One of the most frequent comments made about our sanctuary is that it must be heaven. And most of the time it truly is. Our little guys love each other as much as we love them, and that is our definition of heaven.
I must admit that on occasion we get a bit overwhelmed with the work. It takes quite a bit to take care of thirty+ dogs, especially when many are seniors or special needs babies. Fifteen of our dogs live in our home with access to the yards through doggie doors. Another group of ten live on the back porch that we enclosed years ago. We have two dogs that live at the barn, and six large dogs that are split between two yard areas out back. We also care for and love four rabbits, two cats, six horses, and one ground squirrel.
Feeding and filling water bowls is always first on the agenda in the morning. Typically this takes a little over an hour and a half. Then morning meds must be handed out, and anyone that wasn’t feeling well the previous day gets a once over. As our morning hours begin to disappear we try to sneak in some cleaning of the yards, brushing the dogs that need it, and making sure each dog gets handled and loved on. After lunch we run errands, wash dishes, sweep and mop floors, and on occasion I even do a little dusting. There is always laundry and cooking to do when I can squeeze it in. I make at least three or four trips to the vet clinic each month. Rick hauls and stores approximately twelve hundred pounds of dog food, horse grain, rabbit pellets, and cat food each month. In between all this I am now trying to keep a Facebook page updated and write this blog. Rick works part time in his welding business, and works to keep the tractor, the vehicles, and everything else mechanical running.
Because the majority of our dogs are seniors or special needs, grief enters into our world all too often. I have held quite a few little ones while we fulfill our most difficult but perhaps most important task of ending their pain. Rick buries each of our babies wrapped in their own blanket, while the tears pour down his face. But there is not a lot of time to wallow in that grief as the babies we still have need us.
The evening hours bring some relief from the hurried pace of our days. We often sit together in the yard and watch the little guys run and play. Rick wrestles and crawls around on the ground with the dogs while I hold the ill, the recovering, or the emotionally needy dogs in my lap.
Our lifestyle is not for everyone, not even for everyone who loves dogs, because the price is high. Thankfully, the rewards are even higher. We go to bed each night exhausted but extremely grateful for each day in our own little slice of heaven.