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2013-11-13 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

It’s Sunday midnight and I am just starting this column. It should have been submitted hours ago. I have too many dogs (and cats) stuck in my brain at any given moment, so I am easily distracted from one to another. Certain online tasks instigate a form of Dog ADD (Dog Attention Deficit Disorder).

Here’s a sampling of the hounds (besides my own Afghans) running around my head at the present time. It reads like the cast of “101 Dalmatians”:

** Rescue Calendar: ‘Tis the time of year that we put together the Afghan Hound Club of America rescue calendar. I am in the midst of editing the pinups’ bios while Marilyn Danko in Missouri does all the graphics, photo finishing and layout. In her real job she teaches computer flying skills to Air Force pilots. There are about 30 short rescue stories from all over the US (like Atheem from a New Orleans backyard breeder who tricked his foster Connecticut parents into loving him forever and now rides around in a convertible listening to Cajun waltzes), that go back and forth between us because they must fit in a small space. I hate taking a hatchet to the owners’ heartfelt words, especially when the story is well-written but just too long. Calendars have a short saleable shelf life, so the sooner we finish, the sooner they are printed in Iowa and the more we will sell to help future rescued Afghans. ** Photo Editing: I take most of my Babylon Shelter and Last Hope photos on Saturdays, and go through digital cameras as if they were pantyhose because unruly subjects, especially bulldozing Beagles, like to knock them out of my hand. It takes me forever to edit and label the pictures because my skills are pathetic, and because I have hundreds of similar Beagle and Pit pictures. I am so thankful for the computer filter. Otherwise I would be spending the rest of my life searching for specific shots. If I type in a common name like “Coco,” all sorts of pet photos pop out. It is an unwritten law that if I delete a photo, even a dog from years ago, that someone will ask me for that photo soon after.


“Mickey”- at a Kentucky Shelter “Mickey”- at a Kentucky Shelter ** Hotline Calls: Certain Last Hope hotline calls are relayed to me. Many of the pleas for help do not return my call, or they are phantoms like Eagle Scout candidates that ask for project ideas and then disappear. Right now the calls include requests for free rabies shots, even though the clinic was, months ago, a Meet n Greet for “Drake,” the Pit that spent over three years at Babylon Shelter; Scout tours and a dog adoption day invitation to Walgreens.

** Special Needs Pets: They need rescue; transport; rides to the vet or microchips registered. I get at least 100 emails a day from the West Virginia transport network. An Afghan Rescue friend from Philly adopted a Devon Rex mix kitten from Babylon Shelter several months ago. His wavy-haired mother is still waiting for a home and we are trying to network from afar. There are several bent-legged dogs in my head. “Autumn,” the Retriever mix from Babylon, needs an orthopedic consult and probably surgery. Her x-rays are on the front seat of my car. “Claude,” the Chihuahua with bent front feet, is still at Babylon and Last Hope now has “Lucky,” a Beagle mix hit and left at the side of a Kentucky road. Some kind soul there paid for his hip surgery but after a month post-op Lucky is not putting weight on that hind leg. Oh, no!

** Woof Street Journal: I write a weekly online newsletter for the Last Hope dog volunteers. Adoption, foster, application and new arrival details are always changing. By the time the issue is ready for the email blast, the information is often different.

** Facebook: The flagship of social media is a powerful rescue vessel yet most distracting and quite addictive. As an administrator for Last Hope and Babylon Shelter’s Facebook page as well as my own page which is primarily rescue and Afghans, I find myself procrastinating about longer pieces I have to write while posting quick, “clever” rescue messages on Facebook. The trick is to engage your followers in the process. It’s cheerleading with text rather than megaphones. The feedback is instantaneous while the audience vast. Facebook finds great placements for homeless animals, and is a huge help to lost & found. I am fairly certain the Chihuahua found at Belmont Lake that I posted on Babylon Shelter’s wall last weekend was the Chihuahua lost in Flushing that Queens friends tagged me in. He went home.

**National Dog Show: Speaking of Philly, I am going there this weekend to help compile the Best of Breed sheets for the NBC broadcast that will air on Thanksgiving right after the Macy’s parade. I am a bit nervous because, unlike Westminster spread out over two days, more than 180 AKC breeds and varieties will be judged in one day. And to complicate dogs in my head, while I am gone, I arranged for “Mickey,” a young German Shepherd, to come to Last Hope in Wantagh because his Kentucky shelter is facing a mass euthanasia day. He’s one of six starving Shepherds and Beagles surrendered by a man now in jail. My pal Burt will be picking “Mickey” up in Stamford, CT on Saturday night but I just learned he has to be at JFK airport to pick up his family at midnight. Oh, no!

Babylon Town Shelter Adoptables (631-643- 9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: “Claude” #13-663 is the lovable Chihuahua with the Charlie Chaplin feet. He was surrendered because his owner is ill. The Devon Rex Mama #3-279 is in the lobby, and she seems to be okay with dogs.

More picks of the litter: “Mae,” a brindle long timer; “Betty,” the one-eyed Shih tzu; “Nikki,” the Pit Mama.

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