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.