AUGUST 13, 2005
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Love comes in many different packages and for Edith Layton, that package is a Pointer / Foxhound mix named Daisy. Edith shared this story of how she and Daisy found each other:
"When I lost my darling Bernese Mountain Dog Georgie Girl last year, I was desolate. A good dog that matures well becomes a wise dog, an indispensable dog, a part of the family and a large part of your heart.
I thought, for about a week, that I could never love again. But then I realized that life without a dog ain't no life at all.
So I drew up a list:
I didn't want:
1) a puppy
2) a purebred
3) a dog that reminded me of my Georgie girl (unfair all round)
I started to visit shelters and pounds, told friends, and went online looking for grown dog that would need me as much as I needed him/her. I had no specifications.
A darling black and white dog at a shelter out on the East End of Long Island. I'd seen his picture online, and came to see him. When I approached him, in his cage, he tried to remove my face. He was obviously a Hannibel Lecter Hound.
Another mixed breed looked SO possible, until I read his history which said that he couldn't be trusted with children under the age of 8. I wondered how a dog could read a birth certificate, and then, sadly, passed on him.
I met a dog that looked good online and on paper, but hated women. I met another that kept staring past my shoulder, looking for someone else. I realize many of these may have been heartbroken dogs, pining for their families. But I was pining for a dog that wanted me.
The king of the dogs that didn't want me was Bernie.
Highly recommended by a N.Y.C. rescue organization, Bernie was from a loving home filled with children. They had to give him up because their new apartment in the inner city didn't take dogs, and they wept like leaking sieves when they brought him to the shelter, and when they left him, all wailed, including Bernie – or so the organization told me. The helpful shelter folk actually said they'd spare me a visit to NYC and would drive him out to meet me. He was a nice looking dog that seemed intelligent. I was charmed, but by then I was easy. I was in NEED of a mutt.
We let him into my backyard and I soon discovered Bernie had a talent. He was a flying dog. He could leap tall fences in a single bound, and take off. He was airborne and down the block, twice, before they bundled him back into their car. They tied his leash to the car door so he wouldn't rocket out the window, and said good-bye. I felt bad; he might have been looking for his people. He might, however, have been looking to be the first dog on Mars.
And then I went to the shelter one fine day and because I couldn't find any dog that suited me, or that looked like it wanted to, I let my friend talk me into going into the puppy room, even though I did not want a puppy. There were easily fifty pups there, all cuddly, fuzzy and sweet, but also about as appealing to me as adopting a clutch of generic fuzzy Easter chicks. And then I saw her.
Now, granted, her cage was up on eye level. And she didn't look anything like any of the other pups. I fact, if she hadn't been there I wouldn't have known she was a pup, she looked only like a very small dog. She wasn't fluffy. She wasn't plump or bumbling. She wasn't frolicsome. She sat upright, prim and proper, and surveyed the people in the room. And then she saw me. She wouldn't let go. Her gaze followed me as I poked my finger into other cages to be nibbled at. Her eyes were like those in certain religious pictures, the ones that follow you around the room, demanding you repent. But I didn't want a little skinny dog with flat fur and absurdly long thin legs.
But I didn't want to leave her either. I went up to her cage. "How you doing, Daisy?" I asked. She cocked her head, surprised that I knew her name. "Want to hold her?" a shelter aide asked. And while I thought "no" I said "yes." She felt like a warm suede hot water bottle. And she had ridiculously skinny legs.
But I didn't want a dog like her. We put her back in the cage.
And then Fate, in the form of Bluto from Popeye comics, and his massive brother, came in and saw her.
They had to duck their heads to come into through the doorway. They were huge. They were as wide as they were tall, and they were both dressed in black. They stood in front of Daisy's cage, and one of the men managed to wedge the tip of a sausage size finger between the bars. She looked at me. Maiden in distress.
And then, because she was after all, a practical dog and there was no help for it, and she was trying to make the best of a really scary situation, she licked his fingertip. While looking past him, at me. "You going to let this happen?" her expression said.
I found the helpful aide. "I'll take her," I said. And I did.
Now I knew that Bluto and his brother wouldn't really have had her for dinner if I didn't. She was much too skinny, after all. But I'd have worried about it for the rest of my life. They wound up taking a fluffy Easter bunny-type puppy.
And when we sat and waited for our "adoption" papers to be filed, I talked with them. They were a pair of marshmallow soft sweeties, grieving for their own miniature poodle that had recently died.
So much for my judgment.
That was months ago. Daisy got bigger, and confident, and soon became a perfect puppy: often disobedient, destructive, willful, and sometimes downright snarky.
The North Shore Animal League is the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption center. Across the country, they rescue, nurture and restore pets to happy and healthy lives in loving homes. To date, they have rescued over 880,000 dogs, cats, kittens and puppies. Visit their site to learn how you can help a needy animal.
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From the publisher of Gypsy Lover, comes this teaser:
A reputation in ruins . . .
Lovely Meg Shaw is a respectable governess in a wealthy household -- and it is her duty to bring her charge safely home when the headstrong heiress runs away. But the perils for a young woman alone on dark English country roads pale before the dangers posed by Daffyd Reynard -- a dashing, reckless gentlemen with gypsy blood, who shadows Meg's every step. Interested in learning more about Gypsy Lover? Subscribe by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to receive exclusive updates available only to those who register.