Archives for posts with tag: Pets

Chi also has built a relationship with the neighbors to the west of us. Well, not with the humans, not really… with the dog.

When we first moved into our home, there was an elderly couple living next door. They eventually packed up and moved away, and the house was vacant for a time. Early one summer, a new family moved in. Young, hard-working, the type of people who rise early in the morning and return home, then do it all over again. A few months after they arrived, they came home one day with a visitor. This visitor liked to bark. A lot. Other neighbors would occasionally walk by, looking for the source of the noise. Some of them didn’t look very happy.

Chi, Jake and I decided to go check it out one day. A wooden fence blocked the yard from view. Through a space in the vats I saw a gangly-looking pit bull, perhaps a year old. It was well-groomed, well cared for, but it was left alone in the backyard. I felt bad for the pup, and made it a part of the daily routine to throw treats over the fence and coo at the young pittie. I also knew socializing the animal was important, especially if it was to be left alone for a certain amount of time.

I let Chi and Jake out to play a lot during that summer. Food, toys, various items made their way over the fence. One day when I went out, a new dog toy had come from the opposite direction. It was all in good fun, and everyone was bonding.

Chi developed something of a crush on his new friend. He’d bounce out the door and run directly over to the fence. Jake, being an old curmudgeon, would banter and harass and bark at the young one across the way. Not Chi. Chi would lay down on a cool brick in the shade, and try to look under the fence and play with the dog.

One day near the end of summer, we were throwing sticks in the backyard and noticed a hole in the fence. I leaned over to examine the hole and started to laugh. The pittie was standing there, tail wagging, clearly admiring his handiwork in chewing off half of the wood beam. The dog didn’t count on the chain-link fence on our side, but still, he had applied himself and wanted everyone to see his accomplishment.

By the end of that week, the entire beam was worked loose and finally fell off. The neighbors quickly hammered a replacement up onto the fence. The replacement was gnawed loose within days. Chi would be very excited during these times.  He wanted to play! My husband and I started discussing building some kind of latched gate for the pittie. The beams of wood hammered up to fill the gap in the fence became wider, still old wood, but wider. The pittie was determined to chew through them all.

Finally, one day when all the leaves were falling off the trees and autumn was giving way to winter, a thicker, bigger, newer beam of wood was hammered into place.  Chi’s new friend has not been able to chew through this one — yet. They still meet at the fence, and treats and toys go back and forth.

But Chi has yet to get his pit bull friend over for a sleepover. He can dream…

that side of the fence

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I spend a lot of time looking around the web at causes and general pug-related items. A few weeks ago I came across a group relatively close to my area, and they are special indeed. They are National Mill Dog Rescue.

Puppy mills are places that are only now really getting into people’s consciousness. I understand why, too. I was brought up with those wonderful pet stores in the malls and shopping centers. I fell in love with a Peekapoo in high school just from cudding the puppy in the mall for 30 minutes or so. It’s a cherished memory. And, for years, if I needed a mental pick-me-up, I’d head to a puppy store. Cuddles given, cuddles received. These places can’t be all bad!

Pet stores in themselves are not bad. The problem is that often, pet stores use disreputable breeders who breed for numbers and sales and quick turnover — not for quality, health, and the best for the breeds. Living conditions are heart-breaking. Many live squished in cages only big enough for the animal to survive. Their feet never touch the floor. The animals used to breed are bred often and without regard for the animals’ health. Illness is rampant among dogs living in these conditions. When they are used up, they are of no use any more. If they don’t sell, they are of no use any more. And, bad things happen to these dogs then.

This is bad. And shelters and rescue organizations try to help these dogs. Often, they go to places where they never leave. Ever. And they die.

Theresa Strader was a lifelong lover of dogs, especially Italian Greyhounds. She had always been an animal advocate, but like many of us, she found out by happenstance about the devastation of Puppy Mills. This is an excerpt of her story from the National Mill Dog Rescue site:

“February 17, 2007, I arrived at the auction site in Lamar, Missouri – all new to me, I was completely unaware of what I was about to see and moreover, what I was about to learn. Little did I know that on that very day, I would embark upon the most daunting yet rewarding experience of my life. I distinctly remember every thought and feeling I had as I witnessed the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry.At about noon that day, I laid my eyes on Lily for the very first time. As she cowered in the back of her cage, her jawless face staring back at me, I was overwhelmed by a flooding of emotions. I leaned close in beside her cage and made her this promise. “I’m going to take you from this hell and love you til you die.” I recall that moment as if it happened just today. In an effort to remain inconspicuous, I had to pull myself together and find the nearest exit. After a long walk, I found myself leaning up against the backside of an old barn where I slowly sunk to the ground in tears. I called my husband. I had so much to say yet nothing came out, nothing but tears. At that moment, I knew I would never rest again without taking a stand against the heartless cruelty put upon the animals that I have adored since I was a small child. The animals that throughout my life have never let me down. Man’s best friend. In that moment, on that day, National Mill Dog Rescue was born.”

Since that time, Theresa and her group have made several trips to rescue dogs just like Lily — the most recent ending just yesterday as the group travelled through Missouri and Kansas rescuing 80 dogs.  Over time, they have rescued over 8000 dogs from puppy mills.

Total trip costs of this trip are estimated at $16,000, and devoted allies have helped them raised over $13,000 to this time. Volunteers spend many hours caring for these dogs, giving them love just like Theresa gave to Lola. The time to foster, train, heal, and find loving forever homes for these wonderful dogs is,  indeed, “Lola’s Legacy.”

To see what you can do to help, visit National Mill Dog Rescue at:

http://milldogrescue.org/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/NationalMillDogRescue

Lolas

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It has happened, much more quickly than I anticipated. The dogs have rebelled against their new-found fame. Instead of happily watching me go into my study to write, I get this:

Image

I know — if only we all had such problems. Back soon, or whenever I can trick Chi into letting me get up from the sofa.

There are many mornings I look at Chi, and I wonder how he can sleep so soundly. Safe home? Of course. Snuggly place underneath someone’s arm? Sure. And yet, when I look at the sleeping Chi, I see a deep peace.

No, it’s not the peace of someone who doesn’t want to wake up, like most of us two minutes before the alarm goes off. This is qualitatively different. When I went to wake him this morning, his eye fluttered open, and then shut again. Grunt, deeeep stretch. And Chi rolled over, seeking someone to pet him. He was in sleep heaven.

Chi also likes to snuggle with me on work mornings. We have repeated discussions about this. I tell him how humans don’t live by pug rules and that we have to get up and run everywhere. Chi looks at me as if to say, “Why? There’s no hurry. You need to slooow down.”

Pug wisdom is not always easy wisdom. And so I get up,  rush off to work, shake the sleep out of my eyes, and immerse myself in human work for 8 or sometimes 9 hours. And then when I return home, Chi comes wagging his curly tail as if to say, “Let’s get on with things!”

And then, before too much time has passed, the snores of a happy pug are heard again throughout the living room. I think I’ll meditate with him tonight.

Snug as a pug in a rug