A “doggone” vent about certain types of people…

We woke up to a light dusting of snow today…

I usually try to keep the subject matter on my travel blog confined to posts about German living, light topics, and actual travel. However, as you might have read recently, even though some Christmas markets are still going, Germany is reeling from increased COVID-19 infections. It’s getting tougher to enjoy going out in public, thanks to increased rules about wearing masks and being fully vaccinated.

I’ve got no quarrel with vaccines. I am fully vaccinated and am scheduled to get a booster shot soon. And while I hate the face masks, I will wear them if I have to. But I don’t enjoy going out in a mask or having to show my certifications everywhere I go, especially since there is a risk that I’ll get the virus anyway. The weather also sucks. So lately, I’ve focused more on staying home, and that leads me to hang out on social media more than I should.

When we moved from Stuttgart, I made a conscious decision not to join a bunch of military Facebook groups. The reason for that is because joining them in Stuttgart led to my involvement in, and exposure to, a lot of unnecessary social media dramas. I also feel like I don’t mesh that well with a lot of people in military communities, even though I’ve been a military brat my whole life and was an Army wife for years. I do run a wine and food group, but I try to keep it low key. I don’t even care if people lose interest and leave the group because, quite frankly, running it is kind of a thankless job. But I am still in a couple of local Facebook groups. One of the groups I am in is the pet group.

The pet group is usually pretty helpful. Most people who participate are genuinely interested in finding the best local veterinarians, dog walking areas, and pet food. There’s usually not too much drama, and it’s a friendly bunch of people. But, every once in awhile, someone posts something that gets people riled up. A lot of times, the posts that piss people off are ones about rehoming animals. Last night, someone posted this, along with a picture that I am omitting…

Good Evening All,

Looking to rehome my 11 year old Chocolate Lab (although he is greying a bit) named Sugar(because he is a sweet boy). He has been in my life the last 9 years and deeply loved, but not getting the love he needs and deserves. His walks are getting to be shorter and shorter becoming simple potty breaks and back inside. And time between walks sometimes too long to be fair. He doesn’t get incorporated into our weekend plans anymore, and needs to be a bigger part of his new families life. The adjustment to stairwell living and no longer having a yard to run around and play means his level of activity is next to none now. We used to go on runs up to five miles together when he was younger, so he does enjoy getting out and moving. I had planned to have my mother take him this summer but things didn’t work out.

He just had his Rabies shot in September, is microchipped, and had his flea/tic prevention applied two weeks ago. He is in great health, his teeth and nails are upkept regularly, needs ears cleaned about every two-four weeks (probably more if his new family takes him outside more). He is excellent with children, and all other animals. Please PM me if you think you could be the new loving family this guy needs and deserves.

I usually don’t comment on these kinds of posts. I understand that sometimes people have legitimate reasons to rehome their animals. I would rather see a pet in need go to a loving home where he or she can be properly cared for, than stay in an environment where there is neglect or abuse. But this was the second rehoming post I’d seen recently that reeked of bullshit. The first one involved a beautiful German Shepherd who was offered up after the woman who took him in, suddenly determined, after about three months, that her husband was “allergic” to dogs, even though they already had a smaller dog. The woman also said she’s expecting a baby and feared the baby would be allergic, too.

The person who had originally rehomed her dog with the lady who was offering him up again is still in the group, even though she’s in the United States. She commented on the post, and was pissed. The German/American breeders also commented, upset at this change of events. And there was this beautiful animal, in real need of a good and loving home. Obviously, the dog needed to be somewhere else, but I didn’t appreciate the clearly bullshit excuses offered for the reasons why rehoming was needed.

I had the same irritated reaction to the above post, only it irritated me even more, because this dog is being rehomed after having spent nine years with his owner. So anyway, I decided to leave a response. Below is what I wrote.

I really try not to judge people who need to rehome their animals. I know sometimes stuff happens, and every single one of my dogs came to me because they didn’t work out in someone else’s home. But you have had this dog for nine years! How do you think he’s going to react to new people? He’s getting older, as we all do, and he has needs. How would you like it if your family rehomed you when you get older and have more needs? And why should someone else take the responsibility?

You live in a military community. There are plenty of older kids and teens who would be happy to help you out for a little spending money. Please reconsider this decision, if you can. That poor dog deserves better. He’s obviously been a great companion to you. You should try harder to return the favor. But if it will mean he will suffer, then maybe someone else should take him… but I hope that will mean you don’t adopt another animal.

Mine was just one of many similar comments. Some people were “nicer”, some were much less nice. The original poster commented to me thusly: “a lot of questions, but I didn’t see a PM?”

Someone else commented that people shouldn’t be offering comments or “advices” on this situation if they couldn’t help. I decided to respond to that, too. I wrote this:

If there is a compelling reason why this man, who has had this dog for nine years and brought him to Germany, can’t continue to care for him, I would love to know what it is. But as it stands now, it sounds like the dog has simply become old and inconvenient and he wants to pass off the responsibility of caring for him to someone else. That’s not kind to the dog, and it’s not really fair to the people who might adopt him, get attached, and lose him soon to old age. Rehoming is better if he really can’t take care of him. I just wouldn’t want to see him looking for a new dog.

Moreover, a post like this going to get honest feedback. That’s how the Internet works.

Mmmm’kay… here’s the deal. If a person decides to post something in a Facebook group and doesn’t turn off commenting, there will be comments made. The guy had jut asked for PMs only from people who can “help”, as in take in his dog. But sorry, people are going to react negatively to a post about an eleven year old Lab who has lived with someone for nine years and suddenly needs a new home. And people who decide to write such a post in a group full of animal lovers should be prepared to explain themselves.

I think it’s kind of sketchy to post something publicly in a group, but then demand that responses be made in private. It raises a lot of red flags. And while I get that no one likes to be scorned publicly, or responded to in a holier than thou way, I have personally been burned more than once in this country because I was “nice”, didn’t ask questions, and took someone at face value. The last time we did that, it led to a lawsuit.

Secondly, no one should be expected to engage in a private chat with a person they don’t know. In general, I don’t even like PMs from people I know well. I don’t mind PMs if the subject is important, but I don’t like them from strangers, and I don’t want to chat with people who aren’t friends. I don’t know this guy from Adam. Moreover, I can’t take his dog, because I already have two dogs, including one who is about twelve years old and is slowing down. I can’t even fathom the thought of giving him away, although I do realize that sometimes shit happens. But I think if one’s motives are pure and honest, one should be willing to explain. Especially when one is essentially asking people to do them a huge favor.

I noticed that the guy came back and left shaming and sarcastic comments to those who questioned him. That’s another huge red flag. If he really cares about his dog’s welfare, he should welcome questions, and be friendly and willing about answering them honestly. Being snarky and sarcastic, and shaming me for not PMing, is not a good look.

I didn’t PM this guy because I can’t take his dog. But I think I have the right to comment on his post, which was visible to everyone in the group. If his reason for needing to rehome is valid and doesn’t involve high pressure tactics, lies, or manipulation, he should be willing to be transparent. I get that nobody likes to be judged or shamed, but honestly, where has this guy been? He got treated the same way a lot of people who post rehoming requests get treated. In his case, it might have been more intense because he’s evidently had the dog for so long. But again, what the fuck did he expect?

I would have liked to have posted all of this to the guy when he asked me why I didn’t PM him, but he cowardly turned off the ability to comment. So that’s why he is the subject of my blog post today. I do wish him luck in finding an appropriate home for his dog. It sounds like the dog really would be better off with people who actually care and can commit to their pets for life.

Americans already have a terrible reputation among Germans for ditching their animals. It’s the main reason why I, as an American, can’t go to a local shelter and adopt a dog. I am discriminated against simply due to the fact that so many American servicemembers have abandoned their pets. And I think most people who know us will agree, Bill and I are excellent pet owners. It pisses me off that we are lumped in with people who pull this crap, and then get pissy when they are called out on it. We have a dog from Kosovo, mostly because of people who want to pass off their responsibility to their pets to other people. I don’t regret taking in Noyzi for a minute, but I do resent the hell out of being discriminated against simply due to the fact that I happen to share citizenship with irresponsible jerks.

I honestly don’t know if the man who inspired this post actually is an “irresponsible jerk”, but I’ve gotta say, based on my years of experience dealing with jerks, the signs are there. It seems to me that if the dog means that much to him, he should want him to go to a great home. He should have as many questions for potential adopters as they would have for him, because ultimately, giving someone the chance to adopt a wonderful dog is a great thing to do. I just wasn’t seeing that sentiment in this man’s post. He was more focused on people’s reactions to him and his ego, than the welfare of a chocolate Lab he claims he loves.

Now… I am a bit calmer. Below is a cute video from yesterday, starring my two boys, Noyzi and Arran,… both of whom are dogs we took in from rescues and have committed to caring for until it’s time for them to cross the Rainbow Bridge. Unfortunately, due to the snow and all the recent rain we’ve had, the backyard now looks like a slop pit.

I like to capture these moments when I can. And now that I finally have a new phone, so much the better.
anecdotes, housekeeping tips

New toy causes odd reaction in Arran…

Since we’re stuck inside for the time being, Bill and I have been doing a lot of shopping. German businesses have predictably adapted to stay afloat during this challenging time. For some reason, Bill has been getting lots of ads on Facebook for meat. Pork, beef, and other butchered delights are being offered by local Metzgereien, complete with free delivery. He’s also getting ads for coffee. We’ve now fully stocked our liquor supply… which maybe we shouldn’t have done, but our mint plant has really taken off and maybe I’ll want to have a mojito or something.

I figured now was a good time to try new kitchen gadgets, so I decided to get us a pizza stone and an air fryer. The air fryer is an appliance I’d been wanting to purchase for a long time. I bought a Philips model, XXL, which is bigger than the basic, and one can also purchase baking and pizza attachments for it.

A new toy… takes up a lot of counter space, so it must live downstairs in the basement.

We tried it out last night. Bill cooked chicken leg quarters. They turned out deliciously, but after we ate dinner, we noticed a strange adverse effect on our dog, Arran. As Bill was clearing the table, I noticed that Arran didn’t seem to be feeling very well. He looked almost like he was about to have a seizure. He has had a couple of seizure like “spells” in the past, although they have been years apart. It looked like he was going to have another one last night.

Poor Arran had a frightened, confused, and sickened look on his face, like he might vomit. His tail was tucked between his legs, and he moved very slowly, as if he was off balance and on the verge of collapse. He started trembling, which automatically made me think of awful reasons why dogs suddenly start to shake. A friend of mine recently lost her dog to kidney failure, and trembling was her dog’s most prominent symptom. I worried that maybe Arran was trying to tell us something awful… He’s ten years old and seems very healthy, but I know all too well that dogs can have silent diseases that suddenly take them. Our dog, Zane, was diagnosed with lymphoma and died a week later.

Then I wondered if maybe the air fryer had something toxic in it that had poisoned Arran. I even looked up xylitol, which is a sweetener that is deadly to dogs. I wondered if he’d somehow gotten ahold of some. We considered calling the emergency vet, then wondered if they’d be open during this cursed coronavirus crisis. I was very worried that we might experience another tragic canine loss.

But then I went Googling, and I came across this fascinating Reddit thread. About a year or two ago, many people posted about their dogs’ strange reactions to air fryers. The behavior they were describing was very much like what Bill and I witnessed in Arran last night.

Evidently, what Arran experienced after dinner is not uncommon in dogs when their humans start using new appliances. The air fryer was very quiet to us, but as a dog, Arran can hear things that we can’t. After reading the Reddit thread, it occurred to me that the high, whirring, fan sound of the fryer must have disturbed Arran’s inner ear, which would have affected his balance and probably made him feel sick. For him, it must have been like he was trapped at a super loud disco or something, and it just took awhile for his ears to quit ringing. That would explain his odd behavior last night. Thankfully, about an hour after we were finished eating and after lots of hugs and reassurance from Bill, Arran was back to his normal self. He’s just fine this morning.

People commenting on the Reddit thread wrote about their dogs not liking the Instant Pot, smoke detectors that beep, or other appliances that make a high pitched noises. We do have an Instant Pot, and Arran doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. In fact, he loves it when Bill gets it out, since he uses it to make homemade dog food. But clearly the air fryer is a problem. Fortunately, we have a fenced backyard Arran can hang out in, as well as a large house with distant rooms we can take put him in when we use the fryer. Or, I can just take him for an extended walk… which he loves and I desperately need to do more of for my health’s sake. According to the Reddit thread, just getting the pet away from the appliance when it’s operating is enough to prevent this odd attack.

For more reading about how our latest technology drives pets insane, click here.


Gotta find a local hotel…

A week from today, our furniture is going bye-bye.  We’ll be in transit, but we have to stay in a local hotel for a couple of nights so we can clean up the house.  I don’t think it’ll take a really long time to get that done, since this house is smaller than the last one was and has no carpets.

Sanford, North Carolina is not the most cosmopolitan place in the world.  Last time we stayed around here, we stayed in Fayetteville, which is pretty far from Sanford.  So I guess I’ll be consulting TripAdvisor to find a suitable place.  And then we will probably stay in a series of La Quintas, since they are famously pet friendly and we will have the dogs with us.

I generally stay with the dogs when we travel with them, so they don’t bother other people or get into trouble.  Last time we moved, it was pretty easy because Atlanta was only about six hours away.  Once we were done cleaning, we went to sleep at a hotel, picked up the dogs, and started driving.  This time, it will take a few days to get where we’re going.  I’ve always wanted to drive across the country, but I’d rather do it in one car and without pets.

It’s a lot more fun to do this kind of trip when it’s really a trip and not a move.