April 27, 2013
Should we put resources into saving the sick, the old and the aesthetically imperfect pets in shelters when there are so many perfectly healthy, young and adorable pets being killed every day in this country?
February 10, 2013
As you may have heard, we got a new Beagle a week and a half ago. Her name is Wendy. I took her to see my vet the first full day we had her and posted the report here. Since then she has received a round of Panacur, two doses of Ivermectin and is finishing up her Doxycycline. She is a good eater (that is, she demands a second breakfast and a second dinner every day) and began putting some meat on her bones right away. Her coat is also looking much better – the copious dandruff now gone and a nice little shine beginning to take hold.
Wendy is a great snuggle buddy and sleeps with us every night. She often attempts to convince Surrey that she is a super bed buddy by trying to squeeze into whichever bed Surrey is curled up in at the time. Usually all Wendy can manage is to get her back end sort of on top of snoozing Surrey but she has squeezed herself full in there once or twice. Thankfully she’s tiny.
Here is the photo that was included in the forwarded e-mail I received about Wendy being in a catch and kill pound:
She does not look particularly thin to me in that photo but after she’d been there for however long she was, all her bones were sticking out which makes me wonder if they bother feeding the animals at the place and if they do, what are they feeding them? At any rate, here she is today, in all her cuteness:
For those keeping score, I got Wendy for free. It’s been a week and a half but the novelty has not worn off yet. That is, I haven’t put her on the 5 foot chain and hut accommodations in the backyard. For some reason, I find I still love her. Come to think of it, I still love Surrey too. And she was free as well. Go figure.
January 31, 2013
I was going to wait until I had more info to share, such as a name and other important items, but I am too happy to wait. So this is the pre-announcement announcing the arrival of a new beagley family member, who will be announced in more detail in an upcoming announcement.
This little girl was in a catch and kill pound which allows someone in to photograph dogs. The photographer then sends out an e-mail with the pictures and that e-mail gets forwarded by various pet advocates. Someone forwarded me the e-mail containing the beagle pic one week ago and with the help of some people I’ve never met, the dog was pulled, fostered and transported to within 90 minutes of me. I picked her up yesterday.
Her bones are sticking out, half her tail got left somewhere at some point and she looks generally like she’s been through the wringer. But she is as gentle and sweet as can be. She’s been sleeping in one of the beagle beds like she has never slept before in her life. She’s only gotten up when it’s time to eat or to go out and potty. We have a vet appointment today for a tune-up and an all points inspection. You can count on seeing an update on this gal very soon.
Thank you so kindly to everyone who sent me beagles in need. And of course to those who helped me get this sweet dog home.
I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. – Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire
January 21, 2013
I posted on the blog’s Facebook page yesterday that I wanted a beagle but was exasperated by so many restrictive and invasive requirements from the various rescue groups I was seeing on Petfinder. I have visited this topic often on the blog and as regular readers know, I am all for reasonable screening (picture ID along with a 1 or 2 page adoption application which provides enough information for the group to search for animal cruelty convictions and call the vet reference) but I am opposed to most of the other arbitrary requirements (e.g. signing a contract that allows a representative of the rescue to inspect your home at any time during the pet’s life and repossess the pet if they so choose). I also favor free or pay-what-you-wish adoption fees.
There are millions of pets being sent to the landfill every year in this country and rescue groups literally begging for adopters and fosters while imposing all manner of restrictions. There is a gap here. A gap the size of Oklahoma. By imposing the arbitrary requirements and/or high adoption fees, rescues are not only turning away good people, they are turning off good people from considering or recommending rescue in future. And meanwhile, rescues continue to issue daily pleas because they have no cage space or foster space for more pets and shelters continue the killing. There is a gap.
Rescues have the right to impose all the restrictions they desire. They have the right to charge any fee of their choosing. And they have the right to fund raise in any manner they wish in order to cover their expenses. None of this is in dispute. It’s all legal.
But to my mind, if rescues are in fact driving adopters away with their restrictive and invasive requirements and their high fees, they do not have the right to continually beg for adopters and fosters. Because it’s wrong. There is a gap.
Many people replied to my comments on Facebook. Some shared their experiences trying and failing to adopt from a rescue group. Others posted statements of support. Still others felt that because I am poor, I should not have pets. One commenter wrote:
How do we know that the best of her ability is some little dog hut in the back yard with a 5 foot chain. I’m sorry, but this is the last person I would give a dog to.
Another person added:
I might as well give an animal to a dog fighting group, and that isn’t going to happen EVER…. I will make sure to tell anyone and everyone that these people and this “blog” are to be avoided when ever and where ever possible.. I have seen enough.. you anti-rescue people deserve to be fleeced and rejected by anyone with a conscience .. enjoy being second rate pet owners and second rate human beings..
I want to clarify for the record that the posts on this blog and on the YesBiscuit! Facebook page are attributable to just one person: me. I further want to clarify that I am not anti-rescue. I am pro-rescue. I have evaluated and pulled pets from shelters for rescue, adopted from a shelter myself, and I continue to support various rescue groups both on and off the blog. I am trying to support rescue right now by adopting a beagle but I haven’t yet found one with reasonable screening processes and fees. Thus my posts on Facebook yesterday. There is a gap.
I am not ashamed of being poor. I may be a “second rate” pet owner and human being in the eyes of some, but the question rescues ought to be asking themselves is this: Is a pet better off dead than living in a home we consider to be “second rate”? Because even though most rescues don’t kill pets, many do leave pets on death row because they have no space for them. Freeing up space using reasonable adoption screening processes and fees is a win for people and pets. The other way – well, we see every day of the year how well the other way is working.
None of this is to say that rescue groups are responsible for doing the job the municipal shelters are supposed to be doing. None of this is to say that pet killing is ok, under any circumstances. I’m just saying that rescues should be part of the solution to the pet killing problem in most communities and if you’re going to be part of the solution, why not be the most effective you can be?
And: Many people have sent me leads on beagles and I would like to thank everyone who did. I will let you know what happens. I love you guys. (Also, if any of you want to take shifts wearing Billy down on this, I’ll post a sign up sheet in the hall.)
January 14, 2013
We took Schroeder to a mobile vaccine clinic in a grocery store parking lot to get his final puppy shots yesterday. Here are some of the other pets whose owners were waiting with us.
The hound, the Chihuahua and the kitty are all from the same family. The black dog is their neighbor.
Not everyone takes care of their pets in the same way but it doesn’t mean the animals aren’t well loved. Poor people are often prevented from adopting pets by those who claim to have the best interests of the animals at heart. Meanwhile, shelters are sending pets to the landfill by the millions. It’s 2013. Resolve to cast off your biases and let pets go home with people who love them. Then go fill up those empty cages with more pets who need help.
December 24, 2012
We love him.
December 12, 2012
Somehow our home became filled with old dogs. Flatcoats have a shorter than average lifespan due to a small gene pool that is riddled with cancer. In a few months, Linus and Patty will turn 7. Two of their littermates have already died of cancer. Their half-sibling Randi is 10. Surrey the Beagle is estimated to be about 8. At age 2, Mulder is our only dog who can genuinely be described as young.
Emily was already old, though still very spry, when we adopted her 9 years ago. Her health deteriorated in recent years with her heart murmur worsening as she grew blind and deaf. She lost the ability to navigate her way around the yard by following her normal paths. Then she lost the ability to find her way around the house. Finally, all she could manage was to walk in little circles.
We had to carry her to her food bowl twice each day, carry her outside to potty, carry her back inside where she had to wear a diaper since she would no longer ask to go outside to potty. Lately, I have searched her for any hint of recognition but found nothing. It was heartbreaking to hear her soft cries and to be unable to comfort her – not only was she terribly startled each time I tried to gently approach her, she did not seem to recognize me or take any comfort in my touch. She seemed like a vacant shell.
All my previous dogs have had cancer and I’ve had to euthanize them despite their appearance of otherwise good health. Emily was the first dog with whom I’ve ever experienced old age and dementia. It was not a situation where she was terminally ill but rather a quality of life issue that we had to consider. I feared that without some clear medical diagnosis, I would wait too long or decide too soon. But then, those are normal doubts which I know I’ve had with other dogs and I’m sure many of you have had as well.
With Graham, the decision was sudden and even though she was 13, I was vastly unprepared. With Emily, I feel like I’ve been preparing for some time. It was the first time I ever scheduled an appointment for euthanasia as opposed to the more usual trip to the emergency vet at 2 in the morning. But of course it’s still a very difficult thing.
Emily taught me so much, especially about the behavior of tiny dogs. She was fiercely independent until her mind failed her and even then, her body obstinately refused to be in harmony. We love her very much and I know she loved us in her own very special way. We will miss you Emily.
We buried Emily in the yard yesterday, next to the still fresh dirt from Graham’s grave. She looked very peaceful and sweet and it was a blessing to see her that way once more, even in death. She hadn’t been “present” in a long time and I am grateful to have seen her seemingly at peace one more time.
This is a photo from 2007, taken after we just woke up from a nap on the couch:
November 19, 2012
After 13 beautiful years of love and laughter, we had to suddenly say goodbye to The Best Beagle today. There was time for one final walk in the sun and lots of sniffing along the way. She never suffered.
As Billy carefully placed Graham in the hole he had dug in the backyard for her, Randi laid down on the pile of earth and placed her head at the edge of the grave. Surrey attempted to pull the blanket in which we had wrapped Graham’s body out of the hole. We all grieve in our own ways.
My heart is broken but I am resolved to commit myself to remembering Graham with joy, which is what I believe she would want.
“Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: ‘Here lies one who loved us and whom we loved.’ No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.” – Eugene O’Neill
September 20, 2012
It’s Graham’s 13th birthday today. In celebration of such an important occasion, she got a bunch of animal crackers. Although we very cruelly made her pose for pictures while eating them.
June 22, 2012
I have lamented for years that I wanted a dog that made me feel like she loved me – one that I had an extra special bond with. Having lived with so many Flatcoats over the years, I never had that. Don’t get me wrong, my Flatcoats love me – but they also love Billy and they would love you too if you dropped by for a few minutes. That’s just how they are. I bought Graham the Beagle as a puppy in WA before moving here to SC. As soon as we arrived, she became Billy’s dog. (I still think Billy should reimburse me for her!) I had planned before Linus’ litter was born that he was to be The One. He would be that dog that was my dog. That did not happen. Apparently I did not asplain it sufficiently at the outset.
Mulder was brought to us by the neighbors in 2010 when she was still a puppy. From the moment she was placed into my arms, she loved me. I knew it. And if I was too dumb too recognize it, she made it obvious.
I was committed to finding a home for her. We were not that home, even though I loved her. She was not a match for our multiple dog household. She’s a bully for one thing. For another, she’s a compulsive herder. No one can put a foot down anywhere in this house without Mulder herding them. Oh and she’s a mommy guarder. Nope, not a match for us but would be great for a single dog home as she is a very loving pet and constant companion.
Over time I offered Mulder on the blog and on Twitter. I contacted my local no kill shelter and a rescue group. I put the word out to a few online friends. But there were never any takers for this cute little dog. Time went by. Although I never made a conscious decision to stop trying to place her, I did.
Recently I experienced a revelation. Mulder is my dog and I could never part with her. I don’t know why I only realized this now. Nothing has really changed. I’ve always loved her but somehow now I feel I love her even more. She’s still a bully and a brat and a mommy guarder. Maybe it’s just that I finally accepted her for who she is, as she did me as soon as we met. Maybe I’ve accepted that the dog I’ve been hoping for all these years can be imperfect, like her owner. Maybe that dream dog I’ve had in my mind for so long is a fantasy, I don’t know. But reality is that I have a dog who makes me feel loved, just like I’ve always wanted, right here at my feet. Mulder is the one I’ve been waiting for.