depression, unemployment, joy, marriage

Penelope, the dog that brings people together, (part 1)

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“My wife telecommutes from home to work.

She grew up with a beagle, as did I, but my family gave away our beagle because it got too big.

We had cats and hamsters.  We had a Siamese cat and many hamsters– at least 5 or 6.

My wife and I moved to the city in August and we knew when we got settled we were going to get a pet.  She wanted a beagle and I wanted a Siamese cat.

I love my wife, so we got a beagle.

Penny gets us out of our comfort zone to meet our neighbors.

A couple of people that work in a restaurant near us fell in love with Penny.  The woman wanted to get a dog, but wasn’t ready for her own, so she has helped out with Penny.

A former student of mine that lives in the city takes care of Penny.  I have known her for 7 years, 3 in high school and 4 in college.  I taught her band in high school and now she’s in the city getting her PhD. in biology.

Penny has brought us back together.”

Nikki & Winston (he said, part 2)

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“I had Nikki 2 years and she was queen bee of the house and then the dynamic of the house changed.

I met my girlfriend and Nikki fell in love with her, then I fell in love with her.

And then we got Winston and the family unit became complete (for now).

Winston was an impulse love at first sight dog.  And then he turned out to be a huge pain in the ass.

The first year of his life was difficult.

He was sick with pneumonia.  He was indoors for 5 months, so that stunted our ability to socialize him for a while.

At first Nikki didn’t know what to do with puppy Winston.  She looked at me as if to say, what did you do?

The first year, Nikki was intent on being an only child.

Eventually Winston wore her down and now they are the best of friends.

The best thing is having them both together.  It’s rewarding watching them complement each other.  Nikki has made Winston more affectionate and Winston has made Nikki more playful.

The worst thing is that we travel a lot and there is nothing worse than walking into an empty house.”

Nikki & Winston (she said, part 3)

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“The best moments have been seeing them get close and become best friends.

Nikki is a different dog since getting Winston.  She is more nurturing and social.

Winston is a friendly Shiba She has taught Nikki to play with and trust other dogs.

Winston was a difficult puppy because he couldn’t go outside for months due to his pneumonia.  He wasn’t well enough to get his shots.

He was a vengeful puppy.  He would look us in the eyes and pee on the floor in front of us.

They get into the trash together.

They are partners.

We love them and they are our fur-babies.”

Nikki & Winston (she said part 2)

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“We weren’t planning on buying another dog for a myriad of reasons.

We already had a dog, we were living in a temporary space and we don’t support puppy mills.  Also, we hadn’t been together long.

We knew nothing about Winston’s breed (Shiba Inu) but the moment I made eye contact with him it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.  I can’t find the words to describe the feelings, except that I felt like I’d met a soulmate.

Getting Winston from a pet store also shifted my point of view about dog buying.

Prior to Winston, I had been staunchly anti-buying from a pet shop, but I realized that once a dog leaves a puppy mill it still needs a home.

It’s a big decision.

Also, Winston was dying of pneumonia when we got him.  The vet said he was 2 days away from death.

I still recommend adopting before shopping, but I learned a lot about puppy mills, pet stores and when you meet a dog that is meant to be yours, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.”

Nikki & Winston (she said part 1)

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“My boyfriend had Nikki, a terrier mix, before we met.

Shortly after we started dating he got a job and was working long hours, so I was at home with Nikki most of the time.  I started taking her with me wherever I went.   I felt bad that she would have been home alone a lot.

I had never had a dog of my own and I fell in love with her.

My parents got a dog the year before I left for college but I had always wanted one.  I’d been obsessed with dogs since I was tiny.

Getting a dog was always on my Christmas list.

Nikki is a rescue and kind of a nervous dog.

My boyfriend, and I are passionate about adopting/rescuing dogs as opposed to shopping at a pet store.

We were living in a temporary apartment while we were looking for a new place.  Getting another dog was not on the table–we already had one, but one day when we were picking up her food at this pet store, I made eye contact with this puppy and I ended up leaving the store with him in my arms.”

Beau, the foster/hospice dog

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“Within the first month of adopting Beau, he was photographed in Central Park and his image was posted on Rosie’s Dog Treats.  Fosterdogsnyc has a partnership with different pet vendors and supports their foster  families by providing them with resources.

We got a huge Harry Barker bed, toys and the treats with Beau’s image.

They also take care of his vet bills and medications. Beau takes $200.00 worth of medications per month.

The ease in which he’s integrated with our family has been great.

Once I took him off leash, it was like he had always belonged.

Now he sleeps in my bed at night with the other animals.

When his coughing is exacerbated I feel helpless and it’s terrible, but it makes me happy to know he will finish out his days with love, and getting good care.

I actually think Beau will die of old age before his heart gives out.”

Beau, the foster/hospice dog (part 2)

“I already had Oliver, who I adopted when I was in California.  Oliver was a rescue from a low kill shelter and I moved to New York soon after I got him.

I also have 3 cats.  With Oliver, 3 cats and Beau, it’s a full house.

When Beau came to my apartment he didn’t really interact with the others for the first few days.

After about 3 days he started coming into my room at night and sleeping in the dog bed.

It was about 6 weeks before beau’s personality started to show.  He got a big smile and had a spring in his step.  Going off leash in the park changed him.  He was so used to being around a lot of dogs that while in the park (with other dogs) he was in his element.

He was one of 2 thousand dogs in Korea that were going to be eaten.

He was lucky enough to be rescued because he was small and easy to transport.

They didn’t know about his heart condition.

We nicknamed him Chow because he was going to be chow and we thought it was ironic.”

 

Beau, the foster/hospice dog

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“I had another fospice (foster/hospice) dog through Second Chance.  She was older and so easy going.

Basically fospice is a dog that has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or a really old dog.

Both are hard to get adopted.

After the last dog, Maddie, passed away (she was old and had a problem with her spleen that was not treatable), we got Beau.

I saw him on fosterDOGSNYC.org and thought he looked like a nice little old man.

It said he had a heart condition and was around twelve.  I contacted fosterDogs and filled out an application.

A week later, Beau joined our family.”

Stanley,the red Poodle (he said, part 4)

“One of the scariest moments after having him for about a month was when he was lethargic and and salivating a lot.  He just wasn’t himself.

I thought he was going to die.

I panicked.

We took him to the vet and she said it was probably a food allergy.  We gave him a Benadryl and switched his food.  He was fine after that incident.

In general, he’s a fun loving dog and entertaining dog to have.

He’s very friendly to everyone and he always wants to play.

We have a new responsibility together so we have to work as a team to make sure Stanley is taken care of.  That work has brought us closer together.

We are more of a family.

Stanley, the red Poodle (he said part 2)

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“I’ve wanted a dog for 5 or 6 years and decided when I finished school, that would be the right time.

I knew that I wanted a poodle.  I found a breeder online that my partner and I liked.  She had good reviews and when we contacted her she was very responsive.

She happened to be having a litter when we wanted a dog, so we decided to go for it.

We had never had a dog before and this particular breeder was helpful in guiding us through the adoption process.  She sent us weekly photos from the time he was born until he was 8 weeks old, when we had him flown from Alabama to NYC.

Once he arrived we got a trainer to help us with the fundamentals.  She helped with crate training, housebreaking and basic commands.

I underestimated how much energy poodles and puppies have.

We walked him a lot and went through lots of rope toys (that he chewed through).

We had to change our expectations for being social.  We couldn’t be away from home for too long.  He required our constant attention for about 4 or 5 months.  We weren’t comfortable leaving him in his crate for more than 2 hours.

As a pianist I thought playing classical music would calm him down, but when he wants to play there’s no stopping him. When I am practicing at the piano he brings me a shoe to get attention (because he knows he’s not supposed to take them).

He lets me know when he likes my playing.  He lies under the bench raptured in the music.

Music (especially classical) really does soothe the Standard Poodle.”