Saturday, 12 April 2014

Tahiti: Palomino Princess

A few months ago, January 16 to be exact, I lost a really good friend. PJ, a horse I had been riding at Waterstone Estate and Farms for about 2 or 3 years suddenly passed away from a strangulating lipoma. I showed up at the barn after work excited to see him because I hadn’t ridden him in two weeks, but ran into the owner first, who told me she had had to put him down that day. I didn’t own him, but nothing could explain the hurt I felt. Earlier that week I had taken my fiancé up to Waterstone to show him where I wanted to get married, and I introduced him to PJ for the first time. I gave him his treats and a kiss goodbye when I left, not knowing that would be my last goodbye.

For the next few weeks riding horses didn’t feel the same. It didn’t make me as happy as it had for so many years. I considered giving up but decided to keep at it because I hoped I’d fall back in love with it. And I am glad I did!

The owner bought a new mare – Tahiti (Scribble Blondiesgirl) a 14.3 hh palomino Quarter Horse. She’s petite and pretty – just like a princess. She’s also got the personality of a princess and wouldn’t do anything she didn’t want to. The first time I rode her was almost embarrassing because she wouldn’t do anything I asked of her (unless I pointed her at a jump!). I was determined to figure her out so I rode her again on Thursday night and although I struggled a little with her stubbornness at first, I think she came around and decided maybe I wasn’t so bad. The rest of our ride was amazing! She is so responsive, honest, and is a beautiful jumper. I have decided I am going to ride her every week and hopefully our good streak continues – I am sure it will. She’s done cross-country too so I’m looking forward to riding her outside once it gets warmer.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress with our new Tahitian princess and will post more pictures. These are just some of her at Waterstone.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Brandy: our adorable, affectionate, Yorkie X foster dog

While in transit at Chicago's O'Hare airport, on our way to California, my fiancé agreed to let us doggie sit Brandy, a Yorkie X, for 2 weeks while her foster mom was on vacation. I picked her up the day after our California road trip and was surprised and sad to see how timid and emotionally fragile she was. She also has mild epilepsy and a nervous mouth twitch.

For the first few hours she chose to retreat to a bedroom away from the rest of us, but I just couldn't let her be alone. So I placed her on my stomach while I lay on the couch and held her close. After about an hour she very reluctantly and slowly rolled over for a belly rub. It felt so amazing knowing that there was a chance she might trust me!

On walks she preferred to walk behind us - almost like she was afraid that if she walked in front of us we might kick her. It was so heartbreaking but I was determined to show her that we would never hurt her.

Over the next few days she started to come out of her shell a little more - she'd jump excitedly when we got home from work and would want to be around us more. She grew more comfortable with walks and enjoyed going out for a little romp even though there was still a good amount of snow on the ground. After a week she gave me her first tail wag! It was such an amazing feeling and made me happier than you could imagine. She was a completely transformed dog, and   was a testament to how even the most damaged dogs can come around and learn to trust with just a little TLC.

Her original foster mom returned from her vacation but said that since she was doing so well we could continue to foster her, and we were more than happy to keep our little Brandy-boos. 

Her confidence continued to build and she turned into the most affectionate, cuddly, sweet dog you could ever imagine! I knew that as much as I loved her I needed to find her a forever home so that we could open our home up to more dogs in need. As it turned out I had a friend whose niece was looking to adopt and they were a great match for each other. She came to visit Brandy with her husband and Brandy was such a little angel. Brandy was off to Guelph for her spay and returned to me for one more week before going to her forever home.

I got an update from her new mom the other day and it sounds like my Brandy-boos is doing just fine and has adjusted well. I know she’ll get lots of love and now it’s time to find our next foster and go through this extremely rewarding emotional rollercoaster all over again!

Welcome to Rescues, Renos and Real Life!

Welcome to Rescues, Renos and Real Life! This is my first blog and while I am not a writer or professional story-teller, I am extremely passionate about dogs, horses, travel and making my house a home. 

I volunteer with the Pomeranian and Small Breed Rescue, a registered charity based in Ontario, Canada that helps find homes for small dogs in need. I started fostering with the group 7 years ago and adopted my foster, Lucky. I then fostered Salty, who my fiancé and I ended up adopting as well. Coincidentally they are both Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier crosses with very “interesting” personalities. Lucky now lives with my parents and Salty lives with my fiancé and I in our new home. We also started fostering again about 5 months ago and have since had two of the most darling foster dogs – Molly (Pug/Shih Tzu puppy) and Brandy (7 year old Yorkie X).

I am hoping that through the stories I share on my blog that more people will understand the desperate need to help rescue dogs rather than buying from breeders and pet stores. There are so many dogs dying in shelters every day because people would rather buy pure breed or “designer” puppies. Don’t get me wrong – I love puppies! I just don’t love the people that breed them for money, and the people that think they would love a puppy and then realize they don’t and drop them off at a shelter.

I don’t own my own horse...yet… but I do ride at an amazing barn, WaterstoneEstate and Farms, in King Township. I have been riding there for about 4 years and it’s my escape from everyday life. It’s also where I plan on getting married! I might have the occasional post on how a ride went, a new horse, or some wedding planning.

Finally, there’s our home. We bought a standard suburban house that was pretty bare (no light fixtures!) and have slowly been adding our personal touches to it through DIY projects and decorating. Now that the weather is warming up we’re hoping to focus on our backyard so I’ll likely be sharing lots of stories on how that goes.

I hope you find my stories fun, inspiring, and sometimes touching. If you have ideas for blog posts and if you have any questions I look forward to hearing from you.