Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 5 Blog Post - Kathy Lapeyre, Chester's Tales (#3)

What would New Years Eve be without a countdown?  
In the tradition of every media that has ever done an ode to a countdown, I present to you the ShirleyIsNotMyName Top 5 Blog Posts of 2013!

Coming in at #3 on the countdown is author/editor, Kathy Lapeyre's sweet story of being rescued by Chester, the rescue dog! Maybe you're Wonderful 2014 starts with an animal rescue.

Chester's Tales

I’m Kathy Lapeyre, also known as “levarti2” on Twitter.

As a child my ambition was to teach English and write short stories and although I didn’t do either of those things, I did work for over 25 years in the printing and publishing business.
My career started out at small weekly newspaper where I learned to do everything except run the presses. From there my husband and I and our toddler moved to a metropolitan area where I served a two-year apprenticeship in printing. Over the years I worked for several publishers in a variety of capacities, including staff and features writer for four magazines.

It’s been almost 15 years since any of my work was published, but I never stopped writing.

My husband and I retired and although we’ve always talked about getting a Golden Retriever dog, we hadn’t had any pets since our children were living at home. They each have families and/or pets of their own now but Glenn and I were traveling and our lives seemed too busy to share with another being.

One day, by chance, I spotted a cardboard sign by the grocery store “Golden Retriever puppies for sale”. I called the phone number listed and eventually ended up with a weaned female puppy. We named her Casey and she was to be my pet. I would take her for walks, train her to be an obedient and constant companion. Casey: my jogging buddy and friend to cuddle while I read a book or watched a movie.

The day after I brought Casey home, tragedy struck. Glenn fell from a ladder in the garage and was hit, broadside, by a stack of 2x4s from top shelf. He broke his sternum in three places and was laid up for almost nine months. Casey, not knowing any better, assumed her purpose in life was to protect and care for Glenn. They are side-by-side companions and have been every day since the accident. She whines mercilessly if he leaves her view for more than a few minutes. 

Although Casey is my dog too, there’s no comparison to the attachment she has with Glenn. I was ready for my own dog. We made a conscious decision to adopt a rescue dog and began researching various agencies and volunteer organizations. There are so many animals out there in need of good homes and we could provide that safe haven for the right dog.
Then we found Chester.
His short biography on the web page was heart-wrenching. He had been a puppy mill dog, kept in confined quarters with other dogs and was alive for the express purpose to father puppies for sale. He was a cash machine for people who starved and abused him.

Then he found us.

We’ve had Chester for six months and he continues to have typical fearful dog issues. He’s the most gentle soul I’ve ever encountered, but his rehabilitation will continue to be long and frustrating — for him and for us. He doesn’t wag his tail … he doesn’t play ball or tug-of-war … he won’t tell anyone he needs to go outside. Chester’s life revolves around a series of fears, everything from a printer starting the first page to a knock at the door. Every normal sight and sound are potential dangers to Chester.

Thankfully we found the right dog, and vice versa, because we now have the time and patience to help him become the best dog he can be. There’s no rush. We encourage Chester as it seems appropriate. Other times we simply let him do his thing. Our level of involvement in Chester’s daily rehabilitation depends on how traumatic his day has been, because every day is fraught with trauma of some type for Chester.

What I never expected was that Chester would rescue me as well. Like most people, I thought we were doing a good and noble thing by adopting a pet who needed a respite from the evil and neglect he’d experienced. In the process I’d hoped Chester would evolve into the pet I “wanted”. Yes, we’d provided all of his needs, but Chester has become the first pet I ever “needed”. He’s taught me things about myself I never knew. I have more patience than I ever believed. I’ve always had compassion, but the love I feel for this 7-year-old dog is unlike any other.

Chester is solely responsible for my return to writing. At first he inspired Facebook posts. That became a blog and then my own domain, followed by a website with weekly posts about Chester. He has a large daily following from people all over the world.

Now, in addition to writing Chester’s Tales, diary of a Golden Retriever rescue dog, I’ve begun a fiction novel that may end up being published before Chester’s story is complete.

You can catch me any day, at any time on Facebook or Twitter. Chester will be curled up at my feet or sitting beside me. He always knows where to find me too … writing … it means he can nap undisturbed for long periods of time … lying on my foot.

Kathy Lapeyre

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