6 More Hours

6 hours can change everything.

Sam and Rascal

Sam and Rascal

Joe, being the great father he was, would not give up on Rascal. Instead, he offered 6 more hours to the specialty vet to save his dog’s life. When the 6 more hours came due, he offered 6 more.

This went on for almost 24 hours, until Rascal’s nose twitched at the smell of a year-old treat Joe’s daughter Sam found in her purse.  The nose twitch prompted an all-out life-saving endeavor that would ultimately land Rascal back home with his family.  Rascal and his brother Spudzy had been poisoned by death treats someone had thrown into the family’s yard.  Both dogs ate the treats and only Rascal survived.

Rascal had lived through a lot of loss, but he never lost Sam.  He watched as his human kids grew up and flew the nest.  He watched as his dog brothers and sisters came and went.  He watched as the matriarch of the family shot and killed Joe, the patriarch of the family.  Staying near Joe until help arrived, the police allowed him to remain close, to grieve.

When Sam was finally able to enter her home after it was no longer deemed a crime scene, she went to collect Rascal and his belongings.  She found him alone and scared, covered in her father’s blood.  She asked for 6 more hours.  6 more hours with her father.  6 more hours of time to think.  6 more hours of not having to do this. Being the strong woman she was, Sam knew there was no chance of 6 more hours this time.  She gathered up Rascal and they cleaned up their loss and set to recover the home in which they had both been raised.

The next year was a blur, but as the days moved on, both Rascal and Sam found a little of Joe in each other.  Sam learned everything she needed to know about life from her father, and Rascal learned everything he needed to know about being a dog from the same man. They had both lost an irreplaceable man, and if it weren’t for having each other, they would have lost it all.

How does a family recover from such loss?  How does a daughter bury her father decades too soon?  How does a dog process the violent stripping of the man he loved?  For Sam and Rascal, the answer was to join forces and rescue each other. The age-old adage of “who rescued who” reigned so true in this family.  

Today you can find the two of them at the river, at the brewery, or at the veterinarian’s office doing what Joe did for the both of them: taking care of each other.  They both miss Joe, and at times neither of them can hardly bear it.  So they stick together and know that if Joe had a choice as to how they grieved, this would be his choice.

If you had 6 more hours with your family, how would you spend it?


Kristin Regan is a busy professional and rockstar inanimal welfare. She loves a good beer and an old dog, rollin' in her '92 VW VR6 Corrado, and her fur family: Chuvian, Lou, Finn, Bom Dilly, Big N' Tasty, and Mufaletta.

Out of Nowhere

It was never meant to be about a stray dog.  It was tobe a long weekend, all about a prestigious Arabian horse show.

And I NEVER set out to camp!  In fact, when my friend Cheryll told me that was the plan, I remember saying something like, “Oh, no no no no no…. There are perfectly good hotels nearby… with amenities.”

But there I was, helping her unpack stuff — including a little dome tent — onto the only patch of ground under a shade tree adjacent to the gate into fairground parking near the horse show grounds.

As we threaded flexible ribs into the tent so it could spring to life, ‘million-dollar’ motor homes pulled in around us. One exquisite model was just parking when the tent was finally ready to load with supplies . . . when a wind gust sent it skittering — in full view of the whole ritzy lineup — us in hot pursuit. It would haunt us later.

We hauled the wayward tent back and quickly filled it with coolers, sleeping bags, and whatever we had to weigh it down. We then struck out to watch high-powered trainers working horses in the arena, one of them my futurity colt. 

We had just settled in the grandstands when we heard a stuffy little giggle from the left.

“Ohhhh… ha ha ha — you’re the ladies with the little snow tent!!!”

No escaping the scrutiny from a tall motor home.

After seeing a trainer get dumped, we felt better about our station and returned to our home away from home — only to find a chain gang.

Yes, a chain gang.

They were working on the other side of the chain-link fence bordering the parking lot. No gate. A particularly vile-looking fellow threw us a nasty smile and said, “SO, are you ladies camping ALONE?”

Cheryll quickly replied that our husbands would be arriving any time (lying). He smiled and nodded as if he could tell.

I mentally retraced my steps back to the last hotel we’d passed coming in.

Then I heard panting — the good kind — big black Lab, lolling tongue, congenial tail-wagging-type panting. He trotted up to us as if on assignment, and we greeted him like an old friend. The gentle boy didn’t have any tags — just an old weathered collar.

We brought “Buddy” into the tent, where he lounged happily, sharing snacks and a nap.

Readying to head out for evening classes, we talked about how nice it would be to have Buddy be there when we got back. A horse lead became a makeshift tether to the small shade tree. A security guard ambled by and we asked about the earlier chain gang, and also if the dog looked familiar. He said he’d ask around to see if anyone was missing the amiable black dog.

Over the weekend the show unfolded, the “snow tent” was openly mocked, and thanks to Buddy nobody bothered our tent, whether we were there or not. We'd gone to town for dog food and chews and whatever he might need, and he seemed to be in his glory. The security guard kept stopping by to check in, always giving Buddy a good ear scratch.

Truth be told, there weren’t a lot of “unspecified breed” dogs at the show. I can’t recall if that was the year of Rotties, or Salukis, or the year of Chow Chow puppies (like baby bear cubs) in most of the trainers’ greeting areas. At any rate, it seemed somehow fitting that our “snow tent” was squired by a bona fide mutt.

Suddenly the weekend was over, the big motor homes pulling out, leaving us with a decision — because nobody appeared to be missing this sweet, gentle dog.

The answer was already in the works. Stopping by on his way off shift, the security guard asked what we planned to do with the kindly mutt. He said he wouldn’t mind taking him home one bit.

So we thanked Buddy for taking care of us along his way “home.”

You’ve got to love rescue, especially when it writes its own happy ending.


Christy Caballero writes from the heart about all things pet-related, from a couple deer trails off the beaten path, typically juggling a cat (or two) on her lap as black kitty AsTar teeters on her shoulder and Mojo the retired Greyhound quietly calls for einforcements!!

Endless Love — tell us your story!

There’s a sweet magic in older pets . . . maybe it’s wisdom, maybe it’s the heart-swelling tale of how s/he escaped a tough life to become the best friend ever! Their eyes may be cloudy, but they shine with love. They may not move as gracefully, but their gait and smile still make you swoon.  Simply put, oldsters are such a special blessing! 

Spot Magazine’s Oct/Nov issue — “We ♥ Our Oldsters!” — is packed with info, tips and resources to help you and your pet live your best lives during his/her golden years. 

Tell us about the love of your life!  

Send photo(s) and caption(s) of your senior best friend (with or without people shown), and a little about how wonderful they are. 

Not only might your photo appear in Spot Magazine, but you could win a prize! 

2 great prizes are waiting to be won — a gorgeous giant-breed/large dog bed/sofa, and a great gift pak for smaller pets. 

Send photos, info, and any questions, to info@spotmagazine.net.  Please be sure to include the following permission in your message: 

“I authorize Spot Magazine to publish the attached photos in an upcoming issue or issues, and for any and all promotional purposes.” 

Thanks for being part of this special edition.  We can’t wait to meet your sweetpea!

 

Entry deadline is Sept 7. 

Winning app a favorite with pet lovers

People who love sharing pictures and videos of their furry family members now have a new way to show off all those nutty little moments that make pet parenting so much fun. Storehouse, the app that makes it easy to tell stories using photos and videos, launched on iPhone in September.  Storehouse enables users to combine photos, videos and words from a variety of platforms into a narrative layout, easily creating a visual story to share with family and friends.  “With Storehouse for iPhone, we want to show people how easy it can be to tell stories with all of the photos and videos they are taking,” says Mark Kawano, co-founder and CEO of Storehouse.  The app won Apple’s 2014 Design Award, and was previously available only on iPad. 

Visit Storehouse.co to see a variety of stories, such as:  Mini Penny Pig, Pixel and Phoebe: a Love Story, or Along Came Jorge, the tale of a family of felines. 

The 7000 Dollar Cat

As told to Marnie McCammon

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My name is Pepe’.  I was born in a litter of beautiful babies in Eugene circa 1995.  When we were 8 weeks old and ready for forever homes we were advertised in the paper to help find our peeps.  Soon Mr. Walt came to see us.  I just knew I was the prettiest one, and when I saw Mr. Walt take a look at me, I knew we were a match.  Come to find out, Mr. Walt is a professional photographer and he chose me for my beautiful face.  He reached down and scooped me up and we were off to my new home to meet my big brother, two-year-old Bepe’.  Mr. Walt thought Bepe’ could use a buddy while Mr. Walt worked. 

Bepe’ was not pleased about my arrival, as I imposed on his domain, which to this day he considers all his.

I was such a cute little thing that Mr. Walt decided to write up a modeling contract, making a deal with me even though I was under 18.  The deal said I could do modeling for food, how much I didn’t know at the time, but it turned out to be a lot!

As I grew up, working my modeling job, I had a beautiful, safe backyard with lots of fun things to do and explore, including a beautiful waterfall.  I was a happy boy!

Sometimes when Mr. Walt called me in for bedtime I wasn’t ready to go.  One night, since I had my own cat door and Mr. Walt had run around the yard several times trying to catch me, he finally gave up and left me to come in when I pleased.

While it was dark I found lots of things I hadn’t seen before in the daytime . . . including a giant raccoon.  I was curious about this guy in my yard and decided to check him out.  Big mistake.  That big raccoon ran me right out of my own backyard and I was so scared I bolted across the busy street in front of our house. 

I knew I was really in trouble then.  Not only was I being chased by a big raccoon, I was also in unknown territory, where I’d never been before, running for my life as fast and as far as I could.  I got lost, and spent all night hiding from that big ‘coon that I knew was still looking for me.  

As the sun came up I was hiding under blackberries, not knowing what to do.  I had been missing for five days, and the whole time Mr. Walt had been frantically posting signs and looking for me, just like I was looking for him.  Finally in great need of food and water I knew I had only one choice:  I found my way back to that busy street and made a dash for home. 

I was running and trying to make it across when my lights went out and I flew into the air as I was hit by a car and thrown to the curb.  

I awoke up in so much pain I knew my pelvis was broken.  I crawled home,

trying to make it to my safe backyard.  I’d been laying and praying that Mr. Walt would find me when suddenly a bright light shone on me.  It was Mr. Walt!  Just getting home he spotted me in the driveway, ran to me and said, “Oh no!  Are you alright?”  I must have looked bad because Mr. Walt scooped me up and drove very fast to the emergency vet near our house.

As soon as we arrived they took me back and had Mr. Walt wait out front.  They soon went out and told him I was badly dehydrated and that my liver and organs had begun to feed on themselves but that they thought they could save me — but it would be expensive.  Of course, Mr. Walt pulled out his credit card and said “do what it takes.”  They did, and they kept me for three days and then transferred me to a wonderful animal hospital in Eugene who had a doctor near retirement who could do the surgery I needed. 

Mr. Walt went home and his phone rang at 4 am.  He thought the worst, but they told him they were injecting me with fluids but I wouldn’t eat — would he please come see if I would eat for him?  The minute I saw him, I opened my toothless mouth (I lost my teeth in the accident) and accepted tiny bites from his hand.  After that Mr. Walt set his alarm for every four hours, and returned to hand-feed me through the entire weekend.  

On Monday I returned to the hospital for surgery on my pelvis and mouth.  Mr. Walt came for me Tuesday and we headed home for six to eight months of recovery, according to the vet. 

Remember, Mr. Walt had told them to do whatever it took, and clearly he intended to do the same.

I heard him tell someone on the phone recently that one day he was watching me play and climb a tree in the yard, a happy boy.  He said it made it all worth it.

I’m thankful too!  I wasn’t finished exploring my beautiful backyard, which is just part of my happy life.  And I learned my lesson:  from now on I’ll always go in when he calls me for bedtime. 

Pepe’ is a Blue Point Himalayan who lives in Coburg, Oregon with his counterpart Bepe’, a Seal Point Siamese, and their photographer and cat-dad, Walt Grondona.

Jake's Story

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I had always wanted a dog. 

Growing up, there were mostly cats in the home with an occasional dog but none I could call my very own.  Into adulthood, I bounced from one dinky apartment to the next usually in places that either only allowed small pets or none at all. 

After long dreaming of getting a house so I could have a dog, it finally happened.  Within 2 months of moving in, Jake entered my life.  While the responsibility petrified me, he was a gift from the moment I first laid eyes on him. 

Not quite having thought out all the household arrangements for a dog, our first night together was a tad difficult.  The other pets were all in a tizzy over his arrival.  My cat at the time, a big white ball of spunk, was having none of it.  Pedro, my yellow-nape Amazon parrot launched a scream-fest to burst eardrums.   I set Jake up on the sun porch where it was calm, while providing the resident pets a little space.

The sun porch…something that captivated me about this old house from the start, was off the kitchen with a door leading into a somewhat spacious backyard. Not a room you’d see in a fancy magazine, the sun porch is more like a garden shed with windows, haphazardly attached to the house.

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Originally, I’d planned to turn it into a relaxing place to curl up with a book, full of plants and cozy furnishings.   Instead it turned into a mish-mash of plant-less pots filled with dirt but devoid of plants, assorted tools, and dog beds, blankets and towels strewn everywhere.  When the sunlight pours through the windows, it‘s still enchanting in a messy sort of way.

Jake’s first night,  I laid soft, old comforters for my new little man, newspapers for accidents, a water bowl, and a squeaky cat toy.  In the blink of an eye, he was fast asleep.  I turned off the light and snuck off to bed. 

Before long, I awoke to, “Aaaaaarrrrrroooooooo, aaaarrrrrooooooo” from the sun porch.  I go out to let him know that everything was fine, snuggled and played with him for a bit before he fell asleep again, then quietly snuck back to bed.

It started again within minutes. “Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrroooooo!”  After a couple hours of this routine with none of us getting any shut-eye, I grabbed a pillow, more blankets, and headed out to the sun porch.  I curled next to this sweet little yellow bundle, inhaling the intoxicating scent of puppy breath.  We both slept well. 

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The next night, I cordoned off a spot for Jake next to my bed.  Shortly, the seal-like howling started and it wasn’t long before he was nestled next to me in the bed.   From then on, the bed was his too.

All he wanted was a comforting presence by his side.  In the ensuing years, that is what I needed too; a constant, loving someone who became my closest and dearest friend.  

He was just Jake from the very beginning, never any question.  A mixture of yellow Lab and some kind of Retriever, when asked his breed, I would say, “He’s a “Glab.”  A beautiful shade of blonde with perfectly placed ringlets of curls and big, brown soulful eyes — he was so handsome. 

His good looks were only surpassed by his personality.  A big heart with a love for life and people, Jake charmed everyone who met him.  Even non-dog folk couldn’t resist the joy of his ever present ear-to-ear smile and happy swaggering walk.

From the outset, he was always happy to do whatever I was doing.  With him, I learned to embrace simple pleasures and live in the now.  He forced me to get up and out every day and for years, no matter the weather conditions, off we went.

Not too eager for just walking along on a leash, we set off to rivers, lakes and places less traveled.  Jake was the adventurous, exploring type reveling in discovering new areas and long-forgotten trails.  With him, I became more curious and open, appreciating nature and delighting in the sights we would see or the things we would find.  I could write a book on the adventures we had chancing off into the unknown, but the greatest blessing was sharing them with him, this unwavering beautiful friend who never asked for much and gave his everything. 

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He had his share of canine quirks but even those I found endearing.  Like a lot of dogs, he was super obsessed with balls, balls, and more balls.  His favorite one was attached to a bungy-like cord that could be shot long distances.  He made it his goal to catch them all on that first bounce.  You could even shoot that ball straight up into the heavens. He would position himself right underneath it, catching it every single time, a talent that wowed any by-standers, especially children who would want him to do it over and over.   Jake had a special soft spot for children, seemingly able to seek them out, charming them and their parents.

Jake’s adventurous spirit also brought challenges.  Combined with his smarts, his inquisitive nature got him into some trouble.  He learned how to nudge up the gate latch and would saunter off free as a bee to check out the front yard and wander the neighborhood.  Eventually I had to insert a clip through the latch to foil my escape artist.

He was the best part of my days and nights, never failing to make me laugh, even on the crappiest of days.  Nosing his way into every part of my life, he took up residence in my heart and with each passing day, each passing year, I loved him more and more.  He was my constant, my rock, the love of my life.  Yes, I was addicted to him and he’d become my soul mate. 

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Not lucky in love, romantic entanglements came and went for me but my Jake-man was always right there.  By my side and on my side, he was the most consistent relationship of my life teaching me the true meaning of love and companionship.  

A second novel could also be written on everything I learned from sharing my life with Jake.  He taught me what is most important and what wasn’t, making me a better person.  I totally place the blame on him for planting in me a huge love of everything dog.   

So much so, I got another dog, Jessie, when he was 8 years old.  At first, Jake seemed slightly offended by this intrusion.  However, his big heart could not harbor any ill-will and over time, he ended up teaching her things I could not.  He became her constant rock also.

Jake & Jessie

Jake & Jessie

Jake was always in excellent health, so active and handsome.  When people would comment on his good looks for his age, I would puff up with pride.  This, and because I loved him so much, caused me to be in denial that he would ever “leave” me. 

Age began making demands after the first of the year…small changes to his sight and hearing, then his mobility — making stairs more work, and bringing stiffness in the mornings.  Every little thing was like a knife to my heart.  At some point he started losing fur on his tail and his skin became scaly and flaky.  I spent hundreds of dollars trying to get to the bottom of this problem. 

Still, he remained as happy as ever, always greeting me with enthusiasm and that joyful-tail wagging dance.  On walks, Jake didn’t know the meaning of pacing himself.  Bounding out like a rocket for the first few blocks, suddenly his energy would be used up and we’d have to go slow-mo the rest of the way. 

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Seeing the signs, I attended a couple workshops on aging pets.  I was slowly starting to come to terms with some of my denial, realizing that my special guy would not always be the same perky pup.

We adjusted our routine, taking shorter, more frequent walks.  A friend built a ramp for easier access to his backyard kingdom, and I started researching lift ‘em up harnesses and carts for down the road. 

I felt ready to fully appreciate and enjoy his mellow golden years, accompanying him every step of the way while preparing myself for that day in a few years when I would have to say goodbye.  I even looked forward to him tooling around the neighborhood in his cart.

I had no idea his time would come sooner than the need for any of these senior pet aids.  When the weather turned last fall, the first day it rained in almost 3 months, Jake became really sick. 

He stopped eating…something he’d done only once or twice his whole life.  He sat out in the pouring rain getting drenched…something he’d never done before. 

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That weekend was the worst of my life as I tried to save him, pleading with the powers that be to let me have him through the holidays (his favorite time of year).   But, he became so weak, something internal, most likely cancer, had gotten him.  Without running more extensive and invasive tests, the vet told me there was no way to know and the outcome would be the same. 

The nightmare I always feared and denied had come.  As I faced the hardest decision I would ever have to make, my denial hit me smack in the face.  It was like asking me to rip out my heart. 

Jake & I spent our last night together once again on the sun porch, curled up next to each other in a mass of blankets.  I spent the sleepless night stroking his fur and listening to his labored breathing.  I prayed for Jake to give me a sign to let me know what he needed, what he wanted. 

The next, dreary, wet morning I picked up the phone a dozen times …immediately hanging up.   How could I do this?  I still wanted a sign.  Lying next to him, I looked into his bottomless brown eyes and knew…the sparkle was gone…had been for days, I finally realized.

I made the call.  As I returned to the sun porch, he wearily lifted his head and looked at me, giving one last tail thump as if to say “Thanks, Mom.”  That tail had not wagged in 2 days — this was the sign that I was doing the right thing by letting him go.   

Our first and last nights together were difficult, but I will forever treasure them, and every moment in-between.  So blessed was I that this pure, beautiful soul gave his heart to me.

Jake’s transition to his next journey in life was peaceful and, as excruciating as it was for me, I feel richer for being there for him as he had always been for me.  Hugging him tightly as he took his last breath, I said, “The gate’s wide open now, baby dog…Mama will see you soon.”

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I had always foreseen the day Jake died as being the worst day of my life.  I had never anticipated the utter grimness of the next day or days after.  A month passed and I was finally able to sweep up the dog hair.  Two months and I was able to give away his unused medications to a local charity.  Eventually, I might be able to put away his dog bowls.  Still in denial, no.  But still not able to completely let go; he will be in me wherever I go…

I left the clip off the gate latch just in case.


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Vonnie Harris is a freelance writer, and operator of Pet Stop Pit Stop pet sitting services in SW Washington.  She resides in Vancouver with Jessie (a yellow Lab), Pedro & Lorali (parrots), three chickens, and memories of Jake, her heart dog who recently passed on.  Vonnie is “the face of Spot” at many Portland-area pet-related events, and the voice of Spot in social media outlets. Contact her at vonnie@spotmagazine.net.

Milo makes an encore

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Laura Jenkins and her dog Milo were at DoveLewis recently, where Milo was contributing to the DoveLewis blood bank.  While in the waiting room, Jenkins saw Milo’s happy mug staring at her from the cover of the September issue of Spot!  While most covers are planned, Milo’s appearance resulted in a random (and fabulous) photo taken during DoveLewis’s Dogtoberfest event in September.

Delighted and surprised about her cover boy, Jenkins jumped on Facebook to share the news. The Spot crew happened upon her post, and got in touch.

Because Milo’s photo came from an event gallery, Spot had no identification or contact info for Milo’s family.  That meant he didn’t receive a customary “Cover Model 411” profile.  After seeing her boy on the cover and posting the fun, enabling Spot to reach her, Jenkins provided the following story about her special guy:

Milo is a great boy.  He will be eight in January, and according to where we got him, he’s a Lab-Pit Bull mix.  He lives in McMinnville with Roxy, a Siberian Husky-German Shepherd who’s almost six; and four cats (who frequently show him who's boss); along with my husband and I and our two boys, ages four and six.

Milo loves to hang out with his people.  He will follow either me or my husband from room to room, especially at night.  When we're ready for bed he gets up and goes to bed too.  He has his own ottoman in our room that he sleeps on.

He has been donating blood (along with Roxy) for about three years now.  He isn't a fan of lying on his side, but once he's there he calmly waits for the treats he gets from Jill once he's done.

We adopted Milo from the Yamhill County Dog Control.  Shortly after we got him he got sick, so we brought him back for his free checkup and discovered he had Parvo.  It was difficult, and we came close to losing him, but with frequent checkups and keeping him home with us he pulled through and is now a happy boy.

Laura Jenkins

McMinnville, Oregon

From the editor - Thank you Laura, for sharing your family with the Spot family!  And Milo and Roxy for that, and for the important contribution of supporting the life-saving blood supply through DoveLewis!

Meet Furbert

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Furbert uproots all my plants
While I am inside folding pants.
I make the beds and vacuum rooms
While Furbert eats my garden blooms,
And in the mud and grass he swishes
While I am washing dinner dishes.
The house is clean.  The dog wants “in” —
I open door.  To my chagrin,
He runs through house with paws of mud
And knocks the garbage over — thud!
I try to breathe through mounting stress
As Furbert leaves a trail of mess.
But he says, “Sorry!” with his licks
And wags and entertaining tricks.
And so I love him with his flaws
And with his maddening, muddy paws.
Now, if he’d learn to mop the floor
I’d love sweet Furbert even more!

Alicia Martwick, Portland