There’s nothing quite like being mind-stuck in the toothpaste aisle at Target, trying to decide which variety to buy (as if I haven’t been buying toothpaste since I was seventeen), and receiving a holiday picture text from the family who adopted one of my fosters. Kinda brings stuff like the Big Toothpaste Decision 2011 back into focus.
I grabbed the box of Crest that was in my hand and scrolled through the new pictures of my past foster kid, Phillie, and his BFF Frosti.
(Some of you might remember Phillie from this story. We called him Philippe then.)
Phillie’s mom, Alice, says his groomer has a thing for him. I think everybody who’s breathing should have a thing for that dog. He’s a rockstar.
When not modeling his winter couture, Phillie spends most of the rest of his time in repose. It’s difficult being rescued, you know.
When I see these photos of my formerly forlorn pal from the state fair, I have tangible hope for the futures of all of the guys who are still looking for homes — homes like the one Alice and her family have given these lucky critters.
Without rescue programs in place, Phillie would have never found his canine’s paradise . . .
. . . and I would probably still be looking for toothpaste at Target instead of typing this homage to my favorite Bichon Frise pup. You’ve gotta pay attention to the things that make life grand.
Thanks to Alice for sending the photos, as always. If you’d also like to make a difference this holiday, consider donating to a rescue or shelter group. The dogs in boarding (and in foster care) need bones, warm beds, blankets, toys, and people who have extra time to hold a leash every so often. Fill out the contact form below to be redirected to a needy shelter/animal rescue group near you.
Lest the title is confusing, the following story is actually not the worst porn film ever made. Rather, these are the chronicles of Rex, my “little brother.”
During the state fair adoption drive in October, DFW Rescue Me volunteers nabbed a cocky, little Schnauzer mix from Dallas Animal Services. (For those of you who don’t know, that’s The Pound.) From that day forward, the crew referred to the mutt as “Sexy Rexy,” but only because it had been a porn-star-naming kind of day. Rex the dog in question wasn’t sexy. At all.
Poor guy had a bum, cauliflower ear. His fur was always messy looking. His nub of a tail never wagged. I took him into our house, hoping he’d be adopted before the fair ended.
People observed: “Did you know this dog has a messed up ear?” “What happened to him?” “He looks sad.” “This dog is too old for us.” It didn’t help that Rex wasn’t friendly when he saw other dogs or that he thought my cats needed to be eaten immediately. I was sure he was misunderstood, that he hadn’t been given a fair shake.
For the first week in our home, Rex dragged a leash when he wasn’t in his crate. He’d tried to attack and chase the cats — something Clover and Banksy didn’t seem to enjoy. Being rescue noobs, my husband and I watched every episode of “The Dog Whisperer” in an attempt to restore balance in the house and help correct Rex’s attitude. I pestered the other volunteers for advice and worked with Rex every day, several times a day. We wanted the little dude to achieve the right level of awesome for his future adoptive family.
After Rex learned basic commands and how to not behave like a total spaz on the leash, Clover cat bravely forgave him and began kissing his healed-but-still-hurting ear. Boundaries developed, a friendship was forged. Rex spent the rest of his days in our home endlessly telling Banksy how sorry he was for being such an ass, but unfortunately she was a grumbly, grudge holder when it came to things like attempted murder. You can’t win them all. Sorry, Rex.
Weeks went by, and nobody was truly interested in giving the white Schnauzer a second shot at a good life. I knew I loved him when a “thinking about it” potential adopter did finally call; I pressed mute while she was talking so she couldn’t hear me crying at the thought of never seeing Rex again. As it was, he was at my feet, standing there with the ginormous, fuzzy candy cane I’d bought for him the day before, nuzzling against me, worried about why I was upset.
I called my dad to vent about what a great little guy Rex is and how my heart was broken that he hadn’t found his perfect home based on rather vain concerns about his appearance. Before I knew it, Dad was on the two-hour journey over to my house. Sight unseen, he was sold on my foster friend. The next afternoon Dad and I went shopping for everything Rex could ever need . . . and not need. It was like a doggy fairytale.
As I watched Rex in his new car seat backing out of my driveway, I knew it was a perfect match (and I’m not just saying that because Dad made sure they had coordinating sweaters). Those two needed one another. Dad spends his days mostly alone, isolated from the rest of our family in his retirement years. Plus, he visits my grandmother daily in her nursing home and was excited about introducing her and her elderly-without-dogs housemates to Rex. Win/win/win/win/wininfinity.
(Sadly, Clover kitty cried, looking for her pal from room to room. She found a hidden rawhide strip of his and carried it to her cat condo. Banksy threw a house party, hired DJs, drank Bacardi like it was her birthday.)
This year, Thanksgiving was extra special because I got to hang out with my family AND my new “little brother.” I brought Merlin the Magic Lab with us so that Rex could have a friend to meet and so that Merlin wouldn’t be alone in a crate while everybody else feasted. Rex, who used to be so confused about himself and other animals, ran around the house and rolled on the floor with Merlin, making happy dog sounds. We ended the day by taking three cars full of relatives to surprise Grandma at the nursing home. Rex led the pack straight to her room, where Gran yelled, “There he is!” This was exactly what I’d envisioned and hoped for Rex when we met. I just never knew it would be with my family.
And I never knew a scruffy, little mutt could bring us all together like he has. Thank dog, indeed (and DFW Rescue Me for making the whole thing possible. Without them, Rex would have been euthanized).