Tag Archives: Park Slope

Sweet Found Dog Needs a Good Home!

On Monday 8/4/2014 I took my dog, Phoebe, up to Fort Greene Park for off leash hours around 8:30am. When I arrived at the park, I saw my friend Anna Holmes sitting by a large brindle pit bull mix who was tied by a thin yellow rope to the bench. I asked what was going on and she said she and others had been sitting with him since 6:30am that morning. People brought him water and food and someone went to get an old collar to put on him so the rope wouldn’t hurt his neck. He was panting and nervous but friendly. He had a cough and was pretty dirty, with lots of loose shed hair on his smooth coat. Anna Holmes was calling the no kill shelters to see if they could take him but none opened until 11am. She said she’d take him there in a car service. I didn’t have to start work until 1130 so I offered to take them in my car.

Leroy en route to vet on his first day.

Leroy en route to vet on his first day.

We took him to Sean Casey but they had 30 pit mixes they were trying to adopt out already and couldn’t take him. They scanned him for a microchip but of course he didn’t have one. We took him to the vet to get him checked out and get medicine for his cough. I had to run to work for a while so Anna Holmes stayed with him. She wanted to take him home after but her dog T-bone doesn’t do well with intact male dogs.

photo 2-2

I called my husband to see if the dog could come to our house for a few days until we could figure out what to do with him. If the dog wound up at a kill shelter he would certainly be put down due to his breed, the cough, and the fact that he was probably between 9-10 years old. My husband agreed that we could bring him home temporarily. I called one of my dog walking clients who has large dogs and asked to borrow his crate. He agreed so I ran by to pick it up en route to get Anna Holmes and the dog we were now calling “Leroy.”

panting

Leroy could’ve been scared and aggressive towards me, Anna Holmes, the vet, or any of the people or dogs we’d encountered that morning but he was sweet and goofy with all of us. He was probably nicer than my little terrier Phoebe who sometimes meets strange dogs and people showing her teeth or growling if they are too forward with her.

walking

It’s been a week and a half and Leroy is still at my house. Lots of people volunteered to help out with vet bills but no one could take him to their house. We have a few leads on homes but because of his possible kennel cough we’re waiting to introduce him in case he’s contagious. We plan on getting him neutered as soon as his lungs have healed from the cough and he can handle anesthesia.

leroy napping

Leroy mostly wants to lie around and be with people and dogs. He’s housebroken and loves squeaky toys. In fact we got him a few and now he tries to carry them both around in his mouth, which is ridiculous. He’s a bit dopey, sees his reflection and thinks it’s another dog to say hello to. We did a full senior panel on him at the vet and he’s parasite & heartworm free. His cough is starting to get better and I’m working on training him the basics. He has a lot of calluses on his arms so the vet thought he might have laid on concrete a lot. We gave him a bed but he mostly lies on the floor.

He gets along well with my dog despite her sulking about not being the center of attention. Phoebe occasionally growls at him when he crowds her space and he just walks away apologetically like he can’t help that he’s a big oaf. I actually used him in a training session with a small reactive (barky) dog, and he handled it beautifully. He simply moved away from the dog and turned away so we could work with him. He didn’t get nasty back at all.

toys

I wonder often what his story is, someone must have cared for him at one point because he’s so friendly and he’s a little overweight. Perhaps his owner died and the family or neighbors watching him couldn’t afford to care for him.

We are hoping someone will want to adopt this sweet old timer. He doesn’t need much just a few walks a day and some squeaky toys. He’s so mellow that he’d be an easy dog to care for. We can’t keep him due to our building’s pet policy. Please pass this post along to anyone who might be able to foster or adopt him. Leroy and I greatly appreciate it. Anyone interested in helping please contact me, Susie DeFord at Susie’s Pet Care 718-415-7880 susiespetcare<AT>gmail.com

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Filed under Brooklyn, dog training, Dogs

Hudson Valley Dog Boarding

Dennis with Phoebe, Marco, Penny, Charley

Dennis with Phoebe, Marco, Penny, Charley

Since November 2012, we’ve been bringing dogs up to our cottage near the Catskills on weekends and occasionally weekdays depending on our availability/ability to get away! Here are some highlights!

3 stooges

Mo, Qwerty, and Phoebe walk by the lake

country

Hike at Falling Waters on the Hudson River Susie with Penny, Zeke, Phoebe

field

Qwerty & Mo enjoying the back yard

goob comet

Comet & Phoebe frolicking

mo & qwerty creek

Mo & Qwerty in the Kaaterskill Creek behind our cottage

pile on

Christmas weekend pile on Susie Phoebe, Oscar, Willis, Sampson

Falling waters hike

Hike at Falling Waters with Zeke, Penny, Phoebe

For more fun photos please check our facebook page!

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Filed under Brooklyn, dog training, Dogs, Upstate

Finding Maggie- NEVER underestimate a terrier!

On Friday 4/27, I got a frantic call from one of my coworkers.

“We have a problem! Maggie just squirmed out of her collar, some guy tried to grab her to help, and she ran!”

I quickly switched to handling crisis mode. I called all our dog walkers and other walkers I knew in the area and put out an APB as I dropped off the dogs and headed to Prospect Heights to look for Maggie. I also called her owner and explained the situation. In my 12 years running a dog walking business, I’ve never had a dog get lost and it wasn’t going to happen now. I scanned the blocks of Brooklyn for the tenacious, wirey, terrier and tried not to lose my shit. I stopped people on the streets with dogs and gave them my card in case they saw her. I went into all of the local shops and did the same.

Despite all of us looking for an hour in the area she got loose, none of us spotted her. The owner came home got in her car and joined the search. We all had to walk the rest of our dogs and were over an hour behind at this point. I told everyone to go back to walking and look for her with the other dogs. I prayed she was hiding or a kind neighbor had taken her in and just didn’t know where she belonged since she’d run without her collar. I tried not to worry that she’d been hit by a car or gotten trapped somewhere.

I tried to call 311 and the local shelters and police precincts from my phone. I asked my husband to notify the local dog group FIDO Brooklyn from his computer at work. I blubbered a bit on the phone to him tears streaming down my face, but there was no time for that, the dogs had to get walked.

Maggie

The owner made flyers we all met at her house after work and worked long into the night flyering and looking. After dark the wind started blowing hard as I checked Prospect Park. I was freezing and hoped Maggie was inside somewhere warm.

I ran home for a coat and to take my dog, Phoebe, out.  She could be a wirey cousin of Maggie. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if a walker lost Phoebe. Getting angry at anyone was pointless, it was an accident and we were all trying to fix it. Phoebe, Dennis, and I walked back over to Prospect Heights to look for Maggie and headed home exhausted and depressed around 10 p.m.

I could barely sleep that night. In the morning I got up and sent a million emails with her photo and info to local dog walkers, shelters, day cares. I posted her picture on blogs. I printed up more flyers and flyered Park Slope asking friends to help. A friend took me all the way out to the Brooklyn Animal Care and Control. After a long wait they took me for a walk through to see if she was in there. I looked through the bars at all the shivering desperate dogs but she wasn’t there. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work at shelters so I think I handle it better than most people but I still got nauseous from the fumes and wanted to take everyone home.

I spent the rest of the day walking around with Phoebe and Dennis flyering and periodically checking in with the owners to see if there was any news. Nothing. Where could she be? This is every dog walker’s worst nightmare and I was living it. Not only was I worried about Maggie, but I also worried about the reputation of the business I’d been built over the past 12 years. Would people think we were irresponsible? Would we lose clients? It really didn’t matter anymore, all that mattered, was that we find Maggie. Surprisingly though, everyone was really supportive.

Sunday Dennis and I went to Manhattan’s branch of Animal Care and Control. If Maggie was picked up in the middle of the night, when the Brooklyn center was closed, they would have taken her up there. Another wait—I did see a touching scene of some owners finding their dog there—but no one was moving fast enough for me. Didn’t they see I had to find this dog now? She wasn’t there, so we walked down from Spanish Harlem to the ASPCA and checked there. Nothing.

Meanwhile, Maggie’s owners headed back to Brooklyn AC&C and did another walk through with a woman named D-Light (Of course). Nothing. Dennis and I headed back to Brooklyn to feed some cats and continue the search. Around 4 p.m. I got a call from a woman who’d seen our flyers in Park Slope. “I think I saw your dog running on Pacific and 3rd Avenue in Boreum Hill on Friday afternoon.” I couldn’t believe it was her. She would’ve had to have run over a mile and crossed the busy thoroughfares of Flathbush and 4th Avenues without getting hit. But she was a terrier—never underestimate a terrier.

I called the owners and we all headed to Boreum Hill to flyer. We started writing “reward” on all of the flyers, after hearing that sometimes people only call if money is involved. That night around 9 p.m. Maggie’s owners called me. “Someone called and said they have Maggie. They wanted some ‘compensation.’ They’re headed over,” she said.

“Ok Dennis and I are headed over,” I said. We debated calling the cops but didn’t want to spook the people who may have Maggie.  We hopped in a car service and headed over in case shit was going to go down. I called a dog walker I knew in Prospect Heights and told him to go over to their house in case we couldn’t make it there in time. I figured the more people we had there the less likely someone would try to pull something.

By the time our car had pulled up Maggie was sitting on the stoop with her owners in a happy reunion. The people that had her had accepted their $500 and left with their son in his boy scout uniform. I pulled some cheese out of my bag for Maggie and hugged the owners. I offered to reimburse them the money and buy her a GPS collar.

“We need a straight jacket for that dog,” I said.

Maggie jumped up and licked my face like nothing had happened. I wished I could’ve had a video camera to witness her big adventure. I was so thankful she made it home. “What a troublemaker you are!” I said to Maggie scratching her ears. Dennis and I headed home and finally got some sleep.

The next few days we spent recovering at work, tearing down flyers, and thanking everyone for helping us to find Maggie, the tenacious terrier.

On a side note—I will be reading more tales from DOGS OF BROOKLYN this Wed May 2 at 7 p.m. at Pianos on the Lower East Side at Freerange reading series. Come on down and say hello—never a dull moment!

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Filed under Brooklyn, Dogs, Poetry

In memory of Tom “Bones” Miquel

I wrote this poem about the Slope last year. My friend Tom “Bones” Miquel recently passed, so sadly I wanted to put this poem (please excuse word press screwing up my format) up on the ol’ blog in his honor. He left us way too soon.

Slope

“I’m not much for gossiping, but I do like to talk shit.”

The Slope Opera’s in full swing so-and-so is coming

out in full lesbian fashion. So-and-so’s shift missing

got them expelled from the Food Co-op. No more

fresh greens, crowded shelves, long communist lines.

Walking along 7th Avenue, Bones, a bearded tough

motorcycle guy, drives by in his little pink Barbie

car while stroller moms saunter and stare hogging up

the sidewalk. Dogs stop and sniff Marty’s restaurant,

La Taqueria, with its psychedelic murals and burly

bean burritos, but pass on by pulling to Prospect Park

to bound around off leash and swim at dog beach

(which is really just the edge of a lake). I walk on

to browse the crowded shelves of the Community

Bookstore. I step over the two old dogs sleeping

by the new release hardcovers and head to the poetry

section. Run my fingers along the colorful spines,

huff the dust and ink and all the musty spent sweat

of the writers who’ve gone before me. I search to see

who I’ll be sandwiched between when it’s my time

up on that wall with all the language queens and kings.

Beside me to one side perhaps orphan Corso bopping

with the Beats, The Bridge of Hart Crane, and old ee

in all his eccentric glory. To the right this tenderness

comes from Mark Doty, Rita Dove’s smart line struts

on by Denise Duhamel’s sassy sestinas. All of us up

there together getting dusty on the shelf pressed tight

together our slick, sharp corners softening with time.

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Filed under Poetry, Spirituality, Writing

Halloween, The Dogs Reading, and Red Hook

Happy Halloween 2009!

Sally Shark!

The Dogs of Brooklyn reading 11/6 was a success! Thanks to all who came out and supported us. Melissa Febos read a great piece about Red Dog’s fear aggression. I read Brooklyn and dog poems, and Vijay Seshadri read his story “Brooklyn Wildlife” from the nonfiction collection Brooklyn Was Mine. We passed a donation box for the Brooklyn no-kill shelter BARC. Dennis and I decided to match whatever contributions we received so we wound up raising about $200! If you weren’t able to make it the art will be up at Ozzie’s 7th Ave and Lincoln Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY the whole month of November stop by and check it out. Here are some pictures from the reading:

Melissa Febos photo by Dennis Riley

Susie DeFord photo by Dennis Riley

Vijay Seshadri photo by Dennis Riley

Later that weekend Dennis and I walked to Red Hook, Brooklyn where I really haven’t spent much time. It’s amazing over there. Old warehouses, lots of small art studios and galleries, and Steve’s Key Lime Pie yum! I saw one of my old students Maia working at her uncle’s delicious restaurant Kevin’s. But what strikes me the most in Red Hook is the quiet waterfront. Because there isn’t much subway service there it remains a bit more empty than other parts of the city, which I liked a lot! You could hear the seagulls and the water lapping at the rocky beach, it was like being in New York 100 years ago.

Red Hook Waterfront photo by Dennis Riley

Of course then we passed Fairway and Ikea. I made the mistake of going in Ikea. They set it up like a maze-trap so you can’t find your way out–the horror! We finally found our way out after I almost took out a mom and stroller, then walked through the soccer fields over to Carroll Gardens and ate at La Petit Cafe. It didn’t look like much from the outside but inside it’s beautifully designed with rocks, trees, fountains, and chandeliers. I love these epic walks we take through Brooklyn. I’ve lived here for 10 years and I’m still always discovering something new.

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Filed under Dogs, Food, Poetry, Readings

Poughkeepsie Poetry and The Dogs of Brooklyn

Poet's Walk photo by Dennis Riley

Poet's Walk photo by Dennis Riley

Bless me for I’ve sinned, it’s been two weeks since my last blog-session. Things in Brooklyn have been really busy. The weather is changing–dog walking in the cold rain and leaves falling. Winter is on its ominous way, last week four grey days, no sun.

We took a trip up to see Dennis’s friend Ken at Toad Hall in Poughkeepsie or as Ken likes to call it P-Town on Hudson. He manages Locust Grove, a lovely historic estate. I love it up there, its so quiet and full of green. We were there back in July and checked out Poet’s Walk and Opus 40 amongst other things.

opus40

Opus 40 photo by Dennis Riley

I wrote this sonnet:

Poughkeepsie Poem

Toad Hall with its twists and turns, bathrooms opening

into other bathrooms old servants quarters low ceilings,

stairs slope and wind back into the kitchen. Turkeys

and frogs croak in the yard of green, lightning bugs

and dancing mosquitoes buzz. We hike through ticks

and flowered fields of Poet’s Walk, sit in old wooden

gazebos and stare at the Hudson River, shop at grocery

stores that classify Green Tea as “New Age Beverages,”

drive dizzy roads to Opus 40 stones in the Saugerties,

a monument tomb to obsessive sculpture. It’s raining,

steam rises off the hot rocks as if ready for dark-cloaked

druid sacrificing. Locust Grove’s rolling lawns and gardens,

house of servant’s ghosts and carriages, the Young’s pet

cemeteries headstones marked Snappy and Rusty. Back

in the city in coffee shops surrounded by people on cell

(as in jail) phones talking. I’m longing for quiet lakes

and green away from laptops and technology’s electric bars.

This time we stuffed our faces at Babycakes and the Eveready Diner went apple picking and antiquing in New Paltz. Unfortunately, the first night we were there the electricity was out. We made the mistake of going to see Zombieland. Even though its a goofy movie, it does have zombies and we were in this big house in the woods in the dark. It just seemed like a horror movie recipe. Did I mention I spent my childhood terrified of the dark? I’m 31 and I still have a nightlight! Suddenly this quaint little house in the woods with all its “secret” rooms became my own personal chamber of horrors. In bed that night, I stared at the attic door above me in the candlelight and poked Dennis every time he started to fall asleep and snore. Damn nature, this would never happen in the city! (with the exception of blackout 2005)

When we got back to Brooklyn I got my The Dogs of Brooklyn manuscript back with lots of notes from Barbara Hamby my poetry mentor. She’s the most amazing poet I know and has been so supportive and encouraging. After a few weeks of hardcore editing  that actually gave me back pain I’m sending it off to several book contests, fingers crossed.

I also came back to an email from Melissa that Vijay Seshadri agreed to read with us at opening party of The Dogs of Brooklyn Photography and Poetry Show Ozzie’s Coffee, Park Slope (7th Ave & Lincoln Place) Brooklyn, NY November 6th 7pm. I hope everyone can make it. I’m super-excited. I wish the dogs could come make celebrity appearances but it is a food establishment so I doubt they’d be let in.

Finally Dennis and I went to the ridiculous “Meet the Breeds” at the giant Javitz center. It was a weekend event with almost every cat and dog breed imaginable in attendance. Crazy cat ladies  with hand sanitizer, big hair, and too much make up. Dog people dressed up like they were from the country their dog breed was from. Super-white women dressed up in Afghan garb in a tent while their Afghan Hound lay sleeping. King Charles Spaniel owners dressed up as if they were having tea in the English countryside. Wow. It was fun to go around and get free samples of pet food and pet the dogs if the breeders let us!

I was dog sitting for the dogs Charlie, Chloe, Lola and the cats Milo and Sam (yes all one owner!), so we brought them and our own cats some goodies. Lola is an interesting case. A long-haired chihuahua with fear aggression issues. I’ve sat for her before but it takes her a little while to trust again. She usually starts as a barking, biting mess. I always have to lasso her, bribe her with food to get her harness and leash on. I think the biggest mistake owners make with small breeds is they treat them like babies instead of dogs. They pity them because of their size and don’t let them have normal dog experiences and boundaries. When I come along I treat them like big dogs and they seem to appreciate this respect after a little bit of a tantrum. You just have to get through the tantrum. You have to give energy to the behavior you want though praise and correct any behavior you don’t want without giving it a lot of energy, because whatever you give energy to will grow. I usually leave Lola’s leash on and reintroduce her to the house, as my house, not hers. I correct any behavior I don’t like with a chhh and a little tug on the leash. After a little while she’s pretty sweet and follows me around. Sadly I understand her wanting to growl off any potential problems, I’ve been known to occasionally do the same myself. However, living like that you growl off the love too and that’s no way to live.

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Filed under Dogs, Movies, Poetry, Readings, Training, Travel

The Dogs of Brooklyn Poetry Show, BOMBlog Poet Interviews

Indiana & Amelia photo by Dennis Riley

Indiana & Amelia photo by Dennis Riley

I am currently preparing for my first The Dogs of Brooklyn poetry show. The Dogs of Brooklyn is my fresh poetic narrative about my colorful life as a dogwalker accompanied by vibrant photographs of Brooklyn and the dogs by Dennis Riley. The Dogs of Brooklyn is the poetic equivalent to many other bestselling dog-oriented books like Marley and Me, Mark Doty’s Dog Years, and Unleashed: Poems by Writer’s Dogs.

For the month of November 2009 Dennis Riley and I will be hanging his photographs and my poems of/about the dogs and Brooklyn at Ozzie’s on 7th Avenue and Lincoln Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY. We will be having a free opening party/reading on Friday, November 6th at 7pm. I, the fabulous Melissa Febos writer of the memoir Whipsmart and co-host of Mixer reading series, and one other writer TBA will be reading poems and stories about Brooklyn and its “wildlife.” Melissa and I are also discussing the possibility of me joining her on her West Coast book release tour Spring 2010. I plan on doing some guerilla style readings at Dog Runs, Pet Stores, Book Stores etc. More info to come!

As most of you know I’ve been working on a book of interviews with poets for the past year. The interviews were originally featured on BOMBlog. I do love reading these poets’ new books, researching them, and asking them thoughtful questions about their work, and most of them seem to appreciate not getting asked “Who’s your Favorite Poet?”  and “When did you write your first poem?etc. Below are some of my interviews so far:

Denise Duhamel: Reform School Poet

Barbara Hamby and the Abecedarian Corset

Akilah Oliver: Good Grief

The Biographical Helium of Stacy Szymaszek

Matthew Rohrer: Poultry and Poetry?

Campbell McGrath, Survivor: Poetry Edition

Mary Jo Bang: The Bride of Alliteration

Hopefully we will find a publisher for both books soon!

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Filed under Dogs, Interviews, Poetry, Readings, Writing