When we brought Finja home, she was “welcomed” by our other three Boston Terriers. Rosie was Finja’s age at 1 ½, Sasha was 9, and Brinkley was 11. Of the three, Brinkley was the one who was showing his age, and of the three, Brinkley is the one Finja attached herself to. Not robust play material anymore, Finja nevertheless teased and cajoled him into playing tag, tug of war, and catch the ball. He’s no longer with us, but I’m convinced Finja added a few years to his life.
After a long period of standoffishness in her new home, Finja decided I was to be her main peep squeeze. She quit growling, sort of, and followed me everywhere I went. During my sacred 4 p.m. cozy time on the couch with the pups, she made sure she aligned her body alongside my thigh. However, she and her “twin” sis have then, and now, had a love-hate relationship, and there have been numerous fights over the years.
I have a little, 13-ish pound Boston Terrier named Finja. (Her weight varies depending on how many treats she begs off her many neighborhood friends.) She came from an Amish puppy mill, and when she arrived to be with her foster mother Conny, she was basically hairless with skin issues and terrified beyond belief. Conny knew we were looking for another BT to join our then pack of three, so she encouraged me to come over to her rescue home every other day to assist in giving Finja her medicated bath. And so I did. And so Finja and I built a strong bond, albeit slowly and gently.
Here’s how Finja arrived in New York. The angels in the rescue group that got Finja drove out to Ohio to an event where dog breeders sold, exchanged, and gave away those pups they no longer wanted. The rescue grabbed Finja because the Amish miller thought her skin issue was due to mange, a very difficult ailment to treat and one that is highly contagious to other dogs and humans. This is how Finja came to Rochester and landed into the loving home of my foster Mom and friend, Conny.
A wonderful happy and fun-loving 1-year old pitbull pup was surrendered to the shelter a week ago by the only family he had ever known. They got Hershey when he was a puppy and that’s when the trouble began. This family thought crating was cruel, so little Hershey, complete with puppy energy and teething gums, set about to chew and play with everything he could get his paws and teeth on. This included when the family was gone and they left Hershey to his own devices.
We all loved him at the shelter. I walked him several times,
or rather, he romped and I followed at a good clip. But he would periodically stop
to check in with me, make sure I was still there having as much fun as he was.
One time I spent some crazy amount of time trying to get his halter on him while
he just patiently stood. I never did get it on so we went by collar and leash.
I was looking forward to my next visit with him when I
discovered that he was on “The List.” The shelter staff had tried to get a rescue
group to pull him but because of the really bad write-up left by his owners,
takers were not forthcoming. I went into frantic-forward as did untold number
of other volunteers to find an answer for this beautiful, sweet and innocent
boy, a boy who was about to be condemned through no fault of his own.
The good news is – Hershey was pulled by the rescue Operation Freedom Ride – literally hours before his time was up. In a warm, loving foster home, he can now decompress and get ready for an adoptive home that will love him and treat him like the wonderful dog he is!
I recently started walking dogs at a local shelter and my life has changed exponentially in the few months I’ve been doing so. Since this has become such an intrinsic part of my life, I will probably be writing much more about it. Here below is one very sad and near-tragic story of a little dog named Dolly.
I hadn’t been walking shelter dogs very long when I came upon a dog that literally made me fall to my knees. What I saw before me was a mass of bones with a thin layer of flesh stretched over them, and a brindle coat that was eaten away in some spots, baring sores and raw skin. I bent down, thinking she would raise her head to look at me. Her eyes moved towards me, and her tail moved in an exhausted attempt to wag. My heart broke for this helpless dog, found by the side of the road, unable to get up let alone walk. My heart burned with anger at the soulless humans who had left her like this, alone, to die.
Several days later, on my next walking duty day, the first thing I did was rush to Dolly’s kennel. I was petrified I wouldn’t find her there, but she was, and this time she raised her head to look at me and her tail wagged with more enthusiasm. She tried to get up on very wobbly, shaky legs. Still too weak to go walking, I unlocked the door to her kennel and knelt beside her, stroking the emaciated body and whispering words to will her back to health.
For my next several visits, it was always to Dolly’s kennel that I first went. It was always with relief that I found her still there. Gradually she grew stronger and her frail body began to fill out. Then one day I rushed to her kennel to find she wasn’t there! I panicked and felt an instant loss as deep as the ocean.
“Has anyone heard anything about Dolly? Where is she?”
“No worries,” answered one of the staff. “She is now safe, warm, and loved in a foster home where she’ll be nursed back to health and given plenty of TLC until she is well enough to be put up for adoption to find a home of her own.”
Dolly, I pray that you get what you deserve this Christmas, a home of your very own with humans who will be privileged to have you become a part of their lives.
Author of Living Well in Froggy's World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud; A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way; and Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal; and Owner of Shenouda Associates Inc., Provider of Technical, Marketing, and Business Communications