Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Angels

We value each and every one of our adoptive families as angels, and sometimes we have some extra special ones. These are people who will adopt a senior with health problems and imperfect bodies, even though they know the emotional toll and the possible extra expense in order to provide a loving home for the remainder of the senior's life.

Such is the case with the family who adopted Goliath, the puppy who had his heart repaired, and then turned around and adopted Papa Smurf, aka Pops or Papa, (see "Scruffy Shih Tzus & More, September 20, 2009), a one eyed older male with fatty tumors, very few teeth, but the most wonderful personality.

The family keeps an eye on the rescue website, and spotted Bella Sue, a senior wirehair mix with the same wonderful personality. Bella Sue has a significant heart murmur and congestive heart failure. They came to meet her. They immediately knew they wanted to take her home, and Bella Sue, Papa, Goliath, and Wrigley all get along extremely well and the seniors are thoroughly enjoying not only each other, but their "new" life.

When I send a dog home, especially a senior, I always remind the family to let the dog be a dog. Let them run and play outside if they feel like it. Let them roll and get dirty if they feel up to it. If they want to take a nap, let them. So, when we got the email from our special angel just yesterday that said "I get it, Bella Sue and Papa are so happy to go out together and hunt the perimeter with their ears back and their noses to the air or ground" - their final days will be spent with the love and companionship, the warmth and security, that makes us so very grateful for those special angels who adopt.

Thanks to all of you out there who have opened your hearts and homes to rescued animals, and a very special thanks to the angels who have given homes to our special needs and seniors.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Get a Good Horse

We have trained horses of all kinds for over 30 years, and I am at the point in my life that I want a horse that I can just go out, get on, and ride nice and relaxed without having to "train" all the way.

We had a colt starting clinic last spring and heard about Midnight I, age 17. Supposed to be such a horse, but she is terribly herd bound, and when my husband took her to sort some cattle for a neighbor who had a calf that was giving him fits and making him think of grabbing a gun, Midnight I lost her marbles. Good thing my hubby is an excellent rider.

We had found Midnight II, now called Grandma, age 21, over a year ago for a friend that had knee surgery and needed something "bomb proof" so she could trail ride. The friend called this summer and said Grandma could only go 5 miles or so and then got sore - I can relate to that - so she wanted to sell her. I knew you could put 6 small kids on her, and she would look out for them, so I told hubby to go get her. He knew better than to argue.

Anyway, I suggested that hubby take Grandma to the cattle. If it didn't work, oh well. He loaded her up and took her over one day just to get the cattle used to seeing a horse and rider. All went well. The cattle headed for the trees where they had learned to escape the 4 wheeler, and she quietly went through the trees and herded them out. They followed her right up to the barn where they would ultimately be corraled.

The next day, in one short hour, she not only sorted the rambunctious, defiant calf that had frustrated the owner, but went back and sorted two bull calves as well. Each one was sorted and put in its respective designated area. The owner of the cattle, who thought horses were of little use in this day and time, hugged Grandma's neck and thanked her for her help.

Who says us Grandmas are out of date and useless!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Puppies and New Dogs

Need a puppy? We got 'em. We have two Aussie mix female balls of fur with great personalities.
We have one female chiweewee mix (maybe pug?) female who has a great personality, comes when called, likes to play, and also likes to give kisses and be held. We have seven lab/border collie mix pups that are just 7 weeks old and already coming when called, like to play, but also like to be held. Maria's puppies are still too young to leave, but they are growing like weeds and starting to check out solid food. All of the puppies are being crate trained and doing well.

We have Major, the golden/lab mix who is so well housebroken he won't potty in his kennel or in the run with the doggy door. He's 8 1/2 months old and still needs some work, but he is good on a leash and knows sit, stay, down, and drop. We have taught him not to jump on people. He loves a good game of fetch.

Hank, the chocolate lab male, 4 years old, is a big lovable guy who has learned not to jump on people and knows sit. He was skin and bones when we got him, but he has filled out pretty well and is learning to go outside to potty. He and his sister, Roxie, were living outside for quite awhile. Roxie is housebroken, so we figure Hank is too - just needs a refresher course. He is quiet, but will bark if a stranger comes around. He, too, loves to play fetch.

We have Bernard, a 3 year old St. Bernard purebred that we got yesterday. He was given to a family and they decided they didn't want him either. He's a bit thin, but what a nice guy! He is housebroken, comes when called, is quiet, neutered and if someone wants a big, affectionate dog, he definitely qualifies.

We have Zulu, a husky/staffie mix that is quiet and housebroken. He knows sit and comes when called. He was adopted out as a puppy in a family with 3 other dogs that didn't appreciate his presence. He came back because the three females were aggressive with him. He's about 2 years old and would do best in an environment where he could be in a large fenced yard for the better part of the time. He loves to be outside, and he is one to dump the outside water buckets and play with them, often wearing them on his head. He doesn't mess with the bucket in his kennel, though. He's used to using a doggy door. He doesn't have the heavy coat of the husky, but rather a thick, short coat that doesn't shed much at all.

We have Sheba, a peke/sheltie mix that is affectionate, housebroken, but a good watch dog. She has a tendency to pick her human friends and would make an excellent companion for someone.

We have Middy, an Aussie/bearded collie mix that is one of the Bean Blossom Gang. She is a bit shy at first, but with her food orientation, it doesn't take much to win her over. She's quiet and would make an excellent companion.

There's an on site adoption tomorrow, and hopefully we will be able to place some of these great dogs in a home for the holidays. And if we do, there are many more out there that could be rescued in time to share in our holiday. Santa Grandma (that would be me) has been stocking up on big rawhide chews, duck jerky, toys, and other good stuff to make sure all the stockings are full on Christmas day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Angel's Story

Angel, a beagle/boxer mix, was born on 8/22/06, and was originally adopted from a local animal control by a family. We got her almost exactly one year later when someone found her roaming down a main street in a large city and brought her to us. She was thin, had a scar on her head above her right eye. She was microchipped, so we contacted her owners, but they didn't want her back.

Angel soon showed herself to be a dumpster diving diva with tremendous energy much like that of a whippet or greyhound - a love to run, and because of her energy level, and maybe because of the old head injury, she became our "special ed" dog. She didn't respond to her name for a couple of months. We gave her structure and routine, and she learned what to do very well. We did teach her not to go through the trash and counter surf. She looks, but she doesn't touch. She learned to walk politely on a leash.

Angel did get adopted last year right before Christmas. An older couple with a fenced yard and plenty of love to give, but they tried to contain her in the house with only very brief outings to potty, and she got herself into trouble. She was great with her crate and would go there voluntarily. She was housebroken - no problem there. She did start her dumpster diving habit in their trash can, and since no one told her to quit, but rather gave her a snack since they thought she was hungry, she got away with that. However, she did get bored and one day chewed on a family heirloom afghan, and that got her returned to us.

Angel has been turned out with other dogs for exercise, but if a toy comes into the picture or the other dog challenges her, she will stick up for herself and if it escalates, she won't back off. I have been working for months on "sit", and we finally have it. She knows to sit before her kennel door opens, before she walks out of any gate or door, and she now sits on command for a treat.

My wish for her for Christmas is to find a person who would take her running with them, allow her to play outside in a fenced yard as long as she wanted and play fetch with her, then let her curl up in the house with them as a companion - with rules for staying out of the trash. If someone wanted an agility dog, she would probably make a great candidate.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiny, the Tease

Tiny was a feral cat when we moved out here. She ended up trapped in the crawl space when the pre-sale house inspection was done, and spent two weeks teasing the house cat through the furnace registers.

We had a mare foal for the first time and refuse to nurse her baby, so we had to feed him by nasogastric tube every hour for the first week of his life. Tiny would hiss and spit at us from 40 feet away when we went to "her" barn to care for the foal. She was thin and pregnant, so I started taking food to her and leaving a bowl of milk when we left the barn. She gradually came closer and one day I stroked her back. The next day it was two strokes, and after a week, I brought her to the house to have her kittens in a safe environment.

Tiny likes hunting birds and mice in the machine shed and barn. She loves to tease the dogs when they are turned out, and she knows which ones she can saunter up to and get so close they can sniff her. She knows which ones will kill her too. One day a pit bull spotted her and kept jumping on the fence trying to get to her while she sat on the truck and nodded her head up and down in rhythm to the jumping dog.

We put in a motion detector security light on the office, and she and two of her partners in crime (Cotton and Radar) deliberately set it off at least three times every night. They have also discovered how to trip the driveway monitor, and that's fun for awhile in the middle of the afternoon.

Tonight she ambushed me on the way to the house from the kennel. She was taking the blankets off the clothesline - something she does routinely - and decided to grab my pant leg on the way by. Her goal was to get me to give her a special treat, and sucker that I am, I did just that.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It Happens

Sometimes we have a dog returned - fortunately it doesn't happen often, but when it does, the reason for the return sometimes makes us shake our heads. Such is the case with two dogs that were recently returned. One was returned because she didn't know how to walk up and down stairs.

And then there's the Black Friday return of a 2 year old husky female, Katya. Katya had been a house dog, was turned in to animal control, and rescued by our organization. She is housebroken, great on a leash, not destructive, but she is a husky. She went to the home of a young lady for a sleepover for about a week, and was absolutely perfect. She was adopted and went to her new home on Monday before Thanksgiving. On Black Friday, the lady called and said she was bringing her back because she couldn't handle her, and "We'll see you in a few". She wasn't kidding because by the time I filled a water bucket, got some food ready, and walked it to her kennel, they pulled in. The lady was in her robe, PJ's and slippers as she had gotten up early to go shopping and then went back to bed.

Here's what happened. They had Katya at her uncle's house and took her for a 3 mile run that morning. The uncle lives in the country and they passed a hog confinement. Katya was very interested in the hogs, so later in the day when the opportunity presented itself, she stood up on the screen door, pushed it open, and took off in pursuit of that new adventure. She jumped into a pen full of sows, and it took four grown men to get her captured and out of there.

So, when they brought her back, my husband looked out and didn't recognize her - mainly because she was covered from the tip of her nose to the tips of her toes and tail with hog manure. Ahhh, what a wonderful smell if your are a husky looking for adventure!!! I stoked up the fire in the wood stove and gave her a bath before putting her in her kennel, and then headed to the house for a shower myself.

Life at the rescue kennel is never routine or boring, and it certainly pays to have a sense of humor.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Newbies, Giving Thanks

We have eight new dogs in the last 10 days. Quincy, the starving stray husky is gaining weight and learning some manners, and will soon weigh enough to be neutered and have his picture put up on the website for adoption. Lilly, a lab mix, who was given up by the owner because of a divorce, is also learning how to be a lady and will be listed as available for adoption very soon. Diamond, a black lab/golden retriever who was given up because the family lost their home and had to move to an apartment that wouldn't allow dogs, is getting healthy and happy. She now looks forward to seeing people. She had all but given up finding a new home. Luke, a registered golden retriever, came in last night. He was given to an older couple at a horse sale earlier this year, but his youth and activity level worried the couple because of the use of oxygen in the home.

Then we have Bella Sue - a wirehair mix, older small dog, that is absolutely housebroken, has no aggressive tendencies, is a joy to have around. She is sharing the office with Maria and her puppies, and Penny - one of our seniors - and has an appointment to get her teeth cleaned and her nails done after the holiday. There's Oliver, a purebred pet quality miniature schnauzer, very well housebroken, that needs to be neutered and learn some leash manners. Mac, a border collie puppy, is growing and learning how to walk on a leash and not to jump on people.

And then there's Paco and Bell, a male and female chiweewee, that were left with their siblings in a vacant house to survive on their own. They are 10 weeks old. Another rescue took the other 7 puppies and left these two at animal control. They were in sad shape - ribs showing, bellies bloated, heads too big for their bodies indicating that they hadn't grown because of poor nutrition. These two little munchkins are coming along great.

All of these newbies are joining us, along with all the current residents, for Thanksgiving. We will be giving thanks not only for being able to rescue all these animals, but also for the owners of the property who provide a place to care for them and a budget to pay for their food and supplies. We will give thanks for the owners who purchased an outside wood burner so that we can keep these animals warm during the winter months. We will give thanks for the rescue organization that helps us find homes for these dogs, and also provides building supplies for the ongoing projects to improve the facility, and helps us out when we have reason to get away for a little bit, such as visiting our own families and grandkids.

All will share the leftovers with us. They are a part of our family. When we say the blessing before dinner, we will ask that each of these rescues finds a forever home. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Swoozie's Birthday and an Update

Swoozie was part of a litter of puppies and their mom thatwe rescued a little over a year ago. She had respiratory arrest at birth and CPR saved her life, but left her with some motor skill loss because of the oxygen deficit. She was Puppy #7, and we found a wonderful family for her. She came to visit yesterday, her birthday, and her family brought some liver muffins for the current residents to share.

This is the week that most animal control facilities have to make some tough decisions. Because of the holiday, many animals will be euthanized because the budgets won't allow a lot of overtime over the holiday weekend to take care of the animals - and most shelters are full to overflowing right now.

So, we have a road trip planned for tomorrow, Monday, to find some adoptable dogs to fill the kennels that we emptied out this week. Fortunately, we were blessed to find homes for some dogs. We took in a lab mix yesterday, an owner surrender, and we still have some empty slots. I believe that things happen for a reason, and every time we adopt a dog out, it is because there is one waiting for us to find it.

Maria's puppies are almost a week old, two boys, two girls. One of the females was born with a stub tail. They have some wrinkles on their faces, and because of the coloring, we are beginning to think that dad might have been a pug or pug mix - would that make them schnuggles?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hermie's Story

"You're getting a dog - a coonhound, and he's sick." Gee, thanks boss. With 40 dogs on site, including a litter of puppies, that's the last thing I wanted to hear, but that's what quarantine areas are for, and I have one set up for just such situations.

Hermie had been dumped, along with two other hounds, into someone's fenced yard. The man who owned the place found an outlet for two of the dogs, but took Hermie to animal control, and told them if no one claimed him or adopted him, to notify him and he would take the dog back. The dog stayed there for about two weeks, and contracted kennel cough. He was on the euthanasia list when they contacted the man and told him to either come and get him or he would be put down. Somehow along the way, the boss got involved and told him to bring the dog here. Why? Because he had two dogs at home, and he didn't want them to get sick!!

He dropped Hermie off, offered a small donation, and said he would come back and get Hermie if he wasn't adopted out within a month. He said the dog was a quiet hound and caused no trouble. Yeah, right - we never heard from him again.

Hermie was extremely thin, and very sick. We got him on antibiotics for what was by then pneumonia, and started teaching him some manners and worked on getting his weight back up to normal. Hermie got better and developed into a good looking treeing walker coonhound.

Coonhounds, however, aren't in great demand, so we figured he would be with us for awhile. We found him a friend, Olivia, a hound mix, to play with. We put him in a kennel with a doggy door and outside run, but he could see the barn cats and barked all day, so we had to move him or have the neighbors banging on the doors in protest.

We received an application from a man who listed himself as disabled. After reviewing the application and contacting the man, a meeting was set up. He was offering what we were hoping for Hermie. A home with a fenced yard, a coonhound female to play with, squirrels to chase, no cats, and he wanted Hermie to be part of the family in the home itself - something most hounds don't get to do.

The meeting went well, and I asked why he picked Hermie of all the hounds currently available. He said that our rescue was the only one to reply to his request, and his picture on the website was also a factor.

So, Hermie has a great home, and it's a good reminder to respond to all requests.

Update as of 11/17/09

In the last 10 days we have rescued one starving stray husky, and taken in four dogs from a local animal control - one husky, a beagle, a corgi mix, and a wirehair type petite female mix - none of the five know how to walk on a leash, so training leash manners occupies part of the day. Maria, our pregnant schnauzer, gave birth to four puppies yesterday morning - a quick sneak peak gives us two girls and two boys - and all are doing well at this point.

We were also fortunate to have some really nice people apply to adopt. The best part is that these folks are willing to work with the dogs on a continuing basis. Hermie, Sapir, and Copper are going to new homes.

The rescue group we foster for is helping us expand our quarantine area, as I keep filling up the old one, and they will then be able to have other volunteers work with that group of dogs. We will have to set down some guidelines, but it will be very good for the rescue dogs to be handled in a consistent manner by more than myself and my husband.

Since we now have 42 dogs here, four of which are post operative, and four new babies, I have to get busy. Have a great day!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In Memory of

Lucky was the product of an Australian Shepherd mom and a rottie dad. We were living in a converted school bus on the backside of a racetrack in Arizona, and the people that owned the feed store were trying to find him a home. The boys had to sweep the feed store for two weeks straight to pay for the pup. He taught himself to use the litter box for the cat when he had to stay inside. He would stand between any one of our family members when he thought there was impending danger - he protected me from a 3 ft. long bull snake, the vet from a round pen full of yearling horses. He watched my husband testing out a cutting horse in a pen full of cattle, and when the guys took a break and we turned him loose, he held the cattle at the far end of the pen without any formal education. Lucky saved our truck from being stolen in New York, while we were sitting on a ferry waiting to ride out to the Statue of Liberty. He woke us up one night when the furnace malfunctioned and saved us from being blown sky high. When we were training horses for the public, he would check each new one, and their owner, onto the property. They were then allowed to enter the property without any problem. If you didn't have a horse there, you had better wait till we told him it was okay. He never left the acreage, and wouldn't let any stray wander onto the property. If kittens or foals were born there, it was okay.

One day a cat had her kittens in a round bale outside. We had a spring snow storm, and one of the kittens crawled too far away. I found it while feeding horses, and looked over at Lucky and said that we would have to get them to the house and get them dry and warm. While I took care of the one that was cold and wet, he very carefully brought each baby to the porch and left it at the back door. He weighed 125 pounds.

He was a great dog. He died 8 years ago today at the age of 14.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Schnauzer Emergency

I check email at least three times a day, and here was one from a local animal control asking if we could please help with a pregnant schnauzer - a very pregnant schnauzer - as they cannot keep pregnant females with the over crowding they now have.

She obviously has been fairly well cared for. Her nails have been recently trimmed, and she obviously has been groomed in the not too distant past. The rescue coordinator picked her up and called to say she hoped she didn't deliver on the way to the rescue. She looks like she swallowed a soccer ball.

She's a miniature pet quality schnauzer, salt and pepper, with a kind disposition, very scared, but not at all aggressive. I need to gain her trust as quickly as possible because we may have puppies to deal with at any time. I sat on the floor and she crawled in my lap, put her head on my chest and stared up at me with concern in her eyes. I massaged her tight muscles, gently felt for puppy movement, and tried to reassure her that she was safe.

How anybody can abandon an animal in this condition, right before she is ready to give birth, is beyond me. It could have been prevented so easily.

Casey, Golden/lab mix

She was huddled in the back of the kennel at animal control. She had given up coming to meet new people, given up eating, was starting to shutdown, and was on the euthanasia list for the end of the week. I had seen her picture and story on the internet site and was drawn to her kind face and huge, gentle, big brown eyes. She was extremely thin to the point of emaciation, fur was matted, obviously had fleas, but those eyes! We brought her home and put her in a quiet area for quarantine purposes. She had separation anxiety and busted through the kennel, so I put a blanket, food, and water in her kennel and left the door open so she could go in and out when she felt the need. The only place she would eat and drink would be in the kennel. She was wormed and cleaned up, and even though she had lots of weight to gain, it was easy to see this was an exceptionally kind, gentle, and at one time gorgeous dog. She learned sit, down, shake, come, and stay. She stopped trying to escape her kennel and the play yards, got along with the other dogs, and started to smile. We liked her so well we decided to keep her and use her to rehab other dogs and the rescue coordinator would take her to local schools, nursing homes, etc.

Someone called who has been here before to ask if they could bring a friend out to meet the dogs. The friend had lost her dog of 18 years and was lonesome - the ladies assured us they weren't sure what they were looking for - just kicking tires - but would appreciate looking. Her old dog had been a golden retriever, and her statement was "I won't have another one". She couldn't conceive of another golden filling that empty spot in her.

We walked through the kennels and saved Casey till last. I knew immediately when I saw the woman's face - this was the dog she was looking for. Casey still had to be spayed because she needed to gain weight and get healthy before surgery, so by the time she went home with her new owner, she had a new bed, collar, leash, and lots of other goodies. Both were smiling as the car pulled away on the way to Casey's new forever home.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Swap

In order to rescue a dog, it is sometimes necessary to go to great lengths to secure the animal.

Today I got a phone call stating that a 6-8 week old puppy had been dumped, found, and taken to a home overnight. The pup was totally covered with fleas, so badly in fact that when it shook its head, there were small spots of blood flying around. The pup was also passing worms. Would we take it in, because if we didn't, it would surely die within a matter of a few days.

The puppy was given a bath, fed, and made comfortable before we were contacted about taking it in. The family that found the puppy has a two year old child, who really wanted to keep the puppy, or so it seemed. When the puppy was delivered, the child started pitching a tantrum when the pup was handed over to me. The parents were reaching the point of maximum frustration and, being the grandma, I decided to make an offer I didn't think the child would refuse. I had a bag of iced animal cookies in the cupboard and offered them as a swap. The child looked at the bag of cookies, looked at the puppy, and grabbed the bag of cookies.

It's all about priorities and choices!!!

Goliath - New Beginning

"We live next door to Tipton and want to know if Goliath is his brother. We like Tipton so much, we would like to meet Goliath."

That's how it got rolling. The whole family came to meet Goliath and wanted him instantly because of his zest for life and love everybody attitude.

The best part is that the owner works for the teaching hospital that did Goliath's heart surgery and is involved with nutrition, so they understand the need for exercise and keeping his weight under control. They also understood his medical needs and had no problem with the monthly medication expense and the possible problems in later years. They also understood that he should not be over protected and should be allowed to be a dog, complete with discipline so he remains a good citizen.

So, the little 1.4 pound puppy with the over sized head, ribs sticking out, pot belly, eyes glued shut with pus has grown to a 17.6 pound well muscled, lean, happy, fun loving pup that can see very well. His heart is in much better shape than it was when we rescued him, and the cardiologist says he may have as many as 10 more years of life.

He left for his new home last evening. He got along great with the whole family and their dog, Wrigley.

Were there tears? Sure, but we just rescued 4 lab mix puppies the day before that are wormy, only 8 weeks old, and not socialized, so I have my work cut out for me. They have to learn to "suck up" so we can find them homes. Life goes on - got to keep moving forward.

Friday, October 9, 2009

As of Today, 10/9/09

Sapir is ready to wean her two puppies. We are having them vet checked before starting their puppy vaccines and putting them up for adoption since we were advised they might not live once weaned. They are absolutely adorable - a teacup sized male and female - and Grandma has once again taught them to suck up to people, so finding them a home will be easy.

Apollo, the malamute with the maggot problem, is healed and just needs to grow his fur back. He's been on a diet and exercise program, which he isn't crazy about, but he looks and feels better, has more energy. He is extremely well housebroken. He needs a bit better leash manners, so that's the next hurdle.

Barney, the senior beagle, is also losing weight and getting more exercise. He's also well housebroken, and just a nice guy.

Jackie, the basenji mix that was dumped and had the flea dermatitis, has a home waiting for her. As soon as her spay stitches are removed and she gets a bath, she will go to her new home, hopefully for the rest of her life.

Tess has had the first portion of the heartworm treatment and has handled it great. She needs leash work, and needs to trust people a bit more. Got work to do there too.

Chico went to an on-site adoption event and then to a sleepover. He hasn't come back, so we are happy to say he found a home.

Ripley has stopped trying to climb out of his kennel or the outside fencing. He just needed to know where he lived and ate. His leash manners have improved greatly. He's housebroken, and will make someone a great companion.

The smurfs, Papa Smurf and Sassette (formerly Smurfette) are growing their fur back and their leash manners are very much improved. They are housebroken and we hope we can find them a home soon.

Katrina, the starving collie, is gaining weight steadily. She runs and plays a bit, will definitely chase a cat.

Mocha, the year old husky male, has learned to sit and wait to be leashed - this is a very big improvement for him! I really need to have a larger area fixed up just for the huskies. We have a secure area for them which is 12 feet wide and 120 feet long, but it could be better. Oh well, money and time will dictate the outcome of this project.

As for Goliath, that's the next post.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What Are They Thinking?

The equine vet's office called asking if we could help out a man with six dogs. His wife left him, going through a divorce, no job, no dog food, but he wants to keep the dogs and doesn't want to spay and neuter. We have no available space, and since he doesn't want to spay/neuter and wants the dogs back at some point, we offered to give him dog food to give him some time to find a place for them. He said they had destroyed all his furniture, so he took each piece out of the house one at a time, and now has them peeing on one post. He has no shelter outside for any of them, so we did offer a couple of dog houses that we don't use.

He came to the farm and said he used 100 pounds of dog food a month. Seems light to me, but I'm used to feeding 40 dogs a week. I gave him 150 pounds of food. He returned two days ago and said he needed to get them vaccinated, so I gave him six doses of 5 way, and six doses of kennel cough preventive. He also said he was giving one of the dogs steroids for flea dermatitis, so I gave him six doses of flea preventive. He also mentioned that one of the dogs had passed worms, so I pulled out wormer for all of the dogs. Then he said he didn't need it for all of them, just the one dog. Duh --- told him to use it on all of the dogs at the same time or they would pass it from one to the other!

He told me the house had to be cleaned up to be sold in the settlement and it was full of fleas. He was planning on scrubbing down the floors and cleaning out the sediment between the hardwood. Said he didn't need the dog houses because one of the dogs had destroyed the fence, so they wouldn't stay in the yard.

After he left, I emailed animal control in our county and the neighboring one, told them what had been provided, and mentioned that they might be getting a visit from him, or maybe they should drive by and check up on him and his pack. Maybe they can talk some sense into him.

The dogs shouldn't suffer or starve because of the situation, but you have to wonder what the heck people are thinking. Life is about making choices - preferably ones that benefit all concerned!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Laugh for the Day

It's been a long day - exercising 40 dogs, cleaning kennels, feeding, water, washing bowls, restocking, so I went to the house to get my own house dogs and take them out to potty. It's a damp, muggy evening and it's misting rain and very still outside. Jessi heads out the door with her nose in the air sniffing for whatever it is that she smells. Koko, who no longer worries about rain on his back, heads out to put a barn cat back in the barn where it belongs. We have 7 acres of fencing for the kennel dogs, but the house dogs don't have a fenced yard and they head for the south pasture with me.

Ah, those wonderful smells entice them to do a bit of hunting, while I am asking them to hurry and poop so we can head for the house, dry off, shower, and get something to eat. They are busy with their project, and I am getting impatient. The air is still and sound echoes. I prompt them to "hurry up" several times, and finally in my authoritative voice tell them "Hurry up and poop!"

From somewhere in the neighborhood, comes the response "I don't have to!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


"My friend is hiding a dog that she found lying in her front yard. The landlord doesn't allow dogs. Can you take her in? She's so thin that animal control will put her down."

That's how we ended up taking in a purebred collie. When she was found, she was so weak she couldn't stand up, so the friend took her in and fed her chicken soup. She slept in bed with her children and obviously is well housebroken. About that time the friend found out she had killed a farmer's chicken, and the farmer was looking for her. (Makes you wonder where the chicken soup originated.)

Immediately upon seeing her, I decided to call her Katrina, because she looked just like the dogs that survived the hurricane - mud, wet (it's been raining), mats, and so thin her backbone and hip bones stick up a good inch and can be seen even with her long coat.

We've done some cleaning up and clipping off the matted fur, and she is eating and drinking very well. She's probably seven years old and gaining strength on a daily basis. Hopefully we can find her a family to live with for the rest of her life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Scruffy Shih Tzus & more

"We have to put dogs down on Friday afternoon because of overcrowding. Thought you might be interested in a few small dogs."

They were in an outdoor kennel together. Papa Smurf has been neutered, has had one eye surgically removed, has no upper teeth, has one snaggletooth on the bottom, has some fatty tumors, and just wants to be a good senior citizen. Smurfette is younger, chunkier, needy by comparison, has no leash manners, and needs to feel secure so we will give her some time to settle in and realize she isn't going to be dumped again. She also has a fatty tumor. These two were neglected as evidenced by their coats of matted, clumped, dread locked fur. One clump of matted fur was the size of a jelly filled donut, which means I won't be eating any jelly filled donuts for awhile, and there were so many clumps and mats we couldn't tell if they were male or female at first. Boy, did they stink!

Ripley is a Jack Russell mix, very friendly, lousy on a leash, quiet for a JR mix, and very capable of climbing a six foot fence - he's managed it twice so far.

Chico was found lying between two dead dogs on a back road. He's a chihuahua/dachshund mix with a defensive attitude that could easily become aggression if not handled properly. He's noisy, needy, and quick to use his mouth when he's not calling the shots. He is learning there's a better way to make friends and quarantee his kibble and a roof over his head.

Tess is a wirehair mix about 4 years old. She has a unique look to her, and she is heartworm positive. She has no aggressive tendencies so far, and needs some groceries as her backbone and hip bones are readily palpable.

Jackie is maybe a basenji mix about six months old. She is housebroken, learned sit in nothing flat, learned to walk on a leash in record time, and has shown no aggressive tendencies. She was dumped, covered with fleas and flea dermatitis, and a rash on her belly which she had been scratching and made herself raw. She's just a great little girl.

Then's there's Rusty, now called Barney, a senior beagle, neutered, housebroken, and just a good natured, easy going, guy that loves to eat, but is now on a diet. One of the volunteers at animal control had fostered him and could no longer keep him, and because of his age and the overfill capacity, he was going to be on the list for euthanasia. We were pulled aside and asked if we could take him into the rescue, so we did.

We have 40 rescue dogs right now, and each and every time a kennel empties, the phone rings or someone emails and asks for help. Guess that's just the way it's supposed to be.

Apollo, the Malamute

"His whole back was moving!" That's what the lady at animal control told us when we went to meet a malamute they emailed us about. The owner had dropped the dog off because she didn't have enough money to take him to a vet and thought animal control might be able to help him. Apollo had been tied outside 24/7 in the heat and humidity and developed hot spots, and had no flea control medication on him. He reached around and chewed the irritated spots and had learned how to lean into a fence or doghouse and rub the areas. Maggots were all over his back from between his shoulder blades all the way down his back and over his buttocks. Actually, the maggots probably saved him from dying of gangrene, but he was so badly infected, swollen, and very very sick.

Animal control has a policy of putting down a sick animal immediately, but the girls took him to a vet anyway, much to the irritation of their boss. They got hold of us because they didn't want to see this 115 pound, extremely well housebroken, gentle giant be euthanized, nor did they want to get fired for defying the rules.

So, Apollo came home with me. There were a few problems to deal with. One was that he was extremely overweight. Another was his ability to reach around and chew on himself. Third was the fact that the back was so raw, he was getting pretty darn grouchy about being treated.

I put him on a diet and exercise program, especially since he has to be hand walked so he can't scratch his back on a fence or roll on the ground. We put one cone on him and had to add another one as he also had learned to destroy one to the point where he could reach around and chew on himself.

Now the biggie - the raw area. I used to work for a doctor who not only celebrated his birthday once a month with cake and champagne for everyone in the building, but truly believed that no medicine should be prescribed that tasted bad or caused discomfort. I have applied that particular theory to my work with animals. I started using my "secret sauce" horse medicine on his back and within three days he quit caring whether we touched him where he is healing. I can now run my hand over the affected areas with no negative response from him - much better than having him snark around to bite. He's losing weight and actually is showing some muscle tone in his hips and legs.

Since the last post

Goliath had a 2 1/2 hour surgery with a dramatic improvement in his heart function. He returns to the hospital on October 6 for a repeat echocardiogram. Goliath is available for adoption starting this week, and my biggest concern is that he goes to a family that will allow him to be a dog and not be overly protective in light of his past history. Goliath is not the type to become a couch potato - he thinks he's a hunter and a farm dog - let him explore, investigate, play with the cats, chase butterflies, play with his mentor, Jessi - but don't expect him to sit in your lap or watch soaps on the couch with you. It was very difficult to keep him from running or jumping for the 10 days after the surgery, especially since they had to ligate his jugular vein on the right side and he couldn't wear a collar till it healed. A harness was of little or no help, so we opted for house confinement. He was so happy to get outside again!

Sapir, the female mini-Aussie mix that looked like a zucchini when she was pregnant, had five pups - two were stillborn and one died shortly after birth. There is one female and one male still alive, but we have been cautioned by the vet that once they are weaned and no longer have their mother's immunity, they will likely die. Time will tell the outcome. They are 3 1/2 weeks old.

Local animal controls have called and emailed asking us to come to visit, meet, and hopefully take as many dogs as possible. One week we took in 9 dogs, another week 8, and this week 6. We have one dog leaving for a new home tomorrow, but this afternoon a lady who adopted one of our rescues a short time ago called and said her neighbor had taken in a stray collie who is skin and bones and killed a farmer's chicken, so she is hiding the dog, not only from the farmer, but from her landlord. Because of it's emaciated state, she knows if it goes to animal control it will be destroyed immediately. The empty kennel will be empty only long enough to disinfect for the new arrival.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Week Ahead

Goliath is scheduled for heart surgery on August 28. While we wait to see how things go for him, life in the rescue goes on full bore. The on-site adoption event yesterday found homes for two of the dogs at this kennel, so we have a little available space. It didn't last for long because the phone rang late on Saturday. It was a local animal control and shelter with a list of 6 adult dogs and 3 puppies that need to find space elsewhere within the next 2-3 days, or face euthanasia. The person who called is making herself available this afternoon so that we can rescue as many as possible.

But before all of this, we took in a gorgeous and playful bundle of fur about 8 weeks old, and the rescue coordinator called to say that there was a pregnant Aussie mix female that she just couldn't leave at another animal control facility. Unfortunately, the female was given live virus vaccines and wormed at a critical point in the development of the puppies, so a veterinarian has warned us that the pups will either be stillborn or possibly suffer birth defects and die. She also has kennel cough which she picked up in her three weeks at the shelter in spite of her vaccination.

We do have one dog to board for the neighbors, who are taking a much deserved brief vacation.

It's going to be a busy week - new dogs, heart surgery, maybe a blessed event and prayerfully maybe at least one pup will be okay.

There's a plan somewhere because every time a dog leaves, the phone rings, or someone stops by with a new candidate for the rescue. Several people have asked how I can foster and part with the dogs --- I have to look forward and move forward, and celebrate when we find homes for the current residents.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Pool Party

Goliath went to a pool party for dogs and their humans over the weekend. The proceeds are targeted for his surgery.

My goal, as his foster mom, is to let him live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances - to be a puppy and explore the world, keeping in mind he has to learn to behave himself as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Update on Goliath

Goliath went to the teaching hospital for his evaluation last week. He has severe pulmonic stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonic valve), right ventricular hypertrophy (thickening of the walls of the right ventricle), and tricuspid regurgitation (backflow of blood scross the tricuspid valve). Without treatment he will progress to congestive heart failure and pass away.

Our rescue group is trying to raise the $2500 needed for balloon valvuloplasty to correct the pulmonic stenosis. We have entered him in a "cutest dog" photo contest in hopes of winning one of the weekly monetary prizes.

This little guy has fought to survive neglect, has fought to survive in spite of the fact that he was probably a premie and way smaller than the other pups in his litter.

The beauty of this is that Goliath knows nothing of his problem. He is happy, playful, and just wants to explore and enjoy life. Radar, a cat, is his new best friend. Jessi and Koko are teaching him to put his nose to the ground and hunt. Koko is also teaching him to herd the cats to the old barn.

We will just have to see what happens from here on out, meanwhile giving him the chance to be a normal puppy, or as normal as possible under the circumstances.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Puppy Dump

Why people just dump a litter of puppies anywhere is beyond me. Granted, most shelters and rescues are filled to capacity right now, but leaving them off where they have shelter and food, regardless of the ultimate outcome, is better than what could have happened to the three litters we recently acquired.

The first litter, age 6 weeks, was dumped at a foreclosed home site. Fortunately for the puppies, Charlie Brown, Sally, and Lucy, a neighbor spotted them and turned them in to animal control. However, by this time they were literally skin and bones, had been eating their own waste to survive, and two of them had two feet in the grave and the other two feet on banana peels. We had gone to pick up another dog and spotted them. We could not leave them there in that condition, because with the over crowding, euthanasia would have been the result. They are alive today and are now thriving.

The second litter was left in an airline carrier crate which was left outside, while the owner left town for three days. A relative was supposed to come by and take care of the pups. No one showed up for two days, and there was monsoon like rain event. The puppies sat in the crate in their waste and water till someone called animal control. We were asked to help out because they needed special care. They were too weak to support their own weight and stained from the urine and feces they had been living in. Ethan and Ellie are also thriving and ready to look for new homes.

The third litter was dumped in a blackberry patch about 4 feet from a main roadway. The lady who found them routinely goes to pick wild blackberries and raspberries in that location. She figured that someone knew she was there about every 2 days and dumped them there figuring she would find them. She did manage to find homes for two of the three pups. We have Halle Blackberry, and she is teaching Goliath how to treat a lady.

The lady who found Halle said she called several organizations, and I was the only one who returned her call. One organization that she did talk to literally accused her of lying about finding the pups.

No matter how thin resources are stretched, no matter how full we are, I tell myself to not be judgemental, but rather be glad someone had the nerve to admit they needed help and a place to take a litter of puppies.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Goliath Update

Goliath went back to the vet yesterday and weighed in at 5.3 pounds. There is a chance that he might qualify for a grant to have his heart repaired, so we needed to make sure he was vaccinated and decided to do some preliminary blood work before we take him for the evaluation examination at the teaching hospital.

His blood work showed that there is no kidney or liver involvement which would compromise his chances for the surgery. That result allows us to go ahead with fund raising to pay for the rescue's part of the expense, which is the preliminary evaluation. We are praying that we get the grant for the actual surgery.

The miracle for the day is that Goliath can see! The right eye, which had been covered with what appeared to be a juvenile cataract, has cleared. The vet could see his retina and optic nerve. No wonder the little guy can find so much mischief to get into.

Meanwhile, he is learning to put his nose to the ground and "hunt" with Jessi, my 90 pound rott/lab. She lays down on the floor and allows him to play with her. He has met a few of the barn cats, goes for walks in the horse pasture, runs through the flowers and plays tug of war with the leaves. He is being allowed to be what he is, a playful puppy with a big curiousity.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Will He Make it? - part 2

Goliath weighed 1.4 pounds by Monday morning when we got to the vet's office. He was eating and drinking, his motor skills were improving, his plumbing was working, and his eyes no longer had pus oozing from them. The examination revealed cataracts, which could be fixed at a later date.

Then the bombshell. Goliath has a PDA - patent ductus arteriosus - a hole in his heart which should have closed shortly after birth, but did not. We were told he would not grow as big as his brothers, and when he does grow, it will further compromise his heart function and eventually he will die. Our choice was euthanasia or allow him to live out whatever life he has left.

None of the people in that exam room wanted to see Goliath euthanized - it just wasn't a good day for a little guy who was fighting so hard to live to have to die. About that time, he started playing - doing what I call the puppy prance - and acting like a contender on American Idol. I asked the rescue coordinator if I could take him home and let him live till he either became so symptomatic that he couldn't be comfortable, or passed away on his own. She agreed.

Goliath will be eight weeks old in two days. He goes outside and plays in the grass,. follows me around the yard, and attacks my pant legs and shoe laces. He gives great lickies!!

We have been told that one of the veterinary teaching hospitals in the state sometimes does a PDA repair for charity, so we are checking that out. Meanwhile, little Goliath is sharing his love of life with everyone who meets him.

Will He Make It?

Got a call from the local kill shelter at nearly 5 PM on a Friday night. They had confiscated a litter of 8 puppies from a neglect situation and one wasn't doing well. Could we take them?

All eight were boys - 7 of them relatively healthy, just needed food and wormer and some flea prevention. Number 8 was only a third the size of his brothers. His eyes were glued shut with pus, and his ribs were prominent. Took the pups home and got the seven settled in the kennel, and then took number 8 to the house where I put some antibiotic ointment in his eyes, got him some food and water. Because he was so much smaller, the thought that he might have a congenital defect of some sort nagged at me. He ate, drank, and snuggled up with a small stuffed toy for a much deserved snooze.

The antibiotic ointment did its work, and then I could see what looked like a cataract on his right eye, and a blip in his left. Not a good thing. First thing Monday morning he would go to the vet. We have to have a name to make the appointment, so we called him Goliath.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dayzee & Mason

Dayzee is a petite Manchester terrier mix with a wavy black coat and shiny copper brown legs and a topknot that we got from a local kill shelter. We knew of someone who wanted a small terrier with some spit, so we immediately contacted the lady, and she came out to meet her.

This woman had adopted a border terrier mix from us a couple of months earlier. Mason had been bitten by another dog when we got him, so when he developed a couple of "hot spots" no one thought too much about it. The vet treated him and he was healing nicely when she took him home. Unfortunately, the infection proved to be puppy strangles. It is rare, and it cost him his life.

Anyway, Dayzee got spayed and went home with her. A couple of nights later, upon returning home from work, she noticed her right eye looked "funny" in the dim light and took her to her vet. Dayzee had a juvenile cataract in her eye, and a blip on the left. The veterinarian gave her a grim prognosis - she would be totally blind in a year. She called me from the vet's office, and said she was bringing her back immediately.

I accepted her and apologized, explaining that our rescue does not have enough available funding to take every new rescue in for an examination immediately after intake. The woman told me she just couldn't afford it and would be in touch.

So, I scheduled a visit to our veterinarian and found the same diagnosis, but with one difference. He said that her other eye had a blip but was not crystallizing, and might never do so. Time would tell. In the meantime, she could see light only in the right eye, and surgery would fix it permanently. The cost would be around $3200. The rescue couldn't afford that, but decided to put her up for adoption with a special needs tag, and in the meantime try to raise money for the surgery.

Dayzee went to an on-site adoption last week, and a family came through and fell in love with her, and could care less if she is blind in one eye. They said they would deal with her vision problems and wondered if she would like riding in a pontoon boat. Dayzee hit the jackpot!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On the Lighter Side

We have 42 dogs on the premises today, and since it is our wedding anniversary, my husband of 31 years is helping me with kennels so we can get done a bit earlier than usual and go out to dinner. Going out to eat, even fast food, is a real treat. We usually come in tired, dirty and longing a hot shower. By the time we accomplish taking the house dogs out and getting cleaned up, my husband is sitting at the kitchen table looking somewhat like a vulture waiting for some road kill.

Although our anniversary plans usually don't pan out as something always seems to happen at the last minute, we are hopeful. We plan on stopping by a friend's place to meet their new stray dog, a coon hound, and help make sure her barn is secure enough to house the hound till new arrangements can be made.

The dogs here are sharing in our festivities. I cooked extra chicken, so they are having baked chicken with their kibble and we have a 5 gallon pail of vanilla ice cream and enough cones to go around so they can have a little extra treat. After all, 31 years is worth celebrating.

Have a great day everyone!!!

What's the Right Thing?

"There was a drug bust, and we have two dozen pit bulls coming in and we can't keep these dogs because we have no room. Can you take at least four of them so we don't have to destroy them?"

That was the phone call last week. We, fortunately, had a little empty space and we have also become pretty good at what we call "creative kenneling", so we picked up a border terrier mix, a border collie mix, a four month old golden retriever mix, and an 8 week old cocker spaniel mix. All of them really nice dogs with no future if we weren't able to help out.

Now, I have no problem with pit bulls. They are good, loyal dogs, and unfortunately people have created lots of problems for them. However, what is the right thing here? The rescue organization we work with has been advised not to adopt out pit bulls or pit mixes because of liability laws. Finding homes for them with responsible owners can be a real problem. We have four pit mixes here right now, and the only people who have shown interest are folks that we would not approve to adopt.

So, what's the right thing?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kobe, part 2

Now the office staff started giving me "the look" that said "can you help". The lady who brought Kobe in was, as this point, ready to cry in total frustration. She had taken a half day off work to resolve this issue and was getting nowhere fast. So, I opened my big mouth and said I had room for him, but I couldn't transport him with my heartworm patient, as I didn't bring a crate. She said she would follow us home. She did just that. Gotta wonder how far she would have driven to accomplish the transfer.

Anyway, Kobe will climb a 6 foot fence. He barked all day the first day, but because he got no recognition for his efforts, he was well behaved and quiet, for the most part, on the second day. He is beginning to behave better on leash. He is so big that I have to hold his collar to keep him on the ground and next to me. He tends to want to greet you on his hind legs - like the boxing kangaroo - and we are working on that. He has been, so far, pretty easy going and consistent in his behavior. He learns quickly. He will make a great dog for someone, especially if they like to play fetch.

My husband just looks at me and shakes his head.


When I walked into the vet's office to pick up Penny, who had completed the first portion of her heartworm treatment and was to be kept quiet and calm, there was a man and a lady with a humongous dog ahead of me. As I waited, I couldn't help noticing that every time the dog got restless, the lady would pet and console, and his behavior would get just a bit worse. Finally the dog stood up on his hind legs (he was taller than the lady at that point), wrapped his front paws around and started biting at the leash. She was beginning to get panicky, and kept trying to back away. She was wearing a skirt and heels, and I had on jeans and a sweatshirt, so I took the leash from her and after a brief tantrum which reminded me of a boxing kangaroo, he settled down.

It seems Kobe, a lab/sharpei mix, had been adopted from a local animal shelter at some time last year. His owner had moved and either gave the dog to someone else or turned him loose to fend for himself. This very nice woman had found him as a stray. She had had him for about 10 days, and he is housebroken, gets along with kids and her two small dogs - except for rawhides - but he crawls up and over fences. She just couldn't keep him any longer. He is microchipped, neutered, and has been fully vaccinated. The office staff was calling the shelter and the owner's numbers with no response.

Chocolate Cocker

"We have a 5 month old terrier mix, a sheltie mix with 3 twelve week old puppies, and a purebred cocker spaniel female. If you can't come and get them, we will deliver." That's how we got Penny, the chocolate cocker spaniel female, along with the rest of the gang, from a nearby shelter with an 80-90% kill rate. It's an old shelter, small, understaffed, and they do the best they can to find homes for the adoptable dogs.

Penny had been left in the drop box with a note saying that she wouldn't tolerate kids flopping all over her, so she had to go. She is beautiful, needy, and strongly heartworm positive. The rescue organization we work with has raised enough money to begin treatment, and there are several applications to adopt her when she is deemed healthy.

I have been working on reducing her "needy" behavior, the whining, crying, jumping around --- as it can be detrimental in her recovery from the heartworm treatment. Not to mention the fact that it may have been part of the reason she was given up in the first place.

She has had the first part of the treatment and is doing okay so far. Who would have thought that the need to keep her as calm as possible would have resulted in Kobe coming to stay with us?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shasta Needs a Home!!! - UPDATE

Shasta has found a home as a companion for a lady and her cocker spaniel. The woman spent the winter on the Pacific coast, lost another 18 year old dog to bone cancer, and found Shasta on Petfinder. She was driving home and made arrangements to meet Shasta on the way.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gandy, part 2

The dreaded day came - Gandy injured his rear leg during a race - his career was over, and maybe his life. The trainer asked me if I meant what I had said, and I said "yes". He said he would talk to the owner and let me know. Meanwhile, I went to the state veterinarian and state racing commission and asked for permission to have the greyhound - I had to be sure it would not be seen as a conflict of interests. They said I could have the dog if the owner agreed.

Gandy went home with me, and we took advantage of 200 acres of pasture to walk with our other dogs. Soon I could take him off leash. He would stay right by my side till I told him to "go play", and then he would hunt with Jessi - our lab/rott, Lucky - rott/aussie, and Rudy - an aussie mix. We acquired another greyhound, a female, and it was awesome to watch the two of them hunt together. They both relaxed, gained weight, and enjoyed their freedom. When we moved to the rescue, he became a very important member of The Dream Team which helps me rehabilitate the rescue dogs.

Gandy died of cancer two years ago.

Gandy, the Greyhound

Gandy was the most unhappy dog at the racetrack - bar none. As paddock judge, I handled anywhere from 100 to 200 greyhounds a day, depending on the racing schedule, and this dog was definitely the most miserable. He hated his job. When he came for a race, the leadouts would have to carry him for weigh in, to the holding room, and crawl in the crate and drag him out to take him to the "pee room". After he was blanketed, he would huddle in a corner till it was time to go out on the track.

One day I mentioned to his trainer that if anything ever happened to end his career, I would like to take him and let him be a dog for the rest of his life. That particular track required each kennel to "donate" a certain number of dogs for their adoption center. Gandy wouldn't be accepted because of his withdrawn personality. Euthanasia would be his fate. I wouldn't qualify to adopt because we didn't own our home, and didn't have a fenced yard. Even though the deck was stacked against us, his face haunted me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Matted Matthew, part 2

Our vet said he would see him, and it took the vet, two vet techs, myself, and the groomer a little over three hours to clean this little guy up. He had been encased in the mats for so long, he had muscle atrophy in the hind legs. We took him home and gradually increased his exercise so that the muscles would achieve some tone - the first time he could stand on one leg and hike the other leg - tears filled my eyes and the lump in my throat was nearly as big as one of the mats we had removed from him.

Matthew got adopted by a great family and enjoyed his last days. He died of cancer earlier this year.

Matted Matthew

We went to animal control to rescue some puppies that showed up on They told us to come see a stray that someone had found crossing a main highway. It looked like a chocolate poodle, but with the most matter fur I have ever seen. The legs were so encased in fur mats that the hair had tightened and was cutting into the flesh of the rear legs, and one leg was showing signs of infection. The staff said that they wouldn't be able to do anything till the next morning and would probably just euthanize the dog.

My gut said that no dog deserved to go through another night like that. The smell was terrible, the mats around his face were the size of grapefruit, not to mention the mats on his legs. If we couldn't find a vet to help us that afternoon, then I was determined to take him home, bathe him, clip off as many of the mats as possible, give him a decent meal, and make him as comfortable as possible.

Bean Blossom Gang

There were 17 still alive - 7 adults, 10 pups - living on an abandoned property in kennels with dead animals, eating whatever they could to survive. For a year, my brother and the boss drove 2 hours round trip to make sure they were fed and eventually bought this farm so they would have a safe place to be. My husband and I were asked to come remodel an old hog confinement into kennels for the "Beanies" and other rescued dogs.

The boss had me leave them as a pack for the first two years, and then the pack started to turn on the eldest, and the youngest female started working her way up the pack leader ladder. That was my opportunity to split them up for better socialization with humans, and we have been fortunate to find forever homes for all but three - Kojak, Lil Bit, and Middy.

They are a prime example of why we do what we do.

Dakota, part 2

Just putting a collar and leash on him was a job. He obviously associated the collar with the pain of the prong collar, and would whip around and snap. Once I got the collar and leash on him, he would stand on his hind legs like a grizzly, paw at the lead, bite at the leash, and then try to bolt. I've trained 1200 pound horses that didn't put up that much fuss. We got it worked out, and taught him to sit and wait.

A couple of weeks into his stay, the owners decided they couldn't stand to give him up, but wanted to come visit and see if they could get him back. They were still remodeling and wondered if he could stay till it was done - not wanting to have to crate him at the inlaws. I told them it would be okay, only if they would come out and work with him with me. No "mommy" voices, no endless treats, no giving in when he was misbehaving. They agreed.

About six weeks later, Dakota weighed 90 pounds, and they were ready to take him home. They thanked me for helping them, and my response was that it was self defense. Shortly after that I took out a small life insurance policy - just in case there are more "sweet" and "playful" gigantic dogs headed my way.

Dakota, the Mauler, part 1

"I'm bringing out a dog - a six month old husky/akita mix, and he's so sweet, just wants to play." The words "so sweet" and "just wants to play" send cold chills down my spine. The last three times those words were spoken, the dogs ended up being way more aggressive than I needed to handle at the tender age of 62.

Dakota was six months old, weighed 70 pounds, and, fortunately for me, he was under exercised and poorly coordinated. His owners had moved into the inlaws home while they remodeled. Dakota was crated while they worked and attended college courses. The mother-in-law tried to walk him, but couldn't handle him, so she put a prong collar on him, and hooked him to a tie out in the yard. To make things worse, they tried playing fetch while tied out, and when the object went outside the radius of the tie out, he got the full effect of the prong collar. The mother-in-law called me after he arrived and said that he had become completely uncontrollable in just two weeks.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thoroughbred Angel, part 3

Roxie started to enjoy her life. The gamblers loved her. She always ran second or third at that little track, but she needed to break her maiden (win her first race) and she could really only handle 5 furlongs. The racing secretary finally wrote a 5 furlong race, and Roxie won it with the announcer saying "and they won't catch her today". The crowd had grown to love her too, and gave her a standing ovation as she crossed the finish line. Again, tears filled our eyes.

The track went bankrupt and we ended up in Tucson for the winter. It was December, and the boys each had one thing they wanted for Christmas. We had no extra money. We were living in the bus and the generator had died. We were both doing little extra part time jobs and hoping the horses would continue to support themselves.

We both like "hook horses" - quarter horses that could run 660 and 870 yards. Why not a thoroughbred sprinter? We entered Roxie in an 870 yard race, praying that she would be able to get a piece of the purse so the boys would have something for Christmas. She did just that, and we had just exactly the right amount of money to get each boy his one gift.

We retired her after that race, and gave her to an old friend so she could be a broodmare and graze nice green pastures for the rest of her life. She deserved it, and I still get tears in my eyes when I think of her.

Thoroughbred Angel, part 2

Roxie, a small chestnut filly who wasn't sure she could trust humans, went to the track in Wyoming with us, another thoroughbred, and two quarter horses, a pygmy goat named Frisky, and our two boys ages 8 and 10. At the time our living quarters consisted of an old Bluebird school bus, capacity 54, which had been crudely converted to a motor home, but had no water, and the only heat and electricity came with a gas generator. Money was very tight.

Roxie trained well, didn't require or want a pony horse with her, and was definitely a sprinter. We entered her in her first race, and she came out of the gate and ran in front, but got passed just before the wire going 5 1/2 furlongs. I picked her up after the race and took her to the barn to cool out, washed her off and put her on the walker. She was tense and it took a while before she was relaxed and cool, but finally put her in her stall with fresh water and feed. About five minutes later, my husband (who was also working track maintenance) came by to check on her. He went by her stall and then came and chewed me up one side and down the other for putting up a hot horse. I told him she was fine when I put her up, and he proceeded to haul me to her stall - she was huddled in the farthest corner, soaking wet with sweat, shaking like a leaf, waiting for someone to come in and beat her because she didn't win. We both stood there and cried, and, of course, got her back out and spent the next 2 hours alternately hosing, walking, letting her graze and putting her in the stall till she realized she wasn't going to get a beating.

Thoroughbred Angel, part 1

Roxie was our Christmas angel after a very tough year!

We were training race horses and in Texas getting together some stock to race at a small track in Wyoming - mostly because the horses we could afford wouldn't be able to compete anywhere else. While at the training track, we were told about a filly that was for sale so we went to her barn and were shocked to find nails around the top of her feed and water buckets and hot wire around the stall. Thinking this must be one nasty customer, we went back to our own barn. The filly and her owner/trainer were racing in Louisiana that day.

Another trainer came by and we mentioned her casually. We found out that she had been raced at bush tracks and won, but never at a parimutuel track. We mentioned the nails and hot wire, and he told us to watch for their return. If the filly didn't win, the owner/trainer would bring her back, beat her, and put her in her stall without food and water. Sure enough, when he pulled in, that's exactly what happened.

My husband and I bought Roxanna Time that very day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shasta Needs a Home!!!

Shasta is a cocker spaniel mix - a very pretty brindle with feathering on her hips and tail. She has a gentle, timid nature, gets along with other dogs, is good with children, and likes to hang out with her human.

However, she was born with a deformed right front leg. Not her fault that there were so many pups in the womb that her right leg couldn't straighten out and thus the long bones were molded to the shape of her chest. Several veterinarians have evaluated the leg - some advised amputation, some advised to leave the leg alone as she can support her weight and travels very well. One said he "might" be able to fix it, but couldn't be sure as he had never seen a case this bowed. The surgery would be very complicated and painful, not to mention expensive.

Our rescue organization has told her story and put her on the internet in hopes that someone would be able to overlook the leg and adopt her "as is". A few people have emailed or called, but no one ever comes to meet her.

Isn't there someone out there with at least enough guts to meet this nice young lady? She deserves more than living in a kennel for the rest of her life.

Annie, part 2

Annie didn't know what to think of the dream team till she realized she could sniff the ground like Jessi, our lab/rott that likes to hunt rabbits. Koko, the min pin from hell, taught her to chill and chase butterflies. Beaver, the suicidal whippet, taught her not to be afraid when something runs by you as fast as they can go. Daisy, a cocker spaniel with fear issues, and Shasta, Daisy's puppy which has a deformed leg, were also part of the team. Annie relaxed and began to play with Daisy, and one day she started to run to the front of the kennel and bark to go out!!! I smiled from ear to ear the first time she not only barked but did the "sheltie prance".

A client stopped by and mentioned that her mother-in-law loved shelties. I told her to send her by to meet Annie. The rest is history. Annie has a new name and a great home with two other dogs and a family that loves her.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Annie, the Shutdown Sheltie

"She's a purebred sheltie, but she's so scared she won't eat and won't move away from the back of the kennel. " Animal control asked our group to take her for fear she would starve herself to death. She had been purchased from a breeder who advised the new owners to spray her in the face when she made a mistake. They did just that, and pretty soon Annie started hiding under the bed. They would have to crawl under the bed, grab her front paws, and drag her out. She started to potty under the bed which resulted in more spraying in the face. She also had developed the habit of spinning tight circles to the right almost constantly. They finally decided it was useless, and surrendered her to animal control.

I put her in a 5 ft. x 10 ft. kennel, and all she did was sit in a corner by her food and water. I became suspicious that she wasn't even moving around so put powder on the floor so I could see footprints, hoping to calm my fears that she was totally withdrawn. No footprints overnight! I took her outside and when I took the leash off to go clean her kennel, she would go to a corner of the play yard and sit there and not move till I went and got her. She didn't care about food, didn't care about being with a human, didn't care about being around another dog. Annie needed The Dream Team!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Our veterinarian called to say someone had dumped a puppy at his clinic - an emaciated, wormy, muddy, but very friendly and frightened, puppy. The vet offered to give him his vaccinations and worm him free of charge if we would take him. We took him home, cleaned him up, taught him to walk on a leash and sit. He was a terrible kennel dog - barked a lot, kept a messy kennel, but he had a good heart. We turned him out with Joe, a rott mix, and they played for hours.

In the meantime, we became acquainted with a rescue program that was willing to help us find homes for the private rescues, if we would foster some dogs for their organization. They put Jasper on Petfinder, and we got an inquiry from Chicago. Everyone involved was a bit nervous as this was out of state and a whole new concept. We asked for pictures, references, and did a google search of the address. Everything checked out okay, and my gut said to try it.

Jasper hit the jackpot! He lives in a condo on Lake Michigan, has a dog walker to take him out when the owner isn't able, sleeps on the bed, goes to the dog park, and is known as the mayor of Lake Shore Drive.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Min Pin, Judgment Day

So Koko made the short list again. The organization we foster with has limited resources and space, so we all try not to accept aggressive dogs because we have no outlet for them. If we fill up with aggressive dogs, we have to turn down the "people" dogs that we can save. What was going to happen to this little guy with so much fear of people that he bit to save himself?

There's that gut feeling again - I offered the rescue organization one whole dollar for him, and they accepted! Koko and I have worked together, gone to dog camp for six months, and made great strides. I can bathe him, trim his nails, brush him, and he has learned to sit, lie down, roll over, and shake. We have one more major hurdle, and that is his fear of people when he is OFF leash. Yep, now he feels safe when he walks by me on leash. I have a plan to accomplish that.

Koko, the dog from hell, is doing great, and we both look forward to butterfly season.

Min Pin, Part 2

At the end of the first week, Koko had a bite record - five total - a vet, 2 vet techs, my husband, and me. Because of liability issues, the rescue was headed toward euthanizing him. There's that gut feeling again - I asked for more time knowing full well he would not be adopted out.

I socialized him with my lab/rott female, a full 90 pounds larger than he was, and she liked him. We started pasture therapy with a 25 foot line so I could drape it over his back from time to time to get him used to a leash touching him. He needed to learn to relax on a leash, and he needed to stop fearing the world. He found something that he loved to do - chase butterflies in the hay field. We worked on recall, and after a week, I could turn him loose to just be a dog, and he would come back to me. One day it started to sprinkle, and when the rain hit him, he took off like a bat out of ____ for the house. Water was our next biggie.

About that time, a woman actually requested to adopt him. She called numerous times and insisted that she could handle him, and I cautioned her not to try to bathe him, but to leave him with me till I could rehab him past his fear of a bath. For the first four days she had him, she called telling me he was "the perfect dog" (I knew better), and casually mentioned that she wanted to give him a bath. Again, bring him back and let me do it, but she tried it herself. On the fifth day she called saying "he's the dog from hell, and I am bringing him back!" If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Min Pin from Hell

She thought she had made a big mistake - a min pin so aggressive she was seriously thinking of euthanizing. A neighbor had rescued him when the owners had wrapped a garden hose around his neck and thrown him against the house and then tried to drown him in the pool. Twice the neighbor asked the rescue group to take him, and the second time she got the job done.

They brought him to me in a crate, and when we let him out, he went ballistic, but you could see the pure fear in his eyes. He had learned to fight for his life, and he was darn good at it. The rescue coordinator apologized, but I told her to give me a week to see what we could do. Just that gut feeling again.

After the garden hose episode, he wanted no part of a leash touching him, and he broke three collars in 24 hours. We both got bit just applying flea preventive on him, so every day for a week we would put a few drops of water on his back to let him know it wasn't going to hurt him, and he wasn't going to drown. He was extremely food aggressive. If this had been a dog of 40 pounds or more, we would have needed major emergency room treatment on a daily basis.

Whippet, Part 4

A friend was at the veterinarian's office and mentioned to an older lady with a cane that we had a beagle female that needed a home. The older woman had lost her beloved dog recently and was looking for a new companion. When she came to meet the beagle, she walked through the kennel and after looking at the beagle said she just wasn't what she wanted. We continued walking and when she spotted Beaver she said "That's the one I want!" I told her the whole story, all of his bad habits and behavior, and she asked if she could meet him. Then I got that gut feeling that tells me to let it happen.

She walked him and he wasn't afraid of her cane, and he was a true gentleman. She bent over and asked him if he would love her. She wanted to take him home, and the gut feeling said to let him go.

He sleeps curled up next to her, hasn't had one accident in the house, never counter surfs, loves to ride in her truck with her, and has gained more weight. She brings him by to visit and they are a true match. Now I need to find a new member for my Dream Team, but that's just fine with me.

Whippet, Part 3

Beaver needed to decompress, and since he was already well socialized, we started "pasture therapy" with my lab/rott who loves to head to the hay field and woods and look for rabbits. After about a week of daily walks, I put him on the 50 foot rope and started recall. Eventually I could turn him loose and he would run like a racing whippet, and then circle back and check with me. After that, he would put his nose to the ground like the other dog, but he always kept me in sight and came when called. He was eating normally, gaining weight, not gorging himself with water, and stopped chewing on the 2 x 4.

I started using him to help other new rescues with their rehab. I called him, Jessi (my lab/rott) and Koko (the min pin from hell) the Dream Team. He had a job, and he loved it. Little did we know that his job would change.

Whippet, Part 2

The first day a rescue comes in is always an adventure, and if he was going to act like a kid throwing a major tantrum on medication, what was he going to be like the next day without his drugs? For two hours he paced, whined, jumped as high as he could trying to clear the fence, drooled, and then would quiet down and listen till he heard me moving around inside and start all over again. He finally gave it up, and when I went to get him, he growled and let me see his teeth when I reached to attach the leash, so I made a loop, caught him up, and we went walking. Once he settled down, I took him to his kennel, turned him loose with food and water, shut off the lights, and walked away till morning.

He had to wait in his 4 foot by 12 foot kennel till all the other dogs had been exercised, kennels cleaned, fed, and watered, and he didn't like it. He pitched another series of tantrums, the first one lasting 30 minutes. As the day progressed, they got shorter, and he never realized I could keep an eye on him the whole time. When I went to turn him out, he growled, but no teeth were bared, and he got a new name in view of the fact he was destroying the 2 x 4. We started calling him Beaver.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Suicidal Whippet, Part 1

If she couldn't find a rescue that would take him, she was going to euthanize him --- a show bred brindle and white whippet male, only 18 months old. He was a show dog till his ears started to stand up straight at one year old, and he was noted to be a wirey, unruly puppy. He was rehomed and, in spite of obedience classes, the dog park five days a week, and walks twice daily, his behavior became more odd and extreme. He counter surfed, food obsessed, gorged himself with water, destroyed items in the house if left alone, couldn't be crated without whining, drooling, and trying to escape, and lunged and snapped if someone was carrying food. He was rehomed again and taken to a behaviorist, who put him on medication, and a personal trainer who recommended a program to help resolve the problems. It was suggested that his behavior was genetic in origin, and someone labeled him as autistic.

I had worked with racing greyhounds and show dogs and horses, and had some idea of the demands of the job of being a show dog, so I told the owner to come out and meet me, look the place over, and see if she would be willing to let me try to help. She brought the whippet with her - a true basket case - drooling, whining, shaking like a leaf in a crate in the car. I gave her a tour, and when we were done, she agreed to leave him with me. At that point I told her to say her goodbyes because I would put him in an area where he was safe and he would stay there till he calmed down. She asked me if I wanted his blankets, toys, leashes, bowls, bed, and doggie coat. I told her to take them all home because we were starting all over as of that moment. We put him in the "safe" area, and he ran and jumped off the walls, whining, drooling, non-stop. As she left, I could tell she was having second thoughts about my tough love program.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Daisy May's Story, Part 5

No one had ever even given Daisy May a second look before. Not one person had ever asked anything about her, but this woman fell in love with her on the spot. We introduced them to each other, and it was a match made in heaven. She called her husband and boss and asked if she could take the dog home that night in the company van. The boss agreed.

So, Daisy May, the dumpster diva, the redneck beagle/hound mix with the Roman nose, found her forever home that night --- and I got offered a sales job with a door-to-door vacuum cleaner company.

Daisy May's Story, Part 4

We moved to Indiana to become caretakers and remodel what used to be a hog confinement into a kennel for rescue dogs. One evening, after a particularly long hard day, while washing dog dishes, my husband answered the door and came to get me saying a lady needed to talk to me. I had helped haul heavy steel hog crate material all day, plus take care of 30 dogs at the rescue at the time, and wasn't in the mood to deal with door-to-door salespeople. While I growled at him, I went to the door and the woman said she was selling vacuum cleaners and wanted to do a free demonstration. I turned her down, and she came back with the statement that her boss required that she do 3 demonstrations per day to collect a check, and, of course, told me she had two small children. I told her to come in, forget the demonstration because I wasn't buying a vacuum cleaner, but I would listen to her presentation and answer her questionnaire so she could get paid. Her husband unloaded the vacuum cleaner, and her boss and husband drove off to try to sell someone else a vacuum.

She presented her product, and we went to the questionnaire. She said the boss would grill her about my answers, so when she got to the question about "How would the features of this vacuum benefit you?" I told her the vacuum would come in handy for grooming dogs. This led to the inevitable "how many dogs do you have". It was cold, raining, but she wanted to see the dogs. All I really wanted was a hot shower, a hot meal, and a nap before bedtime in the recliner, but we went to the kennels.

Daisy May's Story, Part 3

I took her home with me. We lived in a very small house and there was a small 8x8 foot room that was perfect for her "den". I made sure she had food and water and let her settle for the night. After the lights were out, I heard her run full boar across the room, run over the top of me, and curl up between my body and the wall for the night. I took her back to the warehouse on Monday as I was informed that she wasn't my dog.

The next weekend came and still no one would commit to giving her a home. She went home with me, and I refused to return her.

I would take her out for exercise with my other dogs, but noticed that she would occasionally try to crawl up the fence and escape the yard. One day she crawled out of the fenced yard and took off. I couldn't find her, she wouldn't come when called. I called all the stores in town and the sheriff's department and let them know what had happened and to call me if she was spotted. With tears in my eyes I went to work not knowing what had happened to her. They had changed my schedule to second shift - it was a long day.

That night when I got home it was after 11 P.M. I left the porch light on, but there was no dog on the porch, no notes taped to the door. I sat in the car and tried to decide whether to drive around, go inside and check for phone messages, or maybe head for the barn to see if she was near the greyhounds' kennel. I opened the door to get out, and next thing I knew there was a brown and black Roman nosed beagle sitting in the middle of my lap licking my face. As I hugged her and wiped the tears from my eyes, my comment to her was "So what makes you think I want you back?"

That was the night she got the name Daisy May in honor of her redneck ways.