August 13, 2019

Rescue Pets! Before and After Adoption Photos for Transformation Tuesday

I wanted to get this up last week, but I have been working nonstop on a major project (which I'll write about tomorrow, hopefully). I've wanted to do a Transformation Tuesday post like this for a long time, and I'm excited to finally share these pictures! I asked for people to share photos of their rescue pets before and after their adoptions. I always love to see the difference that some tender loving care can do for animals who really need it.

I am a huge proponent of adopting pets from shelters and rescues rather than purchasing from breeders or pet stores. All of my pets have been either adopted from the shelter or taken in off the street. There are so many (TOO many) fantastic pets at the shelters just waiting for a loving home.

Adoption makes a huge difference in at least three ways: 1) The animal you are rescuing gets a home; 2) It opens a spot in the shelter for another animal to be placed rather than euthanized, and 3) You will feel an enormous sense of joy for helping an animal in need in the best way possible.

When Jerry and I adopted Joey, his fur was grimy and he reeked of urine. He was pretty docile and seemed a little reserved about whether or not it was okay to get excited that we were paying attention to him at the shelter. Once we took him home and gave him a bath, along with tons of attention, he was like a different dog. He was so excited!

We are SO glad that he came into our lives, and I'm pretty sure that he is, too ;)  Here is a "before" photo of Joey on the day he came home from the shelter versus a recent photo of him (four years later) after finding his "forever" family.

And here are some photos that readers have sent in of their own rescue pets! Thank you for sharing these photos--they make my heart happy :)

This is Dobby. I found her wandering down the street, starving and suffering from mange... I opened my car door, she jumped in and the rest is history!

- Meg, rescued by a dog in NC

This is Gertie the Jack Russell Terrier/Beagle mix in her cage before being adopted and then out on a long walk after we adopted her!

- Becky, Pennsylvania, Dog and Toddler Mama

We adopted Annie from a shelter nine years ago. She was about two years old and was shy, timid, and very sweet. Little did we know at the time, Annie was pregnant with 11 puppies! We kept Buddy (included in the "after" photo) and, luckily, found homes for the rest of the puppies as well.

- Debra, Missouri, Dog Mom

Seven years ago, I took in a group of ferrel kittens that had been living in the bushes being fed scraps by neighbors. I ended up adopting Razzy, who is 7 years old now, and she is the sweetest, most beautiful cat (in my biased opinion).

- Staci, Seattle, Cat Lover

We adopted our amazing pup Molly from the local humane society (emaciated, sick, and absolutely terrified) four years ago – now she's in training to pass the Canine Good Citizen test and to become a certified therapy dog to bring joy and comfort to people in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools!

- Kaitlyn

This is Bella and Lulu before and after rescue. Bella had been adopted by a family and then returned to the shelter. When I adopted her, she was extremely skittish and shy and it took months to gain her trust. Someone dumped Lulu near my parents’ house malnourished, covered in ticks and suffering from mange. They’re both pretty happy pups these days and have added so much joy to my life!

- Ali, Kentucky, Animal Rescue Advocate

This is our beautiful rescue dog, Lizzie, on the day she arrived in the shelter (from Alabama all the way up to Wisconsin); and then after just three months of being in our home. She’s the happiest girl!

-Amanda, Wisconsin, obsessed with her dog

We recently rescued a baby kitty from my mom’s front yard. He had a very bad infection and a severe eye abscess when we found him, and unfortunately had to have one of his eyes removed. Now, two months later, he’s vibrant and full of life! He’s now living his best life with his three doggy siblings, and getting all the love he deserves!

—Lauren, Texas, Proud Fur Mama

P.S. We named him Squints—for obvious reasons ;)

This is Delilah, a neglected and surrendered senior doggy.  The "before" photo is from the day she became a Mr. Mo Project Dog after being dumped at a busy city shelter (clearly neglected and in pain).  The "after" is 4 weeks later--happy, safe, loved, and well accessorized!

(Mr. Mo Project is a 501(c)(3) dog rescue that gets senior dogs out of shelters and placed in forever foster homes. Then they cover the medical expenses for the life of the dog. They even have an application where you can submit a shelter dog's information who you think should be considered for a "project" dog.)

- Jeannie, forever foster mom

Thank you so much for sharing the photos of your pets. I think that seeing the before and after adoption photos speaks volumes about rescuing pets and the difference it can make (in their lives and in ours). Love these--thank you!

August 05, 2019

Touché, Dad

Now that the inside of our house is almost completely made over, there are some things I have been wanting to work on outside. My biggest is that I want a new front porch--ours is SO bad that it's probably dangerous.

Yesterday, I just had it with the loose boards moving around when I would walk on it (I hadn't fixed them because I kept thinking we'd get a new porch "soon") and I decided to screw the loose boards down. I got out my drill and started working on it.

While I was working, I glanced up and happened to notice an apple on my apple tree. It was big and red and looked perfect!

big red apple on my apple tree

First, the quick story of my experience with fruit trees...

I have always wanted an apple tree. That was one of the first things I bought when we moved in here, and I planted it in the front yard. Not even a couple of weeks later, some teenagers were walking around late at night and they ripped it out of the ground and it died. I bought another, and it started growing, but died for some unknown reason. Finally, I got one that grew for a couple of years and actually got a few apples on it!

My dad told me I should trim the ends of the branches to help it grow faster. I had no idea what that was about, but my dad has a decent garden and a cherry tree, so I just took his word. It died!

I started over again with another tree. My dad kept telling me about trimming it, and I told him never to touch my apple tree. It became a running joke between us, and he was always teasing me about the apple tree that took a decade to grow an apple, haha. Several years ago, my parents gave me a stick Asian pear tree. Asian pears are my FAVORITE fruit ever, and they are so expensive. I was thrilled!

the start of an Asian pear tree

I planted the stick in the ground, not expecting anything, but it grew. And it grew and it grew and it grew. Now, it's actually pretty big! It still hasn't flowered or given any fruit, so I must have done something wrong with it. I know you are supposed to cross pollinate fruit trees, but I didn't learn that until a few years after I had my trees.

Anyways, it was just another thing for my dad to tease me about. I have an Asian pear tree that is five years old and I've never grown a pear. This is what it looks like now; so crazy that it used to be a simple stick in the ground!

Six year old Asian pear tree

So, when I was working on the porch yesterday and I saw the perfect apple hanging from the tree, I was shocked. I got so excited to pick it before the bugs got at it!

I went over to the tree, and upon further inspection, I saw that I'd been had. Of course, it had to be my dad's doing!

Fake apple hanging to the tree by a rubber band

It made me laugh out loud, though, and then I had the idea to get him back by swapping it out with an orange. I threaded a rubber band through an orange with a crochet hook, and then I hung it on the tree. When my dad dropped my kids off a couple of hours later, he noticed a nice perfect orange "growing" on my tree, hahaha.

Who knows if I'll ever get any fruit from my trees. I do get a few apples each year, but they get eaten by bugs and birds before they even get big and ripe enough to eat.

Speaking of birds, I was nearly traumatized for life yesterday because of a bird that has been hanging around my house for a few weeks. It's a really big bird, and my kids have seen it once in a while sitting on the railing of my deck. I thought it sounded pretty cool, but I hadn't seen it yet.

Yesterday morning, Eli and I were sitting outside on the deck with some walnuts to feed the squirrels. All of a sudden the bird flew over our heads and into the tree across the alley. I was trying to get a good look when Eli said, "I think it's looking at that squirrel on the next tree". I didn't think much of that, because the bird was about the same size as the squirrel, so I didn't think it would try to hurt the squirrel.

I don't know anything about birds, but Eli told me it was a hawk. Then we saw it fly to a branch that was closer to the squirrel, who was minding his own business. I started to get nervous, and Eli asked if he should go scare it away by making noise. I said yes, and he started walking across the alley. Suddenly, I saw the hawk swoop down to the squirrel and grab it!

I panicked and instantly banged on the deck railing as hard as I could to make some noise. Almost as soon as the hawk had picked up the squirrel, he dropped it and flew off away from us. Thankfully, it did not carry the squirrel away. Still, I was horrified!

I read a little about hawks yesterday after that happened, and I saw that they may hang around bird feeders--not for the bird seed, but for the birds themselves! Since we got the bird feeder recently, I wonder if that's what attracted it. I definitely don't want it grabbing my beloved squirrels, so I took the bird feeder down. I hope I don't see it again. My squirrels are one of my biggest joys.

Anyway, any tips on growing a fruit tree? Particularly an Asian pear tree? I would love to grow my own Asian pears.

August 02, 2019


I have totally been avoiding blogging this week. And counting calories, like I'd said I was going to. And deliberate exercise, another promise. And even going out, other than for cross country.

It's not even that I'm going through a depressive episode. I was just feeling so overwhelmed that I put myself in a little bubble of avoidance. I feel like I need a time out--stop the clock, chill for a few days without worrying about all the things I'm NOT doing--and then resume life without the consequences of having fallen behind.

Does that make any sense?

On my last post, I wrote about feeling like I need to count calories again to drop some of this extra weight and feel better. I think that the extra weight is contributing to the recent avoidance. A couple of days ago, Jerry asked me to go to his softball game, and I was too embarrassed to go. The last time I went I was in great shape.

I think one of the, if not the biggest, drawbacks to being so public about my weight loss/gain/loss/gain cycle is that I know people notice it. They may not say anything, but of course they are going to notice. Ten pounds over my goal weight, I can handle. Everybody's weight fluctuates now and then. But being thirty pounds over my original goal weight makes a very big difference.

I need some new workout clothes. Mine are too small and since I haven't been running, I haven't bought anything that fits. Even getting dressed for cross country is challenging. So, I think I'll go to Salvation Army today and find a few things (mainly tops) to wear. Maybe that will help motivate me to want to exercise.

Changing the way I eat has been the hardest. I've gotten so used to not counting calories over the last few years that I find it so difficult to get back into it. I don't mind the idea of counting; I just forget how I used to take the time to plan things out. And few of the foods I used to eat appeal to me anymore. I planned out two weeks worth of dinners and their shopping lists, so that isn't the problem. It's breakfast, lunch, and a snack/treat that challenge me.

With the exercise (specifically running, which I would really love to get back into), I just can't find motivation to do it. I know that once I get in a solid routine, I'll be able to get used to it. It's the first couple of months of runs that suck, because it feels so much harder than it used to. It feels like I'll never get in shape again! When I was losing the weight nearly a decade ago, I was running faster and easier than I am now, even being thinner now than I was back then. I know that I need to be patient, put in the work, and just get it over with already.

I actually really do miss running. I never know what to say when people ask me if I still run. Sure I do... about once or twice a month. I've now taken a full two-year hiatus, and I know I want to get back to it--the desire is there--but I truly am a beginner again. There is nothing wrong with walking instead of running, but I miss the way that running made me feel. I felt strong, fit, determined and proud of myself.

I decided on a fun idea for the kids at cross country on our "long run" practices. I'm going to tell the kids that whoever can run longer than I do without stopping or walking will be able to choose a prize from my bag. I have such a hard time getting them to do even one 0.25-mile lap without stopping or walking! They are ALL capable of doing it. They will have to do it at their races. They just run too fast from the start, and teaching them to pace themselves is so difficult.

So, when they see me running painfully slow, maybe they'll see that they can keep going. I know that I can do about 3 miles (which is about 38 minutes or so for me right now) and it'll be interesting to see if any of them can match that with the motivation of a prize at the end.

Anyway, this whole post is not meant to be one giant complaint or lots of excuses. I know what I need to do and I've done it before. Like everyone else, I wish I could just blink and be back to feeling and looking my best. Since that isn't going to happen, I have to make a plan and put the blinders on. I need to go through the motions until it feels natural again. Once I start seeing results, I'll feel the determination that I need to see it through.

I do get the motivation doses several times a week, especially after each cross country practice. But it's the determination that I'm lacking. (Here is a post I wrote about the difference between the two and why motivation doesn't get you to reach your goal for weight loss.) My biggest obstacle that I have now that wasn't there before is chronic pain. The carpal tunnel, my back issue, knots in my shoulders, and an odd pain when I bend my elbows (the muscles in my forearm and upper arm just above and below my elbow). I'm also older.

When I was running regularly, I didn't have any of these physical problems except for the back pain, but that was there since I was a kid. I've been to numerous specialists about that and tried all sorts of treatments, but nothing works. However, I can deal with that as I always have. I'm just hoping that the other problems will resolve by taking better care of myself.

So, like I said, this post isn't to complain, but rather to just sort my thoughts about this avoidance that is going on. I've done it before and I KNOW that I can do it again. I would love to be able to document it here as I make progress, so another goal that I have is to write more frequently and stop avoiding it. I just never know what to write when I haven't worked on my goals.

Thank you to those of you that have said you are in the same boat. I am sorry that you are going through it, too, but it really helps to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way! I appreciate the support and kind words more than I can even express. I wish you the best as you work on this with me!

I was hoping to find some photos to share of the past week, but I really don't have much! But here are a few...

These are some of the foods I've been eating lately. I've been eating a lot of fruit (I'm obsessed with cherries right now--they are so expensive, so I rarely buy them, but they've been on sale for $1.99/pound this week.

These are my Banana Oat Bran Muffins with added blueberries, topped with Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter by Peanut Butter & Co.:

This is a chicken fajita bowl that I made when peppers were on sale:

I had a huge craving for roasted cauliflower with parmesan cheese, something I used to make when I was losing weight. I love this! (Just cut cauliflower into florets and toss with a little olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Then roast at 425℉ until it gets little brown bits on it.)

And I love watermelon season! Watermelon is one of my very favorite fruits. I am horrible and choosing good ones (they are either mushy or they are horribly underripe) so I don't buy them often. But Jerry usually has good luck, and he bought this one. It lasted all of two days in my house ;)

I went to visit my friend Spencer, who is now in hospice care at home. If you don't remember, he has stage IV brain cancer. I wanted to bring him something, but I had no idea what to bring. I ended up choosing a Red Wings Tervis tumbler (he's a big Red Wings fan) and a couple of pairs of cool socks. I thought they looked rather hipster, and since we share a love of Portland... ;)

There is a new squirrel coming around, who we've named Chip (as in Chip Matthews, from Friends) because he has a little chip in his ear (not "chip" as in microchip, but rather a little tear). He's not quite as bold as Tuck, but he is getting braver now that he knows we give him nuts.

If you remember, Eli bought me a bird feeder for Mother's Day so that the birds would quit stealing the squirrels' peanuts. Well, since we got the bird feeder, the squirrels do everything they can to eat the food from the bird feeder--including dangling by the very tips of their toes to reach the feeder. It's hilarious! So, when I saw this shirt on Amazon I just HAD to buy it for Eli. It's too perfect ;)

The squirrels are getting quite spoiled now--I recently spent about $60 on nuts for them! I got walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts all in-shell (healthier than peanuts for squirrels). We have a big jar sitting by the back door for when they come begging.

Right now, I'm going to head out to Salvation Army for some workout tops. I hope that my next post will show a little better progress!

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