Saturday, June 30, 2012

Farewell to Finn

For years now, I have gotten most of my news from the internet. I'm still amazed at the instant access to an infinite variety of information and opinion that is available with a few clicks. As I have mentioned, my husband, John, is English by birth, and since I am American to the marrow, I am acutely mindful that our countries of origin, while deceptively similar, are actually distinct and different. So I am always interested in reading English reaction to things American. My favorite English reporter of American events is Toby Harnden, who was writing for the Telegraph when I first encountered him, but has since moved to the Daily Mail. I learned yesterday that I like much more about Toby Harnden than just his excellent reporting. He is a very good human being. How do I know? I know because he rescued a scruffy dog, endured said dog's destructive expressions of separation anxiety, took the dog with him on his world travels, incorporated the dog into his new life when he married and became the father of two children. Believe me. In my work in dog rescue, I know all too well that there are all too many people who would have decided that any one of those life events posed too many challenges and would have given up the dog. Finn, the dog in question, lived a long and eventful life, fulfilling the role in Harnden's life, and then his wife's and childrens' lives that dogs were designed by our Creature to fulfill. But inevitably, since dogs' life spans are shorter than human's, Finn's life is now over. But Toby Harnden, being the great reporter that he is, has made an important contribution to the select body of literature about the unique and powerful bond between dogs and humans. I would love to provide a hot link to Harnden's tribute to Finn, but I continue to have technical problems doing that. So please, take the time to go to Harden's byline, and be sure to have your Kleenex handy. UDATE: Here is a cold link to cut and paste to access Harnden's tribute to Finn:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Four Years, Four Months: A Day To Celebrate

John and I adopted our first rescued dog, Daphne, in April, 2001. She died suddenly on August 5, 2005. She was just seven years old. We were in shock. Having only experienced puppies of well cared for, carefully planned pure-bred dogs, we considered fourteen to sixteen years to be a normal life span for a dog. Welcome to the world of adopting rescued dogs. In September of 2005, we adopted Zephyr, a stunning, dark brindle ex-racing Greyhound who eventually weighed in at ninety-seven pounds. I expected Zephyr to grow old with us. But Zephyr's genetic code said otherwise. Osteosarcoma--bone cancer--took her two years, four months after we adopted her. One month shy of her seventh birthday. The story of Portia is the story of this blog. We adopted her on February 10, 2008. She died in intensive care July 7, 2009, after fighting bravely to survive a cruel attack by an off-leash dog, who also attacked Bingley and John. Portia was four years, two months at the time of her death. She had lived with us for a year and five months. I don't think it's any wonder that I have become mindful of milestones in the lives of my canine companions. Today is just such a milestone. Bingley, our sweet-tempered ex-racer who cheated death before we even met him, is now not only the oldest rescued dog of our lives--he is eight years, nine months old--he has also lived with us longer than any other rescue we have had: a full four years, four months. We love you, Bingley, and pray that you live to be a very old dog. By the way, the picture is of Bingley, taken by Mike Dougherty at Windsong Resort for Pets.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

And Now There Are Two

Four years ago, Marilyn and I began walking our dogs in the park once a week. Hers were Franklin, Hattie and Ruby. Mine were Portia and Bingley. Portia, Ruby and Franklin have all crossed the Rainbow Bridge, so now there are only two of that original group: Marilyn's Hattie, and my Bingley. When you love dogs, you have to prepare yourself for loss. Sophie, the newest addition to our walking group is also the oldest. Then Hattie, Bingley, and Odie. Magic is the wild card. No one knows her age for sure and she's not telling. I would love to think that we have four more years with our current group intact. But if the past is is the best predictor of the future, I know that's not going to happen. Of all the lessons dogs teach us, one of the most important is: Treasure Today.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Welcome Sophie

In the month since Marilyn and I walked our Greyhounds in the park, we have had a major change. Wonderful Franklin crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He can never be replaced. But there are always Greyhounds in need, and Marilyn has provided a home for an older female whom she has named Sophie. In the last 18 months, Sophie has lost two homes: one because of the economy and the second because of the terminal illness of her human. Sophie will be eleven in October. I was expecting to meet a docile old gal, just grateful for having been given a secure place to live out her days. Was I in for a surprise! Sophie has declared herself Leader of the Pack. And both Hattie and Odie have deferred to her. She was clearly sizing up Bingley and Magic with an eye to bossing them, too. What amazing spirit! I look forward to all of our future walks with Sophie, Hattie and Odie. Bingley, of course, will accept Sophie with his sweet, easy going attitude, but will also let her know his limits. Magic is another story. She is a Princess. But Sophie is a Queen. We shall see how that works out.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Personal Note

Sorry for the blogging hiatus. I had eye surgery a few weeks ago and life got a little busy. Things are beginning to settle back to what passes for normal, so blogging will resume. Bingley and Magic send their very best. Or would if they both weren't snoozing away on their respective sofas.