Rescue is a huge part of who I am. As a kid I rescued bugs, snakes, frogs and stray anything that came into our yard. To my parents dismay I once rescued a huge snapping turtle from the middle of the road. I put it in a metal coca cola cooler, loaded it into my wagon and brought it home. My dad convinced me it was heading to a nearby creek and that I needed to take it on over to the creek and “keep mindful of your fingers, snappers love little girl fingers for lunch”! So after naming him and trying to feed him flies and a few grass hoppers to no avail, I loaded him in my wagon and took him to the creek and set him loose. The next day he was back in our yard and my dad was sure I never took him to the creek. He loaded a crying me and the turtle into his car and we took him back to the creek. I was sure he would return to justify my stance with my father, but I think after meeting my dad and watching me defend our journey, he decided to stay put.
My sense of adventure was never stifled by my parents, we were encouraged to play, get dirty and more importantly experience our little world and all of it’s gifts. My first actual “job” was to collect night crawlers for all my dad’s fishing buddies. I would water the yard and wait until dark, go out barefoot with a flashlight in one hand and a Sanka coffee can in the other, catching worms for the profit of .03 cents a piece.
The neighborhood I grew up in was pretty much right out of the movie The Sandlot. We spent many summer nights playing searchlight tag, kick the can, hide and seek, and football. The neighborhood had a small lot for us kids with a basket ball goal and some bases for kickball and that was it. We all gravitated towards the woods that none of us were actually allowed to go into. We would venture deep into the woods to the swamp. We spent many winters playing ice hockey on it and many summers hanging out catching frogs and fireflies. I set them loose after a day or two in a ball jar with holes in the lid. You could say from the outside my childhood looked idyllic, but it wasn’t. Youth had it’s rough times and I spent more than my share of nights crying into the fur of whatever animal I had rescued at the time. Dogs, I find are great listeners, they want to comfort you, while cats pretty much would tell you to “shut the hell up, quit bitching and do something productive already!”
As I grew up, rescue stayed a part of me. Dogs became the focus and Giant Breeds stole my heart; St. Bernard, English Mastiff and now Great Dane. I cannot count the fosters, rehabs, evaluations, home visits, shelter visits, vet bills, transports and dogs I have held while they crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I have volunteered, been on the BOD, and have been the state coordinator for several English Mastiff Rescues. Some of those dogs became foster fails (that means they never leave, just become family) Some moved onto their perfect forever home. They all took a piece of me with them.
As the years have moved on and the rescues come and go, I have to admit they have all rescued me as well. My life certainly has had it’s struggles, those that really know me know my story and if it weren’t for the dogs, my heart would be even more fractured than it is today.
How does all this relate back to Wellness you ask? It does because the love you give, the care and the joy come back at you tenfold. There is no supplement, herbal, facial, massage or other treatment that can do the same as sharing and caring from a giving heart. We care for our clients with that same giving heart.
As I write this it is the summer time, that is a slower period in our industry. Learning to go with the flow and accept the slow pace is difficult, especially when the rent, utilities and bills don’t slow down with it. However giving into the slowness has opened up space…
Space for a new heart that needed rescued.
As many of you know I had to send my beautiful mastiff (rescue) boy Chino over the bridge on Easter weekend and a piece of my heart went as well. He was almost 10 and for a giant breed that is technically “beyond his life expectancy” There were not enough tears in my eyes for this moment, it seemed impossible to even breathe, let alone cry. He had a great life, he was loved by all of us, spoiled and happy until the end. We went home from the vet with his empty collar in hand, it matched the giant hole in my heart and in our home…silent, empty, sad. I cleaned up his bowls, packed up his toys, canceled the auto ship to chewy.com, threw his bed in the trash and cried. He deserved every tear that we all shed for him. For the first time in my 56+ years I was dog-less. Life no longer revolved around making sure someone was home to let him out, feed him, give him medicine, comfort him during a storm or fireworks. I only had to run the sweeper once a week, wash the nose prints off the window one final time. I placed his ashes and die cast paw print on the shelf along with the others. We could go away and not have a dog sitter, I didn’t have to go straight home from work, I could go shopping or out with a friend. It was oddly freeing and sad at the same time.
Every one kept asking us if we were going to get another dog. My answer was; “in time” my heart was still hurting and I kinda wanted a “real” puppy this time (cue up Pinocchio) A well bred puppy that no one had the chance to mess up yet. The guilt of that ripped me up inside. I preached constantly “Adopt Don’t Shop” didn’t I finally deserve a dog of my choosing, one that had not been starved, neglected, abused, dumped, sick, injured, homeless, unruly, wild, afraid of men, hats, sunglasses, loud noises, trash bags, hoses, fireworks, being left alone? Hadn’t I saved enough dogs, cats, mice, frogs and turtles along the way to get a brand spanking new puppy breath, pot bellied, fur baby?
Then along came Nina….
A bit over a month ago I got a phone call from a good friend with mastiff rescue. She said “We need a foster home and great dane rescue hasn’t answered the call” (giant breed rescue people help each other’s breeds out) there was no room at the Inn as usual, foster homes were full. I was at work, listened to her tell the story of this desperate girl. She was 6 months old, had been bounced a few times and was being tied outside, neglected. She was hungry, dirty, sick, eating bugs, milk bones and dirt. The people couldn’t take the proper care of her that she needed. I am so happy a friend convinced them into contacting rescue instead of dumping her. I don’t want to begin to imagine what her life would have been if they put her on Craigslist or gave her to the shelter.
I hesitated on the phone before answering my friend, a Great Dane was not really something I wanted. I had a mastiff once that had great dane mixed in, and he was absolutely the best dog ever, but I was a mastiff mommy after all. Then she said’ “you wanted a puppy” and I thought well crap…I did put it out in the Universe that I wanted a puppy, and the Universe knew my guilt and struggle with the need to rescue, not buy….So I said OK, we can foster her, rehab her and move her along to a wonderful Great Dane home… Yeah, Right!
“Princess Nina” will be officially a foster fail. She is a 70 pound (underweight) handful of giant puppy. She was quite sick, covered in fly and flea bites, her hair was falling out in patches, ear infections, parasites, an intestinal infection and her toe was about chewed off, plus she was filthy! You could count every rib, there was literally no meat on this girl. She had zero manners, pulled you everywhere on a leash and puked all over the back of my truck on the ride home. She was so hungry we had to hand feed her small amounts, and wet down her food or she would throw it back up and eat it again. She didn’t know what to do inside our house. Those first few days all she did was eat, and sleep. She was so exhausted and starved that I think she would not have made it much longer outside in the elements.
She has a grateful heart, a sweet soul and the best kisses and hugs you could ask for. Her name was not Nina, we changed it immediately. I named her after Nina Simone, an R& B Soul signer from the 50’s. The song “Feeling Good” is her theme song now, and she does chase butterflies. She is learning to be a house dog, can clear the coffee table and the ottoman in one giant leap. Her nose is even with the kitchen sink and if you leave a dirty spatula or plastic container she will grab it and take off. She hates her crate, only because it means she is going to be alone. I have not taken a shower or gone to the restroom alone in a month! Her name is NINA MARIE, Or NINA NO STOP THAT When she is in trouble, which is often. She finally has gotten a clean bill of health from the vet, even though she is still underweight. We are getting there, she is learning that there will always be food, she will never live outside alone chained up and be eaten up by the flies, mosquitoes and fleas again. She is filling the empty space of my heart that Chino took with him. She is rescuing me…
Follow us on Instagram to keep up with Nina and her progress (antics) . We love her, even when she eats the corner of the kitchen wall, drinks your coffee when you aren’t looking or decides the tops of your feet are great to dance on.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, we hope to see you soon! We are located at:
301 E Carmel Drive
Tues, Weds, Thurs 10-6:30
Friday and Saturday* 10-3:30 (*Closed the 1st & 3rd Saturdays of the month)
We offer Digestive Support, Colon Hydrotherapy, Holistic Skin Care, Raindrop Technique, Jin Shin Jyutsu®, Energy Therapies, Ionic Foot Detox, Massage, Acupuncture, Functional Medicine, Health and Wellness Coaching