I want to save them all

Note: I would love it if the following story ended with me bringing Misty home, but, spoiler, that hasn’t happened. My hands go up to everyone who’s ever rescued a dog, and for those who rescue animals every day.

My heart won’t stop bleeding for all the homeless dogs. Perhaps I need to block all the dog rescues I follow on Facebook and Twitter.

After last week’s puppy visit, I felt at peace with our status as a two-dog family… until I saw a listing last night on Old Dog Haven for a 10-year-old German shepherd, described as “very broken down.” The Facebook post had no photo and I couldn’t find one on Petfinder or the shelter’s website. I thought of asking for a photo, but then thought, Does it matter what she looks like?

I said to Rob, “There’s this dog at the shelter in Everett. Says she’s been there a while and led a very rough life before that…”

As the words came out of my mouth, I felt ridiculous. A senior dog? A female? Not part of our plan. Our next dog is supposed to be a pit bull, remember?

Still … the shelter is only a half hour from my office, and I knew I’d have some down time today.

This morning, a new Facebook post included Misty’s photo.

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My heart ached as I drove to the shelter, trying to convince myself that I’m not crazy. I’m not committing to anything. I just want to see the dog. Get a new picture of her. See if she’s in any better shape since this photo was taken. The description said she likes being outside during the day. She could be much easier than a puppy to care for. She could lie beside Mia in the backyard … assuming Mia tolerates having another female in the house.

If we fed her a diet of raw meat and grain-free kibble, I bet her coat and skin would clear right up.

It took longer than a half hour to get to the shelter. There were road closures. When I walked in, I asked the lady if she had a shepherd named Misty.

“For adoption? No.”

“You don’t have a dog named Misty?”

“Not for adoption.”

“I saw her on Old Dog Haven.”

“For fostering? You need to go through Old Dog Haven.”

“I can’t even see her?”

“You need to go through Old Dog Haven.”

I called Old Dog Haven from the car and got voice mail. I could do nothing but drive away feeling heartsick, wondering if I should have pressed the issue. Poor Misty, not only is she in jail, but she’s not even allowed visitors? But shelters have rules for a reason. Maybe I’d jumped the gun.

Later I saw on Facebook that several other people had called or stopped by and been told the same thing, but the shelter is all straightened out now, and Misty is available for adoption. I was angry that I was denied the opportunity to see her, but encouraged because so many other people expressed interest in her. A few people have put in applications already.

That’s the beauty of social media: in just a few hours, Misty’s story touched tons of people. My heart’s still bleeding, though, thinking about all the dogs in shelters who don’t have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds broadcasting their stories to the masses.

Take, for example, all the dogs at the shelter that I didn’t even bother to look at today, because I was so focused on Misty.

UPDATE: Misty was adopted on Sept. 10. Later that night, she showed signs of bloat, possibly from an enlarged spleen or tumor that caused her stomach to twist. She was euthanized in her new owner’s arms. Very sad, but as Old Dog Haven and her new owner point out, it’s also a success story. The purpose of Old Dog Haven and similar rescues is to prevent senior dogs from dying alone in shelters.

Pet Blogger Challenge

Rather than have an existential crisis about whether Rhymes with Safari counts as a dog blog, I’m gonna just jump in and participate in GoPetFriendly’s Pet Blogger Challenge.

me and doggies

1. When did you begin your blog?

I started blogging in 2002, when I was living in Prague and working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?

This was before Twitter and Facebook. I didn’t even know what a blog was until my friend Chelsea told me she started one. At the time, I posted whatever random musings I had during the day, much the way we all use Facebook and Twitter now. I also posted links to funny things on the Internet, and commented on the international news events I covered at my job.

3. Is your current purpose the same?

Not at all. You’ll notice that the above description has nothing to do with pets. My fella and I got our first dog, Isis, in 2006. For a few years, I blogged fairly infrequently, but when I did, it was usually about Isis. I posted lots of  pictures of her with soccer balls.

Isis died in 2011. I have written a memoir about Isis’s life, and am starting the process of getting that published.

Now my blog focuses on the antics of my delightful muses Leo and Mia.

4. How often do you post?

A goal I feel I can meet is to post at least once a week. I would like to post more often.

5. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?

As the spirit moves me. I find it hard to stick to “dog blog” topics only, so I also write about pop culture a lot, books and authors, food and fitness.

6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your  tips for staying on top of it all.

I find myself thinking of topics and mentally writing blog entries throughout the week, and spend less than an hour actually typing up each post. But then, I write pretty fast. I could never charge by the hour for my services!

I visit other blogs all the time, as part of my regular social media diet. Every time I scroll through Facebook and Twitter, I find lots that I want to read. When I’m on a desktop computer, I’ll click all of them and read at my leisure, but it can be tough on a mobile device. Especially when the wifi is temperamental.

7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?

All of the above. Mostly I look at my stats in WordPress. I’m learning to use hashtags in Twitter to stimulate sharing. Last fall, I got more “likes” on my posts about a trip to Russia (which did not include the dogs) than I did on my most heartfelt dog posts. I started to wonder if I should be writing a travel blog instead of a dog blog.

8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

I would like to attract more readers. Can I do that by writing about other topics besides my dogs, or will I lose my cred as a dog blogger?

Please subscribe and/or follow me on Twitter: @KariNeumeyer

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

More readers! Post 2-3 times a week. Lose 25 pounds. Sell my memoir! (OK, those last two are more personal goals than blog goals.)

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Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10
The Pet Blogger Challenge was started by Amy at Take Paws– Go Pet Friendly and Edie of Will My Dog Hate Me? as a way for pet bloggers to meet each other, learn about each other’s goals for our blogs and find support for our blogging. This is the 3rd year and the number of bloggers joining in grows each year.

This is a Blog Hop, but WordPress won’t allow the Javascript to include the links. Please visit Take Paws to see the complete list of Pet Blogger Challenge participants.