2007-01-24 / Columnists
Pets, Pets, Pets
Yogi Berra might say this is like dog déjà vu all over again. Sure, at a municipal shelter you expect to see some repeat canine customers, especially skilled escape artists. However, things get eerie when that flash back feeling of familiarity follows you from shelter to shelter. You start racking the ol' memory bank to figure out if you are staring at a dog you've experienced before, perhaps in a former life, or just a former year. Take the mysterious case of "Jingles" aka "The Miracle":
"Jingles", an older, comical-looking white Pit, came into Oyster Bay Shelter as a stray before Christmast. Hence, the holiday name. Someone found him near County Line Road where Amityville meets Massapequa, and Town of Babylon meets Town of Oyster Bay, and Suffolk County meets Nassau County. Hence, the street name.
Nowadays all the metropolitan area shelters are packed with Pit bulls and Pit mixes. They all start to blend. Although I'm not Bully breed phobic, I rarely publicize Pit bulls. Plenty of other rescue people focus on them.
Each visit this December I walked past "Jingles" in his Oyster Bay run. He'd peer back at me hopefully with his silly, asymmetrical grin- one eye a bit bigger than the other, a muzzle slightly off kilter, as if he'd had a close encounter of the car bumper kind. Each week I'd say he looked like "The Miracle", a dog we named at Babylon Shelter last year, yet I wasn't sure. Something about his expression was missing.
Last week a kennel attendant told me how lovable "Jingles" was, how he was good with other dogs, and how she called him "Popeye", another apropos name. Finally after one more glance at his pleading nod, I asked her to take "Jingles" out for a poster dog photo. That's when I got a better look at his whole package. "Jingles" just had to be "The Miracle". Both were so sweet, but more convincing- both had a ruddy, massive, manly feature that distinguished them from the puparazzi. Since Babylon Shelter doesn't require a mandatory neuter prior to adoption as Oyster Bay does, the dog's anatomical anomaly was still intact.
After checking the Beacon archives for photo proof, his stature and ear spots matched up. (Go to www.beacon,.com, click "Archives", 1/12/06, then "Columnists".) This white Pit was definitely my Beacon poster pup from last January. He entered Babylon Shelter the previous October as a stray found in Copiague and remained unclaimed/unnamed. He was a quiet, amiable fellow with an uneven face who'd flop on his back for belly rubs. He had a quizzical head tilt, and that was the clue now missing at Oyster Bay. Maybe his suspected head injury had just happened a year ago.
In December '05 when the same white Pit had been listed on Babylon's Petfinder, the web mistress got an unusual email from either Queens or Brooklyn. A family wrote that they had seen his photos online and that he was unmistakenly their long, lost dog who they had given up for dead. They called this discovery a blessing- a "Christmas miracle". The chances were remote but we christened him "The Miracle" anyway. She suggested that they'd have to send a family member to confirm. Weeks went by before a man showed up who said he wasn't their dog. No Christmas miracle.
Then February '06 a woman from another part of Copiague adopted him. Soon after the dog reappeared at the shelter. The staff recognized him and called. The woman said she couldn't keep him anymore. A short time later her son redeemed him. My spiral notebooks cross reference old case numbers so last week Babylon Shelter was able to call his possible owners with the news that he could be in Oyster Bay now. A message was left on voice mail. Someone called Oyster Bay to check on "Jingles'" welfare, but no one came for him.
"Jingles, the dog formerly known as "The Miracle", is still #1196 at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (516-677-5784) Miller Place Syosset. Our déjà vu dog deserves his own miracle, a loving home that will last for the rest of his life. If he is so blessed, this time he'll leave his manly attribute behind. Neutering is part of Oyster Bay's bargain $67.50 adoption fee.
…..Back at Babylon Town Shelter (643- 9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon another senior dog waits for a lucky break. "Nalaj"- a happy spayed Springer Spaniel mix in Cage 59- is 10 years old. She lived with adult women but has been around young kids. She's housebroken and up to date on her rabies shot. She sits for a biscuit and gives you her paw as an after thought. "Nalaj" seems like an agreeable pet. Meanwhile "Tiara"- this lovable 6 month female Turkish Angora-type kitten in C- 2 is stunning. She has a green eye and a blue eye. Presently at Babylon, adopters pay a refundable $35 NYS spay/neuter bond as part of the $70.50 total for adult dogs and $50 for adult cats, but you have to make your own arrangements for neutering. Thankfully our Town is working on a plan for mandatory spay/neuter prior to adoption.
+Males: "Koko"- a 7 yr. buff Cocker Spaniel in Cage 45; huggable "Panda" in Cage 47; "Buster"- the Basset in Cage 43; "Bullet"- the Siberian Husky in Cage 7; "Bosco"- the polydactyl tuxedo kitten.
+Female: older Mini Schnauzer in Cage 53 (also an Oyster Bay cross over dog).
+Babylon Town Free Pooper Scooper Program ** As part of the Town's Storm Water Management Program to encourage environmentally responsible pet clean up, Babylon Shelter is giving away free pooper scoopers to residents with licensed dogs and to adopters at the shelter. Those who renew or apply for NYS dog licenses at Town Hall are invited to pick up a scooper at the shelter (while supplies last).
+Last Hope- Low Cost Pet Vaccine/ Bloodtest Clinic- Sun. 1/28 from noon to 3 at Luv- A-Pet, 1675 E. Jericho Tpke. Huntington 631-462-4407.