Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A very special girl...

18 years ago today my niece, Brittany Ann was born in Springfield, Missouri.
I will never forget that day.
My sister had toximia, and was forced to have a c-section almost 3 months before her due date.  They brought little Brittany out on a cart on the way to the NICU and she was barely 3 lbs. She looked like a baby bird.  My whole family and I slept on the chairs and floor of the waiting room for days praying and hoping for my sister and new baby niece to be okay.
After many weeks in the hospital she was allowed to go home.  I moved in to my sister and brother in law's apartment, and we all set alarm clocks to get up and feed Brittany.  She was so tiny that she barely could cry.  June 29, 1993 was one of the best days of our lives, as we welcomed a tiny new family member into our lives.
Brittany grew stronger day by day, and turned into a beautiful young lady!  She was spunky, sassy, sweet and everything a little girl should be.  She had her own opinions on life, and there was no way you could change them!  (A girl after my own heart!)
She loved her dogs, Bingo and Jesse.  She loved the computer, she loved her friends.  She loved her bird, Squawky, but most of all, she loved her family!
Brittany would come stay at my house for weeks in the summer, helping me with the rescue dogs.  I never could understand why or how this girl could stay up all night listening to her Ipod and watching tv!  I could barely stay up past 10!
When she was in junior high, there were many times I would get her out of school early and take her to concerts!  I am not going to admit what concerts we saw, but let's put it this way.  I would be forcing her to go and she was like, 'Aunt Karen I can't believe you like Kelly Clarkson...' haha.
Brittany was the flower girl in my wedding.  She had strep throat that weekend, but that didn't stop her.  She danced the night away and melted my heart when she told me, 'I love you Aunt Karen because now I have an Uncle!'
On Mother's Day 2010, I told my whole family that Aaron and I were expecting a baby!  Right away Brittany knew it was a girl!  She didn't even think twice!  She was so excited to have her very first cousin, and I know her and Lucy would have been best friends.
Brittany helped plan my baby shower, and was there early to help decorate.  There is NOTHING you could ask her to do that she wouldn't do to help you out.  Her answer was always, 'no problem, Kare!'  I can hear her saying that now...

For those of you who know me, know that on October 26th, 2010 my beloved niece passed away.  It was by far, the worst day of our lives.  I have never felt such pain in my heart, and I hope to never again.  Not only pain for MY loss of MY niece, but pain for my sister and her husband, and my parents.
I cannot say I understand what my sister and her husband are going through, but I can say that NO ONE EVER deserves to lose their child!  It's NOT fair, and YES... it is hard to understand why God takes children away from their parents.  WHY?  Our family is Christian and believe in God's plan, but let me tell you, some days it's pretty darn hard to do.
I was 7 months pregnant at the time, and felt the worst guilt in the world for being so happy to have a baby girl, when my sister lost hers.
In the last 8 months, it has been very hard for all of us, with the happiness and love of a new addition to the family, and a horrible, painful loss of another family member.
You know, when you are shopping or out and about, you look around at the people next to you and you just never know what people are going through.  They could smile and act polite, but really, did they just lose their child?  Family member?  Best Friend?  You never know.  I try to keep that in mind now, because even the simplest little things and the random acts of kindness can make someone's day a little easier.
Brittany loved to Co-Exist t- shirts, and I see those bumper stickers all the time.  It's like she is saying, 'be nice Aunt Karen!'
Does every day get better?  No.  It doesn't.  The pain is in my heart from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep at night.  I love Brittany and will NEVER let her legacy die.  Whenever I see a sassy little teenage girl, I just smile... because that was our 'B.'  Her and I didn't always see eye to eye, but I appreciated the fact that she had her own opinion and I loved her for being an individual.
Whenever we all get together now, there is 1 person missing in the room.  An extra spot on the couch, a gaping hole that will never be filled again.  That emptiness will always be there, because we will always have a spot for little Brittany.
I know that every single day she is looking down on Lucy.  I just feel it.  And I swear, that little birthmark on her leg was a kiss from an angel.  :-)
Here are some pictures of us, some were too hard to post today.
I love you Brittany, and God better be making you an amazing birthday cake in heaven.

B with Slim when he was a baby

All of us in Canada

My girl and I at my wedding

Her and Aaron in Canada buying supplies to fix my grandpa's walkway

She loved this darn t shirt

Friday, June 24, 2011

On a mission...

A rescue mission that is!
A few days ago we (the rescue gals) received an e-mail from the Arizona Humane Society saying that there is a bulldog in need of rescue.  They guessed her age to be around 6-7 (I would guess her at 5.)  She came in to the shelter as a stray... (YES!  A stray English Bulldog...)  They scanned her for a microchip, and she didn't have one.  No collar or tags either. 
The reason that rescue was contacted is this: When the shelter gets a dog in, they do what is called an 'evaluation.'  They temperament test the dog with food and other dogs... They want to make sure the dog is almost 'bomb proof' enough to go up for adoption to the public.  (Liability reasons) Meaning they can't flinch when another dog approaches them, they can't get possessive over food or toys, and they absolutely cannot growl, bark or show fear to a human.  If they do any of those things, they are automatically deemed 'unadoptable' and will not be up for adoption to the general public.  Also, if they are sick or require a surgery, they are also deemed 'unadoptable' and do not go up for adoption.  This is when rescue is contacted.  If no rescuers are able to get the dog, the dog is put to sleep. :-(
Remember... these evaluations can be way off sometimes when checking for dog's behavior, since they dogs are scared outta their minds!  They are sometimes dumped off there by their owner, sometimes they are hurt, and sometimes they are strays... So, I would be a little touchy too if I were the dog, but the shelter cannot take the chanc
Love-A-Bull Rescue doesn't take dogs with aggression issues, but we absolutely will take a bulldog that is in need of a surgery or some good old fashioned TLC.
That is case with this bulldog, now named 'Adele.'  She has a cherry eye, needs entropion surgery and has an elongated soft palate making it even harder for her to endure the heat of the Arizona summers.
I met my friend/co-rescuer Trisha who picked up Adele.  Lucy was dropped off at Grandma's house on the way because it is just too darn hot!
I load Adele up, and we are off to get Lucy from Grandma's house.  I decide to give Adele a bath there before bringing her home.
Grandpa and Lucy are watching me give Adele a bath through the screen door.  Lucy is lighting up like a Christmas tree, probably thinking "hey! This is a new brother or sister for me!"  Adele is wiggling her big ol' behind at Lucy as if to say "hey girl! What's up! Let's play!" Meanwhile I am sweating like a pig, covered in hair and wet dog smell.  It's only 108 outside!
Lucy gets loaded up, and Adele, Lucy and I are on our way home.
NOTE TO SELF: NEVER do anything over Lucy's nap time.  Lucy starts getting fussy, Adele starts barking, and momma is about to lose it!  Thank goodness I found the 'smooth jazz' station on the radio and that calms down the troops a little... haha.
We get home, and Slim and Double are anxious to see who this new kid was... Adele goes to her room with a bone and ice water, Lucy goes to her crib for a nap, and Slim and D go right back to sleep on the couch.
Ahhh.  Now to get the profile and pics of Adele posted on Petfinder and Adopt-A-Pet so hopefully some wonderful family will apply to adopt her.  Our goal in rescue is to find the PERFECT fit for our rescue dogs.  Not all dogs are good in all homes.  That is why so many end up in rescue.  We look for a family who can promise 'til death do us part' when adopting their new furry friend.  Not some idiot who just wants a bulldog as an 'accessory.'
It frustrates me to no end when people just give up on their dog.  Honestly, I am learning that raising a baby is SO much work, but I would never give up on my furry kids because I don't 'feel' like dealing with them anymore.  We are a family and that's that!
Rescue is my passion and I will always be a part of it.  Obviously I can't be as involved as I used to, but my heart is there ALWAYS and I am available to help a bulldog any time of the day. (Except for Lucy's nap time!)  You can see how just ONE dog entering rescue can take that volunteer's entire day up.  Is it worth it? Absolutely, but really... why can't people THINK before getting a dog?  Better yet, why can't they spay/neuter their pet to lower the pet population?
The saddest part is that there was another bulldog there, waiting for his 'eval.'  We will probably be getting that guy too...
What scares me is that these people who are dumping dogs left and right are also raising children.  Gosh, if you can't raise a dog, you shouldn't be raising kids!  Dogs don't talk back, ask for money, or require you to bring them everywhere you go.  They give unconditional love to their owners, and they deserve the same in return.  Dogs are SO easy compared to kids!

I want Lucy to love animals, and to be respectful of them.  I just know she will be the next generation of animal rescuers. :-)

Now that is quiet in the Farrish household, I am really craving a nap.  BUT- laundry needs to be done, dishes need to be washed and Lucy will be up in no time wanting her bottle.
There will be crying, barking and who knows what else in our house at all times... but hey- what will be will be! :-) And that's how we like it...

Here are some pics of our day today...

                                           Adele at the AZ Humane Society

                                                     All ready to go!

                                                    Bring on the BULL!

                                              Meeting Trish with Adele!

YAY all safe and sound, ready to go get a bath! 

                                                 All cleaned up and fed