Monthly Archives: November 2008

I’m the Mama!

I’ve been overly concerned lately that Matilda loves everyone. I’m truly not sure what she would do if someone broke into the house. Instead of getting angry, barking, and trying to hurt the person, I think she might just jump up, wag her tail, and beg for the burglar to pet her.

It makes me think that she would just love anyone as much as she loves me. 😦

I took her to the vet last night to get her rabies shot. I think she enjoys going to the vet because she gets to play “Who’s the Boss” with the other dogs in the waiting room. She was trotting around with her tail wagging faster than a metronome set on 300 beats per minute. When the vet’s assistant came out to get her, she got sad right away. He took her leash and tried to get her to walk with him to the back. She looked up at him and rolled her eyes. Then she looked up at me, jumped up in my lap, and gave me the look made famous in those Sarah McLachlan “Save the Animals” commercials. You know those classic sad puppy dog eyes that beg you to do whatever it is they want. Then she curled up in a circle and laid on my lap and licked me on my sweatpants.

She does love me! I AM the Mama! Or maybe she was just trying to get me to do what she wanted. Either way, she wasn’t giving him any love, so I’m happy.

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The Black Pant Suit

Last night, I got frustrated with the mountain of clothes in the bottom of my closet that have to go to the dry cleaners, so I picked out a few of the essential items and put them in the floor near the bedroom door so that I would remember to take them to the cleaners. This morning, Matilda decided to curl up in the pile after our walk. I yelled at her because it reminded me of the story of the black pant suit. I’ve reprinted it below for those of you that weren’t a part of my email circle when this happened. (Update: I recently found a great black pant suit on a tremendous sale at AnnTaylor.com. I hope it’s a good replacement.)

This morning, I put a pile of clothes on the floor to take to the dry cleaners – 1 suit jacket (the pants weren’t dirty, but I sweat like a pig), and my favorite black pants suit. The waist on the suit was too big, so I’ve been wearing it pinned in the waist. I was finally going to get it taken in so that I could wear my shirts tucked in. It was a light weight suit, as all of my black pant suits have been (I don’t know why). My other favorite black pant suit was ruined a few months back when my iron got amazingly hot all of a sudden and burned my pants. I’ve held onto that suit thinking that someone will have a trick for removing the burn. But I digress.

I forgot to take the pile of clothes with me this morning. When I returned this evening, I found my favorite black pant suit on the floor where I left it, except the crotch had been ripped out and part of it was on the other side of the room. Jacket was fine, but the pants, ruined.

What is it with dogs and crotches?!

No matter the answer to that question, I am angry, hurt, confused, and out one perfectly good black pant suit.

Chloe, Lost and Found

Chloe, Matilda’s cousin through her extended family, got lost today during her walk with Dad.

Chloe is a small black Schnoodle that my friend’s family adopted to give my goddaughter, Tess, a companion because dad was in Iraq. She was only two months old when they got her. Her previous family had two children and found that having a puppy was just too much. My friend, Renee, was not all that happy about the idea of getting a dog, but Tess really wanted and needed a companion, so…

When Dad got back from Iraq, he quickly bonded with the dog. Dad decided that his special “thing” with Chloe would be to take her for a walk without a leash. No one else in the family knew that he was doing this. Today, Chloe took off after a big dog and never looked back.

It was snowing and in the upper 30’s this morning where they live.

When Renee called to tell me that Chloe was gone, my heart sank and my stomach flipped. Chloe is not microchipped, nor did she have on her collar and identification. Tess would be mortified that her companion was lost.

Luckily, a good Samaritan found Chloe and turned her in to the local vet a few hours later. Renee got the call and dispatched Dad to go pick her up from the vet. Turns out Chloe was just down the street and around the corner from home.

If you have a dog, please get it microchipped. Implanting the chip is an inexpensive and short procedure that any vet should be able to perform. The chip has a number that is specific to your dog. If your dog is ever lost without its identification and it’s turned in to the local ASPCA or vet, they will be able to identify you as the owner by scanning the chip in the dog.

At the very least always walk your dog on a leash. It protects the dog from harm and it’s the law in most places.

Introspection

Matilda has changed my life in so many ways. Today was a holiday, so I was able to sleep in for awhile. Matilda and I got up at 8:00 and were out for our morning constitutional at 8:30, two hours later than normal. If I didn’t have her, I would have missed such a beautiful morning. The sky was decorated with big cotton candy clouds that seemed artistically placed on a bright blue canvas. We walked down to the park on the river as we always do these days. And as always, as soon as she saw the park, Matilda tried to take off like a bullet. Thankfully, the new harness I bought for her curbed her gallop to an Olympic speed power walk.

After she fulfilled the purpose of our walk, I decided to take a stroll with her to the top of the small hill in the park. There were two geese in the water closest to us. Just two. That’s something we never really see. There’s usually a gaggle of them, but this morning, there were only two. I watched those geese as I climbed the hill. And when I got there, I stopped and took in the view. The calmness of the river washed over me. And for the first time in a long time, I prayed. That’s not to say that I don’t talk to the Lord on a regular basis, because I do. But this morning, I stopped everything and prayed. It was this morning that I realized that I have always wanted to live close enough to the water that I could look at it everyday, but not so close that a storm would wash away my house. I’ve been living in this house since November, and I just realized that God has blessed me with the very thing I had asked for. So I thanked Him. I thanked Him for the view. I thanked Him for my wonderfully comfortable house. I thanked Him for my job and asked Him for a positive change in my finances. And I thanked him for my four legged partner.

When we returned to the same spot in the afternoon, this time there were five ducks in the water. Two couples, and a third wheel of a mallard. Maybe the female hadn’t made a decision between the two males. Or maybe the two males were fighting over her. Regardless, there they were, 5 ducks, swimming out into the river. I stood and took in the view. Dark gray storm clouds replaced the cotton candy from earlier. The calm river was now choppy and rough. And so I asked the Lord, “Is a change about to come?”

The Day My Heart Stopped

I had been sick for almost a week and this was the first day in that long that I walked Tildy to the park instead of driving there. I was moving slowly because I was exhausted and my legs felt like tree trunks. Matilda tends to understand when I don’t feel well and will act accordingly when we are in the house, but once we get outside, it’s a completely different story. She forgets that I need a little t.l.c. and starts running after squirrels and birds as if she’s not attached to me by a leash.

It was a beautiful summer afternoon. The park was filled with people. Kids playing on the jungle gym. Teenagers hanging out on the beach despite the “No Beach Access” sign. Women walking the boardwalk for exercise and couples walking it for pleasure.

I bent down to pick up poop and when I stood up, I realized that I didn’t feel any tension on the end of the leash. I looked down at Matilda, and it seemed that she realized it at the same time I did. She was free. Somehow the leash had become disconnected from her harness. And in that moment of realization, Matilda seized her chance and took off.

My heart stopped.

I watched as she galloped away in glee. She zigzagged across the field. As I yelled her name, she looked back at me, her tongue wagging with a smile on her face, and she continued to run.

I couldn’t breath.

I ran after her and after about 150 yards, my lungs began to burn. She was as fast as a bullet. She acted as if she didn’t hear me yelling her name. There was no way I was going to catch her. She was too far in front of me. I couldn’t push my body anymore.

I began to cry.

And then she stopped to make friends with someone fishing off the pier. Thank the Lord! Surely that person will keep her there until I get there. Nope. Matilda saw me coming and took off.

Was this a game to her? Or did she just not want to be with me anymore? The tears began to pour.

She turned a corner and I couldn’t see her anymore. And with that I gave up. I stopped running. My constant companion was gone.

Maybe she had decided to go back to her previous owner. Maybe she just didn’t like living with me. Maybe she was accustomed to being able to run free before she came to live with me.

And as I turned the corner to take the long way home, there she was! She had run into a gated area and was trying to find her way around it. When she saw me, she started running again. Damn dog. Just at that moment, a woman that I had run past in the park pulled up. She got out of her truck and started coaxing Matilda with a piece of chicken. Matilda ran right to her, tail wagging, and stopped about 10 feet in front of her. Suddenly, she turned her attention to me. She crawled over to me on her belly with her head down and laid down at my feet.

She knew she was wrong.

I was livid. How could she do something like this to me?! Why would she do something like this to me?! I picked her out of all the dogs on the internet, even though she looked scruffy and old. Didn’t I love her enough? Didn’t I take care of her when she was sick? I took her into my home and spoiled her rotten. What in the world would make her run from me like that?
I wanted to scream at her and beat her bottom until she understood how much she had hurt me, but the Rescue Chicken Lady was there telling me about a dog she used to have. I hardly heard a word she was saying. I thanked her profusely for her help, scooped up Matilda, and left.

Since she enjoyed going for walks so much, I carried her the whole way home. Squirrels would cross our path and she would try to wiggle free. Nope. Don’t think so. You had your time. Now you gotta look like a punk being carried home. I hope the squirrels, the birds, and the other dogs in the neighborhood are laughing at you because you can’t even walk home. You can’t be trusted. You have to be carried.

When we got back to the house, I let loose. I screamed at her like I’ve never screamed at anyone. I put her in a room and closed the door. She tried to apologize, but I wouldn’t let her. I had never been so hurt, so angry, so relieved.

A Public Service Announcement

The search for the Presidential Pet has drawn a lot of much needed attention to local animal shelters.

When I decided I wanted a dog, I knew that I didn’t have the patience for a puppy. The thought of housebreaking a dog was daunting. I just couldn’t see me coming home to pee and poop all over the place. Nope, that wasn’t for me. I felt that an older, already housebroken, already vaccinated, already spayed or neutered dog was best for me.

Focused and determined to find the right dog, I found and bookmarked websites for every ASPCA/humane society in Maryland, and along Rt. 29 in Virginia. During my search, I came across Petfinder.com. It’s a great site that makes it easy to search over 300,000 animals in over 12,000 adoption groups across the country. Just plug in what kind of animal you’re looking for, and your zip code, and all of the available animals in your area are there for you to peruse.

It was on Petfinder.com that I found Matilda. She was at the Animal Resource Foundation (ARF) in Chester, Maryland. I faxed them an application for Matilda on a Monday, and by Friday, she was all mine. The folks there are absolutely wonderful. They called me to follow up on my application and to ask me a few additional questions. A few days later, I got the call telling me I was approved and that Matilda would be mine. When I asked when I could come get her, they said they would be bringing her to me. My response must have told them what I was thinking – “That’s odd. Why can’t I just come pick her up?”. They explained that they deliver each of their animals in order to check out the new owner and the dog’s new home. They also want to help adapt the dog to its new surroundings. A family in Richmond, Virginia had expressed an interest in Matilda the week before I did. The folks at ARF took Matilda to Richmond, during a holiday weekend nonetheless, and after observing what her living situation would have been, they brought her back. They didn’t like what they saw and weren’t willing to leave her there.

These people are angels – volunteers committed to making sure that every rescued animal has a safe and loving home. Most rescue organizations are filled with angels who are looking after lost, abandoned, abused, or neglected animals.

Please support your local animal rescue organization. And if you are looking for a new pet, check out Petfinder.com. Your new best friend is just a click away.