Sunday Snuggles: An Oliver Update!

In case you missed things previously, Rugby James is sponsoring a Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pig that we named Oliver Wendell Piggleton. Oliver lives at a wonderful animal sanctuary called PIGS, which is tucked in the hills of West Virginia.  Oliver was dumped outside the sanctuary gates in the middle of the night, and left, injured, in the dark.  As soon as I saw his little face the next day, I was in piggie love, and I knew he had to be our little piggie! (You can read Oliver’s story in a previous post:  “Make a Difference Wednesday:  One Small Dog’s Dream. )

We set up a sponsorship for him, and even held an online auction for him to cover medical expenses and anything else that he needed to settle into his new home plus a small nest egg for any emergencies.  This past week, we were able to send PIGS Animal Sanctuary a wonderful check for $1937.38!!  This was made possible by a large group of dog lovers who cared that my little speckled and spotted hot mess of a dog got to see his dream come true!  Rugby has wanted his very own real piggie for as long as I can remember!!

I received two new photos and an update about Oliver this week, so I thought I would share an update with my readers!  He’s been in isolation from other pigs, to make sure he was healthy and so that they had learned about him before releasing him into a herd of other pigs. The wonderful PIGS staff have been looking after him, helping him gain weight and get healed up and healthy once again.  This past week, he has been cleared to join a small herd of other pigs, and I’m so happy for that progress.

He will have a wonderful grassy area with quonset huts to provide shelter, plenty of mud to wallow in and cool himself on hot days, and plenty of piggie friends for play and security.  The PIGS director tells me that he is doing just great and is very happy there.

From the photos, it looks like he’s gained a bit of weight, and his eyes look much happier and less guarded.  It’s clear that he feels right at home, and he’s settling in very nicely, which makes my heart soar!

Oliver is blowing kisses to his friends and supporters!! Photo courtesy of PIGS.

This next photo is beyond adorable to me!  Oliver is greeting Levi, one of the resident dogs who lives at PIGS, and is often the greeter of anyone who comes to visit!  If you’d like to know more about PIGS Animal Sanctuary, check out their webpage at  They care for all kinds of farm animals, as well as dogs and cats, many of which have special health needs that prevent them from finding forever homes. I’m so happy to have found PIGS, and just love knowing that my little “throw away dog” is helping a “throw away piggie” have a great life!!

Photo courtesy of PIGS



Sunday Snuggle: Rugby Learns Empathy

The accident happened in 2011.  I had a bad sprain of my upper and lower ankle.  My ankle was so swollen it looked like a tennis ball was under the skin.  And if anyone tells you that you can’t really injure yourself that badly by stepping off of a sidewalk, just laugh.  I’m living proof that you can be laid up for three full months by stepping off of a sidewalk in the wrong way!

Up until then, honestly, Rugby never seemed to care or really even notice if anyone in our family hurt themselves.  He was oblivious and carefree.  I had never owned a dog who didn’t really tune into an owner’s pain before, so this was further evidence of Rugby’s original emotional state in his first few years with us.

This accident changed everything in that regard.  I cried and cried when it happened, not only from the pain, but also because I was just sure that I had broken it, and I was anticipating an expensive surgery and extensive healing time.  I escaped the break, but the healing time was substantial, and it was in that healing time, that Rugby learned how to have empathy.

The first two weeks I simply kept it elevated and iced.  After that, my doctor put a cast on it for a few weeks to keep it completely immobile. Rugby was rarely away from my side, and often propped his head and / or paws on my leg when it was in a cast for a few weeks.  He was so attentive to me, and really loved the extra daily snuggle time that he got with me!

And ever since that time, any time I even wince at something, he’s right there, trying to lick my face to let me know he cares.  He’s persistent in making sure that I really am okay, and it’s a genuine concern that he shows….much like what I’ve seen from my previous dogs.   This injury really helped Rugby understand that he was finally part of a pack and that this pack sticks together through thick and thin!



Sunday Snuggles: Olympic Finale….

Many years ago, I was visiting my very favorite aunt for a vacation.  We went shopping in a wonderful place that had a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.  It had lots of interesting little nooks and crannies to explore, which was so much fun!  There were some very special items made by local craftsmen, and things that had been imported from all over the world.  There were Christmas items full year round, and a few seasonal items as well.

I found a sweet little wicker dog bed, and I bought it for my very first Corgi, Schatsi, and couldn’t wait to take photos of him all tucked up in his very own dog bed.  Unfortunately, Schatsi never appreciated the cute little bed, and I think the only time he was ever in it, was when I put him in it, and then he hopped right out!  He never enjoyed sleeping in it, perhaps because it required that he curl up just a wee bit, and I don’t think that was really his favorite manner for sleeping.

And of course, there was also the stigma of being a dog, sleeping in a bed for….you know…well..I .dogs!  Schatsi was more of a sofa/human waterbed type of Corgi!

All these years, and every time I’ve moved, I’ve hauled that wicker basket, because I just didn’t have the heart to get rid of it!  I just knew somewhere, sometime, I’d have a dog who wanted to sleep in it.  I finally put it out into the garage into what we fondly call the “black hole” of storage, where so many things go to be stored…and not seen very often!

I was organizing the garage recently, and came across that little wicker basket.  It made me smile as soon as I found it!  I pulled it down from the top shelf where it had been patiently waiting for me, and I thought that it couldn’t really be too much different in size than Rugby’s other small bed that he just loves.

The big difference between the two is that the small bed is soft sided, so it’s a bit forgiving and Rugby can sprawl in it.  This bed has rigid sides, so Rugby’s going to have a tough time unless he curls up….which he often does!  I had an old feather pillow that was really too worn for human use, but just perfect to fit into this little wicker basket!  Once I placed it there, it looked like it was made for that little basket!

I put the basket in the corner near the fireplace in the perfect cozy spot, and waited to see if Rugby would investigate it.  Lo and behold, before long, Rugby was checking out his new basket, and plopped onto it and looked like he was cozy and comfortable in his new bed!  I had moved his Tuggo tugger toy, and when I snapped the photo, it occurred to me that it looked a lot like some sort of track and field event….like a giant dog shotput!

As the summer Olympics draw to a close today, I know Rugby is quite content with the gold medals he won for pretzel napping and his Tuggo toss!!



Sunday Snuggle: Post House Construction Snuggles

As the week of our recent home construction progressed, I stayed home during the day while the construction team was here, and then I ran evening training appointments, leaving Rugby home with Michael at night.  Rugby was very stressed during the day, of course, and so we wanted at least one of us home with him at night to help him de-compress from all of the day’s events.

Once the construction team left for the day, and Rugby had gotten some exercise, he often settled down for some snuggle time with me.  I had already decided that things were stressful enough for all of us, that I needed to make time for Rugby once the team was gone, because he had no idea what had happened to his peaceful and predictable world.  For all he knew, this was the new reality of his day-to-day:  strangers tromping in and on and around his house, and lots and lots of noise!!

Michael happened to take some photos of Rugby and I having a good little snuggle together, and this was one of the better photos.  I just really love this photo!  I mean first of all, you have to love our fish sheet that we use to keep fur off the sofa!  So cool, right?  But what I really, really love, is the silent communication between Rugby and I.  This photo says so much about the relationship that we have together!  If you didn’t know anything at all about us, I think that this photo would tell you all that you ever needed or wanted to know.

This is one of the photos I think that I’ll treasure forever, because it will always remind me of this moment in time….when the world stopped for Rugby and I, and we were able to silently speak so much love to each other with just a simple look into each other’s eyes.

Happy snuggles for your Sunday…