Saturday, March 19, 2011

News Reel ~ When dogs are the audience ...

This is not new news but it's important and I feel that the more people who know about these programs, the better. In Granite Falls, there is a reading program called  Reading with Rover . In this program, dog owners bring their dogs to elementary schools and libraries so the children can read to them.

This program is an initiative that is designed to encourage reluctant readers to polish their skills and build some self - confidence. "A child who may be hesitant to read aloud to his peers is typically less stressed when reading to a dog and the dog never judges the child's reading ability."

Check out the article on about this program When dogs are the audience, youngsters improve reading skills

If you are interested in joining a program such as this look around in your local community or contact your local literacy council for more information.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Low Cost Spay / Neuter Clinics ~ Minnesota

I am posting a list of Low Cost Spay / Neuter Clinics that I have run across in my internet travels. I've never tried these clinics out but if you have, PLEASE post your experience about them!! For a complete list of the states/provinces, see the contents page here.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pupdates ~ Xena

Well I was going to blog about one of the other dogs at the shelter today but I found I don't have any pictures of them! I guess I'll have to get a bunch more while I'm there tonight so I can Pupdate! Due to a serious case of slacking on my part, there are no pictures of Maggie the senior Beagle. She was adopted yesterday after being with us for 2 weeks. She is a super sweet dog and I'm glad she's got a new forever home.


The only other dog I have pictures of is Xena and they are all similar to the one posted. Xena came in with her brother Zeus. (She used to live with a dog named Hercules ... are we seeing a common theme?) Xena is approximately 13 months old and has spent the last 6 months of her life in a shed with very little light. The first 3 days she was at the shelter she was so photosensitive that we were working off the emergency lighting to get her accustumed to brightness.

As I'm sure you guessed by now, she is the pregnant dog who came to us with 10 days' left of her pregnancy! Too far along in her pregnancy for an abortive spay; therefore we knew we were going to have puppies! After some trials and tribulations, a decision was made that the best place for Xena was a foster home. Can you guess whose home she went to?? Come on ... guess! I'll give you 3 chances but the first 2 don't count.

In the picture above, the puppies are 2 days old. There are 3 white, 1 black and 4 tan. Of the 8 puppies, there are 6 males and 2 females. What you see in the pic is what they do most of the time ... sleep ... that is, unless they are eating or squeaking. They squeak a lot. Xena doesn't seem to know not to sit on their little heads. She also tends to lie down on top of them. She's learning but it's obvious she's never done this before.

You can see the whelping box my husband made ... he found the designs on the internet ... it's designed for a Great Dane ... his theory for most things is "go big or go home". It's a little large but it will do. They'll need the room as they get bigger.

I am putting together an action plan for "Early Neurological Stimulation" for puppies. I've been looking into what they do when prepping puppies for therapy dog work and also what other exercises are recommended. I figure if it works for dogs who will be therapy dogs, then why wouldn't it be a good idea to do the exercises with these puppies? In the coming weeks we are going to be going crazy with puppies and puppy exercises ... what is it they say ... It takes a village to raise a child? How about 8 puppies? Think I can haul in the village?? I'll try to keep this blog updated with not only other DDF related topics but also with puppy pictures for your reading pleasure.

Know anyone who is going to be looking for a Husky mix puppy in about 8 weeks' time??

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shadow's 28 Day Eukanuba Challenge ~ Day 14

We are at the end of the second week for Shadow's 28 Day Eukanuba Challenge. Day 14.

I would like to let you all know that feeding Shadow a different dog food than the other dogs in the house is impossible! We have Shadow, then two of our own dogs, then a dog sitting dog, then a prego foster dog ... that makes 5 dogs! THEY ALL WANT TO EAT THIS FOOD. Normally when we have different food for a different dog, they don't care but for some reason they all want this food. It must taste good (to dogs ... it smells like dog food to me!).

Even the damn cats are stealing the food from the food bin!!

Our other 2 dogs have their own Eukanuba food ... but you know ... it's not as good as the "other" stuff that Shadow is eating!

The dog sitting dog came with her own food ... but you know ... it's not as good as the "other" stuff that Shadow is eating!

The prego foster dog came with some super-food that was prescribed by the veterinarian since she's nearly ready to pop (MediCal Development). It's jam packed with all sorts of vitamins and nutrients ... but you know ... it's not as good as the "other" stuff that Shadow is eating!!

Of course, if Shadow has something different then they all have to have it!

So ... what is the solution ... the easiest thing I could think of is to go out, buy more bags of the same food we were sent for Shadow and feed the others the same food! That is exactly what I have had to do. So much for free food and a fun product review! This has turned into a very expensive opinion article.

So I'm supposed to make note of any changes that my dog is going through while on this food ... the only change I've noticed is that she has more energy. (Which, for a 10 year old dog is saying a lot) She is rambunctious and playful now when she would have otherwise been grumpy and sullen with the other dogs. I don't know if this change in her demeanor is due to the change in weather (it IS springtime now) or if it is from the change in food.

Everything else seems the same for Shadow. Of course, the other dogs are all much more excited at meal times now. Since they get the same "new" stuff as Shadow, they are more bouncy and excited (I didn't actually think that was possible since they are always excited to eat but I stand corrected!).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pupdates ~ Penny

Well, Charlie was adopted, but after a week the adoption fell through so he's back at the shelter. Turns out that the child living in his new home had allergies ... the people adored Charlie (let's face it - he's a super cool little dude!) but they were unable to keep him.

I have many stories to share with you as we currently have several dogs but I promised I'd write a little about Penny next. She deserves to have her story told just as much as the next guy!

In case you are wondering, we still have Gracie and Charlie. We've had two long haired chihuahua's come and gone (they lasted a week at the shelter before someone took them home!) and several other dogs come in. There is an older beagle who we have called Maggie; a Lhasa-Poo called Molly; a Border Collie / Labrador mix coming in today; and two Huskies. One of the dogs is pregnant ... Is that enough of a teaser?


Penny was picked up by Canine Control on October 1, 2010. She was very nervous and frightened. Canine Control recommended that we euthanize Penny and he asked for a behaviour assessment be done. So, on October 3, 2010, I packed up my stuff and wandered over to the Kennel who acts as Municipal Pound for our area. I recommended that we do not euthanize since she's a good dog once you get past the nervousness. Unfortunately, no one was available to foster her so she sat at a boarding facility until the shelter was open. We moved her into the shelter on December 23, 2010 and it has been her home ever since.

We have since learned that Penny is a great big goofball with a silly sense of humour. She thinks she is a lapdog and won't hesitate to climb into your lap if you are kneeling, squatting or sitting. You will note in the picture to the right that she looks like she is laughing ... that is because she had just knocked me over into a puddle of urine when she climbed into my lap as I was trying to take her picture. I'm sure I was cursing up a storm when I took this picture (under my breath of course! Haha). She is learning not to pull on the leash and is almost a pleasure to walk now! She knows Sit, Stay, Paw, Other Paw, and Wait. 

She is probably a Chow / Shar Pei / Labrador mix or something ... certain parts of her anatomy are purple! She was very overweight when she arrived but has lost most of it and no longer jiggles when she walks.

Penny needs a home that will continue teaching her manners including appropriate greetings. She has been learning a lot during her stay at the shelter but would be happier in a home environment. She is still nervous of strangers but now takes only a few moments to get over her fears rather than several minutes.

Penny for your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Three Ways to Promote Successful Adoption Listings

I've said it a few times but I'm going to reiterate this point again ... if you are involved in rescue, you will increase adoptions if you promote the animals properly. There are many people out there who are surfing the web in their spare time (at work, on lunch, at home, etc.) ... some of them are looking for new pets. We have to accept that potential adopters are sometimes out there to be found via the internet.

Successfully presenting an adoptable pet is not brain-surgery but there are certainly a few best practices you should use that will help ensure the pet is adopted. Some of these suggestions are courtesy of and

Promotion Tip #1 IT'S ALL IN A NAME

Shorter, easy-to-remember names work best. Also, you can use the name field to include a short attractive phrase like: “See My Video!”, “loves kids”, “fully trained”, or any other word or words that call out the best feature of that pet (for example “Molly – Loves Kids!”). Adopters will see that on their search results page, and are more likely to click on your pet!

Promotion Tip #2 THE VIDEO

A picture is worth a thousand words… but nothing captures a pet’s personality like a video! You only need 20 to 30 seconds… you can do it with most phones or digital cameras. Why are most rescues too lazy to make a video?? Probably because their fosters don't take the time to make one. It only takes a few seconds ... maybe even 10 minutes if you include the set up and take down time! *gasp* COME ON FOSTER HOMES! Here is your moment to STAND OUT and SHINE!

Promotion Tip #3 THE PHOTO

Oh dear ... how many times have I said that the rescue posted a terrible picture of a dog? TOO MANY! Rescues ... here’s your chance to make your pet really stand out! So DON'T MUCK IT UP! When a potential adopter does a search on a pet website and looks at the results page, the pet’s photo and name are the first things they see. Research shows that the best eye-catching main photo is a close-up of the pet’s face. Here are a few other suggestions:

~ Take the photo in the brightest light possible. This will hopefully eliminate the flash and will help show the actual contours of the pet rather than showing how shadows collect around them. It will also reduce red-eye.

~ Have the pet wear a bright solid color bandana that compliments the pet (how about a blue bandana for a dog with blue eyes?!?).

~ Place a toy or commonly recognized object (like a tennis ball or telephone) next to the pet to effectively show the pet’s size.

~ Take the photo with grass or a soft solid bright color as the background.  

~ Make dogs run around first so they are panting and look like they are smiling!

~ Hold a treat right above the camera lens to get the pet to look right at you!