Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Silly Question

Recently, I saw an article titled "Do Dogs Love?". I didn't read it. Why waste my time? Why do dogs greet you at the door, tails wagging, eyes sparkling, even though you've just been gone a minute or two to pick up the mail? Why do dogs keep watch by your bedside when you are ill? Why do dogs solicit pats? Why do dogs look like their world has crashed if you scold them? If it's not love, then I really don't care. If that's not love, then, perhaps love is over-rated and what dogs are expressing is even better than love. I can hear someone say, "Yes, dogs can make you feel very good, but they really have no choice in the matter, they are just responding automatically." Those are the words of someone with little or very shallow experience of dogs. Yesterday, my friend, Marilyn, emailed me that she had adopted another dog. Of course I was happy for the dog. Any dog who lives in Marilyn's home is lucky. But this story is one of those that makes you wonder "Who adopted whom?" Marilyn is directly involved in profiling Greyhounds for adoptive homes. She frequently transports dogs to adopters. And in the sad event of "bounces"--dogs being returned to the rescue--will pick them up. She will keep them at her home for a day or two if there is no room at the kennel or transportation to the kennel is delayed. Sometimes a wonderful dog hits a streak of bad luck in placements. In these hard economic times, many dogs have had to be returned because people lose jobs, then lose their houses and have to move into living arrangements that cannot accommodate a Greyhound. Sometimes another pet in the household that initially seems welcoming of a new dog begins to take exception to the new arrival and the newbie is returned for its own safety. Over the past few years, the dog now known as Annie experienced a string of these bad luck scenarios. Each time, Marilyn picked her up and looked after her until there was room for her at the rescue kennel or Annie found a new home. But all that time, the bond between Annie and Marilyn grew. When Annie's most recent placement fell apart, Marilyn went to pick her up. Annie greeted Marilyn with enthusiasm, and bounded into her van just like it was "her" car. It was clear that Annie loved Marilyn and Marilyn responded the only way a true dog person does. She adopted Annie. So now Marilyn has four Greyhounds. But Hattie and Odie and Sophie are just fine with Annie. They recognize true love when they see it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

That Was The Week That Was

I've just heard that the second Boston Bomber is in police custody and a great city can breathe again, but its broken heart may never mend entirely. Although the first city I remember living in was Chicago, the first city I heard my parents talk about was Boston. They courted at Fenway Park. Imagine going to Comisky Park for a Fourth of July double-header with parents who were the only fans routing for the wrong color Sox. I was pretty old before I figured out that Ted Williams had no religious significance. If we hadn't named Bingley after Mr. Darcy's best friend, he would have been named Fenway. It was a close call. Prayers for those who mourn and those who are just beginning the long, slow, painful journey to recovery from their physical and emotional wounds.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Joy Of Rescue

Here are before and after pictures of the little dog from Mexico, that was rescued from a desperate life competing with much bigger, more aggressive dogs for food. Now named Lulu, she has become socialized and is gaining confidence. She is also potty trained. DNA testing revealed that she is not a Lhasa-Poodle mix but a Maltese-Yorkshire Terrier mix. She is now ready for her forever home. But since she is doing well in foster, there is no emergency and applicants will be carefully screened. If you are interested in adopting Lulu, please email me at portiasmom dot live dot com

The Importance Of Good Breeding

For those of us of a certain age, "Good Breeding" calls to mind our mothers' admonitions about good posture, prompt thank you notes,and crossing our legs at the ankles rather than at the knees--while keeping our knees together, of course! But this is a dog blog, and happily when we consider "Good Breeding" in dogs, we do not have to think about how far we have fallen from our mothers' expectations. Recently, I stopped by my veterinarian's office for a re-fill of heart-worm preventative. Seated in the waiting room, on her human's lap, was a vision of perfection: an exquisite Papillon--white, with black ears, perky and confident, polite to strangers, but not yippy or assertive. She was the embodiment of the breed standard. Happily, Bingley and Magic were not with me, and I did not have to beat a hasty retreat for fear of their making a light snack of this little darling. So I was able to discover that she was bred by a local breeder who truly loves and respects Papillons. This means that he is careful and selective of breeding pairs. He knows not only the physical conformation of prospective parents, but also personality and disposition. He breeds very few litters and selects homes for the resulting puppies with care. I have long been enchanted by Papillons, but had never seen a truly well bred representation of the breed. Like other toy breeds, Papillons have been the victims of gross over-breeding, careless mix breeding and--the ultimate horror--puppy mills. The vet tech who supplied me with all this information offered to give me the breeder's card. I thanked her, but told her that, much as I would adore the company of such a rare creature, I am dedicated to rescue, and I doubt that such a carefully bred and protected puppy would ever find its way into a rescue. When I got home, just out of curiosity, I searched out Papillon rescue on the internet. There is a nation-wide Papillon rescue sponsored by the breed club. And unlike many breed clubs, these dedicated Good Samaritans rescue not only needy Papillons, but also Papillon mixes. Among the forty-three expectant faces posted on their site were numerous "pure bred" Papillons that were cute and sweet, but obviously the product of ignorant or callous breeding. One of the "Happy Tails" was about the successful placement of a senior female whose life before rescue had been bounded by a small cage in a puppy mill, producing litter after litter of the sort of puppies who, themselves, had required rescue. And then there were the mixes. Why do people think that it's a good idea to breed two "cute little" dogs, regardless of their individual breeds? And some of these mixes weren't all that little--which speaks of still another form of neglect. In light of the desperate circumstances of millions of homeless dogs, many people involved in rescue are opposed to all planned dog breeding. The reasoning is that the over-breeding of dogs is so out of control and causes so much canine misery, no dog should be purchased. All dogs should be rescued. I understand that impulse. But, even though I will never again purchase a puppy from a breeder, I am glad that there are careful, responsible breeders who maintain the wonderful diversity of all the dog breeds we enjoy. The world would be a bleaker place without well bred Papillons, and German Shepherd Dogs and Pembroke Welsh Corgis and on and on. Furthermore, rescue is not for everyone at every time in their lives. Buying a pure-bred puppy from a responsible breeder offers a much more predictable canine companion than adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter. That's a fact that needs to be recognized. At this time in our lives, John and I have chosen rescue. But I am glad that there are careful, responsible breeders, who love dogs enough to perpetuate the breeds that make all our lives richer.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sorry 'Bout That!

It's been almost a month since my last post. I do apologize. My high school law teacher, Theodore Roosevelt Leiber, insisted that most "reasons" we gave him for late assignments and other infractions were not reasons at all, but excuses. I suspect that he would label any reasons I give for not blogging as excuses, so I'll spare you their recitation. But regardless of posts or no posts on this blog, the needs of homeless dogs and cats continue as do the joys that our canine and feline companions bring us. George the white male cat with black markings still needs a forever home. And I suspect Spike, a buff orange male cat does, too. The Lhasa Mix rescue from Mexico has been discovered to be a Maltese-Yorkshire Terrier Mix and has been christened Lulu. She has made great strides in her foster home and is now comfortable with kind humans and members of her foster mother's pack. But it would be best if she could find a forever home where she is either an only dog with a human who is home a great deal or one of two dogs. Like our Magic, she would thrive best in a setting where she can get more human attention than is possible for her to receive as a member of a six dog pack. There is no urgency about this home search and applicants will be carefully screened. If you are interested in being considered as Lulu's human, please email me. Another, very different, but very handsome dog is also in need of a home. Sherlock is a large--73 pound--Blue Merle Australian Shepherd. He has been well cared for, but his humans' life situation is changing and they can no longer meet his needs for exercise. I have written about herding breeds--Aussies, Border Collies, and German Shepherd Dogs in particular. These are not dogs for sedentary people. These are dogs who must have training, work, and exercise. If not, they will go stir-crazy and become quite destructive. But herding dog aficionados are as bored with other types of dogs as herding dogs are bored with nothing to do. If you believe that you are up to the challenge of being a herding dog's human, I will be happy to pass your name and information on to his people, who will be very choosey about who gets to take him home. If you are interested in providing any of these worthy pets with a permanent home, please email me at portiasmom at live dot com