Happy Birthday T & T

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"Happiness is a warm puppy."

-Charles Schulz

January 2011 was a particularly, spectacularly crappy time for me emotionally. It had been roughly a month since we had said good-bye to Dervish and I wasn't taking it well.* I was dealing not only with grief, but also with the knowledge that we would have to get another dog some time.

Most people are not very insightful when it comes to themselves. As a species, we have a great capacity for self-delusion. When we know something about ourselves, truly know and acknowledge one of the facts our our existence, it is a rare and wonderful thing. I have taken very few steps down the road to enlightenment. Hell, I think I may still be in the parking area that leads to the road to enlightenment. That aside, I do know a few things about myself. One is that I am at heart a dog person. I am not designed to live without canine companionship.

"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog."
    -George Graham

Of course, since I am an emotional basket case on the best of days, even this brief glimmer of self-awareness came with a side of self-loathing. After ten years, how could I just throw myself into another canine-human relationship? Was the fact I was even considering a new dog tantamount to being disloyal to Dervish, a dog who was nothing if not loyal?

"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made."
    -Roger Caras

It may seem obvious to everyone else, but it took a good friend actually saying it to make me understand. Sharing our home with another dog would not diminish how I had felt about our previous dogs. In fact, Dervish would certainly want us to be happy and if this meant opening our hearts to another dog, then he would think that we should do so.

"If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
-Will Rogers

My friend, perhaps knowing me a little better than I knew myself, pointed out that there was no harm in simply looking.

Thus began a period of searching on
Petfinder which can only be described as multi-target cyber-stalking.

The Mrs. made it very clear that this time around, we were going to get her small dog. Probably a pug or some type of toy dog mix.** If, she said, I wanted a "real dog," I had better think about getting one at the same time. That way neither dog would feel like the other was intruding on their territory.***

"We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment." 
-George Eliot

At this time I had absolutely no interest in actually contacting any of the people who were adopting the dogs out. Instead I just followed the lives of the ones who interested me. I would do a search for the type of dog that I would look for, were I looking for a dog (puppy - 1 year old, large or extra large, etc.) then keep track of the ones who popped up. I was always happy when the status changed to Adoption Pending.

While I was doing this, the Mrs was doing searches of her own on
Petfinder as well as contacting various rescue organizations. She contacted a couple of people but each time found out that the dog had already been adopted.

"No Matter how little money and how few possessions, you own, having a dog makes you rich."
    -Louis Sabin

This continued for a while. Then one day I saw a dog which I didn't want to wait around and see someone else adopt. I contacted the rescue organization
Last Day Dog Rescue In one of those bizarre quirks of fate, one of the dogs which the Mrs had been looking at was at the same place.

That was a misnomer
Last Day Dog Rescue does not actually have a physical location where the dogs are sheltered. They go to shelters in South east Michigan and northern Ohio and rescue animals which are scheduled to be killed and foster them in the area.

Perspective adoptive parents would meet the fostered animals at adoption events. These were held at pet stores, at local happenings, and occasionally in individual's homes. We were in luck, there was an event like this schedule in the near future. A woman who had been fostering a litter of puppies having people come and meet them, almost like a coming out party for the puppies. We contacted the people who were fostering the dogs we were interested and arranged to meet them there.

If this was a Disney movie, that's where the story would end.

"Acquiring a dog, may be the only time a person gets to choose a relative."

There were other people interested in the dogs that we hoped to meet. The small dog that the Mrs was interested ended up being adopted before the event took place. When we arrived at the house in question, we found another family (with two small children) playing with the puppies. This included the ball of boundless energy which I had come to meet.

It became apparent that the highly energized boy who was playing with the dog was a good match for him. Meanwhile some of the other little balls of fur were busy trying to climb into my lap. Two had already claimed the Mrs as their nest.

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself."
    -Josh Billings

We talked it over and she agreed that the puppy would probably be happier with a young child to play with. Then she broached the subject of the other puppies we had seen. Instead of getting a large dog and a small dog, maybe we could get two medium sized dogs? After all, they expected the members of the litter whose cotillion we had attended to be between 35 and 40 pounds when full grown.*4

The big problem was going to be narrowing it down to which dogs. There were six in the litter. Three had very fuzzy coats, three smoother coats. We both gravitated towards the smoother coated half of the litter. The Mrs was hoping to adopt the sole female, Danika, but like before there was another couple who had their eyes on her. The choice then was between Gordon and Stewart. *5

After talking with the person who had been fostering them, we discovered that Gordon and Danika were fairly inseparable. During play they would team up against the other four. When it was time to sleep, they always curled up with each other. Hopefully, the two would not have to be separated. If they could find one family willing to take both, well that would just be ideal.

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive." 
-Gilda Radner

So we began the adoption process. This involved quite a bit of paperwork, a couple of interviews, and an in home visit (to see how the puppies interacted with the people in the house and to make sure the house was a good, safe environment to raise puppies). The waiting was excruciating.

This is where the Disney ending comes in.

We were approved and one fine Saturday we drove out and picked up Gordon and Danica (who immediately got name changes). They did not immediately get new names. The original front runners: Finnegan and Fiona, just didn't seem to fit. Fiona was too small and girly for the fearless female. It was the Mrs who came up with Tesla. She cited her electric nature and magnetic personality. I was incredibly impressed that she actually knew who Nicolai Tesla was and said so.*6

Poor Titus went a day and a half without a name. We tried various T names on for size. He needed a big name, something he would grow into. Titus seemed appropriate. It still is. *8

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

The reason that I am presenting this story today is that while I was busy being depressed, Tesla, Titus, and their litter mates were busy being born. It is hard to fathom the happiness that these two have brought into our lives, how they have made our family complete, and how they have turned our house back into a home.

Happy Birthday Dingoes

*It was also 10 years, almost to the day, since we had said good-bye to Kai-Long. I harbor an extreme mistrust of the first two weeks of December.

**The word "puggle" was used.

***For those not familiar with the back story, here it is in a nutshell. I prefer large dogs, the Mrs. small. When we first met she had a tea-cup poodle that you could literally carry in your hand. When we got our first dog together, we were told he would probably be around 35 or 40 pounds full grown. Kai-Long was 120 pounds. When we got our second dog, we were told he would be around 35 or 40 pounds. Dervish ended up being 100 pounds (the first time we brought him in for a check-up at the vet where he had been born and adopted out of, the vet tech said "He is one of Sugar's babies? Oh crap are we in trouble!").

*4 See footnote ***

*5 Yes, all of the puppies had been named after NASCAR racers.

*6 "He was that vampire guy who could control electricity on that show we used to watch."*7

*7 NOT named after the metal band which recorded "Love Song."

*8 Although I would like to say that when we saw the name Titus on the list of baby names we immediately thought of Shakespeare or the Bible, I won't lie to you here. We both thought of comedian Christopher Titus.

And the award goes to...

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All of you who are connected to me on the
Zuckerberg collective have already seen this, but for those two people who refuse to join Facebook (you know who you are -- yes you with the eyes and the tattoos) here is the news again.

From the Shameless Self-Promotion file: I just found out that
DOA: Extreme Horror (which contains my short story "Digital Media") has been nominated for Best Anthology in the current Predators and Editors poll. It is currently ranked #7 in the standings. Now I am not one to beg any more than I am one to boast, but if one wanted to vote for said anthology all one would have to do is click the link. All that is required is about a minute of your time and a valid email address.


For those unfamiliar with
P&E, it is a brilliant website for writers. It contains a wealth of information about publishing, agents, editors, and more. Included in this “more” category are the important Warning pages. This is where authors can go to find out the latest scams, skels, and unscrupulous business dealers.

Not that I’m pushing or anything, but if you could see your way clear to dropping a vote in the ballot box, I would sure appreciate it. To quote my good friends Bartles and Jaymes

“Thank you for your support.”