By Lynn –
Whew! Apologies for the long absence!
A lot has happened between my last blog and now, I’ll try to keep it short, but knowing me…we’ll see how that goes.
First item of importance is that I had a dog for about…oh…a week. My little standard wirehair dachshund came to live with me at the end of August as I was winding down from my summer job. I loved him, but soon quickly learned that between working my summer job and my main job, something had to give. Little Shorty was spending way too much time in the crate, even though I was allowed to bring him to work with me at the main job. The best I could do was pop back to the far back room where he was kept, take him out for a quick jaunt down the parking lot to stretch his legs and potty, and then stuff him back into the crate. Not fair at all to him. Plus, even though he was doing much better at not biting, he was still definitely possessive over raw bones (and that was even with me holding onto it like what Hexen does!) and his crate (heaven forbid you reach in there for anything!). He didn’t really have a potty schedule; he’d poop only on walks, but he thankfully learned to “find a spot” right outside my door.
The one bad night was when he pooped in his crate and cleaned it up by himself. I came home, smelled it and immediately let him out of the crate to take him outside, but between the time it took to get his leash and for me to get to the door, he said something like “I can’t make it!” and…retched. Digested poop mixed with stomach acid and bile is not something I clean off my carpet everyday, thank goodness. (And here’s where I have to thank my pet store job for giving me a stomach of steel when it comes to dealing with poop of many kinds!) Anyway, he went outside and retched twice more before having some diarrhea. Suffice to say that he was very quiet that night and only got some canned California Natural Chicken and Rice food with a Flagyll that next morning. Everything else got a hefty spritz of enzyme cleaner and hospital-strength anti-viral spray.
Ugh, see–give me enough time and my words will eventually degenerate into something poop-related. I’m not kidding, it even happens over the dinner table!
Anyhow, Shorty was given back to his owner at the end of the week. It was a great week, he didn’t bark at all in the crate (that anyone reported to me at least, I’d given my neighbors notice and my number in case), but he wasn’t living the quality life he could’ve lived had I not been so darn busy. Thankfully, his owner was very gracious about it and he now has a new home, just recently in fact, that I hope will keep him in line, especially with his possession and biting. I’m glad I learned first-hand, though, how difficult and expensive having a dog can be sometimes (or at least through that first week), but I’m also kind of anxious now: what will it be like when I actually get a dog for real to keep? How will I know when I’m ready? I definitely know when to NOT get one, like now (the whole school/work/money/time thing doesn’t pan out), but is there a little switch that clicks when all is said and done that tells me “Get your dog!”?
I’ve a lot of interesting (read: facepalm) stories from work at the pup store, but I’ll compile some of those into the next blog. This one will probably bee too long for some peoples’ short attention spans anyway 😛
September through November was mostly school and work stuff, so no interesting side stories other than what’s coming up, but…
Come November, the local dog warden passed some papers through the county Big Cheeses to let me volunteer at the pound. I call it a “pound,” not a shelter or humane society, because that’s what it is. I could maybe call it a shelter, but then of course people will ask “Is it a kill shelter?” Yep, it is…not going to beat around that bush. The place is about as big as my apartment, with there are about 30 pens mostly full of pit bulls on any given day. Did I mention that my county of residence is renowned for pit bulls and heroin? Well, they say the more you know…!
Now here’s where we get into some gray area. Not only do I work at a puppy store, but I also volunteer for homeless dogs. Am I a hypocrite? Some might say so, but I say, mostly no. The vast majority, probably about 99% of dogs there, are breeds the store doesn’t work with for many and various reasons. However, we do get people asking us “Do you have any pit bulls/Rotts/Shepherds?” to which I can now say “No, we don’t, but the shelter has some nice ones” and then go on to describe some of the ones I know. The unfortunate thing about it is (and this goes for all puppy stores anyway) that people who are dead set on it, no matter what, will still want a puppy and nothing can convince them otherwise. They don’t want a pre-owned dog or one picked off the street, because they have “issues” that, heaven forbid, might need “training” (OH BOY is there more on that in another blog!). So I do get some frustration out of trying to save some dogs while also selling puppies. However, it’s a good kind and comes along infrequently, so I find it easy to live with.
I do have to share one story in particular that actually came to a good close this past weekend.
Towards the end of summer, a couple came into the store with a full-grown reverse-brindle greyhound. I’m drooling over Gracie as they tell me they’d just gotten her from the pound and how wonderful she was so far. In fact, they came in the next day with her and gave me a first-night update. Perfect dog, no obvious problems behavior-wise, and the one puddle was honestly their fault because they didn’t know her potty signals and she didn’t know where the door was. I didn’t see Gracie at all after that, not until the first week of December… *deep breath, here comes Chapter 2*
…when I was driving home from work one day and had this urge stop by the pound today. I don’t like to put it this way, but it was more than coincidence; it was definitely a nudge from something or someone. I went in, walked down the first row of pens, turned to the next row and there, staring with those big greyhound eyes was Gracie! She definitely perked up, wiggled and wagged her tail when she heard her name, and I was able to reach through the wire and hug her. According to the warden, the story behind her was that her owners had split up and one of them had returned her. The other was supposed to come pick her up, and legally, he had to hold her for a period of time that ended after Christmas.
I had to call my voice of reason (which would be my dad in this case) to convince me to not bring $45 cash and take Gracie home. Both my parents know that I’ve been looking at dogs, mostly large ones (top 3 in no particular order: Greyhound, Doberman, Malinois), but I needed some skagging good reasons to not take this dog. It was all the harder because I knew her, but I was told that I could also be a vector for her to get out. Turns out that a friend of ours loves greys as well, but wasn’t quite ready for a dog.
I did think of her over the holiday break, but couldn’t go visit because of work and the whole “going home” thing, as well as the pound being closed. However, after work on Saturday, I decided to stop by once again…*deep breath, here comes Chapter 3*
…during hours when the pound should have been open, but wasn’t for miscommunication reasons. There was another car in the driveway, and the two ladies in it told me they were from out of town and had been waiting since 330 for someone to open up. They called the warden from my phone (their cell phones had no service over the entire county, ask me how I know this) and as we waited, I learned they were there to pull a dog for a rescue. “Oh, which one?” I asked. “There’s a greyhound here–” and that was all they needed to say. I told them Gracie’s story and how happy I was that they were here. In the phone call, they also learned that another local rescue had picked Gracie up just the night before, but wasn’t sure if there would be space in the kennel or foster system for her.
In the meantime, while we were waiting for the warden, we talked (you guessed it!) dogs. I finally felt good talking real dog talk with people, even though they weren’t from my county; know how it feels to be isolated from the majority of intelligence (or kept in a large crucible of somewhat lesser intelligence, I’d hesitate to call it true “stupidity”) for a while, and then have access to it? It was a feeling of relief, mostly, that real dog people still existed, who kept their big dogs inside as pets, who didn’t beat their dogs to punish them, who didn’t breed left and right just because the dog is oh-so-prittee, who actually stood up for logic and reason instead of…everything else.
The deputy warden arrived, gave the girls the contact to the local greyhound rescue and they were off to hopefully get her while I went into the pens and cleaned things out. Even though she didn’t go with these people, I’m still glad that she’s out. It means a lot to know that even in my area, while a lot of people might not want a dog with some mileage on it already (holy wow, I’m sure almost every old wive’s tale is still canon around here!), other people are still keeping tabs. It’s those people out there who give me hope that things CAN change for the better. The end. Gracie is safe now, whether in Michigan with ReGAP or in Ohio with Heritage Farms Rescue. That is what means something to me right now.