Posted in Animals, Inspiration

A little cuteness

Just a little cuteness to start your day with this little rascal that stole some of my Chex mix.

I truly have missed seeing all the critters such as this one over the past 10 month while being here in Germany. Believe me, there are critters here too, but they are far not as cute as this little guy, and the ones here were stinging and biting me, leaving big, itchy and often painful marks that are still visible month later. Simply incredible and it won’t be a thing I will miss.

I won’t miss the humidity either, although even there was something good to be found, and I wasn’t in need of a moisturizer at all. My skin looked good without and had a natural glow. This will change when I return to my dry desert landscape. I have to say that allergies where at a minimum too, and where I needed daily eye drops multiple times throughout the day in the states, I haven’t used any at all here. It’s pretty incredible given that it was one of the worst years for allergies.

As with everything there is always good and bad, give and take, push and pull. The trick lies is picking the things that serve us best and incorporate them I to our daily lives as best as we can.

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Posted in Animals, Pets

The heart of a lion

It’s always a great honor when a fellow blogger believes in what you have to say, and asks you to do a guest post on his/her blog. It’s exactly what happened when notdonner from a dogtown.blog asked me to do so. I was so humbled and happy, yet it has taking me eons to respond back and finally write my contribution. I could blame it on a number of things but I won’t. There simply is no excuse as to why it has taken me so long, and a huge thanks goes out to notdonner for inviting me. It means a lot, and here it finally is. I hope you enjoy this little story.

I want to talk about Nikki and the special bond that we shared. This story is about overcoming challenges and the things we can learn from each other. I’m sure these lines on here will find nothing but dog lovers, although I’m aware that somewhere else she might appear as just a dog, or a pet. But Nikki was so much more than that, she was my fur baby, and over the years she taught me a thing or two.

Her life started very rough, coming from an abused background, which took years of rehabilitation to regain her trust. Humans had done her wrong in the worst way during her short one and a half year old life. What was left were broken bones and a malnourished, scared, little soul that was nothing but skin and bones after an initial brushing.

It was no wonder that she was food aggressive in the beginning, and would inhale anything she was given. Despite of being the second to come into the family, she quickly put my same age Akita Pit mix in his place by making it known that she was the boss now. After a few weeks and a few flesh wounds, biting him, I was near the unwanted decision of having to give her up to a shelter. I knew it couldn’t continue the way it was, and my loyalty had to be with my first dog which I had raised from little on. He could have easily hurt her, but he grew up as a gentle giant and without aggression. It was as if he already knew about her painful past and therefore never bite her. He simply showed patience and endured. Even if it meant gaining painful wounds from her razor sharp fangs. He too taught me that sometimes we have to endure the storms and it’s not always wise to fight back.

I remember sitting with Nikki, holding her, and telling her that she needed to stop. As if she could understand, I talked to her as if she was a person. “I can’t keep you if you keep this up” I told her, while pleading with her. Miraculously she stopped shortly after our talk, and now took on a motherly role. The flesh wounds turned into loving licks and kisses and it was the end of all the fighting. She replaced her food aggression with daily grooming sessions that Sparky had to endure. She wouldn’t stop until he was properly groomed, and if he turned his head away from her, she simply walked around to the other side to continue her task. Much had changed from fighting for scraps, defending herself, and being on her own. She had adapted to her new role full of compassion and harmony. The transition was quite remarkable, she had found her forever home and was loved in a way to make up for all the bad she has encountered before. I’m sure she never forget, but the gratefulness in her eyes is something I will never forget.

Eventually she wasn’t afraid of the hand reaching down to pet her, and stopped ducking. It became play, and years later she turned into her true self, a compassionate, but feisty and playful little pup. It was the first time I got to see the “Shiba 500”. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when your dog all of a sudden takes off running as being chased by the devil, from one end of the house to the other, around in circles, flying and leaping through the air, with ears back, smiling like crazy, bowing their front legs with their bottoms up in the air, only to take off running again. It’s the funniest thing you will see as you take cover to get out of the way.

Nikki was heartbroken and went into extreme mourning as my other dog passed. He had become everything to her and she stopped eating and lost all joy of life. I had to intervene and it was then that Nikki took up hiking, late in life, but not too late. She eventually found purpose again and a passion for Mother Nature. She loved her time outside and we helped each other get past our loss. She was the best dog anyone could ever have and lived for nearly another two years. Looking back, I’m not sure who saved who, and our bond and relationship was very special. So special indeed that I became a lifelong fan of her breed.

What I learned from her is that sometimes you have to stand up in life and defend yourself. That sometimes you just have to be the boss and take ownership, but you can just as quick lay down the role when it no longer serves the situation. She demonstrated so beautifully what a big heart she had and that it is possible to forgive those that harm us and move on. We all get hurt along the way, and it’s par for the course. It shapes us into who we are ultimately meant to be.

Nikki reminded me that there will be moments where you have to adapt and compromise. Not necessarily because you have to fit in, but to hold on to your uniqueness while respecting others to live and let live. To love unconditionally, and to never take a day for granted. She had the heart of lion and never gave up, despite her health challenges along the way. Her frail bones ached as she struggled to adjust to her age, but her heart remained full of adventure and spirit. She was a fighter and showed me that it is possible to overcome great loss, although I never managed to get over losing her. There are days I find little consolidation knowing that I alleviated the suffering for her in the end. It’s something I constantly have to remind myself of when my heart aches because I miss her. I wish that I could hold her and see that crazy smile, running through the house again. Nikki was a special family member and I know you understand. I’m sure you also have a beautiful story to tell about your special relationship with your four legged child.

I’m sending a giant hug to you and yours tonight with a reminder to hug tight and love like no tomorrow.

Thank you so much for letting me share this story and for your time. And please don’t forget to stop by at notdonner if you haven’t already and pay a visit. ❤️

#dogtown.blog #notdonner

Posted in Animals, Inspiration

Stress Soothers

I’ve been trying to focus on a little bliss each day. Something that brings a little sunshine to my day and reminds me that it’s good to be alive.

Today’s little bliss package was “Bember”.

  • Bember came to visit yesterday morning and it’s been a few days since I really spent any time with her. We kind of just walked passed each other with a quick “Hey” but with little other interaction. This all changed yesterday morning as we spent quality time.
  • Bember is a lover and loves to cuddle. She purrs non stop and likes her belly rubs. Sometimes she gets feisty and playfully latches on to your hand as her back legs wraps around your wrist to hold you in place, but she never really bites hard.
  • Bember is a stray, outdoor cat with no real owner. I have been tempted to bring her in a few times, but refrained. I don’t want her to become dependent on me, for eventually I will have to leave. Instead, I feed her occasionally and Bember thanks me with her company. Together we are helping each other in more ways then one, and she loves to be petted. Being fed is not all that bad either it seems. 😉
  • The benefits for me is that she is a lovely companion. Always happy to see me, always with a good attitude, she struts towards me from far away, and sometimes walks part of the way with me when I leave to go see Mom. It is said that petting your cat or dog does not only feel good, but are stress soothers as well. It can lower your blood pressure, help your body release a relaxation hormone, and cut down on the levels of damaging stress hormones.
  • Here is a little reminder to take your furry little friend for a cuddle. Be good to yourself and him/her, and reap the benefits that come with it.
  • Posted in Animals, Humor, Pets

    “Bember” and the “Fairy Garden”

    “Bember” has become a regular and visits each day. Although she lives outside, she spends much of her time just hanging out whenever I’m on the patio. I have gone as far as feeding her occasionally, but not on a regular basis. I don’t want her to forget her hunting skills and be dependent when I return to the states.

    Bember has found herself a “Ruling Rock” (a place from where she seems to oversee and rule the garden) near the fairy section, and the magical mushroom forest. It is also where I feed her and where her dish is.

    Bember was sick a few days ago and she had been sneezing for awhile. But the other day, a discharge was draining from her right eye and it was nearly closed. Only a slit remained open and I felt so sad for her. I fed her right away in the hopes to provide nourishment for a quick healing. It helped and the next day her eye was nearly back to normal. Today, two days later, it is completely healed and she brought me a thank you present. A dead mouse… 😳. To her dismay, I was not so thankful and had a talk with her. I told her that I appreciate her gratitude, but that she doesn’t have to do this in the future again. Like….EVER, EVER, EVER again. Yikes…

    Posted in Animals, Humor

    A new friend

    A new friend has moved in, and quite honestly I’ve been looking for this friend since I got to Germany. I had a few close calls of seeing one, but in the end I missed the opportunity and never actually saw one. This is so special because I have never seen this friend anywhere else other than in Germany.

    I remember back to my childhood as I was still living here. It was a warm summer day as I was walking home from school. I noticed something near the sidewalk and walked towards it to take a closer look. Almost completely curled up I found an injured animal. It appeared that it was hit by a car, and his nose was bloody. I wasn’t sure if he was alright, if he was in shock, or if he was dying. I had no clue how long he had been there, and it was hard to tell with the blood how extensive his injuries were. I picked him up and carried him all the way home, with my bare hands and without injury or pain. He knew I didn’t want him any harm and he relaxed. From there, mom came quickly to my aid and made a batch of chamomile tea. The chamomile tea would serve as a healing potion and a way to cleanse the bloody wound. After further inspection, we detected a gashing wound to his nose, and decided to keep him for awhile. He needed a break and someone to nurse him back to health, as he would be unable to feed himself for awhile. Daily I would feed him milk with the help of a doll baby bottle until he progressed to eat the worms mom would gather in the yard for him. This was not her favorite thing to do, and she got grossed out hacking the worms into bite size for him. It makes me smile these days to think of it. Not for the poor worms but for mom doing what was necessary for another to survive. We would keep him in the garage and each morning engaged in a game of hide and seek before school. He was hiding overnight and it was my turn to seek and find the little rascal. He used to find the most unusual of places to hide, such as grandpas shoes, and we had a couple of close calls.

    If you are still wondering about what, or who I’m talking about, then please let me introduce you to my pet hedgehog which I later named Fritz. Nursed back to health, Fritz one day came to school with me for a presentation of show and tell. He got to sit on the Pult (the teachers desk) while I read my essay about hedgehogs. One by one, each kid came up to the desk to take a closer look, to touch Fritz and explain how cool he was. I was truly the hero for the day with my unusual pet friend Fritz.

    Fast forward to my current time her in Germany, the backyard at mom’s house was like a jungle. It had always great meaning to her, but the signs of years passed, unable to tend to it were very obvious. The middle walkway was completely covered and it looked like tall savannah grass along with other various weeds. It was funny to watch Bember came through the grass, like a lioness through the savannah, all you could see was the grass moving until she finally emerged at some point. A wild tree (Mom doesn’t remember ever planting one) was going haywire and needed trimming badly. All weeds and branches were collected in a pile to the garden entrance to be hauled away at a later time. Until it happened and the noise of breaking twigs and rustling leaves came from the pile. Snorting sounds and further excavating noises followed. I knew what it was, and my wish finally came true, the waiting of a new friend moving in was finally over. I placed a bowl of cat food and cut up apples near the pile entrance and I have yet to get a good look and a picture for you. What I did get is special hedgehog food made out of meat, insects and eggs. Yummy.

    Looks like Bember has a new friend and I hope her and Betsy will get along. 🦔 Yes, I already named her.

    Posted in Animals, Photography

    The Challenger

    Another picture from last nights bike ride and the herd of sheep I encountered. While the black one was hiding in the middle laying down, this one seemed to be challenging me. It kept stomping his hind leg into the dirt which appeared funny, almost as if he wanted to say “Let’s go”. In actuality I’m sure it was to ward off flies and mosquitos and I got to experience these pesky critters first hand. I would have stayed out a little later, but after the third bite, it was time to return back home and enjoy the last light from the hammock.

    Posted in Animals

    Determination & my animal friends

    I have a special connection with animals and perhaps at some point I liked animals more than people. I no longer weigh it like this, but encountering animals in the wild is always a special occurrence for me.

    This little guy didn’t want me to leave and was determined to get into the Jeep with me. Another one was actually already sitting on the back tire, between tire and frame and was ready to go as well. It was a sad moment as I had to close the door and leave my little friends behind.