DIGITAL PHOTO PAINTING BY SANDI STATON
Image source: Free Public Domain
Other source: My own photo images
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:26, 27
Hear the birds chirping? See them fluttering from the trees? Can you Sense their happiness and peace of mind?
Birds don’t worry about stuff like coronavirus or running out of toilet paper. They don’t fret over empty shelves at Walmart or starving to death. And they certainly don’t get their feathers ruffled over clutter on the back porch.
Jesus knows what a bunch of worrywarts we humans are. That’s why He tells us to look at the birds of the air and observe how lighthearted and carefree they are. They don’t work for anything. They don’t store up anything. Yet, God takes care of them. (Matthew 6:26)
God reminded me of that again this morning as I sat fretting amongst the clutter on my back porch and wondering what the heck I’m going to do with it. How quickly I forget that God is in control of every little detail of my pitiful life. Nothing happens to me that He doesn’t know and care about. I don’t have to pace the floor biting my nails to the quick. I don’t have to beg and plead. I just have to trust Him.
Yep! That’s what a little birdie told me this beautiful sunny morning while sitting on my cluttered back porch.
I captured a few pictures while sitting with hubby and our two girls on the back porch. Pepper doesn’t mind posing for a snapshot. Bella, on the other hand, refuses to cooperate!
So, it’s raining . . . again. Bella hates the rain. She’d rather pee and poop on the floor than to go out and do it in the rain.
But, she’s not the Queen. I am. So I stand at the back door, clapping my hands and coaxing her off the deck. She gives me this big cow-eyed, go-to-hades look, jumps off the deck, pees like she’s been holding it in for three days then charges back on the deck.
Oh, no! That’s not the way it works, miss wanna be Queen of the castle. You get your prissy butt back out there and poop!
Another, go-to-hades look, and another and another, and jumping on and off the deck like playing a game of tag, she finally finds her spot in the tall, wet grass and poops!
Then, as if being chased by a grizzly bear, she charges back to the deck where I hold the door open praising her as if she had dug up gold in the yard. With a big, fluffy towel, I dry her off, wipe her four big paws, and without even a thanks mom she dashes toward the bedroom, jumps over my husband lying in bed, and plops down demanding him to share his warm, cozy blanket.
She’s such a diva!
When Rascal, our handsome, Australian Shepard mix of eight years died, he took part of us with him. The grief was so unbearable that I never wanted another dog to wrap my heart around only to have it ripped apart.
But hubby couldn’t stop grieving and I couldn’t stand seeing him suffer. So, for his birthday, we paid a visit to the animal shelter, and there she was, curled up in a big cage on a skimpy blanket on that cold cement floor frightened and all alone.
Hubby fell in love.
I didn’t. She wasn’t Rascal.
So we kept looking.
No Rascal anywhere.
But hubby wasn’t looking for Rascal and kept dragging me back to that pitiful, scrawny, long-legged Greyhound mix curled up in that dreary cage. I guess I’m a sucker for pitiful, so we adopted her.
That was three years ago. Yep! Three years of wanting to wring her neck for chewing up her bed, and my pillows, and my couch; things Rascal NEVER did. Three years of her hyperactive personality, her jumping and jerking around when we tried petting her. Three years of trying to stop comparing her to Rascal.
Then a year ago Pepper came into our lives. Sweet, dainty, loving little Pepper. She was more dead than alive after being abandoned along with fifteen other dogs. She was so skinny I could barely feel her when she jumped on my lap. Then she licked my face, pierced my soul with those big brown eyes, and that did it. We bundled her up and took her home, hoping and praying Bella would approve.
It was love at first sight. Kindred spirits.
Having two dogs at one time in the house is more than challenging. It’s insane! Pepper loves jumping on the table, and countertops. Heck, she just loves jumping! The higher the better. Now Bella thinks she can jump that high, too. And Pepper is a chewer. Bella stopped until Pepper came along. And she was potty trained till Pepper came along. She was getting more settled till Pepper came along. We had to potty train her all over again. And Bella poops and pees like a cow. So yeah. I was tempted to haul them both off to the animal shelter. But, you already know what a sucker I am for pitiful.
In spite of all their frustrating antics, they are beautiful, loving dogs. They love each other and can hardly stand to be apart. And they love us and children and whoever comes to visit. Most of all, they bring us joy and happiness and a ton of laughter. And when I think where they might be today had we not rescued them, I want to cry
Meet Pepper, our dachshund lab mix. She’s cute and lovable and charming. When people come to the house they want to take her home with them. And some days I’m tempted to let them.
She’s a jumper; a straight-up, five-foot jumper! I’m not kidding, she can jump as high as my head and I’m 5’3”. I swear she has springs for legs. She’s hilarious and entertaining for our company but a real pain in the neck for me at times. When I let her out of her crate in the mornings she jumps up and down beside me, behind me and all over my feet to her food bowl, to the back door when I let her out, and when I let her back in. I can’t move without her jumping sky-high like a crazed kangaroo.
Now she’s learned she can jump on the dining room table. And if that’s not bad enough, I caught her on top of the counter the other night eating Bojangles’ biscuits we were saving for later. So much for that! I ran her off and put her in her crate, thinking that would teach her not to do it again.
Well, she’s a slow learner, too. After a few minutes of letting her back out of her crate, I heard a thump. I snuck into the kitchen and found her walking and sniffing on top of the stove! Never had a dog that did that. Never even knew dogs would do that.
Good grief! I have a cute little dog with a neck like a giraffe, that jumps like a kangaroo, eats like a pig and thinks she’s a cat.
Meet Bella, our greyhound mix. She’s tough as pig iron and just as hard-headed. When she’s focused on something, especially a squirrel or a bug, she becomes stone-deaf. You can yell your head off to come here and she won’t hear you.
She’s sweet and loving but on her own terms. Where Pepper is all over people when they come into the house, Bella barks and sniffs them to death before she’s half-way sure she wants them on her turf. She doesn’t bite, but she wants people to think she will. So I tell our guests to ignore her and let her make up to them on her own. And when she finally does, she suddenly becomes a clumsy, overgrown lap dog.
When we first adopted Bella she was skin and bones and preferred her crate to being with people. She was so timid and skittish that We felt she had been abused. I wasn’t sure she would ever learn to trust her new home and the people in it. But after a few months of gentle coaxing and giving her space, she became less jumpy when we tried to pet her. Now we can say, “Let’s cuddle,” and she’ll back up against us or between our legs to be hugged and petted.
And something new we learned about Bella a few weeks ago. She is extremely protective of babies. When kids, as well as adults, got too close to our one-year-old great-grandson, she began barking and herding everyone away; even his mother!
Both dogs are a joy; they love us and they love each other. And although they get on my nerves at times, I’m so glad we rescued them from who knows what and are willing and able to give the love and protection they need.
Animals always give back far more than they get. They are loyal and devoted and quick to forgive. They fill the void of loneliness. they are more entertaining than a sitcom. And in their own language, they tell us how much they love us and how thrilled they are to spend the rest of their lives making us happy.
So no. You can’t take Pepper or Bella home with you, no matter how much you beg.
So it’s been a week since Pepper’s surgery, a week of keeping her calm and away from Bella. And it’s been a happy week for me and the dogs; a week of learning, a week of getting to better know my four-legged creatures and them learning that I am the one and only queen of the castle.
Pepper and Bella used to sleep with hubby. Now, Pepper sleeps in my room, in her crate, lights out, TV off, crate door locked. And when morning comes, I let her out, feed her after making her sit like a well-behaved princess, let her outside to do her business, then back in her crate.
Now it’s Bella’s turn who is either sleeping with hubby or in her crate for misbehaving. And I am so proud of her. She runs to the edge of the kitchen and waits patiently while I fill her food bowl and bring it to her. And before I open the patio door to let her out, I make her get back and sit like a lady which is difficult for her because she can barely sit still for a second. But she does it . . . for a few seconds at least before charging like a bull through the door. We’re still working on that one.
Bella and Pepper love each other so much that I thought I could handle them both at one time; letting them out together, feeding them together, training them together. So much for my senile thinking. Bella forgot all her training and began mimicking Pepper who in turn was mimicking Bella and I began mimicking the Incredible Hulk. All three of us were confused, anxious, and frustrated to the point that one of us was going to have to leave the castle and it wasn’t going to be me!
This past week has given me a better love and understanding for my royal babies. Plus, spending time one on one has opened my eyes to their individual personalities and special needs. Now, they make me laugh and appreciate their antics instead of making me cry and wanting to bury them six feet under.
It’s still a work in progress, and it’s probably not the way the Dog whisperer would do it, but it’s working for us. Our castle is more peaceful now. The Queen is back on her throne. Life is good!
It’s 2:10 pm and hubby and both dogs are still sound asleep. I thought of waking them, but it’s so peaceful and quiet that I changed my mind.
Bella and Pepper have been driving me nuts! For three years, Bella was the only child; potty trained, and over her chewing the furniture and pillows stage. But, after rescuing Pepper a year ago, our house hasn’t been the same. Oh, the couple loves each other, that’s for sure. But, even as sweet and gentle and dainty and loving as Pepper is, she brings out the worst in Bella; our hyperactive-tough-as-pig iron problem child. She’s more hyper, more mouthy, and has reverted back to peeing and pooping on the floor as if to say, “Pepper does it, so I can too!” Oh, and Bella’s a digger. She’s dug holes she can stick her big head into all over the backyard! And she thinks she’s a lap dog, now. A lap dog that takes up three and a half laps to sprawl on. I feel like I’m raising two kids instead of two dogs.
Well, Pepper and Bella are separated for now. Pepper was spayed Tuesday and hubby brought her home yesterday saying she has to be kept quiet for two weeks. That means two weeks of no jumping up and down like a kangaroo, and wrestling Bella to the floor and taking off with her chew toy. Two weeks of no racing Bella to their food bowl, and dancing around like a ballerina. She’s either in her crate or Bella’s in hers.
And I have to say, It’s the calmest and least frustrated I have felt in months. Hubby has a ton of tolerance, I have NONE! So yeah. I’m letting them all sleep as long as they want to today . . . and maybe tomorrow and the next day as well!
We’re sitting on the back porch, Bella pressing her regal nose against the screen watching the squirrels and Pepper curled contentedly on my lap sniffing the air.
Bella’s eyes are like those of an Egyptian Princess; only hers are naturally and perfectly lined in black, melting my heart with her wide-eyed expressions of love every time she looks at me.
Pepper is jet black, except for the white on her chest and dainty paws. Looking up at me, rolling her big brown eyes, it’s as if she’s looking straight into my soul. I press her head against my chest and whisper how beautiful and precious she is to me.
That’s when I got to thinking.
My girls don’t need to take thousands of selfies to prove to the world how beautiful they are. They don’t have to wear the latest fashions, walk with a strut, talk like the Queen, or become members of a Country Club to prove their self-worth. They don’t need hundreds of fans on Facebook or thousands of likes and comments on WordPress to boost and encourage their ego.
My girls don’t need to be painted up, jewelled up or prettied up in any fashion to be dazzling to the eyes and pleasing to the soul.
My girls are lovely and gracious, loving and forgiving, fun and playful. My girls take life as it comes and remain beautiful in spite of the bad things that have happened to them. My girls are strong and loyal and truly excited to see me when I get up in the mornings or come in from being outside for a few minutes. My girls treat me like I’m the most important thing in their lives.
And that’s why I love them. They don’t try to be anything. They don’t try to prove anything. They just are.
We rescued Bella from the Animal Shelter over a year ago. One dog has always been enough for us to handle at a time. But, this summer, when we rescued hubby’s sister after being abandoned for three days without food or water or electricity, we couldn’t resist rescuing the puppy as well.
She was light as a feather. Skin pulled over bones. More dead than alive. How could anyone be so cruel? There were other dogs, too. Thirteen in all. But we could only rescue this little one. We called Animal Control for the others.
It was love at first sight for Bella and Pepper. The two are inseparable as if they know they share a common bond of being abandoned and left to die. We love them both and are so glad we made room for them in our hearts and home.
Passing cage after smelly cage, dog after sad-eyed dog,
My hopes, like fat droplets of rain splattering to the dingy floor,
I thought we’d never find the one. I wanted to leave. Then we spotted her
Curled in a ball like a lonely forsaken fawn on a thin ragged blanket
In the middle of the large, cold and desolate cage.
When she saw us standing there, she sprang to life and came running,
Her tail wagging furiously. Oblivious to the deafening barking
And howling echoing throughout the heart-sickening kennel, she jumped
Up and down like a bouncing kangaroo as if auditioning for the role of a lifetime.
Unable to resist her persistent charm, we cracked the cage door, and barely
Clasping the leash to her collar, she pulled my seemingly drunken husband
Through a crowd of bystanders straight to the doggie playground outside.
Squinting against the bright sunshine, we unfastened her leash and like a flash,
She raced around the playground, sniffed a few tattered toys scattered around,
Then like a playful cheetah came charging full speed towards me.
Unable to stop, she slid completely under my chair, backed out,
Snuggled close beside me and plopped her head on my lap.
That’s when I decided that having a Greyhound mix won’t be so bad.
However, since adopting her that day, I’ve questioned my sanity,
Wondering if I would survive this long-legged, faster than lightning,
Over-active, sassy, jittery, destructive chewing, hard-to-potty-train canine.
Now, nearly a year later, Bella has become the absolute funniest, most adorable,
Loveable, playful, snuggling, heart-melting, four-legged joy of our lives!
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Using Paint Shop Pro 2019, I turn ordinary photos into works of art. I also create picture tubes, bookmarks, Facebook Covers, cards, tags, and more. I don't sell my art, therefore, all my creations are free for your own personal use.
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