Sunday, April 25, 2010


In Spring when the world is full of fresh smells and new critters
And Magic and John and Judith and I go walking
Even before the sun comes up.
And a rabbit goes scurrying across the pathway
In great terror for its life.
And I bark and bark.
And Magic barks and barks.
And all the neighbors wake up and turn on their porch lights,
Admiring our Early Morning Courage.

And late in the afternoon,
Something comes running from under the deck.
And I catch it in my Strong Jaws and give it a shake,
And bring it, triumphally, into the kitchen
To show Judith that I am not just a Very Fast Racer, but, indeed,
A Mighty Hunter....

And Judith, I must add, was rendered speechless and motionless. I have never seen Bingley happier or prouder. He was about to toss the rat into the air, just as he does his stuffed toys. I managed sufficient breath to emit a hoarse "NO!".

Shocked and puzzled, Bingley dropped the rat on the kitchen floor.

I finally managed to call my version of 911--the retired police officer down the block. He was at the market, but his wife arrived, dispatched the rat as I stood frozen, holding Bingley and Magic by their collars.

The next day, the county Rat Man arrived, inspected the property, found no signs of infestation, but left a humane--quick kill--trap which requires no poison that might threaten Bingley and Magic.

Bingley was crushed and wouldn't speak to me for ages. He DID, however, repeatedly investigate the location where he found the rat, ever hopeful that it would return.

He has finally forgiven me, but is still On Alert, whenever he is in the backyard.

Last week, Bingley and Magic also sighted a juvenile coyote on an early morning walk, alerting other sleepy neighbors.

We've had opossums and raccoons in previous years. If there are any around, I can be sure that Bingley will let us know. I just pray to be spared skunks and snakes!

Meanwhile, the resident lizards are still abundant. But Bingley and Magic apparently think they require Bigger Prey.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Magic Update

One of the joys of adopting a rescued dog is watching them slowly gain confidence and begin to show you who they "truly" are.

Today is the fifth month's anniversary of Magic's arrival in our household. During those five months, Magic has made many adjustments and has begun to settle in, realizing that this is her "forever" home.

She has learned to walk on a leash and clearly enjoys her walks. She no longer panics and insists on returning home after going only a short distance.

She is less frightened of strangers and is more accepting of men--particularly of John. She even--sometimes--permits him to put on her harness and leash, especially when he is sitting down.

And she is slowly learning to play, both with stuffed toys and with Bingley. Just last week, I saw her carrying a toy in her mouth as she walked across the living room to check out the scene through the front window. She is making play overtures to Bingley. She seems to like to chase and be chased. Sometimes she interferes with Bingley's serious racing circuits in her eagerness to join the fun. But being the "aw shucks" guy that he is, Bingley takes these episodes in stride.

We had some times of intense sibling rivalry when Magic wanted to sit beside me on the sofa when Bingley was already there. But she seems more secure now and is more willing to let him have his turn without making a scene.

We think that there is a more confident look in her eye, indeed, in her entire demeanor.

I usually think that six months is the minimum time a new dog needs to settle in and relax enough to start to be "themselves." I eagerly await what new aspects of her personality Miss Magic will reveal in the coming months and years.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Brody STILL Needs A Forever Home

It's hard to believe that such a handsome fellow is having such a difficult time finding a home where he can love and amuse some very lucky human companion.

Like all toy breeds, Brody would be happiest in a home where he is not routinely left alone for long hours. Toys like to be close to their humans. After all, that is the purpose for which they were created.

If you can open your heart and home to Brody the Peke, please email me:

portiasmom at live dot com

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

John, Bingley, and Magic join me in wishing you and yours a Very Happy Easter!

Notes of caution--I just can't resist, even on this happy day:

1. Remember that chocolate is toxic for dogs. If you have little ones--or neglectful older ones--keep a sharp eye out for the whereabouts of chocolate eggs and other candy. Prevention is ALWAYS better than a trip to the emergency vet's.

2. I hope you didn't weaken and purchase a live bunny for Easter. But if you did, resolve to become a responsible rabbit guardian. In my opinion, the care and maintenance of rabbits is far more demanding than that of dogs. But there are parallels: spaying and neutering being among the very most important. Like all rescues, rabbit rescues are more than filled to the max. If you didn't succumb to the temptation, good for you! A stuffed bunny is just the ticket. If you gave one to the child in your life, I hope you also gave one to each of the dogs in your life. If not, you might discover that the dogs are "sharing " the child's.

3. If you acquired live chickens or ducklings, you also need to resolve to be a responsible owner. Some chickens grow to be cocks. Cocks will inevitably crow each morning to greet the dawn. There is at least one in my neighborhood that I hear on my early morning walks.

I find ducks to be charming creatures. The first book I remember loving was Make Way For Ducklings. I believe that ducks can earn their keep eating garden snails. But I also understand that cleaning up after a duck is more disgusting than chicken, rabbit, or dog clean up.

Of course, if you have a dog like Bingley, you know better than to even consider a rabbit, chicken, or duck.