Random Musings on Dogs, Photography, and the Vagaries of Life

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Canine Cary Grant Seeks Leading Lady...or Man

"Let's see this paragon! Is he as good as you say?" asked actor Cary Grant in his role as Walter Burns in the movie "His Girl Friday."

Well, when it comes to Grant's canine counterpart, I can say with confidence that he is indeed as good as they say.

The Grant I’m referring to is a liver-and-white dalmatian who is looking for a home to call his own. I recently photographed this handsome boy for my "Seeing Spots" photo series and offered to blog about him in an effort to increase his adoption outlook.

While movie aficionados know that the Grant of silver screen fame started life as Archibald Leach, the origins of canine Cary are less clear. He was picked up as a stray on the streets of Baltimore and found his way to the Chocolate Chip Dalmatian Assistance League via the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

When it comes to his life today, Cary's philosophy reflects the words of his human counterpart, who once said, "My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can." In canine Cary’s case, this involves spending lots of quiet quality time with his person punctuated by periodic belly rubs. (One can never have too many of those!) He’s an equal-opportunity kind of guy who enjoys the company of men, women, older children, and dogs.

Technically a "mature" gentleman, this 8-year-old is just hitting his prime. He has a tremendous amount of energy and enjoys a good walk or run on a regular basis...although such activities must be done within the safety of a fenced yard or on a leash because Cary is deaf. But don’t let that deter you from making him your leading man. Dogs can easily be trained using American Sign Language, and his foster mom will provide Cary’s adopters with an ASL dictionary to facilitate the process.

Lastly, like many movie stars, Cary has to watch his diet, not because of his weight, which is currently a svelte 57 pounds, but because he has had some crystals in his urine. Fortunately, this isn’t a big deal since appropriate dog food is readily available.

In the classic 1959 film "North By Northwest," Grant’s character, Roger O. Thornhill, asked, "What’s wrong with men like me?" When it comes to canine Cary Grant, I’d say the answer is, "Nothing. Nothing at all."

To learn more about Cary, email Jackie Threatte at ccdal@comcast.net.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Four Bully Boy Sweeties Searching for Homes

Another week, another dog--or two, or three, or four--running out of time in an open shelter.

When I started this blog, I didn't intend for it to be primarily an online billboard for homeless pets. But, as anyone involved in animal rescue and rehoming knows, the need is there and never ending. And as it happens, I don't have a lot of other pressing issues or earth-shattering thoughts to share at the moment, so it behooves me to use my cyberspace soapbox for the purpose of saving lives...literally.

As some of you may know, I'm currently working on a couple of photo collections--"Brindled Beauties" and "Seeing Spots"--so my friends at shelters and rescue groups are frequently notifying me about potential canine models. Yesterday I was at the Prince George's County shelter to photograph three brindled boys plus one cutie with a sprinkling of spots on his ears.

As of today, only one of these guys has a single application, and even that's not a sure thing. Shelter staff have to guard against premature jubilation; it's never a cause for celebration until the lucky one has left the building. Since I had the privilege of spending several enjoyable hours with these beautiful boys, I thought I'd use my words and images to increase their visibility...and perhaps, with a little help from my friends, find them new homes. So here goes...

Meet Apollo (ID#A309190). This brindle-and-white American bulldog mix is about two years old and as handsome as they come. For some reason, he is continually overlooked by potential adopters...a fact that shelter staff find hard to understand. He's bouncy and energetic, but, come on, he's a youngster! While spending time with him, I found him to be friendly, affectionate, and food motivated (which usually makes for easy training).

Then there's Dukey (ID#A346769), an 8-month-old brindle-and-white mastiff mix. Wow! This cutie is all leg at the moment and moves like a gangly young foal. He's still underweight despite regular feeding at the shelter...probably because his body's still growing...trying to catch up with those stilts he calls legs. This sweetheart seemed a bit insecure and would benefit from some attention and confidence-building activities. But what a lover! Like Apollo, Dukey just hasn't captured the attention and imagination of any adopters, although after meeting him I can't imagine why.

Talk about darling! Okay, I probably wouldn't describe this boy as beautiful, but he sure is unique. Although he doesn't have a name, he struck me as a "Newton" (ID#A347221) kind of guy, so that's how I'm going to refer to him here. In shelter dogs, ancestry can be something of a mystery, but given his wrinkles, it's safe to say that Newton is part Shar pei. But his personality doesn't match my understanding of the breed standard; he is happy, exuberant, outgoing, and very affectionate right from the get go. In fact, he gave my face--and ears--a thorough cleaning while I was there. Being one of those people who loves kissy dogs, I was smitten!

Last but certainly not least was a precious 6-month-old American bulldog mix who I'm going to call Piper (ID#A346933), the Latin word for pepper, because of the sprinkling of black-pepper-like spots on his ears. Like Newton, this boy is a happy, confident, exuberant love bug...and another big kisser! Although we'd never met before, he bounded into the interaction room and greeted me like a long-lost friend...impossible to resist.

So now you've met this handsome canine quartet. Do you have room in your heart and home for one of them? If that's not feasible, please spread the word about them. And if you need more information, just call the shelter at (301) 780-7200.

"Piper" has been adopted!

SECOND UPDATE: "Newton" has left the building!

THIRD UPDATE: "Apollo has been adopted!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Zeus Seeks a Home

It doesn't have to be Mt. Olympus...just a place here on this mortal plane where Zeus can get the love and attention he craves.

Named for the most powerful of Greek gods, this handsome redbone coonhound isn't feeling very "lordly" these days. Zeus arrived at the Prince George's County shelter way back on December 14, accompanied by his canine paramour and their pup...both of whom have since been adopted.

So now it's just Zeus.

When I was asked to photograph Zeus and blog about him, I couldn't say no. To begin with, I have a weakness for hounds. Plus, I knew Zeus was a favorite of shelter staff, who were charmed by both his good looks and affable personality.

And so was I.

Zeus is a big boy, but not as large as some of his breed, and while strong, he didn't jump on me like so many, less mannerly, dogs do. He just wanted to lean up against me while I scratched his head, fondled his face, and whispered sweet nothings into his large, droopy, velvety ears. Then, with the "affection session" over, he reveled in his time outdoors, exploring the field behind the shelter and checking the ground for the elusive scent of deer or fox.

Unfortunately, this canine charmer is facing some challenges in his Herculean quest to find a home. He has tested positive for both heartworm and Lyme disease, and while both diseases are highly treatable (especially for a dog whose overall physical condition is good, like Zeus's is), shelters strained by budgetary constraints cannot afford to take a financial gamble on a dog that may never be adopted.

But the news isn't all bad. An anonymous supporter (i.e. human friend of Zeus) has agreed to contribute $500 to help defray the initial veterinary costs incurred by anyone who adopts Zeus or donate the same amount (plus the shelter pull fees) to a rescue organization that can take him one step closer to his forever home.

You can help too...by sharing this post widely. For more information about Zeus, call (301) 780-7200 and refer to ID#A344077.

UPDATE: Zeus is now in the care of Best Dawg Rescue, where he is being treated for heartworm and Lyme disease. If you are interested in adopting Zeus, call them at 301-407-BEST or submit an application.