Chapter Seven: HeartVisions.June 24, 2015

ozzy 091706Chapter Seven:  HeartVisions.

Statistically speaking, the odds were pretty good one of my dogs would be returned, although I hadn’t considered that prior to receiving this totally unexpected text from Ozzy’s new mama:

“Is there any way you want to take Ozzy back? I feel like I have really tied myself down. He needs a lot of attention and he and Baby really don’t play much now. Don’t get me wrong. I love him. If you can’t take him I will try and keep him. I feel really bad, but I also want to go on some trips and that is impossible. Please let me know what you think.”

There were too many words to sort out, lots of questions, and a tropical storm about to hit Houston. I knew the first thing would be to pick up Ozzy up immediately.

We met in the parking lot of a fast food place at the halfway point to save time driving in the rain. There I found a droopy looking Ozzy and sad Laura. He was unkempt and lethargic. She was worried I’d be angry with her. I asked several times if it was something that Ozzy had done? She told me he was “a perfect angel” the entire month and a half.

With permission, I can tell you that Laura was suffering with severe depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia. She would stay home all day, every day with both dogs and not leave the house. I had no idea. She recently sought medical treatment for these issues and I wish her the best. Something told me she had related to my story quite a bit..and wanted to help me by adopting Ozzy. And for that I am grateful.

Ozzy’s posture and mood over the next few days reminded me of the days that followed after losing his sight. He seemed pissed off and confused is the best way for me to tell you. Then suddenly he wasn’t. He soon was navigating my place, even the stairs, like a pro in no time. Started playing with toys and the other dogs like he had never left.

So, I had to rescue my own dog. Bizarre. This wasn’t a homeless dog in a shelter, this was MY dog of 7 years! Did I feel guilty? No. Was I angry? No. Did I call her names? No. I realized that Ozzy had a quick mission in Laura’s life and then it was time for him to go. He helped her “see” that she needed to seek guidance and get some help. And he taught me some things too:

1. Expect others to be Human. Then you won’t be disappointed.

2. Stress is what we make it. Make it temporary.

3. See with your heart. Your eyesight can be deceiving.

4. No matter what, be resilient. We fall down, but we get up.

5. Dogs are pure love and catalysts for change in our lives.

Ozzy is ready for his next mission now. (That’s his puppy photo above btw.) Here is his adoption page: petfinder.com/petdetail/32065972

XO,

RA

Chapter Six: Dreams Do Come TrueMay 26, 2015

Once Upon A Time, there lived a handsome prince named Diego.

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Who dreamed of living a fairytale life.

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There would be lots of fun toys.

And treats all his own.

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And a bath.

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Not really, he didn’t dream of having a bath. Ugh.

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But he would feel a lot better afterwards.

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Bubbles are always a nice touch but he wouldn’t totally understand the point ?

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A donation to those less fortunate would be in order too.

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Then he would top the day off at a pet friendly restaurant for dinner with his fairy godmother and fairy godfather. Yes!

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And then drift back to sleep again a very happy prince.

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The End.

Chapter Five: Diego’s Second ChapterMay 20, 2015

Chapter Five: Diego’s Second Chapter

Dearest Dennis,

You called me Mama for a moment. Then they took you away.unknown2

Your brother stood in for you. We called him Diego.

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Then you left the earth. Along with the rest of Diego’s 8 brothers and sisters. It was so sad.

We did our best to cheer Diego up. Even entered him in a contest and he won!contest-finals

Diego grew up to be big and strong.IMG_6417

He had a lot of fun too. Sometimes too much.diegosofa

He loved to model for me.design-milk1

He got new brothers and sisters.groupfoto

One day I met these really nice people and their family._MG_2111-Edit

Then I saw them again when they fostered puppies going to Colorado a few months ago with Rescued Pets Movement. They are very special people. Beyond my words.robyn arouty-8591

In the meantime, I started not feeling very well. And I asked God for some guidance and help. So, he sent them back in my life again. They saw Diego on the computer. And had no idea Diego belonged to me. And it was love at their first visit.IMG_4119

It was how love was meant to be. Like how you & I were Dennis. For a moment in time.unknown3

Diego and I sat down for a serious talk. I made sure he knew how much I love him. How proud I am of him. How hard this was, but I was letting him go because it was the ultimate life for him. He was really worried about Mama. I told him I’d hold down the fort here and we gave each other permission to be happy. There’s an open invitation to visit in his new big house just a few miles away. And I will.IMG_0203

They are soulmates. I know this. And it’s ok and wonderful._MG_2526-Edit

Oh my, isn’t he handsome? He’s free to be even more of himself now. I’ve never seen him this happy before. And just like Charlie, Ozzy, and Harriet (Chapters 1-4), he’s moving on to spread our love to a new family. Please watch over your brother Dennis. I love you both.
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XO,

RA

Chapter Four: Fullest CirclesMay 10, 2015

Chapter Four: Fullest Circles

I used to volunteer at BARC, Houston’s animal control shelter, walking dogs & helping people adopt pets. And, because I was truly a glutton for punishment, at some point during my shift I’d usually make my way to the crowded lobby & strike up conversations with people in line waiting to surrender their pets. Looking for a fight, n’est pas?

One day about 6 years ago I was making the normal rounds & a young woman walked into the lobby with a laundry basket filled with puppies. In my charmingly aggressive way back then, I blocked her from walking further once through the door & asked her what she was doing?? She said, “I’m here to donate these puppies to the shelter.” WTF??? Donate??? It took a while to catch my breath & then I went on a radical tirade about how they’d never survive in the shelter & wind up dead one way or the other. She ignored my crazy ass & shuffled past to stand in the line anyway.

I was furious. Heartbroken. Depressed. Confused. I couldn’t control the situation, how she felt, her ignorance, and her behavior & the stress it caused on my system took time away from my life. My health. My relationships. My concentration, productivity, judgement. Just like all the other 1,000s of times I freaked about the same or similar things..

Something happened to remind me of the laundry basket puppies event yesterday. A woman named Laura saw my Ozzy’s adoption listing last week & fell in love with him on the spot. She’s retired & has a 1.5 year old sweet shih tzu puppy. I brought Ozzy over to meet them & the puppy kept bringing Ozzy toys & despite his blindness, he made his way around like a champ & even navigated the doggie door on his first try.

Her home was so beautiful with the calmest energy. At one point I mentioned I’d like to just stay & nap on her sofa. Turns out she used to own bed & breakfasts, so she is the primo hostess. We decided to see how it would go over the weekend & then talk more about adoption. I could tell her puppy was thrilled to have a playmate over.

Just like with Harriet, I drove away in tears.. But then a wave of peace quickly came over me. I love Ozzy enough to give him the life he deserves. I love Ozzy enough to let him be with a person who will take great care of him, pet him 24-7, buy him all the soft toys he wants to tear into & get to the squeakers without other dogs taking them away first.

Wait for it.. I felt like I donated Ozzy to Laura. This donation will change her life in beautiful ways she has yet to realize. Ozzy gets a new incredible chapter. Our time was precious together. But now our love is being recycled & spread farther. Yes, it’s heartbreaking, but I’m not focusing on that.. Thanks for all the loving support I have in my corner. They won’t let me lose sight of the reasons & the goals & the bigger pictures. I tell them I hate them & they’re bitches. But they just laugh & make me make another promise for the next step of the process.

So, I knew Laura had already made up her mind. And sure enough, the evening & this morning went better than either of us expected & she has already committed to adopting him & paid the adoption fee. Here is Ozzy with his new Mama & brother Baby!

XO,

RA

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Chapter Three: Love SmartMay 6, 2015

Chapter Three: Love Smart

“My 6 year old daughter is obsessed with dogs. She wanted to work at a shelter or rescue but they all said she was too young. I fear one day she’ll wind up like you. Saving dogs & neglecting her own health.”  —An Internist in The Medical Center to me today

Another week. With it’s own set of ups & downs. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been mostly downs. But I’ll start with some good news. Chelsea, one of my closest friends, took a strong liking to Charlie soon after he came to live with me. She & her pomeranian The Woz would visit often and the two dogs totally enjoyed each other too. When I made the decision to rehome some of my dogs, I texted her, “Do you love Charlie?” There were a lot of colorful iPhone stickers involved & the answer was Yes!

So, from being abandoned on the mean streets of Houston’s Fifth Ward, to living the life in River Oaks, one of the country’s most prestigious neighborhoods, Charlie has become quite the little ambassador! He’s a big hit on their daily walks & travels. Chelsea tells his story & preaches the adoption gospel every chance she gets. Here they are together in my studio a few months ago. It was meant to be.. And I can visit whenever I want.

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This week has really been about having more questions than I do answers. Aside from the health concerns, here are some other things I’ve been pondering..

If we’re supposed to work smart versus working hard, then should we also try to love smart instead of loving hard? If so, what does that look like? Can you love too much & spread it too far then there’s none left? Can love be exhausting? Should it ever be? Why would I love the cause so much but not love myself enough & neglect my own needs?

Two of my awesome dogs need more appropriate homes. Ozzy & Eldi. Please see their adoption listings below..

Ozzy:  petfinder.com/petdetail/32065972

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Eldi:  petfinder.com/petdetail/31962784

_MG_7116-EditXO,

RA