Rescue Family Friday episode 2.01

Hello Rescue Family! Welcome back to Rescue Family Friday! As you have already noticed, we are doing things a little bit differently this year using the blog section from our new and improved website. Also, we will have a special drawing on race day for everyone that shared their story with us for a Running For Rescues 5K hoodie! If you’d like to share your story, message us on Facebook (link in the top right corner of this page).

Without further adieu, our first entry is from Cindi Rodriguez. Thank you Cindi! Enjoy everyone.

In Memory of Mercedes ...... February 14, 2005 - June 24, 2018

All things happen for a reason. Early April 2005 a 5-6 week old puppy had been taken from her mother, presumably too soon, and then abandoned a few days later. For both myself and the puppy it turned out to be the perfect day, time and place; the day we were fortunate to have found each other. Mercedes journey shares how together we have conquered a few of life's challenges from her healthy rambunctious puppiness to the health concerns of a grey muzzled senior.

Spring 2005 my teenage daughter received a call that someone had brought a tiny puppy to house party and just left her there all weekend with no food or water. My daughter went to the house and brought the puppy home. When I arrived home after work that day, I walked in the door to the most adorable, tiny black puppy running to greet me like she had been anxiously waiting for me all day. After getting all the details from my daughter the first thing I said to the baby is “you look like a Mercedes to me”. Mercedes means “Gracious Gift”. Mercedes was a big name for a such a little girl as well as a big name to live up to. Not only did my Mercedes grow into her name and become a hearty 63-pound black lab mix, she also lived up to her name and fulfilled every expectation of the meaning for Mercedes.

Since that first day, Mercedes eagerly greeted me at the door every time I walked in. She was always happy to see me when I came home, she waited for me while I was gone, tucked me in each night. She comforted me when I was worried, sad, sick or lonely. We walked, ran and played together. Her favorite game was chasing her tennis ball and her favorite diversion was her Kong stuffed with meat or peanut butter. Her best friends were her human niece and nephews and her Beagle brother Player, whom we rescued 8 months after Mercedes at the age of 4 months.

Between her paw and facial expressions, I swear this girl could speak a thousand words. She had a habit of resting her paw in my hand or on my leg. She also used that paw to say she's sorry, and to wake the grandkids for school in the morning. She perked her ears and tilted her head to her favorite words; outside, park, walk. She wiggled her butt and wagged her tail with pride when she hears the words "good girl". Mercedes loves the water, whether it’s a lake, pool or puddle. In the winter she would bury her face and plows through the snow.

Mercedes main focus in life is me, her kids and her tennis ball. Mercedes has never had any formal training but she was well behaved and thrived to please me. She had a gentle temperament with men, women, and children of all ages as well as other animals including cats and rabbits. In my eyes Mercedes was the picture of perfection. She knew right from wrong and is remorseful when she makes a mistake.

As with most beings Mercedes has her faults. She had separation anxiety and became restless, hyperventilated and would not eat or drink if I have to leave her in someone else’s care. She is afraid of storms, fireworks and other loud noises. Her greatest fear is other dogs; Mercedes is dog aggressive in protection mode with good reason. Several years ago we were on a walk with my two other dogs; Mercedes saved us from being attacked by a dog twice her size. Mercedes ended up with infected wounds and staples on her front legs. From that day forward no matter what size the dog is Mercedes will tense up, hair stood up on her neck and barked ferociously warning them to stay away from us. Needless to say it became a challenge to take Mercedes anywhere.

To treat her anxiety I became a certified in canine massage therapy. The results were incredible, it provided her with more benefits than I expected and gave her great relief from arthritic pain and discomfort. she had much less tension and she was much less guarded when we went out for walks. She loved her massages and would even ask for them at times.

In February 2015 at the age of ten, my Mercedes was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor. Past experience with this type of tumor was not a good one and I considered treating it holistically. After much thought and discussion with our vet, taking into consideration where this tumor was located I decided to move forward and surgery was successful. My Mercedes was the most Amazing "Gracious Gift" to my life and my inspiration to offer canine massage therapy to small animals and their person.

Late Fall of 2016 Mercedes began to struggle a recurrent serious bacterial infection. The medications were taking a toll on her. I started making her dog food to avoid preservatives, adding turmeric and antioxidant foods. Her health was very gradually declining. I would find her laying in the bath tub at times, her breathing was heavy quite often, her back end was getting weaker. In October Mercedes and I had a talk and decided it was time for doggy hospice. We would no longer take antibiotics that made her feel so sickly, we would do everything possible to keep her comfortable.

In late October 2017 we rescued a young 8 month old German Shepherd, Nyko. I had known him since he was 3 months old, he was a brilliant boy and I just knew he would be a good addition to our family. Mercedes graciously accepted him immediately and taught him everything she knew. He was bigger and stronger than her but he listened to her and respected her, he watched carefully and followed her every move. With the addition of Nyko, Mercedes was much more at ease and much less stressed. She knew he came to take on some of the responsibility she held of caring for her family. Over the next eight months Mercedes was so content, she was happier and felt better than she had in a long time. Every day I saw her getting weaker.

On June 24, 2018, Mercedes let me know she was ready, it was time for her to go. She knew me and Player were in good hands, Nyko had proven to her that he was there to take care and protect us. Mercedes is running pain free now but her spirit lives is all around us.

In honor of my girl Mercedes, my best friend and canine soulmate; “Gracious Gift Wellness” was established to offer healing energy and support to all animals and their people.