By request.

I got a really sweet comment this morning, basically asking where I’ve been and why I haven’t been writing much lately.

I blame having a tablet. Because I don’t like typing long on it, but it’s better than dragging out my laptop.

Also, I haven’t been living very much of an exciting life. Not much to really write about. But here I go anyhow.

Sunday night, Matt left to go to Washington DC for a conference. I then decided that a Sunday night was the best day of the week to go grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. With four kids. I’m not really sure where my brain left off at, but either way, that was dumb. When we went to check out, the register broke when I went to pay, and Audrey started to cry because someone looked at her funny and we had to wait for a few minutes for the manager to come over and allow me to pay for my groceries that were all packed up. Mae was dancing in the aisle blocking people’s way out and after asking her to move ten times, Luca yanked her over, she hit her head (lightly) and Luca profusely kept apologizing and Mae kept profusely crying, and I wanted to rip my hair out.

And so set off what was going to be an awesome three days of single parenting.

See, when Matt goes away on business, we’re lucky if we even get five minutes to FaceTime. He is on a completely different schedule and usually has to schmooze clients at long dinners that typically involve drinks. Such a rough life, for sure. But either way, Luca is typically the kid who ‘suffers’. I put that in quotations, because yes, he takes it the hardest, but I find he uses it as an excuse to be a non-listener member of society. He’s a smart dude and knows it.

Monday morning went well enough. I managed to get all the kids up, fed, dressed and even made them fun lunches. Mae, Audrey and I went to the Y after lunch so I could lift with my boss. The girls took a nice long nap, I got the kids off the bus. Claire and I went over her school work and she did her homework; spelling, math and independent reading. Luca lay on the floor rolling around with his blanket. The girls woke up, we went to the gym and I taught RPM. Came home, ate taquitos and they were all in bed by 7:30.

Audrey was having a rough time, of course, because 1.) she misses Matt when he’s gone, even though she hangs off of me every chance she gets and 2.) she has molars coming in. I found that Center Stage is on Netflix (OH YES IT IS) and watched it in bed, in between going into Audrey’s room to try to FOR THE LOVE OF GOD go to bed. She finally stopped around 10, when my movie was done, too.

Tuesday morning was full of excitement for Luca, because he had his class field trip to Shenot’s Farm in Wexford. I woke them up, they all got dressed and the same routine, ate, lunches made, hair done, shuffle off to the bus stop. Except, Audrey got up early and had to join us. That was enjoyable, especially since she was running on little sleep the night before. I knew my day was going to be awesome.

We went to the Y again, then I put Audrey down to nap, and let Mae stay awake to wait for my mom to pick her up for a sleepover. We watched the Little Mermaid. The kids got off the bus, Claire did her homework, Luca talked my ear off about Shenot’s, Claire and Luca went outside to play with the neighbors and the world stopped for a brief moment when gasp! the kids’ favorite person, Collin, came over to play. (He’s my neighbor’s grandson. Sweetest, kindest, most adorable kid ever.) I let them stay and play with him, and I took Audrey to the gym so I could teach RPM. It takes a village, people.

We got home, they ate oatmeal for dinner and was in bed by 7:30.

At some point during the day on Tuesday, a friend of mine posted to my Facebook wall asking if I was planning another spinathon any time soon. My heart sank, because just last week I was thinking about the families we had helped the year before, and how I hadn’t planned on doing anything this year.

I wanted to, it wasn’t that. It was that, our gym was bought out, as I mentioned previously, and the new owners, while open to hosting a charity spinathon, I asked for April. They just switched over, and I didn’t want to bombard them so early in ownership. So I assumed any charity would be on hold until April.

Upon seeing the post, another friend of mine chimed in saying that his friend has a studio and would be happy to host a spinathon. I quickly emailed my contact at the health center, and she immediately responded saying, “Let me talk to my staff and pick out a family, thank you again!”

After some back and forth with the studio owner, we nailed down a date and both excited, I had a spinathon.

I’m still awaiting any information about the potential family, so an Amazon.com wishlist will be forthcoming, but for now, November 16th, we will be having another seven hour spinathon. Already I have 6 crazies signed up for all SEVEN hours, and since this is a small studio, they only have 10 bikes. I’m in the process of trying to borrow some spin bikes (mostly to dead ends) but if not, it’ll be a small, but successful event, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Wednesday morning came and Luca wasn’t having it. I had to physically drag him out of bed (and from a loft bed, that isn’t easy nor fun). He cried during breakfast, cried while getting dressed and brushing his teeth, cried while putting on his sweatshirt for the bus stop.

He immediately stopped, however, when we walked out the door to go up to the bus stop, because Matt Facetimed us.

Audrey and I went to the gym so I could teach BodyPump, and when we got home, it was so beautiful out, so I put her in the wagon and took her and Sadie for a walk. We got back to the house, and Mae was back. Mom had come back with her boyfriend’s truck to load up her elliptical to bring up to my sister’s house. Our basement is being renovated right now (because as of a few weeks ago, it had been cinderblock and gross,) and when done, we won’t have room for both the elliptical and the treadmill.

Mae was grumpy, to say the least, and our usual 1 pm nap time got bumped up to 12:20 because we needed a break from each other already.

Both she and Audrey woke up sometime after 4.

Matt got home in time to get the kids off the bus, and from what I saw, it was immediate leg hugs and he came back with Luca in his arms.

Again their favorite person, Collin, came over, along with another neighbor, and they played outside for hours. Matt climbed the tree, the kids ran amok, and we took walks with kids in the wagon up and down the street.

If this is the last bit of summer we will get, I’ll take it. Because last afternoon was awesome.

Today is Rosh Hashanah so the kids don’t have school. Mae had dance, Claire played at a friend’s house, and then ended up having neighbor kids at my house, and now I’m enjoying a little quiet before I have to wrangle everyone for Claire and Luca’s dentist appointment. After that I teach in East Liberty and finally, FINALLY Matt will be home like normal and I maybe will take the night off.

Maybe.

Feeling failure, seeing truth.

I had a long blog written up about how annoyed I get when people say to me, “Well, of course you’re in shape – you teach.” I basically go on a rant about how yes, while I do need to be in shape because I do in fact teach fitness classes, I’m still up there working just as hard. Who knows, maybe harder? 

Teaching classes isn’t just about the physical fitness of the instructor, though. It also has a lot to do with preparation. Not only do I teach during my designated hour, I also spend a lot of time preparing for the classes. There are days when I go through track after track, sometimes with kids on my shoulders to imitate the weight I’d use during Body Pump, just to make sure that the members have a good experience. There are times when I sit and listen to the same song, over and over again, to make sure I have it just right. Sometimes I listen to the same songs so much that even my kids can sing along. 

I’ve been told so many times in so many different ways, “You must love being forced to workout.” Sort of, I suppose. In a way, I guess I do. But here’s the thing – even if I didn’t teach, I’d still be there, at the gym, reaching goals I’ve set for myself. What most people don’t realize is that while I’m teaching and educating, I too, have goals. I, too, want to get stronger, fitter, healthier. I, too, want to be there. Not just because I get paid. Not just because I’m in the front, leading the class. But because I want others to see that I’m working hard, too. That just because I’m the instructor, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. 

I still look in the mirror and some days don’t like what I see. I don’t say it out loud, but I think it. I think about all the ways I should work harder. All the ways I can improve. We all do this. I know I’m not alone. 

But then I step back and remind myself that I can only do this one day at a time. That I’m doing my very best. That where I am, right now, is better than where I was yesterday. 

I bet I’m not the only instructor who feels this way. 

When someone new starts taking a class of mine, first thing I tell them is, “If this is something you plan on sticking with – take measurements and a photo. Don’t rely on the scale.” I tell them this, because days like I had last week, happen. You look in the mirror and you don’t see improvement. You see a number on the scale and it isn’t what you hoped for. You feel a little extra jiggle and you over analyze. You don’t feel beautiful in your clothes. 

So I drag out those photos and I see facts. I see growth. I see strength and improvement. I may feel bloated and gross, but that feeling will pass. I look at those photos. We all have our inner battles. We all have our issues. Last week I felt like a failure who has made zero progress. But in fact, when I looked in the mirror…

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I saw me. 

The forgotten one.

I’m laying in bed and I can’t sleep. My head is swimming with a million different things. But mostly – On Wednesday, my only son will be going off to kindergarten. I’m not sure how I feel about it. He’s ready, that’s for certain. But I feel as though he will be forgotten.

I often refer to Luca as my forgotten child. Not forgotten by me, hopefully. One thing I pride myself in as a parent is the fact that I give each of my kids the attention they deserve. While it often seems like the girls get all my attention because of Claire’s taekwondo and fundraising and Audrey’s the baby, and everyone loves Mae, Luca gets a lot of stolen moments.

I had never put a lot of stock into why Luca is my forgotten one until a bit ago, on his birthday, when someone mentioned that Mae got as many (if not more) ‘likes’ as Luca did in two separate photos I posted and subsequently how they felt bad for him. Like he would know or something.

One was a happy birthday message to Luca and the other was many hours later when Mae had her first dentist appointment. She, of course, was sitting in the dentists chair with her tutu on (because it was Thursday) and sunglasses giving me the most sassy face. I will admit, it was adorable.

I honestly don’t pay attention to likes. Maybe I should. To me, I post things on Facebook mostly because it’s my way of having adult interaction. Obviously I don’t get out much and it’s helpful. But curiosity spoke volumes and I went back and looked at photos I’ve posted over the years and found that across the board, Luca always got less love via that like button.

Social media has such a funny way of messing with your head if you let it. For a solid week I let it get to me. I never mentioned it to anyone, I just kept thinking of all the reasons why this is. Is it because he’s quiet? Bookish? Tends to be Claire’s shadow? Do I not talk enough about him? Do I not show the world how much I love him? Because anyone who knows me knows how I feel about that sweet boy. Do I not show him enough? We often share secrets and our favorite ones to tell each other is, “I love you very much,” whispered into my ear.

He’s a sweet, wonderful boy and he shouldn’t be forgotten.

So in honor of my favorite little dude entering kindergarten, I’m going to write a list of things about him that you may not know.

1. He can quote the majority of the Lego Movie. He also can tell you the name of every character, even the spaceman. (He’s Benny.)

2. He likes to sing to Raffi in his room while playing with Legos.

3. He likes audio books.

4. He can read very well.

5. His favorite color is orange.

6. Every night he gathers up a select few Legos to bring up into his loft bed. He specifically calls them his “Nighttime Legos.”

7. His favorite food is taquitos. With guacamole.

8. When he got his front tooth removed by the dentist, he never once complained. Not a one.

9. He loves Audrey. Like. He is ridiculously patient with her. It’s kind of incredible.

10. When we go to the track for runs, he immediately drops his water bottle and runs. He just loves to run.

11. He loves tomatoes.

12. He could sit and look at his Lego building idea books for hours.

13. He saves all of his Lego building instructions and uses them often.

14. Comfy pants are his favorite things to wear. Even if it’s 90 and humid.

15. He’s a thumb sucker and loves his chickie blankie. And it doesn’t bother me one bit.

Matt had asked the other day if we were going to have Luca do soccer, or baseball, or something, and I smiled and assured Matt that Luca is very happy just living life and being a kid. He goes to tae kwon do and does well enough. He reads. He builds. He imagines. He doesn’t need organized sports or a Saturday morning rush from one game to the next. Maybe some day. But for now, in this moment, he’s doing just fine.

And perhaps, just maybe, he enjoys flying under the radar.

Ice, Ice, Baby

The very first spinathon I ever hosted was for a friend of mine’s friend, Dan. Dan suffered, and later lost his battle from ALS. I’m sure you’ve seen all over the internet, this new thing, celebrities dumping buckets of ice water on top of their heads.

A lot of people have been asking why? What does dumping water on top of your head accomplish?

There are a lot of reasons why this is a thing. One, it brings up awareness. Kids these days probably don’t have even the slightest idea what Lou Gherig’s disease is. As a nurse, I’ve only first hand witnessed it twice. It was awful to see. The mind sharp, the body useless. It is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. Over time, it causes you to slowly die, and you are aware the entire time.

By dumping a cold bucket of water on your head, for the briefest of moments, you have an idea of what it feels like to be paralyzed, yet aware.

I was challenged by my friend Dave to do the ice bucket challenge.

I happily did it, but instead of donating my money to the ALS foundation (where from what I gather, is wonderful, but a lot of people with the actual disease don’t see the money,) to a person who is directly suffering. Here’s the link if you’re so inclined to help.

So now that we’re done with the heavy, here’s the funny. My actual video footage of my ice bucket challenge.

Not only did I do it, but Claire did as well. And, well, because she’s good at being my shadow, so did Audrey -but that was completely involuntary on her part. Sadie even tried to get in on the fun.

So without further ado, watch me freeze my ass off in an effort to help people see that ALS is a terrible, awful, no good disease that needs to be seen, learned, understood. No one should have to suffer this way. Never. So please take the moment to educate yourself on it, laugh at me, and maybe throw a few bucks this guy’s way. Medical bills stack up and it’s a huge stress on the family. It’s not fair. At all.

 

I won’t ever see him again!

Today, while sitting on the couch reading a really good book, (Triptych by Karin Slaughter) I got a text from my friend Mary telling me that Julius was being adopted that very moment.

Then a friend on Facebook posted to my page that he was being adopted.

Then I got a phone call from another friend saying he was being adopted.

And it was all over the Dog Walkers Facebook page. Even one volunteer posted: So glad – he needed to get out and into a home. Someone tell his dog jogger! She will be thrilled.

I wrote back saying, “THAT’S MEEEEEEE!!!!”

See, obviously we know my affection towards this dog. I love him. Love.

He has a new home. The only thing I know about his adopter is that he’s a younger guy. Hopefully he’s full of energy that he wants to burn. Because Julius is a good dog, smart even, but he’s full of energy.

But truthfully, I’m going to miss him.

Goodbye to a dog who made me look forward to 7 am runs.

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Goodbye to a dog who gave me a crash course in shelter dog care.

Goodbye to a dog who was a gentle giant, except when he was first put on a leash, because he’s strong and pulls.

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Goodbye to a dog who kept me up at night, thinking about him laying lonely in his kennel. Wondering why time after time he was picked over.

Goodbye to a dog who made me have a real and honest conversation with my husband about my needs vs his needs regarding animals.

Goodbye to a dog who gave me joy each and every time we ran together. Who didn’t quit. Who pushed me. Who took my verbal cues and made our experiences awesome.

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Goodbye to my friend.

I hope you have a wonderful life with your new owner and he runs with you the way you deserve. And if for some reason he doesn’t see what an amazing dog he just adopted, then you come on over to my house. We just won’t tell Matt.

And he’s gone.

We lost Ringo. Last night, after the kids were in bed, something told me to go to him. I took him out of the cage and brought him into the living room. I sat on the couch and put him on my chest, skin to fur. As he lay there, I rubbed his back. He started to cry. I knew. I told him that it was okay to go. That he fought hard, but it was okay to go. And a minute later, he was gone.

It’s interesting to see how each child processes death. I’ve been fielding the questions all morning from Mae, “Where’s Ringo?” “Did he die under the couch? Is he here? There?”

Luca is more matter of fact. “Ringo died. He’s dead.”

Claire spent the majority of the morning on the deck looking out at where we buried him. Lost in her thoughts, not saying much.

The good thing about losing a kitten late at night, is, that I got all the cries out so I could be strong for the kids. That of course all went out the window when I took a good long look at George this morning and saw the same telling signs that Ringo had.

I told the kids to put on their shoes and I packed up the litter and mama.

Before we left, we stood at the grave site, with soft sniffles coming from Claire. She had her backpack on with her special notebook where she draws things. She drew a picture of Ringo and on the other side, Taylor, a sick dog we walked on Wednesday from the shelter.

I called my friend Mary, who is the community outreach coordinator for the ARL, and asked if she could meet us. Claire asked for her to be there with her. It was helpful, because I, again, was crying and was probably not a good support.

Claire held George on her lap the whole ride there, crying and talking to him. Truth be told, I was surprised he was still breathing when we got there; He declined that fast. Mary quickly got everyone to help and George was whisked away and put out of his suffering. She said it was quick. The vet tech looked at the remaining three and decided to change their antibiotics. Give them more of a fighting chance.

Before we left, Mary got George, who was wrapped in a towel, and Claire insisted on holding the whole ride home.

And she cried, again.

I’ve been a lover of animals my whole life. I’ve lost many, too. It never gets easier. Ever. What breaks my heart the most is seeing how it’s affecting Claire. While I was in the room with the kittens having them looked at, Claire sat on the bench drawing a picture for Taylor the shelter dog. I had told her that sometimes when I’m sad, I write out my feelings. Or draw. I think it helped her cope a little better.

So here I am, again. In this place of loss and sadness. I’m proud of myself for seeing the signs in George and I feel like I did right by him, letting him go. Mostly, I’m glad I was there for Ringo as he took his last breaths. After he died, Matt brought him to his mama, where she rubbed against him and said her goodbyes. You can tell she’s so sad. I don’t blame her. I can’t imagine losing a child.

For now, it’s a waiting game. Can the remaining three pull through? I don’t know. Yesterday, as I held Ringo’s lifeless body, I asked the universe how much more do I have to take? And today, saying goodbye to George has numbed me.

I just need a little bit of time. This was a big loss for us. I really could use a win.

Fading Away

I’m sitting here on my deck with a very tiny, very sick kitty wrapped in a baby blanket in the sun, in a sad attempt to warm him. And I’m crying.

I brought him to the clinic this morning where they gave him a shot of fluids and vitamins and told me he has a 50/50 shot at making it. They said I always have the option of letting him go, but they said he’s gained some weight and is fairly alert, so if I was willing to do the work, they weren’t going to push to end it.

I set my alarm last night, getting up every 3 hours so I could dropper feed him. He won’t nurse and he isn’t keeping warm. He isn’t thriving.

They call it Fading Kitten Syndrome or FKS. And that’s exactly what he’s doing. Fading. Right before my eyes.

I feel like I’ve failed him. A more experienced foster probably would have caught on that he wasn’t nursing. A more experienced foster would have noticed his lethargy. A more experienced foster would know more of what to do than what I’ve failed at.

I’m doing all I can. At least, what I think I should do. I’m supplementing him, I’m giving him his medicine, I’m trying to keep him alive.

So here we sit. On my deck, in the sun, wrapped in a blanket. I’m listening to his congested, slow breathing and I’m doing something I rarely do – praying.

His breathing is getting more labored and I can’t tell if it’s because he’s in a deep sleep or if he’s dying. Part of me thinks I should have let him go this morning. That I should have ended this suffering. But he showed some promise and I can work with that. Or try to.

If he dies, I hope he knows I did everything I could, even if it was a little late. That in the middle of the night when it was dark and quiet, I showed him that while he was in this world, even if for a short time, he was loved.

Wait, July happened?

I got a friendly email last week from a kind, but concerned friend, wondering why it’s been relatively quiet on the posts here.

For the longest time I thought I didn’t really have much in the way of fun things to talk about. I, after all, was just living life. Going from one place to the next, crossing things off my list as I went.

But last night, as I sat in front of the computer watching the cursor blink while it waited for me to write a short six sentence synopsis, a thought came to me – for the first time in a long time, I have a lot of things to write about, I just haven’t.

Truth be told, I don’t really remember much of the month of July. I spent the beginning of it on a beach in the Outer Banks, North Carolina and the end of it at my regular spin class, feeling almost as if all the things that happened in the middle never were.

Near the end of June, I got serious at the Y in Natrona Heights and started coming in Tuesday through Friday to help coach for the first hour of a program called Summer SWEAT. What started as me just going in, with not a clue as to what would go on, ended with me now hopefully creating a program similar to it for the fall. I believed in those kids so hard, that somehow I started to believe in myself, and in my ability to mentor them. By me telling them, “You can do this,” turned into me thinking, can do this. I can be a mentor to kids, more than just an hour a day during the summer. I can be the Y.

So, what began as me following the cues of the other coaches turned into me taking the lead every now and again, to me leading these kids all on my own, and showing them what they’re capable of. All the while, me finding out what I’m capable of. Just don’t tell the kids Coach Cassie is a sap.

A few posts ago, I wrote about how the gym sold. Now, while they’re saying over and over that nothing will change and everything will remain the same, a lot of us have reason to stay on edge. I don’t know what the distant future holds for me, and I couldn’t sit there and wait.  Alexander’s will always be my first and true love. And I won’t leave there until they make me. But in the mean time, I’ve wanted more permanent classes, aside from the three I already have. At the beginning of the summer one of my regular classes was cut and when that happened, I started putting my resume out at any gym within a 20 mile radius.

What I didn’t expect was how many bites I’d get. Along with the Y, I heard from a gym in Monroeville, one in Sarver, another in Lower Burrel and just recently one in East Liberty.

As of the middle of August I’m happy to announce that I will have secured a permanent Body Pump class at Club One in East Liberty. I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. It’s change, but it’s a good change, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve never taught in the city before. I have no idea what it holds for me. Honestly, I can’t wait to find out. I’ll still keep my feelers out elsewhere and fill in when needed (I’ve been subbing an average of 4 extra classes a week this summer on top of my regular classes,) but I’m so glad to have another place to call home.

I don’t do it because of the money. Anyone who says they do lie, because we don’t make that much. I love to teach. I love it. And this summer I’ve been doing a (hopefully) good job of getting my name out there with positive remarks.

Along with my paid gigs, I’ve been volunteering at the Animal Rescue League as a dog jogger. I’ve been going in weekday mornings (super early!) and the weekend mornings to take out shelter dogs and give them some much needed exercise. Just like the kids at the Y, these dogs need a place to let out frustrations and learn a thing or two along the way.

Yes, Julius is still there. A nice couple came in to look at him last week, and said that if he’s still there after vacation, they may come back for him. Fingers crossed, but of course I’m not holding my breath. Until then, we keep running. I took him for a 3 1/2 mile loop last weekend and by the end, I was saying to him, “Not talking such a big game now, huh? HUH?”

Then he saw a robin and darted after it, and I ate crow.

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Along with all the volunteering and teaching and coaching, the kids have had soccer, tae kwon do, dance, tumbling…

We also have five tiny kittens and a mama cat that we’re fostering. Good times.

It’s been a tiring, but amazing month. Big changes are happening and I’m okay with that. In another month, Luca and Claire will be going off to school, and it’ll quiet down here. At the rate things have been shifting here, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s completely different again.

Again, I’m okay with that.

Fly with the birds

Pittsburgh is seriously one of my most favorite places. It has incredible views, amazing architecture (can we say bridges?) and some awesome kid involved activities.

We’re very lucky to have the nations only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds – the National Aviary of Pittsburgh. A lot of people who live here have never been – heck, have never heard of it! It’s tucked in a nice park area of the North Side, not far from Allegheny General hospital, the Children’s Museum and CCAC.

My dad is a volunteer there. In his semi-retirement, it makes the most sense. He’s been crazy about birds as long as I’ve known him, always pointing out the most random bird no matter where we were. His love for them was truly contagious. I’ve even grown to appreciate them more.

For Christmas, he promised all of us a personal tour of the Aviary. We waited until Claire was out of school, so she could join.

I’ve been to the Aviary many times, and I’ve always appreciated it, but I’ve never experienced it quite like I did yesterday.

First of all, going with a volunteer has its perks. We learned all the secrets, knew all the shows to go to and where to look.

photo 1 (20)We first went to the wetlands and fed birds worms and fish.

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I was pretty impressed that Claire touched the fish, though no one but myself and Larry touched the worms.

During the show, a bird named Thomas got too close to Audrey’s sippy. She reached out for it and screamed, “MINE!” Thomas didn’t seem to care and continued to hop along the tray further annoying the already annoyed baby.

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We went to an outdoor show where we got to have birds fly over our heads and my cousin got to have a parrot land on her hand to take a dollar, in return the parrot gave up a packet of flower seeds.

Then we went to feed the Lorries.

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Mae didn’t want to touch a bird, or have one land on her, so I held her nectar cup.

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One of the Lorries landed on Luca’s head, which startled him, and caused him to drop his cup of nectar. He wasn’t happy with the Lorries anymore.

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Claire, again, proved to me how brave she was and let the Lorries land on her arm.

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Claire learned she’s about as big as an Emperor Penguin.

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They let the African Penguins follow their hands.

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And Audrey made a new friend.

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Sponsor a lovie: Challenge – accepted

Yesterday my friend said to me something very wise. I was upset that I couldn’t adopt Julius. I love that dog so much, and I look around the house and see where he’d sleep or eat or play. But realistically, he’s just too much energy with having an 18 month old walking around. He met the kids last weekend, and did very well with them. Didn’t even pay them much attention. When Mae called him over, he came up to her, and gave her kisses, which knocked her on her butt.

Boy just loves too much.

Anyhow, Jen said to me, “Adopting isn’t the only way to make a difference for a dog.”

It’s so true, guys. How many of you out there are to the max with animals, or have allergies, or simply not enough time to devote to a furry friend. I get it.

So after I made my post about Julius, a very kind woman came out of the woodwork and offered to sponsor Julius, meaning, she would pay his adoption fees.

I know for a lot of people donating money is hard because you wonder, “Where does that money go?” I’m pretty sure that’s why, when we do fundraisers, people are more apt to buy things off of the Amazon wishlist rather than just give up cold hard cash. You know that when you click purchase, a dog or cat somewhere will be thoroughly enjoying what you chose to buy. Dogs will learn how to sit, through the milkbones you bought. Cats will not feel a hungry belly because of the food you sent. The cages will stay clean because of the paper towels you purchased and most of all, the dogs will have a nice comfy space on the concrete because of the old blankets you donated.

It’s really that simple.

So it got my mind spinning.

Did you know you could actually sponsor an animal at your local shelter?

You can.

(Cue Sarah McLaughlan sad music.)

Meet Charlie:

charlie

He was originally adopted from the ARL, but his owners moved, and couldn’t take him. So he’s back. My dear friend Jen, who is one of the biggest animal advocates I’ve ever met, took a shine to him. But as she said, adoption isn’t the only way you can help the dogs. What does she do? She works with him – very hard. She is helping him to learn how to adjust to a new home life when his new family comes along to get him.

His adoption fee is 115 dollars.

Meet The Dude:

thedude

 

This beautiful boy found himself at the shelter because his family is moving, as is the story with a lot of these animals. He is also deaf, which makes his situation even more difficult. From the website: “Deaf dogs do require a special owner and we will be selective when deciding who can adopt the Dude. He will need a secure environment where he can not get lost or injured. When you come in to see him, the adoptions department can explain in more detail what is required when adopting a deaf dog. If you have other dogs and/or kids, you must bring everyone in to meet the Dude prior to adopting him. If you would like to inquire about The Dude, call the shelter at 412-345-7300, ext. 215. His adoption fee is $115.”

I have met him. He is such a sweet boy. He follows hand commands very well and is just an all around awesome dog.

Windy!

windy

 

“Windy initially came to the Animal Rescue League back in April and we have learned lots of wonderful things about this sweet girl during her stay. Windy is very eager to please and she is a quick study. She has picked up the commands for sit, watch me and down and does a nice job. Windy likes to take walks and walks nicely using an easy walk harness. She isn’t too fond of the hot weather though and sometimes needs a bit of extra encouragement (or a yummy treat) to help her along – She would rather sprawl out and sunbathe! Windy enjoys the company of other dogs. Recently, the shelter participated in a training about doggie play groups. Windy was the “helper dog” and was used to help other dogs! She also got along brilliantly with a volunteer’s dogs while on an overnight sleepover. If you were considering Windy as a companion animal, please bring your pup to the shelter so our adoption counselors could do an introduction! Windy is a very silly puppy too (She is only around a year old). She likes to chase lightning bugs! Windy loves toys and loves to show how grateful she is with kisses and tail wags. While on her slumber party, Windy really enjoyed snuggling on the couch and watching television. Windy has tons of love to give! Windy is a very sweet, mild mannered girl who can’t wait to be settled into a wonderful home. She is active for her age, but also likes to relax and settle in. For more information, please contact her volunteer friend, Jill at ljp0730@gmail.com or call 412-345-7300, ext. 215!”

Guys, they have play groups for the dogs. I mean, seriously. They care about these dogs so much and get them ready for a new home. I’ve seen it first hand.

Last, meet Venus:

venusI have personally run and worked with Venus. She is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. On the right side of her rib cage, she has a heart shaped patch. I’m telling you – it’s a perfectly shaped heart. If I had the opportunity to name her, I would have called her Lovie. She is just that. A love. She follows commands, she sits very pretty and offers her paw. She’s often overlooked because of her age (she’s 3) and that she’s a pit mix. Also, because she tends to lay just like this in her kennel instead of greeting everyone at the front.

Again, her adoption fee is 115 dollars.

Of course there are tons of kittens and bunnies that can also be sponsored.

So my challenge to you is, can you – or you and some coworkers, or you and some friends, or you and some family, sponsor an animal? I bet an office of 12 could easily put together ten bucks each.

What say you?

 

 

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