Thursday, July 28, 2011

Liking the idea of ice cream

You could be thinking right now that the idea of ice cream is like being a little bit pregnant. You're either all in and eating it, or you're unAmerican. What's not to like about ice cream? The way it gets all melty and smooth? The sprinkles you can drown your ice cream in? The caramel sauce and whip cream you can put on top of your sundae? Forget like, what's not to LOVE about ice cream? You can even make it red, white and blue and be all patriotic and whatnot! Well, you obviously haven't met KIC.

KIC likes the idea of ice cream. An ice cream social was cancelled at her school recently and KIC's sadness could be felt from blocks away. Daddy took her to get ice cream that night anyway, thinking that having ice cream she was promised all day would help with the disappointment. KIC was so excited! ICE CREAM! WE'RE GONNA GET SOME! RIGHT NOW! (picture happy ice cream dance) They got to the store, she placed her order, they sat down all the while she's singing and dancing about her ice cream. "Thank you, Daddy, thank you for my ice cream." She showed the appreciation of someone who had just been given the best news of their lives, so excited was she about her ice cream. When they finally got to the part where she got to eat the ice cream, she ate approximately two bites of her ice cream and then she was done. KIC wasn't upset about missing out on the ice cream, she was upset about missing out on a special event with her friends!!! Eating ice cream with daddy just wasn't the same. Let's face it, ice cream just doesn't get her attention the way a pint of blueberries does.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for a child who chooses healthier options over something like ice cream. More for me! But it breaks my ice cream lovin' heart a little bit each time someone turns to me and says "She doesn't really like ice cream, does she?" and I say, in between bites of her ice cream, "No. No she does not." Just another way to prove that this mom can take one for the team: Team Ice Cream.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pigtails and pink toes

It has happened. The thing I dreaded most. I have raised a girlie girl. I CAN FEEL YOUR LAUGHTER THROUGH THE COMPUTER SCREEN! Stop it! Stop it right now!

Now that you have composed yourself, I will proceed. Here is some evidence to support my claim:

KIC: "Mommy, what's that?"
Me: "It's a chocolate chip waffle" (don't judge)
KIC without even tasting it: "I LOVE it!"

Another example:
KIC, out of the blue: "Mommy, I like your shiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrt."

(and, yes, parents of teenage daughters, I do recognize that inflection will mean pure, unadulterated sarcasm in the future.)

She loves stroking Barbie's hair, she refers to her daddy as "My Love" and routinely says "Awwwwwww, that's so cuuuuuuuuuuuuuute" in a dead on impression of a valley girl. She hates bugs, worms in particular, being dirty (okay, she definitely gets that from me) and loves the Disney princesses.

While we don't do her hair, we are blessed with others who love to do her hair. Her daddy is happy to paint her toes and her momma is happy to keep her in dresses, cute shoes (my main weakness) and adorable, pink clothing. While one of us may have been dreading the frippery that comes with girlie girlness, we've embraced it to the best of our ability. I like to think we've given KIC the ability to establish her own personality DESPITE HER MOTHER'S INITIAL INTENTIONS.

And who knows, maybe there's hope. Right after watching the "Cars 2" movie, she requested a Mater tow truck toy. As we speak, it's not a Barbie sitting in her cubby at school, it's Mater. Maybe she'll be a race car driver after all. Whatever the outcome, we sure do love her so.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Clear Da House!

Hello, bloggie readers, 'BoTino here. Confused as to which Shoup animal I am? Allow me to illustrate:

The Cute One

That's right, I'm the cute one in the Shoup House. My mom thinks so too. She whispers it in my ear every day so the others don't get jealous. That's my sidekick, KIC, in the picture with me. I am one of many furry kids my parents have saved. Believe it or not, several families passed me up because I once bit a kid in self-defense. As you can see, I love my new kid and I know my new kid loves me. She's the one who gave me the rather undignified name of BoTino. To be honest, Valentino doesn't really suit me as I'm a country boy with simple pleasures. My Uncle Dick sez you can measure how much a family loves their furry kids by the number of nicknames the family has for the furry kid. With the exception of the names my mommy uses when I go on my solo neighborhood jaunts, you can tell my family really loves me.

But enough about me. My family has a big heart for homeless animals. If you ask me, it might be a little too big. I mean, really, do we need cats?? But I digress. We have two animals living with us that need some help, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Shadoe is a classic example of my mommy's big heart. She leapt before she looked and now we have this feral kitty. The good news is that this kitty, who has been so unhappy in our home, has a forever home lined up for her where she will live in a barn with all the mice she can possible chase and a feline companion to join her in pursuit of controlling the rodent population. We need to raise money for her spay and vaccines so she can go to this forever home. To be honest, she terrifies me, so the sooner we can get her out, the better I'll sleep at night. Well, that's my story anyway. To hear me snore, you'd know I sleep quite well...

Chief is another classic example of my mommy's big heart. I would prefer not to have any competition when stealing KIC's food, but that's just me. I'm told (roll eyes) that Chief is a good boy. I think he's a bed hogging, food stealing, toy snitching pain in the...I shall remain genteel about Chief. Chief has some significant issues that mom and dad have tried to work with, but now the time has come for some outside help. The other dogs and I are crossing our paws that this works so that he can get adopted and we can have more room to stretch out on the bed (an increase in the bone allowance wouldn't hurt either). Mom said the trainer makes no promises, but I sure do hope it works. Mom has done so much for so many dogs (me included) that I'd love to see the light come back in her eyes.

Your contributions towards clearing the Shoup House getting these animals into their forever homes are tax deductible and much appreciated. For everyone who makes a contribution, I'll include an autographed picture of me and KIC to show our appreciation. Who doesn't love a picture of a beagle and a cute kid??? Thank you from the bottom of my beagle heart, and from my mommy's heart too. And while I'm asking for favors, can you please pray mommy doesn't find out I can type? I dread the administrative work she will have me do once she sees this blog!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One of the many faces of redemption

I firmly believe there are many faces of redemption. This redemption story is about the redemption of a good ol' houndog who deserved so much more than he had already experienced in life. I promise not to get theological, but I really want to share this story to give people a glimpse of just how rewarding animal rescue can be. Too often we hear about the hoarder who had too many animals and the poor condition they were in, or the dog who was abandoned at the shelter only to be rescued in the nick of time. What happens AFTER they are rescued? If you're an inquiring mind and want to know, keep reading. If not, I promise the next post will be full of baby child antics. ;-)

February 2010 brought a harsh winter to the Mid-Atlantic region. This is an especially dangerous time for stray, domesticated animals who can't successfully forage for food. I got a call about one such soul who had the good fortune to be rescued from the woods. He was likely abadoned by a hunter when he didn't return with the pack. He had no way of knowing that this was going to be the best thing that had ever happened to him.

Alvin at the shelter

This is Alvin. He was named for the 'A' that had been bleached on both sides of his body. When HART agreed to rescue him, he was about 15 lbs underweight, in serious need of dental work and not neutered. His first night with us was uneventful, but you only had to look into his eyes to see how broken he was and why, despite his beauty, he had been overlooked time and time again. At the time, I told my friend "All in all, a couple more days with us and I'm sure he'll settle in. Maybe not to the point that he's sleeping on the sofa, but enough so he's not pacing waiting for his next beating."

It was clear that Alvin had never lived in a home before and everything that went on in our house (cats, toddler, dogs) was a serious overload for him. He loved our daughter and trusted her implicitly, but he wouldn't come near us. He would spend hours in the backyard if we let him, no matter the temperature. To get him to come in, we'd have to go into the backyard and turn our backs to him so he would think he was sneaking back into the house to avoid us. It was in the backyard that we got to see glimpses of normal doggy behavior, almost to the point of puppyness. He'd bash another dog in the face trying to get them to play with him while everyone, including the dog, looked at him stunned. :)

In May of that same year, a family looking for a companion for their dog saw him and decided they wanted to meet him. When they came over, he reacted very well to their calm demeanor and settled in liked I'd never seen before. In a rare stroke of brilliance, I had them feed him raw hamburger meat. He wouldn't respond to treats and had to be crated in order to eat, so it was sort of a last ditch effort. Alvin, of course, loved it and loved them. The day the family said they wanted to adopt him was a joyous, but bittersweet day for us. Alvin was better than he was when we got him, but still so damaged that it shot right through your heart. Phase 2 of his new life was about to start and boy was he in store for some lovin'!

Alvin on the way to his new home

Not only was Alvin blessed with a wonderful family, but I was blessed as well. I inquire every so often about him, and his gracious mom always responds with more than a cursory "he's great, thanks." I'll share with you her latest update, more than a year after Alvin was adopted: "Alvin is doing great. We love him and while he's still pretty skittish in general, he has warmed to us well... His best times are in the morning (or in the middle of the night - he gets up once a night most nights to go out to pee) - he is very playful right after he wakes up and we enjoy the little show he puts on then. He even tries to draw us in sometimes bumping us with his nose - it's very cute... He is just the sweetest dog. It is so hard to imagine how anyone could mistreat any animal much less one as sweet as he is...
Sudden movements and loud sounds still really do a number on him. The doorbell sets him off still as well...He likes affection but doesn't really seek it out. On occasion he'll come over to me in my office and sit down so I can pet him. Whenever he's lying down, though, and anyone goes to pet him he always looks at us longingly when we stop - he likes to be petted...We are so glad we found him - or that we found each other. We know we're giving him a good life now and he deserves that after whatever he went through before being saved by HART."

Alvin Now

If Alvin's updated picture isn't the picture of redemption, I don't know what is. This is what every dog deserves: a soft bed, a warm sunbeam, regular meals and a wonderful, loving family. We are so grateful to have been a part of Alvin's redemption and wanted to share a story of what happens after the rescue. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find a soft bed, a warm sunbeam and get in some quality animal snuggle time. ;-) Until next time, as always, hug your loved ones tight, especially if they are of the furry kind.