1989 - 05/05/02
You know, I should never go to the Humane Society. I have to hand it to
Kiri for working there as long as she did, knowing how she feels about
animals. If I'm lucky, I never go there except for once every couple of
years because I'm an idiot and let my guard down. A high percentage of
the time, I end up adopting an animal. That's the way it was with my
Cindy. I had actually gone to the HS to see if I could adopt a rabbit.
One of mine had died a few months before, and the remaining rabbit was
very lonely. As luck would have it, there were no rabbits, but instead of
just leaving, I hung out in the cat house for awhile and then made the big
mistake of walking down the row of dog cages.
I of course stopped to look in each cage at the dogs. I was standing looking in
the cage right before the one Cindy was in, and I was moving to that cage when
this little old Japanese man with a fistful of those red and blue HS leashes came
around the corner. He said hi, so I looked over and said hi back to him.
"Would you like to help me?" he asked.
"Help you how?" I answered.
"Well," he said, "it's just me today, and I need to walk every single one of these dogs."
"Wow!" I said. "Sure, I'll help you walk them."
So he came over to me, gave me one of the leashes, and said, "Which one
do want to walk?"
I was at Cindy's cage at
that time, looked down, and saw this really
pathetic face look up at me. "I'll walk this one," I said. So
we went in there, I put the leash on her, and she and I went walking out.
She didn't have much energy; she was a little wobbly. We walked over near
the cat cage, and I sat on the curb. She lay down and put her head on my
lap. I could see she was just loaded with ticks. They were hanging like
bunches of grapes all over her body. It seemed like the HS was just
biding their time with her, not bothering to clean her up, waiting to put
her down because no one would take her, especially with all those ticks.
After I'd petted her for awhile, I took her back to the cage. "Aren't
they going to take all those ticks off her?" I asked the guy, who was busy
recruiting everyone in sight to walk a dog -- very clever marketing when
you think about it.
"Yeah, it's hard," he said. "We're really shorthanded, so we just do the
best we can."
I looked at Cindy again. "How many more days does she have?" I asked the
little old man.
"I don't know," he answered, "but they might know at the reception desk."
So like Fate had done this to me, I went over to the desk and asked about her.
"Well," the woman said, "we don't put an exact time limit on them, but she's
been here for awhile, and if I had to guess, I'd say she has another week maybe."
I went back to the cage. Cindy lay on the ground; she looked so weak.
She stood up, though, and stuck her nose through the wire. I scratched
her nose for a bit. No one's ever going to take this dog, I thought. But we
had too many dogs already, and I figured a week was a week, and who
knows? Maybe some idiot like me might come along and adopt her.
I called them every morning. Finally it was a week later. I called -- it
was Sunday morning. "No," the person who answered the phone said, "she's
"Hold that dog," I said, "I'm coming over right now."
And I did. The first thing we did was drive up to Longs Manoa where I bought
tick and flea shampoo and a pair of tweezers. I drove over to the Lab
School and took her to the stairs by the English Dept. office -- the ones
facing the weight room. We sat there for more than an hour. I picked off
every tick I could find. Hundreds of them. Finally, when she appeared to
be tick free, I drove her home, but, before I took her into the house, I
gave her a tick and flea killing shampoo. She already seemed more
energetic. It's tough to function, I figure, when hundreds of ticks are
sucking out your blood supply.
So that's the story of yet one more big mistake trip to the Humane
Society. But what a find. I say Cindy is the best dog I've ever had
because she had the most beautiful temperament of any dog we've had.
Even my folks agree; she was one in a million. She mothered every stray
dog and cat we had, and every one we've adopted since. She had one habit
I couldn't break: She loved to chase birds. But she never seemed to
catch any, although I didn't like her scaring them.
Cindy is short for Cinderella. We mostly called her Cindy; I'm the only
one who would call her Cinderella. She really did lead a kind of fairy-tale life. I
don't know if I'll ever find another dog like that. But, hey, we still
have four more to keep us busy, and they're all special in their own way.