Groupings, Personal Space, Garden Art, and Color forum: Sunshine's Story

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May 30, 2014 9:28 PM CST
Name: Sharon
It was near the end of March, 2013, when I found her, this gorgeous golden dog of no apparent ancestry. My children and my grandson had convinced me that a dog was just what I needed, living alone mostly as I do. I say mostly because my daughter is in and out frequently. So I had been thinking about a dog but it had been nearly 30 years since I had lived with a dog. I wasn't sure that I was up to all the challenges that come with a dog. Besides I have two cats, Jazz and Daisy and they've been with me for several years. What would they do with a dog in the house? But I thought about it, for a long time, I thought about it.

I started visiting the Animal Shelter in early February, liked them on Facebook, watched their page for pictures of dogs. I had no idea what I was looking for but thought I might find something I was interested in. I saw lots and lots of dogs, heard some sad stories, looked into some eyes that seemed to be aching for attention. Listened to a lot of barks and yips and a moan or two here and there. I couldn't take every dog I saw and our shelter takes good care of them, strays and all, so I knew they were well taken care of.

After about 5 or 6 visits, one day I walked into the part of the building that housed the dogs. I think the noise was louder that day. It was cold outside and cold in the kennels and I shivered as the door closed behind me. I came upon a kennel that held a little brownish blond dog. She was the quiet one, in the world of an animal shelter nothing is quiet - but she was. It was her eyes that did her talking; they still do. I stopped and looked at her. She sat there and just looked back at me, never said a word. Never moved. Nor did I.
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I walked on by, and the noise increased as I walked on past big dogs, little dogs, old dogs, young ones, loud dogs, jumping, yipping, squealing and constantly in motion. I glanced back and she was still sitting there watching me. She hadn't moved, only her eyes. I turned around and walked back, stooped down so I was on her level and said, "Hello there, pretty girl." She glanced down and I'm not sure if I touched her kennel gate first or if she did, but suddenly her little paw was on the wire of the gate. I held her hand. She didn't look at me but her nose touched my finger.
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I don't know how long I sat there with her, but her paw and my fingers stayed where they were. Neither of us moved and I can still remember how my heart pounded in my throat. Am I strong enough to have a dog? This dog is medium sized already, about the size I wanted. I couldn't even look around, my eyes wouldn't leave this little paw that was touching my fingers.

One of the workers came into the hallway of the kennels and she said, "Have you found one you like?" I'd been there so many times already they knew me by name. I held onto the paw that held onto me and suddenly this dog's big golden eyes looked right straight at me. It seemed maybe her little paw held tighter to my finger, too, but maybe it was my finger that held tighter to her paw. I couldn't tell the difference. I answered, "Maybe. Can you tell me about her? "

"She's been here a few weeks," she said, "you might have seen her or maybe she was outside when you were here. She's a mix, a stray puppy, who showed up at a house in the south end of the county. They didn't want her hanging around their house so they eventually brought her in. We know nothing about her except she's about 6-8 months old and and probably won't get much bigger. She's very quiet and has caused no problems. She's been wormed and checked by the vet, he says she's in pretty good health and she's been eating well for us, she seemed very hungry. That's about all we know about her, she's a stray and most likely has never had an owner. She wandered around in the area where she was found for a few months before the people brought her in to us."

Those golden eyes kept looking into mine.

I asked if we could get her out of the kennel and the girl put a little thin leash around her neck as she opened the gate. Then she handed me the leash. The golden dog lay down on her tummy and didn't seem to want out of her kennel. I talked to her, quietly, and finally I knelt down in the hall and whispered to her, nonsense words, and started scooting backwards away from her kennel. She followed, slithering on her belly, but she looked up at me. I stood but she didn't though she did keep watching me. I stooped again and kept encouraging her until finally I got her to slither over the threshold and into the office then I stopped and she kept on crawling up into my arms. That was it. This was my dog.
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I took her outside and by then she was walking, prancing, her eyes were dancing and as we got into the car and settled in for the drive home, I swear she laughed and she hasn't stopped laughing since. She is my golden girl, she is my Sunshine.
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To be continued . . .
May 30, 2014 10:11 PM CST
Name: Sharon
The following is from words I wrote when she first came to be with me:

"I named her Sunshine. I don't know why, she just looked like Sunshine to me. She has that warm color that we see just before the sun fades at the end of a summer day; she has lighter stripes of pale gold across her shoulders, like angel wings my daughter says; she glows in the sunlight, she is golden.

Anyway, Sunshine came home with me and except for 3 days two weeks ago, it has rained every single day since. Somehow this is just not right. She's been so easy to house train, even in the rain, surprisingly so for a stray that had never walked on carpet or flooring before. I had to get down on my hands and knees and beg her to come into the house. Once she crossed the threshold, the rest was easy. Except for her size. They told me she wouldn't grow much more, I really didn't want a big dog, one I couldn't handle. Six weeks ago she was a good size.

Last night when I sat on the floor and she sat down in front of me waiting to be brushed, I swear I had to look up to see her eyes. She laughs a lot considering she is a dog of mixed heritage and she looks nothing like any particular ancestor. People ask, 'What kind of dog is she?' And my answer, 'She's just a big golden dog.'

She was laughing out loud when she looked down at me last night. It's a good thing she's gentle and loving. When I brought her home she weighed about 40 pounds. I stopped weighing her when I realized I could no longer lift her. That was about a week ago. I figured I shouldn't be lifting anything that was near half my body weight - certainly not at my age. That small fact doesn't seem to keep her from sprawling across my lap and most of the chair when I'm sitting in the recliner."

That was then and this is now. I can't imagine life without this dog. It's been a year and 2 months, and from 35 pounds when I brought her home, she now weighs 90. She is a big strong dog. But back again to the beginning.

When I got her home that first day, she seemed happy to be here and sniffed around outside for a little while then we started for the door. That's when I realized she'd never been in a house, not ever. She lay down on her belly, wouldn't move, same as it was in the hallway of the shelter. So down on her level I went and together we crawled up the single step and into the house. The she stopped. Carpet. She had no idea what it was. We crawled again, over the carpet, up two brick steps and into the kitchen which wasn't so alien to her. I showed her the food bowl, the water bowl and she ate and drank and ate and drank as if she had never been fed in her entire life. We also made a lot of trips outside, just in case. She did fine on the leash, I doubt she would have left my side anyway, she was glued to me for the first day or two and that was fine with me. And she did fine pottying. Whatever was I worried about. She also learned to live with the carpet.

It was the end of March when I brought her home and flowers started blooming in April. She was fascinated. But then she was fascinated with everything. Happiest dog ever!

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After she'd been here for awhile, she started barking a few times. Not a lot but it was a surprise to me to hear her bark, she'd been so quiet. But the very best thing she started doing was laughing. And let me tell you, she has the funniest laugh. She chortles and she squeaks and she snorts when she laughs. Of course, everybody laughs with her. Funniest dog ever. But sometimes when I see her looking far into the distance, I wonder if she remembers the time before she came home with me.

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More later . . .
May 31, 2014 6:03 PM CST
Name: DaylilyOma2
Be a good day maker! Smile!
What a precious story! You are such a wonderful story teller, Sharon. Thanks again for sharing your life with us. We enjoy hearing about life with Sunshine.
May 31, 2014 6:21 PM CST
Name: Sharon
There will be lots more about Sunshine. Believe me, I'm just getting started!! Smiling
Thanks Oma!

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Jun 2, 2014 11:33 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
This just made me cry happy and humble tears. I definitely see God's hand at work here. So many blessings for both of you. Group hug Group hug
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
Jun 2, 2014 11:35 AM CST
Name: Sharon
God often works in strange and mysterious ways.
More later, thank you, Vic.
Jun 2, 2014 4:49 PM CST
Name: DaylilyOma2
Be a good day maker! Smile!
Sharon wrote:God often works in strange and mysterious ways.
More later, thank you, Vic.

Yes, indeed! HIS wonders to perform. Hurray!

Jun 3, 2014 9:32 PM CST
Name: Sharon
I thought it would be fun to go back and see what I said at the very beginning, sort of like a diary. So let's start when I first found her, it was March 22, 2013. Here's what I wrote on that day to my Blue Garden friends:

OK, this is it. I have a DOG!!!! Whoooooo hoooooooooo!
She is a sweetheart for sure.
I won't get her till Tuesday because she was a stray and I found her at the shelter where she'd been the past couple of weeks. They are taking her to the vet where she'll be spayed and checked and will get her baby shots, then I'll pick her up on Tuesday. She is a mutt, but I think mostly lab/golden mix. You can see a little of her shaggy hair.

I knew if I looked long enough, I'd find MY dog. She sniffed my fingers first through the cage wire, then she put her paw through the wire and leaned against my hand. I melted. Of course. So she sat that way for awhile, just leaning against her paw and my hand. When she was let out of the cage she crouched on her belly and I sat down on the floor and she slowly inched her way into my lap then up to kiss my chin. Yep, she's my dog.

She's about 7 months old and won't get a lot bigger, I think. I haven't heard her say a word. Her hair is a little shaggy on her underside, which makes me think she has some golden in her.

Don't let me regret this decision. She has very light shoulders, like angel wings. I think I'll call her Sunshine.

March 23, 2013
She grabbed my heart without doing a thing. There must have been 8, maybe 10 other dogs there, all very nice looking dogs. But she was so quiet and so loving, I couldn't see anyone but her. And I really did look at all of them. From some angles she has the look of a lab, but others she looks like a golden. It's probably a mix of a lot of things, but to me she's just about perfect. Not too big either, and I don't think she'll grow much taller.
(Oh boy, was I ever wrong about her not growing!!)

March 26:
This is no doubt the dumbest move I've ever made. An 8 year old boy, a brand new just now spayed puppy, two cats who are already neurotic - all in the same house at the same time.

I am so totally nutz.

March 26:
The call just came and she's ready.

At the same time my daughter decided to go with us. She isn't ready yet. Then Ethan got so excited he started chasing the cats through the house and on the way threw 2 pillows through the den. Now the cats are hiding in my closet and Ethan can't get to his tooth brush because Ash is in that bathroom getting ready and he doesn't have a tooth brush in the other bathroom so from the corner of my closet way back in my bedroom I hear the wail and the hiss of 2 angry cats and from beside me I hear Ethan saying 'I can't leave till I brush my teeth' and from the hall bathroom Ashley is yelling 'Gimme a few minutes.'

Now if I can quietly sneak out the door, I might be able to go get Sunshine in peace and I'm seriously considering getting a motel room for the two of us.

I am so used to a very quiet house.

March 26, 11p.m.

Amazing dog.

She's practically housebroken, no problem once she found the side door. She knows 'leash', 'outside', 'walk', she knows her name, she smiles. She goes to the door when she needs to go out. When I sit down to the computer she lays on an old sweater of mine beside me. She doesn't bother anything, doesn't chew anything, loved riding in the car, never says a word, except when she saw a squirrel and said one little 'woof'. Amazing dog. I keep waiting for her to tear through the house, to eat something off the counter, to poop in the corner, something - but honestly, she just does what I have told her to do.

She walks beside me on the leash, she watches the direction that I step toward, then she goes that way but right beside me. She won't pull or tug on the leash and there's nothing fancy about the little short leash. I have a longer one, but haven't used it because she's so easy to walk with. I can't believe I worried about my legs and walking her, not a problem at all. If I take a step, she takes a step, if I turn right, she turns right. Like a shadow.

I don't know if this is all a fluke or what, she waits to hear what I have to say, or maybe she's just reading me and my tone or body language, but this is an amazing dog. I have no idea what her genetic line is, but she's calm, quiet, and totally smart. Tomorrow she might turn into a hellion, but at the moment, she's on her sweater laying on her monkey toy, and watching me.

She's OK with my daughter or with Ethan, but she has to be able to see me or she comes looking. So they've walked with her only once. The other times it was just Sunshine and me outside walking. She's just plain happy to be alive, happy to be here, and calm as can be.

I've never raised my voice to her, just talk with her and she listens. I repeat words as she needs them, so maybe that's helped because she already knows several words. She might forget them, but for the moment, we are great. Amazing dog.

March 27

Slept all night long. Never moved from my side, I think I might have stayed awake just to make sure.
Easy easy.

This is what I know: She is 7 months old, so she was probably born in September. We don't know anything about her first 3 months, but about Christmas she wandered up to a couple's home and they fed her outside for a couple of months, but didn't want to keep her, or maybe couldn't. Plus they just put food out for her occasionally and she just hung around their place. Then that couple didn't want her so they took her to the shelter. She was listed as a stray - untrained completely. Friendly, but just a stray.

But what did they know. She knows no commands, or didn't till last night. Now she knows 'outside' and she knows what to do when she gets there. She watches me all the time and is very alert to whatever I'm saying or doing. I think she's just reading my body language and learning. She is an incredibly good dog.

So far.

March 27

Sunshine doesn't look like much lab mix to me, though that's what the shelter said. Her fur is very thick and not shiny at all, it's wiry like maybe German Shepherd; and her ears too, they aren't lab ears. So I don't know. She also doesn't look that much like a golden, except for the color. She probably has all kinds of blood running through those veins.

March 31

The golden one just lost her halo.
She ate my shoe.

April 1
This dog is quite the digger and rooter. If I turn her loose, she'll no doubt till up my entire yard. She not only buries the treats she doesn't like, but she is also convinced there's a party going on underground.

Might be moles.

April 2
Every single night at 11 pm as soon as I bring Sunshine in from her last walk, she goes on a running tear, in circles, through the den into living room to the studio then the kitchen, back to the den, living room, studio, kitchen, round and round she goes and where she stops nobody knows.
This goes on non stop for about 8 minutes, just like clockwork.
Complete with huffing sound effects and an occasional woof as she passes by me like a flash of light.
Nutty dog.

Then she's ready for sleep. Whew.

Too late to take her back. She already crawled into my heart.
Silly dog.

April 3
She ate the corners off a pillow just now. Two corners.

April 4 2013
See the pale gold stripe on her shoulders? Daughter says they are angel wings.

She didn't eat anything sacred last night, no pillows, no carpet, no curtains. Angelic for once.
Surprised me

She really is good. She's bigger than what I'd planned on getting, when we sit on the porch steps we are nose to nose. Trust me on that one. But at the same time she's very good on a leash and responds even to my whisper. So that's good. She doesn't bark much at all ~ maybe an occasional woof when she sees a squirrel and the problem with that is she has never met a stranger yet. I want her to let me know if she hears someone at the door, and I want her to be able to distinguish strangers. Since everybody around here was a stranger to her just a week ago, she doesn't know the difference. She would no doubt at this point lick a stranger to death. But then a stranger hasn't been to my door yet ~ so I guess we'll see. Everybody comes to see her and of course she's excited to get all the pats and hugs. She's watching me type. I think she can read.

Daisy doesn't mind Sunshine, just hisses when she sees her, but Jazz won't venture out of my closet. I have to close the door when i feed the cats, leave it closed for an hour or more so they have time to eat without interruption. They'll work it out, I hope. Jazz is just a big baby, but as long as the door is closed he's fine. I think Sunshine might be a little afraid of Daisy. Funny animals.

April 5

Walking Sunshine every morning I'm seeing tiny tiny blooms that I hadn't noticed before. Blue eyed grass, the march of the soldier-like henbit, and the tiny baby blooms of chickweed; now the violets ~ in all colors and shades of colors. From Sunshine's view it's a sea of purple in some places. And moss ~ beautiful clumps of moss mostly beneath the trees, and all kinds of it. These early morning walks show me the red baby beginnings of peonies and today I see the little dark stalks of my painted ferns suddenly poking out to greet the sun. It is a beautiful day!

April 7

Another great day ahead, with maybe a sprinkle or two.

My back and legs are screaming, so it might as well rain!

Sunshine seems to understand and is content on her staked cable outside as long as she can see me, so all's well on her end. It's just that my legs need pampering today.

April 8
She's such a good pet. She and Daisy are becoming a bit friendlier, though I think they both are holding back their true feelings. Sunshine wants to play and Daisy wants to claw the nose that pokes her. So they just watch each other, and don't get very close. Jazz - ha. Jazz says 'No way'. He just resides in the closet for the moment.

April 10

I didn't get up early enough for Sunshine this morning so she chewed the corner off an old pillow that had seen better days. From that little tiny hole in the corner she very carefully pulled out about a ton of fiberfill stuffing, the kind that floats in the air with the slightest movement. So I've been chasing down little floating tufts of white stuff already. I could save the pillow no doubt, but she'd just do it again when I overslept. It's old and I should have already put it away along with my shoes and that little beaded decorative tie thing that she decided she didn't much care for. If she would ever learn to make a sound I might know when she wanted out. But she doesn't. Quietest dog ever. She was so proud of the white floating stuff she rolled in it while I tried to gather it all up for tossing. And she laughed. She sort of snorts when she laughs. That's about as loud as she ever gets.

The neighbors come by to see her and to tell her how beautiful she is. She loves it. Fine watch dog she is. She just sits there and lets all the love words soak in then she comes in and eats a corner off a pillow. Something about being royalty, I guess. Princess Sunshine.

She's sleeping now after having such a rough morning. It's a lot of work taking little clumps of stuffing out of a pillow and spreading them all around a room.

April 11

Rainy day is continuing here. Sunshine does not like rain but I reminded her that she had been out in the rain ~ sleet ~ snow for 7 months so she should be used to it by now.
Still she balked then I finally found my very large umbrella.
And a towel to wipe her feet on.

Her halo is slightly tilted.

Plus Sunshine in the rain is making me nutz.
The diva dog doesn't think she should have to get her golden hair damp. The diva mom is about tired of standing in the rain begging the golden dog to potty.

Next time I'll add pictures! Smiling

Jun 3, 2014 10:34 PM CST
Name: DaylilyOma2
Be a good day maker! Smile!
That was such fun to read. I am glad there will be more. If you do not want comments on here, just take mine out. I do not mind. Smiling
Jun 3, 2014 11:17 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Comments are always welcome anywhere!!
Thank you!
Jun 4, 2014 1:30 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
It was so much fun to read this Lovey dubby Lovey dubby
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
Jun 4, 2014 1:52 AM CST
Name: DaylilyOma2
Be a good day maker! Smile!
Hey, Vic! We are both night owls tonight. I have not been able to sleep so have been reading threads that Sharon has on Cubits. My eyes are weary now so I better try to close them. Group hug
Jun 4, 2014 3:30 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Sleep well Oma - I'm up for the day but I think there will be a nap sometime today. Thumbs up
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art

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