Monday, March 26, 2012

Keeper's Keepin' It Real: Through a dog's lens

Keeper was adopted from the Humane Society a few years ago. Every now and then I'll get a few entries from Keeper's own blog, and it always cracks me up. Thought I'd share one with you all:

Today The Old Woman cooked on the circle of fire outside.   I like it when she does that!!!!!   I encouraged her by barking.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   I started my encouragement as soon as I heard her rattle the lid off the circle of fire.  Bark.   Bark.   I know that sound!!!!!   I kept on encouraging The Old Woman when she made the fire start.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   I encouraged her when The Old Woman put the meat on.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.  I encouraged her when the smell of - PORK!!!  and BARBEQUE SAUCE came in the house.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.  Bark.   I chased skwirles away so they wouldn't get the meat.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   All that encouraging and protecting was hard work.   I need some PORK!!!! to renew my strength.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   PORK!!!!!    Fire burnt pig!!!!!!   I LIKE IT!!!!!   Do skwirls eat PORK!!!!?   Can't take the chance!!!!!   Bark.  Bark.

The Old Woman put some leaves and cheese in my bowl.   What?!?!???   After all that encouraging and protecting?!?!!?!   Bark.  Bark.   Hey, Old Woman, bark, I want PORK!!!!   The Old Woman put blackberries in my bowl.   I like blackberries but there's PORK!!! on the wind!   I get leaves and berries for my loyalty?    Bark.   I protest!   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Hey, Old Woman, don't forget who chased off the skwirl!!!!!  Bark.

Oooooo!    Ooooo!   The Old Woman gave me PORK!!!!  I love The Old Woman.   I told The Old Woman I LOVE YOU!!!   Bark.   Bark.  Bark.    I WANT MORE!!!!   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   I WANT MORE!!!!!   Bark.   Bark.

Later - nap time.   Finished off some PORK!!! and some leaves called "cole slaw" (phoooey) and some yummy berries and some garlic bread.   Nap time.  First I have to thank The Old Woman before I curl up.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.   Bark.

Why am I shut in the bathroom? 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rescue Road Trip Melodies

It has been 3 months since Betty and Rosie, two 8 yr old lab sisters, came through the Humane Society doors (very familiar doors to them) to stay.  Betty and Rosie had been patients at the Humane Society vet clinic for many years.  The two girls were always one step behind dad, tails and tongues wagging happily. 

We all have experienced that moment when things in life go from ‘tail waggingly happy’ to ‘tail tuckingly crappy’ in a matter of seconds.  This is what happened to Betty and Rosie, due to unavoidable and regrettable circumstances.  It was a very poignant scene when dad said goodbye to his girls, and I think all of us who love our dogs and think of them as members of the family can imagine the heartbreak he felt at having come to this inevitable parting. 

It is not easy to adopt out an adult black lab (a surprising fact for those who own and love the breed).  It is downright difficult to adopt out an 8 year old black lab.  It is extremely difficult to adopt out two 8 yr old black labs together (separating them was never a thought).  And so though we at the Humane Society knew these to be two awesome and lovable girls, we also realized the probability of a long stay here for Betty and Rosie.  And those two girls were real troopers.  Imagine for a moment that you go from stretching out on the couch during the day and sleeping in a nice, comfy bed each night in the only home you’ve ever known…….to the new world of a shelter kennel: without ‘your’ people, a small and lonely abode, the sound of strange dogs barking incessantly, and no home base to run for safety.  But Betty and Rosie, as disoriented and confused as they must have felt, braved that storm of uncertainty with (reluctantly at first) tails still a waggin’. 

I am firmly convinced that our thoughts and energy variants travel through the ether, affecting us in ways unimagined.  For one day as I walked in to work and noticed Betty and Rosie nosing the kennel for attention, I thought of just those things which I mentioned earlier.  And lo and behold, I receive an email from Linda.  Linda is a friend of a friend of Betty and Rosie’s previous owners.  She heard their story, and immediately felt drawn to them.  She wanted to adopt them both!  The only problem?  Linda lives in Sarasota, FL and even if we were to get them to her, couldn’t take them for another month or so. 

Usually I shy away from in-the-future adopters, as I call them.  More often than not, the adoption falls through for any number of reasons.  But the more I communicated with Linda, the more I began to realize that the match may be kismet, after all.  She stayed in touch, emailing for updates on ‘the girls’ and asking for help to get them to her in a few weeks. 

So I send out a plea for help from my trusty STHS volunteers.  Can someone drive these girls to meet Linda halfway?  I got a few responses, but always some little detail prevented the plan from going forward.  And then…….Melody stepped forward to save the day.  She and her friend Lisa drove Betty and Rosie to Tallahassee, FL to meet their new mom on Saturday!!!  It was a great day for all……especially for our 2 girls.  And I hope Melody will forgive me for quoting her, but it’s good stuff.  When I thanked her profusely for donating her time, money, and energy in such a selfless manner, she replied: 

The trip was great--375 miles one way.  It was a great adventure. I got to spend the day with my best friend, Lisa catching up on things, Betty and Rosie, 2 great dogs, meeting Linda, a nice lady and got to go to the Gulf of Mexico and put my toes in the water!
This trip was possible thanks to my boyfriend, Joel, for the use of his van and a tank of gas, to Lisa for riding shotgun and helping to walk the dogs, and to Linda for opening her heart to adopting such fine animals.”

And in my opinion, that’s just what it’s all about, folks! 

STHS Minion

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Two Brothers......and Anna

Anna Fernandez walked through our shelter doors about a month ago and introduced herself. She has a dog walking/sitting service and is also working on her certification for dog behaviorist. She asked if we had any dogs that could use some…..uhhh….fine tuning. Of course most of our dogs could use that….heck, I could use some fine tuning myself. She showed no interest in teaching me how to become more social or like-able, but did seem interested in helping our long term resident, Mennen, with this problem. Mennen is close to a year now. He is Boxer/mystery mix and has been at the shelter since he was a mere 3 months old. He knows no home other than a kennel, and no family other than his kennel mate Chadwick and the shelter staff, who know the dog he is, and not the one he appears to be. Mennen is cage aggressive, a nasty way of saying merely that he is territorial of his space and frightened of strange people who come too close and cause him to feel threatened. When Mennen comes out of the kennel, he shakes uncontrollably, tail tucked securely between his legs, and looks at the world through wide, terrified eyes. Anna’s dog that needed fine tuning: Mennen.

One afternoon a few days later, I walk outside and see someone in Mennen’s kennel. It is Anna. She sat quietly in the corner of Mennen’s kennel, letting him come to her, allowing Mennen to call the shots and decide for himself whether this was a good guy or bad guy (and good guys ALWAYS have treats in their pockets….just FYI). Anna came every few days to spend time with Mennen, and with each subsequent visit we began to notice small changes in Mennen. He was calmer when potential adopters walked down adoption row, he barked less, he smiled more (yes, Mennen smiles). One day Anna felt she had gotten to a point at which she should raise Mennen’s exposure level a notch, and sat with him in the lobby as people and dogs came and went. Clients and staff alike talked to Mennen and reached to pet him as they passed by. What did Mennen do? He sat smugly and quietly, tail and tongue wagging wildly. He devoured the positive attention. He was positively a different dog, one comfortable in his own skin…and that transformation was a beautiful thing to witness. I am happy to report that Mennen was chosen by a couple up North for adoption, and will be headed to Tenafly, New Jersey next weekend!

And so it is a happy ending for our Mennen, but there are still so many dogs with the very same issues and psychoses. For it is easy for a dog’s spirit to devolve into a fearful and frustrated one when they have been in the confines of a kennel (no matter how humane the conditions) for a lengthy period of time. Do we have another dog like Mennen? Yes, his name is Mitchum…….Mennen’s brother. But Mitchum has a new friend in his corner these days. Her name is Anna, and the two of them can be seen palling around together in the exercise yards whenever Anna can break away to offer her time and guidance to the dogs here who need it. I could go on and on about what Anna does for our Mitchum, but why don’t you see for yourselves: