Baby the Dog

Years ago – though it feels like a lifetime ago – and before I owned my sugarplum Mia, there was the original mischievous sprite: A dog named Baby.

At one of those “What am I doing with my life” crossroads, I started reading about dog rescue groups and volunteered just a tiny bit of time to Pomeranian and Small Breed Rescue, in Ontario.

This tiny bit of time wasn’t heroic, nor world-changing in any way, as we maybe first imagine volunteering will be. Nor did it stick: Within a year I had fallen in love with writing film reviews, and I gave this new passion all my time, outside of my day job.

So, yes. A volunteering fail, on the days I’m hard on myself. Which is most days. No, if I’m being honest, it’s every day.

But it was also a small glimpse into what seems like an alternate reality: Communities of people, who band together, who give all their time and savings, who clean up dog barf and risk getting mauled.

Everyday. For nothing. For a dog, or many dogs, that they will say goodbye to in the end. Some volunteers foster their dogs for months, or years, with a painful mix of love and knowing that any day it could be time to let go.

And so, like many others who learn about animal rescue, it started with hours each night, devouring all the information I could, and living in utter shock at what I found. I’d come to work drained and with cry-eyes, with images of injured and traumatized death row dogs filling my head.

I’d meet these people, these incredible and amazing people, and couldn’t fathom how they  manage with their huge hearts and their brave faces. Their homes nearly have revolving doors, as they often welcome four, five, six new dogs. With few questions or objections. Biting dogs, backyard escapee Houdini dogs, diseased dogs and even terminally ill dogs.

When you foster a rescue dog, you soon stop caring about wanting a perfect dog. A breeder dog. A picture of health and obedience. A lucky dog. You find yourself wondering how many rescue dogs could you squeeze into your tiny apartment – because anything is better than the life they have now.

And so we started me off with Baby, an owner-surrendered Shih Tzu mix with an overbite. A playful, ridiculous goofball of a dog. And oh my, was it ever love. Within a week I had submitted my application to adopt her. A “foster failure” as it is jokingly called in rescue circles.

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But there was a problem. My goofy girl had separation anxiety, and as our bond grew, so did her condition. Neighbours complained about increasing amounts of barking while I was at work. Claw marks on the door were soon dabbed with bloodstains, as she had scraped until her nails were chipped down to their quakes.

So as my heart broke, she was immediately re-homed. They found a retired foster mom who could be home with her all day. Her adoption papers now voided, and my home suddenly feeling emptier than it ever did before.

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Within weeks, Baby got adopted by a great lady who works from home, has a huge backyard and other dogs to keep her company. And although I truly hate goodbyes, I know she found the right home.

What I learned from Baby is what I really wanted: A crazy, goofy, imperfect dog. Later, when I was ready to try again, that’s exactly what I found in my Lhasa Apso, Mia.

But that story is an even more emotional one, so I’ll have to save it for another day.

I still hold all at Pomeranian and Small Breed Rescue in the highest regard. They changed my life as much as Baby’s. If ever interested in volunteering or in adopting a dog, I recommend them wholeheartedly. You can read about them at http://www.psbrescue.com

Who’s a Good Boy? Cooper is!

When I asked readers to share their pics and stories, Arthur Muhlig’s enthusiasm was unparalleled. So without further delay, here is Cooper.

“OMG, I’m such a goof owner when it comes to having fun with Cooper!” says Arthur. “He’s so darn special. There’s nothing that’s going to separate him from me!”

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Splendour in the grass: Cooper chills out and has a nibble. At other times, he’s a crazy tail-wagger in surprising situations: Cooper loves going to the vet! He even whimpers when he getting close.

And the cherry on top? He’s well heeled! If, during a walk, the leash tangled in his legs, all his human has to say is “Paw, paw.” and Cooper walks backwards until he’s  untangled!
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Now who’s a good boy, Cooper? You are!

“Jackie, the Puppy” by neihtn

Jackie is a Golden Retriever puppy that has been in our home for over a month. She is now a little bit over three months old. She looks pretty, but can be quite a bundle to handle.

via Jackie, the Puppy — neihtn

“Review: Lily & The Octopus by Steven Rowley” by Phoebe Quinn

This review does not contain spoilers but may indirectly refer to some events contained within the novel There was another Phoebe. A long-haired miniature dachshund who came to live with my family when I was thirteen, who died almost three years ago one sticky, dense August. I happened to have an assessment with a therapist that […]

via Review: Lily & The Octopus by Steven Rowley — Phoebe Quinn

“While Walking My Dog’s Ghost by O at the Edges

While Walking My Dog’s Ghost I spot a baby rabbit lying still in a clump of grass no wider than my hand. It quivers, but I pretend not to have seen, for fear that the dog, ghost or not, will frighten and chase it into the brush, beyond its mother’s range, perhaps to become […]

via While Walking My Dog’s Ghost — O at the Edges