If you do not have a safe place for your pet while you are renovating or while you are in the process of moving, consider asking a reliable family member, friend or pet service to keep your pet during this brief period.
Use a “call and listen” approach when searching for your pet. In other words, call, whistle, and make a noise with one of your pet’s favourite toys. Then listen carefully for some indication that your pet is nearby. For example, your pet may respond to you by making a noise that enables you to find him if he is hiding under the neighbour’s porch or stuck in a tree. Also, if your pet has a bell on his collar, listen for the sound of that particular bell.
The dog maven Mark Derr, in his forthcoming book “How the Dog Became the Dog,” offers a particularly ambitious and detailed version of how the wandering wolf became the drifting dog. He adds to the Coppingers’ story many epics and epicycles, including a central role for Neanderthal dog-lovers. Though Derr’s book, given the fragmentary nature of the evidence, is sometimes a little fantastical, his motive, only half-disclosed, is touching: Derr isn’t just a dog fancier, one realizes, but a kind of dog nationalist, a dog jingoist. He believes that what was an alliance of equals has, in very recent centuries, been debased to produce Stepin Fetchit dogs, like Butterscotch, conscripted into cuteness. Dogs began as allies, not pets, and friends, not dependents.
The pet-store people packed up the dog, a female, in a little crate and Olivia excitedly considered names. Willow? Daisy? Or maybe Honey? “Why not call her Butterscotch?” I suggested, prompted by a dim memory of one of those Dan Jenkins football novels from the seventies, where the running-back hero always uses that word when referring to the hair color of his leggy Texas girlfriends. Olivia nodded violently. Yes! That was her name. Butterscotch.
A year ago, my wife and I bought a dog for our ten-year-old daughter, Olivia. We had tried to fob her off with fish, which died, and with a singing blue parakeet, which she named Skyler, but a Havanese puppy was what she wanted, and all she wanted. With the diligence of a renegade candidate pushing for a political post, she set about organizing a campaign: quietly mustering pro-dog friends as a pressure group; introducing persuasive literature (John Grogan’s “Marley & Me”); demonstrating reliability with bird care.
No animals were harmed during the writing of this article, but one journalist did have to get down on her hands and knees to clean her carpet. ♦
People with genuine impairments who depend on actual service animals are infuriated by the sort of imposture I perpetrated with my phony E.S.A.s. Nancy Lagasse suffers from multiple sclerosis and owns a service dog that can do everything from turning lights on and off to emptying her clothes dryer. “I’m shocked by the number of people who go online and buy their pets vests meant for working dogs,” she told me. “These dogs snarl and go after my dog. They set me up for failure, because people then assume my dog is going to act up.”
If you want to turn your pet into a certified E.S.A., all you need is a therapist type who will vouch for your mental un-health. Don’t have one? Enter “emotional-support animal” into Google and take your pick among hundreds of willing professionals. Through a site called ESA Registration of America, I found a clinical social worker in California who, at a cost of a hundred and forty dollars, agreed to evaluate me over the phone to discuss the role of Augustus, the snake, in my life. To prepare for the session, I concocted a harrowing backstory: When I was six, I fell into a pond and almost drowned. There was a snake in the water that I grabbed on to just before I was rescued by my father, and, ever since, I’d found comfort in scaly vertebrates.
Let’s be fair. No one in Virginia will judge you if you get a dog from a pet store instead of rescuing one. But can you truly sleep well at night, knowing that there’s a loving, shy boxer named Murray that has been waiting for someone to take him in for three years in a shelter near you, and you didn’t take him!
She has registered her pet with the Emotional Support Animal Registration of America. This letter further supports her pet as an ESA, which entitles her to the rights and benefits legitimized by the Fair Housing Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It allows exceptions to housing, and transportation services that otherwise would limit her from being able to be accompanied by her emotional support animal.
Rescue shelters have many different types of dogs with different needs and temperaments. I suggest that you talk to an adoption specialist before you make a choice. They’ll take a look at your lifestyle and habits, and suggest pets for you. This way, the animal will have the best possible home for it and you’ll have the best possible companion.
No such restrictions apply to service dogs, which, like Secret Service agents and Betty White, are allowed to go anywhere. In contrast to an emotional-support animal (E.S.A.), a service dog is trained to perform specific tasks, such as pulling a wheelchair and responding to seizures. The I.R.S. classifies these dogs as a deductible medical expense, whereas an emotional-support animal is more like a blankie. An E.S.A. is defined by the government as an untrained companion of any species that provides solace to someone with a disability, such as anxiety or depression. The rights of anyone who has such an animal are laid out in two laws. The Fair Housing Act says that you and your E.S.A. can live in housing that prohibits pets. The Air Carrier Access Act entitles you to fly with your E.S.A. at no extra charge, although airlines typically require the animal to stay on your lap or under the seat—this rules out emotional-support rhinoceroses. Both acts stipulate that you must have a corroborating letter from a health professional.