SOPHIE UNLEASHED

IMG_8941               When the pain goes away and the boo-boo doesn’t hurt anymore most dogs become more playful. That was never going to be possible for Sophie. Playfulness is her life. Joy is in her soul. Glee is her default state in life.

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So she just gained some ‘attitude’.

On a fun day at the dog park she bossed over some dogs and demanded some attention.

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But she doled out what she knows best- LOVE. Her surgery was a success and her leg has completely healed. She’s ready to share her heart and her love with everyone-

Will your family be the lucky one on the receiving end?

Her kisses are special !!! Trust me I know.

She’s ready to make you a part of her fun loving and playful.life.Her heart has been unleashed to the world.

Come on and get it.

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RAMBO- The Size of the Fight in this Dog?

RAMBO- The Size of the Fight in this Dog?

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         We all fail.

I’m carrying a brown and rust Doberman into the ICU. His nose is dripping snot on the floor as his head lolls back and forth on my arms. Having rushed Rambo to the Emergency Vet at Gulf Coast for the third time in the past three weeks has drained me of all energy- but I still have the one thing that drives all of us rescue workers- Hope.

His body feels like a sack of potatoes in my arms and I lay him on the stretcher. The compassionate workers at the Houston Area Doberman Rescue (HADR) have given all of themselves into saving this 18 month old Doberman. We all stare at each other with empty eyes as the doctors take over his weak body.

We gave Rambo our heart, we gave him our love, we gave him our blessings, we gave him our hope…His health recovered briefly before failing again. The countless compassionate donators who paid a part of his staggering hospital bill and his loving foster Cindy who showered boundless love and care to Rambo all keep their hope alive for Rambo.

And he gave us his love.

Our tired, sleepless eyes and confused minds try and make sense of the doctor naming Rambo’s illness- Ligneous Conjunctivitus. A condition so rare that six cases of the disease have been reported so far, five of them Dobermen.

“His body can’t sustain life any longer.” The vet pinches his nose under his thick glasses. “This could be a Doberman relevant disease and Rambo’s body will help his fellow Dobermen. We would like to use his body to research this devastating disease. If you could–”

“Yes.” Cindy blurts out. Then she puts her soft warm hand on mine. “That’s what Rambo would want, Inder.”

My legs stagger. His body? But he’s only a puppy—He has not known life yet. At a year and half old, he just started living a few weeks ago.

At the end of the day- that is all he had; his Body. That is all we gave him- taking from him his freedom, his puppyhood, his comfort and his shot at life.

We took his life- You and me- we did. Not just the vile excuse of a man who tied him to a tire and a cage outdoors for a year and a half, starving him. The only water he got was off a drain. We shut our eyes to cruelty too often. We let the perpetrators slip through the cracks too often. The reason why that man could do this is because he knew he wouldn’t be held accountable.

When the last dog the owner had (the boxer) died, he should’ve never been allowed another dog. But he got Rambo- and we didn’t care.

So we failed Rambo. You and I did. Humanity did.

I wow today that never again will Rambo’s owner own another dog. If he gets one I’ll steal it. If he gets another one; I will steal that too. I am a thief- so let it be written- so let it be told. I have no shame.

Here lies Rambo- ready to leave this world; ready to leave this body that has tormented his soul.

****************

        Today Rambo was Euthanized, his favourite toy duck by his side. He had just learnt how to play with it less than two months ago. Today his Duckie held his paw as he crossed the rainbow bridge. I had failed to say goodbye to my friend Cooper a few years ago. Today I didn’t turn my back on Rambo. My heart is broken in so many pieces today that I don’t think it will mend.

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But it will have to. It must- Just like it did when my own Speedy passed, or when I couldn’t bear to see Cooper be euthanized. Or when Tina found Mi Corazon crushed and flattened on the road in Phoenix or when Sadku was euthanized for no apparent reason.  My heart must mend because like anyone in rescue it the next one you can save that drives us and not the ones we failed.

Every bit of Rambo means love. To us humans; Love is selfishness. Love has thrashed the greatest of goals and desires into the most mediocre of fights (as I found out very recently). His love means giving and strength despite what we put him through.

Today Rambo closed his eyes for the last time.

Will we open ours?

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Here a Dobie There a Dobie, Everywhere a Dobie.

                  

What does a Dobie need? The same thing any other dog needs.
       Room to run.

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Other dogs to play with. And since they are Dobies…everybody is Alpha.

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A blatant show of athleticism.

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A few humans to pet and love on them.

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Some kids to lick.

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A water tank.

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People who sweat to find them a home.

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Get adopted- adjust in new homes with new friends.

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Interact with other species

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Get cleaned up.

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When all is said and done and everybody has played their part. There is just one important thing left to do……..
……Take naps.

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Doberfest- what doberfest? Everyday is a festival of life for us.

 

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To Kill a Mocking Lizard

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To kill a Mocking Lizard

 

           Speed took his new role of Protector and Sentinel of the family a little too seriously. His job was ensuring that everyone was home at night, safe and sound. He kept patrolling the yard.
         In his deranged mind, his job included protecting his precious castle. Strange looking enemies, especially those evil, creepy- looking lizards needed to be warded off.

         How dare that lizard sit on my wall, contemplating his next move? He could be plotting taking over my castle, kidnapping everyone and stealing my food.
Must catch lizard…must kill lizard… must destroy lizard…don’t let it live…kill ..ravage…annihilate…Hey what’s that? Another one? So they have an army?
OK creepy long tailed fellows … deal with the one, the only; the truculent short tailed Colonel Speed; the one-dog army.

      He charged at the lizards full steam, head-butting the wall in an effort of dislodging them. The lizards just sat there on the thirteen inch thick brick wall, amused by this lunatic.

      Head hurts…don’t care… ice ‘em, rub ‘em out, waste ‘em …let ‘em sleep with the fishes…everyone’s life…in danger…must protect…I’m the undisputed mafioso…all hail Don Speedoni…you never go against the family…feeling woozy… sooooo light headed…sinking ..sinking…pfffffft.

       His charade didn’t affect the lizard rebellion. One of them may have left the scene of its own volition. Speed must’ve taken this as a definitive victory, to be duplicated with every head-butt. Disoriented, he desisted from learning his lesson.
       “Why do you do it, Speedy, you can’t hurt those lizards,” I asked him.

         Same reason I do most of what I do– because I like to. Its a dog’s life, man. If you can’t eat it or screw it– Piss on it.

 

The A,B,C’s of L. O. V. E

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Three eight year old boys A, B and C are walking back from school when they chance upon a mangy stray dog. A digs a few rocks out of his shorts and flings one at the dog. Boy B recedes behind a tree and keeps a close watch on the dog. Boy C plants himself firmly between boy A and the dog, ensuring that the dog is not hit anymore.
Which of the 3 boys from the scenario defines you? A hypothetical question, you say? Maybe it doesn’t jog your memory enough. Okay, read on;
Boy A goes home and his mom is indifferent to him. She’s busy arguing with his father or planning a kitty party.
Boy B goes home to a mother that is the quiet contemplative type. She’s a housewife concerned about her family’s well-being. Worried about her son having all he needs to do well in school.
Boy C goes home to find his mother feeding a cow or teaching the servant’s six- year-old child how to read and write.
Does either of these scenarios sound familiar? Too general, you claim? Well, read on;
Boy A’s path in life is as follows. From seeking fun in hurting others he becomes a bully at school. He then becomes an eve-teaser in college. He ends up getting into a few fights, always on the verge of getting in trouble, or worse; arrested. He gets married and has a good chance of being a wife-beater.
Boy B is the classic case of someone that does what’s expected of him. The “also ran” in life. The one who observes everything, does nothing and is educated enough to talk about it at a party. He gets married, has kids and watches out for them like his mom did for him. He will complain about ills in society and his country but he won’t do a thing about it.
And then there is boy C. He has learnt compassion from his mother. Love and care for animals and other humans has been nurtured in his heart. He will grow up to encompass everything. The environment, animal abuse, sex workers, oppressed classes, geriatric care; everything will be of concern to him. He will do something about each and everything. He will fill his life with causes those are beyond himself.
Now does the picture become clearer?
Here is the simple truth. Most of us fall under the category B. Always afraid that our B child doesn’t become a category A kid. All we have to do is make him a category C child. That will make a generation of category C children.
Most of us ask what one person can do for this world or to change our country. Well here’s the answer for you. Encourage your child to be a type C child. Learning about compassion early in life builds empathy and moral character, reduces violence and builds a sense of empowerment and responsibility. Society as a whole benefits when its members are more caring toward each other and the animal those live among us.
Studies have shown that kids those abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit theft and three times more likely to do drugs than kids who don’t. In fact the FBI uses violent crimes against animals to profile violent criminals.
Hence A is not equal to B and B is not equal to C. So there you have it- Hence proved.
Q.E.D – Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

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No Country for Old Dobermen

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We geriatric dogs at the dog park are a motley crew. We sit under the shade by the water buckets and watch life go by. Although I’m out of breath easily, I’m still more active than this sorry bunch of slackers. I exercise more than the rest of them combined.
We gas about our halcyon days. The tall tales of our achievements run as wild as our demented imaginations. I doubt if anyone really listens. Some of us have lost our hearing. We just bark our heads off like grumpy old dogs.
I point at the four-year-old females frolicking in the water, “Look at those totta babes? Wouldn’t you agree guys. Kya maal hai?”
“Ai Mami! Look at those curves, Vato,” says Chuy the Chihuahua. “Ay carumba, so many dangerous curves and me without brakes.”
“Sweet az. Ain’t she, mate,” says Dundee, the Australian Shepherd. ”Fair dinkum–wicked Sheilas.”
“–None of them would give you decrepit old farts a second look,” I say. “I should know. In my golden years I’ve been with numerous females. The stories of my virility spanned several municipal zones.”
They mutter and roll their eyes. Some try remembering what on earth they’re doing here. I continue, “Had they invented Viagra for dogs, y’all would’ve seen me in full flow.”
I know in my heart that I have to be content with throwing verbal bouncers when the real thing clearly refuses to rise.
“You guys are terrible, Der Kokolores. I’ve always been faithful to my Ethel,” says Sage, the Bulldog, trying to shield his man-dog-boobies which are clearly bigger than Ethel’s.
“Fanabala. You hen-pecked old timer,” says Bruno Leathernuts, the Italian Greyhound.
A toothless fighting match ensues. “Geez man,” I think, “Too many freaks, not enough circuses.”
We’re watching the young ‘uns at play when we are hit by the noxious smell of rotting pickled eggs. It is King Toot himself, up to his old tricks. “Cletus, enough of your silent deadly ones. Lay off on the fried road-kill your mom feeds you,” I say. “You’re the reason these flies are swarming around us.”
“Don’t y’all skeeters and chiggers be sayin’ nuttin’ bout’ muh mamma. She dern near purfect,” he states. I’ve seen his mom and dad. Between Cletus and them, they have five good teeth. Also I have no idea why they painted the number eight on his side and call him Dale Jr.
“The youth of today I terr you,” sighs Uski Li, the chow chow. “They have no respect for the erders. They no hap me, when I in pain. The whore young dogs speak in degrading barks and they have no varues.”
“It’s the blud-fiah music day be listenin’ to,” says Ziggy, the Basenji, making the shaka sign with his paw. “What in the name of likky likky ganja is Beiber fever? Is it anything like valley fever?”
“I just can’t deal with the pain in my hips,” says Alfie the Weimaraner. “Hey Speedy. What was the name of that Ayurvedic medicine Inder got for you? Hook a brother up with that good stuff.”
I hear Alfie list his ailments. He seems to have taken too many thermometers up his butt.
It is almost four of o’ clock. It is time for all the old timers to be taken home and fed their early supper. We bid each other adieu hoping to stay alive for our next weekly meeting.

WHAT IS THE COLOUR OF YOUR LOVE- CINNAMON?

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           “Look at me Cinnamon.” I held the ball in my hand.

            The rust colored puppy turned her head. Her left eye was fixed directly at the ball. The right eye stared into nothingness. I tossed the ball to my left hand. Her right eye focused on the ball. She didn’t even move her head. “Cinnamon, what’s the matter your eyes?” I made a small circle with the ball. Her right eyeball followed the ball. The other eyeball stayed put.

            I laughed out loud. “Cinnabonita, how damn lazy is your eye?”

            She lifted her paw and took a swipe at my face. 

            “Okay, Okay. Peace.” I hoisted her in the air. She squirmed. Her body contorted in one direction and then the other till she wiggled out of my hands. Every miniscule muscle in her thirty-pound body will soon be sinewy and firm. “I won’t be able to do wrestle with you once you’re an eighty pound powerhouse, Cinnabonita.” 

            Auunhhhh. She cocked her head.

            I held my arms up to form a triangle “And your head will be this shape, your jaw will be square.” I mock punched her tiny jowl. “You, my sweet girl, will be feared. You’ll be discriminated against. People will judge you without knowing you like I do.”

            Aooor. She lifted her paw and I high fived her. She did it again and kept it up till she lost balance and tipped over, falling into a clumsy pile of dopey puppy.

            She pranced around me. I took pictures but she wanted to play with the camera strap. I pushed her away repeatedly and she kept licking the camera. Finally she figured another game. She tugged on one end of the lace of my yellow shoes.

            “No Cinnamon. Bad girl.”

            She looked away but kept the lace in her mouth. Then she backed up, slowly.

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            “Cinnamon, leggo’ my lace.”

            She jerked her head and backed up, got on her haunches and stared into my eyes; well at least one of her eyes did.

            “Okay, you naughty girl. Playtime is over. Back into the kennel”

            I picked her up and cradled her. She laid her head on my shoulder and enjoyed the ride back. Her soft, velvety skin tickled my ear.

            As soon as she got in the cage, she started whining like a baby.

            “It kills me to leave you in that cage too, Cinnamon. A cage is no place for a puppy, but all you get is twenty minutes of playtime a day at the shelter. Soon all the hard working volunteers here will find a good home for you where you’ll play all day.” I caressed the skin between her eyes across the cage.

            Aoooooor. Her whining followed me into the car, clear across the city and well into the night. Bring her home, Inder. I lay awake at night. Yeah, but how can you justify bringing Cinnamon home when Perry has been at the shelter for more than six months. It’s the classic struggle of every single one of us in rescue. How to turn down one dog and adopt another?

            Then the next week she undid my laces and the next and the next. It broke my heart each and every week to put her back into the cage and hear her whine.

            Then this past Sunday a new puppy was in her cage. My panicked mind searched the shelter for her. I finished my shift and came back home ready to shower off the mud the playful dogs had lathered on me.

            I placed my heel on the edge of the chair and started undoing my shoelace. It was too heavy. It wouldn’t budge.  I stumbled over to my laptop and typed an email to the volunteer co-ordinator.

          ‘I didn’t see Cinnabon in her cage today.’ I typed and retyped a few other sentences. Then I hit the send button and froze.

          Dinnggg

          One new mail. I clicked on it. “Yay…” It began. I didn’t need to read the rest. My heart and my mind were in a race. Everyone who has volunteered knows that feeling. The joy and the sorrow; missing a dog you love so dearly and feeling very happy for missing it, sending it all your love. The joy and the longing- we lead a blessed, sweet life.

         Fear not my fluttering heart- soon there will be another Cinnamon and then there will be another. Each of them will fill my life with more joy and more love for the next one.

        I love you, my lazy eyed Cinnabonita. That’s the color of love today; Cinnamon

        But just for today. Tomorrow it might be white or black… or brindle.

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© Inderpal Sandhu and inderpalsandhu.wordpress.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Inderpal Sandhu and inderpalsandhu.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

THE AUDACITY OF…

                 By the time a human is wise enough to watch where he’s going, he’s too old to go anywhere. I twirl the fluorescent ball. Its fibers catch the ridges of my fingerprint. I wipe the saliva off my hand. A Doberman puppy on the other hand–

            The complex art of putting paw in front of paw, maintaining her balance and keeping an eye on the ball is too much for the puppy to handle. She stumbles on her own cast. I lunge to catch her fall and in one swift motion she snatches the ball out of my hand and hops into the open yard.

           I smile at her triumph. This tennis ball means the world to an eight-month-old puppy. The past is behind her; the future holds thousands of promises and a sea of sunshine.

            It didn’t seem like it five months ago when I got a call early in the morning.

          “We found an injured thirteen week old female Doberman puppy by the sidewalk.” The volunteer’s voice was more urgent than usual.

            I’ve done this a hundred times before but it hurts every single time more than before. I take a deep breath. “How bad is it?”

“Umm…”

            Gosh. “How did we find her?” I press my palm to my forehead.

            “Somebody saw her fly out of a pick-up truck at about 50 mph.”

            When will people stop taking their dogs out in pick-up trucks? Dogs don’t belong in the back of pick-up trucks. Like children, they must be strapped in with a seat belt.  “If she’s a puppy and she fell out, the truck must’ve had its tail-gate lowered.”

            “Yes, he slammed on the brakes and then took off at a break-neck speed. The witness said she flew out like a cannon-ball and struck the pavement. The driver didn’t stop. She’s been here since. Can’t move.”

             A lump forms in my throat. “Stay with her and keep her calm. I’ll rally the troops.” The call I make to the director puts the entire organization at Houston Area Doberman Rescue into auto-pilot mode. There’s a certain amount of mechanical synchronicity in the way we become when we hear of an abandoned dog. We act swiftly and deliberately; get medical help, identify a foster, estimate medical costs, start a fundraiser, ensure the dog’s safety—then we breathe.

             Finally we name the dog.

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             Yip Yip Yip. She jostles me out of my thoughts by dropping the ball at my feet and is pawing it with the leg covered in a blue cast. Messages are scribbled on it.  GET WELL SOON, HOPE. I LOVE YOU, HOPE. YOU GO, GIRL. YOU’RE MY HERO, HOPE.

              Hope. Yes, that’s it; simple, honest and straight from the heart.

              Aoo Aoo Aoor. She taps the ball with her cast, sits on her butt and waves her front legs in the air like a Kangaroo. I caress her head and playfully tug her cropped ear. “That’s enough for today. The cast came off your other foot just yesterday.”

              Aaoooooooonnnnn. She cocks her head.

             “Yes, little girl. And your E-collar came off yesterday.” Poor puppy has worn that uncomfortable collar for sixteen weeks straight; half of her life so far.

             She cocks her head in the other direction.

            I sit cross legged in front of her and run my finger on the fur between her eyes. “You’re doing great now. Yes you are.” She had a broken femur, a displaced and chipped left hind leg, fractures on either side of the growth plate in her wrist where her wrist had hyper-extended upon impact with the pavement.

               She blinks a few times.

             “Yes you’re very brave, Hope. You had some lung damage, radial nerve damage in your front leg and you pinched a nerve in your hip because you sat on the concrete for five days.” I put my arm around her neck. “Every bit of you was banged up, wasn’t it?”

             She presses her muzzle to my chest.

            “Yes Hopey, the doctor said even your heart was bruised.” I kiss her nose. “Does this heal your heart a bit?”

            She takes out her broad spatula-like tongue and licks my cheek.

            “Yes, Hopey. I know. I love you too.” 

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            This is what we humans classify as an aggressive breed? The ones who are indifferent to an animal’s suffering are the real aggressors. This puppy still responds to the one feeling that is lost on the driver of that truck: love. She doesn’t know she’s being rescued by a rescue group. The children who write on her cast, the foster family that spoils her by feeding her the yummy treats or by the vet who kisses his patient before and after each surgery. To her they are all the same- the people who show her love. That’s exactly how she responds to all of them– by showing love.

            Many years ago, when my niece turned one, I tried for weeks to teach her how to walk. She’d clasp her tiny hand around my finger and I would guide her. She would take a few flat footed steps, cross her legs, lose her balance and plop on the floor. So we’d try again. She’s nine years old now. When she grows into a woman and gets married to someone, I’ll watch her go to her new home and her new life and I’ll cry. I know this today.

            I’ll cry when Hope goes to her new home too.

            She’s eight months old now and has undergone three surgeries. Her puppyhood has been spent in hospitals, e-collars and casts. She hasn’t run at full gallop ever. A puppy masters the complex art of running by extending both its front legs in gallop, not worrying about stopping. It gladly lets inertia make it fall and roll over. There will be none of that for Hope but with the love and care of her foster Ms Carpenter and her companion dogs. She will run soon.

            The one thing the human indifference hasn’t extinguished in her life is hope. She is hopeful that one day her wrist will extend the way it should. She hopes that when this cast comes off, no further surgery will be required. She hopes that somebody will fall so utterly and completely in love with her that they will take her home.

            Yes, that’s what she has: that’s what we have for her.

             And now, introducing for the first time, in the red corner wearing no shorts at all, this black and tan girl weighing in at forty pounds when dripping wet- Hope: Our hope.Humanity’s Hope.

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 © Inderpal Sandhu and inderpalsandhu.wordpress.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Inderpal Sandhu and inderpalsandhu.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.