Friday, July 27, 2012


At 5 a.m., Tia the puppy's wet spongy nose arrived in my face, soon to be followed by her entire wiggly little body. Reluctantly opening my eyes to the sight of her bare, speckled belly, I groaned my way out of bed and into the yard to let her pee. After investigating every bush, weed, leaf of grass and the odd blown-down bird's nest--particularly fascinating, that--she finally elected to pee and then dig up an old rawhide chew. The puppy who ordinarily cannot wait to escape from her yard settled down, contentedly gnawing on it.

"Fine," I muttered. "Be that way." I went back to bed, but took the precaution of leaving the back kitchen door open, since she is now a confirmed escape artist. Sure enough, just about the time I was settling in for my fifteen remaining minutes of sleep I heard the thud-thud of four eager paws and the expectant whine of a puppy looking for breakfast. Anyone's. After cruising all three food dishes in the kitchen, regardless of whether or not another dog had a nose in them, she fastened her leech-like gaze on my breakfast. Which I was devouring in haste, I might add. These days, food is eaten in a hurry.

It's off to the barn in few minutes, then back to the yard to hose off a muck-covered puppy. And then we will take the morning tour of the neighborhood, this time on a leash. She has outgrown her baby collar and maybe the baby leash, too. I'm thinking a ten-foot training lead would be a lot easier on my back. It worked on my last pit bull pup. Tia is smaller than that one...but I'm older now! Growing older by the minute...

Postscript - Tia did not wait for her walk. As I was typing this, I heard frenetic barking from my yard--not hers, but my other dog, Lilah the snitch. Lilah always barks frenetically when Tia has made an escape. Sure enough, there was my puppy, leaping all over another dog being walked up the road. His bemused owners were fending her off, laughing (fortunately). I was not laughing. I retrieved my puppy and also one of my favorite short boots which I found in my neighbor's yard. How did she get it? God only knows. Only He knows where the other one is. I have renamed her Satan's Child.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Like childhood, puppyhood is all too short even though you wonder at the time if you'll live through it. In the interest of sharing some of it without driving everyone bonkers, I'm offering a brief weekly tribute to the results of rescue work--in this case, one of the puppies finally "getting" me. Feel free to share your own insights and stories.

Meanwhile, Diary Entry for The Life of Tia the Terrible:

"All animals are sleeping. Do I dare say it is...quiet? As in...can I write? I had almost forgotten the joys of a puppy munching on the mattress, gnawing on my printer, cornering her eyes lovingly at me around the sole of my favorite sandal disappearing into her mouth. The flying-around-the-house-catch-me game. And the puppy sighs and no-legs collapse when she finally wears out. Can I really do this one more time? Oh, hell, why not?"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


But...but...she seemed so demure. So needy. I mean, look at that poor thing trying to hide in a laundry basket. Look at those eyes! The people at the kill shelter where she was turned in by someone who had "too many animals" clearly understood how demure and needy she was. That obviously was why they sent her to a county rescue which in turn sent her to a rescue in New Jersey, which was too close for comfort. My comfort, that is. I'm only one state away. When the heroic woman who runs that rescue said she would drive the puppy here...well, obviously it was a sign. A sign of something, anyway.

There are also signs that say things like "Open Manhole" or "Pavement Ends Here."

Tia the Terrible has now been with me for ten days. She's utterly charming. Those eyes are just as cute as they look in the picture. Only...her expression has brightened up considerably. Why not? In ten days, she has carved out my house and my life exactly to her liking.

We now have morning walks. Obviously, Tia conferred with the doctor who told me this was a necessity. She's only looking out for my health. It's unfortunate that she has to do it at 6 a.m. to give me time to walk her a mile down the road and back again and still get to work on time, only slightly damp around the edges. There's never time to dry my hair because I'm usually fishing her out of the trash can the moment I get out of the shower.

We have morning coffee, too. Hers. It used to be mine, before she got her nose in it. She prefers it with half and half. Sugar is off list for both of us, thank God, because I don't think she needs more energy even if I do. After that, I cook her a hamburger. I get frozen waffles. If I'm lucky. I top them with blueberries because she doesn't like them and realize how fortunate I am that there is one item of human food she doesn't like. It's probably the only one.

She crates acceptably while I'm at work. Again, thank you, God--because I've realized why the shelter sent her on so speedily. I doubt they could contain her. The beautiful new half acre $2,000 dog-safe fence encasing my yard is a joke. She was under it before I could even get back to my own back door and she's still under it every time I put her in it. To her credit, she does come looking for me rather than running into traffic--I've learned to leave the back door open--but there's always that possibility. The first line of electric fence I ran around the bottom of the real fence did not deter her. I'm wearing bruises on my knees from her little pit bull skull smacking into them, so I suspect she has a high pain tolerance. If the UPS guy doesn't deliver a stronger charger tomorrow, I'm doomed. I was trying to go easy on her because she's just a child in a fur suit.

What's that song I'm hearing in the background? "Devil in a blue dress..."

It's another sign. I'm almost sure of it.

Friday, July 13, 2012


OK, I confess that one of the rescue puppies finally got to me! Meet Tia from Home Free Rescue in Red Bank, NJ. I think Tia is what you might call a "pocket pittie,"--pit bull mixed with a small hound breed like whippet or Italian greyhound. In any case, she has now taken over my house into which I swore I couldn't cram one more animal. (Cynical laughter.) You can always find room for one more and I hope those who can will. The need is endless, so long as people do not spay and neuter their pets. I'm glad Tia is here, but oh how I wish somebody had spayed her mommy and saved her from a wormy, underfed life which is all she had before rescue.

This weekend, why not consider taking a rescue animal or, if you can't keep one on a permanent basis, offering temporary foster care. There is a desperate need for foster families. Call any shelter or rescue to inquire.