2008-09-04 / Columnists
Pets, Pets, Pets
For now Edgar Afghan Poe creates his own tales of horror: Mr. Softee's song is an A bomb; a guy wearing a hat might as well be the Boogie Man; a baby's wail from a stroller is a banshee. FDR said "there's nothing to fear but fear itself". Try telling that to my traumatized Afghan Hound.
Imagine spending your whole life isolated in the Santa Fe desert with 66 other Afghan Hounds and 25 parrots at the mercy of an animal hoarder. Picture a 3 a.m. raid where 30 authorities seize you and the other neglected dogs and birds; then haul you all off to the shelter. Imagine being anesthetized so your filthy mats can be shaved. Picture spending up to 20 hours in a crate while you are flown into Newark Airport during a heat wave. All this upheaval happens in less than a week.
Until the raid you've probably never seen another human except for the unstable woman who bred you. Then you spend a week in a Long Island kennel with some of your siblings and a crew of caretakers; a week in Philly with an Afghan rescuer; another in Connecticut with a veterinary behaviorist.
Next stop Babylon- finally, please- Home Sweet Home. To quote Marie Curie: "Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." Try telling that to my traumatized Afghan Hound.
Edgar was one of the 7 from the 67 New Mexico Afghans that the national breed rescue flew to NY for tons of TLC. (See Pets online July 30, 2008.) Practically catatonic from his ordeal, Edgar was the dog that touched me the most. I'm thankful to say he joined the Anderson clan 3 weeks ago. Edgar climbed up on the couch and meshed with my Afghan, Toy Spaniel, and 3 legged cat. It's the rest of the world that is foreign and terrifying to him.
People especially men (including my husband), are scary. They invade your space. When you least expect it, they appear at your gate or pop out their front doors, like those spooks in a haunted house. Some swing their arms; others carry leaf blowers or brooms; groups run or whoosh by on bikes; too many are babbling loudly. However, if you're walking a dog, you are less frightening. Dogs are part of the familiar pack.
There's soothing power in the walk. Edgar has learned to sniff alongside my dogs. He loves Southards, Gardiners and Argyle parks. On the streets so far we've made more progress tolerating zooming cars than surprise strangers. We increase the safety zone when those approaching seem threatening. Edgar has a threshold. Sometimes he whines and tries to flee. He's had enough. (One of the shell-shocked Afghans from Edgar's family escaped from the new owners on an island
in Michigan. He jumped into a river when he saw rescuers coming. Thankfully, they fished him out unharmed.) I'm trying other strategies. Edgar gets the calming flower essence, Rescue® Remedy, billed as "yoga in a bottle", and specifically Walnut recommended for easing animals into new situations.Thanks to a friend, I got a complimentary shipment of Comfort Zone®, the canine appeasing liquid that mimics pheromones produced by a nursing mother dog. Edgar now wears a pheromone sprayed bandanna and sleeps in a Comfort Zone diffused room. Sensed by receptors other than taste or smell, Comfort Zone® takes about a month before stress reducing benefits peak.
We haven't met my vet yet but we've had a practice visit to the animal hospital. Then we left. Little does he know that he'll be back next week for a real exam. However, I made a major blunder. Earlier I took Edgar alone to Argyle Lake. He had a grand time so I decided to head into the village with him to make some copies. Big mistake. We hit Montauk Highway at a very busy time—a bus, a boom box, a vise grip of people squeezing us in on the sidewalk from both sides. Heavens, there were tall customers inside our destination wearing Boogie Man baseball caps. Edgar started screeching and bolting. His freak out was my fault. I forced Edgar to do more before he could handle it.
For Adoption at Babylon Town Shelter (643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: This tuxedo kitten in C-4 is pretending to go "Back to School" in hopes that someone will notice her. (Actually she is modeling one of the gorgeous sweaters donated from Pet Fashion Week in NYC that will be available at the "Pesos for Paco" Last Hope benefit on 9/25-more about that soon.) "Jett" in Cage 42 is a small Shepherd mix pup who loves to play ball. She's agile enough to be a great Frisbee dog.
Cats: "Samantha" C-3-black beauty; Maine Coon from an eviction in the Cat Colony.
Female Dogs: "Chelsea"- Shepherd mix Cage 35; "Tinkerbelle"- Lhasa mix Cage 31; Akita Cage 39.
Male Dogs: poor "Panda" Cage 7; tan Shep pup Cage 19; black Lab mix Cage 46.
Upcoming Events (www.lasthopeanimalrescue. org or 661-6164 for details): Low Cost Microchip Clinic at Wantagh Park 9/13; Pet Fashion Show for Save-A-Pet at Atria E. Northport 9/14; Last Hope Golf Outing at Crab Meadow 9/15; "Pesos for Paco" at Don Ricardo's 9/25.