The Love/Hate of Holiday Rescue Memes

Homeless Pooch

I’m not using a cute Santa picture tonight, even though my collection probably seems endless to people who don’t know me (and possibly to a few who do). Instead, I want to draw your attention to the photo in this post. I stole it from Facebook, and I think it’s lovely. A hopeful dog face, a Santa hat, a wistful wish for a home.

As an animal lover, a dog person, the human “mother” to three fur-kids and foster-mom to a fourth (not including my own former pets who have gone to the rainbow bridge, and the other fosters who have passed through my home, usually to forever homes of their own), this image makes me want to adopt one more, or hug my own pups super tightly, or buy bones for the entire shelter.

But, as an animal lover, a dog person, etc., it also makes me a little bit angry, for two distinct reasons.

First, it makes those of us who work in rescue sound like hypocrites.

On the one hand, we’re urging people to adopt homeless dogs and cats so they won’t have to be stuck in shelters, or worse, in line for euthanization, over the holidays, holidays, I might add, that they neither understand nor appreciate.

On the other hand, we’re reminding people left and right that puppies and kittens should never be adopted, purchased, or otherwise acquired as gifts. We know, of course, that there’s a difference between parents bringing home a longed-for puppy or kitten, or adult dog or cat, on Christmas Eve, and people buying or adopting animals for other people (boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.) but it’s still a mixed message, especially since every reputable trainer will tell you that the best time to add a pet to your home is when your life is at its most normal, most mundane – a time the holidays are most assuredly NOT.

The other reason I hate images like this is the same reason I dislike the annual holiday drives to remember homeless people, children in need, or soldiers who are deployed overseas. It’s not that I don’t believe these people should be remembered or cared for. I’m a strong believer in supporting those in need (whether it’s emotional or physical need), and my tax returns will prove it.

It’s that we seem to think of them ONLY at the holidays. But what about in January, when our goodwill has been replaced by the grudging return to work and school? What about in July when the summer sun is baking those homeless people?

It’s the same with shelter pets. Of course I don’t want any animal to spend winter in a kennel without a family of his or her own, but that need doesn’t end when the holidays do. It’s ongoing. It will continue to exist as long as we humans refuse to spay and neuter our pets, as long as we purchase pets from retail stores, as long as we treat them as disposable objects to be cast off when they are old, or ill, or grow too big to be ‘cute,’ or become bored, destructive, or aggressive.

There’s another meme going around Facebook, one that suggests that there should be a pound where pets could send bad owners. That meme, I’m completely behind.

As for holiday pet drives…if you’re looking for a pet, consider an adult dog or cat from a shelter or rescue. Many rescue groups are having pet adoption fairs this weekend, not because we’re pushing pets as presents, but because the colder the weather gets, the more lost and unwanted animals show up at shelters that are already overstuffed.

If you aren’t ready to commit to the care of an animal, donate time to a local shelter – help them with social media, with taking pictures of the animals, etc. Donate blankets or pop by CostCo and get a couple huge bags of food, and donate that. Maybe consider fostering a pet – you aren’t responsible for the expenses, then.

This message is approved by Maximus (adopted Feb, 2009), Perry (adopted March, 2009), Teddy (adopted Feb 2013), and Madison the foster pooch, who is available for adoption. For more info, check out her Petfinder profile.

Dog Days of Podcasting: Darmok and Dogs

Dog Days of Podcasting

This episode really should be called “Swimming with Morgan,” but it’s not. It’s just a ramble. I’m tired and my throat hurts, and it just struck me that if I’d finished any of the three things I had started to write, I would have had a much shorter entry.

Eleven minutes on Darmok and Dogs.

Accompanied by Teddy Bear on the Rawhide Chew, if you hear weird chewing sounds

Listen at SoundCloud or click below:

Dog Days of Podcasting: 13 Minutes of Dog Babble

Dog Days of Podcasting

Tabz suggested I ramble about dogs. Hemingway suggested we should write drunk and edit sober. I’m NOT drunk, but I had a beer with dinner and a benadryl about half an hour ago, so I’m not really as together as I should be, and tonight’s DDoP entry proves it.

I’m skipping the “edit sober” part.

Listen at SoundCloud, or click below:

Meet Morgan

Adoptable Dog Morgan

Morgan is about a year old, and has been spayed. She’s available for adoption through Shelter 2 Rescue. (Click image to embiggen).

Meet Morgan.

She’s about a year old, and has already been spayed. She’s an affectionate, intelligent pointer (or mix) and she’s small for her breed – just under 40 pounds – though she needs go gain a few to be truly healthy.

She loves to play in water, and will splash in the water bowl, or drink from the pool if we don’t catch her. She’s happy to play with other dogs – my two gentle giants didn’t phase her – and she’s good with smaller animals as well.

While pointers are high-energy animals, they also make great companion pets, and they can be taught to be couch potatoes between bouts of exercise.

Morgan is available for adoption through Shelter2Rescue, or you can visit her at the South Arlington (Texas) PetCo betweeen 1 & 5 PM on Saturday.

She would love a home and family of her own.

Thursday 13: Beau Melange

No theme, just miscellany.

1) This quotation about the recipe for coffee, according to Talleyrand, always makes me grin:

Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.

2) All day yesterday the word anamnesis was caught in my brain. It’s used liturgically to refer to a memorial act – the Holy Communion in high church. In English, we say “remembrance.” – Do this in remembrance of me – but anamnesis is a deeper memorial. Not just witnessing, but participating in the memory AND the mystery.

3) I watched MSNBC’s coverage of the introduction of the new pope yesterday. My favorite quote, from one of the commentators:

I love that he’s a Jesuit. This means he has a brain.

Sadly, I don’t remember the name of the person who said it.

4) Since the beginning of the year, I’ve reduced my coffee intake to one cup a day, but I’m spending the time to make really amazing coffee. Most recently, I’ve been using a tiny Bialetti moka pot. I love it to bits.

5) Last month, I splurged on tea from Teasim. They make an organic Earl Grey that is so fragrant, it makes me want to take a bath in it, but today I was drinking an herbal blend of peppermint, licorice root and cloves. It made my head feel better.

6) According to Henry Fielding:

Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.

7) I haven’t been blogging a lot because I’ve been in a serious reading mood. Specifically I’ve been reading a lot of Star Trek fiction because I feel like I need to escape.

8) Fuzzy and I saw Oz the Great and Powerful last week. It was good, but I couldn’t help contrasting it with the 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland. Both fantasy lands are interesting, but I think I prefer the darker, gritter Wonderland.

9) My favorite version of Oz is the SyFy miniseries Tin Man. This has nothing whatsoever to do with my undying love for actor Neal McDonough. Or rather, for his work.

10) The rules of Rock Scissors Paper Lizard Spock, as explained by Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) on The Big Bang Theory:

1. Scissors cuts Paper

2. Paper covers Rock

3. Rock crushes Lizard

4. Lizard poisons Spock

5. Spock smashes Scissors

6. Scissors decapitates Lizard

7. Lizard eats Paper

8. Paper disproves Spock

9. Spock vaporizes Rock

10. Rock crushes Scissors

11) As I write this, at a bit after 2 in the morning, there are five dogs sleeping in my room. Dog number four is Aztec, our current foster. The most Zen chihuahua in the world.

12) Dog number five is our new puppy, Teddy (he came with the name, and we think it suits him). This is his picture:

13) A Facebook friend shared this video with me the other day. It’s called “God Made a Dog,” and it’s awesome. Enjoy:

Meet Aztec


Aztec (formerly James) is a neutered male Chihuahua mix (we think he’s part min-pin, but it’s difficult to know for sure). We’re estimating his age at around 4 years, but he could be a little bit older or younger. His ideal weight is between 12 and 15 pounds – he’s tall, but lean.

Aztec is crate trained, house trained, and learning things like “sit” and “stay.” He comes when you call him, and isn’t finicky about food, the way some small dogs are. We’ve noticed that he gets a little bit growly when other dogs approach while he’s eating (but NOT with people), so we suggest feeding him separately at least at first.

Aztec is a total cuddle bug, and adapts really quickly to new situations. He was giving us kisses within 24 hours of having met us, and asking to be petted even sooner. He loves being held, and loves having his belly rubbed.

Aztec has two health issues at present: his left eye is cloudy, and we believe there is no vision from that eye. He compensates well – getting around with the speed of any other dog, jumping over and onto objects and furniture, etc. He does not appear to be at all skittish about people approaching from his blind side.

Currently, Aztec is also heartworm positive. We are treating him with daily doses of worming medication. Please speak with a Shelter2Rescue volunteer about his ongoing treatment, and do not let this condition deter you – he’s an amazing dog, who just wants to be loved.

Like most small dogs, Aztec is happy to run around outside when given the opportunity, but is content to stay inside during the work day, as well. He is not at all yappy, but will offer a proper bark if the situation warrants it. He does like to “talk” to you while he’s being petted, however, and will make small whimpers of contentment and pleasure.

Aztec is still learning how to walk on a leash.

Aztec is an adoptable dog. For more information, please leave a comment or visit Shelter2Rescue on Facebook or Petfinder.

Meet Samwise

Samwise sitting

Meet Samwise.

Samwise was being called Koda when he was at the shelter, but when we asked for him as our next foster-dog, our coordinator asked us to rename him. Since he’s an Aussie/Border Collie mix, I wanted him to have a strong name that reflected the love and loyalty that both his breeds are known for. “Besides,” I explained. “If he gets non-geeky adopters, they can just call him Sam.”

Sam has been with us for a week now, and while he was very shy and skittish at first (even engaging in submissive urination), he’s quickly become a happy, plucky dog. He loves to wrestle with our four-year-old pointer, Maximus, and enjoys chasing tennis balls. A ball with a squeaker inside is his Very Most Favorite Toy, and he would spend all day batting it around the back yard if we allowed it.

He’s trained, sleeping in it and hanging out in it when I can’t supervise him. (He’s still a puppy – under nine months old – and has puppyish tendencies to swipe any object not nailed down, especially socks and slippers.) He loves rawhide chewies and never turns down treats or food. (We feed Blue.)

Samwise learned to answer to his new name very quickly. He hasn’t quite grasped “Sit” yet, but is learning. His leash skills, on the other hand, will require patience and time.

While Sam is extremely active, he’s also a great companion dog. He loves to run and play, but is equally content to sit with his head in your lap. He gives kisses, if you let him, and likes to be able to “check in” with his people. Secretly, he wants to be a cuddle muffin.

At roughly 40 pounds, Samwise is compact enough to live almost anywhere, but apartment dwellers should be prepared to take him on long romps every day.

Samwise is available for adoption through Shelter2Rescue, and can be seen at the PetCo near 1-20 & Green Oaks in Arlington, TX Saturdays from 1-6 PM.

(Of course, you can always contact me, as well.)