Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey, deer, and other things for which to be thankful.

Alice has decided that this visiting family for Thanksgiving thing is pretty sweet. She slept the entire trip up and has actually been doing pretty well with the two other dogs and all the people in the house. There was a little bit of territorial behavior on Wednesday-- Brodie (the Human Male's family's dog) isn't too fond of other dogs looking at her food and water dishes, and Alice didn't care much for Brodie looking at her Human Male. She also wet on my bed and coat as I was getting into bed that evening (which in truth is probably less offensive than the night before, when she went on me in bed). After being exiled from the bed and forced to sleep in her crate, she woke up in a far better mood, and was even willing to "share" her precious squeaky tennis ball with Max, the Human Aunt and Uncle's golden retriever. Personally, I thought Max's spry days were years behind him, but he played (and eventually shredded) that ball like he was a puppy.

We took Alice for two long romps yesterday-- one on a farm in the morning and another through the woods after dinner, where she tried to catch a deer (yes, the sight of a puggle in an orange owl sweater trying to catch a deer is as ridiculous to watch as it sounds)-- and between that and many, many pieces of turkey, she ended the day one dog too tired to weedle on anything. I woke up this morning at 8A and she was still conked out, only having moved enough during the night to kick her legs out a bit from the tight ball in which she'd fallen asleep. As soon as she woke up, she started begging for more turkey. Which of course she got. She's been sitting inches from me all day, intently waiting for any possible sign that I might be getting up to go to the fridge.

Something that's struck me since we got here is how genuinely kind everyone's been to Alice. Obviously I didn't expect them to throw garbage at her, but I also know that she's my dog, and I'm apt to be more enamored with her than the average person. But everyone's been petting her, giving her treats, letting her sit in their laps, telling her that her sweater and special Thanksgiving bandanna from Mamala look lovely, and doing tricks with her. They all seem to think her underbite is pretty darn cute, too. She also had an Urban Family visitor last night and is expecting another one tomorrow.

I know I shouldn't be surprised, I don't really roll with anyone who isn't obsessed with their own pets, but I've been thinking a lot lately about where she came from and what she's gone through. Last week I was playing with her and noticed the scars on her side were bleeding. I guess with the cold weather her skin was drying out and cracking. While we don't know what caused them the shape, size, and number of her scars makes it hard to believe that they were caused by any other method than human hand. Just as we have the choice to put coconut oil on them and throw her sweater on before she goes outside or let her stay chapped, someone had the choice to harm her or leave her alone. Personally, keeping her from licking the oil off and wrangling her into a sweater sounds a lot harder than the latter situation, but both seem like easy choices to get right. And yet, someone chose the wrong option (and I'm the one getting wee'd upon saying this). Theoretically, we now have to do the right thing because someone else didn't.

This makes me think about all of the abused and neglected dogs we saw in shelters and with rescue organizations while we were looking for a pet, a badly scarred yet gorgeous greyhound I saw this past weekend, and an article I read in a paper today from near my old 'hood about a man who threw a dog out of his car on a cold night, kicking it as it tried to get back in. Damn, there are so many people out there that can't make the right decision! Maybe it's the holiday season making me sentimental, maybe it's meeting new people and having to regularly explain again that her scars came as "standard features", but lately it's been making me a little weepy.

On the bright side, this kind of situation also highlights the people who are making the right choice. The Dog Park had a clean-up event a couple of weeks ago and had a great volunteer turn-out. A local shelter recently put a sign on their building boasting 1,186 adoptions this year alone.
The woman in the article stopped what she was doing and saved that dog (also look at the comments below). And I know from experience the animal hospital that took him in is a super busy one, but they've found the time and space to take care of him.

And of course, our friends and family have chosen to welcome and love Alice, to snuggle with her, sew and send her presents, vote for her for contests, give her treats, make special visits to see her, etcetera, etcetera-- not only just making the right choice, but going so far above and beyond it to show that she's appreciated and not simply tolerated or a nuisance.

Here's to the good people outnumbering the idiots.

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