It's always the first puppy you remember...

88440003There's a moment when your life changes and yet you never really know the impact it will have until you look back at that moment that shines like heavens light.  That's how Silver came into our life.  The runt of the what was left of the litter, sheepishly walking back and forth behind her brothers and sisters who were clamoring for our attention on cold, rainy day in September.  When my husband Mark picked her up and said she was the one.  Silver is a part Husky, part Black Lab but had the looks of a Black Lab.  She was all black except for a small white line on her chest which is how she got her name, Silver Lining.  We'd barely had gotten her to the car when Mark was talking about breeding her with another Husky to bring out more of the Husky in her.  And that's how we ended up with Brut three years later.

There are dogs that impact your life and there are ones that transform it.768381-R1-03-22 004 

That was Brut.  A Husky mix who had every dog behavioral problem there could be, mostly from the impact of his early weeks before we brought him home at six weeks.  Yet was the most loyal and devoted dog a person could own.  It all came down to respect with Brut and he demanded it.  Brut was the most difficult and challenging dog I have ever owned, but was worth every discovery we shared together.  We believed Silver and Brut would make the best puppies physically, emotionally and mentally.  Between the two of them they would create the most sound puppies with the best temperament and dispositions I have ever found.  And everything we could have wanted in a dog.

The Puppies

1-7-2008-27January 2, 2008 Silver gave birth to ten healthy puppies.  Four white lab looking ones, three black lab looking ones with white marks on their chest and paws and three Husky looking ones.  There were six boys and four girls.  The first born we named Zappa (after the guitarist) which we kept as well as the last born, Fiona (after singer Fiona Apple) who was the runt of the litter.  

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A Family of Four Dogs101 0232

After eight weeks of puppies, the first ones started to leave for their new homes and after three months we were a family of four.  Silver, Brut, Zappa and Fiona made up our dog family.  Until we got a call from one of the owners that they wanted to return one of the puppies.  We had been visiting the homed pups every couple of months or so and knew that this one pup was being abused, but we just had no way to prove it.  This was when Blaze entered the scene.  Scared, lonely, a shell of herself she came home to be with us and we kept her without a second thought. 

 That turned into Five, then Six100 0697

This was the first sign of separation in our packs.  We tried everything, but neither Brut or the others would accept Blaze into the pack.  So we divided the house and yard and we lived in a two pack dog house.  Blaze was lonely all by herself and it wasn't long before another pup from the litter was back in our lives.  Chance was returned to us under the same conditions, abused, neglected and his ribs starting to show.  The miracle was that Chance and Blaze's family were related so they were already best friends when they were reunited with us.  Now they had each other again and make up what we call the Front Pack, while Brut, Silver, Zappa and Fiona make up the Back Pack.  We have been slow on integrating them because we believe in taking our time.  So much healing had to be done before we could even think of bringing them together.  We make baby steps every day and believe time is on our side.

And the 24 Paws of Love was born.Collages34 

Which brings to where we are today as the 24 Paws of Love, divided or not, our dogs are our lives, friends and family.  We make no thought or decision that doesn't include them and in return we are learning the lessons of love, life and happiness through them.  They can handle the tears and sorrow and have a way of brightening the day.  Brut has taught me to think outside of the box on what a dog really is and can be.  There is so much to learn from our canine companions if we just open our eyes and heart to them.  We share openly on our blog of our struggles, challenges and triumphs with a number of situations.  We will also share some of what we have learned along the way in the hopes of opening minds and hearts of how that love is enveloped into our daily lives and the choice to be a part of it everyday.