Tesla’s Love is the blog for and about people who love animals. No one here cares whether it walks, crawls, swims, slithers, hobbles or knows how to fly, if there is a story about an animal that you love or loves you, this is the place to share that story. The story can be a tribute, a love story or a memorial. It can be about you, this truly is a site for people. Send your story and photos to teslaslove@gmail.com and we promise to post it here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is your pet ready for its closeup?

You have a pet and you know it's the cutest of its kind. But pets are way more than just a pretty face and a new pet-themed film festival aims to prove it - possibly with your help.

Soul Friends, Inc, a statewide nonprofit psychotherapy and educational organization that helps at risk children with interactive activities, including therapy animals, will premiere its first pet-themed film festival from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 21 at Showcase Cinemas in North Haven. The charity is asking for submissions of short films that demonstrate how animals help people feel better.

“We regularly experience the healing power of animals in our daily work with children and adolescents,” Kate Nicoll, , executive director of Soul Friends, Inc., said in a statement. “By hosting this mainstream inaugural film festival, we hope to show the entire state of Connecticut what our clients have already learned…life is more enriching interacting with animals.”

To officially enter the Petflix Film Festival, pet lovers and aspiring filmmakers are encouraged to submit a video that is less than five 5 long, or within the 5-10 minute category.

An independent panel of judges will score the film shorts based on originality, cinematography, message and overall theme, the statement said. The top three entries from each category will then be screened as part of the two-hour film festival. Participants may submit more than one entry, the statement said.

“Besides seeing some of Connecticut’s new shining stars on the big screen, attendees will also learn about local animal rescue groups, animal sanctuaries and other non-profit organizations that promote and preserve the healing benefits of the animal-human bond,” Nicoll said in the statement.

The entry fees for a Petflix film short submission is $15. Tickets to the event are $5 in advance and $8 the day of the show. Visit http://www.soul-friends.org/ to register and for more information.

Soul Friends, Inc. has since 2003 "served more than 3,000 children impacted by grief, trauma, loss and/or social emotional challenges by integrating nature and animals in individual or group psychotherapy," the statement said. Services include interactive animal assisted psychotherapy, dog training for special needs children, equine assisted psychotherapy and crisis response therapy dogs, it said.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Best Bad Dog

By Melanie Stengel

Harlie was not a good dog, but then I doubt that was ever one of her aspirations.
A rat terrier of more than dubious pedigree, she was born in the barn of a dog warden in Sommers, Conn. Harlie's mother was one of about 70 dogs rescued from a breeder/hoarder.
After my son and I looked at a dozen or so equally adorable puppies, I asked the dog warden "Which one has the most personality?"
She pointed without hesitation, "That little brown and white one."
So began a 12-year relationship that often caused me to lament my use of the word "most" over "best."
I could spend hours cataloging reasons to exclude Harlie from the Good Dog Club, but here are a few lowlights:
Harlie was a thief. Pocketbooks, jackets hung on doorknobs (making the pockets accessible), anything on a low lying table, were all fair game.
I once reached into my jacket to pay for an order at Dunkin' Donuts and found that I had no cash. A wad of bills later turned up under the bed.
Harlie was destructive. Shoes, furniture, underwear, writing implements, and rubber bands, were all part of the Harlie buffet. I once made the mistake of leaving my purse on the coffee table (see thief) and came downstairs to find a small dog wearing a lovely coral lipstick smile, smearing a chewed up tube of mascara all over the beige sofa. I grabbed the cushion covers and raced to the basement washing machine.
When I came back, one foam rubber cushion had already been shredded.
Harlie was disobedient. Despite the training that comes with the installation of an invisible fence, Harlie learned that if she ran fast enough she could break out of the yard without getting zapped. For some reason she could not apply this principal to getting back in. In her last year of life, too old and sick to make a getaway, Harlie would carry her ball to the driveway, drop it, and watch it roll past the invisible fence line. She would then bark until I brought it back. Reverse fetch - a perfect metaphor for our relationship. (The spring after her death, a single sprig of Queen Anne's Lace grew where Harlie's ball crossed the invisible fence line. It has not bloomed anywhere in the yard since.)
Harlie jumped out of a moving car and passed me on the street (she rolled down the electric window), stole a co- worker's bag lunch, and generally behaved in a way that led my friends to (somewhat) affectionately refer to her as "The Dog from Hell."
If it seems that I'm maligning a creature who was never able to speak for herself, let me assure you that I'm forever grateful that I got to share my life with this 16 lb. "Terrierist."
What Harlie lacked in goodness she more than made up for with what I can only inadequately call a zest for life.
Because of her inbreeding, Harlie suffered from myriad health problems. She took daily medication for Addison's disease. She had major dental problems that required her to wear a plastic cone on her head for four months. In a typical Harlie move, the day that the cone was removed, she chomped on a rock in the back yard, breaking her healing jaw. Said jaw was wired shut, the cone reinstalled, and I had to feed her through a stomach tube for the next three months.
Yet, through all of this, she attempted to hunt squirrels.
Finally, Harlie developed a truly horrible condition know as protein losing enteropathy. After local vets were unable to determine the cause, she was transferred to an intensive care facility in Norwalk. When I went to visit I found her lying shaved, shaking, with IV and feeding tubes. Maybe I should have let her go then, but she rose, and with what little strength she had, walked to the open cage door and stood with her forehead pressed to mine. For another week she endured more testing as well as blood and albumen transfusions. Finally, with no conclusions or hope, I brought her home to die. That night we lay together on the family room couch. Sometimes I would doze and wake to check her breathing. At 6 a.m. surprised to find her still sleeping peacefully, I slipped away to the kitchen to make myself some coffee. I heard a thud and turned, expecting the worst. There was Harlie, standing in the doorway looking for breakfast. For reasons no one could figure out, Harlie recovered much of her strength and lived for another nine months. I was going through a very low point in my life, and maybe she felt that she needed to see me through.
Ironically, the night that I returned, feeling renewed, from a retreat in the mountains of North Carolina, Harlie suffered a relapse. The vet offered to keep her for the night, but his office was cold and a storm was coming. Harlie hated both cold and storms, so I brought her home. We sacked out together on the family room couch for the last time.
I've heard the saying that all dogs go to heaven. If there is a heaven, I hope it's true. Heaven needs a dog like Harlie. I picture a heaven full of "good dogs" (think golden retrievers) being about as boring as the human equivalent of folks sitting around on clouds playing harps. When I was a child, my grandmother told me that a flash of lightning was a brief glance into Heaven. Now I like to think it's Harlie dashing through the invisible fence.