Rescue Stories Wanted   3 comments

One of the loveliest parts of writing YOU HAD ME AT WOOF has been hearing from all the wonderful rescue people

Starting immediately I am inviting YOU to submit stories and photos of your rescued dogs. Each week a team of four legged judges will be selecting a story which will be displayed on the blog (clap, clap, clap).

We’re starting with dogs, but we will add other animals later.

Your submissions can be sent to JK@JulieKlam.com with RESCUE STORY in the subject line.

I’m really looking forward to reading your stories! xox

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Posted September 19, 2010 by julieklam in Rescue Stories

3 responses to “Rescue Stories Wanted

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  1. We will try to submit our stories, but right now I’m reading an advance copy of your book. It just arrived. I happen to be home today, waiting for a delivery and it arrived. It’s my lucky day. I’m on page 24 and laughing out loud already. I’ve never been to the Omega Institute, but I know people who have been there and who have worked there. I’m losing it on the bats and the crickets.

    It might take a few days to finish and get a review up on our blog because tomorrow it’s back to work, but so far it’s been a pleasure. Hope you’re at a book signing I can get to.

    Pat who is one of Lola’s moms

  2. My little black friend from Aruba

    Ocean was a black, 15-pound mongrel with tartar-caked teeth, sour breath and cataract-glazed eyes that appeared green in every single photograph we ever took. We were crazy about him.

    Five years ago, en route to a vacation in Aruba, I promised my 8-year-old I’d get him a present if he could last the week without provoking a fight with his brother. “I want another dog,” he replied. We laughed. Our family already had two, so a third dog was out of the question. Besides, it seemed like a safe bet.

    An hour after we arrived, I spotted the little black dog, strutting purposefully along the beach, his head held high, as if he was on a mission. He was.

    He stopped at the Hyatt Beach Bar, where the bartender served him a bowl of water he lapped up gratefully. He then proceeded up and down the beach, begging sun-bathers for food. Few could resist sharing their potato chips with him. Potato chips remained his favorite snack until the very end.

    I’ve fallen in love on-the-spot twice. On the day I met my wife. And for the second time on that palm-spotted beach where, in the distance, calypso music was playing.

    Reading my mind, my wife had five words to say. “Don’t even think about it.”

    I observed him for the next several days. His poor-little-beggar-dog routine never varied. At night, we would find him curled up under a bush, where he was safest from iguanas which, in Aruba, are the size of small alligators.

    I asked lifeguards and vendors who worked the beach if he belonged to anyone. All agreed he didn’t and that he was a nuisance.

    One morning I went to the beach alone and plopped down in a chaise. The little black dog came up to me. I talked with him. He seemed to understand. “Little black dog, I’m going to get up from this chair and walk back to the hotel. Follow me, and I’ll take it as a sign you will consider becoming a part of my family … and you will become a prince among dogs.”

    I walked a hundred yards without looking back, hoping he was following. He was.
    I stopped. He stopped. I walked a hundred more. So did he. Our eyes met. His seemed to say, “I trust you mon.”

    I threw a towel over him, and smuggled him through the lobby, up to our room.

    His ribs protruded. He was covered with ticks and fleas. One eye was swollen shut with infection. I took him to a vet I found in the phone book and instructed him to give the dogs the shots needed to get through U.S. Customs. The vet wrote “Lucky” under “name” on the dog’s inoculation record, but the boys named him “Ocean.”

    Ocean flew with us to America, and was driven to his new home in Connecticut, a big white colonial surrounded by green grass on which he promptly relieved himself, marking it “mine.”

    He was housebroken instantly. And, while I’m the one who wanted him, he immediately became my wife’s shadow, not mine. He followed her everywhere – even to the bathroom.

    Our other dogs would invite him to join them in play. He would stare back blankly. Perhaps he couldn’t understand the language American dogs speak. In any case, play was a foreign concept to someone who had spent his entire life foraging for food and outrunning iguanas.

    Twice a day, when his bowl was filled with Mighty Dog, he would break into a joyful dance and bark, as if declaring, “Hey mon, what a great country. I don’t have to beg no more.”

    And despite the fact that he was accustomed to the tropics, he loved to stay inside, in the air-conditioning. We’d let him out to hike his leg, and within a few seconds he’d be back at the door, as if afraid the house would vanish while he was doing his business, along with his good fortune.

    Already grey-muzzled when we found him, Ocean grew greyer over the next five years. About a year ago, he found the stairs impossible to navigate, so we started carrying him up and down.

    One day this summer, I detected a lump in his chest. We rushed him to the vet who said it appeared to be an allergic reaction. But after several months of expensive treatments, as he became thinner and less steady on his feet, it was clear that Ocean’s days were numbered.

    The end came suddenly. We were planning to leave the next day for a long weekend. That morning, the vet suggested that Ocean should spend the weekend in the hospital for observation, rather than checking into the kennel with our other dogs. We agreed to bring him back in the morning.

    Ocean hated to be board, to be separated from his us. He knew he was mortally ill. So he decided he would rather die in his beloved home, surrounded by his family.

    My wife says he danced and barked for his dinner, as usual, at 5, before she left to meet some friends.

    When I arrived home around 7, he was curled up on his blanket, unable to raise his head or stand. He looked up at me as if to say, “Sorry mon, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

    I petted him and, as his breathing became more labored, spoke gently, telling him to go ahead, to let go. I thanked him for the lessons he had taught us about trust, about gratitude, about not judging by outward appearances, about giving and receiving love with no strings attached. But he seemed to be waiting for something.

    When he heard my wife’s car turn into the driveway, he lifted his head. When she walked through the door, his ears perked up and he seemed to relax. A few minutes later he crawled under our poster bed where he slept every night, fell on his side, breathed deeply three times, and was gone.

    I like to think he’s back in Aruba, but that Aruba has changed.

    Palms still sway. In the distance steel drums still pound out calypso. He still has the freedom to work the beach, begging potato chips from strangers.

    But on the sand where the beach bar stood now stands a white air-conditioned colonial, surrounded by a carpet of green grass.

    In the house lives a family who loves him, defends him from iguanas, keeps his bowl filled with fresh cool water and serves him Mighty Dog twice a day.

    He knows he can come home whenever he wants, and he always does.

  3. Would you mind enabling rss feeds, because this page is difficult to read on my phone. Don’t mean to be a complainer, but I figure if it would help me it would probably help others as well. Thanks 🙂

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