Well, here he is. After visiting six different shelters in three different cities and perusing endless Craigslist ads, this is the winner. Rajesh. His former owner said he’s a year. Maybe. No clue about his pedigree. He’s WAY BIGGER than we’d wanted. And drooly. And floppy. We were told he’s 58 lbs, but his paws are bigger than my hands, and he’s sturdy and thick, easily 70 lbs. He’s a Big Galoof. Think Clifford the Big Red Dog, but sandy. His tail is like a rear windshield wiper on high speed, flopping back and forth, knocking things off the coffee table. We nearly renamed him Thumper.
Keen on chewing and chasing Roxie endlessly around the yard, he’s forced her heart to pump more than it has in years. In fact, I don’t think a dog has stared into her eyes since Tonto lost his years ago. She shook. She bared her teeth. She growled. And eventually, she enjoyed the chase. They’re still getting to know each other. So we’ll see what this new chapter holds. Transitions take time and patience.
On a bright and sunny day in April of 2010, we drove to the local dog pound. After touring the inside, we walked up to an outside cage. There sat a dog with floppy brown basset ears and a heeler body, poised at the front wall, right paw extended to greet us. Our first-grader shook his hand, and that was it. We took Tonto home.
Throughout years of trying and failing to give our son a sibling, pregnancies and miscarriages, Tonto was always there as his best buddy, to scamper up his playscape and run in the sprinkler with all the energy of youth. When we took him to the dog park, other dogs would run off leash like banshees terrorizing a village. But Tonto would walk up to the first human, sit and extend his right paw to shake. Once shaken, he would move to the next human and spend the entire hour greeting folks. Through two eye removal surgeries, he never lost his sweetness, learning to take life as it comes, with all of its challenges.
The day after Christmas, his breathing became labored, and we rushed him to ER on that same road where we had adopted him 12 years prior. Within minutes, the doctor came in and said a tumor had ruptured on his spleen, and his belly was full of blood. He didn’t have long. Tears spilled on the floor tiles as the three of us stroked his fur for the last time and told him how much we loved him. We were there with him as the doctor let him gently go.
I imagine he greeted Saint Peter at the pearly gates with a right paw shake, and then proceeded into heaven, making new friends. He really was a good boy.
Poor Tonto, stuck outside on a rainy day, while Buddy enjoys the warm house. Buddy was our Thanksgiving visitor, and the only dog with hypoallergenic fur, which meant he got to stay inside among the humans, especially the one with allergies.
Don’t feel sad for Tonto; Roxie kept him company. The patio was dry, and they were able to return to their plush dog beds by evening, when Buddy returned home. And if you think about it, Tonto doesn’t even have eyeballs, so he probably didn’t know Buddy was standing there.
Roxie, shown here, is our youngest pound dog. Tonto is our 13-year-old pound dog, now blind and sometimes incontinent if made to hold his bladder overnight. As such, he sleeps in a kennel now to prevent him from messing on a carpet, which though rare, has happened. Roxie has the run of the house each night, as she is master of her bladder. However, the past couple of months have seen her venture over to his kennel, a place she had never before visited. She began spending a few minutes in there each night. Was she marking it with her scent? Didn’t she realize she was the lucky one, free to roam about, not jailed?
Now she spends most of the entire night in his kennel, while he snuggles into a dog bed near the coffee table, the more sociable of the two. We’re not sure why the change in her behavior, as she used to enjoy being stroked and scratched in the living room. The kennel has been there for years, and she has only just now decided to make it her evening resting spot, though Tonto sleeps in it overnight. This shot took her unawares as I stopped mid-cooking dinner to venture over to the kennel. Perhaps of all the five dog beds, this one is just the floofiest.
I saw this chart today, and found it interesting that a peregrine falcon can soar on wings at 242 mph. It made me wonder why more sports teams don’t call themselves peregrines instead of the generic falcons.
But then I learned something else. Nearly half a century on this earth and I had never known the name for a baby falcon.
Like the end of Tobias.
And baby chicks are eyasas. Did you know that?
Check out these eyases.
Now you armed with information as you go into 2022. Go forth and tell your co-workers.
By 1947, George Vierheller had already been director of the Saint Louis Zoo for nearly 20 years and felt at ease with his wards. As you can see, he had a certain laissez-faire approach to monkey business. Here, we find Tommy and Cookie taking issue with who really is who at the zoo, while George takes a cigar break. The zoo's website quotes Vierheller as such: Shortly after I became a zoo man, a friend of mine advised me: "George, don't merely sit in the chair and listen to it squeak."
So George became a hands-on boss.
You’ll note that he went ape over gorillas as well.
Even in the last year of his position at the zoo in 1962, Vierheller was still making friends and sharing vices.
A bronze statue of him was commissioned that same year, representing the love he shared with the animals.
Set down your coffee to read this one, folks. It doesn’t marry well with toilet bowl. I stumbled upon this image early this morning, perusing pics for a Facebook birthday post. I wondered why I had kept this Polaroid for nigh on 40 years. You can see the Polaroid edges, no? In it, the family cat of my tweens, Ran Tan, has decided to rehydrate from an exhaustive day of lounging and nibbling.
Did I keep it because I will always have a special place in my heart for her? No. She was a cat. She was not a dog. The special place is clearly filled with our dog.
But it speaks to a time where one did not have a camera in one’s pocket. If one had stumbled upon the cat mid-drink, one would never have time enough to go find the Polaroid and lug it to the water closet before said cat had vanished. I don’t recall the circumstances of how perchance the shot exists, or even who took it, though it’s been in my possession all these decades. It must have been happenstance.
It also speaks to growing up in a house with one potty for all to share. Patience was a virtue. My son grew up in a home where each bottom has its own toilet. Ah, luxury!
I imagine we sprinkled the bowl with Comet soon afterward. Note the stylish tiles, which, if original to the home, would be nearly 100 years old now. And how often do you see a black toilet seat? It complimented Ran Tan’s fur just fine.
Perhaps the point is the cliché seize the day, seize pleasure where you find it. Perhaps the point is to stay hydrated. Or perhaps the point is to save at least one picture of your family cat, even if it’s just the tail.