Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lucky Dogs

(Photo Credit: Garrett Davis, New York Times; McKenzie Garcia and Squeaker at Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary, Kanab, UT)

Your favorite dog blogger is a lucky dog because the moms finally had a runner installed on the stairs leading up to our bedroom. This means I no longer have to be carried up and down the stairs all the time. Sometimes I still insist on being carried down the stairs because, well, I had gotten awfully skittish about going down the bare wood stairs with my creaky arthritic legs and I am still not convinced it is 100% safe. I have tried it on my own a couple of times since the carpet was put down and haven't taken any tumbles, so we'll see how it goes. I much prefer the dignity of independent travel, of course, but old dogs really don't like to learn new tricks. Still, I am awfully pleased that the moms were willing to make this accommodation to all the aging bodies in our house. (Moose didn't think it was especially safe for the humans to be carrying a dog down the stairs for potty trips in the middle of the night either.)

Forty seven of the pit bulls seized from the home of former NFL star Michael Vick are even luckier dogs, it seems, for they have been rescued from the brutal conditions in which they were kept and "dispersed to eight rescue organizations for adoption, rehabilitation or lifetime care in sanctuaries," according to a detailed and moving account by Juliet Macur in today's New York Times. Even if you're not a dog person (but if you're not, why are you here?), I defy you not to get a tear in your eye as you read this incredible story of humans working to restore the trust of dogs who have been tortured, trained to fight, and forced to breed. (Make sure you look at the wonderful audio slide show, too.) At the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, one dog, Georgia, has had all 42 of her teeth pulled out (by her previous owners, to prevent injuries during forced mating) and barks incessantly at her doghouse. Her caregivers aren't sure why she barks.

“I’m worried most about Georgia,” said the Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Frank McMillan, an expert on the emotional health of animals, who edited the textbook “Mental Health and Well-Being in Animals.” “You don’t have the luxury of asking her, or any of these animals: ‘What happened to you in your past life? How can we stop you from hurting?’

“So here we are left with figuring out how to bring joy to her life,” he said of Georgia, known to lick the face of anyone who comes near. “We want to offset the unpleasant memories that dwell in her brain.”

John Garcia, the assistant dog care manager at Best Friends, marvels at the dogs' ability to recover from their traumas (doubtless thanks in no small part to his patient, compassionate work with them):
“These dogs have been beaten and starved and tortured, and they have every reason not to trust us,” Mr. Garcia said as Georgia crawled onto his lap, melted into him for an afternoon nap and began to snore. “But deep down, they love us and still want to be with us. It is amazing how resilient they are.”
Go on. Get a little verklempt. Go rub the belly of your own untortured companion animal and pause for a moment to reflect on the traumas of your life from which you somehow managed to recover -- with the compassionate support of those you love. Cool, huh?

Then, consider the millions of lucky dog American voters who get to go to the polls on Tuesday to weigh in on the presidential nominating process. Twenty-four states, hundreds of delegates at stake, and polls shifting so fast you could get whiplash trying to read them. In such a fluid state, it's probably best not to make predictions, but the prognosticators here in Roxie's World are feeling feisty and bold, so we're willing to share some of what we've detected from the observation deck looking out over our ridiculously large back yard:
  • Clinton and Obama will each win their home states of, respectively, New York and Illinois. (I know -- We're way out on a limb on that one, aren't we?)
  • Clinton takes California by at least 8 points; Obama won't make significant in-roads with Hispanic voters there, despite Ted Kennedy's new fluency in Spanish.
  • Obama will take Georgia and Alabama, which is why he will be Clinton's choice for VP.
  • Republicans will wake up Wednesday morning saying they have always, really, truly loved John McCain. Mitt Romney will quit the race, declaring that evangelicals have always, really, truly hated Mormons. Huck will be McCain's VP choice, thus securing the flat-earth vote.
  • "Falling Slowly" from Once wins Oscar for Best Song. Oops! Sorry -- Moose pulled the crystal ball away from me in the middle of my prognosticating!
We'll conclude not with a prediction but with an order: Boycott the Super Bowl. Watch Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl IV, starting at 3 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday instead:
a three-hour extravaganza in which a cast of 46 dogs frolics, chases, pants, sniffs, rolls, tail wags and occasionally picks up a ball (or, more likely, a chew toy) on a set resembling a football field.
Talk about lucky dogs, huh, kids? Tune in. Peace out.


  1. Anonymous10:28 AM EST

    Hi Roxie, great post — love your predictions— hugs and congratulations on your new stairway carpet!

    And right on cue, wouldn't you know, the NY Daily News this morning rolled out their red carpet with a fabulous endorsement for Hillary Clinton. Here's a quote, espousing her "dogged advocacy" on a number of issues.

    "After eight years at the side of President Clinton and seven years representing New York in the U.S. Senate, she is clear-eyed both about the demands of the globe's toughest job and about using the power that comes with it. She would try to lead by doing.

    "Her celebrity status notwithstanding, Clinton is at heart a worker in the trenches. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of the issues, and her success in the Senate on behalf of New Yorkers attests to both relentless attention to detail and skill at working the levers of power.

    "Simply put, Clinton delivered, in no small measure by forming alliances with Republicans who had been ardent foes of her husband during his presidential administration. She was a key player in securing critical federal aid after 9/11, and she has fought longer than anyone for sickened Ground Zero workers. Thanks to her dogged advocacy, the Defense Department dropped plans to close military bases around the state.

    "New Yorkers should appreciate that Clinton devoted herself to the grit of the job — to getting a fair share of monies for transit, housing, hospitals and other purposes — even as she pursued larger national agendas. Democrats elsewhere would do well to assess her possible presidency in the same light. She may not stir the soul, but that's not what day-to-day governing is about."


  2. Anonymous11:12 AM EST

    "At the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, one dog, Georgia, has had all 42 of her teeth pulled out."
    Specify, please, that her teeth had been pulled out by the previous owner, presumably to avoid her injuring male dogs during forced mating. Best Friends didn't do it, nor would they remove healthy teeth. Those who have visited report that it's an excellent animal sanctuary and well worthy of support. As one experienced animal rescuer remarked upon seeing the article: "if anyone can help these poor dogs, they can."

  3. You are correct, Dudley. Sorry for the ambiguity. That's the last time I let my typist have a margarita at dinner when I'm planning to do an evening post!

  4. Anonymous6:25 PM EST

    You let your typist have margaritas??? I don't let mine drink much at all, and even so, the results are at best irregular.

    Thank you for posting the story and the links to the slide show at NYTimes. My precedessor apparently had scars consistent with being used as bait. He died of something unrelated (lung cancer), and, according to my human, should have lived much longer and deserved a far greater percentage of happy to unhappy life (he got about half and half).

    But I have to ask, if he'd lived longer, HOW WAS *I* SUPPOSED TO GET ADOPTED??? (It's not like they were lining up. . . .)

  5. Dearest Rox,

    On this Super Tuesday I thought your readers might want to consider a couple of things. First, Stanley Fish's wonderful piece in the NY Times, "All You Need Is Hate," an essay about Hillary-hating. And then there's Robin Morgan's "Good-bye to all that" on her support for Hillary Clinton and the deep, deep sexism of the Hillary-haters,

    Let's keep the faith, Rox and your legions of loyal fans.

    In Peace & Possibility,


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.