For the love of the pups

So, we ended up camped in Golden, CO at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. It was convenient to everything we wanted to do in the area and at $15 per night it seemed the best place to be. Right next door, seriously within a stone's throw is the Foothills Animal Shelter. Our family loves animals, so of course, every moment we weren't running off to see beautiful friends that just seemed to surround us here (love, love, love), well, we were off to see all of those animals! Sometimes the kids would make the suggestion, and other times it was mama or daddy that just couldn't wait to see them. We would make our rounds in the Lost and Found usually first, as those animals don't get nearly the same attention as the Adoptable Dogs and Cats, and we would pet and talk to them and sometimes just tell them that it was going to be ok. Some were very friendly, others were scared to death, and a few just stole our hearts.

There was Harley, who is an eight year old black lab who was in the Lost and Found with a handwritten note that said "owner relinquished" and he was the saddest, just seemed he couldn't smile. Then, there was the gray cat that our boy just bonded with immediately, he would always go off to spend some time with him and communicate in his way that he does with animals, it really is an amazing gift. Then, there was Sky and Diesel and Eva and Ginger and all of the other animals that we just wished we could scoop up and take care of and love forever.

When Clint and I first moved in together some 16 years ago, we rescued a pup. He was a seven week old black lab, had worms and was abandoned with his litter mates and his abused mama, but turned into the most amazing friend ever. Dakota lived to be 15 years old, and lived through everything. He moved with us from house to house, and state to state, was there when we got married, was four years old when our first was born, and was amazingly gentle with all of our children, as we expanded our family circle of love. He lived through allergies and cancer and arthritis and and two dog attacks. He went on the road with us for our whole first year full-time in the Eco Womb and his last days were spent with us on the farm in the mountains of North Carolina. He was strong and gentle and loyal and a forever friend and will always be in our hearts.

Then there was Marley, named after Bob Marley and the idea of One Love. We rescued Marley when he was 8 weeks old from the neighboring farm where we were staying. He was left out in the cold in the middle of winter and he was the last of the litter, the smallest one and the one that constantly shook and would lose feeling in his leg after running. Turned out he had a seizure disorder and the vet said probably a vision problem because of his inability to track toys to be retrieved. But, oh his sense of smell. He was a Jack Russell Terrier and Mountain Feist mix and had the bird tracking ability of no other animal I've known. Not so good for the chickens at the farm, nor any of the shore birds he chased on one trip to Florida. And, chase he did. That dog was small, only about 25 pounds, but he was fast and would bolt out the door the moment you opened it. One time we chased him through the streets of Baltimore city down railroad tracks in socks no less as he flew out the door when we stopped for an event. And countless other times at campgrounds we would chase him across fields and lakes and through forests. He needed room to run, and a fence to keep him safe, and someone to make sure he had his seizure medication, and someone that could continue to be patient with all of his special needs. So, we fostered him for just over a year and then found him a forever home in Asheville, NC and heard he is doing great.

But, that meant going from two dogs down to none within a year's time, and we were missing a canine companion. Our daughter's favorite daily game is playing puppy, she totes now two stuffed puppies with her everywhere she goes and just adores puppy books, puppy clothes, puppy toys. Our son wants to have a mobile vet and animal rescue service one day. He has started designing the rig, has begun drawing up a business plan, has made a list of things he needs to run said business, even worked on a logo with daddyman the other night, and has already hired his sister, brother, friend, mama and daddy to work with him. He also loves reading puppy books, and knows every breed of dog out there. Our oldest son was very close with our lab Dakota. It broke his heart to say goodbye to him. And, he was very attached and protective of Marley, always watching to make sure he didn't escape, always the one to rescue him when he did. And, he intuitively connects with animals like no one else I have ever known. He knows how to track animals in the forest, he can get way up close to all types of birds, he communicates with the monkeys and wolves at the zoo, and he becomes very responsible when taking care of a pet.

So what do you do when you are parked next to an Animal Shelter and your kids are in love with all of the animals? Well, you research every night about the different breeds found at the shelter, and talk to everyone about what it means to have a pet again and the responsibilities that it entails. You also go back and forth if the timing is right and weigh all the considerations in being a responsible pet owner on the road again. Then, when we saw a sign for a free Dog Agility Event at the Fairgrounds that weekend and it just happened to be walking distance away, as well. Oh, how the stars align. That was definitely fun, though, and we came up with all sorts of plans for training dogs one day, when we get another one, that one day (smile, smile, smile).

So, what do you do when you fall in love with one of the strays picked up and now in Lost and Found? Well, you explain to the kids that it's owner may come looking for him, but that he may also have just been on the streets looking for a forever home.

And then, what do you do when that same pup comes up for Adoption because said owners never come to get him, or maybe he never had owners that wanted to come get him?

Well, you adopt this beautiful pup into your family and expand the love once again. This pup already knew how to sit and shake, he never barks (I mean never), and he is as gentle as can be with the kids. He loves to play fetch and can already drop a toy right back into your hand. He is a beautiful Australian Cattle Dog/Shepard/Lab mix of some kind and we have already taken him on his first hike into the mountains (gotta have a dog that can hike with us). He is now a part of the Eco Womb family. We have been on a spiritual journey of one love, conscious connection and expanding community these past couple of years. The friendship and love of animals has always been a part of our family and we have felt an intuitive pull toward animal totems this year. And so, we feel this calm, gentle soul of a zen pup was meant to come into our life just when he did. Welcome... "Spirit"

Angela Malson