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September 12, 2017


For someone who has never had a pet that was strictly my own, I've ended up with a lot of pet and animal stories. For now, just one -- about my dad.

My dad was a small-town firefighter when I was growing up, not a volunteer but paid, so he lived at the fire station for two twenty-four-hour shifts out of every six days. He got to know his colleagues very, very well. For better and worse.

When I was young, the station had a firehouse dog, Flip, the traditional Dalmatian -- white with black spots. In retrospect I think Flip might have had some other lineage in her as well; she was pretty stocky for a Dalmatian.

Sometimes on his supper hour (five o'clock sharp, we listened for the squeaky brakes on his second-hand Chevy when he stopped at our corner) he brought Flip home. We didn't have pets, because we lived on a busy corner and my parents were always afraid a pet would run into the street and get killed by a car. (Plus, truth be told, my mother has a phobia about animals and my dad probably didn't want to have to be the one to take care of a dog or cat.)

Without pets of our own, we four kids were utterly delighted when Flip came home for the supper hour. In particular, she could put out a lit match with her paw, on command, so we considered her a true member of the firefighting brigade.

After I was off to college, Flip died at a ripe old age. Most of the firemen (yes, all men then) were enthusiastic to get a new dog. My dad, a curmudgeon with a hidden kind heart, thought it was a sucky life for a dog there in the center of town, no grass in sight, concrete floors in the fire station, etc. But he was the only one who voted against getting another dog, so they got a new one.

Guess who the dog adored and followed around all the time when he was on duty?

Yup, my dad.

But that dog didn't work out as well as Flip had, I don't remember (or never knew) why. So they came to their senses and gave it to someone out in the country who could give it a happier life.

All rescue shelter mixes.

1) Lost our bro-sis Carolinas two years ago to bladder cancer. Perfect dogs.

2) Picked up a year old 90 lb mostly Anatolian, Currently crated in a bedroom for heartworm recovery, hope clean bill Saturday after two months. Longest freaking dog, with legs that reach the floor while laying across a queen size bed. First pure guard dog, fine and gentle, one of our last dogs was thunderstorm panicky, this one is different. Barking and running it feels like he is trying to tell everyone, flock to take cover. Previous owners couldn't handle that, so they chained him to a tree. When we got him had no hair and bleeding sores on the neck, skinny as hell. Great walking dog keeps my pace perfectly, sits on command, but more nervously than the Carolinas, who didn't move for three hours outside an airport terminal, relaxed as can be.

2) Other one is a puppy, she knows what I don't, 50 lbs of endless energy, who will demand throw and fetch all day long. Real hard time training this guy, my forearms and shoulders are like logs from pulling back on walks. Just now getting through the is this place mine then I can chew it all phase. Playingest dudes I've ever seen, they're inseparable.

I walk them daily, for miles when possible, but 1 or 2 miles normally. Course one crated I missed part of this Dallas fall. Everyone in this town has seen me from cars, I don't see them, so them waving at me feels weird.

Losing my outdoor time has maybe made me mean.

We have more in common than I would have guessed, bob. Big dog rescues - yes.

Anatolians are wonderful dogs and heart worm is terrible, a terrible way to die. So grateful that you are saving her, Bob.

I'm upset because I tried to rescue a cat today and failed. Wea re about to go on vacation so I cant try again for over a week and don't konw if the cat will still be around. I arranged for a friend to put out food for him. Please, Mario, come back.

E ven though I worked on the OAS book for two years, I am still finding edtting errors in it, damn it, so be kind while reading it. It was written as a fundraiser and is an inspiring story. My other book got a real edit by a real editor, and it shows. Thank you LJ, and I hope other people will share stories. It is nice to get a break from the news.

wonkie: I bought the book and have read the first three chapters on my Kindle-for-PC. Your writing is wonderful -- it's very lucid and it makes me want to keep turning pages even though I've got other things I meant to be doing.

Also, if it's any comfort, I haven't picked up on any editing errors so far. I'm pretty persnickety, too, being something of an editor myself. So take heart! Either there aren't a lot of errors, or the story is so absorbing that I'm not noticing them.

Thank you Janie You will spot them. I guarantee it! And thank you for buying it! I am really appreciative.

Dogs bringing sapient and bob mcmanus together. How about that?

Slow night -- okay, here's a cat story.

My family moved into the old farmhouse (almost 200 y.o.) on this property in 1987. Ten acres, an old house with everything jury-rigged, a huge L-shaped barn, and a half-feral cat that lived in the barn. Someone had anonymously dropped off the cat, as happens in the country, and the previous owners fed it, as did we in our turn. It wouldn't let humans near it, so it wasn't really a pet.

That winter it got bitten badly by some other critter. We happened to have a tenant who was a vet's assistant, quite conveniently under the circumstances. She put the cat in a cage and nursed it until it was healed enough to be out and about again.

Early the following summer it disappeared, and I expected we'd never see it again. But one morning toward the end of the summer it wandered into the yard, obviously very sick, and plopped itself down under a shrub. I called the vet, who gave us an appointment for late that afternoon.

The cat stayed in the shade under the bushes all day, barely moving. My daughter, who was then maybe 16-17 months old, squatted down near it for as much of the day as I allowed her to, just watching over it patiently. (It was pretty obvious that the cat was too sick to hurt her.)

Turned out the cat had feline leukemia and the vet put it down. But this was the day I discovered that my daughter was a cat person.

After that, since everyone kept assuring us that we needed "barn cats" anyhow, we went down the road to where there was a sign outside someone else's barn: "Free kittens." We took two: Mickey, so named by his first owners because he had black ears; and Mickey's sister, whom my not-quite-three-year-old son named "Chair" -- I guess because that was the first word that popped into his head when I asked him to name the cat.

We had Mickey and Chair for many years, and at least a dozen more cats as the years went by, plus four dogs. (Not totally all at the same time!)

I say "we," but it's complicated. "We" got divorced somewhere along the way, but continued (and continue to this day) to live in adjacent houses on the same ten acres; the offspring circulate freely back and forth.

There are now three humans and three cats living here. This set of cats is by far the weirdest we've had, especially "Rumple." But this story is long enough for the moment.

I've always had rescue dogs ... usually a gun shy hound mix that a hunter didn't want.

Currently we have a walker hound/harrier mix that Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue picked up. He's between 13 and 14 and in that all too familiar congestive heart failure decline. I think he'll make it through the mild Fla winter, but this summer was tough on him. I'm worried that he won't be here a year from now.

My baby is a brittany/beagle mix that was picked up on the streets of Atlanta. In my completely objective opinion, she has the prettiest puppy face of any dog I've ever seen. She has issues with thunder and is completely submissive, but there are all the indications that if shit hit the fan, this is the dog that would put herself in harm's way to protect me or my wife. I don't have proof of that (and hopefully never will), but if you know dogs, you can tell.

A year and a half ago, my wife lost her chihuahua at age 14. That little dog was her baby. A few months after we lost her, she rescued a 14 year old chihuahua with liver problems and one day left on his sentence in a kill shelter. She gave that little dude the best 10 months of his life.

My wife works in the travel industry and volunteers at dog rescues all over central America and the Caribbean. Sometimes it's just walking them. Sometimes she's picking ticks off the new arrivals. Sometimes she smuggles in slightly expired vet supplies that she gathers from the local animal hospitals here in Orlando (against the advice of her attorney-husband).

In December, we were in Costa Rica for our anniversary and she scheduled a volunteer visit to a rescue. I was pissy about it because I can't stand to leave them afterward ... I just want to take them all home. The visit was fine and the shelter was no-kill and in very good shape so I was able to leave without getting choked up, but I noticed that my wife kept holding the same little back dog with huge ears and jacked up teeth. The next day we were on a boat for a river excursion and my wife looks at me with her serious face and says "I need to adopt that little black dog." My response was "We leave is 36 hours, if you can pull it off, go for it." Thirty-six hours later, Tica was with us on JetBlue back to MCO.

we have two cats, Tricksey and Pepper. they're both Siberians (long-haired, stocky, like normal-sized Maine Coons).

right now, 12-year-old Tricksey is dealing with an ever-growing tumor in her neck. it started last November when we noticed she was suddenly snoring at night. took her to the vet, and the vet removed a tumor the size of a grape from her throat. that's when we learned that general anesthesia has the strange side effect of keeping her awake for 36 hours (once she comes out of it).

feline oncologist recommended 20 rounds of radiation, over four weeks. but since she'd have to be sedated each time, she probably wouldn't sleep for more than four days that whole time. that wouldn't work.

so we opted for five rounds of radiation, one per week. she learned to hide under the bed every Wednesday AM. and when she'd get home, she'd howl at the door all night long, while i stayed up with her, trying to keep her calm.

but, after a couple of months, the tumor came back, in her neck, not in her throat. it grew in the other direction. now, it's huge. has wrapped around her neck, and is starting to affect her jaw. when she puts her head back for neck scratching, she chokes a little. so, it feels like she'll leave us any day now - but it's felt like this since May.

Pepper was a strange girl at first. but she's growing into a very friendly and happy cat.


last weekend, a cardinal chased a yellow warbler* into one of our windows. when we looked on the ground to confirm, yep, it was lying there, all twisted up. so , i got my gloves and shovel and went out to bury it. but it was still alive. so i gently picked it up, put its wings back like they should be, while it looked at me with strange calm. i tried to put it down in a couple of secluded places where it could spend its time peacefully, but it just wouldn't get off my glove. it was content, looking around, hanging out in my hand. after five minutes of trying to put it down somewhere, i was going to give up and just take off the glove and leave it for him to rest on. that's when the bird jumped up and flew away.

* one of the "confusing fall warblers" in Peterson's guide.

A heartfelt "GOOD ON YOU" to all pet rescuers.


Our dog is a rescue, but I don't consider myself to be a dog rescuer. The people who make sure dogs get matched up with people like us are the rescuers. And people who take in older dogs with problems - them, too.

We got a very healthy and cute puppy (at 8 weeks) who has grown (almost fully - not quite a year old) into a very healthy and beautiful dog.

He's supposed to be half husky and half Norwegian elkhound, but he looks almost completely like an elkhound - just maybe not so squarely built. That bit of relative sleekness of build is the only thing I can point to as evidence of his being half husky.

People who rescue animals could not place them if people like you did tno take them

This is Sneakers. He was a self-rescue who found us Dec.1, 1999. He was about 10 weeks old then (he'd been dumped in the fields next to our house), so we figure he's just turned old enough to vote.

I've had smarter cats, I've had more affectionate cats, but he's my cat now and I love him. He's in pretty good shape for his age, too: I took him to the vet on Monday for his hyperthyroid checkup, and the vet said "Are you sure he's 18? He looks younger than that."

The position in this picture, where he holds my hand in place so the scritches do not stop, is known as Best Boy Has Key Grip.

The most recent cat is a feral kitten that I trapped in our yard at about six weeks of age. He was trying to eat spilled birdseed off the ground, and having as much success as you'd expect. Spent two weeks living under the vanity in our downstairs bathroom before I got him tame enough to handle. He has since decided that humans are okay as long as they're either serving up cat food or brandishing a cat toy.

Looks like he's going to hit seven pounds by the time he's four months old--going to be a big boy.

Our other three cats (all orange females, because why not) have been rescue adoptees as well, though they arrived pre-domesticated.

All three of my/our (in the case of Chase, my son's cat who passed at 18 years of age last year) beloved cats were rescues.

I'd have another but I travel too much to make it worth the cat's while.

Cribbed this link from a commenter at Juanita Jean. Surely there are agnostics pet-sitting too for the disappeared. The "certified" take care of the pets for the departed certifiable, who I expect were ra(U)ptured because they refused or were refused health insurance:


The Anatolian got a clean bill of health Saturday and is released from the crate to go romping and wreak havoc.

Sadly, we just missed two weeks of low 80s (Harvey related), perfect park weather, and am now looking in Dallas at humid 90s to the end of Sept. I don't risk dogs in my insufficiently air-conditioned 1993 Ford.

I. Need. To. Walk. My. Dogs.

We currently have two cats, a 15-year-old brown tabby named Radka who we raised from a kitten, and a big ~2-year-old gray-and-white cat named Jess who we recently adopted through The Pixel Fund, a rescue/shelter operation in Maine and Florida (Sam's sister Lindsey fosters dogs and cats for them).

Radka recently was diagnosed with diabetes; we have to inject her with insulin twice a day, which took some adjustment, but we've had elderly cats with involved medical routines before. Apart from that she's in remarkably good shape for a cat her age, and we hope we'll have a lot more time with her.

They are both sweet cats. There's been some social adjustment since Jess arrived; currently Jess seems to rule the downstairs and Radka the upstairs, but I think they're slowly warming to each other.

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