postheadericon A Tribute to Snoop

I came home from judging two full days last night and as usual was greeted by the mob.  My Snoop seemed subdued but he has had some kind infection in his sinus tract and I pinned it on that and the fact that I had just found a growth in his right nostril.  He was also having trouble getting up and moving. He was on meds and had seemed to be responding, but last night after I went to bed exhausted after two days of judging dog shows on concrete with my still recuperating rebuilt foot, I was awakened by his pacing and panting, pacing and panting—sure signs of pain.  His abdomen was rock hard and he cried when I touched it.  So at three a.m. I took him to my vet who came in did an x-ray which showed no suspected bloat and did blood work.  His pain was so bad we knocked him out. It he had a mass on his liver and a gall bladder problem. My vet, my hero always, Dr. Mark Harris of Annehurst Vet Clinic in Westerville, kept him to keep him sedated and out of pain.  He seemed to respond and so I picked him up late afternoon knowing the writing was on the wall, but was hoping for more time with him; as soon as I got him home he told me that he was still really in pain and ready to go. So I called Annehurst and my friend and vet tech came up and we put him to sleep while in my arms.  He knew and I knew that it was time and he knew and I knew that we loved each other.  He was loyal, devoted and always with me.  I am grateful to God that he became really ill at three o’clock this morning and was gone at seven this evening—no lingering and suffering.  He is buried in our grove of trees in the front and I will plant a dogwood tree on his grave.  What I will do without him is beyond me.  Like my Wendy whom I lost last July, his presence is all over this house. I see him beside the bed, in his favorite chair, everywhere.


Snoop was a character in every way.  He could take a Tupperware container off the counter by his teeth by the edge of the bowl, place it gently on the floor, get the top off, and dine.  He could get into the garbage even with child locks on the cabinets.  The day I found Wendy and him with the Thanksgiving turkey on the kitchen floor each pulling on a wing, I chased him out of the kitchen with a frying pan and only his quickness saved his ass. Then there was the day he took my thick, juicy T bone.  Only the thought of my having to go to confession for murder saved his ass again.  The amazing thing is he always knew when he did things to make me crazy as I would not have to say a word, just watch him slinking before I found his latest misdeed like pulling all the paper out of waste baskets. He knew what he was doing and knew he could get away with it.

He came into our life a rescue.  He was a year and a half old and was to stay only a couple of days until I could place him.  Twelve or thirteen years or more later, he was still with me.  I just wish he was mine for longer but he is waiting for me standing by Al, Wendy and all the others at the Rainbow Bridge waiting, just waiting . . .

snoop collage1


postheadericon This and That and Revisiting

I have not been blogging since my life has gotten a bit out of hand.  Since last June I have had seven hospitalizations including three surgeries: back; foot reconstruction (I am now the bionic woman with knees, neck, and foot—all metal); and colon surgery for diverticulitis. I am behind in everything and have not had a lot of motivation or energy.   Today is the third anniversary of my Al’s death; he would have been eighty four.  Time just goes so quickly.  It seems like yesterday we were in the hospital.  I feel so lost without him so much of the time.  He was a good guy. 

I am getting quite a few emails from Cavalier families losing their beloved pets.  I lost my Wendy a year ago this month and miss her terribly.  The loss of a pet is not the loss of a husband or loved one, but still it is a wrenching loss as the pet is often by one’s side physically and I for one miss that continual comfort that was my Wendy.  My others comfort me as they lay on or by me; but no one can replace another.  So because I have gotten so many emails, some from Rattlebridge families with old dogs and some not, I am repeating the sections on grief.

Please click here to read the Grief sections.

postheadericon What a widow of a Navy Seal had to say..

I hope every Christian who is offended will forward this and keep it going. On the "Today Show", Matt Lauer interviewed one of the wives of the Navy Seals killed along with the U S ambassador in Libya.
He asked, "What she would say to her children about their dad and how she would want them to remember him." Her answer, and I quote, "His love for Christ", and then continued on with a few other things. Throughout the day and on MSN homepage, replaying the story, they have edited the "Love of Christ" part out.

Why? Because using the word Christ might offend someone! Well, I am a Christian and I am offended! I’m offended that they would edit it out.
Offended that we as Christians are asked to tread lightly so as not to offend someone of another religion. I think anyone who missed the original broadcast that morning should know what NBC has done. THIS IS PROOF OF HOW BIASED NBC IS.”

This man loved his country and loved his God and gave his life for both,

just as Christ gave His life for him. Please feel free to copy this and forward it to everyone on your email list.. There are e-mails that go around saying, "If you believe in God" then forward this. Well, I am starting one right here, right now.

I am not ashamed of God, but I am becoming more ashamed of my country.

It is time to take a stand. GOD Bless America! God Bless us one and all…

Please GOD, have mercy on us!

postheadericon The Paschal Mystery Begins

Last Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday-the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph and the beginning of His Passion and Death. As we approach Easter, I wish you all that this week will bring you the graces to enter into our  salvation story with a searching hearts, time for reflection, and gratitude to our Savior, Jesus Christ. There are many opportunities to worship during this week and on Easter Sunday—the most important Christian day of the liturgical year.


postheadericon OUR COUNTRY DOES NOT TAKE CARE OF ITS OWN—Two hundred and fifty million given to Egypt!!!

Two hundred and fifty million dollars to Egypt!!  Criminal!

Medicaid and social services are being cut: pre kindergarten will suffer, the elderly will suffer, the poorest of our citizens will suffer,  our educational systems will continue to fail our children and there doesn’t seem to be a damn thing we can do about it while our “beloved” government gives $250,000,000 to Egypt.  We are still giving loads of money to Iraq and every other country with its hand out.  BUT WE DO NOT TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN.  Unless we, the too silent majority, rise up and says “the line from the movie Network “I’m mad as hell and won’t take it anymore” we will continue to get the same.  The answer is to vote the corrupt, greedy, immoral, and often criminal politicians out. The answer is not to be persuaded by biased and slanted media coverage giving us skewed wrong information instead of the truth.  We should be given the facts straight without reporters editorializing while they report.  Report the news accurately and without bias, then give opinions. Republican or Democrat, our politicians are busy making the best deals for themselves with no regard to those who most stupidly hired them into office.  Let us stop making deals to give our money away to foreign dictators, countries, government and help our citizens right here at home.  Pray for our government to make moral, wise, right decisions to benefit US. Pray for our country.  Meredith

postheadericon Health and Health Care: Musings

Health and Health Care:  My blogging has slowed way down for a variety of reasons: 2012 was a rough year for me health wise due to back surgery, the arrival of a heart condition now under control, and a major bout of diverticulitis.  Last spring I was put in the position of a needing to offer a place to stay to a young man from the dog show world who had nowhere else to go. So he came into my home to help with the yard work and the dogs. He was good with the dogs and not so good working in other areas, but I grew to love him and wanted so to help him, but unbeknownst to me he was an addict and the ten months of trying to “save” him created so much stress that my heart decided to begin to throw out major extra premature ventricle contractions. I finally had to put my young friend out and as no one else would take him in, he landed in a homeless shelter and then jail. He was born heroin addicted and has major organic reasoning problems though very bright.  I have done all that I could to work the system to get him help and he is finally getting the help he needs in a major rehab center if only he will put forth the effort to get his act together. The sad thing is that those with mental illness leave jail or rehabilitation facilities with nowhere to go for continued help.  Years ago, our state mental hospitals were closed and those patients who were mentally were released with no plan for their future.  As am officer of the court told me this summer when I was trying to get my young friend psychologically y tested while he was in jail: there is really nothing out there for the mentally ill.  When the I realized and realize that he can never come back to live in my home because all my efforts to help him really only enabled him, but do so much want him to have salvation here in this world and more than that, salvation in the next world that I thought I could reach him.  

I have learned so much about addiction.  I did a lot of reading about addiction that helped me so much in the months of living a nightmare of trying to get him to meetings, getting him tested, getting him in to rehab which did not help him at that point, and trying to help him center himself on God. The most helpful book I have read on addiction is A Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff; this book is harrowing in its depiction of a lovely young man’s sinking into meth addiction.  My young friend’s problems were pain pills and alcohol and while meth is much more damaging in so many ways, no addiction is without pain. 

My heart itself is great, but its electrical system sucks causing a pacemaker to be inserted in April of 2011 because my pulse was lurking in the fifties. That coupled with the PVC problem that showed this July really took a toll after my back surgery in June and then two bouts of diverticulitis, one of them putting me in the ER in Seattle after I judged there in September and the other putting the hospital for five days before Christmas.  I was always an advocate for my late husband in the health care system; I knew that I had to be no less an advocate for myself.  It is sometimes too easy for the health care system to dismiss health complaints so I find myself always geared for battle when I have a health problem; most often my attitude is not necessary but sometimes one has to go on the offensive to ensure that one is taken seriously.  I am so grateful that I have excellent health care thanks to a life time working in Ohio’s public education, but I am seeing more and more that far too many others are not as fortunate. 

I judged in China in December, more about that later in its own category, and hobbled back with my left foot three times its size.  Cortisone shots no longer helped my poor arthritic foot so I had fusion surgery on February 13 and will not be able to put any weight on my foot for eight weeks—a looong, looong time.  I am in a skilled nursing facility so I can get the physical therapy I need to walk well again.  After the foot surgery, I immediately went into my first skilled nursing facility which was not very good despite the show and dance I got when looking at it as a possibility.  Not very good at all as I cannot say a good word about it! The day after I entered I got another bout of diverticulitis; I asked for a squad and was taken to the hospital where I spent five days post op for my foot and on antibiotic drips for my gut.  In the short time that I was there, I was really worried in the first skilled nursing facility, really worried and a bit afraid of the conditions.  I am now in a wonderful facility, close to home, really well staffed with caring professionals unlike the previous facility.  Why am I going into all this?  Because my eyes are really open to how well my health care plan provides and how fortunate I am and how unfortunate so many others are especially older people with very limited resources on Medicare and without family to act as advocates for them as I can act for myself and as I acted for my husband.  I was a bit fearful in the first facility where I was admitted because I felt no warmth or caring from the staff.  I asked an aide for a cup of cocoa and was refused not because I was not allowed to have it, but because he did not wish to get it for me.  There were real staff language barriers which I could overcome because I can communicate usually, but what of others who cannot communicate and express their needs or even have their needs noted.  Nothing must be scarier to an older person than to feel alone without resources, kindness, and without family to advocate for their needs.  Now with all the federal cuts being discussed, the cuts will hit the poor, the elderly, and children.  What a crock that our country does not take care of those who need care the most.  That first nursing facility opened my eyes personally.  The facility where I will be residing for the next few weeks is Country View Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center north of Sunbury, Ohio, and it is a caring, well-staffed, professional, and very pleasant place to be.  I am so happy to see the level of care that the longtime residents enjoy; believe me there are too many rest homes where the residents are just stockpiled without their humanity really appreciated or considered.




First a personal photo memoir followed by the listing and a partial description of a few books to help one through the grief process.  It is never easy to lose a beloved;  I still see all the faces of mine and know they are waiting for me with all my beloved family and friends who have gone before me.

My Wendy—My Heart


A Few of Our Beloveds Never to Be Forgotten

Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge



My Al with His Favorites from Our  First Bonnie in the Hotel Bed in England in 1989 to His Last Favorite Pistol in Bed Before My Beloved Al Passed


We all endure the pain of loss and grief whether the loss be of family, friends or beloved pets, in this case, dogs. Our beloved Dogs.  I still mourn my childhood pets: dogs, horses, cats, and a couple of wonderful ducks; most of all I mourn my dogs.  When people to me wanting another dog, but not knowing if they can go through the pain of loss again, I always tell them:  “One must endure the pain of losing beloved dogs in order to have the joy of having them.”  It is never easy.  The loss of my Wendy last summer was certainly not as difficult as losing my Al two summers ago, but it hurt as she was my constant companion for almost fifteen years as I expressed in a previous blog post. 

I would like to devote some time to exploring some of the books on grief that have been written about the total sadness overcoming and sometimes consuming one  at the loss of a pet.

I was asked to judge the Dog Writers Of America’s annual book review last year.  My first choice and the book that won first place for the best human/animal bond book was the following:


a 30 day guide to healing from the loss of your pet by Gael J. Ross, LCSW, is a powerful journal on the loss of a beloved.  I found this book even helpful when I lost Al.  Journaling is always a way to deal with grief and other emotions as a part of the healing process.  Using a guide to journal entries, memories, photos and more, this book chronicles the life and loss of a beloved dog.  I usually have a few copies on hand to give to those who come to me after losing a dog.  Amazon carries this book and it is well worth the purchase and the journey.

The books featured in this post on grief are all available on Amazon and are all helpful in dealing with the heartache of loss. 


By the way, grief does go both ways.


postheadericon My Beloved Wendy Is Gone

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved “Wendy” who almost made it to 15. Ch. Rattlebridge Dutch Treat ROM—the first wholecolor ROM. Her heart was great but old age indignities got to the point when she needed to rest.  She rallied so often as she truly did not want to leave me to fend for myself as she was always with me to supervise. I was her total slave and she made sure that I knew it. What can I say? She was my total heart and I cannot believe her diva bark isn’t ringing in my ears or that her ears are not in my face and her head on my neck.  Over the years her ears caught so many of my tears. I had to let her go one week before the second anniversary of Al’s death. Now she can order Al around and the other Rattlebridges at the rainbow bridge.  I always say that if you cannot face the agony of losing them, you never have the joy of having them. She was my joy, my heart, and my salvation after Al died. Rest in peace my Wendy. Meredith



new wendy collage1

postheadericon Memorial Day Thoughts

In some cultures and countries, history is as current as if events happened yesterday. The Irish can recount every detail of every battle of the history of their country. Memories are long indeed and the same battles fought and dissected in all the local pubs. In our own local Appalachian culture, clan warfare is still hotly remembered just as in the saga of the Hatfields and McCoys. However, as a country, our memories seem very short indeed when it comes to remembering our own history as a nation and all the men and women who fought and sacrificed to keep our Flag waving. Patriotism needs a real shot in the arm in our land and maybe the following will hit its target. Memorial Day is for remembering, honoring, respecting, and emulating our heroes not only those who have won Congressional Medals of Honor like our hero below or shed blood and died to keep us free, but all those unsung heroes who have made and are still making a difference in keeping America the greatest country in the world.

Happy Memorial Day, Meredith.

VanT. Barfoot died at the age of 92 on 2 March 2012.

Remember the guy who wouldn’t take the flag down? You might remember a news story several months ago about a crotchety old man who defied his homeowners association and refused to take down the flagpole on his property and the large flag that flew on it. Now you can find out who, exactly, that old man was. On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg — probably didn’t make much news back then. Twenty-five years later, on May 23, 1944, near Carano, Italy, Van T. Barfoot, who had enlisted in the US Army in 1940, set out to flank German machine gun positions from which fire was coming down on his fellow soldiers. He advanced through a minefield, took out three enemy machine gun positions and returned with 17 prisoners of war.


If that wasn’t enough for a day’s work, he later took on and destroyed three German tanks sent to retake the machine gun positions.
That probably didn’t make much news either, given the scope of the war, but it did earn Van T. Barfoot, who retired as a Colonel after also serving in  Korea and Vietnam, a Congressional Medal of Honor.


What did make news… was a neighborhood association’s quibble with how the 90-year-old veteran chose to fly the American flag outside his suburban Virginia home. Seems the rules said a flag could be flown on a house-mounted bracket, but, for decorum, items such as Barfoot’s 21-foot flagpole were unsuitable. 


He had been denied a permit for the pole, erected it anyway and was facing court action if he didn’t take it down. 


Since the story made national TV, the neighborhood association has rethought its position and agreed


to indulge this old hero who dwells among them. “In the time I have left I plan to continue to fly the American flag without interference,” Barfoot told The Associated Press. As well he should. And if any of his neighbors still takes a notion to contest him, they might want to read his Medal of Honor citation. It indicates he’s not real good at backing down.

Van T. Barfoot’s Medal of Honor citation:

This 1944 Medal of Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor Society, is for Second Lieutenant Van T. Barfoot.



I hope I am not infringing on a copyright to the picture and message; it is so timely. I could not help myself by putting this on my blog. I did not know its author and apologize if I infringed on a copyright.

I feel our rights our being taken away by our President’s executive orders which bypass Congress.

This presidential election is probably the most critical we have ever had.  I feel that we must change the direction our country is going.  I am most concerned by Obama care dictates which attack our rights especially its assault on our  religious beliefs.  Because of its length and up to the minute amendments as Congress voted and could not or did not read the entire package, Obama care passed without a thorough and in depth review of its contents.  I know the Republican candidates seem week at this point, but we we have no choice; we must work hard to defeat the current administration and its stealthy executive orders.


Meredith Johnson-Snyder


So I said to him, “Barack, I know Abe Lincoln,
and you ain’t no Abe Lincoln.”


You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

~ Abraham Lincoln ~