About The Foster Zoo

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We have decided to blog our adventures again. So much has changed since we last blogged. Bella and Shiloh both went to their forever homes and they are in wonderful families. June Bug got adopted. We quit fostering dogs after those adoptions because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. We quit doing therapy dog work because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. Tanker passed away June 9th, 2013. We adopted a senior border collie named Shania Tankerbelle in his memory. We still have our two cats, Sweet Pea and Little Bit. Wes has started rescuing pitiful bettas from Wal-Mart and we currently have seven. We have a camper. We camp. We have focused on giving our animals the best lives possible. We are The Foster Zoo Crew and we like to have fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Prince Charming BOWed Me On My 29th Birthday!

Wes is my Prince Charming.  There is no doubt about that.  He always knows how to wow me, or in this case BOW me!  Birthdays and Anniversaries have always been big in our house.  It is our opportunity to knock each other off our feet.  Since we don't have kids, we've always been able to do that.  One year, Wes surprised my mom and I on my birthday by buying us a full spa day at the Coeur d' Alene resort in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.  He woke us up early in the morning, presented us with the nicest plush robes and a certificate he had printed himself.  We were pampered all day there, served lunch in a room that overlooked Coeur d' Alene Lake (surrounded by mountains of course), and then had our hair and makeup done just in time for Wes to pick us up and take us to a nice dinner at a seafood restaurant that overlooked the Spokane River.  The next year Wes was deployed, but that didn't stop him from doing it again.  This time he bought us full spa days at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA.  One year, we rented a cabin on the side of Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho, biked the entire mountain, and went to the outdoor Brad Paisley concert on top of the mountain.  The list goes on with the fun things we do for birthdays and anniversaries.  This year was no different.  A friend of mine told me about the Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane, Virginia.  Not only is it a beautiful area, the winery is DOG FRIENDLY and it's only a short drive from our house!  Barrel Oak Winery is called BOW for short, and very appropriately so!

As expensive as this beautiful place may sound, it was not.  We got a deal online through Capital Deals for a wine tasting, cheese and crackers for two for only $25.  Since moving to Northern Virginia, we have learned to love wine.  I never drank wine before moving here, but learned to appreciate the taste of it and learned quite a bit about it.  How could we not?  Northern Virginia is like wine country on the East Coast and everybody here is a wine-o!  There are wineries galore here.

As we walked into a nice rustic atmosphere, a pleasant gentleman greeted us, but not before first greeting Topher and Tanker.  These people clearly love dogs!  The atmosphere was clearly created by dog lovers.  People don't go to BOW to drink wine.  They go to BOW because they can bring their dogs with them to drink wine.  Could we have gone to a more perfect place for my birthday?  I think not!

Because it was such a beautiful day, we chose to do our wine tasting at the outdoor bar.  We faced the mountains as the cool breeze tickled our skin.  It was nothing short of perfect.

Topher and Tanker waiting patiently for us to get our seat at the bar and start our wine tasting.

We had dog paw beanie bags to hold our sheets down that told us about the wine we were tasting.

We tasted red wines, white wines, rose wines, an interesting wine that was a combination of red and white, and then we had two amazing dessert wines.  Our package came with a $20 credit towards a bottle of wine.  We couldn't just buy one, so we got four!

We purchased the Peanut's Petit Cuvee 2010, BOWHaus White 2009, The Chocolate Lab, and Late Harvest Vidal Blanc.

The BOWHaus White was my favorite.  It is light, fruity, sunshine in a glass!  A blend of Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier grapes.  Riesling reminiscent and their most popular wine.

The Peanut's Petit Cuvee 2010 is an intriguing blend of red and white grapes.  Spritely and fun, just like its namesake.  Meant to be enjoyed chilled.  The server described this wine as a white wine trying to be red, or a red wine trying to be a white wine.  It was an interesting taste, but delicious indeed!

Peanut's Petit Cuvee 2010 is named after one of the owner's rescue dogs.  The back label tells you about the dog and encourages people to adopt.

One of Wes' favorite, the Late Harvest Vidal Blanc is a dessert wine.  A dessert all by itself!  Their first 100% estate grown wine, LHBC is full of tropical aromas, complemented by a honey sweetness.  Great over peaches and plums, or paired with a smooth panna cotta.

Wes' absolute favorite was The Chocolate Lab.  A beautifully crafted and totally unique dessert wine.  Port style Chambourcin infused with cocoa nibs.

The wine bottles had dog prints on the top with the initials BOW or Barrel Oak Winery.  Woof Woof!!

We got to keep our wine tasting glasses.

It was all wrapped up in paw print tissue paper.

And packed up in a BOW bag!

Do you see why we loved this winery so much!  They love dogs!  And they had great wine!  You can't beat dogs and wine!  After we finished our tasting, we moved onto our cheese platter.

Please give me some cheese.  See the drool?  Just half the plate.  That's all.

You can set it down in the grass right in front of me.

You can't get much more romantic than this!  Dog paws on the wine bottle!  I love it!!!!

 Topher was less than thrilled because I used a Halti Gentle Leader on him knowing that there would be other dogs there and that I would be drinking wine.  He did EXCELLENT with all the other dogs.  Not a peep out of him.  He was not a cattle dog, he was a therapy dog!  I think he enjoyed his outing, despite the gentle leader.

Devising a plan to steal the cheese!

Back inside, the atmosphere was dog friendly as well.  BOW was a green facility and they loved their dogs!  I love this place!

Dog jewelry and gifts!

Dog treats!

Topher and Tanker just rested while we enjoyed ourselves.

What is a wine dog??  Is it like a therapy dog for a wine-o?  In that case, Tanker and Topher are the world's smartest wine dogs.

An Australian Cattle Dog in the Wine Dog book.

Another ACD!

A border collie wine dog!

I bought a couple of these books.  How could I resist?  It benefits animal rescue!

Topher was such a good boy.

As we left, I snapped a few more pictures.

Free fresh herbs!

Oh my, the smell of wine is starting to make me sleepy!

Too many wine smells.  I am passed out!

As you can see, we had a great time celebrating my 29th birthday!  Yes, Wes and I are officially NoVa wine-o's!  We will definitely be going back to Barrel Oak Winery in the future.  Hopefully we'll be taking the puppies next time!  In fact, Wes just found a deal for wine tasting at five wineries for two for only $65!  We also found out that Potomac Point Winery, here by our house, is also pet friendly, but only in the outdoor seating.  I love living in dog friendly Northern Virginia!

Please take me next time.  I want to be a wine dog!

We met a lot of nice people while at the winery.  One lady that we talked to is a Nurse Practitioner at a Cardiology Practice.  She also volunteers at a free clinic for the uninsured.  She was really interested in having therapy dogs come into the free clinic to help people who were distressed.  She loved Tanker and Topher!  That is the population of people we focus on in our therapy dog work (homeless/psychiatric/special needs/and less fortunate), so Wes and I were excited when she asked to exchange numbers.  I am going to call her this week about volunteering in the clinic with the dogs.

In case that wasn't enough for celebrating turning 29, Wes took me on Sunday to get the paw print tattoo I have been wanting.  I have the ladybug tattoo on my right wrist in memory of John, my brother.  The purple dog paw tattoo on my left wrist is to symbolize our efforts in carrying out his mission. 

The purple paw tattoo is on the other arm from my ladybug tattoo in memory of John. The purple paw print is not only the symbol of the Animal Rescue Site, which promotes adoption and animal rescue like John did and we continue to do, but it is also symbolic of our purpose in therapy dog work. Dog is a reflection of God. We love others and appreciate diversity. Dogs love regardless of sex, race, creed, social class, disability, cultural background, sexual orientation, what you've done in the past, who you are, where you live, etc. A dog can look into a person's heart and see the true person, just as God does. That is our purpose in therapy dog work. It is what God showed us through John's life on Earth and through his death. That is what we continue to spread to others through dogs.

Wes and I started seeing ladybugs everywhere after John died, including the day after he passed away and the anniversary of his death. We also saw theme when we were working on his boat, ladybugs in San Francisco in December, at my Grandma's house in MO, on my mom's birthday, in my dreams, etc. I also have had a dream and a sighting from John with him telling me about his walk with God.  The ladybug is a reminder of the things my brother told me.

The coolest part about getting my tattoo done was the guy who did it.  He was very nice.  His was an Air Force brat growing up.  His best friend, who he met in Hawaii, had been murdered last week.  He said he had done a lot of memory tattoos this week and he felt that God had touched his life with each one.  He loved hearing about John's story and how we were using his death in our work with the dogs.  He only charged us half price for my tattoo.  Of course, we couldn't accept that, so we tipped him well.  It's amazing the people you meet when you open your heart up to others.  Coincidence??  I think not!

Wes wants to eventually get a matching paw print tattoo on his right arm, but he wants to include the American Flag with it because that was something special between him and John.  This is Wes' ladybug tattoo that matches mine and that he got with me on the anniversary of John's death.

John showed Ford Mustangs when he was alive.  The first one he showed was a 1986 Mustang that he and my dad rebuilt starting when John was 14.  He then rebuilt an '89 Mustang that he showed.  The Mustang he showed when he passed away was a 1993 Ford Cobra.  Wes loved working with John on his Mustang.  The Mustang emblem is symbolic of John when he was alive, and the ladybug on it is symbolic of John's spirit after death.

My 29th birthday was the best birthday yet...spent with my Prince Charming and my two little Prince Charmings (Topher and Tanker).  It will be better when I can include the two wild women (Bella and Shiloh), but as of now, they are too wild to go to any place with alcohol.  At five months of age, they would do better in a cowboy bar, not in a sophisticated winery.  Joking, of course.  Barrel Oak Winery would be a great place to take the puppies to expose them to sights, sounds, and smells.  I think I have them obedience trained enough to take them there soon.

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