All Our Children Meow and Woof: October 2008

All Our Children Meow and Woof

I created this blog to sort through my emotions as Finnegan, a great Irish Wolfhound, fought bone cancer for nearly 26 months. Fortunately, his battle subsided for many months and during the course of the 26 months, I shared stories about his feline siblings. On August 8, 2008, Finny passed on in my husband's and my arms. He fought the good fight and he will always have a special place in my heart. *If you have a question, please write me at finnegandog at gmail dot com.*

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Coming Soon!

I have been asked to review the newest DVD by Cesar Milan! This comes just in time for our new friend, Rudy. Oh, Rudy. He's a charming devil. I will be giving away one free copy of the DVD. My plan is to watch the series this weekend and to write up a review as soon as possible so the kind folks who asked me to do this review do not become frustrated with me. I apologize! For those of you who read periodically, if you would not mind passing on the word about this contest, I would greatly appreciate it! And also, I am probably going to do some more writing on this blog because I'm finding I might want to work on my critter writing. Perhaps a book can come out of all the critter stories from my life? Oh my, I must be dreaming, a very very pleasant dream.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

Can I be complete honest with you? This weekend I questioned whether adopting Rudy was the right thing. And now you're asking: who the hell is Rudy? The Prof decided he liked Rudy better than Rooney, it's actually easier to say, and so alas, it's Rudy. He responds to it so all is right in the world.

I am rarely one to sugarcoat matters. Rudy acted like a complete and utter nutcase when we brought him home. Yes, I understand he had been in the shelter for nearly one and a half months. Yes, he is young, under two years old, and he has a ton of energy. But I did not expect quite that much energy. Oh, all that energy. I set up his crate downstairs and had two leashes ready, one for inside and one for outside. After walking him and throwing a toy nearly 5,000 times, I decided he expended enough energy to be introduced to the house. House, this is Rudy, Rudy, this is House. Unfortunately, it is not this House.

All he wanted to do was run around and around and around the house checking everything out. And then the cats. Oh the cats and oh hell how did I make my first big mistake. I introduced the cats to Rudy directly and not through a closed door. Big mistake. His response? OHMYGODOHYMYGODHIHIHILETMESNIFFYOUPERHAPSCHASEYES?YES?

In human translation: holy hell I've never been so excited to meet you but if you run, that means I will chase you. GAH! So Rudy went back downstairs, the cats gave me dirty looks, and I nearly cried.

The next day, he couldn't believe he still lived with us. His outpouring of love made my heart ache. He truly wanted to be a good boy but the excitement overwhelmed him. We spent a good part of the day throwing Frisbees, which he can catch if we don't suck at throwing them, throwing balls, and going for a walk. He calmed a bit but still, it was all so very very new and he literally did not know what to do.

Sunday included more playing, throwing, attention, and love. We named his numerous squeaky toys, praised him for good behavior, and worked on "No jumping" and "Sit" and "Stay" before he entered the house. Still, the cats were on strike and wanted nothing to do with this atrocious creature. Ew! A dog! When I talked to my sister on the phone, I wondered how long we could take his behavior with the cats.

But then I began to do some reading and calmed down. We decided that he will need to be downstairs dog until he becomes used to the house and the cats become accustomed to him, he must stay in his crate while unsupervised, and most importantly, we need to be consistent with his training. After all, he is a good, sweet, smart, and loving dog. All he needs is our time and patience and I think he will be sure to give it back.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008



Although it seemed entirely too soon to invite a dog into our home, Rooney fell into our laps. After returning from a holiday to Scandinavia, Iceland, and Finland, we brought our Siamese to the vet for some constipation issues. While checking out, the technician mentioned that there was a stray in the back that they thought I would like. I told them we had enough cats but she then corrected me and said it was a dog! In fact, it is an Irish Wolfhound mix! I paused for a moment and then succumbed to my curiosity and asked to meet him. She couldn't run back fast enough to bring him back. And yes, he was absolutely part Irish Wolfhound.

At first, I said no way, we just lost Finny and are expecting our first baby. Oh, for those who still read this somewhat defunct blog, I'm pregnant! And we are having a boy on February 11, 2009! Woot! But wait, there's more because of course there is always more. I called a few weeks later to make an appointment for Mr. Stinny's checkup and innocently asked about Rooney. Let me back up. My veterinarian houses the county shelter and all strays in the county are brought there. Unfortunately with the housing crisis, many animals are dumped as "strays" at shelters. It sucks and as a consumer law attorney, I hear clients stressing out about not over losing their homes but finding a homes where they can keep their animal companions. The receptionist told me that Rooney wouldn't be there much longer. When I asked whether he had been adopted, she told me instead that the shelter is overcrowded and he might have to be euthanized. Of course, I would not accept that information and practically shouted "NO!" into the telephone.

After some quick thinking and complete lack of judgment, I told her that if they couldn't adopt him out, I would foster him. And in Andrea English, foster means bring him home under the guise of "it's only temperary" and in actuality, he becomes a permanent family member. (See also: Mr. Stinny, Shrimpycat, and Zena (another story for a later time)). I apologize for the excessive use of parentheticals. Initially, my husband did not agree with my decision and insisted that we wait to see if another family adopted him. Also, he asked other friends and coworkers whether they would be interested in adopting him. Of course, the answer was always: no thanks. However, The Prof is also a softy so he did not want this dog to be euthanized either. Finally, he met him and was won over by Rooney's smarts and sweetness so alas, let me introduce the newest member to our crazy home who will be welcomed by the kitties this Friday:

Monday, October 06, 2008

An Inspirational Dog Has Passed

On October 3, 2008, Jerry, another inspirational dog, passed away after a courageous battle with bone cancer. Jerry enjoyed a wonderful, loving, and exciting life with his human parents. During the last year or so of his life, he traveled the country with them seeing new places and faces. Finny and I had the good fortune to meet with them a year ago September. The two of them sniffed, and wagged, and sometimes just ignored each other. I found Jerry to be a sweet and smart boy with parents who loved them with all their heart.

What sometimes brings me peace and comfort is to think about Finny with four legs again, frolicking with his canine friends who passed before him. I imagine Finny waiting for Jerry on the other side with his big Irish Wolfhound grin and tail wagging, waiting to greet Jerry with all of the love that sweet boy deserves.