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Archive for the ‘Baxter’ Category

the little spoon

So… I’ve talked a little bit about the small boy. Little Baxter. He’s a unique little guy. The vet knows him pretty well at this point and I have an entire first aid kit devoted solely to him. He’s a boy after my own heart, really… I was a huge klutz as a kid and while I have never broken a bone (knock on wood) I’ve spent my fair share of time in the emergency room and at the doctor. He’s taking after me… poor guy.

But sometimes, he’s incredibly sweet. Loving and cuddly. Endearing and well behaved. It’s a rare sight to see, but when it happens, I cherish it like it will never come back.

Early this morning (0439 to be exact) I woke up to the sound of our sprinkler system. The pump is right outside the window that’s by myside of the bed. Since it’s still insanely nice outside, we’ve been leaving the windows open at night. Being woken up by the sprinkler pump happens pretty much nightly. But this morning, I rolled over to adjust the pillows over my head to not hear the pump and I see two little eyes staring at me in the moonlight. Two little, innocent, “Mommy, can I cuddle with you?” eyes. Little man had crawled his way up between TC and I in the middle of the night and had his tiny head on the pillow that resides between us. I could have been really angry with him. He isn’t supposed to be up that far on the bed* and I knew TC wouldn’t be happy if he woke up to find a puppy on his pillow… but really? How can you say no to a sweet, furry, little boy that just wants to be near you?

I couldn’t. I wrapped my arm around him and he snuggled right down into my chest. He was the little spoon. No matter how crazy or expensive he gets, he is still one of the most expressive and affectionate creatures I’ve ever come in contact with. He’s always there no matter what my mood is and he always has a cold nose to press against my face to remind me that he loves me. When he’s sleepy, he’s always touching me in some way. When he’s excited about life, I’m the one he bounces toward. When TC’s gone, he’s my cuddle buddy. He’s also the first one to alert me that there is someone at the door and the first one to growl and defend the house. He is a handful, but he’s my little boy.

He’s my little spoon 🙂

 

*Yes, our dogs sleep in the bed with us. Honestly? I don’t know anything else. Allie has been sleeping in bed with me since I got her in 2004. I’m not sure this will ever change. There is something incredibly comforting about have a dog (or two) lay on me in the middle of the night.

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Oh Baxter…

My little man. He’s a special little boy. If you haven’t read this little gem… Go there and read it. All of it. Then come back, recollect yourself and read the rest of my story.

The “helper dog” in our situation is Allie. Sweet Allie. I love her. She’s smart and laid back and just an all around good dog. The “simple dog” in our situation is Baxter. Sweet, little, special Baxter. Almost everything in that blog post you read (you did go read it, right?) reflects how our dogs interact with each other. The part about the simple dog making magical food? Yep, that’s correct in our situation too. The high pitched whining and the helper dog flopping herself all over the floor showing her annoyance with the entire situation?? Yep that too.

So this morning; I get up, make TC breakfast and coffee, let the dogs out and sat down at the bar with my tea to begin my day. I let the dogs in and notice that the little boy is licking his paw and it looks like it’s bleeding. Awesome. After further inspection, his claw is hanging on by a thread and a few moments later, falls off completely. Ok. The vet we were recommended? Does only surgeries on Wednesdays, but they can get me in on Friday. My puppy is bleeding out on my kitchen floor and I’m supposed to just dip it in cornstarch and wait until Friday to get it checked out. ‘Cause that’s exactly what I want to do…

Another vet got us in about an hour later. However, the spastic little puppy that was bouncing around started to realize that something was very, very wrong and started to let out piercing, high-pitched squeals and shaking uncontrollably while limping around the kitchen and leaving trails of blood streaming behind him… only to circle back around a lick said blood off of the floor. After about five minutes of this, he moved to licking the injured paw and squealing in pain after the tongue touched the exposed nail bed, but he didn’t get that if he STOPPED licking it, it will, more than likely, stop hurting. He’s a special, special boy.

Now, our special little boy gets INCREDIBLY carsick. Normally, I’d dope him up with dramamine to get through the car ride, but I couldn’t get him to get into his harness, let alone get him to actually take a pill. In all the excitement, he did manage to enjoy the car ride… throwing up twice on the way to the vet’s office and barking at cars we passed. The vet got him all bandaged up and gave us antibiotics to prevent infection.

Two more times throwing up in the car on the way home led to him stepping in his own vomit before I could get it cleaned up and in turn I had to re-bandage the paw when we returned home. He’s now limping around like he’s been beaten within an inch of his life and not leaving my side. He’s such a special little boy.

So. So. Special.

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Hello, good morning and Happy New Year!!! I know this is where I’m supposed to write all about how I’m going to change my life for the better and hold to the resolutions thing… but I’m not really a resolutions type person. I’ve been plugging away at my 101 in 1001 list and I think that will work for any resolutions people think I should be making for the next two years or so. Alas, you won’t see any New Year’s resolutions from me.

In other news. I received my first Christmas present yesterday! TC felt pretty awful about leaving me alone on Christmas and the fact that I’m having such a hard time finding work down here so he decided the best present to lift my spirits (and possibly set me on a track to work for myself) would be to get me a camera. A nice camera.

Isn’t he pretty? I still have not named him, but I think we need to get a little better acquainted before I go picking out names. I think my obsession with him is borderline unhealthy. Too bad it’s so stormy here today, I’d love to get some pictures of the ocean and some of the dogs at the park.

Little man likes it already!

Also: I’ve finished my 50 questions that will free your mind, but I haven’t posted the last 20 questions for a reason. Some of them were a little more personal than I was expecting and, while I love you all dearly, I just don’t share certain aspects of my life that some of those questions touched on. I’m still debating about posting them. Sorry 😦

I’m off to play with my new camera a little more. Seriously folks, addicted. I might need an intervention.

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Last night, I posted a story about a dog left behind by a guy headed out on a deployment, knowing that he probably wouldn’t come back. Read it here. But there’s another story that makes me cry harder than I’ll ever really care to admit. I’d like to share it now… Please consider fixing your pets, or adopting an additional one. I wasn’t keen on adopting the puppy, but he’s an amazing asset to our family and I’m not sure how we’d have lived without him. He was 3 days away from being put down when we adopted him, by the way. So now, one of the few things in life that make me cry uncontrollably: His Name is Sam:

“After I was discharged from the Navy, Jim and I moved back to Detroit to use our GI bill benefits to get some schooling. Jim was going for a degree in Electronics, and I, after much debating, decided to get mine in Computer Science.

One of the classes that was a requirement was Speech.  Like many people I had no fondness for getting up in front of people for any reason, let alone to be the center of attention as I stuttered my way through some unfamiliar subject.  But I couldn’t get out of the requirement and so I found myself in my last semester before graduation with Speech as one of my classes.

On the first day of class our professor explained to us that he was going to leave the subject matter of our talks up to us, but he was going to provide the motivation of the speech. We would be responsible for six speeches, each with a different motivation. For instance our first speech’s purpose was to inform. He advised us to pick subjects that we were interested in and knowledgeable about

I decided to center my six speeches around animals, especially dogs. For my first speech to inform I talked about the equestrian art of dressage. For my speech to demonstrate I brought my German Shepherd, Bodger, to class and demonstrated obedience commands.  Finally the semester was almost over and I had but one more speech to give. This speech was to take the place of a written final exam and was to count for fifty per cent of our grade.

The speech’s motivation was to persuade. After agonizing over a subject matter, and keeping with my animal theme, I decided on the topic of spaying and neutering pets.  My goal was to try to persuade my classmates to neuter their pets.  So I started researching the topic. There was plenty of material, articles that told of the millions of dogs and cats that were euthanized every year, of supposedly beloved pets that were turned in to various animal control facilities for the lamest of reason, or worse, dropped off far from home, bewildered and scared. Death was usually a blessing. The final speech was looming closer but I felt well prepared. My notes were full of facts and statistics that I felt sure would motivate even the most naive of pet owner to succumb to my plea.

A couple of days before our speeches were due, I had the bright idea of going to the local branch of the Humane Society and borrowing a puppy to use as a sort of a visual aid. I called the Humane Society and explained what I wanted. They were very happy to accommodate me.

The day before my speech, I went to pick up the puppy. I was feeling very confident. I could quote all the statistics and numbers without ever looking at my notes. The puppy, I felt, would add the final emotional touch.

When I arrived at the Humane Society I was met by a young guy named Ron. He explained that he was the public relations person for the Humane Society. He was very excited about my speech and asked if I would like a tour of the facilities before I picked up the puppy. I enthusiastically agreed. We started out in the reception area, which was the general public’s initial encounter with the Humane Society. The lobby was full, mostly with people dropping off various animals that they no longer wanted. Ron explained to me that this branch of the Humane society took in about fifty animal a day and adopted out twenty.

As we stood there I heard snatches of conversation. “I can’t keep him, he digs holes in my garden.”

“They’re such cute puppies, I know you will have no trouble finding homes for them.”

“She is wild , I can’t control her.”

I heard one of Humane Society’s volunteer explain to the lady with the litter of puppies that the Society was filled with puppies and that these puppies, being black, would immediately be put to sleep. Black puppies, she explained, had little chance of being adopted. The woman who brought the puppies in just shrugged, “I can’t help it,” she whined.  “They are getting too big.  I don’t have room for them.”

We left the reception area, Ron lead me into the staging area where all the incoming animals were evaluated for adoptability. Over half never even made it to the adoption center. There were just too many. Not only were people bringing in their own animals, but strays were also dropped off. By law the Humane Society had to hold a stray for three days. If the animal was not claimed by then it was euthanized since there was no background information on the animal. There were already too many animals that had a known history eagerly provided by their soon to be former owners. As we went through the different areas I felt more and more depressed. No amount of statistics could take the place of seeing the reality of what this throw-away attitude did to the living breathing animal. It was overwhelming.

Finally Ron stopped in front of a closed door. “That’s it,” he said, “except for this.”

I read the sign on the door. “Euthanization Area.”

“Do you want to see one?” he asked.

Before I could decline, he interjected, “You really should, you can’t tell the whole story unless you experience the end.”

I reluctantly agreed.

“Good,” he said. ” I already cleared it.  Peggy is expecting you.”  He knocked firmly on the door.  It was opened immediately by a middle aged woman in a white lab coat. “Here’s the girl I was telling you about,” Ron explained. Peggy looked me over. “Well, I’ll leave you here with Peggy and meet you in the reception area in about fifteen minutes. I’ll have the puppy ready.” With that Ron departed, leaving me standing in front of the stern looking Peggy.

Peggy motioned me in. As I walked into the room, I gave an audible gasp.  The room was small and spartan. There were a couple of cages along the wall and a cabinet with syringes and vials of a clear liquid. In the middle of the room was an examining table with a rubber mat on top. There were two doors other then the one I had entered. Both were closed.  One said, “Incinerator.”  The other door had no sign, but I could hear animal noises coming from it.

In the back of the room, near the door that was marked Incinerator, were the objects that caused my distress. Two wheelbarrows, filled with the bodies of dead kittens and puppies. I stared in horror. Nothing had prepared me for this.  I felt my legs grow weak and my breathing become rapid and shallow. I wanted to run from that room, screaming. Peggy seemed not to notice my state of shock. She started talking about the euthanization process, but I wasn’t hearing her. I could not tear my gaze away from the wheelbarrows and those dozens of pathetic little bodies.

Finally, Peggy seemed to noticed that I was not paying attention to her. “Are you listening?” she asked irritably. “I’m only going to go through this once.”

I tore my gaze from the back of the room and looked at her. I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing would come out, so I nodded.

She told me that behind the unmarked door were the animals that were scheduled for euthanasia that day. She picked up the a chart that was hanging from the wall. “One fifty three is next.” she said as she looked at the chart. “I’ll go get him.”

She laid down the chart on the examining table and started for the unmarked door. Before she got to the door she stopped and turned around. “You aren’t going to get hysterical are you?” she asked.  ” Because that will only upset the animals.”

I shook my head. I had not said a word since I walked into that room. I still felt unsure if I would be able to without breaking down into tears.

As Peggy open the unmarked door I peered into the room beyond. It was a small room but the walls were lined and stacked with cages. It looked like they were all occupied. Peggy opened the door of one of the lower cages and removed the occupant. From what I could see it looked like a medium size dog. She attached a leash and ushered the dog into the room in which I stood.

As Peggy brought the dog into the room I could see that the dog was no more than a puppy maybe five or six months old. The pup looked to be a cross between a Lab and a German shepherd. He was mostly black, with a small amount of tan above his eyes and on his feet.  He was very excited and bouncing up and down, trying to sniff everything in this new environment. Peggy lifted the pup onto the table.  She had a card in her hand that she laid on the table next to me. I read the card.

It said that number one fifty three was a mixed Shepherd, 6 months old. He was surrendered two days ago by a family. Reason of surrender was given as, “Jumps on children.”  At the bottom was a note that said, “Name: Sam.”

Peggy was quick and efficient from lots of practice. She laid one fifty three down on his side and tied a rubber tourniquet around his front leg. She turned to fill the syringe from the vial of clear liquid.

All this time I was standing at the head of the table. I could see the moment that one fifty three went from a curious puppy to a terrified puppy. He did not like being held down and he started to struggle.

It was then that I finally found my voice. I bent over the struggling puppy and whispered “Sam. Your name is Sam.”

At the sound of his name Sam quit struggling. He wagged his tail tentatively and his soft pink tongue darted out and licked my hand And that is how he spent his last moment. I watched his eyes fade from hopefulness to nothingness. It was over very quickly.

I had never even seen Peggy give the lethal shot.

The tears could not be contained any longer. I kept my head down so as not to embarrass myself in front of the stoic Peggy. My tears fell onto the still body on the table.

“Now you know,” Peggy said softly. Then she turned away.

“Ron will be waiting for you.”

I left the room.  Although it seem like it had been hours, only fifteen minutes had gone by since Ron had left me at the door.

I made my way back to the reception area. True to his word, Ron had the puppy already to go. After giving me some instructions about what to feed the puppy, he handed the carrying cage over to me and wished me good luck on my speech.

That night I went home and spent many hours playing with the orphan puppy. I went to bed that night but I could not sleep.

After a while I got up and looked at my speech notes with their numbers and statistics. Without a second thought I tore them up and threw them away. I went back to bed. Sometime during the night I finally fell asleep.

The next morning I arrived at my Speech class with Puppy Doe. When my turn came to give my speech. I walked up to the front the class with the puppy in my arms and took a deep breath.  I told the class about the life and death of Sam.

When I finished my speech I became aware that I was crying. I apologized to the class and took my seat. After class the teacher handed out a critique with our grades. I had got a “A”. His comments said “Very moving and persuasive.”

Two days latter, on the last day of class, one of my classmates came up to me. She was a older lady that I had never spoken to in class. She stopped me on our way out of the class room. “I want you to know that I adopted the puppy you brought to class.” She said. “His name is Sam.””

*Chris Benton is the author of this story. I swiped this story from this webpage. I wish to express gratitude to Chris.

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