Noah’s Arks Rescue

March 25, 2013Dogs


Among the too many projects on my plate, I’ve decided to volunteer next month at a local rescue. As much as I would like to foster (and most likely become a foster fail) I can’t because of my three stooges.

There are many rescues all over the country, but  the one organization that has inspired me to get involved is Noah’s Arks Rescue based in Okatie, South Carolina. Jennifer Smith is the president of the organization and she is responsible for getting emergency medical/surgical care for abused animals. Noah’s Arks Rescue is the last resort for the animals that the organization takes into their program. And each of these cases is extreme. Without Noah’s Arks Rescue, these magnificent animals would all be euthanized.

I’ve followed the stories of Freddy, Porter, Otto, Juliet and Gunnar. Each story starts with tears of anguish. You can’t help but curse people for being so cruel to defenseless creatures. But those tears of grief turn to tears of joy because your faith is restored that there are people who do care and go beyond the call of duty to help an animal who has been tortured, used as bait for dog fights, has been neglected, or has been treated much worse than a cheap throwaway toy

Whenever I see a dog that needs help, I share their stories via Facebook with the hope that my 300 plus friends donate or just share with the intention that it will go viral and that the rescue will have more donations coming to them. Today happened to be one of those days. In an email and in my Facebook newsfeed I was alerted that Noah’s Arks Rescue has a new patient. His name is Freckles. I’ve hyperlinked his name and you can read what happened to him. I’ve also added the donation meter at the bottom of the page so you can see that he needs close to $19,000 in medical care.

If you can donate that would be wonderful and generous. If you can’t then all I ask is that you share, tweet, Google+ and like this post so that Freckles or any of the great dogs at Noah’s Arks Rescue can get the medical treatment they need. The more people who learn about this rescue, the better the chances they have to provide much more for animals in need.

And now if you have a dog or cat, give them a hug and a kiss, but also send a virtual one to Freckles.

On Humiliating a Beagle

February 24, 2013Dogs

I was thinking of writing about my father’s love of dogs and about his favorite mutts as a child and an adult, but I’m not feeling quite that sentimental. Instead, I will say that thanks to Ferris Robinson a reader of this blog and who wrote a collection of essays: Dogs and Love – Stories of Fidelity (recently reviewed on Alvah’s Books) that I was inspired today to write about The Beagle aka Trumbo.

This now hefty hound came into my life a few months after I acquired Mr. Bessie. I was somewhat addicted to perusing the pet section on Craig’s List and was convinced that Alvah was lonely and needed a playmate. It was on a Sunday when I saw the ad  and photo for a three and a half month beagle and I immediately fell in love. But there was a hitch: the guardian adoption fee was $900! I sensed that in no time the person who posted the ad would be harassed by the animal rescue people for such a high adoption fee so I wrote and said that I would adopt the puppy and give her $400. Still high, but enough to not deter her.

After several back and forth emails, it was a done deal. He was mine. I went to New Jersey picked him up along with three large shopping bags of toys, and off to Brooklyn we went.  When I returned home, Mr. Bessie wasn’t quite as pleased as I thought he would be of having a brother. Suffice it to say, I realized that maybe I had been too hasty to adopt this puppy. For the first week it was chaos and at one point I decided that I wasn’t able to keep him. He was wild and in his desire to play all the time he was also getting himself into tiffs with Alvah who didn’t want to rough house at all.

I made a few phone calls to Beagle rescues, my heart heavy with guilt, and when no one returned my calls, I realized that the Universe was saying to me: You need to keep this dog. And I am grateful that no one ever bothered to return my phone-calls because he is pure gold.

Gold or fool’s gold, The Beagle was also The Wild Man and he rarely stopped. He was hyperactive and the only time I could get him to settle down was for a short nap after a two hour leash free run at the park and around bedtime. During those first few months, the Ol’ Man (before I moved to the beach) volunteered to take Alvah while I bonded with Trumbo. At first, and I don’t know if this is a beagle thing or not, we simply had an understanding that I was the human and he was the dog and that was that. That changed by the time he was five months old and now he was my beagle baby boy. And I loved him—as I do know—to bits.

Now that he’s about to turn six years old, he has calmed down. During the mornings I see a bit of The Wild Man, especially if there’s a herd of  deer on the property and soon the wail of the banshee wakes the entire neighborhood.

Of the three dogs, Trumbo is the most affectionate. He comes to you for hugs and kisses. If you’ve gone away for a few hours, he is beside himself when you return, acting like his heart had been broken that he had been left behind (incidentally, he doesn’t suffer at all from separation anxiety).

He’s also the most patient when it comes to me and the camera. Of the three, he is the best model. In these photos, he looks like he could be in a high fashion/lifestyle magazine, DOGUE:

Trendy Beagle

Trumbo Snapseed


A Certain Beagle

Sometimes he can be a bit of a dandy:

Trumbo and his Burberry

And he is a master of disguise:

A Boy Named Sue

In this one, he’s a Boy Named Sue


Abu Trumbo

He likes to create a mood when watching certain movies. In this case, we were watching Exodus. Screenplay by Dalton Trumbo.

Dr. Zhivago









The one on the left, he was primping himself for Dr. Zhivago and on the right for our yearly replay of Reds or was it The Hunt for Red October?











But, I admit, that sometimes I get a bit cruel and humiliate him. When I learned that my lean and leggy hound was tipping the scales at fifty pounds, I tried to shame him to diet and posted this photo on Facebook.

The Shaming of the Beagle


Suffice to say, he refused to sleep with me for a few nights. But all’s well that ends well here in my Kingdom of Dogs. As I write this, the Beagle Boy is here on the bed, his portly body resting on my feet and snoring—a sign that he’s happy and content. And when The Wild Man is happy so am I.

A Randy Life

January 10, 2013Dogs

Years ago when I lived in San Francisco, I had a roommate who used to comment that my Jack Russell terrier, Pozor, had a randy life.

There’s no question that Pozor had a good life. He was loved, spoiled, and had many adventures including living on a sailboat for a year.

Portrait of a Young Dog Named Pozor
Pozor in his window seat. San Francisco, 1995.

Like Pozor, Alvah, my second Jack Russell and named after you know who, also has that claim of living a randy life. No matter what a huge pain in the butt he can be—and he is often—Mr. Bessie is forgiven for all his mischief and misdeeds.

I believe it’s easier to love a dog more than a human. The only disappointment of loving an animal companion is that their lives are so much shorter. Okay, I’m getting a bit maudlin here and that wasn’t my intention.

Alvah in his window seat. Shelter Island, 2013.
Alvah in his window seat. Shelter Island, 2013.

It was to address this randy life that Mr. Bessie leads. Right now he is perched on a quasi-window seat that’s made from the back of the couch with blankets and pillows. He’s in a sunbeam basking in the warmth. If you try to shoo him away to clean the snot-smeared window, he gets cranky. Mr. Bessie is a creature of comfort, and if you disturb him be prepared for some teeth-baring.

I pretty much tolerate his grouchy moods. The Ol’ Man accuses me of being cowed of a 16.5 pound dog, but I understand that he’s in his space and doesn’t want to move. Actually, I don’t blame him. I know if I had such a cushy spot and was told to beat it, I’d bite too.

It’s funny how dogs can dictate our lives. When I lived on the Lower Eastside, an apartment we rented had a loft and we would take Po up to bed with us, usually by 10 pm. One evening, Po barked at the ladder and I assumed that maybe we had forgotten to bring down one of his toys. So up I went to retrieve the object, but I didn’t find anything. It turns out, he was telling me that it was bedtime. He was ready to go to sleep and we had to as well. He used to do this too when we had parties—everyone had to clear out by 10 pm because it was bedtime.

Alvah does pretty much of the same. I wonder whether it’s a JRT trait or whether it’s just Alvah and Po who have been allowed to be so pushy. In any event, I feel pretty lucky that he allows me to live here and to be granted the grace of his company and affection.

Alvah on the Couch.
Alvah on the Couch.
Alvah in his chair.
Alvah in his chair.

Where did Dad go?