One More Time

This has been an extra-special week here at Casa 3917. Monday was Elmo's 11th birthday, and we celebrated by taking the plunge...and adopting an adorable little puppy named Abbie from the Forsyth County Animal Control Shelter in Winston-Salem. All of her paperwork says she's 2 months old and an Australian Shepherd mix...but I'm thinking she may be a wee bit younger, and that she takes after her Daddy, who quite possibly was a traveling Terrier. We shall see...meanwhile, you can see what her official portrait on their website looked like.

You got a baby puppy...are you nuts?! Ah yes...but there is method to the madness. It's been almost 8 months since we said goodbye to Gus, and we have progressed through the grief stages to reach "good memories and great stories." We knew we were ready to open our hearts to another pet. While a two-Basset household is a daily challenge, we are anticipating a coming change that will bring a new set of challenges. You see, Duche$$ has an inoperable tumor and is approaching the end of her journey. That would mean Elmo (our blind Basset boy) would be facing a lonely life as an only dog. Enter Abbie!

To tell the whole story, we initially applied for a darling dog called Snoopy...a part-Basset, part-Lab that we took to calling a Basset-Dore. We were approved, but another family got there first. Not meant to be.

So, we watched the website and waited...until we saw the photos posted of Abbie (above). And then we dashed to Winston on Monday. She had a sister named Addie and three brothers...and we would happily have accepted any one of them into our family. Still, we are thrilled to get Abbie, as she reminds us of our favorite forensic scientist on NCIS...Abby Scutto. I even got our Abbie a little Goth feeding bowl...hehehe.

Yes, here we go more time...Pet Parenthood 101. And even though I'm a tad sleep-deprived, I think it's going well so far. Abbie seems so happy, chasing Elmo's tail...playing with every toy in the toy basket...and trying to get Duche$$ to be her bud (no luck on that last one yet...:-). She's discovered the doggie door and made her first foray into the Way Back Garden.

Let you in on a little secret. I do have a dream that Abbie and I can train as a Therapy Team. I was so impressed by the Therapy Dog that visited Momma in Hospice Home, that I filed the experience away for "hopefully, some day..." Maybe we are in the early days of making that dream a reality. We shall see...again...and I will share any steps we take along the way.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves...let's get back to Abbie...Day One:

Just makes you smile, doesn't it?

And speaking of smiling...

I realize I've not shared much about my battle with Bell's Palsy lately. This week is the beginning of Month Nine...hard to imagine, isn't it? I realized that I was spending too much energy focusing on "the problem," instead of doing what I do best: finding solutions. Sigh. Making that transition isn't as simple as it sounds.

Still, I may have found a potential "solution" to my current issue of synkenesis, where voluntary facial movements (like smiling, eating, or sipping through a straw) cause involuntary movements (specifically left eye closure). There are two physical therapists at Duke Medical Center in Durham (only ones in the state) who specialize in rehabilitation of long-term Bell's Palsy patients...of which I am now one. After an initial consult, I understand that it's a matter of learning how to isolate and retrain the muscles. And, I will be taking this positive step over the next few weeks.

As I said, one more time...


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