What Happened to Summer?

Remember when school let out before the end of May and didn’t start again until late August or early September? Now it ends in June and begins in mid-August.

Why is it necessary our children be in school so many days? Yes, I realize they’ve expanded the holidays, and I’m also aware for working parents, school can be a godsend, but really, do our kids need to spend so much time in a classroom?IMG_2988

I work in an elementary school. It’s considered a poverty level school. To be honest, many of their parents do not see education as a priority. While I don’t agree, I do think there should be a line drawn and allow our children to be just that-children.

Playtime, (and I’m not including constant video games), social interactions, and family time should also be considered important.

Many of our kids are street smart, and some have experienced or live in a lifestyle no child should have to endure. But keeping them inside and force feeding them information they have to retain to move2017-05-08 (2) to the next level, or maybe they’re not mentally or emotionally prepared to acquire isn’t the answer, either.

To be fair, I’ve encountered quite a few who’d rather be at school because their home life is miserable. Sadly, school is their haven. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution to solve the problem.

I just know that these shortened summers don’t give students enough time to decompress after spending 180 days in a stressful classroom environment. And to be frank, teachers need a bit longer downtime.

It’s too bad we can’t turn back the clock and have the powers in charge put our children’s needs first. Kids need to be kids

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Debra Jupe is a romance/suspense author and she likes to read genres similar to what she writes, such as Sandra Brown, Lisa Jackson, and Linda Howard. She can be found at http://www.amazon.com and https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/.

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The Most Beautiful Placed I’ve Been

Summer usually means vacation time, and it’s always great to get away. For a writer a change of scenery is imperative to “get out in the world”. It definitely refreshes the mind, body and soul and spawns creativity.

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Ferry ride to Bolivar Island at Sunset

I’ve traveled some in my life, only not nearly enough. I’m always hankering to go again, and I’m especially drawn to the ocean. Don’t get me wrong, a vacation is a vacation and I’m up for a road trip any day, similar to the botanical garden excursion I took with friends last week.

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Botanical Garden’s Ft. Worth, Texas

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while I do yearn to walk white, sandy beaches at sunset-holding a glass of wine, of course, I find a lot of nature’s handiwork quiet lovely. All I have to do is get in my car and drive a short distance.

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A journey into the unknown…

Manhattan is one of my favorite cities to visit. There’s something magical strolling the sidewalks on a warm summer night. The sounds of the metropolis as a distant saxophone hums a jazz tune in the background, while inhaling mouthwatering scents from nearby eateries is heavenly.

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Downtown Manhattan at night

A trip to Vegas always gets my adrenaline pumping, particularly at night when the strip is lit up and transforms the city into another world. The sheer creativity of the hotels and buildings never ceases to amaze. But its not just the twinkling lights that are superb. It’s God’s breathtaking images that surrounds the hub that adds the real magnificent spender.

Unfortunately, I haven’t traveled much out of the U.S., but it’s on the list to get out into this great world. I aim to view other countrysides, visit historical architectural feats, and become enchanted by the countless sites that are available. I want to see it all, just once, but I’ll always return to is the Caribbean, a place I have been, and can’t wait to go back.

Until then I’ll stay in my home state of Texas where I can discover incredible beauty on just about any journey. Most spots are a days drive away, and some places only take a few hours. Each are well worth the time.

And the last place I’ve been that I find quite stunning is my own home. I love to spend time with my best friends and write books!12718310_10205803565356544_4280931478357604152_n

 

 

 

 

Geology instructor Darla Hennessy’s dreams are shattered when her longtime boyfriend dumps her to marry someone else. On the rebound, she lets a friend drag her to a party where she stumbles into a former teen idol Eric Boyd, a Scottish rocker.

Eric has one goal: return to the industry as a legitimate musician and earn the respect of his peers. But his manager is missing, someone is murdering his former band mates, and he might be next on the killer’s list. The last thing he needs is a relationship.

Despite their growing chemistry, Darla is wary of getting involved too. But when the killer attacks Eric, she can’t turn her back. On the run, they have to stay one step ahead of a madman even as their attraction heats up. It may be love, but can they survive long enough to find out?

 

Debra Jupe is a romance/suspense author and she likes to read genres similar to what she writes, such as Sandra Brown, Lisa Jackson, and Linda Howard. She can be found at http://www.amazon.com and https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/.

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Are You a Friend of Social Media?

Ever wonder what we did with our spare time before social media entered our lives? For many, scrolling social media outlets is an essential part of the day. Home and work computers or our phones allow us to check sites anytime, anywhere.

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Why has this growing, sensation become such an important aspect of the public’s lives? According to Science in our World, social networking is an instrument of communication. So, basically, it’s a way that we can talk to or keep up with each other through the web.

While there are tons of choices, and I’m on several, I tend to gravitate toward Facebook, like others in my age bracket. Again, what’s the draw? For me, it’s a connection.

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I’ve been very fortunate to have kept in touch with three or four friends since we were in grade school, and I graduated high school over forty years ago. Pretty cool, right?

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But since the birth of social media, i.e. Facebook, I probably have reunited with over 500 high school friends, which is wonderful. I find out what’s happened in their lives. Many times, we PM to discover common ups and downs that’s occurred over these past 40+ years. Occasionally, an in-person meeting ensues, or at least I know their face when I see them at high school reunions and I hope, vica versa.

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I’ve also managed to keep in touch former and current coworkers. Since there’s little time for true social interactions with my fellow employees, it’s nice to view their families, interests, and activities outside the workplace. As for former coworkers, you know the ones you promised to stay in contact with after one of you leaves, but you don’t…now I can and I do.

This is also true of my author friends. We’re introverts who would rather be home in front of our laptop instead of socializing, (although when we do meet, we gab about writing, which is always a rush). FB allows me to know about their current releases, learn about their latest projects, and I can support, like, and share.

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One of the coolest social media features is meeting new friends, folks I’ve never met. I’m privileged to have friends from all over the world. Some live in places I’ve dreamt of visiting and others reside in places I’ve never heard of. Either way, discovering foreign lands, customs, and celebrating our differences has been an enlightening and fun experience.

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And finally, social media has helped me reconnect with my family. Strange? I’m speaking beyond my children and mom, because I’m going to bug my kids whether they like it or not, and my mom’s going to bug me whether I like it or not.

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I’m talking about my cousins, uncles, my cousin’s children, etc. Our linking on FB has made us closer. My extended family gets together on special occasions, something that we’d discontinued after older family members died.

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And it’s not only for holidays. We’ve gotten to know each other as adults. We’ve found we have many things in common, and we genuinely like one another and we enjoy spending time together.

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I also have a few friends from my father’s side of the family, a line I’d lost touch with after he passed away. That’s also been a nice perk.

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Everyone has an opinion concerning social media. What are your thoughts? Time suck or time well used? Leave me a comment and tell me your viewpoints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within twenty-four hours, Katie Drapier has lost her job, become a murder suspect in her former boss’s death, and run into her school girl crush, Jack Pharrell, who stomped on her heart fourteen years ago.

Jackson Pharrell is down on his luck. Nothing seems to be going his way. Things go from bad to worse when he discovers a dead body, who turns out to be the former boss of an old friend’s pesky sister. Plagued with guilt from the past, Jack feels obliged to help her find the murderer while ducking a murder charge, even if it means breaking the law. Together, they dodge police, the real killer, and the growing heat between them. The plan is to rise above their woes and get on with their lives. Falling in love is not an option.

Debra Jupe reads and writes romance suspense-thrillers that are sizzling, dark, and fun. Her favorite authors are Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, and Lisa Jackson, and she aspires to join them on the best selling ranks some day. You can find her books at http://wwwthewildrosepress.com and http://www.amazon.com

 

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Welcome fellow Rose author, Sandra Masters

Sandra pens amazing Regency tales that whisk the reader back in time. Everyone give her a warm hello!

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A bit about Sandra,

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, N.J. at the age of fourteen, Sandra Masters retired from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, and settled in the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park with her husband, Ron, and two dogs, Silky and Sophie. She traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency Era and never looked back.

She wrote her first book at the age of thirteen and since then she’s always traveled with pen and notebook for her writing experiences. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She deemed it a pleasure to leave the corporate world behind decades later.

Nothing she expected, but everything she desired. Her business card lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

Hot off the presses!

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Allow SANDRA MASTERS to transport you to the Georgian Regency era with her new Book Five of the Duke Series, ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE. Sometimes, in the middle of ordinary life, LOVE gives us a fairy tale. Sandra Masters is an unapologetic story teller. She used to read fairy tales, and now she writes them.

http://amzn.to/2p0h4bu       Amazon US  $2.99 through June 21st pre-order discounted

http://amzn.to/2oUCF6D       Amazon UK

http://bit.ly/2qx0Dr0             The Wild Rose Press through June 24th – Publisher

When a high-spirited beauty disrupts the world of a duke who follows the rules, sparks fly, and passion ignites. The gossamer thread of sensuality and sexuality weaves through the tapestry of this novel.

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Author’s Notes:

In 2015, I contracted my first novel, Once Upon a Duke, Book One of the Duke Series with The Wild Rose Press, which started my journey with the series. But the characters in ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE, Raven, Duke of Ravensmere and Lady Samantha Winston, haunted my writing life.

With Book Five in this series, ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE was accepted, and my lifelong dream of publishing this story became a reality. What did it take? Cutting the too-long epic by 57,000 words was a prodigious task.  I worked like a dervish, so my Raven and Samantha could see the light of a publishing day. I gave them cameo appearances in each of my books so I wouldn’t forget that they begged to earn a place in the series. Seven years later, they made their long awaited debut

Now, I’m happy to say that ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE has an official release date of June 21, 2017.  

www.authorsandramasters.com

Once Upon A Duke

My Divinely Decadent Duke

Thorn, Son of a Duke

The Duke’s Magnificent Bastard

One Night With A Duke

Amazon | Kobo | BN | Apple iBookstore | The Wild Rose Press

Follow Sandra Masters on Facebook

Follow Sandra Masters on Twitter

 

Once in a lifetime

In the middle of ordinary life

LOVE gives us a FAIRY TALE.

I used to read fairy tales. Now I write them. Hope you enjoy my work for it is my passion and obsession. Have a great day.

Sandra Masters, unapologetic story teller.

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The Song Remembers When

As I approach my sixth decade, I’ve come to realize the music I enjoyed growing up means more to me than ever. Songs that I listened to as a teenager seemed to hold a profound significance to my past.

I think this is true for all of us. The power of an old song can trigger vivid memories and can transport us back in time. Those songs we quickly turned up the volume to hear are woven into a neural tapestry and can entwine us to people, seasons, and locations we’ve encountered throughout our lifespan.

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Researchers have uncovered evidence that suggests our brains are bound to the music we listened to as teenagers. We are tightly bonded to those songs as opposed to what we hear as adults, and the connection to our youth doesn’t weaken as we age.

A series of recent studies have found that listening to music engages broad neural networks in the brain, including brain regions responsible for motor actions, emotions, and creativity. Interestingly, it appears that if you haven’t heard a song in years, the neural tapestry representing that song stays purer and the song will evoke stronger specific memories, while memories linked to overplayed songs can become diluted because the neural network is constantly being updated.2017-06-18 (4)

In other words, musical nostalgia isn’t just a cultural phenomenon, but a neutronic command. And no matter how sophisticated our tastes may grow; our memories remain attached to songs we obsessed over during adolescence.

An example:

1973 my family, best friend, Linda, and I took a trip to California. Back then, taking a two week vacation from work wasn’t unheard of, and Dad liked to do an extended road trip along the western coast.

My parents had just purchased a new car, a gold Ford Maverick. We were ready to cruise. The drive and the beginnings of the journey are pretty fuzzy, and the visit doesn’t become clear until that brand new vehicle started to “cut out” during mid-trip.

Instead of an afternoon, oohing and awing over movie stars homes, we spent the day at a Sears Automotive Center in downtown Hollywood. Linda and I remained in the backseat while my parents went inside. They were kind enough to leave the radio on. Linda, I believe was either reading or taking a nap. I watched people.

The opening cords of the Sounds of Silence, by Simon and Garfunkel began to play—I realize this song was released in the 60’s…but to this day if I hear the tinkling intro, I’m transported to 1973, and I’m sitting in the backseat of a Ford, marveling at the city.

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The day was sunny, but the air possessed a dark sheen, smog maybe? We were surrounded by a mass of buildings that seemed messy and unbalanced, but I was fascinated just the same. Movement was all around me, but everything appeared to slow down as the first strains began.

Hello darkness, my old friend,

I’ve come to talk with you again,

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Probably my writer’s imagination, but that’s how my memory works.

I tried to think of songs past 1979 and connect them to a memory, but I couldn’t. Even though I married and had my first child in the 80’s, I can’t recall the music I listened to in my 20’s, unless I hear it played. And although the emotional relationship isn’t as strong, it doesn’t stop me from bouncing to all my favorites.

What songs bring back emotional memories from your past?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debra Jupe reads and writes romance suspense-thrillers that are sizzling, dark, and fun. Her favorite authors are Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, and Lisa Jackson, and she aspires to join them on the best selling ranks some day. You can find her books at http://wwwthewildrosepress.com and http://www.amazon.com

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The Last Day

Who remembers the last day of school? Yeah, I don’t recall much either. I began reflecting the other day, because that’s what we authors do, reflect, during dismissal at the school where I’m employed. I searched the outgoing faces, mainly the fifth graders to see if it had hit them, yet. That moment that smacks square in the heart.

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This is it. I won’t be coming back here.

My finale at Robinson High School occurred, strolling across the football field, (which is no longer used, by the way), happened in late May, back in 1976. Forty-one years ago, if you’re not inclined to do the math.

My graduating class was small compared to today’s standards. Everyone knew everyone. We were considered a good group of kids, and in spite of the normal secluded social circles and cliques, we were a fairly close knit bunch. IMG_3010

I wasn’t considered a good student. Most of the classes bored me, and I found myself daydreaming instead of paying attention, and my grades showed my lack of interest.

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Nor I did I participate in a lot of activities. I did join band in the sixth grade and stayed throughout my time at RHS. Yep, I was a band nerd. I also made the color guard team, and those two organizations took up a bulk of my spare time.

As far as popularity went, I wasn’t considered a part of the “in” crowd, although I don’t think I was unpopular, either. I had friends, many good ones, and yes, I even went out on a few dates.

Most of my personal occurrences were due to my choices, even if didn’t realize I made the decisions, and my lack of involvement had little impact on my life after I left school. Overall, my time in the classroom/hallways left a positive mark in the memory bank, and even if I don’t remember that final day, I do have many fond memories, especially with great friends. These were kids I grew up with. I unrealistically assumed these people would always be a part of my life.

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Only they weren’t. Once I moved from the area, I lost touch with most. I’m fortunate to have kept a handful for the last four plus one decades.

Social media, opened up a new way to reconnect, and I’ve resumed many alliances through FB and other venues. We’ve also held reunions and those were wonderful. We caught up, but after the few hours were over, and the buzz of excitement wore off, we went back to our busy lives. As one former classmate and I discussed after a reunion, we just don’t have much in common anymore.

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But that’s okay. We grew up, like we were supposed to. We moved on. Sadly, quite a few have passed on, and we are left holding onto what was dear, and the rest we let go.

I hope those who are going forward and into a new life, will take the time to contemplate and remember. Because some day they’ll understand. They won’t be passing this way again.

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Robinson High School

The Class of 1976
IMG_3003  My friends, I will remember you, think of you, pray for you.
And when another day is through, I’ll still be friends with you.

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My Year as a Foster

I’ve always had pets. Anyone who knows me can tell you I’m a huge animal lover. My furs keep me company and, they don’t bug me too much when I’m writing…yeah, they do, but it’s okay. They bring a lot of love and fun into my life.

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Since the popularity of social media has skyrocketed, I’ve become more aware the plight for homeless animals. This is a subject that breaks my heart and angers me. It’s an enormous community problem, and it happens everywhere.

Fortunately, my hometown humane society has evolved into a state of the art facility with a 95% exit rate. A year ago they did renovations and rebuilt. More kennels, a vet on staff, and they hired a director who is interested in the well-being of their temporary tenants.

While the overhauls were in progress, old kennels were torn down and dogs were kept in makeshift kennels, inside a tent. The area was hot with limited space. Unfortunately, because of the lack of room, many pups didn’t live long enough to find their forever homes.

It was heartbreaking. The Humane Society begged for fosters. I toyed with the idea, and a photo of a pretty girl named, Thina made up my mind. She only had until 2:00 pm that day or she would be put down. They’d destroyed a lot of dogs that week, and I had to save her. I filled out the foster form and sent the email.

Sadly, I was too late, but I vowed to save someone in her memory. In tears, I skimmed through the urgents listed, and picked out another girl, Becca. Nervous, I drove to the shelter. Daniela, a shelter employee met with me. We went through the regulations, she asked me questions about my dogs, then we got down to the real business, picking out my foster.

Before I could inquire about Becca, she asked if I would consider taking a fearful dog. I answered, sure, not quite understanding the level of fearful she was talking about. She introduced me to Bree, a shepherd mix, who’d been at the shelter several months. Bree cowered in the back of her kennel and barely moved.

Bree, Daniela explained, topped the urgent list and was next in line to go. Because she was so scared, she didn’t show well. The staff didn’t think anyone would adopt her, and she was a favorite. Would I be willing to take her?

Next to die?

Of course, I took her. (Becca was later adopted) Once home, she promptly did her business in the middle of my living room. I have floors, no biggie. Mess cleaned up, I put her in a room to decompress. It didn’t go well. She destroyed the room. Over the months, I lost three sets of blinds, sofa cushions, and window sills. I had many exasperating moments with Miss Bree. Eventually, she calmed. And I calmed. I learned her triggers, and how to avoid them.2016-07-10

My two dogs, Malcolm and Laynie have been essential in her training. They’ve showed her how to behave. She’s still shy, but Bree’s blossomed. She doesn’t tear up, although I keep a close eye on her during storms and fireworks, which tend to frighten her. She prances around, confident, and shows herself to be the gorgeous girl that she is.
My Other Fosters:

Bessie – I didn’t intend to foster more than one dog, but this girl caught my eye as I was leaving with Bree. Her expression was pleading. She was begging to be saved. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. Two weeks after bringing Bree home, I picked up Bessie. She’s the only foster I’ve actually requested.

Bessie’s a hoot, full of personality, and bigger than life. I called her Bossy Bessie because she liked to be in charge. Bessie stayed with me for five months before she was adopted. She has a mom, dad, a human and a fur sister. She’s doing great.

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Lacy – Lacy’s a ten-year-old lab, surrendered because her owner passed away. Her mom’s daughter actually wanted to put her down, because “she couldn’t stand to look at her,” but the Humane Society talked her into surrendering. Lacy was slated to go to rescue, but it was around the Christmas holidays, and they couldn’t take her right away. They needed a place for her to crash.

I brought her home. She was overweight and filthy, but she was the sweetest girl, and so loving. A bath made a world of difference, and winter was fairly mild, so we walked a short distance every day, until the rescue took her. I would’ve had no problem keeping her forever.

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Tipsy – Probably my coolest foster story so far. The foster FB page asked someone to take Tipsy. Due to anxiety, she kept trying to dig out of her kennel, and was tearing up her feet. I agreed and brought her home, but I hated the name. It sounded like the day after New Year’s. She didn’t answer to it, so I changed it to Torie.

Torie was adventurous and just the cutest, little girl. She didn’t like being alone,  though. She loved to be close to people. I had her about a month when I received a message from the foster coordinator asking me to bring her in.

A college student, Ryan, left the state for an internship, leaving his dog with a trusted friend, this past September. Ryan returned in December to discover she’d ran away in October. He happened to check the shelter pages, and he found his girl in foster. After a tearful reunion, Torie/Harper was returned to her dad, and she has moved to be with him in California.

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Dodge – This guy was the oddest of my fosters. He had no clue how to be a dog. He wasn’t socialized, and he didn’t trust people. My two pups had a real hand in showing him the way to behave. Besides being a looker, he’s very smart, and catches on quick. My other dogs took to him right away, and he’s been their favorite foster sibling.

He’s a quiet and unassuming guy, a real couch potato. Regrettably, he wasn’t cat receptive, so I had to return him before we found an adopter. He’s back in foster and doing very well.

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Jordy – Jordy was a sad, little boy. He came from a hording situation, and didn’t acclimate to the shelter’s noisy environment. They said he growled and barked in the kennels and shied away from human contact. He wouldn’t even wag his tail. Animal control wanted to put him down, but the Humane Society persuaded them to let them work with him.

His behavior at the shelter was total opposite of what I experienced when he came home with me. The tail never stopped wagging. He’s happy, energetic, full of kisses, and he loved to snuggle, all the time. A true Velcro puppy. His new mom graduated college and took him home to Missouri last week. He’s doing fantastic.

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Zeus – This fellow is one cool dude. He’s loaded with energy and personality. He was an adoption return, I suspect he was brought back due to his strength and stubbornness. Zeus was a quick learner and extremely alpha. This youngster tried his alphaness on my old boy, Malcolm, and Mal put him in his place.

His activeness kept me in stitches. Gotta love those ears! He has an opinion on everything and doesn’t hesitate to give it. He also has a gentle side. He’s a cuddler and gives lots of kisses. He’s been adopted by a young military couple, and he has a fur brother who looks and acts just like him, except he’s brown.

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Happy –Fearful doesn’t come close to Happy’s demeanor. This beautiful girl came into the shelter injured. They amputated her hind leg, but that injury doesn’t compare to her physiological problems.

She cringes in the corner, her head bowed, sometimes trembling. I almost have to carry her out to do her business. Today, I took her off lead, and let her loose outside. She walked around the yard and then sat. She seemed to enjoy the outdoors and the freedom that came with it. When I called everyone inside, she answered to her name, came in with the rest of the crew, and went to her room. Huge step, Happy girl!

When I took this girl, I was afraid I would have her a long time. But a compassionate, understanding family wanted to meet her, and after introductions, they decided to adopt her. Tomorrow, she’ll go to her forever home. I didn’t even have her a week.IMG_2976

People always tell me they can’t foster, because they wouldn’t want to give them up. It’s true, every dog takes a piece of my heart when they leave. The shelter keeps a box of tissue on the counter, just for me. But when they go, I’m left with wonderful memories  and complete satisfaction. Most wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t taken them. Yet, they are alive, and they’re thriving in loving homes. That knowledge makes every good-bye tear worth it.

By the way, still no adopter for Bree…if no one steps up, that’s okay. She’s good staying here with me.IMG_2720

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