Archive for the ‘Dog-Speak’ Category

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Dog days

January 5, 2009

SUNDAY
4 January 2009

Today was a busy day at the animal rescue.  We have these GREAT kids who volunteer with the group.  They walk the dogs one at a time, they sit in the pens and play with the dogs, and they’re able to help answer questions.  They’re probably all between 11 and 13, and it’s encouraging to see them giving up their time to help out.

Unbelievably, Debbie the Doberman (10 weeks old) remains unadopted.

debbiedobie

She is all feet, and her head hasn’t quite grown into her body yet.  She’s bigger now than when I took this picture, but her adorable-ness is also growing exponentially.

It is a little heart-breaking when people surrender their dogs.  This weekend alone, someone turned over their 7 year-old pug named Tyler.  How do you give up a dog you’ve had 7 years?  Another family gave up their three shitzus, two of whom are 10 and one (the father of the other two) who is 14.  They are healthy, gentle, kind, loving and suuuuuper soft.  Like alpaca fur.

Obviously, I don’t have the full details of these surrender situations, and I can’t know what these families are going through.  The dogs know something is up, though.  The looks on their faces … ouch.  “Where’s that dude who fed me for 7 years?  Where’s my cozy little bed next to armchair?  What’s happening here?  Did I do something wrong?”

I’m still a little tentative interviewing prospective pet guardians.  You’re literally putting a dog’s life into someone else’s hands.  Since most of the animals at Good Dog were rescued from a kill shelter, this is their second chance at life.  I want to make sure I get it right.  A few more interviews and I’ll be much more confident about things.

To end this on a happier note, my ex John sent me this fantastic video clip that I’m trying to tell everyone about.  It is actually a beautiful, touching story about a friendship between two animals that chokes me up every time I watch.  Check out the video clip here.

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New work begins

January 2, 2009

OK, y’all.  We’ll try this again.  I’m doing my best to write the current entries, as well as rewrite and post ALL of my previous missing entries dating back to November.  My GOAL is to post one new entry here on the top page each day, and I’ll work on posting the make-up entries ASAP, several at a time.  I DO have entries and stories for the past month or more, believe me!  But it is a new year, so I thought it would be good to begin posting current entries again.  Then, when I post the back entries for Nov/Dec, it’ll be kindof like the Star Wars prequels or something.  Well, those weren’t universally loved, so maybe that’s not a great analogy.  Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for reading!

FRIDAY
2 January 2009

Today was my first day working for Good Dog!  It was really foggy today, so Jocelyn and Chance – the couple that runs the rescue – called to tell me they’d opted not to set up for adoptions given the timing and the weather.

I was already on my way to Spot – the pet boutique in Beverly Hills they’ve partnered with for adoptions – when I got the call, so they asked if I’d go walk one of the adopted pups who had been returned that morning.  So sad.  His name is Bo and he’s a beagle/hound mix:

bo

Such a handsome guy.  I took this picture before Christmas.  Bo is the litter-mate of Diddley, the dog who has chosen me as his next guardian.  That situation is gonna take some figurin’ out.  And if Diddley truly is my pup, a name change is definitely in order.

Anyway, it seems Bo was causing a ruckus with this family’s other beagle.  Traumatic for both dogs, and definitely for the family that had to return him.  Ugh.  Adoption returns are never fun for anyone.  Bo will find the right family soon enough.

Anyway, a few of the younger volunteers, Natalie and Tatiana, had shown up, so Chance decided to go ahead and set up shop anyway.  There were no adoptions today, but I think an application or two were filed.  Tomorrow a litter of SEVEN Newfie pups that are eight weeks old are showing up.  That will be cuteness beyond all get out.

After the store closed and everything was packed up, Chance, Jocelyn and I had a pow-wow at Taco Plus to talk about a fundraiser they have coming up, and to figure out some other ways I can use my writing/producing skills to help them.  Good meeting, plus I love riding in their minivan with their 7 dogs!

Tomorrow we start earlier and go later, so it’ll really be a full day.  I’ll get a much better feel for what a typical day is like with Good Dog.  I’m so grateful Chance and Jocelyn have hired me on.  Clearly, they could smell my dog-loving freakishness from 10 miles away!

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A fantastic new year

January 2, 2009

OK, y’all.  We’ll try this again.  I’m doing my best to write the current entries, as well as rewrite and post ALL of my previous missing entries dating back to November.  My GOAL is to post one new entry here on the top page each day, and I’ll work on posting the make-up entries ASAP, several at a time.  I DO have entries and stories for the past month or more, believe me!  But it is a new year, so I thought it would be good to begin posting current entries again.  Then, when I post the back entries for Nov/Dec, it’ll be kindof like the Star Wars prequels or something.  Well, those weren’t universally loved, so maybe that’s not a great analogy.  Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for reading!

THURSDAY
1 January 2009

I can not express in blog-space how excited I am about 2009.  The last year definitely presented its challenges, but I have come to peace with them and am actually grateful for all I’ve been through this year.  I know I am stronger, better and wiser than I was at this time last year.  Well, let’s hope I’m wiser!

The first day of the new year started at 6:00am when I heard my housemate Jeffrey come in from the New Year’s Eve festivities he attended downtown.  I heard the door open, but the footsteps weren’t Jeffrey’s.  I could tell because they were very fast-paced, very scritch-scratchy, and it was obviously more than two feet walking across the floor.

I went to see what the dealeo was.  There was Jeffery closing the door, but he had a guest: a furry little white poodle-type dog who was prancing around the room, tongue out, panting, happy to be alive.  “This dog followed me home,” he said.  Jeffery, not the dog.  I could tell he hadn’t been roaming the streets for a long time or anything, because it was pretty healthy and well-fed.  I got him some water, and we checked the collar for a tag.  Bentley was his name, and Jeffrey called the owner.  Here’s a picture I snapped with my camera phone (of Bentley, not the housemate).

bentley

Well, Bentley was about as happy-go-lucky as a dog can be.  We should all be so lucky to have this much enthusiasm for life.  I sat in a chair in the living room and Bentley jumped up next to me, put one of his paws and his snoots on my leg.  Jeffrey went to bed since he’d been up all night, and I wanted some extra rest, too.  I went back to my room and Bentley followed right quick, hopped up in the bed with me and settled in for a little nap.  Such a cutie.  If only my dates were as willing…

The call came for Bentley at about 8:30am.  Turns out he’d escaped the yard at 11:45 the previous night and had been wondering around all night, presumably until he found Jeffrey.  There were three other dogs who were still unaccounted for.  The woman who picked up Bentley was dogsitting him, but the other three dogs were hers.  She had been up and out all night searching for them.  What an agonizing start to the new year for her.  I am keeping my fingers crossed her dogs make a safe and healthy return home.  It turns out she works for the vet who does a TON of the veterinary work for the animal rescue group I am working with.  What’re the odds??

It being the new year and all, I FINALLY decided: “OK, damnit!  I’m going to the beach today!!”  I hopped on a #333 Venice Boulevard bus and was at Venice Beach in all of 10 minutes.  The ‘boardwalk,’ I am calling it – with all the shops, booths, tarot readers, street musicians and… let’s kindly call the rest a ‘unique cross section of the human species’ – was busy with walkers and gawkers.  I wasn’t that interested in the shops, a slice of pizza, a henna tattoo or a seeing a two-headed turtle at the Museum of Oddities.  I just wanted to visit the water.

The payoff was worth it.  It was really peaceful and beautiful.  Cloudy today, but here’s a picture:

venice-sunset-0011

I found myself wondering “How have I not lived here my whole life?”  It felt very natural to me.  Is Libra a water-sign?  I dunno.  I love the ocean:  the smell of the salt water and the sound of the waves.  The water crashing and the wind blocks out all the other sounds of the city… traffic, people, industrial hum.  It is quite magnificent.  I sat down and took some time to think about how truly grateful I am to simply be alive during this time.  I can’t explain it, but I know I am being watched over.  There is some greater purpose for me here, and I’m closer than I’ve ever been to understanding what that is.  2009 will be astonishing and wonderful.

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Day 101: 101 pounds of Chocolate

December 5, 2008

WEDNESDAY
12 November 2008

Today I asked the neighbors next door if I could walk the dogs for them.  I figure if I have some down time and can help out, why not?   I saw the two teen aged sons out in the dog pen FINALLY cleaning up the poop piles, and thought it was a good time to make the inquiry. Surprise, surprise.  They were more than thrilled to ask for their dad’s approval on this measure.  After all, it’s one more neglected chore they can fully avoid.  What teenager wouldn’t jump at that?

Two of the dogs at once would’ve been too much, so they gave me Chocolate who is the younger of the two as I understand it.  Again, these puppies are s’dang sweet, I’m turning diabetic just thinking about them.  Hmm.  Is that comment PC?  I hope I’m not offending actual diabetics by making such a statement.  I’m sure Mary Tyler Moore reads this blog and she’ll chime in with a comment if I’ve crossed the line.

Chocolate was CRAZED on this walk.  How could she not be?  She’s over 100 pounds of pure muscle and she lives in a 10-foot by 20-foot area every day with another big dog like her.  Oh, and joy of joys: she has no leash training either.  She’s a puller and does not know the meaning of the words “sit,” “heel,” or “no.”  And she’s STRONG.  About twice as strong as I was ever used to Hank pulling and about 800% stronger than the 5 lb. Tinkerbell.  Yeah, good times.

To make matters worse, at one point the neighbor dad – Oscar – came walking down the street with Chocolate’s sister Bella.  Chocolate is a little neurotic, so when she saw Bella she went ballistic.  Barking, yelping, howling, wailing.  And yes, pulling.  With both of my hands holding the leash, I thought she was going to dislocate my shoulders trying to get to Bella.

Is it me, or was that totally inconsiderate and just plain lame of Oscar to bring Bella out when he knew Chocolate would go berserk the second she saw her sister – also knowing full-well, I’m sure, that Chocolate is not good on a leash.  A leash which was about a foot too short, by the way.  It was likely the same leash these neighbors used with their previous canines, who were smaller lapdogs that were killed one night by coyotes.  This happened even after repeated warnings from Yvonne and Ed to take those little dogs in at night.

When I think about this, and also remember the day the neighbor mom flat out told me how their family doesn’t have time for these two big dogs, it begs the obvious question:  um, why the hell have them?  Obviously, I don’t think not owning a dog makes you a bad person.  But owning two huge animals like Bella and Chocolate who require exercise, training and routine, then NOT giving that to them… well… there’s something not right about that, in my humble opinion.

My biggest concern was that Chocolate would get free of me, and with no obedience training, I’d have no way to get her back.  This was something I didn’t want to be responsible for.  I mean, if a dog won’t even sit on command… that’s bad news.  And sad, considering you can teach a dog to sit in about 10 minutes.  Unfortunately, now that Chocolate was out of her cage for once, the last thing she wanted to do learn how to sit for me.

ALL dogs want to do is make us happy, make their owners happy.  And German shepherds are damn smart dogs.  I mean, hell – they can be trained to sniff out the difference between dirty socks and cocaine at LAX.  Surely some basic commands aren’t out of the question, not with countless books, trainers-for-hire, TV shows and the internet all offering information about this.  Geez.

I became more and more frustrated during the walk.  Not with Chocolate of course – she was just being instinctual and doing what she knows.  I was more upset with her owners, and the fact that this walk idea was probably not going to work.  When I took Chocolate back to the house, Oscar asked me “So how was she?”

“Well, she was a crazy bitch and you know it.”

I didn’t say that.  I wanted to though.  I think I managed to tactfully express that she did OK, all things considered.  I left it at that.

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Day 99: The girls next door

November 11, 2008

MONDAY
10 November 2008

Even though I’ve lived at Yvonne and Ed’s a while, I JUST discovered that if I go to the side of the house outside, I can see the two beautiful German shepherds that live next door.  There’s a small gap in the fencing/wall where I can reach over and pet them.  Bella and Chocolate.  Sisters.  Dear God, these are two of the most stunning specimens of German shepherd I have ever seen.  Just beautiful.  This is not a great picture (camera phone, you know), but here they are.  Bella on the left, Chocolate on the right.

bellachoc

Look at their faces!!  These dogs are desperate for attention.  A few weeks ago (before moving to WeHo for a short time), I had the privilege of meeting Chocolate out on the street.  She was the sweetest and most gentle creature, and again, so beautiful.  What devastates me is that Chocolate’s owner told me her family really doesn’t have time for these two dogs, which is obvious.

They are kept in gravel-lined pen on the side of the house.  There’s so much dog waste in the pen, they have flies landing on them constantly.  They are never walked, despite the fact that the neighbors have two teenage sons.  Dogs this size need exercise!  Is it any wonder they’re hyper when somebody walks by?  They also need love and affection, evidenced by the fact that Chocolate refused to leave my side that day I met her out on the sidewalk.  FINALLY, someone was paying attention to her!

It confounds me.  I’m not saying the neighbors are bad people, don’t get me wrong.  Like most, they’re just a family trying to get by, raise their kids, live decent lives, etc.  There is no judgment on my part, nor should there be.  Still, if they don’t have time to care for them, why have two big dogs like this?  And they are BIG.  I’m guessing Chocolate is 110 pounds and Bella is probably 100.  Look at their huge paws!  When they jump up on the wall (like in the picture), I get big wet kisses on my hands, arms and face while I’m petting them.  To some extent, I can tell they’re thinking, “What the hell is this guy doing?  Rubbing our heads and haunches and paws?  Scratching our snoots?  We’ve never experienced anything like this before!  Is this how it’s supposed to be?”

Before too long, I’ve got tears streaming down my face because these amazing creatures deserve better living conditions than this.  It further devastates me that I don’t have my own place to live.  Not even for me, but a place where I could give Bella and Chocolate lots of love and attention and exercise, and the family could be relieved of the responsibility they are seemingly unable to handle.  I know… I can’t solve all the world’s problems… that sucks, too.

I’m going to volunteer to walk the dogs for them, but what happens after I leave West Hills?  They’ll go back to confinement, flies and no attention.  Breaks my heart.

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Day 73: Beverly Hills Chihuahua

October 24, 2008

SATURDAY
18 October 2008

Today I decided my world was no longer complete without seeing Beverly Hills Chihuahua.  I really wanted an escape of some kind… to turn off my brain for a while, laugh, smile and recharge my batteries.   I ventured into Universal City because I knew at Universal Studios there was a huge cineplex showing just about every movie out right now.

One thing I can’t stand is missing the beginning of a movie.  If I miss even 10 seconds of a film’s start, I am distracted the entire time.   I’d rather not even be there.   It took longer than expected to get to Universal, so it was 6:35 by the time I arrived for the 6:30 showing.  Imagine my inner turmoil.  It was agonizing.   I’d come this far though, and figured with all the previews, I was probably safe to go.  Popcorn was, unfortunately, out of the question at this point.  DANG!

The $12 dollar ticket price sent me into borderline cardiac arrest.  Holy crap, people.  I think I left my body for a moment.  My first thought was, “That’s just one ticket, right? Not two?!” but I was in such a state of sticker shock, I can’t remember if I asked that out loud or not.  I was reminded of the value of those glass partitions in ticket windows.   I’m not a violent person, but had it not been there, I think I may have slapped that cashier into next year.   Yeah yeah, don’t blame the messenger, I know.   I paid Satan’s toll and walked away, counting to 10 and clutching my chest as I found an empty seat in the theater.

As for the movie… well… it’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua. It’s Disney.  It was silly, funny, escapist, warm-hearted and every other adjective you can think of to describe any Disney family movie.   There were themes of friendship, loyalty, love, bravery, loss and finding your own bark.  Yes, I got all of this from a movie with talking chihuahuas who wear Vera Wang couture and Armani sunglasses.  One could even go so far as to note the satire/social commentary about the ridiculous lengths people go to for their dogs.  Seaweed wraps, Italian leather booties, Harry Winston collars… people are CRAZY about their pets, which is how I think it should be.  They give so much and ask for so little in return.

What’s ahead may be considered spoilerish, just so you know.  No major plot surprises like telling you what happens in “The Crying Game” or revealing the twist of “The Sixth Sense,” but if you aren’t aware before going to the theater that this movie is going to have a happy ending, well… might I suggest a trip to “the happiest place on Earth” for a primer.

In a nutshell, our protagonist chihuahua, Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore), gets lost in Mexico and is trying to find her way back to Beverly Hills.  There are scenes where she’s alone and scared, wandering through Mexico, sleeping under a bench, etc.  See, this is devastating to me.   I’m pretty sure I was the only teary-eyed geeb in the theater at this point.   There was another scene where an emotionally scarred German Shepherd named Delgado, who befriended Chloe, mistakenly thinks she has betrayed him, and that put me over the edge.  This was when I started to wonder if, perhaps, there was something missing from my life.  I was wishing I’d stopped for popcorn, because maybe the salt would have dried me up a bit.  Seriously, I was a wreck.  I thought I heard the 8-year-old next to me say, “Mommy, the crying man scares me.”

The friendship between Chloe and Delgado is a central theme in the movie.  There’s a moment where he jumps from the train they’re on and she jumps out after him.  Knowing the train’s destination would have helped her on her journey home, he asked “Why did you jump out, too?” and her response was that she’d made a promise to stay with him and she was keeping it.  WATERWORKS!!  Later in the movie, after much folderol and shenanigans, when everything is on it’s way back to normal, he says “I’ve never had a friend like you.” Aaaaaand, I’m bawling.  I’m misty now just thinking about it.  Seriously, is this normal?  Do I need medication?

There’s another chihuahua in the movie named Papi.  He’s the one on the movie poster, and he’s Chloe’s owner’s landscaper’s dog.   Follow that?  Papi is deeply in love with Chloe.  Through the magic of movie convolution, he makes his way to Mexico to help search for her.   Toward the end and during the film’s climax, Chloe is thrown, hits a rock and is knocked doggie-unconscious.  Papi thinks she is dead, and delivers a monologue over her temporarily lifeless little body.  I don’t remember it word for word, but essentially he is saying without her, his life is meaningless.  “You are the rain that gives life to my flowers.  You are the sun that warms my soul.”  That kind of thing, only better.  During this, I am total and complete faucet.  I half-expected a theater employee to arrive with a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign for the area around me.

But come on!  Only the most bitter & angry people wouldn’t want to hear someone express adoration so sweetly.  The world can be so cynical and nasty – watched any CNN lately? – and it was nice to see a tender and touching expression of love, even if it was from one talking chihuahua to another.  Maybe I just need a dog, or a boyfriend, or both…

It’s unlikely Beverly Hills Chihuahua will go down in movie history as one of the great cinematic treasures of our time.  Despite my internal devastation throughout those 90 minutes, the movie IS actually a comedy and I enjoyed it.  On Christmas Day, you’ll find me at another dog movie, Marley & Me, and I’m already preparing myself for serious emotional damage.  I fully expect Jennifer Aniston (who’s in the movie) to deliver a case of Kleenex to me personally.

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Day 72: Five hours of emails

October 18, 2008

FRIDAY
17 October 2008

Yes, that was the bulk of my work day.   I was completing more follow-ups to the Networking Event I attended this week, and then some.  My eyes started to blur after a while.   I’m not a huge fan of sending OR receiving mass emails and impersonal correspondence, so I try to avoid it as much as possible, though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t send out big emails on occasion.

I MAY have cut and pasted a line here and there, but for the most part I typed each one separately, even if some of the verbiage was the same.  It didn’t take long for a few responses to trickle back in, but it was Friday afternoon, so I imagine I’ll get more responses when next week arrives.

As exhausted as I was, THIS MOVIE TRAILER tooooooooooootally made my day.  I hope the link works.  I was laughing so hard I was crying.  People at the coffee shop were staring and pointing, which is fine.  I find laughing out loud healthy and therapeutic.  Let ’em stare with their closed minds and humorless lives!  People who know me understand why this clip affected me as such.  I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS MOVIE!!  I tried to figure out how to embed the trailer directly into the blog, but it wasn’t working.  I’m decisively non-technical in this respect.  If any blog gurus reading want to enlighten me, I’m willing to learn.

I debated whether I should take the subway into Hollywood to catch a movie, or begin the long bus ride back to West Hills… maybe read a bit before bed.  It was Friday night, though, right?  So of course… I wound up reading.  One of these days, my wild and crazy lifestyle is going to catch up with me.