Archive for the ‘Chesters 67 through 76’ Category

Chesters 67 through 76; or Molly Weasley and her brood

April 4, 2015

11073133_10206124392852689_5028857813200543914_nA couple of weeks ago, one of my favorite people in the world (Kara Hughes!) tagged me in a Facebook post, because one of her favorite people in the world (Francine Vitagliano, of LuLu’s Rescue) was trying to save a South Carolina dog and her pups from the euthanasia table. LuLu’s Rescue was willing to take the dogs, but the shelter was out of room and couldn’t hold them the required couple of weeks. (Fostering Fact #1: there are travel restrictions across state lines for shelter dogs, including two week quarantines after being released from animal shelters.)

I looked up the location of the animal shelter (Manning, SC), and saw that it’s only 30 minutes away from our house. In fact, I had even been there on one of my missions to find the perfect pup for a prospective dog owner! This particular shelter was a temporary home for Fisk Foster dog: Kimball/Jagger.

Here was the problem, though: I couldn’t commit to fostering for *2* weeks, because I was scheduled to leave for an academic conference in New Orleans in *1* week, and I already had to beg my mother to house sit and watch my: 5 dogs, 3 chickens, 2 fish, 2 kids, and 1 cat. I knew that adding a Mama Dog and her three pups would push her over the edge to “NO” and that she would not be swayed even by puppy-cuteness. 11073191_10206124393572707_9167723372585389829_n

So, I posted the photos on my Facebook page and tried to find someone willing to split the 2 weeks with me. Crickets. And, then, Francine noticed my post and called me.

Francine: “Umm . . . I noticed in your FB post you mentioned 3 puppies. There are actually 9. I’ll understand if this changes things.”

Not only do I teach close reading (note the “p [for pups] 3, 4, 5” in Annie’s photo), but also: I’ve fostered two Mama dogs of similar size, one of whom had 7 pups and the other 14. I should have known. Pups 3, 4, and 5 were bound to be 3, 4, and 5 of a bigger litter; and, Fisk Foster Mama dogs do not have litters smaller than 7.

10835313_10206167166722009_3320554129164350645_oI promptly took down the Facebook solicitation. I was getting no bites for fostering 1 Mama + 3 puppies for a week, let alone 1 Mama + 9 puppies. Most people do not buy into my version of puppy math (i.e. 1 large dog bed = 1 dog, despite how many it takes to fill it). See the photo of the puppies? 2 dog beds = 2 dogs, in puppy math.

Still, I couldn’t stomach the idea that ten dogs were going to be euthanized, because of a logistical glitch. So, Francine and I decided that I would pick them up, take them to be vetted, foster them for a week, and then . . . figure something out. We could board them at that point if we had to do so. (Fostering Fact #2: if you ever wondered where the $$$ goes in animal rescue — why they always seem to be needing donations — think of situations like this: multiply how much it costs to board your 1 dog x 10 of them, and then donate to a rescue.)

The litter-of-9 rather than litter-of-3 was the first upset. The second also came via phone from Francine.

Francine: “We just found out that there is a PARVO case at the shelter — not our puppies, but still: PARVO. I’ll understand if this changes things.”

Oh, Francine. Those who know me best know that such upsets make me more determined. Plus, I thought of Fisk Foster pup, Hazelle/Ella, who also had Parvo and is a healthy, happy girl three years later. The only thing the Parvo-upset changed was that I left to pick up the pups ASAP, since it’s such a highly contagious disease. Even though I knew the shelter would be “on it,” with bleach and cleaning scrubs in hand, I knew the pups’ best chance of not getting sick was being out of that environment altogether. (Fostering Fact #3: have you ever thought, “why don’t rescues just leave the pups in the shelters, so they can get adopted?” If so, the answer is: for the same reason you wouldn’t take your newborn baby — with his or her nonexistent immune system — to an anti-vaxer’s “Measles” party.)

11075005_10206136527276042_6103581604351139833_nA few hours later, Fisk Fosters 67 through 76, or Molly Weasley and her biological&adopted brood (Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred & George, Ron, Ginny, Harry & Hermione) were waiting patiently to be vetted. For, like, a second. And then they weren’t patient and went all kinds of potty on the vet’s floor, as though to impress me with their ability to synchronize. So, for the next 20 minutes or so, I was cleaning up puddle-of-pee after puddle-of-poop after puddle-of-pee after puddle-of-poop ad infinitum, while Molly watched me sympathetically. As soon as I thought I was closer to order than chaos, I would notice poop-footprints from this-or-that pup who wasn’t careful about where he or she was stepping; or a couple of pups playing tug-of-war with a doorstop; or a pup who had accidentally fashioned himself a noose from a dangling cord. And, then, I’d have to rescue the doorstop or interrupt the “game” of puppy-hangman. (Fostering Fact #4: sometimes, vets will offer special rates to rescue organizations, without which a lot of the magic couldn’t happen . . . hence, the pressure to not be a bother at the vet’s office . . . hence, my commitment to the Herculean task of leaving the vet’s floor in the same state in which I found it.)

11043435_10206138739171338_5617707264023103985_o_Fotor_CollageAfter Molly and her pups were fully vetted (and diagnosed with intestinal worms, of course, which is a surprise to no one who picked up on the puddles-of poop reference, above), we headed home. Soon, the pups were in their outside-puppy-playpen, and Molly was positively gleeful to get a much-needed break from her brood. All mothers everywhere recognize that expression. Also: don’t let the white splotches under her nose fool you. Molly is a young girl — only a year-or-two old — so virtually a pup herself. Despite her sweetness, she was owner-surrendered by someone who was willing to keep her until she got knocked up. (Fostering Fact #5: dogs that are “owner-surrendered” get even less time in overcrowded shelters than their stray counterparts, since the latter could technically belong to someone and are consequently held in “lost and found” in case someone comes to reclaim them. So, “owners” — and I use that term loosely — care for your pets, which includes spaying&neutering; if you can’t, take them to a no-kill shelter; at the very least, don’t pretend that they were ever creatures you cared about and address them instead as strays, since that will at least buy them a bit more time.)

10478510_10206156109565587_2769899756533551478_oAnyway: we became the fun neighborhood home for only a few days, since Francine was able to find a closer rescue (Brother Wolf in Asheville) to meet us in Greenville for a puppy pickup. Kudos to Brother Wolf, because they stepped up despite the fact that the pups had been exposed to Parvo . . . actually, they stepped up because of that, since they knew they were in a better financial place than LuLu’s (at the moment anyway, since that’s always how these things go — bankruptcy is always one-litter-of-Parvo-puppies away) and able (at the moment anyway) to afford medical treatment, if needed. And good thing too: one of the puppies who had started to turn his nose up at food tested positive for Parvo as soon as he arrived at Brother Wolf. He’s the one the kids and I had named Harry Potter, though, so I’m fully confident in his ability to persevere. He shall be the-boy-who-lived.

And the pups shall henceforth be known as both Molly Weasley’s brood, and the puppies-with-the-poop-problems. Kudos, too, to Scott whose shop floor has been sanitized, soiled, and sanitized as often as a vet’s floor, at this point. This was a for-real conversation when he came home from work on day two of this particular fostering adventure:

Scott: “What are you doing with poop in your hair?!”
Me, frantically checking my hair: “Oh gross — really? Well . . . I do have nine puppies with diarrhea. I’ve already had two showers today.”
Scott, pointing to the Pig-pen pup of the group: “No. I was talking to the dog. But eww.”

If you’d like to show your appreciation for either Lulu’s Rescue or Brother Wolf — or both! — please do so, in honor of Molly and her brood, and with our thanks.

In other news, Scott and I are on our way back from New Orleans. Our official business there was: academic conference. In between finishing my presentation, though, Scott and I started watching Pit Bulls and Parolees. You only have to watch the trailer to understand why this is our. new. favorite. show. of. all. time:

Sad people that we are, we don’t have cable and first learned about Tia Torres and Villalobos from Jon Stewart, who we watch religiously each night via the Comedy Central Web site:

But our hotel room had cable! And Season 4 of Pit Bulls and Parolees was playing on Animal Planet! So Scott and I watched it, and then jumped in a cab, and then rode the roughly 9 miles to the rescue center while regaling our cab driver with foster-dog-stories, and then waited the 40 minutes to get a tour. But our tour guide was none other than our favorite parolee, Earl!


We weren’t allowed to take photos of the cast (probably because the tours wouldn’t actually happen if so, because everyone would be taking photos of and with the cast). But, Earl was as charming off camera as he is on camera, and the dogs were too. See the bottom right photo? That’s me reaching through the links to pet the dogs, and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I was *the only one* from our group loving on each of the dogs. You’d think everyone else was there just to be on tv or something. One other girl finally knelt down dog-level too, but didn’t scratch any ears that I could see. Scott said he was afraid that he wasn’t allowed and would get in trouble, which means that he wasn’t listening to Earl who told me it was *fine.* Sheesh. Earl and I are surrounded by amateurs.

10854859_10206283251144047_775112451199310038_oNote, too, the middle photo in the top row, featured here again. Those are chains that were removed from pit bulls abandoned in yards, because sometimes people suck. But, then, as is always the case: other people, like Tia Torres and Earl, come along, are awesome, and the chains fall away.

And ^that^ fact reminds me of what one of my favorite writers, Robin Meyers (who is a professor of rhetoric in the Philosophy department at Oklahoma City University and the senior minister of a UCC church) says about the real meaning of Easter (which is, appropriately, tomorrow):

“[Jesus] was remembered as talking about the kingdom here and now—a way of being in right relationship to God and to one another that could be both present and future tense. It was both now, in his wisdom, and yet to come, when that wisdom would rule the whole earth. In his parables he sought to reverse human expectations of rewards and punishments, and he audaciously proclaimed that the first would be last, and the last first. Insiders would be outsiders, and the rewards of faith would be intrinsic, not extrinsic.

In the end, what right do human beings have to expect eternal bliss for being good—or on the cheap, for just believing the right things? And what single idea is more shameful or horrific than to project our human longing for vengeance upon God by claiming that in God’s infinite mercy God has made and maintains a place of eternal torment? It is no wonder that so many good people avoid the word ‘Christian’ like the plague. It has become synonymous with hypocrisy, mean-spiritedness, and conspicuous consumption.

Yet some churches do not just celebrate Easter; they live it. There are Jesus followers who live as Easter people every day and provide more proof of the resurrection than any literalized metaphor of an empty tomb. They are all ‘untimely born,’ but they have no need to boast of an ecstatic vision or cover their doubts by touching wounded hands or pierced sides. They accept the laws of nature yet refuse to live in a universe devoid of mystery or stripped of all enchantment. By following, not by believing, they remain open to the possibility of resurrection in this life, not just in the next.”