I Found My Oreo: The Early Years


The back-story of our beloved dog Oreo begins here. In a previous post, I wrote about how we lost our Oreo.

Two years after my divorce, my youngest daughter still longed for the dogs we had when her dad was still here. Being a newly-single mother of two young daughters, with no monetary help whatsoever, and as much as I wanted another dog, I waited until some time had passed.

Oreo is 12-weeks old when we brought him home from the SPCA

The time was right, so we took a trip to the local SPCA. Without rehashing the details of the puppy we initially brought home, the circumstances changed so that we found the adorable, black and white, freckle-snouted Springer Spaniel-mix pup, who we dubbed “Oreo.”

Oreo was three months old already when we brought him home. He happily accepted his new life in our large backyard. A few months earlier we had acquired a rabbit that roamed freely until…Oreo discovered him. I naively believed they could co-exist in the backyard, the bunny blissfully chewing on our vegetation. Just a few days after we brought Oreo home, I heard a commotion in the yard. Oreo had not only discovered the rabbit, but had attacked it!

Why did I get a dog again? Oh yes, to make my youngest daughter happy. I wrapped the poor rabbit up in a towel thinking it was close to death, and brought it into the garage. Its injuries were not life-threatening, but it was in shock. The bunny recovered and we gave it to a neighbor down the street. Oreo had claimed his territory and had full reign of the backyard.

Oreo loved to dig shallow holes all over the yard to sleep in. It must have been the Australian Shepherd in him that caused him to sleep in the shallow holes. This had to stop, so with help, we built a small wooden dog house for him, which had a flat roof. We put a nice fluffy rug and blanket in the brand-new house, and found him asleep on top of the house! We should have named him Snoopy. And he didn’t stop digging.

Looking back, Oreo spent more time alone in the backyard than I had wanted, because of work and school. But we made sure to play with him and take him for walks. My two young daughters were attentive enough, offering to give him baths as much as possible. One time, my youngest was a little too liberal with the soap and got some in Oreo’s eyes. His eyelid literally turned inside out for two days! From that day on, he DESPISED water and would run the opposite way when I would use the hose to water the grass.

Despite this, he lived a happy, puppy life. Inevitably, as the kids got older, they spent less time with Oreo. With me driving them to their various activities in the evenings, Oreo was alone. There were a couple of dogs in the surrounding neighbors’ yards, so he did have a little company. I took him for walks as often as I could, but I’m sure it wasn’t enough. I still feel some remorse over this.

Oreo grew into a good-sized dog, weighing about 65 pounds with thick, glossy black fur—yes, he shed in the warm months. He was an outdoor dog and rarely did he come into the house. Between the dog house and the pet door to the garage, he seemed content. Still the water-hater, on rainy days, he stayed outside and lounged under the big pine tree. He could have easily come in out of the rain, but he seemed to enjoy it, for some inexplicable reason.

One oddly cloudy July 4th evening, as neighborhood fireworks boomed and lit up the night, I had walked outside the front door to see if I could see the nearby church’s fireworks display. I came back in to find Oreo lying on the couch (I had forgotten to close the screen door). He was afraid of the noise, as most dogs are, and made himself right at home.

A couple of years later, when I became the aquatics director in 2002, we held an event the weekend the pool closed for the season. This event was “Doggy Dip Day” where we let the dogs come swimming. Think of an off-leash dog park with a swimming pool to play in! Of course, the media came early and wanted photo ops, so I brought Oreo with me and dressed him in a lifeguard shirt. Oreo did a great job patrolling the deck, careful not to put a toe in the water.

Oreo wore the lifeguard uniform at the first annual doggy dip day.

Oreo’s young years were happy and full of joy. This also serves as my post for BeWOW Wednesday, a weekly challenge from Ronovan Writes.

Stay tuned for the final part of the story coming soon!

Writing 101–Day Thirteen: Serially Found
On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.
Interpret this theme of “finding something” however you see fit. Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.

The Beauty of Community



“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.” ― Jean Vanier, Community and Growth

I spent more than half my life in public service working for a leisure organization. Within leisure spaces, whether they are swimming pools, public parks, campgrounds, or community centers, my job centered around providing recreation programs for people. Inevitably, these opportunities enabled participants of all ages to build communities on summer swim teams, in water aerobics classes, and in pre-school programs.

The same is true for our blogging community. I have read many excellent posts about “how to get more followers to your blog,” or “Six ways to Build Your Audience,” etc. Other bloggers sharing this information know that to accomplish these goals, you (and I) need to read others’ blogs, like and follow!

The following bloggers offer and host blogging events to help you grow your blog:

One blogger whom I now consider a friend, Janet Wald, offers excellent advice on her blog, Reflections. Read her recap that includes a linky party and blogging tips.

Suzie, of Suzie81speaks is hosting a blog party this weekend, where bloggers can share their favorite post in her blog’s comments section. Suzie also will retweet your post on Twitter.

Jason, the Opinionated Man, does the same thing on Harsh Reality, potentially sharing your blog with 50,000+ followers. Watch for his blog announcing these events.

If you favor photography over writing, link your photos and posts to another blogger I call a friend: Lucile DeGodoy’s Photo101 Rehab event.

Last but not least, is another gracious blogger, Ronovan Write’s, who encourages bloggers to write about something positive and uplifting for BeWOW Wednesday. He will retweet your post using #BeWow hashtag which puts your blog out in the Twitterverse to attract more readers.

Please check out Diana’s Adventures’ blog as she shares a recent post “Tips for New Bloggers.”  I’m bookmarking this one myself!! These bloggers, and countless others, know how to build community. They will faithfully read your blog, comment on, and like your posts. These tasks are invaluable to us as bloggers to feel the community’s appreciation of a well-written post or beautiful photograph.This is also my post for BeWOW Wednesday.

I am also participating in April’s Ultimate Blog Challenge, another community opportunity on Facebook. I have found and followed several new bloggers there.Ultimate Blog Challenge

I am participating in Writing 101 this month. Not only am I working on my skills as a writer, but I am part of a new community of bloggers who want to do the same. By being part of “The Commons” where we can share our latest posts, we can get to know brand new bloggers who are just starting out. If you are a seasoned blogger (and I feel I can call myself that now), we help build community by reading, liking and following these new bloggers.

After all, we are a community of writers, photographers, hobbyists, friends, colleagues…the list is endless.

And that is the Beauty of Community!

I would appreciate it if you could share this post if you found it helpful!