Archive for December, 2008

Nellie and Quinn

December 14, 2008

We lost both of our elderly dogs within close succession within the past 18 months. My husband and I experienced “doglessness“ for the first time in thirty years, that is until a sweet little “Jack Russell something or other” showed up at my hospital. A good samaritan brought her in after finding her wandering the streets of a neighboring town. She was an introverted little wreck of a dog- emaciated with horrible skin disease, and in fulminant heat. X-rays revealed that someone had good aim when they shot at her with a BB gun. There was just something about her eyes that made it clear she and I needed each other.

Since then, our Nellie has evolved into a perky, svelte little girl- loving and adored by the entire family (including the cats). She has learned to trust and is beginning to play with other dogs. Nellie is our very first small dog and we’ve discovered that such little canines are downright handy! So easy to bathe and a cinch to travel with! No she’s not much of a watchdog, but fortunately where we live, there’s not much need for that. Admittedly, we were a bit put out with our girl when we returned home one evening to find Nellie pretending to be asleep on our bed while a raccoon was dining at the cat food bowl, having found entry into our house via the dog door!

Approximately a week ago, we decided we were ready once again to become a two-dog household. Our 16-year-old daughter was overjoyed and spent an entire day on line looking for the dog with just the right description. Well, she managed to find him! He is a 3-month-old pup that was retrieved from the opposite of a “no kill” shelter in Bakersfield, California. A rescue organization called The Dog Spot consists of a core of dedicated volunteers who retrieve dogs from overcrowded California shelters and then foster them until suitable homes can be found. They concentrate on retrieving older adult dogs that are unlikely to be adopted. Apparently, on this last trip, they simply couldn’t resist a particular batch of pups (our new dog was among them) that were first in line to be euthanized. Some of the dogs The Dog Spot heroes retrieve are physically and/or emotionally damaged. Nonetheless they receive all the medical care and emotional support their dear bodies and minds are longing for. Kudos to this wonderful organization!

I consider myself quite talented at being able to glance at a mutt and, within seconds have a pretty darned good idea of who the parents were. With our new little fella I haven’t a clue! He’s been with us for three days and I’ve already talked myself in and out of a Corgi, Sheltie, Papillon, Cavalier, Basenji, and Chihuahua. I think we’re going to have to watch him figure out his body a little bit before I make my final guess. Who knows, maybe we’ll even wind up doing some genetic testing! I’m not sure how this little gem of a dog wound up at a shelter, but I do have the sense he’s been treated with kindness. We’ve decided to call him Quinn.

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A Father’s Pride

December 9, 2008

My 84-year-old father lives in Denver, Colorado. He is trying to recreate some semblance of normalcy following the unanticipated loss of my mom in June- his wife of 57 years. He recently had cataract surgery that, thankfully, has allowed him to read again. He surprised me at work the other day with a telephone call. He wanted to let me know that he had been reading Speaking for Spot.

I must tell you- I was rather flabbergasted! My dad has never had any real interest in dogs or, for that matter, animals of any kind. In fact, he doesn’t really “get” the human animal bond. He was a great dad, but he never understood what my passion about animals was all about. When I was ready to make the drive from Colorado to Ithaca, New York where I was about to begin veterinary school, my dad’s parting words were, “Are you sure you don’t want to go to medical school?” Just imagine my surprise when he told me he was reading Spot. When I asked him why, he explained, “Since my daughter wrote it, I thought I ought to read it.” Needless to say, I was simply thrilled! I asked, “So Dad, what do you think of it.” I laughed out loud when he responded, “To tell you the truth, I’m finding it a bit monotonous.”