Half Marathons (And Happily Ever Afters)

Marathon Photo 215899_178379135_edit test1Jim is off on a little training run this morning. Last weekend he ran his first half marathon. That’s 13.1 miles. Running. On foot. All at once. With NOTHING chasing him. Not even one zombie.

Wow.

I was also at the race. Oh don’t even ask…of course I was just a spectator. I had the all-important job of holding Jim’s bag o’ stuff. You know, the stuff he might need at the midway point to fuel him on to certain victory. (Victory in this case is defined as crossing the finish line, because, well, 13.1 miles.)

The meeting spot we chose along the race route was on a corner directly in front of the home of some good friends, thus ensuring additional moral support for my favorite runner.

(NOTE TO JIM:  You might want to skip the next dozen paragraphs, give or take. You know…blah, blah, blah. It’s all about you sweetie!)

The bonus of standing on this corner, in front of this house, with these friends, is that they also happen to have two outstanding dogs that also came along to enjoy the show. Oh come on. You HAD to know I would bring this story back around to the topic of animals somehow, right?

The bonus-bonus of these particular outstanding dogs is that one of them is my former foster dog, Hansel, now known as Loki. I ab-so-lutely LOVE seeing my former foster dogs in the setting of their ‘happily ever after.’ LOVE it.

When Loki, accompanied by Rex, his never-met-a-stranger-I-didn’t-adore golden retriever housemate, came down to the sidewalk to find his normally peaceful neighborhood filled with humans running for no apparent reason, he was a bit confused. He’s a young dog and this was his first introduction to the idea that humans like to self-inflict pain and suffering in the name of fun and fitness. His eyes were wide as he sat behind his personal human, Maddox, to take it all in. He did not notice me standing there grinning from ear to ear.

Loki and RexWithout saying a word I held my hand near to Loki’s snout and waited. He sniffed, he jerked his head away to see the next wave of humans fleeing some obviously terrible monster, then, with recognition dawning in his sweet brain, he snapped his head back to glue his nose to my hand. Let the celebration begin!

There are few things more rewarding than running into a former foster dog and seeing that moment when they realize who I am. Whether I simply walked them out of a shelter, or—like Loki—rescued them from the street, the reunion is pretty joy-filled, for both parties.

Loki was no exception. His tail started flying and he immediately pressed himself against my legs. Ahhh…love this boy.

This little reunion made me think that I’m very good at telling my initial rescue stories, but I’m not so good at providing a follow-up. I’ve had a few people ask about the dogs we have rescued and fostered, so here’s a little “where are they now” recap for you on a few of the dogs I posted about over the past year.

Loki was part of a trio that Jim and I rescued from the road near our home. That group included Cinder, Hansel (Loki), and Gretel. These young German shepherd mixes were thin, exhausted, and covered with more ticks than I think I have ever seen on a dog. The ticks had ticks. It was horrifying.  (The story of their rescue is here and here.)

Today, Loki has a wonderful family, a lovely home, a teenager to call his own. He has a pool he can swim in (though he prefers not to). He has Rex to play with. He sleeps in a human’s bed. He has grown into a very handsome big boy (we all saw those feet in the original photos).

Gretel new homeGretel—still known as Gretel—also won the rescue dog lottery. She too has a lovely home, just blocks from where her brother Loki lives. She has humans who let her share their bed. She has a huge yard with a canopy provided by giant shade trees that creates the perfect doggy paradise. She has a dog sister named Gwen. She doesn’t have a care in the world. I just saw her last week. Another grand reunion.

Nadia nappingLittle Nadia (original story here), also found along the ‘I-found-the-dog-a-home-in-the-country’ dumping ground that is the road that leads to my farm, could have been a foster fail…but someone else needed her more. She now lives in a wonderful home near my dog care business in Tulsa. I am lucky to see her just about every day. She is such a sweet, soft girl. Her new owner is taking her to training classes to build her confidence and earn her canine good citizen title. Most importantly, she loves Nadia dearly. Yes, this former foster too gets to sleep on the bed in her new home. Do we see a pattern here?

the girls 2Oh, and remember Ginger and Maryann? Ahhhh…sweet girls.  I actually witnessed someone dumping them and then speeding away. I opted to rescue the dogs instead of chasing down the van (want to read about it? Here.). Seemed like a wise choice at the time…still seems like a wise choice. Well, they are dumped dogs no more! These sweet girls were adopted by friends/clients of my dog care business. Ginger is still Ginger, Maryann is now Mei. They live in different homes,but see each other—and me—regularly at Pooches. Each has a doggy sibling in their new home and both enjoy very pampered lives.

10307421_10204007447570173_2652448704952831572_nWe also took in Gus, the senior Dalmatian, earlier this year (We are part of the formal Dalmatian rescue nonprofit for this area). He was dumped at a fire station in a nearby town (need a refresher? Story here). Jim and I take in a lot of seniors and, like many, Gus has a few health ‘opportunities.’ He has a significant heart murmur that requires a few different medications to control. He is also…well…he is a little special. Remember the movie Rainman? Um, yeah. Gus is our own little Rainman in a dog suit. We love him and all of his quirks. He will live his days out here on Tails You Win Farm.

And of course there’s Kainan, the wolfdog, formerly known as Big Bad, now recently nicknamed Bam-Bam (initial story here…many stories follow that one. This guy is an adventure.) This was the one we were just going to help a friend with. Ok, we’ll take responsibility for him, but we’ll board him at the vet. Ok, he can come home for the weekend (I actually knew where this was headed when Jim suggested “just for the weekend”), but we’re handing him over to Freedom’s Song Wolf Rescue on Sunday. Ok, we’re just meeting with the rescue folks, but we’re going to continue to foster him at our house until he gets healthy and can be placed. Foster? Did we say foster? 

20140901_103907Yeah, he’s found a great home…and we couldn’t be happier. He’s free to sleep on the bed too, but thank goodness he gets too hot to spend the whole night there. Not much room remains, even on the king-size bed, when Big Foot decides to climb in.

We still have a few other fosters (that really are fosters!) waiting for me to have the chance to detail their happily-ever-after. It will happen…the right families are out there. My hope is that by the end of 2014 I will be able to add Cinder the shepherd mix, Bruce the pit/American bull dog mix, Charlie the Dalmatian mix, and Piper the pit bull mix to the ‘where are they now’ column.

Oh…and Jim. The race. Yes. Back to Jim running his first half marathon. That’s where we started, right? Gotta give the human his praise!

(NOTE TO JIM: Pick up reading here. Ok? It’s all about you, sweetie!)

post race edit1He finished the whole 13.1 miles in great form with a really good time. After an evening to recover and a small funeral service for one doomed toenail (gee, another great reason to run…you can lose toenails!), he was up and ready to roll again. He has even committed to run the full marathon next yet.

That’s 26.2 miles. In one lump. Again, with nothing chasing you but your own pride and determination.

Huh.

Hey…wonder how many dog friends I can find along that race route? Goooooo Jim!

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