Thanks for the Gotcha Day

artie gotcha day
Thanksgiving ranks up there with Halloween and Easter as a terrific holiday. And after the kindness of Arizona Beagle Rescue, it’s a little more special because it’s also Artie’s Gotcha Day.

Four years ago, I had just gotten over the heartbreak of losing a dog to a long illness when I contacted Arizona Beagle Rescue looking for another dog. I grieved the loss of HoneyBun and wasn’t sure I was ready for another dog.

“You know, we have a dog who is being fostered and the volunteers need to go to back East for Thanksgiving,’’ they told me. “Why don’t you just take this dog until they get back?”

Of course, we all knew what was going on – if I loved the dog (which they knew I would), then she would stay at my house for good.

Not exactly love at first sight

We all make snap judgments and the first time I met Artie, I wasn’t so sure she was the dog for me.

She slobbered so much and shed so much – so much dog hair coming off of one dog! Her tongue hung out because of a misshapen jaw.

She was nervous and understandably so. She had been at the Maricopa County pound in Tempe, which is such a heartbreaking place – it is so loud, so Spartan and so sad. My eyes tear up just thinking about how overwhelmed Artie must have been there with all of that noise and cold, concrete floors.

And she had problems with her teeth, so she must have been in pain as well. Arizona Beagle Rescue volunteers found her, paid for her dental bills and placed her with some terrific foster parents.

You know if I had just met her, I wouldn’t have necessarily picked her as the dog to take home.

Just another reason why I am thankful for Arizona Beagle Rescue: I trusted them and they led me to her.

What made for a great Gotcha Day

Despite what she had been through, Artie effortlessly rode in the car. She just sat in her seat and looked out the window with a thoughtful politeness about her.

We got home and she explored as we settled in. I quickly learned that she knew all about doggie doors and how to claim her spot on the sofa. On the very first night, she hopped into bed with me. The next morning, worried that she may have to pee, I tried to shake her loose from her position on the comforter. She just looked at me. Her eyes seemed to say “Woman, please. I’m in a good spot here and I’m not budging.’’

artie belly rubI fixed her green beans so she keep on her diet.

And I could tell she liked the creature comforts of my house but I just wasn’t sure….. Then while I was working on my laptop, she cantered over, plopped down and proceeded to roll on her back, wiggling on the hardwood floors. With her goofy tongue hanging out, she looked like she was smiling and emitting joy.

I know, I know, a dog lying down exposing his belly is a sign of submission. But I could tell she had a sparkle in her eye and that at that moment, she was happy. And she was home.

And then it dawned on me — here I thought I was choosing a dog but in reality, she had picked me. She’s the one who “got me.’’

Happy Gotcha Day to everyone who has ever helped a dog find a forever home. We are thankful to you all!






Green beans for Thanksgiving blues

Artie snubbing green beans


Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We did but we are all experiencing some food hangovers. Too much sugar, salt, carbs, etc. etc and neither the dog nor I are feeling exactly tip-top.  Fortunately, for her, the Thanksgiving leftovers include green beans.

I studiously avoid overcooking green beans. They get just a quick dip in some boiling water until they are tender but still crisp. Then I toss them into some ice-cold water and they retain a bright green color and an actual vegetal taste. And they are good in the refrigerators through the weekend.

The beagle and green beans

Whenever I snap fresh green beans to get them ready for cooking, I have help. Artie the Beagle is very fond of them  and will just eat a fresh one from my hand (except of course, when I am videotaping her and then she just snubs them, like the little perplexing princess that she is.)

Artie has had good luck with green beans before. As a rescue dog with Arizona Beagle Rescue, she had some weight to lose after being in the pound. Arizona Beagle Rescue has had good results with green beans and so Artie was used to getting a little extra dose of fiber in her dog bowl.

I didn’t realize that when I agreed to foster her from beagle rescue. She and a guest dog had arrived just in time for Thanksgiving and I was busy in the kitchen cooking up some make-ahead side dishes for a family meal, when I felt like I was being watched. I looked down and indeed, there were two dogs circling around my legs like piranhas looking for their next meal. Who knew the power of green beans?

Why green beans?

Green beans are chock full of important vitamins and minerals, such as protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. They’re also full of fiber and are low in calories.

There is such a thing for dogs as the green-bean diet, in which you up your dog’s consumption of these fiberrific veggies until it is half of their diet. One vet weighs in that this may be too drastic approach to doggie weight loss.

I just use the green beans as an alternative to treats and when the cameras aren’t rolling, Artie loves them. (What about turkey – what’s the verdict on giving the dog another leftover staple?)

Now if only I could be satisifed with veggies as snacks….that would be a true holiday miracle!