Monday, December 31, 2012

Most unnecessary souvenir? Oh, Jake, not really!


In my most recent email newsletter, I referred briefly to Jake as the most unnecessary souvenir of 2012, and claimed he was a gift from the city of New York. But this is only partially true. Jake is a strange little 62-pound dog, part basset hound, part mastiff, who was tied to the front of my editor's Harlem apartment building after Hurricane Sandy. I first learned of him in my editor's frantic, middle-of-the-night Facebook posts, and, as a favor, posted his ridiculous mug online, hoping some kind organization would offer to help. I was in the middle of a book tour, so I didn't imagine I'd be the only one to step forward. But it was post Hurricane, and everyone was overwhelmed with stray animals and damage. Jake, because of his "bully" appearance, had been surrounded by cops with their guns drawn when my editor entered the scene. My book, "I'm a Good Dog," is all about changing the way we view dogs that are thought to be dangerous by virtue of just their appearance.

Next thing I knew, the NYACC and the Mayor's Alliance for Animals had conspired to send
Jake to me, if I would take him. How could I say no? So Jake went from the Harlem shelter to a Pennsylvania boarding facility to wait through his quarantine. And I prepared myself to welcome him into my home. When I drove to the cargo area of the New Orleans airport to pick him up, the cargo staff warned me, "He's not nice." "You're here for that dog" they said, skeptically. So naturally, when I drove him home and let him out of his kennel, he immediately glued himself to my side.


He loves kisses. He loves sleeping in my bed. He loves to clear off the kitchen counters when I'm gone, eat holiday cakes that aren't his, unload my municipal trash can in my yard, escape the house looking for me, consider diving through closed windows, squeeze through the fence to terrify the local drug dealers. He is a joy.

But what happens next?

2 comments:

C. J. Jackson said...

The news in your e-mail about your dog “souvenir” shocked me! I’m so relieved to read that a couple of animal organizations didn’t simply send you a dog. On the other hand, to think of a lost pooch (or any pooch, for that matter) tied to a building and surrounded by armed humans…? We have so much educating to do in this country. Thank you for rescuing Jake and giving him a future. And thank you for writing dog books that help readers see animals through a different lens.

P.S. Congratulations on your second printing of I’m A Good Dog!

Guilie said...

Ken, I found your blog through Janet Reid's, and I'll be a regular visitor. The world needs more humans like you. Rescued dogs--especially these mutt-types--are indeed a joy. So full of life and gratitude, so full of quirks and amazing shows of personality. I hope you keep Jake for many many years.