Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas tree

Creating this tree each year IS my favorite tradition. I love waking up Christmas morning and looking outside and seeing all the birds gathered eating the bounty I've provided for them.

Petey 38 months

Christmas was wonderful this year. Having all my beautiful sons gathered under the same roof for the last week and a half has been amazing. I am totally enjoying them as never before. I feel such peace of heart and mind when they are all at home, as if I can exhale. As a parent it takes a long time to let your children go, to stop thinking and worrying about them.

There hasn't been much time to get outside for more then short outings with my Petey, because of all the holiday preparations. I'm almost afraid to run him for too long, but that has been torture for him. He doesn't care that he is sick, that his heart is damaged. Today we got out with Daddy and had a wonderful hike in 50 degree weather. It was gorgeous out. Still very hard for me to look at Petey with out feeling so much pain and sadness. I love him too much. I spend more time with him then anyone else in my life. He is my side kick my constant companion, my joy. I feel such anger that he is sick, that his life is going to be cut short. I'm trying so hard to get rid of these feelings to enjoy the now, to be thankful that I know his days are limited, so I can fill them with fun, for both of us. We hiked up to the Beaver pond, he has been busy and even had a hole in the ice so he can continue to get on land to take trees down. I was so happy to see that he is still up there surviving.

Yesterday I did the XMas count with my hawkwatch friends Denis and Tom. It was about 38 degrees and raining. Despite the weather we covered about 60 miles of driving and 7 hours searching for birds out in the black dirt region of Orange Co. NY. We were only able to list about 37 species. Highlights of the day...Rough Legged hawk, an immature dark phase female, who we were able to get very close to and watch hunt. Savannah Sparrows and Vesper Sparrows.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

50! What? How did that happen???

Although I'm still reeling from Petey's very recent diagnosis. It has been a blessing in disguise as it has pulled me back into the today. I think the hardest part of life, is to live it for today, it is a lesson I've been trying to get right since I was about ten years old. No doubt about it, Petey lives for today....he wants nothing more then his run, good food,a bowl of fresh clean water, several play times and affection, he is here now....and as long as those needs are met, he is very content and happy. He shares his happiness all day long. I can't help but smile when I look at his beautiful big face and his little nub of a tail wiggling away. His joy about the little things is contagious. How we humans manage to complicate our lives so far past today just amazes me, and we all do it! I guess most of us never really live life as full as our beloved dogs. They don't need as many years, because they fully live their lives from their very first breath. We start living ours much like them, and somewhere in childhood we let everything else around us take over the very joy of being alive, at seeing the wonder in an ordinary day. Once Petey has taught me life lessons that no human could. What I take into my second century of life, is the gift of Petey's lesson, when I look at him I will remember not to take another moment with my family and friends for granted. We all have to die and as my beloved father told me only six days before he left us suddenly. When it is your time, it is your time. When your number is up there isn't a damn thing you can do about it! My dad was a very wise man. I miss him dearly but know in my heart he is watching over me today.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sad heart....

Yesterday my beautiful boy Petey was diagnosed with a fatal genetic heart disease. He will not get to grow old. We aren't sure how much time he has left, he could die suddenly any moment now, or could last a year or more. The disease progresses differently for each Doberman it affects. This information has left me in shock, numb and in complete disbelief that this could be happening to him at only three years old. He has been the light of my life since the moment he joined our family. Although DCM is a possibility in every line of Dobermans, for some reason I really didn't believe it would become Petey's story, or if it did, he would be nine or ten. He has three grandparents who are ten, and one that died at ten. I thought we had a good shot at a decent length of life. I've done everything right by him in the health department and yet there is no stopping this disease. They are born with the gene that causes the cells in the heart muscle to stop contracting. Petey has already lost 50% and he hasn't even had a symptom. I pray he gets some more quality time with us, and that he doesn't have to suffer at all with this horrible disease. He is the picture of health right now, thin, huge muscle mass, white teeth, energetic, just no way I would have imagined that his heart had become a ticking time bomb. I will do my best to stay in the moment,and make his last bit of time here on earth a blast! He has been my best buddy and I owe him a normal life to the end. My heart is broken once again....first comes love....then comes pain...that's what life is all about. No one escapes the pain, unless they go first. Good vibes for my baby boy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Letter to the Editor....

From a Wildlife Rehabilitators Perspective.

As a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator in NYS I support Suzyn Barron's (the president of the Warwick Humane Society) position, that all cats need to be kept indoors. It is estimated by scientists in the United States, that Cats Kill millions of birds and more then a billion small animals each year. Cats are not a part of a Natural Ecosystem and they compete for food with Native predators that are already stressed from loss of habitat. Wildlife Rehabilitators across the country take in and care for tens of thousands of animals and birds each year that are injured by feral and free roaming cats. For the safety and preservation of our Native Wildlife, I ask that you please consider keeping your pet indoors or supervise it while outdoors. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yule Decorations

Thanksgiving in VT

The last couple of weeks have been very busy that I haven't had time to write. I had my last day at the Hawk watch several weeks ago, an excellent season for different birds, I'm never disappointed that I take the time out of my life to volunteer up there. My last day was very cold and windy, lots of Red Tails so it was well worth the wind burn.

Last week we rented a house up at Killington VT. It was three stories high, 8 BR, 5.5 Baths, 3 LRs, 2 Kitchens. It was the perfect place of family and friends to gather for a wonderful Thanksgiving. This is the second year we have done this, and I really love to go away for Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday, and it is so nice to enjoy it again after more then a decade of hosting it. We had a total of 26 people over the course of the week. Truly wonderful time. Best part was that Petey was able to join us, I wouldn't have rented the house if he couldn't. He had so much fun...three levels filled with his favorite people on earth. I enjoyed giving him lots of new toys, Christmas at Thanksgiving. He loved being the center of attention. When ever he would run upstairs to my moms apartment, he would be met with oh the boys here! He ate up all the attention.

While up in VT we went for a short visit to VINS Vermont Institute of Natural Science. What a wonderful Rehab Facility. I wish we had a place like that within driving distance, what a super volunteer job that would be for me, maybe at retirement. They have a vast collection of Raptors that are unable to be released back to the wild for one reason or another. While they are an excellent teaching tool and helps support the Rehab work that VINS does, it is still very sad for me to see such noble birds spending their lives in cages, even the beautiful cages that VINs provides for them. As I get older I see nature and wild animals so different then I used to. I hate to see any animal caged, and unable to live out their lives as they were meant to, wild and free. All of my life I've been able to travel to beautiful natural areas, every year going further from home,having the opportunity to see so many wild animals has made me even more committed to help preserve habitat, and to do Rehab work to help animals return to the wild where they rightfully belong.

Today's hike was up to the Beaver pond, he is very busy....lots more trees down. Today there was ice on the pond up there, must have been very cold and windy up there overnight. On the way home, I went to several locations and gathered berry branches and greens for Yule decorations outside the house. Looks pretty and is also food for the birds visiting the yard.