Thursday, January 22, 2015

When I get "unfriended"

I’m not hurt by those that unfollow me on Facebook. But I am hurt when people unfriend me. I admit it.

I have two FB accounts. This is strictly forbidden by FB, and if I get caught, FB will delete one of the accounts. But because of my work, this is how it must be. What a shame that Facebook doesn't make adding friends to different lists, and posting only to certain lists, as easy as GooglePlus.

I’ve unfollowed a LOT of my Facebook friends on my personal account, for various reasons: I don't like their constant posting of prayer requests, petitions, memes, right-wing politics... if you post more of these than posts about your family, what you're doing, or what you've done, I'll probably unfollow you. But I won't unfriend you. These folks are still my friends, on FB and off. By unfollowing, while I don’t get their updates in my newsfeed anymore, I can still go look at their FB pages and see what they’re up to if I’m so inclined.

I’m also not offended by those that chose to follow me on my milquetoast, never-controversial “pro” FB account, rather than what I consider my "real me" one - that pro account is for professional colleagues and those that I think are too wimpy for the real me. At least, if you choose that account to friend instead of the real me, you still want to be connected in some way.

I know I can be overwhelming on my personal FB. But it's the real “me” most people never get to see. This very real “me” is reserved for people who I like or, at least, used to like at some point in my life. When you unfriend me, without a word of why, it hurts. And it makes me not want to be around you offline.

So, yeah, if I'm overwhelming you, unfollow me. If you unfriend me, I'll take it as a statement you don't want to be offline either. And if that's what you intend, well, okay then.

Oh, and if I do unfriend you - yeah, I’m PISSED OFF. And have probably told you explicitly why. Unfriending isn't a casual thing with me - it's quite deliberate.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What I’ve learned about Lucinda

What I’ve learned about Lucinda (Lucy), the dog we've had for about two weeks now:
  • She does not like garbage day, because she’s scared of the bins. She thinks they are daleks, about to come alive at any moment and chase her. 
  • She’s hungry. 
  • She’s getting up every day at 5 a.m. for a quick stop outside, then will sleep until breakfast and her real walk at 8:30 a.m.
  • She wants to chase cats - just to smell their butts.
  • She loves all other dogs. 
  • She’s hungry.  
  • She no longer fears moving cars, but the UPS truck is still evil. 
  • She doesn’t like anyone in a bulky jacket.
  • She doesn't understand the word "come" when we're in the back yard, and most of the time in the house, but does understand it at the dog park and most other places away-from-home.
  • She’s hungry. 
  • She WILL get that laser point moving rapidly across the floor some day. SHE WILL. 
  • She loves Stefan when he’s wearing jeans or sweatpants and a work shirt or sweat shirt, but she hates his evil twin, the one in the firefighter uniform that shows up some time, when Good Stefan is not around.
  • She’s hungry.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

The meaning of noises

You make so many noises a day, and you have no idea that they betray your intentions... until you get a dog.

Dogs aren't psychic. They are, rather, just so much smarter than most people think they are. You betray so much about what you are thinking or what you are about to do based on how you move, what you do, and the noises you make - and dogs see all of it and put it together to know what you're about to do.

Lucy the dog has already figured out that the sound of the sliding door from the kitchen to the utility room means either Stefan is coming in or she's about to go for a walk. She knows the TV or radio being on means I'm not going anywhere, but when it's off, it means I'm leaving - and she hopes I'll be taking her with me. She knows when I go out the front or back door that I'll be back within seconds, but if I go out of the side door, I might be gone for a while, and she's therefore more upset about it. After yesterday, I'm guessing she now knows that the vacuum cleaner means company is coming.

I delighted in realizing what Buster, Wiley and Albi each had figured out about me based on noises. It's so much fun to get to go through that again.

Gray Max the cat, by the way, knows that when he hears the sliding door, it means, RUN, THE GUY THAT DOESN'T LIKE ME IS HOME!

Animals in my house. Oh, it's just been too long.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

We Love Lucy

Lucinda the lap dog
After eight dog-less months, we have restored order to the universe and have a canine again in the house. Her name is Lucinda - Lucy for short. Our house is a home again.

She's a year and a month old, and is originally from a beach in Baja California, Mexico. She ended up with All Terrier Rescue (which doesn't rescue just terriers anymore), here in Oregon. The organization partners with a shelter in Baja, Mexico and another in California, to bring dogs from those shelters to Oregon, with the help of Alaska Airlines and various volunteer drivers. All Terrier Rescue shows the dogs they have available for adoption on Thursdays, 4-7 p.m. and Saturdays, 11-5 p.m., at Petsmart in the Washington Square shopping center on Cascade Ave in Beaverton. Her name, "Lucy," is computer-generated, and she is listed as "Baja Lucy" on her paperwork. We liked the name Lucy, so she's keeping it - but I decided it was short for "Lucinda."

It's been a long wait for our new girl. We were both devastated to lose our Albi, but our sorry at losing her wasn't what kept us waiting this long to adopt another dog; it was our travel plans. Stefan was ready to start looking earlier than I was, back in July, but because we had travel plans to Germany in October, I decided I wanted to wait until after we got back from that trip to start looking. And we lucked out at making that choice, because work suddenly sent me out of the country for most of August and September as well, and I wasn't back in the USA, for the rest of 2014, until mid November. It would have been horrible to adopt a dog and then abandon him or her for so long.

Starting in November, Stefan and I began trolling Craigslist for possible additions to our family, but people I wrote didn't write me back, or dogs were adopted before we could even see one. I looked at the web sites of various shelters in and around Portland, but so many put their pets on PetFinder, an extremely hard-to-use web site (hard to find animals just in your area, search results are often incorrect, etc.), or the photos of the dogs they had on their own web sites didn't really tell me anything about the dog, and the descriptions of the dogs were scant regarding any insights to what the dogs were like.

After a month of searching this way, I realized we were going to have to see a lot of dogs in one location to find our dog. We needed to meet dogs, look into their eyes, talk to them, and have them talk to us, in their own way.

Somehow, I figured out that Petsmart in Beaverton had dog showings twice a week from a shelter in Aloha. And so, on December 27, 2014, we walked in to the pet store, and I promptly fell in love with every dog there. I wanted them all. The rescue organization puts most of the dogs together in a large open kennel, so you can see how they interact with each other, and I was glad to see how wonderfully socialized they were. You are encouraged to take any dog for a walk around the building.

We took one dog on a walk, and he was gorgeous and fun, but so incredibly full of energy, and the volunteers kept saying, "He'll be great for someone who jogs! He's great for people with an active lifestyle!", and I'm thinking, yeah, we don't jog... we both really liked him, but his strength and energy were... a lot. I knew we'd be overwhelmed. Maybe even frustrated. So I suggested we walk another dog: Lucy had caught my eye as soon as we walked in - she was in a create by herself, because most of the other dogs hadn't arrived yet, and she was calmly chewing on a raw hide, uninterested in us. She was put in the bigger kennel once the other dogs had arrived, and she seemed quite overwhelmed by them all. She was super timid. The volunteer I talked to had taken her home recently, and said she did well with other dogs and cats, loved to play, was skittish, and oh-so-sweet. We took her on a walk, and she pulled the leash almost as much as the first dog had. But there was something about her... I liked her. A lot.

We decided we'd foster Lucy for a week. And I promised Stefan I would be more reserved than I'd been when I took Albi home originally, to foster for just one night, and had broken into tears after an hour and said I was keeping her. I would proceed with caution this time, emotionally-speaking.

I tried, I really did... This time, I knew when she slept through both the first and second night that I couldn't give her up. So - I made it 48 hours!

I introduced her to Gray Max the Cat as soon as he showed up that first evening. He ran to the door and wailed. After a day of letting him in then right back out, I kept him in with us, no matter the wailing. It lasted 20 minutes. I kept him in for two hours that first time, and it convinced him he could come in with her and not fear being eaten. But it's taken a week of these forced stays to get him to calm down to his old self when inside. Gray Max now tolerates Lucinda and doesn't completely freak out that she's here. But he still won't sleep overnight inside. We didn't let Lucy into the backyard for a week, so he could continue to feel absolutely safe and dog-free there. I'm going to continue to work on him. We have a cat tree condo arriving in another week that will give him a place high up to sleep and hang out and feel safe inside.

Lucy and Stefan
Because of the holidays, Stefan had to work only two full days and two half days for Lucy's first week - in other words, he's been here far more than not for her this first week. As a result, she not only got to get to know him too, we got to take her to the dog park three times, go on a lot of walks, and she's even have some play time with just Stefan in the back yard. In one week, she's gone from a dog terrified of all cars, trucks, and any kind of machine, to a dog really happy to be walking alongside of us, cars or not. But she's still rather easily overwhelmed -- she doesn't like people to come right up to her to quickly, and she doesn't like more than two or three people around. She is terrified of Stefan in his firefighter's uniform - we'll have to work on that.

One week after we met her, we drove her to PetSmart to finish her paperwork. I'm glad we brought her, even though we didn't know if we were supposed to: the rescue organization has to see that she has her own collar, and that you have had a tag made for her with her name and your phone number, and attached it to the collar, before they hand over a dog's paperwork. She was really scared to get out of the car - I'm not sure if it was just being in a parking lot, which is always unpleasant for a dog, or all the people, or going to the place she'd been before us. We went inside, and finally tracked down the volunteer to help us finalize her adoption. I asked a bit more about her, and we both went into major, but quiet, panic when we were told she's actually younger than we thought: she's about eight months old. And we don't know her breed mixes. TO THE GOOGLE!! According to what I've read, any dog at six months, no matter the breed, is at least 75% of its full height. And studies have indicated that a small or medium breed puppy reaches 99% of its adult weight somewhere between nine -10 months. She weighs 38.8 pounds. She shouldn't get to 50 pounds. But we're keeping her, no matter what size she gets.

While still at PetSmart, we met a couple that adopted her sister! Lucy's sister is a bit smaller, and much darker - they showed us her photos on their smart phones. I would have had to adopt them both - I never could have separated them.

So, I've had four dogs since 1990. All were "rejects" - unwanted by their original owners or never owned by anyone. The first, Buster, was from Massachusetts and the second, Wiley, was from Missouri, and they not only went to more states that most people from the USA, they also went to Germany. The third, Albi, was from Hungary, also went to Germany, and also visited more states that most people from the USA. And now, the fourth, Lucinda, is from Mexico. We like our dogs international! Lucinda is our second female dog, and the youngest dog I've ever had.

Lucy and Stefan
Please consider welcoming a dog or cat into your life. Visit area shelters and local pet stores that host dogs and cats from shelters and rescue groups. And PLEASE spay or neuter your pets! If you want to donate money, give such to the nearest shelter to you, and/or to the wonderful Mayhew International, which I got to know in Kabul, Afghanistan - they not only help spay and neuter dogs in several countries, they also host classes for communities in those countries, like Romania, to help change attitudes about stray animals.

I'll do my best to keep adorable stories about Lucinda to a minimum on Facebook and in conversations, because I know how those can drive everyone crazy. But I make no promises to keep such to a minimum here on this blog! I'm looking forward to many, many stories... I'm already thinking about our first camping trip!