Month: December 2015

Max, the happy dog


“Max was a rescue that someone dropped at a cat rescue where my sister was working.

My last dog had died and I agreed to foster him. I absolutely fell in love and called him Max.

He’s so enthusiastic and happy, it’s hard to be down around him.

He reminds me that life is good.

It’s more difficult to meet people because I have to be home to walk and feed him at specific times of the day and night.

I have met a lot of people with him, but mostly women. I have made some good girlfriends that way.

When I do meet a man, it feels like a little family, which I would like.

Without Max my life would be very sad and different. I would have to find inspiration from within.”

Maya, the future running buddy


“Maya is my first dog as an adult.

My fiancé and I have been wanting a dog for a few years.

We are probably going to have kids in a few years and would like our kids to grow up with a dog.

She came from a friend of my parents who live in Florida.  They had a Portuguese Water dog that had puppies, and Maya is one of them.

We like that Porty’s are hypoallergenic and don’t shed.

It’s only been two weeks since we’ve been able to take her outside–since she got all her shots.

She’s made us see a new side of New York culture.

She has made us morning people, which we were not before

I love having an excuse to go to the park.

In the 2 weeks we have been walking her, it seems like everyone has a dog.

You need a dog to keep your sanity.  It’s nice to have another companion.

She sleeps in a crate in our living room.

My fiancé loves her. She didn’t grow up with a dog, but she’s really taken to being a dog mom.  She takes Maya out more than I do.  It’s a big responsibility, but it’s great.  It forces one of us to get up and out, early.

I wanted to practice taking care of something before we become parents.

It’s funny, she always has to be near one of us, but she’s not a cuddler.  If we are on the couch, she is on the couch too, but at the other end.

We expect a lot of the more annoying puppy traits, like having to go out every 2 hours, and not knowing her commands yet, will disappear over time.

We are both looking forward to a running buddy and the eager excitement she exudes when we walk through the door.”

Samson, the link that completed the family


“I had dogs all my life. It was only when I moved to the city that I didn’t have  one. That was 8 years ago.

My 2 year old son was the inspiration to get Samson. I remember what it was like to be a kid and have a dog. I wanted my son to have what they call “man’s best friend” throughout his childhood.

My son is 2 and Sam is his buddy. He wakes up saying his name and he goes to bed saying his name.

The worst moment since having Samson was when I left my job of 10 years.  I went from spending time with people all the time, to being alone.

Being home with Samson makes me feel less lonely. He’s always around, following me from room to room.

Walking him pushes me out of the apartment to get fresh air and meet other people.

My husband was a cat lover and never had a dog. He was hesitant about getting a dog. He liked the independence of cats and was wasn’t sure about the responsibility, as well as the interaction between our son and the dog.

The first week of trying to build a relationship between my son and the dog we couldn’t find the dog.  We looked everywhere in the apartment and finally found him in the toddler bed, snuggling with our son.

Sampson has added another person to love.

I know this sounds very Jerry Maguire, but I really think Samson was the link that completed our family.”

Ginger, the empathetic dog


“Ginger, (she was named that because of the color of her hair), was a Shepherd Collie mix.

I’ve always loved dogs, but this dog was very special.

She was very specific about what she liked.

She had this little chew toy that squeaked and she would try to get the squeaker out for hours.

She knew how to amuse herself.

She loved to watch birds and run after them.

I was still living with my parents when we got Ginger.

It was during the time in my life when I was becoming an adult, so I really connected with her.  I was just coming out of the closet and dealing with my sexuality.

I didn’t feel loved by anyone in my family except her.

She had a great disposition with people.

She was a real bitch to other dogs.

My parents didn’t want her to go into the living room, but she went right through the gate and would jump up and down to show her triumph and joy.

It was a game to her.  She loved to play and I spent hours at a time entertaining her.

I moved out after college and left Ginger with my parents.

My parents were having a hard time, my mother in particular.

My father moved out, and my mother was depressed.

When I would come home to visit I could tell Ginger was traumatized by either my mother’s sadness or the loss of my father, but I could tell she was grieving.

In her final moments, the last thing my mother said to Ginger was, you were always with me.”

Amos, the rescue dog who rescued Carol and George

“We lost our lovely German Shepherd.  She died.

We’ve always had a dog. We got our first dog fifty years ago. We can’t imagine living without a dog.

A dog is so affirming of each of us.

They are so excited to see you; they are full of unconditional love.

Having children is both similar and different.

Similar in that they are dependent beings that you are charged to care for and bring up.

Different in that they are not human.  Children become independent and they go off and leave you.

We’ve had dogs since we’ve before we had children, as well as since we’ve been empty nesters.

They fill a void that nothing else does.

My wife had dogs before we were married, but I didn’t.

Losing them is the worst.  They just don’t live long enough, none of them.  It almost makes you wish you didn’t have a dog; but you have to.

Amos is our first rescue dog.

He really needed us as much as we needed him.  We felt like he could tell from the beginning that his life could suddenly and unpredictably change.  He is also our first small dog.   We always had German Shepherds and Irish Setters.

We travel a lot and always drove to our destination because we had big dogs.

We got a small dog so we could travel with him on an airplane.  He is also a lap dog and gives loving warmth constantly.  My wife steals him out of my lap sometimes.  We fight over who can hold him.

The first week we got him, he got out of the leash and ran into traffic.  He ran back to our apartment. It was incredible that he knew the way home after only a few days.

We love watching him get more at ease with his social skills. He used to tremble all the time.  We can even let him off the leash now and he doesn’t run away.

When I talk to him, he turns his head and listens. He seems to understand what I am saying.”

Dharma, the terrier


“We had a little Maltese for thirteen and a half years.  He was really my daughter’s dog.

He died in my arms.

I was surprised. I thought I would want a dog right away, but it took me two years to get over the grief.

Then I started looking into rescuing another Maltese, or something small and white.  We were vetted by several rescue organizations. It was harder than adopting a child.

I was searching rescue sites and I kept seeing older dogs. It was too fresh to think about losing another dog.

I met a fabulous dog rescuer at my local diner and told her my story, and she said, I will look for you.

She called me about a month or so later and said she had a dog for me.

She was sponsoring a rescue event and I had to be there at 2:00.  I got there at 2:10 and the dog was gone.

I sat down and cried. I was sitting by a cage filled with small puppies and one of them, with brown pools of eyes looked up at me and started licking my hand through the crate.

I took her out of the crate and put her on my chest.

A man walked up the street, saw her laying on me and asked if I was taking the dog.  He said if I didn’t take her, he would.  I decided in that moment, she was mine.

She is a terrier mix. The rescue group said she would be no more than eleven pounds.  She is about fifteen pounds.

She had Giardia and kennel cough when we got her.  She was so calm and quiet until the antibiotics cleared up the infections.

That was five years ago.

Since then, she has been a ball of energy.  She is, after all, a terrier.

She only had one accident in the house, and that was when she was sick. She will hold it for twelve hours, probably more if I couldn’t take her out.

After a few months we left her with a friend for a weekend and we found out she pulled so hard, she got out of her harness. She runs like a bullet, but she got her back.

She still puts her head on my chest and is a great comfort.”

Tyler, the dog with two sets of dads


“We had just lost our boxer, Lily and we had a hole in our home that we wanted to fill.

We went to Broadway Barks just to poke around and we spotted this sweet little  puppy, then named Othello. I scooped him up, nuzzled him in my neck and wouldn’t put him down until they made me.

The happiest moment of my life was when one of the adoption staff drove him to our apartment the following night.  We met him on the sidewalk. She took him out of his kennel and handed him to me. I sat down at the curb with him and realized he was going to have a great life.

He, his mother and his litter mates were rescued from a burned out car in Jamaica, Queens.

Mary Tyler Moore was at the adoption event, so we changed his name from Othello to Tyler.

The hardest moment was putting our other dog, Guster, down at our apartment. Tyler saw the entire thing. We’ve always been there when we put our animals down. We do it as a family, no exceptions.  Tyler was calm and laid right beside Guster until the end. It was bittersweet at that moment, that he was part of it.

One of the hardest times in life was when our family broke up and I moved out. I still knew that I would always be part of Tyler’s life.

We share custody of Tyler and it’s wonderful.  Now he has two sets of dads to dote on him.”

David, the animal hobbyist and professional dog walker


“I used to work at the Animal Medical Center.

I left the AMC for money and scheduling. I couldn’t support my family as a vet tech. I have four kids, a wife, and two dogs.

I was on salary at AMC, now I am self-employed, get paid by the walk and make my own schedule.

I’ve always worked with animals. I’ve been a hobbyist to all animals, including fish and reptiles.

I grew up with dogs.

Dogs are never mad at you. They’re always happy.  You can’t find that in a human.

One of the veterinarians from AMC referred me to clients for dog walking. That was seventeen years ago.

I divorced and remarried the same woman.

When I left the house, I took one of the dogs with me and felt like I still had part of my family with me. I left the smaller dog that was paper trained for my wife and the kids.  I took the big dog that was more work and needed to be walked.

My dog was a great companion. He was by my side the entire time we were apart.

I worked things out with my wife and we got back together eight months later.

That dog has since passed away, but the family still talks about him.”

Emma, the cat’s best friend


“I was without a dog, and so I needed another dog.

When you’re retired it gets you out of the house.

I got Emma at Animal Haven.

She is my fifth dog since I’ve been in New York.

Dogs bring joy, companionship and energy into my life.

Personally, one of the advantages of having dogs, is that I have gotten to meet more people.

Emma is our kid. My wife and I never could have children. This is our surrogate child.

The dog is also company for the cat. I get more attention from the dog, my wife gets more attention from the cat.

We had a dog one time that saved our lives. He let us know about a gas leak in the house. He nudged at us while we were asleep until we woke up. We smelled the gas as soon as we woke up. He was a hero.

I gave the dog before Emma back to the Humane Society.

He was bipolar. He would be loving me one moment, and attacking me the next. I even brought in a dog behaviorist, at $160.00 a session. I worked with the dog for four months. I could never tell when he was going to turn on someone. He couldn’t be trusted. He was a liability. I hated to give him back, but if he bit someone I could lose my retirement fund. Someone might have sued.

We waited a few months and went online and found Emma at Animal Haven.

Having Emma has been a positive experience. I think she’s the happiest dog I’ve ever had.

And, the cat likes her, too.”

Bucky La Fontaine and Dolly, loving siblings


“I’ve always had Yorkshire Terriers.

Audrey Hepburn was my inspiration and she had Yorkshires.

Years ago in my career I worked with Audrey. She wore some of my fashion designs.

When my last Yorkie, Master Timmy (he was named for his great grandfather) passed away, I was very sad.

About six months later, I was working with Bide-A-Wee and I attended their annual fundraising gala.

They brought a few rescue dogs to the event. I was introduced to Dolly (the wire-haired).  She was adorable and kissed me right away. It was love at first sight.

The time was right for me to get a dog.

Her brother (same mother, but different father), Bucky la Fontaine, was in the neighboring crate at Bide-A-Wee. He was very sick, and the vet didn’t think he would survive.

We brought Dolly home and she came down with the same virus so we had to bring her back to the the animal hospital at Bide-A-Wee. We saw Bucky again, and got to see how much he and Dolly had already bonded, trying to play together through their crates, while recovering.  I couldn’t leave Bucky there, so after they were well enough, we brought both of them home.

Embracing rescue animals has been pure joy and love.

Going to the dog park and meeting other owners and their dogs has been magical. I don’t go to make work connections, but I do make personal and dog connections.

It’s a gift to have dogs in NYC and bring them to a place where they can run and play.”