Monday, June 14, 2010

Blog Tour Continues: 4 The Love of Animals Featuring Rascal June 10th


Miss Rascal was featured on the blog 4 The Love of Animals on Thursday, June 10.  A copy of her blog post is below. Click on the link for more of this wonderful blog dedicated to animals.

Thanks to Barbara Barth for this guest post. Barbara wrote a memoir about her first year as a widow called The Unfaithful Widow. A good portion of the book is about the rescue dogs that grieved with her and comforted her during this time. Surprisingly, it is also a funny–no, a hilarious–story of readjusting to single life after 25 years in a relationship. Barth is also writing a second book: Covered in Fur: Lessons Learned Living With Six Dogs.

Rascal And Swan Lake


Rascal. What a perfect name for such a cherub of a dog. Full of mischief and such a tomboy, I forget at times she is a girl. It took me two weeks to stop calling her, him. The placement of a rhinestone tiara on her head changed all that.

She is short to the ground, thick, round, and weighs in at thirty-five pounds of solid muscle. Rascal gleefully runs across the room and jumps on the couch to be near you. She hits your lap and you’d swear a bowling ball just landed with a plop. The she starts gleefully licking your face with her very thick tongue.

“What is she?” I asked when I called the shelter.

The mixture of patterns on her squat body fascinated me. A little clown dog her white square face and palest pink highlights. With one blue eye and one dark eye, she looks back at you with adoration. Most of her body is pinkish white. A third of the way down her back it looks like a crazy woman tried knitting a brindle sweater on her. When she rolls on her side, her plump belly is pink and white with huge polka dots sprinkled from one end to another.

“She has bulldog in her,” the voice at the end of the phone told me. “And maybe a little daschund.”

I looked at the photo and thought no

“How do you get that? She looks like she has some pit in her.” There was that dreaded word pit. I’ve seen so many pit mixes looking for homes. It is sad people give them such a bad rap.

“Well, could be. But when you see her crooked legs and funny feet, you’ll understand.”

She does have funny feet. Think ballet. Her front feet splay outwards. She looks like a ballerina about to do a plié (plee-AY). The word plié means “bent.” To do this ballet move, you stand at the barre in the starting position and turn your feet out only as far as is comfortable. Then you bend at the knees, your arm gently goes out and you rise back up.

My vet smiled when he met Rascal. He mimicked the ballet position, placed his feet facing outward and did a low dip, raising and lowering his arms.

"I’m getting too old for this.” He smiled at me. “I think that movement just pinched my back.”

“You were pretty graceful. With your talent and Rascal’s feet, you both could be in Swan Lake.” I laughed watching him try to bend his knees again.

“She’s a cutie.” My vet chuckled as he bent down to listen to her heart.

Rascal took her thick tongue and gave him a kiss.

“How many dogs is this now, Miss Barbara?” He likes to kid me about that too.

Rascal was the fourth rescue dog to recently come into my house. Add in my old dog Foxy and now there are five. The non-profit animal shelter that had Rascal was run by a State Trooper. State Trooper Peggy. She came to do the home check in full uniform. I opened the door to be greeted with flashing lights so bright they almosted blinded me in the dark of night.

“Told ya I was gonna do that.” She gave a hearty chuckle as I invited her in.

Yes indeedy. I am sure my neighbors wondered what this widow lady had done, now that the law was in her driveway.

Rascal was delivered to me on New Year’s Eve. I laughingly told the state trooper I needed a date and Rascal was it. She had sixty dogs and was ready to find a good home for this one. She didn’t care if I sounded crazy.

“Be a better date than most, I reckon.” She had me sign some papers before she made a hasty retreat.

Rascal was a bundle of love that suddenly had invaded the space of my other dogs. That night I was a wreck. As the ball fell in Times Square to bring in the New Year, I was trying to keep my wits about me while my seven pound rescue Chihuahua yapped at Rascal. Her little voice screeching in my ears.

The other dogs ignored the situation, but I was worried the bowling ball shaped new member of the pack might land on the Chi and squash her. She was certainly annoying enough.

New Year’s Day was no better. The yapping from the Chi was impossible. Rascal was mouthing her and the two of them were rolling over each other on the couch.

I called the State Trooper Peggy. “Those two are going at it. Rascal has her mouth on my Chi’s neck…” I knew I was going to loose the seven pounder.

“Aw, they’re just playing. Rascal mouthed the puppies from the last litter here. She’s gentle. Get out, relax and let them play.”

I looked at the dogs in front of me, grabbed my purse and ran out the door. Dinner and a glass of wine. That was all I could think of. They’ll sort it out.

I returned two hours later and five dogs were watching for me, lined up in front of the picture window. I turned the key in the door and five dogs came up, happy to see me. Rascal and the Chi were running side by side. In that short period I was out of the house, leaving the dogs to fend for themselves, they bonded.

The dance continues at this house. A week later a sixth dog was brought to me by State Trooper Peggy. I think I hear Tchaikovsky's music on my classical radio station. Swan Lake. I can picture Rascal, in her tiara, leading the pack, as they pirouette across my hardwood floors.

Widow Lesson Learned: Dance like no one's watching......who can have you committed.

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