Friday, April 04, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon, Sunday April 6th

Sunday at Audubon Park, The Sula Foundation will be participating in Dog Day Afternoon, with a table full of information on pit bulls, Sula shirts, signed copies of Dogs I Have Met and The Dogs Who Found Me and a selection of quality used dog books courtesy of Beth's Books.

You can support the pit bulls at the LA-SPCA by donating to our team for Sunday's walk by clicking this link.

Sula climbs a ladder

Yesterday, a team of volunteers returned to my house to finish installing a radiant barrier and weatherize the doors, windows and electrical outlets. This is all part of a month-long effort called Historic Green, and part of the Holy Cross neighborhood's effort to become carbon negative. But it meant having a bunch of college students in an out of the attic all day. I knew Sula would have a hard time with this. Yet even I was surprised at what happened when the crew wanted to show me something briefly in the attic. While one volunteer held Sula's leash (because she had refused to go to her crate with all the noise above her) I climbed the fourteen foot ladder to the attic. And once I got to the top, I looked down to see Sula struggling to get closer to me. She was still on the floor at that point, but she clearly had been impressed with my climbing and was ready to follow me. "We better make this quick," I said, and when I looked down the ladder again, Sula was midway up.

"It will be really hard to get her back down the ladder," one of the volunteers said. So I climbed down to meet her, and then struggled to guide her backwards down the ladder to the floor. The good news is that she was completely exhausted and took a nap for most of the rest of the day.

I've see video of pit bulls climbing trees, and one time, during an attack of separation anxiety, Sula climbed a chain link fence to get to me. (This is why she is always on a leash.) But I'm still getting my head around her ability to climb a ladder. I'm seriously thinking of getting her some kind of jungle gym for the yard.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Where's Andre?

WRNO, a "local" Clear Channel talk radio station, recently announced some programming changes, including their acquisition of hideous Rush Limbaugh. They have renamed the station Rush Radio and plan to broadcast Rush's show four times a day, which means he'll have 12 out of 24 hours. Some of the local hosts had already been let go as part of this transition, but as of Monday, Andre Trevigne still had a slot from 9-11am. Andre was my neighbor on Piety Street and I've been on the show several times to talk about everything from crime to pit bulls.

Yesterday her show was "disappeared." Music played in its place, and radios were clicked off all across the city. People deleted the station from their presets. Still, I hoped that maybe there was another explanation. But this morning I spoke to someone at the station who confirmed that Andre was let go. A huge mistake. It is always frustrating to see local media dig its own grave by getting rid of the only thing they have going for them.

Andre and I are scheduled to be judges on Sunday at the LA-SPCA's Dog Day Afternoon, so hopefully we can all catch up with her there.

Monday, March 31, 2008

A sort of normal returns

Earlier this morning Brando got "stuck" under the house and cried and cried until I sat down with my head under the house and talked him out. This amounted to me saying "Get out of there!"--and suddenly he discovered that he wasn't really stuck at all. Now I'm sitting on the sofa with Sula curled up next to me, her head resting against a Penguin Classics totebag that served as my luggage over the weekend. Thursday night I flew up to Charlottesville for the Virginia Festival of the Book. Friday morning I had coffee with Anne Landsman, who was there with her new book The Rowing Lesson, which was inspired by her father's death. Then I went to Barnes and Noble, where two local SPCA's (CASPCA and FSPCA)were having an adoption event. They made sure to bring plenty of pit bulls for me. One, in particular, spent a lot of time in my lap. His name is Michelin, because when they found him he was covered in tire tracks. Poor Michelin thought he should spend the morning running up to each of the other dogs to kiss them thoroughly all over their faces. Not all of the other dogs agreed.

Inside the store, I was part of a panel on writing after Katrina, and there were the usual questions about what is happening or isn't happening and why. One woman in the audience insisted that nothing has been done to rebuild Mississippi, which isn't true, and yet she was so insistent I realized I should just let her think that rather than have an argument. Later, it occurred to me that she must have also thought that New Orleans is all fixed up now.

After signing books, Anne and I went to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's old estate. A really interesting house, full of dumb waiters and double pained glass tea rooms. All kinds of design innovations from the mind of someone who must have suffered from OCD. He even slept in a cubby between two completely different rooms, so he could step off the bed into his study or into another room. Or simply stare at the clock fixed directly across from his resting head. From there we went to UVa's campus for a reception, then on to dinner. I slept a few hours, left for the airport at 4am, arrived in New Orleans at 10am Saturday morning, went directly to NOCCA to teach a class...and then home to collapse.

The dogs are happy to have me home. The blueberries are blooming on the front porch; the tomatoes are struggling in the yard. And I think we'll just take it easy for a week or two.