Monday, January 29, 2007

Five Years Ago Today...

It's hard to believe that five years has passed already. My husband would probably say that January 29, 2002 was the beginning of the end of life as we knew it. It was the day our very first foster dogs arrived. They were dogs # 7&8. It amazes me now that we agonized for weeks about how to fit them in, if we could handle two more dogs!

Preacher and Franklin had been in the shelter for well over a year. Franklin was afraid of his own shadow and Preacher was so depressed he wouldn't even eat. Preacher liked nothing better than food--didn't matter what kind of food, where it was served or if it was actually meant for him, he just loved to eat. The loss of appetite was bad sign, as it was in December 2006 when not eating led to his final trip to the vet.

Today Franklin is adjusting to life without his best friend, adjusting
better than I am some days. He spent this afternoon running twenty miles in his favorite wheel position of a six dog team.

We explored a new trail today, which we all enjoyed.

No longer afraid of his shadow, Franklin is a happy, playful, silly 7 year old. He loves to pull, he loves to play chase with his both his canine and human buddies. For the first year we had him the only real way to interact with him was to play a game we call "Get Frankie". He playbows and barks, I chase him saying that I'm gonna get him. We still play Get Frankie almost daily, but now we play just for fun. Franklin isn't hard to catch anymore! He seeks out attention and even snuggles on the futon some nights.

Preacher was never shy, never timid. Even when he lost his sight, he never lost his courage. He took over this house within days of his arrival, claimed a spot in the hallway as his own and dared any other dog to try and move him.

This is my favorite picture of him. Taken in the fall of his first year with us, before he lost his sight, before his hips hurt, before age took any toll on him.

Preacher became my best friend, my shadow and part of my soul. He showed me what real forgiveness, bravery, dignity and acceptance look like. Five weeks after his death, it is still painfully quiet without him. I still stop every night where he used to get fed, simply out of habit. I still say "it's ok buddy, it's just me" as I step over his sleeping spot in the porch. He is still very much a part of this place.

Happy Gotcha day boys. Look what you two started!


ExploreNorth said...

Happy Anniversary! As so many things do, your talk of Preacher brought Kodi back for a visit - how proud he'd be to be at the head of our little team.

dogsled_stacie said...

Wow, time flies eh? I guess I got his 2 sisters out of the shelter a few months before - I agonized about leaving those two boys there too! Knowing them, and seeing them in the shelter was horrible. But I was renting, and promised the landlords I hadn't adopted the girls... no, no, I was just um, fostering. Yeah, that's it. And when someone wanted to come look at them, I never called them back and when they found out where I lived and came out, I took the dogs and went for a loooong walk!!!! :)

I can't believe how great Franklin looks now. You wouldn't believe how he was just Mr. Shy from the minute he was born. It was just some natural fear/suspicion of humans - and he was never mistreated, he just needed the time put into him to build up that confidence. Thank goodness you guys came along! He looks like such a well adjusted, normal dog and he reminds me soooo much of Lucy! With that furry coat, the silly play bow and the happy, silly attitude - these guys are really never gonna grow up!! :)

And that is a GREAT photo of Preacher!!

Wandering Spirit Kennels said...

Time does fly, Stacie! We only ever had one call about the boys. Some crazy lady in Alaska wanted Franklin--sight unseen and only Franklin. She could not understand that they went together or not at all. Can you imagine putting Franklin on a plane alone? I hung up on her! No one else ever called. Course after a couple weeks, Mother Theresa could have called and I would have found some way to claim she wasn't a suitable adopter!!

John Schandelmier has a quote somewhere about his rescued sled dogs. He said basically that "all these dogs, without exception, need only time." That was all Franklin needed--time to figure out that the whole world wasn't out to terrify him. I don't know if I'd call him normal now, but he's a pretty cool dog!

Murray: I can see Kodi leading your team, but I'm not sure he would have been in harness. I can see him in the sled, wooing instructions at you and Monte! ;)