dogs, silliness

Sugary grits and old dogs…

First thing’s first. I don’t like sugar on my grits. To me, they are a savory food, not a cereal. I cook them in salty water and serve them with salt, butter, and maybe a dash of cream. Do NOT put sugar on my grits, and don’t tell me they’re cereal. Fuck that noise. Some people like sugar on their grits. I like sugar in my coffee and on grapefruit, but not in grits. And some people like cheese in their grits, but I’m a purist. Spare me the cheese and sugar, please.

And do not give me instant grits.
No self-respecting Southerner uses instant grits!

For the record, we order grits from a farm in South Carolina. They are delicious, and they take about 20 minutes to make properly. We always cook them in salty water so they won’t be too bland. And we never put sugar on them because they aren’t Cream of Wheat or oatmeal!

Alright… now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…

This morning, someone shared a picture of a 13 year old male Labrador retriever who needs a new home. I don’t know why the dog needs a new home. I would hope it’s not simply because his family got tired of him after 13 years. I like to think these dogs wind up in shelters because of situations beyond the family’s control.

When ads are shared for old dogs who need new homes, invariably there are indignant responses from total strangers who have a knee jerk reaction to another stranger’s decision to rehome their pet. I guess I don’t blame them. It would be very, very hard for me to come up with a reason to willingly part with one of my pets. But then, all of the five rescue dogs I’ve had have eventually turned out to be wonderful friends and family members. It’s always tough at first, integrating a new family member. I remember that Flea, MacGregor, and Zane were all especially challenging when we first got them. But I don’t regret taking in a single one of the five dogs we’ve had so far. They’ve all been blessings, even though it was hard in the beginning.

Flea was fully matured, but he’d been a hunting dog and no one had properly housetrained him. He was also very alpha and was neutered late, so it took awhile before he got into the routine of being a pet with basic manners. But he did eventually get the hang of being part of the family and blossomed when we got MacGregor for him to boss around. We had Flea for six years before we lost him to prostate cancer.

MacGregor was still pretty much a baby when we got him. He was mostly physically mature, but he was kind of akin to being a teenager. It took a few months before he stopped destroying things when we were out of the house. Fortunately, he was the smartest of all of our dogs, and he caught on quickly. Although he was scared of anyone he didn’t know, he was a wonderful pet and we enjoyed him for 8.5 years before a spinal tumor took his life.

Most recently, we lost Zane. I remember seeing Zane’s picture and thinking he reminded me of Flea. But he wasn’t that much like Flea at all. Zane was a very intelligent, sweet, smart, and smart-assed beagle who kept things running. He did later take on some “Flea-like” characteristics, but he was definitely his own dog. Like MacGregor, he was in his destructive chewing phase when we brought him home. That “teen” phase was also the only time in his life that he was ever aggressive. He and MacGregor would sometimes fight over food during the first months with us. But they eventually became great friends and bonded. When we brought Arran home, Zane and Arran got along great until Arran picked one too many fights.

The other two rescue dogs we’ve had– CuCullain and Arran– were both fully grown when we got them. CuCullain (CC), our blue eyed beagle-husky mix, was probably the best behaved of all of them, but unfortunately, he got a rare mycobacterial infection and died after just sixteen months with us. We still have Arran, who was also once destined to be a hunting dog. He’s loving being the only dog, but he’s had his issues, particularly with being jealous of Zane and not being as faithful about housetraining as our others have been.

Every single one of these dogs once belonged to someone who couldn’t keep him anymore. They all wound up in rescues. And Bill and I were very blessed to have them in our lives. If it hadn’t been for a previous owner deciding to give them up for a chance at a more appropriate home, we would not have had the pleasure of knowing any of these dogs. I remember Arran was adopted by someone who brought him back to the rescue after nine months. I’d like to think the lady who initially took him tried hard to make the situation work. She’d kept him for nine months, after all. But, for some reason, it just wasn’t feasible for her to keep him. She did the responsible thing and brought him back to the rescue, where I found him while grieving MacGregor’s death. Now he’s with us, and couldn’t be happier.

Just like a woman who has late term abortion almost always does so because of extreme situations, I like to think people give up their old dogs because they have to. I know there are many exceptions, and I’ve heard of people throwing out their old dogs so they can get a puppy. But I like to think that’s not usually why people do this. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, I try to assume the person has fallen on hard financial times, is sick, or otherwise has been forced into a living situation that makes keeping the pet impossible. And if it turns out the person is the sort who would callously toss out an old friend like that, I like to hope that the dog will have a better chance with someone else… even if I do know that old dogs are usually the last ones chosen as new pets.

Maybe it’s not realistic to think this way, but it spares me from getting depressed about how shitty some people can be. I don’t think it’s helpful to shame people who rehome their animals. Truly callous people won’t care what other people think, while the ones who are doing it out of necessity will only feel worse about what must be a difficult decision. And really, I think it’s best for pets to be with people who actually want them and don’t resent having to take care of them. So… when I can, I try to be compassionate about those situations. I figure it does no good to get angry. The focus should be on finding that animal a good home.

As for Bill and me… I’m not sure when a new dog will come into our lives. I want a new one, but I don’t yet feel ready. Maybe after the holidays, we’ll consider it. A lot also depends on whether or not we stay here another year. I think we will, but it’s hard to tell how contracts will go. Also… I worry about how Arran will take it. He’s a very sweet dog, but he does get jealous and possessive. And frankly, after having landlords who clearly disliked my dogs, I think I’d kind of like to wait until we have our own house and don’t have to answer to anyone else about our lifestyle. Fortunately, our current landlords aren’t as intrusive or judgmental, and they actually like dogs.

If you’re looking for good grits, Palmetto Farms has them. I am an Amazon Associate, so I get a small commission when people make purchases through my site. I’ve been eating Palmetto Farms grits for years now, and they never disappoint.

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