Month: March 2016

Diego, as in Diego Rivera (he said, part 4)

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“My wife and I board dogs sometimes and Diego is the best concierge.  He is happy to see other dogs, shares his food and his dog bed, too.

He likes the company.

Diego had a pinched nerve in his back and I took him to the animal hospital on the east side.  They thought it was no big deal but he was still screaming in pain.  We took him to our regular veterinarian and he needed to be crated for 3 months and we gave him different meds around the clock.  That was a difficult time.

When Diego comes back from his walks he runs in and tears around the apartment, really happy to be home–here.”

Diego, as in Don Diego de la Vega, aka Zorro (he said part 3)

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“It was my wife’s idea to get Diego.

My sister was very ill and before she went into hospice care, she asked us to adopt him.

My wife had fallen in love with him when we visited previously, so she wanted to adopt him when my sister asked.

At first I told my sister, no.

It was an expense we couldn’t afford and we had just lost our last dog, Winnie.

As the end was getting closer, I gave in and agreed to pick up Diego.

I changed my mind because my sister found a home for her other 2 dogs, pugs.  My wife really wanted Diego, so I agreed to it.

I went up to Rochester before she went into hospice to say goodbye and I rented a car, got a crate and wanted to get out of there so quickly, that I got a speeding ticket.

Meanwhile, Diego didn’t know what was going on and started hyperventilating in the back.  I would stop along the way to walk him, but nothing helped.

When we got to our apartment, his new home, the first thing he did was pee in the bedroom.

He was never trained to walk on a leash and he was just let out in the backyard to do his business.

He still has irrational fear sometimes on our walks, but he is the least aggressive dog you will meet.”

Diego, as in Don Diego de la Vega, aka Zorro (she said part 2)

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“The worst time since we’ve had Diego was Halloween of 2015.  At 6 a.m. he jumped off a chair in my bedroom and woke us up yelping in pain.

My husband rushed him to the AMC (Animal Medical Center), where the veterinarian he saw couldn’t find the problem.

Then we took him to Gotham Vet, and the vet suspected that he injured his neck,  Ut was awful because he was in so much pain that I was beside myself.

They wanted to do an MRI, but that would have cost thousands of dollars, which I didn’t have (I am a dog walker).  Instead, we crated him for 2-3 months and he was on heavy medications of steroids, nerve blockers, and pain meds.  It was a complicated schedule.

The same week that Diego fell and injured his neck, one of my pet clients (and a friend,too), died.

I found the body.

I rescued her cat, Kookla.

I had a sick dog that required care around the clock and a newly adopted scared cat.

It all worked out and Kookla, the cat and Diego, the dog love each other.  Kookla kisses Diego when he comes back from his walks.

When I see Diego running around and so happy, after having been so sick, I get tremendous joy.”

Diego, as in Diego Rivera (she said part 1)

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“I met Diego because he belonged to my sister-in-law in Rochester.  We were visiting the family and they had just gotten Diego as an addition to their two other dogs, 2 black pugs.

He was called Diego because somebody sold him to her as a rare hairless Mexican dog breed.  He had very little hair at the time.  They said that a Hairless Mexican Dog’s tummy would act like a natural hot water bottle.  I had him on my lap, trying to feel his warmth and was sort of buying into the story.

We know the story isn’t true because his hair grew back.

He’s actually a Shih Tzu mix.

When my husband’s sister became very ill I thought about Diego.  Our last dog had just died.  I thought about rescuing Diego because no-one was around to take care of him.

A rescue lady claimed the pugs, so we decided to bring Diego home to NYC.”

Nellie, the talking Beagle (he said)

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“I always loved dogs but because of the business of life I felt it would be an intrusion on how I lived.

Both of my daughters have dogs and I love them.

Then one day my wife and I were at an event at ARF (Animal Rescue Fund) and fell in love with a Beagle who stared at us lovingly.

After taking her for a walk, we went into the ARF office for the mandatory interview.  Nellie jumped on my lap while we were waiting for our interview and I literally started to cry.

Three years later, when I come home from the office, Nellie kisses me in a way that could substitute for a shower.

My work with very ill and older clients who have dementia is extremely stressful.  I deal with sad and sometimes tragic cases.

The unlimited love, affection and attention that I receive from Nellie chases away the depression.

Nellie’s welcoming everyday when I come home as a continuum is so satisfying.  She is an alternative to antidepressant drugs; she is my uptake inhibitor.”

Nellie, the talking Beagle (she said, part 2)

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“There’s never been a bad time with her.  There were dietary issues.

My husband left his backpack on the floor and he forgot there were red velvet cupcakes from an office party inside.  Of course she found them and had herself a party.

The next morning on our walk in the park she couldn’t move.  I picked her up and rushed her to the vet, where they kept her for the whole day doing tests to make sure she was okay.  Fortunately, I had pet insurance.

She is a great anti-depressant.  She is better than any pill.

My life has much more of a routine.  I’ve discovered the park that I have lived next door to for forty years,  I have made a whole new circle of friends and I am never lovely.  Having Nellie has rejuvenated my marriage. We are both able share in loving this beautiful dog.         These are the pluses.

I don’t like to leave her, and it’s curtailed travel plans.  I am no longer able to go places spontaneously.

Forget kids, get a dog.

Nellie, the talking Beagle (she said, part 1)

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“My husband and I fell in Love with Nellie.

We went to an event at ARF (the Animal Rescue Fund).  We had been talking about getting a dog forever, and we knew we were both vulnerable.

We never got to hear the speakers at the celebration of the animals because there was a van with the adoptable animals in it and I made a B-line for the van.

Nellie put her nose against the front of her crate and started talking to me.  I summoned my husband and he asked if we could walk her around the grounds. We took her for a walk and she was very happy to be out of her confinement.

My husband picked her up and she melted in his arms.  He was overcome with tears and we knew we wanted to be her parents.”

Malteser, the small dog that brings great comfort (part 2)

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“August of 2014, right after I came back from living in London for ten years, a huge glass door fell on my head.  I was rushed to the hospital.  I had stitches and a severe concussion. I suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury and have been to at least 8 Dr.’s in the past year and a half.

Malteser has brought me great comfort.

After the accident I suffered from depression, anxiety fatigue and a lot of cognitive glitches.

I went to a restaurant recently with a friend and asked if the burgers were good there and my friend reminded me we ate there 2 weeks ago and I liked the burger very much.

Malteser has been turned into a service dog (for emotional support) and I am able to take her with me everywhere I go.

Malti has changed my life in every way.  Her unconditional love is something that is always there, whether I am going through good or bad times.

She is the emotional heart of our home.”

Malteser, The small dog that’s a great comfort (part 1)

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My Children wanted a dog.

I had grown up with dogs and I think they are essential to a family.

We had a list of criteria and when we typed them into a computer the only dog that came up was Maltese.

“We were living in London and there was a kennel club nearby.  There were only 3 breeders who were vetted on their list and only 1 of those had puppies, and she had a waiting list.  The breeder asked everyone on the list to write a short essay on why we wanted a puppy and what would make each of us good dog owners.

We wrote that the children were old enough to appreciate a dog, I grew up with dogs and a dog would complete our family.

The final step to our process was visiting the breeder in Hertfordshire (a little over an hour outside of London).

When I met Malteser (named after a delicious malted milk ball candy), I almost started to cry.  She was so beautiful and I felt like I didn’t know if I was worthy of her.

We were lucky enough to be selected and get Malteser.

I bonded with her right away.  My son (thirteen at the time), still teases me because he left for a swimming lesson so her first hours were spent with my daughter (6 at the time), and me.

She was a little fluff ball.  I laid down on the floor beside her and told her,  I promise I am going to do everything I can to make you happy.”

 

Bodie, the great rescue from Mississippi (he said, part 4)

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“We arranged to have Bodie brought up from Mississippi and we met the dog transport at a rest stop at on the New Jersey Turnpike.  We had Popeye’s chicken and paced up and down the parking lot until the bus with Bodie pulled up.  We signed the papers and he was ours.

I can’t think of a specific event that was bad, but because I am in a business that can be brutal at times, having Bodie around gives me perspective.  He gives me a much needed shot of sanity every day.

I remember we were sitting on the couch within the first week of having him, and this little nugget was sprawled out between us, and we were both gobsmacked and repeating, he’s just so beautiful.

The other thing again, is the ongoing sensibility, it just shifts your perspective.

I think dogs are game changers.  I’ve spent more time in the last two years enjoying the outdoors in NY, than I did in the 16 years I lived here prior to having Bodie.

Bodie has ushered in a real fearless spontaneity and appreciation for simple pleasures.  I will literally stop and take a deep inhale through my nose because I am watching him sniff things.

We got so caught up our heads and our worries that watching him enjoy the most basic things around him encourages me to do the same thing so I have a perspective I didn’t have before.”