MamaDog Woofs

Monday, April 19, 2010

A rare day for a rare dog

Happy 14th Birthday to my girl Florida!

I hate to admit it, but I'm the rare greyhound owner that usually doesn't do anything to recognize my dogs' birthdays. Unfortunately, watching your dogs grow old is always a sad time, and birthdays have always been a reminder to me of loss. I know that's backwards. I should be celebrating each year we've had together,'s hard to explain other than it became a thing of personal caution for us. Like, something you were afraid to notice for fear Mother Nature would notice and bring down Old Age on our babies.

Today, however, I'm celebrating the life of Florida who has been given 14 grand, glorious years. The picture at right was taken by my friend Joanne Johnson, a wonderful photographer who really understands the bond we have with our greyhounds. She captured this look of pure joy on her face just a week ago, just shy of this monumental birthday, running in our new backyard. It's a precious gift.

Years ago Florida saved me. Today, she's once again taught me something like she seems to do so often. Birthdays are for celebrating and I had dared to hope for a full year that we would make this one. We did, together, and her joy fills me too. She is perhaps the wisest dog I've ever known and more bonded to my heart than even my beloved Angel was. Some day, probably soon, I will mourn her passing. For today, I celebrate her greyhound soul!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What does it take to make a home?

I write this blog today from a unique, special perspective. Let me describe for you what I see around me.

I'm sitting at my big oak desk, finally updating this blog after quite awhile. Well....OK....way too long. LOL But never-the-less, I'm sitting at my big old supervisor's desk in the Greyhound Crossroads office. Outside the window, the big back yard stretches all the way out past three rows of pecan trees and a lovely Willow Oak tree that fits the yard perfectly. I'm being visited every few minutes by birds landing on the feeder about three feet away and as they come and go, I search my memory to identify them. What a blessing they are- excitable little sparrows, a mated pair of beautifully marked nuthatches, shining brown-headed cowbirds, and the sweet sad notes of the pair of Mourning Doves that spent quite a bit of time early today searching the ground for tidbits.

At my feet, as close to the desk as they can get are FOUR greyhounds. This is significant because I only have THREE. :-) The fourth dog is Santana, the first foster dog we've been able to host for a very long time. He's doing fine with ours and everyone is safe, happy, and sleeping contentedly after their last run outside in that big back yard.

What's significant about the birds, and the backyard, or the greyhounds each trying to get the coveted spot right next to my office chair?

Because everything I've just described is the result of a life-changing, earth-shattering, amazing change in our lives. Robert and I have bought a new house! How we got here is what I really want to blog about today.

Just after returning from the beach where I get to spend the week with my Mother and DaddyJim, we realized there was a major problem with our heating at the Chappells house. Paula had just had knee surgery, then Jackson ended up in the hospital, and the easiest way to help both her and the hospital situation was to stay with them for a few days. That way we had time to solve the heating issue, help them, and have a shorter drive to work. Those few days turned into three months! We decided that the time had come to make the move from Chappells to Greenwood. We visited our first potential house on my birthday in January, and moved the first load of furniture on Robert's birthday in March. We're here, beginning to get settled, and very very happy.

But honestly, that's the really short version. The REAL story comes in HOW we got here at all.

Paula never, ever, gave up. She just didn't. She said a gazillion times "If you'd move to Greenwood....." every single time she could drop it into a conversation. Over and over, never in a bad way, just insistently and in her own funny way. "If we'd move to Greenwood...." She said it so often it became a family joke and everyone in the room would finish the sentence once she started it. But, she never quit saying it anyway.

Then, when it actually happened, we could have NEVER made it without the support of Paula and Jim. When we made the decision to move I tried to have a really serious talk with them about staying, paying our way, that we didn't want to be a burden to their family. They both just looked at me and laughed. They had already discussed it even before WE were ready and wanted to open their home to us. Words absolutely pale in comparison to the debt of gratitude we owe them. In we came with our dogs, our habits, our expenses, our aggravations, our piles of boxes in the way...did I mention our dogs that insisted on learning how to bark, suddenly, at all the wrong times like when Jackson or Jim were finally asleep? I'm sure it was a pure hassle for them on many days but they never complained, never acted as if they were sorry they did it. They wanted us there in Greenwood until we moved into this new home and that's what we did. Period.

We got a lot of support from everyone else in our family too. They all wanted us closer to town and in a home that made us both very happy. Zoe bought us our first house-warming present; a nice set of beautifully soft, welcoming towels to enjoy on our first night at home. Cynthia, Stanley and Emily helped us transform the gold living room and teal hallway into a nice, warm almond which suits us much better. The family support hasn't stopped with everyone all the way up to my family in Indiana checking in frequently, asking if they could help, giving suggestions and trying to be part of the process.

Following a recommendation from a co-worker, we got lucky with our very first real estate agent in Jennifer Lynn from Prudential Cambridge in Greenwood. She was totally awesome and went way off the beaten path for us throughout the process. Several problems popped up that weren't her fault, and that she'd never encountered before, but that didn't slow her down. She, and her faithful dog Ginger, were really terrific and she was right--- she knew this house was supposed to be ours the first day she saw it. Jennifer, if you read this blog, it WAS. You and Ginger will have to come over and play one day when we have the rest of the furniture for you to sit on. LOL

What does it take to make a home? I don't know, really. I can't put into words exactly what it is about this house that makes it my home. It just is. But what got us here, what MADE this my home, was the support of so many people and so many things that I can't list here. I'm thankful for those of you who reached out to say you were happy for us, and most of all for my priceless sister who never stopped saying "If you'd move to Greenwood". Without that, I wouldn't be home.