May 7, 2010


In my last life, I created crossword puzzles. I was famous. So famous that I had to retreat to northern Nova Scotia to escape the endless hordes of enthusiasts who pursued me relentlessly. “How, how, how, did you create this?”, they would ask me breathlessly while they jabbed repeatedly at a particularly clever and complicated witticism, stabbing their paper so hard with their precious pen that one could no longer decipher the place at which they were poking. Paper, after all, is not meant for jabbing.

After I found my retreat, I was alone at last. I could not create fast enough, since those who had hounded me relentlessly could no longer find me. I had found the solitude that I craved, and my mind exploded with crossword puzzles that made their way to my public so circuitously that my whereabouts remained a puzzle in itself.

Now, I find myself in a different body, and I am no longer the creator, but rather, the one who deciphers different puzzles with which I am presented. I am utterly fascinated by this, and I find myself understanding those who pursued me in my former life. I love figuring out puzzles! How ironic that I now find myself at the opposite end of the spectrum – from the creator to the aficionado.

This particular puzzle is a milk crate,
but I have been successful with plain
cardboard boxes of all sizes, I have found treasures in traffic cones, and pawed through small piles of rocks to get to my reward.

My nose is incredible, a gift, I might say,
 that leads and stimulates me to figure out just how to get my reward. When I figure out how to get to my treasure (S!), I get praised profusely, and I get to eat my reward, or play with it. Under my puzzles are what my puzzle makers call my “motivators” – that is, what motivates me to try to get what is underneath that puzzle. For me, its’ treats, but I also LOVE squeaky balls, and stuffed toys rank right up there in my top five as well.

Here’s my friend
a box
He looks like he's
on water,
doesn't he? He's a happy feller.

So, if I may present some advice to all of you shelter volunteers, please see for yourself how our brains work. Do we get to our treasures with our paws, or do we use our mouths, or do we push the puzzles around with our noses until the box upends itself? You see, we are still learning how things work and anything that stimulates our mind, well, it might be as exhausting for us as calculus might be for you. Challenge our brains!

Our puzzle makers make sure we’ve got the zoomies out of us, that we’ve done our business, and we’ve checked all the doggie mail. Then out comes the box, and we watch carefully to see what is going under it. Oh, yeah. Then the puzzle makers clap and say, “Get It!” and we hop to it. Well, some if us; not all of us enjoy it, but plenty do!

woo-hoo! You puzzle makers rock! And the affection you give us – oh, mama . . . .

May 6, 2010


And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved,
to feel myself
beloved on this earth.

- Raymond Carver, “Late Fragment”

Why does this quote strike me as apropos for
Give a Dog a Bone?

Perhaps it has to do with the love that we receive from our dogs. I am beloved by my dogs. I feel so beloved. What we have together has nothing to do with pulling them from the shelter and bringing them into my, now our, home.

People we meet ask sometimes if they are rescues; clearly they are not identifiable as a particular breed, but the word “rescue” brings with it a connotation that implies that I rescued them. More accurately, I feel, is that we found each other. The odds were pretty good since I used to spend most of my time in a shelter.

They are both formerly GADAB dogs. And perhaps why this quote resonated so strongly with me is that the dogs with whom we work are beloved as well. Do dogs know that they are supposed to feel beloved?

They are.

As are we.