Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Puppy on the Way

Between business at work, evenings at the gym, coordinating a trip to Florida to visit my granchildren, and time spent on the New Puppy, I've missed blogging and visiting.  For this post, I'll describe the serendipitous, or maybe, spontaneous, or maybe jumping before one thinks, events that lead to me getting a New Puppy.

It started out on a random day, a Tuesday I think, during which I was struggling.  I wanted to make something good happen.  Yet there I was, lost in a sea of negativitiy.  Without any planning or foresight or even any thought, I suddenly stopped what I was doing, opened my web browser and typed in "petfinder.com."  I wanted to save something.  Change a life.  Rescue a loving heart from a cement floor, cage and likely death. 

The page showed hundreds of thousands of animals needing adoption - where to begin?  All I knew was not much - I "heard" that shelters in the South are likely to euthanize unadopted animals.  I also knew that the shelters in this state did not.  Okay, well my dogs are Portuguese Water Dogs, my dog of choice: no shedding, no smell, smart, and trainable working dogs.  Not likely to find any of PWDs at a shelter thought, didn't President Obama already say that?  Only 13 dogs of that breed left in the 70's, few even heard of them before the President's gift from Senator Kennedy, surely betweeen scarcity and new found popularity, what is the likelihood that one would have been so carelessly discarded in a shelter?

My search for a PWD resulted in about 14.  Huh!  More that I thought.  As I looked at the sad pictures, like innocent line-ups, I saw that they were all mixed breed (not that there is anything WRONG with that!), or from California (too far!)... except wait a minute....  There was the worst line-up photo I had every seen.  Just the top of a black head, one white toe peaking out from the body in a weird, floating photo angle.  But, the flash on the cell phone that took the picture caught the unmistakeable sheen and wave of PWD hair on the top of that little girl puppy's head.  It looked JUST like my dog.




(That's my dog - not the line-up photo of the dog on the shelter.) Sheesh, I could not believe how terrible that photo was.  I mean really... these photos are posted to try to SELL these wonderful animals who so desperately need a home.  So, what possible justification is there in posting a photo of the top of her head?  It's bad enough that these dogs are black.  Black Dog Syndrome is a known phenomenon to shelters.  A local shelter even ran an ad before Thanksgiving for a "Black Friday Special," 50% off an adoption of a black animal, along with an explanation of Black Dog Syndrome as the reduced likelihood of a dog being adopted if it is black.  They believe that it is because it is more difficult to see their faces and eyes - and that a black dog does not photograph well.  Whatever the reason, fewer black dogs get adopted.

I called the shelter to ask about my top-of-the-head photo dog.  The shelter was in Florida.  The person who answered the phone could not give me a lot of information.  Just a few facts and assumptions plugged into the computer: female; arrived October 12th; stray; believed to be 6 months old.  The person did not know why she was "still there."  I asked why?  They just don't usually keep them that long, she said.  They have so many dogs, she said.  They must be saving her for the Pet Fair they were having in December, she said.  She did not know the dog.  The shelter was huge.  It held 600 to 800 dogs, 50 or so new arrivals each day.  You understand, she said.  We just can't keep them all.  

My father lives an hour or so from this shelter.  I decided to call and ask him the huge favor of going to check this dog out.  I just wanted him to see what she was like - after all, I could only see the hair on the top of her head.  To his credit, he and my stepmother took this on as a project.  They are animal lovers, too.  It became a mission to save a dog, at least 1 dog of the tens of thousands who need love and a home. They drove there the next day and adopted the puppy on my behalf.  They decided it was no question that we would rescue her.  If I did not want her, then they would keep her.  Aside from being skinny and smelly from a month of kennel living, she seemed to have a sweet personality.  She had to be spayed, so my father had to leave her and come back a week later to bring her home.  The shelter was exceptionally clean, and she was as well cared for as she could be.

Now she's been at my father's for a week.  He's graciously offered to drive her from Florida to New Hampshire for me so she does not have to be crated in an airplane. He and my stepmother have bathed her, walked her miles, cleaned up puppy accidents, monitored her for chewing mishaps, and taken her to the vet's for lingering diarrhea.  She's had hookworm and tapeworm, and they can't travel with her until she heals from the spaying and diarrhea.  She's good natured and exhuberant and energetic and loves people and just wants to play. 

So, my whim turned into a whole chain of events, which will soon culminate in a new addition to our family.  

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Saying Goodbye to the Geese



The other morning on the way to work, another round of Canada Geese were in the cornfield, resting and eating what they could find before they continued on their journey.  I look out for the geese every day.  Somehow, they are a comfort to me.  This day, I decided to stop and take a photo.  Unfortunately, by the time I got my SD stick out of my laptop and into my camera and out of the back seat of my car, the geese had moved off, too wary of me to continue scavenging in the harvested cornfield. They retreat to the grass farther away from the road.  So, the photos are not good, but if you click on the photo, it will fill the screen and give you a better view if you would like.





These geese are just passing through.  They came from somewhere farther North, but even here is not the end, not their Winter's resting spot.  Snow will likely cover this field in a month.  There was, though, a small flock who make their Summer home just a mile closer to my home on this same road.  Each year they arrive, perhaps a half dozen pairs.  Not long after they arrive, dozens of small grey goslings follow behind their parents.  I am always amazed at how quickly they lay and hatch their eggs.  This flock of geese spend the whole Summer in ths spot just down the road, where a small pond nestles in the middle of a few acres of grassy field.  In another amazingly brief amount of time, the goslings are indistinguishable from their parents.  Then they fly off, and it's Fall.

Right now, I can not describe why I feel so strongly about these geese, or even what I feel.  It's almost like all the rhythm and power of seasons and life are condensed into these migrating geese. 

Since the photos were taken, I haven't seen any more geese.  I think the last of them have passed on through, but I look forward to their return.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not Like I Used to Be

(Photo from Flickr by Tomcat)

It shattered all illusion.  Illusion of fitness, that is.  Smugness.  Oh, I exercise almost daily, I said.  I am fit.  I'll just take this indoor cycling class because it's dark now after work.  I can't go for a walk during the week until Spring.  I guess I'll do a couple of these 45 minute cycling workouts for maintenance. Hah!  I got so tired tonight at one point I almost fell off the bike - and I wasn't even working as hard as everybody else. 

On top of that, I got nauseous from drinking Pine-Sol tasting water.  Why, you might ask?  Because this morning I pulled my old bike's water bottle off the cobwebbed bike in the garage.  It looked kinda moldy, so I thought I would "sanitized" it by soaking it in water with a bit of disinfectant - Pine-Sol.  I had no fear; I could rinse it out.  Mistake.  I think I poisoned myself.

I'm still coughing from the strain on my lungs.  I used to do high impact aerobics regularly just, oh, 10 or 15 years ago... hmmmm.  The first step back is the hardest.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cowgirl Philosophy

"The way I figure it, Heaven and Hell are right here on Earth.  Heaven is living in your hopes and Hell is living in your fears.  It's up to each individual which one he chooses."  Bonanza Jellybean.  Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins.