, but I have to say the waves created by a floatplane rock the kayak something fierce.

 I needed a little recharge, but had to do some contortions to get at it, almost dumped the kayak.

Tofino from the water.