Wednesday, November 23, 2011


He knows where I live.

Leaving peanuts on the porch for squirrels has become a fun family tradition, kind of like having proxy pets.  Eventually they come running at the sound of the sliding door and maybe even take peanuts from your hand.  The initial offerings earned mixed reviews, but then apparently the word got out.

I usually leave a handful of peanuts outside first thing in the morning and then go about my business.  Liking the idea of a free lunch in addition to breakfast, the squirrels would tap the glass when the supply ran out, jump on the screen door and rattle the handle.  We could usually just ignore them, and they would go back to their regularly scheduled foraging routine.

But lately I've been frequently interrupted from my work in the back bedroom by a crashing thump on the window.  Now the Beady-Eye Brigade knows where to find me when the service isn't up to par.   They cleaned out the peanut stockpile yesterday and I had to dip into some old (and mostly decorative) mixed nuts in the shell from last Christmas.  I hope they don't expect almonds and walnuts next time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Draconian Doggie Rescue

This is Charlie, an adorable Dachshund/Chihuahua mix available for adoption.  He probably would have had his "forever home" by now if the All American Dachshund Rescue had actually been willing to give him up.

I remember adopting a dog when I was a kid.  We drove to the SPCA, found a puppy we liked, signed some adoption papers, and drove home with a new family pet.  There were no home visits, no pet-matching counseling, no contracts demanding that we surrender the sovereignty of our own home.  

I read the contract during a moment of temporary recklessness when we were determined to adopt Charlie, or even Sable.  But it didn't seem like AADR had any intention to entirely trust ANYone with their precious pups.

Not only will they insist on a home visit before the adoption is approved, but AADR demands the right to visit our home at random intervals throughout the life of the dog.  If AADR isn't convinced we're pampering the little darling according to their specifications, they reserve the right to permanently confiscate the dog at any time.  All serious illnesses or accidents must be reported to AADR.  We will not be permitted to part with the dog to anyone but AADR.  In the case of terminal illness or catastrophic injury, we would need written permission from AADR to euthanize the dog.  

It sounds like it would be more like an extended lease than an adoption.  Honestly, when I adopt a dog, I would like to think I could own it free and clear and have a final say about its welfare.  I certainly don't want AADR breathing down my neck for the next decade.  It's just a dog, for heaven's sake.  

We gave up on Charlie and Sable and started looking for local rescues from other agencies, hoping they would be less draconian.  Unfortunately it seemed like a trend.

We found Sneakers, a perky little Dachshund/Spaniel mix.  But Tara's House Animal Rescue Inc. seemed to have the same hang-ups.   They also require proof of enrollment in an obedience class and an immediate vet's appointment.  

The last serious candidate was Andy, A Dachshund/Pug mix, from Mutts Need Love Too Dog Rescue.  Actually, they were pretty reasonable about the adoption process.  They do the initial home visits, but then don't seem inclined to make trouble.  What volunteer agency really has the time and manpower to do all that follow-up, anyway?  They do require a lengthy and detailed application analyzing all the details of our prospective lives as dog owners, and three unrelated references, complete with phone numbers and home addresses.  

Unfortunately for Andy, by the time we found him the impulse had worn off and the nagging voice of better judgment prevailed over making the financial commitment to a four-legged friend at this particular time, regardless of how much we would like to have him around.  The pet-rent alone would be $1000/year.  Still, that's probably cheaper than a therapist . . .