Our Silly Old G Dog


Tonight, surrounded by people who love her, and eating treats until she fell asleep, our funny, quirky Guinness left us to find her big sister Margot at the Rainbow Bridge. I used to say that if I made a list of qualities I wanted in a dog, Guinness wouldn’t have matched them. Which shows that I know nothing, because she was the best girl, the best companion, the most entertaining of friends, and she was so sweet that everyone who ever met her loved her. Anytime someone questioned her intelligence, I reminded them that she had exactly the life she wanted. Not so dumb, that Guinness. She loved all treats and cheeseburgers. Actually, the only thing we ever offered her that she didn’t eat was a freshly caught fish. Apparently it needed to started smelling bad before it could entice her.

She was empathic and if she knew there was anything wrong with you, she’d lean in to you and give you all the love twenty-five pounds could give. Her heart was as big as her home state of Texas. And though her eyesight and hearing had dimmed, and her joints were stiff, and she had more than a touch of dementia, though she mostly liked to snooze and be left alone, she adapted to a new house and yard, the loss of her best friend Margot, and the new dogs who came into our home, some for a brief time and some to stay.

Run free, sweet Guinness.

National Suicide Prevention Week

September 5-11 is National Suicide Prevention Week. Every day I think of our nephew Aaron. I think of all the times we laughed together. I think of his playful nature, his wisdom, his compassion, the food and dogs and books and movies he liked. I think of the many photos his mother shared when we lived so far apart that allowed me to watch him as he grew up. I think of his visits to The Compound as he got older and the cherished place he took among our family and friends. I contemplate how he loved us and protected us, especially his parents, from the truth of the depression that engulfed him.

No matter how much I wish I could, I can never forget the stark truth of his last day and the terrible phone call that began my reality of living in a world without him. He killed himself just before his high school graduation. His friends overflowed his memorial service to say goodbye.

This year we didn’t celebrate his college graduation. We won’t know which career choices he might have made. We won’t see him marry, or hold his first child, or be part of all the celebrations and challenges that every family goes through together. Aaron didn’t take that from us. Depression did.

I wish no parent, no child, no brother or sister, no aunt or uncle, no grandparent, no cousin, no friend would ever have to know this kind of loss.

For more information about recognizing the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, please visit the American Association of Suicidology website. If you are struggling, please visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. You can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

We love you, Aaron, and hold your memory in our hearts.

Sad Eyes

These goofballs, with their Margaret Keane eyes. Big dogs on transport day like to turn their butts to my camera because I’m about the least interesting thing happening. But puppies turn on the pathos, like they are having the worst morning ever. In truth, once in their crates on the vans, most puppies either opt for a nice nap or they transform into hilarious little miscreants, playing tug of war or boxing with each other, shredding their puppy pads, or otherwise creating mayhem. The guilt-inducing portraits are just another part of their charm.

You can go here to see all of the Rescued Pets Movement dogs and cats who traveled in June. And I just joined RPM’s 2016 Saving Pets Challenge. If you want to make a donation to my team, the link is here!

Joel


Joel had a lot to think about on transport day.

If you want to see what keeps me busy, check out all the dogs and cats who left Houston for better lives in May at Rescued Pets Movement’s transport post.. It takes a lot of hours to maintain the records of 400-700 animals a month. Taking their photos is a bonus. =)

You can help Rescued Pets Movement win $10,000 without donating a penny–just your time in voting. You can get the details by clicking here. Thanks!

Recently, at the Hall, part three

This guy had a birthday. Since it fell on transport day, we had cupcakes there so some of RPM’s amazing volunteers and staff could celebrate with him. And because he’s the compassionate person he is, he asked for only one thing for his birthday: donations to Rescued Pets Movement’s Crowdrise campaign to raise funds to restructure and reopen the Jack C. Alexander clinic after much needed repairs and modifications. If you’re so inclined, you can still show your love for Timothy J. Lambert and the movement to get Houston’s million homeless dogs and cats off the streets, out of the city pound, and into homes in other states where they’re desperately wanted. You can click here to donate or learn more.

Recently, at the Hall, part two


The last two of our foster dogs I shared here were Shannon and Richie. They were adopted immediately upon their arrival in Colorado, and their rescue then asked for their brother Aiden. We picked him up from BARC and fostered him until he traveled, and he is about the sweetest boy ever, with excellent manners, and was a great playmate to all the Houndstooth hounds, falling on the scale somewhere between Shannon’s shyness and Richie’s more boisterous nature. Like his siblings, Aiden was adopted as soon as he arrived in Colorado.


Our next foster was Noah. He’s a little bigger than the dogs we usually bring home, and he is AMAZING. I think this may be the first time all of us fell hard for a dog. He proved himself so trustworthy as a houseguest that we didn’t even crate him at night, letting him have the run of the Hall, though he didn’t object to a crate at all. He loved our dogs, Debby’s dogs, and Tim’s dogs. It was challenging not to be a foster failure and beg to keep him. However, without RPM’s Colorado (and Wisconsin, Toronto, and Minnesota) partners, over 14,000 of Houston’s homeless dogs and cats would be dead. Their rescuers work hard to find them homes, and we agree to let them go to them. Like the others, Noah was adopted quickly upon his arrival in Denver.


I decided maybe we should stop fostering dogs I wished we could keep. Since I’m not really a scruffy or foofie dog person, I thought a Pomeranian mix might be a safer bet: small enough for our dogs to enjoy but not the kind of dog I’m usually drawn to. Ha, Universe! Enter Mitzi. If there exists a perfect dog, Mitzi is it. She is probably the best-behaved, best-natured, easiest dog we’ve fostered since Betsy way back in 2014 at The Compound. She loved every dog and every person, had immaculate manners, barked only twice the entire time she was with us–once because she was excited at mealtime and once to get some petting–and it was just as hard to say goodbye to her as to any of the fantastic dogs we’ve fostered. Pom lovers are nodding their heads knowingly, I’m sure.

And then came Churro. He fit in perfectly with our pack. You can’t see the dark stripe down his back in this photo, but it makes him as cute as can be, along with those ears. You probably do notice his cherry eyes–the red in the inside corners. These are prolapsed third eyelids, and his Colorado rescue will get the easy surgery to fix them. Churro left this past transport day, and I think he may be the one Anime and Delta miss most. He was a lot like a bratty brother, always poking at them and making them play, and they loved him. He kept me laughing the entire time he was here–a wiggling, happy boy who could also curl up with Tom and be the perfect lapdog. Even Lynne’s dog Paco didn’t mind having Churro next to him, and Paco pretty much dislikes any dog who gets on the recliner with Tom.

As hard as it is to say goodbye to the funny, loving, frisky dogs in our care, we know they’re going to great homes. And it makes Houndstooth Hall available to the next one who needs a soft place to land before traveling to a forever family. As with any rescue dog, we get so much more from them than we can ever give. Happy lives, sweet foster kids. You all deserve the loving, lucky families who adopt you.

This is our last dance

Because I haven’t had enough to do while I’ve been sick (is there a font called “sarcasm?”), I decided to foster a sweet little girl dog. It was supposed to be for only a few days until she traveled. But as things have a way of going awry, we realized after we picked her up that she wasn’t simply trying to recover from her spay surgery, something was wrong. She wasn’t thriving, and on the second day we had her, I learned she also had a brother in RPM’s program. Long story short, after getting her good medical treatment from RPM’s clinic and reuniting the siblings, we ended up with two fosters who’ll be with us until mid-April.

This is Shannon.

And this is her brother Richie.

They are six months old and both now in great health and full of mischief. I have to keep a close watch on them, because there is no predicting what trouble they’ll get up to next. For example, I have a small wooden child’s chair with a woven seat that became a tasty, tasty toy. While I was sweeping that up, I realized Anime was on the couch chewing on something. I assumed it was a piece of the same little chair, but no. She’d taken a magazine off the bottom shelf of a table and was eating it. This is the other problem with having two bad toddlers–they lead our teenagers Anime and Delta into misadventures. I keep finding things they’ve pulled from various shelves to hide in dog beds and other places.

Tom’s first question about the magazine Anime was eating was who was on the cover. Chris Martin.

I get crap at Houndstooth Hall for liking Coldplay; apparently cheeky little Anime is on their side.

Mostly I was glad it wasn’t this magazine, because I’d been planning for a while to use it for a photograph and some musing during this insane political year.

There are maybe a handful of songs in our lives that we can remember exactly where we were and who we were with the first time we heard them. “Under Pressure” is one of those songs for me. I lived in Tuscaloosa, two doors down from a friend who’s still my friend, in a big but characterless apartment with a guy who–on the rare times I think of him–I’m so grateful is not still in my life. He and I were listening to the radio one night when I heard this song for the first time. I liked Queen, and I liked David Bowie; the pairing on this song was a little bit of magic. I had almost no money then, but I went down the hill the next day to Albertson’s grocery store, where you could still buy a 45 record, and brought this one home with me. I have no turntable now, but I’m sure it’s full of lots of snap, crackle, and pop from being overplayed.

Freddie Mercury and David Bowie: two amazing artists, lost 25 years apart, and what a legacy they left with all they created, including this song. Since that long-ago day, “Under Pressure” has been covered, sampled, part of movie and television soundtracks, and used to sell products. To me, it still has the same purity as the first time I heard it. I’m still affected by the lines, Love’s such an old fashioned word, and love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night, and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves, this is our last dance…this is ourselves…under pressure.

Despite the terror of knowing what this world is about, may I always give love…give love…give love…give love…”

Sometimes it’s so much easier to love dogs than people, but I try.