Marine Corps Dog With PTSD Helps Family of Marine Hero

My mom likes to share stories about dog heroes. She says I should find some role models so I will appreciate what a great home I’ve got.

“Here’s a story about a bomb-sniffing dog who served with the Marines,” she said, holding up the newspaper article. “Now there’s a dog who’s got good reason to be scared.”

Gunner, a sweet-looking German shepherd, had PTSD. He was going to be discharged from the Marine Corps as “excess property.” Meanwhile the family of a war hero heard about Gunner. They had lost their son and wanted to help this veteran dog. They drove from upstate New York to South Carolina, after signing papers saying they wouldn’t sue the government if anything happened.

Apparently Gunner still needs a lot of extra love. He’s terrified of thunderstorms. He likes to sleep in his crate. Well, our housemate Ophelia still likes to escape and I prefer to be in my crate when Cathy goes out. I don’t know what to do with myself so I stand and wait for the door to open.

Gunner and I both started new lives. I must have been a country dog once, since my mom adopted me from a shelter near Bellingham. I was born to be a city dog and never looked back. And Gunther seems more suited to being a house dog, although he probably served well before getting PTSD.

“Gunner’s probably grateful to have a good home,” the mom says. “You should be too. You’ve never even served in the Marines and look at your great life.”

C’mon, mom. Marines don’t take mutts. Otherwise who knows? I think I’d be perfect in combat. The action would have to stop while everyone turned to me and said, “Oh she’s so cute.”

Fortunately both the mom and I are too old to be drafted, although my mom says, “Drafting old people would make more sense than drafting kids. I’d rather die in combat than end up in a nursing home.”

I see her point but I also see it’s past time for my walk.  Ahem.

Another dog gets rescued: score one for my species!

My mom’s copywriting mentor, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero, has been considering adding a new dog to her California household. As far as we can tell, they have just one dog and one cat. Apparently a pit bull entered their lives, complete with snarly personality, kennel cough and a complete set of …er…male equipment.

When last reported (via Facebook), Bandit was caged in an isolation ward with no balls and the cone of shame. My mom couldn’t help it; she laughed out loud. Then she read Lorrie’s next post, about dropping a few grand on this dog before he was even a member of the household. She laughed even harder.

It wasn’t a “This is funny laugh.” It was like, “Isn’t this what happens with ALL those free animals?”

“Remember Ophelia?” she asked me. “I got that cat for $11 because she’s so old. Some bargain! She had huge vet bills for liver disease and dental surgery. And we thought she’d never adjust to life with you and Creampuff.”

Ophelia has chosen this moment to sit on her favorite chair and shed a few more bushels of fur. Mom has a special chair she’s turned over to the cats in hopes of saving her other furniture, like her beautiful new recliner. Did we tell you Ophelia is a beautiful long-haired cat? She looks like the cat in the Fancy Feast commercials, my mom says. “And she’s so sweet!”

Yuk. If I were a cat I’d toss up a hairball to express my true feelings. Since I’m not, I’ll remind Mom that she got off easy with me, especially now that I’m older and no longer chew up everything I see. I’ll distract her from thoughts of my wonderful Aunt Sara, who takes me to the park twice a week, giving the whole family a much needed break.

Bandit is literally one lucky dog. If I lived in Los Angeles I’d want Lorrie to adopt me too. Umm…does Bandit need a new chew toy? I’d suggest sending down one of our useless feline housemates but my mom just added a bag of my favorite treats to the dog food delivery order.

Dogs get traumatized too

My mom just read me an article from the local paper, the Seattle Times. Apparently a nice German Shepherd had been employed as a bomb-sniffing dog. She had been a playful, happy pup before she was deployed. All the loud noises and stressful conditions were too much for her. She became withdrawn and afraid of people. You can read the article here/

Fortunately the military people worked hard to rehabilitate this dog. They gave her treats (always a good idea!) when she walked outside. They encouraged her to walk through doorways by offering treats. Most important, they gave her LOTS of love.

However, as a dog who’s been through two rescue groups, I don’t see why anyone is surprised. Every dog who goes through a shelter or rescue group has probably been traumatized. Kind, loving, knowledgeable owners rarely have dogs that end up in rescue. If they can’t keep their dogs, they make responsible arrangements. Anyway, just being in a cage, or being uprooted from a loving environment, will be traumatic. We need lots of extra love and (are you listening, mom?) more treats.

My mom never forgets that I’m a rescue dog. She reminds me every day, “Gracie, you have issues.” She tells everyone we meet, “Gracie is a rescue mutt.” Can’t she just say, “Gracie is a shepherd-lab mix?” I don’t know if I am or not, but who cares?

I’ve come a long way, though. Everybody says so! “Gracie is so much more confident,” they say. “She looks so happy!”

True. I’m a lucky dog. But I can’t help wondering. If I’d waited just a little longer, maybe Bill Gates would have adopted me.

Read the article here:

Guest Post From Molly the Australian Shep Dog Who Had Lupus

Every so often I allow nice dogs to post in my blog. My mom says I have to allow cats to post too, but so far nobody’s asked, thank goodness. Do you have a dog with a story? Tell it to the mom and she’ll pass it along to me. — Gracie

Molly, the 10 1/2 year old Australian Shep, is who I am.

My mom, Carol Giambri, is a health nut who refuses drugs.

I went to one local vet for a drip in my eye, and mom came out told I had lupus possibility and a bad tooth I never complained about. Well, I never complain about anything! Just don’t know how.

My mom tried a holistic vet who actually pushed drugs on us. Well, going from active on an acre of land daily – running my paws off – to almost dead, depressed, constant 24/7 itch, infant socks for a month, taking tons of pills… That was a challenge.

I can relate to what your pill-pushing mom has to go through, but since I am on your side, I can help make the sour taste leave fast. My mom takes pricey grass-fed meat (buffalo, lamb, turkey-hater, beef). She sticks my pill in the middle of the patty. Every so often I can pick out the pill but usually I’m fooled.

My mom is radical so she fusses when she hears the word drugs addressed to anyone in our family. I am now eating veggies grated in my patty too. She fools me. I am taking pricey yogurt (6 ou. $2.39) daily-1 TABlespoon. I don’t know what a pill pocket is but my mom’s way tricks me good.

My mom said I will never take any more meds or do any form of surgery. I’ll be 11 years old next month. I was adopted at 1 from a shelter. My real name was “Lucky,” but the shelter told them I was “Molly.” I was slow to respond. Can you see why? No I jump high when my mom calls “Molly!”

I am finally back outside lots now and I am RECOVERED from Lupus.

My mom is going to write a book about my story. Okay – 3 books maybe: My story, her story tied into relationships, her other story about me and business talk. See how popular I am becoming. Hope we talk soon. I don’t have a site for you to write me a love note, but mom is feeling led to believe it’s coming.

Oh, you are a beautiful dog, Gracie! I see you get on the Seattle Metro Bus. Did you have to pay for a seat?

Bye and with love, Molly, the recovered 10 1/2 year old Lupus dog

From Gracie: Wow, thanks, Molly! You wrote a great post for us. I don’t have to pay for a seat on the bus because I fit in my mom’s lap. I am not allowed to have my own seat and I do not ride on the floor. I am a princess and we don’t do floors.

You have a great mom. I can’t have meat patties because I’m on a special diet for my sensitive tummy. But your mom sounds great. I will tell Cathy to listen. She needs all the help she can get.

Thanks for reminding me I am beautiful. I’m a Canine Urban Princess and my mom is not allowed to forget.

Teach Physics To Your Dog? Gimme a Break

My mom reviews books for Amazon. Recently the Vine program sent her this book:

How To Teach Physics To Your Dog
, by Chad Orzel.

As an author herself who now coaches book marketing, my mom was concerned about the book’s publication date. “This book would be the perfect gift for dog lovers,” she said. “It should have been on all the bookstore holiday tables. It’s a pretty good book. And the premise has that ‘aww……’ quality that sells gift books.”

As a dog, I like the intrduction. My mom read it to me. Apparently the author’s dog, Emmy, was in a shelter with a name of “Princess.” The dog interviewed Chad Orzel before agreeing to become his dog. “Do you have critters for me to play with?” she asked. “What about treats?”

Gee, I wish I’d thought of that. When the rescue society brought me to my mom’s apartment, they didn’t give us much time to get acquainted. I would have asked, “Will I be an indoor dog? Can I sleep on your bed? Wlll the couch be off-limits?”

My mom would have answered, “Yes, no and yes.” I would have turned her down flat. And look what’s happened. I have taken over the couch. I sleep on my own cushion on her bed.

So perhaps it’s just as well I didn’t interview my mom. She would have failed miserably. I would never have thought to ask, “Will I get to go to the dog park and run near the lake? Will I get healthy food and LOTS of treats? Will I get visits to the Downtown Dog Lounge where they treat me with the respect due a Canine Urban Princess? Will I have a fat fuzzy cat to tease and a skinny cat who keeps trying to make friends?”

And I’d never have asked, “Will I sit on your lap when we ride the bus?” After all, until i was adopted, I hadn’t even seen a bus.

All those things have contributed to my existence as a thoroughly spoiled dog, my mom would say. A properly appreciated dog, I would insist.

Emmy must be a pretty smart dog to learn physics. I have all I can do to watch my mom try to make cylinders in the pottery studio. So maybe Emmy knew the right questions to ask. I’m glad I didn’t. Sometimes you just have to take chances, my mom said. This time she was right.

Guest Post From Lucy, A Lucky New Mexico Dog

Hi Gracie, I am Lucy. Thanks for inviting me to post on your blog.

I am almost 6 months old and almost 50 pounds. I am going to be a very big girl. My mom, Terri,  thinks I am a Rhodesian Ridgeback and that I was bred to run down lions in Africa. We have no lions in the back yard, so I chase my housemate Buddy, another dog. I also chase two small, fat, slow lions otherwise known as “cats.”  Mom Terri  doesn’t like that very much.

We live in a house in New Mexico with my mom, Terri, who is an artist, and my uncle Arthur, who’s been my mom’s buddy and housemate for ages.

My mom never met you, Gracie. She knew your mom’s first dog, Keesha, from when your mom lived in Silver City, New Mexico. Terri says Keesha was so attached to your mom. She says you are a little more realistic.

I eat everything. So far I have yet to leave single bite of food on my dish. I will even eat raw veggies when mom is cooking. I eat shoes when I can find them.   I am a growing girl who needs her food!

I moved in with Terri when my Uncle Arthur found  me wandering around in Bisbee , Arizona, about three months ago. I was a stray with no collar. I was tired, hungry and thirsty. Uncle Arthur tried to drop me off at the Animal Shelter but they were full. So Uncle Arthur took me home, where he’s been sharing with Terri in Alburquerque, New Meixco.  I sat in Uncle Arthur’s lap all the way home.

My mom thinks I’m beautiful, athletic and strong, although I’ve got a mind of my own. “Dinner plate sized paws,” she says.

My mom Terri and my uncle Arthur are warm, caring people. They will always make room for one more dog or cat. I am SO lucky to be here…um, was that a shoe left untended?

Dog plans low-key birthday celebration

Today is my seventh birthday. My mom almost forgot: she’s got two teleseminars to deliver today plus she’s going out this evening. So we aren’t doing anything much to celebrate.

Besides, my mom said, “you’re going off to board at the Downtown Dog Lounge while I go out of town. You’ll be there 5 days. That’s plenty of time to celebrate with your buddies.”

And tomorrow I get to go to Magnuson Park with my Aunt Sara, just like every Friday.

Hey…I just figured it out. A city dog’s life means every day is like a birthday.

Turning seven isn’t a big deal. My mom thinks I’ve slowed down a little since she adopted me, almost four years ago.

“Thank goodness!” she says. “You aren’t chewing as much. And I don’t get all worn out trying to keep up.”

Earth to mom. When I was first adopted, I didn’t get twice a week excursions to Magnuson with my Aunt Sara. So of course I needed more exercise. Anyway, getting adopted can be very stressful for a dog, even someone as flexible as I am. Back then we had Tiger the cat, who totally ran the household. I had never seen a bus, let alone been a passenger.

“Graice, you’ve been with me longer than you’ve been wherever you were before,” my mom says. “You should totally have forgotten your pre-adoption life.”

Pre-adoption? What’s that? I can’t imagine life without my mom. Even that fat cat Ophelia has become part of my family. And I think I was born to be a CUPPIE.

Carry on, world. Being seven is pretty awesome.

Why some people do not deserve to be dog owners

My mom Cathy woke me up from my nap today. “Look what I just read in an Examiner column,” she yelled, pointing to her laptop. I refused to budge so she told me what she read. And then I see why she got so mad.

You can read the whole thing for yourself, right here.

Accoding to my mom, some columnist praised the best Craiglist Ad of the Week. The  ad was headlined: “Wanted: Someone To Make My Kids Cry.” Here’s the story:

A single dad was looking for an actor to pretend to be a dog walker. The dad had found a new home for the dog which was a “terror” who couldn’t be trained. This actor would take their cocker spaniel for a walk and return, pretending the dog had run away. In fact the dog would supposedly go to a new home. The actor would be there when the kids started crying. The actor would be pad $500 for about two hours of work.

Can you believe this? A cocker spaniel who’s terrorizing the family?

I’m a dog and I can tell this whole thing is sick. No wonder nice dogs like me end up in rescue.

Here’s what my mom wrote as a comment:

  • Sorry, I don’t think this ad is funny. If the dad would invest the $500 in a dog trainer, the kids would have their dog and no reason to cry. Has the dog been tested for health problems? Was it abused? If the kids grow up into terrors (not surprising, with this parenting) will he give them away too?

Adopted Dog in New York Gets Warm Welcome

My mom has a friend named Bill who lives in New York. They’ve only met once or twice but they talk on the phone a lot.

Bill has lived with dogs all his life so he has become my mom’s advisor on dog care. I wish she’d listen more. My mom cuts my rations when the vet or the dog walker says, “Gracie’s getting a little chunky around the middle.”

Bill would just laugh. His dogs get LOTS of treats. They get lots of company because Bill works at home two or three days a week. They share his blueberry muffins. They get visits to the doggie cardiologist, doggie neurologist, doggie ophthalmologist and (I suspect) doggie psychiatrist.

My mom says if she dies unexpectedly, I can go live with Bill if Summer doesn’t take me. I’m not complaining, even though Bill says, “I really like big fuzzy dogs.” From a certain angle, with enough treats in sight, I can look big and fuzzy.

Bill adopts elderly golden retrievers. He just adopted Murray, a 9-year-old who was pulled out of a shelter by a retriever rescue group. Murray joins another golden retriever of the same age. Murray’s settling in fine. Who wouldn’t? Bill’s house is Dog Heaven.

“Adopted dogs are better!”

My mom Cathy just read me an article from today’s New York Times. Takng the Plunge with a New Dog by Jill Abramson.

Apparently Ms. Abramson was mourning the loss of her beloved dog who died at 15. She decided to get some kind of golden retriever dog and to name the dog Scout. Her family went to a breeder and chose a small female, who came “almost housetrained.”

“So what do you think?” my mom asked.

“Who cares?” was my first reaction. “I’m still sleeping off the effects of yesterday’s Big Walk.”

(Have you noticed a trend in this blog? When the mom wants to exercise, the dog gets worn out.)

Naturally, I am all in favor of adopting dogs from shelters. There are so many wonderful dogs in all shapes and sizes. But it sounds like this breeder was responsible. The family had to apply for a dog and get accepted. That’s a good thing. My buddies at the Dog Park are mostly adopted and some of their first owners should have been screened a LOT more thoroughly.

But there’s one thing my mom agrees on, 100%. Ms. Abramson wrote:
“Although we are bonding, no one quite prepares you for the fact that a new dog makes you miss the old one. When Scout rests on her side, I see an image of Buddy, curled similarly, on our old rug in a house we no longer own.”

So true. My mom looks at me and sees Keesha sometimes, althogh it’s happening a lot less these days. Fprtimately, she thinks I channel Keesha when we’re out in public. “When people compliment me on a well-behaved dog, it’s like hearing echoes from the past,” she says.