Dog lovers unite!

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, especially those from the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by http://www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/. As an aspiring children’s book author, I like to read children’s books for inspiration for my blog. Up this week: dogs, dogs, dogs! More specifically, loving dogs because of their less-than-perfect behavior. I discovered a perfect book for this on Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac, http://childrensbookalmanac.com/.  I can’t recommend this site enough if you are a fan of children’s literature. The book is called, Pinkerton, Behave! The title and the following illustration pretty much says it all:

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Reflections: I have a dog named Maggs, whom I love dearly. As silly as it may sound, Maggs has made me wonder if there is some sort of master plan to the universe to help us be happy. So many lucky things had to happen to bring her into my life: if the boy I used to mentor had never stolen that bike, then he would have never gotten caught by the police, then he would have never had an intake hearing in which I was the attorney at, and I would’ve never given him a lecture about truancy, and his mom would’ve never called me when she was worried about him missing class, and I would have never mentored him, which means I would have never found my dog while dropping him off at home one day. Wow, right?

Right now, Maggs is curled up next to me on the bed (don’t tell Matt!) while I write. When I think about many of her bad habits, I realize the main problem is I find them endearing. Still, I think that in the whole scheme of dogs, she’s very well-behaved. She doesn’t chew furniture….anymore. When she was about 8 months old (I found her at 6 months), I felt bad about her being in a cage all day while I was at work, so I let her out when I went to work. She did fine in the morning, but the afternoon was a different story…

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She doesn’t come when she’s called when she’s outside off-leash, but she doesn’t run away either. This is all it takes for Matt to despair of her. “What kind of dog doesn’t come for bacon?” he said to me one day as Maggs sprinted around our yard, ignoring him and his bacon entirely. Only Matt could think bacon solves all problems.

She is terrible on the leash. However, in her defense, I have never tried to teach her how to walk appropriately. I rationalize that when we are outside, it’s “her time,” so I think I’m being nice when I let her pull me in her excitement to explore. I also think it’s really cute that she spends the first ten minutes of our walks with the leash in her mouth, often tugging at it to make me walk faster. We get a lot of “who is walking who?” comments when we’re out:

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She doesn’t eat food off the counter…unless she is at my parent’s place, so I guess I understand why they think she has some behavior problems. However, she is nowhere near as bad as Ziggy, the dog we had growing up, was when it came to food. When I showed the following picture to Matt, he said: “So encouraging bad behavior in pets is a family tradition?” He also made me promise to put that in the blog.

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She would gleefully hunt and/or chase cats, squirrels, rabbits, and cows if given the chance. I thankfully wasn’t around when she chased our cows the other day (really is amazing that Matt didn’t kill her when she did that), so I don’t have a picture of that. But I suspect she would enjoy catching live animals as much as she does her toys:

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But in the end, none of that matters because she is the best. She even helps me work (or distracts me from work in really cute ways):

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I will end with a plug for fostering and/or adopting rescue dogs (or cats). Since most won’t be as lucky to find a homeless pet on the side of the road like I did, I’ll recommend a few organizations that do a lot of great work. For Wisconsin friends, Tailwaggers 911 Dog Rescue is a phenomenal organization that rescues dogs from a high-kill shelter in Georgia: http://tailwaggers911.com/. GRROW (Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin http://www.grrow.org/) has a special place in my heart because they do a lot of rescue work with older golden retrievers (I love goldens- I thought Maggs was one when I first found her). For any IL friends, PAWS (http://www.pawschicago.org/) is a no-kill shelter in Chicago that rescues both cats and dogs. And of course, there is always your local humane society. I put in my application to start volunteering at mine, and I’m really excited about it.

Hope you enjoyed the blog today and would ask you to please share it with others who might want to join the conversation. Also, please share some of your own dog (or cat) stories below or your favorite rescue organizations near you. As this blog probably makes clear, I never tire of a good pet story.