Nine things not to say to Dog Rescue volunteers

This is a great article.

Exquisite Corpse

In October 2013, we made a decision as a family to give dog fostering a go. I’ll admit that I was somewhat selfish in my reasons for wanting to foster dogs; we had been thinking about getting a companion for our Staffordshire bull terrier, Hermes, but the cost of keeping another dog plus the potential negative consequences if he failed to bond well with a friend of our choosing were holding us back. The rescue group we work with covers most of the costs (food, equipment and vet bills), and if our dog and the foster clash badly (it hasn’t happened yet, touch wood), we can always move the foster dog to another, more suitable carer. So as well as making a positive community contribution, fostering seemed like a good way to dip our toe in the waters of being a two dog household.

Gunner and ScooterSixteen months and seventeen puppies and…

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My perfect weekend

I saw a Robin today, which can only mean one thing: The traditional human springtime rituals are about to commence. This includes cleaning house, openeing windows and my favorite of all,  preparing the garden. Mom has been pouring through seed catalogs for weeks. All of these activities insure she’ll be spending plenty of quality time with me. We had a wonderful weekend planned.

Unbeknownst to me, our plans were slowly unraveling as there was an army of terriers coming our way. The first intrusion on my blissful weekend: My Auntie L’s foster dog Sammy.

Her request for a sitter, strategically highlighting the word “housebroken,” sent Mom running for the phone. “I’ll take him” she volunteered, breathless from the sprint.

Sammy the Terrier arrives at 6 pm. A cute mild mannered gentleman, he tips his head in my direction and says “Hello.”                                                                         I stand before him and bow, indicating: you are interesting to me and I’d like to know more about you. I study him closely: He has the even keeled personality of a dog that’s known love; I can smell it. He walks nicely on a leash, never jumps up, and sleeps quietly in a crate. Mom thinks he just might be the best-behaved dog she has ever met

Figuring he’ll be no trouble at all, I decide to spend the weekend finding out all there is to know about this mysterious little fellow. This turns out to quite a challange because, an hour later, Razzle and Blue come charging through the door.

Enter “Quiet Weekend Disruption” number 2: my crazy Yorkies cousins.

With a fierce determination they bounce into the air, furiously hurling their little bodies at Tommy and Mom with typical terrier enthusiasm (similar to a cyclone but with less collateral damage). There is no power on earth strong enough stop this phenomenon I call “relentless bombardment.” You just have sit back and let the frenzy runs its course.

Once the bouncing abates the licking begins-Razzle and Blue happen to have a serious licking obsession. On any given day, they give Moms face about 20000 licks apiece. While it may seem cute at first, by lick number 417 she is usually pushing them away begging them to stop, to no avail. In their defense, it’s hard to take someone seriously when they are giggling their fool head off.

But the laughing comes to a screeching halt when both dogs take a flying leap and land smack dab in the middle of the kitchen table.

This is a serious infraction Dear Readers, even at our house. On the International Scale of Bad Doggie Behavior, jumping onto the table weighs in at a 10. I have never even attempted such a thing. Tommy, bellows an earth shattering, “HEY,” and they tumble down, unfazed.

Sammy and I glance at each other and sigh.                                                                       “Kids,” I remark nonchalantly. What can ya do?” Sammie agrees.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Razzle, once she calms down. Blue is another story. Becasue of his uncanny resemllence to a teddy bear, everyone thinks he’s just adorable. “Isn’t he the cutest thing ever” they exclaim while tossing him into the air, “It’s like he doesn’t have a bone in his body, look at him flop around!”                                                                                                                                            I didn’t know the boneless teddy bear look was in such high demand. While he may be appealing to humans, I find his cuteness unnecessarily directs attention to him that rightly belongs to me. He also happens to have an utter disregard for one’s personal space. He lays right next to me when I’m trying to relax, which is often, and is not satisfied unless his adorable snout is exactly one millimeter away from my face.

With 4 dogs in the house and only a few rugs remaining, Mom worries a lot about accidents. This is understandable, for while Sammie and I have normal bathroom habits (1 poop and 3 good pees a day), Razzle and Blue like to ration out their bodily functions. Each time we go outside, they squeeze out a peanut sized turd and exactly 2 drops of pee, resulting in a sharp increase in our daily potty breaks.

So that first morning, Mom gets us up at 5am. In my opinion, this hour is suitable for neither man nor beast and apparently Mom agrees because after a short jaunt through the backyard, she lays down on the couch (so not to wake Tommy).  All 4 of us pile on top, even Sammy who gently takes his place at her feet. “What a treat!” we all whisper as we snuggle in.

She wakes up at 7 to find Blue asleep on her head. His floppy body draped over her neck like a furry boneless scarf and his snout exactly 1 millimeter from her face.

That evening, after all us dogs found a spot to settle and Mom is in the middle of a fascinating discussion with Tommy:

“ I could totally win an ice cream sandwich eating contest,” she proclaims with conviction. “Uh huh.” he feigns interest, eyes glued to the TV.

I hear a small noise outside that seems moderately worthy of bringing to everyone’s attention. With out even lifting my head, I half-heartedly mumble “woof.”

Instantly, the other three perk up and in succession let out a percussive series of barks. Then, for no reason at all, I give a second, more animated  “woof” and again they answer: “bark, bark, bark.”

“Whoa, that was cool” I say to no one in particular.

I try it about 7 more times, with similar results, until an irritated Mom shushes us.

Whenever Mom leaves the room, I tumble after her and follow along. This is nothing new; I have been doing it all my life. But tonight-the other 3 follow suit like lemmings. We are a tiny herd of elephants thundering behind her, nails clicking on the hardwood floor. Tommy says we look more like a herd of rodents. Either way, I find it exhilarating and take the lead.

That’s when it dawns on me; I am part of a pack for the first time in my life. A real live dog pack! And, much to my surprise and delight, some latent instinct has produced a pecking order and placed me on top. I am the pack leader, the head honcho, the top dog, the captain of the ship (you get the idea).

Below is a picture of my pack charging for the back door. I’m the handsome one at the top left.  If you don’t look too closely, we might be mistaken for wolves.


I spend the next day exercising my God given rights as the pack leader. I sit on the best bed, drink from the water bowl first and generally boss everyone around.

On our last day together, Mom sings while she gets our dinner ready.  The tune sends Razzle and Blue into an instant tizzy, jumping into the air, trying to plant mid air kisses on her face.

I roll my eyes toward Sammy,” kids” I complain.

But he doesn’t’ respond and I look over to see he is crying.

Sammie is remembering singing.

This is the story Sammy told me (as best I as I can remember):

Someone once sang to Sammy, it was a Man that he adored. Because the Man had gray hair he didn’t have to leave the house to go to work anymore and they were together all day and night. They ate together; walked together and slept together. It was a glorious life.  Since all they had was each other it broke Sammie’s heart to watch by helplessly as the Man’s health started failing. A devoted Sammy sat by his Man’s side for months gently resting beside his aching body until one day, no longer able to care for himself; he had to be taken away. He still remembers that day and how he wondered why he couldn’t go too. He tried to cry out, but as it is our curse, they couldn’t hear him. His Man sang to him, tears in his eyes, as they wheeled him out the door.

Sammy was taken to the shelter that same day, his heart broken.

This memory gets Sammy to thinking that no one will ever sing to him again and that maybe he could stay here, if we didn’t mind

I lick his face and assure him.

“Auntie L saved you from that shelter for the sole purpose of finding you a new family.  This is her specialty, you know. She certainly won’t pick any old family that comes along, she’ll wait for the perfect match. This, I solemnly swear.” I say it with authority, and being the newly appointed pack leader, he relaxes and starts to imagine the possibilities.

Within a few hours, the terriers were gone.

The house is quiet once again and I lay at Moms feet while she sorts through the seed packets that just arrived. While glad for the peace, I can’t stop thinking about Sammie He was the first dog I could truly imagine sharing my life with.

So, if you are reading this Auntie L, I have a request please: “when you work your adoption magic this time around, can you try and find a man that sings?”

 

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5 Common Misconceptions

Number One-  Your dog enjoys seeing you naked

I often hear humans complain that their precious Rover turns into a furry little perv whenever they begin undress.  Calmly sitting on the carpet in their bedroom, he simply watches and waits, his attention intensifying with each discarded garment. I think the phrase they use to describe their reaction to this uncomfortable phenomenon is “ getting a serious case of the heebie jeebies.”

As if the sight of your paunchy hairless body parading around in underwear is somehow attractive to us. I’ll let you in on a little canine secret folks: It’s not what you are taking off that interests us- it’s what you are putting ON.

For example:                                                                                                                                  The combination of dress pants and shiny shoes can mean only one thing; you are going to the office and I will be left alone for an unusually cruel amount of time.

The donning of a pair of sweatpants with t-shirt and our hearts rejoice. For that beautiful outfit insures we will be spending the day together, which just might include a ride in the car! Whoo hoo.

When you squeeze yourself into that little black dress and apply a dab of lipstick –this indicates a night out with the Hubby. You probably won’t be gone long, but more than likely, I’ll be completely ignored when you do get home.

Your choice of attire has proven to be the barometer on the quality of our upcoming day. It can mean the difference between a day of fun in the sun or 8 hours of solitary confinement. So, the next time you find yourself half dressed, reaching for a pair of shoes, while we stare from afar.  Rest assured, we are not admiring your lacy new Victoria’s Secret bra- we are silently chanting “pick the sneakers, pick the sneakers.”

Number Two- My Mom knows a lot about dogs

All our friends and family members think Mom knows all there is to know about dogs simply  because she volunteers for a  rescue. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yet, she is the first one they come to with their countless dog-related questions.  She usually Googles the answer and gets back to them quickly, thus perpetuating the myth. The fact is I am the only dog she ever had, and while I hate to brag, I am so well behaved and intelligent- I practically raised myself. So the sad fact remains- she doesn’t know jack about dogs. She just feels sorry for them.

Many of the other volunteers are experts, however. We can claim a vet tech, a dog trainer, and a dog groomer among our ranks- just to name a few.

My Auntie JF, along with my Auntie J (see “Say Bye Bye to Bear Bear)  happen to be       X-treme dog breed experts. They can identify the most obscure combination of doggie DNA swimming around in the mangiest of mutts in  2.7 seconds flat.                                           They live to play the “Guess the Breed” game when they go out in public  together. It works like this:

First, they spy an unsuspecting victim with an unusual looking dog at the end of their leash.

“Excuse me Sir, but is that a Nova Scotia Duck Trolling Retriever / Treeing Walker Coonhound / Catahoula Leopard Dog mix?”

“Why yes, she is” the victim responds proudly, waiting for the inevitable compliment that usually accompanies such an inquiry.

“I KNEW IT!” my Aunties scream in unison. They cackle with delight and proceed to dance down the street, high fiving each other the entire way.

The hapless victim, scratching his head in confusion, is left in the dust.

I find Mom’s dog identification method to be much more sound:                                              White, brown, black and small, medium and large.

But expert or not, Mom loves dogs.                                                                                                I guess that’s good enough in the end.

Number Three- Dog rescue is primarily a female cause

Actually, apon further investigation dear readers, it ends up this one is true.

It’s a disturbing phenomenon that really needs looking into. Oh sure, there are a few token males in the recue world, but the women outnumber the men by about 100 to 1. Mom blames it on something called testosterone. I have NO idea what that means, but she claims it is related to the shooting of guns, the passing of gas in public and watching boxing on TV.

In this tradition, our rescue has a few token men as well and my all time favorite is Uncle VB. He is the rescue’s official photographer and his picture taking skills are unrivaled. Plus, he is practically already famous because had one of his photographs published in a book!

Note to self: get Uncle VB’s autograph.

Mom always admires Uncle VB’s photographs, but inside, she is really quite jealous. Because, even though she has an equally expensive camera, her pictures look more like they were taken by a 3rd grader (no offense to my 3rd grade readers).

Uncle VB reads my blog regularly and supports me with encouraging messages like: “keep up the good work BB”. Which means a lot.

He happens to be married to my Auntie B, also a volunteer.

They are the picture perfect couple and, I truly believe, if we all were transported back in time to high school; they would be the homecoming king and queen. Auntie B is the rescues volunteer coordinator. And it is soooo obvious why she was picked for the job. Her personality is so sunny and sweet, that once a potential volunteer spends a mere 5 minutes the phone with her, they fall under her spell, and become convinced they would just die if they couldn’t join the team.(that’s what happened to Mom- probably Uncle VB too 🙂 ) She has a smooth silky voice that sounds like pure milk and honey is dripping through the phone. Mom jokes that she could make a fortune running an adult hotline.  I’m not sure what she means by this but it must be something wonderful because Tommy grins from ear to ear when she says it and his eyes sparkle.

Number Four- Saving a dog will change the world

No, saving a dog will not change the world, but….

It does change the world for that one dog.

Side bar:  To be honest, I actually “borrowed” that touching motto. The litigious among us call that plagiarism, but I’d like to remind the author of that particular snippet of wisdom:  imitation is the highest form of flattery. I hope that disclaimer keeps me from getting hauled off to small claims court for copyright infringement.

Number Five- That horrible odor in the room came from the dog

Simply not true- no need to elaborate.                                                                                          To those of you who say this, and you know who you are, shame on you.

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Rule #1-don’t fall in love with your foster

Going for a car ride is supposed to be the highlight of any sensible dog’s day. Whether the destination is less than desirable (the vet) or the most wonderful place on earth (Grandma’s house) it is always the best time ever. Just you and the open road and with the window down, wonderful smells whiz by in the thousands.  It’s just can’t be beat.

Never has a more beautiful phrase been uttered than: ”Wanna go in the car?”

So imagine my surprise when Little Miss Maggie turns green and starts to drool as we drive down the street one fine winters day. Her heaving chest is coated with saliva by the time we hit the highway. Then, exactly 1 block from our destination, the entire contents of her stomach (3/4 cup of small breed kibble and 2 biscuits) are expelled onto the newly cleaned seat of our Prius.

I sniff the puke gingerly and look over at Maggie. “Hey, are you ok?”

“Yeah, sure” she gags in reply, “thanks for asking.”

She remembers her manners even while hurling.

Mom takes it in stride. Apparently, she knew all about Maggie’s fragile tummy and was well prepared. An old blanket had been carefully laid down and covered almost the entire seat. “Almost” being the key word because that vomit skillfully landed on the only portion of seat that was still exposed. After thoroughly soaking into the cloth for a minute or so, the vomit stream slowly oozed downward and formed a small mountain of semi-digested goo on the floor mat (also newly cleaned).

By the time we get to the pet shop, Maggie had no interest in picking out a new treat. Which happened to be the glorious reason for this particular car ride. She sits on the floor waiting for the queasiness to pass while I run merrily down the aisles wondering where the hell they stock the Greenies. I suppose I could have been more sympathetic.

Mom bends down and dabs at Maggie’s soiled face with a Kleenex.

We pick out the treat for her.

Back home, Mom curses the snow and ice. She is dying to parade her sweet Maggie around town and impress all of the neighbors with her perfect little foster. Instead, we hang in the back yard where Tommy has cleared a path for me, as I am much too delicate to manage the 3-foot drifts. Maggie, on the other hand, charges over the piles of snow like a miniature Mac truck. She is quite sturdy for her little size. She rolls around; grunting and snorting like a sea otter, showing off with back flips and somersaults. Mom runs to get the video camera.

That night, she uploads that sea otter video to Maggie’s petfinder profile. Which ends up being the catalyst to Maggie finding her forever home. I’ll get back to that later.

Below is a picture of Maggie playing in the snow (I was watching from a safe distance)

Loyal Readers, along with the unfortunate propensity to sleep a lot and the development a few achy bones, getting old does have its perks. I finally have reached a place where I no longer doubt Moms love for me. I’m positive that no matter what happens, we will always be together and I will always be her number one guy.  It’s a good place to be, mentally, and couldn’t have come at a better time because Mom is just fawning over Maggie. The more Maggie flowers the worse it gets. And the feeling is mutual; Maggie adores Mom and follows her everywhere silently proclaiming her undying love and devotion with every step. I can hear Mom has started to think about possibly keeping her. Maggie hears it too.

Don’t be surprised, it can happen and it’s what we in the business call a “foster failure.” More than a few of Mom’s rescue friends have a pooch or two in their lives that started out as foster dogs and ended up beloved members of their family.

But we have made a commitment to visit another family and we can’t disappoint them. Mom secretly hopes that Maggie will misbehave. She fantasizes that the family will be hiding some sort of puppy-torturing device in the basement. One, which she will discover only at the last minute, and after foiling their diabolical scheme, will shout triumphantly:

“NO DOG FOR YOU!”

But the visit goes off without a hitch and by the time Mom gets home she has an email waiting for her

It went something like this:

“Thanks you so much for letting us meet your sweet Maggie. She really caught our attention when we saw her adorable video on petfinder. We think she is just precious and would make a wonderful addition to our family. We would be honored to have this dainty little lady in our lives and, if it’s OK with you, would love to adopt her”

Mom reads the message out loud to Tommy and her eyes well up with tears. She makes a hasty retreat and hides in the bathroom. From outside the door I can hear her sobbing.

Maggie’s new family picked her up that weekend, armed with a truckload of toys and treats. I can see they already love her. ” Mom figures within 24 hours Maggie will be following her new Mom around with same fierce devotion (and she was right).  Knowing she made a good match, she actually manages a smile while she utters her bittersweet good bye, whispering softly into Maggie’s ear “I love you, baby girl”

I heard the little munchkin puked in the car on the way to her new home, exactly one a block away.

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What a difference a day makes

Maybe it was the very long ride to NJ that had Maggie out of sorts. After all, she was stuffed in a crate that was stacked in a van with 32 other frightened and stinky shelter dogs. I heard they barked the whole way. Another possibility: her former life was so unpleasant that she needed the bath Mom gave her to shed the smell of it.

Or, Maybe God heard my prayer.

Whatever the reason, Maggie woke up a different dog. With her tail wagging she greeted us with a smile that next morning.  Here is a picture of Maggie when she first arrived:


And here is a picture of her on the second day:


By the end of the first week she looked like this:

She is not like any other foster we’ve had. She never jumps up; instead she politely sits on the floor staring up at Mom or Tommy until they notice her. When they do notice, she twitches all over in anticipation of a little dab of attention. A mere pat on the head and that little tail wags a mile a minute. A scratch behind the ears sends her into total ecstasy. After which, she makes a dainty retreat all the while mumbling to herself, “oh boy oh boy .so lucky. so lucky. so lucky.”  She rolls round on her big fluffy bed tossing toys into the air and  snorts like a piglet. It’s quite cute, if you go for that kind of thing.

But let Tommy make a sudden move and her little body slams to the floor, ears pinned back, begging for her life. It’s uncomfortable to watch. The sound of the vacuum sends her running from the room and we find her  later, shaking in a corner. Lucky for Maggie, she won’t hear that sound very often around here.

One night Mom and Tommy out to dinner. Since we are all alone, I decide to confront her. Gently,of course, so she doesn’t get startled.

“Maggie what happened to you? Why are you so afraid if everything? I’m a real good listener. You can tell me.”

I really think she needs to get this stuff off her chest. You know, have a good cry and get on with her life

But she doesn’t want to talk about it.

My lame attempt at playing therapist sends her into a state of melancholy. She shuffles over to her bed and plops down with a sigh. If I concentrate, I can hear her thinking about her past and worrying what the future holds.

If you think dogs can’t remember their past- you’d be dead wrong.

For example, we have not lived in a house with a working doorbell for 4 years. Yet, to this day when I hear a doorbell ring, like on a TV show, I run to the front door and bark my fool head off.  You might argue that I should realize after all this time that no one is ever at the door on these occasions, but that would be nit picking. The point is: I remember!

As a matter of fact, humans are forever discounting a dog’s intellectual capacity and give little credence to what we are thinking.

“OMG- he is just a dog” they smirk when Mom suggests I might be jealous, or sad, or missing her. All of which had been completely true at the time she said it.

Or take the complicated emotion of gratitude, I’m sure Mom’s know-it-all friends would claim it is a strictly human trait- not the case. Our little miss Maggie is dripping with gratitude. The tiny kisses she bestows on us are accompanied with a quiet stream of breathless “thank yous”

“Thank you for getting me out of the pound.”

“Thank you all this food.”

“Thank you for touching me so softly.”

That last one is huge.

The soft touch of a human hand is like mothers milk to our fragile Maggie. She drinks it in heartily but without greed. Oh Boy-is she ever grateful.

Maggie emerges from her shell a little more every day. And just when we were all getting settled into a cozy 2 dog family routine. Mom makes Maggie available for adoption. It all seems so sudden and I’m not sure if I like it.

She gets a number of serious requests and Mom makes an appointment to take  Maggie to meet her first potential forever family.  They live in a house that Mom said was so clean you could eat off the floor.   Which gets me thinking about our floor and if it isn’t clean enough to eat off of: why do I ??

When they get there, the little people (sometimes referred to as children) were nice enough, but don’t respond to Mom’s polite request to give Maggie a little space while she adjusted.                                                                                   A skittish Maggie let out a low “grrrrrrr.”  She didn’t mean anything by it, I’m sure.  The literal translation is something like this: “I’m a little nervous and unsure and I’d like some time to think about things.”  But it came off to them as: “back off or I’m going for junior’s jugular.” Maggie, upset by the misunderstanding, expresses her displeasure by crapping on that super clean floor (which I’m guessing- no one will be eating off of any time soon). The potential adopter was less than thrilled.  Mom, takes it as a sign from God.

I have serious doubts about that, but if it’s true- He certainly does work in mysterious ways.

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Exit Katie-Enter Maggie

The Christmas of 2010 will forever be referred to as: The Worst Christmas Ever.  At least that is what I call it; Mom and Tom had a great old-time.

Though we did have a flurry of holiday company, which is always fun, and Santa brought me a 96-count tub of Greenies (score!) it was still the worst Christmas ever. But Katie finally did leave our home on Dec 26th;  sometimes the best presents don’t come in shiny Christmas wrapping.

With Katie gone, our lives settled into a happy calm. I was back to getting 100% of Moms attention and all was right with the world.

If you thought the now famous “puppy fiasco of 2010” would swear Mom off fostering for life, dear readers, you would be wrong. There is a transport scheduled on Jan 29th and she is already plotting.

For the first time since this crazy adventure started, I am alerted to the fact that we are getting a new foster dog ahead of time. It’s nice to be in the loop; I feel part of the process for a change.

Tommy, on the other hand, is completely in the dark.

Mom seems to think he doesn’t care for the constant stream of mangy misbehaving mutts parading through the house. Perhaps it’s the wads of hair beginning to collect under the furniture or the occasional pee puddle that soaks into his sock on his nightly 3am trip to the bathroom.

Whatever the reason, Mom decides to wait for the right moment to break the news and the right moment never comes.

But when we are alone, she whispers to me: “you want a baby sister BB? Do you?”

Grandma is the one to accidentally break the news:

“So, when are you getting your new foster?” she asks innocently sipping on her tea.                                                                                                                                       Tom, looks up from his newspaper, “what??”                                                          Mom, rolls her eyes, “Oh Honey, we discussed it already, don’t you remember?”

This was discussion she was referring to:

Tommy: “We should really replace that rug, Katie pooped on it, like 100 times.”                                                                                                                                      Mom: “You’re right, we should replace it.”                                                                          “Do you want go rug shopping this weekend?”                                                                   “No”

Even I can see how he didn’t make the connection.

Below is a picture of the dog we are expecting along with a picture of her twin who was separated at birth. I dare you to tell me you don’t see the resemblance:

We get word that our new charge is not house broken before she even arrives. A quick thinking Mom, sensing a possible disaster, decides to let Tom pick the little harp seal’s name.  Mom calls this ”damage control,” I call it manipulation.  Either way, Tom is none the wiser and proud to be included. He picks the name “Maggie” which we quickly and over enthusiastically agree  is a great name.

When Maggie finally arrives, I can smell something is not right (dogs are good at this).

Limp in Moms arms, she slithers to the ground and crouches on the floor. Her tail is firmly tucked between her legs; her eyes are wide and round.  She is scared shitless!!

When Tom takes a step forward; she cowers and runs underneath the kitchen table.

I don’t say a word; for fear she will die on the spot. But I sit back and observe this sad creature in front of me, trying to make an assessment.

She certainly is not calm and regal like Jeanie. Nor is she the bohemian wild child type like Abby. No sign a happy, bouncy Bear in there either. And she wasn’t even remotely like dopey little Katie.

The only word I can think to describe her is…..broken. Like her spirit has been stolen. It’s painful to watch.

Mom, seeing her discomfort, meets her at the floor. Maggie crawls out from under the table, sliding  along on her belly; she timidly approaches  Mom. She stops about 3 feet away. I hear her thinking, ever so quietly, “Please don’t hit me.”

Now I must step in, from across the room I whisper softly, ”don’t worry Maggie, no one here will hurt you, I promise.”

She doesn’t even glance my way. Her eyes are firmly planted on the humans, waiting for any sudden moves.

She inches closer to Mom, flinching when Mom gently reaches out a hand for her to smell. A gentle pat on the head sends that old tail wagging so hard a reverberating “thump thump thump” echoes through the room.

Later that night I couldn’t sleep; I scratch the side of Mom’s bed.  “Pssst, Mom, wake up.”                                                                                                                                          A sleepy bed headed Mom peers down at me, “BB, go to sleep it’s 2 in the morning.”                                                                                                                                   “But Mom, how could you leave her downstairs all alone? She is so scared andconfused.”                                                                                                                                   She doesn’t hear me and she actually gets cross.                                                         “BB lay down!”

hrmmpf

3 am rolls around and I still can’t sleep. What to do??  I bow my head, trying to look solemn:

Dear God,                                                                                                                                      It’s me BB.                                                                                                                                     I’ve got a question for you.                                                                                                         I know what you’re thinking. How dare I, a lowly dog, question your divine order?                                                                                                                                        Chalk it off to the fact that maybe I don’t know any better; I’m just a dog for God’s sake (oops, sorry).

Anyway, you know that relationship you had in mind, when on that 6th day you created dogs (and saw it was good)?  You deemed that man would be our faithful guardian and we, the loyal companion? I don’t know if you have been paying attention to what’s going on down here but things have gone terribly amiss. Don’t get me wrong; we are holding our part of the bargain, the humans – not so much. I’m asking you tonight to pay a little more attention please. More specifically, I’m talking about Maggie (if you are “all knowing” like you claim-you know who I am talking about).  Thanks.

I almost forgot: God Bless Mom, Tom, Grandma, and all the dogs in the neighborhood, even the ones I don’t like.

Amen.

3:30 rolls around and I finally fall asleep pondering the fact that the word “God” spelled backwards is “Dog.”


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I Hate Puppies

Have you seen those commercials?  You know the ones:  an adorable blond puppy snuggling in a pile of fresh smelling laundry or the happy-go-lucky lab mischievously tracking mud into the house while the actor-Mom, sporting a cheesy smile, wipes behind with a pre-moistened Lysol wipe? I’m here to tell you folks: It’s all bullshit!

Puppies are NOT cute.

Yet for some reason, humans hold on to this age-old belief that puppies are adorable little bundles of pure love with giant paws and yummy breath. Sunshine, rainbows and happiness all wrapped up in one precious little furry package. Oh sure, from the outside, they give an appearance of cuteness. That was God’s plan; so people would think twice about killing them.

I recently had the misfortune of spending the very long month of December with a puppy.

Mom was all smiles when she came home carrying little miss No-Name. “At 8 weeks old-how much trouble could she be?” I heard her thinking. She plopped the little back lab mix into Tommy’s arms, No-Name wiggled to the floor and it was all downhill from there.

Here is a photograph of No-Name in a ridiculous Christmas outfit:

We called her a different name each day to find one that suited her.

Mindy. Lucy. Maggie. Suzy. Cindy Lou Woo. Little Miss Poopie pants. She-devil. We settled on Katie.

Sure, Katie has fleeting moments of “tolerability.” I guess she looks moderately adorable while sleeping, her bloated puppy belly gently rising and falling, toes twitching while she dreams of chasing imaginary balls.  The other 23 hours a day she is a farting, pooping, peeing, bumbling, royal pain in my ass.

She rambles around he house with no obvious destination. Like a drunken mental patient she runs around, bumping into furniture. All the while her legs are sliding out from under her as if completely independent from her brain.

Because of her limited vocabulary, a conversation with the little monster goes something like this:

Katie: ”wanna play? wanna play? wanna wanna wanna?? Hold on a minute, gotta poop,” (Pause, poop, sniff, and resume) “Wanna play? Huh? Wanna?”

Me: “For the last time Katie, LEAVE ME ALONE!”

I have lost all patience with trying to explain the house rules, which was standard protocol with the other fosters. She doesn’t pay attention. We are certainly not dealing with an Einstein here.

True story dear readers:

Let me give you some background: My Mom is a first class sap! She feels sorry for everyone and everything. From the spider she gently scoops up to put outside (instead of squashing it like a normal person), to the tiny carrot seedlings in our garden that she can’t bear to thin, resulting in our fall carrot harvest resembling a deformed collection of twisted orange legs. Her sappiness is the reason she got into dog rescue.

One night, Tommy tells Mom she looks skinny in her new jeans.  Now that is the Holy Grail of all compliments as far as Mom is concerned. If Tommy were smart he would say it more often. If she could hear me speak, I’d be spending the rest of my days, lounging on the comfy couch watching Seinfeld reruns while Mom simultaneously rubbed my belly and stuffed Greenies in my mouth.

It’s a powerful tool.

Here are some examples of how you can use this tool to your benefit:

“Wow, those jeans make you look skinny-can I borrow 50 bucks?”

or

“Wow, that dress makes you look skinny – can I get a ride to the airport?”

So this particular evening she is singing songs while making dinner, still high from the compliment. She stops, only occasionally, to look at her butt in the mirror. Then, in the middle of her off-key rendition of ”I Heard it through the Grape Vine,” old Katie-girl takes a flying leap and nips a triangle-shaped hole in the thigh of those sacred jeans.

Mom looks  at the ripped fabric, heartbroken.  And then, my dog loving, spider scooping, carrot sympathizing sappy-ass Mom glares down at Katie-girl and screams: “YOU SUCK!”

Katie gives Mom a blank stare, and  jumps up again aiming for the other leg.

I try to get her attention. “Psst…. ix-nay on the umping-jay. Real bad move lame brain”

Tommy, shocked by dear old Mom’s outburst, starts howling with laughter from the living room.

Mom charges into the room and announces: “I would rather stick a fork in my eye than foster another puppy!”as Tommy, trying to hide a smile, puts on his serious face. She does look kind of funny when she is trying to be tough. I stifle a giggle too.

This is now Tom’s favorite story to tell at parties.

Back to Katie:

She dutifully poops and pees every time we go outside to a ridiculous chorus of  “good girl- good girl.”  Then, after being back in the house for a whole 5 minutes, those same actions get repeated on the rug.

She poops, like, a hundred times a day – no exaggeration!  And another rugs bites the dust.

To her credit, she did not chew on the smorgasbord of shoes on the rack by the door, but everything else was fair game; the 80-dollar laptop computer cord (twice), the telephone, the coffee table. But Moms arms were her chew toy of choice. By the end of the first week poor Mom looked like a heroin addict.

One day they took Katie to the vet. I’m not sure why, because unless you consider being a moron a disease, the monster seemed unnaturally healthy to me. I hear talk about a “routine visit,” I’m not sure what that means, but I hoped it was something serious, or better yet-fatal. In retrospect, not my proudest moment.

When mom complains to her rescue friends about Katie’s incessant bad behavior they would act concerned and ask, ” What’s her breed?”

“Black Lab mixed with something “

“How old is she?”

“9 weeks.”

The answer is always the same…. “DUH!”

She was getting no sympathy there. Apparently they already knew that puppies suck.

Fine Readers, if you were expecting another sentimental story with a ” dog meets  –  dog hates dog – dog grows to love dog” lesson. I’m sorry to disappoint.

She’s been gone over a month and I’m still doing the happy dance!

So is Mom.

 

Here is a photograph of yours truly in an adorable Christmas outfit:

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