Merry Christmas from the Halverson Pack!
When you really do have the perfect Christmas…
I don’t know about you but I usually have mixed emotions about the holiday season. The zealous commercialization of Christmas seems to have stolen its real meaning…the expectations of others seems to add too much stress. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed the holiday season but this year instead of feeling emotionally zapped by it I was fully energized by it. The commercialization is obnoxious….still, there are some fun but silly activities that captured our amusement….like pictures with Santa. This year Bret and I really had the chance to focus on what means the most to us…each other and the current cadre of critters running around our house. Our gift to each other this year…vet bills (they are so high right now with three seniors)…our gift to our critters has been and will always be our time and focus.
One of our holiday adventures this year was pictures with Santa at the Scott County Humane Society. We took Lacey and Kringles…both made a lot of people smile with their cute little outfits and cooperative natures. Kringles picks up chicks everywhere he goes. After pictures we took them for puppy lattes at Starbucks. Lacey knows what it means when we pull up to a Starbucks drive through and bounces around with excitement…if she wasn’t in a car seat I am sure she would leap right into the Starbucks window.
Christmas Eve was bittersweet this year….sweet because the weather was fabulous most of the day and I spent most of the day walking dogs at the park. For a Minnesotan…a 60 degree Christmas Eve is a wonderful treat! With six dogs in the house right now I spend a good portion of each day excercising them…the biggest gift we can give our dogs is keeping them mentally, physically and socially stimulated…while that is not easy with six I do enjoy every minute of it. I am lucky to have several parks within a few minutes of my house. Sparky and Kringles are good walking companions…Sparky still loves his walks but moves very slow now. Kringles has an enlarged heart and can no longer go on walks…he enjoys tooling along in his wagon…he is so content to ride along and enjoy the view. The bitter part of Christmas Eve…the night before Christmas Eve I made a late night run to Walmart…to pick up some treats for a friend who just broke her leg. It was getting cold and it was pouring rain…this picture was all I could think about….this picture was taken by a local rescue group in the county I live in (it is one of several pictures of dogs living chained that day). In the cold and pouring rain this dog had nothing but a plastic tote to keep it warm and dry….assuming its chain wasn’t tangled that night keeping it from the tote. There was also a puppy at the site who was sharing the tote with this dog. This is such a common picture of dogs in Kentucky. When I look at this I do not wonder “how could anyone do this to a dog”…I know how…they are spiritually sick. What I wonder is “how can an entire community look the other way?” The problem in Kentucky is not simply the spiritually sick individuals who chain up and neglect their dogs…its the lack of will by the community to stand up say “NOT IN MY BACKYARD…WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS”. Kindness to animals is simple and easy…and is one of many important benchmarks by which a community’s conscience and spiritual health can be evaluated.
Also on my mind was this dog…Lola. Lola was rescued in the nick of time…she was tied to a chain and left to starve. Her brother was found dead at the scene…he slowly starved to death. This incident was also in Kentucky…just north of here. Lola’s abuser has been arrested…which is great…but the maximum sentence for what he has done is 90 days. This is a travesty of justice…yet there is no outrage. Lola is healing (she had wounds all over her skin) and has gained considerable weight since she was found…but it appears her suffering is in vain…as despite the coverage of this incident in the press here…there are no laws to adequately deter this type of crime in the future.
The state of the dogs in Kentucky is such a frustrating situation…in most communities in Kentucky the laws are such that there is absolutely nothing you can do to help these dogs…if there are laws they are rarely enforced. As I thought about that poor dog living in the tote that night I did the only thing I was able to do for it…pray. Pray for comfort and rescue for this dog and pray for grace to enter the heart of this dogs human….pray for this community to have a change of heart. You can analyze societal problems like this any way you want I suppose…but I see this as a spiritual epidemic…perhaps it is time to start a prayer chain focused on the dogs of Kentucky because frankly I am not sure anything else will work.
Every time I see dogs in distress I want to run home and snuggle my own pets…lucky for me our two foster dogs are the world’s best snugglers. If I am sitting down anywhere in our home….they are vying for my lap. I really couldn’t be more blessed…I have learned so much from both of these dogs. Our Christmas carried on…depsite my pre-occupation with all the dogs living in distress.
We stuffed the tree with presents Christmas morning….the dogs watched with great anticipation. Buster and Lacey attacked the present pile with great enthusiasm. Kringles just wanted to snuggle. Turnip just wanted his stuffed lambs. Sparky just relaxed and watched the festivities in his usual dignified manner. It was a delightful morning. I leave you with a few of our family pictures from Christmas morning….a morning that I felt very blessed to have a husband who doesn’t just tolerate all the critters I bring home…he loves them…and blessed to play a small role in the lives of all these sweet creatures. I believe the entire reason we are born on this planet is to grow spiritually…for each of us there will be different paths and roles that rub the rough edges off of us and aids in our spiritual maturity…for me…my path is pet rescue. What we do in this world follows us into the next…