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July 14, 2008

To the Dogs

To the Dogs

by Michele                                     

It's not like I want to keep writing about how rich people spend their money, but they just keep doing such (sorry, can't resist) doggone things with it.  First Bill Gates decides to donate fifty of his billions to the cause of saving humanity.  (Thank you, Bill, that was very nice of you.)  Now Leona Helmsley has given a fortune estimated by this Times article at between $5 billion and $8 billion to the cause of saving . . . dogs! 

Maybe if somebody else had done it, this bequest would have provoked less dismayed tittering.  But let's face it, Leona hated people, and she let everybody know it.  She was a greedy bee-yatch who bilked contractors and refused to pay her taxes.  Taxes were for the little people, she said, before promptly getting convicted of tax evasion on a massive scale.  She was famously cruel and abusive to her employees.  As for how she treated her family -- well, she left $12 million to her dog, $10 million each to two of her grandchildren, and nothing, a big fat zero, to two others.  Nuff said.

And that's exactly what fascinates me about this story.  It's not just that Leona wanted to save dogs instead of saving humanity, it's that she loved the dog in her life better than she loved her family.  This I do not understand, but I have to confess, I've missed out on a singular human experience, folks.  I've never had a serious relationship with an animal.  In other words, I've never had a pet. 

I'm starting to think this is kinda like never having had kids, or parents, or never having gotten married.  Yes, it's a valid choice, but since I'm missing a basic experience that most other people have, some human actions just won't make sense to me.

If I had to throw in my lot with one camp or another, I'd join the dog people.  There are many animals I admire, but the only animal I can imagine cohabiting with is a dog.  Cats don't have a fair shot with me because I'm horribly allergic to them and I can't help blaming them for this. Besides, they're so haughty and independent that I don't see the point of trying to love one.  It's like having a kid that wants nothing to do with you -- a recipe for heartbreak.  I know this must sound outrageous to cat people, so feel free to tell me to shove off.  (No profanity please, it's a Monday!) 

Dogs, on the other hand, seem just human enough but not too human, if you know what I mean.  They'd interact with you, give you love, but never try to take your place.  I can't help thinking of the sequel to Planet of the Apes in which we finally learn how the apes took over.  All the dogs and cats got killed off by a virus.  People turned to monkeys as pets.  Surprise -- monkeys are a lot smarter than dogs and cats.  People made a critical mistake, and started training them to do more and more things. Pretty soon we're talking HAL in 2001:A Space Odyssey territory.  Bye-bye people. Dogs would never do that, they'd never want the responsibility.

But just because I can imagine living with a dog doesn't mean that I think dogs need billions of dollars.  If I had billions, and I somehow decided to leave my fortune to animals instead of humans, I'd pick animals that are in greater need, like all the wild ones whose habitats we've destroyed.  That incredibly cool show on The History channel about life after people (check out this trailer) made pretty clear that dogs would do well on their own.  They don't need coddling.  They're good predators, and not picky about what they eat when they're hungry.  They could survive without us, and who knows, maybe they'd be happier.  Maybe they don't like wearing Burberry raincoats and ribbons on their ears. 

Me, I think I'd leave my money to the birds.  Has anybody noticed how many fewer birds there are than when we were kids?  I've read about this, and it's scientifically true that the birds are disappearing all over the earth.  Their numbers are down catastrophically.  But lately I've been noticing it with my own eyes and ears.  Dogs don't need our help.  Birds do.  One can only hope there's some reclusive billionaire out there with a pet canary. 


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Ah, Michele....:) You're entirely correct, I think there really are less birds than there used to be.

The difference between dogs and cats is that dogs have eyebrows, and cats do not. That's why cats have such a solemn expression all the time, and why all the cat jokes stress their haughtiness.

Cats can be as loving, and as protective, as dogs or any other creature. As with so many things, it's all in how you raise them.

Michele, I used to be afraid of dogs. Didn't hate them, but was very uncomfortable around them, especially big ones. But then I got mine, who is a monster Lab/Boxer/Pit Bull mix, and I am now a total convert. It is exactly what you said: until you have children, or get married, you don't really understand it.

Dogs take unconditional love to an art form. Mine is dumb. She barfs once a week, usually on the carpet. She can't obey a single command. She has phobias. When I am preparing dinner, if anything falls on the floor, she'll pounce and eat it in a flash. Except lettuce. She barks at lettuce.

But, if I wash her bed, she will happily sit on it all day, smiling. If I give her a new toy, even if it is from the $1 store, she will play with it until she falls into an exhausted sleep. She wags her tail when I come home, even if I've only been to the mail box and back. She follows me around adoringly, as if me doing laundry is equal to Olympic figure skating. If she could read, I know she would read my work and tell me how to improve it. Or, at least, tell me she likes it.

Compared to my teenage sons, she is way more loving and appreciative. So, I understand a little bit where Leona is coming from. Sadly, I don't have a fortune to leave my dog--but she loves me anyway.

I have noticed the birds, has anyone else noticed the decrease in bees? The repercussions of a world with out bees is scary. Maybe we could add a honey loving billionaire to the wish list.

I am also 4+ allergic to cats and dogs as well, so I have to enjoy them from a distance just like the wildlife. I had a coughing fit after a five-minute ride in my friend's van -- ran into Steak&Shake ahead of my group and urgently requested water. They saved my life! Usually I carry water, but we had packed towers of boxes, to total exhaustion, and left in a rush toward nourishment. If we can get keys today, Maria will bring more boxes and help me move some stuff over, ahead of the Two Men and a Truck. Many items went to Freecycle. My new motto: If it's dusty, it might be asking to be given away.

The dermatologist tells me my miserable and persistent rash is from sun sensitivity, not chlorine. Yeah! The pool and aqua-aerobics will be allowed again! -- But wait! The sun is an even more ubiquitous and basic factor of life! Drat! I'll be putting the Solumbra SPF 30 clothing to more use, and trying a new sunscreen, Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF 30 with no chemical sunscreen, just Titanium Dioxide. She also prescribed the exact cream my aqua-aerobics teacher has been using successfully, Clotrimazole and Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream 1% (that long name is why I had stopped by the office instead of calling, a good choice since they made time for me to see her right then, bless them!) She said that I only needed one of the ingredients, but when I told her I had put the cream on two places and had good reactions, she prescribe the exact same thing, in case there were different preservatives in the other formula. She is a smart woman and pays really good attention to details.

I was checking into chlorine filters for the shower, to try to help out this sensitivity, first at Real Goods, but then my realtor sent the link to this one, which looks very luxurious

Meanwhile, I'm tired of boring allergies, so I'm going to describe this new problem as a reaction to "this yellow sun" (as they do on "Smallville" to explain the side effects on all the various folk from Krypton). I like the implication that a different sun, perhaps the sun from my elusive home planet, might be ok for me. Friends are already discussing group travel to other solar systems . . . It could be fun! Want to join us?

Michele, if you weren't allergic, I'd tell you to give cats a chance. I never had a pet until I had children. We started with a goldfish, then graduated to a turtle (who ran away!).

One day a stray cat showed up and adopted us and I never regretted taking her in. She's gone, but we have another cat that is the opposite of the way cats are supposed to be. She's not too bright-she'd never survive outside. She hides a lot because she's afraid of everything. And she's just darn cute.

As for birds? They must all be in my yard. We have a couple of feeders and get two kinds of woodpeckers, goldfinches, sparrows, nuthatches, cardinals, robins, and a few I haven't identified yet.

Joyce, this is for you, from my home town newspaper: http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20080604/ARTICLES/806040329/1212/stormpost

I confess to being a cat person, although that's at the moment. We've been the proud companions of a Brittany Spaniel and golden Retriever as well, but currently our schedules work better with a cat, and Max is quite happy with the arrangement. :o) And he loves to watch the birds...of which we have many, especially cardinals and a mallard or two.
All animals need help these days, not just one species or another. That's why I try and support Best Friends(they rescue dogs, cats, birds, horses, you name it),my local Humane Society, and the LA SPCA and Portland's Dove Lewis when I can. I'm not sure I'd ever match up with Leona, but being fortunate to share my life with several remarkable animals (including a rabbit named Nelson)makes me want to help.
By the way,I never had a pet as a child either, but we got a puppy for Catherine when she was young and have never looked back.

Michele, I feel your outrage. I did volunteer work for a children's home, and was horrified to see people spend $60 on a doggie dress when kids needed books for school.

Mary, congrats and good luck on the big moving day! Glad you survived the allergy attack so you can enjoy your new home.

Ramona, your dog sounds so adorable. I really do plan to get a dog, I just need to find that moment in my life when I'm ready to clean up barf again. My youngest is 8 and can finally make it to the toilet on time. But he was a projectile vomiter for so long that the memories of being covered in the stuff while it's still hot are pretty vivid still.

Maryann, Joyce and William -- okay, I hear you on cats. I'm willing to consider that my prejudice might be rooted in my allergy. Maybe I should give the kitties a break.

Cheryl, you're right about the bees, too. Sigh. What kind of world are our kids growing up in? All these animal sounds are just disappearing.

If we are doing public service plugs, support guide dog training, or search and rescue dogs. Helps dogs and people.

Elaine, there were dogs in Manhattan that dressed better than me. Had better transportation, too!

During Katrina, there were people who would not go to the Superdome or get on evacuation buses because they could not bring their dogs. That may sound irrational, but if this creature has been your loyal companion, especially if you are alone and older, how do you abandon it to possible death or starvation?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who saw the pet reunion news stories after the hurricane. Did the dogs put their hands on their hips and say, "WTF, you left me to die and now you want a hug?" No, they ran into their owners' arms, tails a-wagging. Unconditional love.

Excuse me, now I have to go hug my damn dog.

Today is actually a PRE-moving day because Friday's closing was a non-closing -- something about wiring money from the east coast . . .
Kelly just called from Three Men & a Truck and we have rescheduled the truck to tomorrow -- she was so nice about it. Apparently, closings are often delayed . .
I wish I could do that nose-wiggle thing Samantha used and whisk everything over to the new place. . .wouldn't even have to wait for keys. . .

Ramona - during the Katrina rescue when people wouldn't leave their dogs? That would have been me. Your description of your dog's "appreciation" of what you do fits my dogs. They love me unconditionally. My husband swears that if I had to leave him or my dog behind, he'd be finding his own way.

I also have a bird - a large parrot named Panama (he's a blog all unto himself!) Birds are messy..feathers, bird food, dander, etc. But man, is he funny. His sayings, the jokes he likes to pull, etc.

We have no children (make that human children). I have to agree that until you experience something (like children, pet, or marriage), you can't know.

Ramona, though I've never had a dog myself, I *have* seen dogs do that, and it's deeply moving.

It's kinda weird that I still remember this, but many years ago when I had just broken up with an ex-boyfriend and was in that stage of loss and regret, I was walking down a crowded city street and saw the following. A cute little white doggie, not on a leash, was turning around and around in desperation because it had gotten separated from its master and couldn't find him. The master realized the dog wasn't by his side and called out to it. The sheer joy and relief in every inch of that dog's body when he heard his master's voice -- and ran to him -- was so apparent that it brought me to tears in my post-breakup state.

Gee, I thought I was the only one who had a turtle that ran away!

ACyndi -- can we get you to guest blog about your parrot sometime? Parrots are such an unusual choice of pet. I had a good friend in New York who had a parrot. She's a very interesting woman. She had her portrait painted with the parrot sitting on her shoulder!

Any creature that could love Leona Helmsley should get special treatment. By which I mean lots of attention, a comfortable place to live, and food. Which is more than many humans have today.

I've never had pets - allergies to everything. I can appreciate why people have them, but I have to say - on behalf of people who are not pet lovers/owners - please respect our space.

I cannot tell you how many people try to shove their little dogs into my arms - even if I tell them I'm severely allergic - with a statement like: "You won't be allergic to Cutesy Buttons - she's a non-allergenic dog." Sorry. I am living proof that there is no such thing. Ditto for cats, and birds, and every other non-human vertebrate.

I can't pet your dog or cat or rabbit either, so please don't give me the 'how rude' face when I refuse. I've even had people who try to bring their dogs into MY HOUSE - even while I'm telling them I can't be around animals. No kidding, I have to tell them that I'm leaving for the ER before they pay attention.

I wouldn't bring my child into someone's house without an invitation - hell, I wouldn't go into any place without an invitation. I know people love their pets, and I respect that, but if you are allergic to peanuts, I wouldn't try to shove a Reese Cup in your mouth, all the while telling you that it's so good you have to try it.

Then there is our Storyteller Mary, who has such severe allergies that she has to make major life style changes - whew - makes me feel like a schmuck for complaining about mine.

Okay, rant's over. Sorry.

Really great points, Kathy. Thanks for saying all that, it needed to be said.

Count me as one of those highly allergic to cats people, too. We had an outside cat once who adopted us in the middle of a snowstorm. My kids were ecstatic at finally having a pet, so I enlisted a friend, who helped me get her to the vet (for an abortion and neutering, since she got knocked up under my car one extremely noisy night), and he gave us a cat bed to put outside for her. The girls knew she could not come into the house, but my middle daughter told me recently that she brought her in to "show her" the house once. I laughed until tears ran down my face at the thought of this goofy cat being given a house tour!

My husband, a wildlife expert, is well=known as someone who knows wild animals, so people have brought all manner of baby critters to us, thinking (usually erroneously) that they have been abandoned by their mothers. We've raised three different kinds of foxes, raccoons, possums, bunnies, and all sorts of birds: turkeys, ducks, quail, and geese. They used to start out here at home, then gravitate over to his office, where they have large cages, etc.

]No need for buying a pet when animals are so abundant!

Joyce evidentaly these kinds of turtles do this all of the time. They still haven't found its owner and if they don't come forward this week they will have to find anew home for him. Some of the officers would like to keep him around. He loves people and "runs" to them when they walk in the stations door.

Michele, my daugher & Dear Hubby are both alergic to cats. DH not so much, but my daughter can't be in a house that has a cat (or isn't cleaned well after one has lived there). Her chest locks up and the wheezing commences. She hates cats, too, but if she could have one, she probably would change her mind. Her boyfriend is going back to school and can't take his dog with him. She is thrilled because she gets to keep his dog with her. when she first went off to college, her dog (a samoyed) moped around the house for a couple of weeks before she finally got used to being 'lonely'.

I love dogs AND cats, but at the moment our dogs, Jinn and Fez, are in the doghouse because yesterday, with their other human, the one who shares custody, they attacked a skunk.

They have been banished to the house of their other human. I miss them, but not enough to live with Smell of Skunk for the next week.

Storyteller Mary, happy moving!

One of the best places to get a pet is the local SPCA. The animals there are loving and really, really want and need a home. We have a cat who thinks he is a dog. He follows us around, comes when we call him, loves to cuddle and definitely lets us know when he needs his "alone" time. Can't imagine our household without him. But we neither one have allergies and we do understand those who do.

Kathy, I know you didn't mean to be funny, but a non-allergenic dog? I LMAO at that. People can be so stupid.

I would never push my dog on anyone. Not just because of allergies, but some people are afraid, and shoving your dog on them will NOT help that.

Leaving that much money for a dog is crazy. Leaving that much money for the care of dogs in need is a great idea. I hope that at least some of it makes it's way to shelters. The shelters need all the help they can get.

Animal Friends in Pgh received a similar, albeit smaller, gift and it paid for the building of a great new shelter for the animals, but the costs to maintain and care for all the animals is never ending. Even with the additional space, they still have times when they run out of room. It's amazing how many animals are abandoned, abused or neglected.

Pets are able to provide truly unconditional love. I honestly don't think people are capable of that, and that's what makes animals so special.

There are so many sick people in the world who have done horrible things to innocent, defenseless animals that I will never feel bad about giving my money to a humane society. But I support wild animals, too. We are killing them off by over-hunting and destroying their habitat. Yes, there's lots of children who need help, but as far as I'm concerned, humans are at the top of the food chain. And animals can't raise money for themselves! Spending big money on a dog's dress is a bit ridiculous, but fighting to save the Giant Panda? Go for it, I say!

When I was a kid, I had a dog, but I've been converted into a cat person. I recently had to put down my cat of 14 years, due to a long illness. It was heart-breaking. Then I was allowed to choose a new cat at the humane society as a birthday present, to cheer me up. Well, the cat I adopted was the most affectionate, docile, kind-hearted creature I'd ever met.

Unfortunately, he was also dying from liver failure...unbeknownst to me. He looked healthy. I recently had to give him back to the humane society so they could fight to save his life. My house is not a home without him, and I miss him terribly.

In my experience, there is no end to the comfort and joy an animal can bring. It's so difficult to grieve for a pet when half the population is thinking, "what's the big deal? It's only an animal." But there's very few people in the world who gave me the love and joy that cat did.

Heartwarming stories, folks.

Harley, shouldn't dogs instinctively know not to attack a skunk? What's up with those doggies of yours?

I love dogs, but I love cats more. I have a failing 22-24 year old and a 14-16 year old, I got each when they were around 4. Every time Jennifer Crusie puts up pictures of her crew of 3 daschunds, a beagle, and a cat, I consider whether I wouldn't want to add to my menagerie.


I respect other people's allergies as much as possible, believe me. I have a few of my own that would do more than just make me sneeze. People who tend to push their little darlings under your nose are also those who consider them children...and who's allergic to children, right? (Well other than W.C.Fields). Even if you can't own a pet for some reason, giving to reputable animal charities and supporting guide dogs and other programs is a good way to feel involved. I'd love to have a place with lots of animals, but since I can't, donating a bit to help them find good homes is the next best thing :o)
(And the LA SPCA gets my donations primariloy because of their non-stop efforts during Katrina...I think I'd have smuggled my cat along...and because of that fiasco, new laws are now in force to allow pets in the evacuation process)
I'm off my soapbox too and off to work on some chapters.

We need to get Bill and Leona out on a boat to do some scuba diving.

The oceans are in huge trouble. The scientists are saying that some species are already doomed to extinction, since we've reduced their numbers to the point where they can no longer sustain a genetically viable breeding population.

Hard to get the politicians to do anything though, when a SINGLE bluefin tuna is worth $10,000 in the Tokyo fish markets.

Next time you see "Swordfish" on the menu (Please don't order it) think about how the long liner fleet lays out 3 or 4 miles of baited hooks at a time, and for every actual swordfish they catch, they also catch 5 to 8 marlin, sailfish or sharks. Hey, the seafood restaurants need to put something on the menu, and 99% of the people out there can't tell a swordfish steak from a blue marlin steak.

Commercial fishing is by far the most energy intensive method of protein production in the world. It's also the most destructive.

Would you still go to KFC and order that bucket of Original Recipe, if there was a good chance the chicken supplier had gone out and killed a bunch of Bald Eagles as bycatch? I hear they taste just like chicken though.

I wonder if Leona ate a lot of bluefin tuna?

My realtor is on the way over with keys, my friend is coming to help after work, and my body can only do so much before collapsing, so I'm back for a bit, emotional, tired, and sore -- so many sore places that it was hard to find a position for sleeping. OTOH, I took myself to Spiro's last night, and I have left-over lamb in the fridge -- life is good! and my new home will be so healthy! . . .and there are people even more sensitive than I, as I remind myself when I feel sorry for myself.
Back to animals-- my dad had several stories of dogs learning about skunks "the hard way," and some that didn't remember the next time. Tomato juice is supposed to help.
There is a company that is supposedly breeding non-allergenic cats, for thousands of dollars per cat. My allergist would join in the scoffing at the very idea on a non-allergenic dog or cat, and I can make steam come out of his ears by mentioning how much I'd love to have a pet, so I'll stick with the Petster robot-cat.

...and who's allergic to children, right?
Too cute. The allergist who first diagnosed the 4+ reaction to cats suggested marriage and children so I wouldn't miss the cats. He had a thick German accent, and a tendency to suggest "marriage und children" for many problems. My nephew used to love to imitate me imitating the doctor, "You von't be allergic to ze childrun."

I completely agree with Michael. The oceans are dying and it's awful. Why don't grocery stores start labeling whether fish or farmed or caught? people should only be eating farmed fish. But that's not the only problem -- the oceans are so polluted.

So many thoughts rambling around...

I never ever take pets anywhere without express permission. Conversely, if people come here, they know pets are in the house. And yes, I'm afraid I'm one of those "they live here; you do not" types.

In terms of loyalty, think about this. Lock your spouse and your dog in the trunk of your car. Wait one hour. Open trunk. Which one is just absolutely thrilled/excited/ecstatic to see you?!?!?!

Leona Helmsley's estate. Oh, what that could do for groups like PROTECT....

Leona Helmsley is really not a good example of any sort of philanthropy, is she? Her heart was bitter, and she used dogs to demonstrate to her unfavored relatives that, to her, dogs were more worthy of her money. A uniquely twisted way of proving her misanthropy.

I like both dogs and cats. Let me rephrase. I am crazy about dogs; I enjoy cats. My beloved dog had to be euthanized in September of last year. It broke my heart. I felt foolish, but I loved that dog in a special way, and he loved me back in the same fashion. In some strange way, we were kindred spirits.

Got a new dog in April from a rescue group (which, by the by, is an arduous process; my eyes nearly bugged out of my head when I saw that a "home visit" would be required before an "adoption" could be approved--this on top of a multi-page application that fell just short of demanding to know how I would pay for college for the dog). The new pup is turning into a great dog, and might be a kindred spirit, too. I hope so; that bond is remarkable.

Not sure that the appropriate focus is to try and find the "worthiest" item on which to spend our attention and/or money. There are many worthy organizations, issues, topics, etc. Better to appreciate the fact that we care about something other than ourselves, even if we don't all care equally about the same things.

I didn't start having asmtha problems until we got our second dog. By the time I realized what was going on, it was too late to get rid of him...I was too attached!

My main problem is with industrial chemical smells (adhesives that you put down before carpet, paint) and perfumes. For about 20 years the only perfume I could wear was Oscar de la Renta. It didn't cause sinus trouble or allergy attacks. But now I can't even where that. When I come across a person who has WAY too much perfume on, I take a step back to give more space between us. Most of the time the person moves right in again. Then I have to explain that their perfume is bothering me and it isn't personal. They get offended anyway.

Great blog, Michele. I think Leona is (was) perhaps one of the most miserable people on the face of the planet. And I mean that in every sense. Could you imagine being one of her kids and THAT FACE kissing you goodnight? Eeep!

Are you allergic to dogs? If not, get one. Your boys will love him. And I do recommend a him. (They don't call them bitches for nothing.) Why not? You're home all day and once you get past the breaking in period, dogs are pretty mellow.

Now's your chance to become a "mom."

Bea, thank you for those incredibly insightful comments!

Pam, the fear of finding out I'm allergic to the dog I adopt and love is a big reason I haven't done this yet. Along with being allergic to every cat, I'm allergic to some dogs, and so is my younger son. We'd need to spend time with an animal, or at least one of the same breed, before we could know for sure whether we can live with him.

Which makes the whole pet rescue process out of the question, I guess. Wow, Sarah, that's a mind trip! I'm sure if they require home visits, they'd frown on somebody saying hey, can *I* please meet the dog before I commit??

Well, our most recent alpha dog was a samoyed. The hair was amazing, but I didn't have trouble with it. It pretty much stayed the same length and she didn't need a bath if brushed enough. Her coat stayed a bright white and had loads of lanolin. The second dog was a cocker spaniel. That started the trouble. Most of the time people allergic to dogs don't have trouble or not as much, with short hair dogs. You might try just going to a shelter, or a breeder a few times and play with a dog for an hour or so to see if it bothers you.

My sister is alergic to quite a few different breeds of dogs, but shi tzus she has no trouble with. Go figure!

I've heard that poodles and breeds crossed with poodles, such as Labradoodles, Golden Doodles, and cockapoos, are best. But when we went to meet a Golden Doodle, my son and I were both allergic. Now I want to meet a Labradoodle.

I love this Labradoodle website:


Well, the Golden hair is long while a reg lab is short. May be the difference for you.

Those are absolutely adorable puppies. But my sister says they can be just as "puppy stupid" as regular labs. The two she knows are just huge and their tails can leave a mark! Very sweet, but also energetic.

Hmm, too bad, because poodles are so smart.

Michele, oh, they are smart, but "puppy stupid" is just stubborn, I guess. They know what she is saying to them, they just don't want to do it. lol!

Back from taking some things to MY house (that garage door smiled hello, I swear it).
I stopped at a liquor store for divided boxes for glasses -- they will hold some. There's now a dog on-staff, very friendly. . .this is what I do, may not work for all. I give the dog a quick one- or two-finger pet with my right (non-dominant) hand and make sure to wash it off before I touch anything else. I can usually tolerate that much, and I do really love the little critters. I also tell people not to torment their pets by locking them away. It doesn't do any good for me anyway, because their dander is all over and I won't be able to stay long regardless.
I also stopped for stamps (because mine are packed and may never be found again) and they gave me boxes too! Then I got more boxes that were being held for me at an auto parts store!! Yeah!!! Maria and I will pack many dishes. (We already did the many, many books! . . and I had already given so many away . . .)

Over the years I've had birds, fish, mice, guinea pigs, lizards,turtles, dogs & cats. Cats are just easier. Don't have to walk them or let them out, they're self cleaning, scoop the litterboxes everyday and no smell. leave a feeder full of dry food and plenty of water and you can go away for the weekend.
They get bent outta shape occasionally but forgive quickly cause they know who has the thumbs to open the canned food!
I have one friend who has developed a cat allergy over the years but if she gives me a days' notice, I vacuum floors to ceiling, super dust , spray allergen reducing Frebreeze, and move the air purifier into the living room, to make her visit more bearable. (then she pets them!!)
Pam - I can't wear most perfumes/colognes because I'm allergic to the fixative in them! Cachet (Matchabelli) is made without a fixative, so I stick with it (and it's $16 at Walgreen's LOL)

Michele--re the rescue groups--they would probably welcome your conscientiousness in asking to have a trial period with the dog. In my "adoption contract" (really), we had a thirty day period in which to return the dog, no questions asked.

Attila-the-Husband claims that I treat the dogs better than I treat him.The truth is - I treat them the same. The dogs just appreciate it more.

The Dog Song (If He'd Only Treated Her Like a Dog) 6. The Cat Song (She Only Talks That Way to the Cat) www.amazon.com/

Ballads-Land & Hildebrand-Ballads, Babies & Barbecue
----->The Dog Song (If He’d Only Treated Her Like A Dog), Marital problems as solved by your best friend. No, not that guy …the, one waggin’ his tail at ...

I used to play those for my Shakespeare class, right after Helena's "treat me as your spaniel" line.

My neighbor got a mini beagle that is now 6 1/2 wks old (LOL looks like a guinea pig with long legs & ears! TINY!!)
Last week I went thru the buckets of cat toys and took a 1 1/2 inch tennis ball over for her to play with. She's been batting it all over the house. Today I took her one that is about 2 1/2 inches. She went for it and got the funniest look on her face! like "what the f**k happened to my ball?!!" LOL! She finally got her teeth in the fuzz and was shaking it & growling, dragging it around!
After being around my brothers full size, fat beagles, Peewee is hilarious!

I love how beagles look, but alas, I'm so allergic to them!

Regarding dog allergies, check out this link:


I have terrible allergies, think major asthma attack after being around a cat (and I like them)or other high allergy dog. I have had great luck with greyhounds and curly coated retrievers. I have my latest curly and he is wonderful. Poor guy is always being called a labradoodle, we are hoping it will not mess with his self-esteem. Curlies are wickedly smart and funny.

YOU are so right! I have lots of birds that come to my backyard feeder, but not as many as I used to. Their numbers are declining and it's such a shame. You know how much I love my cat and dog, but the wild birds....they are my favorite. Great blog! You always make me think!

Cheryl, I've never heard of a curly-haired retriever! Bet they're pretty dogs.

A good friend is allergic to both dogs and cats, and to horses. But he and his wife still have three dogs and six cats, and he rides. And he takes shots all the time. I'm not willing to become a human pincushion just to have pets in the house! (All our wild babies lived on the screened porch, outside the actual house).

Sharks desperately need our help too. (www.sharkwater.com - watch this film if you can, it's powerful, moving and makes you want to take action).

As for dogs and cats, I have both (2 dogs - my boys and 1 cat). I also have 3 kids. Yes, I'm nuts. We got home from vacation yesterday and the dogs were still in the kennel (the cat stayed home with a friend checking in on her daily). She woke me up at least five times last night, purring in my face, headbutting my face and licking my face... mostly because I think she was trying to assure herself that mom was really there.

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