Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Saga of Sasha

While we were in Colorado, I got a Facebook message from Jenn.  She started telling me a story about Sasha, the Rottweiler.  She went on and on about how she went missing in 2008 from her home in Indiana, and how she mysteriously ended up in the Humane Society in Phoenix.  I was laughing while relaying the story to Mike because Jenn was beating around the bush.  It took her forever to finally ask me if we would be willing to pick her up.  When she finally got around to the fact that Sasha was in Phoenix, I knew immediately we would pick her up, before ever being asked.  I would hope a friend would do the same for me if Elly or Rommel were in the same situation. I can understand her hesitation: Jenn and I have never met.  We connected through the internet years ago and remained friends, transitioning from Livejournal to Facebook.

One problem: they wanted her picked up immediately.  The Humane Society takes in 130 animals a day, and did not have the space to keep her.  They were kind enough to agree to keep her until noon on Monday.  We arrived back in Casa Grande Saturday night, a day earlier than planned.  We decided to pick up Sasha on Sunday, since we were home and a shelter is no place for a dog.  I kept that to myself.

Mike and I drove to Phoenix and went to the wrong shelter...crap.  We made it to the correct location, square in the ghetto.  And we waited..and waited.  We watched 10 people turn in perfectly healthy cats and dogs.  I wanted to puke.  We decided to make a donation; by the time our number was called to collect Sasha, our donation tripled.  

She was tiny.  A Rottweiler should not be 65 pounds of skin and bone.  Having never met us, she came right to us and hopped in the car.  She gave us kisses throughout the drive home, she knew the horror was over.

Once home, we began the initiation process.  I was a little worried, our dogs were still tired and cranky from a week of camping, and Sasha was stressed and scared.  There was a little fear biting on her part, but once she realized that she was in a safe place, everyone settled down nicely.  

She fit in nicely.  Sasha loved Mike and followed him everywhere.  She would attach herself to whomever was moving about the house and would try to go to work with us. She was great on a leash and loved walks.  We were thrilled when she began eating more and more.  She went from eating 1/2 a cup a day to almost 4 cups.  It was noticeable, she slowly started putting weight on and her coat was a thousand times shinier than it was on day one.  

Jenn would touch base everyday, mom was worried and anxious for her to come home.  Kindred Hearts Transport stepped up to get Sasha back to Indiana.  By the following Thursday, I was informed that she'd be starting her journey on Saturday.  It was like a punch in the gut; we both became extremely fond of Sasha and her waddle.  I wasn't ready for her to go.

I don't know the totality of her life, but I can't imagine it was all that great.  She wound up in a shelter at least twice and 1800 miles from her original home.  She gave birth to a litter of puppies that have since disappeared.  She's felt the pain of being abandoned.  Through it all, she exudes nothing but love.  She wants to wrestle and play the nose game, she wants to be cuddled and loved.  She wants to congregate and play with other dogs.  She wants to BE your companion.  I have so much respect for her love of life and people and mostly for her perseverance.  

I know she is going back to her mom, to Jenn where she belongs.  I know that she will spend the rest of her days loved: going for hikes, cuddling, relaxing.  For that I am thankful.  It helps the melancholy that both Mike and I feel.  I won't lie, I shed a few tears this morning after we saw her off.  

UPDATE: Sasha made it home!!  After a full week on the road with wonderful volunteers who fawned all over her, she landed in Indiana on the 17th.  And it went viral.  ABC Chicago was on site for the reunion and did a nice story about Kindred Hearts and the importance of microchips.  From there it exploded.  First ABC Phoenix mirrored the story, then CNN, Good Morning America, Yahoo news, and the story even ran in Indonesia.  Our girl is famous! She had more hits than the new dog in the White House. WIN!

I love a happy ending.

The Arizona Humane Society is overwhelmed.  Phoenix alone, takes in 130 animals a day.  If you're thinking of adding to your family, adopt.  There is a cat or dog out there just like Sasha who just wants to be part of your family.  If you're thinking of donating, donate to your local shelter or Humane Society: it could make a huge difference in a cat or dogs life.  

Lastly, if you have a dog or a cat, seriously consider having them chipped.  Sasha would never have been reunited with Jenn if it weren't for the microchip with her information on it.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Unfortunately Home Again

July 27, 2013

We were all reluctant to head home.  We lazed around camp much longer than we should have.  Everyone of us took a shower to help deplete the water supply and make for an easier trip south.  Mandy and I prepped lunch for later, since we knew we had about 500 miles to cover today.

Its funny how recognizable Arizona is.  Of course, you are greeted with a sign at the state border, but the Arizona landscape is so distinct.  We cruised through several Reservations towards 89.

Storm clouds lingered around the peripheral all day.  There was no way we would avoid the rain all day.  Near Cameron, we hit it.  Or it hit us.  At one point, we could only see about 50 feet in front of the Jeep.  It was coming down hard.  We were smack in the middle of a monsoon.  The lightning show was incredible.  One strike landed less than a mile from us; the crack was deafening.  I tried and tried to get a shot through the windshield. But the only photo that came out was an accident.  We were driving next to an unused suspension bridge. Mike mentioned that he liked it so I took a picture....

Awesome! I love a good storm.  Driving through them doesn't faze me.  I would have preferred to sit under a porch and enjoy it, but it was invigorating to be in the thick of it.

Once we hit I-17, it became more difficult to find easy National Forest access.  We pulled into a small neighborhood and had a quick lunch in between storms.  The approaching clouds hurried us back onto the road.

Once we hit Flagstaff, the storms were long behind us.  We joined the hoards of weekenders heading back to Phoenix after escaping the heat for the weekend.  The temperature gauge slowly climbed the further south we went.  Our last fuel stop in Anthem was a stark reminder of what we left behind...104 at 7PM.

Once home, Mike and I stripped the trailer long into the darkness.  Better done now than in the heat of the day tomorrow.  Dogs were bathed and fed, and heaps of laundry and other miscellaneous items were strewn about the house. I was depressed.  Every time we go on vacation, it gets harder and harder to come back.

The four of us have begun discussion on where we will venture to next year.  Colorado again? Utah maybe?  We shall see.  Until then, we will venture out on weekend trips.  Can't wait for our new trailer! Stay tuned for that!!

The Journey Home Begins

July 26, 2013

The trip was ending.  All good things have to come to an end, I suppose.  Breakfast was cooked and the boys began breaking down the Compound. Last night would be the last night the Compound would be set up.  We're actually selling the trailer to Pete and Mandy and moving up to an off road Teardrop trailer. We had a lot of miles to cover, but said farewell to the trips best camp spot.

Rommel had a teary goodbye with the river/creek.

We began our descent towards Durango.  The entire trip, we lamented on how little rain we experienced compared to last year.  The drive south made up for it.  During a break in the rain, we stopped at an overlook.

One thing that surprised me about Colorado, is how poorly residents drive in foul weather.  You would think they'd be champs, but...not so much.  

The lower we went, the warmer is got.  We fueled up in Durango and pushed on towards Cortez.  The map pointed us to National Forest access and we found a nice camp spot nestled in the pines.  Impromptu camp was erected and we relaxed throughout the afternoon.  

Mike and I wandered off to play fetch with Rommel and Mika in the dense brush.  Elly was still feeling under the weather, so she took turns nuzzling Mike and I.

We moseyed back to camp, ate dinner and turned in.  Tomorrow would be the final push back to Casa Grande.  Back to reality.