Monday, September 23, 2013

The Story of Milo

It seems to be my fate to encounter little white dogs.  A few weeks ago Bizz and I were out and about and we saw a little white dog running loose.  He saw us and took off for his nearby owner and I never thought anything about it.  It does seem to me that dogs spend their whole lives scheming on how to escape, until they get into the outside world and all they want to do is get back to their owners.

On Sunday morning, Bizz and I were out for our usual stroll and a woman came down her driveway to intercept me.  "I just have to ask if I can pat your dog, I see you out with him all the time and he's just so cute."  I immediately agreed and we commenced chatting. 

I learned a few important things - one is that there are coyotes roaming my neighborhood. Two of the neighbors cats had been killed in a very dreadful fashion and coyotes had been spotted. They come out at night and little domestic animals are very vulnerable. Bizz' reluctance to walk down that street several evenings became clear - he may have smelled a threat and was protecting not just himself but me as well.

We also discussed her neighbors and that was when she told me the story of Milo.  Milo is the little white dog I mentioned earlier.  The story broke my heart.  An elderly woman had lived across the street and had a little dog named Milo.  He was her constant companion.  A few months ago she became ill and her daughter came to stay with her from Sacramento.  Eventually Milo's owner had to go into a nursing home.  The daughter did not like Milo, was constantly letting him run loose but he always came home.  After the woman went into the nursing home her daughter took Milo on a ride and tossed him from her car.  She sold her mother's house and moved back to her home in Sacramento.

This story was so horrifying on so many levels. Here is a little dog who's owner loved him and yet once she became unable to care for him he was thrown away by a callous family member.  Even worse, she didn't even try to get him adopted.  The neighbor I was speaking with told me she loved dogs and loved little Milo and would have adopted him herself if given the opportunity.  I would have taken Milo in (you can never have too many little white dogs running around the house).  And worst of all she didn't even give Milo a chance at a happier life - she literally threw him away.  She could have dropped him off at any shelter, any veterinary office or even a pet store - any of those would have found a way to get him fostered.

What sickens me most is that she told people what she did. This woman had so little regard for a dog's life that she didn't even realize how other people would perceive this heinous act.  What a terrible person, I can only be happy she no longer lives in our neighborhood. I feel sorry for the people she encounters in Sacramento.

So why am I writing this?  As Bizz lies sleeping at my feet all I can think is was this what happened to him?  How did he end up on the streets of LA with no microchip, no license and no one to take care of him?  He got so lucky and I can only hope that somewhere out there Milo got as lucky.

But I also think of this as a wake up call to all responsible pet owners.  Make sure that your pets are taken care of in case anything happens to you.  And if you don't want a pet there are a ton of resources for rehoming pets - call the Humane Society; Animal Control; a rescue group for the breed, anything to make sure the animal doesn't end up alone and friendless like poor Milo.  And if you see an animal running loose don't assume there is a caring owner nearby.  As with Pelucci last week, help him get home or at least get someplace safe.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Dog Ran Into a Bar

I know this is going to sound like a fable but in fact the story I am about to tell you is true.  The last 24 hours have been physically and emotionally draining for all of us - myself, Kelvin and Isabelle, and our four dogs - Bizz (mine), Pelucci, Truffles and Lucky.  The reason was - Pelucci was kidnapped.

Yesterday afternoon Isabelle left Pelucci sleeping in her car in a shady spot while she ran into her gym. When she came out the car, her purse and her dog were all gone. Someone had come along and stolen her car with Pelucci in it.  She immediately called the police and Kelvin and the search for Pelucci began.  Kelvin came immediately while the police took several hours to arrive. 

Meanwhile the car thief had driven the car to the other end of the large strip mall and had entered the Home Depot (a hardware store) where he proceeded to charge several tools to Isabelle's charge card. 

After hours of driving around searching Isabelle and Kelvin came home.  I was in my house (they have recently moved back into their apartment on the property) and Kelvin came to tell me the terrible news. I was horrified of course.  Who would steal a car with a very loud barking dog in it?  Who would even dare?  But of course the windows were open to give Pelucci plenty of fresh air so it was easy access. 

My first thought was putting up signs. I ran inside and designed a Lost Dog sign and put in a photo of Pelucci I had taken earlier this year. I made plans to get up early and take Bizz over to the area where Pelucci had been kidnapped and start putting signs up. I made 40 copies and sent it to Kelvin so he could print and distribute  them as well.

I went to bed around midnight and Bizz was very cuddly so I think he must have been able to tell I was upset.  Isabelle and Kelvin went out again around 1 am and continued the search. 

Early this morning Bizz and I got up and loaded with tape and plenty of signs we headed over to the 24 Hour Fitness to commence putting up signs.  I focused on points next to cross walks, right above the button you push to get the light to change.  I figured if Pelucci was to be found people on foot would be the ones to find him.  Little did I know what was already taking place.  I also placed signs at a nearby dog park and networked with a few folks walking the neighborhood - giving them copies of the flyer so if they saw him they would have the number to call. 

After two hours Bizz and I headed home - driving up and down as many sidestreets as we could.  No luck.

Isabelle and Kelvin meanwhile were dealing with the police, the bank and were already getting calls from people who had seen the flyer and wanted to help.  One very helpful Starbucks barista had seen the sign and called to find out about the car so if he spotted it he could intervene and rescue Pelucci.  Kelvin thanked him and suggested he call 911.

I created and posted a Lost & Found Ad for Craigs List and dealt with a few business calls.  Late afternoon I discovered that for dogs lost and found in Santa Clara County you can go to a site and create a flyer for the dog you found or the one you lost.  I decided to check it out.  And what did I see?  It was Pelucci.  He was misidentified as a female but it was him. I'd know that smile anywhere.  I immediately started calling Kelvin.  He had been picked up by a Good Samaritan and I had that number and began to call it as well.

At last Kelvin answered his phone and told me they were getting Pelucci at that very minute.  They had gone to the Animal Control Shelter and when they opened the book of dogs that had been found there Pelucci was - smiling his brightest smile.

So, how was Pelucci rescued. This takes us back to the title of this tale.  A dog runs into a bar.  Late yesterday evening, 1.6 miles from where he had been taken and about 6 hours later Pelucci came running into a bar. The bar door was open and the patrons said that all of a sudden this little dog came tearing into the bar so fast he bounced into the wall.  He was obviously scared and alone and the patrons took him to their hearts.  One patron, our good Samaritan, Paul took Pelucci home with him.  The next morning Paul immediately took Pelucci to be scanned for a microchip but he wasn't chipped.  Then he took him down to the Animal Control to have a flyer created.  Then he took Pelucci home, planning that if no one ever came for the little dog that he would adopt him.  A short 5 hours later Pelucci was reunited with Isabelle and Kelvin.  The brought him home to a very jubilant household - I was so happy to see him I could hardly contain myself.  Bizz of course was quite bouncy and all the dogs settled into their evening meal.

So what did we learn from all this?  Just as there are terrible people in this world, people who would steal a car and abandon a helpless animal, there are terrific people out there. I cannot tell you how many strangers I met today who immediately offered to assist in the search.  There was a tremendous outpouring of support and love that makes me so happy I could sincerely cry.  And special thanks go to Paul who not only took in a poor helpless animal but also took him to the vet and to the shelter just to make sure he found his way home.  Today, I learned it is important to never give up hope that what is lost will find its way home to us.  You just need to keep your door and your heart open. 

Here is the photo of Pelucci that was on the site.  Doesn't he look relieved?  And Paul thought he was a girl because he is so cute. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

PigTails just aren't what they used to be

When I was a little girl I was notorious for wearing my very very straight hair in pigtails.  That's what we called braids in my house. Even into college when my sister taught me to French braid my hair pigtails was a way to keep my hair under control.

Well today I encountered something new - real pig tails - extra large to be exact.  I decided to take Bizz with me to the Farm Market in Campbell this morning. We were celebrating the removal of his cone of shame and the healing of his sore leg.  His leg is pretty cleared up though of course it's shaved so it still looks dreadful.  While he can't go into most of the farm market, the last time we were there they had a dog treat booth and he cleaned up on freebies.  And I wanted to scope out a potential gift.

However, my plans blew up when we came around the corner and Bizz suddenly lunged towards a man who was packing up his booth.  Turns out there was a second dog treat guy at the Farm Market. He represents Junk Yard Bones - a new treats supplier who provide real bones, pig ears and - yes you got it Pig Tails.  We chatted and he offered to get us a bone. I declined because the Bizz  I know refuses all hard treats.  Well then he was handed a pig tail.  Oh my god - this little dog just went to down. He plopped down on the sidewalk, put the pig tail between his front paws and commenced chewing.  It was hilarious. He refused to give it up.  In fact some passersby gathered to watch this rather fancy looking little white dog pigging out so to speak.

Well I got really lucky - it being the end of the show I got a deal and ended up bringing home a dozen pig tails.  Bizz finally loosened his grip so I could get him and the pig tail of his dreams home and he happily spent two hours munching and eating the pig tail this afternoon. I never did make it to any of the other booths though we did get in a good walk. 

I did learn two important facts once we got home - 1 is to close doors to the rooms you don't want the pig tail in before you give Bizz the goodie, the other is there is nothing cuter than Bizz carrying his pig tail treat around trying to find the perfect spot to eat it in. 

These treats are made with USDA inspected beef and pork and I can tell you - next weekend we're going back to get some of the other treats for him to try. I hear  jumbo pig ears are a big hit with other customers. 

You can check out their site

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Invasion of the Coneheads

Today was a really tough one for our little Bizzy.  He'd been bothered the last few weeks by - allergies.  Yes, I have a dog with allergies.  This is all kind of ironic because I spent so much time finding a dog I wasn't allergic to that it never occurred to me he could have allergies. 

His allergies cause him to itch.  I thought it was fleas but he gets a treatment once a month and he's flea free.  He also sneezes.  Over the weekend, he developed an itch/irritation on his thigh and took to alternately licking and biting the spot.  I wasn't too worried - dogs lick themselves all the time - but then I saw that the spot was getting redder, angry looking and it appeared he'd pulled out the fur on the spot. 

I called the vet yesterday when I realized that my over the counter med was doing nothing and got an appointment for first thing this morning.  Dr. Kumar was great.  he also has allergies so he was feeling Bizz' pain.  Bizz ended up with a shot of steroids (look out A-Rod - Bizz got the long acting kind so he's heading for the big leagues), two kinds of medications (one cream and one pill) and lastly - the cone of shame (if you do not get this reference watch the Pixar film Up).

The cone presents him with some challenges - he has to maneuver a bit more to eat and drink (which he did just fine though he got his food all over the cone so cone cleaning will be a daily routine), he can't bite the "itchy" spot though he keeps trying, and he has no peripheral vision (which means he keeps bumping into things including me). 

For me the challenges are - being very patient as he tries every possible maneuver to get the cone off; not laughing when he is surprised it hasn't come off; and most of all - not freaking out at the sight of a headless dog walking next to me.

Keep your fingers crossed that the meds work and his skin heals. The cone is on for the next five days.  It can't come off because he will immediately start biting himself again so we're both stuck with it.

In case you don't believe me about the headless dog - this is what I saw when I glanced just now:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Walking and Talking

We've just concluded Labor Day weekend and I have to say - I'm a little tired.  In the course of the three day weekend I did five separate walking outings with friends then concluded last night with a one on one walk with Bizz. 

I find that walking with a dog is a great way to let the discussion flow.  You have to amble a bit, especially given Bizz propensity to stop and smell the flowers, do his bizziness and on one memorable walk - roll delightedly in goose poop.  Hence the walks are about enjoying the peace and quiet, fresh air and the company.

My first walk on Saturday was with my friend Rachelle and her delightful little dog Andy.  We decided to explore the Stanford Campus.  What was interesting to me about our walk was that you start where the earth is dry, brown and hard and we ended in the center (or perhaps beyond it who knows?) where the grass was green and lush and fountains everywhere were shooting water into the sky.  We talked of many things - old friends and new; work and of course our beloved pups.  here the babies are during their walk.  It was a hot day so it was nice to be someplace shady and cool.

The next walk was late that night with Marina.  We spent much of our talk discussing what an odd summer it had been for movies - that there really aren't any we wanted to go out and spend $12 to see.   No photos - it was actually almost midnight by the time we got home and collapsing seemed the optimal choice.

Sunday morning Ellen and I took Bizz to Half Moon Bay for my birthday celebration.  We had a lovely time walking near the beach then all over town.  Bizz was quite the star in HMB - even the guys just hanging out at the restaurant were making a fuss over him.  We of course had to discuss the two most important topics of last week - Twerking and Syria.  So yes, you can use both in a sentence. 

Sunday evening walking was around my neighborhood with my friend Lieu.  She is unfamiliar with dogs but quite enjoyed our walk and talk of all our old friends and how grown up her three children are becoming.  Hard to believe one is getting ready to make college decisions in the coming months.

Monday morning dawned and Bizz and I drove up to Menlo Park to walk out near the Bay with Caroline and her dog Brin.  I had not realized how flat Campbell is until we challenged some of the hills but I'm happy to say we both survived. Amazing to see how the restoration of the wetlands is progressing.  Brin and Bizz were thrilled to be off leash and Bizz did well until the very end when he decided not to wait for me to go to the parking lot.  Time for psychological games as I deliberately turned around and started walking back up the hill.  Bizz followed immediately. 

The final walk last night was the most exciting of them all - about 4 blocks from the house we were strolling and in the bushes and plants ahead of us we suddenly say rustling and heard the high pitched squealing of rodents of some sort.  Then the rustling seemed headed our way and something came out running straight towards us. I didn't stop to see (though I assume it was a raccoon, possum or giant rat) but turned and ran tugging Bizz behind. The poor home owners must have been scared when they heard my scream and an "Oh my God, Run Bizz Run".  We ran two blocks before I slowed down.  Not taking that route late at night anymore.

So that was my weekend in walks and talks. Of course we start again today with our more solitary walkies (that's what we call them), but everyone is invited to join us.