September 23rd 2011 6:08 am
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Not a happy story, but note worthy on so many levels.
Carrie McGonigle knows what it is like to lose a child. Her daughter Amber DuBois was killed in 2009 and her body wasn't discovered until 2010.
In the wake of that horror, McGonigle formed a rescue organization called "Team Amber Rescue" as a way to cope with her loss and to help other parents who are going through the disappearance of a child. She traveled to the Bay Area to help the Le family search for their daughter Michelle late last week.
One of the members of McGonigle's search team was a yellow lab named, Amber, after her slain daughter.
In a press conference Wednesday, McGonigle said before the search began in Sunol Canyon, the dog darted off. When McGonigle caught up with the animal, she said she was at the site of the remains. It happened just that fast. She said she didn't know what she had found at first. She reported the discovery to the detective who was with the group and continued on to search other areas of the canyon.
McGonigle said that she wasn't planning on attending the search for Le, because she didn't think she was emotionally prepared, however, she eventually decided to go.
McGonigle said she feels as though a higher power led her to Le's body.
She also noted that Amber the dog is not officially certified as a search animal and still needs a year's worth of training.
McGonigle's daughter was murdered by convicted killer John Gardner in 2009. Her body was not found until the killer made a deal with the parents of another child he killed in 2010. He said he would tell prosecutors where Amber's body was, if they did not seek the death penalty against him. Chelsea King's parents agreed, giving Amber's family closure.
Now McGonigle is able to give another family closure.
Le’s remains were found in a remote area of Niles Canyon. The location is the general area where GPS tracking showed the cell phones of both Le and the prime suspect in the case, Giselle Esteban, traveled the night Le disappeared on May 27.
The Le family, along with Marc Klass' Kids Foundation had conducted several searches hoping to find clues to the case. Marc Klass, who also lost a daughter in a horrible crime, said parents like himself and McGonigle know what it is like not to have closure. He told NBC Bay Area on Sunday that getting closure is key to a parent's healing.
McGonigle said she didn't want her role in the story to be announced right away, because she said the Le family had enough to deal with and she didn't want to take away anything from their grieving by having people talk about who found the body. She said she didn't want to be part of the story in respect for them.
September 16th 2011 5:42 pm
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Just when I thought I was done with black dog entries I received an e-mail earlier this week. It doesn't state in the story that Abbey is a black dog but the sweet picture embedded in the e-mail is of a little girl hugging a black labby looking dog. Anyway, here is the e-mail:
We don't know who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US Postal Service.
Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.
Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.
Thank you for the beautiful letter. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find. I am wherever there is love".
September 12th 2011 2:34 pm
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Oh woofs! Humom almost had me bark a complaining, whiney entry about how terrible the Dogster performance has been today. But then she tried going to some other sites and figured out it seems her IP was actually having some problems. So apparently it was not Dogster THIS TIME.
September 11th 2011 3:54 pm
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The kid had something important to do today. He dressed in his Boy Scout uniform and went down to the county fairgrounds. Today's duty was to hand out flags. These flags are special. They each have the name of a person who died in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
Folks were then asked to take their flag to a memorial display and to place them in there. There is a picture of it on my page today.
September 10th 2011 7:53 pm
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The only earthly dog and the last in this series of black dogs is Pepper. Pepper is our family princess! Come to us at a time when we can pamper, praise and protect.
After Jamaica my husband really wanted a black lab. I was a little leery, thinking this is a high energy breed and wondering if we could really manage a lab puppy.
The litter she came from could not have been more different from Jamaica’s litter. 7 black and 1 yellow bundles of fur swarmed us. Pepper wore a little red collar. She and her yellow brother were the friendliest of the lot. We asked about her yellow brother and he was already spoken for.
We had no preference on male or female so I felt a little bad about taking the only female. But upon observation she was one of the friendliest and less chewy of the pups. So selfish we were and she came home with us that night. She was 11 weeks old.
I insisted on obedience training for this dog. In the time between Jamaica and Pepper I did a lot of reading about dogs. Not sure why it took lack of a dog to get me to do this but it did. It was a time of reflection I needed. I realized the importance of socialization and training. My husband initially scoffed at the idea. So I was prepared to go it alone, just me and Pepper. This was not a negotiable subject. Pepper would get some formal training.
I found a puppy class at PetSmart starting within the next couple of weeks. Pepper was 13 or 14 weeks old when we started. Both my husband and son came along, perhaps out of curiosity, perhaps out of obligation. In any case it was an 8 week starter class and our hour of weekly family bonding had begun. We had a pretty good trainer and soon we all were hooked, especially my husband. Silly skeptic that he was, he has become a vocal champion of training. LOL!
I am not bragging when I say Pepper was the star of her class. Well maybe I am, but I am also telling the truth. If I have any regrets with Pepper so far, it is that I did not start her diary during her training weeks. We came home many nights laughing and reminiscing about that week’s class. They would have made great entries but mostly I wish I had documented them for family memories.
We went on to intermediate and advanced classes as a family. Then Pepper and I took some individual classes in preparation of the Canine Good Citizen test. We failed at our first attempt, messing up on the approaching a person with a dog portion. But a couple of weeks later we were invited back and we passed! This was HUGE for me. I know Pepper doesn’t know or care about her CGC but we are so happy and proud about this accomplishment for her.
After CGC I knew I wanted to keep some sort of dog activity going. I considered flyball, but in our area that seems to be a spring/summer activity. I could find no opportunity to start in the fall. Plus from what I read about it they encouraged waiting until the dog was 18 months to 2 years old because of the jumping portion. Pepper was 15 months old.
As it happens her CGC trainer told us about a Splash Dogs dock diving competition coming up on Halloween weekend. I had never heard of dock diving but thought it wouldn’t hurt to check it out. I wasn’t really sure if Pepper would like it, so I only signed her up for the practice sessions that time. Silly me! She took to it like a lab takes to water. She was a natural and now we are hooked!
She is my first dog to have an extra curricular activity and I had no idea how rewarding it would be for me. We have so much fun doing this together. I have to admit I enjoy bringing home the rosettes and ribbons she wins, too.
Pepper is a friendly, wiggly, funny girl, but can also be cautious and shy. She likes her crate so long as we don’t enclose her in it and she likes going to the vet. She likes water but hates baths (probably my fault). She has a hard time eating bread type foods, like pancakes, but loves watermelon and bananas. She is high energy but so easy to exercise with her obsession of fetch. We love her with all our hearts and look forward to many happy years together.
Jamaica & Pepper's humom
September 9th 2011 1:00 pm
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Toby is not a dog I ever got to meet in the fur. He was my husband's pup of yore from his teenage/young adult years. I feel I know him, though, from all the funny, charming stories my husband has told me about him over the years. I don't think I can do those hearsay stories justice so I won't even try. But I feel the need to mention him because he is THE reason we have Pepper today. He was a black lab who made a lasting impression on that young boy who later became my husband.
Thanks, dear Toby, you loved him well!
Yours in Dogster,
Jamaica & Pepper's humom
September 8th 2011 10:00 pm
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My black doggies have come full circle for I am back to Jamaica:)
Shortly after the purchase of our home a lady I worked with mentioned having a friend who was looking for homes for the roley-poley puppies her dog had. The friend lived right in our town of Boulder Creek and with the roley-poley description we had to go see them.
Fur mom was an Australian Shepherd and fur dad was a Chow Chow. These were some truly adorable puppies and roley-poley was accurate to describe them. Although, I did have a little nagging of doubt when checking out this litter of pups. Not one of them wanted to come investigate the humans. So, we picked a pup by choosing the one who broke from the pack to chase a cat. In essence, the one with the highest prey drive!
If my sin with Tammy was indifference and neglect, my sin with Jamaica was ignorance. I truly believed all dogs were born friendly and only human mistreatment caused aggressiveness. I did not put much stock into breed traits. Boy was I to learn a lesson from Jamaica! She had the skittishness of the Aussie and the aloof protectiveness of the Chow. This was one pup who really should have gotten dedicated, deliberate socializing!
Thank God for the one neighbor who showed some interest and affection for her! For that was the only socializing she got. This neighbor, at the time, had two dogs of her own. Along with her own dogs, she not only would walk Jamaica she walked another neighbor's dog, Sadie. Sadie was just a few months older than Jamaica and they made a good pair. Sadie was the clown and Jamaica the nervous nellie. Jamaica was a cherished member of this little pack.
When Jamaica was about 11 months old we brought home our first, and only, child, another time of human selfishness. When we got Jamaica we thought fertility problems were in our future. Had I known we would be having a child in such a short time span I would have held off on the dog. But before she was a year old we became a family of four.
After Tammy, I had made certain promises to myself about my future dogs. A walk twice a day and indoor/outdoor privileges were mandatory along, of course, with regular meals and fresh water. With the help of my husband and neighbor these promises were kept. Jamaica was not a neglected dog in regards to her physical needs.
I call her skittish, aloof and unfriendly. But this was only with strangers. With her family/pack she was loyal, quiet and tolerant. She was never aloof with that one neighbor lady who loved her so. She was quite enthusiastic in greeting her every time she came by. If it wasn’t for Jamaica I might never have known what a special, caring friend I have.
There were times I wondered if we had made a mistake picking out one of those timid, unfriendly pups. But now I understand the real mistake was in not helping her to be a more confident, socialized dog. The mistake was in not even knowing we could help her. The mistake was ignorance.
But enough with the regrets. Jamaica had her furever family and lived her life as a cherished and loved member for 12 years. She thrived in the peace and quiet of the home in the mountains we were able to provide. She loved her doggy pack. She loved us, her family. We weren't perfect, far from it, in fact, but think we did ok and managed to give her a happy life.
Jamaica hated car rides. She also hated going to the vet. Two months after her 12th birthday I noticed blood in her urine. I took her to the vet and explained this was their one shot. If it was a simple, easy to clear up matter we would take care of it. I was quite annoyed that their main priority seemed to be to sell me more heart worm preventative. A week later they wanted her back to draw a direct urine sample. They could have done this at the previous visit. I would not have objected then. We did not return. With her age and temperament I would not put her through more car rides and more veterinary procedures.
Within the month she stopped eating. I called a mobile vet to come out to the house. We let her spirit loose on a beautiful spring day in the outdoors she loved so much.
She was truly a Boulder Creek dog. She rarely left this town during her life. She was born, lived and died here.
Jamaica & Pepper's humom
September 2nd 2011 8:59 pm
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This will be the most difficult black dog life story for me to relay. I’m reluctant to use the term ‘Heart Dog’ as several dogs lay claim to my heart and I hate to imply any lesser love for them. But if hard pressed to pick just one dog, it would have to be Tammy. Maybe it’s just the time she occupied in my life, a time of raging adolescent hormones and with it the grand dramas and fervent emotions.
I was 11 years old when we got Tammy. My poor mother was basically out voted in the choice. My father, gruff and grouchy bear he can sometimes be, is actually a kind, gentle man always looking to make us kids happy. He was rather naughty about occasionally bringing home pets without consulting with Mom. We already had a bit of a feral cat he brought home from work one day because a co-worker was looking for a home for it and Dad knew I had been wanting a cat! Another time he brought home some birds.
Anyway, back to Tammy. Her fur mother belonged to a friend/neighbor. Well obviously fur mom got pregnant and had puppies and of course, I wanted one. At the time Mom did not want another animal. We already had our dog Curly and Charlie, our cat. Also, Mom was a bit troubled by the destructive tendencies she had heard about in Tammy’s mother.
But Dad, soft touch that he is, sided with me, with the agreement she was MY dog and MY responsibility. Well as a parent myself now, we know how that tends to work out! I loved that dog dearly but I was not always a very good dog parent.
Tammy was such a sweet, gentle girl. Her mother was some sort of collie mix, her father a husky. Tammy, herself, had the look of a shepherd/husky mix. You can imagine her grooming needs.
Believe it or not, I did good by her in those early years. I can take credit she had a very happy puppy-hood and young dog life.
We lived in one of those neighborhoods in a time when all the kids came outside to play together, especially in the summer. Tammy was just like one of the kids. She went everywhere with me and my friends. Through this natural process we had unknowingly thoroughly socialized this dog. She was confident and in no way aggressive.
5 years later at age 16, I started to drive and the time of forgotten meals and empty water bowls began. My folks picked up the slack but I know she suffered, mostly emotionally from my indifference. I was busy studying and socializing. My dog and my obligations to her were no longer a priority.
Tammy is the source of profound love and the foundation for my great admiration of this beautiful, loving, forgiving creature, the dog. She is also the source of a deep regret and sadness that I let her down during this very selfish time of my life.
She lived until my early twenties, my husband even got to meet her when we first started dating. I was an apartment dweller by then and she stayed behind at the folks’ place. I lived nearby and visited often and took her for walks. She was always happy and grateful to see me.
In her last years she had problems with her back legs. She had hard times getting up and towards the end, her legs had a tendency to collapse on her. The folks told me it was time to let her go. They couldn’t bear to have her go on like this. What could I say? She was no longer my dog. I’d moved on without her.
My dad and I took her to her lifelong vet. I cried uncontrollably and the vet’s assistant handed me a whole box of tissues. Maybe back then most folks did not stay to comfort their dog. The vet and his staff seemed a bit taken aback that I wanted to be with her. Although, I’m sure they also couldn’t wait to get the crying mess of a girl out of their office. But I knew I had to be there for her and my mind was set. We saw her off to her next journey. It was one of the very rare times I’ve seen my father cry.
This dog came to me when I was a child in elementary school. Her life spanned my Jr. high, high school, college and early working years. She taught me dogs are loyal even when humans are not. She taught me not to take their love and company for granted. Try as they might they can’t live and love forever.
Jamaica & Pepper’s humom
August 28th 2011 1:08 pm
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While on a job a professional mover overheard a little girl asking her dad, "Now that we have our own house, Daddy, when are we gonna get a puppy?" That little girl was me and my dad was a U.S. Marine Sergeant moving into his very first long term home. It just so happens that mover's own dog had just had a litter of puppies and he was looking for homes for them.
And so Curly came into our lives for the next 13 or so years. I don't remember going to the mover's house or picking him out. Not sure who thought to name him after a stooge!(probably Dad)
I was told he was a cocker/poodle mix, but now I suspect there was some lhaso in him, too. He was a scruffy, little, black mop of a dog.
He refused to eat dog food. So we kids would pretend to eat biscuits and kibble to get him to eat too and not starve to death. Although my parents are known to be notorious feeders from the table, so I suspect most of his sustanance came from human food. No wonder he didn't like his dog food!
Curly ended up being my mother's dog as often happens. He loved her dearly and followed her everywhere. He loved me and my little brother, too, but often we bugged him and he mostly just tolerated us kids.
He was kind of scared of my dad who was approaching the end of his military career and had a rather stern air about him at that time. But I remember once rough housing with Dad. He was playfully wacking my backside with a phone book and I was laughing. Curly must have thought I was crying, though, and he came up snarling at Dad! We stopped our playing to look at him and he immediately realized his mistake. He went slinking off, head held low. If dogs could blush that would've been one red dog! Of course, he was not reprimanded. My dad actually admired that this little dog would stand up to him for one of the kids. No child abuse allowed in this house! You'd have to answer to Curly!
He was one brave, little, feisty dog. He was not our dog. We were his kids!
Yours in Dogster,
Jamaica & Pepper's humom
August 28th 2011 11:22 am
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Here at the Rainbow Bridge I have met other black dogs that are waiting fur my peoples. We have barked about our earthly times to each other. I have offered diary space to each of them but instead the humom will be relaying their stories from her own perspective. It just seems best that way. She hopes to do them justice.
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