Word For Wednesday - Weathering

I have managed to weather this year well, but last year was another story.

I had gotten my dog, Aster in the late summer of 2010. Work was crazy and I wasn't sleeping very well. It had been about eight months since my dog Max passed away and I was ready for another dog. Max had a gentle disposition. He was great around children and other dogs. He was the ultimate omega dog. I started looking for golden retriever crosses that I hoped would have the same disposition as Max.

For a couple of months, I looked at the animal shelter websites in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and in Espanola. Alas, no golden retrievers. I looked at the golden retriever rescue sites, too. I wasn't in a hurry to have another dog. One day while I was looking at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter website, a golden retriever cross caught my eye. Her name was Tara.

That weekend, I went to the animal shelter looking for Tara. The kennels that you walk through at the shelter are small rooms with Dutch doors. Some of the rooms had the top part of the door open so that you could interact with the dogs. When I got to the room with Tara, both the top and bottom part of the door were closed. There was a sign that requested after visiting with the dogs to close the top door. There were two dogs in the kennel. A white lab and Tara. My friend Geri said I should take both dogs, but I only brought Tara home.
Tara was adorable, but I promptly renamed her Poppy. (She was subsequently renamed Aster, but that's another story.) The day after I brought her home I went out to breakfast with a friend. When I came back home I found her climbing over my six foot fence like a drawing of Kilroy was here. Who would think a forty pound dog could scale a wall that size? It was funny seeing her head peeking over the fence with her paws on either side of her.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with the escape artist. I should have been alerted that Tara was a jumper. There was a sign in her kennel at the shelter that both doors on the Dutch door had to remained closed after visiting. She was so adorable that I didn't heed this warning.
After telling a co-worker about her escapist behavior, she recommended taking her to dog training. The trainers she recommended didn't have any open classes. But Aster continued to escape, so I hired the trainer to come to my house. He didn't think Aster was beyond redemption. Woohoo! And he recommended that I buttress the fence with lumber that faced inward and dig trenches near the fence to prevent her from getting a running start. I decided against the dry moat around the perimeter of my backyard. I didn't know I would have to fortify Casa de GirlSprout to keep her.
Last fall, I came home to find my front door ajar. My house had been broken into and I called my friend Katie hysterically saying someone had stolen Aster. She recommended that I walk around and look to see if anything else had been taken. I discovered that my television and DVD player were taken. No one had stolen Aster, but she was gone. Katie fixed the door frame for me so I could close the door that night, but I was despondent that Aster was gone. I called my friend Geri. Geri drove up and down the street with me. We took a flashlight and walked up and down the arroyo near my house calling for Aster.

I went to bed crying and forlorn. In the middle of the night I woke up and felt something wet under my hand. It was Aster. She had climbed back over the fence and let herself in through the dog door.

Aster and I have weathered many storms, but I know she can find her way home.
Special thanks to Donna at Garden Walk, Garden Talk for hosting Word For Wednesday (W4W). Check out other perspectives on weathering.


  1. Glad she was alright. I hope you got the climbing under control. Some dogs are real escape artists.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. I had a lab that was an escape artist and also chewed up everything he got his teeth on. So I understand weathering the antics of a pet. Bronson lived to a very old age of 18 so a lot of weathering went on. His best mate was Bagel and Bagel looked a lot like Aster. I did a portrait of Bagel that looks pretty similar to the one photo of Aster. I posted it once here. But I drew it when Bagel was older. Bagel made it to 16. http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com/2010/12/06/my-condolences-and-admiration/

    Thanks for joining weathering. I am glad you recovered Aster. I had a similar scare with Bagel too which took much help from my neighbors to find him. He was old and blind and how far he traveled astounded me. He would have not returned on his own like Aster did.

  3. Oh this is a sweet story about Aster finding her way home to you! I'm sorry for the loss of Max. I'm sure no dog will ever replace him. You're very kind to give a shelter pup a loving home. Aster has a sweet face and beautiful coat. You can tell she's very happy with you!

  4. Aster is such a great name and an adorable dog! I had a lab that lived to be 14 and we did a lot of weathering together! Thank goodness your Aster made it home and you will have many years together! All the best for the New Year!

  5. What a lovely story of finding Aster and Aster finding you!! You have weathered the start of the relationship that will be long lived...

  6. What a great story! Aster is a special dog. Maybe you should get an invisible fence. And teach her how to bark at burglars! :) Seriously, though I am glad she came back home to you. She looks adorable.

  7. How awesome of Aster to come home! All by herself! What a load of trouble she has given you...I think it speaks volumes of you to have gone to such efforts to keep her safe and sound!
    I speak from experience, dog rescuing ain't easy, but so rewarding!

  8. She sounds like a really good, resilient dog.

  9. You have a gift for storytelling. Thanks for the story and for the awesome pictures.

  10. @Sunray - Cher, it's been an uphill battle, but Aster is coming around.

    @GWGT - Donna, Aster is a chewer, too. I lost a few pairs of shoes when I first got her, but she is learning to distinguish between what's okay to chew and what isn't.

    Bagel looks a lot like my dog, Max. Thanks for sharing the portrait.

    @BL - Aster has been a handful, but I'm really glad I have her.

  11. @Karin - Happy New Year to you, too. I feel so very fortunate that Aster found her way home.

    @Donna - I'm looking forward to lots more years with Aster. I know that they won't be easy, but we've gotten through some tough patches.

    @Holley - Aster is adorable, but not so much when I used to chase her down the street. Glad that part is over.

  12. @Sissy - She's given me lots of heartaches and headaches, but the reward is priceless.

    @enclosure - Cindy, she's resilient, headstrong, sweet and loving. She definitely has a personality.

    @Patricia - Thanks, I appreciate your kind words. Most of the time I have a hard time putting words together that's whey my blog posts tend to be so brief.

  13. What a story! What a dog! Thank you for sharing!
    We just got a new puppy. It will be our boys' dog, and so far they are doing very well. But, it's a big challenge!
    I hope you are enjoying this Holiday Season. All the Best to you in 2012!

  14. What a great story! Aster must have realized that at last she had a good home.

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you the best in 2012!

  15. I wish you a happy New Year filled with all that is beautiful!

  16. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful story! I'm so glad she came home to you - she really is your dog!

    I wish you a very happy New Year and stunning 2012 Garden!

  17. @Tatyana - Good luck with the new puppy! The boys will enjoy the puppy!

    @debsgarden - Aster has mellowed out some in the last year. She still gets into trouble once in while, but I think she knows she's home.

    @mimi - Daniela, hope the new year is filled with lots happiness and blessings!

    @Christine - Thanks for the happy garden wishes. I think Aster has figured out that she's mine or that I'm hers.

  18. You had me on the edge of my seat! I am so glad Aster came home. (insert happy tail wag here)

  19. I knew the story had to end happily because you still have Aster, but the description of her nosing your hand still made my eyes kind of teary. So glad she came back. Happy New Year!

    (Oh--and Casa de GirlSprout cracked me up...)

  20. I am so glad Aster returned home. I get so attached to my pets, that it is always heartbreaking when one is lost. Happy new year!

  21. @HHUK - Laura, I was overjoyed that she came home!

    @Stacy - I cried a bunch when she came home. I couldn't believe it.

    @The Sage Butterfly - I was very happy that Aster came back. It's hard not to get attached to your pets even when they're not always good.

  22. I lost my 14 year old weimaraner, Hobbes, back in September, so I know how awful you must have felt when you thought Aster was gone. So very pleased you were re-united. We still have one dog and I do wonder when we might get another. Eight months, eh?


  23. @Dave - eight months was when I started looking. It was almost 11 before I got Aster, but I have friends who are ready for another dog after about a month or two. I'm sorry to hear about Hobbes.


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