December 13, 2009

When I was younger, I thought that a thing of beauty was a joy forever, no questions asked, no matter the conditions in which it was found.  I was young, and idealistic, and to me, a flower, an ode, a puppy … they were all beautiful and represented nothing but joy.

Now, I’m not so sure.  Now, when I look at a puppy, I still get all melty inside, but I also wonder where it came from.  Where its mother is.  If she’s healthy, happy, and loved.  Or if she has splayed feet from living in a rabbit hutch all her life.  If she sleeps on a couch.  Or if she sleeps outside, alone, in the snow.  If she sees a vet when she gets sick.  Or if she’s used to breed litter after litter, with no concern for her own health or happiness.  If she’s okay, and why her puppy ended up here.

I’ve cared for too many of the puppymamas as a foster mom in rescue for me to fully relax around puppybabies and take them at face value, you see.  But you know that.  You saw my joyous post about our fosterbaby Marie followed quickly (way too quickly) by my story about the Christmas puppy.  I just can’t let myself get too close to them, I suppose.  I love the happiness, and hope, and joy that a new puppy brings as much as anybody, but when you have helped senior beagle after senior beagle regain trust in humans, relax around a family, and even learn to come in out of the rain when invited, and you’ve seen beagle after beagle with shattered psyche, and you’ve held them, crooning to them, comforting them with helpless little words, trying to soothe their souls, I suppose that it’s only natural that when you see a puppy, you start to wonder about its mother, and the conditions in which she lived.

And so, when my friend Amy began looking for a puppy, I recommended rescue, but when she fell in love elsewhere, I held my tounge.  I couldn’t figure out how to say all this without sounding preachy.  I don’t want to sound preachy.  I just wish I could tell you all what it’s like out there where the backyard breeders keep dozens of dogs in rabbit hutches out back, with no place for the dogs to rest, no place for the dogs to run or even walk, no place for the dogs to love and be loved.  Those places are empty, devoid of compassion, and that blankness scares me more than words can express.  I’ve seen what they do to a dog, and for that, I am embarrassed for my humanity.

Every dog, every pet, every person should be wanted and loved, and when one is lost, it always makes me worry about the mother, and what condition she is in, right now.

Today, my friend Amy is telling her story, and what she found when she answered an ad in the paper for beagle puppies.  Go check it out.  Go on.  I’ll wait here.

100 words

December 7, 2009

This puppy is looking for a home in the Midwest.Christmas morning was bright and sparkly, a blur of colored lights, joyful music, ribbon and boxes to chew, and the children, of course, the children, who laughed and loved and snuggled the little puppy to their hearts’ content.  It was the best day of her life.

Soon, however, Christmas was put away, the children returned to school, busy with school plays and soccer practice, and life went on as it had before, for everyone except the little puppy.

It had been the best day of her life, she thought, watching the truck speed away, its taillights lighting the dusty road.

Puppies are heavenly, but please DON’T get one impulsively or give one for a gift this Christmas.   We see so many come into rescue when the bloom is off the rose — and that’s not fair, to your friend/family, or to the dog who finds herself by the side of the road.

This post written in response to Slouchy’s 100 word challenge.

BREW’s Marie

December 7, 2009

BREW’s Marie is a 6 month old puppy, found wandering alone in West Virginia on Thanksgiving weekend.  She was brought to the shelter, given a warm place to stay, a bowl of nutritious food, and another of water.  Gentle hands cared for her, and soft voices murmured sweet things to this homeless dog, just one in a long line of strays to pass through the doors.

But there was no room for her to stay.  So rescue was called, and pictures and information were promised.  The footsteps she heard approaching her cell on Monday were coming for her, and I imagine she bent down a bit in submission and then followed the lady happily along, on leash, unsure where she was taking her, but glad at last to be with someone again.  For she loves people, and crawls into any available lap, ready to snuggle her way into yet another heart in hopes that she can stay.

Her crate sat on the porch for a rest, this I know, as I saw the picture, with the white rocking chairs in the background, and the strong arms around her, ponytail swinging in time with her ears, as the woman who held her tried to show her off to best advantage, tried to capture the girl’s personality, or at least make her look cute enough, young enough, adorable enough, adoptable enough for rescue to take a chance.

Rescue did take a chance on her.  BREW beagle rescue agreed to take her in, and a kind woman loaded her into the van and took her out of West Virginia to a vet’s office, full of dogs rich and poor who had come to stay for a night or a weekend.  A caring tech took her leash and brought her back to another warm place, with food, and water, and maybe a toy or soft blanket, and she went to sleep.

When she woke up again, it was to an empty bowl, for, as she would soon learn, she was scheduled for surgery that day.  At 6 months, there’s no reason to wait to be spayed, and so she was, quickly, carefully, with just the tiniest scar, no bigger than the mark that a human would have after the removal of a gall bladder or ovary.  And the rest of the day, she slept.

The next afternoon, more food, more water, and those footsteps again.  The tech was coming for her again, and she wondered what would be next.  She bent her head as the leash was slipped over her little neck, and walked slowly alongside through the swinging door.

But there, outside, there were new people to meet.  Not a woman this time, but a man, tall and handsome, and two little tow-headed boys, standing, waiting to meet — her?  They were here for her?

Yes, they were here for the little beagle.  They took the leash and offered her their hands to sniff, one by one, and then the boys and the beagle collapsed together in a fit of giggles and licks and kisses.

Two hours later, the minivan stopped at last, and the man carried the boys into the house gently and quietly, one by one, for they had fallen asleep on the long car ride home.  The beagle waited to learn her fate.  When the door was opened again, it was a woman this time.  It was only a second before the man joined her, and the woman opened the travel crate, softly cooing, and reached out her arms to the little beagle to carry her inside.

And it was there that the little beagle stayed most of the evening, while the little boys slept, safe in his foster mommy’s arms.  They snuggled each other, giving each other comfort, peacefulness, and hope about the future that was to come.

BREW foster beagle Marie

The beagle wondered if she would be staying here for long, or if she would soon be off again to other adventures, and perhaps a family that could be hers alone.

(rescue tags: good with kids, good with dogs, good with cats, crate trained, potties on leash, has a clue, good in car)

Life today

December 3, 2009

If you had talked to me this morning, you would have seen that I was mad.

I hate cancer. I hate what it does to the body. I hate what it does to the mind. I hate that it tries to distract us from what is real, and important, and good in this world. The only remotely good thing that comes out of it, in my opinion, is how it draws us to one another, and forces us to step it up to help a friend. But I still hate cancer.

If you had talked to me at lunchtime, you would have seen me trying to relax, doing yoga with a close friend and the wii.

If you had talked to me at 2:00, you would have heard me talking and listening to a dozen bloggers who advise the American Cancer Society on social media strategy, informally known as the Bloggers for More Birthdays.

If you had talked to me at 5:00, you would have seen me put away my writing and relax with a friend and her family, a blogging friend who is turning into a neighbor.

But if you tried to talk to me now, I’m not sure I could hear you over the PUPPY BREATH and gentle sighs from the DOG BED at my feet.

Blogosphere, meet Marie.  She’s 6 months old and available for adoption from BREW Beagle Rescue.  She’s the first of what will hopefully be a long line of foster beagles for us, and we couldn’t be happier.