Darling Duncan Roo Roo

Nadia is not sure about that Roseanne business...

I think it is safe to say that dog rescue people are a bit left of center. The ladies in our group are probably farther left than left of center. We all have our preferences when it comes to the Eskies that we fall for. I am always partial to the larger than life Divas, the "Roseanne" type females who are not above getting their paws muddy, or bloody, in a dispute. And, if they are slightly neurotic, all the better.

Ann is partial to the Eskies who have multi-layered, unsolvable behavior quirks. As a master-coper, Ann can devise a mechanism to contain the most deviant behaviors. On the other hand, Judy gravitates toward the ugly dogs. Hard to believe, but her stunning Eskie, Poland, was not her first choice. She settled for him because the unfortunate looking Corgi-Chow mix she wanted was snagged by another rescue.

Judy and Poland

Laurel and Shadow.

Jeanne is partial to the older chunky girls...and if they are slightly underweight...Jeanne and her Italian mother-in-law can fix that with a serving of meatballs. Whereas, Laurel is smitten with the young, buff boys...in the image of her Shadow. Bev adores any Eskie at all...and it is funny how they ALL look like her Snowballs 1 and 2. And, Diane Gonzalez is partial to any dog that needs her. She is now the only one of us who has never hijacked a foster dog.

And, that brings me to Cindy, who recently informed me that she intended to hijack our Darling. As I paused to consider why this dog had snagged Cindy's heart, when she had the opportunity to snag so many others, I realized that it is because he is pitiful. I did not realize that Darling was pitiful, but now, I see his appeal.

Cindy surrounded by a few of her friends.

Darling's picture had barely made it to the website, when Cindy alerted me to the impending hijacking. I thought she was kidding. Pitiful?? This little boy was a no issue, highly adoptable Eskie...and I had dozens of potential adopters who had been wooed by his story. I had to re-read my write-up of Darling to look for signs of pitifulness.

I suppose it was the fact that he had been a stray in Southern Massachusetts for a good long while before he was snatched up by the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Now, I had recently become fascinated with the Animal Rescue League, because of some decidedly strange recent incidents. Recognizing that it was a long-established humane society of impeccable reputation, I was most intrigued when the Boston Facility refused to adopt a rat to my friend, and Eskie foster mom, Judy. I puzzled over this situation...until...as much as I abhor the notion of a "full time job," I prepared a resume and submitted it to the Animal Rescue League for the position of Shelter Operations Manager for their five Boston area shelters. Why? Because, clearly, they need me.

"The real question," asks Poland, "is why Judy actually would want to adopt a rat...?"


Subsequently, I was called by the ARL to rescue a two year old female Eskie named Darla. Strange, but as a "Rescue League" the ARL doesn't usually work with rescue, so I was surprised to get their call. Darla was reported to be in rough shape, with extensive fly bites to both the tips of her ears. She had been there about a month and they had no options for her. So, I agreed to drive an hour down to New Bedford, Massachusetts, to pick her up.

This was not one of my best days. I forgot the driving instructions, and had to "wing it." Now, people who do not live in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts will not know just how dangerous a proposition this is. Even when armed with the best written directions and a large print Road Atlas, one does not stand a rat's ass of a chance in finding one's way anywhere. So to think of "winging it," is just preposterous. I got as far as I could down Route 24, and just before I panicked, I saw a sign from God.

I was stopped in front of a local shopping center called the "Ann-Hope Mall," which prompted me to phone Ann--vacationing in Indiana--so that she could read me the Mapquest directions over the phone. Once we sorted out my locale--approxiately one quarter mile from my target--I pulled into the ARL New Bedford Facility parking lot to discover that they were closed. When I announced myself as "Rescue", I was led into a deserted room and told to go get Darla from the back. No Darla. They had moved her to another facility just that morning.

Go figure. Well, I am known for my lapses into delusion during which I have been accused of "speaking in tongues", so Lord knows what they heard when I said, "I will pick Darla up on Thursday morning." The hunt for Darla was on. I learned that she had been transferred to a facility that was ten minutes from my house. So, except for the two and a half hour side trip to New Bedford, this was pretty convenient.


When I saw Darla, it was not tough to figure out why this sweet, gentle dog had not been adopted during her month long stay at the Animal Rescue League. I had not seen too many dogs in such a condition. Unvetted and unbathed, Darla was a stinky, flea-infested mess. I called our vet--once again imposing upon Dr. Tricia Glazer of the Emmerson Animal Hospital--and the invincible Mr. Leon, our dog groomer, for emergency consultations.

Our first step was a thorough vet exam of our Darla, during which Dr. Glazer cracked wise and said, "Well, you better pick another name, Darla is a boy." Shocked, I actually said, "Are you sure?" And, Dr. Glazier, who is a first rate diagnostician, replied, "Well, he has a penis." And so, just like that, Darla, our two year old female Eskie, became Darling, our five year old male Eskie. I have often thought, when I have time to ponder such things, that a penis is a fairly obvious thing on a dog. But, everybody makes mistakes, even the Animal Rescue League. After all, it surely dilutes their focus to qualify the hordes of rat adopters, of which, my friend, Judy, is not one.

The second step to the resurrection of Darling was the "Fluff and Fold," so expertly performed by our Mr. Leon, whose salon is situated in the basement of the Animal Hospital. Admittedly, Mr. Leon is not a fan of Eskies after the last few he groomed for me. But, he is a trooper. He about swooned when he saw Darling, and I got several panicked calls alerting me to the various stages of the horror and warning me that Darling's new look would be extreme. Apparently, Mr. Leon wanted to distance himself from the final outcome.

Darling's new look may have been just the touch of pitiful that was required to put Cindy's hijacking in motion. I brought Darling home to an overcrowded apartment where he made himself at home immediately. I grew accustomed to him occupying the foot of the bed like a lead pipe...there was absolutely no moving Darling off the bed. In time, I became suspicious that Darling might be deaf. As I screamed at him to move his lard ass off my foot...nothing...nada...not even an ear twitch.

Darling with the Angels from God.

Did you say something??

And then, one day I came home to the usual five dog caterwauling as I entered my apartment--but no Darling. He was asleep in the sun on the balcony chaise. Only a deaf dog could have slept through that routine "howdy" from the Angels From God and Irma La Deuce. It became obvious that Darling was stone, cold deaf.


However, it seemed that Darling was a skilled lip reader. Whenever he SAW the Angels From God barking, he chimed in...often displaying two different pitches. I was convinced that Darling was trying to gaslight me. At first I would hear a very thin, nasal "woof woof" followed up by a baritone "roo roo". I could have sworn that there was an extra dog here...maybe someone that I had forgotten about. I am easily confused. But, then I saw the tonal shift with my own eyes.

That did it. He was going up to Cindy's no matter what. And within the next few weeks, we made our trek north to Maine. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in North Maine, when Cindy first met her Darling. It was love at first sight, and Darling was every bit as pitiful as she thought he would be. Then he wowed her with his wobbly walk, and she was a goner.

Cindy's Eskie pack, Sweet Brie, and Ollie, have accepted Darling, who is now Duncan. Cindy is not a fan of my cutesy names. And even Fergus the Cat has given Duncan "four thumbs up", which is not as hard as it would seem, because Fergus actually has four thumbs...two per paw.

Fergus gives Duncan the thumps up.

Back to AFG Index

© 2004 Eskies Online/Denise Gareau