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Shady Nights Turn Into Sunny Days

Sunny The Senior Dog Who Touched Many Hearts





Sunny Update

Posted on July 9, 2012

IMG_3224It’s been almost a month since Sunny came home. Wow. What a difference 30 days make. She brings me such incrdible joy and happiness. I learn something new about her every day.

Sunny is such a funny girl. Her personality continues to grow and flourish.

At night she sleeps in the living room…on the couch…or the chair…or her bed. She likes to mix it up. I’m lucky that I am able to close the front half of my house off from the back part. I found out that she loves cats. But not in the way Gabby does! I’d bet a million bucks in her younger days, Sunny loved to eat cats!

I am extra cautious with the boys because they have no fear of dogs. They will investigate them, sniff them and walk right up to them. Enzo especially. So with any new dog I keep them separted and slowly introduce them.

Sunny stays on the leash when the cats have full access to the house (usually at night when I’m on the couch watching TV, so I can keep a hold on the leash.) So during the first week the cats came out to meet this new dog they’d been smelling for days. Francis made his way over to sofa and jumped up on the back portion and slowly walked over to where Sunny was. (I kept tight hold and careful watch) Sunny was asleep. Then all of a sudden her nose started working. CATS! She sniffed the air with gusto. Because she can’t hear and can’t see well, she didn’t know exactly where the CAT was…She started “biting” the air. (It was adorable, but also made me realize I was right to be so cautious.)

Then Enzo came close. Sunny saw him and just stared. Then she looked at me. Then back at Enzo. Then Sunny looked at Gabby. Then back to the cat. You could see her brain working. “Why aren’t you chasing those things?”She didn’t try to go after him and her hackles stayed put, but she was way too interested in the boys.

Slowly her interest has lessened, but she still is very curious about them and I will never feel comfortable leaving them alone IMG_1788together, but now she will look and then go back to sleep. I’m grateful I am able to keep them seperated in a way that gives them both a nice amount of space.

Gabby loves Sunny. She seems to know that she needs extra attention and company. Gabby always sleeps with us in the bed. When I get up to go to sleep, she will immediately get up and follow. That has changed since Sunny came home. Gabby will stay on the couch with her on most nights.

Sunny also loves Gabby. She will give her kisses. She will sleep next to Gabby, getting as close as she possible can, someetimes squeezing herself in a tiny little spot. It’s adorable.

Sunny has also become quite a talker. She will lay at my feet when I’m editing and do her little whine/bark until I give her attention or pet her. At first I thought it was because she was in pain. Nope. As soon as I get on the floor with her, she will roll on the back, bark, paw at me and nibble the rug.

Every morning when I wake up, I feed the dogs. Sunny loves to eat! (In fact, she’s found the garbage can and once or twice I’ve come into the kitchen to find her giant head immersed in it!)

After they eat, I let them in the backyard to pee and so I can feed the cats. Well, Sunny has decided she would rather not be in the backyard in the morning. She refuses to go out. She looks at me with such a funny face and will turn and run (as fast as her arthritic legs will carry her). She preferes the yard when the sun is out. :)

Sunny is pretty mobile and can get up on the couch and jump up in the car too. Sometimes it takes her a little longer, but it’s so cute watching her climb up there.

She also loves tennis balls! She’ll even chase them. And she’s still got some power in the jaw. She’s destroyed 5 of them!

Bones are also another favorite treat. She loves them.

gabsunbath007Sunny absolutely loves going on walks. She sniffs everything and tries her best to keep up with Gabby.  I take the dogs for car rides and walks to downtown Culver City. I’ve written about her in the newspaper and several times people have recognized her. She loves the attention and greets everyone with a tail wag. She also loves the neighborhood dogs.Especially the boys. :) She’s a female Hugh Hefner. haha

Sometimes when she’s in a deep sleep she’ll wake up with a start and look around. As soon as she sees me or Gabby she relaxes and then falls right back to sleep.

Sunny also does this thing that makes me so, so, so happy.  She will stop, look around intently, and then bark, roll on her back and smile. To me it seems like she is wondering if this home is real, maybe she’s dreaming…and then when she realizes, yes, it’s real, she can’t contain her joy.





If I close my eyes I can still see him clearly. Huge smile. Gorgeous face. Giant blockhead. Painted like a cow with beautiful blue gray spots. His name was Rocky and he was such a happy pup. Full of life. Bouncing around his kennel, taking treats gently out of volunteer Ryoko Matsui’s hand. I fell in love the minute I saw his photo. He even liked cats and other dogs. He was a stray that ended up at the shelter. Everything was in place to bring him home except one thing. We really weren’t ready for a second dog. We already had Gabby plus 3 cats. No room at the Fusaro Inn.

I put him out of my mind- for a while anyway- but I found myself going back to his adoption page. Finally I couldn’t stand it and begged the husband to just let me meet him. And let’s face it, meeting him meant I was going to bring him home. The husband reluctantly agreed and I made the call to the shelter. I was put on hold for what seemed like forever. Finally, the shelter volunteer came back on the line. “I’m sorry,” she said, Rocky is no longer here. He was put down yesterday.” I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Tears welled in my eyes and a lump immediately formed in my throat. Devastated, I hung up the phone.

I still feel guilty about Rocky. If only I had made my decision one day earlier. Twenty-four hours too late. A single day. I cried as I watched his video one last time. Since Rocky, there have been others. It’s one of the horrible realities of working with rescues. I try not to think about the ones who never made it. And when they do pop into my head, the sadness overwhelms me.

There was beautiful Sky, a husky that was so malnourished and covered with mange she didn’t even look like a dog. The scabs were thick and she had almost no hair. Danielle Rollibard, founder of I.C.A.R.E Rescue saved her from her from the shelter.

“Sky was the sweetest thing ever – every part of her body had scabs and sores on it,” remembers Danielle. “The shirt I wore to pick her up from the shelter was covered in blood from her poor little body.”

Sky had never known love and all she wanted to do was be held in Danielle’s arms. I had made plans to photograph her for the I.C.A.R.E website. Just like Rocky, I never got to meet her. Danielle tried her best to save Sky. At least she died knowing she was loved.

There are so many others that don’t. They die alone in shelters. In backyards. In trash cans. Yes, there are people out there that do unspeakable things to animals and when they are done with them, throw them away like garbage. No dignity. No respect. Never having been loved. Never feeling safe. It’s these lost ones that I want to remember.

Paula Hsien volunteers at a local shelter and makes it her business to valiantly work to save as many dogs as she can. She remembers each and every one.

“During their stay at the shelter, they brightened our days with their beautiful smiles and unconditional love. They made us laugh with their silliness and playfulness. Even though they are no longer with us, they will be remembered, for they have left their paw prints on our hearts forever.”

“Vixen was quite a social butterfly. When we’d go out for walks she would greet everybody. She’d follow me around or would just sit next to me.

Manouka was a happy girl and a big ball of love. My heart was torn into pieces when I found out that she was euthanized because the shelter lacked space.

Mali came in as a stray. She gave me little kisses on the hand. The fact that she was willing to give me a chance tells me that she still had lots of love in her heart.

Honey was a sweet girl who won the hearts of many volunteers. She was super playful and full of energy.

Rayna was such a good girl. She’d sit and wait for me patiently when I passed out treats. She loved to give kisses.

Dolly was dumped at the shelter because she was too old. A lifetime of giving love and she died alone in a shelter without her family.

Brittle loved to be around people and was just a sweet boy with kind, soulful eyes.” The list could go on forever.

Without people like Hsien, Rollibard and Matsui these dogs would never know human kindness. I don’t know how they do it, but I’m glad they do. And so it’s time I remember Rocky and Georgie and Jazz- three dogs that touched my life and left way too soon. And I thank the selfless men and women that can’t turn their backs on their plight. Memories like these need to be remembered. These loving creatures that were here for just a moment, but made a lasting impression- their short lives do matter.