Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Notes

Just posting a listing of my updates from before during and after Hurricane Irene.

yay Park Slope! the highest point in Brooklyn. just looked up my address on the hurricane zone evacuation map and found out I am not even in an evacuation zone. woop woop

oh boy staten island pathmark a cornucopia of delights but the water aisle completely bare...

omfg was gonna pop into trader joes to get some non perishable food and there's a line down the block to GET INSIDE! fts!

well, one good thing about 10 inches of rain is that it should wash away the scent of eau d'urine that overwhelms the streets - oh, until the sewers flood that is...

Does CANDY count as non-perishable food? Cuz I got a TON of that in my cupboards!

why does my computer not realize that it is plugged in to the wall?! I just bought a new power cord and it is not lighting up and not charging the battery and the fcking battery is down to 28 minutes. About to KILL someone!

well, all the shops have signs up saying sold out of batteries, flashlights and hand radios. guess I will be bored and in the dark this weekend. damn computer won't charge either, logic board fcked up. benadryl and sleep...

is already drinking.

all the shops on 7th ave out of D batteries and flashlights... just tried 7- 11 on 5th ave and they have boxes of both! the guy went out to LI and got a bunch to stock store. smart. bought 2 flashlights and 12 D batteries. could prob stand out on 7th ave and sellthem for double!

hoarding pays off! my old boom box from 1993 been stored all this time. kept thinking might need this one day. put some D batts in and the radio works! its alive!

eating all the ice cream in the freezer in case it shuts down and melts. There are no less than a dozen different pints in there, plus lime sorbet bars and mint choco chip mini ice cream sandwiches from TJ's. That's a lot of ice cream to get through!

woo hoo - found my old little ipod shuffle (since I STILL haven't found my actual ipod Nano), was able to load up some Melvyn Bragg podcasts and about 200 songs!

had only partially filled the tub and realized I wanted to take another shower before it's too late! used the water to mop the whole apt, then got my shower and put on lots of perfume!

It's only 10pm and I don't know what to do with myself! I cleaned the apt, froze water, took the air con out of the window, walked the dogs, gave the dogs xanax, took a shower, ate dinner, watched the news all day - nothing new, just storm, storm and more storm. What are we meant to do now while we wait for armageddon?!

just discovered Standoff on hulu with Ron Livingston (!) and Rosemary DeWitt ... here's hoping the internet holds out

was that it? It's not even raining!

Esme is too funny - she has taken a toy and is playing with it in another crate, not her crate, another I set up in case Simone wanted to go in during the storm. She's a goofball.

cute moment of the day: I was curled up fetal position, Esme was curled up with her back to my back and Simone, facing the same direction, was curled up with her back to my legs. No one to take the picture but it was really cute - big and little hounds.

my picture of a downed tree PPW and 15th street is on the TPM livewire!
Yesterday at 12:16pm

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Those Dogs are Better Looking than My Last 3 Dates

Soooo, rolled out of bed this morning pretty darn late (so late that I won't even admit it here what the time really was), and threw on my ratty-ass $19 cotton dress from Ross. I have been known to go out in my pajamas... forget brushing hair or teeth, it's all I can do to make sure the dogs are in leashes. So basically I look like the crazy dog lady when I take the dogs out first thing.

Walking down Prospect Park West with Esmerelda, Angie and Simone, hiding behind extra large sunglasses, hoping to avoid meeting anyone I might know (or anyone I might want to know). Older man who hasn't updated his look since 1977 rides up on his bike, turns dramatically toward me and says 'Those dogs are better looking than my last three dates.' I laugh and say 'especially her' motioning to Esmerelda. He stops to chat for a bit and tells me that he has a couple of rescued cats and that his friend is caring for 16 cats in a house with his wife and 2 kids and it is so clean you could eat off the floor - and that this guy's 'heart is so big' he even feeds a rat that skulks around outside. I think the conversation might be winding down a bit and he is readying to keep riding along when he lowers his sunglasses suggestively and says 'Might I also say that it should be illegal to look as good in that dress as you do.' I have no response at this moment, just an uncomfortable 'thank you.' Then he says, 'That's a gorgeous dress and you look great in it.'

Quick recap - unshowered, unbrushed hair thrown up, no makeup (of course), wearing a ratty-ass cotton dress off the sale rack at Ross... this is NOT a gorgeous dress in any dimension of reality, and I do NOT look great in it - particularly not at this moment.

Seeee now, this is the thing about creepy older men who think it is 1977 - the compliments just make us gals feel uncomfortable because a) we know you are delusional when we look like we have just hacked our way through a dense forest, b)  how are we supposed to respond to this? I have no response. I cannot think of a response except that I just want to escape.

I think I sort of chuckled uncomfortably and he says 'Thanks for the company. Have a great day' and rides off.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dog Day's Journey into Night

Written Aug 21, 2011

9am - Barely awake - stumble out to the living room to hide the cats in the cat room so that I can take Esmerelda out for a walk (if she sees a cat she goes into hunter mode - goes nuts, so can't let her know they are in the next room).

10am - In the park Angie the double wide toy fox terrier who was used for breeding in a puppy mill and lived her whole life in a cage before rescue follows Simone's lead and starts rolling around in the grass. Her little chunky tummy is so funny when she wiggles around on her back - she is basically a roly poly.

11am - Get everyone fed and watered - put Esme in her crate, shut the bedroom door, let the cats out into the living room (since having a cat-killer in a 1BR apt with 2 cats this is a 3x a day ritual).

12noon - Call Katie in SC who was fostering Sweet Tea and Penny and said she could help get Honey the flatcoat retriever from Laurens to Landrum. Realize that all of our problems of getting the dog from the shelter an hour away from the boarding can be solved if she can pick her up early Monday and drop her off when she picks up Penny at Landrum vet from having her heartworm treatment. Yay - a logistical situation that might actually work. After we get Honey the 1 year old flatcoat retriever to vet and boarding - then what. Hmm. Definitely not fostering a 50 pound young dog here.

1pm - Head out to Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene to show off Esme and Angie in their orange Adopt Me vests. In the car to the flea at every stoplight text various people about getting Honey out of Laurens. Also texting Sarah Miraglia about where to meet her husband Rick tonight at 10m to pick up two dogs going to homes this weekend. Complain that google maps should show the exits and the gas stations and truck stops - not sure why they don't.

2pm - The heavens open up and the angels sing - Brooklyn Flea food tents! Eat a shrimp roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound, drink a watermelon shiso soda from Brooklyn Sodaworks.

230pm - Walking through the flea with Esme in her vest getting a lot of attention - meet a nice couple who live in Windsor Terrace (next neighborhood over from me) who are very interested in her - they have no cats, don't even like cats - and have a country house (DING DING DING) with land (we might have a winner!) - give them my card - practically beg them to call me

3pm - Run into Holly and John who adopted THE DUDE back in May! Crazy crazy coincidence since he rode up on the same transport as Esme - and Molly - who I am about to get and take to her new home later, maybe running into The Dude's parents with Esme same day Molly is getting a home means good omen for Esme? They loooove the Dude btw - love him - they call him the perfect dog. They show me a picture - he looks like different dog - so much healthier and happy.

4pm - About to leave the flea - have to run by the doughnut stand - fried in Brooklyn - get a passionfruit with cacao nibs doughnut and a blood orange glaze doughnut - eat half of each in the car on the way home.

430pm - Amazing friend and incredible photographer Jenna Teti comes over to help with the dogs. I have to tie them downstairs so that I can freely move about the apartment and attempt to clean up some of the pig stye-ness that has become my living space - basically a kennel - living in a kennel - pieces of dog toys all over the floor, clothes and papers everywhere, unlivable. Frantically frantically try to clean apartment - fry the vacuum cleaner - it gets too hot as I am vacuuming everything in sight and shuts down. Damn, and I only got through the living room. Bedroom will still be covered in dog hair. Hate myself for living in a pig stye. Wish I had nice apt with everything all clean and no papers or clothes lying about - like in the catalogues.

5pm - Freak out because cannot find ipod. CANNOT FIND IPOD ANYWHERE and have to be in the car for 6 hours - SIX HOURS in the car without an ipod. Will life's miseries never end?

530pm - On the verge of losing my shit - running late - take Esme with me to pick up Molly at boarding at Eva's Play Pups in Williamsburg.

6pm - Molly and Esme recognize each other and kiss kiss kiss and excited to see each other! They rode up on the same transport back in May but only really spent 1 day together before Molly went to a home. Last week after almost 4 months the family felt it was too much for them and returned her. She got a couple of new applications and voila- a great family in NJ with a big back yard interested. Drive out to NJ to do home visit and drop off.

7pm - Arrive at NJ suburban house with big back yard and really nice family. Realize that my car is fcked up - my break lights are stuck on - they won't turn off - wtf? I am worried my battery will die. All the neighbors come out to see the new dogs. Friend of Molly's adopters falls in love with Esme but worries about the cost of treating her leg. Freaking out about having to drive to Scranton with tail lights that won't shut off. Images of battery dying leaving me stranded with 3 dogs in the middle of bumfck nowheresville, PA in the middle of the night.

730pm - Another neighbor rolls up in his ginormous truck - he and the patriarch of the Molly family fiddle with some switch beneath my break pedal - after about half an hour of fiddling voila - break lights go off when they are supposed to - no dead battery.

8pm - Molly and Esme run and play like sisters in the back yard - chase a ball - run around sniffing having a grand time. I click with the clicker when Esme sits but I don't have any turkey or cheese and she scoffs at the peanut butter treat I try to give her. Damn, damn, I have never met a hound so picky about what she eats.

830pm - Load Esme back in the car (she and Molly still playing as we walk out the door) as the family loads Molly up to take her to Petco and get her all set up.
9pm - Call everyone I know trying to stave off the boredom while driving to Scranton to get new dogs. Esme sleeps sooo cute in the passenger seat.

1040pm - Arrive at the 24 hr McDonalds in Throop, PA - great place to meet off 81. Get a fried chicken sandwich, Dr Pepper and fries - must not be hanging out at the all night micky d's and not partake of the culinary delights. Not being a connoisseur of the Mc - have to actually ask the girl at the counter if all I want is small fries and soda (rather than medium) if I should order the meal or just separately. She looks at me a little bit confused. I order separately. On the way to wash my hands in the bathroom I notice the decor is looking more like a spa - wood and stone paneling - than the yellow and red McD's that I remember from truck stops of yore.

1050pm - Come out of the McD's with my bag o' goodies and see Rick Miraglia across the parking lot - yay! We made it! He had left at 6am Friday from Syracuse - driven straight down to Landrum, SC - camped out - then this morning picked up all the dogs and was on his way back to Syracuse. That's a long ass drive to do in one day but to do it twice in 2 days - I could not do it. He is chill and cheerful as usual (not sure how he maintains this easy going attitude all the time). He helps me get the two dogs I am picking up out and walked around. Sweet Tea is the cutest tiniest beagle I have ever seen. EVER. I think she could be mixed with chihuahua - that is how little and cute she is - like half the size of Simone. So fcking cute. And she goes pee pee right away on the leash! Take the puppy Brandi out - she doesn't pee. Oh well. I tried.

1115pm - Load everyone up in the car and head home. Love driving at night when no traffic. Sweet Tea climbs in my lap and she is small enough that it is okay - she curls up and rides on my lap most of the way. Esme snoozes on the back seat and little Brandi the puppy is on the floor in the back. I stick my hand back there and she licks my hand. aww. Chat with friends on phone.

2am - Arrive on my street - DING DING DING there is a parking space just a few doors down from my apt! Yay! But oy vey - I am going to have to walk all these dogs before getting everyone to bed. Go upstairs and walk Simone and Angie. Angie doesn't go - argghghg - but Simone does - good girl.

230am - Try to walk Esme and Brandi and Sweet Tea around the block. Want to scream as Esme is going kind of crazy - not sure if she saw a stray cat but she is acting like the hunt is on - running up every tree - and Sweet Tea is doing it too - wtf is going on? As if there is some invisible force making the dogs insane. Not sure how I will bring them into the apt if they are all keyed up like this. Give them all water in the car. Set up the crate upstairs.

3am - Bring Esme, Brandi and Sweet Tea upstairs. Simone goes in Esme's crate (she never went into a crate before, only when I am about to put another dog in). Dogs everywhere - get Esme in her crate, she settles down. But Brandi - oh Brandi - Brandi whines and then BARKS a PIERCING BARK - at 3am! Spray her with the spray bottle.

315am FCK FCK FCK - I cannot have a dog barking at 315am in my apt. This will NOT DO. Sit outside Brandi's crate with the spray bottle poised and ready. Sweet Tea's crate next to it - she knows better than to bark.

320am - Oh shit - another loud piercing bark - never again - never again will a puppy enter my home at 3am. Bitches can sleep in the car next time.

330am - Realize that if it's not on fb or on reality tv, it didn't happen! Decide to sit down and write this chronology of my day as an example of a typical day of dog rescue - totally typical - this is not unusual - and can you believe it - I'm PAYING to do this (rather than getting paid!). The world is upside down.

4am - Exhausted - not seeing straight and Sweet Tea's adopters will be here at 7am. OMG have to be awake in 3 hours and will never get to spend any time with this adorable dog. Probably better this way -I would fall in love with this one.

405am - Drifting off - dying of exhaustion - but shit shit shit that fcking puppy is whining and I feel a BARK coming on...

Thoughts on Fostering Dogs

Written July 29, 2011
Thinking about how much we can learn from dogs' adaptability. These incredibly sweet and loving shelter dogs in my bed - I have no idea their history before the shelter, and we all know how uncomfortable (to say the least) the shelter itself is. Imagine if you were on the streets and then picked up and thrown in jail, then bounced around to different foster homes and transported from everything that was familiar and put in a totally new place that was completely different in every way. You go from wondering where your next meal will come from, to being in a prison where you are constantly hearing your friends and neighbors crying and screaming and you know they are disappearing and not coming back, to going to a dr who pokes and prods you and maybe you stay there for a few weeks with other dogs who don't know where they are or why they are there, and some are sick and everyone is barking and miserable, to going to some new house where you don't know the people or the other dogs and there is a cat that hides under the couch and comes out and hisses and scratches when you get too close (not that you even knew she was under there, the sneaky btch). Every single foster dog I have had that has come straight from the vet or kennel has adjusted within a couple of days. Some adjust the next day.

Fred and Cherie and Darby and Nathan had never seen stairs and were so terrified to go up or down stairs I literally had to push their legs up two at a time and feel guilty because I basically have to drag them down the stairs by their leash and harness because walking 3-4 dogs at a time makes it too hard to carry them all up and down. After 2 days they are running up and down the stairs with the others. Some of them pee in the house once or twice the first day or two. Some of them don't pee at all, even outside, for many hours. Sandy didn't pee for 24 hours and I couldn't figure out what was going on. Darby would pee when you would take her out of the crate from excitement. Then they see Simone pee at her usual spot (she has about 3 spots that she likes best, one right in front of the building), and they see she gets a treat and they smell her scent and next thing you know they are peeing when/where she pees or they are just finding their own spot that they like, and they get a treat and that's that, no more accidents.

These dogs don't know me, they don't know Simone, or the cats Billie and Ella, or the other dogs that are here temporarily. And yet within 2-3 days they are all playing together, snuggling each other (and me), sometimes even sharing their dinner from the same bowl (or switching bowls). You know how fcked up people are - whether people had a rough childhood or not. And here are these dogs, totally sweet, loving, learning their house training, polite to each other and to me. Not holding any grudges or harboring any resentments. It's completely beyond me how they do it. I am the queen of regret and second guessing myself and big decisions I have made and I haaate change and moving house sends me into nervous breakdown territory.  Whenever I drop off a foster at their new home I think one down, so many more to go, and I see that even though they were happy with me, they are even happier in their new forever home with the people who will be there for years, not just days or weeks, and they bond to their new families and keep doing their thing.  I know they are always happy to see me when I see them again, but they totally adjust and live their lives (well, except for Fred, whom I had to avoid for a few weeks because he would get so overly excited that he couldn't calm down. One time I saw him and his mom coming toward me in the park and I scurried to hide behind a tree before he saw me).

I hope I can learn from them a little bit about going with the flow and adjusting to new circumstances, no matter how many hellish things I might confront.  A lot of people on the street ask me how I can foster and they say they could never do it because they would want to keep them all.  I don't want to keep them all.  I do love them all (especially Sandy, and Darby, and Scooter, and Odie, and Woody, and Sissy and Betty, oh, well, yes, I love them all). I love them all but if I kept ANY besides Simone I couldn't really rescue or foster, so then what. I never thought I could foster dogs, not emotionally, just practically, living in an apartment, doing it all myself. I couldn't even get approved to adopt a beagle from SOS Beagle Rescue 5 years ago because I was freelance and didn't know my work hours and didn't have a yard (my yard is the park, and my fence is a 20 foot training leash that NEVER comes off that harness). I couldn't even get approved to adopt a beagle from a rescue group 5 years ago! So I found Simone on petfinder and went to the city pound and got her and she has had a pretty great life since then (although I have to say, she is not in love with this whole fostering business, she does tolerate it though, and she gets more treats since they all have to get trained).  Just something to think about in terms of what we think dogs need to be happy, it's not that complicated or that much really, and most people are actually capable of providing a good home for a dog if they care to. And with Nature's Miracle, the pee is easily cleaned up and the smell removed and if I can do it without a yard or garage or a hose, ANYONE can do it. So yeah, this is yet another plea going out to people who might think they don't have the lifestyle or don't have the ability - the benefits far outweigh the challenges. And you know what, you make it work (just like Tim Gunn says). So if you know anyone who really loves dogs but doesn't think they can manage it, or someone who has a dog and is thinking about fostering, pass this around. Okay, time to get everyone up and to Prospect Park for the morning poop, pee and play.

Oh - PS - Just got home and realized I forgot to mention something else amazing about rescue and fostering. The PEOPLE. I am serious. I know there is a lot of insanity out there and some craaaazy btches making wild accusations and harassing people they've never even met... (I have even been attacked by some of the Robeson drama queens for simply asking that people have some tangible proof before they go around slandering other rescuers they don't agree with), BUT the vast majority of the people I have met doing this have been AMAZING.  And I am not just talking about the rescuers and volunteers (although I am constantly amazed at you guys on the ground and how much you deal with on a daily basis). I have met the most wonderful people through placing the dogs. The family that adopted Sandy for instance - the coolest fcking people in the world. SO awesome. I went to Boston for an interview and they offered for me to stay with them at their house. I had some other offers so didn't stay over but went by for an afternoon and hung out with them for hours. Sandy was the happiest dog in the world - she seriously has the best life EVER, and they were just the coolest people. And they are not the only ones. Every family that has adopted a dog from me or one that I have been involved with has been really great. I am still friends with most of them and I feel like they all enrich my life so much. Just today, the neighbor who is fostering Cherie for me (because she saw me getting out of the car in front of her house with FIVE dogs and was like, girl, let me help you), she had Cherie out at the dog beach in Prospect Park today and ran into Danielle and Fred/Kevin. hahahahahha

So anyway - I realize there are some crazy people out there and drama and all of that with rescue and I KNOW there are a few people who are incredible rescuers who have wanted to give up lately because of the emotional drain of the crazies - (you know who you are Christine and Tara) - BUT I hope this note and the support of all the great people will keep the good ones going. It's not like the crazy btches are quitting, so the good people can't quit either.

okay, gotta go - have a major grant application due in 3 hours and still need to fill out a bunch of it.  yikes

Molly Mutt is Awesome

Don't just LIKE - LOOOOVE Molly Mutt! I just had the best experience ever with Molly Mutt! They make GORGEOUS dog bed duvets - so you can stuff your old pillows, clothes, sheets into this beautiful strong cotton duvet and make your own dog bed that is washable and super cool looking. Katie foster dog chewed a big ole hole in the dog bed, first night I had it out. Sad face. I emailed Molly Mutt and asked if it would be possible to get a swatch of the fabric so that the cleaners could sew it and cover it with a matching patch. I didn't even know if they would respond or thought maybe they would say it was impossible (whenever I need something from a company - even something simple - it seems the first answer is always that it is impossible). I suggested that they could sell patches on their site since so many dogs chew the beds and I am sure this is a problem that happens fairly regularly. Not only did they get back to me within 2 hours - they offered to send me a patch (for free!) and offered to donate sometime for the rescue (!). So now I really have to have a fundraiser so I can raffle or auction a Molly Mutt duvet. Fantastic company - fantastic product - fantastic customer care. BUY MOLLY MUTT DOG BED DUVETS and tell your friends! I love to support the good people/companies and spread the word (especially when there is so much crap out there in the world hahah). 

Please Donate

Hi Friends: I have some MAJOR extra vet bills on a few of the badasses. Since May, I have rescued three heartworm positive dogs (Penny from Laurens, Nina and George Clooney from Rutherfordton), and have had to pay for the fast-kill method of treatment. Esmerelda has an ongoing issue with her leg (it was broken and healed badly so in addition to multiple xrays, she is on meds, which I am paying for until she gets adopted), and Beulah/Bella - what can I say - Beulah/Bella actually lost her potential adopters because she had bloody diarrhea and vomiting and needed fluids and meds (260 dollars at the vet later...) She has been off and on with diarrhea and she might have food allergies - there will be more vet bills for her in the near future. The adoption fee that I charge usually doesn't even cover basic vetting (if they are healthy - they get spayed/neutered, chipped, dhlpp, rabies, bordatella shots, hw test, fecal, dewormer, heartguard and frontline doses), boarding (usually at least 1-2 weeks and sometimes a couple of months, and transport (anywhere from 100-135 per dog). SO, the extra vetting that is necessary basically gets put on my credit cards and I am running out of space on those cards (yikes). I take great care of these dogs and make sure they get the best treatment and the best homes, they deserve it after everything they have been through. But it doesn't happen right away and it doesn't happen for free, and I am responsible for them until they get adopted. I appreciate any donation, no matter how small you think it is, it helps. Please share with your friends. Thanks for your help!

Esmerelda Deserves a Wonderful Cat-Free Home

Esmerelda (Esme) is a regal beauty. She is a Treeing Walker Coonhound, rescued from a high kill shelter in NC. She is about 3 years old and weighs about 45 pounds. She has had a rough life, kept outside and used for hunting and breeding, but you would never know it from her temperament. Esme is a sweet and loving dog. She loves people and will give kisses and snuggle up. She also loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, loves to play and is confident, has no aggression or shyness. Esme is NOT fond of cats - she has a high prey drive and thinks cats are to be hunted. If she senses cats in the home she goes into hunter mode, so she needs to be in a home without cats (or other small furry animals). Esme has started clicker training and is very attentive and loves turkey and cheese as treats. While Esme would love a yard of her own, she would do just fine in an apartment with an active owner who would take her to the park - she does need to be able to walk in a natural environment and sniff around trees. Esme is spayed, up to date on shots, and microchipped. She is a very healthy dog but has a limp because she had a broken leg that healed badly and will need to be on glucosamine and nsaids for a year to allow the joint to heal itself. She was fostered for 3 months with a family upstate who had two toddlers and 4 other dogs and she did very well with all. Please consider giving this wonderful girl the (cat-free) home she deserves. Please email if you are interested in fostering or adopting Esme.