Monday, June 08, 2009


On Saturday, Hansoo & I drove up, with sweet, but lonesome Louie (our nearly 12-year-old Golden Retriever) in the SUV, and our hopes on hold. We were headed to Big Canoe, Georgia, to meet with folks from Big Canoe Animal Rescue. And specifically, to meet Afton, a beautiful German Shepherd for whom this wonderful rescue group found, and gave a chance.
The meeting between Louie and Afton was good, but it wasn't exactly love-at-first-sight for the dogs(However, Hansoo & I were infatuated with Afton, immediately!).
Afton appeared quite unsure, and Hansoo noticed she looked like she wanted to get back into the foster family's car, rather than get out and roam around a wooded area with strangers. And given her back-story, one can certainly see why:
she was found abandoned(!) with five puppies, with no food or water(!). Apparently, her owners left their home, and her with it. She was scared, hungry, weak, and terribly thin. The kind folks--including Dick & Sandy(her foster parents) and Carol(a Big Canoe organizer/home-reviewer for this fine rescue group)had managed in only a week, to get her spayed, and put 5 pounds of weight on her (still-protruding) bones. She's still terribly thin, but with puppy food to help her gain weight easily, she'll be great!
Three of her puppies have been adopted already, and the other two, Shiloh and Riley, may be seen at the official site for Big Canoe Animal Rescue:
As we were leaving this gorgeous community(there are about 8,000 acres, with several thousand homes, all integrated naturally)
we inquired about an Art Show --the first one ever held there--that we'd seen signs for. We had a chance to stop in, and while Hansoo entertained Louie, I saw some gorgeous pieces. It's a relaxing setting--a home surrounded by woods, filled with all kinds of art for sale...
"Hand-carved furniture, inspired by aviation" it says on the card,
by artist (and former career-Navy pilot!) Clay Hartman. I was able to speak with Clay, as well as the marvelous Eric Strauss, a sculptor specializing in metal(his iron piece featuring dogwoods, was delicate, and dangerous looking!) and came away quite impressed with both gentlemen.
It doesn't get any better than a hidden "Eden" of three lakes, mountain views and lush foilage(think "Pan's Labyrinth" --without the scariness), and doggie-adoption, and great pieces of art.And did I mention the hand- blown glass, including an artist who does Murano bowls? WOW.
(My secret dream, as per my "25 Random Things"(listed in "Older Potsts") at this blog, is to one day blow glass.)
The next day--Sunday--Carol and her pal Linda came out for a review of our home, to be certain we(Hansoo, Louie and I) were a good "match" for Afton. The ladies seemed impressed with our home, but I do not mean the size of it, or the fact that we live in a great neighborhood, or near parks for playing, or trails for walking. I believe they used the most important criteria for deciding if we should be able to adopt Afton:
that we have the patience; the reward-based, positive reinforcement-minded training; that we have room in our lives in terms of time and energy, and most of all, that we have love to offer her. I joked that we are "adopting a companion animal for our companion animal." And in a sense, that's true. I chose to adopt a German Shepherd not only because I am comfortable with that breed(scroll down to the entry on my Mom--Demetra, to see why!), but because Louie seems to have a penchant for "Herding" and "Working" breeds of dogs. He seems to enjoy their particularly high energy level, and excitement, as well as their herding instincts.
In less than four hours, Afton was performing the play-bow to Louie, and romping a bit with him in the backyard, and on the terrace level.
Afton already waits for me to lead her into each new room in the house. Afton has assumed--so far--the "omega"(last one in pack) role in the pack, which is ideal. Hansoo is alpha(leader of pack), with me sharing that role, especially when he's not present.. Louie is "beta"(second) and as the "last" in the heirarchy, Afton can relax and know she'll be taken care of.
We'll be going up to Big Canoe again, later this week. We'll be stopping in at that Art Show, too. It runs through July 19th. Be sure to go see it!
More details on that, here:
Photo Credits:
Top photo, our first look at Afton--this picture is from the ad for Afton,
which ran at Big Canoe Animal Rescue's website.
Bottom photo: Afton and me, early Sunday afternoon, in our house--Afton's new home. Not shown: Hansoo(who shot this photo) and our sweet furry boy, Louie, who were playing off-camera.
No one can save the world, but you can save a piece of the world, one dog at a time.
Peace, kids.


Lydia said...

I am so delighted for you four! What a great family, and two lucky dogs for you and Hansoo as parents. The photo of you and Afton is priceless; you look so happy!

I wrote in earlier comments that we adopted our Abby from Texas Old English Sheepdog Rescue. We had such a terrible shock last week when notice was emailed to all members of the sudden passing of Steve Schott at age 65. We're heartbroken, as he fostered Abby not once, but twice, and it was through his hard work that he paired us with Abby and arranged for the van to drive her to Oregon from Texas. Go to the video here at You Tube to see one of Steve's calls from Texas, with Abby seeming to recognize his voice.
The group, the work will continue but we've lost an angel in losing Steve.
Hurray for the people who foster and who adopt these dogs!

betmo said...

congrats! that's similar to how i got my little jabba the hutt kitten sophie :) she's kinda chunky these days. people moved out and left a litter of kittens in a closet to die. aren't people great? i am glad that afton has a great home and that louie seems to be taking to her. lots of love in that house :)

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

good you do that!!!
I don't think, I have the capacity to take care of an animal, that's why I don't do that sort of thing, because it's like adopting a child, you have to take full responsibility for it!!!

But on the other hand, there are plenty of wild animals living in my garden and they seem to be doing quite well on their own and look happy to me.

I really liked your post below on WWII, the actor, your grandad etc.
I have also written a poem on that, some time ago, but it's still fitting:

and here is something else I would like you to look at:

the religious aspect might interest you, I think.

I don't know, if you have done this yet about yourself.
But why don't you write 10 things about yourself as well?

love, sarah sofia

Lisa Allender said...

Lydia--I posted back a reply as per your loss of your dearfriend, Mr. Schott(actually, I guess it's TWOlosses--your dear sheepdog and him). I watched that video when firstyou sent it, andit's HILARIOUS, and touching! All you readers out there, CLICK IT ON!!
I AM tickled in that pic with Afton, even if I am sleepy, makeup-free, and messy-haired! My eyes are smiling, even though they're tired!
Thank you for all your encouragement!
Betmo--Abandoned kittens in a closet? Good grief!
I belong to Alley Cat Allies(I cannot have cats, as we are both allergic, but I support Alley Cat Allies TNR--Trap, Neuter, Release--a humane program for UNadoptable, "feral cats".)
Sarah Sofia Ganborg--Thank you for your sweet words on my Grandpa Reed Allender& WW II/the actor/etc.(see post below, for those of you who have not read it), and your support in general.
10 Things? I posted "25 Random Things About Me" some time ago. You may scroll down to "Older POsts" until you see it--I believe that post was made in Feburary--but be warned: I'm unwaveringly honest in my statements! ;)

an average patriot said...

Afton is beautiful Glad everything worked out. That sounds like a beautiful place in the woods. Funny but there is a glass blower near me. That looks like fun but hot and dangerous. By the way I am almost afraid to ask but what happened to the pups? Not to be funny but that is a great picture and you guys loo0k... Oh forget it!

Lisa Allender said...

Average Patriot--You're kind to say it's a great picture. And yeah, Afton & I DO look-alike(if I'm not flattering myself too much!).
As for the pups, maybe you read over the story a bit too quickly. Three are already adopted, the other two are being "fostered" until a "forever home(s)" is/are found. I even included a link in this post, so you can see Afton's puppies at Big Canoe Animal Rescue's site!
Peace, bro.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Beautiful dog

Did you know that the German Shepherd had to change its name during the two world wars?

That's why we still (erroneously) refer to them as Alsatians (from the Alsace region)

Sad but true xx

Selma said...

I have tears in my eyes after reading this. It makes me feel so good when abandoned or neglected animals find a loving home. Bless you, Lisa. You make the world a better place!

Lots of woofs to the lovely Afton. XXX

Georg said...

Bonjour Lisa,

Wish you and your family lots of joy with this fine looking intelligent dog.

By the way, there are people who prefer dogs to cats and other who prefer cats to dogs.

Do you have any idea what distinguishes those two groups??

Let's not talk about those who have both!


Lisa Allender said...

Pixies--I think I heard that(German Shepherds having name changes), but forgot all abou it. Incidentally, my parents were realy into German Shepherds--they raised many litters(as very responsible,licensed breeders in the 1970's).You can read more about that, by scrolling down to the May 2009 post on my Mom(Demetra's) birthday.
Selma--Hi there! Gee, thank you. The "find[ing] a loving home" applies to us(Hansoo, Louie, and me) too--Afton's not the only one who feels happier now, about this home! ;)
Georg--Hi there. She is indeed intelligent, and a really good-natured dog.
I don't know what "distinguishes" cat-people from dog-people. I'd say cat-people are a bit more "reserved", but that's not always true. The super-outgoing people always seem to have doggies.
But my sis, Tina, is super-social, and she has two cats, and 2 kittens!
And there lots of folks who like having ALL animals, too! ;)

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

Lisa, check out this link

there is another award for you. it's a really cute one and naturally I have though of both you and brother Tim...

an average patriot said...

Nope perfect I agree! I must have gone through it to fast. I looked fr a link but missed it. I will go back thanks!

Lisa Allender said...

Average Patriot--DO check out the link in the story, to see Afton's cute pups!

Karen J. Weyant said...

A bit late to the party, I see, but congrats! What a beautiful dog!

Lisa Allender said...

Karen Weyant--Thank you. Your input is always appreciated! Peace,lady.

Rhiannon said...

Hi Lisa,

What a wonderful story. Congrats on your new furry family member. I love all animals. They are so unconditional in their love towards us humans.

Wish that foster kids that are adopted would have the adopted parents checked out much more with those agencies like they do with the pets. It's bizarre and so sad how some of these poor kids end up in some awful homes..I've witnessed it and be around a lot of foster kids.

You look so happy and glowing with your new family very happy for you and how it all worked out.



an average patriot said...

Oh I did Lisa, sorry, I got tied up! They are cute as hell. I must admit I get mushy over baby anything's.

Lisa Allender said...

Rhi--Thank you. Yes, children up for fostering or adoption should also be guaranteed of a good home!
Average Patriot--Thanks. Those puppies of our new family member, Afton, are soooo cute...and those two are still available!

Larry said...

Good for you to give this dog a good home and yourself another lifelong friend in the process.

More should do this.

Dustin Brookshire said...

She's precious!

Lisa Allender said...

Larry--Yeah, we feel like WE'RE the winners in this! I hope some family, or two different families
will consider adopting one--or both--of her cute puppies!
Dustin--Hi there. Yeah, she IS precious!

poetwithadayjob said...

Congrats what a total cutie! I am dog sitting for a German Shep with a cute face like that for a few weeks!

Lisa Allender said...

Hi Melissa of Poet With A Day Job--
Thanks, she IS a cutie!
Dog-sitting? I used to love doing that. It's a fun job, and can earn one good $$ too! ;)

Dave Dubya said...

What a sweetie!!

I'm so happy for you.

We have a shepherd going on 15 years now. Lucy Jean still loves going out for walks and chasing squirrels. We both are getting a little slower these days, but we love to go out and keep an eye on the neighborhood. She is very protective of our eldrly neighbors, too.

She also has the difficult job of shepherding three cats. They all love her and look to her as a big sister who chases all those nasty tomcats and foxes away.

Lisa Allender said...

Dave Dubya--Thank you for your sweet comments, and encouragement!
would LOVE to see a pic of Lucy-Jean.
Peace, bro.

earthtoholly said...

Hi Lisa and thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Afton is so beautiful and so lucky to now have you. The background story is just heartbreaking. I'll never understand why some people take on a dog, but none of the responsibility. Lucy was lucky as she was born under the care of a foster home, so she has never known the hardships that so many others have endured.

Lisa Allender said...

Earth-To-Holly, It's we who are lucky to have Afton...and what a great little "sister" she is to our old Louie, too!

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