Dog Days of Summer

By Annie Willow
Photos by FleaBit Photography
There I was, sitting on the deck of my historical Galveston home enjoying the Autumn sunset as shadows of purple cast upon my garden and thrilled me. Butterflies fluttered and drank in the final drops of glistening nectar resting upon the petals of fall flowers. Sandi Jack, my companion dog of many years was at my feet, soaking up the last shining rays of light of another beautiful day on the island we’ve called home together for many years. All was well and peace surrounded us both like a blanket warming our old souls.
Yip! Yip! We looked up and saw the most adorable little bundle of joy prancing up the sidewalk. Into the yard she wandered sniffed, looked up and, in her puppy way, smiled as she danced onto the porch. A filthy, dirty mutt filled with love jumped into my lap and said “I love you. Will you be my Mama? Please? Please nicely?” I looked at Sandi for approval and she released a wise smile only known to that of an old salty dog and our journey with Miss Sapphire the amazing Chihuahua-Jack Russell begins. A breath of fresh air and our spirit is set free to soar across Galveston once again.
She’s a tiny handful of a puppy with ears that would make her fly should a big wind cross her path; so sweet and loving, there was no choice but to welcome her into our family. A warm, soapy bath revealed fleas, nasty sores, raw paws and zero social conditioning that would make the average person put her back to the curb. But I think, “no way.” This little girl had a lot of love to give and was in great need of a caring home. Sandi and I agreed, we were the ‘Paws for the Cause’.
My first response was that a child was missing this precious pup and I contacted the Galveston Humane Society (a shelter that believes all animals deserve a chance at life) and registered her as a lost dog. Then we fostered her for 30 days to make sure her owner didn’t come forward to claim her. In the meantime, I felt compelled to give this tiny creature every chance to live the life of her dreams. The Humane Society provides complimentary spaying and neutering, shots, worming and a microchip for every dog that is blessed to be a part of their program. I knew in my heart that Sapphire was on the road to a healthy life.
Knowing that essential oils can help many problems, I mixed a special blend of jojoba oil, lavender and tea tree oil to soothe and aid in the healing of her various skin conditions. This helped quite a bit but there was definitely an underlying problem.Sapphire had a horrible skin condition with sores, scabs and an obsession with biting at herself. In addition, having been on her own for so long, she would eat anything and everything that crossed her path.
Peggy Morris of Holistic Pet Nutrition believes that nutrition is the foundation to any creature living a happy, pretty life. She recommended an organic grain-free food as there are animal bi-products and fillers such as corn and wheat in commercial dog foods that result in many skin allergies and digestive problems in pets. After two weeks of natural food products, Sapphire’s incessant scratching and biting stopped and her glossy coat was restored. Morris will deliver your pet’s food and also sells products at Oasis Juice Bar.
Having been on the street for an unknown period of time, Sapphire had acquired many behavioral problems that were a challenge to deal with. I spent many patient hours walking her, exercising her and giving her unconditional love. Still, she thought the carpet was her personal ‘poop deck’ and that every human she encountered was there to listen to her non-stop yapping.
As the temperatures rose on the island, I discovered she also had an insane fear of the air conditioner. The calming lavender spray was working, but it wasn’t enough. Like any new mama, my mind was frustrated and my spirit was beginning to crack at the pressure of an uncontrollable young creature in my care.
I never considered Sapphire’s difficulties as problems; merely an opportunity to look for an alternative solution to live naturally. I made an appointment with Animal Crackers, a holistic animal clinic specializing in animal chiropractic care and consulted with Dr. Casey Brechtel.
With over 20 years of experience and certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, I felt confident Sapphire was in good hands. Dr. Brechtel explained that Sapphire had a subluxation (misalignment of the spine) and that it was affecting her nervous system leaving her over stimulated and anxious. Sapphire enjoyed the minor adjustments Dr. Casey did to realign her spine and within 24 hours she was a calmer, more relaxed little girl. Animal Crackers is a novel holistic approach to pet care. In addition to chiropractic care, they also offer a full range of veterinary nutritional products, supplements and essential oils in their Herbal Quest store.

If you love your pets as much as I do and want to remember the moments of joy you share together, FleaBit Photography is the answer. Sebastien’s passion is in capturing the shot that shows the pure essence of your pet. He will come to your home, the beach or park. Our photo shoot at sunset was a blast ( Happy and healthy, we are ready to greet the world on all fours with our heads held high and our tails wagging strong. Galveston is a dog-friendly island that also welcomes humans of any breed. Precious pooches: please make sure to have a leash on your owners when you explore the island for their safety — besides its the law.
Little Sapphire, also known as Miss Chi, as in ‘mischievous,’ is a success story of an abandoned, sick puppy with many uncontrollable behaviors. So proud of all the amazing changes and personal growth that we have accomplished, I felt compelled to share our success story with the world. The little scraggly dog that was once tossed aside because she was filled with an abundance of challenges has let go of her past and set her inner puppy free.
If you open your heart, love unconditionally and seek natural alternatives, you will change both of your lives forever. Sapphire Chi has been transformed into a beautiful, healthy creature. She is now a happy, pretty pup enjoying the island life naturally. They call this the dog days of summer and I say, “ Oh, what a life!”

If you have questions about living naturally, visit Annie at:, call 409.765.5502 or e-mail

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