The Ridiculous Nature of a Label

Can’t a dog just be a dog?

A happy dog? An energetic dog? A lazy dog? A funny dog? A best-friend dog? A dog who runs-thru-the-invisible-fence-and-rolls-in-horse-poop dog?

Why do we insist on labeling a dog as a particular breed? I’ve been thinking about this way too much of late. Partly, this is because of my new puppy, Frankie, but mostly this is because of my foster dog, Gala.

Frankie is, allegedly, a Catahoula Leopard Dog. Which only means that the vet who inspected him in South Carolina Continue reading The Ridiculous Nature of a Label

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Dog-hearted People

It feels weird not to have a foster dog. That’s what this has come down to—my normal is extra temporary dogs running underfoot. Yes, Gala is still here, but as of today, she’s officially been here six months, so she’s less of a foster dog and more of a long-term boarder.

I’m torn about asking for a new foster dog. The only dogs I can take with Gala around are puppies, but I’m traveling a fair amount this month and asking my family to take care of Gracie, Gala, Frankie, and a few random puppies who poop, might be pushing it.

And yet….I really want to be doing something. Continue reading Dog-hearted People

This is a Special Dog

In less than a week, it will be six months since Gala arrived at our house. At this point, she believes she is our dog.

She is not.

I don’t know why she hasn’t found her family. I keep telling people who ask, that her family must be pretty special people if she has to wait this long. But then again, she is a special dog.

Part of me questions whether I am helping or hindering her adoption effort by writing about her, but it would seem insincere not to share her stories. And there are many. Because this is a special dog.

“Latest circus trick,” I say to Nick as we watch Gala Continue reading This is a Special Dog

Frankie and OGGA

This time adoption day was a little weird for me. After all the puppies were adopted…..

Instead of cleaning out the puppy room, putting my feet up and opening a bottle of wine…. Continue reading Frankie and OGGA

Foster Fail

Ninety-five dogs later…..I’ve finally found the one.

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It’s not that I haven’t loved the ninety-four that came before him, but this guy seems to belong here. As my husband would say, “He ticks all the boxes.”

He’s a boy.

He’s got very short hair.

He’s a Catahoula (swoon).

He’s very mellow and unflappable.

He’s not gonna be huge.

He’s friendly, but not in-your-face.

He’s not a whiner. He’s happy for my attention, but doesn’t demand it.

He’s happy to play with siblings, but also happy to play with his toys.

Maybe it’s the fact that he’s grown up with five sisters, but this Continue reading Foster Fail

Runaway Gala (& The Pepper Puppers)

This time I really thought I’d seen the last of Gala.

That was my thought, anyway, as I watched her disappear through the woods in pursuit of a herd of deer. She was headed in the general direction of Maryland, and I was pretty sure she would make it.

We were about a mile and a half away from home on our regular run when the deer appeared. Gala did what she usually does – leapt in the air after them.

Because we run with the Easy Walk harness, this usually means that as she reaches the end of her lead, the harness forces her to do a lovely pirouette in midair and land facing me again.

This is the point where I say, “Leave it,” in my firm, take-no-prisoners voice, and then she does not leave it. Most days it takes three or four pirouettes and reminders before she gives up and simply prances for a quarter mile or so.

On Friday, she had done about four pirouettes, when she went airborne for a fifth. This time, though, Continue reading Runaway Gala (& The Pepper Puppers)

Looking for Lucy

Arriving home from the vet’s office, where I had just deposited Gala, I called Nick to tell him what was going on and said, “She just can’t catch a break.”

Later after picking her up and watching her sleep off her sedative, I thought more about it. Maybe Gala’s stream of mishaps and misfortunes have more to do with how fully she lives her life than any kind of black cloud hovering over her.

My little brother was the same way. He broke at least five bones (maybe more I lost count) when he was a kid – falling out of a tree house, taking a header over an unexpected wall, pretending to be Evil Knievel. Seems every summer he had a plastic bread bag over his casted arm as we swam at the beach. As a teen he totaled at least three cars. And later he became a fighter pilot in the US Airforce, flying F-15s all over the world including Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I always enjoy his company because it’s never boring and he usually has me laughing so hard I pee myself. Tommy lives his life full-on.

That’s how Gala lives. She has an exuberance for life that may sometimes lead her into trouble, but Continue reading Looking for Lucy