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2008-12-24 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

by Joanne Anderson

The "Twelve Dogs of Christmas" highlight some happy endings of the year (courtesy of folks working together), one for each month; a microcosm of all the joy and sadness that happens at shelters everywhere. This list promises not to mention partridges, turtle doves or French hens. The 5 golden rings have already been melted down to generate more moola for rescue. Start singing:

•January-"Lucky" was not so lucky. This 9 year old Smooth Fox Terrier suffered from the "Lady& the Tramp" syndrome"- New baby came; he was shipped to the shelter. After an extended stay, he moved to the Last Hope Dog Center where he was adopted by a volunteer. Soon after Lucky and his new Mom Terry were in the TV audience during Martha Stewart's "rescue dog" show.

* February-"Jack Daniels" didn't realize timing is everything. This Beagle pup was turned into Babylon Shelter while I was celebrating at the Best In Show Brunch with the Westminster winner, Uno the Beagle. "Jack Daniels" also became a Last Hope dog, now cherished by new owners.

•March- "Charles" a frightened Newfie mix puppy foraging in St. Charles Cemetery was captured in a humane trap by the cemetery staff and his Good Samaritans feeders, taken to Babylon Shelter, then to Last Hope Dog Center. He now relaxes in a happy home with several other dogs.

•April- "Blaze" the Fugitive Feist (think-Jack Russell) showed up with his leash tangled in a N. Amityville shrub. Babylon Shelter traced his microchip to an ecstatic owner in Atlanta. Her pet sitter had lost him 6 months before. How he got from Georgia to LI remains a mystery. We were able to fly him home with Air Tran at LaGuardia giving our pup the VIP treatment and "comping" his ticket. "Blaze" also appeared on Ch 12 News.

•May- "Don", a lemon & white English Pointer, almost the reincarnation of "Sensation" the Westminster Kennel Club emblem whose 1887 grave I been searching for in Babylon, came into Oyster Bay Shelter as a rambunctious stray. After a transport to the Statue of Liberty, Don went to a wonderful foster home in Ithaca via Pointer Rescue where he learned canine etiquette, then to a forever family.

•June- "Toy Poodle Trio" - SPCA seized lots of neglected tiny dogs from an E. Northport breeder and held them at Huntington Shelter. Many people wanted to adopt them but placements were held up by litigation. By the time, the dogs were available, the media attention and crowd had dissipated. Poodles lingered at the shelter. "Renoir, Matisse and Cassatt" went to Last Hope; 2 were placed together and the other as a single pet.

* July -"Jessie" is an older German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP)) discovered the day we went to look at the Toy Trio. Via Last Hope again, Jessie joined a family with another GSP who wears a life jacket when he goes boating.

* August-"Edgar Afghan Poe", one of the 67 traumatized Afghan Hounds seized from a hoarder in New Mexico, is the new handsome man in my life. Along with 6 siblings, Edgar was flown to LI by Afghan Rescue for triage. He fits perfectly with my pack where his new Afghan and Cavalier sisters are helping him become a not-so-neurotic New Yorker.

•September- "Mama Mia" a Pitbull raised 9 puppies at Babylon Shelter, saw them "leave the nest" and then waited for months for a home of her own. She waited months more at Last Hope, but patience paid off. Mia now resides with her male clone-"Riley" and loving pet parents.

* October- "Paco", the Chihuahua rode the "Babylon line" to Last Hope. Little Paco had an intermittent limp that didn't seem to bother him. X-rays revealed a stoic pup with multiple injuries most likely from a close encounter with a car. After an orthopedic specialist

redesigned his leg and hip, we held a surgery fundraiser fiesta called "Pesos for Paco" at a Mexican restaurant. The guest of honor wasn't invited. Paco was already settled in his new home in Massachusetts.

•November-"Latte", a terrified Brussels Griffon mix wandered around Wheatley Heights for weeks. A kind school bus driver noticed her on her route and tried each day to catch her. Then Babylon Shelter set a humane trap. Latte was re-christened "Lucy" when Last Hope's dog coordinator Letty adopted her.

•December- "Lima", a loving Boston Terrier puppy had been an impulsive pet store purchase passed around a family that had no time for her. She was surrendered to a town shelter. This highly adoptable dog cried out for the best possible home. Gary Berg, a director of Boxer Angels Rescue- www. boxerangelsrescue.com, is truly an angel to all smooshed faced breeds. He has helped so many from LI and NYC. (Note: last spring Gary adopted "Archibald", a Pug puppy from the same shelter. He cured a skin condition. Shortly after a congenital liver issue surfaced, fixed with mega-money specialist surgery. Price tag: Paco times two. Re-named "Archibucks", the Pug has joined Gary's household.) This time Gary placed Lima, the "Boston bean", with a special owner in NJ- a quadriplegic artist, who paints by mouth. The painter's 24/7 caretaker will help him provide for his new canine companion.

I lied. More than a dozen dogs are mentioned above. Merry Christmas.

•Coming adoptable attractions for 2009- additional links in the Babylon Town Shelter/Last Hope chain: "Felicia" a 6 week Chow mix puppy was discovered nestled in a tiny feral cat shelter when TNR (Trap/Neuter/ Return) volunteers were feeding their colonies in Wyandanch. If unclaimed at Babylon by an owner, Felicia will become a Last Hope dog, as soon as she's spayed via the shelter. To inquire about fostering or adopting "Felicia", call 631-957-0023.

Saint Bernard sisters were turned into Babylon Town Shelter (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon. The pretty girls are two-and-a-half years old and would do well with breed experienced homes. So far, "Brandi", the more outgoing Saint, has moved to Last Hope (www.lasthopeanimalrescue.org) while "Flower" is still in Cage 45 at the shelter. "Flower" needs some TLC and reassurance before she has a parade of volunteers leash walking her in an unfenced area, especially during the holidays.

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