624 Belle Springs Road

Athens, GA 30607-2706




Happy New Year,

Here are some highlights of the Shire for the past year.

We have continued our fostering and rescuing activities. In June we took Miss B as a foster from the Southeast Pug Rescue and Adoption (SEPRA) group. After adding up that Miss B is 12-14 years old, deaf and one-eyed, toothless, and suffering from heartworms and arthritis, we decided that she should stop roaming and stay put with us, joining the rest of the geriatric household.

In August we had to let go of Baby George, the blind old, sweetest-ever, black-and-silver male schnauzer. We miss him every day.

Later in the fall we fostered Tootsie, a shih tsu and lhasa apso mix, until we learned she was pregnant with six puppies.

The Humane Society of Jackson County, our second foster group, then moved her to a household with experience in whelping where she delivered her puppies a week later. Anyone interested? They are super cute.

We ended with Knickers (now named Lily}, a young black-and-silver female schnauzer we snatched from animal control and were able to place in a forever home, thanks to Monica Kucher, the best vet in our town.

After many years of accidents with his left eye, Gus had to have it removed the 1st of November. So now we have two one-eyed pugs.

Our old black male schnauzer, Bilbo Baggins, celebrated the holidays having his gall bladder and spleen removed.

We and his two salt-and-pepper schnauzer sisters, Jolly and Chuck, are anxiously watching him heal.

We are still working at the University of Georgia, participating in furloughs with other state employees, but thankful for our blessings in these difficult times.

We were snowed in and without power the first weekend in March. We roamed our neighborhood, grateful for the spare firewood people shared with us. Later in the spring we finally got the last of the tree debris removed from the yard. Recently we have been mapping and inventorying the 3 acres to plan new landscaping. We have lots of oaks, elms, poplars, and sycamores so are thinking about evergreens and a few hardwoods we don’t have.

In June, Jude spend a weekend in St. Louis with her older brother Frankie “Pete” and 9 of their 14 cousins, to share remembrances and information about their grandmother, Joann Thompson, who died in 1977, but now has her own Facebook page.

Then we hosted a house party at the end of the month and over July 4th for Pete and his wife Donna and some of Pete’s children and grandchildren: Frankie and Shawn with their children Joshua, Olivia, and Isabella, and Emily and Melodee with Mel’s friend Craig. They stayed through our annual Fourth of July bash for our Athens’s friends.

Jude’s cousin Linda Rolufs and her dog Cricket joined us for the holidays. We and some Athens’s friends tried out Linda’s new Wii Sports game. The next day people had plenty of aches and pains from Wii bowling, boxing, golfing, and tennis.

So that is the year in review, excluding some of the good movies we saw (District 9, Star Trek, Up, The Hangover, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Proposal, The Blind Side, Julie and Julia, Sherlock Holmes) and Jude’s business trips (San Diego, Urbana, IL, and Vancouver). Our very best to you and yours.

Jude & Mark