Sunday, June 19, 2011

Birds of a feather

Soon after I got Stella I realized I wasn't the only one who was ignorant about her breed. Several people (including my mother) suggested that I save myself and the lives of countless four-year-olds and give the dog away as soon as possible. I'm sure each one of those well-meaning advisors had a different picture in their mind of the guy they thought would (or should) own such a dog.

Six months later, when Stella had to have her knees operated on Mom and I were talking on the telephone one night and knowing it would be a huge financial burden, she declared: "You need to just have that dog put to sleep." A few cold seconds went by and she added, "or give it away before you get attached to it."

That is when the Patron Saint of Irony airlifted a dog out of some neighbors yard and set it down right on my mothers back patio.

A month went by before she mentioned it.

"There's a dog that's been hanging around here but we aren't keeping it," she said.

"What kind of dog is it?"

"Well we don't know yet but she looks a lot like Stella, in her body."

"I don't think it's a pit bull though", she said adding:

"It doesn't matter because we're not keeping her."

"What's her name Mom?"


Well of course Dolly stayed and she's even allowed in the house now and I never miss a chance to tell Mom that maybe she ought to have that dog put to sleep before she gets too attached. Now she shames me for suggesting such a thing. Dolly has exactly Stella's body. It's almost a mirror image although the thing about Dolly is that she gets most of her exercise CHASING DEER through the woods. Her muscles are more well-developed than Stella's. They're a perfect match for each other although I believe Dolly might be the product of a Boxer and a Jack Russel Terrier, which if you think about it in relation to the pit bull, is a similar combination of genes. Willful, hard-headed, strong, tenacious dog. They met briefly back in the winter but had never officially hung out together until last Saturday and their friendship got off then to a rocky start.

When I get Stella out of the car, there are three adults and a dog on the patio waiting for us to walk between two Biggie-sized cars. Think of the view (not to mention the exhilaration) athletes get running out of the tunnel onto the field and you see where I'm going with this. Eight pairs of eyeballs, one if them a strange dog, all trained on her. And basically, because everybody thought they were going to fight - they felt compelled to. There was a lot of trash talk but no puncture wounds. We got them apart and mom announced that Dolly was going to have to be put in the basement for the rest of the day.

"No," I said, "Dolly is NOT going to be put in the basement. If we do that, then they'll hate each other forever. I think we should just keep them on their leashes and give them a chance to sniff around and figure each other out."

I can't remember who did the play bow first but right after that, it was on. I let Stella off her leash first and after a few minutes Dolly was also liberated. It turns out they both like to wrestle. Over the course of the day, they had six or seven different rounds of Smackdown. It was so easy to see how a bunch (idiot) humans could have cajoled them into a real fight. People sometimes get nervous about this particular style of play because it's rough but the dogs always seem overjoyed to find one another. Stella's only encountered a few playmates who really fit that description, one of them was the German Shepherd, Sampson, another a white Labradoodle named Zoe. Both really gave her a run for her money and they ended up exhausted and lying in the dirt next to each other. Dolly fit the bill too and I think it's safe to say that she and Stella are officially BFF's.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Birthday

Stella and I took the two orphan kittens to the vet this morning for their first round of shots. I knew there was a carnival set up down the road so we left early and stopped there first. Today was Stella's third birthday. There were some great vintage rides there, a Paratrooper, a Loop (which looks like a very young Kamikaze) and a Tempest. It was too early for corn dogs so we took a few pictures and kept moving. Thanks again to the Dickson Carnival Company for letting us cruise around on the midway when they weren't even open.

It's like the National Geographic Channel around here. Another turtle showed up in the yard yesterday, Whiskey Nick and Cowboy weren't at Petsmart forty-eight hours before they both got adopted. Stella and I went to see them this afternoon (I'm really glad we did that). When we took the little ones in to the vet, it seemed to take forever and just the moment I was beginning to get annoyed, a couple came in with their dog and the doctor took them ahead of us. Thankfully, I didn't have any place to be and wasn't really in a hurry because when they came out, there was a lot of crying and no dog. I felt terrible for them and Stella did too. It was the only move she made the whole time we were there and she did it simply to sit next to the girl who felt awful. Good dog. More later.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thunder and Sun

Last night the call came that there was a cage open at PetSmart for the kittens. I thought it was going to be easy, truly I did. I got out the pet carrier and collected the original three kittens. Gypsy, Cowboy & Whiskey Nick. Their paperwork was already filled out and ready to go. I had even printed a nice picture of each of them and put the address of this blog in each envelope, just in case any adopters wanted to see pictures of their formative years. I put the packets on top of the carrier and got my car keys. When I got back into the room Domino was posted outside of the pet carrier, wearing her mom face.

"Say goodbye," I said turning to leave the room one last time "and no crying."

I didn't feel awful until we were actually on the road. At one point I turned to look at them in the carrier and all three of them were gazing back at me. When our eyes met, they all meowed in unison. That pretty much did it.

They went into the big cage at PetSmart without hesitation. The only one of the three that appeared frightened was Cowboy although I suspect he's bounced back by now, I hated every single minute of it. They all watched me walk away. When I arrived home with the empty carrier, Domino was still checking every room, calling out to them. She tried again around five this morning. The two little orphans are still here so they came running but of course, they weren't who she was looking for.

Now, after a long quiet day, she's taken to the pet carrier. This feline foster mom thing is brutal.

So two things: if you live in Nashville and are thinking of bringing a new kitty in your life, go to Cool Springs Petsmart, or actually check the Nashville Cat Rescue page for a whole host of choices I won't force my kittens on you but that's where they are, Cool Springs. Petsmart. Second, Tomorrow is Stella's third birthday. We may have to go over to the Cool Springs Petsmart ;-) and get her a present. I can't wait to tell you all about her new friend Dolly.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Visitor

This creature has been tracked extensively on my old blog. She makes an appearance each year (with the exception of last year) right around Memorial Day. I try to be in possession of a fresh peach when she shows up. This year it happened Sunday. She ate a couple of bites from a slice in my hand before settling into the plants for a much needed rest. Now we've moved on to blueberries. She shares something with Domino during this regular visit. Assuming things have gone well in her love life, one night this week at dark, Sunny the turtle will dig a hole in some unassuming place in my backyard and drop 4-5 eggs in it. It takes about four hours and when she's finished you can't tell anything was ever touched. She will then hang around here for a couple of weeks, eating strawberries and other delicacies like earthworms and voles (everybody say Amen) before moving on. I'd love to know where she spends the rest of the summer, maybe back at the creek where she comes from.

Then, at the very end of August, just when I think those eggs must be hard boiled, a thunderstorm comes along to soak the ground overnight. The next morning there will be a pristine little hole in the ground with baby turtles the size of quarters spilling out of it. It's like God stopped by for dinner and decided to spend the night.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Whiskey Nick, not altogether thrilled about his recent surgery, does a full inspection less than twenty four hours later. The older kittens went in Monday for their spay/neuter appointment and Tuesday morning they were back to absolute normal (chaos). It was as if nothing happened.