Pushin’ A Rock, Pushin’ A Rock . . .

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
– Albert Camus

It’s not that I’m against setting goals, it’s that I’m not a fan of epic public failure, so it’s difficult for me to post – all the world to see and all that – a blog stating with certainty that I will publish once a week for the entire year of 2011. But, then, once a week isn’t really that often, right? I mean, even when it’s just a quote I like, I post almost daily to Facebook, so what excuse would I have for failing to post to my blog 52 times over the next 11.5 months?

So, there it is. I’ve made public my intention to blog once a week. Like Sisyphus, I will voluntarily push my rock up the mountainside and look for pleasure, joy, wisdom and meaning in the struggle.

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Pup-date

Now that the kitchen scale is up and running, we have new stats on the tinies:

Alfa weighs in at a whopping 222 grams, approximately .49 pounds — don’t mess with him or he’ll sit on you. Bravo is the smallest at 208 grams (about .45 pounds), but has doubled his weight from Saturday, so we’re pleased. Miss Charlie lands somewhere in the middle of her brothers, weighing 214 grams, or about .47 pounds. The darlings had an outing today: first, to the yoga studio and then on some errands, including FreeBirds, Target and Petsmart . . . . no one ever asks what’s in the shoebox! It’s AWESOME!

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Gallery III: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie

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Learning the ABC’s

Alfa Bravo Charlie . . . three new foster babies, dumped at the animal shelter less than a week into their lives by, well, honestly, I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. I really don’t care, as it is of no consequence. What I do care about is this trio of tinies, named for the first three letters of the ICAO phonetic alphabet: Alfa, the slightly larger male (slightly, because he is 1/2 inch longer than his sibs: a whopping 6″), Bravo, the smaller male, and Charlie, the little sister. According to their kennel card, each pup weighed 0.2 pounds when I brought them home, nestled in a towel-padded shoe box, after a long day walking dogs and showing pups to potential adopters.

If you’ve been following the blog and doing the math, you know we are now the minority species in the house. Keep in mind the title of this blogspot: St. Rocco’s Tails. If Baptists practiced canonization, my husband would most definitely be added to the rolls. Kerry shook his head and smiled as he listened to my story: one of the shelter attendants, Jamaal, a great kid with a big heart and an even bigger soft spot for dogs, approached me as I shuttled puppies (the shelter had been overrun after the Christmas holiday – something close to 100 youngsters surrendered or found stray, most of them larger breed mixes and hard to place) to and from the nursery gallery, hoping a few would find good homes. His head hung low over the shoe box, at the time filled with dirty t-shirts. “They’ve been here all day. I’ve got to find someone to take ’em. They don’t even have their eyes opened.” He’d asked a few of the volunteers before he spotted me. I asked him what he had in the box and he gently turned back the soiled cotton to reveal a huddled knot of black fur tinged with deep brown.

San, a foster mom awaiting the go-ahead to take two other babies home (precious pit or possibly American bulldog mixes surrendered in a litter of nine), gasped, “Oh my gosh! They’re SO small!” They were. Jamaal found some formula for San’s girls and the tiny trio and we sat in an office for a brief feeding. Jamaal then explained a bit about neonatal puppy care:

1. “They need to stay warm, so a heating pad is good.” Check

2. “They’ll need to eat about every two hours or so.” I’ve nursed three kids – no sleep – Check

3. “You’ll need to help them go to the bathroom.” I think I know where you’re going with this, but humor me. You want me to juice a puppy?

I’d read about this recently, so I wasn’t shocked, but anyone who considers fostering neonatals should be aware: you are responsible for simulating the work of the mama dog or cat. Part of that work includes stimulating the wee one’s digestive tract. A mother dog will lick her pup in order to activate digestion, relieve gas and encourage waste removal. We’ve come to think of it as “juicing the puppies.” I gently stroke their backs, bellies and perineums, pretending to be the mommy dog. To take my mind off the subsequent flow of puppy poo into my hand/lap/sink/what have you, I make up silly songs and coo words of encouragement: happy bowels make healthy puppies.

So, here we are on Day Four. I’m replacing the battery in the kitchen scale so we can do regular weigh-ins, but they have grown in length since Saturday:
Alfa is now 8″ long, Bravo measures almost 7″ and little Charlie is at 6.5.” She may be small, but don’t count her out – she’s the most active of the bunch, attempting to crawl from the box, making me very nervous. Alfa’s stools are a little loose, also making me nervous, so we are watching him, adding puppy pedialyte to his diet to keep him hydrated. All of them are cuddlers and I can be found with puppies tucked into my neck or curled over my heart for warmth. I can’t speak for the laundry and dishes – chores take a bit longer with feedings and juicings between to-do items.

I’ll try to update regularly and, when they get a little bigger, we can speculate over their breed. But for now, enjoy the gallery at your peril :0)

Warning: They are dangerously adorable.

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Afternoon Delight

“Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy. You deserve delight.”
Hannah Arendt

It is easy to sit in the quiet of an afternoon of sleeping dogs, warm fur and a comfortable bed, and be filled with delight.

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Gallery II

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Nature’s Miracle: Forgiveness

I haven’t had a lot of time to write lately. It’s the same excuse most of us have at the start of Winter: the Holidays. It couldn’t possibly be the two extra dogs in the house, who, in their first two or three weeks with us, were too shelter-shocked to do much more than sleep and eat, but, of late, have taken to mad romps across sofa, stairs and pool table (yes, Duke has been found standing on the pool table of a morning, surveying his territory).

However, before I take off for a day of galavanting (read: running errands), I have this thought:

If dogs have taught me anything, it’s that love is often measured in ounces of forgiveness (and Nature’s Miracle, the stain and odor remover)

I realize my audience may respond with a collective, “duh,” about the correlation between love and forgiveness, but how often are we truly struck with that correlation? Because, when I was hosing down floor, pet gate, dogs and toys this morning after an altercation over most-beloved-purple-Kong-Wubba that led to micturition — of the voluminous sort, subsequently tracked about in the melee — I found myself chuckling, petting heads and soothing hurt feelings, rather than scolding and shooing pups out the back door.  I have lost count of how much Nature’s Miracle and hydrogen peroxide we’ve used over the last month, while the ratio of pounds of dog food to pounds of dog poop has become the subject of side bets, math problems and good humor. That the myriad of inconveniences involved in fostering has become joke fodder is evidence of the miracle of forgiveness extended by and to all members of my household, two- and four-legged alike. We are awash in forgiveness.

 

This post brought to you by “Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover: permanently eliminates all stains & odors – even urine odors other products fail to remove. Guaranteed or your money back!” Available in a convenient one gallon refill.

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