Friday, January 7, 2011

Meet the New Gang

Over the holidays some of my canine buds at the local SPCA got adopted out. Yay. Saku and Renata and Frip, all off to new homes. Double yay. I will miss Saku especially.

Saturday's my dog walk day, the only time I can get a ride out there and back.  Tomorrow, am going to meet some new ones. So I checked out their doggy bios, sort of a mini pre-introduction. Excuse my quick, condensed, rough translation from the French:

Caleb -- A mixed Lab, male, 3 yrs old, 54 lbs.
"I am a dog very anxious in a new millieu, above all when there's too much stimulation around me. I would like to live in the country."

Kelly -- A Golden Labrador, female, 1-1/2 yrs old, 60 lbs.
"I am a dog joyous and social but I occasionally have bouts of emotion. I sometimes have difficulty to heal my stress and excitation. But with people calm and patient, this little problem passes quickly..."

Booga -- A mixed Boxer, female, 2 yrs old, 65 lbs.
"I am a dog very sociable, curious, affectionate and enthusiastic. I am easy to motivate with treats. If you are into running sports, I am an excellent candidate as a companion."

Ben -- A Rotweiler, male, 1 yr old, 62 lbs.
"I am a young dog who has, unfortunately, a sad history, having been frequently abandoned since I first saw the light of day. I have long been kept outside, without a place, with no exercise or stimulation. I am a good dog, very sweet and calm. I would love to live inside, to take walks, but above all, to discover life!"

Cadeau and Reuben, mixed Caniches, male & female, age 6, 10 lbs.
"We are timid little dogs who have need of time to feel at ease in a new setting. We would like to go to a family with young children. One says of us that we are active. We have a good education."

Lucien -- A mutt, male, 3 yrs old, 52 lbs.
"I adore human contact and caresses. I am quite friendly. If you want a dog for life, I am without a doubt your first choice."

-- A mixed Bassett Hound, male, 2 yrs old, 40 lbs.
"I'm not very sociable, probably because of being left by myself in the past. I'm kind of a gourmand. I'd love to find an understanding family who will just let me adapt to my rhythm."

-- A mixed black & white Lab, female, 3 yrs old, 70 lbs.
"I have a calm nature but tire out easily. Nevertheless I need exercise. I'm searching for a mature, patient person to whom I can give my confidence. I was brought up well."

Patte de Ours (Bearpaw) -- A mixed Bouvier, male, 2 yrs, 40 lbs.
"It is said that I am nice. I love to eat. I'm a little shy around new people. I'd like to find a family who will understand me."

So we humans are not the only ones who are uneasy in new situations and/or need time to "adapt to our rhythms". The blurbs try to be honest. You don't take a pre-owned or abandoned dog home and expect it to adapt immediately (though some do). Amazing that some people actually bring the animal back the next day because "he just had too much energy." Duh. Did you not read my bio? (the dog might say). It says right there, "I can be a bit rambunctious, at first." You didn't give me a chance. (I don't speak Canine but reading dog eyes is not rocket science.)

What a great job that would be, creating descriptive little blurbs about animals up for adoption. You would have to meet them first, of course, to get an idea of their individual personality. Sometimes their name is a clue. For example, a few weeks ago I walked a dog I'd not met before, whose name was "Intensity", and his name was an absolute, complete fit. Oh boy, and then some.  (He liked to chew bush twigs, drag tree limbs inside, and was the most hyper dog I've ever encountered. He's apparently finally been adopted, meaning someone decided Intensity's intensity wasn't a deterrent after all.)

I know, I know, they warned me about this--the animal rescue people, my friends, my mate--of getting too attached. But how can you not? They're so happy to get out of their cages and run in the snow. They see you coming into the room with a leash and they all start barking and jumping up and down: "Take me!! Take me!! Take ME!!!"

The cats have their own way of meeting and greeting. They surround and snuggle up to you, sit purring beside you, climb all over you. I go home afterwards and our cats all come sniffing suspiciously: "Hey. Where you been?!" ha ha.

It is an education, this. I learn something new every time, about animal behavior, what they're feeling, the ways they express themselves, how they communicate. Cats are harder to read, as far as suffering goes. They are good at hiding the fact that they're in pain. That was the case with Lou, who had been hit by a car. We had no idea how severe her injuries were, she gave us no clue, except that she just didn't seem herself.

I was thinking about those creatively crafted little blurbs, written as if the animal itself were speaking. An idea came to me for a short story, about a guy who writes obituaries. Years of doing this and he suddenly snaps, and deviates from the standard form. No one notices at first. Then families of the deceased begin to complain. Management fires him. But not before his latest and last batch of obits hit the local press--and then all hell breaks loose.

So little time to write this week, but if I don't get some of these to-do-writes out of my head, it will explode. If only there were a non-crashable internal backup system, say behind the ears, where one could just pull saved-&-stored ideas out at will, & not have to write them down on paper bags and backs of envelopes that you misplace or throw away by mistake.

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