Be like a train; go in the rain,

go in the sun, go in the storm,

go in the dark tunnels!

Be like a train;

concentrate on your road

and go with no hesitation!
~Mehmet Murat ildan

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

***Unfold your own myth.***

I hope you will go out and let stories,

that is life, happen to you, and that

you will work with these stories . . .

water them with your blood &

tears & your laughter till they bloom,

till you yourself burst into bloom.

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Friday, 28 February 2014

Happy Birthday Max!

Today is Max's 12th birthday and it's a good time to tell the story of how Max came into our lives. He is a little bit greyer now, than when these pictures were taken, and has a little bigger tummy from the sausage and bacon the guests sneak under the table.  But then how could anyone resist those brown eyes?

Max is of one of the best dogs in the world and certainly one of the best I've ever had (apart from Cloud, Pumpkin, Rags, Maggie, Casey, Murphy, Jamie and Winnie).  We call him our Target dog.

sAbout 11 years ago, Stuart and I were on an afternoon outing to Target (a large department store), back home in the U.S. Actually, I was the one who would be doing the shopping. Stuart just looks at books and magazines. As we drove by the large grocery store next to Target, we noticed a cute, furry, black dog sitting by the front door, looking as though he was waiting patiently for his owner. We both thought, "what a good dog, sitting so obediently."

When we finished our shopping (and reading), we walked outside and the same little black dog came running up to us in the parking lot.  He jumped up on us, eagerly wagging his entire body, and we could see what we hadn't noticed before. He was skin and bones, matted, very smelly and very, very desperate--both for a good meal and a home.

I see sheep!!
The decision to put him in the car and take him home was made mutually, instantaneously and silently. Another woman in the parking lot said she thought he was abandoned and she'd take him home if no one wanted him. We hurriedly said, "no, no, we're taking him", and we quickly put him in the back seat and drove off. We didn't know why at the time, but we were as desperate to have him as he was to have us. We weren't even in the market for a dog--we already had 2 waiting by the front door at home, but we knew we needed Max and he needed us.

Once he was bathed (twice), brushed, and taken to the vet, we were able to see that under all the layers of dirt and shaggy coat was a beautiful mix of long-haired dachshund and Australian Shepherd. He's affectionate and loyal like a dachshund, and smart and sensitive like an Australian Shepherd. He blended into our home with our other dogs in no time and it seemed like Max had always been a part of us.

When we made the decision to move to England, we knew we could only take one dog with us and Max, with his even temperament and small size, was the perfect candidate. So, along with shipping the contents of our household, pet shipping was on my research/to do list. It took 6 months of paperwork, state seals, vet endorsements, microchipping, and immunizations, but Max finally had his "Pet Passport" and was cleared to travel and live in the U.K.

He made the 11 hour flight from Seattle to London on British Air in their lovely, climate controlled pet hold, and then spent a night at the pet holding centre at Heathrow. When he was finally reunited with us in England, he was just good old Max, happy to see us, practically licking our faces off, and as easy-going and happy as ever. It took him about a minute to adjust to life in England.....and he's never looked back.

Max loves life in the U.K. and especially life as a B&B dog. How could he not? There's bacon and sausage cooking every morning and plenty of people to say hello to and scratch his tummy.  He has long walks in the English countryside, city walks in Oxford around Christchurch Meadow or through Holywell Cemetery. He can even go into pubs with us and get a bowl of water after a long walk and then lay by the fireplace--what dog wouldn't love England?

So, if you come to stay at Holywell, I'll be the first person to greet you but Max will be a close second, making sure you feel at home. He'll never bark at you and will be so happy to see you every morning, greeting you like a long lost friend. He asks nothing in return for his friendship, except maybe a small piece of bacon.

Always one eye open for any
stray bacon that may come his way.