Friday, February 5, 2021

This is Tulip

Tulip came from a hoarding situation in which around 80 dogs were living together trapped in a barn.  Laura and I worked with a number of these kids in a program to rehabilitate highly fearful dogs, and they are some of the most amazing beings you could ever hope to meet.

We adopted Tulip in 2019.  For the last year and a half, she's been my unofficial emotional support animal.  She deserves everything good that comes to her in life.  She has unicorns on her collar and tag because she is our barnicorn.

Like her sister Celery, Tulip deserves to be made into an RPG character.  Here she is using Justin Isaac's awesome Super-Pet class for Light City.  (I'm not sure that I've noted it on the blog, but as I've looked back over this class, I've come to love it even more than when I first read it.  It's solid and modular, and the "Tricks" are such a nice approach!)

Level 5 Super-Pet
First appearance:  Tales From the Barn (limited series) #1
STR 8     DEX 11     CON 15(+1)     INT 8     WIS 6     CHA 14
4+4 HD (18 HP)     Saving Throw 10    Move 12 ft. (flight 24 ft.)
AC 9[10]

Attack:  Bite or Horn, +3 to hit, 1d6 damage

Super-Pet Tricks:
Speech (yeah, why not, we seem to assume that all of our pets have this...)
Those Eyes (Too Cute) (Charm 1x/day)
Hero Support x2 (Cure Wounds I 2x/day)
Flight (again...why not?  she's got the horn for it...)
Getting the Hang of This (Tool Use) (+2 to saving throws to use human technology)

With one magic canine word, Tulip is transformed into even more of a Wonder Dog.  She has a horn.

(A note:  I realize that playing up the "barn" thing with Tulip may seem like a weird celebration of something terrible in her past, but with all of the precious kids we worked with from her case, "barn dog" has practically become a synonym for an amazing dog for some of us.  It is almost a badge of perfection.)

So, why am I just rambling about Tulip?  Well, besides the fact that she absolutely deserves to be rambled about, she's especially on my mind these days because of this girl:

This is Helen.  Laura and I fostered her around the end of 2018.  She is from the same fearful dog program as Tulip, and is another survivor of a hoarding situation.

One thing that has become clear over our time connected to these exceptional pups is that when they are separated from their families, they often don't react like you might expect a typical "lost dog" to react.  The fear kicks into overdrive at times.  Heck, we saw it with Tulip during our move, when we walked her at a rest area.  The interstate traffic was in her head, and she tugged on her leash with a look in her eyes that made me worry that if she were to get free, she might run for a while before even taking stock of where her loved ones were.

We found out about two weeks ago that Helen went missing from her home due to an unfortunate but understandably human mistake on the part of her family.  After at least one initial sighting, things went quiet for over a week before she was finally spotted again, more than once, and hope picked up.  Then...right when a major breakthrough seemed almost inevitable...we got this insane winter storm, and the effort has become more difficult.

I'm not the sort that questions the seemingly absurd unfairness of reality, but for some reason, this just doesn't fit the way I need the world to work.

If you are the sort that goes in for any sort of thoughts, prayers, or positive vibes for others...or even if you're not, actually...I would ask that you keep Helen in mind.  I know that we live in a world that's filled with pain, cruelty, and injustice, and it might be offensive that I ignore so much of that but take the time to fret over a lost dog.  If you feel that's the case, I'm sorry.

I just think Helen deserves a happy ending to her story, and I wanted to share it.  Thank you for reading.


  1. Oh man, that breaks my heart. I hope Helen is found safe and well as soon as possible.

    I don't think your call for 'spiritual support' is offensive. If we overlook these things in times of hardship, how will we ever retain our humanity when the world returns to some semblance of normality? It's possible to know grief and offer support on both a micro and macro level simultaneously.

    1. Thanks so much for the thoughts and the insightful response. I realized in reading it that this blog might just be more of a connection to the "outside world" for me than I realize. I appreciate the perspective!