Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Busy Summer

Yes, to many people the title of this post is an oxymoron. Summer is typically the time of year when things slow down, people go on vacations and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Well, in theory this all sounds mighty nice, work has been more than a bit nuts this past month. On several occasions, I come home and plop on the couch to answer all of the new emails I've received between me leaving work and biking home (usually 35 minutes).

For a pup that stays home now during the day (daycare, I miss you!), G just wants attention when I come home - something that can be somewhat difficult to give with a smartphone glued to your nose. Sometimes, G sets up camp in front of and me and stares (probably wondering about all the funny faces I'm making as I still cannot type on an iPhone).

Like my smiles (see below post) let her know that I'm with her, she likes to get up close (and blink dramatically) to let me know that she's right there, too.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Smilin' G

G is a personality, to say the least. For better or worse, I'd equate to a toddler, who mimics and learns the mannerisms of people around her to help her get what she wants. For example, because I've always lived alone with just G and my cats, I tend to talk to them a lot (go ahead, judge). G has developed into a very vocal dog, who makes a multitude of noises throughout the day, all of which have have their own particular nuance. Quiet whines that escalate into a high pitched bark mean it's time to go outside. Sharp, loud barks mean she needs help with something (needs attention). The standard "someone-is-in-my-hallway-passing-my-door" bark that's simply an alert, and so on.

Interestingly, another way G has learned to mimic human behavior is curling her lip upwards into a smile. Specifically, when we go for our walks when I arrive home from work, G usually sniffs around, pinning her ears back in concentration to find the best places to potty. Recently, if I look at her and smile and quietly say "Hi, Goose..." (her nickname) her lip immediately goes up and eyes get squinty. It is the smallest thing, but it makes me so happy to know that she understands I'm just letting her know I'm right with her.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Today is a misty day, a good day for G to stay indoors and play with her toys. G is a one lucky pittie and has a wide array of toys courtesy of your truly. That being said, like a good pup, I could spend $100 on the latest, greatest toy on the market and she will, invariably, play with a crumpled up a piece of paper.

One of G's favorite "toys" in her $3 fleece blanket I purchased at the corner Walgreen's on a whim. She just loves to frog-leg on the floor and quietly chew and rip the maroon fabric to shreds:

Especially when she is having an energy surplus, she likes a whole bunch of toys out her basket and spread them around the her. She usually spends about 5 minutes chewing or playing with each until she moves on to the next. Sometimes, I like to mess with her by touching a toy she's not playing with - it immediately draws her attention and she almost doesn't know what to do with herself. But sometimes, I'm a nice puppy parent and leave her alone:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Exhaustipated: Take Two!

This past Sunday, G and I headed down to Midtown West to pick up a 35 lb. bag of dog food specially ordered from her vet. It was a beautiful day, so I was looking forward to the 4 mile walk. G and I took the stroller (yes, strolling was involved) and made it there and back in just over 2 hours. G was feeling extra spunky (must have been the sunscreen I applied to her head before we left - she was not a fan!) and walked about 90% of the way there and back, finally giving in to exhaustion about 10 blocks from home.

G spent much of the remainder of the day doing spread eagles on the cool hardwood floors and napping. When it was finally time to call it a day, I went into my room and found my pooped pittie sprawled out in what looked like an exercise-induced coma, complete with tongue peaking out of her mouth:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

Well, it's officially the start of summer today and G has been enjoying the warm weather for weeks now. This past Saturday, we took a long, early morning walk (trying to avoid the mid-day sun) all over Riverside Park to check out the new foliage. G had a ball playing hide and go seek in the hydrangeas (Ed.'s Note: As you can see in this shot, the triangular white marking on G's bum, aka "the Play button," is clearly visible. I always joke, that I'm a little annoyed I didn't get an "Off" or at the very least a "Pause" button, too):

She couldn't help herself she finally gave in and posed for her portrait:

Her face was down most of the walk sniffing all the new summer smells, I'm sure only enhanced by the previous day's rain showers (read: mud):

And then, about three-quarters of the way through the walk, she did her standard, "I'm finished now," act, by ways of parking it in on the sidewalk and watching the passersby:

It's a dog's life!

Monday, June 20, 2011

and now a word from the cat...

O hai!

Positive Pittie (slash Dogo Argentino) Press

Cover ImageMy most recent literary adventure (I'm really cruising through my dog-centric bookshelf lately!) is the story of the horribly disfigured, delightfully loveable Dogo Argentino, Oogy, chronicled in Oogy: the dog only a family could love by Larry Levin.

The biography of this former bait dog - and let's be honest, he wasn't a dog, but a two-month old puppy when a brutal attack left him with half a face - is a very quick and actually reaffirming read. While I cannot read descriptions of fighting dogs or of the actual attack that left Oogy's face so distorted, the sweet stories and numerous anecdotes through the book made me want to hug my own pup (G was thoroughly confused). More than anything, the story is a testament of the forgiving nature of a dog's soul and the deep connection that can be forged between owner and pet.

Mr. Levin draws a parallel between the fateful adoption of his own twin boys and the serendipitous way Oogy came into their lives, an adopted boy as well. Throughout the book, the themes of simple joys and understanding between humans and dogs is surprisingly touching.
I've passed along the book to a co-worker with two pitties and I'm hoping she enjoys it as much as I did!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fosters

Yesterday, I read about Two Pitties in the City’s experience with their current foster pup, Bella, and it reminded me of all the amazing and deserving dogs (and cat!) I’ve had the honor of fostering over the past three years.

First was L, G’s sister. As they were both teeny little pups when I got them (L was just 3 pounds), I was both overwhelmed and completely in love with the two of them. I remember on several occasions, after the girls were getting sleepy from their 2am feeding, putting L on my lap as I sat on the kitchen floor and having her gently placing her paws on my cheeks so I could kiss them. It was honestly one of the simplest, sweetest moments with a dog I’ve ever had.

Luckily, while I was at work my downstairs neighbors were able to check in on the pups and, ultimately, they ended up adopting L. G and L were super close for the first 2 years and I miss L incredibly, but she’s now happily living out in the Connecticut countryside with her family.

When G was about 8 months, I stumbled across a dog that a rescue was trying to pull from the ACC but didn’t have a foster home to send her to. Her name was Angel and she was, in all ways, just that. She had A+’s on her behavior evaluations and I knew she was going to be our next foster girl.

Angel came in our lives, a 4-year old white and brown-spotted pit/American bulldog, as the most loyal and laid back dogs I’d ever met. She had raging allergies all over her bright-red skin, but was nothing but a doll to both me and G, never giving away that she was in constant discomfort.

 Angel ended up staying with G and me for a few months, until one night, when walking back from my mom’s workplace with the two girls, I [my mother corrected me: SHE] gave Angel a copy of the Financial Times (yeah, why not) to carry home in her mouth. Right as we turned onto our street, a couple stopped dead in their tracks.

“Oh my goodness, how sweet!”The woman exclaimed immediately. My mom and I chatted with them briefly and by the end of it, the woman looked at her husband and said, “You want her, don’t you?” To which, he simply nodded, never taking his eyes off of Angel.

To make a long story short, Angel was quickly fostered and then adopted by this couple right down the street. I got to see her very often when I was in Midtown and am so happy that this wonderful girl was finally in an equally wonderful forever home.

This was Angel's family's Holiday card this year (I die!):

A few months later Hazel came into our lives. Hazie, a blonde pittie/beagle mix, was with G and for about a month (during which we had another female pittie, Lucille, with a broken leg in the home too – a little crazy!) and again, was the most soul-stirringly sweet dogs on the planet.

Hazie spent Christmas of 2009 with my mom and I and G before she was adopted a week later by an older lady in Brooklyn with whom she bonded immediately.

Next was Kelly. Kelly was a teeny tiny little brindle whippet/pit mix – if she was larger than 25 pounds, I would be shocked! She was scared of just about everything, but G’s fearless nature seemed to help her grow into her surroundings and blossom into a good nature, inquisitive little girl. Unfortunately, G and Kelly got into it badly one day over food (my fault) and after a $500 vet bill on my end, we had to have Kelly go to a different foster home while G healed.

After that experience, I was a little tentative to foster again. As much as fostering made me feel like I was making a difference, I couldn’t put G into a situation where she was in danger of getting hurt. During this time, instead of fostering, I instead spent my time helping the rescue I was working with in other ways: coordinating and working at adoption events, helping other fosters with their dogs and transporting dogs around the metro area (oh, how I miss my car!).

Finally, the head of the rescue convinced me to give fostering another try, this time with a 4 year old wirehaired Dachshund, Georgie, who was pulled from a rural Ohio home that had over 40 other neglected animals.

Georgie, as I’ve mentioned here before, was the sweetest pup ever. He was such an old man and totally tolerant of G, who was still in the final stages of puppyhood. Georgie ended up going with me and the rescue on the CBS Early Show on Thanksgiving in 2010 to promote the rescue and he was quickly adopted by a couple in a New Jersey with a young child.

(Drag the video to about the 3 minute mark to see everyone!)

To this day, I often think about my sweet Georgie and hope he’s doing well (I’m sure he is!).

In the middle of all these canine foster experiences, there was a black kittie, Nettie, who ended up going to a young man here in the city. While Nettie was never too thrilled with me (a female), she instantly bonded to her new male caregiver and I can’t say enough how serendipitous that adoption was for her.

Throughout it all, I can say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting and sharing even a few weeks of my life with all these pups. If you’re thinking about fostering, one of the most important things is working with a responsible rescue that will support you. That being said, fostering is one of most rewarding experiences, albeit a little bittersweet, that I’ve ever had!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


As you can see by the following picture, and as I've mentioned a few times in this blog, G was born with one blue and one brown eye. I call her a Padiddle, a term I assume most people know, but in case you don't, the Wikipedia explanation is here.

G's unique eye coloring was one of the reasons she initially caught my attention (even though, let's be honest, I would have brought her home had she had bright purple irises), but it may have been one of the reasons I couldn't always catch hers...

G and I used to go to Central Park in the morning frequently when I lived in Midtown because it was so convenient. We would usually go with her sister L and L's gaggle of "goggie brothers" (a Border Collie, and two Karelian Bear Dogs). The pups would all ram around, having the time of their lives.

Because we could off-leash in the mornings, I had to be certain G would always come back to me if I she was too far away or in danger. She was (usually) great at returning to me when I called, as long as she could spot me. Interestingly, when she was a ways away from me and I would recall her, she typically would look around furiously, seemingly confused as to where my voice was coming from. Usually, when I would finally wave my hands in the air, G would see me and come tearing back over.

As I might have mentioned, G's sister L's "mom" is a veterinarian. After she noticed several instances of G's recall confusion, she suggested I have G tested for deafness in her right ear (the same ear as the blue eye). I immediately took G to the vet and, lo and behold, my little padiddle was completely deaf on her right side.

I was so surprised!

I had seen white boxers with blue eyes before and vaguely recalled that they were sometimes deaf, but I didn't realize that this was also a relatively common pittie (or possibly general dog) trait as well. As I also learned after the diagnosis, pitties need pigment in their ears to hear. Usually when the pigment in the eye is missing (ie G's ice blue sparkler), the pigment in the ear may be missing as well.

And before I have you guessing that every white-headed, blue-eyed pup you encounter is deaf, I should say I've known several dogs with this albino-like trait who can hear (and see) perfectly well!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Yesterday was supposed to be another rainy day, similar to Saturday, but lo and behold it actually turned into a very pleasant afternoon. Because of the favorable shift in weather, G and I were able to take not one but two substantial walks in Riverside Park.

After Saturday, which was spent mostly inside due to rain, G had stored up a serious reserve of energy, which, I can safely say I effectively exhausted.

Don't believe me? Here's the evidence, judge for yourself! :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Meeting Ms. Peters

As I've mentioned before, G and her sister L were rescued from Animal Care & Control (ACC) on East 110th street by Broadway legend, Bernadette Peters. Ms. Peters, a strong supporter of animal rescue, knew she was saving the lives of two tiny, sickly, parvo-filled puppies in the nick of time. She whisked the two girls to the Animal Medical Center in midtown and the rest is history!

Each year, Ms. Peters and Mary Tyler Moore host a fundraiser in Shubert's Alley (Times Square) called Broadway Barks. Two years ago, when G and L were a year and half, my friend Paul (L's owner) and I decided to take the girls to meet and thank Ms. Peters, who was doing a book signing that afternoon.

After waiting in line for about 45 minutes, it was finally our turn to meet Bernadette. Paul picked up both G and L as I said "Ms. Peters, you may not remember but a little over a year ago you rescued 2 puppies from the ACC in December -" Without missing a beat, her face immediately lit up and she yelled out "The Parvo Puppies?!" She was so excited to see the girls and pet and kissed them. She leaned over toward me and said "Do you know what we used to call them? Mary Kate and Ashley because they were so skinny!"

Both Paul and I thanked her over and over for rescuing the girls and, ultimately, bringing them into our lives. What's nice is that as we were in this moment, the paparazzi were on site snapping away (my first, and dare I say last run in with these guys):