About me

My photo
I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


Follow by Email

Follow me on Instagram


Monday, May 19, 2014

Having a past

I got a call today.

From the woman who fostered Daisy after they broke her out of the puppy mill four weeks ago.

I found out that until that time she had spent her entire time in a cage. 

Her feet had never touched grass (that's why they are so soft), no one had housetrained her,  (perfect now)  just mucked out her cage if that, and she had never been on a walk, or on the other end of a lease.

The woman today told me what a wreck Daisy was. Terrified of men, nervous, and withdrawn. The foster mother was worried. She wanted to know if Daisy was doing alright and if she could come and visit.

I am learning no one expects a puppy mill mom to do well. At all.

The thing is who I have here is a small dog who doesn't like loud noises it's true, but who walks for hours every day. 

Who chases birds and bunnies. 

Who climbs onto a window sill and waits when we are out. 

Who does leaping laps around the yard when we come home. 

Who has tentatively started to play with toys.

Who comes like a bullet when she is called.

I am so excited to be taking her home next month. I want to show her that big fenced yard and say "this is yours."

Right now I have a dog who runs up and visits with everyone we meet on the beach. Who lets them pat her head, even the men.

What a nice little dog they say. How well-behaved. How friendly.

I have decided to keep her history to myself on these encounters.

I have been thinking a lot about this.

We all have our baggage. Some folks have had things happen in the past that have been terrible and hard to leave behind. Some folks have had far more than their share, for no good reason, like Daisy.

The thing is on that same beach last month I attended an Easter service at sunrise. Whatever your spirituality, whatever it is or isn't, basically the message is simple - let's wipe out that bad past. You're good now. 

Maybe bad times can stop being part of your story.

Maybe sometimes a bit of cancelation is the right thing to do.

Just to go back to where you started, to who you were going to be until that happened.

I was thinking of this tonight on the same beach and I decided Daisy has a right to not have that past anymore. 

She is as good as any dog on the beach. 

The blown dried ones, the ones in dog strollers, the family dogs who have always had the family.

She is a little dog who is just so glad to be alive in this world.

You should see her run.

Really what else matters? 

She is enough just as she is.

Right there.

So tonight I was complimented on my beautiful dog.

"Look how she looks to mommy to make sure it is OK to be patted by a stranger. How smart." 

"Thank you. She was trained to do that."

Daisy deserves the credit.

I'm thinking I will call that woman back tomorrow. 

Tell her how grateful I am for the work she did fostering Daisy until she was adopted. I really am grateful. But I think we are fine without a visit.

She remembers the damaged dog.

We won't.


Anonymous said...

You are a wise woman with a big, big heart! Thank you for sharing it!
(I'm sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks! All good!)


Kathie said...

well, that's a quote I've already printed out to tack in a good spot.
(Just to go back to where you started, to who you were going to be until that happened.)
Barbara, thank you... for how you write, for what you write, for giving Daisy her chance to be who she was going to be...

Sew Chic said...

I'm sharing this with all my friends. Thank you for these thoughtful words. Everyone deserves a new beginning at some point in their life. Hugs to Daisy.

Linda said...

Oh wow, that one made me cry also. I will often think of a joyful Daisy, finally able to run and play and love. Sometimes there are happy endings.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval" is what is at the top of the reply page. But I read it as "dog owner".
You got to me. Well I guess the dog got to me via you.

gMarie said...

this post made me cry. Daisy is a very lucky and very special girl indeed. Give her a rub from me and cookie. g

Sharon said...

Your words are so true and so glad Daisy is enjoying her new life and looking forward.

Anonymous said...

Okay, now you did it. I am also crying. Lucky Daisy to have found you.

Anonymous said...

Daisy is one lucky puppy! I am wondering, though, whether a visit would be validating and inspiring for the kind woman who cares about Daisy and every rescued puppy she takes care of.

Judi Pinkham said...

I have tears in my eyes too. Powerful and beautiful. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Like anonimous above, I am also crying.
I am so happy for miss Daisy that she found you.
You're terrific !!!

Ria from Australia.

Jacq C said...

That is a wonderful attitude, I'm so glad you and Daisy found each other :)

Leigh Wheeler said...

How sweet and how far she has come. I am sure you know best, but you might consider letting the lady visit - or send a pic and an update. It might make her heart soar to know that there is a happy ending and a successful new life for one of her rescues. My mom rescues border collies, and she spends a lot of time with each one helping them on their journey to a better life, socializing, teaching house manners, etc. She gets attached to all of them and loves to get updates and hear when they do well. Makes it easier to start the process again when one doesn't.
So glad Daisy is doing happy dog things. Leaping yard laps makes me smile. :) :) :)

jennywren said...

I had tears in my eyes reading that too. How lovely for Daisy that she found you I agree about her 'back storey' this is who daisy is now - and who she always wanted to be.
The only thought I had about her foster mum is that maybe she needs a happy ending, some reassurance? We adopted a couple of corgis a few years back they were brought to us by the woman who had fostered them and she to asked at that time if she could come and see how they settled in, we agreed happily enough. Some weeks later she told me she had actually turned up unannounced to see them just as myself, two grandchildren and the dogs had all came tumbling out of the house, laughing kids, excited dogs and me laughing at the problem of getting us all walking in the same direction at the same time. She sat and watched us with tears in her eyes because she knew their history and needed a happy ending after a few sad ones!
I do wonder though if her foster 'mum' visiting would be unsettling for daisy so perhaps she would be content with a few pictures?

Anonymous said...

So right not to remind Daisy of the past with a visit, but do send this to the fosterer, she obviously cares a lot.
So happy for you both.

Anonymous said...

The joy and unconditional love you and Daisy bring to each other will be immeasurable. Big, sloppy, wet kisses to you both!!

ElleC said...

I am so pleased for all of you that Daisy is doing so well. It is lovely. Daisy is an example of how we can all change and leave our pasts behind us. Way to go Daisy!

Laurie said...

Right on ! What an amazing and resilient dog. Makes me feel grateful for all the opportunities for a "do-over" that I've experienced in my own life. Cheers to you--thanks for your thoughts.

Tee said...

You and Daisy are my new heroes!!!! Be blessed!!!!

Lisa Laree said...

I read the story and my heart smiled... so sweet...then I went back and started over.

This time the date jumped out of me.

They rescued Daisy four weeks ago??

She has come this far in four weeks??

My opinion changed from 'a sweet story' to 'a miracle'.

I'm so glad I got to read it.

SueJ said...

I've worked with dog rescue and people who have fostered dogs for several years. It can be very challenging, obviously, and the foster parents may become very vested the welfare of the dogs. I can get why you might want to move on and not review your puppy's history. Another view is that it may give the foster mom more inspiration and motivation to continue fostering dogs. And give her the gratification and satisfaction of a job well done. That she invested her time/efforts/love in a dog who ended up in a great home.

Prudence said...

Amazing, Daisy is a very lucky pup. I agree with a few other comments. It would be nice to send her foster an update and picture, to reassure her and thank her for her work w/Daisy.

Prudence said...

Amazing, Daisy is a very lucky pup. I agree with a few other comments. It would be nice to send her foster an update and picture, to reassure her and thank her for her work w/Daisy.

Sandi Stephens said...

Good for you!!! Where are the pictures?

Kathrynsb said...

I too have been thinking about this. I'm a recovered alcoholic. The women I sponsor are like watching a light turn on as they recover and learn to live spiritually. They enrich me more than I help them and so I agree with Sue
the woman who sponsored Daisy may need to see that the light has come on and her efforts and concern and work are worthwhile
I think I'd let her visit

Anonymous said...

Love this! Very wise words that everyone can benefit from :)

PS...I think Daisy is one lucky dog...and she's going to be A-OK!

Anonymous said...

One capacious heart + one strong doggie spirit = a wonderful, inspiring post which is being read and pondered half way around the world. Thankyou.

Anne in Melbourne

lsaspacey said...

However, by letting her see the "new' Daisy and marveling at the changes you also give her a chance to forget Daisy's past and see her in a whole new way. if i were her, I would love to see that and it would give me pride to take on my next foster case. :)

Cynthia Kindred said...

You can send the foster mom videos

Dont deprive her of the joy of seeing Daisy blossom even further. Her intent is not to hurt and she may want to not erase the past but amend it. Daisy is the sum of all her life experiences she is not defined by any one experience. I have rescues that when I got them were a mess. They have come so very far and I know for them to open up and trust me and love me unconditionally and protect my family as they do is part and parcel of what they have experienced. I do let the org that rescued them stop by from time to time and I send videos as well. It has been a few years now and the past is rarely talked about at all we are so thrilled with current happenings and the future for some of my rescues starting agility training. I appreciate what the rescuers did and continue doing. So dont deprive her of a little slice of happiness in seeing Daisy thrive in a loving environment but by all means note that if it in any way this is upsetting to Daisy no more visits. My rescues love the extended family and get to do social visits with other rescues. So a win win for all of us