Tag Archive | rescue animals

The Story of Freckle

September of 2001 was a bad month for everyone. But along with 9/11, we were dealing with the death of my husband’s grandmother and with my parents moving to Arizona. It was not a good month. But after my parents moved, I was tying up some loose ends at their house (this was 19 years ago; I think it was a garage sale but who knows) and there were two tiny orange kittens running around outside. I played with them and watched to see if anyone came to claim them, but saw no sign of it. So I did what any crazy animal lover would do, and took them home with me.

We already had two cats, so the husband wasn’t thrilled, but he went along with it. I named one Thumb, for the extra digit on one paw, and the other Freckle, for the freckle on one paw. Sadly, Thumb had some health problems and didn’t make it through the night. But Freckle thrived and settled into our family.

This was Christmas of 2001, and man alive, look at those three babies! But don’t let that cute little photo fool you — Freckle was the orneriest cat I’ve ever had, always getting into things and knocking things off tables and desks. I loved him but to be honest, he drove me nuts. A few months later, my parents came for a visit and this happened:

My dad had recently lost his previous cat, and he and Freckle bonded. I confess, I was more than happy to send Freckle back to Arizona with my parents. And Freckle lived out there for 11 years, coexisting with their dog and getting into all kinds of trouble. After Dad died in 2012, Freckle moved back here with my mom and tolerated her new cat and all the new children petting him and squeezing him.

Today I had to take Freckle to the vet for the final goodbye. He was 19 years old, wheezing all the time, down to skin and bones. Just like it often is, we knew it was the right time but it still sucked. Thanks to covid, I didn’t get to go inside, but the vet came out to the parking lot to give him the sedative so I could hold him while he fell asleep. It felt right, me being the one to take him. We got to come full circle. It’s hard to ask for much more than that.

Jack’s Gotcha Day

No knitting photos today: I didn’t make enough progress on anything yesterday. So instead I’ll share some dog photos, because dogs. Yesterday was Jack’s Gotcha day: two years since we adopted him from Wayside Waifs, one of the local animal shelters. He’s been a treat since day one.

He is my baby, my constant companion, my protector. He is absolutely the perfect dog for me. I could add a ton more cute photos but you’ve seen most of them.


If you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family, PLEASE check your local animals shelters first! You’ll adopt a pet that’s already spayed or neutered, up to date on vaccinations, and assessed for behavioral issues. There are truly amazing animals there, both mixed-breed and full-breed, and they’re all looking for their forever family. Here are a few choices for the KCMO metro area:

Puppy Love

I have been distracted from my knitting the last few days. The only thing I’ve completed is a simple ribbed hat that my son requested. I do have a new project on the needles and another that I’m about ready to cast on, but it hasn’t been in the front of my mind.

See, I want a dog. Another dog. I have a fabulous puppy named Captain Jack. He’s a shepherd mix, just a little over a year old, and he loves to play. Of course we like to play with him, but we’ve decided we’d like him to have a sibling. A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine decided she needed to rehome her Siberian Husky, and I got all excited. I love huskies; I think they’re gorgeous and sweet. So I talked my husband into meeting her. (And it was HARD too! He really thought he wasn’t ready for another dog. He was wrong.) We went out there with Jack … and it was a failure. She was bossy and aggressive with him, guarded her water and wouldn’t let him drink, and he wanted nothing to do with her. I’ve seen him with lots of other dogs and he’s never responded that way before. He always tries to get the other dog to play with him. My gut said she wasn’t the right dog for us.

I started browsing the local shelter websites and it didn’t take long before I fell in love with the picture of a goofy-looking Chow mix. I wasn’t sure whether my husband had come to terms with the fact that he wanted another dog, so I didn’t do anything for a week. By the time we went to visit this dog on Valentine’s Day, he was on hold. Oh, we met him, and he was fabulous. Gorgeous and sweet and funny-looking, and so strong and playful. We put our name next on the list, but he was adopted that night.

Moving on, I found a shepherd/Shar Pei mix at a smaller shelter. I filled out the application and waited, only to find out that he too had JUST been adopted after having been at the shelter for over a year. Okay. There were two fun, young dogs at yet another shelter, and one was another Shar Pei mix with a delightful squishy face. Another application filled out, and another reply that both the dogs I liked had applications pending. Not quite a firm No, but not too optimistic either. I let them know I’d love to be second on the list.

Now I’m waiting. This morning I found two beautiful gray/black shepherd mixes at a volunteer-run shelter right by my house. They’re both male, around 8 months old, and they’re litter mates. I showed them to my husband and he really likes them too, which never happens. He usually has to meet them before expressing any interest. This was another extensive application, and they do a vet reference check before contacting you, so I’m waiting. And I think while I’m waiting I would do well to stop looking at dogs. I would really love one (or both??) of these dogs to be Jack’s new playmate. So if you feel like it, send me some good juju, okay? I would appreciate it! And next time I’ll share some knitting-type stuff too.

Small Business Saturday

ACK! I have so much to share that I don’t know where to start! I think I’ll start with something that’s near and dear to me, and that’s Small Business Saturday. As an artist myself (cough cough, that’s hard to say sometimes), I am committed to helping other artists, crafters, and small businesses thrive. There is so much value in handwork, so much love and detail and care that goes into something made by one person. And I can’t help but admit that I like the idea of owing something one of a kind, or at least something not mass-produced. Sure, I shop at chain stores too, but I like to shop small when I can.

With that in mind, I decided to start a little sale today on my Facebook bonny knits page. I’m offering 20% off all my current inventory! Plus I just received my Square card reader to accept credit card payments; maybe it will make it a little easier for someone else to shop small!

We supported small businesses yesterday by spending Black Friday in Weston, Missouri. I love their little downtown area with all the antique and gift shops. The first place we stopped might have been our favorite. It was called Art for a Dog, and the sign advertised tees, hats and gifts for dog and cat lovers. We had to ring the bell to get in, and while we waited, two dogs on an upstairs deck greeted us. Marie came down and let us in, telling us a little bit about her business.

Marie Mason is the owner of Bella Company, and she started with a few simple line drawings of dogs and later started doing full color art. Her small shop had lots of paintings and tees and sketches, and there was so much life and personality in each animal. At least one of their four dogs is a rescue, and they support animal rescue organizations in several ways. It was just so obvious how much she loves animals, and I really wanted to support her passion and commitment. Plus her stuff was darn cute! I limited myself to one thing: a nifty green canvas bag with a great yellow dog picture on the front. It’ll make a fabulous project bag. She also does custom portraits, which is pretty tempting! You can find her on Facebook too. IMG_3282It reminded me of my puppy, Captain Jack.IMG_0109Ok, what else? Well, there was a new store there called Florilegium that sells arts & crafts supplies. It was a beautiful store, full but not stuffed, well-designed and a treat for the eye. You could tell they’d put a of thought and effort into their layout and displays. They had tons of gorgeous ribbons and buttons and stuff. I don’t know what else honestly, because they had yarn, so I was distracted. Again, I was good and limited myself to just one thing: this so-lovely skein of Kathmandu silk.IMG_3284While we were walking around, I was modeling my favorite new Junie Balloonie flower, the Santa. If you remember, a while back I posted about trading some handknit items for some flowers, and I received them last week. They are Fabulous! She specializes in custom orders and works with your ideas and colors. You can find her on Facebook or Etsy. These are mine:IMG_3256Santa was actually my idea (she says casually) but Amie Longstaff, the artist/designer/owner, brought it to life brilliantly. I adore this flower.IMG_3259Band Mom flower is one of a series she does, and it can say whatever you want. She’s got them for military moms/spouses/daughters, sports, firemen, police…everything. I ordered mine in my daughter’s school colors. It’ll be great for when I go to the games and watch her play in Marching Band and Pep Band!IMG_3260Frozen flower, for a niece.IMG_3261Monster High flower, for another niece.

They all have a barrette clip, a pin so you can wear it as a brooch, and a small chain loop for it to hang on a purse. I usually put my flowers on my purse, but yesterday Santa was clipped to my cowl. And I think it brought me good luck too, because I got to see Father Christmas himself!IMG_0135And last but not least, I recently ordered a few gorgeous, unique pieces of jewelry from Kind Spirit Jewelry. I can’t find the pictures I took of them, but I got a beautiful spoon ring, some big silver swirly earrings, a necklace with a gorgeous cobalt blue glass pendant… She’s in the process of shutting down her website so there are some FANTASTIC deals to be had. Seriously. Good prices. You can find her on Facebook too.

I’m think I’ll call that a wrap. I’ve got a story to tell you about my antique-mall find, but that requires it’s own post. Until then, support an artist or two and Shop Small today!

Captain Jack Update: Pictures of a Puppy

I’m in a bit of a funk this morning, so I’m going to look at cute puppy pictures and share some with you. Captain Jack is 7 months old now. He’s gained around 10 pounds since we got him from the shelter two months ago, which makes him about 52 pounds. He’s muscular and strong, with these broad shoulders and a thick neck, but he’s also got the sweetest face and disposition.

Balancing on boards from deck demolition

Balancing on boards from deck demolition

He loves to play in his pool, but since our yard is in a state of upheaval right now (deck demolition prior to patio construction. We are in mud pit phase) I haven’t been filling it lately. He doesn’t care. He’ll play with it empty too.

"You can't see me!"

“You can’t see me!”



And when it rains, he has his own pool!IMG_4755

Like most dogs, he loves his walks, but it took a while to build up his stamina. For a long time, he’d plop down in some shady grass and just look at me. We thought he’d end up being like Ferdinand the bull.

"Yeah, I'm happy here."

“Yeah, I’m happy here.”

Now he can go and go and go, and I come home from walks sweaty and tired and he’s like, OK! LET’S PLAY BALL NOW! But he can sleep with the best of them too, and he ends up in the funniest positions. IMG_4671 IMG_4674IMG_4704IMG_4892

Recently we discovered he has allergies, and he ended up with an ear infection that broke one of his ears. No, it wasn’t really broken, but it was floppy and flat.IMG_4795Oops, there’s my foot. Sorry about that. Anyway, the puppy was still cute but I like him better with matching ears. We got him started on allergy meds and ear drops, and the ear stayed floppy. I was afraid it was permanent. Then one morning I got up and bam! Perky-eared puppy! IMG_4901And we’re all still glad that even as he’s growing, he hasn’t lost our favorite pose: the full sprawl. IMG_4911He’s smart enough to learn quickly and wants to please us enough to obey our commands. We’ve had two training classes and he’s learned a lot already. The only thing keeping him from being the perfect dog is that he goes nuts when people come over. It doesn’t matter if he’s met them before or not. He gets all protective and barks and barks and barks. That part sucks, and I’m hoping we can get him through it so we can have people over more easily. He’s just darn cute and lovable, and brings a lot of joy to our house.

*Sighh* I feel better now. I’m going to take my puppy for a walk and enjoy the morning.

Meet Max, our new furry friend

This is our new baby, Max. He’s a Siberian Husky, around 11 months old, and we adopted him from a local animal shelter, Wayside Waifs.



Alex and I met him Saturday without telling the kids. Max has juvenile cataracts, which means his vision is impaired, and he wasn’t recommended for a home with small children. We were concerned about taking on a dog with a vision problem, so we wanted to check him out on our own. While we visited with him, we could see that he has adapted quite well to his vision, and he had no problem seeing us, the treats in our hand, or the ball we threw for him.


The vet at the shelter said he didn’t think Max would ever need cataract surgery, though it was something we could opt for if we thought it necessary, which supported the research I had done. Huskies are prone to eye problems, especially cataracts, but juvenile cataracts are different in that they often don’t progress over time and the dog can live quite happily as he is. That eliminated my concern about his health, and I was excited for him to meet the kids.


We made sure to talk to the kids beforehand about his vision, stressing that they would have to make sure not to startle him or come up to him from behind. We were told he had food aggression, so we talked about that too, and how we’d have to keep him separate during meals and have an adult feed him. We talked about his “mouthiness”, which is just him wanting to latch onto things with his jaw and play. As a result, our son, who is smaller and only 10, was a little tentative and hesitant, but couldn’t help but be charmed by Max. Our daughter was in love at first sight. The meeting was smooth sailing, and before long we were all smooshed in the car heading home. I sat in the backseat with my son and Max, and Max had no qualms about sitting, leaning, and laying on me. We also learned that he gives doggie kisses.



It took very little time for Max to adjust. His vision seems to be keeping him from going upstairs inside, but the stairs leading to the yard are no problem at all. A quick trip to the store meant he had new toys, and his favorites are the tennis balls. He’s perfectly content to throw it around and chase it all by himself, though the kids like it when he lets them play too. He’s got a nice backyard with plenty of room, and seemed thrilled when he caught the scent of a mole in the dirt!


Dinnertime was a sweet surprise: we put his food out while we had dinner, and he displayed no aggression whatsoever. He nibbled at his food, then came and watched us intently, but didn’t try to steal any bites and remained calm and civil. He’s more of a beggar than some people might like, but I can work with it, especially since it’s so much better than I expected.


We took him for a walk after dinner, hoping to make sure he was worn out for his first night in a new home, and again he behaved better than expected. He didn’t pull excessively and he didn’t bolt after the squirrels or bark at the other dogs. It’s really amazing how quickly he’s adjusted to being with us, and vice versa. He seems so happy to have a yard, and kids to play with, and people to love. I think he was just waiting for a family who understood him, and I’m so glad we’re that family.


Make New Friends (but remember the old)

We’re taking the kids to meet a dog today and I’m nervous. Not that they won’t like each other. Alex and I met the dog yesterday and he’s friendly and charming, and I already know my kids have the potential to be the same. I’m nervous because this is a big commitment. More than the purple hair even. The stakes are higher.

We’ve had dogs before. Our first was when our daughter was a baby, and it didn’t go well for any of us. There just wasn’t enough energy and patience to go around. After that we were cat people…until we determined that same daughter is allergic to cats. By that point, we had two cats. One we had just gotten, and we were able to re-home him with a loving family. Our other cat had been with me for over 15 years, so we dealt with the allergies for a little longer. Once we were cat-free, we bought leather couches and declared ourselves happily pet free. No cat boxes, no dog poop, no fur all over the house! Whee!

Two years ago we got Samson. He was 9. We lost him December 30 of 2013. I’ll tell his story sometime, but not yet. I’m not ready for that yet. Suffice it to say he was the best dog ever, and we realized how much we enjoyed having the company of a furry friend.

We told ourselves we were going to wait before considering another dog. But thanks to animal shelters and dog pictures on Facebook, a dog caught my attention, and I wasn’t sure I really wanted to wait. It would be simpler if we did. Animals need attention and exercise and food and toys and medicine… For a few reasons, we would be better off waiting a few more months before adding to our family. Life isn’t always simple and easy like that, though. Sometimes things happen unexpectedly, good and bad, and you have to roll with them.

This is not going to be a universally popular decision with the extended family. There will be, and have been, people who disagree with our choice. People who think they know better what we need. People who focus on the negative rather than the positive. But even more than the purple hair dissenters, I don’t care, and this time I mean it. I woke up early this morning, excited to go back and see the dog, excited to take the kids to meet him. This feels right to me.

So we’re taking the kids today, and if all goes well, I’ll get to introduce you to our new friend soon.

And remember, if you’re thinking of a pet, please please check your local animal shelters. We’re going to Wayside Waifs today but there are shelters everywhere full of great animals who need a home.