Our blogger, interior designer Carey Maloney, and his partner Hermes Mallea, an architect, are principals in the M (Group).
Francisco Jose Yunior “Frankie”
I have misgivings. Is it in appalling taste to mourn the little lost friend publicly in March and then adopt three weeks later in April and ‘announce’ it? Or should I keep it under my hat? (Note to self: If you have to ask if something is in appalling taste, it is…Oh well.)
I guess keeping things under my hat isn’t really my nature.
Bear in mind, the speed with which I sought solace in another puppy was no solace to Hermes. He’s wondering how long it would take me to replace him. I have assured him that it would take me eons to recover from his loss (or months, whichever came first…)
So, welcome, Frankie! (And Pancho, I still tear up whenever I think of you, which is often.)
As I debated / dithered / agonized about when it would be ‘appropriate’ to get another dog (nada in Emily Post on that subject…), Hermes rallied. “Whatever you want, whenever you want it.” He’s so good to me…
To go back a bit. A month before Pancho ‘Went West’, I happened into Hooked on Dogs
in Red Hook’s Chocolate Factory. They had a little crazy mutt named Pistol they were fostering while he awaited a new home. He was bouncing off the walls, and I was enamored. The women told me about their friends at Perfect Pets Rescue
in nearby Elizaville, and I filed the information away for the future, since, as long as Pancho was around, no new pups were coming in our door.
OK – let’s be frank(ie). Dog toys are f ugly. But not Hooked on Dogs’ toys—they are really cute!! Wacky wooly things that way beat the Dead Chicken school of chew toys.
A month later, Pancho was gone.
We got lots of lovely notes of condolence, some books, and two rather grand orchids (FYI, anytime you want to be ‘correct’, send an orchid. Works for me! Orchids.com
is great). Two of the letters that most affected me were from women whose dogs had died, and they had not replaced them—and both regretted it. Friends said, hesitantly (fearing my backlash??), “Get a new dog. That will fix you up”.
So back to Hooked on Dogs we went. Hermes, calmly and patiently awaiting his next 16 years of canine servitude, did gently pipe up with, “We can change the name, right?” But Pistol was gone. I could see the relief on HM’s face.
Armed with all the info from the Hooked girls, I went online to the Perfect Pets Rescue website. OMG. Gertie, Marjorine, Lamont (My mother’s maiden name?!?), Fern, Susan, Fred… Mostly smallish dogs. Mostly mixed breeds. There, in the middle of the column of dogs, was Frankie. Well, he was Stan then, but he’s Frankie now. One ear up and one down. Beyond cute—to me.
Frankie is from Georgia. Turns out southern states have an epidemic of unwanted dogs. (Yet another example of the success of the Bible Belts obsession with Abstinence Only? A heads up, Religious Right, it is NOT working.) So Perfect Pet Rescue goes to the source and picks adoptable strays. The pups are administered to by a vet—shots, de-wormed, even a security chip so Frankie can never be lost again. Then the dogs come north and lovely volunteers foster them until they are adopted.
The mean streets of HotLanta… Poor Frankie….
I was chomping at the bit. He was being fostered on Shamrock Circle in Poughkeepsie so, after speaking to his foster mom and hearing her accolades, we booked a viewing for the next Sunday.
OMG. He was Super Cute in person. I kept telling myself my conscience would be clear if we passed on him; he was safe and happy and wouldn’t be long without a home, I kept telling myself. Over and over. In case I wasn’t ready..
After 4 minutes on the front porch, I told the Foster Mom we’d take him and HM and I went in search of a cash machine to get the $400 adoption fee (bear in mind, it costs $100 to bail them out of ‘jail’, then vets etc. A bargain!). But the doubts/guilt lingered… Should we? Shouldn’t we? After that boring refrain for 15 minutes, cash in hand, we returned back to Shamrock Circle and picked him up.
“Frankie,” Hermes told him, “you just won the Lottery.”
He’s fallen into his life quickly. He loves his office and his staff dotes on him. He enjoys the country and tolerates the city streets. He’ll be fine.
We bought this Lawn Stork years ago and it has heralded many friends’ new babies!
I’m thrilled we made the leap. Having a puppy forces you to think ‘young.’ Pancho had been an adult or a senior for 10 years—we walked slower and slower. Now I trail along behind a pup straining to get somewhere—anywhere—FAST. Life is much sped up and that is a good thing.
He is lying here by my desk, sleeping and dreaming (he will not let me out of his sight; he won’t eat without me in the room). He seems to have no psychological scarring from his days on the streets and in the shelters—all is good for Frankie now. He landed in Tall Cotton.
So – a big Thank You to Pancho for showing me how wonderful a dog can be. And thanks to Perfect Pet Rescue. Thanks to the foster ladies of Shamrock Circle. And thanks to Dr. No Name who helped him in his time of need.
Remember, Don’t Breed or Buy While the Homeless Die…Adopt a pet.
Not So Fun Facts
In six years one unspayed female and her offspring can reproduce 67,000 dogs. (Spay USA
Seven dogs & cats are born every day for each person born in the U.S. Of those, only 1 in 5 puppies and kittens stays in its original home for its natural lifetime. The remaining 4 are abandoned to the streets or end up at a shelter. (The Humane Society of the United States
Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. As long as these relative birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all the animals. (Spay USA
The public acquires only 14% of its pets from shelters; 48% get their pets as strays, from friends, from animal rescuers, 38% get their pets from breeders or pet stores. (The Humane Society of the United States
My Dog Tulip
by J. R. Ackerley is a wonderful book about his Alsatian, Queenie (His editors changed the name to Tulip, fearing Queenie might incite gay jokes about Mr. A.) "I would have immolated myself as a suttee when Queenie died. For no human would I ever have done such a thing, but by my love for Queenie I would have been irresistibly compelled."
He wrote very few books – basically Tulip, Hindoo Holiday
, and My Father and Myself
. Each is a jewel.
For kids (and maybe me…), there is the classic, The Incredible Journey
. A lab, a bulldog, and a Siamese cat travel hundreds of miles to return home. A real tear jerker…
For a photographic portrait of your pooch, there’s no one better than Valerie Shaff
, and she lives in Germantown.
To see her work, go to Carrie Haddad Photography
in Hudson to see Shaff's beautiful prints of wonderful subjects. Valerie Shaff