Mother’s Day 2017 Thoughts

Mother’s Day. It’s a special day honoring the women whose love and influence has shaped us into who we are today. This is my mother, the strongest woman I know. She is a business owner (shameless plug here), lover of the outdoors, and has taught me the importance of loving animals. She has always been the perfect balance of friend and mother, and if I can someday be half the mother she is, I’ll consider myself a good parent. I’m so grateful to have had her support over the years, including my MSW graduation THREE years ago today.

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Bottom line: Treasure the time you have with your mother, because only when you move away will you realize how much having her close by was so wonderful.

Mother’s Day can also be a very rough time for those who have either lost their mothers or desire to be one and it hasn’t happened yet. It is easy to feel alone when you’re scrolling Facebook and see everyone’s Mother’s Day posts. You know what?

You’re not alone.

There is someone else out struggling just like you are.

More often than not, someone has endured a hardship and kept silent about it.

Lastly, stop scrolling.

On this particular Mother’s Day, I was fortunate to be surrounded by my husband; my church family; lunch with neighbors who took us under their wing and act as surrogate parents; and my fur babies, all five of them.

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This dog has the good life.

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So content in her special spot.

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So many personalities in these felines.

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Until the time comes for me to be a mother, I will savor every moment of my fur baby motherhood and always cherish those who have made a difference in my life: My own mother, my grandmothers I lost too soon, and my mother-in-law. Thank you for all that you are to me. I love you.

Shelter Spotlight

5.14.17-ADOPTED!

Meet Elsa!! My husband and I met this pretty little lady while walking dogs at our local humane society today. I love walking dogs and interacting with them just as much as my husband does, but I love being behind the camera and trying to capture their personalities too. This darling Boxer was a gem to walk and clearly not afraid of a few photos 😉 I mean, seriously. Who could resist that grin?!

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If you are interested in learning more about Elsa or any of her available sheltermates, please contact the Greenbrier Humane Society at 304-645-4775. We are located in Lewisburg, WV.

Rest, Oh Sweet Rest.

What. A. Week. It was one of those weeks where Friday night couldn’t come soon enough. I bet my husband wishes he would have stayed at his rotation dorm all week instead of coming home!

To begin, we were hit with a massive windstorm that took down 1/4 of the humongus pine tree in our front yard. All the limbs are now out of our driveway, but one section of our yard needs a ton of work to clean up the mess. Thankfully, it fell sideways and not backwards…we wouldn’t have a place to live if it had. I went home to PA over the weekend, and although it certainly wasn’t a wasted trip, I was upset I took a day and a half off of work for something that didn’t even happen. Driving is exhausting. Then Monday night around 8pm, our dogs start going nuts, growling, hair on end, etc. A car broke down in front of our house and two young guys’ Subaru let them sit. Matt will back me up that these guys were not with it AT ALL. Can’t say what drug(s) they were on, but it was obvious it was something. They were covered in mud, as was the car. Turns out they were at the river and the car was stuck in a mud hole. I’m shocked they even got the car out of a mud hole as big  as they one they were in! We gave them until the morning to get their vehicle towed out of our yard. Sure enough: We were woken up the next morning at 5am to the sound of a car trying to start and the dogs barking like crazy. They left by 6:00 and we haven’t seen them since. We got the car towed the next day after much arguing with the Sheriff department and towing company about why they should receive a bill and not us. Do they know their car is in the impound lot? Have no clue, but am thankful it’s out of our yard. Now I just hope they don’t come back….. There was usual chaos at work too, but that’s bound to happen when you are working with people.

Having tonight to myself gave me some time to reflect on this past week and how I get so caught up in the business and stress of life that I don’t take time to do nothing and enjoy it. According to John Lennon, time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. I better start taking his advice. My self-care is terrible, and as a Social Worker, that’s one thing that’s so important to teach our clients. I work out and eat healthy, but when it comes to actually relaxing, I need to follow the examples below:

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Ahh, the life of a hound dog. Check out Meadow Mutts and Mew Mews blog for more laughter on this rescued pup!

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Why use a dog bed when the pillows are available?

I have coloring books, board games, cards, my computer, and lots of bath bombs to help me relax, but what are some other ways you turn off your brain?

A Shelter’s Wish List

Those who know me know my love of animals. More importantly, my love and desire to rescue animals. There are way too many unwanted animals in the world and not enough adopters, which is absolutely devastating when you think about the love that animals give us. Below is one of my favorite pictures of my dogs, adopted seven months a part from our local humane society.

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Miner (L) found his forever home with us after having two other owners previously. Leia (R) was a stray who found her forever home with us after no one claimed during her month and a half stay at the humane society.

Anyway, this post is not about the benefits of adopting a pet (although I will gladly write one if desired),  but more so on the ways humane societies need our help to continue running. They do incredible work and depend heavily on the support of the community to keep their doors open. You don’t necessarily have to donate financially, either. There are lots of other ways to get involved.

  1. GIVE YOUR TIME. If you have an extra hour a week, why not walk some dogs or play with the cats? Not only are you socializing the animals and exposing them to people, but you’ll be getting a workout as well. If you walk four dogs in an hour, think of the cardio workout you’re getting without even trying! With cats, socialization is extremely important. They are cooped in cages all day and usually do not get out as much as the dogs. Providing interaction and exposing them to people is a fantastic way to teach them to be social and more friendly than if they were never around anyone at all.
  2. VOLUNTEER AT AN EVENT. Often throughout the year, humane societies host adoption events or fundraisers and could use help with the event. At an adoption event, you could be needed to transport animals back and forth, take pictures, advertise, plan, or actually participate in the event. Fundraisers could use your help with advertising, planning, or running the event while it is going on. If you desire to get involved that way, you can call your local organization and see when you would be needed.
  3. TRANSPORT. Depending on where you live, there may be an online Facebook Transport Group where you help transport animals to local rescues or adopters. It’s a great way to network and meet fellow animal lovers, as well as know you’re saving lives one car ride at a time. I transport sometimes for I-81 Transports and highly encourage you to look into it if you are able.
  4. JOIN THE BOARD. Are you into budgeting, nonprofit management, or simply want to be behind the scenes instead of on the frontline? Joining a board may be perfect for you. You will have a say in how the facility is run and can work towards change for a better environment for so many lives.
  5. DONATE WISH LIST ITEMS. It takes a great deal of items and manpower to run a facility of 50+ dogs and 30+ cats, and some shelters have many more than that at a time. Items such as laundry detergent, dryer sheets, bleach, sponges, rags, blankets, and towels are always needed. Leashes and collars are always welcome as well. This is a short wishlist from my local humane society, although this particular list is not inclusive to everything they need. 16716313_1338494486188705_5167446215428147941_o
  6. MONETARY DONATIONS. Not everyone has money burning a hole in their pocket (a med school family knows this all too well), but if you do have some extra cash, feel free to donate it. I am a firm believer in donating to local smaller agencies instead of larger corporations simply because then I know exactly where my money is going.
  7. SOCIAL MEDIA. In this day in age, the majority of people have a cell phone, iPad, or at least a laptop. If you have a camera, snap a picture of animal needing a home and share it. With the way posts are spread online, your post could reach someone three states away who falls in love with the picture. Boom. The animal could have a home. Social media isn’t all bad!

This list certainly could be more involved, but I hope you get the point that there are many ways to help out animals in need. It gives you a purpose and sense of happiness as well knowing you are playing a role in changing their lives. Are you involved in any way with a humane society or rescue group? I would absolutely love to hear your stories or suggestions! Sirius, Eris, and Harper say thank you 🙂

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Sirius, rescued from a hoarders home of 32 cats.

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Eris, adopted from a feral organization.

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Harper, loving life after being saved during the flood of 2016.

A Lesson Learned From a Dog’s View

With all that is going on in our country right now, here is a picture of two creatures who could care less who you voted for, the color of your skin, where you are from, or what your beliefs are. They simply want to be accepted and trust they’ll be led in the right direction, even during periods of unrest. We can learn so much from dogs….<3

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Miner and Leia, two dogs who once unwanted, found their happy place in this world. I couldn’t be more grateful for all they teach me everyday. 

*This is not a political post designed to spark controversy or arguments. Enjoy it for the cute pups in all their glory who absolutely love hamming it up for photos.

A Real Life Venting Session

Has there ever been a week that just 100% kicked your butt and you thought, “This is just a really bad nightmare and I’ll wake up, right?” This week was that nightmare, and I am so thankful it’s over. Don’t get me wrong; there are some weeks that are difficult, but this took the cake. Let me start off with what happened nine days ago to give you the full effect.

As stated in my Thanksgiving post, Leia got ahold of an umbrella and chewed off half the plastic handle. She spent 48 hours at the vet (including Thanksgiving Day) and we weren’t sure if surgery would be necessary or not. Thankfully, she was able to pass the plastic pieces and had to be on a specific gastrointestinal diet for three days before allowing her to eat her regular food again. That Royal Canin food is not only expensive, but stinks too. So glad we don’t need to another can of that anytime soon… My husband and I have been watching her closely over the past week and are fairly certain the worst is over. I’m glad to have my precious pittie back to normal.

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My brother and his wife, along with their dog, Gavin, came to visit Friday into Saturday, and we had a wonderful time. They have been to West Virginia to visit three times since we moved here and it has been cold and gloomy every single time. We are clearly terrible at planning trips to see each other. We took a trip to Beartown State Park for a hike, saw Dr. Strange in theaters (Benedict Cumberbatch is equally as hot as Dr. Strange as he is Sherlock, fyi), spent some time enjoying Small Business Saturday, and basically just caught up after not seeing each other for five months. Even though PA really isn’t that far away, it’s just enough time and distance that it’s too much for a day trip and not quite enough for a short plane ride. My brother has always been one of my best friends, and thankfully for me, his wife is the sister I never had.

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Beartown State Park

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A man and his faithful companion.

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Family is everything.

When Monday hit, I was already exhausted from the busy weekend and dealing with a sick pup. I should have known the week would hit me like a ton of bricks! For starters, Matt began his month long pediatrics rotation. Although he’s having a good experience, the hours are long and like the beginning of every rotation, it’s a new place to get used to. My car had to have the torque converter replaced in my engine, and thank heavens for extended warranties. Shout out to my dad for making sure I had one because I got my car checked out at 97,656 miles and my warranty ended at 100,000. Talk about luck! The dealership is an hour away, so I missed work and spent four hours alone driving taking care of the vehicle. Now Matt’s car is acting up and has to go to the garage on Monday. Jerking him back and forth with loss of power is not something I want to mess with when he drives an hour to and from rotations every day. Ever heard of being car poor? Well, over the past nine days, I’ve realized that it’s possible to be car poor, pet poor, AND medical school poor at the same time. I swear, if we didn’t have a savings account, we wouldn’t be eating for the next two weeks. Has it been a full moon?! It rained for two days straight, and that combined with the sudden change in temperature, caused me to experience a nasty sinus infection that resulted in an Urgent Care visit for treatment. For real, those infections are nothing to mess with either.

Despite all this, I’m trying to think positive because, at the end of the day, I live in a nice little house, have an amazing marriage, and a job I enjoy with the best coworkers. Oh, and I am a rescue mama to five incredible pets who allow me to live vicariously through them. Life is good, and it’s important to remember that always.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19  

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Yes, it is as cozy as it looks!

 

 

A Day of Thanks

No matter your thoughts on Thanksgiving, it’s still a day where most people are off work and can relax with family and friends. For me, I am simply happy eating yummy food, spending time with my husband, and possibly get a head start on my online Black Friday shopping 🙂 This year, I’m extremely thankful my dog, Leia, is going to be okay. She ate half the handle off an umbrella (note to pet parents: don’t let an umbrella fall next to the toy bin) and got plastic in her abdomen and intestines. She’s been at the vet for the past 36 hours severely dehydrated and monitored closely. If she didn’t end up passing the plastic pieces, she would surgery first thing in the morning. Well, the vet called earlier today and said she had started eating and drinking, along with taking medication. If she is like this tomorrow, chances are she’ll be home by lunchtime. I’m so grateful we know our dog enough that if she’s acting out of character, we can pick up on it. We know her daily patterns and when that changed, our pet parent cues kicked in and got in touch with the vet. If we hadn’t caught it in time, she could have faced an entire bowel obstruction or bowel perforation, neither of which are good. I had a wonderful day with my other fur babies and Matt, but I am especially thankful Leia can come home and will be herself again.

For those at the medical school who aren’t able to be with friends and/or family on Thanksgiving, the President and his wife host Thanksgiving meal in the new student center. Matt and I took advantage of this free meal and shared some time with friends we don’t see too often. Overall, it was a wonderful meal, and I’m especially thankful for the WVSOM community that surrounds us.

No matter how you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope it was a day of rest and relaxation. Happy Thanksgiving from The Smiths!!

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