Собака по имени Саша – our newest guests

Her name is Cherokee Princess Sapphire, but we call her Sasha. It suits her. Her shelter papers had her listed as Sapphire, but she’s no good on the pole, if you know what I mean. I chose Sasha because it is a soft name, feminine and strong. A good Slavic name for a beautiful pure bred Siberian Husky. And she is beautiful. Her eyes are the light blue of frozen glacier water. Why the long name above? This girl has AKC papers. How in the hell does a gorgeous, 3-year-old American Kennel Club girl end up in a shelter?  Was there some awful tragedy in the family? Nope. This is one of the stories that make me angry. I will try to balance my angry frustration with lovely puppy photos, and accept that we never really know why people do the sucky things that they do.

The lovely woman who volunteered to drive Sasha, and several other dogs, south to various rescue organizations told me Sasha’s story as she rolled her eyes in disgust. Sasha was owned by the daughter of the shelter manager where she was turned in, un-spayed, with the excuse that daughter had been evicted and moved to a place that doesn’t accept pets. This dog would have cost anywhere from $1300 on up from a breeder, which leaves lots of questions. Excuse my general indignation, but, how can you be an animal shelter manager and not teach your own child to spay/neuter her pets? Why would a shelter manager’s daughter buy a dog from a breeder when so many beautiful, deserving dogs are being euthanized at mom’s shelter? Why wouldn’t mom make her daughter either find a way to keep the dog or help her to find a new home for this girl? Shelter managers know that when the shelters are full, as they are now, completely full, the owner surrendered dogs are the first to be euthanized.  (Strays are held for about a week while their owners have a chance to find them.)

Despite being abandoned by her owner, Sasha is lovely and likes to cuddle up into a ball at my feet. I have been battling a stomach flu, and Sasha has been nursing me, keeping me company, letting me know that I am loved. She plays with Bernie, our little dachshund puppy, at my feet.

She makes my first lab, Pen, extremely jealous with her I’m-beautiful-and-I’ll cuddle-your-mom-if-I-want-to-attitude. I’m pretty sure that Sasha was an only dog. The Cecchine Hotel for Dogs has been an adjustment for her, and she is doing very well.

Sasha is not the 1st purebred dog I’ve seen in a shelter, and she won’t be the last. It makes me angry. I feel like its just to easy for people to throw dogs away, not my problem, let somebody else deal with it.

We are so happy to have Sasha as our guest, but we know it won’t be for long. This beautiful girl is going to be adopted quickly. She is going to be taken into a family and loved forever, the way that it should be. We are excited to find her forever family. They will be lucky to have her.

Sasha will be available for adoption from Take Paws Rescue. Also, if you happen to need a calendar, Take Paws can help you out.

2017 Take Paws Rescue Calendar

(Oh yeah, and I have a degree in Russian, which I don’t get to use much these days, and I’m perfectly good with that!)

Let me pause here for a puppy photo:

Its not a great photo, but they are cute. Someone dumped them, 7 of them. Yeah, people suck. It was called a “common dumping area”. The good news: someone picked them up! Yay! The bad news: it turns out they have skin issues, possibly mange. The good news: a rescue volunteer was ready to take them and make sure that they get the care that they need and deserve. The bad news: the person that found them said that she was just going to dump them again rather than deal with it. She then agreed to bring them to the rescuer. Bad news: She never showed up or answered the rescuer’s calls. Why do people suck this much? They are cute, little, innocent puppies for God’s sake! More bad news: dogs and cats and puppies and kittens get dumped every day. There are more puppies and kittens being born than people willing to take them into their homes, and that is why some people are completely opposed to any sort of formal breeding.  I just want people to take responsibility for the pets that they brig into their home. They are living things, and they should be treated as part of the family. As much as you might want to, you don’t move away and leave family in the backyard for the neighbors to feed. You don’t dump the families’ babies in a box somewhere and let them fend for themselves. He might really be an ass, but you don’t throw grumpy old uncle Jack out of a truck and just drive away from him. Family is forever, period, the end.

I’d like to end on a positive, and I was ready to post this blog entry, when I saw a message that came to NOLA Lab Rescue:

“Hello, I have a friend on vacation in New Orleans. A stray dog followed her back to her Airbnb and she doesn’t know who to reach out to. The Shelter is closed until tomorrow and the humane society has a waiting list to take in strays. Any suggestions?”

I suggested that she take the dog to Zeus’ Rescues, where they have a microchip reader. She doesn’t have a car. Found out you can Uber with a dog. You just have to let the driver know in advance. Then she said that the finder was willing to take the dog home with her, to Ohio, and that she already has a rescued dog, a lab named Bentley from The Greater Dayton Labrador Retriever Rescue. Then I knew she was a good person, and I just gave my number and asked the finder to call me. Jenny is the lovely young lady that rescued an overheated, dehydrated puppy and went all out trying to get him home or home with her. We drove to her AirBnB with dog food, a small harness, a leash, a small stuffed pig, some treats, and a crate. We hoped to help her find a pet carrier and she had already added him to her ticket home tomorrow on Allegiant Air. Unfortunately, this little puppy is too big for that size carrier. She named him Nola. I told her I had posted his picture on all of the local lost pet boards and I would take him to get scanned for a microchip.

There, that’s better. Not all people suck!

Nola does not have a microchip. I asked and  Zeus’ Rescues gave me a sample of Trifexis ( kills fleas and prevents flea infestations, treats and controls adult hookworm, whipworm and roundworm infections, and prevents heartworm disease) and I have some dewormer at home that I randomly bought at Walmart just in case.  We decided to bring Nola to The Cecchine Hotel for Dogs and find him transportation to Ohio. I have family in Cincinnati, so that might end up being me.

добро пожаловать! Welcome Nola!



He seems to like it here. He is absolutely adorable.

1st Rescue – Meet Pen and Ollie

It was a Saturday morning in New Orleans. The first Saturday of the month. We like to go to the local Freret Market. Freret Street is transitional. It is up-and-coming, revitalizing, and still haunted by its pre-Katrina gang and projects past. It’s a microcosm of my part of New Orleans, the affluent bumping up against the poor. House-by-house, block-by-block, revitalized, revitalizing, under-construction, tear-down. We looked at a house near Freret Street. It was an affordable and modern shotgun rebuild, walking distance to great new restaurants and bars. It was great except for the drug dealers two doors down. They were very polite. Like really polite. They said Good Morning as we walked the neighborhood. It’s a very southern thing, that politeness. I still can’t get used to it after living in DC and Paris. We talked to some neighbors and passed on that house. Not with kids, they said. Still, we like the restaurants. We frequent the monthly street market that has live music and food trucks and local artists and dog adoptions…

He wanted a hot dog and a beer. We put Pen, our young Labrador Retriever, my writing companion, in a harness and leash and headed out. There were puppies. Five of them, in a little pen. I knew they would be there. I just wanted to maybe look. They were really cute. I picked one up. I didn’t want to put him down. Um, beagles I think, said the sorority girl volunteer. They sort of had beagle coloring, and floppy ears, and long legs. Non-beagle legs. Beagle with a lift-kit, we decided. Cute, we decided. Pen liked him. She was surprisingly cool and well-behaved around the puppy. Please, I said? I might have whined. A little. I might have definitely had the pleading eyes and sad face as we walked away. Can we please? I pleaded. I came for a beer and a hot dog, he said. We can’t afford another dog, he said.  It was true that our one dog was expensive. We bought her and she had parasites and needed so many vaccinations and medecine, and dog beds, and a leash and collar and toys, and food and treats, and toys. She needed a good deal of toys. And attention. She needed a lot. And she would need to be spayed. Cha-Ching, cha-ching.

Let’s just ask, I said. I had heard sorority girl saying they had their shots and the rescue would pay for the spay/neuter. Maybe not so expensive, I said. We asked. We found the non-sorority girl in charge and we asked lots and lots of questions. Really, not so expensive. Cool. Ok, he said. Grudgingly. I could tell that he only wanted to make me happy and basically thought this was a really stupid idea. But, he said ok. We filled out adoption paperwork. I will need to talk to your vet, she said. We called his personal number, on a Saturday morning (sorry Ned), and handed her the phone. All good. I’ll need to do a home visit, she said. Right. We have a fence. We don’t have a landlord. We aren’t cooking meth or a puppy mill. Sure. When? I can come right after I’m done here, she said, around 4. Great, we said. And here is where it gets weird. It was loud with live music blaring. We thought she had okayed us taking the dog, and so I named him Ollie and brought him home. She never showed up at 4. We later got a phone call. She was unhappy. We took the dog without her permission, she said. Wait, what? We had talked to her for like half an hour and walked away from her holding the dog and everything was cool. Except that in her version, we had stolen the dog. Whatever. She was kind of dramatic. Ollie was fine, and napping, and I tried to reschedule that home visit for the next three days, and she just kept saying she would come, and never did. So, I’m not going to say who that rescue was, except to say that it’s not Zeus’ Place, which is usually at the Ferret Market and is great. I will say that that other rescue should have been more organized, more explicit, and more thorough. They should have followed up and they didn’t. I stole their dog. He is a great dog. We really love him. I’d steal him again. Trying to track down that rescue so that they could do the home visit is the reason I rescue now. Before that, I knew nothing about dog rescue. That was just the beginning…..

Pen - 8 September 2016 - forever

Ollie - 19 November 2016 - forever

Volunteering to Hold Puppies Is My Kind of Volunteering

Now that I am getting involved in animal rescue and learning about the local rescue organizations, I thought it would good to get the kids involved.  A few months ago, we made our bi-weekly pilgrimage to Company Burger, which just happens to be across the Street from Zeus’ Place. I have several friends who have adopted dogs from Zeus’ Place, and they always have a cute sign out that says something funny, like Slighty Used Kittens.  We walked in before dinner and asked about volunteering. My daughter and I have been helping out at their weekend adoption events ever since.  We spend a few hours with the adoptable dogs, sometimes in front of Petco, sometimes at Dat Dog (where you get a free hot dog if you adopt a dog). We get to hold puppies and walk the older dogs around to meet people. These animals are so happy for the attention. I found out that my daughter, who is 9, can read a cheat sheet of dog information, memorize the pertinent details, and make a pretty good hard sell.  It feels so good when someone fills out an application for adoption.

Michelle Ingram opened this New Orleans pet rescue, boarding and grooming establishment in 2006. After working in animal rescue for over a decade, Hurricane Katrina made her realize the importance of doing what you love. I am 100% in support of that. I like to say that I could have nice things, but I’d rather have a dog to cuddle up to (or you know 5 or 6).  Zeus’ Place is named after Michelle’s chocolate Labrador Retriever, who died of cancer not long before Katrina hit. This year they have expanded and they welcome new volunteers for adoption events and as registered dog walkers.  They often have litters of absolutely adorable puppies, and I’m happy to report that they are very quickly adopted out. If you follow along on Zeus’ Facebook page, you will see what I mean. Zeus’ also has a full range of mutts and iffy dogs of every size, shape, and color. If you are in New Orleans and looking to adopt, foster, or just take an iffy dog for a walk, check them out. Afterwards, you can walk up Freret street for an awesome hamburger at Company Burger or a really good hot dog at Dat Dog, both offer pet friendly outdoor seating.

I love the way that the local businesses are supporting rescue organizations, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon with my daughter than cuddling puppies, walking dogs, and helping them find their forever homes. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Kids should volunteer in the community, they should see their parents volunteer. It makes them better people.

May 2nd is Give NOLA Day, a tax-deductible way to support New Orleans non-profits like Zeus’ Place. Please consider a donation to this or one of your local rescues!

Michelle was recently on the news:  Here’s what Zeus’ Rescues is doing to end pet homelessness in New Orleans area

Give back. Volunteer. It just might be the best part of your weekend.