This is able-bodied Holly, who recently began helping us with the dishwashing chores by doing the "pre-wash" on the dog dishes. Holly slips into the dog room, picks up the dishes still in crates with her mouth, brings them out, sets them down, and then methodically licks them clean. This is not to be confused with Widget's mining, in which she is in single-minded pursuit of edible treasure. To Widget, licking bowls doesn't seem particularly rewarding or worth her time. To Holly, it's a divine task.
Notice that while Holly could lay the bowl down on the wood floor, she's choosing to put it on the dog bed instead:
And then she settles in for a thorough licking:
She has, in this case, picked up Travis' bowl, which is usually still pretty covered with the leftovers from his liquid slurpy dinner. Yum.
It turns out I did post Holly's story on the blog way back in January 2007 here. What I didn't say in that post was that Holly had come to us in 2006 as a semi-feral stray along with her brother, who looked exactly like her. We had named him Buddy (get it? Buddy Holly?), and a few months after they arrived, we "traded" Buddy to a local Montana shelter that had asked us to take an older blind dog named Bud. (No, really.) We were holding the line on our numbers, so this was a good deal all the way around, and the shelter was happy to get a cute, young, adoptable dog and send us their elderly disabled one.
A few weeks later we got a call from a family that had just adopted Buddy from that shelter, and they'd heard we still had his sister. They loved Buddy and wanted to know if they could adopt her as well. I said, "You know, that would be terrific, why don't you come out next weekend and meet us and Holly?"
Pleased as punch, I went outside to find Alayne and tell her the great news.
I was met with an ice-cold stare.
"Um, did you hear me? We've got Holly adopted!"
Silence. Uh oh. The frosty look told me I had really screwed up. But how?
"We can't adopt out Holly," she said.
Completely befuddled, I said, "Say what?"
It turned out that Miss Marker had become very attached to this dog, and was not about to adopt her out. This was news to me. (Uh, clearly.) She also thought that Holly would upset things with Buddy's new family, because the two of them together were a real handful -- a lot of noisy energy feeding off each other. They could sound like an entire coyote pack.
I said -- being a bottom-line kind of guy -- that Holly wasn't disabled and thus didn't need to be here, but that if she stayed, she wasn't going to count towards our limit. I insisted, "We aren't going to turn away a disabled dog because Holly being here keeps us at our limit. If she stays, she doesn't count." This was really throwing down the gauntlet, because Miss Marker was the taskmaster when it came to enforcing the numbers.
Being an attorney, though, black is never really black and white is never really white (gray, anyone?), and I knew she was going to try and find a way around this. But I had given her a binary choice, and I wasn't sure how she was going to respond.
The frosty look continued, and without saying another word, she walked off in a huff.
About ten minutes later, Miss Marker returned. She looked at me -- I would like to say lovingly, but that wasn't it -- and muttered between clenched teeth: "Okay, she doesn't count."
That was an enormous concession on her part, and though I had sort of "won," it didn't feel like a win. Perhaps because she was still glowering at me.
In any case, that's how Holly got to stay.
I called the family back and told them that, to borrow an expression, "What we have here is a failure to communicate...."
Miss Marker and Holly have continued to be quite the devoted pair over the years. The disorder they create (which I wrote about in that original blog post) still follows in their wake, and years ago led me to start calling the two of them "Miss Mayhem, Director of Camp Run-a-mok, and her assistant, Sister Chaos."
Needless to say, I was delighted to see Holly pick up a quiet, solitary hobby like dishwashing.
Still 2nd place -- but it's close! Contest ends December 19th.
Please keep voting for the sanctuary in the Shelter Challenge -- the votes are adding up! And remember, you can vote every day, so consider bookmarking the voting page to make it easy.
You can vote in the Shelter Challenge here.
Please note: Use Rolling Dog Ranch for our name and NH for the state and our listing will come up.
It was thanks to all of your amazing votes that we won the $20,000 Grand Prize in the final Shelter Challenge of 2009, and we came in fourth nationwide in the first Shelter Challenge earlier this year, winning $3,000. So this is serious money and can really make a difference for our disabled animals! Please help us win this round of the contest by voting every day, and by encouraging your family, friends and colleagues to vote every day, too. Thank you!