Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Belated Birthday and Canine Auditions

It's funny how things can change from one day to the next. Last summer when First Magnus imploded, Tuffy was diagnosed with cancer and I changed jobs twice, I had several days of sudden, major upheavals, sometimes three or four of them of them in a single day. Compared to all that, the contrast between yesterday and today is a mere blip, but still worth mentioning I think.

As I was trying to work out how to handle the lack of birthday recognition yesterday, there was something relevant at the back of my mind, something literary. I didn't remember what it was until tonight. Howard will recognize it immediately:

"Sad? Why should I be sad? It's my birthday. The happiest day of the year."
"Your birthday?" said Pooh in great surprise.

"Of course it is. Can't you see? Look at all the presents I have had." He waved a foot from side to side. "Look at the birthday cake. Candles and pink sugar."

Pooh looked--first to the right and then to the left.
"Presents?" said Pooh. "Birthday cake?" said Pooh. "Where?"
"Can't you see them?"

"No," said Pooh.

"Neither can I," said Eeyore. "Joke," he explained. "Ha ha!"

I hope I didn't follow Eeyore's example--too much!

But this morning I did mention the birthday thing to my boss. She enthusiastically wished me a happy birthday, and confessed that she never thinks to look at the whiteboard. I don't know whether she said anything to anyone, but over the rest of the day, seemingly without prompting, about four different people stopped by to wish me a happy belated birthday. The person in charge of birthdays also polled me about what kind of cake to have next week, which was rather considerate I thought. I said anything but white cake, which fits in well with the two votes for chocolate. The remaining birthday person had not yet been asked, but the birthday maven was hopeful he would go along with the chocolate as well. We discussed the lack of choices in commercial cakes - no lemon, no cherry, just carrot if you're lucky, but of course I'm fine with the chocolate. After all, it's chocolate!

So as not to be a hypocrite (which I sometimes am), I made myself seek out the guy wbose birthday was the 11th and offer my greetings. His attitude was basically, "Yeah, whatever." Birthdays are apparently just a meaningless distraction as far as he's concerned. I'm glad I said something, though, because it was the honorable thing to do, it took me out of my comfort zone, and it gave me a chance to get an inkling about the accounting problem he's wrestling with. Later in the day I was asked to assist him when I finish my current project, which I'm glad to do.

I also had discussions with several people about getting a dog. One had a brother in law who needs to get rid of some puppies, but she didn't remember the breed; she herself always goes for a breed she called Australian Blue Heeler, or something like that. My boss told me her dog has Valley Fever, pneumonia and other problems. John said something about getting a short haired breed to minimize the dog hair, but someone told me she had dogs with seemingly no hair, but it was all over the house anyway.

And after all, I grew up wanting Lassie. For years I read the newspaper ads for AKC collie puppies, which only cost $75 in those days. With my dad allergic, I had no chance of getting any dog for years to come, regardless of price; but I kept looking anyway.

So here are the current criteria for the next canine in the Blocher family:
  • Adult, pre-owned dog, housebroken, all shots and in good health
  • Small enough to fit through the doggie door and not tower over Tuffy. Therefore no
    Borzoi, Great Danes, Newfies, and probably not even German Shepherds or Labs.
  • Not small or yappy. No toy breeds. Medium sized and mellow in temperament is what we're going for here.
  • Intelligent and friendly, not overly territorial, traumatized or skittish.
  • Not more than a few years old, because we don't want the trauma of losing another dog to age just a few years after losing Tuffy.
  • No promises about the length of the fur, but it shouldn't be copious and constantly falling out.
I expect we'll try to get the dog on Saturday. Either we'll go to a PetSmart that's doing an adoption event (dogs brought in from I think the Humane Society) or Animal Control (the pound) on Silverbell, or possibly some other shelter. If it's PetSmart we can take Tuffy in and let them sniff each other to get an idea whether Tuffy will be able to cope. I expect her to be skittish, but if the other dog is roughly the same size and not aggressive with her it should be okay. If it's a shelter, maybe they'll agree to take the dog outside to meet Tuffy.

Meanwhile I've just discovered Petfinder.com, which has a number of Tucson dogs in its database. Here's a smallish Lab who might be okay, from Animal Rescue Foundation, a no-kill shelter I'm not sure I knew about. The main no-kill shelter in town, The Hermitage, is just a few blocks from us, but for cats only.

Plushpuppy says that some of the dogs are crate-trained.

(Half an hour later:) I've been perusing Petfinder. They've got dogs on there from the Tucson Humane Society, Pima Animal Control, and dozens of other groups around Arizona. Quite a few of these rescue shelters are for specific breeds or species, not just greyhounds and cats but ferrets and beagles and horses and even keeshonden. Some groups describe the animal fully, with notes on personality and what kind of adoption situation would be ideal (please adopt this other dog too because I love her; wants to be the alpha dog, shy but getting better, athletic and active, needs to be an only dog, needs another dog around, etc.). Humane Society just lists the color in the description section; not very helpful, that! Adopt a Mutt has listings for special needs dogs; I'm not up to adopting a blind dog, but I sure hope someone else is. So it looks as though we won't be going into this cold, choosing a dog on looks alone. But yes, I'd prefer a dog who is at least a little bit pretty!



Florinda said...

I'm glad you're looking for an adult-dog adoption; since I got Gypsy that way, I'm a big supporter. She was a young adult when I got her (probably not more than two) - I've had her almost ten years now, and she doesn't look or act her age. (She's the Dorian Grey of dogs.) She's an Aussie-shepherd mix, which is a good size (and very pretty); grooming every few months keeps the hair and shedding under control.

If I were looking for another dog right now, my criteria would be very similar to yours. Good luck with the search!

Kiva said...

Happy unbirthday to you! The older you get, the more people don't recognize your birthday. They think that they are doing you a favor, but they're not :0). I am so pleased that John gave you a scruffy stuffed dog and a coupon for a new one. One should have both. I am partial to labs, but they won't fit into your dog door :0( However, your criteria is excellent. Unfortunately, all dogs shed, but I found this great vacuum -- the Bissel Pet Hair Eraser. I highly recommend it! Good luck. And happy birthday no matter what day it is.

Becky said...

Oh yay! A new doggie. My family had hit/miss luck with dogs. Snoopy the beagle=miss. He would bite and if I sat on the curb, he would lift his leg and pee on me. Buffy the buff colored cockers spaniel=hit. He was a little skittish with sudden loud noises...he would piddle a bit on the floor when my dad lost his temper. But otherwise a sweet and very affectionate pup. Benjamin the old english sheepdog=miss. He was MASSIVE and ate wood shingles off the HOUSE. Dumb as a stump too. Princess=hit. She was a stray who just waltzed into our yard one day. Vet said beagle, border collie, shepard, other mix. LOL That dog was smart. Sharp as a tack. Loyal. She would talk to you...put her head on your knee and mumble responses back as you conversed with her. She loved to lay at my feet and use my instep as a pillow. I miss her most of all. So, I vote for mutt over pure bred any day - pures are too inbred and can be really stupid in my experience (our dogs and others). Rescue dog for sure. maybe a poodle mix of some kind - cockapoo or ... damn, the other poo mix breed escapes me at the mo. LOL