Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009 - Notes on the Dance


Ever hear that country song, "Life's a Dance"? "Life's a dance, you learn as you go..." Very, very true. Half the joy of living at the Shady Rest is being allowed, privileged, if you will, to watch the Dance - the interaction of species and personalities.

Sometimes, George gets irritated with Archie. George, not realizing Archie can't see either, takes offense when Archie runs into him, and sometimes harsh words ensue (always on George's side - Archie's middle name is "Mild" and he never gets upset.) Then the music changes and, as tonight, they sit, shoulder to shoulder, in companionable peace.

The cats join the dance too. Spare loves dogs, all dogs, and even more so his pugs. Spencer will be sitting in the kitchen and Spare will sidle up to him. He circles, a feline do-si-do, rubbing against Spencer's chest, purring in time, bowing on the turns.

Riddi, our guest kitty (belongs to the kid who used to live here - long story) prefers teasing dogs to cuddling them. I'm trying to convince her that hiding up on the dining room chair seat and poking George in the head as he goes by is not the friendliest of games, but she remains unpersuaded. It's becoming their little ritual. As long as she continues to be quick enough to keep him from catching her at it, I'll let them work it out.

Dancing... Last Friday, we went to Dogs on the Deck - a local bar opens their deck space once a month in the summer to Ohio Pug Rescue, allowing us to come, have fun, share the profits and make some money with grab bag sales and a raffle. We get to bring our pugs to join the other dogs playing on the deck, and to show off our fosters in hopes of finding them interested possible homes. Cj and I didn't get to bring one of the Shady Rest boys, because we had to go right after work, but we were fortunate to be sharing a table with an adorable, older pug named Harvey. Small, cobby and devilishly handsome, Harvey charmed the socks off anyone who approached the table (paying particular attention to the people carrying pizza or nachos...). Music played, a variety of types and styles to suit everyone. Then it happened. The first notes of Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" wafted through the air. A lovely young woman from the next table over, who'd been flirting with Harvey for some time, approached Harvey's parents and politely said she'd like a dance partner, and was Harvey available? He was, so carefully, she swooped him up in her arms. With one paw on her shoulder and one paw in her hand, gazing raptly into her eyes, Harvey showed no sign of fear or discomfort, only a joy that was mirrored in her smile.

"Six foot" (lean left),
"seven foot" (lean right),
"eight foot" (straighten up),
"Bunch!" (Up Harvey went, lifted briefly up in the air),
"Daylight come" (spin around) "and me wanna go home" (full dip.)

Together they danced, in tune with the music and with each other. Harvey was completely relaxed, trusting this stranger completely, full eye contact the whole time. They both smiled at each other, joined by everyone around who stopped eating, drinking and talking, to watch. At the last "me wanna go home" she dipped him again, planted a kiss on his nose, and returned him to his mom.

The dance. People ask me sometimes, "Why do you keep taking in seniors? They die so soon. It has to hurt," and indeed, it does. Still, to quote another country song, "I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance." I wouldn't have missed a step I've shared with these guys, the present and the lovingly remembered.

Y'all take care, and if you have the choice, I hope you dance.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 18, 2009 - The Oldsters

The oldsters are at it again. If I've learned anything, it's that people who think that old dogs are dull, slow, or boring, have never spent a second at the Shady Rest. My senior fosters, George (11) and Archie (12), cause more problems than the other three combined. Since I didn't meet either of them until they were seniors, I have no way of knowing if they were evil as puppies or just got that way with age.

In addition to the whole near-toe-loss thing I told you about with George nearly taking my foot off, later, we had Archie barking for no reason, which wakes up George, who has to bark because someone else is, which startles Thor and sends him running down the hall, which sets off Sammie's prey drive and sends him scurrying after Thor, running past George, spinning him around so now he's barking AT Archie, who's now carrying on because somebody's barking in his face...sheesh.

While eating his dinner, George got into a scuffle with the bathmat. It was draped over the edge of the tub to dry and a corner brushed his ear (he opted to have dinner in the bathroom that night; he does that sometimes. I dont' ask why. He's a senior, he can do whatever he wants.) He grabbed that corner and didn't let go until the evil bathmat beat a hasty retreat. (Well, okay, it fell over the edge into the tub, but I'm not telling him that.)

Anybody have a puppy I can borrow for a couple of days? I need the rest.

Yep, just another day at the Shady Rest. Y'all take care, now.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

June 14, 2009 - An apology and update

First, I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to do an update. I promised myself I'd shoot for at least two entries a week, and I haven't given up, but I didn't make it this time.

First, I work two and sometimes three jobs, and one had shifted into high gear for the end of the season, so, much to the dismay of the Shady Rest denizens, I had practically no time at all outside of work and work. That's done now, though, and for a couple of months, at least, there should be more time for creative endeavors.

Secondly, it's already time to be gearing up for Santa In September (SIS). SIS is a fundraising, rescue-networking event that Cj and I host. Santa himself shows up, taking a break from his toy-making supervisory duties to take pictures with all kinds of critters. The money from the gate, Santa pictures, raffles and concession stand all go to the pugs of OPR, but other rescues are invited and can make money at their own booths. It's a great opportunity for rescues to get acquainted and do some networking, and to get free exposure to the community while having some fun. It's also rather labor-intensive, as there are rescues to invite, donors to schmooze (absolutely everything is donated so 100% of the income goes to the pugs), and vendors to lure.

Finally, nothing guarantees peace and quiet like looking at a bunch of pugs and announcing, "Okay, guys. Mama has a blog to write. Do something funny!" (insert sound of crickets chirping here.)

There have been some changes here at the Shady Rest. Peapod, the baby of the group, found his forever home and was adopted. Cj and I did the adoption Friday night and were very impressed with his new home and family. Two adult humans who fell for him immediately, no kids, a HUGE yard to romp in, and a big, happy, good-natured Lab named Lola to romp in it with. Peapod warmed up faster to them, Lola included, faster than we'd ever seen him warm up to anyone, and we're taking that as a good omen that he'll be very happy there for the rest of his life. Lola is clearly treated like a princess, and there is every reason to believe that Peapod will be the prince in residence.

George and I did have a "moment" yesterday. (Why is it always George?) I'm wearing my usual schelp-around-the-house-in-warm-weather footware - a pair of Crocs knockoff sandal thingys. This is a good thing. I walked into the bathroom in the dark and failed to notice that George had crawled in there for a nap. I didn't really step on him or hurt him in any way, but I did bump into him and startle him awake. This is never, ever a good thing to do. He was on his feet, spun around and snapping at my foot faster than a blink. I managed to yank my foot up and back and he got hold of the shoe. Three good snaps, a grab and a serious shaking followed before he released it! He had that puppy up over his head wailing on it. I was SO glad I was wearing something I could slide out of quickly. I might have really lost a toe if he'd grabbed me instead of the shoe. I was impressed, in a kind of shaky, "holy crap" kind of way.

Well, there you are. Another week at the Shady Rest. We'll probably get in another foster soon, now that Peapod is happily placed and you know you'll hear it here first. Y'all take care.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 3, 2009 - Yep, That's Where I'm Going

Thought on the afterlife - I know where I'm going...and my handbasket is packed and ready. I know I'm going there, because that's what happens to people who laugh at old, blind dogs, even if the dog in question doesn't catch them at it.

You must understand - George has, at best, a love-hate relationship with most objects in the kitchen. The refrigerator sometimes threatens to take his dish, and apparently the stove looks at him funny from time to time. They must, for he frequently attacks them furiously for no reason obvious to us non-dog types or, for that matter, to the other canine residents of the Shady Rest, who look on in tolerant bewilderment. The appliances don't seem to talk smack to them, but perhaps George has communication skills we can only imagine.

Let me explain - on the kitchen wall opposite the sink and stove stands a very narrow book case. The upper shelves hold cookbooks, but the bottom shelf holds a Longaberger basket. In this basket is where the potatoes and onions live as they await their culinary fate. Normally, any bagged potatoes are removed from the bag and placed in the basket, but this time I was in a hurry and just set the bag in the basket to deal with later. This left the top of the bag flopping over the edge of the basket.

Tonight during dinner, George managed to scoot his bowl over by the bookcase. This put him within range of the bag top and it brushed against his cheek. ATTACK! Furious that something was that close to his bowl, he commenced barking, growling, snapping, determined to fight it off. I think that's about the time I bought my ticket and boarded that bus. He gets this serious look on his handsome, gray face and I just started to giggle. He glared in the direction of the bag, still growling furiously. Cj attempted to negotiate a peace. "George." Fierce barking and another snap. Now the bag top is draped over his head, clearly counterattacking. This brings on an enraged snarling growl. "GEOrge." A deep growl. "GEORGE!" Grumble, grumble. "It's okay, George. You scared off the potato bag." He shakes all over and stomps away, satisfied with his least until he smacks head-first into the refrigerator. ::Sigh:: Maybe that's why he doesn't like the fridge.

Yep. Just another day at the Shady Rest. Y'all take care now.