2013-06-19 / Columnists

Pets pets pets

This “Dog Overload” column coincides with the last day of school, marking eight years since I retired from teaching. Back then, NYS had revamped testing (sound familiar?) and sent a language arts sampler for all third-graders called “Toad Overload” which we analyzed so much I could see the test in my sleep.

The toads have been replaced by dogs (and cats). I have way too many needy pets packed into my brain at any given moment. When I was in the classroom I couldn’t go as overboard with shelter work. I find it hard to believe that I once did rescue, wrote the column and taught 30 miles away. Don’t know how I ever had time to teach.

I used to mark papers until about midnight, falling asleep while finishing up. Some poor kids got back work with mysterious red ink pools (where my Sharpie landed when I dozed off). After retirement I’ve broadened the rescue reach, and find myself writing press releases, responses, posts, newsletters and even “Pets” ‘til the wee hours of the morning. Usually the sound of my mouse crashing on the floor will wake me from a cat nap at 3 a.m. to resume writing.

Kitten with deep wound Kitten with deep wound Here’s a sample of some of my rescue requests and tasks over one 48- hour period last week. Most, but not all, are on behalf of Last Hope dogs/ cats:

• Checking with the new owner of a Chihuahua from West Virginia to see how pooch is recovering after most of his teeth were pulled, and to see how he is fitting in with his new Italian Greyhound and Schnauzer siblings.

• Returning Last Hope hotline call from a groomer concerned that a client has a stolen dog- no call back.

• Postponing my Afghan Hound’s grooming appointment because we are supposed to get soaked with two inches of rain.

• Checking on progress of two tiny Kentucky hoarder dogs in new homes, trying to figure why one gets along with a Chihuahua puppy at cousin’s house, but not at her own domain.

• Making sure our vet knows the background story on an emaciated Pit just pulled from Hempstead Shelter at the shelter’s request.

• After trapping a mother cat and four kittens in a yard with lots of help from homeowners, trying to convince same homeowners that the feral mom needs to be released in their yard, and explaining why she must get her bearings in familiar territory, but will probably not stay there because her under-the-shed nursery is gone and the dog has reclaimed his yard.

• Arranging for trainer to visit home to evaluate behavioral issues of an adopted dog that previously spent his life chained and starved.

• Listening to trainer’s assessment on whether a Last Hope Pit, longtime favorite from Babylon Shelter, will eventually ignore cat in new owner’s yard.

• Meeting with teachers from middle school and elementary school in Hicksville to accept donations from students, then posting appreciation on website and Facebook.

• Asked to help friend of a Last Hope volunteer who stars in an MTV show to arrange for transport to NYC of a Houston shelter Sharpei mix puppy he found on Petfinder.

• Asked by friend in Georgia for contacts for her LI high school classmate presently in Oregon. The man is a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD who must surrender his beloved Labradors because he is being admitted for treatment.

• Having the privilege of proofreading Pointer historian friend’s article for Show Sight magazine. This friend in Oregon proofs “Pets” for me each week. The three-hour time zone gap helps us communicate since I’m online most of the night.

• Getting baseline blood work to new owner of our heartworm-treated Lab mix (Babylon alumnus) so she can give the data to her vet in Mattituck.

• Winning the auction bid for rare 1903 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show catalogue but losing out on the 1901. Westminster had the Babylon clubhouse and kennels during both these years.

• Sending hospital photos to new owner of our Pit pooch (Babylon boy) who had three orthopedic plates put in his leg.

• Planning to speed through my weekly Last Hope dog volunteer newsletter - The Woof Street Journal - only to find my Norton being uncooperative. Instead, I spent an hour on the phone with my new best friend Noel in India, the Norton tech support.

• Acting as liaison so a tiny, white, longhaired kitten with a deep puncture wound filled with maggots would be hospitalized under Last Hope’s care. A woman tried to grab the kitten, and called the police who did catch her. The officer dropped the kitten off at Babylon Shelter but the shelter’s regular vet was not working that day. Kitten’s prognosis remains guarded.

• Now that I have become an ADHD adult, posting Last Hope and Babylon Shelter dogs and cats on their Facebook pages ad infinitum instead of writing what I am supposed to be writing.

• Gathering the troops, the pups and a Jeep full of props for the Last Hope table at Suffolk County Bar Association’s annual “Dog Day Agility Demo & Adoption Fair” at St. Joseph’s College.

• Coordinating sale of $5 shopping passes to benefit Last Hope during “Macy’s Charity Shopping Day” on Sat., Aug. 24, when the new Bay Shore store has a presale. Those with shopping passes get a 25% discount on most every item, including designer brands not normally discounted like Dooney & Burke and Coach, at any Macy’s in the US. If interested in a pass, contact me at Joanne@lasthopeanimalrescue.org.

Adoptables at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643- 9270): Lamar St. W. Babylon: “Samson” # 13-290 a majestic Siberian Husky, kicking off summer in the shelter pool. He would rather be in YOUR pool. Also featuring “Ebony” #13-309 the six year old outgoing German Shepherd again.

Cats: “Sophie #3-328, gray tabby, “Bobby” #-143 senior sweetie; caboodle of adorable kittens, already spayed/neutered.

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