Katya Lidsky

Musings by a Russian Cuban Jew.

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Clooney - Now Lucky!

This is for those of you who have followed his story! This is because one more mini update never hurt anybody. This is because I want to thank you for your big hearts for this big boy.

And so Clooney is now Lucky. And Lucky is now shiny. And safe. And loved.

See him below in all his glory! 

I don’t have the words this time. I can’t figure out how to say what I feel because it’s so bulky and beautiful. But I think you get it. And I think you agree. I think you know exactly.



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Chester’s Music.

You were filthy. You were matted. Your teeth were a mess, jutted-out-under-bite, yellow, and neglected. There was dry poop crusted onto your back leg, something I mistakenly assumed might bother you. When I tried to clean it off, you tried to bite me with those ridiculous teeth of yours.

Chester, you were not my dog. I was nobody to you. Your somebody left you at a vet’s office months ago and never came back. I suppose they had been trying to do the kinder thing by not leaving you at the shelter, knowing that at eleven years old, your chances would be so low. Knowing that with a big tumor on your side, your chances would be so low. And really, chances for everyone there are so low. 

The vet called me because he knows I foster dogs. Because he knows I’m insane like that. Because he knows that I care. And I did care, Chester; and I wanted to help you. But that Wednesday, I just could not. I could not because I was caught up in the ego and in the trivial and in the me me me. I justified to myself that I always care too much. I asked myself how good could I possibly be for you being spread so thin? On that day I was drowning from the inside out, my heart already bursting with pain for the suffering of animals. That ache lives right there, just exists and hangs, so thinly veiled that I’m almost never without it. On that day, it was furious and it overtook my insides, and it shredded me. I had nothing left for you.

So after only a few hours in my home, I took you back to the vet because my fingers feared your mouth. Because I didn’t choose to give you time to bloom. Because that Wednesday I wanted faster and easier. I vowed to come walk you. I vowed to come see you. I vowed to bring you home once more. But deep in my belly, even as I waved goodbye, I knew I should’ve give you a chance. I knew I was your last hope. I knew you would perish there, after months of calling a kennel your home, and it is not a home - the concrete floor and the constant barking and the coldness. I knew that it would be a tragedy to end a life you never got to live. Because how good could it have been before we met? Because what kind of a person leaves their pet behind?

Now I’m on the phone with the vet’s, put on hold. I’ve called for you, Chester. It’s me. I’m here. It’s been a few days, and I want to take you on a stroll so you can feel the sunshine on your skin. I want to try again. I told them I would try again. You deserve someone to try again. Yvette, the head vet tech, sounds small when she returns to the line, smaller than her usual mousy self. “They decided to euthanize him,” she says. And I think she’s confused you with some other shaggy old Terrier. Because there had been vows and there had been promises. But she is not confused. I’m just too late.

They didn’t call me, Chester. I swear I told them I’d be back. I even bought you mushy treats to eat out of my hands so you could meet my smell again and warm to me. But I had you here and the moment was then, and I let you down. I’ve yanked my car into a Trader Joe’s parking lot because I can’t drive through my streaming tears. I’m sitting in front of a dumpster, and I want to jump into it. I want to throw away this regret. I want that bin to be a time capsule that takes me back and lets me do it over, and lets me do it better. I want it to bring you back to life. 

And I don’t know if anyone held you as they slid the needle into your vein. I don’t know if you felt affection escorting you out of this world. I don’t know if someone wept by your side. And I know you were old and sick and discarded, but somebody should have held you anyway. It should’ve been me. And now all I can think is: how did you go?

I get hundreds of emails every day, Chester, a constant punch of pleas for homeless pets like you. I see countless faces every weekend, each eager for belonging and safety and tenderness. But I can’t stop thinking about how many animals we never see at all. How many don’t get their stories shared. How many faces we don’t notice. And then - who knows they were ever even here? I want you to know that you were here. I learned of your story and it affected me. I heard your feet on my wooden floor and it made music. I pushed the coarse fur out of your eyes so you could know what friendship looks like.

But real friends don’t give up so fast, the way I did. Real friends care, the way I always thought I would. That one day I had you here, I wasn’t your friend and I didn’t care enough. I took a moment to harden my flooded-heart. I took a moment to create a divide between you and me. I took a moment to put your situation aside, murmured, “wait for me, I’ll try again when it’s more convenient with my schedule.” But it wasn’t up to you; you couldn’t wait. And it cost you your life. My uncaring moment cost you your life. And it cost me something, too: the price of living with guilt and with shame.

Don’t feel bad for me, Chester. I am not a martyr or a saint or an angel. Others are heroes; I am not. I have terrible road rage and I’m impatient and I don’t always wash my hands. But I care. I care deeply. I care deeply and yet I failed you. And I don’t think I like people anymore because people leave their animals in the dust. And where was your “owner” on that day? Huh? Where? It’s not that it’s a bother for me to hold this now. It’s not that it’s a drain. It’s just that it demands so much strength.  

I don’t even know if I am good anymore, Chester. All I know is I can’t breathe. Caring takes so much time and so much energy, that I forget to breathe. And I want to shout, “Help me! No one can do it alone!”  I want to insist, “You are somebody! It takes all of us to stop this!” I want to declare, “I am not an enabler, I am not a doormat. I must not absorb it all!” But I can’t tell anybody what to do. And at the end of the day, only the animals suffer for my rebellion. Like you. 

Some may say, “he was just a dog.” But you were a life, and now you are not. And why should it be this way, this calloused way, why should some live and some die? Why do we get to decide when we are so flawed and so faulty? My husband says, “you can’t care that much every single time.” My mother says, “you’re doing the best you can, more than most.” My father says, “you cannot save them all.” But I can’t hear them.

All I hear is the rhythm of your paws on my floor. And sometimes it feels like too much. It always feels like too much. It feels like I am wearing a hundred cloaks. A thousand. A million. It is hot and humid, and I am lost in fabric. You may never see me again, it is so heavy. I am a hangar, I am a coat rack, I am here to carry cloth. The weight of all that fur. But the alternative is not to care and look where that led me. You are gone.


R.I.P. Chester.

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Watch Crash & Bernstein tonight, peeps!

I am very bad at this.

BUT - here we go. Tonight I’ll be guest-starring on Crash & Bernstein! So super fun to be a part of this show, and more importantly, it’s hilarious for kids and even for parents. And even if you don’t have childrens. And I’m not just saying that because my husband created it, I really really mean it! 

Check it out on DisneyXD at 7pm PST tonight, Monday Feb 11th (4pm if you’re rockin’ the east coast feed)!


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Happy Holidays From Clooney! (No longer a neglected dog.)

And now for the last update…here he is, ladies and gentlemen! Here. He. Is. This is how it should be for all of ‘em, and I’m so grateful Clooney is one of the lucky ones. He got the good life he had been waiting so long for!

A comfy spot on the couch to catch some zzzz’s. 


And love. So much love for Clooney now, from me, from you, from his family. It’ll never run out. Love that will hold him and let him know he’s safe and give back to him for all the love he doles out. Unconditionally and goofily and purely.


Happy holidays, happy New Year, happily ever after. Clooney, be happy, my buddy. It’s been my pleasure and privilege to know you, and you’ve made me so happy! Not it’s your turn. And now on to the next one…

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The Rescue Story of a Neglected Dog. Part 3. Goodbye, Clooney.

Goodbye, Clooney. After weeks of recovering inside and out, making up for lost years of loneliness and neglect - this morning Clooney hitched a ride up to his happily ever after. Kim, a lovely indie rescuer, met me and my hubs at 6am to take him part way. Somewhere north of Bakersfield, another awesome savior named Lynn will pick up Clooney and 2 other seniors. Off they will ride to San Francisco, to Muttville Rescue, to their miracle.

I’ve spoken several times to his new fosters, Addie and her mother Karen. They are WONDERFUL generous spirits! Clooney will have three other senior doggie siblings, and tons of love - so much so that he won’t be able to remember the days that he wasn’t important to his family. 


Ophelia, my Beagle/assistant and Clooney’s former foster sis is sad today. She insisted on coming with us to drop him off, howling her little furry butt off until we succumbed and she joined us in the car, sitting so close to Clooney they were butt to butt. I know she misses having him around. I miss having him around.

I miss sitting with him on his big ol’ bed in the pitch black and knowing his tail was wagging even though I couldn’t see it. I miss feeling him press into me, relief surrounding us in the dark night, just so happy to lay together and be warm and be close. I miss the funny, weird nosies he’d make when I brought out the leash to go on a walk, so shamelessly excited as if I was The Rolling Stones.


Clooney, you’re so gentle it’s heartbreaking. Clooney, you’re home for the holidays, you’re indoors and part of a real home. Clooney, last night we snuggled for the last time and I cried. Clooney, it’s bittersweet to let you go, you silly goofball, you tender boy, you sweet heart. Clooney, I’m the lucky one to be a part of your story and to get to know you at all. Clooney, you count, you matter, and I will never forget you.

Thank you everybody for caring, for sending good energy, for all you do to help animals. Most of all, thank you Muttville for making an old dog’s dreams come true. 


p.s. Want to donate to help animals this holiday season? Please consider giving to Muttville, a 501c3 rescue group dedicated entirely to helping senior pets. With your help more pups can be as lucky as Clooney.

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The Rescue Story of a Neglected Dog. Part 2. NEEDS A RIDE TO SAN FRAN!

I’m thankful for the tremendous support you all have shown about this dog. So grateful and touched. Best news of all, CLOONEY HAS A RESCUE! Muttville in San Francisco - the best ever senior rescue, they are saints and angels and heroes saving oldies every day. Lucky Clooney! He has a home already waiting to receive him…he just needs a ride. Anyone going up to San Fran or the bay area for the holidays? Want a co-pilot who will sleep the whole time except for when he’s staring lovingly at you?!

As for his health update: pills, ointments, blood work, weak hips and pain meds…Clooney is on the mend. He’s a healthy stud! Very anemic from all the fleas, and needs to gain some lbs (wish I had that problem). But other than that, he’s good. The vet said he would not have made it much longer so neglected, not in the rain, not in the cold, not alone to wither away.


He’s come so far in such a short time. Did I tell you that his ex-owners finally relinquished him to me and in doing so asked me to help them find another dog when the rains passed??? I was like “HUH”?!?!? Um, no, no you cannot and should not have another dog.

Back to Clooney. Oh boy is this dog funny. He’s got quite the personality! He walks beautifully on a leash and adores his walks and is just so happy to be part of the world now. He loves his foster sister Ophelia and is so good with other dogs and everyone. He’s just something else. A special soul. Resilient and gentle and soaking up the love.

His favorite thing to do now is lay on his big plush bed with a big ol’ grin, a giant thumbs up, his gaze full of rest and gratitude and it makes it all worthwhile. He is such a deserving boy. So lovable and loving and now he has a home in SF waiting to cherish him forever! Are you going to SF? Is someone you trust going up? Please get in touch with me if you can help this boy ride up to the good life, I’m at katyalidsky@gmail.com 

So Clooney…you’re outta the rain, you’re outta the chilly nights…you can see now, your eyes are clear…and mine are too. Because of you. Let’s keep fighting for all dogs like him who are still out there, still alone and cold, waiting for someone to find them.   

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The Rescue Story of a Neglected Dog. Part 1 

It was a regular day as I exited the 101 to head home to my own dogs, eager to smooch and walk them. Eager I tell you. I literally can’t wait to come home to them every time I leave. I was about to make a right at the stop sign when I saw him. Laying on the driveway like a bag of old bones. 

The moment I saw him I knew I would not let this go. I knew this would become a thing. I pulled over and called out, shouting “is anyone home?!” until somebody peeked out the doorway. I kept telling myself to be polite, to make a friend here, I’d done enough raging and being ungracious and it never got me anywhere. It never helped the animals.


As respectfully as I could muster, biting by tongue, tucking away my fists, breathing deeply, I asked the owner what was going on with his dog. Why he was in such a sick condition. Underweight, covered in fleas and skin so dry and infected it looked like an armadillo’s, with those elbow patches dogs get from sleeping on concrete. And the eyes. I was haunted by his eyes, full of gook and neglect and even though he was surely in agony, his tail wagged at me. How uncomfortable he must have been. How long this must have gone on. How many days these people walked to their cars right past him and saw him suffering. And did nothing.


I asked if I could return. A few days later I came by to say hello again. A few more days and I brought by a dog bed. I’m sure they were thinking, “there’s that crazy bitch again.” But I didn’t care. I had a new friend to see. The third time I went by I asked his owners if I could please take him to the vet, insisting that he was not just old but actually needing medical attention. I’m so lucky they said yes. It was an aha moment, realizing that these people are bad or mean - just very very uneducated and very very guilty of NOT taking care of their dog.

Today I picked him up. Today we went to the vet. And not just any vet, we went to The Village Vet and let me tell you something, I’ve NEVER been to a vet like this before. I’ve never been met with such compassion, such kindness, such respect for rescue and for animals. Please, if you are looking for a vet or a recommendation look no further. It took my breath away talking to Dr. Fuller and Dr. Zoe. They are the real deal and do their job with grace. They cried when they saw him, the state he was in. They bathed him not once but twice and softly and with love. Never before had they treated a dog with so many fleas, an infestation beyond compare. They cleaned his eyes, are giving him the full exam, and when I left them today he felt like a million bucks. I think his name should be Clooney because he’s one hunky boy in there and he is smiling now with so much charm. Tonight is his first night of real sleep.

I want to keep updating you. I don’t know how this will unfold and I’m not a rescue group, just a nosy girl driving around who loves animals. The vets have asked me to request relinquishment from the owners - even they don’t want him going back there. He won’t be, I’m working on it, and we’re discussing reporting them for neglect. Did they just not know better? Not care? Not get it? The saddest part is this boy is from one of our city shelters so we need to do a much better job making sure people understand what proper pet care looks like. Make sure they UNDERSTAND. 

He’s not suffering tonight, Clooney. He’s clean! He ate two huge bowls of food (though the family swears they feed him, he weighs 58 lbs when he should weigh closer to 70 lbs.) He is not as old as the owners said he was, not 8 but more like 6. He’s great around other dogs! And from here on out his future will be bright and full of attention. If you know of a foster or adopter who might want a very mellow and deserving best friend, please let me know. Thank you for spreading the word, and for caring. Please remember - if you see a neglected, abused, abandoned or forgotten animal, you too can do something about it.

Clooney, I am eager now to see you, buddy. Someone is finally eager to love you, too.