Wednesday, September 30, 2009

See Spot Walk

The Jensengirls are walking this Saturday in the See Spot Walk, benefiting the Idaho Humane Society. This organization is a big part of our lives, which I'll tell you more about in a moment. First, though, we'd love it if you could donate too. To see our fundraising page, go to and you'll find the information. I believe you can just make a donation right on that page.

Let me tell you how the Idaho Humane Society has been important in our lives.

Our first family dog was Charlie. We decided when Emily was not quite a year old that we really needed a dog. When I say "we," of course, I mean me. David was not entirely enthusiastic about the idea, but he went along with it. During Thanksgiving vacation that year, we tromped out to the Humane Society. We thought we wanted some sort of retriever--they have a reputation of being friendly, easy-going dogs. And trust me, easy-going was a high priority. We saw a dog named Samson, who was a huge yellow lab. He was lovely, adorable, and (did I mention?) huge. We took him for a sample walk and he almost pulled us over. Sorry Samson. I have to walk two young children along with you, and I just couldn't fathom it working with a double stroller. Then we spotted Charlie. He was a golden retriever. Furry and happy and wanting to please. We bonded, then we took him home. He was about five years old, but like all golden retrievers, he thought he was a puppy. And he made himself right at home. Although Charlie had a severe phobia of thunderstorms and a penchant for eating the occasional book, we loved him with all our hearts. He was the perfect dog for young children. He was easy to care for, and when we went on vacation, he stayed with some friends who had a big shade tree in their back yard and had a great time. Emily would stand at the top of our basement stairs and holler "Char-ee" in her little toddler voice to call him upstairs in the mornings.

Eventually, we decided Charlie should have a friend. Why, I don't know. But we thought two dogs would be great. Kind of like when you decide to have another child--you often wonder what you were thinking, but you wouldn't undo it. So this time, we went back to the Humane Society. Emily had decided, again, why I don't know, that a beagle was a good idea. And, amazingly enough, we found a sweet little beagle puppy, six months old. We named her Katie. Like all beagles, she was stubborn and nose-oriented. Unfortunately, we had not had her long at all when Charlie got terribly ill. He had surgery and seemed to be recovering when he relapsed. In the end, we decided not to torture him with more surgeries and uncertain chances of getting well. We put him to sleep. It was a horrible thing to do, but the right thing to do. We cried and cried. Emily was the most devastated. She spent several years grieving.

But we still had Katie. She was a handful. But she was loving and sweet, too. We adored her, even if the neighbors did not appreciate her baying at the squirrels in the trees.

After a couple of years, we decided that we still needed a two-dog house, so back we went to the Humane Society. In the lobby was a volunteer petting a dog that looked like part golden retrieve and part something else. He was cute, but we wanted to look around. We looked at every single dog in the entire place, then went back and took that first one home. We named him Frodo. We decided he was Charlie reincarnated. He, like Charlie, made himself right at home. He too has a fear of thunderstorms, and he took to sleeping on Emily's bed. He and Katie made good companions. They loved going on walks together. It was a long, but not long enough, relationship. At six years old, Katie developed lymphoma in multiple organs, and died peacefully on her own at home. Again, we cried and cried. And poor Frodo did not know what to do. He seemed lost.

But I couldn't bear to replace my precious little Katie. I decided one dog was enough. Frodo was much loved and spoiled. And as he grew older, we were even able to plant a lawn in the back yard and hope it wouldn't be destroyed. But....the kids had other ideas. Two dogs was now the norm and they couldn't bear to see Frodo alone.

Back we went--you guessed it, to the Humane Society--where I announced that we were going to look for a small, adult, female dog. We came home with a male puppy of uncertain full-grown size. We called David from the Humane Society to tell him, and he was not too happy, but he came home with a possible list of names, so he couldn't have objected too much. We named this one Dodger. He's a very smart, but severely neurotic dog. He is easy to train, loves to cuddle, have his belly rubbed, play tug of war, and run around. We took him to the See Spot Walk the day after we adopted him, and he just had no idea what to do, so we ended up carrying him most of the time.

We felt complete, but fate has other ideas sometimes. One day Peter came home from school and told me a dog had followed him home. Right. I went to the front door and there sat this chocolate colored puppy. I let her in, and she went right to the food dish and started gobbling the food. I think it was sealed right then, but at the time I didn't realize it. We went around the neighborhood to see if she belonged to someone. We put ads on Craigslist. We took her to the Humane Society to check for an identification chip. After three weeks of ever-decreasing efforts to find her a home, we realized she had found one: ours. So we named her Ginger, and here she is.
So you see, because of the Humane Society, we have found most of our best friends. They do great work, they save animals' lives, and they care about the animals. Please help support them.

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