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2017 Oregon Basset Hound Games

18 Jul

When the police car pulled up, I took my attention away from what I was doing at the raffle table. I watched the officer as he stepped out of the car and moseyed over to the ring where all the action was happening. He was a very tall man and one of his strides was probably two of mine.

What have we done?  I wondered.  Did someone call in a noise complaint?

I continued watching him as he stood at the edge of the ring. From my angle at the raffle table, I couldn’t see his face, and I could stand the mystery no longer.

“I’m going to take some photos, ” I told the two people at the registration table. “Can you take over raffle ticket sales for a few minutes?” I said, not really asking.

Camera in hand, I wandered over to the ring where the Limbo was going on, and stood right next to the police officer. He reached into his breast pocket, (Will he write us a citation?) pulled out his phone and, like me, started taking pictures.

“Are you a basset hound lover?” I asked.

“Nah, just a dog lover in general,” he replied.

“Great!” I said. “Enjoy the day. It is good for some laughs.” I moved into the ring to take more photos.

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Rehoming Rocket

12 Mar

Poor Violet!

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Not only did she get drenched and muddy, but her life is about to change forever.

We met at a park yesterday for Violet and her family to meet Rocket…

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…a two year old boy who needs a new home. His mom had a stroke and can’t take care of him any more and Violet’s parents want a playmate for her.

In spite of the torrential rain, things went well. It wasn’t love at first sight for the two dogs, but that rarely happens. They sniffed each other and walked nicely side by side. While they walked Violet’s family had a little meeting and decided that, yes, they’d like to adopt him.

We made a plan – in the park, in the rain – to transfer Rocket to his new home on Friday. His invalid mom wasn’t at this meeting so she needs a chance to say goodbye. We will all meet again at our vet’s office, where Rocket will get a microchip and a once over before going to his new home.

 

Lucy by Randy Cecil

29 Sep

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My Lucy is a funny girl who loves to burrow in bedding. She was never homeless,in fact, she had two homes before me. One kept her in the bathroom, too busy to pay attention to their new puppy. The other fell apart and Lucy became a canine victim of divorce. It took three tries to find her “furever” home with me.

The eponymous Lucy of Randy Cecil’s Lucy is a homeless dog.

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Publisher’s Summary:A tiny dog, a kindhearted girl, and a nervous juggler converge in a cinematic book in four acts — a unique children’s literature experience.

Lucy is a small dog without a home. She had one once, but she remembers it only in her dreams. Eleanor is a little girl who looks forward to feeding the stray dog that appears faithfully beneath her window each day. Eleanor’s father is a juggler with stage fright. The overlapping stories of three delightful characters, offering a slightly different perspective each time, come together in a truly original, beautifully illustrated book for dog (and underdog) lovers of all ages.

Lucy touched my heart. Told in three acts, the book feels like a silent movie,  the circular illustrations reminiscent of their openings and closing.

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Act one lays down the groundwork of the story. Act two follows the same pattern, with some variations. Act three had me worried, even though I knew a happy ending was inevitable.

I’d like to think this one is a Caldecott contender.

A story of friendship

18 Sep

I have a first period reading class every other day. The first half is supposed to be silent reading. The second half is supposed to be instruction in reading strategies, etc, though we have a little more leeway on Fridays.

Well, Friday found me deep in the book I was reading, When Friendship Followed Me Home  by Paul Griffin.

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When the clock reached the point at which we should stop, I was at a critical place. I could have stopped, but it was Friday. My former elementary students used to say “Friday is free day”, so I told my class my dilemma and asked their indulgence. They voted unanimously to continue reading all period.

Publisher’s Summary: Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a goodbye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books…until he rescues an abandoned mutt from the alley next-door to the Coney Island Library.

Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley—yes, like the comet—a girl unlike anyone he has ever met. Ben begins thinking of her as “Rainbow Girl” because of her crazy-colored clothes and her laugh, pure magic, the kind that makes you smile away the stormiest day.

Rainbow Girl convinces Ben to write a novel with her.  But as their story unfolds Ben’s life begins to unravel, and Ben must discover for himself the truth about friendship and the meaning of home.

Paul Griffin’s breathtaking middle-grade debut will warm your heart as much as it breaks it.

I finished the book, just before the bell rang. If I;d been home, I probably would have cried. I made an immediate decision. I was so moved by this book, that I decided it would be my BookTalk book for today, instead of the one I’d planned. When Friendship Followed Me Home  was added to many “Next” lists.

Three cheers for basset hounds!

10 May

On a Thursday about wo weeks ago, Oregon Basset Hound Rescue received this request and our adoption coordinator sent it out to the volunteers.

Hello,
My name is L*** and I’m emailing for an old man I met who has 4 Bassett
hounds 3 of whom need homes. The man’s health has declined and he needs to
move from his home to a place more suited to help him but he can’t until
these poor little babies find homes…These are beautiful dogs and I want to help them get a life they deserve.

There were 2 males, Barney and Buddy, and a female named Pearl who needed homes. I put on my OBHR superhero cape and went into action.

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Buddy, son of Pearl and Barney,  was about a year old and I had the perfect home for him. I had done a home visit in January for a woman who had an older dog and an adult basset mix and wanted a wanted a younger basset. We had a 1 year old boy available at the time and got several applications on him. I did two home visits for that dog, but they were second & third in line for that young fellow. I always tell people we mostly get older dogs, but, if they can be patient  a younger dog might come along. She was thrilled when I contacted her, excited at the prospect. Check, one dog taken care of.

I manage the Oregon Basset Hound Games Facebook page and our President asked me to post the dogs there to get word out quickly. Within a few hours, there were lots of comments, but two people messaged me. One was a person who had adopted from and fostered for us before. Check….a foster home in case we don’t get anyone else. Maybe a good home for Barney.

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The third was a woman who had lost a senior female in March and was especially interested in Pearl, who, at 4 or 5, had lived a hard life, giving birth to several litters.

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I told her our process and she had her adoption application filled out by the next day. I did the home visit the following Monday, where I met her current dog and looked around her home. Boom…three potential families.

I contacted the woman to let her know we had three candidates and worked out a time and place to make the exchange. They were out of town for a few days and lived 2 hours from Portland. One of the adopters had something on the next weekend. Finally, we settled on Saturday, May 7. The dogs had never been to a vet, and I don’t know what to expect, though the original owner said he got rabies vaccine from the feed store and did his own at home.  With no official records, we decided to make an appointment with our vet, get the three dogs microchipped and vaccinated, and give them a once over.

I thought, calling a week and a half ahead, we would have no problem getting an appointment. Of course, I was mistaken. Fortunately, I spoke directly the vet and she said we should just bring them in around noon and she would squeeze them in.

And so Saturday rolled around. I checked Friday to be sure everyone was still on board. You’d be surprised how often these things fall through. Once again, the odds were in my favor and everyone was still good to go.

When I got to the clinic, I met the angels who had contacted us in the parking lot and finally met the dogs. Oh, they were filthy and their nails were horrifically long. We waddled our way into the clinic and they put us in a room. It was about 1 p.m. Three people and three stinky dogs in a room.

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Barney was going to live with a family three hours east of Portland, so he went first. Pearl and Buddy mourned his departure. For dogs who had never lived in doors, they quickly learned the meaning of the door. He was back before too long, with ear cleaner and drops for a minor ear infection, and I texted his foster family. We’d arranged for them to arrive by two and both they and Barney were good to go by that time.

And then there were two.

Pearl and Buddy each got their turn. Pearl also had an ear infection and got cleaner and drops, but Buddy was in good health. I texted their new moms and they arrived by three. We spent some time in the room, talking over what the vet had said. And then, we all left.

Buddy’s mom sent me some photos Saturday evening. he was settling in nicely.

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Barney’s foster mom said he did well on the drive. We got him up on Petfinder today. This picture ought to get some action.

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Today I heard that Pearl is also settling in well. She was the one my heart went out to her. It was the day before Mother’s Day and I was breaking up her family. To top it all off, her mammary glands were so stretched, they almost dragged on the ground and she was in heat.  But she has a new home with a new mom and a lovely sister and the rest of her life to relax.

I’d spent three hours in that small room. I was exhausted, covered in dog hair and smelled like a kennel. When I got home, I threw my clothes in the washer, had a shower and then a nap. I slept like a baby.

 

 

Disappointment

12 Mar

It seemed like a perfect plan.

Earlier this week, Oregon Basset Hound rescue had been contacted by a man in Southern Oregon about rehoming his 2-year-old basset hound named Thor.

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Our adoption coordinator sent out an email to see if we had anyone approved and looking for a young dog. I answered right away, knowing I had the perfect candidate.

I had done Roger’s home visit in January. He’d lost his basset, Sarge,  a while back and was now ready to get a new family member. Roger was friendly,  laid-back and worked 5 minutes from home, so he could check in frequently on a new dog. A great potential adopter. In January, we didn’t have anything for him, but it wasn’t January anymore.

Emails and phone calls ensued and today was supposed to be the day.  We had arranged a midway point where Roger could meet Thor, who was staying with his dad because we had no foster spots available. It would be a three-hour drive North for Thor’s dad, a two-hour drive South for me, and a little more than a two-hour drive South for Roger.

And then it all fell apart.

I got an email yesterday from Thor’s dad saying he’d changed his mind. Crap. I wanted to cry. I wasn’t adopting Thor, but I was really excited about facilitating this adoption. I just knew in my heart this was going to be a good match. Instead, I had to get in touch with Roger, who was, naturally, disappointed. No one likes to give bad news and I felt like I had failed.

Roger gets to stay at the top of our list. I hope we can find another perfect match for him. I wish Thor and his dad all the best.

I’m a sucker for a good dog story

19 Feb

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Even though the subtitle of Gary Paulsen’s  This Side of Wild is   Mutts, Mares and Laughing Dinosaurs I didn’t realize it was going to be the kind of book it was. I knew it was nonfiction, but assumed it would be more like expository than memoir, which is what it is.

He got me with the first story about Corky, a three-toothed poodle no one wanted,  who could frighten off bears. It made me think for a moment, and only a moment, that maybe my next dog should be a poodle. The other stories in the book tell of remarkable animals Paulsen has encountered. Although marketed for middle grades, it is listed s 10 & up. By up, I think they mean way up:  I think many adults would enjoy reading this.

Publisher’s Summary: Longlisted for the National Book Award

The Newbery Honor–winning author of Hatchet and Dogsongshares surprising true stories about his relationship with animals, highlighting their compassion, intellect, intuition, and sense of adventure.

Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom.

His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.

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