Mr. Wilson Made it Home!

Mr. Wilson Made it Home!
Mr. Wilson

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pet Adoption Event October 10th at 10:30

One of the greatest things about finding Mr. Wilson and bringing him home is how his presence has opened up a giant world to me, one that I only suspected existed. Rescue dogs are great little creatures, nobody would argue that point. All dogs are great little creatures, pure bred, store bought (perish the thought!) pound finds-all of them.

The people behind the rescue dog engine are the real finds. Humanity is full of all kinds of characters. I've known all kinds of people. There are good people, great people, mean, nasty people and truly awful people. I try not to judge, and remember that soime days I'm not all that great either. But on the days when I can be part of the world of Homeless Dog Rescue, well, I'm just about as good as I can get.

Thank you Friends of Homeless Animals RI for helping us find Mr. Wilson, and inviting us to be part of the Fall Adoption Event at PetSmart in Johnston, RI this Saturday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Punishment Fits the Crime

"What are you doing?"

"Punishing Mr. Wilson."
"He's sound asleep on the couch."
"You bet he is, I'm ignoring him!"
"What did he do?"
"He escaped!"
"Walked right under the fence and out of the yard!"
"Where did he go?"
"The other side of the fence."
"That's it?"
"That's it."
"The punishment fits the crime."
"It sure does."

They say punishing a dog is useless, they don't remember what they did to be punished. Funny how they remember exactly where the gap in the fence is though.

I think a dog made up the "Don't punish me, I don't remember!" rule.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Baby and Mr. Wilson

 He approaches her delicately, sniffs the air around her, then boldly sticks his nose close to her skin. The baby smiles. The dog seems confused, a little unsure of himself, but quickly regains composure. It's his first encounter with a newborn, and he passes with flying colors.

The baby gets all the attention, and Mr. Wilson somehow knows that everything is as it ought to be. He's at peace with his place, knows that his presence in our lives is important, and irreplaceable. But somehow he also knows that that little bundle of joy in his human sister's arms is a little above him in the family pecking order, and that he has to treat her with respect.

Dogs see and feel things differently than us humans, I've learned. He doesn't take his position in our family personally, and doesn't dwell on the why. He is content to take his place, and watch us grow, and know that his place is secure, and permanent, and that he is every bit as important to us as everybody else is.

Welcome to the family Kinsley Victoria, we're looking forward to sharing our lives with you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Think like your dog

Try as they may, our dogs simply cannot think like we do. We, however, have the ability to think like them. Every now and then it is imperative to do so, if for nothing more than to keep the peace at home.

Our dog, Mr. Wilson is an affable chap by anybody's standards. He lives with us, know his place, guards our home to the best  his 12 pound fuzziness allows and seems to always be in the right place at the right time. He sits and stays, comes when called and does not hesitate when asked to "go to your crate."

Those small things, and a few others were easy to achieve, not because I am a great trainer, rather because I
listened, first to my wife, who noticed that Mr. Wilson was miserable whenever I wasn't around, and then to The Dreadlock Dog Man from Australia, Martin McKenna. 

Our first few days with our new dog were like The Canine Control Olympics. Every thing we did was a contest in Mr. Wilson's mind. Feeding, barking, peeing, walking-every aspect of his new life was a test. He wanted to win, and do things his way, because that was the only way he knew. Through trial and error, some wins, some losses, he started the journey toward what I call Schnoodle Serenity. He could never have achieved his current relaxed, happy state of being without enduring The Olympics. He had to find out, without a shadow of doubt, exactly who was in charge.

At first, it appeared we had lost. One of the greatest feelings is to have another living, feeling and adorable being shower us with affection. Knowing that our new dog was using those tools to control us was a bitter pill to swallow.  It is my, and most dog owners desire to be liked by our pets-and therein lies a fundamental problem. Dogs "like" us differently than we "like" them. What we perceive as a gesture of affection is to the dog a gesture of dominance. Jumping, barking inappropriately, stealing food et al are all simply means of survival to our dogs. Without proper leaders, our dogs revert to their instinct, which basically is a quest to lead.  When they find a competent leader, then- and only then- do they decide to "like" us.

But the quest for harmony, love and fun with our dogs does not end there. Once leadership has been established it is up to us to maintain it. Our dogs will test us, re-test us, then test us again. It is a daily battle for them, and they need to know that the person in charge of their lives, happiness and comfort is capable and deserving of such trust.

After reading Martin's book, The Boy who Talked to Dogs,  I decided that somebody who lived rough with a pack of wild dogs as a boy most likely had a far greater understanding of dog behavior and communication than I did. Dogs have subtle ways of communicating that are difficult for humans to comprehend, without being shown. Martin did not read about these signs, he learned from the dogs themselves, and I'm glad he did.

Using our superior intelligence and reasoning capabilities while teaching our dogs the rules of life with us makes training simple. The dogs listen to people they trust. They accept us as their superior. It can be no other way. When we allow our dogs to rule, all under the guise of love and affection, their lives are full of uncertainty, stress, anxiety and destructive behaviors.
It may be difficult to think that our dogs are constantly trying to usurp our leadership. Thinking that they are constantly testing us puts a little damper on that awesome relationship we share with our dogs. But in the big picture, when you stop letting your dog control you by using our instinctual need for acceptance, his life becomes far better for it.

And so will ours. Dogs are good. It is up to us to make them great.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Gaspee Affair

In a little while I'll be walking along the shore with Mr. Wilson, and not fifty feet from where my feet touch the sand that has come and gone with thousands of tides will be the site where the first blow for freedom from British rule was struck, way back in 1772.

Below is an excerpt from the book, Mr. Wilson Makes it Home   

In the opposite direction from the gym is a pretty little beach, and when the idea of lifting not so heavy things over and over doesn’t thrill me I find my path leading in the direction of the sea. It is a much more pleasant walk, and the destination far more appealing. Nicely kept homes line the streets that lead to the beach; the yards get smaller as the water draws closer. Most places you will find the yards and homes increase in size the closer to the shore you get, as the affluent fill the pricy waterfront properties, but not on the land that leads to Gaspee Point. A wealthy family owns the acreage and leases lots to people who build homes on the land. It is one of the few places in New England where a person of modest means can live on the water, or near enough to walk to it.
     Everybody in Rhode Island knows that the American Revolution began at Gaspee Point on June 9th, 1772. A British tax collecting schooner ran aground during low tide while chasing a smaller ship, The Hannah; the Captain was apparently not aware that a sandbar from the point extended well into Narragansett Bay, and while stuck in the sand some Revolutionary War era merchants boarded longboats and paddled up the bay from Providence to Warwick, captured the crew and set the schooner on fire. Mind you, Revolutionary War era merchants were not at all like the merchants of today. Back then, the merchants were often rabble rousers, and tended to be wealthy businessmen and who had the most to lose by engaging in illegal acts against the crown. Things like their lives, livelihood and sacred honor were at stake. The men who burned the Gaspee were led by The Sons of Liberty, and a man named John Brown was one of the leaders of the expedition. The owners of the land that I walk when I visit the beach are descendents of the very same man.
      I love living in a place with constant reminders of years and events long past. The past fascinates me, and I truly believe that he that does not learn from it is condemned to repeat it. Knowing that a place so rich with historical significance is within walking distance from my home gives me a great excuse to avoid the gym, and stay off of the treadmill and distractions from the cable TV that goes with it.
     The neighborhood streets lead to a partially hidden gate in a four foot high chain link fence. A path behind the gate straddles two properties. In Rhode Island laws exist near the waterfront ensuring the public’s right to access the shore, so there are no worries of trespassing. Somebody used railroad ties and a lot of hard work to make a stairway from the street to the beach, and the thirty foot descent and concentration and energy needed to safely navigate the steps provides a moment of clear thought and on simple movement, and empties the mind of its incessant chatter, erasing the needs and wants of life in civilization and preparing it for the serenity of the beach.
     It was a great place to begin a revolution, and it is just as great place to bring a dog. Very seldom is the beach occupied, and when it is the half-mile expanse offers plenty of room to roam for the few people who dot the shoreline, most of whom are people walking their dogs.
     It is one of the few remaining places in my town where a person can let their dogs run free, and when off the leash Zimba and Lakota would do just that, straddling the water line and running away at breakneck speed, then turning around and running back to me. Of course, there would often be a foray into the tic infested tall grass as well, but little in life comes without a price, even when you are a dog, and pulling the occasional tic from their dense fur a small price to pay for the joy I felt watching them run unfettered by me.
     One of my favorite things to do while at the beach with the dogs was to envision the Schooner Gaspee stuck some fifty yards off shore, close enough for me to hit with a rock, if it were still there, and picture the men from 1772 rowing toward it with an American Revolution ahead of them. They had no idea what the future would bring, or if their names and acts that night would be forever entwined in the history books, integral parts of a decade that set the course of history toward freedom prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness, or if they would even survive the night.
     I normally don’t believe in spooks, but with so much history on the horizon, and the tides coming and going the same as they did in 1772 it’s hard to not believe. There is something haunting about a lonely beach, and after we had to put Zimba and Lakota down, and I would walk alone through the quiet neighborhood, and take the steps from civilization down to the shore, and be left alone with my thoughts sometimes even the brightest day could grow dark.

This is Mr. Wilson standing about 100 yards from where the Gaspee was burned. The ship behind him is a cargo ship heading toward the Port of Providence.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

PAWS to De-stress

Mr. Wilson has become such an indispensable part of our home that it is impossible to imagine life without him. He is usually within sight, most of the time within touching distance and always ready to drop everything in an instant and lavish us with love.

It wasn't hard to train him, and for that we are grateful. It does take some time though, and patience. The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was communication. Dogs see the world differently than humans, figuring out how to get them to go along with the things that we need them to do was challenging, but not impossible.

Once we figured out how he ticks, the rest came naturally. His role as a Therapy Dog suits him fine. To think that he was an abandoned little Schnoodle living rough in Arkansas, and is now a valuable member of our home, and the world around him helps us believe that anything is possible, as long as we are willing to do the work.

He even talks with me now. We visited Johnson & Wales University recently as part of their PAWS to De-stress event. This is what he had to say after three hours of lovely young people lavishing him with attention:

"Hey Dad, this Therapy Dog stuff is pretty cool, can we do this every day?"
"Some days are better than others, old pal."
"Is this one of those days?"
"It sure is, Mr Wilson, it sure is."

Friday, May 1, 2015


It's Friday, May 1st. It's comforting to know that Alpha Dog Transport is on the way home, a truckload of rescued dogs with them. Their first stop is Haggerston, Maryland in the Toys R Us parking lot, where the first bunch of refugees will meet their new families, either foster or forever. On to the Turkey Hill gas station in Harrisburg, PA at two in the morning, where bleary eyed people meet their bright eyed friends for the first time. The pictures on the internet where most of these previously homeless dogs were seen do them no justice, and the crowd that has formed will attest.

Parsipany, New Jersey at 4:30 is next, and the dogs feel the excitement in the trailer, and they communicate with one another, tails wagging, hearts pounding, knowing that something great is happening at every stop. For it it truly great, this lonely tractor trailer chugging through the pre-dawn stillness, pulling a cargo of living, feeling creatures who now have a second, or third chance at happiness.

Off to Waterville, Connecticut where even more people eagerly await the arrival. People are kinder
somehow, and conversation among them flows freely, some familiar faces from the world of animal rescue joined by those new to this world, where the well-being of others takes precedence. Volunteers are waiting to take the dogs for a walk, give them love and water and make sure they are okay, and ready for the next leg of the journey.

Moosup/Plainfield Connecticut waits, and the people there are making connections, making friends and finding out first hand that there is a well-spring of good will here on earth, and that people are good at heart, and right here, right now is all that matters. When their dogs arrive they go their seperate ways, but the memories of those precious moments will stay with them forever.

The journey continues into Brattleboro, Vermont and the excitement is just as strong here as it was at 0ne in the morning in Haggerston. The weary travelers finish their journey in Kittery Maine, and the last of their passengers are home.

Everybody needs a dog in their lives, and there are thousands waiting to be seen, and heard, and saved. Life goes fast, every moment is ours for the taking, if we choose to live it to the fullest. Even those moments of boring routine that we all must endure is better lived with a faithful companion by our side.

Adopt a dog today, for the experience is truly glorious.