Pet Rescue Squad Inc.
"Free to good home" comes with a price. February 15 2016, 16 Comments
Happy Valentine's Day! February 14 2016, 11 Comments
Why do we rescue? November 09 2013, 15 Comments
Why do we rescue? I think the question should be “why would we not?”
To open your heart to another being in need is a human gift, a gift given at birth. Somewhere, for some, this gift has been lost. So, to those of us who cannot turn away, for those of us who become angry or sad at others cruelty, know that what you feel is normal. These emotions can be used to do something about it! they can fuel pro-activity. They can be what inspires a Rescuer to achieve great heights when channeled productively. In fact, I believe that without these emotions we would not be driven to save so many lives….
There are different kinds of Rescuers...some of us may help just a few animals, giving them shelter in our homes and medical care if needed. Sometimes keeping them as our own pets, sometimes finding good homes for them. Others may branch out and volunteer with shelters while others may have their own charities or be employed by one. Whichever kind of Rescuer we are, we are all cut from the same cloth.
We were born with the love, compassion and empathy to do everything in our power to give unconditional love and help to a being that desperately needs it. We do this over and over with not so much as a question as to “how can I do this” or “should I do this?” but that “I will make this work, no matter what”. We are faced over and over with adversity, even judgment and criticism, this does not deter us, because in our heart, we know that what we are doing is our truth. What is our truth? Not questioning ourselves, believing with every ounce of our being that what we are doing is for the betterment of others. What we are doing is being human. Or, I should say, the right kind of human.
Who are we to turn our back on suffering? How on Earth could we ever make sense of that? When people ask us if “we’ve taken on too much” or “why are we doing this, it doesn’t make sense.” We know that we can handle it, we’ll find a way and it doesn’t make sense that it doesn’t make sense.
A common denominator that I have observed with Rescuers, is that we have a different set of priorities. For many, this line of work is not a lucrative one. Yes, there are many who have financial security, and they give generously, but those that are fighting for every dollar, will spend it on an animal in need before they spend it on themself. In my own personal experience, it is those with far less that are the ones who give the most. I personally would rather save a dog than have a Prada purse.
We have each other…with the internet, social media in particular, we can now connect with kindred spirits around the Globe, we can help empower and support one another at the click of a mouse. Instead of focusing on the “others” we are able to network with all those that have the same goal in mind; ease the suffering of other beings and do it unconditionally. Just as they unconditionally love us. With this empowerment we are able to make monumental differences in the World of Rescue. And what a beautiful World it is.
Please visit my store. Every T-shirt sold will help save a life. Thank you for stopping by!
Fleas - How to get rid of them naturally October 30 2013, 8 Comments
The bane of a dog owners existence. Fleas. Understandably many use the spot treatments, I prefer however to go the natural route. Perhaps I like a challenge, because that it is!
My three dogs (and I) have had a flea epidemic. Seriously, the only way to get rid of these little @#%$^& is SHOCK and AWE!
The following will need to be repeated (sorry, once will not be enough) until you are rid of these blood sucking harbingers of itchiness.
Armed with every single natural flea repellent and killing method, I think and hope that I have got things in control. I spent quite some time researching and most definitely realize there is no magic one cure here, it’s a combination of many things. So here goes, if you want to take it on the way I have, here’s my list of things to do. Roll up your sleeves, it’s going to be work!
Firstly, I read, a healthy diet is very important, fleas are less likely to bother a dog with a strong immune system. I feed my dogs well, cooking for them every day. This information baffled me because my dogs are healthy. Perhaps fleas aren’t so picky after all….I added raw garlic (thin slivers) and brewers yeast to their dinner. Yes, they have major garlic breath, peeeyooo! Maybe this was the missing link….???? we will see….
Immune boosting herbs can be helpful too. Silver Lining Herbs and For Love of The Dog websites have some great solutions for immune system.
Bath your dog as often as you can, you do not need to use harsh shampoos, in fact a very mild natural shampoo will be perfect. Because you need to bathe them often, you don’t want to dry out their skin. I use an aloe shampoo from Nature’s Gate. Soak your dog and leave shampoo on for a few minutes. You do need to wash the head and around the eyes, using a mild shampoo is extra important here as you don't want to hurt their eyes. Because you will be bathing your dog more frequently than normal, try adding some healthy fats into their diet, if you’re not doing so already. Flax seed, olive oil, coconut oil….this will help their skin.
Flea comb. Do not underestimate to power of this little comb! it works wonders. I comb them rotisserie style, flipping them over and on their sides several times. Have a bowl of warm soapy water and some paper towels close by. Fleas will jump off comb quickly. You’ll need the paper towels to wipe off comb and wet fleas.
Vacuum cleaner and hand held vacuum cleaner. You need to vacuum daily. And I mean vacuum everything that you can…curtains, your bed, literally anywhere a flea can lay an egg. Making sure to get all cracks, crevices and corners. I took up all the dog beds, rugs and carpets, washed them and put them away. The less stuff you have to vacuum and wash the better. I gave them a towel to lie on. It will suffice and is easy to wash. They still have my furniture and my bed to sleep on….
Once you are finished vacuuming, empty and wash the canister and filter. Throw out the contents of the vacuum as far away from your home as possible! If you cannot, put in sealed bag in your freezer until you can. I also sprinkle some diatomaceous earth on the floor and vacuum it up for when vacuum is stored.
The jury is still out on the use of boric acid. I think you can get the job done just using the diatomaceous earth and baking soda.
Wash everything that can be washed. You can also put things into the dryer too, heat kills fleas and their eggs. Don’t forget to wash all of your dogs toys and jackets/sweaters too.
Natural spray: Mix water with a little vinegar, tea tree oil, and essential oils - eucalyptus, geranium and citrus. Fleas do not like these scents, don’t know why but don’t need to! Once you are finished bathing, vacuuming, spray your dog, apartment and furniture with this. If you don’t want to spray direct on some fabrics, spray on a piece of cloth and stuff it inside furniture cracks. I spray all corners of my apartment and along the walls.
Infrared lamp. I happen to use this for my sore muscles and for body detox. I did a search to see if it would help with fleas (you never know) and low and behold, infrared is used by exterminators for flea control! If you have one, just turn it on and leave wherever you feel there is the most infestation. The heat from the lamp dries out areas it covers. Fleas don’t like dry, they like moist. My dogs love to lay under it and it is perfectly good and healthy for them to do so! They are not expensive to buy. I researched the best bulb to buy (many are made in China and as you might guess, are bad quality) Phillips has a 250 watt 120 Volt heat ray bulb. Home Depot has them for about $15.00 a bulb. They last literally years. You’ll need a special ceramic socket for the bulb, this too is inexpensive, I bought mine from a hardware store for $12.00, it has a clip so you can clip it onto a chair or something. Fleas aside, I highly recommend infrared for personal use.
Dehumidifier. I have one of these because I live in New York which can get unbearably humid in the Summer. My old building also has some mold issues, so I got one to prevent any problems. I did a search to see if that would help with fleas and found that indeed it does help! (Who knew?) apparently fleas love humidity.
Sprinkling baking soda or diotomaceous earth on carpets, furniture and all around apartment is a must. The baking soda dries out the area while the earth both dries are and kills fleas, eggs, pupa et al. Leave on carpets as long as you can. You can leave on the inside of furniture and wherever you feel is ok to do so. It’s up to you.
Nematodes are a tiny worm that I heard can help but only outdoors. I have not used them. If any one has used them effectively, please let me know.
Bowls of water and a lamp. I’d tried this “flea trap” before and found it to be ineffective, I had bought the lamp with a glue trap. I wound up throwing it out. This time around, I tried it again (what the heck) and used a bowl of soapy water underneath a lamp (I used the infrared) and was pleased to see it actually did capture a few. I’m glad I tried it again!
The flea lifecycle can vary in different conditions. Which is why it’s important to disrupt what they need to thrive! So the less humid the environment the better! Dry, dry, dry!
The cycle has four stages: the egg, the larval, the pupa and the adult.
The egg stage: females begin laying eggs 24 to 48 hours after feeding. They produce 40-50 eggs a day. Eggs will mostly be wherever your dog has shaken them off! Be fastidious to any areas your dog frequents.
The larval stage: larvae hatch in 1 to 6 days, they tend to live deep in carpeting or furniture. They hatch quicker in more humid environment.
The pupa stage: hatch in between 3 to 5 weeks. The big problem here is, the pupa can remain in it’s cocoon for up to 350 days, so you may think you’ve killed them only to find months later you have a major infestation!
The adult stage: the adult starts to feed immediately, they are attracted to movement, warmth and exhaled carbon dioxide. They can survive through the Winter. Fleas unfortunately are not seasonable!
Good luck to you all and if anyone has any other methods that work, please let me know!
Homemade, healthy, grain free dog food September 27 2013, 0 Comments
One of my dogs suffered from severe allergies. This lead me on a journey to find the best and healthiest foods for her. It seems too, that every time I look at news, there's a pet food recall. It's not so hard to cook for pets, I make their dinner when I make mine. Loving dogs as I do, I enjoy cooking for them. Keeping them happy and healthy makes me happy!
Growing up in the English countryside, our family dogs were always fed people food, not from the table, but in their bowl! (ok, I admit, I used to sneak tidbits under the table). The meat was usually some kind of offal, Brits are big on offal, or leftovers from the Sunday roast or a chicken. A few veggies were added to this, with a little gravy. Our dog lived to 15, with very few vet visits other than teeth cleaning.
I make something different every night, rotating meats and veggies to keep their diets varied. I learned that dogs that suffer allergies should not be fed the same thing over and over. Didn't seem to make sense at first, but on further research, I found that allergies often occur just because of that!
I chose the obvious, and eliminated all grains. Also adding anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant spices, vitamins and seeds along with some pro-biotics to make sure everything is absorbed and to add the friendly bacteria.
This is what I prepared for my three small dogs tonight:
One can of sardines (each), in water with skin bone
Coconut flour mixed with warm water. One heaped tbsp per 10lbs of body weight.
Freshly ground flax and chia seeds, one tsp of each per dog.
Steamed broccoli and kale.
Sprinkle of turmeric.
Vitamin C powder.
Ratios of meat: 40%, vegetable 50% other fiber 10%. Fat is good for your dog in small quantities, no more then 15% fat in the meat. Do not overdo fat as it can cause pancreatitis.
I feed sardines once a week only.
A little about some of the ingredients:
Coconut flour is a great source of fiber, low in calories and carbohydrates. It provides protein and iron. Fiber is important in your dogs diet to help with elimination and therefore toxins too, also anal gland secretion. Added fiber is also a great way to help a dog lose weight, as it satiates the appetite with very little calories.
Sardines provide not just protein but essential omega 3 fatty acid, vitamin D, phosphorus, B12.
Flax is known for it's anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties as well as omega 3.
Chia seeds contain a number of vitamins and minerals, a very popular Superfood.
Kelp, a seaweed, contains iodine and is rich in minerals. Effective supplement for endocrine system and metabolism.
Kale is an excellent source for Vitamins A, K, C, and many minerals. Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
The carbohydrates in the vegetables and coconut flour are enough, starches/grains are not necessary carbs in a dogs diet.
The poops your dog will have are proof that this is a healthy diet! Mine all also have very shiny, soft coats and very little dander. They have never had any ear issues (stinky or slimy stuff in their ears) and never any skin problems. Since I started them on this diet, my little Dachshunds allergies have not occurred in years. They are at a perfect weight, with a waistline, feel a little ribs.
Please check back for more recipes!
Why do we have dogs? September 25 2013, 0 Comments
Ask any owner why they have dogs, you’ll find that the response is usually because they provide us with unconditional love. Other reasons too, such as protection, companionship, a service animal. Yet still, it all ultimately comes down to the love that they bring us.
Millions of us know, upon opening our front door we are greeted with boundless love and enthusiasm time and time again. You can leave for five minutes or be gone a week, the greeting is always the same. I love you, no matter what, I love you. Countless endearing, funny, adorable behaviors that we never tire of.
Dogs don’t judge us, they don’t criticize us, they forgive us when we make mistakes. They see the good in everyone and they know when someone wants to do us wrong. They protect us, they are loyal to us, they trust us. They have gratitude. They will put their life on the line to save us. They provide us comfort when we are feeling down. They ground us when we feel angry. They grieve when they lose a friend and they grieve when they lose their owner. They sense and understand things that humans are incapable of, detecting disease, seizures, blood sugar levels, earthquakes, tsunamis. They find bodies in search and rescue, they detect drugs and explosives. They do everything selflessly. They do everything without expecting anything in return. They work together in packs, each one offering a special skill set to their survival, understanding each others needs and working together, fairly, to make sure that those needs are met. Watch a dog do it’s job, you will see it doing so fearlessly. Every part of it’s being is put into the task at hand. Focused and living only in the present, no fear or emotion impeding it from completing that what it has set out to accomplish.
The only time a dog is mistrustful, aggressive, anxious or nervous is when it, at some point has been abused. Yet, take the dog and put it into a loving and caring home, that same dog will learn how to forgive, how to trust and how to love again.
So why do we really have dogs? Is it because we don’t think that we can find these qualities in humans? and if so, why? Let us not think that, because we are human, that we cannot learn from an animal. Animals can actually be our best teachers should we choose to learn from them.
For many of us, at some point in our lives, perhaps, we have felt unloved. It could either be that we have not received any love at all or that the love we got was “conditional”. Conditional being the kind of love that requires something in return, not just for the love of someone, but that that someone must do something to feel worthy of the love. This can become manipulative and also come from obligation. Just being told “I love you” can give a person a sense of obligation to do something in return. Why should that be? Should we not just love someone for who they are without any expectation? Without wanting to change them? Without wanting something in return? Why is it that we feel the need to put conditions into any relationship?
When we go back to our childhood, we may well find the answers, if we are brave enough to look. Somewhere, imprinted upon us, is the very thing that we spend the rest of our lives reliving, over and over we try to fix that something. Caught on a cyclical imbalance, this imprint will stay with us until we have the courage to break free. Do you find yourself always wondering why the same things keep happening to you? Do you blame others and point the finger? At what point can we realize that we are the common denominator? I believe, that it is at the moment in time when we realize we have just had enough that we can stop and choose to make different decisions.
Many find their “love” and validation through external things whether it be materialistic things, conditional relationships, outward appearance, pets, food, work, drugs, alcohol…the list goes on and on.
What stops us from escaping our past and truly living our true life’s destiny? Fear. Fear is an obstacle. Fear stops us in our tracks. Most will not admit to having an iota of fear. That would be cowardly and sissy. But fear is not just being afraid of the Dark, it is fear of stepping into the Light. Truly showing our vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but that of strength and courage. How many of us are doing what we love to do and making a living from it? How many of us are tapped into our inner creativity? How many of us feel stuck? How many of us truly hate our jobs, our relationships? And why do we stay where we are? What do we need to break free?
We need love. We need unconditional love. We need people to believe in us and our dreams. We cannot do this alone. However big or small they are, our dreams are attainable. We need to feel like we are a part of something, something bigger than ourselves. A collection of higher energy, a place where we can connect and feel stronger. A place where we feel united in one common thing. That thing is love.
When people judge and criticize you, it is because they see a strength in you that they lack. Stay away from these people, especially when you are not feeling strong. Seek those that see your gifts and want to help you shine. Those that want to lift you up not put you or keep you down. Those people exist and they will come to you when you believe in yourself. The very energy that you put out is the energy that you get back. If we learn to believe that love is all around us, it will be, but the journey starts within. Be kind to others and you will receive kindness. Be generous to others and you will receive generosity. Every moment of your life is an opportunity to choose differently. Believe in humanity, no matter how bleak the World is looking, you can counteract hate with love. Humans all have one thing in common, regardless of race, color, sex, sexuality or religion, we all want to love and be loved, we all deserve this, it is our birthright.
Here is where we can look to the dog, and what the dog is able to do. Go back to the top of the page, re-read all the qualities of the dog and apply that to the human being. We can do all of those things (well, not the sniffing out disease, bombs and natural disasters). Start with forgiveness, first of yourself and then with others. Allow people the opportunity to love you and allow yourself the opportunity to love back. Look for the good in people and you will find it. Remember that others may not be where you are today, but neither were you until this moment. Be kind, be patient, be encouraging, be aware of your surroundings, live in the moment. Do what you are truly destined to do, take a leap of Faith and trust that the Universe will catch you.
Dog has been Man’s best friend for hundreds of years, isn’t it time we learned from them?
Healthy dog treats - Organic anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, grain and gluten free - yummy! September 23 2013, 1 Comment
Upon finding out that my trusted chicken jerky treat, by Dogswell, had been recalled, I decided it was time to start baking my own. One of my dogs, Bunny, has severe allergies and has actually had anaphylaxis twice. So, feeding her a healthy diet has been paramount to maintaining her good health. Aside from baking treats, I cook for my three dogs daily. I've been doing this for a number of years, also based on Bunny's allergies. I will be blogging about healthy balanced dinners, nutritionally sound for dogs. Today, I'd like to share with you a recipe for an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant treat that my dogs just love!
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 tbsp flax seed, whole seed freshly ground
2 tbsp chia seed, whole seed freshly ground
1 tbsp Marmite (yeast spread)
1 tsp organic unsulphured Blackstrap molasses (please omit if your dog has cancer, bacterial infection, is on anti-biotics)
1 cup water
1 heaped tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp kelp
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and stir. I prefer to use freshly ground flax and chia seed and use a coffee grinder for this. Heat up cup of water and add Marmite, Blackstrap molasses and coconut oil, stir until blended. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until fully blended. Lightly grease baking tray with some coconut oil and place rolled out and cut dough to tray. Put in pre-heated to 350 degrees oven for approximately 20 minutes (time may vary depending on how thick/thin you roll the dough).
A little about the ingredients:
Coconut flour is a great alternative to gluten flours, it has fewer digestible carbs than other flours. It contains protein, iron and a high percent of dietary fiber. Extra fiber in your dogs diet helps digestion and elimination therefore helping in absorption of vitamins and minerals and in detoxing. Filling but not fattening.
Buckwheat flour, even though it's name says "wheat" it is actually a gluten free flour. Made from a fruit seed, buckwheat is often mistakenly thought of as a grain. Rich in flavonoids; phytonutrients that protect against diseases by extending vitamin C absorption. Also a high fiber and low carb flour, buckwheat contains protein and the calories all come from this protein, not carbohydrates. It contains magnesium, phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth, copper and iron for red blood cell production. Vitamins that it contains are all fat soluble, 3 B vitamins and thiamin for healthy circulation.
Flax seed has many benefits, it's anti inflammatory properties are well documented in fighting allergies, bowel disease, skin problems, arthritis, and cancer. Loaded with omega 3 fatty acids flax seed helps in the fight against weakened immune systems.
Chia seeds are becoming very popular for humans and why not dogs too! containing omega 3's and 6's and large amounts of protein, fiber, calcium and iron, along with magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, zinc and boron. This all adds up to healthy cells, brain and eye development, joints, immune system and skin and coat.
Marmite is high in niacin (vitamin B3) B12 and brewers yeast. Studies reveal that Marmite can ward off infection, B3 boosts white blood cells to fight off bacteria. Also rich in omega fatty acids and anti-oxidants, brewers yeast helps ward off fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and biting insects. Great too for dogs that have high stress/anxiety as it helps balance hormones related to stress.
Blackstrap molasses is full of vitamins and minerals, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, chromium, copper, selenium, protein and B vitamins. A superfood indeed! Used especially and effectively for treatment of arthritis.
Coconut oil, virgin, unrefined and organic contains lauric acid, noted for anti cancer properties. Great for digestion, skin, coat, metabolism and digestive issues.
Kelp, this seaweed is rich in minerals and salts. Great for the endocrine system and therefore metabolism. Helps to keep fleas and ticks at bay as well as being a huge benefit for dogs with allergies. Rich in iron, iodine and amino acids it fortifies the blood and helps boost the immune system.
Cumin and turmeric are known for their anti-inflammatory, anti cancer, anti-oxidant properties.
Please check with your vet when feeding anything new.
Life with dogs in Manhattan - How three dogs are my best teachers. September 18 2013, 1 Comment
I own three dogs, Bunny, Chippy and Oopla. Living in New York this usually warrants people to ask me "how do I do it?" This question doesn't really make sense to me, it infers that dog ownership is work. Perhaps to them, but quite the contrary to me. I have such appreciation for the unconditional love that I get from my three, that it is my honor to care for them. Work no, love yes.
More often than not, I get mistaken for being a dog walker. My response is "No, they're all mine, I'm one shy of being a hoarder." Truthfully, I'd really like another, there's so much to learn from them. Sometimes our best teachers are not human...
Chippy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel teaches me eternal optimism and forgiveness. The latter being the hardest for me given my prior stance of "off with your head" should I have been wronged.
Upon meeting another dog, Chippy always wags his tail enthusiastically, eyes wide in anticipation of a friendly exchange. Waiting patiently to be approached, Chippy is not one to force the issue, he lets the other dog initiate. When successful, his tail helicopters. On the occasion that he is ignored, his gaze follows the dog leaving, tail still wagging, albeit slower. I can almost hear him thinking "next time...."
His ability for forgiveness amazes and inspires me. Unfortunately he had to suffer terribly for me to learn this.
Before Oopla had come into my life, I was out with Bunny and Chippy down by the Hudson River. There's a strip there that I fondly refer to as "the beach". When the tide is low, an area of sand becomes available for frolic, fetch and surf chasing. It was there, one day, that a young woman and her off leash Pit Bull stopped by. I asked if her dog was friendly, to which she responded indeed he was. I chose to believe her. In moments, her dog violently attacked Chippy with clear intent to kill. As the owner started to kick her dog, inciting it further, I didn't hesitate. Crouching down to eye level, my face inches from the Pit, I tried desperately and unsuccessfully to pry its jaws from Chippy's throat. Everything was happening so quickly, but there was a moment when, because of loose skin, fur and an ear, the Pit loosened it's bite to get a better grip. It was this fraction of a second that I shoved my hand into its mouth, freeing Chippy. I changed my open hand into a fist and pushed hard against the dog's throat. This caused it to gag and I pulled my unscathed hand to safety. The owner leashed her dog and was speaking, but I could not hear her words over the sound of my beating heart. I looked down at Chippy, still laying flat on the ground, blood all over his neck and ears. He looked at me, eyes so wide, it broke my heart to see him suffer. I was filled with rage and resentment to the owner, her dog and the breed. The dog was still standing over us, Chippy raised his eyes to it and wagged his tail.
Bunny, a Miniature Dachshund, brings many things, but what stands out the most is her passion and persistence and both of them combined. I can only aspire to have her immense determination and pride in what she does. Whether it be a hole in the ground (and what lurks within), a dot on the wall, a pebble in a pool of water, a blade of grass in the wind or a squirrel in a tree. Bunny's ability to focus on the goal at hand and truly believe that whatever it is, it will be accomplished. Nothing will sway her, her passion and desire are evident, as well as her ability to truly live in the moment. An unending example of how to focus and to act, no matter what, you can always get what you work hard for, all you have to do, is believe. A quote by the Dalai Lama comes to mind "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."
Oopla is a stray from Panama. When I got her, she was malnourished, mistrustful and afraid. A healthy diet transformed her skin and her coat to a healthy shine along with a significant weight gain.
Because she knows where she came from, and that she knows what suffering is, her gratitude and joy for life is unceasing. She prefers to be off leash, I believe because she feels that she could escape if in a threatening situation. I live in New York and must abide by the leash laws. When the opportunity arises and she can run free, her joy is palpable. One also to take risks, Oopla will never second guess herself. Pouring her heart into any challenge as if her life depended upon it. In the moment that others might pause, Oopla throws herself into the unknown without so much as a thought of how things could go wrong. Because, in her heart, she knows that they won't.
Watching her leap off the ground and pause in mid air like a deer, reminds me of Tigger. This always puts a huge smile on my face and in my heart. She'll do this, it seems, for no apparent reason other than that of for the sheer joy of being alive.
When we all curl up together to go to sleep (yes , they sleep in my bed) I look at them and thank them for all that they are teaching me. How lucky I am to be in their World.
Life with dogs in Manhattan - The ripple effect of happiness. September 13 2013, 1 Comment
For those of you who have ridden the New York City subway, you'll know that you can be in a car with ten people or a car packed like sardines at rush hour and no one, but no one will speak to anyone. Not so much as an acknowledgement, not a "good morning, afternoon, or evening." If anything, you might witness disagreements, arguments, fights, thieves, panhandlers and the inevitable crazy person. Everybody going about their hectic New York life. Manhattanites, like hamsters on their wheels. Running, running, running.
Now, this all changes when you bring a dog on the train. Or I should say, a dog like my Dachshund, Bunny.
As I was getting ready to head downtown NYC to meet some friends, Bunny was doing her very best "take me, take me" dance. As usual, because I'm so well trained, she got her way. She rides the train in a sling style dog bag, though I do admit, she worms her way out so that she can look out of the window at all the dots, spots and things that she sees as the train whizzes through the stations. She generally climbs up my chest and onto my shoulder, pressing her nose against the glass and looking like she's watching a tennis match, glancing side to side, side to side, with an occasional up and down. She also often turns and stares at a person. This is when it starts to happen, people cannot help but to smile (a sight on the subway as rare as a Yeti). And, well, I just can't resist, I have to say something...usually "made you smile!" or when she stares, I say "she doesn't know it's rude...."
So, on this particular occasion, I was surrounded by people. Gradually one by one, they all started smiling and laughing at Bunny's antics. Some would not offer me any eye contact, seemingly wanting to only keep it to themselves or perhaps afraid to engage. As the train continued on, a conversation started up, soon those that were at first reluctant, joined in. We talked about the love of dogs, the funny things that they do, our favorite breeds and the value of a Mutt. A lady mentioned that she had owned a Dachshund that had passed away some years ago, as she spoke her eyes misted and drifted fondly back.
For a few minutes, a train full of strangers found a way to relate to one another, to laugh and enjoy some stories together. Never to see each other again. It truly was a magical New York moment for me. I was glad that I had listened to Bunny's demands, her one persuasive action had a ripple effect of happiness for many.
So, in the City that is oft considered cold and rude, a subway car full of people, found warmth and comradery. It's clear, people aren't so different really. All it takes is knowing what love is, we as dog lovers, all have that in common.
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