Monday, August 13, 2012

For Dog and Country


We're admitted dog lovers over here, only we're not insane about it. I mean, we don't feed them people food or dress them up or anything like that. But, the Friends of  Memphis Animal Services has a Facebook page where they regularly post pictures of cats and dogs available for adoption, and they hooked me. I saw a picture of a puppy's face that said to me, "I'm out here waiting for you." My father's name was Sam, but that doesn't necessarily make me the "Son of Sam" unless I begin to listen to the canine voices in my head. So, I re-posted the picture instead with the suggestion that, "Someone needs to go out and grab this little girl up." Only, no one did. I followed the dog's progress for a couple of weeks but there were still no takers. Melody and I already have two adopted dogs; only they adopted us. We didn't have to go anywhere or do anything. Each dog just wandered up separately and decided to stay, so we certainly weren't looking for another. But the days continued to pass with the pup still in the pound until we began to become concerned about the animal's well-being. We decided to drive out to the shelter and look at the dog with the understanding that if it were skittish or sick, we would leave it alone. Guess who has a new puppy?

The new shelter is clean and attractive, but when we approached the front desk and inquired about the dog, they didn't know what we were talking about. We were told by a stoic civil servant whose job reeked of political patronage that we needed to ask one of the volunteers about any particular dog whose photo appeared online. I turned in search of such a person and saw a large cage against the lobby wall with the floor coated in The Commercial Appeal. A sign on it read, "Pet of the day," and there was the puppy, looking into my eyes and telepathically transmitting, "So, you've finally come." I said to Melody, "This is our dog." A volunteer spotted us ogling the dog and informed us that she happened to be on sale that day. When we carried the pup outside and placed her on the ground, she reacted as if she had never seen grass before. She was thin, but not malnourished, and had been spade and given her first shots, only she was filthy from living in cages. The kindly woman volunteer said that if we agreed to adopt, she would give the dog a bath and a pill that kills all fleas immediately. Melody and I exchanged looks and said, "get out the bath salts, this baby's going home with us."

When asked what kind of dogs I have, I usually say, "a black one and a white one," since they are of indeterminate ancestry. Both males, the black dog, Steve, looks like a Lab/hound mix with a sway- back and a bum leg. Jack, the little one, resembles the love child of a rat terrier and a Chihuahua with a bad disposition. We named the new pup Nancy, after a dear friend, because they're both so sweet. Steve immediately claimed her as his girlfriend, which was just as well since Jack, the alpha with a little man complex, refused to look at her. Nancy stared disbelieving at all that backyard to wander, but she could still barely walk and stepped as gingerly as a chicken on a hot-plate. After a pet store run, some puppy food, and a couple of chew toys, we sat back and watched her come alive. Melody is the Dog Whisperer of this family and had the pup house-broken in a week. Since the puppy never suffered abuse, she fortunately doesn't have any emotional issues, unlike Steve who bows up like a camel at the sight of a fly-swatter, or Jack, whose chronic licking has caused his paws to resemble the stigmata. Nancy did have one bad habit, and I'll put this as delicately as possible. Because she was underfed at the shelter, she developed an untenable interest in the other dogs' leavings; and nobody wants a shit-eating dog. Melody solved the problem instantly and enterprisingly by sprinkling the poop with red-pepper flakes. Nancy is now back on her puppy-food diet.

It's been awhile since I raised a pup, and I had forgotten that the reality is far more taxing than the fantasy of doggie kisses and belly-rubs. Melody compared it to raising an infant that is either asleep or needs constant attention. The rough play and growling noise of the pup playing with Steve is constant and nerve-racking because you're never sure when it's getting serious. Jack, the little dog, keeps looking at me as if to ask, "What have you done? Everything was fine!" But after a week or so, everyone seemed to be adjusting well, and as soon as the puppy calms down in five years or so, we'll have a peaceful home once again. I should amend that last statement by saying everyone is adjusting well except me. It's because I had completely forgotten the teething phase, and although we got the puppy some twisted ropes, rubber balls, and squeaky toys, it's my right arm that looks like a Nylabone. I've been instructed to be more alpha with the dog and shout "no" and put her down when she starts biting my arms and hands, but she's so adorable that I'd just as soon go ahead and suffer. As for barely walking when she got here, you should see Nancy run now. I believe I might even have a Frisbee dog in a month or so. Melody and I agree, however, that perhaps it's better for older people to adopt older dogs.

Not everyone is emotionally equipped to care for a pet. It really depends on the human. The shelter mainly takes in three types of dogs; strays, unwanted litters, and animals whose owners have surrendered them. Every time a dog makes the news for being stuck in a pipe or rescued from any precarious situation, people's hearts are touched and they scramble to adopt that particular animal. These dogs at the shelter don't make the news, unless there's a personnel scandal involved. They're not pure bred or show quality, yet equally as deserving of love and care. It requires patience, equanimity, and a combination of discipline and reward, rebuke and praise. Did I mention love? If you can handle that, you'll be rewarded ten-fold and discover that the love and loyalty of a dog can add a dimension to life that is immeasurable. I implore you to make the drive to the shelter. It's easy to find. Just tell one of the volunteers that you would like to see the pets available for adoption, and try not to have pre-conceptions. There is such a variety of handsome animals that you won't even have to worry about finding your dog- your dog will find you.

17 comments:

Doug said...

I too am a sucker for a pretty face. I just adopted Dolly a lost baby. She will have me completely trained in another week or two.

Alan Copeland said...

Great post, Randy. Thanks for taking the time to give a wonderful home to your adopted pets. More people need to consider the wonderful pets that are available for adoption to loving homes instead of the snobbery of getting a breeder to plan a stud session to get them a "purebred" pet. Usually these animals are so in-bread that they have no personality or loving nature. An adopted "mutt" is the best choice and really makes the best pet.
My wife and I now have three cats (we have had up to six at one time) that were all rescued and adopted. They are our stress relief, our play pals and our snuggle bunnies. What a wonderful thing to have a bond with an animal, that makes you feel so good.

Alan said...

Congratulation to the new Mom & Pop. They say dogs tend to look like their owners. Those of us that know Randy can attest that this puppy looks just like Randy. Look at the Eyes and shape of the face. This is really true of a younger Randy.
What I like most about this post is Randy's admission that the Volunteers are the ones that make the shelter work, not the government workers.

Anonymous said...

First, I cried. Then I thought what a wonderful answer to the rhetorical question, one of the most poignant, "Who will love the unlovely?' You are a good man, Sput. Thanks for touching my heart. Screw politics. You are one of my heroes now that I see what you are made of..and it is pure gold. God bless you for your compassion and willingness to put yourself out to save a precious creature. We need more such loving hearts in this world.

Anonymous said...

Alan, damn if you don't throw out the best zingers. I extend a hearty amen to your last sentence. I worked for the beast for 36 years and your statement is dead on. The term 'government worker' is one of the great oxymorons. I won't say any more for fear that Performs, who seems to be one of those who think that the bigger the government, the better, will get her panties in a wad. I mean she did admit to being a socialist.

Anonymous said...

This commentary made me emotional, because the very day that I read it I had visited a couple who have taken it upon themselves and at their own expense to make their home a private animal rescue sanctuary. These saintly people have (or,had) a large beautiful home that they chose to sacrifice for the needy creatures. Their home is literally over-run by orpaned cats and dogs. It is admittedly a complete mess, but it is a sacrifice for God's creatures. My wife and I rescued two cats. I agree wholeheartedly with this blogger's encouragement to adopt rescued animals rather than to go to a breeder. Professional breeders should be discouraged because their motive is money and not compassion. One of my beautiful cats, a lynx point tabby, had been thrown out of a car window when she was a small kitten. Someone found her on the side of the road unable to walk due to a broken leg. The other cat was a classical tuxedo cat who had been abandoned as a kitten and when found was near death. There is no lower human scum than those who willingly inflict pain and suffering upon innocent creatures. I hope that everyone will take this commentary to heart and adopt a rescued cat or dog. By the way, he impressed me as an unusually compassionate man.

Anonymous said...

Here is what your beloved Marxism devolves into. How many times does this have to happen throughout world history for you die hard Marxists to wise up? Read this and ask yourselves, 'Hey, man. Where is the love in that collective?'
http://www.wnd.com/2012/08/genocide-looms-for-white-farmers/

Anonymous said...

Margaret Sanger, progressive and founder of Planned Parenthood,was an advocate of eugenics who hoped to assist the race towards the elimination of the unfit. She also believed that sterilization of those unfit for parenthood should be mandatory. The government would determine who should be allowed to live and who should not. Further, reducing the numbers of the unfit would allow the progressives to better implement their utopian plans. One immediate and practical benefit of weeding out undesirables would be a cost effective way to foster economic growth. De-population plans are cuurently being pursued by the UN and a number of the global oligarchs like Bill and Melinda Gates, the Rockefellers, and George Soros. I can't wait until the totalitarians consolidate their power so that we can see what they have in store for us. Maybe they will come up with some really cool plans like drowning people in boiling water and disemboweling them like the government of South Africa is doing to the whites today. It will be fascinating to see how they rid the planet of a couple of billion useless eaters. Maybe they will make a reality show featuring all of the clever ways that they come up with to elinminate the 'undesirables'. Blacks may live to rue the day that they voted for progressives. How many gang bangers do you think will be allowed to live? I may even decide to become a progressive.

Randolph Haspel said...

WTF does any of this have to do with adopting a dog? Your poisonous racial opinions can wait for the next post when we discuss stupid Republicans frollicking nude and drunk in the Sea of Galilee.

Big Ben the Westminster Rebbe said...

Golly, Sput, what's all the fuss about? I mean, in Streisand's "Yentl" those bawdy yeshiva boys went skinny-dipping in the Vistula, and Yentl went and married another girl, and... hmmm... who knows what else was going on in between classes in Mishna and Gemara that the Rebbes didn't know about? :-)

Live long and prosper...

Benny

Anonymous said...

Why am I racist for reporting on some of the original plans of Planned Parenthood? Their plans haven't really changed. They just use abortion as their major tool for de-population now rather than forced sterilization. I submit that I didn't really depart from the current discussion, because people, especially the unborn, could use some rescue intervention. Kill a snake and be fined. Kill a baby and become a hero to the Left. I ask what is wrong with the idea of rescuing humans as well as dogs and cats?

Anonymous said...

Since when is skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee a major crime? Your boy Obama and his gang are fiddling while the Iranians are planning to nuke Israel. Which is the greater crime, skinny-dipping or allowing an unthinkable act of genocide to take place without making an effort to stop it? Don't let your mindless hatred of Republicans completely blind you to really essential matters. I think that is called 'straining at gnats while swallowing camels'. Come on Sput, I am accustomed to the fact that you let your political ideology drive you to prevarication, but you can at least be intelligent.

Big Ben the Westminster Rebbe said...

Jerry, in the spirit of the ancient tradition of the Ashkenazi, I wish to convey to you my fervent hope that a child may be named after you very soon...

Shalom aleichem...

Benny

Anonymous said...

Sput, I re-read my post concerning Margaret Sanger and the progressives to see what I might have said to be accused by you as one who espouses 'poisonous racial opinions'. The only thing that I could see that might conceivably carry racial overtones was the comment about the progressives someday eliminating the gang bangers. That was tongue-in-cheek and should be obvious to all but the most virulent race baiters. I assume that you are cognizant of the fact that gang members run the racial spectrum. White skinheads are some mean mothers. I can only presume that you were so anxious to call me a racist that it clouded your judgment which is often true of you. Liberals tend to see a racist behind every bush and tree. It is their explanation for everything that is wrong in the world. Outside of the facts that I reported, the rest was said in jest. Do you really believe that I would condone the mass murder of all gang members? Maybe incarceration for a long period of time for gang related crime, but not mass murder. And remember, there are lots of white gang bangers. So where does the racism come in? Come on...use your head. Sometimes I admire you and sometimes you make me think that you are a mindless ideologue. By the way, let's save the doggies, the kitties, and the human babies. I know that you are pro-abortion, so how would you like it if I called you a hateful, deranged, baby-killing monster? Well, I feel the same way when you call me a racist with absolutely no facts upon which to base your slander. But, I am accustomed to that too.

Anonymous said...

Benny, thank you for what I assume to be a compliment. I am a life-long Jew lover and am extremely concerned about what may end up being the genocide of the entire population of Israel. If standing by Israel and preserving the Jews as a people means the extermination of every Palestinian, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

This one should put Sput through some changes. I am sure that he jumps up and down all frothy mouthed, declaiming Paul Ryan as another low-down Republican racist. It has just been revealed that Ryan has a black sister-in-law and that his college sweetheart was an African American girl. Boy, I bet that that ruins his day along with his extremely prejudicial racial rhetoric. Did you jump the gun too soon on Ryan too, Sput? Maybe you should consider getting your facts straight before you slander people as racists.

Anonymous said...

Sput, does it bother you at all that Obama showed utter disrespect for the Israeli Prime Minister, and that he has not visited Israel even one time as President? On top of that he showers every Muslim that crosses his path with respect and brotherly love. He makes a show of appointing Muslims to government positions, but he seems to have no real regard for Jews. Of course the kicker is that he leaves Israel to twist in the wind while they are faced with the possibilty of annihilation. For some reason, I got the idea that were a Jew, but when I started thinking about it I couldn't remember why. It occured to me that if you were arrested for being a Jew, I don't think that there would be enough evidence to convict you. But, the simple explanation may be that you are not jewish. Or, maybe it is all due to your infatuation with all things Obama. Maybe you are like Chris Matthews and get a 'thrill up your leg' whenever you see him or hear his name mentioned, and that makes you completely forget about Israel and the way that Obama disses the Jews. I only say this because as long as I have participated in this blog I can't remember ever hearing you say anything positive about Israel, but you cream all over yourself when it comes to the Jew-disrespecting Obama.