Mr. Wilson Made it Home!

Mr. Wilson Made it Home!
Mr. Wilson

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Chase

Wilson was one when we got him, now he's two. Happy Birthday, Mr. Wilson!

If you look closely at the pictures you will see Wily Old Wilson stalking prey from the safety of his enclosure behind the Adirondack chairs. He'll sit there for hours waiting for one of his nemesis's to forget that he's there, and he'll spring from his hiding place and give chase, nipping at the bushy squirrell tail as he runs for his life.

He hasn't caught one yet but he's come mighty close. I hope he never gets one. I suppose it's instinct that tells him to chase, but sometimes I wonder if domestication tempers the instinct. He caught a bird the week we brought him home and looked repentant when I found the headless body. He took no joy in the act, and hasn't chased birds since. Mourning doves gather at the foot of the feeders and he doesn't give them a second look.

Maybe I'll get him a squirrel shaped Birthday Cake. Probably not. We'll most likely just do what we do every day; enjoy the moments that present themselves. Mr. Wilson learned that it's the pursuit of a goal that means more than the capture. Doesn't mean he's not going to keep on chasing  though!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Random Rescue Friday

 "The Morse One Animal at a Time Pet Rescue."

The internet is full of Rescues. There are so many dogs and cats and goats and horses, lizards, pigs birds and fish in need of homes that it boggles the mind. I'm new to the world of Animal rescue. I spent nearly three decades rescuing people, and the need there is nearly insurmountable. But the big difference between rescuing people and rescuing animals is this: people for the most part are capable of rescuing themselves. The safety net for people in need is immense, and obtainable with just a little effort. We are not euthanizing 74,000 people every day.

But we are killing 74,000 dogs and cats. Every day.

We have two cats, had two dogs until three years ago when we had to say goodbye, now we have another one. We are not on the internet, we're not an official "Pet Rescue," we don't foster, advertise or go to pet adoption events. Most people don't. But most people would be willing to adopt a pet if their circumstances allowed.

Until we adopted Mr. Wilson, there was absolutely no way our circumstances allowed. Two cats were enough, and the pain felt upon the passing of Zimba and Lakota after 12 years of companionship was simply something I never wanted to endure again.Or so I thought.

Enter "The Morse One Animal at a Time Pet Rescue."

Since adopting Mr. Wilson through Petfinder, FOHA RI and Alpha Dog Pet Transport we cannot imagine life without him. He has become an integral part of our home, and any future pain we may feel pales in comparison to the joy we feel every time we wake and know he is near. He is part of our clan, he herds the cats, and they swipe at him, but lie next to him, he keeps an eye on us, and frowns when we fight, and laughs when we do, which is far more often than we did before he came along.

There are a lot of people just like us out there, people who need a little boost in their routine, a little something extra to make life sweeter, and taking a chance an a homeless pet is a great way to begin exploring all of the possibilities that exist for us during our time here on earth. I once thought that my days of befriending a member of the animal kingdom were over, but how foolish was I?

Life is for living. There is a beginning, and an end. I plan on getting in as many licks as I can while I'm in the middle.

And Mr. Wilson's got a lot of licks in him.

Between all of the Pet Rescues and available pets, and the over half of pet-less homes, I think there a lot of people who are missing out. We just have to figure out how to let them know what they are missing.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Random Rescue Friday, FOHA RI

Without Friends of Homeless Animals, RI, there would be no Mr. Wilson in our lives. And without Mr. Wilson... well, that is simply unthinkable! There is more to an adoption than meets the eye, without orginization, hard work and proper funding the best intentions will never meet the needs of the original purpose. The purpose of FOHA RI is to unite unwanted dogs with people who want them. We wanted a dog. We saw one on-line that had potential, made a phone call and before we knew it had rescued a homeless dog from Arkansas.

But they didn't just give us the dog. There was an application, a home inspection, reference checks, phone calls, paperwork and more care and diligence than I ever imagined possible. Mr. Wilson arrived in Rhode Island healthy, properly cared for and with all of his shots, neutered and with a fresh haircut to boot!

From the forthcoming book, Mr. Wilson Makes it Home ( )

     Friends of Homeless Animals, RI was started by Roie Griego as a rescue organization that found homes for unwanted Boston Terriers. But that is far from how Roie began rescuing animals. For some, animal rescue is a passion, and they devote their lives to making the world we live in a better place because of the work they do. Some may ask, “why bother rescuing unwanted pets and animals when there is so much need in the human population?” I have asked the same questions, never giving enough thought to the answer.
     After talking with Roie the answer became clear. We do it because by doing so we help both people and the animals who inhabit this earth, and the moment in time that we share. The animals cannot take care of themselves, and people are directly affected by the health and well-being of the animals. Spending time in Mexico, working to improve the lives of abandoned and feral animals there, Roie learned that even the smallest contribution to lessening the enormity of the homeless pet problem is a worthy undertaking. Her work with stray street dogs was the catalyst for Veterinarians Across Borders, whose mission statement, from their website is; “Veterinarians Without Borders advances human health and livelihoods in underserved areas by sustainably improving veterinary care and animal husbandry, working toward preventing, controlling and eliminating priority diseases. Our Vision: Enhance human and animal health and create a secure, diverse, and healthy food supply for all the world’s people.”
     Her work has taken her to places that most of us can barely imagine. The suffering that exists in the animal kingdom is staggering, and unnecessary.
     I asked her how she remains dedicated after seeing so much misery. She has been an activist for over thirty years, has worked with the Audubon Society showing children the value of wildlife at the Trail Side Museum in Massachusetts, was involved with Jacques’ Cousteau’s “Involvement Days,” lived in Texas and became the chair of a local Boston Terrier group’s rescue division, which in all likelihood led her to her work as the president of Friends of Homeless Animals.
     “The story of the starfish describes it best,” she said, and I waited for her to continue, knowing from the brief time that we shared talking on the phone that this was a special person, and the story that would follow worthy of hearing. “A man walked along the beach, and millions of starfish had washed ashore. He bent over, and over, tossing them back into the ocean so that they might live a little longer. A different man walked toward him, and stopped when he saw what was going on, and asked the man throwing the fish back into the ocean why he bothered, when so many would be left to die in the sand, or be washed back ashore. What difference did it make? The man who had been throwing the starfish back in the ocean stopped what he was doing, and looked at the living creature in his hand, and said, ‘because to this starfish, it makes all the difference. And he threw the starfish into the ocean, and bent over and picked up another.”
      All of the pets for adoption that FOHA helps are kept in foster homes until somebody notices them, usually through the internet, but sometimes at adoption events. Local pet stores and many pet supply chains have gotten on board, foregoing the practice of selling puppies in lieu of holding adoption events. Different animal rescue groups come together and hold an adoption festival, and the foster pets are all brought to a central location, and people looking to adopt can look around and find their perfect pet.
     I never knew. It was inconceivable to me that thousands of people cared for dogs in their homes so that somebody else could adopt them. I had spent the last twenty-plus years working as an EMT in Providence. My world revolved around sick people, injured people, dead and dying people and people who had given up hope. There was an occasional happy ending to a 911 call, but the negative outcomes far exceeded the positive. It is a difficult environment to stay optimistic in, and I fell into the deep end of the pool of disillusionment head first.
      Simply knowing that people whom I share this earth with find the time, empathy and hope within themselves to chip away at the immense problem of unwanted pets opened my eyes to the possibility that perhaps there is a better way, and closing the doors of my mind on the problem was not a necessary a very good coping mechanism. My job made me good at taking care of sick and injured people. It was time for my life to veer toward taking care of myself, my family and maybe even some homeless pets.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vinny Goombats

There are no free rides in this life, even for an adorable Schnoodle named Mr. Wilson. He has to earn his keep like the rest of us, and has decided that it is his responsibility as Head of Security to keep our business safe from all intruders. Except, of course, if the intruder is an Apple Headed Chiwawa named Vinny Goombats, then it's okay. But even Schnoodles feel the call of the wild when their territory in impinged upon, and that cute little bark of his becomes a menacing roar, and poor old Vinny Goombats, all one and a half pounds of him has to run for the shelter of Cheryl's feet.

But all is well in the world of the dogs, just a little adjustment in pack heirarchy now and then and everything works out fine.

It is good to give your dog purpose, and a feeling of accomplishment. All living beings thrive on purposeful, productive achievement, and dogs are no different. I do not believe in having dogs do tricks for their meals, but I do insist they sit like ladies and gentlemen when their dinner is served, and wait for the proper cue to eat. It takes a while to train them to not go ape at suppertime, but the feeling of accomplishment that comes from following commands, and doing a good job before feasting keeps the dog engaged, and happy, and willing to learn new things.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Random Rescue Friday - Peace and Paws

I thought there was nothing I could do. I couldn't save them all, so I didn't save any.  But what if I could save one, and tell anybody who would listen how great it felt to be part of an abandoned dog's recovery, his introduction into a loving home and the profound effect that the spirit within him has had on our family? Perhaps then other people would see that there is no insignifigant act of kindness, no matter how small it may appear; for kindness grows, and is weaved into the fabric of our existance, and when nurtured becomes the strongest part.

I do not know Mellissa and Bo Hannon from Peace and Paws, but I know about them, and simply knowing that there are great people dedicated to introducing other great people to great pets, and that enough people donated to their latest cause, The Ruff House to turn their dream to reality kind of makes the thought of saving them all not as distant.

I can't save them all, but I can certainly help the people who are trying their hardest.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wood Chips

Sunrise. Big deal. The new blinds I bought at Lowe's do a crummy job of keeping the new day's glorious beginning out of my nice, dark room. Before opening my eyes I move; back is still there, still hurting, the elbow and knees creak as I roll over, stick my head under the pillow and try to doze off, and forget that I'll be at work in an hour, and business is slow, off 25% from last year, and the kids need something, I'm sure,the car has sprung a leak and speaking of leaks, the pump in the basement is groaning.

Just as I decide to stay in bed for good something wet and slimy caresses my forehead. I peep out through bleary eyes and am face to face with a hungry Wilson. But he doesn't care that he's hungry. He's tap dancing on my pillow, and grinning. Grinning? The little bastard is grinning. And before I know it, I'm grinning too. Next thing I know, I'm on my feet, and he leads me to the door, and I let him out and stand there, watching him chase the birds and squirrels away from his birdfeeders.

A gentle breeze blows through the doorway, sunlight dapples the wood chips through the pine branches, and there, in his glory is Mr. Wilson, covered in sap and sticks, smelling like a freshly opened cedar chest and running past me into the house to wake up The Mrs.

It's a glorious beginning to another good day.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Homeless that is...

Mr Wilson made it home, but he didn't do it on his own; lots of people were involved in his rescue, without whom we would never have known how wonderful a scruffy little mutt can be.

Those people continue to do the thankless work of rescuing homeless pets. Prior to my exposure to the world of pet rescue I thought that people involved in the "business" were a little off center, maybe a few sandwiches short of a picnic and in all likelihood passionate, over the top advocates for the forgotten, cast off, abused, downtrodden and miraculous little creatures that we share our world with; 9000 of whom are euthanized every day, day after day.

Turns out I was right.

And without these passionate people it would be worse. Lots worse. People like myself turn a deaf ear to the plight of the unwanted pets in shelters, puppy mills, or in homes where they are abused, mistreated and left to fend for themselves, which often means an untimely death.

I spent well over two decades working as a firefighter/EMT in an urban environment. During that time I saw kittens left to die in litter boxes, Pit Bulls scarred and bleeding from pulling on their restraints, houses full of dogs and cats, fighting over what little food there was as the dead bodies of their fellow animals rotted where they dropped. And what did I do?

I went home after reporting my findings, and hoped that "somebody did something."

Well, somebody does do something. And those people do so without the fanfare, the accolades or the money. And they do so while the rest of us turn our backs, and think they're weird, or over the top, or misguided in their belief that they can save them all.

But we can save them all. And it's about time I got on board. I'm learning about this world, and figuring out where I best fit in. For now, I'm taking care of Mr. Wilson, and at least one homeless pet is no more.

Homeless that is.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I was rummaging around some old files and got a late Christmas present!