Archive for January, 2009

Holidays and a Malamute

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

I wrote this back in December, but it has taken me until now to get it posted. I think most of it is still valid.

Happy Holidays

A few weeks ago, I was really down. It’s a rare state for me. Other than the occasional awakening at 2AM with an inexplicable sense of despair, I’m generally pretty upbeat. But the Thanksgiving week was tough. There was a lot good about it – we took our usual trip to the coast, had a nice house on the marsh, and the whole family was together.

Everyone contributed to an incredible Thanksgiving dinner, with help from the local Piggly Wiggly. The fall colors were about the prettiest I’ve ever seen. But there were family issues to deal with, a general case of ‘vacation malaise’, plus some other stuff that would have normally been considered minor.

In retrospect, my gloomy outlook was probably due to a combination of all of these things coming together. But the cause didn’t matter at the time – I was just down, and coudn’t seem to shake it.

One interesting result of my gloom was a great sympathy for people who feel down often, or who suffer with true clinical depression. I can generally empathize with people pretty well, but this (mercifully short) spell gave me an even clearer insight of what that must feel like. I can’t imagine living with it on a regular basis.

I remember distinctly when I started to get over the gloom. For years, I have participated in a Monday afternoon brainstorming session. The participants are creative and clever, and our discussions range widely from the general state of affairs in the world to specific problem-solving. And on the Monday after Thanksgiving, as we laughed and kidded with each other at the beginning of the meeting, I felt the cloud over my head begin to lift.

During this holiday/end-of-the-year season in which we find ourselves, people often get depressed, and, thanks to the economy and related factors, this year will probably be even worse. So, be kind to those around you. Lean on your own personal “support group,” and if you don’t have one, find one. Opportunities abound, including family, friends, faith-based groups, recovery programs, and, yes, even a bunch of creative geeks, who probably don’t even think of themselves as a “support group.”

I pray for peace on earth, and goodwill to all.

Buddy

Uncharacteristically, Greta was barking throughout the wee hours of Wednesday morning, October 22. I found out why when I went outside to get the paper and ran smack into a friendly sled dog in the front yard. When I opened the door to go back inside, Guest Dog nosed past me and ran up the stairs like it was familiar turf. A few minutes later, Guest Dog came back down, and circled Greta in the front hall as they exchanged sniffs. Since it was time for Greta’s morning constitutional, I hooked up her leash and we walked outside, leaving my wife typing at her computer while Guest Dog lay on the carpet playing with one of Greta’s flock (specifically, a stuffed sheep. Greta is a German Shepherd, after all.)

When we returned, Greta and Guest Dog’s sniffing turned into growling, then a brief bloodless fight for dominance, resulting in Guest Dog’s banishment into our fenced backyard.

Over the next two days, we gave Guest Dog the temporary moniker of “Buddy,” confirmed that, in addition to being charming and friendly, Buddy was still fully male, and determined that he loved chasing tennis balls and running through the leaves. (What is this, dog.match.com?) I also put up a couple of “dog found” signs in the neighborhood, scoured Craig’s List for missing dog listings, and took him to the vet to determine his chippedness. (He had no collar or tag.)

Turns out he did have a chip, and I traced it through the service provider (HomeAgain, no current registration) to the chip dealer (Landbriar), and to a pet store (Petco #19). The pet store consulted their national database and determined that he is a Malamute (not an Akita, as I had originally guessed.) They also determined that the customer phone number of record had been disconnected, so they asked me to hold onto him while they sent a letter to the last known address.

Buddy and Greta continued to not get along. Not only had Buddy taken over Greta’s backyard/bathroom, which forced us into a 3-times-a-day walking ritual, but we had a trip to Arkansas coming up. Since I didn’t want our regular dog-sitter to have to deal with two adversarial dogs, I took Buddy to the vet for the mandatory shots and treatment required to board him.

When we returned from Eureka Springs, I started calling rescue numbers, and found the definitive Malamute Guy in Atlanta. After due consideration, and largely due to Buddy’s irresistible cuteness, he agreed to board Buddy until a suitable home can be found.

So that’s where we are. Buddy is safely, if not particularly comfortably, boarded in downtown Atlanta, and would love to come home with you.

He’s very friendly and very playful, still “puppified” at the age of 2. Since Mamalutes are not considered good for houses with small children or other pets, a one-dog family would be best for him. Malamutes also need plenty of exercise, so a large fenced yard is probably a must. Snow and a sled would definitely be a bonus, although he also seems perfectly happy in Atlanta.

If you are interested in Buddy, either as a special gift for a that special person your life, or even in 2009 after things calm down a bit, send me an e-mail . First come, first-served. If you don’t live in Georgia, never fear – I’m sure I can arrange to have him delivered. 🙂