Dharma’s Doggie Utopia

When we were asked to write about Dharma and her family for the Shelby Humane Societies Shelter Partners Program, I had no idea how awesome Dharma was going to turn out to be.

First of all, could you really pick a better dog for Whiskey on the Rocks to write about? I mean, look at this picture.

Wow! Dharma has several 4thousand footers under her belt. Whiskey, you got some catching up to do!

But there’s more to this than meets the eye. First of all, the dog is a hiker. Second- her doggy personality seems similar to compliments we’ve gotten on Whiskey’s personality. Third- she is NOT a barker (neither is Whiskey, and this seems rare among most of the dogs I know :). Fourth- it turns out Katie (Dharma’s mom) and I have ooboodles in common in how we treat and love our dogs and as far as I can tell even in our book choices and life choices. Lastly, it has been my life long goal/dream to hike the entire Appalachian Trail (AT), and where does Dharma and her mom get to hike on and around all the stinkin time?? You guessed it! The AT! This my friends, is fate.

I didn’t expect to get a doggy and human friend out of writing about Dharma but I have, and this is a testament to Dharma’s dharmaness. I’m already penning Katie and Dharma in for a hike when I make it to NH lol!!

So…without further ado let’s meet Dharma

The beautiful and peaceful Dharma

She’s been living it up in New Hampshire with the Milewskis for four years now. She was once known as Finesse but was renamed Dharma Grace, which fits her perfectly. Katie said she has never “met a dog so sweet, innocent, gentle or kind.” I’ve looked over a lot of pictures of her and I can say that this gentleness translates easily across the pictures to the viewer. She does look kind. She looks like an old soul. Katie and I talked a little bit in our flurried exchange of emails about the lessons dogs can teach us if we let them. Dharma, I think has a lot of lessons to bestow upon those humans lucky enough to know her.

Dharma has taught patience in her household. She moves gracefully, deliberately and slowly through life. When Katie described Dharma’s presence to me I kept thinking, wow- she’s so zen!  Dharma has an innocence about her that easily leads her humans to imagine Dharma doggily scolding them with “what are you angry for?” “why are you so worked up huh?” and the peace and love she exudes help keep her humans in check. Way to go doggie! I agree with Katie that dogs do cause us to pause and reflect, and with a personality like Dharma’s they help bring out the best in our human natures.

Dharma transitioned easily and sweetly into the role of youngest sibling in her new family.

And all this wonderfulness came about because of a special program right here in Alabama, Shelter Partners, which transports dogs from Shelby Humane Society to New Hampshire. Just think, all over Maine and NH are Alabama dogs running around frolicking in the snow and hiking it up. I looked over the Shelter Partners blog page and was blown away by all the great stories of the dogs and their rescuers. And now I’ve gotten the privilege of highlighting one myself. I’m very honored to do so.

Dharma is a dog after Whiskey’s own heart. They have 5 acres for the dogs to romp and they regularly get to go hike and camp! Dharma lives within easy drives of both the beach and the mountains, oh and the city as well, but who would really want to go there when you have all this wonderful mountainness calling your name to hike in??

Hiking it up in NH. A dog after Whiskey's own heart!

I hope that you will take a moment to go look at the dogs, just like Dharma who await finding their forever home. You can help get them to a part of the country that actually (get this, you better sit down..) NEEDS dogs because they have their pet population under control (spay and neuter your pets!).  So the humans pack up a van load of doggies and they make the about 22 hour trip up North on the path to their new homes.

There they are placed in the shelter and quickly snatched up. When Dharma made this trip 4 years ago  her story had some twists and turns before she ended up safely in the Milewski’s arms. First, they lost their beloved GSD and were looking to fill that hole in their hearts. They saw on the shelter’s website that Dharma was a shepherd mix (no picture) so they packed up to go see her. They arrived to find Dharma was out on a walk so they waited and viewed some other doggies. Dharma wasn’t a shepherd. Katie admits that had they seen the picture they may not have gone to the shelter, but just as everything else in Dharma’s life seemed to be leading her to this moment, the fact that there was no picture ensured they had to meet her face to mug. So they met her in person and fell in love with her laid back, calm personality. They were also shocked to find out she had been returned previously by someone (obviously insane!) because she is the best dog ever. Some things just work out the way they are supposed to. Had she not been returned, and  at that shelter at that particular moment, she wouldn’t be with the Milewskis now would she?

As another testament to her name, she was used for temperament testing with other dogs at the shelter because of her easy to get along with personality and could be put with any dog.  This being said, of course she fit in perfectly with the two other dogs in the Milewski household!

OMD... I love this pic! What a happy dog family with their wee little pumpkins 😀

Katie can also count on one hand the number of times Dharma has barked in the four years they have had her (once at a horse, bear, moose, and a husband outside with a flashlight!) all acceptable barks if you ask me! We often (er…all the time) have people comment about how quiet Whiskey is and about how he never barks. He does, but it’s very, very rare, with the exception of when he and I go hiking/camping alone and we come across strange men in the woods- in that case, I haven’t and cannot complain lol! We don’t know too many dogs who are as quiet as Whiskey, but Dharma takes the cake! Way to go mellow dog! She doesn’t even pull on the leash (Whiskey, take some notes k?)

Dharma actually has a few 4 thousand footers under her belt (Seriously.Impressed.) in the White Mountains (Um.seriously.jealous…). I quickly told Katie this was a dream for me as I aspire to hike the whole Appalachian Trail one day and the Whites are famous in my head because of the AT… ::drool:: Dharma gets to hike several times a week since they are surrounded by woods. Again, serious dog hiking envy y’all!

Katie describes her household as a “doggie utopia” and I have to agree.  Please take a moment to visit the shelter’s current class of 2011, and pick one to sponsor to have their chance at a doggie utopia of their own. Dharma, Katie, Whiskey and I will all thank you.

One last picture because this is too great not to share! I notice Ruger holding one paw forward as if to say "any second now...one...two...."

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7 Responses to Dharma’s Doggie Utopia

  1. EDee says:

    I “love” this. What a dog. What writing. Thank you

  2. Grammy says:

    Dharma is my grandpuppy and I have to say that everything Gina wrote is absolutely true and more. Dharma is one of the most wonderful, loving, friendly, happy, furry kids I know. She is much like our Sammy, a collie shepherd who came from the same shelter, although not from Alabama. Doggie Utopia definitely describes Katie and Mike’s home. It’s probably the closest thing to heaven on earth, and all three of their furry kids deserve it. By the way, I’m not prejudice at all. 😉

  3. Ursula Gall says:

    I am a friend of Dharma’s grandma and was privileged to receive this
    write-up. Huge kudos to Gina for a most heartwarming story. I had
    tears in my eyes as I eagerly kept reading each
    paragraph. And….double kudos to Katie and Micheal for providing
    doggie utopia. Dharma has truly found “heaven on earth.” Her
    gentleness and unconditional love and the love and devotion her
    owners have for her, is palpable each sentence. God bless you all!

    • Gina V says:

      Dharma seems so awesome. I’m glad her friends and family thought I captured her story accurately. I was very hopeful to get it right and convey what a loving dog she is!

      • Grammy says:

        You got it right, Gina. Dharma exudes love, gentleness, grace, sweetness, and many other attributes. I just love it when I sit in the Queen’s chair (an over large chair) at Katie and Mike’s and Dharma climbs in with me. Perhaps Ruger and Brody join us. Talk about Doggie Utopia. I’m in heaven then. Thanks so much for writing about our beautiful grandpup.

      • Gina V says:

        You are so welcome Grammy! I was very honored to get to know Dharma to write her story 🙂

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