Friday, February 25, 2011

The Fun Continues At Tumblr...

I admit I don't really understand the purpose of Tumblr. It seems like something for people who don't have the attention span to blog but who can't quite get it all out in 140 characters, either. Yet, I started one for Madison because I noticed that lately, I don't have the attention span to blog over here and this became just about posting photos. And really, that's a waste of a blog! I'm keeping this site up so that if and when inspiration strikes again, there is a place for it. But I encourage you all to "follow" his new Tumblr for loads and loads of adorableness coming your way...on much more than just Woof Wednesdays!

My Shih Tzu is Smarter Than Your Honor Student on Tumblr

Buy the bumper sticker

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Woof Wednesday...

I was all excited when Mr. Bear was delivered to me (finally) this week. I decided his trenchcoat and ascot would make the perfect makeshift Castiel costume for Madison for this Halloween. Yes, I realize how early it is to think of such things, by the way! But unfortunately for me, the coat is too small, and he was not happy to have to wear it. So either he's about to go on the diet of his life or...I'm going to have to come up with something else just as clever/cute. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Woof Wednesday...

"Hello, my name is Madison. This is what I look like in the morning. And no, I am not okay with you taking a picture of me this early!"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Woof Wednesday...

Madison sure is lucky he lives in Los Angeles, where he can run in the sand in February. He so does not take advantage of it, though!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Woof Wednesday...

After two consecutive Wii with the Stars interviews (links coming soon), Madison has crashed. Clearly he can't handle fame!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Woof Wednesday...

Madison is taking a sick day today, so please enjoy this classic picture of baby Madison mugging for the camera instead...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Like Mother, Like Son?...

I get a lot of crap for the fact that Madison was a pet store puppy. I get crap from friends who think it's ridiculous that I spent as much as I did on him; I get crap from all the bleeding hearts in Los Angeles who think rescuing is the only way to go. But to that I ask: how come shelter rescues are the only kind of "accepted" rescues?

I rescued Madison; I just did so at a (pretty steep) price. He was born in Kansas, bred for sale, sure, and somehow he ended up in a pet store in a Beverly Hills mall. If he hadn't have been purchased, he would have ended up in a shelter like so many other dogs in need of loving homes. They're all deserving, but that is not really the point of this piece.

No, the point of this piece is that it never really dawned on me until recently but Madison and I have more in common than our love of cupcakes, the beach, and watching TV on the couch (all three of those things, admittedly, are learned interests and behaviors he got from me, so they shouldn't really count at all anyway!). They say you should pick a breed of dog that is going to best fit with your lifestyle, but I think it is the situation a dog comes from, too, that matters. I feel like I understand Madison a lot more because he and I have been cut from the same cloth in life.

Coming from a breeder, Madison didn't really have the traditionally, typically hard life style of those shelter dogs who often times have been abandoned, abused, and near death. We've all seen that ASPCA commercial; those dogs have been through some stuff! Their eyes are so soulful, you just know they've seen a lot and been through a lot. Madison's eyes never had anything but a shine to them. Even when I saw him in the pet store, and he was in a little cage with a handful of other puppies, clearly not too excited to be surrounded by so many in such close quarters, he seemed to be making the best of it. It was like he didn't realize there was something better out there or a much bigger world of which to try to be a part. Things weren't too bad: he was warm; he was dry; and he was being fed. He was okay where he was, and he assumed he'd always be okay because that's how things were going thus far.

But that's the thing of it: you only know what you see, and really, just okay isn't good enough.

I didn't grow up rich, but we were definitely comfortably middle class. I never had to work after school-- hell, my mother explicitly said she didn't want me to work after school so I could focus on my grades-- and she made sure I had everything I wanted, let alone needed. It's behavior I have duplicated with Madison now. My parents were married; my mother held a good job while my father was home with me during the day; we had a stable apartment, heat coming through the radiator, new clothes and shoes every season, and food on the table. Mine wasn't a traditionally or typically hard upbringing, either. On the surface everything looked good; it seemed like I had things easy.

But sometimes it is the situations that can't be put in any specific or expected boxes that are the hardest, and when are things ever what they seem, right? I was in a cage just as much as Madison in the pet store. My cage was not the childhood apartment in which I grew up but the metaphorical protective bubble my parents put around me, afraid of sending me out into the world, afraid of me being influenced by others outside of themselves, afraid of the boogeymen in the night and the kidnappers and drug dealers in the day.

You can look at a shelter dog and tell right away if it was abused: it will flinch when you try to come near it; its tail will tuck between its legs; it will curl up in a ball in the corner. You can give it a label and work towards trusting and loving again. For those of us that have grown up just being handed things, we come to expect a certain lifestyle, and though eventually we learn that ours isn't the only kind out there, we're often at a loss about how to go after anything different.

Pet stores will only keep a puppy for a few months, and if they're still left unsold, the puppy gets shipped off to a shelter before it gets too old. Sure, you could say this is because people stop in pet stores to coo over how cute the animals are, and the older they get, the cuteness diminishes (I tend to disagree, but then again Madison has a particularly and somewhat oddly youthful face, so I may just be biased). But I also think the longer a puppy stays in such a place, the more its view on the world gets skewed by its limited exposure to it, but the more willing it may be to just stay anyway.

Call such complacency a version of Stockholm Syndrome, if you want, but it is from such complacency that you need the true rescuing.

So when I walked into the pet store that March afternoon almost four years ago, I understood the plight of a little dog who had never experienced anything overtly terrible but could still have some damage and scars on the inside-- ones that maybe he didn't even realize were there because things on the outside were just so...seemingly ordinary. I saw myself in him for reasons I then couldn't quite comprehend, but I knew I knew him well-- I knew we had come from the same place. And for that, I thought I could help.

And maybe I have. I really don't have any doubt that if it hadn't been me, someone else would have come along and scooped him up out of that store quickly. He was really adorable, and let's face it: most people are just looking for something cute, not to make a connection. But I like to think that I offer him a unique and special life, and that is one that I am not the only one responsible for providing; he has a part to play, too. Madison has done for me just as much, if not more, than I have ever done for him.