A special thanks to Auntie Sasa for creating this little video of Alfa, Bravo and Charlie, who are becoming increasingly difficult to photograph. Hope you enjoy.
Tag Archives: dog rescue
Ah, where to begin . . .
It’s been a very busy week around the dog house. The puppies have grown SO much, their eyes are now open and they can no longer be trusted to stay in their nest. Alfa is tipping the scales at a hefty 264 grams and little Charlie’s not far behind at 260 grams. Bravo seems the steady gainer at 256 grams. As I said, all eyes are open – the milky baby blue that will likely turn to some shade of brown – and after hours of googling puppy pics, I can say the tinies look a bit like the “designer” dog Ratshire Chihuahua. Yes, there are people who breed and sell puppies that take the Rat Terrier/Yorkshire Terrier mix and add in a dash of Chihuahua. The dogs are adorable, but I am currently constructing a soap box from which to rant about the foolishness of such breedings. When I was a kid, there were pure breeds and mutts and you could find both at the local shelter. The same is true today.
Mick, our Basenji, still struggles to accept the presence of the two adult fosters, Mike and Duke, but shows an odd tenderness to the babies, issuing a warning growl to the other dogs when they draw too close at bottle feedings. The scrappy little fellow has picked fights with massive Duke, but gently cleans the little ones, enjoying the warm, sweet mix of milk and pumpkin that spills from the corners of their mouths (at some point, I’ll create a page on my neonatal experience, explaining the pumpkin, but suffice it to say, the pumpkin was a lifesaver).
Bailey and Duke show little interest in the puppies and, unfortunately, Mike is indiscriminate in his taste and I have to keep all the soiled bedding well out of reach. To switch gears a bit, however, Mike is showing loads of progress in his fearfulness. Though he seems to meet Dylan, my teenager, with new eyes every day, he has finally allowed Dylan to approach and will, on occasion, lick his hand and accept a scratch behind the ears. Duke is still the showboat. He will need a very smart owner. Last night, I gathered all the toys (which Duke loves to hoard) and placed them in a little lidded basket I keep by the back door for pet supplies. I’ve done it before, but not in his presence. I wanted them out of the way so I could vacuum. In a moment of distraction commonly described as ADHD, I began unloading the dishwasher and making a cup of tea rather than sticking to the task at hand. As I stood at the counter, cradling my warm mug and enjoying the waft of rooibos, fruit and vanilla spice, I spied Duke lurking in the shadow of the pool table. Slinking around a table leg, he craned his neck to the right to locate me and, apparently not realizing I can see, tip-toed Scooby Doo-style to the basket where he gently nosed the lid, discovering he could retrieve his toys. He made trip after trip to the basket, removing one toy at a time, hiding each under the pool table and finding, to his delight, a NEW toy, a plush I’d stored because Mike enjoys nothing more than disemboweling stuffies. Once again, I am astounded at Duke’s genius and determination. His problem-solving ability is such a pleasure to watch and I know I will miss his antics.
As an avid reader, a writer, a traveler and a bonafide Geek, I have always been intrigued by the naming of things. I ponder the various connections between the person, place or thing and its given name. How do they relate? After all, some of us sentimental humans can be downright prosaic when naming our children. Garth Brooks named his daughter “Taylor Maine” after James Taylor (a favorite of his – and why not? Sweet Baby James is quite a force) and the state of Maine where she had been conceived. Kinda cool in this case, the same scenario may have been sad had she been conceived in, say Saskatoon – really fun to say, but perhaps challenging at best on the school yard.
And then there are street names or odonyms (seriously, there’s a name for street names and it’s probably an SAT favorite). Some areas are themed, while others could be named for a child of the folks who first owned the land where the street was first given signage. There are streets named by or for town legends, such as Flaming Lips Boulevard in Oklahoma City. I know I am not alone in my fascination because there’s a Wikipedia article about street names.
My point is, naming the dogs was a big deal to me. Kerry named Mike because he “looks like a Mike” and I had no argument for that – well, no appealing argument. But Mike stuck rather easily to the big-eyed, restless fella and soon he’s Big Mike and Mikey, as well. Perhaps the litmus of suitable naming is the comfortable application of nicknames.
Molly was equally easy once we got her home. When I’d first met her at the shelter, another volunteer and I had shared the same thought (an eery psychic moment): Penelope. I like that name, but it’s not conducive to dog training. Penny would have been sweet and short enough, but she’s a sleek black Border Collie and I thought of shiny copper penny, so no go. We have Bailey and Mick: fine, Irish-inspired names for our family dogs of Belgian and Congolese origin respectively. Molly fit the family tradition and, in Ireland, on our honeymoon, Kerry and I had been enticed to play fetch (with a rock!) by a gorgeous, whipsmart BC on the Island of Inisheer/Inis Oirr.
Where the politicking and staking of claims got intense was over the naming of Duke. He was Rex, Jake, Hondo, Othello, Butch, Buster, Mulder (sorry, Sara), Ace, Rocky, Spike and a handful of other names over the course of two days. I preferred Rex (an homage to my very first dog, King, a stunning Samoyed Husky), but Lily (the 8-year-old) and Kerry liked Duke. So, in my mind, Duke is John Wayne in The Quiet Man, a dog who doesn’t want to fight and just wants to go home.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu
A single step would have been plenty, but, rarely one to approach a task incrementally, I chose to take three steps at once. In an attempt at fulfilling a long time dream of operating a dog rescue (long time, as in, since childhood, lying awake nights picturing acres and acres of rolling hills upon which every unwanted dog could frolic away his/her canine days), I signed up to volunteer at a local animal shelter. I walked dogs once. Two days later, I approached the shelter’s director, requesting permission to foster three dogs.
This is the beginning of my journey. I have been entrusted with the care of three precious pooches, for whom I aim to find suitable, life-long homes. This blog is dedicated to that pursuit, to my love of dogs and to my personal experience as a budding rescuer. I hope you enjoy the journey.