2006-10-26 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

...by Joanne Anderson

Unlike Old Mother Hubbard who felt pity and guilt when she went to her bare cupboard to get her poor doggie a bone, I have no sympathy for my devil dogs if the cabinet is empty. I live with a couple of canine crooks- two Bonnies, minus the Clyde. Ms. Needlenose uses her snozz as a crowbar; her teeth like forceps. Her tiny accomplice shares gleefully in the heist.

Pumpkin Pumpkin "Who wants a bone?" After an evening walk, the Afghan and her Toy Spaniel sidekick race up the stoop to share a thin chew stick 80/ 20- strict portion control. This sufficed until the Afghan began to help herself to seconds, and thirds. Sighthounds, notorious thieves, have an advantage with their pointy "beaks". She can pry the closet open, push cereal boxes around until she sniffs the loot- a week's supply of chewies, plus a bag of biscuits to wash them down. She's so brazen that she'll attempt a break-in right before your eyes.

When left alone, the Afghan's scheme works because the cabinet recloses. No tell tale evidence in the kitchen. The girls greet us and get away in the yard- their trail of guilt, yet to be to be discovered. Plastic plunder in the living room gives them away. A nanny camera would reveal a ruckus. It took a few crime scenes before improving homeland security. Slow to catch on, I finally moved the treats to higher ground and pup-proofed the cabinet with a rubber band.

Sebastian Sebastian Canine criminals are motivated by several factors. Afghans, especially females, steal for sport, enjoying the stealth and the chase. Salukis are adept at opening refrigerators. After all there aren't many gazelles, their natural quarry, to hunt around here. The athletic hounds know they can zigzag and outrun the cops. Juliet, my first Afghan trickster, used to sneak up when I was planting tulip bulbs, unearth them, and toss them around the yard like a juggler. She would also race up to unsuspecting guests, and grab a hot dog out of a bun or a cigarette from a pack without missing a step. The Surgeon General loved her. Laundry wasn't safe on the line. Halloween ghosts hung for mere moments from a now defunct dogwood. The ghosts were twice dead in Juliet's jaws.

Some dogs steal because they love food. I knew of a hungry Dobie who would go into the pantry and fetch himself a can of Alpo. Then he'd use his teeth as a can opener, alas, unsuccessfully. Alan, my more reserved Af, was a connoisseur of good taste. He chose his bounty fastidiously. Once he devoured six bags of peanut M&Ms that he pick-pocketed from my school bag, and, years later, self-served a tangy Greek salad, olives and all.

My Cavalier mix has a pushed in mug but that doesn't keep her from being a cat food vacuum cleaner. This silly Spaniel prefers feline feasts, dry or canned, even over steak. Cats are usually easy to free feed but not my poor cat. There are no safe havens. We have to stand guard over each of his micro-meals since Charlotte waits to hooverize his u n a t t e n d e d dish. She distracts me everyday; yet, I attribute her obsession to post traumatic stress. As one of 43 abandoned pets in a collector's home, she had to scrounge to survive. Charlotte, with no resemblance to Scarlet, vows: "As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry again!"

Finally certain thefts are dogs' symbolic attempts at communicating with us, the dense humans. Cami was an adorable Schnoodle puppy, my friend (and former co-columnist) rescued from Babylon Shelter in the early '80s, long before anyone forked over a king's ransom to purchase such a faux breed. She survived distemper, all too common everywhere back then. One day shortly after recuperating, Cami burst through the dog door, waving my friend's bra. She was mortified. How could the ungrateful pup embarrass her so? The next day Cami went into heat. In retrospect, it dawned on us that the now healthy Cami was announcing her puberty to the world. Epilogue: 'Twas a short-lived celebration; Cami was spayed ASAP.

A pair of good looking pups is posing at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (677-5784) Miller Pl. Oyster Bay this week. "Pumpkin" #1001 is a purebred Boxer, one of 2 females that were found together as strays. "Sebastian" #771 is a mature Shepherd/ Collie who is well-mannered. He would settle nicely in a new forever home. See more photos on the Petfinder website.

Cats: Outgoing "Creamcicle" #859- the orange polydactyl and "Benji" #991- the handsome Maine coon mix.

Dogs: "Jolting Joe"#893- a Shepherd wearing a yellow Lab's coat; "Dee Dee" #1010- the Pointer mix; "Kelly"#860- the gold Shepherd mix.

Last Hope Low Cost Vaccine Clinic-Sun. Oct. 29 - noon to 3 at Mutts & Butts, 2078 Merrick Rd., Merrick.

Check lasthopeanimalrescue.org for a price list.

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