We are having the best kind of Christmas as it is one of gratitude and sharing.

We are grateful that Kit (Kit-and-Kaboodle from a previous blog) is still with us and able to celebrate her first Canadian Christmas. Her health continues to be a concern and some nights I think I am losing her as she struggles to breathe. She looks over at me through her efforts and I softly encourage her to work through the spasm. It seems like a lot to ask of her but each time, so far, she has recovered. As she settles back into sleep I wonder if she suffers too much but then morning comes and she greets the new day with a dance.

We are also grateful that our darling bush dog, Stillwater, is with us still. She continues to confound me as some days life seems to be too much of a burden for her bones and limbs and other days, she hefts herself up the stairs for a second goodnight kiss. We don’t know her age because she came out of Mile 26 as an adult. Her teeth, a measure of age, were terrible and she clearly had given birth to many litters of pups so she ranged from three years old to eight easily. I have never questioned a dog’s own judgement of themselves but I doubt Stillwater will ever give in. Selfishly, I don’t want her to as I can’t imagine being without her. She is stunningly beautiful, gracious in every way, generous of spirit and her wisdom is greatly needed. Still, I will respect and protect her dignity and not allow her to suffer past the point where we can keep her comfortable.

We are sharing the wonderment of Christmas with seven rescue dogs. Trooper, who has left her four pups to begin her own chance at life, Marley who was once neglected but will now find presents under the tree and Cooper who simply needs a safe place to rest his head while he struggles to understand being given up by his family of eight years. The four pups are filled with  glee and delight and each night they drift off to sleep while watching the twinkling lights that hang just outside their windows.

Today I bake for Christmas day and the dogs will surround me in the kitchen. Christmas music plays and lights sparkle from the tree while we all live in a perfect moment together.

We eagerly anticipate meeting a Flatcoat Retriever named Diamond, two husky crosses named Sophie and Jack from Attawapiskat and a lovely boy whose name is unknown after Christmas. So, the season of love, joy and compassion continues.

To all those who have adopted from us over the years we thank you for loving, respecting and appreciating your dogs. To those who included us in their gift giving this Christmas by purchasing or donating we want you to know the difference you have helped to make. And special thoughts to those who, like us, lost a dog this past year or have one suffering now we send strength, sweetness and joy. Merry Christmas all and please hold hope in your heart and joy in your intentions. Sharron