Over the past several months, you’ve had the opportunity to meet the kids of kasa de kanine. Each one of them has their own unique story and part they play in the fabric of family life. In order to refresh your memory, here they are in order of their arrival with a link to the original article.
Pudg: A Lhasa Apso, he was the first and will always be the Number One Boy. Intelligent, loyal, dedicated and brave, he arrived as a puppy and evolved into the perfect alpha pack leader.
Baxter: A Maltese/Shih’tzu, he also arrived as a puppy. A cross between village idiot and class clown, he is the most easy-going, lovable boy you’ll ever meet.
Lily: The one-and-only girl, she’s a Maltese/Lhasa/Poodle mix. Abandoned by her owner at five-years-old, she was skinny, scared and unkempt when adopted and brought home to join the family.
Tanner: A Shih’tzu who was also abandoned, was lonely, frightened and withdrawn until adopted and brought into the family.
Stubby: A Lhasa Apso (mixed with St. Bernard?), he was a ferocious fear-biter and doomed to a miserable existence until adopted and blended into the pack.
Racer: A Yorkie mix, on a downward slope to depression and despondency until adopted and given a new life as a member of the family.
Riko: A Papillon who entered the shelter with a severe flea infestation and a serious case of heartworm. Under quarantine and low-activity for nearly six months, he bonded with very few. So, it was only natural that he come home to kasa de kanine.
Ike: A Jack Russell that is a definite alpha “wannabe”, he’d nearly run out of chances at the shelter. He just needed to feel safe and loved, which is the fundamental basis for kasa de kanine.
Buster: An Airedale mix several times diluted, he was dumped at the shelter for the crime of “getting old”. Now pushing thirteen, he has the vigor, enthusiasm and playfulness of a boy half his age.
Peanut: A small Lhasa mix, he also was dumped at the shelter as a senior. Nearly blind and with heart problems, he continues to enjoy each day in the company of his people and his fellow packmates.
Hogan: A senior Sheltie/Corgi mix, he wasn’t expected to last more than three to six months, due to his heart and lung problems. That was nearly a year ago. While he still struggles to breathe and his endurance is waning, he greets each day with a wagging tail and a little hop in his step. Buster, Peanut and Hogan are three very affectionate, easy-going and lovable boys, who each gave the bulk of their life to what they thought was their family, only to find themselves discarded when age started creeping up on them. This is the ultimate betrayal.
As Shaq might say, “That’s a lotta dogs!” And, he’d be right. But, each one, aside from Pudg and Baxter, had specific issues and needs that couldn’t be addressed in a shelter. In most cases, the shelter environment only made matters worse for them. As we met each one of these dogs through our involvement with local shelters, it became clear that they were choosing us – not the other way around.
So, a family was created as each new dog brought their energy and personality into the mix. Along the way, they’ve become the teachers. They’ve taught the importance of enjoying each day; loving unconditionally; letting go of the small, unimportant things; the simple enjoyment of each other’s company; each day is a gift to be appreciated; don’t hold grudges; a leisurely walk with a group of friends can bring pure joy; and, so much more.
It’s impossible to be angry, sad, stressed or unhappy in the presence of eleven confident, joyful, playful affectionate and in-the-moment creatures.
There are still those friends and family members who chide us for “having so many dogs”. But, the truth is, we’d have more if it didn’t mean sacrificing the quality of care and engagement that is vital for meeting our obligations to the ones we have. And, that just wouldn't be fair.
Simply put, there is no limit to the number of dogs we can love. The only limit is in how many we can properly care for and engage with. So, it’s important to know your limitations, especially when your lives have “gone to the dogs” as our’s have. When you walk into that shelter and spend time with each of those eager, friendly, hopeful and homeless dogs, there’s a voice inside your head saying you can handle one more.
But, which one? Why not all of them? They ask so little and give so much.
They all deserve to be in a home where they are loved and cared for their entire life. You have to have faith that there will continue to be people that will see the light of goodness that emanates from each soul; people that will be willing to give up a little of themselves in order to enrich their lives with the love of a shelter dog.
Until they all have a home, we’ll be content in the enjoyment of our “second family” and the knowledge that we have joined the many who are trying to make a difference in the lives of those homeless animals that only want a person to love and to be loved in return as part of that person's family.
There’s something about having a dog (or dogs) sharing your world that produces a feeling so basic, so natural, so satisfying that it makes each day seem like the best day of your life. I think it’s called love.
No home is complete without the sound of furry feet.
Love your dogs. Treat them like family. Keep them for life.
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