“Mom, don’t you ever want to pet just one dog?”
“No. I just wish I had more hands.”
“Mom, don’t you ever want to pet just one dog?”
“No. I just wish I had more hands.”
Fayston, Vermont. Barking woke me up. Linus and Charlie were sounding the alarm downstairs, loudly. I looked at my bedside clock: 11:30. Probably a mouse or maybe a raccoon on the deck. I’m not going downstairs. Charlie spooks easily and Linus barks at the t.v. The visitor will move on, then the dogs will quiet, I told myself as I pulled the pillow over my ears.
The barking became even more frenzied, joined by a third voice. A low, deep, measured bark under the alarm bells. Lucy. Golden retriever who’s never met a stranger Lucy. Hers was not an alarm, but a call for back-up.
I made my way in the dark, down the stairs as fast as my arthritic joints would allow, switched on the outside light, and shrieked with surprise. I was standing a few feet away from A BEAR.
We looked at each other through the window, the bear blinking at me in the sudden light. I took in its beautiful, thick, glossy coat and healthy, bright eyes. It was full-grown but young. Probably the same one who left prints on the driveway recently. A leaf was dangling from its mouth like salad interrupted. I wanted to reach through the glass to touch its head and brush away the food from its face.
“What is it?” my husband finally called down from upstairs.
“A bear,” I softly replied, not wanting it to run away just yet.
“Big or little?”
That’s a ridiculous question, I thought. Instead, I answered “In-between?”
Footsteps down the bedroom stairs broke the spell. The bear plodded around our emerging herb garden and ran into the trees at the back of our yard. (The dogs are not as polite – they run straight through the garden.) We could still see the bear in the shadows cast by the outside light.
My husband returned to bed. I waited a long while before I went on the deck to close the gate. I brought inside the Brussel sprouts awaiting transplant. One of the plants had definitely been nibbled, but the others were untouched.
I guess bears don’t like Brussel sprouts.
Ed. note: Our house borders on state land. When we bought the house about six years ago, the sellers told us we’d have a moose and bears. We were not concerned as we were coming from New Jersey, where the bears are big, sometimes aggressive, and love throwing pool parties. Since we moved in, I’ve seen a bear on the road a few times, but not close to the house. In the yard, I’ve seen an ermine, an eight-point buck, and all sorts of rodents and birds. Plus a variety of reptiles and amphibians. Linus met a porcupine once, but that’s another story. Where the driveway meets the road, I’ve seen a family of fishers, a doe and twin fawns, turkeys, and a coyote. Still waiting to see a moose.
On a walk a few days after the visit, I smiled as I followed familiar bear tracks down the middle of the road. The footprints made wilderness-styled street markings drawn in the dirt, a message left by my neighbor.
Waterbury, Vermont. On Saturday, April 30, four littermates – some of the “S” puppies (so named because they were originally given names beginning with the letter “S”) reunited for a romp at the Waterbury Reservoir. The dogs Sawyer, Scout, Skye, and Waffles were taken from a kill shelter in Tennessee and adopted out by Golden Huggs Rescue. Sawyer’s family, who came to the reunion from Maine, was so inspired that they make doggie wash soap, which is sold in their store and will be at the Golden Huggs Party for the Pups on May 14.
Saturday was coincidentally “Adopt A Shelter Pet Day.” While the four dogs played, the twelve or so people they brought with them swapped stories. Well done, Golden Huggs, as the reunion was a great example of the community of people you are creating by rescuing and adopting out dogs.
WagmoreVT was grateful to be asked to tag along.
Waitsfield, Vermont. With Linda and Bill Barnes and Merriam the puppy in the Festival Gallery, where Linda volunteers. This is an adoption update from my October 29, 2015 post, Special Edition(s).
I went over to see the puppies at Dirty Paws Pet Spa, and I called Bill. I fell in love with a puppy. And we took the puppy. We couldn’t take her that day because it was Bill’s dad’s memorial service. We had to wait until Monday. We knew immediately that she was for us.
She terrorizes the cats – she thinks they’re supposed to play. The kitties don’t play. They growl. Then they hiss. And they bat her in the nose. They don’t have front claws so they don’t hurt her.
She knows when she’d done something she shouldn’t have because then she’s under the bed.
Fayston, Vermont. Wagmore Wednesday slid into Tail-Thwap Thursday this month as life obstructed my blog schedule. I became a spontaneous and accidental tree hugger last month – I now sport a souvenir dent on my helmet – and I somehow managed to hurt my arm and shoulder in my low-speed crash, thus impacting my ability to hold my big girl camera. Excuses aside, the mild January weather allowed comfortable snowshoe walks in the woods and shenanigans in the yard. The snow is all but gone now. What will the weather be like in August?
Waitsfield, Vermont. With Brigitte Ritchie, co-founder of Golden Huggs Rescue.
Rusty is from Louisiana. When I adopted him I had just been diagnosed with cancer. Adopting a Golden was on my bucket list. I found him on-line in a Lousiana rescue. They told me that he had been hit by a car – he was a neighborhood doggie – and he had heartworm. The shelter called the rescue to tell them they had two goldens, but when they got there, they were told that there was another one in the back, but he’s a total mess. The gentleman that runs the rescue, well, he took one look at the dog – named Rhett at the time – and he took Rhett in his car straight to the vet. They took his leg off and started to treat him. When I got him, he was only about a year old. He was driven up. No transport company, no rules or regulations. That was about twelve years ago. I was startled with the realization about all those kill shelters: They gas them, about 35 at a time, then put them in trash bags at the curb for the city garbage trucks to pick up.
So that led to me going down there, meeting people, and saying there’s a supply-demand thing. There are people that can help, and Pet Finder, and all that.
Sadie’s from Tennessee. I rescued her when she was about five. The people that had her were moving and couldn’t take her. She came all trained. She’s an alpha female. I can’t have any more female dogs with her around.
Bodie, the little one, who’s not little at all anymore, came because my son complained that he wanted a puppy for once. I had adopted out a lot of puppies. Bodie was only five weeks. He’s the comedian of the group.
Rusty just keeps going. I just can’t believe it.
We have quite a few dogs in the Valley now. We wanted to start a rescue – there are four of us – where you answer phone calls, help people, and don’t disappear when the dog gets here. We remain a resource. I don’t have a facility so I can’t take owner turn-ins, but I have rescuers locally that will. The groups help each other – it’s a nice community around here.
To learn more about Golden Huggs and view dogs currently available for adoption, please visit the Golden Huggs website.
If you have a story to share, please contact wagmorevt!
Fayston, Vermont. We celebrate Lucy’s “Gotcha Day” on December 19th. A “Gotcha Day” is more significant to rescue families than a birthday because it’s the day the dog joined it’s forever home. I’ve written stories about how Linus and Charlie Brown came to join our family, but never told Lucy’s story. In honor of her Gotcha Day, here’s Lucy’s tale.
Lucy was a Christmas puppy. I didn’t plan it that way. I didn’t even want a puppy.
Then I saw her picture.
It was the beginning of October when I said goodbye to my sweet Chesapeake Bay Retriever Kona. I wanted another dog – I will always have a dog – and contacted a CBR breeder. Her next litter was about a year away, she informed me. Would I like to be included on The List?
The house was so empty. By November, the emptiness became unbearable when my then high-school-aged son went away on a trip. Kona had lived a good, long life, and was my constant companion. But, her many medical issues were a source of stress for me. I started searching the web for a young, healthy, energetic dog. One that didn’t need to be housebroken and that had too much energy for its owner – one that could hike for miles, then go for a swim, then still wasn’t done playing. On the Golden Huggs website, I saw a young Golden Retriever that seemed perfect. I applied immediately without telling my family.
I quickly received a phone call with the news that the dog I requested was already adopted, but “would you like a puppy?” asked Golden Huggs’ Brigitte Ritchie. I had never met Brigitte, and I was surprised by the question. I replied without hesitation “no, not really,” as I explained Kona. Brigitte didn’t exactly take no for an answer. She described a litter that would soon be up for adoption but told me that she wouldn’t show me a picture yet. That wouldn’t be fair, she explained. Think about it, she advised.
It wasn’t long before my family figured out what I was up to, and, over the phone, I asked my son (who was miles away in Colorado) what kind of dog he wanted, theoretically. He requested “fluffy.” I passed that information on to Brigitte.
Then I saw that first photo.
We had the winter’s first real snowfall on the day before we brought Lucy home. During the 45 minute trip from her foster family, ten-week-old Lucy cried and cried. Then, as soon as we let her out of the car, she happily bounded in the snow for a very long time. Exhausted – finally – she fell asleep in my son’s arms.
Want to share your tale on wagmorevt? Contact me!
October 31, 2015, Williston, Vermont. I feel fortunate to have made many new friends at the Canicross! This benefit event was held on a cold but wind-free morning at Catamount Outdoor and Recreation Center. I had cortisone injections the day before, otherwise I would have much rather joined in the fun. Thank you all for participating!
Fayston, Vermont. With Susie Snow and her daughter Cecelia, along with Mavis, Cleo, and Simon.
Mavis came from Riverside Rescue in Lunenburg, Vermont. She’s eight, turning nine in January. Mavis came from this woman – she was an older woman – who had a mixed breed female. The woman kept breeding her, selling the mixed breed dogs for $50 each. The litter before her [Mavis], all the puppies died because they had a brain abnormality. So when they took Mavis’ litter to Lunenburg, they told the woman that they’d take the mother too, but they need to spay her. So she was finally spayed after Mavis’ litter.
Cleo came from Potter’s Angels. We just got her off the truck – we hadn’t met or anything – and she’s fabulous. Cleo’s turning four, in December.
They both got lost in the woods together for three days last year, down at my father’s camp in Reading. When we found her, Cleo had attacked a porcupine. Quills were in her mouth and her legs. She couldn’t walk on one of her legs. We feel that Mavis helped lead her out. It was amazing. When we got the phone call that they had been found and went to pick them up, we took them to an emergency vet in Rutland. Cleo had quills everywhere. The quills had been in so long that the tops had popped off. When we had to take Mavis out of the room, she cried and cried. Their bond was so strong. We think that Mavis saved Cleo’s life… Cleo’s never off the leash now.
Simon, who is my cousin Kelly’s dog, was found in a ditch in Tennessee. He was 2-3 weeks old. My cousin Kelly’s best friend found him. They had him for about six months before Kelly adopted him. He lives in Warren village.
Note: I met Susie through her work with Golden Huggs Rescue, for whom she had previously fostered dogs. Susie performed our pre-adoption house visit before we adopted Lucy.