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Pound Puppy To Diva
The Adoption Of A Friend
As my husband and I stood looking down the aisle of filled cages, it was heartbreaking to realize how many animals there were to choose from. With us, was a handful of others and over twenty-five dogs on display, hoping for new homes.
We were at our local animal shelter, seeking a pet for our fifteen year old son, who wanted a large dog. We had agreed that the animal chosen would not be as large as a Lab, but promised one larger than our miniature poodle had been. He also requested a more "manly" animal, one he wouldn't be embarrassed to walk down the street with. Ah, the Macho Man ideals of a teenage boy!
Each animal had its own special appeal or quality and most, this particular day, were close to eighty pounds. I couldn't help thinking that I was glad we had come ourselves. We would never have contained our son among all of these "manly" species!
About half way down the aisle, we came to a cage containing two dogs, one that was obviously part Jack Russell Terrier and the other, a most interesting shiny, jet black with a bushy coat and a fluffy tail that curled over her back. She stood off to herself and gazed back at me with eyes of beautiful intelligence. Looking to be only a little smaller than desired, I ask her age. The attendant told me she was six months old. Therefore, I knew she would still grow larger so that fit our needs.
However, the attendant wasn't very encouraging when we began to talk to this animal, telling us she was a Lab/Spitz mix. As I looked at her, I saw neither Lab nor Spitz but didn't argue the point. The animal was due to be euthanized the following day because she had been there as long as they could keep her.
In talking with the attendant, we were told others had passed her by because she wasn't friendly and had that almost ominous, intelligent star. They were also put off by the tooth that lapped over her left, upper top lip and protruding bottom teeth, giving her a snarling look all the time. And there was concern due to the fact that she had been beaten and would snap, if a hand came near her face. As I stood looking at her, however, I saw only a frightened puppy and, rather than a snarl, a constant smile.
We decided to take her out of her surroundings and walk her into the open field behind the kennel. She walked with us readily, taking the lead immediately. As we stopped some distance from the building, she looked up at the two of us and then stepped close to my husband, leaning into his legs. Within that moment, she had found a home.
Eugenia S. Hunt's Work is Copyrighted
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This is one of the neatest stories you will ever hear. You will know precisely what this little girl is talking about at the end and you'll want
to share this one with your loved ones and special friends!
'Danielle Keeps repeating it over and over again. We've been back to this animal shelter at least five times. It has been weeks now
since we started all of this,' the mother told the volunteer.
'What is it she keeps asking for?' the volunteer asked.
'Puppy size!' replied the mother.
'Well, we have plenty of puppies, if that's what she's looking for. I know, we have seen most of them,' the mom said in frustration. Just then Danielle came walking into the office.
'Well, did you find one?' asked her mom.
'No, not this time,' Danielle said with sadness in her voice. 'Can we come back on the weekend?'
The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and laughed.
'You never know when we will get more dogs. Unfortunately, there's always a supply,' the volunteer said.
Danielle took her mother by the hand and headed to the door. 'Don't worry, I'll find one this weekend,' she said.
Over the next few days both Mom and Dad had long conversations with her. They both felt she was being too particular. 'It's this weekend or we're not looking any more,' Dad finally said in frustration.
'We don't want to hear anything more about puppy size, either,' Mom added.
Sure enough, they were the first ones in the shelter on Saturday morning . By now, Danielle knew her way around, so she ran right for the section that housed the smaller dogs.
Tired of the routine, mom sat in the small waiting room at the end of the first row of cages. There was an observation window so you could see the animals during times when Visitors weren't permitted.
Danielle walked slowly from cage to cage, kneeling periodically to take a closer look.. One by one the dogs were brought out and she held each one.
One by one she said, 'Sorry, but you're not the one.'
It was the last cage on this last day in search of the perfect pup. The volunteer opened the cage door and the child carefully picked up the dog and held it closely. This time she took a little longer.
'Mom, that's it! I found the right puppy! He's the one! I know it!' She screamed with joy. 'It's the puppy size!'
'But it's the same size as all the other puppies you held over the last few weeks,' Mom said.
'No not size... The sighs. When I held him in my arms, he sighed,' she said.
'Don't you remember? When I asked you one day what love is, you told me love depends on the sighs of your heart. The more you love, the bigger the sigh!'
The two women looked at each other for a moment. Mom didn't know whether to laugh or cry. As she stooped down to hug the child, she did a little of both.
'Mom, every time you hold me, I sigh. When you and Daddy come home from work and hug each other, you both sigh. I knew I would find the right puppy if it sighed when I held it in my arms,' she said. Then, holding the puppy up close to her face, she said, 'Mom, he loves me. I heard the sighs of his heart!'
The Trip Home
Meeting Our Son
We decided not to take her home immediately. Instead, we stopped by our old poodle's groomer to have Liz check her over, give her a bath, and cut her toenails. As Liz did so, she talked to us about the animal, saying her weight was approximately twenty-five pounds and would most likely almost double by adulthood. She also speculated that she was one half Chow and, she thought, one half Schipperke.
What on earth was a Schipperke? Liz informed us that they are medium sized animals, originating from Belgium, often born without a tail, webbed feet, heavy black coats, broad chests, and primarily considered boat dogs who love the water. Well, she did have webbed feet, broad chest and beautiful coat. Later, we found a book on Schipperkes and found our new friend to look exactly like one, only with a tail and twice the size, which was a carry over from her Chow side.
After her bath, it was time to go home and meet our son. At first, I don't think he was exactly thrilled with her because, though that stare and her "tooth" gave her a macho look, she was smaller than he had wanted. But it didn't take her long to totally win him over and she became Chad's dog in every way, especially after she took down his friend's German Shepherd by the throat in one fast swoop!
Yes, there were a few kinks that had to be ironed out of this most unusual little animal, as far as I was concerned, but the men of the house loved her brassy attitude!
A Name For Our New Friend
One That Is Really Hers
First thing on the agenda was to give her a name. She had originally been named Lady but that tooth just did not fit the bill! The entire family worked on a name for her diligently but none seemed to really give her justice. So, I got out the thesaurus and began to cross reference different variations of some we had already thought of. That is when I found Raven and Raven she became. It totally suit her attitude, her beautiful, glistening black coat, and her free spirit.
And a free spirit she definitely had with a mind of her own to go with it! I was soon to find that, having an animal of such intelligence, also means encouraging them to do as you say is similar to having a teenager with four legs.
She loved to run, especially when the back door was left ajar. On one such occasion, she was spotted six doors down by one of the neighborhood children. He came to the door to alert me that she was out and immediately called on five of his friends to help us catch her. She would wait until we were almost next to her and then take off at a dead run and, I'd swear, with a big smile on her face! I finally gave up and for the next two hours, watched six little ducks in a row chase Raven from one yard to the other, never quite able to reach out and grab her. Finally, Raven tired of the game, came home and took a nap all by herself.
What were we going to do with this opinionated, hard headed, life loving little animal?
A Pet's Ten Commandments
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.
Shortly after coming home with us, Raven began to lose her hair and I mean almost all of it. I was concerned about what was wrong and took her to our Veterinarian. They decided to test her for allergies and she was found to have fifty-three, the worst ratings were for fleas and cats.
Oh, no, we had a cat. It has got to be embarrassing to be a dog allergic to a cat!
Now, keep in mind that we decided to rescue a dog rather than buy one, partly for the need of rescue and partly for the lesser expense.
Well, for the next two years, I administered weekly shots to Raven so that she could live in the same house with Sultan, our family cat.
Our sixty dollar pound puppy was quickly turning into a six hundred dollar pound puppy! But she was our six hundred dollar pound puppy and now a total member of the family, attitude and all!''
Soon after, Raven proved she had accepted Sultan, allergies and all, in a big way. As we walked into the garage one afternoon, we saw Sultan across the lawn and in front of him, poised to attack, was the neighbors cat, Sam. Sam was always terrorizing Sultan relentlessly. Before we could do anything, Raven tore around us, crossing the lawn in seconds, hitting Sam broad sided with her head. Sam was sent flying several feet into the air. He hit the ground at a dead run with Raven right behind him.
After that, Sam never even considered attacking "Raven's Kitty Cat" again. Frankly, he skirted around our lawn with eyes peeled for any approaching 'black streak', whenever on his way home!
The Beginning Of The Odd Couple
Will Raven Accept Him?
When Raven was three, our groomer gave us a little black toy poodle, the last male of her father's show dog blood line. Her father didn't want to sell Whisper, but rather find a good home for him. He was eighteen months old and really a beautiful little animal. However, we told Liz no, at first, for fear Whisper would wind up Raven's lunch!
Liz was amazing with animals and made the initial introductions between the two dogs. Raven wasn't having any of it to begin with and showed her "smile" readily. But Liz talked and worked with them and was able to bring Raven around to tolerating little Whisper and refraining from taking a bite of him.
After a few weeks, the two of them were inseparable, becoming the "Odd Couple" of our family.
From Como To Puccini
There is always music playing somewhere in the house and I love to sing. Many of our pets have learned to sing along with me and Raven is no exception. However, in the beginning, when I would try to get her to sing, she would run from the room whenever I hit a high note. She was becoming my worst critic!
So, I decided to try singing along with a CD of Perry Como as he crooned, "Without A Song." Slowly, Raven began to lift her nose in the air and sing along with Perry. Before long, she would come in perfectly, on the downbeat, as the song began, even when I did not sing along. I often wondered what Perry Como would think of that!
As the years have passed, she and little Whisper have learned to sing upon command, "How about a little Puccini, Guys!" And they love to sing their own rendition of "Un Bel Di, Vedrimo," as my six year old granddaughter, Devin, plays the piano for them in her child like fashion, neither of which are in tune.
Sing It, Miss Ra'!! - Still Her Favorite Song
Without A Song by Perry Como
Discovering Her Extended Family
In time, with a great deal of love and affection, Raven has learned to tolerate facial contact and no longer growls or snaps. But it didn't happen over night. It took years for her to forget the cruelty of her first family.
Has she learned to stay home when finding an open door? No! However, at least, these days, she will return on command and never wanders more than a front yard or two away.
She hasn't attacked another dog in years and loves all of her people deeply.
Raven has watched as our children have grown to adulthood, leaving her home. She has befriended and loved each and every foster child who crossed the threshold of her domain with intensity, seeming to know how much they needed her love. Raven gives her love to each grandchild in turn. She greets every guest to our home as though they all came to see her alone. She has won the hearts of some professed dog haters and is even welcome inside my mother's house, a definite feat in its own right!
With so many coming and going over the years, I know she wonders where all of her people go. But she never forgets even one and, when they return to visit, greets each one as though they were her most favored person on earth.
Whenever my friend, Cathy, calls from Sumter, South Carolina, Raven just seems to know it is her and starts to dance and bark in the kitchen. I have to put the phone on speaker so that they can have a little chat. Raven loves for them to come to visit because Cathy's husband, Gerald, will always spend time with her outside, where she is happiest. She also enjoys sharing Cathy's sweet tea, or sweet water, as Raven understands it, whenever she finds the glass on the porch floor beside Cathy's chair and sneaks herself a drink. Of course, Cathy then has to make herself another glass of tea.
How Far She Has Come
Today, at fourteen years young, or eighty in human years, she is my constant companion and friend. Little Whisper is still with us, too, enjoying his thirteenth year of life. They are still inseparable and remain forever the "Odd Couple."
Just this week, Raven had a physical with the Veterinarian and her blood work was perfect. He is always amazed when I remind him of how old she is. If not for arthritis, she would have no illnesses. Doctor Berger has a new Laser machine that is used primarily for arthritic joints, applying heat deep within the joint. He was joking this week about his "twenty thousand dollar Breadbox." I told him that was quite appropriate since he was using it on my NOW "six thousand dollar Pound Puppy!"
Raven's walk has slowed and her hearing has diminished to forty percent, she naps often during the day, and goes to bed by nine o'clock every night. Then, to be awakened around eleven by Whisper, who has been taught to call her for "last potty check" because she can't hear me anymore, once asleep, unless I am in the room with her. And Whisper, who is almost blind, needs Raven to lead him out when it is dark. They take care of each other.
Raven is still jet black but her mussel has grayed and her backbone is beginning to protrude. Due to the arthritis in her right hip and knees, she takes medication and knows when it is due. She enters the kitchen and does her little dance to announce the time. I never have to worry to keep up with her medication or mealtime. She has her own built in clock and never misses.
Leaving her bed, Raven sleeps in the doorway of my bedroom at night, forever protecting me from some unknown assailant, never shirking her job of fourteen plus years.
I know the time is nearing for us to say goodbye. When she was young and full of vinegar and driving me to distraction, I used to joke that this aggravating animal would probably live longer than any other we had owned. I now find myself hoping that she will.
When I gaze into those wonderful, intelligent eyes, I still see the bright light that is forever Raven, filled with her love for me. And may she always know she is loved as much as the love she has given to all of us.
If Raven knew about this lens of tribute, I am certain you would see her smile with that "tooth" still standing at attention over her top lip. If she could, she would most probably say, with attitude, "Wow! From Pound Puppy to Diva in a short fourteen years!"
My Little Friend
By Eugenia S. Hunt
Life, sometimes found lonely,
And friendships far and few.
What would it be, you're looking for?
Someone there, just for you?
To find just one unselfish friend,
In this world so self-consumed,
A friend who'll be there to the end,
Whose love fills every room.
There is no price for loyalty,
Can't buy what's tried and true,
One whose world you will become,
With love and pride in you.
One day I found the answer,
Signed and sealed the deal,
Chuck full of happy moments
Awaiting commands to fill.
The purchase price, very small,
A single, trusting, little heart,
Just waiting for the asking,
With devotion from the start.
Our days, we share, one by one,
The years, though few, are blessed.
These years of mine go with her,
For she has passed the test.
And when my little friend,
This lifetime must depart,
Best place for her to lay to rest,
Is right here in my heart.
Raven's Last Days
For those of you who have read and followed Raven's story, she began to go downhill the month after her fourteenth birthday. After, now, a month of illness, ten pound weight loss, and her inability to eat for the past week, we received the results of the tests run on her stomach and intestines tonight. The doctor found huge amounts of bacteria and feels strongly that we are dealing with cancer. She is worse tonight. Therefore, the decision has been made because we do not want her to suffer further. My husband, Bill, will take her for her last car ride in the morning, August 28, 2010. I am glad he has agreed to take her because, though I have always taken our pets, this time I just can't do it. Raven will be fine with this arrangement...spending time in our van with Bill makes her happiest. I'm going to miss my friend very much!
Photo: August 21, 2010, one week ago. She still has her smile! :)
Update on Little Whisper
Raven's Best Buddy
Well, nine months after saying goodbye to Raven, today, I had to say goodbye to her best friend, little Whisper.
At 13 1/2, he was almost blind and almost totally deaf, had lost almost half of his regular body weight of ten pounds, had infected teeth, a stomach infection, and his right shoulder was going out again. As my vet told me, ...after his exam, "It is just time...no matter what I do, I cannot improve his quality of life."
I wasn't surprised...I had seen the signs for months. He was a beautiful little poodle and loved me to obsession...he had a great life!
(May 24, 2011)
"Pound Puppy To Diva"
Winner Of Summer Sunshine Award
July 22, 2010
Donations To Friends Of The Park
Who Is Mom To The Zoo?
Born in the small town of Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1950, I was the oldest of two, five years my sister's senior. It was a wonderful place to grow up where the entire town raised its children. I was always surrounded by people who loved and looked out for me. I graduated from High School with the same people who were in my kindergarten class. At 59, my childhood friends are still my friends. I feel so fortunate to have known such a childhood.
After college, I worked at Clemson University until May 1972. At that time, I married and lived in Glyfada, 22 miles from Athens, Greece for two years...via USAF. We then moved to North Dakota for another two years before returning to South Carolina.
We divorced after 16 years and two children. I married my best friend two years later and moved to Florida in 1988 and together we have raised my husband's son and daughter and my son and daughter...one federal officer, one "stay at home" mother and wife, one sixth grade school teacher, and the other, after working for Florida Power and Light since age 19, is now with AT&T. In 1996, I adopted my step daughter. We are blessed with four grandsons and one granddaughter.
In 1999, we became foster parents with the Children's Home Society and had a number of children under our roof in the next 5 years. In 2001, we adopted a 13 year old girl, whom we first met at the age of 11, and is now 22. I also have spent more time in a courtroom than I care to think about, fighting for the rights of the children in our care. In 2004, I turned in my license so that I could be a full time Mom to our special needs daughter and keep our infant granddaughter five days a week while her mother was teaching.
Bill, my husband, is a retired USAF Air Traffic Controller. He is now working out of the country, on Ascension Island, with Computer Science Raytheon, as their chief controller, contracted out of Patrick AFB, Florida. This enables him to continue to do the job he loves, air traffic, and aid the military. He flies in and out on furlough and I handle things here at home. I jokingly call myself a Single Married Woman.
Actually, I am a retired Accountant/Credit Manager, now a housewife, where I enjoy writing, singing, piano, and sewing. I have had numerous poems and short stories published and have sung in churches and for church organizations for years, as well as weddings, a couple of variety shows, and even at my daughter's, and later my son's, weddings, one of the hardest things I have EVER done. We are members of Riverside Baptist church where I am a soloist and a member of the Women's Bible Study Group.
And, last but not least, we have two singing dogs. Raven is a fourteen year old Schipperke/Chow with bucked teeth and attitude and Whisper, our nine pound, twelve and a half year old poodle, who thinks himself a Doberman.
I have been Mom To The Zoo since the morning after our wedding. My friend, Lee, who was staying with our four children and two dogs answered the phone from a sound sleep, "Hunt Zoo, Zookeeper Speaking."
My life has involved many changes and avenues that I would never have dreamed of and has given me challenges that I never thought I was equal to. But, I have found that God has a plan and, if you follow His lead, you can handle anything he puts in your hands. However, you have to first learn to listen to Him. No matter what we want from life, it must come in His time. He has given my husband and me more than we could have began to imagine back in high school and we have found that what we thought was so important for our futures back then was nothing to what we have done so far. I have learned from our foster children, to look forward to the future and the next challenge with enthusiasm and excitement. If they can trust and love us after what the world has dealt them, we can surely tackle whatever lies ahead with ease. Life is a series of learning experiences and I continue to find life to be both a challenge and a joy which grows with each passing year. I learn more and more about myself with each passing day!