Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

When I first saw Petie, he was dodging LA Animal Services down on Marengo. I stood at the corner with Tommy, hoping he’d come to us, but instead he ran into a backyard, as terrified of Tommy and me as he was of animal control.

A few days later I saw Petie in Farnsworth Park. He was still fearful, so I put a bowl of kibble on the ground and stood at a safe distance giving him the space to eat. After he heartily finished the food, we did the same dance with a bowl of water.

Once I gained Petie's trust, he blossomed into an entirely different dog—playful, loving, happy. The moment he saw a tennis ball on the ground he pounced on it with a burst of joy, as if he’d discovered a long-lost friend.

Even in the shelter his spirit shined—and that did not go unnoticed. Petie was adopted over the weekend, even before we posted this video, shot by Karin Bugge. (Check out Karin's Patch article about Altadena’s animal shelter dilemma.)

Unfortunately the light-colored pittie’s story is different. She was timid from the start. I only got her into the car because of her attachment to Petie: she just followed his lead. Alone in her kennel at the shelter, she’s been emotionally shut down, unapproachable. No one has been able to lure her out of her shell.

The verdict is she isn’t adoptable. The verdict is they have to kill her. Last resort has arrived.

So, Friday she gets spayed, and Saturday I pick her up and bring her home.

Honestly this is not cause for celebration. I’m not thrilled with this plan. I’m tired. I want to focus on my new house.

I want to have friends over for brunch, set up my home office, start a regular writing practice. I want to buy a couch.

But I can’t stand the thought of having led her to her death.

And perhaps, ultimately, she’ll lighten my burden.

Perhaps Tommy will frolic in the yard with her instead of sitting at the door, pathetically waiting to get back in the house only moments after I've let him out.

Perhaps, ultimately, she will again follow Petie's lead, and shine.

What's in a name?
As Veronica points out, a pit bull shouldn’t have the reserved nature of a lion. This girl needs a new name.

Juliette is sweet but her fate is too tragic.

My sister, Lynne, detecting a purple hue in the photo, called her Iris. I like Iris. I also like Trixie. Trixie sounds like a sweet goofball, just what I'm hoping her true nature turns out to be.

What do you think? What shall we call this gorgeous shy girl?


  1. Oh, Susan. Dear, sweet, Susan. I completely understand your huge heart couldn't let her go to that fate, and I feel for you so much. Land sakes, you've already moved Heaven and earth for your gorgeous Tommy. I'm bereft of inspiration for names at the moment but of these two, while Iris is a beautiful calm and strong name, I'll put my vote in for Trixie. She's due for some lighthearted times, I'd say. Big hugs to all of you!

  2. It's pretty huge when you can save the life of two dogs in one month.

    And in spite of this story, what you said about your couch potato made me laugh.

    Four years ago I took in a dog. He was scared of doorways, sidewalks, steps, towels, gardeners...But he followed Phoebe around everywhere and learned the world is a pretty nice place. So now he's my big dumb oaf Albert.

    So you're right -- make sure you choose the right name. They grow into it.

  3. We can't solve all the world's problems, even when they're at our doorstep. Even if it's just in one area of life. But if everyone tried like you then the world would be a better place for all.

  4. I'm going to need a lot of support in the coming months, and I know I'll get it here. Thank you, my friends.

    Shell, your vote has been tallied. Hugs back at you, you big-hearted animal lover.

    Hiker, Albert's story gives me hope for this shy girl. But Phoebe may be a better leader than Tommy. May I borrow her?

    Cafe, I'm truly touched. Thank you.

  5. Yeah, Susan! You are absolutely doing the right thing and it will be great for you and Tommy, and even the cats. Tommy will be so delighted to have a buddy. It will all work out. I'm sending you Artemis, who had fifty dogs.

  6. It will be a big change but I KNOW it will all work out


  7. I like the name Trixie a lot. How could a Trixie and a Tommy not end up the best of friends?

  8. Charlotte. And please, Susan, stop making me weep.

  9. When I see or hear the name Elsa, I don't think of the lion. I think of the lead female role in the opera Lohengrin. But she drops dead from grief in the end, so that's no good, either.

    When I had dogs over the years, they were all female -- Missy, Allie and Katie. Other family members have had Maple, Roxanne, Sadie and Charlotte.

  10. And bless you for doing this, by the way. My late mother used to say, "In heaven you will wear many crowns."

  11. Susan, you're a saint. And she's so Lucky- that might be a good name for her. Good luck.

  12. Let me amend that to Good Charlotte. She could mos def grow into a name like that, but then, couldn't we all.

  13. Margaret, 50 dogs?! I'm going to start channeling Artemis right now.

    Kari, you know life with two pitties, so I'll take your word for it.

    flurrious, that's what I was thinking: Tommy & Trixie

    But I love the other suggestions, too. Here's what we've got:
    Iris (PA, you seem quite certain)
    Good Charlotte (oh yes, mos def)

    PIO, you had a lot of dogs! I love your mom's quote.

    Miss J, I'll be calling on you for two-pittie advice.

    Oh, Paula, you're a sensitive soul.

    I'll ponder these names. They're all wonderful. Thank you.

  14. I have a rescue dog - rescued from starving in a culvert on a job site - he's a hand full, and I sometimes wish he didn't have so many issues but he's ours. And we love him. Now I'm going to have to go blow my nose. I so understand what you're going through.

  15. Would that be Ranger? Our hero dog who barks at fireworks? I'm glad he found his way into your world. Another lucky dog.

  16. Susan - I have two dogs and all I would ever have, at minimum, is two. Henry and Walter are inseparable and even though Brian is home with them every day, when we do have to leave them alone, they have each other. Tommy will be blessed with Elsa. And yes, I think you should keep ELSA as her name - that was the name that struck you first and who cares if Pitties are not lioness types? Seriously?! The name came from your first impression and from your big, beautiful heart. In my opinion, nothing else will do. Tommy and Elsa. Pure Love.

  17. Artemis, for goddess' sake! How much more clear can it be?

    Now I'll go back and read the rest of the comments.

    Oh, and Cafe, that is the sweetest thing ever.

  18. These are all beautiful comments and beautiful names.

    We can't save them all, unfortunately. I'll bet everyone here has found at least one stray this year. Usually they're terrified and you can't get them to come to you. Susan, I don't know how you do it. A blessing and a curse. Mostly a blessing.

  19. Don't let me pressure you. Name her what feels right. Maybe she just needs to be "sweetie" till something starts to click.

  20. This is fun to play around with a names. I think you are a wonderful woman to decided to actually do something to save these dogs lives, instead of look away. Or just feel sorry for them. That was so brave of you. They were hungry and lost and you fed them and found Petey a home. Just beautiful my dear kind friend. Next we will make a video and I will help you socialize her and train her if she needs it. If we can. And pray we can adopt her out too. You are an angel living in Altadena. Doing your blessed little miracles all around your neighborhood.

  21. Hi Sue:
    Oh dear how I love this story and its happy ending. What about the name, Lovey? All the dogs are about love, hands down. What about Lamb? Remember your dear Taffy? I loved her all the way way back when. You go with your bad self and save these dear animals. I am so happy that Petie is adopted now - what about Bernice? That is a cute name for a darling little girl. What about Pippi?
    Love you til the cows come home!

  22. Hi Sue:
    Sorry me again, what about Janie? Tommy and Janie? That will work maybe.

  23. I must've missed this video the first time!? Liked it! Anyway, it's always great to hear women talking so positively about guys.

  24. Susan - I have another suggestion...since you like Prudence - how about "Trudy" for a little alliteration...Tommy and Trudy sitting in a tree....(it has part Prudy and part Trixie...) I cannot believe I am still thinking of names for you after you ditched Elsa... LOL! I am dying to know how Tommy reacts to his new female playmate!

  25. You guys are cracking me up! I appreciate all the heartfelt suggestions.

    I couldn't decide on a name for my first cat. I kept changing it, until I drove past Ramona Street in Pasadena and knew that was it.

    It's going to be tough deciding from this wonderful list. Maybe I'll follow Petrea's lead and put all the names in a hat (or poop bag) and get a neighborhood kid to pick one out.

    Cafe, you're a funny one.

    Kristen, wasn't Taffy the sweetest dog? My mom got her as a pup when she was pregnant with me. Broke my heart to lose her when we were both 12 years old.

    Veronica/thedogrescuers, when it comes to saving dogs, no one performs more miracles than you.

  26. Susan - you have a huge heart and have done a wonderful thing. I hope Tommy will bring her out of her shell and your patience and love will bring out her trust. You should feel good about this decision...sometimes you get the dog you need, not the dog you want. At least all mine have taught me som invaluable lessons. I can't wait to read more. Have you read the blog "Love and a 6 foot leash" ( i think that's the proper title). They have lovely blog about Pittie rescue and foster. Maybe a good source for inspiration? Many hugs to you. And my vote is Pixie because it's magical and impish. Better to name a dog for what you hope she'll be ;-)

  27. Hope I'm not too late! I think the perfect name for that most fortunate soul is Fortuna!

    Fortuna was a Roman Goddess of fate,fortune and personification of luck. I believe your beautiful heart will be rewarded in this lifetime by Fortuna bringing you the fortune of happiness and reciprocation of unconditional love.

    Love, Cindy

  28. ForPetsSake, PI, Cindy, sorry for being incommunicado a few days. It's been a whirlwind since I picked up the pretty pittie Saturday.

    Thanks for your kind support and the great names. You guys all have big hearts and courage and I'm honored that you visit here. The girl is amazing - the sweetest thing ever. I'll post an update soon.

    And apologies to everyone for being way behind on all your blogs. I miss reading them. I'll catch up soon!

  29. ForPetsSake, forgot to say that yes, I'm a big fan of http://loveandaleash.wordpress.com/. I got some tips from them on introducing the two pitties.

  30. Oftentimes the shy animal turns out to be the most devoted and loving. at least thats been my experience.

  31. HELLO !!!??!!! What's going on ??? Dying here !!!!!!!! Pupdate -- need a pupdate !!!! [yes, i JUST made that up myself !!!! :) ]

  32. whoa - i don't know why that just id'd me THAT way...but this is Jen Byrne....


  33. It's inevitable - you're hooked! She's beautiful and you will always be grateful that you went out on a limb for her, trust me on that.

  34. PA, I think Louise will confirm your theory.

    Jen, that is one wacky id. See my latest post for a pupdate. Thanks for the nudge.

    T2, I trust you. I know you speak from experience.