Red Letter Day In Dogland

Well, I think that, as of today, the dog thing has officially consumed me.  I can tell because of something having nothing to do with dogs.  I’ve got a reputation for being a pretty fine baker, and I do know my way around the kitchen, especially in the baking department.  But today, so great was my preoccupation that I managed to make bad chocolate chip cookies.

OK, they’re not actually bad.  I’ve eaten too many of them for that.  But there’s definitely something big wrong with the texture, and something small wrong with the taste.  Never in my life have I turned out anything less than perfect chocolate chippers.  They’re very easy to make.  Maybe I’m losing my grip.

And today was a day when a grip could have been lost.  So many compelling, thought-provoking things happened in dog rescue land.  My own dogs and cats are peachy, still, and I had a light work day, so there was time to pursue certain things which were in the works. 

First, and best, Beloved F has committed to saving a dog.  This makes me very emotional; not crying emotional, but stirred up.  This is a powerful thing for me, and, I’m sure, for her (which is partly why it’s powerful for me).  She and her family will be paying for all of the dog’s vetting and transport bills, no small expense.  The fact that she agreed to do this–offered to do this, in fact–means something very special to me. 

What it means to the dog is more special still.  It means that she will live to see tomorrow, and many more days, all the days of her natural life.

And Beloved F may be prepared to go one step further, or even two, and foster and then adopt this dog.  I am so moved by this that I don’t feel like writing about it, strangely.  I’ve known her for so long, and she’s never had a dog, and I’ve always been after her to get one, and now, I think, she’ll be getting one.  I can hardly take it in, because for me it’s too much joy.  I don’t get that kind of good news very often.  So while I’m still flummoxed and inclined to babble, it might be better if I just showed you the dog:

Well, now I am crying.  I’ve been trying all day to help save a dog who really doesn’t even seem ‘worth’ saving, and I’ve just learned that what I was working for may actually come to pass.  I don’t have the focus to write very well about it right now, so I’ll hope that the following links will explain it, more or less.

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=43129368441&id=1313213923#!/photo.php?fbid=457042652259&set=a.398349977259.185261.574367259&notif_t=like

The above is the original ‘posting’ about Sawyere, and the ‘thread’–the comments underneath.  I had crossposted Sawyere at least two times before, and, as I wrote in the thread, I felt that his fate and mine were somehow intertwined.  I can’t explain it.  To be honest, he’s not my kind of dog…or, at least, I didn’t think so until I started to write it.  🙂  I think I’m gonna let that one sit for awhile, and see what percolates. 

Here’s the correspondence between me and the wife of the famous Facebook ‘last hope’ dog trainer who’s agreed to take Sawyere (he himself was ill today, so his wife was pitching in): 

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=43129368441&id=1313213923#!/?page=1&sk=messages&tid=1749524253462

Sawyere will be going to Florida for his rehab, and everyone says that this man is a wonder worker.  I will share everything I can about this whole story in my blog, because I’m sure it will be a fascinating, wonderful story with a happy ending. 

Sheesh.  I just realized that there’s a chance this will have been too late.  If the appointment for Sawyere’s euthanasia is very early tomorrow morning, and no one gets the message that we’ve made these plans…

I just don’t think it will happen.  I think he will be safe.

Here’s the correspondence between me and the person who did Sawyere’s original posting.  What I’ve learned is that, for some reason I don’t yet understand, good shelters and rescue organizations may have people all over the country, doing different parts of the job of sharing information about shelter pets.  This is possible only because of the internet, of course.  In this case, the shelter where Sawyere is in northern New York State, but the person who posted his information is in Ontario, Canada.

  http://www.facebook.com/?page=1&sk=messages&tid=1749524253462#!/?sk=messages&tid=1620191354422

I feel very good about what I did today for Sawyere.  At around noon, I asked myself why I didn’t just give up, because it was clearly hopeless.  I had no answer to that, so I just kept going, and I can hardly believe the result.  So I can rest easy about Sawyere tonight–the next step isn’t mine to take, and I will just have faith.

In the process of trying to find a rehab person here who’d be willing to work with Sawyere, I was introduced to an interesting woman, by my friend who’d asked me to help her find a ‘spirit dog’.  This woman has had what I consider a genius enterpreneurial idea.  She offers classes through local town recreation departments on Cesar Millan’s training methods.  She asks class members to submit problems they’re having with their dogs, and then researches the DVD episodes of the ‘Dog Whisperer’ to find ones that address class members’ concerns. 

I realized early on that this woman wasn’t in a position to offer training or foster help to Sawyere, but we chatted for quite a while, anyway.  The more we talked, the more it became clear that we had different styles as dog owners, although I’m not sure she realized that as much as I did. 

She uses a shock collar on her dog, for one thing.  And later in the day, she sent me a video of a guy explaining how to use one to best advantage.  Here’s my (probably unwisely truthful) response to her:

I very much enjoyed talking with you, too, and I think your classes are a wonderful thing.  It’s great for me to have another resource to tell people about.  Honestly, I think your idea was brilliant. 

I went to watch this video, and I want to be honest and tell you that I don’t have anything to do with anyone who breeds dogs; at least, for the time being.  He seems to be someone from what I think of as the old school, when maybe there wasn’t the overpopulation problem we have now.  I feel it’s quite horrible to bring more puppies into a world where so many are being killed.  So once I’d glanced over to the left and had seen that this man breeds, I didn’t continue watching.
  
And anyway, in terms of the shock collar, I’ll never be in favor of it, nor of invisible fencing, except as a true last resort for a dog whose only other option is euthanasia, or in some special circumstance I can’t envision right now.  I almost tore my hair out over a dog who would, by many people’s standards, have been a candidate for the collar and/or the fencing, and I thought long and hard about them.  I decided that I didn’t want any dog of mine thinking that a mysterious force in the universe could up and bite her at any moment, something she couldn’t see, smell, or touch.   
 
Almost immediately, I got confirmation that I’d made the right decision.  I was teaching a cello lesson to one of my Chinese students, a kid who’s been brought up the traditional way, which is pretty darned strict, and definitely not ‘positive only’.  He and his mom were there, and I think I’d had to start their lesson late because of something to do with my Coonhound, the dog who was so challenging.  I told them that I’d been thinking about a shock collar.  Their reactions surprised me very much.  They thought they’d misheard me.  They actually couldn’t believe that someone would shock a dog to control its behavior.  Here was a mother who, frankly, was pretty demanding and slightly controlling in the way she was raising her son, but she was incredulous at the idea of the shock.  I looked at my student, and suddenly had a picture of what it would be like to do that to a kid.  Imagine, I thought, if the next time this boy played a wrong note, I shocked him.  It was a ridiculous idea.  It was unthinkable.  And, of course, it wouldn’t work.  Sure, maybe he wouldn’t play that wrong note again, because he’d be afraid.  But no musician who’s afraid ever gets really good.  It’s that simple.  And the same, I’m sure, is true of dogs. 
 
So although there are some dogs who don’t seem to mind it too much, who knows what they would have been like without it?  And there are others who mind very much indeed.
 
Well, I haven’t found the picture of Beloved F’s dog, who is uniquely beautiful (update:  I did add it, next day).  And there’s still a whole other dog issue to write about, but my eyes are closing, and it will keep for another day.  I’m sure tomorrow will be packed with dog news. 
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