Tag Archives: adopt

Elegy for Mollie

By Edith Morgan

She passed away quietly, after a shudder, several raspy breaths, and a faint “meow.” And so Mollie, my cat of more than 10 years, gave up the last of her nine lives, cradled in our arms and kept warm and stroked for several hours.

I have always been “a cat person.” Working full-time teaching, caring for a house, and mothering numerous foster children, I could not realistically care for a dog who would have needed daily walks. So cats always seemed the perfect companions for us.

I never went out looking for a cat – they always seemed to come to me; usually it was someone who had had to move to a new place that did not allow pets. Once I received two stunningly beautiful pure Persians, who came to me in a duffle bag, cuddled up together and zipped up, for the trip from Manhattan to Worcester. They seemed to be very comfortable in their new home with me, and spent most of their waking time arranging themselves and posing at the head of the stairs. They spent several happy years here, but as they were already older, I did not have them too long.

So I have over the last few decades been home to Siamese, long-haired orange cats, alley cats, and strays of various hues and dispositions – some sleek, some more rotund (like the one the kids called “fat cat”).

But the one that was with us the longest was Mollie. We did not name her – I would have hoped for a more interesting or unusual name, but we stayed with the name she had when she arrived here, in the company of a long-haired orange cat – who was a hunter and outdoor roamer. But right from the start, Mollie was an indoor cat – and definitely NOT a hunter. She spent the first two or three years here confined to my niece’s bedroom, out of the mainstream.

But when my niece moved out, Mollie suddenly found herself with the run of the whole house: three floors, a basement, and several adults who could pick her up, pet her, speak to her and provide lap space whenever she wanted it.

It took a long time for Mollie to warm up to other people: having spent so much time with just one person, she had to have time to get used to the stream of visitors to her world. But she eventually started to come down and “mix” and even selected her special visitors who were to be graced by her deigning to sit in their laps and allow them to per her.

There was not a question in our minds as to who owned the house: Mollie’s attitude was always that it was hers, and she allowed us to stay there, feed her, clean out her kitty litter box, and tend to her needs as she made them known to us.

This past year she developed an exploratory yen: she found her way into the space between the bathroom ceiling on the second floor and the kitchen ceiling on the first floor and spent several days in that space, refusing to come out. After we finally coaxed her out of there, didn’t she do it again TWICE!!! She also sniffed out where our kitchen mouse used to run across the floor, but of course it was below her dignity to chase it.

Mollie loved to sit on our shoulders when we watched TV or perched on my neck when I was reading. She always knew where I was trying to read the paper and plunked herself right down on that page. But she always rewarded our efforts with purring loudly and steadily!

We will sorely miss her – she was really a family member, independent and full of surprises.

Sleep in peace, Mollie.

It’s not too late to buy these holiday gifts at WARL! Your $$ helps homeless animals …

… Dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, birds and small animals that need FOREVER HOMES!

Head down to the Worcester Animal Rescue League on Holden Street in Worcester this weekend and go shopping for your fave pup or kitty. They are open to the public SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, noon to 4 p.m. Support this nonprofit, one that has been finding great homes for Worcester’s homeless companion animals for more than a century!

P.S. They’ve got way more stuff than shown here! WARL tote bags, books, etc. I had my Jett in the car and had to stop taking photos to run out to him!

CLICK HERE to see all the beautiful dogs up for adoption at WARL. 

– Rosalie Tirella







TWEAKED: A morning spent with a German Shepherd Dog …


By Rosalie Tirella

… is a morning well-spent!

The Old Injun Fighter and I went down to look at the female German Shepherd Dog, “Queenie”  (the name would be dreadful if it didn’t remind me of the Chuck Berry song)  and to drive her to his house to see if she’d get along with his German Shepherd Dog, Spark. We got her and drove her by his house but we did not introduce the two ‘pups” to each other on Spark’s territory – the OIF’s lawn, backyard, driveway porch. It all happened in a parking lot (I insisited!) on Park Ave. THE OIF walked to his house to get his dog. I stayed with Queenie in the parking lot.

Quite a lot of tension (both dogs are so stubborn and strong-willed!) (both humans are so stubborn and strong-willed!)

Rose to the OIF: If he hurts her, I’ll fucking kill you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, after 20 minutes of Rose-OIF bickering and my refusal to put the two big together (fear of a big fight – they are both alpha’s), the OIF – being a real man and not a nothing-burger like the WPI kid in the parking lot who said he’d help but when I tried to give him Queenie’s lead, just shook his head and jumped into his expensive car with his girlfriend and drove off, laughing, of course – got them together!

That’s why, no matter what, I adore the OIF: He would never act stupidly like the WPI kid, who was bigger and maybe stronger than the OIF. The OIF is always a man. So …

OIF to Rose: Give me the dog!

Rose: No!

OIF: Give me the dog!

Rose: No!

OIF: Give me the dog!

I did, and the OIF, holding one dog’s lead with one hand and the other dog’s lead with the other hand, put the two canines together.

I shut my eyes.

Then I opened them to see Queenie wagging her tail and trying to lick Spark’s snout!

The chemistry was there – not between me and the OIF – but between the Spark and Queenie!

The OIF smiled. I heaved a sigh of relief and went over to the OIF and gave him a kiss on the cheek, which he offered to me quite seriously.

When it was time to take Queenie back (the OIF is picking her up for good on the weekend), the ride back to her foster home was celebratory.


I fed her Jett’s treats (Jett stayed home) and a bit of bagel and some Dunkin Donut’s half and half creamer, which she daintily licked out of its teeny cup. A few minutes later she licked my face as I was driving. Thank you, Mommy! she was telling me. The OIF was in the passenger’s seat, now complaining about one of his carpentry jobs and the human race in general (his way of being happy!). I chimed in with my opinions – and it was like old times: me, the OIF and a happy dog in the back seat of a vehicle! We both know we rescued a big, kinda sad GSD that has needed a forever home (for about a year).

These dogs look tough and big but they aren’t weapons! When I babysit Queenie, I am treating her like I treat Jett! Car rides, walks in parks, meeting half of Worcester. I took her to the Broadway Restaurant on Water Street (the OIF was fuming!!) to show her to owner Billy (a dog aficionado). He wasn’t around, so Queenie met the waitresses!

The OIF to Rose: I’m gonna need a tranquilizer!

Rose: BE HAPPY! THIS IS A GOOD DAY!!!!! She’ll love The Broadway!!!

Queenie savored the jaunt, the treats – her special day. She napped in the back seat … I got wicked attached to her and said to the OIF: I WANT HER!

But “Queenie” is the OIF”s dog now. Her life is with him – and will be “serious,” as he is a serious/tough (but good) guy. Queenie will not be driving around with him to job estimates or to the grocery store to pick up milk or maybe even to parks to romp (the way she would if I were her owner). But she will be fed great very expensive dog food, get excellent vet care, enjoy two good walks a day, and receive “serious”/low key affection from the OIF. She will stay at home, with Spark, “guarding” the Old Injun Fighter’s house. A working dog. Sigh … But not too bad a life …

I love you, Little Queenie! I will miss you, girl!!!


Do dogs “remember”?













editor’s note: Here’s a pic of Rosalie’s late best buddy, Bailey. Bailey was a senior – 8 years old – when Rose adopted him. His original owner lived in Holden. The person had to give Bailey up. A super strong, rambunctious 84-lb Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was just too much for the guy who was in poor health. Rose fell in love with the gorgeous Bailey and took him home as soon as she set her hazel eyes on him! Bailey was Rose’s rock star dog! So beautiful people would stop her on the road to pet Bailey or even have a photo taken with him! He was that gorgeous!

Rose lived in Holden for about a year, before she moved back to the Woo; she always feared that Bailey would run out of the Holden house she rented and make a mad dash for his original owner’s place.  He never did. He fell in love with his new InCity Times life (on the road with Rose at all times!)! Even though our yard wasn’t enclosed by a fence, Bailey NEVER strayed from the huge chunk of land that came with the house. He did, however, “perk up” when Rose drove by the vet’s in Holden.  But that was all …

Bailey passed away four years later from nasal cancer. He was 12 years old – and a cancer survivor, thanks to the Old Injun Fighter who payed for the tests/biopsy and  for the (first couple of rounds of) Bailey’s chemo meds and pain pills. He adored Bailey …


By Deb Young

Each year, millions of dogs enter shelters where many of them, if they’re lucky, get adopted by new owners. Likewise, every year outside of shelters, many dogs get handed down and passed along to new owners, whether because of hardship or inconvenience to the owner. New owners may wonder whether their adopted dogs remember previous owners, and the answer is: It depends on the dog, but evidence seems to suggest they do.

Humans, unlike dogs, have a concept of time known as “episodic memory,” using artificial measures of time, like seconds, minutes, and hours, to distinguish events. Also, we tend to remember when something happened by relating it to other events. Dogs, on the other hand, can tell how much time has passed only since the event happened. Still, that doesn’t mean dogs can’t remember the past, or people from the past.

Dogs remember for other reasons, too. It’s commonly believed they remember what they need to in order to survive, or because of fear. Dogs remember past unpleasant or dangerous circumstances to avoid having similar situations in the future. Finally, a type of survival memory is connected to remembering friends, owners, and those people with whom dogs generally feel safe and can trust. Therefore, if a previous owner was kind, the dog may well remember him.

Dogs do have long-term memories, especially for those whom they love.
As in “Argos the great dog who remembered.” Argos, as told in Homer’s classic, The Odyssey, waits 20 years for his master, Odysseus, to return finally from his worldly travels. As soon as the dog recognizes his long-lost master, he has strength only to drop his ears and wag his tail, and then dies. True, it’s a sad story, but it has become a strong metaphor for the faithfulness of dogs.

A dog’s capacity to learn is associated with some memory rather than true understanding. The dog may not understand why it is necessary to sit when the master gives the command but the dog will certainly remember and anticipate the treat that will be received. The dog will remember that sitting = treat.

Associative memory, especially unpleasant ones can stay with the dog for a long time. A dog that has had a traumatic experience in a vet’s office will have a negative reaction as soon as door to the vet’s clinic is seen. The smell, the vet uniform and the people in the waiting room will be remembered by the dog. The door or even the car ride is associated with an unpleasant memory. This unpleasant memory can only be changed with positive associations. The car ride that was associated by the dog to vet visits can be replaced with trips to the dog park.

Dogs are amazing animals, often exhibiting some of the same personality traits and nuances as humans. It is likely because of these traits and behaviors that people become so closely attached to their canine companions. Unlike humans though, it is difficult to study the inner-workings of a dog’s mind. Still, it is evident that dogs do have long-term memory capability even though it varies from that of long-term human memory.

Dog day morning!

By Rosalie Tirella

What a great day to own a dog! To ride with my new dog Jett in my car – he feeling full of himself (finally!) – me having a blast watching a once abused dog grow more confident. (In Kentucky, where Jett’s originally from, the men treated him rough.) Which is why I don’t make Jett heel – he can lead me anywhere on our walks! I feed him apple slices, too, and carress his little chest while cooing: “Oh, you’re a brave little man!”

I take Jett everywhere and he meets everyone! He is so tentative, but I know he will come around … .

“Here,” I tell a friend, giving her a dog treat, “give Jett a cookie!” And Jett gets his cookie! (she must throw it at his paws and look away the first time. A few times later and Jett walks up tp her and takes the treat from her hand)

“Look! Here’s a Worcester park! Let’s go!” I say to Jett, and I open the car door and out Jett pops, and we play tag in the park! Jett is running circles around me; I am pretending I wanna catch him! When I tire and sit on a park bench my little pal stops running, walks over and stares at me, as if to say: “Why are you sitting this game out?” Continue reading Dog day morning!