Sunday, October 23, 2011

Date With a Real Dog

No, I haven’t been going out with unattractive men; actually, I had a date with a beagle/pug mix the other night. A friend of mine who adores animals had arranged to foster a little dog named Donna, who was likely to be put to sleep at a shelter down south. She will foster the dog until a proper home is found (my pal already has three greyhounds and a couple of kitties).
            As you may or may not remember, I am not a “dog person.” But I do like dogs, especially little ones. So I was happy to tag along for the midnight pick-up of this pet, and I hung around until 2 am when she was happily settled in her new NJ digs.
            Several others were waiting for the après-midnight drop off when we arrived at a dark, empty parking lot in rural New Jersey (yes, there is such a place!). One couple picked up a one-eyed boxer—welcoming the animal with open arms as if he were a long lost child. Another woman was there to collect several dogs that she said she’d swiftly find homes for—she’d already placed more than a dozen homeless pups just this year.
            I was impressed and humbled by the commitment and devotion of these animal lovers.  Yes, I love animals, too, though I don’t have any pets at the moment. Nevertheless, I certainly appreciate and honor the members of the animal kingdom.
             But these folks take being an animal lover to a whole ‘nother level. Would I drive a van full of barking dogs from North Carolina to Vermont in a single day, stopping all along the way to make canine deliveries? Would I take one of these little guys (or gals) into my home and swear to honor her or him in sickness and in health, to walk her every morning at 5:30 am., to take her to the vet for check-ups and shots, to let her sleep in my bed at night or turn all my black clothes into hair balls? Well…no. Not right now, anyway.
            It’s just that dogs require a lot of attention, time, and money, as I was reminded when sweet little Donna immediately peed and pooped in her new, clean doggie bed, just like a baby (but without a diaper). On the other hand, dogs don’t go to 50-thousand-dollar-a-year colleges (or any colleges, as far as I know, though school is definitely required for some). So even if there are costs involved, dogs are a heck of a lot cheaper than kids.           
            Much is written and thought about angels; whether you believe in them literally, metaphorically, or a mixture thereof or not, you do feel the presence of angels when you see and experience human nature at its best. What I witnessed a few nights ago –a simple exchange between humans and “man’s best friend”--reminded me that all living creatures are here on this earth to be loved and to offer love. What could be a more angelic message than that?
             Anyway, here’s to Donna--“Oh, Donna Oh, Donna…” with a nod to Ritchie Valens. Thanks to a miraculous combo of human love/savvy, a lucky twist of fate, and divine intervention, she was saved at the last moment from an undeserved and untimely demise. Animals are awesome (and so much fun to name!). Here’s to Willow, Pooh, Clyde, Giselle, Twinkie, Heidi, Sid, Toby, and Mindy, too!


  1. Beautiful story. There are so many dogs right here in the Newark, Jersey City and Patterson area that desperately need fosters homes and also run the risk of being put down if not moved from the shelter. Halfway Hounds is always seeking area foster families to help. Please spread the word to help your local dogs too. You can contact us at or visit our site

  2. Thanks for the info about Halfway Hounds! Much appreciated!