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

Friday, April 29, 2016

An Angel in Our Midst

Dog of the week: Angel (fka Shirley)
In 2006, my husband and I welcomed a darling fluffy, brindled puppy into our home as a foster for the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George's County. As with all our fosters, I agonized over what to call her. In her case, the choice was made for us.

Within hours of her arrival, the intrepid little explorer ventured onto an 8-inch-wide, 4-foot tall brick wall bordering our patio, and before I could retrieve her, toppled off...just like my mother-in-law, Shirley, had from her own brick wall while pruning shrubs. Fortunately, unlike my mother-in-law, who broke her wrist, our little pup suffered no harm. Still, given the similarity in their experiences, the name Shirley seemed meant to be. So Shirley it was for the duration of her stay with us.

Which wasn't long. In just two short weeks, Shirley was adopted by a wonderful family with a 12-year-old son who had been longing for a dog. In fact, it was the son who had been checking Petfinder.com for a potential canine companion. And it was he who gave Shirley her new name: Angel (because of the white cross-shaped blaze on her chest).

Angel quickly became a much-loved member of her new family, who shared her story for my book A is for Angel: A Dog Lover's Guide to the Alphabet. (To order your copy, just click on "Buy now" below the thumbnail of the cover.)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Short of Stature, Large of Heart

Dog of the week: Oscar

Oscar is not what one would call a "dignified" dog. In fact, he's quite the opposite. With a head and coloring reminiscent of a Rhodesian ridgeback and the the build of a Basset hound, he looks a bit like a sculpting assignment gone wrong. But when he scurries excitedly up to you, stubby legs and big paws scrambling, and peers adoringly at you with his mismatched eyes, all you can think is what a wonderful, charming dog he is!

Oscar lives with my friend Sandy, who saw him in the county animal shelter seven years ago and decided to foster him for the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George's County. Given her love of Basset hounds (her first dog as an adult was a Basset), it came as no surprise to her friends when she decided to make him a permanent part of her family's pack.

It's a decision she's never regretted...despite a couple of orthopedic incidents: surgery to straighten a foot (his) and a broken finger (hers). The first was caused by inherited conformation issues; the second was the direct result of Oscar chasing a squirrel while attached to a leash held by Sandy.

And then there's Oscar's penchant for stealing--and eating--panties and socks. Fortunately, surgical intervention has never been required...although it's been a near thing a couple of times.

But with his big heart and exuberant, happy-go-lucky personality, it's easy to forgive Oscar his few foibles. He has a way of making every day--and every evening--a little brighter.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Best--and Most Expensive--Rescued Dog Ever

During my years as a volunteer with the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George's County, my husband and I fostered 17 dogs...mostly puppies. They were all adorable and I have fond memories of each and every one of them, but I'll also confess to having a few favorites. Among these extra-special temporary Townsend pack members was Jack, a German shepherd mix pup who came into our care when he was just eight weeks old. Given his adorable looks and joyful, happy-go-lucky personality, it wasn't long before he caught the eye--and captured the heart--of a woman named Brenda.

From our first conversation, it was obvious that Brenda was one of those people who consider their dogs family members and that she would do anything and everything within her power to ensure their health and happiness. After mourning the passing of a previous dog, she was eager to welcome a new canine companion for herself and her Australian shepherd, Josie. And she was convinced Jack was the one.

And she was right. From the very beginning, Jack and Josie were a mutual appreciation society of two! Although they were very different--she a Lady and he more of a Tramp--they brought out the best in each other. He was the Yin to her Yang.

So it wasn't surprising when that when Josie died, Jack became deeply depressed, not wanting to get up in the morning and showing little interest in life. It was only when Brenda adopted a new puppy, Lacey, that Jack's happy, carefree nature blossomed once again. His relationship with Lacey is very different than his relationship with Josie--she's quite a little pistol--but they enjoy each other's company and their life with Brenda, which includes a huge yard to play in and regular trips to the Outer Banks.

But it hasn't been all roses and sunshine. Over the years, Jack has been afflicted with a variety of health issues, including a serious form of irritable bowel disease that requires a special diet, regular medication, and even occasional emergency hospital stays. And he recently underwent surgery to repair a ruptured a canine cruciate ligament (the dog equivalent of an ACL). Can you say "cha-ching"?

Good thing Brenda adores him...as you can see from this lovefest! 

"Best--and most expensive--rescued dog ever!," she says with a laugh.