Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Calendar: Childhood Christmas Tree Traditions Remembered

Although I have most of my Christmas shopping done already, the holiday season does not truly start for me until the Christmas tree is decorated. 
I can count the number of times my family had a “real” Christmas tree on one hand, so my family’s Christmas tree tradition didn’t involve the selection of a perfect tree, rather our goal was to create the perfect tree.  After turning on the Christmas music, a mix of NSYNC, Kenny Rogers, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and the Beach Boys, the first step was carrying the many boxes of decorations from the basement crawl space to the family room. My two sisters and I would joke about who could carry the heaviest boxes and call for Dad when things were too heavy. The boxes filled almost half of the family room, and seemed to fill more space each year.
We set-up two trees, a small one in the family room which would be decorated with homemade ornaments (and if we were being particularily adventurous, a popcorn garland we'd make while watching Rudolph), and a larger 7 foot tree was set-up in the living room by the bay window near the entrance of the house.
It always seemed like half the day was spent just putting together the artifical tree and fluffing the branches.  I usually let my sisters do the fluffing while I helped my dad untangle the lights and test each set to make sure none of the bulbs were dead.  After Mom was content with the fluffiness of the tree, which was not an easy process, I helped Dad string the lights and put the angel on the top of the tree. Then, Mom put ribbon, which was white and outlined in gold, around the tree.  We all helped to place the tree skirt around the bottom of the tree, a crocheted piece that Mom and Dad had made together when they were newlyweds. 
The remaining pieces to be displayed on and around the tree varied each year.  In the earlier years of my childhood, Dad set-up a square green turf under the tree on which an electric train circled the tracks.  As I became older, Dad started a collection of Department 56 “Christmas in the City” houses which he placed under the tree in addition to the train set.  Each Christmas we gave Dad a new house for his collection, and Santa placed a small figurine in his stocking that coordinated with the house we gave him. (I always wondered how Santa knew which house we were going to give to Dad.) The collection quickly grew from a small village to a large city and eventually replaced the electric train set.  (Now the collection is so big Dad separates the display between the two trees. In this year’s display, Chicago White Sox themed houses are displayed under the small tree and the remaining houses are strategically placed under the large tree.)
Mom sat on the floor and unpacked the ornaments.  She placed them on the floor, organizing them into piles based on the individual to which they belonged.  My sisters and I took turns placing our ornaments on the tree, while Mom reminisced about how each ornament was given to us and provided us guidance on the best place for each ornament.  (We received an ornament each year for Christmas, a tradition we continue today.)  Later during the week while we were at school, Mom would place the ornaments in “better” locations and hope we didn’t notice (less attractive ornaments would be placed on the back of the tree, while the breakable ornaments were placed on top).  Dad helped us if we were too short to reach a specific spot and also put up his ornaments, specifically his Star Trek, Chicago White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls themed ornaments. 
When we were finished, we sat in silence on the living room couch gazing at our masterpiece while Christmas music played in the background.
Although an adult and have my own tree, I continue many of the same traditions in my home. Decorating the tree is still one my favorite parts of the holiday season. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rainbow Bridge

Millie, my baby girl and best friend, went to the Rainbow Bridge today. Missing her already...

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sad news about Millie

With deep regret and sorrow, I am writing to bring you some sad news about my "baby girl", Millie.

The poor girl has been through so much in her young life. We had finally figured out her chicken and wheat...and was doing wonderfully! Then one day about a month ago she started having tremors in her back leg. The tremors got worse, until she was having trouble standing up, sitting, or going to the bathroom. She started falling while walking. She couldn't jump in the of favorite rides!

I took her to my vet who took xrays and put her on anti inflammatory success...was referred to the neurologist who we saw saw yesterday afternoon. The vet got her in for an MRI this morning. At 3pm I got a call from the vet saying they found a tumor in her spine.

Other than managing pain, there's not much they can do for her. It's a rapidly growing tumor and the vet gives her one to two months before paralysis and incontinence.

I have a big decision to make. Millie is my first dog, first pet...I've never dealt with any of this before. Brenden is being so helpful and supportive through this, I know he is hurting just as much as I am.

Millie is the best dog anyone could ask for. It's so hard to think that in a month or two she will be gone from our lives. We're going to spoil her rotten and treat her like a queen as long as we can.

Meanwhile, although she's all drugged up from the anethesia, Millie's wagging her beautiful tail. She could barely stand up but she managed to walk over to me to give me a kiss and sit on my lap...the first thing she did when I first met at first sight! A 67 lb lap dog....I thought I'd have so much more time with her. I wanted her to be in my wedding, to meet my future kids, to run around in the yard when we bought a house.

The vet says there is nothing we could've done to prevent this from occurring and has no idea when or why it started. I looked at the MRI...about 70% of her spine is filled with the tumor. The vet is amazed at how wonderful she is doing despite such a horrible thing.

Millie's a fighter. She's a brave girl. I love her so much. Millie is my angel as much as I am one to her.

No need to reply, just please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Civil War Pension Record: Richard Brown (Rockford, IL)

I haven't had a lot of time for genealogy since I got back from my Colorado trip (I've been spending a lot of time scrapbooking the pictures).

Although, I did get some genealogy goodness in the mail last third great grandpa, Richard Brown's 23 page civil war pension record!

Although the $22 fee for the record was a bit steep for my liking, it was worth it. Here's some info (and types of info) I learned through the records:

Info about Richard:
1) His MANY addresses from the time directly after the Civil War until his death
2) Death certificate
3) Marriage date and location
4) Civil War entry date and location (he was 16 when he joined)
5) Name of the two units under which he served during the war (he was transferred midway through the war)-- Company E, 95th Illinois Infantry and Company E, 47th Illinois Infantry
6) Medical history during war
7) His signature
8) His occupation (farmer)

Richard's wife and chilldren:
1) Addresses
2) Names...Including the name of my great great grandpa's twin who died at birth, wife's maiden name, and children's married names
3) Birthdates

The most interesting thing I learned was that Richard was disabled as a result of the war. The event took place after the war had ended and one day before Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

Richard's personal account of the incident is contained in his pension record:

[April 14, 1865] Richard and fellow Union soldiers were playing cards on the deck of a steamboat, the "Sioux City", on the Red River in Louisiana, when enemy fire hit a tack box where Richard was sitting. The tack box went airborne and hit Richard on his lower back.

Richard spent some time in a Louisiana hospital before returning to duty. Despite his injury, Richard served until January 21, 1866.

Richard received compensation for his injury, as his ability to work was limited due to his injury.

Richard died many years later, and was buried in Rockford. His burial location doesn't have a marker. I am doing research to determine how to get a marker for his grave, as I was told he should have one due to his service in the Civil War. If you are knowledgeable about this subject, I'd love more information.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Madness Monday: RAOGK requests (and vacation)

I've eagerly been counting down the days until Brenden and my vacation to the Rocky Mountain National Park. We leave Wednesday (EARLY) and gone til Sunday night. It'll be my second time to the Rockys, Brenden's first. It'll be so nice to get away from work and life's everday madness.

Before I leave I am trying to catch up on all my RAOGK requests. In just the month of August, I received 28 requests, and so far in September I have 13 requests....and some have multiple requests in one email... All requests are either for Chicago Tribune obituary look-ups or Queen of Heaven/Mt Carmel cemetery photograph requests.

I'm encouraging people who are interested in cemetery photo requests to post them on findagrave, as someone maybe able to get the photo sooner than I to overtime at work, rainy/cold weather, and limited hours at the cemetery.

I also encourage others to post obit requests on ancestry/rootsweb message boards, as there are some newspapers in Chicago that I don't have easy access to. So if you are looking to help some people find their ancestors....check out the ancestry/rootsweb message boards.

If you have access to old newspapers...most people do through their local library, and others even have online access to newspapers through library, ancestry, or other databases.....please volunteer at Even if there is already a volunteer on your area, as they may be overwhelmed with requests like me.

You'll be surprised at how many people you will be able to help.

Happy ancestor hunting!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Family Recipe Book: Page 10-11

Pages 10-11

During the Christmas season, my sister's and I would always make fudge with my dad, which is why I chose this recipe for my dad's featured recipe.

Pictured (Left): My dad and sister, Christina, (Right): Cousin Ryan Swanson, Uncle Eugene Vitraelli, Dad, Uncle Rich Swanson, Cousin-in-law Brent, Bottom: Cousins: Joey and Michael

Scrapbook paper and elements from Hobby Lobby, Old Greeting Cards

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Family Recipe Book: 8 and 9

Page 8 and 9:

Top: My sister, Diana, giving her Maid of Honor speech; Bottom: Me and my two sisters (yeah...that's me in the banana costume) at the Naperville Rib Fest in 2009

Scrapbook paper and elements from Hobby Lobby and Old Greeting Cards

Monday, September 6, 2010

Family Recipe Book: Page 6 and 7

Page 6 and 7:

Pictured: Top Picture (left to right): Me, my sister Christina, my sister Diana.  Bottom Picture: My Aunt Halina Vitraelli, boyfriend Brenden, and me

Scrapbook paper and elements from Hobby Lobby, Old Greeting Cards

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Family Recipe Book: Page 2 and 3

Here's another couple pages (page 2 and 3) of the family recipe (scrap) book I created for my sister.

Scrapbook elements from Hobby Lobby, Clarabelle Garden Scrapbook Album Kit. "CDN" logo created by my sister's husband, and was featured on some of their wedding items.  The yellow flowers are from her wedding invitation.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Family Recipe Book: Page 1

Here's a sneak peek at the family recipe (scrap) book I created for my sister.  (Details described on an earlier post).

This is page 1 of a total of 32 pages from the book:

Photo taken by me at my sister's wedding, May 22, 2010.  Pictured from left to right: Uncle Richard Vitraelli, Uncle Eugene Vitraelli, Aunt Halina Vitraelli, Mom, Dad, Aunt Donna Vitraelli Swanson, and Uncle Rich Swanson.

Scrapbook elements from Hobby Lobby, Clarabelle Garden Scrapbook Album Kit

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Family History Project: Family Recipe Scrapbook (Part 1)

I was a co-host for my sister's bridal shower for my family this past April. We had a recipe-garden themed shower where everyone who came to the shower was supposed to bring a copy of their favorite recipe. There were about 15 attendees, all relatives.

During the shower my sister tried to guess who brought which recipe. If she guessed right, the owner of the the recipe card received a gift. Gifts for winning the bridal shower games included cookbooks and gardening tools.   Another game consisted of each guest writing down their birthday and anniversary.  The person with the birthday and anniversary closest to their wedding date received a prize.  (We kept the birthdates and anniversaries to add to my sister's address book).  After we had lunch, we had all the guests write advice for the bride on the back of the recipe card.

Our favors were tulip bulbs planted in white clay pots with a message saying something like, "watching their love grow". The pots were wrapped in cellophane and tied together with a ribbon. Attached the ribbon was a plantable seed card that was specially ordered online. The seed card had a blue bridesmaid dress with my sister and now husband's name and wedding date. When you plant the seed card, wild flowers will bloom. Similar to this, only in our case, the dress was blue:

I collected the recipe cards and advice and created a Family Recipe Scrapbook that contained a page for each recipe, a picture of the person that brought the recipe along with their words of wisdom for the bride. Due to space constraints and some messy handwriting, I typed the recipe cards on my computer. I saved the original recipe cards as a reminder of all my relatives' handwriting. I also purchased recipe, family, and flowery themed scapbook paper and stickers. I created word art on my computer and used other wordart and graphic freebies I found online.

Although I do a lot of digital scrapbooking, this was a traditional paper scrapbook. I even recovered the album I purchased with fabric and ribbon used at her wedding shower. On the last page of the book I added an extra invite from the shower and an extra seed card from the shower favors.

The book took a long time to put together, as I wanted the book to be perfect.

Three months after my sister's wedding, I finally finished the book!

I'm going to scan the book so I can make a copy for my mom, me, and my relatives for Christmas.

After I give my sister the book, I'll post pictures on my blog.

This was a great current "family history" project, bringing new recipes for the bride, and pictures and memories of relatives. I would highly recommend doing this project!

Recipe Sharing: Mushroom and Cheese Quiche

I tried a new recipe last night

Mushroom and cheese quiche!

1 cup bisquick
2 cups milk
4 eggs
Shredded cheese (recipe calls for Swiss, I used cheddar)
Salt and Pepper

In greased pie pan sprinkle cheese and mushroom. In bowl, blend eggs, milk, bisquick, salt and pepper. Add to pie pan. Bake 40 min at 400 degrees. (until knife in center comes out clean). Let cool 5 min, cut and serve. Bisquick serves as crust instead of the usual pie crust.

While it was baking, I made a strawberry and romaine salad with raspberry vinagriette dressing.

I told Brenden I had a taste for quiche after I saw it in a cookbook. Brenden thought I was strange, who has a taste for quiche?!

I thought it was good, although next time I would add more veggies, like tomatoes or green pepper. Brenden thought it would be good with sausage too.

Have you tried any new recipes? I'd love to hear about them! :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Brown's in Cedar Bluff Cemetery in Rockford, IL

Mabel E. Brown nee Peterson (May 13m 1877-April 21, 1921)
Cedar Bluff Cemetery
Rockford, McHenry, Illinois
*picture posted with permission of Alva, photo volunteer

Here's how Mabel is related to my Brown's:

Richard George Brown (my great great great grandfather)
+Frances E (Kizer) Brown (my great great great grandmother)
----Welcome Asle Brown (4th great uncle)
      +Mabel E (Peterson) Brown (13 May 1877-21 April 1921) (4th great aunt)
----Clarence Brown (buried at Queen of Heaven, my great great grandfather)
      +Elizabeth Galligan (buried at Queen of Heaven, my great great grandmother)
--------------Ruth M Brown (buried at Queen of heaven, my great grandma)
                    +Raymond Mason Peterson, Jr (left the family during great depression, and Ruth and son took on maiden name Brown)
------------------------My grandfather
                                    +My grandmother
------------------------------------My dad
                                                     +My mom

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Follow Friday: Following our ancestors' heroes

I'm taking this Friday off from work for a much needed break from work, to attend the New Yankees vs Chicago White Sox baseball game (and to fulfill the 17 requests Ive received through RAOGK)'s the beginning of a birthday celebration weekend (my birthday is Monday). The first 20,000 fans to the game are sopposed to receive a miniature Blackhawk Stanley cup trophy (I hope to be one of them), and all fans treated to fireworks after the game. I am a huge baseball fan, and a die-hard White Sox fan.

Thinking about my upcoming trip to Comiskey Park, aka US Cellular Field reminds me of my childhood. Since I was five years old, I've probably been to one White Sox game a year, more so now that I'm older and can buy tickets. Comiskey Park is one of my favorite places to be. I love the atmosphere, the sounds of the bat hitting the ball, watching someone slide into home, making a diving catch for a fly ball, and the smell of hot dogs on the grill.

My first memory of Comiskey, and probably the number one reason I love baseball so much, was when I was five years old. The White Sox were playing the Red Sox, and Roger Clemens was pitching for the Red Sox. My parents and I were standing a couple rows back from the field on the third base side during batting practice. Roger Clemens walked over to where my parents and I were standing, gave me a ball, and said I was cute. That's enough to make any 5 year old's day. Although he wasn't on the White Sox he became one my baseball favorites and personal heroes.

Now about 22 years later, Roger Clemons is in the news and going to court for charges of lying to the court regarding use of steroids. It saddens me as he was my childhood hero...

Other than Roger Clemons, my two biggest heroes are my parents. I admire and appreciate the way they raised me, the values they instilled upon me, and the way they worked so hard to make sure their children had a better life and mote opportunities than they did growing up. I don't know how how I'll ever to be as good of a parent as they are to me.

I turn the tv channel and hear news about Tiger Woods and his divorce, singers being arrested, movie stars doing drugs, teachers sleeping with their students, and parents abusing their children.

What makes someone a hero? If our hero does something shameful, should we still regard them as our heroes?

It really makes me think about our ancestors, who were their heroes? How have our heroes changed? And our present and future generation: who are your heroes? Who are our children's heroes?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Technology Tuesday: Picasa Desktop

I just recently discovered Picasa's free software download. The program is very easy to download and install, and best of all it is free. The program will search your computer for pictures and add them to the system. You can sort pictures by face, tags, date, and folders.

Here are my two favorite features:

1) Fast upload from software to Picasa web album, so I can share pictures online with friends, order prints of photographs, and easily access photos for use in my scrapbook pages and genealogy work

2) Ability to make collages of your pictures, like the one pictured below:

Brenden and I at Shabbona Lake in Illinois, 2009.

Although, I've only been using the system for a couple hours, I am finding it extemely useful and easy to learn and work with.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 23, 2010

Memories of Mothers on Monday

Digital Scrapbooking: Two pages using the same layout, but different colors.   Edited with Photoshop Elements.

My mom, my two sisters, and me, Fall 1987
Posted by Picasa

Brenden's mom, two sisters, brother, and Brenden, Winter 1983

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: My favorite childhood toy

My favorite toy as a child was my pink stuffed bear, who I affectionately called "Bear Bear"....wasn't I a creative child....

What was your favorite toy as a child?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Inspirational Message to share: Stop, Look, and Listen

I received the following email message this morning from the hospital director at the VA Hospital where I am employed.  Although the director's message is about the way we treat veterans, staff, and family members at our hospial, I believe this message applies to everyone, and wanted to share it with all of you:

"When you were growing up, do you remember adults telling you to “Stop, Look and Listen” before crossing the street? When I was at the Fisher House this week after talking to a veteran and his wife, I thought about that saying as it relates to how we interact with each other. Our lives are centered around multi-tasking...texting while walking, talking on the phone while typing on the computer, having a conversation with your kids while making dinner. It is true that when we multi-task, we aren't really giving anything 100 percent of our attention. So... I thought I would try to "Stop" (doing the other task that I was in the middle of), "Look" (at the person who was talking to me) and "Listen" (really Listen). I truly felt in the moment and engaged and allowed myself to look in the eyes of the person who was talking. I saw more smiles and laughter in people's eyes. I heard words of wisdom, felt more empathy for the pain in their faces, and spent some valuable moments truly engaged with my kids. It really made a difference. I encourage all of you to challenge yourself to soak in the moments with veterans, staff and families. The way we spend our time engaged in the moment is what adds up to how we spent our day. "Stop...look...and listen" -it may be a small thing but the benefits are priceless." -Sharon Helman, Edward Hines VA Hospital Director, email dated 8/20/2010

Have a great weekend and remember to "Stop, Look, and Listen"

My furry family: Before and After Photos, Part 3

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Family Tree Chart: Hubbard L. Ring

Brenden's ancestor, Hubbard L. Ring:

* Research on this family line still in progress.  If you are related, I'd love to hear from you.
* Citations available upon request
* Created with Family Tree Maker 2010 software

Treasure Chest Thursday: My gorgeous grandma abt 1950

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: My family at the wedding of friends, 1959, Capriola and Carriglio

Wedding of Josephine Carriglio and Jerry Capriola (September 30, 1959)

According to back of picture: Back row (left to right): "Ma" Ellman, Nancy Ellman, Florine Schrimpl, Stark Liparota, Mildred "Millie" Vitraelli (my grandma); Front row (left to right): Betty Sliciano and Jo Bakaries (or Bakaires)

According to back of picture: Back row (left to right): Ed Ellman, Jack Schrimpl, Frank Liparota, George Bakaires (or Bakaries), Front Row (left to right): Al Maroncelli and Nunzio "Nick" Vitraelli (my grandpa)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Millie's Quilt: First time sewing, quilting, and applique

Please pardon this interruption in my genealogy posts to bring you a post to document my first experience using a sewing machine, quilting, and appliquing, and as my post for SewCalGirl's  "Pets on Quilts" Show 2010.

Last summer, I made my laborador-hound mix, Millie, a quilt. I wanted to make her a blanket that I could keep in the car for her to sit on during our many car trips.  Here's the end result:

How the quilt was constructed:

I found the perfect fabric at Joann Fabrics.  The fabric is dog themed with dog words, paw prints, and bones.  Then, I picked out a pink fabric to match the dog themed prints.
As I mentioned above, this was the first time I had ever used a sewing machine. I learned how to sew and quilt from the many experienced quilters and sewers who post tutorials and images on their blogs.  Although the quilt is my own design, I used many techniques learned through one of my quiliting inspirations, Cluck Cluck Sew, especially in learning how to make quilt stars.

The center of the quilt features my first attempt at applique...also my own design...I used the freezer paper technique for the applique.....first time quilting and appliquing all in one quilt!!  Images are a dog, a bone, heart, and a paw print.  In the very center is Millie's (and mine) initial , "M".

I finished the quilt top, and added a fluffy bottom and quilted along each square's border (not pictured). When I finished the quilt, I was so proud of it that I only let her sit on it once, because I didn't want the quilt full of hair and doogy drool...

The quilt is now proudly displayed on my couch in the family room, to cuddle up with when it gets cold.

And of course, this quilt was "made with doggy supervision"

Now, I think I owe Millie a quilt she can actually use...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Scrapbooking: Washington, D.C. Vacation/Work trip in 2008

Brenden and I in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC in 2008. I was on work related travel, and he got to come with, so we enjoyed some sightseeing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Furry Family Friday: Millie's Story, Part 2

Millie's story, as told to me by her rescuer,

"Millie [originally Mocha] started out as a free box puppy at Walmart. My stepdad's neice and nephew wanted to get their kids (8 and 14 now, 6 and 12 at the time Millie arrived on the scene) a puppy for Christmas and so she came into the family. Unfortunately, the kids were VERY cruel to her. The oldest use to hold her up by her back legs and swing her around while Millie cried to be put down. I witnessed this many times, and saved her from this abuse as often as I could, but Millie went home with these people and I did not. When Millie would puppy bite the kids (they would rough her up and cause it) they would slap her in the face as hard as they could and laugh at her reaction. The kid's grandmother would tell me not to worry, "they're just being kids and puppies are tough." It broke my heart to see such a sweet dog in such a terrible home."

"As time went on, Millie became just a "thing" and quickly forgotten. She began to bark constantly in the backyard and the neighbor called the police and complained enough. Millie was uprooted from one bad home to another- the grandparent's house. She was running loose for awhile but she had a bad habit of jumping on people to eek out even a little affection from anybody, and she was then tied up on a 6 ft chain to live out her days. Everytime I went to the house I would spend hours with her, and I silently made a promise to her that when I was able, she would leave that chain behind.

This went on for 2 years. Then, I seen Millie was losing alot of her hair, she had such a foul odor to her like pure infection, and her skin was bubbly and sticky. I asked what was wrong with her and was told mange, she was being treated. This went on and on and on for 9 months I'd say. It only got worse and worse. Many times she'd not have any water in the winter.. it was frozen solid in her pan. The linens in her dog house were pure grime- never ever changed. They stunk as bad as she did.

Then, at Christmas, I could no longer take it and I took action on my promise to her. I got together with a friend who offered graciously to foster her and take care of her medical expenses. A friend of mine offered to go with me on "the heist" to steal Millie away from her neglectful situation. We snuck up to the house and the other dogs barked continuously.. we thought we woke up the whole neighborhood. Milie never let out a peep. She knew what we were there for.  I ran behind her dog house and unbuckled her oily, dirty and too tight collar, slipped a lead around her neck and buckled her collar back up, staging it as she slipped her collar during the storm and ran away. We ran like bats outta hell to my car, parked down the road in a church lot and drove away quickly. My heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest with excitement. Millie stayed overnight at my friend's house and kept him up all night, not wanting him to leave her alone.
Her primary caregivers have been men that took care of the bare neccessities for her. She likes women too, but seems to attatch more to men, since she relates them as the food bringers. She may have been played with (probably close to abusive) by the kids of her first family, but she was completely ignored when at their grandparent's house, (and possibly she developed some seperation anxiety when she finally received the attention she craved from my friend). The kids wouldn't even ackowledge her. She would sit at the end of her chain watching for ANYONE to look at her, say her name or walk just a foot closer, any indications that she might be able to get a pet on the heard or a back scratch. Her whole body would wiggle and shimmy when she seen me coming, because she knew I was always going to give her loads of affection, more than she received in the time between my visits."

The story breaks my heart everytime I read it.....I'm so glad I was able to give Millie a happy home on May 30, 2007.

(Pictures from Millie's rescuer, taken in 2007)