Today I am joining 9 other bloggers in sharing charities and causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Thanks to Brynne for gathering us all together to share a bit of what matters to us. If you’re visiting from Monica’s blog, you know that she is an animal lover like me. And if you’ve been around here a while, you know that we are dog lovers at casa Bustamante, and currently have three unique dogs. There’s Jake, our mild mannered 13 year old basset-beagle mix; Catcher, our high energy but full of love 2 year old Weimaraner- Aussie mix; and Snowball, our 1 year old miniature Schnoodle who happens to also be deaf. These three dogs couldn’t be more different in looks and dispositions, but what they do have in common is that each of them is a rescue, and each of them has brought more and more love to our home. Although all three are rescues, their stories are all just as different as they are; so rather than share one shelter, I am talking about my belief in “adopt, don’t shop.”
I thought I would take this chance to share with you the story of how each dog came into our lives. Let’s start with my old man, Jake. He is the dog who holds my heart… I love them all, but this boy’s eyes just speak to my soul.
13 years ago, almost exactly, Chris and I were newlyweds living our suburban starter life with our one pure-bred beautiful beagle. (Because to be honest, I’d never thought about a rescue dog… it just wasn’t on my radar!) A friend of mine had been picking her dogs up from her boarder who also ran a “shelter” of sorts out of her home. (I say shelter of sorts, because this woman was SOOOO nice and loving and loved her animals, but I gotta be honest…. not sure it was a legit shelter!) My friend informed me that a basset with a clubbed foot had delivered puppies at the shelter, and the puppies (basset-beagle mixes) needed homes. A second dog had not been on my radar, but I couldn’t get the sweet puppies out of my mind. I called Chris at work, and asked him what he thought. His reply was silence, and then “You’ve already seen them, haven’t you?” I informed him that I had not seen the puppies yet because if I had the phone call wouldn’t be “Could we,” but “Guess what we did!?” After another unnerving moment of silence, Chris said, “Ok.” My beagle, Charlie, and I headed off to the shelter to see the puppies.
Jake’s been such a family dog to us, allowing the kids to smother him with love. He was the dog that handled toddler fingers to the eyeball with patience and gentleness.He’s been a constant companion to me, and has walked and run miles by my side.He has filled our home and hearts with so much love and sweetness. I know that we rescued him, but he has been my rescue time and again. Whenever I am down, cuddles with this guy always raise my spirits.If ever there was the perfect dog for me, this guy has been it. I could write an entire novel about him, but I’ll save that for another day.
With Jake and Charlie we were happily a two dog family, and after Charlie passed a few years ago, we thought we’d just be a one dog family for a while. (Yes, you can laugh at me here.) However, 8 months had gone by and it was clear to me that Sawyer was feeling a void. After all, when he was born, Charlie and Jake were already part of our family… having two dogs was all he’d ever known. One day, Sawyer got off the bus, and walked to the back yard to Charlie’s grave, and I just watched him from the kitchen window and my heart hurt. I told Chris it was time. Sawyer’s 9th birthday was approaching and we thought, “What better time!?” This time around, I used Petfinder.com which is a fantastic website where many shelters share their animals, cats and dogs alike, that need homes.
I was searching for a retriever mix, a dog that would play catch with Sawyer, when this dog showed up, listed as “Revere” and a retriever mix. We had decided to let Sawyer in on what we were doing for him, and let him have a say. He loved this puppy’s picture and it was his number one choice. We made an appointment after contacting the shelter through petfinder, and visited the foster family an hour and a half away. We don’t know his entire background but we do know that his mother was rescued from a puppy mill in Alabama.When we arrived, it was clear to us he was no retriever as his siblings strongly displayed Australian Shepherd or Weimaraner looks… he was the one that was sort of a blend of both with the longer shepherd fur, but the Weimaraner coloring. Sawyer fell in love, and he came home with us that day. (You can read more of his story here).Even though he is certainly no retriever, Sawyer gave him the name Catcher. He’s absolutely insane and has the most energy and anxiety of any dog I’ve ever met, but he is also SO full of love, it’s ridiculous.He has never met a human being or another dog that he doesn’t just want to love so hard. He will follow people around the house; he just wants to be with you so badly. He needs a lot of exercise, but mostly he just needs love… he truly just wants us to spend our time with him and it doesn’t matter what we’re doing. Having multiple dogs is a little nuts at times, but with the others here, it helps him stay a little calmer. Jake can no longer make it on the walks we used to take, so these days, Catcher comes with me, and I am thinking of taking him on longer runs… his energy knows no bounds!
Finally, we get to the latest addition to our family, Snowball, who joined us last Christmas, thanks to Santa. As we approached last Christmas, I had the crazy idea to get Emmy a puppy.Sawyer and Emmy were 10 & 8 at the time and I was certain it could be our last Christmas with both being believers. (As I write this a year later, both still are, thank goodness!) I convinced Chris that we could make their last Christmas believing the most magical if Santa brought Emmy a puppy. My landlord at Sweet Clover had a sister who ran a shelter, so I knew if I went through her I’d be able to work out the details of an early morning Christmas pick up. Our only qualifications were that we wanted a small breed this time, something Emmy could snuggle with and hold easily, and something that would not take up too much real estate in our already slightly crowded home. As it turned out, that shelter had a deaf miniature schnoodle puppy that they were picking up soon. You can read more of her story here, but obviously, the rest is history and she became our newest addition.She’s deaf as I mentioned, so our communication with her is different (I joke that she knows my angry face well when she has an accident!), but she has been nothing but a god-send for our little family. She brings Emmy so much joy and has taught her responsibility; Emmy walks her, feeds her, helps bathe her, and loves to snuggle with her.
She’s the sweetest girl who loves to cuddle and play with us as well as the other dogs. She even joins me on 4-5 mile walks and puts those little legs to work. We may have done something good by adopting a special needs dog, but it doesn’t compare to what she’s done for us.So I am sure you are wondering, what’s life like with three rescues? The first thing I will surely tell you is that it’s absolute nuts at times…. When the UPS man comes and all three start barking excitedly, it can be overwhelming. (Fortunately, he loves them and brings them treats, so their bark is a joyous, “He’s here! He’s here!!!”
And as much as I clean, I can’t keep up with the amount of fur and dirt they bring in our home. I’m thinking of purchasing miniature lint rollers o give our guests as parting gifts when they visit.
But mostly… our little Cape Cod is so full of love because of them. I took this shot with my phone one day as I was sitting working on the sofa. I captured it because this moment is a pretty typical moment around here with all three at my feet as I work.If anyone has ever taught me about togetherness, it’s these guys. Jake’s aging, and for the most part Snowball & Catcher let him be, but when he’s really not feeling well, guess who’s right there for him? This photo was taken on a day when Jake was in pain and wouldn’t move… they stayed by his side.
And I am so happy to know that when the time comes, Snowball and Catcher, who’ve become the best of friends, will have each other. Here’s a little dose of their relationship for you…
I often find them just laying near each other, touching in some way. They’ve held hands several times, and it’s just the sweetest.They also love to be back to back, just connected in some way. Because she is deaf, she takes a lot of her cues from Catcher.If you think that your home or your life doesn’t have room, reconsider a rescue. Our home may be small, but these three fill it with so much joy and love, and we can’t imagine life without them. All they need is love, and if you allow them into your heart, you’ll find your own capacity for love will grow exponentially. All rescue dogs need is a safe and happy home and love… for giving them so little, you get back so much in return. If you are considering adding a dog to your home, think about all of those animals in shelters and rescues who need a good home… adopt, don’t shop! Maybe you can give a dog in need a home for the holidays.
Now head on over to Jest Cafe where Mila is talking about the Global Fund for Women!
And you can find the entire list with links below this graphic.
Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County – The Gathered Home // The Humane Society – Monica Wants It // Dog Rescues – Cassie Bustamante // Global Fund for Women – Jest Cafe // Peaceable Kingdom – Cuckoo4Design // Buyamba Uganda – House Homemade // Compassion International – The Home I Create // Canadian Premature Babies Foundation – The Learner Observer // The Heart Gallery – Pinterest Addict // Three Angels Children’s Relief – Bright Green Door