Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts - Gone to the Dogs

Check out Keely, she's always good for some RTT

Her name is Sarah...Sarah Dog Scott.  We chose her, but in fact I believe she was waiting for us.  Her arrival story is amazing--to me anyway.  For the first few years of our marriage, my husband said "no pets".  But he looked into the sad, begging eyes of three sweet girls and caved as he almost always does.  He didn't mention anything to me about his change of heart; one day I happened to stumble across the Petfinder.com link that had been bookmarked in our browser.  I spoke to him about his intentions, and he admitted that he had been looking at dogs online.  We talked about what type of dog would best fit into our family.  We completely agreed on all of the important issues.  Well...I agreed with most of the issues and was willing to acquiesce to the rest because I really wanted a dog as much as the kids did.  Foremost, we decided to "adopt" a dog that needed a home.  We tried several times to be approved for adoption, but somehow other applications were always chosen over ours.  Finally, we saw a listing by a non-profit group called HARP.  They had two sweet looking small yellow lab mixes and were hosting a pet meetup at a pet store in a city an hour and a half away.

My hubby, our youngest, and I hopped in the car on a Sunday morning to make the drive to the meetup.  We arrived to find no dogs, but several cats.  We asked about the lab mixes (we intended to adopt both) and were told they had already been adopted, and HARP hadn't had a chance to update the website.  One of the ladies from HARP asked us what kind of dog we wanted.  We gave her a brief overview of size and age and breed.  She mentioned that she was fostering a dog that had been rescued during Hurricane Katrina.  Rescue groups in Louisiana had rounded up abandoned pets and distributed them to various animal rescue groups across the country.  The dog being fostered by the HARP volunteer had come to her via distribution in San Francisco.  HARP had taken several of the Katrina rescue dogs and this little dog was the last of the bunch.  We were told her name was Sarah and that she had a skin condition for which she was currently being treated.  She was not available for adoption until her skin condition was clear, but the HARP volunteer asked if we wanted to meet her, and of course, we did.

We followed the HARP volunteer to her house.  She had several cats which meant Sarah had to be tied in one room to prevent her from chasing the cats (to this day, she will chase a cat at any cost).  The volunteer brought Sarah into her foyer to meet us.  She was a little shy at first, but we soon discovered that she was obsessed with fetching a ball.  Even now, we can throw a ball and she will retrieve it until she literally can't stand up to run after it any longer.  She seemed so sweet and friendly and fun that we fell in love almost immediately.  Her breed mix was thought to be labrador retriever and jack russell terrier and her age was estimated by the HARP vet to be three years.  She was chubby and almost coal black.

The HARP volunteer explained that Sarah had one week left to finish her prescription and then the volunteer would bring her to our house.  She would then inspect the house and yard, and if she found it acceptable, we would then be permitted to adopt Sarah and pay the adoption fee (several hundred dollars).  We were also required to select a vet and provide that information to HARP.  We left the volunteer's home with our fingers crossed and hoping this would go smoothly.

The following week, the volunteer arrived at our home with Sarah.  After a brief tour inside and out, she declared our home worthy of Sarah.  We happily paid the fee and welcomed her.  In her doggy backpack was her blanket, some toys and some starter dog food.  Also included were the documents that provided information from her initial rescue and subsequent veterinary examinations and microchip identification.

Life with Sarah settled into a normal routine pretty quickly.  We found her to be very intelligent and she learned commands easily.  She was expertly house trained and did not have accidents.  We couldn't have asked for a better dog.

A year later, Sarah began limping and appeared to have joint discomfort with her hind legs, hips and back.   We took her to the vet and steroids were prescribed.  She began to get worse and became lethargic and incontinent.  The vet then ran a whole panel of tests and couldn't find anything specifically wrong.  He then decided to test her for diabetes which came back positive.  Sarah would have to have insulin shots twice a day for the rest of her life.  Additionally, our vet told us that Sarah's age was probably closer to seven years.  This seems to be a better guesstimate of her age as she has facial graying as older dogs often do.  Since then, her checkups have indicated that her glucose level is stable.  We have again settled into a normal routine.

Sarah sleeping with my daughter

As for all the house rules established by my husband, HE has broken every single one of them!  When Sarah arrived, she was not allowed upstairs, in any of the bedrooms, on any of the beds.  She was not allowed on the furniture downstairs either.  She was not allowed to watch us eat dinner; she had to lay with her back to us.  My how things have changed!  Now, most nights she sleeps with one of the kids.  Our bed was the last taboo, but even that changed when I had surgery.  Occasionally, when my husband is out of town overnight, she sleeps on our bed with her head on his pillow.  Once in a while, at dinner time, my husband will let Sarah jump on the bench beside him at the table and eat off his plate, albeit after he is finished.  I don't think there is one single piece of furniture she has not been on.  Her favorite spot is lying alongside of whoever sits in the recliner.  She waits until it's pushed back then hops up and slides into her spot.   As I write this, she is napping in an Ikea Poang chair that sits right next to my desk chair.  She is often my blogging companion from her perch on that chair.  She sits in her chair whenever any of us uses the computer.

Sarah in her Ikea chair

I could spout philosophical cliches about dogs' lives and the message to humans.  Indeed, the simplest things that we observe in dogs should be applied to our own lives.  If we could focus on our basic needs of food and shelter and then uphold love and companionship as a priority, our lives would not be so complicated and decisions about most things would be easier.  As far as I can tell, Sarah's goal each day is to eat, be comfortable, be happy and share time and space with her pack.  When my life becomes chaotic I try to follow her example.  And you know what?  It works.

Sarah in the garden

So your Random Tuesday Challenge for today is to eat, be comfortable, find something that makes you happy, and share time and space with your pack.  I leave you for now with these dog quotes I found at DogQuotes.com

"You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, `My God, you're RIGHT! I NEVER would've thought of that!'" - Dave Barry

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." - Milan Kundera


  1. Holy Cow! I wish I'd been able to get here sooner today. I love this story. My dog looked like yours when I got him too. If you look at him now with all the grey he looks like he is wearing a mask. I might have to post a story on my "Monkey" that is what I call him.

  2. I saw a picture of Momspective's dog and her dog resembles Sarah too. This little girl has just been a dream. Granted, she has had her moments, but overall she's golden. I would love to read a post about "Monkey"; animals never fail to capture the heart.

  3. Sarah looks JUST like my Tribute in her chair picture! She's beautiful!

  4. @Julie,

    I saw your picture of tribute in a post and immediately thought,"hey, that looks just like my Sarah!" I am such a softie with animals, my dog could totally be a slug and I'd still love her to pieces.