Update from Redding:

I only wish Kaiya’s passing was the extent of our loss last week. We had taken in two Pei from a shelter in San Francisco on the Weds. before Christmas. One was a 10-12 week old puppy and the other a two year old male who was going to be put down if we didn’t take him. The little puppy, Wendy, had two cherry eyes that needed to be repaired, and she needed to be spayed. She had her surgery on Tues. and came home on Weds. She seemed a little lethargic, and she wouldn’t eat. We noticed that her breathing seemed irregular so we took her back to the vet. They immediately put her on oxygen in an incubator where she spent the next three days fighting for her life before she lost her battle. She died on New Year’s Day. Our vet thinks it was possible canine influenza that she had before she came to us, but the results of the tests are not back yet. She was showing no symptoms. She was a very sweet puppy, and although we didn’t know her very long, she is missed, and she was loved.

The male, Mitchell, was neutered on Tues. He came home and was doing fine until Thurs. when he would not eat and was vomiting. We took him back to the vet on New Year’s where he has been ever since. He has been getting fluids through an IV, and he still would not eat. Through all this he has been a very sweet boy for everyone who needs to handle him. They did xrays and could not determine what was wrong. Last night they did emergency surgery to find that his intestine had twisted. They removed a five inch section and today he is up and about-now he just has to start eating again.

Another one of our own dogs, Cassie, had a growth removed from her shoulder. It was a type of cancer, but our vet thinks he got it all, and if it comes back it will be in the same place. We would have to have it removed again, but she will be ok. Some of you might remember that Cassie was paralyzed about five years ago. We rushed her to UC Davis where it was determined she had blown a disk. Even her surgeons there did not know if she would ever walk again, but she truly is a miracle dog and defeated the odds. Now at 13 she is still a fighter and recovering well from her most recent surgery. When we moved back to CA from Pa 11 years ago, we brought eight dogs with us. She is the only one we are lucky enough to still have, and we are grateful every day that she is still with us.

And last but certainly not least is Magoo. For those of you who have visited the rescue in Redding, you most certainly met Magoo. Like Kaiya was to me, Magoo is to Rich. Magoo went for his fourth round of chemo last week, and is doing very well. Please keep him in your thoughts that he continues to respond to the treatment.

So that was the ending to our 2009 and the beginning of 2010. We are hoping as the year progresses that things will get better. We want to thank all of you who helped with donations at the holidays. Because of you we are able to do whatever needs to be done for the dogs who come into our program. No dog has ever been turned away for health concerns that are treatable.

Just a little more about Kaiya. She was my heart and soul and I miss her so much. It’s hard to think about another dog right now, but I know that another will come along when the time is right and will touch my heart like she did. And I will love the next one equally and with all my heart again because that dog will deserve no less and will love me unconditionally. I believe that it is our job to give our dogs the best life we can while they are with us because no matter how long they live, it will never be long enough for us.

The following piece has helped me to get though the loss of Kaiya, and I hope it will help some of you as well who have faced a similar loss and are thinking of possibly getting another dog.

''Best Dog in the World By T'Mara Goodsell

One's first love is always perfect until one meets one's second love. ~Elizabeth Aston

Years ago, I owned the very best dog in the world.

I was a child when we got her. She was a graceful brown hound, a foundling who taught me that our pets are not purchased, but ordained.

She romped when I did and knew how to smile in that funny way that only some dogs have. She grew up with me, always there when I needed her. My grown hand still remembers the sleek bump on the top of her head and that gentle divot just past her nose that fit my index finger just perfectly.

She passed away during one of my college vacations. My heart broke then, and I knew that there would never be another dog like her, and there hasn't been. I was sure that I could never love another dog as much as I'd loved her.

Fortunately, I was wrong about that part.

My next dog came into my life when I was married. My husband traveled for a living, and I was often lonely. This dog grew into a lumbering Wolfhound and Sheepdog mix who taught me patience. He was a large, grizzled sentry, that dog. He rarely left my side until the children were born, and then he became their guardian, too. I can still feel that swirl of fur along his back and the weight of his chin when it rested in my lap.

When he passed away, my heart broke. As much as I had loved that childhood dog, I had been wrong. This was the very best dog in the world. There would never be another dog like him, and there hasn't been. I was sure I would never love another dog as much as I'd loved him.

I was wrong again.

We got the next one, a loping black Lab-and-Terrier mix, when the children were little. He taught me the importance of adapting. He was everyone's dog from the beginning, and that was just as it should be. When he played tug of war with the children, he dragged them across the kitchen floor as they shrieked with laughter. He always seemed to sleep in the room of the child who needed his company the most.

These days his face is expressively gray, and he spends more time with me since the almost-grown children aren't around so much. The other day my oldest, home from college, played tug of war. We all laughed--just a little--as the dog was gently pulled across the kitchen floor.

He is, of course, the very best dog in the world. I will never forget that exquisitely soft tuft of fur behind his ears or the tickly feel when he nuzzles. There won't be another dog like him.

And that's okay, because we will never be at this point in our lives again.

Sometimes I've wondered why two species that get along so well should have such different life spans. It just doesn't seem right. And then I wonder if that's part of the lesson: To teach us that love itself has a spirit that returns again and again and never really dies.

It's amazing, in a way, how they bring to our ever-changing lives exactly what it is that we need at the moment. They make room for one another, this family of dogs who has never even met. And they fit--into our families, into our lives, into our memories, and into our hearts--because they always have been and always will be the best dogs in the world.

To the world you are a rescue person
To a rescued dog you are the world ''