Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bringing Jake Home

Where has the time gone? Was it really 12 years ago this week that I walked into Multnomah County Animal Shelter, here in Oregon, wondering if there was a dog waiting there to adopt me?

I walked down the corridor, surrounded by a symphony of barking. “Pick ME!” “Choose ME!” “Please take ME home!”

In the middle of all that sound was the most handsome dog I had ever seen. He sat completely still. I walked over and looked into his soulful eyes. I could feel our hearts reach out and touch each other.

“Please pick me,” I whispered to this magnificent creature.

And that is how Jake came into my life
. It was amazing that he had been there for 2 days, and no one had adopted him. I filled out all the paperwork, but I would have to wait three more days before I could bring him home…just in case someone was looking for him.

I went back the next day, needing to know he was still there. “It’s ok,” I told him, as he watched me walk away. “Just two more days.” I kept calling the shelter, wanting to verify that he was still available.

Finally the day came, and I drove like a crazy person to pick him up. We put the leash on him, and the door was opened. It was like being strapped to a 747 airplane – he launched himself down the hall and out the front door, dragging me behind him.

There is a picture in my book, For Every Dog An Angel, of a woman leaving the animal shelter with her new dog companion. That is me – the only difference is the woman in the picture is standing firmly on the ground – but I was flying!

It will always be one of the best days of my life



Thursday, November 15, 2007

Remembering a Beloved Mother

Some of you may know that last year my mother lost her long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Even though I knew this journey was coming to an end, it didn't make the loss any easier. There is just something heartbreaking about losing one's mother.

Shortly after mom’s passing, I learned that Darlene Arden, journalist, lecturer and author of several books for dog lovers, had also lost her mom. In honor of her mother, and their shared love for dogs, Darlene worked with the Canine Health Foundation to create the Marcia Polimer Abrams Fund for Canine Behavior Studies.

As a certified animal behavior consultant,
Darlene has focused her writing on helping people identify and eliminate unwanted behaviors in their animal companions. She knows her mom would approve of the fund that was created in her name.

“She was the most loving, giving, caring person I’ve ever met,” Darlene said, seen here in this picture with her mother.

I know her mom is smiling, and is sending motherly love and comfort down from the heavens. If there is a beauty salon up there in the starry skies, perhaps our moms have met and are sitting under celestial hair dryers, sharing stories of their daughters. I hope so....

You can learn more about Darlene Arden's work and the special fund she has created for her mother by visiting her website


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Adopting an Older Dog

There is something very special about older dogs.

They seem to live in a state of perfect love and joy, oblivious to the gray hairs on their muzzle and the cloudiness in their eyes. They are in the game until the very end…at least, some of them are.

Not all older dogs are fortunate enough to be in a loving home, safe and cared for. Many of them sit in animal shelters, waiting for their forever families to find them.

One such dog is Jackson, who spends his time at the TLC Canine Center in Newell, Iowa. Jackson is a wonderful old boy….totally deaf…only a few teeth left…but he has made a heart connection with Pauline Larsen, the center’s director. Pauline writes a newspaper column called Paw Prints. She captured the heartbreak so many older critters experience in the following poem, which appeared in her column “One by One They Passed Him By.”

One by one, they pass me by. “Too old” “Too worn” “Too broken” they sigh.
“Way past his time, we want a puppy who will run and play”
They shake their heads slowly and go on their way.
A little old man, arthritic and sore; it seems I’m not wanted anymore.
I once had a home; I once had a bed, a place that was warm and where I was fed.
Now my muzzle is grey, and my eyes slowly fail. Who wants a dog so old and so frail?
My family decided I didn’t belong; they wanted a pup, was that so wrong?
Whatever excuse they made in their head can’t justify how they left me for dead.
Now I sit here day after day, while the young ones get adopted away.
TLC loves me, gives me food and a bed, and a pillow for my poor tired head.
We snuggle and play and they say, someone will come and take me away.
I would promise to return all the love I can give, to someone, as long as I live.
Please don’t pass me by.

Pauline Larsen
TLC Canine Center
Newell, Iowa

If you are looking to invite a new dog into your life, be sure to visit your local animal shelter. If you see an older pup who captures your heart, I hope you’ll think about bringing that critter home!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Job Wanted - Will Work for Food

Employee Spotlight

We really weren't looking to hire any new employees. But there he was, outside our door, with the saddest pair of eyes I had ever seen. It was clear what they were saying: Job Wanted – Will Work for Food.

So we took him in, and sent him over to Human Resources. He told us his name was Dickens. After filling out the paperwork, it was determined he had an interest in boxes, bubble wrap and packaging peanuts. He was assigned to the packing department.

Turns out he had other ideas for those boxes. And we thought they were only good for books!