Monday, March 29, 2010

Keepsakes of Relationships Past

Several months ago A and I were cleaning out closets and going through boxes. She pulled a box of keepsakes out and we were going through it looking at photos (and laughing at hair), reading old letters and saved cards. She then pulled out a wooden plaque, looked at it and then quickly shoved it back in the box. My curiousity was peaked. When I asked what is was she looked down and just said it was a poem written for her by one of her exes.

The backstory on this is that when A was around 20-21years old, she was in love with this woman Kris who was dating A's friend and roommate. Kris had feelings for A too but chose to stay in the relationship with A's friend. When the school year ended so did Kris's relationship and she returned home to South Dakota for the summer. Since A had no plans, Kris invited her to come along. Basically they had one summer together but when they returned to college in the fall, Kris went back to her ex and A had her heart broken. During that summer Kris had written her the poem and had it put on this plaque.

All these years she had kept it because it was a special memory. Kris was her first love and her first heartache. She had hidden it from her ex, Mimi, because she would get so angry and jealous about it and in turn she had hidden it from me too. She told me she would get rid of it if I wanted her to. My response was absolutely not! I actaully insisted that she set it out.

I have keepsakes of relationships past too. It certainly doesn't devalue my relationship now. Those things don't mean I love A any less. They are just momentos and happy memories and sometimes painful heartbreak memories too. All my past relationships have shaped the person I am today-the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don't want to waste my time being jealous over the past. I just want to embrace the love I have now.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunny Sunday

The rain clouds blew out last night and took my blue mood along. I will admit that yesterday I was a bit sad to learn my baby brother is definitely moving away. I will never admit it to him though and will continue to be helpful and supportive.

Thank you for those who commented on my post about the childhood friend. Today I'm fine and no longer worried about trying to re-connect with people I no longer have anything in common with. I don't  know why I even wasted my time thinking about it. If she calls me again I will be polite but have no desire to become best-friends again. I did tell A that the next trip we take back to my hometown we are definitely going to stop for a visit though. I'm too nosey for my own good and I want A to experience it too.

This morning A and I slept late (with means about 8:30am). We had a hot cup of Blue Moutain coffee, watched The Soup and then went to brunch at the new mexican restaurant that opened in this town last month.  The Juevos Rancheros were great and we just enjoyed talking, flirting, holding hands and being together. Those are the things that bring the sunshine back into my life.

We went shopping and A helped me pick out new undies at Victoria's Secret. She is the one who had so much fun picking things out. I told her right away I was looking for my comfy work panties. I have to change in front of how many people everyday at work and I need full coverage. She just kept bringing me those lacy things. I finally submitted and bought one pair of her choosing. ;)

Oh, and why do they make it such a pain to upgrade your phone? If mine wasn't on its last leg I would have told them to fuck off!

A brought up the fact that my birthday is coming up in a couple of months and asked if there was something special I wanted to do this year. Then she asks if I would rather have the lovely (and somewhat expensive) purse I had been admiring today or a powerwasher. Now a powerwasher is a nice thing to have but I have to weigh the choices and decide what I would enjoy more. The purse...I'm definitely going for the purse.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Just a Saturday At Home

It's Saturday and I'm hanging out alone at home. A is on-call this weeknd and had to go into work for a few hours. There are a million things I need to do around here but my motovation is severely lacking. Outside it's cloudy and the wind is cold with rain not far behind. I just want to curl up on the couch and read. I guess that's not such a bad way to pass a cold dreary Saturday. Even my little girl Sia has the right idea today.

I'm taking care of my younger brother's dog today since he and his wife went to South Dakota to check out a house to rent. He called me just a while ago to tell me they had signed the lease and plans to move on April 17th-only three weeks but they are holding his job and he needs to get started. He's been out of work for over a year now and finally found a position in South Dakota. Of course my mother is all gloom-and-doom about it; crying and wailing about the grandchildren moving away. I don't interfere in my brother's life or relationship but on some occasions he will ask my advice. When he was considering the position I just told him that even though I'll be sad to see them leave (they just live across and down the street from me), he can't let mom dictate the course of his life. Let's be realistic here, he's got a wife and 2 children to support and no decent job prospects here. What does a responsible person do?

Yesterday I finally forced myself  at lunch to deny my natural tendencies and returned a phone call to the childhood friend who contacted me. I should have stuck with my natural stand-offish tendencies afterall. For more than 45 minutes she rattled on about her divorce, kids, dating, people from high school and having her shakras aligned. I must admit that the entire time I was thinking you've only become more cooky with age. Over and over she asked "do you remember so-and-so?" and I would honestly answer "yeah, kinda" or "not really" then she would go into a long story about what they are doing now. Honestly when I moved away I just kind of forgot (or maybe blocked ) a lot of those people. If I haven't had contact with them in 16 years then I really don't care. Finally the last 5 minutes she asked me what I was doing now and if I had ever remarried. I was honest and straight to the point and told her that for the last 10.5 years I've been in a relationship with a woman. She was silent and then said something like "oh, like companions" and I told her absolutely not. A is my best friend, lover and my wife; she makes me incredibly happy and my entire life revolves around her. By the end of the conversation she was crying and gushing about how happy she is to have found me and how much she's missed me and I'm cringing and mutteringing something polite like "yeah, it was nice to talk to you".

I have to admit that I envy A because she has several friends that she's maintained friendships with for more than 20 years. Some live in the state and others live across the country but when they get together that just seem to pick up where they left off. Time and distance seems to do nothing to deteriorate the bonds they share. I just don't have those types of relationships. I thought maybe this friend and I might re-connect since we have such a shared past but I honestly just don't feel it. Maybe I'm too judgemental or it could be I just have this overwhelming adversion to anything or anyone from the past. I'll have to keep exploring that.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's a Major Award!

I'm such a slacker. I was awarded this Beautiful Blogger Award last week by two wonderful bloggers; the incredible Jude and the lovely Crystal. A big thank you to you ladies-it's my first award and I will cherish it always. :) Too bad I will just never understand why anyone wants to read about my life but appreciate all of you who keep coming back around.

I guess there are rules the recipient of the Beautiful Blogger award must adhere to:
1. I'm supposed to thank the person(s) who gave me this award.
2. I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself. I assume this must be things I haven't shared before.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers (holy shit!) I have recently discovered and enjoy.
4. Contact those bloggers and inform them of their award.

So let's get down and dirty and see if I can find seven facts to share.

1. My childhood nickname was "little-fuzz" or "fuzzy". The name was bestowed on me by my grandfather when I was less than a week old and has followed me into adulthood. Many members of my family still refer to me by that nickname. When I hit my teenage years it used to embarass me but now I embrace it with great fondness since it always reminds me of the special relationship I had with my grandfather.

2. I was married for several years (to a man). It didn't work out because he had bigger issues that he refused to deal with. He was a good guy, but just a lost soul and I have no bad feelings toward him.

3. My favorite vegetables are brussel sprouts (coated in butter and salt-yum!) and peas but I can't touch a carrot or celery without gagging!

4. I seldom discuss religion but I would consider myself agnostic. I grew up very religious but I have a problem with most organized religions. I been witness to way too much hipocracy in the church through the years. I find so many of the rituals empty and consider most of the Bible mythology. I don't usually discuss my views with my family-I think my mother would throw herself down and start praying for my immortal soul. I don't care to witness that one!

5. I was an extremely shy and introverted child. I usually had my head in a book and I've always had trouble making and maintaining friendships. I've overcome much of my shyness but I'm still a very guarded and suspicious person and have a hard time opening up to new people. I know many would say I'm not because of the things I share here, but there's that personal distance and I only really share what I want others to know. I also have trouble re-connecting with friends from the past. Just yesterday my bestfriend from childhood (2nd grade through high school) called and left a message stating she has been trying to find me for 10 years and asked me to call her back.  Have a I done it yet? The sad thing is I haven't yet for reasons I don't really know. Tomorrow, I'm forcing myself to take that step though.

6. I grew up very poor and very rural. The house I grew up in was the same house my mother grew up in. It was over a 100 years old. We heated our home with coal and wood-burning stoves and didn't have running water (but we did have electricity). During my childhood I was always ashamed of those things but now I know I had a very unique upbringing (for a person my age) and realize that very much shaped the person I am today. I consider my life very privleged now and truly believe that simplistic upbringing made me a down-to-earth person.

7. My personality is a mixture of OCD and slob. How is that possible, you may ask? With my work and some things around the house I'm a perfectionist with OCD tendencies. During working hours everything has to be in its place, at home all home-improvement projects, tools and yard projects have to be perfect and I will re-do things until I'm satisfied. Then I will toss my clothing and shoes in every corner, the laundry can never make it into my dresser, my closet is a disaster, my coat on the floor and purses are everywhere. Poor A just shakes her head and wonders how I can have such dual tendencies.

Now I must choose those to pass this award to. I guarentee it will not be 15. I love breaking the rules. ;)

Queen of Ruckus- She's great if you can catch her not on vacation and pull her away from her new GF long enough to get a blog post out of her these days. (hint, hint)

Ms. Moon- I love her common-sense wisdom and hippie ways. I envy her life with the chickens and garden plus the neverending soap-opera of the chicken coop.

Bethany- She so eloquotely writes and shares her life (and her gardening). She has a soft-spot for all living creatures (even earthworms) and rescues bunnies. You know I love that!

Jen- She is a truly inspiring woman who has went through the most incredible heartbreak in the last year but always pulls herself up, carries on and has never given up on finding love and happiness. I have great respect for her strength of character. Plus, she has some pretty hot sex when she shares.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String...

We had a special package arrive this week...we've been anxiously waiting. It's just like Christmas and I made A promise to wait until I came home from work to open.

We really don't need new toys. A can easily satisfy me many, many, many, many times with only the parts she was born with but oh what fun trying new things can be. We had been thinking of buying this and then after a few personal testimonials we agreed.

We go through this with every new toy; we have to look at it and giggle. We will finally have a few drinks, relax and before long we will talk ourselves into giving it a try. I'm sure we will be spending most of the weekend in bed trying out our latest purchase. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Finding My Center

Last Thursday I left work late after another extremely trying and stressful day to walk into a hornets nest. My phone had several angry messages waiting and people were calling to bitch some more. Basically, my dad was up to his games again. He had called late Wedensday night to ask my younger brother to help him with something the next day. My younger brother said he already had committments in the morning but would come over in the afternoon. He then called me to let me know he would be helping dad so I didn't have to worry about it. Well dad being the impatient, world-revolves-around-me person that he is decided that wasn't good enough.  Around noon on Thursday he called my older brother at work and told him that my younger brother was supposed to show up that morning and had not. Dad said he called him and my bro said he would be there in a 1/2 hour then didn't show up so dad called again and my bro said he was on his way out the door and 2 hours later had not showed up. So my older brother gets mad and calls my younger brother and starts yelling at him on the phone and they get into an arguement. Then my younger brother calls my mom and before I know it I have all these people calling me.

I walked into my dad's place and he was ranting at me about everyone and I listened for about a minute and then I lost it and yelled at him to knock this shit off. I didn't appreciate leaving work and having to deal with this and then told him that unless this bullshit stopped, I was walking and he was on his own. He immediately stopped and dropped his head. I have to admit I even shocked myself a bit. The act of yelling at someone is highly unusual for me. I'm the peace-maker, the logical one, the one who tries to solve the problems. When I yell, I mean business. After dealing with dad it was time to deal with my brothers. I called the older one and discussed that fact that dad had twisted the truth just to get him angry and we couldn't let him play us against each other; we had to be a united front. Dad was playing the poor-poor-pity me game and attention seeking. Negative attention is better than none, right? Plus he always wants to be in control.

Now I wish I could say that dad's manipulative behavior was related to his illness but that would be delusional in my part. He has always been this way-controlling, manipulative, selfish, narcissistic. He's never at fault, always the victim, always right, short tempered (he communicates by yelling) and just talks at you constantly. My uncle described him the best by stating that "until just recently he never realized there was anyone in this world other than him".

My parents have been divorced since I was six years old and all my life dad has done everything possible to keep control over mom, stalking her and interfering and destroying every relationship she ever tried to have. When I was a kid it was common for him to stalk around our house at night and peek in the windows trying to catch mom doing something with someone. When we went for Sunday visits with dad he would question me (at age 8-10 years old) asking if my mom had any men around and and telling me things like "you know your mother is having sex with *insert name*". Sometimes he would even accuse her of being involved with her cousin or nephew. How sick is that?!!! On these same Sundays when he was supposed to be spending time with his children he would drive my younger brother and I around all day while he was stalking some married woman he was running around with. I witnessed more verbal fights than I can remember, numerous physical altercations and my mom receiving one severe beating. This behavior continued on-and-off into adulthood. My mom had several restraining orders against him over the years; he would settle down for awhile then start again. When I was around 19-20 we even had a physical altercation when he showed up at my apartment threatening and refusing to leave my home. He then went to his job and told people how he was going to shoot my mom, brother (he was still a minor at the time) and I and anyone else who was in the way.

By the time I turned 30 I had enough. After one more terrible situation I just said to myself "I'm 30 years old and I don't have to deal with this shit anymore". I walked away and until he was diagnosed with cancer last fall, we had not spoken 5 words to each other in nearly 3 years. He came to me asking for my help. He needed someone to be responsible. I agreed and accepted the responsibility because I felt it was my duty.

Isn't it funny how posts sometimes mutate into something completely different than what you planned? I know I have a lot of unresolved anger and every time I try to put it aside, rise above and be the bigger person he has to act this way and remind me why I walked away in the first place...actually it tempts me to walk away again and just say fuck it once and for all. The only thing that keeps me around is my sense of duty--that duty to care for your parents. Why I feel it so strongly, I really don't know. Maybe it was instilled with me during childhood since my mom took care of my grandpa. Maybe it's from the years of working in the nursing home and witnessing how some families take no interest in their elderly/sick family. Maybe it's just part of being a woman. Maybe it's just my weakness.

Thats why this weekend I decided it was going to be about me. I had to just spend time doing what I wanted to do with the people I wanted to spend time with. I actually felt much better after my "blow-up". I just wanted to curl up next to A and have her hold me. She is my center, my peace, my stability and my saving grace. I think I've said before that from time to time we just need to stop and re-connect with each other; shut out the outside world and just be together. Maybe that's the key to our happiness together. We went shopping Friday night, went out for dinner and drinks with friends Saturday night, caught up on our episodes of The Soup, finally watched  "500 Days of Summer" (it's been sitting at my house for 3 weeks), spent time with the pups, rode our bicycles all over town and just relaxed in general. I feel renewed.

This is my idea of a nap. The newest foster puppy, Jayna, is sleeping on my chest, the old man, Giz, on my stomach and Orv at my feet. A took this picture and said at one time there were actually four dogs sleeping with me but Tim had moved when she went to grab the camera.

Today I was asked by the rescue to organize a "Meet-N-Greet" at one of the pet supply stores near my home. Basically we just set up an info table and talk to people about our rescue, educate about puppy-mills and the breed and show off some of the dogs waiting for homes. I've been to a few to bring my foster dogs for people to meet but have never actually done the organization of an event. It will be something new but it gives me a purpose and will do anything to raise awareness and hopefully get some dogs into new homes. Now I have plans for next weekend and once agin I will be focusing on doing the things I want to do.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I've been a bit absent here in blogger world. I've stopped by to read a little but have been too mentally exhausted to comment, so I've chosen to remain silent. Please don't feel I'm ignoring you.

Last Friday my dad had surgery to remove his colon and entire large intestine. He completed his chemotherapy and radiation shortly after the new year and since then has been just resting and preparing for this surgery. He spent over 5 hours in surgery and then another 3 hours in recovery before they settled him in a room. Then I had a nearly 2 hour drive home. Saturday morning I returned to the hospital to visit and after several hours I was so tired of his disgustingly rude behavior that I decided to come home for the rest of the afternoon. About 40 mins away from the hospital, I received a call that dad had coughed and his incision had re-opened. Back to the hospital I go, wait for the doctors to come exam and then they took him back into surgery to fix him up again. It turned into another late night.

As if the surgery isn't stressful enough, pile on my dad's bad attitude/terrible patient status and my mother's psycho behavior and you have a really big mess! I don't even want to waste the time and energy trying to even write about my mom's nuclear meltdown but I say I think she's got some kind of psychosis happening there. She was so out of control that I just stopped answering her phone calls.

Now for something positive. I can't bitch and complain and then leave things on a negative note.

My uncle (dad's younger brother) came here to stay during dad's surgery. I have not seen this man since I was 19 years old and have only spoken to him a couple times since then on the phone around the holidays (just the "hi, how are you?" holiday wishes kind of conversation). I was a little concerned about how he would be to deal with but to my surprise, he has been absolutely wonderfully helpful to me in dealing with dad. I can't even begin to express my gratitude and how much I appreciate all he did (and put up with). Friday I arrived at the hospital feeling absolutely stressed and exhausted to the point of tears and he just gave me a big hug and said, "baby girl, it will be alright". You know, sometimes that's all you need; just a little comfort and understanding. Saturday we had the entire day together and since we were just doing a lot of sitting and waiting, we had a lot of time to talk. We have so much in common and very similar personalities. We talked books and history and family things and a million other topics. We stopped at the bookstore, made frequent trips to starbucks and just got to know each other. It was a great experience to get reaquainted on an adult level. All these years I've been trying to figure out how I fit into this family because I couldn't look around and find anyone like me. Well I finally did and it is comforting.

Today dad came home from the hospital and tomorrow my uncle is leaving to return home. I'll be sad to see him leave but I am going to make a real effort to stay in contact. Now I'm feeling the weight of dad on my shoulders again, but for a few days at least, someone helped me carry the load.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The weekend isn't over yet, is it?!

Whoa, this weekend is almost over, I'm facing an incredibly busy, balls-to-the-wall week and I'm more exhausted than ever! Tonight is A's last night of  petsitting and tomorrow she will be home with me. I can't wait!!!! I've seen her everyday but it's pathetic how dependent we are on each other.

Saturday I had to work a booth at the local business expo. I had the joy of standing around greeting people, handing out freebies and representing our clinic. Really that means that I had to fake friendliness and interest 6 days this week instead of 4-5. No wonder I feel exhausted. Since I had this commitment, A went that morning to meet one of the other ladies we work with in rescue. She had some dog food for us and other donated items. When A got there the lady asked if we would be willing to take on a 6 month old foster puppy. She had this little girl and her sister and wanted to get them separated before they became too bonded. A calls to talk to me about it but I could tell she had already made up her mind to bring the little girl home. She had called me to talk her out of it. Yeah, right! Like I'm the one to call. This brings us up to 6 dogs-4 of our own and 2 fosters.

Her name is Jayna and she's up for adoption! *hint, hint, wink, wink*  She really is a sweetie but then again she is a puppy and not well liked by my calm, older dogs. She is friendly and at her age she will be adopted quickly.

This is what happens when you try to take pictures of a curious, hyper puppy. First she attacks my camera strap then smears her wet nose all over my lens.
Looking cute. This will definitely be a good Petfinder picture of her.

After I finished the business expo I went to meet A and go for dinner. We went out for Indian food and since neither one of us really knew what we wanted we ordered a dinner for two that offered a variety of dishes. I have to say I enjoyed everything except the lamb. It was good but I've never been a fan. Then it was back to the ex's house for some fuckery. The ex's wife ChiChi works with this woman Sue that they refer to as the work wife. She follows ChiChi around like a puppy and originally was the one who was going to pet sit. We had been teasing them that while they were gone Sue was going to cut Mimi's head out of all the family pictures and insert her own. We decided to print off a few pictures of Sue from Facebook and tape them over Mimi's head. We only did 3 so I wonder how long before it's noticed.

Today I was up early, did 3 loads of laundry and gave six dog baths before taking a shower myself and heading out for my nephew's 10th birthday party. At least 10 year olds are past the Chucky Cheese stage. That fucking singing mouse gives me nightmares. We went bowling, played laser tag and video games. Not a terrible way to spend an afternoon.

By the way, for anyone interested, A and I did the deed in the ex's bed. ;) Honestly I doubt we would have if ChiChi had not made it a point to tell us not to. Let me say, spite sex is really great and we swore it will remain our secret...for now.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On my own.

Tonight I'm home alone. A went to petsit for her ex-gf, Mimi. How weird is that!

Around here you're never really alone though. There have been 5 sets of eyes on me all night-well 4 sets plus one since the old man only has one eye. I probably won't sleep much tonight though. The bed always seems so empty when she's not around and I really don't like the dark. No really, I'm really scared of the dark-always have a night light on even when A is laying beside me. Tonight I will sleep with the lights on. Tonight I will waste electricity and do my part to kill the planet.

A had to go do the petsitting run through before Mimi and her wife ChiChi left tonight. I haven't seen A since we went to bed last night and she leaves before I get up in the morning. I left work late and then realized I was nearly out of gas so I was on the phone with her feeling sad since I wasn't going to get home in time to see her tonight and would not get another chance to see her until tomorrow night. I was driving home on one of the lonely back roads and here comes A. She had driven out of her way to meet me along the road. I pulled over she did a U-turn and we made out in the car for 10 minutes along the side of the road. How cool is that?! We haven't done that for years and I have to say it was fun. Then I have to take it to the next level and flash my boobs at her. Hey, no one was around except a few cows.

So A is petsitting all weekend and we will be having "dates" all this weekend and that really seems like fun to me too. A said that when she arrived at their house they did the normal run-through of what stuff is where and then ChiChi told her she didn't want us having any "nookie" in their bed. So what do you think...would you or wouldn't you? Part of me thinks gross and the other part thinks fun (or maybe spite).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TMI: Toy Talk

Several weeks ago A and I were returning home from shopping. I was driving and it was dark, icy and white-out conditions from blowing snow. We had already seen a couple cars in the ditch and I was just slip-sliding along very slowly. We were chatting about random stuff and the conversation turns to this.

A: I was shopping online last night and found a couple new toys I was thinking of ordering. (She then goes on to describe these toys to me)

Me: Those sound like they could be fun but we just bought that last toy a couple months ago and we've only used it once. 

A: Yeah, I know but that damn thing has a hair-trigger!

Me: (Choking and sputtering on my coffee, trying to not lose control of the car and slide in the ditch.)

A: I tried to adjust it and I accidently bumped some button and it took off out of control. I actually saw your toes point! Don't you remember?

Me: (By now I'm laughing so hard the tears are running down my cheeks and I can barely see the icy road.) No, I think I was preoccupied at the time. I doubt my toes pointed though. I think you're full of shit.

A: I swear your toes pointed. Tomorrow I'm ordering something I have more control over.

My opinion: if it's effective why change it...but then again more toys means more options and more fun. ;)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Meet Timmy and Orville

These are the guys we often refer to as "our first-borns". Tim is in the front and Orv is behind.

In January 2006, A and I finally agreed to adopt a dog. We knew we would definitely adopt from a rescue or shelter and we were looking specifically for the hard to adopt dog; the ones with medical issues or a senior. For weeks I looked at available dogs on Petfinder. Finally I came across a Japanese Chin for adoption. I had never even heard of the breed and I immediately fell in love with that face. I did some research on the breed and A and I agreed to submit an application to adopt. We jumped through all the hoops and sat waiting (somewhat impatiently) for a dog. Four months later we were on vacation in Florida and received an email that there was a dog for us; Timmy the Timid.

We spent several hours on the phone with his foster mom, Barb, discussing Tim's background. He was a puppy-mill dog, only out 4 weeks and although he was still very shy and unsure, he was learning to trust. We planned to go and meet him on a Friday. Thursday we received an email from Barb asking if we would ever consider adopting 2 dogs; Tim's brother Orville had been sent to another foster home but that home couldn't handle his extremely fearful behavior and he was not thriving. We said we would consider it.

Timmy was extremely shy and his body language was submissive. He peeked at us around corners though; scared but curious. Orville though was completely different. He was feral and so scared that he cowered under a table with the most huge fearful eyes I've ever seen. Barb had to corner him to pick him up and he would thrash his body and eventually go stiff and submit from pure fear. It rates up there as one of the most truly heartbreaking things I've ever witnessed. I sat there for hours holding this trembling pup and visiting.

Barb told us that Tim and Orv were 2 of 6 dogs the rescue had picked up from a puppy-miller in Nebraska. The miller had contacted them and said he had 6 dogs, if they wanted them come get them or he "would get rid of them". These 6 dogs were pups being held back to see if they would make good stud dogs. At 9 months old they were already too big. The rescuer picked up 6 dogs crammed into a wire rabbit hutch they had lived in most of their short lives; they had never been handled (with any care), they had never walked on grass, their toes splayed from always standing on wire. Orv wasn't really a candidate for adoption yet but his only comfort was Tim and they really wanted the two of them to go to a home together. We knew the chances of them finding a home together was hard enough but with Orv's special needs it would be nearly impossible. We knew it was going to be a big job and we accepted the challenge even though we didn't know what the hell we were doing.

Sunday we brought home these two and the real fun started. Tim was very shy and timid but he so wanted to be with us and little by little we gained his trust. Orv was the complete opposite. He cowered on the back of the sofa trembling and would have such severe anxiety attacks even when no one was near him. He would practically injure himself trying to get away when we approached him. When we finally did pick him up he would thrash and wail then stiffen and submit. It was hearbreaking to even have to take him out to potty. Their foster mom was an angel and so full of support and ideas. I read everything I could find and contacted every dog trainer just trying to find someone to help me help him. One so-called trainer actaully had the nerve to tell me that Orv was probably too damaged to be saved and I should have him put down. Deep down though, I knew he could be "normal" because everynight after we went to bed we could hear the two of them playing. We actually went as far as to set up the video camera one night to record their nocturnal activities. There was Orv on that video, up walking around with his tail up and wagging, wrestling with his brother and exploring his environment.

I won't lie and say I never felt frustrated and ready to give up. After three months our vet recommended an antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication and we decided to give it a try; five months after we brought Orv home we finally started to see a change. We had a break-through. I was home alone and Orv was having an especially hard time that night. I was so frustrated that I just sat there on the sofa sobbing and asking him what can I do to help you/make you understand. For the first time ever he approached me and licked my cheek, then bolted back to his corner of the sofa.

Little by little we took small steps. After nine months in our home we could pet and pick him up without a major panic attack. Just over a year he finally learned to go down the stairs and started to play with his brother outside. We took him off the medication and he continued to improve. It took 2 years to go on a walk more than one block from the house and finally greet out backyard neighbor. At every step we would say this is the best he will ever be and then he would surprise us by getting better. In his third year in our home he has finally come to fully accept A, come to us and cuddle, roll on his back for a belly scratch. A refers to him as our "zen" boy because he has the most peaceful, calming effect on us. These things all sound pretty mundane to the average dog owner, but to us it is nothing short of a miracle.