Sunday, February 26, 2012

John's Home

For the third year in a row, John spent a healthy chunk of February in Turkey. That means it's Bingley, Magic and I. It also means some extra work for our intrepid dog sitter-dog walker.

Certainly, when I'm the only human, I do all the walks, all the poop patrols, all the mess clean-ups. But it is very comforting to have canine companionship when one's husband is thousands of miles away.

It's more than a thirteen hour plane trip from Ataturk Airport in Istanbul to LAX. I've learned to follow the trips on a flight tracker on my computer, watching the little plane on the screen make its way on a northerly arc, disappear over the Atlantic for a while, and finally land safely at its destination.

Yesterday a friend gave me a link to the LAX control tower. It's amazing to listen to the rapid fire communication that gets flights off the ground and safely back. I was intrigued that at the end of the stream of pilot code, each air traffic officer sent off departing planes with a "take care" or "see you soon."

I listened for a while to a variety of American accents of pilots of planes taking off and landing. And then a distinctively foreign accent--a Turkish accent--"Turkish Air, Flight 9" requesting landing instructions. How extraordinary to hear the voice of someone I'll never meet who played such an important role in preserving my well being and happiness--bringing John home safely once more.

That does sound a little dramatic, since thousands of pilots bring millions of passengers safely to their destinations routinely and we never give it a thought.

Perhaps I am marveling at such a common event because, in another part of my life, I am submerged in the early nineteenth century. More of that later.

Yes. There are dogs in the other part of my life, too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy Happy Adoption Day, Bingley!

Four years ago today, February 16, 2008, we met Bingley at Greyhound Adoption Center, and brought him home. There was another dog that we considered, but Bingley looked up at me with pleading brown eyes and I actually heard, "Please take me home." That was it.

Bingley was the first dog we rescued who had had absolutely no experience of being in a human's house. Sweet as he was and eager to be our friend, he had no idea of what was expected of him. Need I say that house training proceeded slowly? And it took him some time to figure out that the dog he saw in the mirror on my closet doors was not going to play with him, and when the doors opened, the dog would disappear.

Then there were three months of hemorrhagic gastro-enteritis. We thought we might lose him. But Dr. Candy Lewis of Harmony Veterinary Hospital in San Diego, put us on the right track with the right food. Poor Bingley can't have treats, but he's healthy and happy.

I've had ten dogs in my life and have loved each one of them. But of all those dogs, Bingley is the sweetest tempered.

Happy Adoption Day, Bingley! John and I are very, very happy that you are our dog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pekes Rule!

Congratulations to Malachy and all Peke aficionados everywhere. I know it sounds strange for one who shares her home with two large sight hounds, but I have always longed to have a Peke. Some of you might remember my extended search for a home for Brody, The Dashing One Eyed Peke. Well. Brody is safe and happy in his forever home, but there are many, many homeless Pekes, just waiting and longing for what Brody finally found.

The fact is that Pekes are high maintenance dogs. In these difficult financial times, many are being surrendered to rescues and all too many are just dumped in "shelters" because grooming and vet bills are too high for their humans.

If you are charmed by Pekes, please, please, please, adopt. This is a breed that is really suffering now, and I fear that the snob appeal of owning a breed that has just won Westminster will encourage over breeding and purchasing by people who do not have sufficient love of the breed to provide a true forever home for one of these Balls of Fluff With Attitude.

If you want to adopt a Peke, A&A Pekingese Rescue would be an excellent place to start. The link to their website is on the right side of the screen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Fuzzy Valentines

Of course I have a human Valentine. Happy Valentine's Day, John.

But whenever I hear the song, "My Funny Valentine", I translate it to "My Fuzzy Valentine". This Valentine's Day, I am particularly happy to have Bingley and Magic in my life.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Hazzards Of A Dog's Life

John has been sorting, organizing and tossing miscellaneous contents of old boxes from the garage. Last Sunday, when I returned from church, I found a chewed box of staples! There was ample evidence that some of its contents had been ingested. Bingley was the prime suspect. He is also the dog with the really sensitive tummy. But he ate and pooped, so we were cautiously optimistic. On Monday morning, we awoke to the sounds of Bingley choking and vomiting. (A fabulous way to begin a new week, I must say.) Sure enough, there was a lump of half digested food with a bunch of acid-etched staples sticking out from all angles. Neither John nor I can remember seeing that box of staples before discovering it after Bingley did. We're breathing a deep sigh of relief that our boy escaped a really bad episode.

Today I had occasion to spend some time in a crowded parking lot waiting for a group of students to depart on a trip abroad. Cars were coming and going, dropping off people and luggage. An enormous coach bus threaded its way between people and cars. And. There was a woman walking around the parking lot with her Boston Terrier off leash!! I really wanted to say something to her. But I was lost for words.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Should You Really Have A Dog?

Today I took an inquiry about Greyhound adoption. Nothing unusual for a Thursday. I answer the phone every Thursday for a Greyhound rescue.

Usually, prospective adopters have done a little bit of research and want confirmation or refutation of what they have heard or read about Greyhounds.

Do they need to run miles every day? No. They really enjoy a daily walk and if there is a safe, enclosed area convenient for you, they enjoy a run. But mine have made do with running in the backyard and making a circuit of the living room.

Do they really have to live indoors? Yes.

What is their life expectancy? That's not an easy question to answer. Our Greyhound, Zephyr, died a month before her 7th birthday because of aggressive bone cancer. I have heard of some Greyhounds living to 14 or even beyond. 12 is a really good lifespan for a greyhound.

These are the sorts of questions one expects. There are other questions that make me glad that I'm not screening the caller's final eligibility for adoption.

Can I get a rescued dog for free?

When can I see the dogs and choose what color I want?

My teenage sons have been nagging me for a dog. Do you think I can depend on them to look after it?

I responded to just such a call today, becoming more and more concerned about my caller's potential to provide an adequate home for a retired racing Greyhound.

Then came a surprise. The caller was particularly interested in Italian Greyhounds! She assumed that, in addition to offering Greyhounds in different colors, we would also offer them in different sizes! Something like Nordstrom for Greyhounds. "May I see that same dog in dark brindle in a ten pound size?"

I hastened to explain that the dogs we rescue and place are BIG, FULL-SIZED GREYHOUNDS and that Italian Greyhounds are a completely different breed with their own breed rescues. I encouraged her to contact her local Italian Greyhound Rescue.

Forgive me, gentle reader, for forwarding this prospective adopter to another rescue. But I did so with full knowledge that Italian Greyhound rescuers are very exacting in their requirements of prospective adopters. I think their dogs are safe.

I really am eager to see all needy, homeless dogs find a forever home. But, some people shouldn't have dogs.