Bird’s Pet Emporium: Rules I Thought People Wouldn’t Need To Be Told

As my last few posts have indicated, I have been using all my social media marketing skills to find homes for all of these animals that ended up in my care.

O.Sweet.Mother.of. God.

I have had a decent response for Sparrow: (the one on the right)

Black & White Dog is Pasha; Red & White Dog is Sparrow.

Black & White Dog is Pasha; Red & White Dog is Sparrow.

I was very careful to check out any interested parties, since Sparrow happens to be my favorite.

Ideally, she would be in a home with small boys, a fenced yard, and owners willing to train her. She’s mischievous, precocious, and she tends to play a little on the rough side. She’s wicked smart; she knows door knobs open doors, and she is almost able to actually turn the knob and open the door. When she wants to go outside, she doesn’t scratch at the door. She tries to let herself out using the knob. It’s kind of awesome to watch.

The people I approved for her seemed to fit the bill, but when they showed up, they brought their little boston terrier Bo, (as high strung as that breed could possibly get), and Sparrow wouldn’t let them approach her. I mean, seriously. She’s not stupid.

She was freaked out by the strange people, the disgusting canine visitor, with his lack of respect for personal boundaries and constant drooling, and hid under the couch, sporadically barking and growling her opinions about this bunch of visitors.

The people decided this behavior wasn’t ideal, chose to take the stray dog I fell in love with a few weeks ago, Sheba, and left. A few hours later, they indicated they might bring Sheba back because she didn’t like the boston terrier. Sparrow wasn’t surprised at all. In the end, Sheba and Bo worked out an understanding, and they opted to keep her after all.

Pasha is Sparrow’s sister, and Rebekkah’s favorite.



As busy and naughty as Sparrow is, Pasha is just the opposite. She’s gentle, sweet, and craves approval. She likes to snuggle, hug, and give little puppy kisses. We were hoping she would find a home with little girls, a fenced yard, and laid back owners. I yell at Sparrow all the time, and it causes Pasha to go running for Rebekkah’s lap.

Pasha, for whatever reason, had less people interested in her. I ended up letting a very young woman and her husband take her. Within an hour, they were having problems. Pasha peed in their house, wouldn’t respond to them calling her (by her new name, Bella), and when they let her outside, she chased a rabbit who led her far from the house, and wouldn’t come back when they called her. Turns out, they did not have a fenced yard after all. They complained, but still wanted to see if they could keep her. Short answer, no. I had them bring her back to me. Pet owners need to have better problem solving skills than this set.

So, in service to mankind, let me put into writing some things people should probably keep in mind when adopting animals.


1. When you first meet your new pet, you know what’s going on. They don’t. Not all dogs think every human is an instant friend. A dog that hides from you isn’t instantly a bad dog to have. They are, instead, a discerning animal, careful about who they will befriend. Relationships take a little time; usually much longer than 5 minutes.

2. If you already have a seriously high-strung dog, be prepared to have some patience while your new pet adjusts to behaviors most people find obnoxious.

3. Puppies that have lived in only one home since birth might not know where the bathroom is at your house. There will always be a certain amount of time spent acclimating them to their new surroundings, and that includes reinforcing where they are expected to relieve themselves. Pay attention; take them out often; praise good behavior. It ain’t rocket science.

4. No animal in the world knows their own name a few hours after you’ve named them. If you call the newly named dog, and it doesn’t respond, you haven’t found a defective pet. The pet has found a defective owner.

5. If you don’t have a yard, don’t let your puppy out without a leash. They might chase a rabbit far away, not know their new name, and ignore your calls for them to come back.

Seriously, people.

~ Bird




Dogged By Problems of the Canine Persuation

awesome drunkMy dad informed me this evening that both Michael and I need to write about something interesting on our blogs because frankly, we’re boring him to death. I love my dad. He’s a fabulous communicator. I must get my mad skills from him, don’t you think?  :-)

As life often does, I’ve been tossed some pretty difficult curve balls. My transmission on my truck went out. My horrible landlord sold my house out from under me. And I find myself in the tortured position of needing help, constantly, all the time, for everything.


I have to tell you. Being the needy person just sucks.

Last Friday, after a very disappointing day that offered up more problems than solutions, Rebekkah and I found ourselvesfcd65b0568f3678cde4d667b0629db08a0509a2c stranded outside of a little neighborhood pub. The transmission on the truck had thrown up its hands in despair, and would go no further. Simon was at work. My family lives a long way from me. My best friend lives somewhere near the moon, and I have no friends here that are those kinds of friends. A laughable attempt to find out when the next city bus would be coming along was enough to convince me, I don’t want to be at the mercy of those morons. Dejectedly, we trudged our weary, cold bodies into the closet-sized bar, sent a text to Simon, and sat down to wait for our rescue.

Rebekkah, as upset about this latest downturn in our luck as I was, was fighting back her tears, which caused me to lose my shit. I locked myself in the grungy little bathroom and wept like an infant. Then, I washed my face, ordered several tequila shots, and the rest of the evening is just a nauseated-tinged blur of panic and slightly insane forced optimism that didn’t fool Rebekkah for even a second. I spent the next few days trying to recover from my dry heaving stomach, migrane-grade headache, and as an added bonus, a bladder infection that made my hair hurt. I went to bed, and I didn’t get up for days.

Homeless_womanFor what seems like a million years, I’ve handled the crap life has tossed at me, and so I guess it is no real surprise that my survival instinct kicked back in sometime after I was able to stop puking, and I began breaking down each problem, organizing and prioritizing what needs to be done first, and getting back some sensation of control over my life. It’s amazing to me how I can literally make myself sick worrying over something, and not really have a clue what it is exactly that I’m freaking out about. Yet again, this was one of those times. I was not losing my cookies over having to move….The Blue House has always made me blue. I wasn’t losing it over my broken truck either. That poor thing is always in the shop.

You want to know what drove me to drown my worries in tequila, limes, and a little salt?

Animals. Lots and lots of animals.

I live in a rough area of town, and daily, I see homeless people setting up tents along a highway, or see them being Jake 2harassed by the latest crop of academy graduates, with their shiny new badges. I see the open sores of an impoverished existence bleeding and scabbing on too many cracked, dry hands and gaunt, solemn faces each day. I hand out my cigarettes to people who truly comprehend just how expensive each little stick of death really is, and listen to stories that make my soul weep for the hopeless state mankind has wrought on itself and all it touches.

I see all of that human misery daily, but it is the animals wandering loyally next to their homeless humans that make me want to close my eyes and never open them again. There is a message in each furry face that I can’t seem to escape, and I find myself haunted by these visions constantly.

big dogI get that we humans disobeyed the ONE rule in the garden we were given, and brought this horror show down on our own shoulders. But there is such an injustice in seeing any animal suffer because of our stupidity, and my grief over what my own kind had brought into their innocent lives has caused me to become the safe house for a bunch of abandoned/lost/dumped pets. My neighbors call me the dog whisperer, and at any given evening, I have a pack of strays loitering in my yard, along with whatever material possessions they deem to drag here with them. I get annoyed sometimes as I’m picking up empty cans of food, scraps of rugs or blankets, chewed plastic bowls, and the myriad of wrappers they scraped mercilessly clean, but not as much as I pretend. The truth is, I care about each of them, and wonder what their stories are, sad that they can’t tell me about the life they have led up to this harsh moment. Maybe it is the burden of guilt I feel that drives me to make things better for them, as best I can. I hope to give them a minute of happiness in their neglected lives.

I guess I wasn’t paying attention to the deepening sadness and feeling of indebtedness that was saturating my soul, until I realized I was going to have to move.  When I go, what will happen to them? I’m not stupid. I can’t haul dozens of stray animals where ever I go. It’s winter now, and without my garage, will they be cold? Sick? Will they wonder why I’m not there? I imagine some of this melancholy is from the depression I have been battling for months now, but ironically, knowing that makes none of it better.

I’ve spent days trying to find animal rescues that are no-kill shelters, and cleverly, they’ve made it almost impossible to Reality-Vs-How-It-Is-Supposed-To-Behave an animal placed into their shelters. Ironically, it has also become distressingly easy to pay to take one out. This is all done in the guise of dissuading irresponsible pet owners from dumping their pets whenever they cease to be adorable puppies, or they fail to train them from barking, chewing, or jumping fences. How convenient for them!!

News flash: irresponsible pet owners aren’t bothering trying to find no-kill shelters for their discarded pets…. they are just dumping them in my yard and driving away.

Rebekkah and I have been treating mange, posting pictures of them on Facebook, feeding them, sheltering them, and trying to rehome them, but we both know some of them aren’t going to find any takers. Not all dogs are attractive, or pleasant natured, or funny. It feels like a futile enterprise, but we keep trying, each of us dreading the quickly coming day when we will have to decide that the city pound and almost certain death is preferable to a life of starvation, neglect, disease, and isolation. I dread it. I know it is coming.

kitties and ducksI know that this dilemma can easily be avoided by refusing to see them, or by calling someone to haul them away where I don’t have to feel this anguish every time they look up expectantly when my door opens. I could probably even justify my refusal to engage as an act of self defense. But instead, I’m going to choose to feel this sorrow, regret, and sense of indebtedness to the animals suffering under the curse we unleashed on this majestic earth. It has become all too easy to pick and choose our realities, and our refusal to suffer has made us pathetic and weak. All wisdom comes with pain, and suffering widens our knowledge.

~ Bird


Common Sense – Better Than a PH.D.

Common sense…it’s what’s for breakfast.

If you are interested in our customer service position, don’t be aggressive about getting information that we don’t release to non-applicants, then call me a rude name when I won’t make an exception for you.


Seriously. What the hell.

~ Bird


A Drop of Hope Goes A Long Way

big dogThis isn’t going to be a long post. Long story short, I’m going through probably the worst difficulties I’ve had in a while, and it is hard to stay upbeat and positive about things. Still, something small can happen, and the amount of hope it restores is kind of amazing.

About a week or so ago, a beautiful golden lab was dumped for mysterious reasons near my house. I feed strays, and clearly, word has spread among the animal population that I’m the place to go if you’re down on your luck. This beast was hungry, shy, and incredibly laid back. I watched the kids next door play with him, and my dogs and cats adored him. I watched him to see if maybe he was sick but he wasn’t. I have no idea why someone would dump a dog so wonderful.

It snowed last night, and Rebekkah and I couldn’t leave him out there. Being easily 85 pounds, we tried dragging in the house, but he brushed us off like we were newborn kittens. We finally were able to pick him up and put him inside, and out of the snow. Thinking that people love huge animals like this, I snapped a picture of him and put up notice on Facebook. The outpouring of concern and offers of help were incredible, and I literally cried a little at how quickly this big teddy bear of a dog found a really, really good home. Sometimes, the callousness of people makes me sick. But there are good people out there too, who will put themselves out to correct wrongs they themselves would never dream of doing. A little of my faith in mankind has been restored this morning.

~ Bird

It’s Official: I’m a Wind Bag

Quotation-Harry-S-Truman-great-good-humor-job-Meetville-Quotes-57179According to BlogBooker, if I wanted to turn this blog into a book, it would be a whopping 1898 pages long.


This blog is only slightly less than three years old.


When did I become such a wind bag? :-)


~ Bird


Postcards From Hell

addictionI hope you all will visit the page I added today called Postcards From Hell. In it, I have collected a small sampling of various comments from readers who shared a little bit about their own experiences with addiction, whether their own or in the life of some they love. It seemed wrong to leave these voices unnoticed. ~ Bird

Knowledge and Wisdom

persian proverb