Tag Archives: shelter dog

Dog Voodoo?

 

Oh, Picchu

Oh, Picchu

Am I a victim of dog voodoo? At the very least, I am a victim of dog doo. (And I hope that my ex-husband, who doesn’t like dogs because “they are dirty and don’t belong in the house,” does not read this.)

This morning, moments before taking her out, Picchu soiled the entire living room rug. This was way worse than just “an accident.” I’ve never seen such a mess, even on the street, where, fortunately, almost all clean-ups occur.

Doo, or voodoo?

Doo, or voodoo?

These things happen, pets will be pets, so after taking the dogs out and then gating them in the bedroom, I spent a half-hour scrubbing the rug with vinegar. Finally I sat down for a first sip of tea, turned my head, and what did I see, on the WALL? On. The. WALL. Three or more feet off the ground. How is that even possible? Is no surface safe?

Bob and I have cleaned up a lot of messes in the past year and a half, and not once have we had to scrape off anyone’s car, or the side of a building, or for pete’s sake a passing pedestrian. No vertical surfaces at all. For which I am now, I suppose, feeling quite grateful. 

I’m all for pet parenting, whole hog, challenges and all. I’m just not sure what the lesson – or message – is in this case. All I know is, I don’t want to hear again that the dogs are “just dogs.” If I am being tested for “real” parenthood, I consider myself passed. And Picchu, if you’re trying to communicate something, please use alternative methods. 

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In Pet Adoptions, Photos Matter

This photogenic whippet girl was adopted from WRAP in a week

This photogenic whippet girl was adopted from Whippet Rescue in a week

I look at the Whippet Rescue and Placement website every week. Having three already in a two-room apartment, I’m not looking to add to the family, I just enjoy meeting more whippets.

Over the past year, I’ve noticed that beauty matters in how quickly the foster dogs are adopted, and so do the photographs. Which is sad, because it reminds me of that heartbreaking scene in Cider House Rules when all the orphans know that the adopting couple looking them over will choose the prettiest little girl, and they do.

This week a dog that could be a sister of C-Biscuit, Picchu and Sesame was adopted from WRAP after only a week or two. To my eye, she was beautiful – and showcasing her outside in front of lovely flowers made her even more appealing.

The first photo we saw of Picchu, in whippet foster care

The first photo we saw of Picchu, in whippet foster care

Well-taken photographs of any dog can surely help their case in attracting new owners. 

I especially understand this because the first photo we saw of our little Machu Picchu was from her WRAP foster home, and neither Bob nor I felt particularly interested in her. We almost didn’t go meet her – I find that painfully unbelievable now.  As we often wonder, Who could turn down our little Picchu?

 

Picchu (center), as we see her every day in our whippet packette

Our treasured Picchu (center), as we see her every day in our whippet packette

As a lay person, I can offer these tips to rescuers showcasing dogs for adoption. Photos are all from whippets currently available from Whippet Rescue:

An affectionate dog is an appealing dog (This is Caesar, available in )

An affectionate dog is an appealing dog (This whippet is Caesar, available in Colorado)

 

A Sears-like portrait, with a blanket for a background and a little work posing, showcases a dog

A Sears-like portrait, with a blanket for a background and a little work posing, showcases a dog (This whippet is Devon, available in Colorado)

 

At a minimum, make sure pictures are in focus (This is Goldie, available in

At a minimum, pictures should be in focus (This whippet is Goldie, available in South Carolina)

 

An outdoor, full-body shot works well (This is Peaches,

An outdoor, full-body shot works well (This whippet is Peaches, available in South Carolina)

 

A dog looking comfy and snuggly lets a potential adopter imagine them relaxing at their own home (This is Luke,

A dog looking comfy and snuggly lets a potential adopter imagine them relaxing at their own home (This whippet is Luke, available in Colorado)

Because what grabs one family’s attention might not grab another’s, including several photos is always better than a single shot. 

To happy, loving homes for all of the WRAP whippets and other rescue dogs and cats!

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“Is your dog a rescue?” Breeder vs. Shelter

 

Sesame, Picchu and C-Biscuit: Whippets by C.Square

Sesame, Picchu and C-Biscuit: Whippets by C.Square

The most common question we get about our whippets is, “Are they rescues?” 

We assume this is because people think whippets are greyhounds, and greyhounds usually are ex-racing dogs from a track – so much so that the group Greyhound Pets of America has the subtitle, “the greyhound retirement specialists.”

Greyhounds at Dewey Beach

Greyhounds at Dewey Beach

It’s delicate enough explaining that whippets are not track discards in need of a retirement home – I can only imagine how tricky this question is if you own a greyhound that is not “a rescue.” Implied is that the only acceptable way to get a pet is through a shelter or rescue operation.

We could make a case that our dogs are all “rescues,” in the sense that we did not buy them as puppies. C-Biscuit, raised as a show dog, went to one home for a few months and then was returned to the breeder. She was re-homed to us, and we like to think this was her destiny all along. Sesame is a retired show dog. He was treated very well by his breeders and now gets the royal treatment from us.

Picchu and Sesame: Enduring the hard life

Picchu and Sesame: Enduring the hard life

Machu Picchu went through several homes and was surrendered to Whippet Rescue before going back to the breeder and then to us. She would have found a home if we had not taken her in, but it would have been the home of people like ourselves, who want to share their lives with whippets. 

To insist that the only good dog is a rescued dog is to relegate our future with the canine species to random relationships in which humans are forced to settle for whatever renegade breeders produce and fail to care for.

– Judith Lewis, Los Angeles Times opinion essay

Some things to consider when thinking about rescued dogs vs. purebreds:

  • A dog from a reputable breeder doesn’t usually end up homeless. Potential owners have gone looking for a specific breed, presumably after thought and research, and they are personally screened. Responsible people should be able to get the pets they want, and love and care for them without public scorn – or inquiry, for that matter.
  • Would one ask a parent with a baby carriage, “Is your baby adopted?” Parents are not thought selfish for wanting a specific child (their own) rather than giving a home to a homeless child.
  • Our whippet pack enjoying Central Park

    Our whippet pack enjoying Central Park

    As I wrote about previously in the article, “Obamas & Bo – Why get a purebred pet,” I wouldn’t have gotten a dog from a shelter because I only wanted a whippet. Sharing your life with an animal is good for you and arguably good for society, no matter where it comes from.

I recommend reading a very thoughtful and informative opinion essay in the Los Angeles Times, “The Obama family dog saga,” by Judith Lewis, a woman who owns shelter dogs and also makes a case for purebreds.

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