More Daisy Bravery

She was brave for them.

She was scared until it was time to be brave!

This morning as I was starting my day and wondering about the tropical storm approaching this area, a really cool memory of my dog Daisy came to me, and I found myself grinning.

Daisy was a peculiar dog. She was scared of many everyday things, but she was always surprising and incredibly brave when she was needed. She was the fiercest when you expected her to cower. Fear and danger seem to draw her out of her comfort zones.

This memory is of a family Fourth of July cookout.  A thunderstorm had started and was trying its best to ruin the cookout, and all the dogs gathered around Daisy because they were scared.  If memory serves me right, there were about 6 dogs; some of the dogs were older, both males and females and some were just puppies.

Daisy instinctively took charge and secured them up against the basement cement wall, and with her back to them she faced out towards the storm.  The other dogs were all shaking and scared, but not Daisy. She stood forward gallantly knowing the other dogs were depending on her to be the strong one and the rock they needed and she was set to be that. She stood there brazen, leaving her everyday fear for some other time.

At home, she would have been shivering in my lap because of a thunderstorm. It was cool to see her doing what she had done for the fact that she shook all the way to the outing that day because she was afraid of the car ride and leaving home. For these scared dogs, however, she stepped up; organized them by the wall, and they all felt safe behind her.

She stirred something in me that day. The way she cast her fear down and put the security and assurance of the other dogs before her own fear taught me a lesson of selflessness and responsibility. I would never forget watching her do this.

How Daisy came to be my pup

I met her early one morning.  I had stopped by the shelter to drop off a donation knowing that if I went during regular business hours, I’d be too tempted to look around at the pups. I know them to be my weakness, and I was not trying to adopt any more puppies as I had already adopted two dogs; Danny and Dominic from the same shelter.

To avoid temptation, I planned on dropping a check in the mail slot right in front of the door. As I did, my eyes fell on a box of puppies, obviously abandoned. Daisy and her other 3 littermates were dirty and covered in poo indicating that they had been in the box for some time.  I saw her and fell in love. I found myself waiting for the shelter to open and adopted her. She became mine the instant I saw her.

By the way – her full name was Daisy Ann Marie Pearl Saraco – by that’s another story.

An Act of Valor

Smallest dog saves the family

A dog is a man’s best friend. Ask yourself the question: Would a best friend risk their own life to save yours? In Daisy’s case, the answer would be yes.

All five of my dogs started barking wildly.  I rushed out to them immediately, feeling an unease that became very real as my eyes landed on a coyote up on the stone wall above my backyard. He had fierce eyes, bared teeth, and was prepared to attack my dogs who were barking loudly in defense. I yelled to my dogs, but the coyote’s eyes were fixated on their every movement and they were fixated on it too that my commands dissolved in the tense atmosphere.  The message was clear, however. The coyote intended to take one of my dogs and as my brain started to think of solutions; another thing became clearer – my only choice was to pull whomever I could get to safety.

I had nothing to ward off the coyote with, neither did I have a defense tool save for a garden shovel beside me.  I grabbed it and rushed towards the unfolding scene.  There was no time to think. A hungry coyote is a horrifying creature. My dogs were all facing upward at the coyote, and the coyote was bearing down on them from the wall. Senselessly, I threw the shovel at the coyote, but he did not budge. Instead, he gritted his teeth more fiercely at my dogs, apparently vexed and more determined. Using their collars, I pulled away two of my dogs that were closest to me.

I felt so powerless because I did not know whom else I could I get to safety and I felt like I was condemning the other three to death, but they were in the coyote’s sights. My heart bled in pain for the fates of Bow, Daisy, and Indy.

I approached the scene again, thinking of what next to do when Daisy did something I did not understand, a move that would likely cost her her life. Daisy moved away from the others and stood in the middle of the yard just beyond the stairs leaving herself alone and more vulnerable. She was the smallest of all the dogs, an easier prey for that coyote. The coyote saw her alone and focused all his attention on her.  Her move allowed me to get the other two dogs in hand, and I dragged them to a safe spot with a sickening knowledge that it would be Daisy that would be lost to that coyote. To this day, I can see all the details of that moment.  Daisy was standing there on her own; her back legs were quivering. Otherwise, she was frozen on the spot she stood. I thought fear caused her to freeze, but I was wrong.  She was quivering with adrenaline and thinking strategically.

With the speed of lightning, Daisy switched from frozen mode to high-speed. She bolted for the safe spot and as she did the coyote lunged after her. With one last leap, she made it to safety. We were all safe, and the coyote went away after circling outside for what seemed like forever.

There is no doubt that she knowingly created that distraction, risking her own life, helping to save the others. She stepped up when she could have cowered in fear. My brave girl! Daisy amazed me time after time throughout our 14 years together.

I know my actions were reckless that day, but instinct drove me – instincts to save the ones I love regardless of the cost to me.  Daisy and I were unintentionally communicating that day, both of us taking risks for our loved ones.  I did not know it at the time but she was working with me, reading my thoughts and body language.

Daisy is my helper animal.  Sometimes during an animal communication session, she joins in and improves the reading by adding clarity to that animals messages.

As Mark Twain aptly quoted,

“It is not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Daisy: the smallest, the cleverest and the bravest of all.

Operation Delta Dog

pets-linda-saraco-nov-26

ODD logoOperation Delta Dog is a nonprofit organization with a mission to rescue homeless dogs and train them to work as service dogs for veterans who are suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and related challenges.

Whooo hoo!! I’m very excited to report that Operation Delta Dog is the recipient of the booth I’ve donated at the New England Pet Expo!

I am thrilled to have them as my neighbor at the expo, and delighted to be able to contribute to this worthy organization.  Visit them  https://www.operationdeltadog.org/.

ODD vet and dog pic

Blog

Dom was my four-legged medical assistant. During my worst period, I would have five Grand Mal seizures a day. Hitting without a warning, the force of these seizures was minimized as the vigilant Dom would spring into action.

The true story of the shelter pup that saved my life.  I wrote Dom’s story as a way of thanking him.  At Face Value is published in two of the Chicken Soup series books, Leap of Faith and Dog Lover’s Soul.  The Dog Writers Society of America nominated At Face Value as a story that exemplifies the human animal bond.

At Face Value  by Linda Saraco

I had a reoccurring dream. The message was clear and precise, directing me to go to the specified shelter and adopt a particular dog. The dream told me I would know the dog by something unusual about its face. Upon awakening, I just could not recall what unique facial feature. I could only remember it was important to identifying the right dog.

I was so curious and compelled to follow the instructions in the dream.  So, early on the next Saturday morning, I was at the shelter to carefully check available canine adoptees.   After checking all the dogs, I was disappointed that not one dog had anything unusual about its’ face.  There were lots of cute puppies and just as many appealing older dogs, but I did not feel a connection to any of them.

On my way out of the shelter, I noticed a box of puppies just outside of view from the main area.  My attention was drawn to one puppy in particular, and I decided to take a closer look. One of the puppies appeared to not have fur on his face, while the rest of the litter were all black with spots of white. They where a mix of black Lab and Chesapeake Bay Retriever and so they were called Chesapeake Labs. Each pup was named after a type of pasta. The one that captured my interest was Fettuccini.

My heart felt sad for the pup, and I hoped he had not been injured. As, I lifted him from the box, his large and clumsy paws reached over my shoulders to cling tightly to my back. On closer inspection, I realized he did have fur on his face, but it was a very odd shade of gray that caused it to have the appearance of skin. Satisfied he was okay; I placed him back with his litter mates to continue my exit from the shelter.

And then it hit me, my thoughts blared with the words, “THE FACE, IT’S THE DOG WITH THE UNUSUAL FACE!” Immediately, I returned to the puppy and held him. We bonded instantly, and I headed for the adoption desk. I could not leave without him. I knew we belonged together.

Within that short span of time, the gray-faced pup had wrapped his paws around my heart. In meeting with the adoption counselor, I was informed a family had already selected him. There was, however, still a slight chance since the family had not made their final decision. It was between Fettuccini, the gray-faced pup, and his litter mate, a female named Penne. It was worth waiting for the decision.

After an anxiety-filled hour, I saw the family leaving the shelter carrying Fettuccini. I began to cry inside. Then I realized a member of the family, the mother, was walking straight towards me. They knew I was awaiting their decision and I prepared for the worst. My heart pounded as I stood frozen in place as she approached. For a moment, she did not say a word or give any indication of her decision. Then, with a broad grin, she said, “Here’s your dog!” I was speechless and grateful and tears gushed from my eyes. I embraced him and again felt those big front paws securely hugging my back.

Although I was thankful to have him, little did I know I was not nearly as thankful as I would later come to be.

I took the gray-faced pup home and named him Dominic. Fettuccini was his middle name.

From the start, he was not at all a typical rambunctious puppy. He was very calm, serious and didn’t play much. However, he was obedient, intelligent and very attentive to me. For two years, we lived a happy existence together as Dom grew into a healthy, robust dog and my valued companion. Then I developed a serious illness.

As Dominic was turning two years old, I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. I was having full seizures called Grand Mal and other partial, milder types. These seizures caused me to collapse into unconsciousness. Upon awakening, I would always find Dom on top of me. At first, I was not at all happy to have a 90 pound dog on me until I came to realize he was preventing me from hurting myself by restricting thrashing movements, and limiting my injuries.

During mild seizures Dom stood rock solid so I could just hold on to his front legs until it passed.  As I would start to regain consciousness, I was aware of his voice. I would follow his barking as a means to revive me into complete consciousness.

Dom was my four-legged medical assistant.  Without Dominic’s forewarning, I could have experienced much more physical damage. During my worst period, I would have five Grand Mal seizures a day. Hitting without a warning, the force of these seizures was minimized as the vigilant Dom would spring into action.

For about a year, I had seizures every day and then they gradually started to subside. I had come to rely on Dom to warn me before a seizure would take hold, and we’d work through it together, each of us knowing what we had to do till the crisis passed.

Dominic is a natural born Seizure Assistance Dog. He is literally a one in million dog. His instincts are astounding. He is an outstanding companion, and I am honored to be the most important person in his world. I can’t begin to express the amount of admiration, appreciate and love I have for Dominic. He saved my life; he’s a hero.

I am now well, and there are no more seizures. He has returned to his previous daily doggie activities, though still watchful of me and ready to be of assistance. He finds way to help out around the house – and I indulge his sense of duty.

My little gray-faced puppy has become a dream come true.

Welcome!

I believe all animals we encounter help us and teach us. I post about animals, animal communication, grooming, and energetic modalities such as Integrated Energy Therapy® (IET®), InTune Groom and InTune ARC.

I work with both animals and humans.

If you only read one post here please make it the first one, At Face Value.  This is the story about the dog that saved my life.  Sharing his story is my way of thanking him.