Happy Birthday, Shark!

Today is very special, as I arbitrarily choose to believe that Sharkita was born on May 1st. Well, there was some logic involved—Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue told me that she was six months old when I agreed to foster her at the beginning of November, and I did the math. I met her as Jesse, a name that did not fit her at all, on Halloween. I was sampling Evermore at a dog costume event at PS9 Pets in Williamsburg. When she walked in with her bright orange “Adopt Me” vest, and I saw those tiny ears, I had to ask her human if the vest was a costume. It was not.

As I kneeled down to say hello, Jesse rolled on her back splaying out with frog legs to solicit belly rubs. Her coat was patchy and brittle over flaky skin. She was battle-scarred by demodectic mange, which may have been why she was left at the high-volume kill shelter in North Carolina, at eight weeks old. All around us was costumed canine chaos—dogs frantically chewing at costume parts and lunging for treats everywhere. Jesse was calm, barely seeming to notice the activity around her. I felt something akin to the electric currant of instant infatuation that I hadn’t experienced since my college crushes. I exchanged information with Johnny, her foster, but expected that would be the end of it.

The next day I received an email. In the small world department, Sara, the founder of Badass, was a former dog-walking client of mine. Would I be into fostering Jesse for a few days as Johnny’s work schedule was packed? Since Alison had moved to Oakland with Connor and I had pretty much retired as a dog walker, I had been a little dog crazy. It was time. My first order of business was picking out a new temporary name. Since my best guess was that Shar-Pei and Akita were among her constituent breeds, I settled on Sharkita, Shark for short. I’ve always had a soft spot for animals named after other animals: like Moose, my min pin boarding client, Otter, the cat I used to feed, or my own cats Rooster, Rabbit, and Squirrel.

Aesthetically Shark is a shark. Her overall grey coloring and white underbelly lend to the look, which is completed by the white tip on her scythe of a tail. Little did I know much my goofy little Shark would grow into her name, and become a (mostly) silent, sleek hunter of a dog. Of course, this Shark likes to cuddle at bedtime.

Sharkita, then and now