In Pursuit of Happiness

About a week ago, my blogging friend,  Britt Reints posted the following question to those following her blog and Facebook:

Do you have a business, website, book, or product that’s an example of you living your dream? I want to help you get the word out. Email me at brittmariereints (at) gmail

I immediately set to writing her an email since I haven’t posted here in ages, but she needs to have a link to share so that Havanese Rescue Inc. and HavToHavIt General Store get the attention I want for them.

The following is my email to Britt:

Hey Britt, it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen you. I left blogging soon after we repatriated in 2008. 

Once we settled back into our home, it was too empty. Both of our sons were grown-up (still issues, but they were not here). I felt alone and aimless. I’ve always followed MrGTT since the birth of our sons. I truly did not want to live in this house again and neither did he.

All the while we were living in Singapore I missed my Woofie. We had to euthanize her because she had congestive heart failure and there was no way she could make the journey overseas. 

During our time overseas, I kept reminding Michael aka MrGTT (Mr. Geekytaitai) that I needed a dog once we repatriated. Both of us missed her love and company.

It wasn’t long after we unpacked our belongings, that I discovered my friend’s posts on Facebook about her newest pup, Chile, a Havanese. Once I saw Chile and the rest of Mary’s pack, I knew I had to have a Havanese dog myself.

After researching and discussing the breed with Mary, I realized that there was no way we could afford such an expense for a pure-bred Havanese dog. Especially, since so many need to be rescued.

That’s when Mary told me that she was a volunteer for Havanese Rescue Inc. Britt, I applied to adopt and to volunteer. By the next week, I was driving to Cocoa, FL to pick-up Clyde and Hunter.Clyde and Hunter

When I attended Adam’s Halloween party, I’d only had them for a few days. I hated leaving them so soon, but had planned to attend the party months beforehand. MrGTT was able to love on them, so it was all good. Havanese are the best dogs — they were oblivious of my absence. 

As a volunteer for HRI, I began fostering Havanese that were in dire straights. My very first, was a boy named Sam whose mom was undergoing chemo for breast cancer. She knew she couldn’t care for him properly in her home, but she had him tied to a post outside. He was a matted-up mess and unsocialized. Lord, he was a handful, especially for my first foster.

We fostered many more dogs after him. Eventually, we “failed” with two more, Buddy and Ernie.

I got a call from our Intake Committee that a dog had been picked-up from the median of a highway in Chattanooga, TN. I drove up to find a tall, flea-infested, in-tact male Havanese mix. That’s our Buddy Barker. We couldn’t let him go because he was such a great teacher to Hunter and Clyde. They didn’t have any social skills, but he taught them how to play. He also taught other fosters socialization skills that a human could never convey.

Our next “failure” was Ernie Bernie Mac. He was spotted by a volunteer in a New Orleans shelter. He had a lame hind leg that the shelter vet thought should be amputated. Our volunteer took him to her own vet who performed surgery to repair his leg. I still have visions of Ernie’s X-rays with pins all over the place. 

No volunteers offered to foster him because they all knew that he would be a long-term fella. That tore me apart. I consulted with MrGTT once again, and he agreed to help me foster Ernie. HRI volunteers worked out a transportation plan from NOLA to ATL. 

Two days after his arrival, I took him to the vet for a follow-up. As I was driving home with Ernie in the back of the MINI (same as I’d transported him before), he managed to get tangled in the restraints.

That sneaky move resulted in the amputation of Ernie’s right hind leg a few days later. I was devastated and felt like a horrible failure to Ernie and to HRI. They paid for this expensive surgery to repair his leg, but he injured himself on my watch. 

We couldn’t let him go after all we’d been through. His suffering was heart-wrenching. The pins in his leg had migrated upward and were pinching his sciatic nerve. It was a nightmare for him and for me to witness his pain.

Here’s a video  I made of Ernie one month after his amputation. Buddy Barker is right there with him. 

We can only foster short-term now. So, I began volunteering for HRI in other areas.

Havanese Rescue means the world to me, and has helped me to find a new side of myself at this late-stage in my life. I’ve served as a State Contact, Intake, Assistance, and now serve on the Board of Directors, as well as editor of the monthly Newsletter, Geek Squad Chair, member of the Public Awareness Committee and Technology co-chair.

I may not be paid actual dollars for my work, but the last four years have been some of the most rewarding in my life. I must also credit my years as a blogger in Singapore for understanding how to post to websites. If I hadn’t had that experience behind me, I would never have been able to be a member of HRI’s Geek Squad.

Britt, I love the work I do, and I’m so proud of Havanese Rescue. So many dogs suffer endlessly in puppy mills or concrete kennels in back-yard-breeder homes. Hunter and Clyde only knew how to poop on concrete when we adopted them. 

Now they know that grass won’t hurt them!
Written by Geeky in: Blogging,Friends | Tags:


If you’re thinking about adopting a rescued dog, please take a moment to read this:

I want to save a rescue dog that no one else would pick.
But please…
I couldn’t handle one that was too old…or sick.

I want a dog with fluffy hair that’s silky to the touch;
A dog I wouldn’t have to groom
(the work would be too much!).

My allergies are bad, and so the dog must never shed
or jump up on my velvet couch
or sleep with me in bed.

The size is not important, but the dog can’t be too tall.
And while I’m not being choosy,
I’d prefer he not be small.

Cute and cuddly, sweet and smart
and one who doesn’t chew.
Of course he must be housebroken (my carpeting is new).

A dog who’s quiet in his crate (I work twelve hours a day);
A dog who isn’t hyper,
and yet one who likes to play.

Of course all vetting must be done (it’s easier for me).
And I don’t want to pay a lot
for an “adoption fee”.

Ah, yes…it truly warms my heart to save a dog in need.
I’ll pick a dog that no one wants:
a noble choice indeed!

A dog that no one else could love: a homeless dog that’s needy….
I only wish those rescues weren’t so fussy–
and so greedy!

Marti Houge
One Starfish Rehoming Connections

Written by Geeky in: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Am I Stupid, Crazy, or Just an Easy Mark?

Last Friday, I went to get a pedicure. While I was in the salon, my friend called and left me a voice-mail. When I was finished with my pedicure, I stepped outside near the mailbox by Publix to return her phone call and have a smoke before I went grocery-shopping.

My friend and I only talked for about 2 minutes, so I stood there to finish my cigarette and daydream (my feet were tingly, I was very relaxed, and it was a beautiful day). Shortly, I noticed a young man on a bicycle. He approached me and asked, “Could you spare a cigarette?”

Me, sort of dumbfounded, “Uh, sure, yes.” I reached into my purse to give him one. Rather than leave on his bicycle, he continued, “Do you know if there are any shelters around here?” as he motioned in the direction of the apartments across from Wendy’s.

I told him that I didn’t know of any assistance programs in this area, and asked, “Why do you need a shelter? Where are your parents?”

“My name is Nathan”, he proffered a handshake, and I accepted it with reservation. “I moved here from California with my girlfriend after being dishonorably discharged from the Marines.” He looked down, then looked me in the eye, “I wouldn’t follow orders, and the Marines don’t tolerate disobedience.”

He continued his story, “My mom is (I can’t remember now) and my dad is incarcerated in the State of California. My girlfriend (I can’t remember that now either) and we were evicted from our apartment. I don’t have any place to stay. I’m going for a job interview at Wendy’s at 3:30.”

I apologized for not knowing any sort of community organizations to help him, but I told him, “I’ve only got a small bit of cash, and you can have these ($4 and 4 cigarettes). I’m sorry I only know how to rescue dogs. Here’s my card if you need any other help” and I gave him one of my newly-printed cards with my phone number on it.

Something about Nathan made me care and want to help him. I’ve thought about him several times since then, but since I hadn’t heard from him, I just hoped he was OK.

At 2:04 today I got a phone call from a local number, but it was unfamiliar to me. It was Nathan calling from the In-Town Suites Extended Stay nearby.

I asked, “How are you Nathan? Did you get the job at Wendy’s?”

He replied, “Yes, I did, and I start work tomorrow.”

Me, “Where have you been staying?”

Nathan, “I’m at this hotel, and I asked if I could use the phone to call you, but I’ve been sleeping at The Park.”

Me, “Have you eaten?”

Nathan, “Yes, I ate last night…”

Me, “Well, I just put a frozen pizza in the oven. How about I bring you some?”

Nathan, “How long do you think it will take?”

I told him that I’d just heated the oven, so it was going to take me at least an hour to meet him at The Park.

I cut the pizza (after eating 3 tiny pieces myself) wrapped it in foil, then started thinking, “What else do we have on-hand here that he could eat?”

I scrounged through our cupboards and made a care-package of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice, a foil-pack of tuna, the 3 applesauce packs in the fridge, some of the plastic utensils and napkins I keep in the kitchen-drawer, a pack of cigarettes, and my last $20.

As I was getting these things together, I realized that I was alone, and I didn’t have anyone to go with me to meet him.

I thought about stopping at the City Police Station, but I didn’t/don’t want to get him into trouble with the law. All I could think about was the real-life nightmare that my family lived through not so long ago.

Since it was daylight, I decided to forgo the police and take a spin over to the park to look for Nathan. As I entered the big parking lot on The Parkway, a City Police cruiser pulled in behind me and followed me. I felt relief to know the police routinely patrol the park. Since I didn’t see Nathan, I went back around the “block” again. I reentered the parking lot about 10 minutes later, and there he was.

He had a big smile on his face once he recognized me. I lifted the bag out of my partially-lowered window (my purse beneath my legs, phone in my pocket, and the doors locked). As he took the bag, I told him, “Next time, I’ll meet you at Zaxby’s and treat you to a good meal.” Nathan looked cold, but he wore jacket. I was relieved about that because I was looking for something to keep him warm at night and couldn’t find anything in our closets.

Nathan smiled and said, “Thank you.”

I watched out of my rear-view mirror as he disappeared back into a wooded area of the park, and I drove back home.

Written by Geeky in: Blogging,Food,Home,Seriously |

LOST DOG, Marty in Buffalo Grove, IL

Marty -- Lost in Buffalo Grove, IL

Marty, 20 months old, sable with black tipping on ears, soft, silky hair 11 lbs, microchipped, wearing red harness w/ rescue tag & black lead attached. Marty is a rescue dog, bolted from his fosterhome – he is a VERY fearful, scared boy to begin with. DO NOT chase. Call 631.764.3749 if sighted.

Written by Geeky in: Havanese,Seriously |

A Scare

Some of you may not be aware that my husband and I repatriated just over a year ago after living in Singapore for nearly 4 years.  While overseas, MANY things were replaced except for the roof and the central air. Last year, I knew that we would be required to have our central air replaced because of the freon issue.  I was informed many times as the air-conditioner-repair-dude (ACRD) was recharging our system.  I felt terribly guilty at the time, but $$$ preclude guilt on occasion.

Today, after suffering many HOTlanta days, some air-conditioner-replacement-dudes were in and out of our house ALL day long.  Clyde and Hunter were very protective of me — as long as they were behind the baby-gates.  ;-)  Actually, they could “get” the scary ACRD’s if they were brave enough to try another route. They chose to stay close to Mama, and that was fine by me.
The ACRD’s were finally finished with our new HVAC system by 6 p.m.  I inspected (read: FELT COLD AIR COMING FROM DUCTWORK), signed-off, and gave the check to the Chief ACRD (dude).  About 15 minutes later, I fed Clyde and Hunter.  Then another 15 minutes later it was time to go outside to do some “bidness”.
Well now, dontcha know?  Clydie came running up the stairs all proud of himself doing “bidness”, but there was no Hunter at the door!  Hunter is ALWAYS first at the door “peddling” away.  So, I get off of my lazy-computer-addicted-butt to investigate.  Clyde led me back down the stairs.  I’m hollering and doing my special whistle for “come” for Hunter… no response.
No reason for worry, Hunter always comes when Mama calls for him…until, Clyde and I discover that the basement door is wide-open, all of the lights are on, and the GATE… OMG the GATE IS WIDE OPEN!
I keep doing my “Come to Mama” whistle and yelling for Hunter.  ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSE.
This is giving Clyde and me a very big stomachache because Hunter is ALWAYS by Mama NO MATTER WHAT.
Well, the ACRD’s changed all of that.  Once Hunter discovered that the gate was open, he decided to go for a walk down our street because he loves to go taunt “Old Blue”, a big old German Shepherd who lives on our cul-de-sac.  Fortunately, the cute 10-year-old-twin-girls discovered him, and knew his name.  They immediately hooked-him-up to one of their pretty pink leashes and brought him home!
OK, he only went down the street a few houses, but I never thought he would be the one to leave our yard.  I’ve always envisioned my pretty, Smilin’ Clydie would do that, and he didn’t.
I guess I’ve learned a couple of lessons today — NEVER trust ACRD’s to close a door, turn off lights, or MOST importantly, close a gate.  The second would be, that our furbabies can always learn new “tricks”
Written by Geeky in: Family,Havanese,Seriously | Tags: , ,

In Memory…







Written by Geeky in: Friends,Seriously | Tags:

TequilaCon ’09

If any of you follow me on Twitter, you’ll already know that I had a blast at my second TequilaCon. There were pre-TequilaCon parties, adventures, as well as post, and post-post TequilaCon festivities.  I am tired! 

We TequilaCon-ers have pooled together our pics on Flickr.  There were a lot of talented photographers at TC, so you should definitely check them out.  

I had so much fun getting to see bloggers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting before at other blogger fun-fests:

 Dave2, Dustin, Jenny, Karl, NYC Watchdog, Poppy, Rachel, Robin, Sarah, and Vahid.

and meeting bloggers I’ve read a while as well as bloggers I will be adding to my blogroll:

Brandon, Carrington, Colleen, Jason, Marty, Ren, Scott, and Wayne

If you ever have the opportunity for a blogger meet-up, do it!  You’ll have a wonderful time.  I promise :D


On My Way to Sante Fe

I’m sitting in a Best Western hotel in Albuquerque.  I made the big mistake of getting a smoking room, and it is the STINK!   I always say I’ll never get another smoking room, but if I’m alone, I always do.  I’m allergic. I get sinus infections. I’m an idiot!

Anyway, I’m sitting in this stinky room, awake too soon because one of the drapery hooks is off the rod.  Sunlight hit my eyes at around 6:30 this morning.  I tried to turn over to avoid the light, but then I had to pee.  I tried to keep my eyes half-shut and stumble into the bathroom, but they opened on me.  I am awake.  Too early.

I got some breakfast and lots of coffee.  I’m on a carb overload as of now.  I will regret that too, later on today.  

So, as I was Twittering my friends about meeting up in Sante Fe for TequilaCon ’09 , I began thinking about last year’s big bash in Philadelphia (home of Hall and Oates) and Lisa’s neck of the woods.  Michael and I arrived in NY from Singapore May 1, stayed the night in NY, then drove down to Philly.  TequilaCon ’08 was the first thing we did as repatriated Americans.  

We’ve been repatriated almost a year, and the year has flown by!  The opportunity to actually meet these on-line friends IRL (in real life) is so cool!  I am a very lucky lady, I know that and am very grateful.  I am missing Lisa right now, but I know she’s with us and wanting us to have a blast.

I will Twitter about stuff that I think is cool, and I’ll try to post here before the big BeerHer bash tonight.

Right now, I need a shower, but I will wait to wash my hair until I get to Sante Fe. This room stinks.  I am an idiot.

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