Austin Part 1 : Boots, Dogs, and Weddings

Yesterday I got back from one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on. Last Thursday morning I hopped on a plane to Austin, Texas. Otis revealed last week that I was going to visit the Love & a Six-Foot Leash crew, but I was actually there for a different reason initially. Fosterdad’s cousin was getting married down there, so the dual-purpose trip worked out perfectly. Please excuse the amount of iPhone photos in this post, I promise some adora-bull real camera pictures will show up tomorrow. . .

After arriving on Thursday and having our first of many meals at Mexican restaurants, we settled in and immediately went cowboy boot shopping. I have my trusted old pair, but Mark’s never owned any and we figured this was as good a time as ever to get him some. We headed to Allan’s Boots on South Congress St. and found what I’d like to refer to as “cowgirl heaven”. I was on cloud nine, and we both walked out with a new pair of boots.

You also better believe I immediately found some adoptable animals! Austin Pets Alive is an amazing rescue organization in Austin, and they hold regular adoption events right in a busy area of town. They also have a jog-a-dog program which fits in line perfectly for how much of a running city Austin is. So cool to see how other organizations do things!

After exploring for a good part of the day, we checked out the Austin city night life, including some of the great live music it’s known for.

Friday was the day of the wedding, but we had the whole morning and afternoon to see more of what Austin’s got to offer. That lead us to Barton Springs, or “the Soul of Austin” as it refers to itself as, which is a great water hangout spot created from natural springs. Outside of Barton Springs’ fence was this scene. These dogs were all having such a blast, I could have watched for hours! Can you spy the pittie puppy? :-)

The wedding that evening was absolutely gorgeous, held outside on a small, charming piece of Austin land. It was so nice having everyone together for such a sweet occasion (I’m such a sap). Here we are with fosterdad’s family.

Photo credit to Mr. B

But seriously, check out these details! Can you say Pinterest perfection?

Now this whole time I was very lucky because I knew I didn’t have to worry about my little munchkin back at home. My mom was so sweet and sent me updates in picture form almost every day! Here are two showing first “Otis waiting for his own breakfast” and then “Otis going to get fostergrandma’s breakfast”. Thank goodness for amazing parents!

Then Saturday morning came the next part of our adventure, but you’ll have to wait to hear about all that until tomorrow! Sneak preview:

(And yes, they are even more adorable in person than on the blog, if that is even possible.)

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page to learn more about him and how to get in touch.

Baxter is… ADOPTED!!!!

I have never seen a more perfect testament to the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait.” This weekend Baxter trotted out of my life and into the absolute perfect home. The perfect forever home.

Last Saturday we were heading home from our adventure downtown when I got an email. “Hey, I think I have a family who would be a good fit for Baxter.” I had heard that before, so I didn’t get too excited. “They want to meet him tomorrow.” What? Oh, okay. I guess these people are serious. I called them up to schedule a time to meet, and was pleasantly surprised at how friendly and open L was on the phone. Not that I expected her to be mean or anything, but I hung up with a weird feeling of “this might actually be something.”

The next day I brought Bax over to their house, and he hit it off with D & L right away. Fortunately, they had already read a lot of this blog so I didn’t feel as much need to word vomit everything I knew about Baxter during that first introduction (you foster parents know the feeling!). They knew everything – the occasional chewing, the anti-snuggling, the background – and they still adored him! After a brief human meeting, we introduced Baxter to his potential new sister, Miss Piggy – a year and a half old rescued pit mix. That is where the magic happened. Baxter & Miss Piggy ran around for nearly an hour – wrestling, rolling, and chasing each other around. Everyone was amazed at how well they got along.

That day we scheduled one more meet & greet, and said if all things went well we’d move forward with the adoption next weekend. My first thoughts: Yippee!! My second thoughts: Wait. What? Baxter might be leaving me?? But while it was a whirlwind of a process, happening in less than a week, I could not have felt surer about sending Baxter home with this family.

It turns out that my good feelings on the situation were not unjustified. Despite worrying all the first night that things had gone horribly wrong and they’d want to return him, I awoke to a dazzling email about how well Baxter was settling in, and what a wonderful dog he was. I continued to get positive updates all weekend, and on Sunday afternoon the volunteer who helped Baxter from the beginning, Big Bruno, and I went to say our final goodbyes.  I thought it would be sad for me (the weekend was miserable without my little Baxty at home), but it was actually a really heartwarming visit, leaving me with complete peace of mind. It was one of those moments that make fostering completely worth it.

We saw Baxter relaxed and comfortable in his new home. It was clear that he had already taken to his new humans, and his bond with them was growing strong. These people are perfect for Baxter – they are patient, understanding, open-minded, and totally willing to go at his pace. They are so full of love to give, and I know Baxter is just going to thrive in it.

If I could have written out the perfect happy ending for Baxter, this would be it – little pittie sister and all. Congratulations to D, L, and Miss Piggy on their new family member. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for giving this amazing dog the life he deserves!

When a Family Says Goodbye

As Bloggers, we make the decision to share ourselves with those on the other end of the computer screen. For some, this means sharing things about our lives and who we are. For others, it is just about our involvement with certain topics. But in this specific blogging and social networking community, we usually share most about our dogs.

To many people, blogging is “putting your life out there for anyone and everyone to see” – a scary thought. For most of us though, it is a chance to build new relationships and bonds with people we probably would never have met otherwise (in person or online). I can’t even count how many friendships I’ve made through this blogging and Facebook community of people who stand for the same things I do. Furthermore, I can’t even begin to put into words how special they all are to me.

With these friendships comes support and advice for your challenges, motivation for your struggles, and excitement for your victories – all from people who mostly only know you through the words you write online. We get so close to each other as we go through journeys together that we feel more connected than just as “fans” on Facebook, or blog followers. I feel like I personally know the people who are in this social media circle, as well as their dogs.

So when someone in this blog family suffers a loss, we all hurt. We all watch as a dog we’ve grown to love through pictures and stories gets taken away from their family. We feel heartbroken because the loving people who have shared their dog and their lives with us hold a place in our hearts as cherished friends – even without ever meeting them in person.

Blogging friends over at Pittieful Love suddenly lost their dog Knox this weekend to a rare blood parasite. Knox was the quintessential happy-go-lucky pit bull type dog, with a big goofy smile and a blocky black and white head. Stories about the way he interacted with his foster siblings always made me smile, and the pictures were so “aww” worthy. It was easy to feel a connection with him because he was so similar to all the pitties we love in our own lives. Knox was also a blood donor, and of course a wonderful ambassador for the breed.

Knox - Picture from Pittieful Love.

So it’s easy to see why Knox’s passing has shaken the whole blogging community. If you’d like to head over to Pittieful Love’s Facebook page to learn more about Knox’s story and leave a note, I think it would mean a lot to Knox’s parents. If there is any positive in this situation, it’s you wonderful people who have come together to give words & thoughts of comfort to this family in a time of need. Thank you.