Happiness alights

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The garden is aflutter with butterflies. The Monarchs…the White Cabbage…and Fiery Skipper…

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and the Gulf fritillary or passion butterfly.

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Usually these Gulf Frits can be found gorging on the Lantana and verbena…

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but this weekend, it’s all about the passion-flower.

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This is where they will lay their eggs – because their larva feeds exclusively on the passion-flower vine that covers our arbor.

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Before long, there will be spiny caterpillars covering the arbor…the beginning of the transformation from larva to winged beauty.

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But more than butterfly transformations are underway here.

Abigale was picked up as a stray on the 4th of July. No one ever claimed her from the shelter, which may have been just as well. Overweight, covered in mats with a brewing infection on her underside, she was likely a neglected outdoor dog.

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So frightened was she by her ordeal, we couldn’t even go near her to put on a collar. For her first week, she stayed outside in a covered yard refusing to allow anyone near her.

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Gradually, our volunteers made their way to her side, and gradually, she came to trust them. Which is how we learned that she loved balls, and water, and kids, and other dogs. This weekend, Abigale found her way to her forever home…a family that could always be counted on to come looking for her if she ever got lost.

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But the most dramatic transformation was in the fortunes of Caitlyn.

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Her cauliflower ear and these words in her file: “removed from her home for her own safety” – say it all. She was checked out of the shelter as a boy. But a thorough exam and bath later, we discovered their error. Thus the name Caitlyn.

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This malnourished, teddy-bear-faced GIRL had obviously been through a lot. Amazingly, her disposition remained forgiving and loving.

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She went home this week as a foster with one of our long-time volunteers.

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By all accounts, things are going wonderfully and we are crossing our paws that she will be reclassified soon as a “foster-failure.”

Neither Abigale nor Caitlyn probably ever knew that their new-found happiness was possible.

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“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

What a joy for us to be a tiny part of it.

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“Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine.” ~ Jeffrey Glassberg

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Happy sunshine, Abigale and Caitlyn.

Thanks to photographer, Rob Kessel for lending some photos of Abigale and Caitlyn.