Our Last Weekend With Titan

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Titan went home with his new mom yesterday.

We knew it would be bittersweet. Adoptions always are. While you are sad to see them go, that sadness is outweighed by the happiness you feel at knowing they are going to a wonderful home.

Although we discussed keeping him ourselves several different times, each time we came back to the same thing: two dogs were so much easier for two people to do things with than three. Especially when you have no idea how large the third one is going to be.

We couldn’t have chosen two better parents. 

Peggy and I graduated from UNLV together, worked together, and have been friends since. Even our husbands are now friends.

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We rode out the storm in Daytona with them. They are godparents to our own dogs, if something happens to us.

Peggy came down Friday, and we all had a great weekend together. She fell in love with Titan instantly. Like that was a surprise? 😀

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He liked her instantly, and spent a lot of time snuggled up with her over the weekend.

Because this was Peggy’s first dog since she was a kid, we surprised her with a ‘baby shower’. She was thrilled, and we all had a blast. Where else would you have a shower for a black dog than the Black Dog Saloon? 😉

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The cake that HyVee made was absolutely adorable. We all had blue lips afterwards. It was great. And so was the cake!


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Peggy was so excited about adopting Titan that she had her nails painted blue.


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Titan, of course, helped open gifts and especially appreciated everyone’s thoughtfulness to send tissue paper for him to play with.


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But all that help was exhausting, and sometimes a guy’s gotta rest under his new woobie his mom opened for him.


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The last day came too quickly, and before we knew it, it was time to load the car.


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Since he doesn’t have opposeable thumbs and wouldn’t know how anyway, in the meantime he had a last play with Ekko and Charra.


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Then Traci came by for a quick visit. In canine speak, Titan learned quickly that “Traci” means “treats”. 😀


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And of course there’s nothing more appropriate to wear for a road trip than dirt.


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Everybody went in to get a big drink and rest for a few minutes while we finished loading up.


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Then, it was time to get in the car and go.


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I’ve learned that sometimes we aren’t always the best home, which sounds hard to believe. We wanted him, but they needed him.

Like all of us, their life has been full of ups…and downs. Happy times, sad times, stressful times, stressful work.

Titan is their ‘first child’ together, and their only dog.

Titan is incredibly social. He loves people.  He knows what it’s like to run free; he doesn’t need a big yard to make him happy. What he wants, and needs, is a family.

His life now will involve trips to Day Care, swimming lessons,  the dog park, playing with nieces and nephews, and traveling with his new parents as much as possible. He’s going to go for long walks, visits to the golf course (where hopefully he doesn’t chase the golf balls), and for obedience training. And since Chicago is home to a number of canine dental specialists, he’s going to visit one soon, where hopefully they can take measures to prevent him having to eventually have all his teeth pulled.

And in about six  years, he’s going to live on the beach in Gulf Shores.


For a little guy whose life got off to such a miserable start, it’s going to be a wonderful life. After everything Titan has managed to survive, he so deserves this. It’s as if after being so close to dying, he decided to make the most of every day.

Only two weeks ago, I told Jimmy that I was ready for him to go.

As much as I loved him dearly and am continually amazed at what a truly incredible dog he is, I was tiring of our house in a constant state of chaos with toys and shredded paper everywhere. He and Ekko loved to play, and our house regularly sounded – and looked – like a herd of small buffalo had thundered through it.

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We had him seven weeks. It took us nearly that long to get him healthy. And while he had been feeling good the last three weeks, he had a skin barrier issue and only received a clean bill of health from the vet three days before Peggy arrived. By the time he was really and truly well, it was time for him to go.


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When I got home from work last night, I felt a huge lump in my throat when I saw the red Santa hat he’d removed from the stuffed animal he’s holding in the above picture. He’d carried it around, left it outside in the rain, and had played with it again in the yard just that morning. I saw his food bowl that will never be his again. I picked up all the stuffed animals he’d dragged around the house. Wanting him to have something familiar, I’d sent his favorite toys home with Peggy. Now I was glad I didn’t have to look at them.

I walked back to the bedroom, and was struck by the emptiness left now that his crate is gone. Our room was empty, and so were we. I just sat for a few minutes in stunned silence.

It was like someone had died.

I prayed for guidance. While I had absolute confidence that we had made the right decision for Titan and that he and Peggy and John were a perfect match, both Jimmy and I wondered if we’d made the right decision for us.

Even the girls were quiet. Ekko looked for him. She went down to the basement, back to the bedroom, and around the living room and kitchen. She sat outside on the front deck for several minutes. Her eyes questioned me: “Where did he go?”

After Titan left, Ekko and Charra had their vaccinations, Ekko got a haircut,  and they went to the shop with me. It was a big day for them. I think she’d forgotten Titan had gone with Peggy.

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Feelings are a complicated thing.

Sometimes, those feelings can be intensified if you aren’t at your best. I was incredibly tired yesterday, and Jimmy just flat out didn’t feel well. Neither of us were really 100%.

Titan and Maggie were both big doofuses. (Is that the plural of doofus?) 😀 Titan had a lot of the qualities that we used to love about Maggie, and none of the qualities we didn’t.

It’s only been a few months since we lost Maggie, and I’m not sure we’ve had time to process that loss. Less than a week after she died, we left for Florida. Less than a week after we were home, Titan came into our lives.

When we had Maggie, her needs came first. It was Maggie who went to the shop, Maggie who went along for rides. Because three was too hard to handle, Ekko and Charra had to be left behind.

With Titan, his needs had to come first. He had to learn to enjoy car rides and to meet people so we could get a feel for his behavior in public, and we had to do it quickly. Once again, Ekko and Charra were left behind.

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Now, it’s their time.

They will have an opportunity to blossom, and to have some fun. Charra has finally begun to play again for the first time since losing Maggie. There have been a lot of changes in her little life. And, Maggie was her hero.

Maybe it’s time to enjoy the girls we have, and, like Titan, to embrace life every day. Sometimes you just have to have faith in the process. We don’t always know all the answers, and we have to have patience until God reveals everything to us.

If we were meant to have kept Titan, both of us would have felt certainty about that decision. The fact that we were conflicted is an answer in itself.

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Goodbye, Titan. We’ll miss you. We’re looking forward to watching you grow, to hearing about your adventures, and especially to seeing you and your parents in the fall. 🙂

Update: Shortly after arriving at his new home, Peggy sent me a picture of Titan lounging on the couch. We talked on the phone an hour or so later, and I heard a squeak toy in the background. He slept all night last night, and is really enjoying his walks. He made the trip fine, and is settling in well. Life is good. 🙂

My Camouflage Shop Shelves

2014-01-03 16.54.54It’s spring!

Spring is the season which turns everyone’s thoughts to…home projects! (Even saying it just gets me excited.) My needs are simple. 🙂

So anyway, this reminded me that I’d never shared with you my camouflage shelves I made for the shop.

The picture above is the finished product. Keep in mind a few things: like, this is the bathroom at the shop, hence the stubbed in shower pipe that doesn’t have a shower on it that you see in the foreground.

And, there’s deer antlers that are waiting patiently for their use in another project which requires power tools.

My husband doesn’t allow me to use power tools. (This is in my own best interest. Really.)

So, eventually one of the guys will help me with that particular project, and they won’t be on the floor anymore. But I digress.

These shelves began their life as crates that held oranges which, as far as I know, someone brought home from Florida. They resided in my parents basement for years.

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My mom, always the crafty sort, suggested we paint them to use as shelves in my college dorm room. During my college years in the dorm and various apartments, they were several different colors.

If any of my college friends are reading this right now: do you remember them? 😀

They moved cross-country with me to Las Vegas and resided comfortably in my garage for years.

They moved back here with me in the late 90’s, and have spent the last ten years holding my resource collection of magazines in the basement.

Until we needed shelves for our shop.

And, because it’s a shop, I didn’t want to invest a lot of money. I challenged myself to ‘shop my basement’ and be creative.

Hence, the orange crates. And, since I already had a camo lamp shade, and plans for those deer antlers, camo seemed to be the way to go.

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It really wasn’t that hard to paint them.

I just picked up 3 coordinating camo colors; the lightest color was the primary color. Then add to that the other two secondary colors; the darker of the two had the minimal coverage.

Like, in really random patterns.

They aren’t perfect, but then I wasn’t striving for perfection. After all, it’s a shelf, which means it’s going to be holding stuff.

You gotta have perspective here. 😉

What I love about these shelves is that you aren’t limited to positioning them in one way. You can position them in whatever way blows your skirt up.

At first, I positioned them in a very basic, traditional way.

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But then I decided to change it when I went to take pictures for this post. They are currently sitting like they are in the picture at the top of this post. In case you forgot, I’ll post it again. I really like this set-up. 🙂

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But you could also position them like this:

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Or like this:

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Or even like this:

2014-01-03 16.42.25I think that sort of gives it a modern look.

What about this one?

2014-01-03 16.44.20I think the look of it is really cool, but I would recommend attaching the crates to one another; otherwise, you’re going to be doing a balancing act with your stuff.

The beauty of this is you can set them up to suit your needs, or simply whatever trips your trigger!

I was happy with the way the project turned out, and they suit our needs perfectly. Even better, my husband loves them too.

And all from re-purposed junk. 🙂

I wish you inspiration, beautiful weather, and all the right paint colors!

Titan: A Progress Report

Titan Car rideTitan really is an amazing little boy.

It’s not so much that he has rebounded after being so near death.

What makes him so remarkable is his capacity for love and trust.

Rescued dogs are always special. While they often will bear emotional or physical scars from whatever trauma they’ve endured (sometimes at the hands of people it’s hard to think of as humans), they always seem to have a sense of gratitude.

I told our vet that Jimmy and I didn’t think Titan had been abused…just simply abandoned. Once in a while he can be a little timid when meeting new people, which is normal for most puppies his age…he is friendly towards everyone he meets.

Our vet agreed. “Either that, or he just simply has an amazing capacity for love,” she said.

Titan always receives raves when he visits the vet. He is such a good boy, he doesn’t seem to mind going there. They are friendly, they give him attention and treats. And, he seems to know that no matter how much he’s poked and prodded, they are all helping him. He trusts in the goodness of people.

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When we went back to the vet for his follow-up after 3 weeks, they were very busy. We waited patiently in the waiting room. While we were in there, a number of people came in with their animals.

Each time the door opened, he would stand, ears and expression alert with curiosity and friendliness and tail wagging, as if to say, “Oh, hello!”

One dog and his person waited in the room with us for at least ten minutes. When the dog had to go outside to go to the bathroom, Titan looked at me, his face questioning. “Why are they leaving?” his expression said.

“They’ll be back,” I reassured him.

Titan came into our lives March 4. On that day, he weighed a mere 27.6 pounds. Most of that surely had to be his frame.

As of Tuesday, he has gained 20 pounds.  He is still underweight, but of course he is also growing at the same time.

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Just last week, he finally began to act like a puppy. Clearly feeling better, he is running, playing, shredding papers, and teasing us. All normal puppy behavior.

Another victory.

He hasn’t quite grown into his large feet yet, and when he walks, he looks like someone who’s wearing shoes that are too big. 😀 Sort of like a clown, he pads along with those large feet…it’s comical and sweet at the same time.

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With praise and love, he has blossomed. I have only had to scold him once, and that was because he wandered too far from the house and didn’t come when I called. He’s never done that since.

In the beginning, he simply wasn’t well enough to leave the house or to socialize. We’ve started doing some things this week, like practicing car rides and meeting some new people, but I’m still being very careful what I’m exposing him to. He is still very vulnerable to illness.

It takes some time for a dog so close to starvation to fully recover. His body is nourished, and amazingly, his spirit is as well. He doesn’t seem to be starving emotionally: he doesn’t show any food-aggressive issues, doesn’t try to steal or beg human food, and doesn’t raid the trash.

But his system is still playing catch-up.

When we went back for his check-up late on a Friday afternoon, my vet and I discussed his plans and his pending move to Chicago for his forever home. (And that is another story for another day!)

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“When’s the last time he ate?” she said.

“At breakfast this morning. I wanted you to swab him for a DNA test, so I didn’t feed him all day.”

“If you want to leave him overnight, I’ll neuter him before I leave today.”

“You’re a Rock Star,” I told her.

Three weeks after his rescue, the complete blood panel they ran prior to surgery showed he was still as anemic as the day they first saw him.

Our vet told me later that normally they wouldn’t have even done the surgery with an anemic dog. But Titan had improved so much from the day she first saw him and looked so much better that she thought it was just a matter of his system not catching up.

We’ve made some dietary changes and he’s on a multivitamin. Hopefully another blood test next week will show an improvement.

He has a crusty, itchy skin issue which is causing him some hair loss. We’re treating him for mange, but our vets believe that it simply may be a skin barrier issue. Healthy skin keeps out bacteria which can cause illnesses.

His skin may simply have not recovered from his severe malnutrition. A special shampoo, Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplementation, and a special skin medication seems to be gradually helping.

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 “Mother, you really need to stop this picture thing. It’s getting embarrassing.”

His first bath here at home was like wrestling a greased pig!  Jimmy and I only have 4-5 more to go. 😀

Today I’m picking up a prescription for a sinus infection for him.

“He’s a bit of an enigma, poor little guy,” our vet said.

Next week, we go back for another blood test and his last booster shot, and we’re hoping to see improvements across the board. Time will tell.

He didn’t reach near-starvation overnight, and his system isn’t going to recover overnight.

But overall, he is rebounding wonderfully, and shows us every day what a truly remarkable and amazing little boy he is.

He’s funny, sweet and loving. He snores, prefers to sleep with a fan as he gets hot at night (and it covers his snoring!), and is curious about the world.

Terrified of cars at first, he now gets in and out all by himself. (He prefers to ride in the middle of the back seat, where he can see straight ahead and sniff out of both windows.)

Titan at the shop

He is enjoying going to the shop with me, and I can tell that his car rides and the people he’s meeting are building his confidence. 🙂

Nearly every day is a new ‘first’ or a small victory, and I can’t tell you how much it warms our hearts to see him grow and blossom. It’s incredibly rewarding, and been an amazing journey already.

(How many times can I possibly say the word AMAZING in one post?!)

For us, watching him is a good reminder of how important it is to embrace life fully, one day at a time, to keep a loving heart, and always be open to new adventures. :-)