Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pupdate - Long Weekend ends soon

Hey everyone -- just thought I'd post a quick update. As you all noticed, I took this weekend as a long weekend. We have three new fosters (two cats and a dog) that arrived within the last week and we're a bit overwhelmed right now with that PLUS the family commitments of "the season". Finding time to blog in the last few days has been nearly impossible since my extra time has been filled with the animals. I will return to my regular blogging schedule in the next day or two (I'm hoping tomorrow, but we will see). Hopefully I'll have some nice pictures to share with you! In the meantime, take your dogs out for a run or a play date. Have fun, play with your dogs and cats, and enjoy time with family.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Training Rant - Holidays are Stressful!

This is going to be a short post ... I hope. I just wanted to post a reminder that though we may love our dogs, there is a possibility that your Aunt (etc.) who is coming to visit doesn't or perhaps she likes your dog but your dog doesn't like her. It is a fact of life. Please remember that the holidays are a very stressful time for your dog.

You have changed your routine and redecorated the house (and possibly moved furniture around to compensate). You may be caught up in the Happy Holiday Spirit that makes everyone smile or you may be a big grouch who doesn't want to talk to any of those Happy Holiday-ers. Believe it or not, most of you don't go around your house the same way throughout the rest of the year (smiling, singing and/or humming) ... well, some may go around grumping, but that's not what I'm getting at here.

The point is that your dog is probably pretty stressed out. You may have people come over for the holidays and you need to understand that your dog may not be able to deal with the people, excitement and hustle-bustle of this time. During these times, watch your dog.

If he or she looks like he's uncomfortable with a person or situation, than why wouldn't you give your dog a little quiet time in a bedroom or in his crate? Take some time to do a little Internet searching and learn how to read the body language of a dog; this is a good article from Modern Dog. Keep in mind that each and every dog is different and will display different language and these are only basic guidelines. There are actually hundreds of different signs of stress, but these are the most common.
Take some time to get to know your own dog and his or her signs so you know what things you need to work on. You will end up with a better rounded, happier dog.
I am sure I don't need to tell you how many dog euthanasia's I used to see working at the veterinary clinic during December. Most of them were in because the dog had bitten a relative and the owners couldn't deal with it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You Can Help - Spare Shelter Dogs From the Winter Chill

Here's a neat idea that was posted on a blog "Help Spare Shelter Dogs From The Winter Chill"... taking old sweaters and making them into dog sweaters. This particular group of people decided to make these dog sweaters for all the dogs at their local shelter being held in outdoor runs! Pretty neat, eh?

This was something the shelter had not thought of doing ... it took some ingenious creativity to come up with this.
Here's something you can do for your local shelter this "Howliday Season". Contact them and find out if they are interested in home made items like this (or blankets, towels, etc). Then take some of your old clothes and make something!
Alternatively, if you are not the 'crafty' type (like me ... I sewed my sleeve by accident once ... and I also ironed my hand ... homemaker I am not - I'm far too accident prone), than you can send this group your old sweaters and THEY will make it for you!! Check it out ... the following is copied and pasted from their blog:
"Here’s how you can help:

Send us your old sweaters and we will recycle them and distribute them to animal shelters all over the US so that dogs just like the ones we’ve already helped dont have to suffer through the cold winter (the smaller the better). Im sure if you dig around your closet you can find a sweater or two that you never plan on wearing again.

Send your old sweaters to the following address:

PO Box 19071
Hattiesburg Ms

If you DONT have any old sweaters:

Then pass this blog to someone who does!

Do you have a friend or family member who has a passion for animals besides yourself? Then simply copy and paste the url below in an email and ask a friend or family member to visit this blog so they can help too!

Here is your chance to give back for the holidays and help save thousands of dogs from a freezing winter!"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Featured Rescue - Coco the Rottweiler

I've known many Rottweilers and I laugh to myself when people tell me they are afraid of them. Most I've met are big teddy bears once you get to know them. Unfortunately, they are generally aloof and often display body language that make people uncomfortable.

Since we had a Rottweiler in the video yesterday, I thought I'd feature one today for our rescue. This is Coco. She is 8 months old, is housebroken and has lived with children. The rescue has requested that she not be adopted to a place with small children since she is a large breed dog (sounds like she might be clumsy, but what would you expect at 8 months?).

News Reel - A Dogs Unending Loyalty

Here is a great video for the holidays. It is an older news story, but is quite inspiring. Note - it has a happy ending. Check it out! You do have to wait for the advertisement to finish before the video starts.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Monday, December 21, 2009

Featured Rescue - Sampson the Affenpinscher

Today's featured rescue is inspired by the recent Guess The Breed post. Sampson is an 8 month old Affenpinscher. He was removed from a puppy mill (DDF IN ... not sure of the circumstances on that one). He's a cute little guy, don't you think?
The rescue Sampson is staying with does have a specific limit on where they will adopt to (which is unfortunate). Their cachement area is "OHIO, KENTUCKY, AND INDIANA. WE WILL ALSO CONSIDER CERTAIN AREAS OF MICHIGAN, WEST VIRGINIA, AND PENNSYLVANIA." If you are in any of these areas and are looking for an Affenpinscher, take a look at Sampson.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shelter Pets - Nobody Knows

I found this video when I was flipping through YouTube. I watched it. I would like you to watch it and tell me what you think.

Why do I do this? Why do I watch these videos with sad footage or pictures?? WHY? Why do I keep telling you all to "read this" or "watch that"? I tell you to sit through the whole thing ... why??

I cried when I read His Name Is Sam and when I watched the video I posted above. So why do I watch/read them if I know that it will upset me?

It's very simple. Because we should know. We should all know. Remember in the post I put up called "His Name Is Sam" where the author said she was totally prepared with all the numbers and statistics and made it sound like she knew it all? Then the shelter worker said "You can't tell the whole story unless you experience the end" and after that she knew ... she knew that she hadn't been prepared at all. If you haven't read this post, please do. It is important and I may pull quotes from it from time to time.

I watch these videos and read these stories because it means that someone else knows about those animals. They all had a name once. Some were purebred and some were not. When it comes to the gas chamber ... it doesn't matter which ones had parents who won championships or which ones drove cattle or won obedience championships or was the best friend to a child.

In that box, they all die the same way.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Guess The Breed #14

I just came back from a visit to the pound to see a dog that is in one of those "it gets fostered or PTS" situations. I hate those types of calls ... as you all know, I've been taking some time with my latest addition and wanted to get her settled before bringing in any new Canids. I'll keep you posted ...

It's been so long since I posted a Guess The Breed, I thought we were due. I love these little dudes. I think they are so neat. Hopefully this one's not TOO easy for you all ...

Anyway ... what do you think this dude is? First prize, as always, is a little link love. So get ... Ready? Set? GO!

As always, remember the rules ...

1. No bashing other peoples' opinions.

2. Post your opinion!

3. Have fun!

Regarding Guess The Breed #13 ... Dog_geek guessed first with Catahoula. Dog_geek has a blog called The Dog Geek. Check it out!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Featured Rescue Followups November

I'm so glad that the video yesterday worked properly! It's so exciting ... and a little funny. I'm a computer technician and up until yesterday didn't even know how to embed a video into a blog ... but I can fix your computer in 10 seconds flat! Ok, maybe it takes a bit longer, but you get my gist.

My posts "Guess The Breed" have fallen by the wayside. I apologise for those who really enjoy these posts. I will begin posting these more regularly again, but I needed a break. If you have any pictures you would like to contribute to the next Guess The Breed post (perhaps your own dog??) let me know and I'll post them!

Anyway, enough rambling!! On to the Featured Rescue Followups! On Dasher, On Dancer ... no ... wait ... that's not right ... Ready Set Go!

Rafe and Redman the Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Status: NOT Adopted
Featured on January 12, 2009

FiFi the Great Pyrenees
Status: Adopted - YAY!
Featured on April 26, 2009

Codi the Welsh Corgi
Status: Not Adopted
Featured on May 10, 2009

Eubie the Border Collie
Status: Not Adopted
Featured on May 13, 2009

Jack A Roo the Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler
Status: Listing Removed from Petfinder, however he is still listed on BCRO's website ... not sure if he's adopted yet or not.
Featured on May 30, 2009

Lady the Greyhound
Status: Not Adopted
Featured on August 28, 2009
Follow link here to see blog entry.

Sherman the Bassett Hound
Status: Listing Removed - Assumed adopted
Featured on September 22, 2009

Junie B the Pit Bull Terrier
Status: Not Adopted
Featured on October 16, 2009

Roxy the Redbone Coonhound
Status: Not Adopted
Featured on October 28, 2009

Alley the Labrador Retriever
Status: Listing Removed - Assumed Adopted
Featured on November 11, 2009

Sam the Schnauzer
Status: Listing Removed - Assumed Adopted
Featured on November 20, 2009

Ms. Angela Sweethe the Chihuahua
Status: Not Adopted
Featured on November 25, 2009

Barney the Bichon Frise
Status: Not Adopted
Featured on November 28, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Shelter Pet Project PSA

Well I've never Embedded a video into my blog before so here's hoping this works ... I would like to share with you all a YouTube video from The Shelter Pet Project. I hope you all enjoy it. I did.

Take some time over this upcoming Howliday Season and volunteer with your local shelter or rescue. They need help, and at this time of year, their normal volunteers may be too busy with family commitments to come and give their normal time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Shelter Dog's Christmas Poem

I haven't seen many festive posts out there ... not sure why. Last year the blogs were brimming with them. I didn't post this last year, but I have decided to post it this year. Why? I don't know. Maybe because there are so many blogs that aren't posting these this year. Please note that I don't mean to choose one Religion over another (since it does say "Christmas"), but that I want to ensure the shelter dog's plight is well-known. Even during the busy holiday season.

A Shelter Dog's Christmas Poem

‘Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town,
every shelter is full - we are lost but not found,
Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare,
we hope every minute that someone will care,
They'll come to adopt us and give us the call,"
Come here, Max and Sparkie - come fetch your new ball!!
But now we sit here and think of the days..
We were treated so fondly - we had cute, baby ways,
Once we were little, then we grew and we grew;
now we're no longer young and we're no longer new.
So out the back door we were thrown like the trash,
they reacted so quickly - why were they so rash?
We "jump on the children:,"don't come when they call",
we "bark when they leave us", climb over the wall.
We should have been neutered,
we should have been spayed,
now we suffer the consequence of the errors THEY made.
If only they'd trained us, if only we knew...
we'd have done what they asked us and worshiped them, too.
We were left in the backyard, or worse -let to roam;
now we're tired and lonely and out of a home.
They dropped us off here and they kissed us good-bye..."
Maybe someone else will give you a try."
So now here we are, all confused and alone...
in a shelter with others, who long for a home.
The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat,
with so many to care for, they can't stay to chat,
They move to the next kennel,giving each of us cheer...
we know that they wonder how long we'll be here.
We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads..
of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds.
Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears;
our friends filled with emptiness, worry, and fear.
If you can't adopt us and there's no room at the Inn;
could you help with the bills and fill our food bin?
We count on your kindness each day of the year;
can you give more than hope to everyone here?
Please make a donation to pay for the heat...
and help get us something special to eat.
The shelter that cares for us wants us to live,
and more of us will, if more people will give.

~Author Unknown~

Monday, December 14, 2009

Featured Rescue - Juliet the German Shepherd Dog

Today's Featured Rescue is Juliet. She is a German Shepherd Dog. She is estimated to be 10 - 12 months old, is very shy and has not had good experiences with other dogs (her time at the shelter was not very good).
Juliet is located in Fairport, NY with BrightStar German Shepherd Rescue.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Guest Blogger Special

Ok, so I would like to put out an offer to all bloggers out there. I am looking for "Guest Bloggers" who will write a review on gifts they have given their dogs (toys, bones, treats, beds, jackets, etc). I want to know what you bought, if you thought it was worth what you paid for it, and if your dog used it / enjoyed it (or not).

If you write this, I will publish it here on my blog. I would like to have a list of gifts that people should buy or avoid this holiday season. I will create a special Tag for these posts. Here are the requirements:

1. The post should be at least 150 words long.
2. The item MUST be dog related or for your dogs (yes, it could even be towels with dogs on them)
3. It should tell us what product you purchased (or were given), how much it cost and if you felt the amount was too high or too low.
4. If you have a picture of your dog with the item, please include this and I will post it too.
5. Include a link to your Blog or Website so I can give you a little link love.
6. You MUST make a post on your blog linking to either my blog or the published post that contains your review.

If you are interested in participating in this, email me your review!

Friday, December 11, 2009

News Reel - Pets Don't Make Good Christmas Gifts

News flash!

Pets don’t make good Christmas gifts: SPCA

Thursday, December 10th, 2009 10:00 am By Holly Miyasaki
While giving a pet as a gift for Christmas seems like a win-win situation, it’s actually not and is frowned upon by the SPCA.

“We need forever homes, not weekend homes for the animals,” says Jim Inglis, the Kelowna SPCA’s branch manager.

“What happens is that people start looking for pets as gifts,” says Inglis. “We don’t recommend surprising someone with an animal they’ve not prepared to take into their home as a lifetime pet.”

For those still wishing to give the gift of a forever home, the SPCA offers gift vouchers covering all adoption costs. This way imminent owners can visit the SPCA and pick out their new best friend after the holiday season has passed its high point.

If you want to find the perfect gift for an animal lover you might want to try a donation to an animal welfare group like the SPCA, the World Wildlife Fund or ZooCheck Canada.

These groups often offer different ways to donate, whether it be through branded merchandise or direct donations to their programs.

So, whether you want to give the gift of four feet and a wet nose, or a donation to helping dairy cows, there’s always a better option than bringing home a new pet during what can be a stressful and busy time.

DDF IN ~ I trimmed this article. If you want to read the entire thing, click on the title above. The article sent you to an alternative giving site at where you can donate to the BCSPCA.

This is a very important message! I encourage you to give gift vouchers and donations in kind if you are considering giving pets.

The month after Christmas (or Kwanzaa, Yule, Winter Solstice, Chanukah, or whatever holiday you celebrate in December) are killers in shelters. Often quite literally. After the initial surprise wears off, that new pet becomes work. Most are dumped, given away or sold starting the second week of January. It usually lasts until the end of February.

When they end up in the shelters, the shelters begin to fill up. When they are full ... what then? Euthanasia? Transport to other shelters?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

CL - Note to the Dogs

I thought this was so cute! It has been too dour around here lately so I thought I'd do a few light-hearted posts. Some of the things below aren't precisely the way I treat my dogs, but I am able to find humour in this all the same. I hope you can enjoy it for what it is.


Note to the dogs

Dear Dogs of Mine,

It seems that lately things have gotten a smidge slack around here. I feel it is time to remind you of the rules that heretofore we have operated under. You are both cute dogs, but your continued cuteness in no way negates our previous agreement. Let me remind you of a few details of this agreement.

1. In exchange for room and board, you are to guard the kingdom. That would be guarding the kingdom from any and all bad guys, robbers, serial killers, etc. Guarding the kingdom does NOT include barking maniacally at bunnies, squirrels, cows, sheep and invisible things that only you can see, especially between the hours of 5am (when I stumble out of bed to let you out) and 8am (when I actually have to be out of bed to get to work).

2. All of the stuff that lives in the toy basket is yours. Everything else is mine. Yours includes squeaky balls, random bones, partially unstuffed stuffed animals and chew ropes. Mine includes any and all shoes on the floor (especially the expensive leather ones), underwear that missed the hamper, bras, socks, dishtowels, the remote, the cell phone, the legs of my grandmother's antique chair and the vacuum. Did I mention shoes? ALL the shoes are mine. They come in pairs, not quads, for a reason.

3. The cat gets to sleep on the bed. You do not. You each weigh 50 pounds. The cat weighs 12. You sleep smack dab in the middle of the bed with all four feet spread out covering approximately 12 square feet apiece. The cat sleeps in a neat little ball covering about 2 square feet. The cat does not bring fleas into the house. You do. You, dogs, will never be allowed to sleep on the bed. Quit sneaking up when you think I'm not looking. Your 50 pounds of dogginess negates your stealth superpowers. I know you are up there!!

4. Speaking of the cat- when he hunkers down into that little mound, lays his ears back, squints his eyes and growls way back in his chest, HE IS NOT A HAPPY KITTY. Leave him alone. He does not want to play with you. What he wants to do is poke your eyes out and shread the skin around your face. He can do that, you know. Five of his 6 ends are really sharp and pointy. He has previously shown very little restraint. Clearly he enjoys smacking you upside the head with a paw full of claws. Do not aggrevate him. When he takes your head off after you have cornered him, I will let him. You have been forewarned.

5. The cat is mean. He will lead you down a path to destruction. He likes to tear around the house winding you up. He does this knowingly and intentionally. When you chase him, I will only yell at you for careening into walls and furniture. He knows this. Quit falling for it.

6. If you find something in the garbage can, assume that I intend for it to be there. Plastic tampon shells are not chew toys. Don't eat them.

7. Also not for doggy consumption- anything you find in the litter box. This is why you no longer get to kiss me.

8. You are allowed to sleep on the furniture. You are not allowed to eat the furniture.

9. Yes, I have to leave every day to go to work. No, you cannot go with me. That's why there are two of you, so you can entertain each other. The cat gets to stay in the house. You both have to stay outside while I'm gone. The cat does not chew things up. You do. Quit whining about it. Your porch is air-conditioned. It's just like inside the house minus the sofa. If you'd quit chewing up dog beds, it would be just like inside the house. You have made your own proverbial bed by destroying two very expensive dog cushions.

10. I have opposable thumbs. This is why I get to be in charge. I can open cans, doors, and bags of treats. I am the only one in the house that can operate the hose sprayer. I'm also the only one with a driver's license and a car. I win. Being cute is no match for opposable thumbs.

While I in no way wish to suppress your rightful dogginess, I feel that these very simple guidelines will allow us to continue to co-exist in peaceful harmony. Please know though, that should you choose to continue in willful violation of these rules, I WILL PUT THE CAT IN CHARGE. He has just been itching for a position in management.

Much thanks,
The Human

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Featured Rescue - Otis the Bassett Hound

This is Otis. He is 7 years young and looking for a new home he can live in forever. He is reportedly gentle, friendly and well behaved. He walks well on leash and is eager to please.

Otis was an owner surrender as his previous owner moved somewhere that they don't take pets. She tried to get her parents to take Otis, but they were not able to keep him either. Otis is currently being kept in a foster home associated with Michigan Basset Rescue Inc.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Poisonous Foods for Dogs

I thought I should publish a short list of poisonous foods that you should not feed your dog. During the Holiday Season, which is fast approaching, you might want to ensure your guests don't feed your dog and kill it with kindness. Please take some time to check it out. If you know of a food that was missed in the list and would like to add to it, please leave a comment.

Alcoholic beverages ~ Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.

Baby food ~ Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. (Please see onion below.) Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.

Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources ~ Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.

Cat food ~ Generally too high in protein and fats.

Chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeine ~ Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous systems.

Citrus oil extracts ~ Can cause vomiting.

Fat trimmings ~ Can cause pancreatitis.

Grapes and raisins ~ Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. There have been no problems associated with grape seed extract.

Hops ~ Unknown compound causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.

Human vitamin supplements containing iron ~ Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.

Large amounts of liver ~ Can cause Vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones.

Macadamia nuts ~ Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.

Marijuana ~ Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.

Milk and other dairy products ~ Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.

Moldy or spoiled food, garbage ~ Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs.

Mushrooms ~ Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.

Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder) ~ Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions.

Persimmons ~ Seeds can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.

Pits from peaches and plums ~ Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.

Potato, rhubarb, and tomato leaves; potato and tomato stems ~ Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems. This is more of a problem in livestock.

Raw eggs ~ Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

Raw fish ~ Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.

Salt ~ If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.

String ~ Can become trapped in the digestive system; called a "string foreign body."

Sugary foods ~ Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus.

Table scraps (in large amounts) ~ Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed.

Tobacco ~ Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.

Yeast dough ~ Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

Xylitol (artificial sweetener) ~ Can cause liver failure.

Monday, December 7, 2009

News Reel - THS

Today's bit of advice ... Beware the snake in the grass. To the left is a picture of one of our dogs taken while we were out gallivanting through the fields. Can you see the snake?

Here's a closer picture (to the right) in case you can't make it out ... It is a bit more clear and should be easier to see. Please take a few minutes to check out the latest news results from the ongoing investigations.

Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Finds More Evidence of Cruelty and Mismanagement at Toronto Humane Society

‘Who goes without?’ (THS Staff speak out)

THS managers key to decline: volunteers (THS Declining Volunteers due to training costs)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Entrecard Top Droppers

The following are the top Entrecard droppers from the last 31 days. I will be writing a post in the next week or so that includes the most frequent Commenters.

The Way I See It
CAP News
Music Asia
The One Minute Guide
Funky Town Disco Music
All about Babies and Kids
Robot Armageddon
Photojournalist !

Friday, December 4, 2009

CL - Letters to a Dog

I read this and couldn't help but post it. It's another gem I saw on CL and thought I'd share.

PLEASE if you get a dog for your children, let them experience the entire process. Teach them that they are responsible for a life. Teach them commitment. Let them experience an incredible bond. They may be too young to understand, but you are not. Our shelters are too full and a lot of these animals are coming from homes that are fine families who are just not making the effort. Unplug the tv and take a dog training class as a family. It is fun! Challenge your kids to teach the dog a new trick each week. Their faces will light up when they do!


January 6

Dear Dog,
I saw you today for the first time, just a couple houses from my own. The school bus stopped to let out your kids, and your mom opened the front door to let you run out and greet them. You are a wiggly, bouncy and happy little puppy with a full belly and a shiny coat. Your kids grabbed you up, hugged you, held you and toted you inside. Your tail was wagging the entire time. I thought to my self, how sweet, what a way to end a long hard day. I spoke to your mom this evening and she said that they got you from the Animal Shelter, and the kids named you Lucky.

March 10

Dear Lucky,
I saw you today as I always do on my way home from work. You were already outside to greet the kids today, which seemed a little odd. The little girl got off the bus and shooed you away; she appeared to not want you jumping on her. The boy got off the bus and gave you a quick playful pat on the head, then smelled his hand and brushed you aside. You looked confused and sad, as you went to lie by the porch. You curled up in a tight ball on the cold ground and let out a huge sigh. My heart felt heavy that day.

March 21

Dear Lucky,
I saw you today. I was headed home, and the kids got off the bus, walked to the house, and you ran out as far as you could on your heavy chain to let them know you were there. The little girl ignored you, the little boy told you to be quiet, when you barked for his attention. My neighbor commented that they needed to do something with your barking because you keep them up at night. You had a bucket of water and a bowl of food, a relatively nice doghouse, but your eyes were sad and empty. I shook my head and let out a huge sigh.

April 30

Dear Lucky,
I worried for you today. You look thin, your chain heavy on your neck, your coat is dirty and falling out, you don't get up to do much anymore. Your bucket is turned over, and I have not seen your food bowl for a few days now. I spoke to the neighbor and asked about you. He said you still bark at night and he saw the man of the house throw something at you the other day as he scolded you. I shook my head in despair as I went back into my house.

June 4

Dear Lucky,
My heart sank today. I was headed home, and you weren't in your yard. A large part of me hoped you got away, another large part of me was frightened at all the other possibilities. I asked my neighbor about you, and he said your family went on vacation and sent you back to the Animal Shelter. I shook my head and cried for you as I went into my house.

June 5

Dear Dog,
I went to the shelter today. I found you huddled in the back of a cage that had a bucket, a bowl of food, and a blanket for you to lie on. You looked up at me as if you knew me, and my heart broke as I read your card. They did not even care enough to give them your name, and the card simply said, "male, neutered, Poodle. Owners did not want." I cried when a gentleman from the kennel said, "That's a sad one there. He came from here, you know, last Christmas. Guess they just got tired of him. He's too frightened, no one will adopt him." I went to the counter and told them I would be back tomorrow and please don't do anything just yet. They all kind of nodded like they heard that one before.

June 6

Dear Dog,
I brought you home today. You were scared and untrusting, but a small part of you somewhere allowed you to wag the tip of your tail when I told you that you were a good boy and that I loved you. I gave you a new name, "Happy", because you aren't and I hope that someday you will be. You had an accident on the floor, and when I came back to clean it up with paper towel you slunk down and whimpered as if the hand was coming for you. I tried to choke back the tears when I thought of what you must have gone through in the past six months. I reached out and patted you and your eyes closed and your body went limp at such a gentle gesture. "We're going to be all right," I told you. I showed you your food, and you ate voraciously, and you marveled at the treats and toys I got for you.

December 25

Dear Happy,
Good morning my best friend! You woke me, as always, popping out from under the covers on your side of the bed, licking my face to tell me it was time for our walk. We went through the living room and you sniffed what Santa left for us. I hugged you and said, "Last year you were a Christmas gift, now this year, these are all yours!" Your coat is shiny, your belly always full, and even though we found out at your first vet visit you had heart worms, you are healthy now. As we went out for our walk, we saw your old family in the front yard. They look at you each time as if they recognize you in a way, but you don't give them a second glance.

--- Then I believe both our hearts stopped as we saw the children emerge from the yard holding a small playful puppy. "Isn't she just precious? We got her from the animal shelter. Hope this one works out, the other dog we got from there was so much trouble." I sighed and refrained from pointing out that you were not the trouble. You looked up at me as if to say, "Thank you, mom."

I kneeled down and whispered in your sweet ear, "No, it is I who thank you."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Featured Rescue - Chester the Labrador Retriever

Today's featured rescue is a Labrador Retriever mix, but I really like the look of the guy so had to post him. Chester is estimated to be 2 years old. He does require some obedience training per the ad ... don't they all??

If you're looking for a Labrador Retriever, I encourage you to go visit your local shelter or rescue and adopt one. Don't buy from pet stores and don't buy from irresponsible, backyard breeders (this includes the neighbour down the road who thought they could make a few quick bucks). There are many purebred Labradors at the shelters looking for homes (just counting those listed on Petfinder, there are in fact 20, 215) ... some are even tattooed and registered; And no, not all breeders take their unwanted dogs back. Don't fool yourself.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Training - Expectations and Moon Cycles

Do you ever have days where you just want to roll over and go back to sleep? I don't mean the days where it's hard to get up, but rather the days that you can't shake that feeling all day long. Today is just such a day for me. I will have to keep my head low at work ... usually days like this are days where I really shouldn't talk to people. I run out of tact and shoot from the hip. I completely believe that we all have days like this and I'm not alone (perhaps I'm just hoping I'm not the only cranky one out there!), so what does this have to do with dogs and my blog?

When you are interacting with your dog and you are training him/her, you need to be aware of the different sorts of days you will have. Believe it or not, it will affect your dog and the training you are working on. Admit it, we don't all have Good Days every day. Here's something of what I mean:

I woke up this morning not wanting to get out of bed. I am in a rotten mood and don't want to talk to anyone. Knowing this, I will not plan to do any training with my dogs where I need a lot of patience. That means I won't work on something with them that they have been struggling to figure out (like Stop). I will work on things that they know but need solidified. For example, my new dog ... I will work on Sit and LieDown at home but I won't take her to PetSmart and work on the same thing. I will save that for a day when I have more patience.

Now, something that I should also mention in this post ... Dogs have off days too. I won't say "Bad" because I don't know if they are bad days. They are days where the dogs can't focus, have all sorts of extra-crazy energy, forget all the rules or like to sleep in. I have noticed that during Full Moons the older dogs can't focus and have extra-crazy energy. During New Moons the older dogs like to sleep in and don't want to do too much. (I haven't been able to completely track the new dog's range of behaviours because her behaviour training progresses so much on a weekly basis.)

Tonight is a Full Moon. Couple that with my mood and it is NOT a day when I will work with my dogs on training. I know it will simply set them up for failure and that's not the name of the game. We will go for a nice long walk and have fun together. Maybe play some Hide and Seek. Probably a bit of Fetch.

Have you noticed anything different about your dogs throughout the Moon cycles?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Featured Rescue - Gator the Yellow Labrador Retriever

I have found that there are more Labrador Retriever dogs out there looking for homes than any other breed. Good Grief! There are over 20,000 Labradors looking for homes right now on Petfinder. (And people think I'm cruel when I suggest an abortive spay for an "oops, we didn't know she could get pregnant")

Today's featured rescue is Gator. He is 3 years old and reportedly quite gentle. His owner surrendered him because of an upcoming surgery. Gator is at Thumb Animal Shelter in Elkton, MI.