Thursday, November 29, 2012

Adopt This Dog?

About 3 1/2 years ago, the mother of a friend passed away, leaving behind a neutered male Apricot miniature poodle called KC.  Her daughter tried to take him but her own much larger dogs did not welcome him.  KC spent several months hiding under the couch or bed.  Whenever he did emerge for food or drink, the other dogs would beat him up.  When we heard about this, we took pity on KC and adopted him.

KC has had a rough past.  He was rescued by his previous owner after he was found abandoned on the side of the road.  Whoever his first owner was, they had his tail bobbed and did whatever else one does to "remodel" miniature poodles.  Then they decided they didn't want him and dumped him somewhere.

We also know that KC must have been abused.  He still cringes sometimes as though he is anticipating a whipping.  He also cringes if he sees me pick up a bottle by the neck.  I'm pretty certain he was beaten with a bottle and whipped with his leash at some point.  We guesstimate that KC is now about 9 1/2 - 10 years old.  He is current on all his vaccinations through May, 2013. We are clients of Colonial Park Animal Clinic in Harrisburg, PA, and can make his records available at anyone's request.  

We were told that KC is gentle, loves baths and being brushed, is housebroken, etc., etc. and so we thought he would be a good fit for our family.  I am 60 years old, retired, and haven't had a dog in my life for several years, but I do have some experience.  After only a few days in our home, KC started acting up.  He decidedly does NOT like baths or brushing.  He suffers terribly from separation anxiety when we have to leave him alone, and our vet finally put him on dog Prozac to stop some bad behavior that occurred when we were out of the house without him.  KC will also sometimes sneak off to relieve himself in lesser-used parts of the house if we do not regularly walk him or take him outside.  I suspect he would be much happier in a home with a doggie-door and a fenced-in yard -- neither of which we have.  I think he also needs almost constant company.

I do not believe that any animal should be put to death because of abuse suffered at the hands of human beings.  But I have to accept the fact that I am not able to give this little guy the care he needs.  My own health, I am sorry to say, is in serious decline.  I have always suffered from a whole suite of autoimmune diseases, but the worst of those, rheumatoid arthritis, is starting to severely limit my activities and my ability to give KC the walking and exercise that he needs to thrive.  Like it or not, dogs need to be walked and exercised, and just because it's raining or snowing and I am in pain does not let me (or the dog) off the hook.

I have tried Poodle Rescue but they are full up.  Other adoption sites seem to be more geared towards offering pets than taking them.  I have asked my vet to look into options for me as well, but I have heard nothing back.  I realize that it's difficult to get someone to adopt a dog with problems.  But I'm putting this appeal out there on the Internet in hopes that it reaches someone who can help us.

Like I said, I don't believe any animal deserves to be put to death because of stupid humans. I would like KC to find a home that is good for him and for which he would be a good addition.  He needs to be with people who can offer him patience, and love, and who are probably without younger children.  I think a fenced-in yard that he can access when he needs to do so would mean the world to him.  He can be very playful, and affectionate, and sweet, but he does not do well with other dogs or with solitude.

So if anyone knows of someone who fits these admittedly pretty specific criteria, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.  Please e-mail me any time at

I wish I was able to better care for this dog.  After what he's suffered at the hands of other humans, he certainly deserves it.  But I have to be honest with myself and admit that I am growing less and less able to care for him properly and I would very much like to see him placed in a home that's better for him, and sooner rather than later.  And I sure don't want him to live out his days in a cage at the shelter.

Please share this with anyone you think might be interested.  Please share this, period.  Somewhere out there is a retired homebody who has a fenced-in yard and some love for this poor little soul.  And I thank you for your time.

[UPDATE:  We were never able to find a home for KC on our own, and my rheumatoid arthritis is now bad enough that I could barely walk him some days.  I explained my situation to the Humane Society of Harrisburg, a non-euthanizing facility, and they graciously decided to waive the waiting period for me, which normally runs a year to a year and a half.  Last Friday, I surrendered KC to them.  If you're interested in adopting him, call their adoption center at 717-564-3320.  But be quick about it!  They say that the smaller dogs -- and the cute ones, which he definitely is -- don't stay around the facility for very long.  I wish KC the best of luck and nothing but joy in the next chapter of his little life.]

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I use this platform to bitch and moan about all kinds of things, but I want to say for the record that, despite it all, all the vagaries of marriage, parenthood, pet ownership, home ownership, ill health and all the rest, I am profoundly grateful for all that I do have.  As Mel Brooks says, "Could be worse.  Could be raining."

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Never again

Well, with my luck, probably not NEVER again, but we're hoping.  I'm referring to the possibility of going for days and days without electricity.  We were very lucky with Superstorm Sandy in that we only lost power briefly, but many of our friends and loved ones were not nearly so lucky.  One family friend of ours lost power for two weeks and although he has a generator, he was unable to find fuel for it for a while, which meant of course living in the dark and cold with food quietly spoiling in the kitchen.

In the late 1990's my area went without power for five or six days after some hurricane whose name I can no longer remember.  It was only by the merest chance that we were out of town for it.  We came home to the spoilage and inconvenience but did not actually have to live through the mess.  Our hotel was also in the path of the hurricane and lost power for about a day, but nothing like the length of time here at home.

And then there was the Christmas Day power blackout, when someone took out a transformer pole with their car on Christmas Morning; there were two feet of snow on the ground and it was bitter cold, and the turkey had just gone into the oven...when the power went out for what turned out to be almost twelve hours.  And us with a house full of company, no heat and no way to prepare the refrigerator full of food that was in our kitchen.

Well, no more.  Megan and I have decided to bite the bullet, pool our pennies and purchase a whole-house generator which will run on our natural gas line.  Unlike many of the homes in our neighborhood, we are actually connected to the gas lines instead of having propane delivered to a tank attached to the house.  In the event of a major power outage, the generator will kick in and will deliver enough power to run the heat (or the air conditioning) as well as the fridge, and the lights.  There is a considerable demand for generators right now, so we probably won't get anything actually installed until sometime in January at the very earliest.

All of which virtually guarantees two things:  one, that at some time between now and the installation we can expect to endure one last major power outage, and two, that once the generator is installed, Central Pennsylvania will never again experience a power outage of any kind.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Now that the dust has settled...

It's been a long and grueling election "season" here in the U.S.  If you can even describe an ordeal that has lasted eighteen months as a "season."  The temptation is to sit back and breathe a deep sigh now that it's over, but I believe strongly that sitting back in relief would be one of the worst mistakes we can make.

Put quite simply, this nation needs to change the way we elect our leaders.

Our elected officials now spend more time fighting to be re-elected than they do performing the jobs we sent them to do.  It's not right.  No President should start his re-eelction bid half-way into his term.  It's no wonder that between the bid for re-election and the complete intractability of opposition party members like John "Crocodile Tears" Boehner, President Obama was able to accomplish surprisingly little in the second half of his first term.  While I am heartened by the Tea Party congressional freshmen who were sent packing, by the fact that gay marriage rights won on every single ballot in which it appeared, and by the election of our first gay senator, I also despair of the way we have begun to do the business of electioneering.

I think we need to make some big changes.  I think it will probably be very difficult to implement any of them, but I think for the sake of our nation and of our sanity, we need to make the attempt.  My suggestions:

• Make whatever legal changes are necessary to overturn Citizens United.  One of the most toxic aspects of the campaigns we just completed were the negative and misleading advertisements by so-called Super Pacs like Crossroads and Americans for Prosperity.  At the very least, there should be full accountability so that the average person knows who is responsible for these ads.  They need to know that it's not really Americans for Prosperity banding together to make a point, it's two billionaire brothers.  That it's not Americans at a Crossroads sharing their beliefs, it's one well-known neo-conservative and Republican strategist named Karl Rove.  Complete transparency in the funding would at least enable most people to put the messages in context and take them with a grain of salt.  Banning them altogether would be even better.

Think of how those billions of dollars spent in the most expensive election to date could have been better spent.  How many bridges could have been repaired, potholes filled, textbooks purchased and empty bellies sated?  Instead, the money filled a few pockets in the advertising and entertainment industries.  It's not right.  It needs to change.  We can not afford to run the risk of elections being purchased through propaganda elicited by a wealthy few.  We know -- know! -- that when enough money is thrown at an election, it can have a huge effect on the result.  I don't want to live in an oligarchy, thank you very much, and I don't think the wealthy deserve a bigger voice than I have.  I truly believe that if we want to be a truly free society, we need serious, major campaign finance reform.

• Shorten the election season.  REALLY shorten it.  Take all the time you want to quietly get your ducks in a row, but primary season should not begin before January of the year of the election.  Winnow down the field by the summer party convention and spend September and October campaigning.  That's it.  If you can't get your message across in those nine weeks, then your message is clearly not what the public wants to hear.  And cut the posturing bullshit between Iowa and New Hampshire about who comes first in the primary season.  Part of the reason why this election was as long and grueling as it was is attributable directly to this inane competition between the states as to who gets to have the First Primary.  Get over yourselves.  The rest of us can't bear these eighteen month grinds.  And we shouldn't have to.

So that's it.  Get rid of the Super Pacs, have meaningful finance reform, and less time wasted in trading hot air with one another.  Once we put all that money to better use, we really can sit back and breathe a real sigh of relief that it's all over.

Until the next one, of course.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ricky Gervais' "Why I Am An Atheist."

Go to speakeasy and READ THIS NOW.  I wish I'd written it myself.  It certainly describes how I feel and what I believe, damn near perfectly.

And for God's, er, Heaven's, no, er, the UNIVERSE's sake, don't miss the postscript:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty ... Leia?!?

We got through Hurricane Sandy.  The house survived the horrendous winds and we didn't lose power for nearly as long as some folks did -- friends in New Jersey will not have their power back for another four days.  If they can get gasoline, they might actually be able to let us put them up.  Right now, that's a pretty big "if" since gas is being rationed there -- $50 limit and odd/even day/license plate sales like we all had to deal with back in 1974.  I hope the estimates are wrong and that people can start getting back to their lives as soon as possible.

One bit of news waiting for us when the power came back on was that George Lucas is selling Lucasfilm to Disney.  Overall I have to say that I find this news to be both disturbing and disappointing.  I see it as part of an overall pattern of business acquisition in this country where companies just become absolutely, bloatedly enormous and leave us consumers with fewer and fewer choices, as well as fewer opportunities for the little guys trying to start something.  Soon we'll have just one or two giant banks, entertainment corporations, airlines, oil companies, etc., etc., etc.

Seth McFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, tweeted about the Disney/Lucasfilm deal, something to the effect that, "oh, great, Star Wars is now in the hands of the talented dream makers who gave us Mars Needs Moms."  I can't say I disagree.  And for years I have hated — hated — how Disney has to put its name on every bloody property they crop in front of us.  Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Disney's Pinocchio, Disney's The Lion King, blah, blah, blah.  Walt didn't write those stories, and his studio barely gives credit to those who did; certainly not with the prominence it gives to its own moniker.  Pixar Studio is its own entity apart from the name on the deed of the property -- they write, direct, create and produce all their brilliant stuff (like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles) in-house.  But it's all labeled "DISNEY/Pixar" above the title.  Shameless.

I was sad when Disney acquired the Muppets.  I was devastated when they acquired Marvel Comics.  But their acquisition of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars properties is absolutely devastating to me.  Yeah, George Lucas really tanked with his writing and directing of The Phantom Menace but the original Star Wars: A New Hope was a pure delight.  It's original and fresh and exciting and nobody had ever seen anything remotely like it.  It was like someone dumped The Wizard of Oz and Forbidden Planet into a blender and managed to fuse the best of both of them into something entirely new.  Disney's version is going to be slick and technically brilliant...and utterly soulless.  Now we can look forward to Princess Leia joining the ranks of Snow White, Belle, Ariel the Mermaid and Cinderella in the Disney aisle of the toy store.

No, the Disneyfication of the Star Wars universe and its characters is not something to which I'm looking forward.  At all.