Hole in our Hearts

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Carson left us today, but we believe we will see him again in Heaven.

After prolonged pain with his collapsing trachea which created difficult breathing and constant hacking, along with anxiety and stress, his suffering is over.

The decision was agonizing to make, but necessary. He is a part of us. Oddly, when I first got home from our veterinary’s office, the first thing I did was look for him.  I imagine there will be several habits related to Carson which will take time to lose.

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He was combination of many contrasting things: handsome, playful, independent, fun, stubborn, exasperating,  silky soft, gentle, tolerant, an eating machine, and the list goes on. He had a playful bark that sounded like a larger dog, although he didn’t bark much. He was great around our grand children-even when they were a bit rough with him.

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He was Cheryl’s shadow and she was the best thing that ever happened to him.

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He became my closest buddy, especially after his health deteriorated and I spent more time with him. How could you not love this guy?

Carson's Cert of Adoption

Although we only enjoyed his presence for seven years, it seems like seventeen. The Little White Dog Rescue non-profit organization is one of many terrific groups who help place needy canines with responsible people. For a bit more information about Carson, please go to my post on December 23rd, entitled White Christmas. Thank you.

Gone, but not forgotten. We will always love you, Pupdog (one of his many nicknames).

 

 

 

White Christmas

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“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the one’s I used to know…” . At least that is what Bing Crosby sang about in 1942 as he pined Irving Berlin’s classic song about a nostalgic Christmas in the United States. BTW, did you know this is the world’s No. 1 single of all time! And to think, over half the world (geographically) has never seen or touched snow!

Actually, Cheryl and I are living with a White Christmas of sorts every day of each year with our Westie, Carson. This is a recent photo of him. He is about twelve years old. He has an interesting story which is not all that unusual for rescue dogs, and I acknowledge that many dog lover’s know similar stories. However, I will present Carson’s story in brevity with the hope it will brighten your holiday spirits.

Cheryl and I adopted Carson from a rescue organization called Little White Rescue. He was a breeder male penned in a puppy mill for an undetermined amount of time. We were also told he was found in a farm field, either escaping the mill or simply let go. We drove a couple hours to Omaha, Nebraska in November of 2012 to pickup our new addition to the family. We met with his foster mom and her daughter along with a representative of the organization. We paid the adoption fee, had our photo taken with Carson while holding his adoption certificate, and then took him home.

 

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Cheryl and I have had several dogs as pets and owning a canine was not new to us. We also had several felines along the way. But, we never had a terrier breed. West Highland Terriers are not high strung as some of their cousins are, but they do possess a certain aloofness about them. Interestingly, Carson has to acknowledge every visitor by a sniff and waits for a tap on the head, and upon completing this routine retreats to what he was previously doing or comes to us. Timid-no way. Annoying-sometimes. Barks-only at squirrels and cats and skunks. Lap dog-not until recently. Most of the time he simply has to be near us.

 

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We believe the above photo (taken in December of 2013) to be the first time Carson experienced snow outside of a pen. He was about four years old, but acted like a puppy-full of joy! He has a thicker coat of hair for the winter cold, and cold temps don’t seem to bother him. The reason we think this was his first winter of freedom is due to the fact that after we brought him home to roam our acre yard, he would only walk a 35 foot line back and forth for several weeks (creating a mud walkway) until he gradually ventured beyond this imaginary line. Yes, it was sad, but also rewarding to see him venture out.

 

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Whether it is white on green, white on brown or white on white, we can always find Carson. When he digs in the dirt he looks like an Oreo cookie with face, belly and paws all black and the rest of him white! The above photo is a mild example of his mud coloring. Westies were bred in Scotland to hunt fox and badgers. They are ‘bullet’ shaped with wide, powerful rear legs and a stout tale. When they trap their prey in a den they would dive into the hole as far as possible to grab onto the fleeing, fighting animal. Often they could not back out so the hunter would simply grab the tale and yank the dog out along with the vermin he just captured. We purposefully had his hair cut in a sporting sort of way rather than the cute style most Westies have. Because Carson is at the top size for his breed at 23 pounds, and is an alpha male, we felt he needed to look the part.

 

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Carson is a tough canine. Besides enduring the mill, he has ruptured both knees, has had one ACL surgery, almost died as he was bitten on the throat by a neighbor’s pit bull and was later bitten in the leg by another dog. He is about ninety percent blind, is deaf, and has a collapsing trachea which causes constant hacking for air. He still has a sense of smell and a hearty appetite. Our vet says he and most pets adapt with their disabilities.  We know this to be true. I couldn’t resist the above image as Carson stood on my chest while I was siting in a lounge chair a few years ago…I snapped a cell phone photo and this is the result. I like it. He cracks me up!

 

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We didn’t know how much he would change our lives when we picked him up seven years ago. We are often inconvenienced and have less in our bank account, but that is the price of choosing to have another family member to take care of.  In return we get to experience his coolness as well as his love. Most dog owners can relate. We are grateful to have him around for another Christmas.

 

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And we hope you have a very Merry Christmas…with or without snow or Carsons !

 

Dedicated to all who rescue, medically care for, foster care and adopt helpless animals. Bless all of you as you continue to fulfill Christ’s mandate to care for others which includes people, of course.

 

 

 

 

Sheen

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If I were to ask what this image is you are viewing, some of you will get it right away and some will be left wondering (or at least guessing).

Spontaneous and opportunistic are how I would describe my style of photography and prose. In this case I used my cell phone camera because that is all I had available for the moment to snap this photograph.

This image is 100% natural, and laid next to me on the couch early this morning as the sun began to shine brilliantly through an east window in our living room. The sunlight which created a wonderful sheen in the center and faint shadows at the edges captured my attention. Of course, the waves are like a surfer’s paradise and can’t be overlooked.

I share this for the sheer pleasure of doing so. This image is of Carson’s side as the sun illuminated his silky fur. Not all Westie’s are silky, but he certainly is. Carson is a bit unusual in that he likes humans a lot, but doesn’t want to be caressed too much. He is his own dog, so-to-speak. So, when an opportunity comes along, like this morning’s, where he wanted to rest next to me, I looked upon him with admiration and affection.

What is it about our beloved pets that creates such a bond? Those who have and enjoy their pets know that answer… for it lies in the heart.

 

 

Thermal

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The black is cold. The purple is cool. The yellow is warm. The white is almost hot.

The numbers in Celsius are temperatures measured by the camera.

The figure is Carson, our Westie, laying on the couch. He made a perfect example of thermal imaging with an infra-red, high resolution camera.

I just purchased such a camera for a multitude of reasons which will become clear in the not-to-distant future. Until then, think of all the possibilities a camera like this-under the guidance of an knowledgeable thermographer-can do.

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This is a shot of me aiming the camera into a mirror which reflected back the thermal image.

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And, this is early sunrise from our deck. The sun reveals its true color of warmth.

Something different since I didn’t feel inspired to write much. Comments are welcome!

 

Contentment

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Contentment: “A state of happiness or satisfaction”.  As one dictionary defines the word.

 

Please spend a few minutes studying this photograph of Carson, our Westie (West Highland Terrier).

 

What word would you use to describe him at this moment? Actually, it is usually for many moments per day, and they occur quite often!

 

Now, consider if you feel this way occasionally, often, always or never.

 

Is there a change in your life which needs to take place to equal this state of tranquility?

 

I need to study Carson more often. Actually, I would like to be him. Ha!

 

Dawn’s Light

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As the early morning light filtered through the leaves of our red maple tree and illuminated the wall, Carson was wakened from his slumber to greet the morning.

Now for a bit of breakfast followed by squirrel chasing, much sniffing around the trees, and a walk around the perimeter fence to look for intruders, it is time for another nap.

Wouldn’t it be fun to be Carson for a day!

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Carson is a seven-year old West Highland Terrier. Nothing unusual about that. He is a rescue dog from a puppy mill where he was used as a breeder. Not all that uncommon, unfortunately. However, we don’t know how miserable his little life was while caged. He does have several chipped teeth from gnawing on the fencing, and for the first six months we had him, all he could do was pace back and forth in a straight line over an area of twenty feet long even though he had a half acre to roam in. Fast forward to now. He is definitely at ease with us, is king of the entire yard, has taken over most of our pillows and is very comfortable in his own furry skin. In other words, he has adapted well. Carson has been attacked by other dogs on two different occasions-both requiring hospital visits. He blew out his left ACL and had surgery, and later blew out his other ACL, but did not have surgery. He stares outside a lot…mostly looking for squirrels. But who really knows what goes on in that perky head of his ? One thing is certain, he is a tough alpha male with a lot of moxie.The quote should clarify why I talked about him.Carson's View 4-6-12” What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ”    Ralph Waldo Emerson      Carson 10-12-12