Remember to take a break in the day to smile!


Doggie Daycare Day



Today it was the day to volunteer my services at Doggie Daycare. We had a loud, feisty bunch today but it was fun! I wish I could do more, but I hate to set up so much then get sick, only to disappoint them. I actually missed last week’s session due to being sick.  I was sick this time as well but I missed seeing the regular dogs that come in. So I suffered a couple hours to see all those smiling, drooling faces.

There was even a frenchie pup I got to play with! Some of you may not know but I am dying to get one right now. Due to circumstances, that thought is placed on the back burner for now.

A couple pics taken today for your enjoyment 🙂

To That Big Doghouse In The Sky

I look into my parent’s dog’s green gook covered eyes as I spend my last minutes with her. We just found out she has kidney failure and my parents made an appointment for the next day to put her down. She is lying in her little, pet bed in her wire cage, curled up in to a small ball. On her bed are a several different towels since she can’t seem to keep anything down, not even her favorite treats. She is a mere five pounds from the 14 pounds months ago. Not only can you feel her bones, but you can see them by just looking at her. Her bright white, fluffy hair is now greasy and thin. She doesn’t even realize I am there until I touch her. She sits up while her head lightly sways side to side as she doesn’t have the energy or muscle to keep it up.

My thoughts begin to go back ten years ago when we bought her from Mini-Critters. Like all puppies, she was very cute. My stepdad, who is very business -oriented, conservative, anal retentive and never tries to show any weakness, ended up being quite fond of her and soon put her on a pedestal.

He taught her to “hug.” He was so proud of the trick that he had to show everyone that walked through our front door.

“Here, look what she can do,” he began. “Give me a hug, Gee Gee. Hug.”

He would bring her up to his chest, put her paws over his shoulders and then she would lay her head on them. And when she did that, you could hear the guest(s) “coo” and “awe” over her. He also held her on her back, as if he was carrying a baby. She happily agreed to lie there, despite the laughs because she knew it pleased him.

Years passed and she began to show a sign that she was aging: blindness. You couldn’t help but feel bad watching her run into a wall while laughing as you watch it. Or that she would try to hear where your voice was coming from, but would look in the complete opposite direction staring at nothing in front of her. She often fell down the stairs which made it easier for her to decide that she should just lie in her cage all day. If she walked around, she could find her cage by finding the loveseat. Once she found the loveseat, she would walk up and down along it rubbing her face on it followed by licking it. We still couldn’t figure out the licking part.

Not only am I learning unconditional love from my own dog, but it is interesting to see how other people learn as well. Especially people like my stepdad. You don’t plan on having this feeling; it just sneaks up on you. And you find out that no matter how strong you try to be, you have no control of your emotions or tears. Other than the love from my family, I never knew a love like this could exist. And hearing that my stepdad is having a having a difficult time with this, I’m sure he never knew either.

I stroke Gee Gee’s head as I stare into her half closed, cataract eyes, feeling guilty that I ever yelled at her for being naughty. And wishing I could take back the times that I scowled at her for having the last word, err bark, when she heard the front door open/close.

She is too tired to sit anymore and lies back down to curl back in a ball. I hope she does this as a way to let me know that it’s ok and I am forgiven for not realizing how much she meant to me, without me even knowing it.

The Beagle Freedom Project

I’ve heard that some research labs use animals for testing. However, I never really looked further into it because I was ignorant and thought if I don’t hear/learn about it, I dont have to believe it’s actually happening. But something caught my eye when reading one of my most recent dog magazines that made me want to dig deeper. It appears the most popular dog breed used by reseach labs are beagles.

There is a new organization out there that is wanting to help combat this issue. It is called the Beagle Freedom Project ( Like other rescue groups, they are trying to take the dogs out of their current, horrible conditions and find them a home so they can finally be as they should be…a dog.

On their website, they have all the information you are looking for including current beagles up for adoption. They also list information about certain companies that still test on animals. I am glad I came across this information so I can be more aware of what is going on around me. Please do not be ignorant like I was and learn more by visiting the site.

Here is a clip from their site.

Swallowing My Pride

I have always had a Type A Personality and been a perfectionist. Overachiever? Ha, that is an understatement. Never settling for less? You betcha. I wasn’t going to let being diagnosed with Systemic Lupus get in the way of my goals. However, I soon found every day was hard for me just to live life. I can count on my hand how many times I wasn’t in pain compared to how many days that I was in putting up with my pain. The beginning of this year started my second straight year of having to use FMLA at work due to my lupus. My fatigue and Fibromyalgia seemed to be getting worse and wasn’t showing any signs of letting up.

My friend Britney recommended that I should go on social security but I was too proud. I also didn’t think I should go on disability because I knew there were people worse off than me. I felt guilty just even thinking about going on disability.

I try to read all the different Lupus books because knowledge is power. They generally have the same information but sometimes you can catch something that is different from the other books. I am disappointed that most of the books are informational and there are not many memoirs. I recently came across one that really made me consider applying for social security. Despite Lupus is written by Sara Gorman and I highly suggest the book to any Lupus patient. Not only was it informational but it also gave excellent examples of things she has came across living with Lupus. She has a certain chapter in her book regarding asking for help. I am not one to ask for help but that section helped give me the strength to really consider going on social security.

After 10 painful years, I swallowed my pride and decided that I cannot do it anymore. My doctor and I decided that I should not return back to work. It is really bittersweet. It’s hard to be able to leave my status and income that I worked so hard for. But it is nice to finally be able to take care of my health and my lupus, and not feel stressed or guilty about missing so much work.

And as you are thinking, “Yeah, must be rough not having to work and to do whatever you want!” you can immediately toss that idea out the window. Yes, it is nice not having to work. But most of the time I am too tired to function or I am in so much pain that I physically can’t do anything. Healthy people take for granted what it is like to feel good every day and cannot even come close to comprehending what myself, or another Lupus patient, goes through. I often find myself getting bitter when I explain to someone my situation and they say, “Oh yeah, I understand.” Technically, they don’t. So to all the healthy people out there—if you are talking to someone that has an illness try to use, “That is understandable” instead. This will put the patient more at ease.

Right now my employer’s short term disability insurance is deciding whether or not to accept me. I originally was on short term disability for my gallbladder surgery which then triggered my lupus to go out of control (and still is after almost two months from my surgery). So as of right now, I have no income. It’s something I never thought I would have to go through. I’m glad that I am so anal retentive and that I pay one month’s rent in advance because I don’t know how I would come up with June’s rent.

I once again had to swallow my pride and apply for social security since I don’t have a crystal ball to see if the insurance company will accept me or not. No help from my Magic 8 Ball. I kept turning it over but continuously got the response, “Reply hazy, try again.”

Knowing how the government works, I expected the application portion to be long and tedious. I like it when I am right! Once I finished the application, a two hour phone conversation with someone handling my case followed. She mentioned the “average” waiting time is three to four months. I know someone’s uncle that had to wait six months and someone else that had to wait 18 months before being accepted. So I give it about a year. Word in the doctor’s office is, that the majority of people get denied at first. I don’t plan on being one of the lucky ones getting accepted right away. I’m not looking at it negatively, I am just being realistic. Also, this way my little ego won’t be as bruised.

Sioux Falls’ Dog Rescues

If you are looking to add a pet in your life, you may want to consider adopting one. There are a couple of animal rescues in Sioux Falls to help you find your new family member. Some have plenty of advertisements and some you may never heard of. This blog is to let you know what is in our area.

When someone mentions adopting a pet they usually think of the Sioux Falls Humane Society or Second Chance Rescue. Both places are great if you are trying to find any animal. I lean more towards Sioux Falls Humane Society because I have been one of their volunteers for a few years now. Almost Home Canine Rescue is another that is located in Sioux Falls/Madison.  Here are the websites:

Humane Society:

Second Chance Rescue:

Almost Home Canine Rescue:

There are rescues that are breed specific. In a previous blog I mentioned the Dakota Dachshund Rescue (DDR) that I volunteer for.

Luv-A-Chin Rescue is a rescue for Japanese Chin and Japanese Chin mixes.

One of my all time favorite dogs is a boxer. For years I had planned on getting a boxer as my very first dog. I dated someone a couple of years ago that had an American Bulldog (AB) and fell in love with the breed. So when it came time for me to choose my first dog I bought an AB instead. Heck, I still may get a boxer in the future! If you are looking for a boxer rescue, you can visit the Northern Plains Boxer Rescue website.

And if you are looking for a pit bull, Sioux Empire Pit Rescue is the way to go.

Please do not buy a puppy/dog in a pet store! Odds are that puppy came from a puppy mill. By adopting, you have made a small step to help putting a stop to puppy mills!!

Who doesn’t like a wiener… dog that is

My friend’s mom, Diane, started a non-profit organization a few years ago and I wanted to help. She started a dachshund (AKA doxie or wiener dog) rescue and named it Dakota Dachshund Rescue (DDR). This Rescue has no shelter–all dogs are in foster care. They currently have 75 dogs.

To help get the word out, they have a Meet and Greet one Saturday every month at Your Pet Stop on 41st Street (Sioux Falls). You can access the dates and times by viewing their website

The site also lists the different options how a person can volunteer. One of the choices would be to assist at the Meet and Greets by keeping the dogs happy and occupied and answer any possible questions. Volunteers are also needed for fund raising/adoption events. Every February they bring a handful, or a “pawful” if you will, to one of the Stampede hockey games for a wiender dog race on the slick ice. Owners of dachshunds bring their own dog(s) to be a participant in the race while the rescue brings adoptable dogs to the front of the arena.

Every September the rescue also brings adoptable dogs to German Fest. There, they also have the wiener dog races while the adoptable dogs are under a tent to show people what fun and great creatures they are.

Consider being a foster family if you have no time to volunteer but still want to help. They have plenty of dogs but not enough places to house them.