The protector

What a morning we had today.  We were going about our normal morning business breakfast ,music lessons and getting ready for school.  The calm of our morning came to an abrupt end when Holly, our beautiful yet hyper and crazy labrador retriever started to bark like crazy at the back door.Image

Now I guess I should back track just a little and state that the girls and I noticed a Robin building a nest in one of the plum trees in the back yard a bit over a week ago.  We know she laid eggs because the girls check on her daily as she sits ever patiently on them in the nest.  She is very accepting of the curious little eyes staring up at her.  I have stressed to the girls not to get too close and never to try to touch the nest.Image 2

So, back to this morning.  Holly was barking out of control so I looked out the kitchen window.  To my horror I saw 2 Crows in the tree with the nest.  I ran to the door and opened it.  Now, my dog is 80 pounds of pure lovable best friend.  She has a mighty big bark and is very protective of my girls.  When I opened the door she took off in a full sprint toward the tree barking the entire time.  The Crows circled the tree and then took off.  Holly ran back and forth until something caught her attention under the tree.  She stood looking at us at the door and then back at the ground.  She did this several times without moving.

I went out to find the tiniest baby bird laying on the ground.  The girls of course followed.  I told them to run inside and get a paper plate and a step stool.  The bird was breathing but was so tiny and had just fallen about 7 feet onto rock.  I could almost hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me not to touch that bird!  In front of me were my girls and the very protective dog who all expected me to do something great.  What could I do?

I sprang into action giving the little thing a push onto the plate. I rolled it into a little tube and  then climbed up on the step stool getting as close as I could to the nest without having an eye poked out.  I was able to get the plate right into the edge of the nest where I then poured the baby in.  As I was climbing down I realized I was being watched by the mother from a fence panel.  She seemed very calm waiting for us to leave before taking her place back on top of her perfectly made nest.

We have checked on her several times during the day.  She has been in position on the nest.  We all have our fingers crossed that the baby makes it through.  I always knew our lovable dog protected my girls like a mother, who knew she was looking out for all of the creatures in the yard!Image 1

An old friend

Early in our marriage, Frank and I  adopted a crazy little shih tzu puppy that we named Marshall.  It was probably a bad decision at the time.  We were very busy both working long hours.  Marshall spent a lot of time alone.  He had behavioral issues that we never corrected but we did love the little guy.

Marshall and Megan May 2005
Marshall and Megan May 2005

Although the dog was house broken, it was a regular occurrence to have puddles around.  Yes gross, but again, we loved the little fellow and tolerated it.  When Megan was born the dog wanted little to do with the baby which was fine with me.

Then came the day that changed everything.  I was standing in the kitchen next to a half wall that separated the family room.  Megan was in there with Marshall, she was maybe 18 months old, and I heard the scream.  I looked over to see Marshall with Meg’s arm in his mouth.  I grabbed the first thing I saw which happened to be a shoe.  He did not bite down instead only scratched her.  I am very sure that if I had not been there he would have bitten her arm.

That was his last day in our home.  We could not have an animal that we could not trust around our baby.  We also loved the dog so after a little research found a refuge that would take him.  We were very honest with the man who ran the refuge because we did not want Marshall to hurt anyone.  He committed to us that even if he could not find someone to adopt the dog, he would not put him down. To our surprise we received notification that he was adopted by an older couple whose children were grown and out of the house.

Over the years we stayed in contact with the wonderful woman who took in our little monster.  He bit her once pretty severely yet like us, there was just something about him that she loved.  She took him everywhere and loved him deeply.

The last year or so he has had several health issues.  Today we received an e-mail that Marshall passed away.  I am sad mostly for the fine woman who took him in, cared for his crazy self over the years and loved him so.  This is the last paragraph from the e-mail she sent to us today,

Marshall will be very missed by all of us.   He had a very happy life with us, full of love and fun outings and good food (some good human food too!)    My little sweetheart, my little handsome guy, go in peace to heaven, my Marshall, you are in our hearts forever.
What can you say to that?  She is a fine woman.  I am sorry for her loss and thankful that she was there to take in Marshall. He was very lucky to have her in his life!