Sunday, December 9, 2012

Melvin's Story

Goliath had been with us for over three years. We knew he had a bad heart, and even with the surgery and repair, his life span was compromised. He was nearly totally blind but loved to play with our border collie, also an "unadoptable" dog.  About a month ago Goliath had a massive stroke and passed away.  Melvin would have been about two weeks old at that time - and his future was in question.  Melvin is a purebred Australian shepherd with a problem back leg and a grade III heart murmur.  His owners were torn between euthanasia and giving him away. Another family had spoken up and said they wanted him, but Melvin's owners weren't sure it would work out.  When they brought the litter into the clinic for their puppy shots, I happened to be in the waiting area and heard Melvin's story. I felt that feeling in my gut that said I should speak up and offer to give him a home.

We exchanged email addresses, gave references, told them to check out the blog so they would have an idea of my experiences.  I told them that Melvin would be allowed to be the herding dog he was born and bred to be. Ms. Ellie, our border collie, would teach him to herd alpacas, and if he got tired, he could rest.  His heart condition will be a determining factor, as was Goliath's.   I knew if we were meant to have Melvin, it would happen - - - and it did.  Melvin is now a part of our home, learning to follow, learning his name, learning to sit on command, and also not to pick on the cats or chew up shoes and gloves.  He's a very good boy and the exercise he is getting seems to be helping his hind leg.  The swelling that was present when we got him is beginning to subside. 

So, my hubby got an old used manure spreader for Christmas, and I got Melvin!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Scruffy's Story

The policeman walked her through the front door, and Scruffy was growling at him.  His comment was that she didn't like him much.  He had to snare her to catch her, but it's part of his job to get strays off the streets.  We don't know how she ended up being a stray, or why no one came to claim her.  She was very scared and growled and barked at anyone who came near her.  She was elusive when it came time to put a leash on her to go in and out, and a couple of the employees at the office decided she had no chance at adoption and would probably have to be euthanized when her stray hold was up.  I hadn't been at the job very long and had been observing Scruffy's behavior.  I had seen many many frightened dogs that needed a little help getting past the bad experiences in their lives, so I started working with her over lunch when things were quiet and there was no one else around.   It took all of two days before she would allow me to pet her, put a leash on her, come when I called her, and then pick her up. She weighs about 20 pounds and if someone adopted her, they would definitely want to hold her in their arms. 

Scruffy made her debut as an adoptable dog right after that when I picked her up and walked her through he office.  Other employees asked if they could pet her, and she loved all the attention.  Attitudes changed and we kept waiting for someone to claim her.  It didn't happen.  Someone did express an interest in her, but said it would be at least three weeks before they could be sure. It fell through, and in that time two more strays were brought to the office as we are the local unofficial pound.  Space became a problem, as there were folks who wanted their dogs boarded over the Thanksgiving holiday. After almost six weeks at the pound,  Scruffy came home with me.

Scruffy is housebroken, crate trained, very friendly, loves attention, gets along well with other dogs, will chase a cat if it runs from her but will stop when told to quit.  She appears to be a shihtzu or llasa mix and could use a grooming.  When I brought her home, she curled up next to me in the car, put her head on my leg, and slept the whole way home.  She has obviously been loved and taken for rides in her past.  She appears to be around 3 years old.  She is current on vaccinations and will be spayed before adoption. She loves people and attention. 

Scruffy is being listed with Waverly Pet Rescue, Waverly, Iowa for adoption.  Please help me find a home for this wonderful little lady before Christmas!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Teenie - Left Behind

The elderly lady that owned Teenie and her friend, Princess, obviously loved them both dearly and took excellent care of them. However, the woman passed away and didn't make any arrangements for family members or friends to take the dogs, so they either had to find a rescue that would take them or go to a shelter.  Both dogs are considered seniors.  Waverly Pet Rescue was contacted and because they have only foster homes available and they were all full, the two dogs went to a veterinary clinic where they were boarded for over a month.  Someone met Teenie with the idea of adoption, but decided against her because she was "too fat". 

Waverly Pet Rescue has helped me find homes for dogs that I have taken in, so I offered to foster Teenie --- and boy, am I glad I did!  Teenie is a 7 year old beagle/terrier (probably Jack Russell) mix. She is a bit overweight at 21 pounds, but since I have a big shady back yard and believe in exercise, that is coming under control.  She knows what "sit" means, comes when she is called, is good on a leash, and is learning to go up and down stairs and not to jump up on people.  She's quiet, crate and house trained, and gets along with the other dogs.  I have had her for only two days, and already I can see that this little lady could end up being a "failed foster" - if no one steps up to adopt her fairly soon, she may just end up as part of our pack permanently!

One thing that I have noticed is that Teenie has been a "house dog" so long that she didn't really know how to relax and enjoy herself while off leash in the yard - but that is also changing and for the better. She gets more exercise now and is giving her beagle nose a good work out.

Somewhere out there is a forever home for Teenie.  Please, make arrangements for your pets to be cared for in the event that something happens to you - don't leave them behind with an uncertain future.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Okie, A Horse's Story

Okie is a grade (no registrations papers) gelding, 5 years old.  He was living in Oklahoma which was going through a major drought and suffering from a pasture and hay shortage, which may help to account for the fact that Okie was terribly thin.  A friend knew that we were looking for a well broke horse for someone who hadn't ridden in many years.  He was told that Okie was well broke, had been ridden many many miles, so he brought him home.  The other horses rapidly pushed him to the bottom of the feed line, so Okie wasn't able to get his share, and there was no way to separate him and feed Okie separately to guarantee he got his groceries.  We told our friend to bring him to us. 

Okie had ribs showing, had gotten kicked in the mouth and was having trouble eating when he arrived.  We wormed him with Strongid C and followed it up 10 days later with Ivermectin. He started to shed the long guard hairs of a wormy horse.  We made sure he had pasture and plenty to eat.

Personality wise, Okie is kind, doesn't want to hurt anyone.  He is at the bottom of the pecking order here as well.  However, he told us that he didn't like his previous job.  He didn't want to be caught, would guard his right side, and you could see the fear in his eyes when we approached.  So, I grabbed my trusty curry comb as he was shedding and started rubbing and brushing, no halter, to let him know that I meant no harm.  We had to start somewhere.  I took a little while, but he finally relaxed and his eyes became soft, liquid pools - relaxed and trusting. 

We then had friends ask us if we wanted to turn a couple of horses out to clean up an overgrown pasture - so we accepted and turned him out with another horse to graze and fatten up. 

We are going to go get both horses tomorrow, and then we will see how well broke Okie is now that he has gained over 200 pounds and is worm free.  He may not be the horse we are looking for and it may be necessary to find him a new home, but he now has a chance at a long and happy life.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Where There's a Will ---

Where there's a will, a male Jack Russell terrier/chihuahua mix male will breed a lab/hound mix female. The result is shown in the photo.

The owners of the parents never thought the small male would be able to accomplish his deed, so they never had the female spayed, nor the male neutered. They had never had puppies before and did not realize the female was pregnant. They thought she was just getting fat and lazy till December 10, 2011 when their son called and told them the female had had a puppy on the day bed. Shocked, they got home to find 7 live puppies, one proud momma, and one dad with a grin. Where there's a will - - -

Earlier this week I was checking Craigslist as I often do, because sometimes there are highly adoptable dogs that are being given away "free to good homes" or they will be taken to a kill shelter. If I can help by rescuing the dogs and putting them with a responsible rescue to rehome, I offer. I always tell the owners what my intentions are right up front, and sometimes they are okay with it and sometimes they are offended, and sometimes just plain angry. Oh well, can't win them all.

This particular family is leaving the state for a week this evening and contacted me to say that they had at least 8 emails from people who wanted the pups. There were only three left, one male and the two girls pictured. I told the family to let me know if they needed me. This morning I got an email stating that the people never showed up and offering to bring me the puppies. Olivia and Minnie arrived around 10 this morning. They have been well cared for, have been to the vet for their first series of vaccinations and a worming, and have obviously been loved. They won't go to a kill shelter, but will be here with me till I can make arrangements with a local rescue to help me find them homes.

The owner said she has a new respect for rescues as she found out how many people say things they don't mean, leave you high and dry, and are no shows. I told her that I would never rehome a dog with anyone who didn't show up for a scheduled appointment and didn't call to explain why - it shows that they are irresponsible and would put something else ahead of the welfare of the animal. Granted, there are emergency situations that arise, but those are usually rare.

So, the male JR/chihuahua mix has been neutered, and mom is scheduled to be spayed. Olivia and Minnie are on their way to a new home. Yep, where there's a will, there's a way!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mother Nature's Role in Rescue

Callie, a one year old lab/greyhound mix, was found as a stray by a family. She was extremely thin and had some skin issues so they took her to the vet and found that she had a chip. The family and the vet's office made several attempts to call the owners, but the phone had been disconnected. Callie had been taught basic commands and was housebroken, got along with the two dogs already present, and she started creeping into their hearts right off. The vet's office suggested that they send a letter to the address and give the original owners 10 days to claim her. While this was transpiring, one of their employees got hold of me and asked if I would take her in if the original owners didn't claim her. The new family had two dogs and had decided that three was just too many.

I immediately started making arrangements to work with a local rescue that has been absolutely wonderful about helping out. Since Callie was now 2 hours away, transporting her would have to wait for the ten days to go by, and then till the weekend to make the trip. Meanwhile, I asked her new family to find out as much about her and her veterinary records as possible. We found that she was spayed, vaccinated but due for rabies and distemper shots. The new family had their vet treat her skin issues, test her for heartworms, got her flea preventive, and put her on heartworm preventive. When the 10 days were up, no one had responded, and I got an email stating that they needed to bring her to me as the longer they had her, the harder it was going to be to part with her. I suggested that they find a rescue closer to them and ask to have them post her on Petfinder, so that they could participate in her adoption. After all, they obviously loved her and were taking excellent care of her. They could foster her for the rescue till she was adopted. The family said they needed to move her on as they were getting extremely attached to her and arrangements were made to transport her to me over the weekend. Silently I prayed that they would change their minds and decide to keep her, as they were obviously a great match.

Good old Mother Nature helped with some divine intervention --- we had our first big snowstorm of the winter with snow, subzero temperatures, blowing snow. Main highways were reported as snow and ice packed and driving was discouraged. We told them to wait, and we would make other arrangements.

This morning I got an email stating that the new family had had the weekend to talk things over, and since they love Callie so much and she has been with them for three weeks and it's been working out just fine --- they are going to keep her!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Chow's Story

She brought me a red chow with the explanation that she had to move out of the house and couldn't find a place that would allow the dog. It's an often given reason to surrender a dog. However, she loved him, called him "angel baby doll", and wanted him back. My boss told me to take the dog but she had to come out to the kennel every day to exercise and clean and feed him. It was obvious the dog had some aggression issues, but nothing was said or offered. The owner had been sobbing, was obviously depressed.

As time went on, the dog did well for me when she wasn't there, but when she was, he would be wary. I would walk along with her, pieces of hot dog in my pocket, working on socializing him. I have had many chows of my own in the past and I like the breed and wanted to do what I could to help him in case she couldn't take him back. In the process she told me she had had an excellent job, good pay, good benefits, but when the auto industry fell apart, she got laid off and couldn't find anything that paid as well. She had lost her home, was in danger of losing her vehicle, and was so depressed. Her eyes were always puffy and her hair was always a mess - very unkept. I would walk along and one day told her about how my husband, kids, and I had lived around race tracks without a decent income, and many times we were down to our last few dollars. I told her that she had to have faith, but she also needed to get up and find something that would give her a pay check, even if it wasn't what she was used to, until something better came along.

About six weeks after "angel baby doll" came to me, we were exercising him and sat down on a step to talk. She had gotten a call from someone who wanted her to work at a convenience store. Not a great wage, but a job. She was worried that she wouldn't be able to come take care of "ABD" if she was working days. "ABD" was improving, still better when she wasn't there, and as if he knew, came over to me and wanted a back rub. He did this twice. However, the second time, the owner was overcome with emotion because the dog was accepting me, and reached over me to pet him. He immediately tore into me in nothing short of a vicious attack. When she reached to grab him, he started to turn on her, and when I blocked it, he got my other arm. Fortunately, he didn't try to grab my face or throat. She told me she didn't know what to do, and I told her to grab his collar and pull him away, then put him away, and come to the house to help me dress my arms and talk.

While she helped me with a sanitary pad pressure dressing (I have since learned to keep first aid supplies on hand at all times), she told me that she had lived with at least two men who were abusive, and "ABD" had protected her. As a matter of fact, the last one had been attacked the day before she came to me, and that's why she had to move out. I wish she had told me up front about that! She said she was taking the job, would be working days, and she wanted the dog euthanized so he wouldn't hurt anyone else.

I saw her again at the convenience store, and she was doing better, and understood that the lesser job was the right thing to do. A year later I met her in Walmart. She looked radiant, hair shiny and beautiful, no puffy eyes, smile on her face, makeup, dressed nicely. She told me that she had stayed at the convenience store till "something better came along". She had her own apartment, a good job, managed to keep her vehicle, and was very happy. She apologized for what had happened, but said she was grateful that we met when we did.

So. "Angel Baby Doll" in his own way saved a human.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cody and Bear

Cody, a purebred chocolate lab female, and Bear, a purebred black lab male, were found by a neighbor over the long holiday weekend. Since the neighbor is known for rescuing dumped dogs and cats, she automatically assumed that they were dumped. She called several rescues which were closed for the holiday weekend, and as soon as she could took both dogs to the local veterinarian to see if they were microchipped. Since it's a small town, there is always the possibility that the staff at the vet's office would recognize the dogs and be able to contact the owners. They weren't chipped. The neighbor couldn't keep them at her house as she is getting ready to leave town for several days, so she asked if the vet's office could take them in as they are the unofficial pound for the area. No room at the inn. The vet's staff called me to see if I had room to keep them and find the owners, a rescue, or rehome them.

Cody and Bear were brought to me, and I immediately started contacting a rescue that has helped us out before. A couple of hours later, thanks to the sheriff's department, the owners made contact and said they would pick them up. It seems they have "electronic fencing" and in the bad weather over the long weekend, the fencing failed and the dogs took off on a hunt.

I made sure that the owners knew how close they came to losing these two great dogs forever. If the rescues that were contacted in the larger cities had taken them in, they would have been considered "owner surrenders" and might have been euthanized for space. If the vet's office hadn't known that I have extra kennel space available, they might have been forced to do the same. Not to mention the fact that if some of the other rescues had had space or been open, Cody and Bear might have ended up so far from home that they wouldn't have been found. I strongly encouraged the owners to microchip their wonderful dogs. I had two people that I already know interested in Cody - she would have had a new home within 48 hours.

In the process, we might have found a home for one of my rescues that was once considered "very difficult to adopt". Ms. Ellie, the border collie, would flat foot a 6 ft. fence, get bored and chew stuff up, and has a fear of thunder and gunshots. She no longer jumps the fence, doesn't chew stuff up, and her fear of thunder is much less. She helps us herd the alpacas, but it isn't the perfect situation, as the llamas and alpacas aren't real fond of dogs. The neighbor's father has a farm and a herd of cattle, not to mention a six year old border collie male. He's looking for a younger dog to help him herd cattle and learn from the older dog. We are going to give her a chance at a life that will fulfill her better than we can. Bottom line is that if it doesn't work, they bring her back to us. Thanks Cody and Bear for helping us find what just might be the perfect home for our sweet Ellie!