Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Books and Ducks

Life is quiet here as we get ready for summer.  Nothing has struck me as particularly urgent to blog about, but Sarebear sent us a link to a mystery writer's blog with a post about shrinks in mystery novels, so I thought I'd share that: http://www.mysteryreaders.org/Issues/Shrinks.html#white

We haven't been able to find time to podcast, it seems we're never around all at the same time.  Clink is off touring nature sites and playing with her new camera.  Maybe she'll post a pic?  Roy is busy with all thinks geeky, and I'm happy that I finished a grant application today-- my first ever.  I've been fiddling some with my old fiction, and I'm thinking of putting one of my old novels up as an e-book on the free amazon kindle site.  Has anyone done this?  Do you have any wisdom to share with me?  Oh, and speaking of e-books, I just got a copy of Lowell Handler's new e-book, Crazy and Proud.  Do check out his website.  I haven't read the book yet, but the photography is compelling.

So I thought I would check out Facebook advertising.  My cousin used it to get thousands of fans for her website, Motherrr.com, about mother-daughter relationships, so I wanted to see how it worked.  I ran the ad for 2 days with our book cover as the graphic and only got one click-through.  I changed the graphic to a duck, and there were 6 clicks in following 24 hours.  I feel like I'm turning into Roy with all this number tracking.  It's just an experiment to see how it works (another Roy-type thing to do).

Finally, the graphic above was sent to me from a blogger at a site called Grass Fed Ducks, which I think is mostly about food (specifically Korean Food), but there is a duck/mental health tinge as well.


Simple Citizen said...

Random thoughts and questions from your post:

1. If you figure out how to post an e-book for free, please let us know. I am attempting to do the same.

2. I assume it is advertisers experiences like yours that are leading the Facebook stock downward.

3. How much do you follow and check your blog stats? If not a ton - then don't get concerned about checking the ad - it's just because it's new.

4. Your name, Dinah - is it taken from the Bible? Alice in Wonderland? I've been working on the Railroad? Somewhere else?

Sarebear said...

Woops I sent you the wrong link, sort of. Here is the direct link to the issue of Mysterywriters that is the all about shrinks in mysteries, issue.


sorry bout that!

the other one was straight to Stephen Whites article in that issue. Which works, just hit home and it'll take you to the top where the whole issue and table of contents are. Or use the link I just included here. My bad for sending a link that was a little off. I just thought it was neat to read about all the different perspectives of different shrink mystery writers.

Thanks for posting it!

Dinah said...

Simple Citizen:

1. Okay.
2. I don't own FB stock.
3. Blog stats are emailed to me once a week. The FB add has it's own stats, I don't really understand it all. I put a lifetime limit of $30 on it and so far, it's cost me $4.67.
4. The bible.

Sunny CA said...

Hi, Dinah!
I don't have any mental-health related questions at present. I am mainly trying to survive teaching until the school year ends June 8th. I am home from school sick today. I have some sort of stomach "bug" that is giving me the runs and nausea at the same time. Everything I have eaten seems to be fresh and non-contaminated, so where did this come from? Maybe it is from walking my dog, then letting him lick my face.

I have a moral issue I am dealing with. That face-licking dog is my new dog adopted from an animal shelter on April 6th to replace my dog that died of cancer of the spleen several weeks before that. I am totally in love with this new dog. He looks similar to a Newfoundland, and is calm, sweet, well-trained and loving.

Yesterday I got a phone call from the animal shelter and the director told me that the dog's original owner called looking for "my" dog! This dog went through a 10-day waiting period at the shelter then was up for adoption for 3 weeks before I adopted him. Most local shelters euthanize dogs if they have not found a home 4 weeks after they are made available for adoption. So "Newfie" would have been euthanized a week after I rescued him if I had not rescued him. The entire 10-day waiting period plus 3 weeks he was up for adoption, his photo was posted on line. So yesterday, the original owner called the shelter and said that a friend of his had seen my dog while it was at the shelter, but his friend just told him about it and the owner just came back from a trip to Eastern Europe 2-weeks ago. He emailed me (because I emailed him using the email address supplied by the shelter) and he said Newfie (aka Junior) "disappeared" in February, & he failed to locate Newfie/Junior, then had to leave on the trip from which he just returned.

Legally he has relinquished his rights to the dog by not claiming him from the shelter. The man has 3 other dogs, and is unemployed, trying to find a job again as an engineer. The dog is well-trained and obviously was loved and not mistreated. However, when he showed up at the shelter the dog was 20-30 pounds underweight, had ripped open huge wounds on his rear legs and paws due to flea allergy, was not neutered, not micro-chipped, no collar, fur in awful condition, limping, with ear infection raging.

What is the morally right thing to do? I have spent over $1,000 on Newfie's medical issues and still am working to heal him. Was the former owner irresponsible (my vet's opinion and the opinion of the woman at animal services) or was there a terribly unfortunate set of circumstances that prevented the owner from finding his dog? The dog ended up at a shelter 21 miles from the man's house, so it was not the shelter he would be likely to check. If the dog walked across parkland between the two cities he'd have been far from where anyone could find the dog. I am having a moral dilemma. Legally the dog is mine. I love this dog and don't want to lose him on top of having just lost my previous dog to cancer. Newfie is the "ideal" dog as far as I am concerned. Still, if the previous owner is hurting over this, what is the right thing. An issue for me is how truthful is this man? It does not make sense that the man's friend "saw" the dog at the animal shelter while it was there and yet did not contact the previous owner nor did he "bale out" the dog. How do I know the man actually was in Europe? How did this dog "disappear" from his yard and yet his other 3 dogs did not "disappear"? Why was this flea-allergic dog not on oral medication against fleas? Why was he not neutered and micro-chipped? Why did he have a bed ear infection?

What is the morally correct thing to do?

Sarebear said...

Another issue Sunny is the $1000 you've put into his healthcare; if he's out of a job, and possibly eve if he wasn't, would he be likely to pay you for his healthcare?

It'shard to imagine that someone mighthave let him go, and then wanted him back only cause the health problem had been treated, at least some of them . . . but much worse things have happened in the ways humans treat animals.

Ifthere was some way you could see how the animal reacted to him, without setting up the guy for expecting the dog back, you ould judge the animal's reaction as to how the guy treated him, but then aimals don't have the judgement about the absence of good care that theydo about being kicked, etc. So I don't know. That'sa hard one, but in the end how do you know any of his story is true? There's so many things you have to guess at; I think in the end I'd come down on you keeping the dog; he'd not have what he considers the option toget him back, if you had not adopted him.

Sad though the story maybe if everything he told you was true, the facts are you took care of the dog when his friend wouldn't; another guess could be ifhis friend is so casually visitng shelters, he my be familiar with the time limits of when to euthanize . . and if so, why was tere no urgency on his part to save the3 dog? Again, that's all mind reading and guessing, bt it sounds quite plausible to me given the situation . . . worse case if the friend had saved the dog, and the guy didn't want, he ould'veput it back in the shelter and not been out very much, possibly even have been eimbursed by friend.

Anyway. Lots of things to guess at, both positive and negative.

Since you can't know, andsince YOU were the reason the dog was saved . . . I'd say keep the dog. Just MHO though.

Sunny CA said...

Thanks, Sarebear!

Sarebear said...

I just occurred to me a few minutes ago, that the fact that 17 years ago, twice the cops were either called or caught me on patrol doing . . . stuff, that those incidents are . . . not normal, not what normal people do. That it was very risky, I could have been arrested. That the fact that I was doing arrestable stuff, is . . . well it was desperate, and . . . at the time, I'dve done most anything to get my "fix". Not drugs.

Why did I only just realize that what I did, how I did it, where I did it, is unusual, risky, and sort of extreme? I certainly don't understand why I did those things (well I sort of understand from manic point of view, but can't empathize cause I can't feel like that point of view, I can't connect to it, tho I intellectually understand the mania driving it . . .). . I just can't connect to the person I was, to the person who did those things in those ways.

The cops, each time, let us off with a warning. I can't believe I ever thought that was acceptable, to be doing stuff that ends you up with possibly getting arrested.

Urgh. Mania SUCKS.

I remembersome years backI commented on a post here, wondering if I'd ever get arrested for anything w/my mania, and Clink respondedthat she thought I wouldn't.

You'd think I'd have remembered these incidents then, but nope. Buried in the sand, somewhere other than where my head was buried in the sand.

I just CANNOT connect with feeling like you'd go to extreme length to get whatyou feel you can't live without.

Sunny CA said...

Well, 17 years ago is a long time. You were young or at least young-ish, and our judgement is not as keen and our willingness to take risks is greater when young. That is why so many parents pray their kids survive their teen years.

Also, guessing at what it is you were doing, I am guessing it is in fact normal to do that stuff. Perhaps it is riskier in public where police may come by, but, still, normal. I think many cops, having themselves done the very same thing, would not arrest young people for it.

Dinah said...

Sunny CA:

Wow. My thoughts (I'm neither an ethicist nor a lawyer and psychiatry confers no special ability here, but
I've asked around for you)
Me: He's your dog and he'll be better off with you. What does your husband think? Would he be heartbroken if you lost this dog? Who took care of the 3 dogs while the other owner was in Europe? The story sounds fishy to me.

One of my teenagers, who is my go-to source of wisdom: Says you should investigate more and invite yourself over for coffee.

My friend the judge: Says before you go any further, he needs to prove the dog was his and he owes you $1,000. Photos? The judge isn't sure the dog isn't legally his (doesn't sound like this guy is going to sue).

Ask to talk to his vet perhaps to confirm ownership and that the dog was getting reasonable care?

I'll try for input from Camel and Jesse

Sunny CA said...

My husband, who is on the Asperger's spectrum affiliates much more strongly with dogs than humans and is madly in love with Newfie. My spouse is adamant that we keep Newfie and not consider the man's position, but then he can't empathize with the man's position and I can. My husband would also be heart-broken at a deep level. I could get over it and move on more easily if I thought it was the right thing to do.

The shelter says the dog is legally mine, but the judge is right that it is possible in court an alternate decision could be made if it came to that. I don't think the original owner will sue me, though. I am really searching for what is right. I just do not feel his story is tight. Why would his friend happen to be visiting that particular shelter? It is a smallish shelter, and few people visit shelters without a specific reason. If he was there to look for Junior/Newfie, then why would he not go ahead and adopt him if he knew it was his friend's missing dog? Also, there is internet in Europe, so why did he not go to an internet cafe and look on Pet Harbor, which is a national data base of every shelter and rescue group in the USA. Newfie was on Pet Harbor for over a month.

I wonder if it is safe to go ahead and meet with the man (ie. the go for coffee scenario). He seems polite and reasonable in email. I'd like for him to be able to see "his" dog. It seems the right thing to do, if I were to keep the dog, that I would at least allow him the right to spend some time with the dog.

Dinah said...

Sunny, a friend of ours lost their great dane from a relative's yard (escaped/stolen?) recently. Massive dog hunt (I believe they used search dog's to sniff the missing dog's scent, unsuccessfully). Via social networking/Craig's list, the dog was found walking around another town, probably 12 miles away. It took 4 days. Is there a reason why you're certain the dog was ever really his?

Dinah said...

I'm sorry, I can't resist. Sarebear, I don't know you did, and I don't want to know, but if you really don't remember the misbehaviors of your adolescent years, perhaps you, too, can run for President.

jesse said...

Imagine this: Sunny is at one side of a room and the claimant on the other. The dog is brought in some distance from both. How does he react? Does he wag his tail happily and bound over to the claimant? Does he shrink away with his ears low? The dog will tell you the truth.

But the dog might have reacted happily to the familiar scent, not realizing that his actions would cause him the loss of the kind person who had just given him such good care. The novel could have two opposing endings.

If you become convinced that the claimant is a loving owner and the dog wants to be with him, I think the money spent becomes a small consideration, much as money spent on the care of a lost child who finally is reunited with his parents.

Sunny, that this question is of such concern to you shows the true goodness, even nobility, of your character.

Sunny CA said...

I am convinced the dog was his because he emailed photos of a healthier, earlier version of "my" dog to the shelter. It is definitely the same dog. He also told me the true breed. The vet guessed Newfoundland mix. The dog is actually Kuvasz and Akita mix. Who in the world would come up with that unless it were the real breeding? When I researched those two dogs, it fits. The money is not the issue. I can afford the medical expenses even if I do not keep the dog. I want the right outcome. The Great Dane story makes me think it is possible to lose a cherished dog without a good outcome (because finding the dog walking in another town was a long shot), so maybe the man is a good owner who was unable to locate his lost dog. I find this so painful a decision because I love this dog. I would not want to return the dog if he will get out of the yard again or be neglected for long periods of time. I think I will meet the man at a neutral location with my dog and see if I can find out more. He can't possibly have ever abused this dog because Newfie is so trusting and loving and calm. He does not have the jumpiness and wincing and lack of trust that abused dogs often have.

Alison Cummins said...

The previous owner (not "real") should care about the best interests of the dog. The dog was in a shelter, so its best interests were served by having you adopt it. Now that you've adopted it, you are the real and current owner.

You want to keep the dog, you would feel generally happier if you kept the dog, you think the right thing is to keep the dog, but you're worrying that you're "supposed" to return the dog to the "real" owner.

Keep the dog.

1) You have empathy for the previous owner but the previous owner presumably has empathy for his ex-dog and is glad that his dog is alive, safe and happy. The previous owner can be expected to have empathy for the current owner and not attempt to steal their dog.

2) The dog is not property. It's a dependent living being who trusts you, but it belongs to itself. The previous owner doesn't have an overarching right to keep the dog.

3) WHAT ON EARTH WAS THE SHELTER THINKING, PUTTING THE PREVIOUS OWNER IN TOUCH WITH YOU??? That's unfair, unreasonable and unnecessary. They fulfilled their obligation to the previous owner by keeping the dog and posting its whereabouts. They fulfilled their obligation to the dog by placing it with you. Now a previous owner shows up and instead of taking responsibility and saying, "You'll be very happy to hear that the dog has been placed in an excellent home and is doing well. No, we do not reverse adoptions because it's unfair to the animal. Perhaps you would like to offer a home to one of our homeless dogs?" they shuffled off the decision to you. That's not fair and you should complain. You aren't a foster family, you're an adoptive family. That was the deal.

Sunny CA said...

Thanks, Alison. I really do want to keep him and I know he is safe and well-cared for with me. I love dogs and go out of my way daily to love him, walk him, care for him. I have been crying over this. The thought of giving him up breaks my heart. I first saw him April 4th and picked him up from being neutered on April 6th, so he's been with me 6 1/2 weeks.

Lucy said...

Sunny CA, Alison makes a LOT of sense. Sarebear, too, of course :)!

A very similar situation happened to me last year with a cat. The owner did not appear to make any sensible moves to find her cat, whom her neighbor found and eventually gave to me to foster as we continued to search for the owner. To make a long story short, the owner was a flake and her claims of having tried hard to find her lost cat were demonstrably untrue. However, we could not see that she was a really bad owner. (I realize there's room for interpretation in there but I don't want to write a novel about the incident here.) I ended up giving the cat back. The difference here with your situation is that I didn't really like the cat and he didn't fit into my home or heart. Also, this was not a re-homing situation in which the foster (me) had made a commitment to the kitty. We were looking for a new home for him the whole time, and even found one, though it was just for a day before the original owner came forward.

There is no one right thing to do in this situation. It is tempting to try to find a reason why Newfie's previous owner does not deserve him. (He never had Newfie neutered, though? I mean, come ON! Strike one.) In one sense, it sounds like a reasonable outcome to give him back. However, Newfie is in your heart now and in your husband's heart, he is in a new home, and though the previous owner's claim is arguable either way--this is a real Solomonic case--I can't see that any greater good would be served by giving him back. Procedures were followed, you took him in good faith, you spent a lot of money on him, and you love him. I think you should just keep him.

I think it might be hard on you to meet with the owner, no? Because I also sympathize with him. It would be hard for me, too, and if he's a decent guy, it's going to make it that much harder for you do justify keeping Newfie with your highly developed conscience. I just don't think you should be made to pay the price for the bollixing-up of the situation. It wasn't your fault, and you love the doggie. He probably thinks he's your dog, too. Sure, he may have liked his previous owner, but he's rolled with the punches and he's in a good situation now. 'Nuff said.

Dinah said...

I have to say, I find the whole doggy issue difficult. I think I identify with you because my dogs have all been from shelters, or Kobe just showed up in our yard, with a collar and we looked quite hard for an owner for him. We think he was dumped because we live on the corner with a fenced yard. My friend relates more to the owner of the lost dog.
I agree with Alison, the shelter should not have put you in touch with the owner. Who would ever adopt a pet if they knew that at any moment the previous owner might materialize and they might lose the animal?

Okay, so for strange pet owner stories. Max was adopted from a shelter and we were told he had a sister who had been adopted the previous day. For years, I wondered about his sister, and at some point, I called the shelter and asked if they could look up the sister and put me in touch with the family who adopted her. They thought I was nuts. I left my number but never heard back.

Sunny CA: I hope you keep Newfie. This is hard.

Sunny CA said...

I have thought about the situation from a legal and practical standpoint, myself. The shelter gave the original owner the legally required 10 days to claim the dog before he was put up for adoption. Then he was listed and on the internet for another 3 weeks on top of that, during which time the original owner could have located and rescued his dog. Imagine how it would undermine adoptions of stray animals if someone with photos of the adopted animals could get them back. Then imagine a dog who has had more than one previous home. Does the person with the youngest-looking dog photos trump all others just because they owned the dog first? There have to be laws for how to deal with found animals who are not claimed by their owners in order to give these animals the chance of a normal life. I have been going home at lunch to visit Newfie and when I came in today, he looked like an angel, fast asleep on his puffy bed. When he woke up he started licking my face, and then I gave him some bits of my Provolone on toast. More kisses and I went back to school. Newfie seems very happy and so am I, and my husband is totally head over heels in love with him.

Sarebear said...

This probably isn't germane anymore and may sound jugemental, but going to Europe when you're out of work? Feels fishy, may not be.

Again, he's not me, but if I lost a beloved pet, I'd be scouring the website(s) at least once a day. Europe DOES have the internet lol.

Also, even if his friend couldn't afford to or wasn't inclined to save the dog (how much of a friend is that? maybe out of work too . . .), you'd think he'd have friends or family he could've arranged to pick him up. If I learned he was in a shelter, doesn't matter if I'm a world away, I would have applied for a new credit card despite my debt, if someone needed payment and I had none. I'd sell off my tv, even my washer or dryer and deal with a laundromat, if I had to. They have phones in Europe too, if he couldn't do roaming there on his cell phone.

Again, he's not me, but . . . if you love a pet, the things I've said here seem reasonable. Maybe selling off major items is more than some people would go, most households have lesser things you could sell off (I sold off my rubber stamps and craft punches once, to buy our new dryer when the old one broke cause a rat climbed in it from beneath the apt. and got mummified yeah tmi lol). Anyway, just stuff to think about, but it sounds like you've made your decision. And of course you can probably figure what I think, but also of course your opinion is the most important thing.

Liz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alison Cummins said...

I don’t think there’s any need to demonize the previous owner. He and his friends sound disorganized, but he seems to have loved his dog and cared for it as well as he knew how. He probably didn’t get better health care for himself than he offered his pet.

Street kids have few resources but they are famously excellent dog-owners, socializing them well and offering them the best care they can.

Still, Newfie is now with you. Empathy goes all ways — not just from you to the previous owner. Of course the previous owner misses his dog, but he should be happy to know that of the various possible outcomes — Newfie got hit by a car, Newfie was euthanized, Newfie was taken into a bad home, Newfie is now living happily with a family who love him — Newfie won the lottery. After being gone for three months Newfie moving back into with him wasn’t really going to happen.

If I lost one of my dogs for three months I would have given them up for dead. I would feel terribly frustrated if I found them and couldn’t get them back, but would also feel very relieved and manage to work through it if I knew that the dog was happy and loved. Especially since I would be feeling terribly guilty about having let the dog get lost in the first place.

jesse said...

Relatively few of the comments address the question from the dog's point of view. Remember the end of the Odyssey, in which Odysseus on returning to Ithaca after twenty years meets Argus, his old dog, who has been waiting for him all those years?

The dog is not simply property, "owned" as a piece of furniture.

So I think Sunny is doing the right thing in meeting with the previous owner and having the dog with her, so she can see how it reacts.

Sunny CA said...

Thanks for all the input. I really appreciate it.

Dinah said...

Sunny CA: What did you decide?

Dinah said...

I saw Jesse tonight. He is still talking about your dog. Can we get some closure?