Ace and I had a visitor over the holidays — a highly vocal, but not too demanding 12-year-old mutt named Gracie.
My cousin and her husband in Charlotte were headed off on a cruise and they were having problems finding a petsitter for Gracie, who has never been kenneled. So I volunteered.
It wasn’t my first adventure in petsitting. I’d had a handful of canine guests in my home in Baltimore, and served as wrangler for three more while housesitting in Santa Fe. I’d learned, both times, that most issues that come up can be easily worked out, usually by the dogs themselves.
I decided they should eat in separate areas, just to be safe, so I’d fill one bowl, and call one dog. Both, because their names rhymed, came. When I said “stay,” both stayed. When I attached their names to the commands – ”Ace stay, Grace come” — that didn’t work either.
Finally, I got one to the porch, and fed the other inside, confusing them both in the process.
On day two, Gracie stopped eating entirely. Even blobs of liverwurst — in which her pills get hidden — had no appeal to her. Wanting her to get at least a little nutrition, I smeared peanut butter on her nose and let her lick it off.
Eventually, I broke out the most special of my special dog treats, and after a good sniffing, she decided to try one. On day three, she was eating normally again, and I’d figured out that feeding them both at the same time in the same place worked best.
By the second day, I’d noticed Gracie, who spent the first night on an extra dog bed, was eyeing mine. It’s only a foot off the ground, but she just stood by it, put her head on it and looked at it longingly. Being old and arthritic — her, not me – I gave her a boost and she spent almost the whole day there.
I worried that Ace, who likes my bed too, would take offense at her occupation of it, but, once I told him it was OK, he just jumped in and joined her.
If they were positioned right, there was plenty of room for both. With only minor repositioning, I could fit in, too.
For walks, I’d take them both on a short one, then give Ace a longer one. That seemed to suit them fine.
What I never totally figured out was Gracie’s whining/singing. She whines when she’s happy, she whines when she’s not. She whines when she wants something. She whines, I think, when she wants nothing at all, except maybe to hear her own voice.
Ace, puzzled by that behavior, quickly got used to it. At first, he’d rush to her side, but eventually — as I kept saying, “What is it, girl, what do you want?” — she became background music to him.
Just about every worry I had, when it came to the two of them, turned out to not be worth worrying about. As long as I supplied the food, water, walks and love, they’d easily figure out the rest — the less help from me, the better.
It’s us humans who make things complicated.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, attention, beds, behavior, complications, dog, dogs, elderly, feeding, grace, gracie, guest, humans, old, pet sitting, pets, petsitting, visitor, walks, whining, worries
For two years, Yun-Fei Tou has been photographing dogs heading to meet their deaths at the Taoyuan Animal Shelter in Taiwan, providing in the process some last-minute affection to the animals and a message to all: There has got to be a better way.
“I believe something should not be told but should be felt,” says Tou, 37, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. “And I hope these images will arouse the viewers to contemplate and feel for these unfortunate lives, and understand the inhumanity we the society are putting them through.”
He has captured the images of some 400 dogs, most of which were pets abandoned by their owners, sometimes hours before they are euthanized, sometimes just minutes, according to an Associated Press story.
And once in a while, according to a recent piece in the Washington Post, he is at their side when the lethal injection takes place.
“You treat them like your own dog or daughter or son. And then you play with them, as if they are your friend … You just make sure that when they are facing euthanasia, they are in peace,” Tou said.
A selection of some of the 40,000 dog pictures Tou has taken are scheduled to be exhibited in August in his first full-scale show, at the Fine Arts Museum in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung.
A few others are on display at Taoyuan city hall, aimed at heightening citizen awareness of the responsibilities that come with raising a pet.
Tou first became interested in photography in 1991 as a student at The American School in Switzerland. In 1998, he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a major in photography.
His softly lit photographs reflect the dignity of the soon-to-be-killed dogs, who, despite often being mangy and emaciated, seem to have a grace about them.
Shelters in Taiwan will euthanize 80,000 dogs this year. In the U.S., between 3 and 4 million dogs are euthanized a year.
You can find more of Tou’s photos here.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, death, death row, dignity, dogs, euthanasia, exhibit, grace, memento mori, pets, photographer, photography, photos, shame, shelters, taiwan, taoyuan animal shelter, yun-fei tou
The loyal black Lab, who was videotaped as she guarded the body of a yellow Lab killed by a car in Southern California, will be reunited with her family.
Maggie’s family stepped forward Monday, according to CBS in Los Angeles.
Dubbed Grace by Los Angeles County animal control, the dog had been in a Baldwin Park shelter since last week when she was spotted on Hacienda Boulevard in La Puenta standing guard over a dog killed by a hit and run driver.
Animal Care and Control Capt. Aaron Reyes says Maggie’s family was at the shelter looking for her at the same time animal control officers were getting the dogs out of the street.
Reyes said Maggie has since been spayed and microchipped, and that dozens have offered to adopt her. Instead, she’ll be going home today after shelter workers inspect her home.
A good Samaritan saw the incident in La Puente last Wednesday, put traffic cones around the dog so she wouldn’t be struck and called animal control. He also took the photos and video of Maggie keeping vigil by the deceased dog’s side.
Up until the family came forward, it appeared he was going to adopt the dog, which had no identification tag and no microchip.
On Monday, though, the original family came forward. Now that they have, they’ll get their dog back, but will also be issued citations for having an unregistered dog, and for allowing the animal to run loose, animal control officials said.
No new information has surfaced on the dog who died.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adopting, animal control, animals, car, dead, dog, dogs, grace, headlines, killed, lab, labrador, los angeles, los angeles county, loyal, loyalty, pets, protecting, refused, retriever, side, stayed, strcuk, video, vigil
The Los Angeles County animal shelter is calling this dog Grace — a name that seems to fit perfectly.
Last Wednesday, the black Lab stayed by the side of the dog she was with, a golden retriever who had been struck by a car and killed on Hacienda Boulevard in La Puente.
A passing motorist took a short cell phone video (below) of the pair, and it was sent on to the county shelter in Baldwin Park.
One motorist put out traffic cones to divert traffic around the surviving dog until animal control picked her up.
Grace had no tag and no microchip implant, and as of Saturday, no one had come forward to claim her, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
Though timid when she first arrived at the shelter, “The staff just showered her with admiration and love,” department spokesman Aaron Reyes said. “She seems to be a well-adjusted little girl.”
The owner of the deceased dog isn’t known, nor is how the two dogs came together.
Reyes said if Grace remains unclaimed, she may available for adoption as early as Monday.
Animal Care and Control Director Marcia Mayeda said she was moved by the loyalty displayed in video footage (below): “When I saw the video clip … it made me emotional,” she said.
Grace, estimated to be 2 years old, is being housed at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center, 4275 Elton Street. Her impound number is A4416170, and she is available to visit with potential adopters through the weekend. For more information, contact the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center at 626-962-3577.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accident, adopt, adoption, animal control, animals, baldwin park, boulevard, car, companions, county, dog, dogs, golden retriever, grace, hacienda, la puente, labrador, los angeles, loyal, loyalty, pets, retriever, shelter, struck, video
A Jefferson County woman says her dog saved her from being sexually assaulted by a man who forced his way into her home, the Kansas City Star reports.
Deputies said Tanya Kendell answered a knock at the door of her apartment Wednesday night. The man outside identified himself as “the cable man.” As soon as soon she let him in, the man forced her down and tried to sexually assault her, deputies said.
That’s when her German Shepherd, Grace, responded, attacking the intruder and biting his upper body. The man ran off. Police were looking for him.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: assault, attacked, bites, dog, german shepherd, grace, intruder, jefferson county, missouri, rescue, saves, sexual, woman