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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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shelters are like nightclubs
awesome bunny
seperis
The Search for Puppies (Dogs, Animals, Non-Pony Size):

So I do not have a puppy. However, I do now have applications at the Humane Society and the animal shelter, because there's like, no way to get a dog otherwise. You may think I am kidding, but apparently, getting a shelter dog is wait-listed or something, cue red carpet and bouncers staring at you as you leave longing eye-tracks on a variety of, let me say this now, hideously ugly animals (with good personalities! Sometimes. Sometimes, I'm just confused). And it's not like I'm picky on appearance--I want a.) good with kids and b.) does not try to kill anyone with their sharp, sharp teeth. I mean, seriously speaking, my expectations are low.

I mean, I would prefer an attractive dog, but honestly, personality beats out looks pretty much ten times out of ten. Dad's Luke is a fairly standard looking German shepherd with impeccable manners and a lazy streak and we love him for both of those things. I do not want the Chris Pine of the animal world.

...sorry, I needed a minute to go look at pictures of him in winterlive's LJ. It happens.

Anyway. Saturday we hit two places: at the Humane Society, found a pretty miniature poodle (dislikes kids, restraint issues, beady eyes), a daschund (dislikes humans and possibly air?), a boxer mix (beady eyes, a bad habit of staring at my throat longingly), and a kind of beagleish animal (pretty, under evaluation, gentle eyes, short). Then there was this super charming Great Dane/Pyrennes mix, which totally I could have loved but it was pretty much the equivalent of a pony and it wasn't done growing. I mean, sure, it could be fun to play with and to ride to the rescue of princesses, but um. Yeah. I'm just thinking that in the event of an emergency, I want to be able, in general, to not be dragged behind my dog helplessly. Which with that one? Possibly drag my house as well.

The Animal Shelter was in fact even more bizarre--it's not like one thinks of that as a hotbed of adoption, but honestly, yes, it was. Every dog--every dog I'd identified as a potential was Interest Pending or Adoption. There was a very nice looking golden-eyed Shar-Pei mix that was medium-large and kind of bony (needs feeding and laziness, which we could provide!), but he kept staring at my mother in this way none of us were sure was friendly, and also, they weren't entirely convinced on temperament with kids. I cannot remember the mix, but the second parent's general temperament was recommended for older kids, so sadly, no.

Found: five Labrador retriever puppies (OMG CUTE!) but disturbingly large for their reputed age with that frightening paw circumference that implies Pony Sized Dog; four pit-bull/poodle combos (you really don't see that one coming), and some other random mixes. But I'm totally not kidding; every dog I even felt a vague attraction to was already spoken for. And basically, the only ones I didn't were a.) some really really sullen pitt bull mixes (I mean, like, I am looking at them for family-adoption purposes and I could actually feel their scorn) and the pit/poodle, which on one hand, maybe, but on another, poodles are not usually super small child friendly and I don't know what kind of pitt the other parent was, and also, they were cute, but holy god the shedding. The shedding.

[And the size. I'm pretty sure they meant standard poodle (I--cannot deal with the miniature one on this; again, you really don't see that kind of mix coming) and the paw size was very, very unnervingly close to Small But Furry Pony.]

So you see why I don't have a dog. I mean, I may have to actually go to a professional breeder, which totally screws my resolution to adopt. There are a few rescues I've been looking at, but the first few I checked required a strip search and possible FBI background checks* before being allowed to look at a dog, so yeah, no idea where this is going.

[* really not kidding. A year or so ago they had a pet adoption day at some place and I was looking over the paperwork and realized there was a real similarity between it and the forms we use for people who want to become foster parents of actual children. Especially small breeds. Man, there was space on that application to put your criminal record. Not even including multiple home visits and a trial period.]

The Search for Betas (Long, Long, Long Story Size):

It's--not done, current count 35K. Estimated word count is 50k in final draft, but svmadelyn has bet on 60K, so who the hell knows. The reason I'm asking when I'm still about 15K from final is that it's actually three sections that are also (somewhat) self-contained, and the first two are complete and I kind of want those done separately on their own before the whole thing is done together for continuity.

Reboot, sequel to You'll Get There in the End, did I mention it's going to be long and patience will be required? Probably two weeks until completed. Email at seperis at gmail or comment here.

In closing: I may never get a dog.
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(Deleted comment)
I will never have a dog or finish this story.

*mourns*

When we got Spike, my experience at the Houston Animal Shelter was hellish. We had to wait a week, it was impossible to call the place because they would not answer the phone and would not return calls, when we got there after a two hour drive, still not knowing if they were going to let us have him or even if he was still there, they would not answer questions. Literally, you would ask a question, they would all look at you for a minute, then go back to what they were doing. Finally, after forty-five minutes of having no idea what was going on, a woman came out and handed him to me. I almost fell over with relief. Then I asked if that was it, there was any more paperwork. They all looked at me for a minute, then went back to what they were doing. So we just walked out with him, figuring fuck it, if they want to stop us they can chase us. (A week later they mailed us all the paperwork I needed to fill out but that they couldn't bring themselves to tell me about.)

At the Bryan/College Station Animal Shelter, when I went to get a cat after Kate died, they were a little iffy at first but then called my vet for a reference, and after that they made it clear I could pull up a truck and have as many cats and dogs as I wanted.

They all looked at me for a minute, then went back to what they were doing. So we just walked out with him, figuring fuck it, if they want to stop us they can chase us. (A week later they mailed us all the paperwork I needed to fill out but that they couldn't bring themselves to tell me about.)

*falls over* Oh my GOD. *still laughing* Also, puppy icon! So adorable.

I can see that, though. The shelter people here were nice but not like, outgoing on what we were supposed to be doing or you know, filling out. It was weird.

At the Bryan/College Station Animal Shelter, when I went to get a cat after Kate died, they were a little iffy at first but then called my vet for a reference, and after that they made it clear I could pull up a truck and have as many cats and dogs as I wanted.

My office mates have no idea why I keep putting my head down on the desk and giggling hysterically.

Re: your dog search - Have you checked out breed-specific rescues? I know the application process is arduous and seemingly-ridiculous, but the good thing about a breed rescue is that many of their dogs will come from foster homes, and the foster parent(s) can tell you exactly what the dog is like in a home situation. (I'm pretty sure there's a Boxer rescue in Texas, but I'll have to check for you.... [I stalked your home state via your info page])

I've been a shelter volunteer for two years now, and I can tell you that dogs will often act differently in the shelter environment than they will in a quieter home environment, particularly after they've had a few weeks to learn they can trust you. Did you get a chance to take any of the dogs out of their kennels? I highly recommend this. Get the dog out of the kennel on a leash, and take it outside if possible and hang out with it for at least 20 minutes in a quiet area where there are no other dogs, people, distractions around. That should give you a better idea of what the dog's actual personality is like.

Is there are particular breed you're looking for? It sounds like medium-sized. I have an 11 year-old boxer, and I can tell you that he's a wonderful dog. Boxers tend to be good with children, as do pitbulls. Every dog is different, of course, and it may depend upon what the dog is mixed with. But if you haven't been able to take the dogs out of the kennel and spend some alone-time with it, I might try that before giving up altogether on adoption. Even go back a couple of times so you can see what the dog is like on different days.

And I know the application process seems fucking ridiculous, but as a shelter worker, I can tell you that nothing is more heartbreaking than having a dog returned to the shelter because the owner wasn't prepared for it (which we can sometimes suss out through the application) or to find out that the dog is not being taken care of, when we though we put it in a good home. So I know it's hard, but try to hang in there if you can.

Also, if you want any advice about choosing a dog, I'd be happy to share what knowledge I have. Good luck. :-D

Medium size. I'm checking the breed shelters, but I'm not sure I'm specific on breed nearly as much as temperament with both very small children, medium sized children, and other dogs.

And I know the application process seems fucking ridiculous, but as a shelter worker, I can tell you that nothing is more heartbreaking than having a dog returned to the shelter because the owner wasn't prepared for it (which we can sometimes suss out through the application) or to find out that the dog is not being taken care of, when we though we put it in a good home. So I know it's hard, but try to hang in there if you can.

Oh, I believe it. I know in theory that this is a good method, but once you see the waiting periods, home visits, and evaluation sections on a couple of them, it gets a little daze-making.

Just FYI, my dad and his wife have standard poodles that they show at dog shows (they did this previously with shepherds), and he says the poodles are smarter than any other dogs he's had before, and they do not shed at all. Just in case this helps when making a decison. :)

My mom and I love poodles. If I could be sure hte type of poodle sizewise on that one, I would have been more enthusiastic, but seriously, the puppy size was kind of astonishing (and unbearably cute. I was trying not to melt standing there staring at them).

I did not know about the shedding and I feel weird saying that, because I've been reading on dog types for over a week. Huh. Marking that down and thank you!

I swear, they're not going to file half that paperwork. I'd bet you money it's more of a screening process, more to get rid of the people who start sweating bullets and running away when asked about their criminal record.

Try the Williamson County Humane Society, and individual dog rescue groups. (Though I recommend a cat, myself. Plus, it's cat/kitten month at the animal shelter, and it's really inexpensive to adopt one right now!)

I'm also available for beta duties, if you'll have me.

Busy? *g* Googledocs okay? email me at seperis@gmail and I'll add that email to docs. Or I can send it by email, whichever.

*raises hand*

I can help beta for you, depending on what you're looking for- I'm not Super Star Trek Fan or anything, so if you need stuff to line up or stay consistent with TOS, you can probably find more qualified people. However, as far as grammar, structure, storytelling goes, I'm an elem. school teacher, so I do that daily. And I like your writing, so I think it would be fun to beta. :) Let me know if you need my help.

Sure! email me at seperis @ gmail and tell me if you want to copy it from googledocs or have it as an attachment.

When I wanted to adopt a dog, I first went to the Humane Society (this was in GA). When I asked about policy, the ONLY thing the woman thought to ask was whether or not I had a fenced in yard. I didn't, and when I told her that I intended to walk my dog, she said "well, we don't adopt out to people without fenced in yards because you'll get lazy and just let your dog out and it'll get hit by a car." I was agog. Not only was she making incorrect assumptions about me, but she also stated that I was lazy and would be an irresponsible dog owner. I was furious because they were being SO narrow-minded that it precluded anyone living in apts, etc. Plus, I know of MANY dogs who've escaped from enclosed yards, so that's hardly a failsafe deterrent for a dog getting hit by a car.

Next, I went to an adoption fair through PAWS of Georgia or something. They had an application for me to fill out, in which I had to state that I would not be opposed to unannounced visits by their staff, and other things, but it was not an overly-long application. And while they did ask me questions, not once did they demand that I have a fenced in yard. So I filled out the application, they reviewed it on the spot, asked me some reasonable questions regarding food and training, etc. Then, they called the foster mom, who came and told me a little more about her and her temperment, especially around cats, as I had two. Then, the foster mom offered to buy her a leash, collar, toy and treats and simply asked that I buy her crate and food. And after some time spent interacting with her (under the watchful but not overly-critical eyes of the adoption people), I was able to leave with her that day. I took Ginny to the vet the next day for just a baseline, I called the foster mom once or twice over the next month to give her an update on how she was adjusting, I signed up for basic training and then that was that. I eventually moved from Georgia, but they never did any home inspections. That's not to say that they were too lax, but I think the Humane Society was too harsh. They had so many dogs that no one wanted, and yet they wouldn't even consider adopting them out to someone who was eager and willing to take them on walks every day.

I have since done agility with Ginny, she's turned into a wonderful dog (from the somewhat hyper, chewing-destructive puppy she was at 9 months), and she even performed so well last week when I took her to the school I worked at for our last day, that someone mentioned I should use her as a therapy dog. I've spent months running/walking with her, doing agility, taking her for walks and I have never had a fenced in yard. But she's been safely on a leash, she loves other dogs and people and she's never, thankfully, gotten hit by a car.

So keep looking. I think the private organizations and rescue groups are much better about actually *wanting* to adopt dogs out to people who want them. Some caution is, of course, necessary. But blind rules make no sense, and prevent good people from adopting unwanted dogs. And that just makes me angry. It should be a case by case basis, if anything.

Also, I found a lot on www.petfinder.org as far as other local groups besides the shelters and Humane Society. Good luck! And may I say that I still don't know what mix Ginny is, but she's the sweetest, most loving dog who does wonderfully with my almost-2-year old nephew, as well as with autistic 2nd graders who don't know how to interact with dogs. So go by spending time with each dog, not necessarily by their breed(s). I mean, the vet put down that she was a Chow mix, but if I went by that, I would never have her around kids. But she literally has the sweetest, most people-pleasing temperment and patience for people of all ages.

Ditto the above comment on checking breed specific rescue organizations- such as here. Not that I've been considering an English Springer or anything ;).

I've only had pure breds from reputable breeders myself. But I feel a little guilty about it given all the dogs who need good homes. So for my next dog- I'm seriously thinking of checking a rescue organization. And I liked the way the one linked above has the updates from the foster family. Good info on how the pooch gets along with kids/cats/other dogs, etc.

I sympathize vastly with your search for Spock a puppy.

Also, I'll volunteer for beta, what the hey.

*g* email me at seperis @gmail and do you want it as an attachment or from googledocs?

You can also try looking in the Petfinder.com local/classified ads section. These are free ads that folks can place when they need to re-home their pet. You would be dealing directly with an individual and not a rescue or shelter.

The other thing to think about is if you have any sort of a particular breed that you might prefer, that there are pure-bred rescues out there for just about every breed. The AKC website has a list with links. (we're a boxer household personally and I can't tell you HOW many of those there are in rescue right now- too many!)

Good luck!! And yay for rescuing a homeless pet!!!

The mind just boggles. I'm getting a medieval French vibe here. Snotty but willing to kick ass. Eleanor of Aquitaine much.

There had to be a LOT of drinking to get that.

Have you looked in your local paper for just plain folks who have puppies?

Re: pit-bull/poodle combos

Oh man, hysterical story--there was this Pomeranian stray--pretty sure it just got out of the yard, because exquisite grooming. So I'm walking down the strays/lost pets area and my mom stops and exclaims admiringly at him.

...the dog lifts his chin and turns away. Me and Mom were feeling the exclusion vibes from that one. It was hysterical.

I would volunteer to beta, except maybe I am sorta not supposed to be working on anything that isn't for the book right now. And you don't want to know how behind I am on reading. *flails* But if you still need a beta in a few weeks, count me in?

But it's so deeply awesome yet bizarre to actually be EATEN BY TREK again after how long? ZOMG.

I probably will, but it's slash, so I'm not sure it'll be your thing. Holy God, so much plot. I'm not used ot writing this much plot anymore.

When my sister got her dog from a shelter there was an application and she had to agree that they could come unannounced to check, but it didn't seem that difficult from the outside (at least she ended up with a dog fairly quickly). I myself have never applied at a shelter so I have no advice there, however make sure to for your own mental state to get a dog of very robust health. (I myself am once again a nervous wreck due to current rat health problems, and broke on top of that with the costs...)

*waves*

I'm new around here but would love to help volunteer to beta. I'm good with characterization, plot, sentence fluency, but not so much on grammar or knowledge of the Trek verse as my introduction was the Reboot.

I understand if you'd prefer to have those you already know beta for you. I figured it wouldn't hurt if I tossed my hat in the ring.

Whatever the case, I look forward to reading your fic. :)