Mr. Wilson Made it Home!

Mr. Wilson Made it Home!
Mr. Wilson

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fostering Friendship

It is the Foster families that are the engine of the Pet Rescue world. These are the people behind the scenes whose names and faces are relatively unknown, whose Facebook pages don't get dozens or hundreds or thousands of likes, and who do the hard work of taking care of the homeless twenty-four hours a day while working, raising families of their own and being productive members of society. These are the people who make all of the great work that the rescues do possible, and without them the lives of thousands of animals would be forfeit. Every day.

Cheri, the lady from Arkansas who fostered Mr. Wilson had him for over a month, and a bond between them was formed, and Tippy, her "other" dog loved him as well, but they had to let him go when we found him, and that was hard for them, but they went through with what they had agreed to, and made sure Mr. Wilson made it to the vet, and packed his things and put him on the bus up north, in Wilson's case Alpha Dog Pet Transport.

A year and a few months have passed, and we still call Cheri now and then, or she calls us, and we share pictures between us, not always of the dogs; for there are gardens growing here, and there, and family things, work and the effort of living to share. Invitations have been extended for "up here" and "down there" and we hope to someday meet in person.By fostering a homeless dog Cheri has also fostered a friendship between people.

There is kindness in this world, and a great way to find it is by being involved in something bigger than ourselves. Mr. Wilson may be tiny in stature, but the spirit that resides in him, and transcended thousands of miles, and while doing so connected people in his path is immense.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thinking with Mr. Wilson

"I find all of this technology a little overwhelming when I think about it, which is exactly what I do when I can't sleep. The thought of my life being controlled by things that I don't understand is a little unsettling. If I were to take a farmer out of the year 1650, and plank him in front of a keyboard he wouldn't know what to do.

Can you imagine!

But imagine this; that same farmer, who could not yet read, found it incomprehensible that symbols on a

page, and then a number of pages bound together and then bound in leather held words that when pieced together told stories of things past, or even things that had never happened, and could fill a person's head with images that elicited emotion, wonder and inspiration.

And before him, when people lived in caves and grunted, and one of them put those grunts into order, and another figured out how to respond, and different sounding grunts meant different things, and before long there was language, and that language told stories of things that had happened, and maybe even things yet to come...

One thing is certain; the more I know the less I understand, aint that right Mr. Wilson.?"

"I don't know, Dad, it all seems pretty simple to me."

"Thanks buddy. Let's get some sleep."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Peanut died. He was killed by a car that couldn't swerve quickly enough to miss him. Stephanie, Ally and Mike miss him though, and will never get to hold him again, or feel the softness of his kisses, or be tickled by his whiskers.

It wasn't anybody's fault, just one of those things that happen in an instant, and in that instant everything changes. Allies prom was the night after her little peanut was killed. Months of planning, hundreds of dollars, all of the anticipation, the possibility of a lifetime of fond memories; gone.

Life is funny, the things we plan, and expect to remember forever are seldom the moments that stand out. The Prom. The Graduation. The Wedding. The Anniversary party. All of those things have the potential to be memorable, but seldom are.

The journey we undertake getting to a goal is what matters. Unexpected moments of bliss, or agony paint the past in vivid color, the minutia of living fades into oblique shades, things meticulously planned dissapear completely.

But we will never forget what happens when somebody we love squeaks out of our grasp, and runs into traffic. Mr. Wilson told me it would be okay, and that his pal Peanut was in a better place. Dogs don't mourn. Dogs continue their journey, and every moment is the one that matters, because for them, the past matters not.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mission Accomplished

"This doesn't look good, Dad."

"No, Mr. Wilson, it does not."

We arrived at the testing ground right on time. At the entrance to the parking lot was a big red van with the words K-9 Search and Rescue Team, FEMA emblazoned on the side. The only other people in the lot stood at the rear of a mini-van, the rear door open and a beautiful Golden Labrador lying in the back, perfectly poised, alert and awesome. Her "handler," stood at attention, talking with another lady who looked like she knew what she was doing.

We rolled our old Toyota Camry into the lot, Cheryl said, "oh boy," Mr. Wilson sat in his car seat in the back looking worried and I parked the car near the rear door. Two signs were posted there:

"We will get you when WE are ready!" and

"Sit down and shut up!" or something like that; the message was clear.

A perfect German Shepard named Gemma walked toward us with her handler, and we chatted for a while while we waited to be summoned. The lady was an actual dog trainer, and worked with search and rescue teams, cadaver sniffers, drug agents, the State Police and all kinds of ridiculously impressive dog teams

                                                                    Not Us!

"Dad, what is she saying to that big dog?" asked Mr. Wilson.

"Don't know, but it sounds scary," I replied.

"They're speaking German," said Cheryl, and we watched as Gemma performed every command given to her perfectly.

"Oh boy," we said, all at the same time.

Some time later, the door to the testing chamber opened and two dejected dogs and their equally dejected handlers emerged from the shadowy depths. They failed. Then they left without a word.

We were lined up and told to enter the building, rabies certificate and $25.00 cash ready and to wait at the bottom of the stairs.

"Dad, I don't do stairs," said Mr. Wilson, shrinking into the pavement.

"Today you do, old pal."

"It's okay, Mr. Wilson," said Cheryl. "I don't do stairs either. But you can, and you will be great."

"Thanks, Mom."

Cheryl sat at the top of the twenty steps in a folding chair that one of the testers provided and we reluctantly descended into the cold, dark basement where the testing would take place. The other dogs, Gemma and Daffodil  trolloped down those stairs like they were off to the doggie park, nary a whimper from either. Me and Mr. Wilson took the leap, and before we knew it had made put the stairs behind us.

"That wasn't so bad, Dad."

The test began. There was no nonsense, just tasks to be performed. Sit/stay. Down/Stay. Separation for three minutes, no whining allowed. The 20' leash sit and stay. Distractions, People on crutches, people throwing pans, treats in hands to be ignored on command, treats on the floor to walk over and past without gobbling, greeting strangers, kids running like maniacs past us-and we couldn't budge or chase after them.

Our two classmates were perfect. And so was Mr. Wilson!

"You passed," said the instructor. "Congratulations."

I have to hand it to Mr. Wilson. He seemed to know that what we were doing was important to me and Cheryl, and he simply did what was needed to make us happy.

He knew.

I don't know how he knew, we didn't really work that hard, and the test is something that some people and dogs train for for years and just can't pass, but he knew. He knew exactly what was necessary and he pulled it off. He is now a certified Therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Internationl, as well as obtaining his Canine Good Citizen award.

Not bad for an abandoned dog born in a puppy mill, bought at a pet store, neglected and abused, put on a truck, shipped from Arkansas to Rhode Island and made to live with two nutty people and two strange Maine Coon Cats.

"Can we go home now?"

"Of course we can."

"Good. I've got some squirrels to catch, and holes to dig and a home to protect."

"Good boy, Mr. Wilson. You did good."

"You too, Mom. You too, Dad."

He slept all the way home.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Random Rescue Friday, New England All Breed Rescue

 This is Sweet Tea and she is available for adoption here.

I am no Rockafeller, and I can't adopt or foster another dog at the moment, but I can help people who can. The reason I sent a small donation to them a few minutes ago is so that they can continue helping the homeless dogs who in turn improve the lives of the people who adopt them.

All things are connected, and a small act of kindness such as donating whatever you can to people who work tirelessly to make the connection between homeless dogs and the people who need them creates a ripple effect that will improve the quality of your days and make you life more fulfilling. It doesn't hurt, it just helps, and that is the most important thing we can do for each other. By helping others, you are also helping yourself.

So if you can, click on the logo below and send a few bucks to the people at New England All Breed Rescue. Every little bit helps!

New England All Breed Rescue


Our Mission

Our mission is to help all deserving dogs - whatever their origin might be - find good homes, from wherever they are. New England All Breed Rescue is a network of rescuers and dog advocates who work to re-home unwanted or displaced dogs into new family homes. Many of our dogs come from the Midwest and the South where completely healthy dogs are euthanized after three days. It is our goal to take these unwanted dogs where there are not enough homes and relocate them through our network of volunteers to New England where there is a shortage of adoptable dogs.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Super Dog Adoption Day

All of the homeless pets from all of the lands will converge at Balise Toyota on Sunday, June 1st where Always Adopt will hold their 4th Super Dog Adoption Day! There will be over 200 dogs and puppies to choose from, and rescues and shelters from all over will be represented by the dogs they have saved.

If I could describe the joy and satisfaction that we experienced on the day that we picked up Mr. Wilson at Exit 89 off Rt. 395 in Connecticut I have no doubt that you would cancel all of your plans, postpone the graduation parties and vacations, fence the yard and come to Balise Toyota on Sunday!

Alas, describing something that should be experienced is woefully inadequate. I truly believe that if you choose to go to this event, and see for yourself the dedication, care, and love that is in abundant supply there you will be filled with happiness that will last far longer than you can imagine.

And the dogs...

Click on the picture; a world of opportunity awaits you, all through the love gained through adopting a homeless dog! Every person has the perfect dog waiting to meet them. Perhaps this day will be yours!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Therapy Training

Deciding to be a Therapy Dog and doing so are two different animals, so to speak, and Mr. Wilson is finding out just how different. Ideas are easy; carrying out the ideas that pop into our head, especially after acting like a wild animal at the birthday party not so much. After an exhausting weekend of drills we took Monday off. Tuesday is maintenance day; groomer at 0830 hrs., Dr. Brewer at 1300 hrs., forced march to the beach at 1430 hrs then off to work for 1600 hrs.

Saturday is coming fast, sit/stay and down/stay are done, work continues on the right and left turns off leash, walking past tempting food and greeting strangers. The obstacle course training will begin on Thursday, I have set up my yard with distractions which Mr. Wilson must navigate without hesitation or he will surely fail the tests.

"This is hard, Dad," said a tired Mr. Wilson after an exhausting ten minute drill without a break.

"Anything worthwhile is hard, old pal."

"Do you think I'll pass?"

"It doesn't matter if you do or don't, you found a goal and you did your damnedest, can't expect more than that."

"Thanks Dad."

"It's okay, Mr. Wilson. Lets take a snooze."

There is no better therapy than dozing with your pals close by.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

"Hey Mom, I know you're my mom now, but what of my other mom?

"That's a sad story Mr. Wilson."

"It's okay, I want to know."

"She lives on a farm with lots of other moms."

"Is she okay?"

"We really don't know."

"Can we visit the farm? I bet it's nice there, with rivers and fields and birds and squirrells."

"Kind of like that old pal."

"I hope she's happy."

"Me too."

She's not happy. She lives in a puppy mill, churning out litter after litter so that people can buy her pups. Nobody touches her, nobody talks to her, nobody takes her for walks, nobody loves her, nobody is wishing her a Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


"Wilson, sit."

and he sits

"Wilson, stay."

and he stays

"Wilson come,"

and he comes.

Sit, stay, come.

Three words, three answers.

And a world of opportunity awaits.

When he jumps, I say "down."

Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't

but I don't mind.

Big test next Saturday; Therapy Dogs International

to them, down means lie flat.

to Wilson it means stop jumping

Friday, May 9, 2014

Random Rescue Friday, Tails of Hope Dog Rescue

This is Mika, and she is available for adoption through Petfinder and Tails of Hope Rescue out of Memphis, Tennessee. I loved a Siberian Husky for 12 years, and still do. She was a character; somebody tied her up at a local city run shelter on a Sunday with no information, just a sad little dog sitting in the rain, chained to a post. Chance, luck or divine intervention led us to her, and she was a giant part of our family for over a decade until she left us.
I cannot thank these animal rescue organizations enough; taking the loneliness and neglect out of the picture for so many abandoned or surrendered dogs is beyond valuable. Giving them temporary shelter, care and love at foster homes throughout the area is good for the foster families, great for the families about to adopt and simply fantastic for the pets who don't have to be chained to a post hoping that somebody comes along to save them!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Citizen Wilson

We had a party and Mr. Wilson went wild. Minutes after arriving at our destination; Brittany and Eric's house the guest of honor, one Mr. Wilson, Birthday Boy disappeared into the upstairs. It wasn't until much later that we discovered an empty bag, a hoard of missing cat food, a disgruntled cat and pee on the rug. But the wily two-year old wasn't done, nosiree Bob. He ran into the backyard, climbed onto the pool cover, rolled in the slimy water that accumulated there, ate some worms, chased a pair of chipmunks up a tree, shit in the begonias, dug a hole next to the fire pit then covered himself in mulch before demanding we let him back in.

"I don't know, Dad," he confessed much later after vomiting on the bed and collapsing in a heap, "I think I need purpose."

Purpose we shall have. On Saturday, May 17th we are taking the Canine Good Citizen test, along with The Therapy Dog International exam. . No more Wild Man Wilson. With a whole new outlook on life and meaning, he has become the perfect gentleman. Training has begun in earnest. If all goes well we will be visiting people in nursing homes and maybe even some kids in the hospital. Being an old firefighter, I have a few places in mind in need of a little cheer, and the perfect little pooch to bring it.

That is, if he survives the "terrible two's."

Say a prayer for us, we're going to need it!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Even Now

"Dad, how come Mom never comes with us on our walks?"
"She doesn't walk that well, Mr. Wilson."
"I know, but doesn't she want to?"
"More than anything in the world, my little friend."
"Then why doesn't she?"
"Sometimes good people get sick, little buddy. And when they do they lose things, things that are precious to them, things like the ability to move freely and think clearly."
"That's not fair."
"No, it's not. It's just the way it is."
"Then why do we walk when Mom can't, that doesn't seem fair to her. I say we stop walking and go home and stay with her, that way we can all be together."
"Because if we didn't go for our walks, she'd feel even worse."
"That doesn't make any sense."
"Multiple Sclerosis doesn't make any sense."
"Do dogs get Multiple Sclerosis?"
"I guess they do, or something like it that dogs get."
"Promise me something?"
"What's that Mr. Wilson?"
"If I get sick, keep on walking, but don't forget me."
"I'll never forget you."
"And Mom?"
"She's with me every second."
"Even now?"

Friday, May 2, 2014

Random Rescue Friday, PAWS New England

When we picked Mr. Wilson up at the highway rest stop a lot of people were picking up other dogs, and a lot of them wore PAWS sweatshirts and jackets. We had never been involved in any animal rescue activities but had heard about people picking up their adopted pets at highway rest stops. It sounded mysterious and kind of cool; strangers meeting at a darkened roadway, exchanging manilla envelopes and cargo then driving their separate ways.

From the book, Mr. Wilson Makes it Home

     A guy about my age was next in line, rugged, dressed in jeans and a work shirt. He didn’t seem to be the type to rescue homeless dogs. When Jeff appeared with a brown, hairy mixed breed thing, and Kevin handed over the manila envelope with all of the dogs medical records and as much history as they could find, I saw a different person altogether. He was one of us, and the look of exultation on his face was priceless. He walked away from the crowd, just him and his dog, looking into his new puppy’s eyes, getting his face licked, hypnotized by the living creature in his arms that gave unconditionally to a person who he had never met. A bond was instantly established between the two, one that would last the entire length of the dog’s life, and though in all likelihood the man would outlive the dog, would remain there as well.
     One of the people who fostered dogs was next, identified by her jacket which was emblazoned with giant letters, P A W S on the back.
     “What’s PAWS mean?” I asked Cheryl, assuming that she would know. After all, she did find out about all of this, had it not been for her exit 89 off of 395 would have been just one of the million and one places that I have never been.
     “People helping animals. They hook people up with abandoned dogs and cats.”
     “Yeah, but what’s PAWS stand for?”
     “I just told you, people helping animals.”
     “That would be PHA.”
     “You can’t say PHA. Nobody would remember it.
     “So what’s PAWS stand for?”
     “Does it matter?”
     “I guess not…I just wish I knew.”
     “Google it.”
     “I don’t have a Googler with me.”
     “What’s a Googler?”
     “It’s a thing that lets you google stuff.”
     “Like an I-phone?”
     “Yeah, exactly! So what does PAWS stand for.”
     “I told you, People Helping Animals.”
     “That would be PHA.”
     “Forget it.”
     “Ok, it’s not that important.”
     There’s nothing like meaningful conversation on a beautiful day.
     The dog that the lady from PAWS took from Jeff and Kevin was an older dog, maybe seven years old. She was terrified, and her tail was between her legs, and her ears were flat on her head, and she refused to make eye contact with anybody, just tried to melt into the pavement. She simply did not want to be noticed, being invisible much safer than being seen. She hid behind her foster mother’s legs, and the mom’s assistant, also wearing a PAWS jacket knelt next to the abused dog, then sat on the ground, and held her in her arms. I was mesmerized, unable to tear my teary eyes away from the drama that was happening so close to me I could smell the scent of fear coming from the dog.
     “Pets are worth saving.”
     “They sure are,” I said, watching as the two women showered the poor dog with patience and affection.
     “That’s what PAWS means.”
     It took me a minute, but eventually it all became clear.
     PAWS means a lot of things to a lot of different people. There are numerous organizations named PAWS, most exist for the sole reason of helping animals. It doesn’t really matter what each organization’s letters stand for, what matters is that there are people who volunteer their time helping those who have no voice. For me, PAWS means “People are worthy souls.”

     The people at PAWS do a great job, and they have our most sincere thanks.