New Adventures in…Things…

It’s been far too long since I’ve blogged and I am going to try to be more diligent. I blame FaceBook. It’s far too easy to simply post a single-line blurb there. However, since I can post the same here and have it publish to FB, I shall try to do things that way…at least for this month. We’ll see how it goes.

So…for those of you who are NOT following me on FB, here’s what’s new. We have been discussing for ages the possibility of adding a puppy or younger dog to our household. Charlie is 13 and a half, and though spry and active (albeit with the hip problems we all face as we age), he’s not doing a lot of moving around when we’re not home. We wanted someone who might encourage him to do so without challenging his “*I’m* the man” status. Not that he’s a forceful beastie, but he’s been here, it’s his house, he shouldn’t have to prove that.

We investigate, asked the vet, sought more opinions than I did on my new car, and looked at endless photos of rescue dogs. We wanted to rescue again, as we had Charlie. I’m still not entirely certain as to who rescued whom with him. Anyway, we narrowed our choices and then found a likely candidate.

I called, was “pre-screened” by the friend of the rescuer lady (to whom we shall forever after refer to as “Old Wackadoodle Lady,” or OWL for short). After that phone screen, OWL phoned me and we went through yet another vetting. Then we (Sheryl, Charlie, and I) had to trek down to Beverly Hills to meet said OWL. I was expecting, based upon her address, her general overprotectiveness, and her exhausting phone calls and details on how to access her gate, a mansion with loads of “help” flittering around.

What we found was a well-beyond-prime ex-actress (no, I’ll not share her name, but really…she’s been in a LOT of things, including, to our delight, a Doris Day film) living in a 1920’s HOVEL with overgrown trees, and barred windows. The house was filled with…well, it wasn’t pretty. There were, however, original posters from films and actual photos (not reprints or cutouts) of Jack and Jackie Kennedy with OWL and OWL with lots (and lots) of famous faces.

It was actually kind of sad.

Anyway. She made it sound as if we were the #1 candidate for the puppy she called Bella, whom we were going to name Beckett. She was a lab/golden mix, chocolate with a golden undercoat. A true sweetie. We scheduled a “home visit” for her to come on Friday (the 8th). Her aide said she’s be bringing the puppy and it looked as if we were set to go. Thursday night, however, as I was teaching my last class of the week, OWL phoned to tell me that she was not coming up and would most likely (the aide later said “assuredly”) place Bella and her sister India with a young couple with two kids.

Well…crap! Based upon OWL and aide’s assurances, we’d gone ahead and used our fabulous Amazon Christmas money to outfit ourselves with all things puppy-related. Now…crap. But…well, at least Bella could stay with her sister and would be loved. Nobody loves dogs more than do kids.

So…I began again the search. This time I was determined to only go through an actual rescue agency. I searched, sent out queries, and on Friday morning had narrowed our choices to two. Luckily, both dogs were available to be seen. The first was completely unsuitable once we (Charlie and I) met her. She was 3, quite assertive, and actually nipped Charlie and drew blood. I was not happy about that.

After giving Charlie treats, cuddles and taking a nice walk in a local park, he and I headed off to Riverside. Riverside is, on a good day, an hour and a half drive away. I had already spoken to the rescue place, The Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center, where Jack (totally family, btw, and say that in a singsong way) assured me that “Calpurnia” was even cuter than her photos.

Two hours later, in the driving rain and thunder, we arrived. Charlie and I ran inside on what was apparently their monthly ‘free spay and neuter’ day, and it was madness. However. Hol-eeee cow. I walked in and all of the staff are in fun kitten or puppy scrubs. Not a single person was grumpy. The place was SHINEEEEEEE CLEAN and smelled fantastic (in contrast to the LA Animal Shelter which smelled of enough ammonia that I was afraid of someone lighting a match!).

Clean, well-lit, friendly staff, and oh, so, careful in their screening. As we waited we listened (or, I listened, Charlie wagged and grinned) as an intake person took info from a lady who’d found a dog on the streets. I was really, really impressed.

Jack and Jill (not kidding, the other “counselor” was named Jill) brought out our girl. Jill held her and the young vet tech came to me and said, “Here’s what we do. You will wait here, I will bring Charlie into the room where the puppy is. We will see how they do together. If he doesn’t react well to her, or she to him, there won’t be an adoption. It really doesn’t matter to us if you’re in love with her, it’s the dogs that matter.”

Whoa.

Freakin’ awesome! None of the other shelters would let Charlie anywhere near a potential buddy! This was great!

So, in went Calpurnia (I know, I know), then in went Charlie. I stealthily peeked in through the window, keeping out of Charlie’s sight, while he and the puppy sniffed each other. After ten (long) minutes, they finally let me in. 

I sat on the floor and we all got to know each other. I won’t go into all of that, this is long enough. Suffice to say, it all went well. An hour and a half later, a little bit (but not much, really) poorer, Charlie, the puppy, and I headed home!

Through rain, sleet, hail, rain, brilliant sunshine, more rain, bigger hail and a little more sleet. Honestly, I thought I’d missed a turn and ended up back in Wisconsin! Finally, we were home. Charlie seemed pleased to be there and is getting used to our new pal.

After sorting through tons of name options and trying some on for size, we have settled on “Hopper.” We chose that for two reasons: 1) She hops. A lot; and 2) I am a huge admirer of Rear Adm. Grace Hopper (Ret.), the programmer of the Mark computers and the person who identified the first computer bug. Look it (and her) up.

Anyway, you can find photos of Hopper on my FB (Pol Robinson) page or enjoy this brief vid:

Hopper on the move.

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Journey From the Center of The Earth (or close to it)

There’s something pretty amazing about watching those miners come up, one by one, every hour or so. In an age when we are so used to instantaneous events and instant gratification, the wait between the arrival of each miner is a reminder that sometimes slow and steady can accomplish great things.

And really, how very cool is it that a woman in Texas is making a wedding dress for the wife of a rescued miner in Chile? Why can’t we have this kind of global outreach all the time, not just in times of stress and sadness, but…you know. All the time.

What about the women of Rwanda? What about the hungry around the world? What about forgotten children…everywhere? And forgotten adults?

When you are bored with your toys, and your life, and your friends, think about the above. Then reach out. And do something.

Tonight: giving mid-terms and writing more on the dissertation.