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The Dog Lady Blog

Saturday, May 8, 2010 :


"...dear doggies, rest easy, you can stay with me until we find your home..."

Well, I couldn't be happier if I were twins: after the remarkable work and esteemed support of my attorney, Steve Voelker, against NAFCAC I am now back to doing what I do best: rescuing and rehoming dogs in need, providing them a safe and happy sanctuary. As most of you know, I rescued three dogs ("The Daisy Dogs") in early February; the same month, three years after being adopted from here, Clarkie came back to me after the family's two year old twins drove him crazy poking, pulling and peeving. Once here, he settled in so quickly it was if he'd never been gone. Happy, happy dogs live here.

This is a SANCTUARY, not a smelly, overcrowded, noisy concrete building full of unwanted animals that live in fear. No, here my dogs, every one of them, is wanted and is safe. Except, of course, when outsiders come in and try to destroy all the good work done here, not just for animals but the people who love them. Here with me, some dogs learn to be dogs again. They
come to me broken and though it may take a long time, I try to teach them that they're safe.

Last week my friend Joanne called me because her nephew Ryder needed a home for his dog. He and girlfriend Carly are moving to a fourth-floor-600-square-foot "apartment" in Brooklyn, New York. Desdemona, their dog, is a seven year old, eighty pound collie mix with a bit of diva in her. Despite New York City's plethora of divas, Desi would be miserable in such a tiny space with no immediate "yard" once outside the building. For Desi's people, as it is for most people who need my help (over 1,500 since 1998), Ryder and Carly were emotionally raw and distraught when they first called me. After meeting Desi, I agreed to take her and although tearful when they left, Carly and Ryder were visibly relieved and ultimately excited for Desi and her new life here with us. She can be a pain in the neck but so can a lot of people.

Day one for Desi was one of exploration, exaltation and urination. Later that evening she was rightfully tired and after nibbling kibble and a long, cool drink, she curled up at my feet here at my work table in the camper. I think she's doing particularly well since she's been Ryder's and Carly's dog all these years and was their "only child" at that. Today she's been running, playing tossing her "new" (but old to my crew) squeaky toys in the air. Her next favorite thing is rolling on her back in the soft, tall grass--and flirting, flirting, flirting with Sid. Of course, Sid is a hunk and a half...

Who is Sid, you ask? "Siddy" is a chocolate-hued six year old American Staffordshire terrier that my friend, Paulette, rescued in Scottsburg. Wherever he came from, it was not the best of homes but thankfully he wasn't "mistreated". He needed a high grade dog food in tandem with strong antibiotics to treat a sort of rosacea he's seemingly had all of his life; he is now flourishing. Before we got him, he wasn't neutered and his people allowed to run the countryside intact. Sigh. Siddy bonded to me immediately and has the sweetest, gentlest temperament, already a bit leeringly "protective" of me while still being a big baby. He's been here three weeks now. He's a bit scary looking but he's not scary. He HATES it when I cry. Last time I did, he climbed onto my lap (all sixty pounds of him) and licked my tears away. I love him so much already. Sid is a beautiful ambassador who dispels all the negative myths of his breed. A true gentleman and earnest soul.

Daisy-Mae, my bloodhound, is at nine months, "gettin' all growed up". Her thing is to hug. She preferes that you sit; she then climbs up on you, massive front paws only, and "mouths" your neck, ears and hair. Very gentle, without any teeth. She is beautiful and silly and sweet but she's very bossy of Sid--yet Sid loves it. All my dogs are "huggers" and love to nuzzle and cuddle. Daisy-Irene (the black and white beagle/Jack Russell mix) and Amy Jo (the singing beagle/bassett hound mix) are best friends, sillies who always wrestle prior to resting, on their cozy bed beneath my hammock in "the living room" of la camper. Those two tend to be the go-to party-starters of the pack although they all can get some puppy games going quickly when they want. Yesterday, like an audience, we all (the dogs and I) sat on the steps and watched Siddy playing with a ball, and he was so sweet! Just precious. Funny, goofy and as he tossed the ball into the air, he'd spring high up to catch it. I cheered him on and Amy Jo got jealous (par for the course), running over and making Sid give her the ball. Ever Lancelot, Sid did so without hesitation and then took his place on the steps beside me, grinning and full of himself. Happy, happy dogs live here.

This morning I took --I hate this term--"ownership" (with "papers", for the NAFC-blah-blah-blah) of Oso, Faith Ann and Thomas. Just think: earlier these three innocents were in a cold, concrete shelter hours from being killed yet here they are this evening resting on cozy, fluffy bedding, safely with me, Lawrence Welk about to come on PBS. It makes me me feel like I'm an antidote to bad, ugly things. I don't mean it with some sense of self-importance. It's more like I'm grateful to be back at "work". And since then I've got new, engaging dog tail tales, so let the stories begin...

My first impressions of the new-lings [my word], aka Oso, Faith Ann and Thomas?

Oso ("Oh-so-cute, Oh-so-smart!") is a outgoing and savvy. He nipped at one of his transporters this morning but he was simply scared. I bet he heard everyone talking about him at the shelter, as in, "Oso needs to go somewhere and fast because he's been here for a year..." (which I personally hate to hear. That's too long for any animal to live in a run at a shelter. And that's why I exist. "Unremarkable" dogs are the ones I love. He probably thought they were coming "for" him in the worst of ways. As soon as I met him this morning, Oso was putty in my hands He glommed onto me pretty quickly once we were on the road, riding "shotgun" as much as he could, doling out a kiss at this or that stop light. Once inside our home, la campere, he found that standing on my chair allows him to watch out over the back ridge, aerie-like. Oso has also created a spot for himself in the seat of said chair so that I have to sit on a smidgen of it's edge, coccyx-like. Oso really is a charming (sort of mini) yellow English Labrador retriever with a dash of beagle. He maybe weighs twenty pounds. He's very happy to be here, on my seat, truly unrepentant as he hogs most of it. Completely vetted, like all my other dogs, too.

Faith Ann is a treeing walker coon hound and she has had a rough, disregarded time in western Kentucky (but then who hasn't?). She's three years old and is, like all hounds, a melancholy beauty. I've got real weakness for the hounds, A-Z. The tenors of the canine world. Sonorous, velvet-eared and bitch-smart. With her new red collar that reads "812.945.0000 needs daily meds" (put that on your dog's collar or tags because if they get lost, you get quick action by whomever finds your dog) and a dose of Interceptor internally/TopSpot externally, Faith Ann
jumped from my parked truck once we arrived home. Norman and Franklin ushered all three death row buddies into their parallel universe--our world. Faith can't believe that she can run and run and run and run and then be welcomed inside the camper to sleep on a thick sofa cushion beside Thomas and the oil filled radiant heater. It's chilly and very windy here today. It would be a lot colder in the dead animal freezer at the shelter. Faith Ann knows she's hit the jackpot When she first comes home from the creek, she cowers on the porch, waiting to be yelled at or whatever. I'm "teaching" her that coming home can be good...."antidote to hurt", anyone?

Finally, but not last, is Thomas, a skinny "unremarkable" black lab. He's very shy and a little tentative in his new home. I'll need a few days to understand his emotional needs and get into his head. Thomas doesn't trust people. I completely understand, at least when it comes to certain people. Thus my devotion to animals, land and intentional acts of kindness.

It's 6pm. My temporary crown is really irritating (in truth hurting) me so I think the dogs and I will take a walk and see if a little endorphin-inducement helps ease my pain. I've got a fantastic new dentist who is not only a wizard of dentistry but a generous and warm hearted man. I can
recommend him without hesitation. He gives the BEST shots, as in you don't know you're getting one. That's amazing. Dr. Don Feeney in Louisville, Kentucky, 502.458.1251. Thanks, Doc!

This has been a good week. I'm happy. Four dogs saved! I'm still broke but I don't care. Seeing these dogs all so happy, free, safe and redeemed; watching them finally relax and feel relieved is worth a million dollars of real money. I'm such a geek but I don't care. I LOVE WHAT I DO!



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