In the Meantime

I wasn’t sure I could foster another dog after this one we’ve got now, Merlin. Don’t get me wrong; he’s incredibly cool, but my kid needs a break. My husband needs a break. I want to stay up until 4 a.m. if I feel like it without having to worry about being up again in five hours or less to walk a little guy. Plus, it was hard saying goodbye to our last dude.

Merlin really is a wizard. He can make anyone happy.

And the cats . . . the cats need to recoup and reclaim for a minute before they claw my eyes out while I’m sleeping or something.

You’ve got to balance your home, first and foremost, and I’m not losing focus of that goal.

As a compromise, we decided to visit the boarding facility where the dogs without fosters live. I figured they could use someone to show them some love between adoption events.

When my husband and I arrived to meet the other volunteers, it was like that scene from The Matrix where the camera pans out to reveal a gazillion people living in small pods. Row after row after row of dogs in chain-linked runs stretched out for as far as I could see and all around. The barking was deafening; my husband pulled out earplugs from his pocket. There was no sneaking up on anybody in this place.

The other volunteers had already escorted our group’s seven dogs to the play area, and I was pretty impressed with how nice those were. I’d been overwhelmed by the amount of dogs in boarding, even if most of them had homes with out-of-town families. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to help me feel better because I could tell there were still a large amount of dogs living there, waiting for someone to permanently adopt them from the weekly events and online placement services.

In fairness, the facility was a nice spot — clean, ace views, inside-and-outside runs. I’m definitely not knocking the place. It’s just that I was sad thinking about our Merlin at home and how it would break his heart if we had to board him until we could find his forever family. Merlin’s a sensitive dog, wants to be around his peeps, and has gotten used to a warm bed and lots of walks and playtime. I wish we could keep him, but he really needs a family with kids or another dog. As much as Merlin likes our cats, they’ll never be the dog friends he deserves.

I helped guide the dogs back to their “apartments” after playtime. One of them was really upset and was hard to get back through the gate. I knew he wanted to hang out some more, to find a home of his own. He knew it was gonna be another day before he was petted again and clung to my knees. Leaning over, I hugged the older black lab mix and tried to explain how lucky he was even if he didn’t understand. He accepted the bone I gave him, set it down to lick my hand, and then picked his treat up again before settling into his temporary home. (I thought about him all night. Good dog.)

As the group prepared to walk out together, I kept thinking about how glad I was that I’d decided to come. I would have never understood how important it was otherwise. The experience made me want to get back to Merlin, hug him on the couch, and promise him I’d be there for him as long as he needed us. After all, it’s not his fault that he ended up at the pound, narrowly escaping unwarranted death.

That’s when my eyes welled up, and I broke out in tears in the middle of the compound. Right in front of everybody I knew and didn’t know. Embarrassing. I just want the world to be an easier place. It isn’t, and there’s not so much I can do to change it. Certainly, there isn’t a lot I can do as quickly as I’d like, but my plan is to spend more time with our friends at the boarding places as a jumping off point.

If you’re not able to foster, but you’ve got a few hours a week to share with a dog who needs interaction, this is a rewarding experience that’s very helpful to not only the animals, but also the overwhelmed volunteers who work and plan events, foster, transport animals to receive medical treatment, etc. Plus, it’s a great way to spend a stress-relieving lunch break, get in a bit of exercise, or even a good way to get outside for a while with your family.┬áContact a local boarding facility and offer your frisbee-throwing, leash-holding, tummy-rubbing services to their shelter pets today.

Paws up in the Air for Etsy Dallas

The pictures are posted, and the contributions are in! Many kudos to Etsy Dallas for naming DFW Rescue Me as its Jingle Bash Photo Booth donation box recipient.

These *might* be DFW Rescue Me volunteers incognito. A-hem.

Throughout the evening, shoppers gifted a total of $450.00 toward serving needs for homeless animals searching for adoptive homes — all currently living in foster and boarding facilities after having been saved from euthanasia in Dallas County.

DFW Rescue Me is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that rescues dogs who might otherwise not be permitted to live past the 45-day limit imposed by Dallas Animal Services.

To view all of the fun photos taken by Nicole Durbin for the Etsy event, go here.

Cat Testing Results

Over the course of the past couple of months, I’ve brought home a few dogs that needed to be “cat tested” for the rescue group. In reality, cat testing has nothing to do with the dogs or the cats and everything to do with my looking for any old excuse to bring a dog home for the night . . . or the next twenty-six nights . . . or something like that.

First, the facts about the cats:

  • Clover aka Cloverella aka Clover the Lemur Cat. She’s top seniority and knows it. This tabby cat is fair, but don’t piss her off. Good qualities: Amazing jumper, clever, maternal, self-regulator, carries her feather-tailed blankie around in her mouth from room-to-room. Not-so-good qualities: Is the reason why we have to baby-proof cabinets and drawers, flight risk, terrible manners around anyone eating Ben and Jerry’s or yogurt, must remove all stoppers and drain guards in sinks — no exceptions;
  • Banksy aka Fat Fatty aka Banksy Pants aka Destructor. If she was in the World Wrestling Federation, her name would be Ultimate Tortie-tude. Her grumpiness is her finest quality. Banksy likes music as long as it isn’t Zydeco. Although her life revolves exclusively around snack time, she is the only cat on earth who has no idea how to jump higher than two feet from the ground, thus ruining her opportunities to scavenge delicious food items ignored by her antithesis Clover, who lives to patrol the kitchen counters. It’s also important to note that Banksy collects plastic drinking straws for chewing, cannot be trusted around lollipops, has ruined four laptop power conditioners, and must chew the corners from every pillow in the house.

We’ve learned some new, interesting things about the cats throughout this process. First and foremost, their general impressions of us as housemates have taken a sharp nosedive. Also, I never knew Banksy could spit like a cobra and I’d never seen Clover grow a magic mohawk before. (And that was just in the first thirty seconds of initial Cat Testing.)

Four or five dogs into it, Banksy is still a giant, surly, titty baby. Evidently, the notion of sharing any destruction is unappealing. She’s perfected glaring and indiscriminate growling, even if you barely mention the dogs’ names. Charming. I think I may have spoiled this cat. She’s not acting like the kind of pet who deserves Ralph Lauren hand towels next to her litter pan.

Clover, however, is brave and entirely receptive to the opportunity to make friends with anything who wants to clean her ass for her. I’m really proud to see how tolerant she is, especially in contrast to Fat Fatty, our resident grumbly, leopard seal.

Thus far, the cats have only failed one dog, and, I gotta admit, that Poodle earned her night in the isolation tank formerly known as my “Exercise Room.” (Lest you’re confused, this room is not actually for exercising. Not anymore. It’s really more of a museum for gym equipment, but doubles nicely as a padded cell for dogs who really would rather be in boarding until they find their forever homes than spend another second being schooled by my cats.) The dogs who pass the cat test get a free ear cleaning from Clover and limitless hours of ignoring from Fat Fatty. Not a bad deal.

The ones who really pass get to sleep in the pack den aka The Bed.

Your advice for introducing cats and dogs? Please, share.

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