Saturday, February 22, 2014

Romy's Story (Part I)

Romy's story was first published in Quiet Laughter,
October 3, 2012

The last weekend of September [2012] I got a call from CARF. "There's a dog at the dump," the woman said. "We've been feeding her for a while, and we think she's ready to be caught and brought to the vet. Can you foster her?"

Romy, at the dump, the day
before she was rescued.
Uh, yeah. But--at the dump? The garbage dump? They threw her away like garbage?

"The rescuer will meet you at the vet's Monday morning."

The rescuer called me Sunday evening, a lovely Dutch woman, wife of a Marine officer, unfortunately only stationed here in Curaçao for a few more years. Why can't people like these stay around forever?

When I walked into the vet's waiting room, she was holding a reddish-yellow dog, smaller than I thought, on her lap. Huge eyes, all sweetness. Her legs were stiff from fear, but she let herself be moved over to my lap and we cuddled while we waited. She was so dirty--he-llo, garbage dump--that I got a rash all over my arms and neck. Nothing that a good shower didn't cure, though.

Must-Have on a dog lover's shelf

Have I told you about this book?

I can't believe I haven't. (Then again, this blog is waaaay behind on posts.)

This book gave shape and substance to my understanding of dogs. It's beautifully written, and the photos illustrate the points perfectly.

If you're a dog lover, if you've observed dogs, 100% of this will ring true. You'll find yourself going, "Ah, so THAT'S what that means."

Welcome to the beginning of a two-way conversation with your dog.

Friday, February 14, 2014

How The Valentine Grinch Celebrates Feb 14

I'm a Valentine grinch. It's pre-fab and commercial, and it turns peer pressure up sky-high. If you're with someone, V-Day turns a relationship into a checklist that grows longer--and more unsatisfying--with every other couple you see. Is my partner good-looking enough? Are we, as a couple, romantic enough? Did I get flowers? A card? Handwritten? Did I get jewelry? Was it the real stuff?

If you're single, the twenty-four hours of February 14th are proof time is relative. No day lasts longer.

There's someone, though, who would--quite literally--die for a little of that love consumerism's trying to convince us to show via Visa or Mastercard. This someone doesn't need a box of chocolates (that would actually be a bad idea), wouldn't know what to do with a dozen red roses (but the box might be interesting), and couldn't care less about diamond-studded accessories. What s/he wants, more than anything, is your time. A half hour of your day will make her/his life, which is doomed to be short, not just bearable but purposeful.

Visit your local shelter. Spend a little time cuddling an abandoned dog or cat today. They might never know what a friendly human hand is without you.

Photo credit: Claudia Sanches
(ace photographer, loves animals)
Take your partner, take your friends, go alone. Celebrate this Valentine's with the only beings on the planet that understand unconditional love. Make this V-Day what it's meant to be about: giving, receiving, and spreading love.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sasha Number Two

Ah, little Sasha. With you began one of the most pleasurable, most challenging, most chock-full-o' learning years of my life.

She lived in an empty lot behind Goisco (the Curaçao version of Costco). The owner and employees of a nearby restaurant fed her for at least two months. No idea where she came from, how she got there, what kind of life she had before. One thing is clear, though: if she had an owner, s/he will burn in brimstone and magma for all eternity.

Sasha is terrified of humans.

Three different organizations tried to catch her. Everyone was afraid she'd go into heat. She's so little. So defenseless. The idea of every dog in the neighborhood after her horrified us all.

But no one could get close.

The trust method failed. Cornering her failed. Epically. A trap was invented over a weekend. Chicken livers were cooked. The lure carefully set, a monitoring station set up a safe distance away.