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LJ Idol: Exhibit A - Second Chance - Week 2 - There is no hurry

In February 2005, a litter of puppies were born in the South of Moscow. Neither of their parents' owners wanted them, nor did they want to kill the newborns, so volunteers were contacted who search new homes for animals, and the puppies were given away. Later that year, the litter contracted distemper, two of them died, and two survived and were recovering by July.

At the end of May the same year, our old dog Belka died, and my granny followed her before we could find a new dog to take her mind off the grief. Two months later, we decided to adopt another dog, not to replace what could not be replaced, but to care for one and to love it. As before and in Belka's memory, there was no better choice for us but a half-breed in search of a new home. Finding an ad in the local paper, we came to take a look at the two remaining sisters of the above mentioned litter while they were out walking with with one of the people who hold dogs over temporarily. We did not like either of them much then, not really, all legs that they were. It was also worrying to care for a dog after a serious illness. And then, while one sister was scampering around without a care in the world, the other sat on my feet and looked up at mother and I with her big sad eyes.

Two days later, we were back to take her home, where the responsible volunteer drove us in her car to spare the dog, Hera was her name, the shock of using public transport for the first time in her life. Not an unwise precaution, as it turned out later. Upon arrival, it took all three of us tugging, pushing from behind and persuading to get her to mount the two flights of stairs to our first-floor apartment. She did not understand what was happening, and was scared.


In this picture, a young dog is sitting on a bed.
The door to the room is open in the background.
The dog is white with large patches of brown-black fir,
her head is also brown-black with a widening white line down the long nose,
with large brown eyes, and long standing years.
She is looking into the camera with slightly wary eyes.


The first couple of weeks, walking with her was an adventure; she ran randomly from side to side, suddenly changing directions at slight noises we did not notice, and looked so disoriented we did not risk crossing the road to the nearby copse of trees or anywhere outside our block of houses. There was no way to let her run off leash then, as we usually do, for fear she might ran out onto the road (unlike in New York, there are no leash-time regulations in Moscow).

It was worse at home, and painfully obvious nobody cared for her, wherever she'd lived for the first half a hear of her life. The first couple of months, she did not understand why we wanted to pet her, or scratch her belly, and tolerated the caresses with a look of wary resignation. She had apparently never been taken up and held close, either. The first time I did was comically sad, with all four paws spread out and tensed to unmoving wires and a look of shocked incomprehension on her face.


The dog is playing with my slippered foot,
her tail flying, her mouth open, her ears bent back on her head.


Neither did Hera understand public transport. Once again, it took my mother and I pushing and pulling to get her crouched low desperately spread out paws inside the growling shaking belly of a trolley bus on our first trip to the vet.

Trust took a while to be built, on both sides. At first, we were stricter with Hera, not knowing what she was really like or what she might do. Thankfully, she totally ignored electric cables when growing teeth, yet all that was left from my favourite doll was its head. Little by little, we grew to know each other.

Hera, on her side, thought for the longest time that she was in yet another temporary home, and it was written all over her that she was waiting for us to give her away, again. Even though all dogs do not like to part with their owners, she used to grow exceptionally nervous when she saw any of us (and me in particular) preparing to go away for a time, and was very glad when we returned, spending a lot of time with that truant member of her pack making sure they were indeed back. It took two years and my letting her sleep in my bed against the better judgment for her to finally relax and feel truly at home.

In the next four pictures Hera is lying in my uncovered bed in various poses
basking in the attention and looking quite smug.









She has since become a rightful member of our family, and a sly one at that, one that keeps her intelligence carefully hidden behind wide innocent eyes and a look of incomprehension. It is only accidents that give her away.

Two summers ago, when the monstrous 'arrested' anti-cyclone took residence in central Russia causing the horrible drought and forest fires and an unheard of month-long hot spell in Moscow with temperatures of 35+ C (95+ F), my parents thankfully left for their friend's summer house leaving only me and the dog in our overheated smoke-filled flat. Hera is a picky eater and can sometimes refuse even her standard meals for a day or two. One morning I off-handedly told her indicating the previous day's leftovers in her bowl, "I am not feeding you again until these are gone". To my shocked delight, she turned and ate them all at once, where I'd been convinced she would not even truly understand me.

Please ignore the date stamp in the following picture. It was actually taken on the 28 January 2006.

In this picture, my mother's friend, the one my parents then went to in 2010, is feeding Hera a piece of bread with her right hand, while holding the rest of it in her left. The friend is an elderly lady dressed in a black blouse and trousers with her hair in a bun at the back of her head. She is looking slightly amused. Hera's head is up in the air holding the bread from below, an expression of a starved wolf on her face.


Another show of understanding come not a month ago. Hear is rather heavy, she weighs 18 kilos (40 lbs), so we grew tired of carrying her to the bath to wash her paws on muddy days. One day, mother simply asked her to walk there herself, despite knowing that our dog dislikes being washed. Hera refused. Exasperated, mother decided that using a rag on the dog's paws would have to suffice that day. And then, - when her paws "clean", because she knows leaving the door before that is a no-no, Hera padded into the bathroom on her own and jumped into the bath, shocking the hell out of all of us. So she does since.



The most recent picture of Hera. She is lying atop a pile of my clothes before my mot recent trip abroad, when she tried to stop my packing, licking her nose with her tongue and looking sadly to the side.


Having a dog is an amazing unhurried journey full of surprises, even years after its adoption.

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
majesticarky
Feb. 6th, 2013 02:41 pm (UTC)
Aw Hera!! She's so cute, such huge ears! I was always curious how you got her. Unwanted pets always take more effort, but usually it's worth it in the end. Although, maybe that's not so true in our case where my parents got the dog from a breeder and he had severe personality issues from age 6 months on. In any case, I liked hearing all these anecdotes : ).

Just one sentence was confusing for me.

We did not like either of them much then, not really, all legs that they were.

I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here. Otherwise, awesome!
kehlen_crow
Feb. 6th, 2013 02:50 pm (UTC)
I meant that we did not like the look of them, because they both were quite tall and skinny, and it seemed that they had nothing but legs.

I phrased it badly yes. Shame on me.

Personality-wise taking a pet is always a gamble. It was part of the reason we were wary of her as well at first, but she is a sweet one.

majesticarky
Feb. 6th, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
Not necessarily phrased badly, just something that's hard to phrase. I thought that might have been what you meant, but I wasn't sure. In Russian is there a single word that would equal "all legs"? In English, I don't think there is one, and "all legs" is the best there is and I've heard it used rarely (actually only in literature...). Remember when you took the time to edit one of my longer idol entries and you found at least 5 grammar mistakes? Ever since then, I've tried to be more careful XD, but sometimes I rush too much. In this case, I think the only thing you could have done is describe what the dogs looked like, but I dunno. Maybe others will understand that inherently.

Also, I always make edits, especially grammar ones, even during the voting phase, but I don't necessarily think that's worth editing.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 6th, 2013 07:42 pm (UTC)
I thought about this phrase, and it is definitely not what I'd say in Russian. I'd say that "они были страшно голенастые". I think I did pick it up in a text or movie somewhere, but there it most likely was about another body part, like "all eyes" or something.

I think I use many of outdated constructions like this, because I do not know what the current are :).

And writing too fast is a problem, too. =)

I usually only edit my Idol entries until the first comment arrives. Or when it is something really stupid, like that time I mixed up deceased and diseased.
waveform_delta
Feb. 7th, 2013 05:31 am (UTC)
I stumbled over the same phrase as majesticarky and I also guessed that was the meaning you intended.

That kind of construction is a sort of poetic device in English (typically only written English). To say a dog is "all snout, legs and tail" does not mean it literally has no head or body--only that those are the most noticeable parts of the dog.

Also, Hera is adorable and I'm glad you could give her a happy home.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 7th, 2013 02:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the explanation - this is what I intended for the phrase to mean, but it was still badly put together. I will keep in mind that this expression needs to be used carefully.

Thank you :).
kehlen_crow
Feb. 7th, 2013 02:22 pm (UTC)
I thought further about this expression, and there IS a way to describe the most prominent feature on someone's face, "одни глаза, один нос". Yet it would not be applicable to legs.

So I guess I took the two, mixed them up and came up with the one I did :).
(Deleted comment)
kehlen_crow
Feb. 7th, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you :). It is good to know I did not invent it out of the blue.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 6th, 2013 02:51 pm (UTC)
ConCrit is welcome.
writerofictions
Feb. 6th, 2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
I really loved reading this!
kehlen_crow
Feb. 7th, 2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
(Deleted comment)
kehlen_crow
Feb. 7th, 2013 08:41 pm (UTC)
Not only adopted pets do that. Our neighbours from above have a well-bred poodle whom they've had since she could be parted from her mother, she, too used to cry for years when they were out of the house.

But I agree, that adopted ones have more issues. Our other dog Belka was almost fearless, but she detested driving in cars. We do not know how she appeared in the streets when she was young, but we strongly suspect she'd been dropped out of a car because of that.

Thank you!
ashgaelsonaria
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:49 pm (UTC)
Actually separation anxiety is common in pets.
Dogs and birds are particularly likely because of an instinctual dependence on their group. For them being alone is dangerous and oftain a death sentence so they have to adjust to the idea that its ok the leaders are coming back. It tends to be worse for indeviduals who have owners who are gone for extended periods or who rairly leave.
My own dog who will be 2 may day gets a bit upset still on those occasions when I leave and she only came from across the street and still sees her birth pack sans her dame every day.
ashgaelsonaria
Feb. 7th, 2013 09:39 pm (UTC)
What a cute.
I got my dog nearing two years ago when my unofficial sisters children let their dogs get too close. I was there when she was born and have been waiting for an appropriate prompt.
She had to be revived and actually tried to push her dame away.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 17th, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
My friend's dog once got a litter where the smallest puppy had to be revived as well, but she was a fighter. She pushed all others away first to get to her dame's milk then to the bowls at meal times. And then she crawled under them for warmth at nap time :). It was fun to see them brawl.
ashgaelsonaria
Feb. 17th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
In Cubby's case she was the biggest and it made it hard for her to be delivered.
myrna_bird
Feb. 7th, 2013 10:16 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed hearing about Hera and especially seeing the pictures. She occupies your bed like she is queen of the house. I understood your intent, and personally, I find it endearing that you write with the little quirkiness because I appreciate you are from another culture and language.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 17th, 2013 03:16 pm (UTC)
She is most undoubtedly our queen :).

Thank you!
adoptedwriter
Feb. 8th, 2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
Puppy love!!!!! AW
kehlen_crow
Feb. 17th, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
jem0000000
Feb. 12th, 2013 12:25 am (UTC)
Aww, this is really sweet! She sounds like a wonderful pet. :)
kehlen_crow
Feb. 17th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Yes, she is. She is the apple of all our eyes :).
jem0000000
Feb. 17th, 2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. :)
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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