Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dogs

Did anyone else catch "And Man Created Dog" on the NatGeo this week? If not, and you're a dog lover, I'd highly recommend watching the rerun. I found the whole thing fascinating, and a bit sad. In addition to theorizing how dogs became man's best friend, part of the program profiled Randy Grim and his Stray Rescue of St. Louis. Their goal is to help the 40,000 some feral dogs loose on the streets of St. Louis. They provide medical attention to these strays then place them in adoptive homes. Can you imagine-40,000 in one city alone? If you multiply that by the number of cities in the US, that number must be staggering!

Personally, as I've mentioned before, I have a soft spot for rescue dogs. My dog, Roxy, was a rescue that I adopted three years ago from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Her beginnings were heartbreaking-found in a box as a puppy, she was rescued, adopted, then given back to the shelter when her adoptive family couldn't keep her. Enter one middle aged writer looking for a companion and here we are three years later. As active as she is, she probably should've went to a home with about a dozen kids instead of someone who spends a lot of time sitting in front of a keyboard! But she doesn't seem to mind-as I write this she's lying at my feet, taking a little nap. At night, she sleeps at the end of my bed, and during the day is usually at my side no matter what room I'm in. I never have to worry about someone entering my house undetected. She knows someone's coming to door before I do and lets me know in no uncertain terms, even if we're outside in the backyard. She'll do anything for a hot dog, including jumping through a hoop-we learned that trick in doggy school, much to the delight of my grandchildren. She'll also shake, give me a "high five", lie down, and roll over. And I'm sure there are more tricks I could teach her if we worked at it.

Not too crazy about other animals, especially the squirrels in the backyard-and we do have one that likes to mess with her. He'll sit on the fence staring at her through the window until she notices him and demands to be let out. Usually that demand involves a very sudden and high pitched bark, which, if I'm not paying attention, has a tendency to make me jump out of my skin. Then the race is on-the squirrel hot-footing it along the fence with Roxy in pursuit. Once safely in the tree, he looks down at her and twitches his bushy tail, annoying her even more! Finally the game is over-Roxy satisfied that she's defended her territory and the squirrel happy that he's won the race. However, if during the chase, that sucker ever loses his footing and falls-he's going to be a goner!

So when I look at Roxy and watch all her antics, I can't help thinking about the dogs Randy Grim and those like him rescue. The many "Roxy's" out there who never find a home. Living and dying alone, never knowing the joy of a family and never given the opportunity to bring pleasure into someone's life. Like the pleasure and love Roxy's brought into mine.

It's sad, isn't it?

That's it for this week-see you next Thursday.

Best,
Shirley

7 comments:

Casey said...

Dogs are the best! And you're right, Shirley, there are many out there that need good, stable homes. Our "main" dog, Ernie, is an Airedale from a breeder, but we have two rescues living here, too. One is a Jack Russell who came to us at 6 months. We were his fourth home. The other is a Scottie from an Amish puppy mill. I can't say enough bad things about those places. We attended a dog show this past weekend and among the mountain of supplies and goodies the vendors were selling was a little button with a drawing of a person and a dog on it. It said, "Sometime they rescue us." How true!

Sharon S. said...

awww! Before kids, I had a rottie named Roxy . She was a runt and we called her slug (based on how she would slowly slide off the couch). Miss her:(
But... with two kids, I wanted a small dog so we got a cocker from a farm (April) and she is the best family dog ever, except for the money eating problem she has, and I mean money eating literally.

We were immersed in the dog world for a while and I helped with lots of rescues and what not. My two girls raised over $1000 total doing yard sales and giving all the money to the local SPCA. This past June, my 9 year old had her birthday guests bring items off the wish list of the humane society instead of presents.

Sharon S. said...

one more thing . My favorite story of how man and dog became friends: A god put the animals on one side and man on the other and the earth began to split between the two. At the last minute before the gap became to large the dog jumped to be with man. Don't know the origin of the myth.

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Good for you and your girls, Sharon!!! DIE STANDING has a rescue dog as one of the characters (name? Roxy, natch!!!) and I think it would be cool to do some combination book signings/fund raisers for animal shelters. Still kicking around the idea, but I think it would be a lot of fun. We'll see if I'm able to pull something together next year when the book's released.

And Casey, I agree whole heartedly about puppy mills. Have you ever watched "Dog Town"? They rescue a lot of dogs from those places and the conditions they show are deplorable!! But unfortunately as long as there's a market for these puppies, they'll stay in business. Also love the button!! One of my favorite quotes is from "The Dog Whisperer"--he says we may not get the dog we want, but we always get the dog we need!!!

Sharon S. said...

we had a large puppy mill bust in Wake County a few years back. They resuced 400 dogs! They had to set up a triage at the fair ground for all the dogs. NCSU vet school was across the street, so lots of vets pitched in to help save as many as they could. My brother adopted an Italian Grey Hound from there.

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