Saturday Morning Open Thread

A far more pleasant story, via commentor Aleta — from the NYTimes, “Opening the Heart’s Floodgates, With a Paw”:

The quiet young man had come to me looking for love, ideally at first sight. I asked my usual questions about his work, where he lived, how he spent his free time. I asked about his great loves of the past, what had worked, or not worked, in those relationships. Then I asked how he felt about being jumped on, slobbered on or getting mud all over his couch.

“I’m O.K. with that,” he said. “Can I meet Chance?”

Ah, Chance. The young lab-mix, with a puppy’s zeal for life, who loved to chew on the shelter volunteers’ hands as we leashed him.

“Behave yourself for once,” I urged Chance as I opened the kennel.

He was quiet as I slipped on a harness, but when we turned to leave he began to buck wildly. My heart sank. Then I saw the face of the young man waiting by the door. He’d gone all moony. He only had eyes for Chance.

Much to my surprise, I have become a matchmaker. On Saturday afternoons I pull on my gray T-shirt and head to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, where I help people find their canine soul mates amid the barky din. Doing this work, I’ve not only learned how to pair up people and canines, I have received a master class in the expansiveness of the human heart, a lesson that I very much needed…


What’s on the agenda for the beginning of the (for some of us, three-day) weekend?

Friday Morning Open Thread: Soldier On

On a lighter note (h/t commentor scav), possibly the most Scottish solution ever to help ‘harder-to-adopt’ dogs find new homes:

Jumpers [translation: sweaters] are being knitted for “discriminated-against” dogs that an animal welfare charity finds among the hardest to rehome…

Scottish Women’s Institute groups, including those in Aberdeenshire, have been knitting the eye-catching jumpers. The knitting effort forms part of celebrations marking 100 years of the SWI.

The SSPCA describes the problem of rehoming dark-coated dogs as Black Dog Syndrome.

The charity said that, in photographs, the dogs’ features and personalities do not show up as they do for dogs with lighter coats.

SSPCA superintendent Sharon Comrie said: “This syndrome really does affect the adoption of animals in our care and, through no fault of their own, black dogs are almost always the last to find new homes.

“It’s a really creative idea to knit coloured jackets to show these dogs off to their best advantage.

“Knowing that the SWI has members in every part of Scotland, many of whom are extremely dextrous when it comes to traditional crafts, means that we’ll hopefully be able to help animals in the nine rescue and rehoming centres we operate in Scotland.”…

You should definitely click the link, because the models are adorable. Given how popular knitting has become here in America… if a shelter were to photograph its black dogs wearing… hmm… pussycat hats?

(And speaking of the Women’s Institute, Calendar Girls is a delightful little diversion if you’re looking for something to distract you this weekend.)

What else is on the agenda as we wrap up another long week?

Let’s Start Our Day on a Positive Note

That’s better.

On the SCOTUS appointment, the one really nice thing is I have to spend zero time learning about the nominee. You simply oppose anyone who is not Garland, because obstruction should not be rewarded. Period. End of Story. Dems filibuster him until McConnell blows up the filibuster.

Late Evening Open Thread: The Cuteness!


Hat Tip: Senior Chief Nance’s twitter feed.


When I first posted here a couple weeks back, some of you remembered that I used to post here a long time ago – 2008 actually. And a couple of you even remembered that I had a dog at the time – a Black Labrador Retriever named Charlotte. Well, I’m happy to report that she still exists and is doing well. Of course, “well” is relative nowadays. In 2008, she was just 6 years old, completely active, and a handful. A couple of weeks ago, she passed the 14.5 year mark.

Like everyone, I’ve gone through some shit. For 14 years, this girl has been with me through it all. She’s been the constant in my life – from a divorce, to dating, to marrying again. I used to always tell people what a wonderful dog she is – especially a friend at work who had to remind me that I wasn’t the only one who loved my dog. Sometimes I think we love our own pets so much that we forget that other people have them and love them just as much!

Charlotte at the vet. She’s not happy. She’s scared shitless.

Of course, she’s the one going through stuff now. At 14+, which is pretty much two-years past the due date for a lot of Labs, she’s experiencing the same things all old dogs and people experience. Mostly mobility issues. There was a time a year back when she would pace the house late at night, panting and seeming distressed. We discovered that she was pretty much deaf and, of course, at night she became deaf and blind. So leaving a light on for her in the living room really helped. She has a bit of arthritis in her front shoulders, but not enough to bother her too much, and easily controlled with pain medication. It’s her back legs I worry about most. They’re giving out, pretty quickly actually. We don’t go for walks anymore, but we do go to the courtyard a couple times a day. I sometimes have to carry her there, but not usually. She just finds the sunniest spot and lays there. We’ve put carpet runners throughout the condo so she doesn’t slip on the hardwood floors. And one sofa cushion is always left off so there’s 4-5 inches less between her and a comfortable place to lay down.

We’ve had to stop traveling together so one of us can stay home and take care of her. My cousin lives in Atlanta and lost his old Lab a couple years ago, and even though he would take her in a heartbeat, we don’t want to put the responsibility on him to make a difficult decision if it comes up. We also don’t want to stress Charlotte out by being in a less familiar home.

It’s been hard for us, but we don’t question it. It just is.

It’s heartbreaking for me to know that this will almost certainly be the year we we have to let our girl go. She’s still completely sharp mentally, but her body just isn’t lasting as long as her brain. I made her a promise when she was little that I would never keep her alive just to make me happy, and I intend to keep that promise, sad as it will be. But for now, I think she’s OK. The vet seems to think so, too. Still, we chatted about the “right time” and I think it’ll be here sooner rather than later. Until that time, I am going to enjoy the hell out of her!

It’s hard to believe she went from this:

Charlotte as a baby

to this:

Charlotte at Lake Lanier in Atlanta this summer

I don’t think I will ever feel the same way about a person as I have about Charlotte. Bet I’m not the only one. Anyway, this was not meant to be a depressing post. I actually feel exceptionally lucky and happy to have had more than 14 years with her. She’s honestly made my life infinitely more full.

Happy Friday!

Walter Update

From Debit:

Hey. There hasn’t been any change with Walter thus far. We’re not going to change his medication yet (other than increasing the dosage). I’m going to continue with his Adequan treatments as my assumption is that they can’t hurt and might help with some of his joint pain.

I’m keeping him quiet, or trying to anyway. He still wants to chase squirrels and gets so excited when I come home and at meal times that he tries to jump. I thought about doing a bucket list for him, but when it comes down to it what he likes best is food, treats, praise and cuddling with kids, so I’m trying to make sure he gets plenty of each.

My vet can’t give me an estimate on how long we have, so we’re just going to keep going in once every few weeks for x-rays to keep an eye on the cancer and the bone density in his hip joint. I know he’s in pain – he has to be even without the cancer – but he’s so stoic that it’s hard for me to know exactly how much, and how much could be considered acceptable.

He loves his kids:

Walter is an old soul.

Monday Morning Open Thread: Keep Resisting!

Maybe it’s just me, but… the present social moment reminds me of the Anita Hill – Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. All the nice white men (and some women!) shook their heads and said Not my mother! My wife! My daughters! Nobody would dare treat my women like that!

And then ‘their’ women told them the stories they hadn’t been able to share, because they needed that job and all the girls expected to be treated like that and what good would it have done to complain?

Or ‘their’ women just looked away, because really, what could they say?

That didn’t stop Justice Thomas’ confirmation, of course, but it did — as the expression was — change the conversation. Suddenly sexual harassment was a real problem, not just a smutty joke.

Let’s be the snowflakes that start the avalanche…

From a BJ commentor. Dogs know which people can be trusted: