Saturday, December 26, 2009

My New Year wish ...

My mom has the prayer of St. Francis up in her writing/meditation room. I love it and wanted to share it with you. My wish for 2010 is that I can make at least one kid happy ... make one kid smile ... make one kid feel hope ... My wish is to continue volunteering at The Lab with my mom as a Pet Partner team (along with auntie Danielle and Sharpie of Canine Coach) and that there will be more teams out there making more kids smile.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace
where there is hatred .... let me sow love
where there is injury ... let me sow pardon
where there is doubt ... let me sow faith
where there is despair ... let me sow hope
where there is darkness ... let me sow light
where there is sadness ... let me sow joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
to be loved as to love
for it is in giving that we receive
pardoning that we are pardoned
and dying that we are born to eternal life.

I also wish for my rescuer Karen up at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue whom I believe is the Mother Theresa of animals up at Red Lake to have the strength, support and all she needs to keep doing the work she is doing. I owe my life to her and for that I will always be grateful.

Namaste Karen and Happy New Year dear Karen ... or as they would say in ojibway "Aabita Biboon"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Your chance to make a kid happy!

I volunteer at The Lab in their animal assisted education programs working with special ed youth. Yes, it's the coolest program. I volunteer along with my pal Sharpie (he's a toy aussie). Sharpie's mom Danielle of the Canine Coach facilitates these groups and mom assists her. Last Thursday was our last group session (we had met for seven weeks). It was so cool to see how much these kids came out of their shells. This one kid "S" was even dancing with me one week as we were practicing "go to your place." I remember the first time i met "S" ... he wouldn't even talk or look at anyone with his head down all the time. You should've seen him last week ... I got a big hug from him and a high five! Okay, he wanted to do a high five (which is what Sharpie knows) but I only know how to shake ... so he settled for a "shake" :)

They wanted to have a souvenir of us but we couldn't give them anything. We took some photos and I would've loved to have given them a photo of us but The Lab doesn't have enough money to buy a photo printer. They're trying to raise enough money so that at the end of every group every kid can have their photo taken with me (and of course Sharpie!) and we can print it out right away and give it to them.

Do you have a few bucks to spare and would you consider donating to The Lab through Donors Choose so that The Lab can get a photo printer. Sharpie and I are signed up again to volunteer with a couple group of kids beginning in January. It would be soooo cool to have a photo printer.

Here's the link to where you can donate to The Lab so they can purchase a photo printer for their animal assisted education programs. Can you imagine the big smile on their faces when my mom gives them a photo taken with Sharpie and myself??? Of course, I will want a copy for my scrap book too! And so will Sharpie!

Ahnung & Sharpie

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Temporary foster home needed for veteran

My mom just got this email from Janna (who assisted in teaching the therapy dog class I just completed through Canine Coach. Janna volunteers with an organization called Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pets whose mission is "Supporting our military service members, veterans, and their beloved pets to ensure the pets are reunited with their owners following deployment or emergency hardship."

"Hi Marilou,

I remembered Barb telling me that you were involved with Pet Haven. I really hate to do this, but I'm getting desperate. I don't know if I mentioned it in class, but I help charter and volunteer with a local chapter of a non-profit organization called Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet. We provide temporary foster homes for active military and veterans.

Right now we have a case that we are struggling with. We need to find a foster home for a 15 month old, spayed, female American Bulldog named Dakota. According to her application, she is 61+ lbs. She needs safe haven for 8 weeks (Early Jan - End Feb) while Mom/Dad go to Washington State for Bone Marrow transplant procedure. Dad is a twice deployed to Iraq active military on medical leave. He was exposed to radiation while in Iraq and now has extreme complications due to that exposure. The wife can only go for 2 months - he'll be there for up to 6 months for treatment. Basically, he is dying and this surgery is to help extend his life. So we desperately trying to find a foster home for them to help alleviate some of the stress of an already very stressful situation.

Dakota is not cat tested, nor has she really been around young kids. She's an active girl, and does have some allergy issues that are controlled with a regular bath. Looking at their application, she's been fed cheap dog food so this may be more of a food allergy thing than an actual skin thing. Their fear with kids is just that she may jump on them not that she'd intentionally harm them. She is crate trained and house trained. She has been to the dog park and does well, but also has shown some reactivity towards other female dogs. It's been recommended to us that she not be placed in a home with another female dog, but she should be fine in continuing to go the dog park or living with male dog.

The family is willing to pay for all expenses while Dakota is being fostered (food, vet care, any boarding if the foster home has to go out of town, ect.).

If you know of anyone who might be willing to take Dakota in, please have them contact Janna at or fill out an application through"

Would you consider providing a temporary foster home for Dakota? Our veterans do so much for us .... please consider providing a temporary foster home for Dakota so that his dad when he returns from Washington state after his bone marrow transplant can be reunited with his furry family member.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Help my friends this winter at Red Lake Rosie's

My auntie Laura has initiated a fundraiser to try to help my rescuer Karen up at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue. On auntie Laura's last trip a puppy Clarence almost froze to death (he's the cute black puppy on the left). Read auntie Laura's blog for his story from her last trip up north. If it weren't for Karen, Clarence would be dead. If it weren't for Karen, I would also be dead. Like Clarence we would've frozen to death. I ask you to read stories from the Red Lake Rosie's blog .... Karen is truly the Mother Theresa of saints. She is tired and desperately needs our help. Auntie Laura has started the Clarence fund. I pulled this from her blog:

"The Clarence Fund will collect funds through the end of the year to pay for a worker to help Karen this winter.

The goal would be to have a helper for 5 hours a day 5 days a week at $10 an hour for three months. That is $1000 a month-$3000 total. That is just not that much money and it would mean the world to Karen. Rescue Buddy Boarding will start it off with $250 for the first week. Can anyone match this? Or $50 for one day? Even an hour's pay of $10 would be greatly appreciated!

Please make checks out to: Red Lake Rosie's Rescue. Mark Clarence Fund in the memo.

Mail them to: Rescue Buddy Boarding
2211 Pierce St Ne
Mpls, MN 55418

Checks will be mailed all together to Karen in two weeks.

A year ago I was struggling to survive as well. Now I get to sleep on a couch or an LL Bean bed with my name on it ... or volunteer with at-risk youth as a therapy dog ... I get to hang out with my mom at events to represent Pet Haven and homeless dogs. My life is good now and I know I am one of the lucky ones. I know I am here today because of Karen Good up at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue. I am here today because Pet Haven took me in.

Auntie Laura is kicking off the Clarence Fund with a $250 donation. Our goal is $3,000 before the end of the year.

As Auntie Laura says, any amount will help.

I will give $100 out of my doggie food allowance for the Clarence Fund. Please consider giving any amount ... make your check out to Red Lake Rosie's Rescue and mail it to address above. It's your chance for your last year end tax-deductible donation ... and just know that with your donation you are helping save a puppy from freezing this winter.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My bumps are just harmless lumps...

Okay ... mom just talked to the vet who had the lab results. She said some fancy word "cytology" something :) Anyway, Dr. Jim told my mom that they didn't find anything live ... and said the word my mom wanted to hear - 'benign'!! :) They suspect some trauma as they didn't see any bacteria either. My mom says she noticed I had two little bumps last year when she brought me home and they looked like scar tissue from some injury. She said they were small. Their former dog Shadow also had scars like that and my mom later found out that he had been shot when lead showed up in an xray of his head when they were trying to figure out why he was having seizures. I know ... I know ... I should be able to tell you exactly what happened right? Since I have a pellet in one my nipples I guess it's also possible I was shot like Shadow ...

Anyway, Dr. Jim has told my mom to really study my ears. If I continue to grow lumps then they want to do a "culture". My mom also doesn't want to take any chances so she's taking me back to the vet tomorrow so they can draw some blood and do a complete blood profile and check my thyroid. I keep telling my mom "I'm fine.... stop worrying!!" To tell you the truth she should be more worried about herself. She has some GI xray scheduled for Wednesday (her doctors aren't happy with how she keeps losing weight!) then surgery (lumpectomy) scheduled for Monday. I'm more worried about her. It's pretty funny though ... I've stumped my doctors as to these bumps on my ear ... and my mom has stumped her doctors on her weight loss and digestive problems. I think we're not only the Pet Partner Therapy team ... we're the Stump the Doctor Team!! :)

So for now ... i'm telling my mom ... my bumps are just harmless lumps.

Thanks everyone for all your thoughts and prayers ....


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Officially a Therapy Dog!

This past Tuesday, my mom and I took our test through Delta Society .... we were being evaluated/tested as a Pet Partner Team. After 8 weeks of going to therapy dog class at The Canine Coach, simultaneously taking other obedience classes with Danielle of The Canine Coach, I was ready!! Besides, I have already been volunteering with at-risk youth at The Lab and many have told my mom that i'm a natural at this therapy dog stuff ... that's what Humans call this work I do naturally. Hey .... if it makes them happy to call it something and if I have to pass some test to prove to them that I can do it, well ... that's fine. Don't tell my mom, but I think it was more about making sure she could hold her end of the bargain :) She tells everyone she's so proud of me. Well, you know what ... I'm really proud of her too. Our therapy dog class was at 8 pm and there were times she was really tired and didn't feel so good, but she packed up my bag, put on my leash, and we would head out to class no matter what. What a trooper!

So ... on Tuesday, along with two of my classmates (Trugen and Skye) we got tested and we all passed! I was pretty pooped after the test so I just crashed while my mom had to do some paperwork and watch a video on this really cool dog Sasha who is doing incredible work as a therapy dog. Sasha was featured on Fox9 News ... maybe some day I'll also get to be featured on TV.

Now that i'm officially a registered therapy dog (well ... after my mom completes and sends in all the paperwork!) I need to get my mom to work on my resume and my business cards. I've met other therapy dogs in my volunteer work and they all have business cards. I should have one too! It will be a tough decision for me to decide which one of model poses to use :) Or maybe I should have my mom take more photos of me :)

I slept so hard Tuesday night and the next morning our backyard was covered with snow. My mom let me out to do my business .... I used to love the snow but now I just quickly do my business and ask to be let back into the house. I want to make sure mom knows that I have no desire to be an outside dog again. A little over a year ago I was having to fend for myself up at the Red Lake reservation and it was no fun having to scrounge for food, protect myself and sleep outside in the frigid cold. Yes, I much prefer my mom's red couch to sleep on!! [Thanks again to Karen of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue for rescuing me and my pups!]

Stayed tuned my friends .. now that my mom and I are a Pet Partner team we are going to be doing even more volunteer work! I think my mom is also checking into us volunteering as a pet therapy team at a hospice. There's apparently a big need for pet therapy teams so I think it's time for us to jump right in!!

To my friends ..... I highly encourage you to convince your Humans to take you through therapy dog training and to become registered. Not only is it fun, but it's rewarding and healing for the people we work with, for the canine (okay, that's me!), for my Human and is a great bonding experience for us. Sounds like a WIN/WIN/WIN all around!! :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Give the gift of Hope

Last Thursday I got to hang out with the kids at The Lab again. This is week 5 of working with a small group of at-risk youth through a program of St. Paul Public Schools called The Lab. I had to miss our last session as my mom was in the Philippines visiting her mom. I'm so glad we got to go class Thursday. We assist Danielle G of Canine Coach who volunteers her time and leads these session. Danielle is so cool. I love her. She's also been my teacher in all my obedience classes at Canine Coach. The past couple groups she's brought her dog Sharpie who is a toy aussie. I like Sharpie. He's a young one :) Sometimes I have to give him this look when he keeps pestering me wanting to play ... he's always showing off all these tricks to the kids. On week 3 he showed them he knows how to "shake" ... so guess what, mom taught me how to shake that week so that I could go back and show "R" that I'm as good as Sharpie and that I could also shake. All the kids are great ... i've especially bonded with "R". I think "J" is especially bonded with Sharpie. And "S" ... well, he seems to bond with both of us!

Last week Danielle taught "R", "J" and "S" the "drop it" command showing the parallel of the different ways we can get someone to give up something valuable: a rough forceful way or a kind and compassionate way. They stuffed these toys with the most delicious smelling beef jerky treats then let us play with it .... next she dropped even more scrumptuous treats next to me and I hear in a pleasant voice "drop it" ... i'm no dummy, I drop the toy and go after the even better treats she just dropped!

We also played this relay race game. The kids took turns. They teamed up with Sharpie or me and had to get us to sit and stay, then they ran to the other end of the room and had to call us and get us to come. The first one there wins. Well, I lost all 3 times! But it's no fair. I'm older, have bad knees and am 3 times the size of Sharpie. Next time I am going to demand from Danielle that I get a 10 ft lead! :) The kids didn't care ... they love me even if i'm a little slow to get to the other end of the room :)

I have gotten to know "R", "J" and "S" over the 5 weeks. I remember how withdrawn they were when we first met. It's so amazing to see how much they have opened up. Last week "R" who came in the group with a check in number of "6" (at the beginning of each session we ask them to rate how they are feeling on a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being i feel horrible and would rather not be here to 10 being i feel great! "R" came in with a 6. At check out he was a 10! When asked what helped ... he said "the dogs make me feel much better." I remember week 1 a little over a month ago .. their numbers ranged from 3 to 5 at check-in. Now even when something not so pleasant happens at school before they come for our session, or they get "in trouble" ... they come on Thursdays to work with Danielle, myself, Sharpie and Ahnung. They come with a smile on their face and a bounce in their step. They share more of their heart with us. They share more of their beautiful selves.

Hope. I see it in their hearts; i feel it in their spirit.

Hope. It's the most precious gift we can give to someone and to ourselves this holiday.

Please consider volunteering or donating to The Lab. And if you would like to sign up for obedience classes or therapy dog class I highly recommend The Canine Coach!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Doctor Dog ... in Asia I'd be Dr. Ahnung!

After a two week break I'm heading back to my Animal Assisted dog therapy class on Tuesday ... my Human better start practicing with me again if she doesn't want me to embarrass her :) She told me about this cool program called Doctor Dog, an Animal Assisted Therapy program, offered through the Animals Asia Foundation.

From their website:

"Dr Dog is an innovative animal therapy programme that provides people with what they need most - a best friend!

Pioneered by Animals Asia Founder, Jill Robinson, the concept of animal therapy in Asia began with just one dog and a vision to promote animal welfare through people welfare. Dr. Max - a gentle golden giant - was allowed just one hour in the garden of the Duchess of Kent Children's Hospital in was a visit that was to mark the start of a positive change in the public's perception of dogs and following in Max's healing paw prints, the Dr. Dog programme has grown quite literally in leaps and bounds!

Over 300 'Canine Consultants', registered as official Animals Asia animal therapy dogs and teams of enthusiastic volunteers make regular visits to hospitals, disabled centres, homes for the young and elderly, orphanages and schools, spreading warmth and unconditional love to people in need in 6 countries across Asia.

"When considered in the light of the millions of dogs and cats, slaughtered for food each year in markets across Asia, our Dr. Dog programme is so much more than a source of support for people.... it represents the driving force behind a new movement to promote the concept of animal welfare in Asia and give hope to the many animals that lie forgotten.

The key role of the Dr. Dog programme in our "Friends....or Food?" campaign is to encourage a respect for all life at a grass roots level, whilst demonstrating the mutually beneficial relationship between people and animals. Our dedicated Dr. Dogs represent a growing number of animal ambassadors working in valuable community roles to help both people and animals in need.

Next week i'll be graduating from my animal assisted therapy class ... I can't wait!!! On Thursday, i'm going to "work" at The Lab again. I'm hoping the kids missed me as much as I missed them!! If I were able to volunteer with the Doctor Dog program in Asia I would be called Dr. Ahnung .... hmmm, I kinda like how that sounds -- it suits me nicely!! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My homeless friends at the other end of the world

My Human just returned a few days ago from her long journey home to the Philippines to see her mom. While she was there she went to visit the animal shelter, Philippines Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Like Pet Haven, the rescue my Human runs here in Minnesota, PAWS is run entirely by volunteers. I pulled the following off of the Humane Society website:

"By trade she is officer for a local bank, but Anna Hashim-Cabrera would tell you that her full-time job—and true passion—is helping animals. She is the dedicated director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, one of the first three groups to be recognized as an HSI Animal Advocate in 2000.

PAWS has a long history of developing awareness and compassion for animals in the Philippines. Established in 1954 by British educator Muriel Jay, PAWS was lifted from dormancy in 1986 by Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco, its current president, and has since grown into an organization that boasts many notable accomplishments.

Among these are the passage of the Philippine's first national animal welfare law, the Animal Welfare Act in 1998, and the establishment of the country's first animal shelter, the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center. This center provides for more than 180 dogs and cats and runs an effective adoption program.

PAWS staff is comprised of hard-working volunteers who dedicate their free time and vibrant personalities to the cause of assisting animals all over the country and beyond.

PAWS' Dr. Dog program brings loving therapy dogs to children's hospitals all over the Manila metro area. These dogs have brought so much joy to so many ailing children that the Dr. Dog program has become a sensation.

At first, it was difficult to convince hospital staff to allow the dogs because of the misconception that they were not clean and carried bacteria. When an autistic child who had not spoken to anyone began to speak freely to Dr. Freckles, an original Dr. Dog, staff were convinced that animals were just the remedy these children needed.

A win-win program, Dr. Dog provides comfort and emotional healing for disabled children, and educates the public about the value of animals in our society. In the Philippines, there are still people who still support the idea of killing and consuming dogs. PAWS hopes to change that by demonstrating how beneficial they are to humans.

Dr. Dog is a program run by Animals Asia; PAWS is Animals Asia's Philippines coordinator.

In April 2006, PAWS was primarily responsible for a huge legal victory in a Northern Philippine province of Benguet. This province sought to take advantage of a loophole in the 1998 Animal Welfare Act, which allows the consumption of dog meat as a cultural and ritual practice, but not for commercial purposes.

PAWS gathered evidence that Benguet's dog meat trade sprung not from "cultural practice" but from commercial interests. With the help of other local animal welfare groups, a worldwide letter-writing campaign and persistent negotiations, the government of Benguet relented.

In late May 2006, PAWS met with the National Meat Inspection Services, a division of the Philippine Department of Agriculture. Some of the main goals of this meeting, sponsored by HSI, were to close the loophole, prevent circumvention of the law and establish clear methods for enforcing the law.

Humane Society International commends PAWS for its hard work and commitment to animal welfare.

PAWS is also featured in a story on the Best Friends website in their recent efforts to help animals during the floods:

PAWS accompanied the Armed Forces of the Philippines (they had rubber boats) to assist them in distributing relief goods to the residents - and also of course, to help animals who needed to be rescued.

We soon came across our first rescue, a dog shivering and looking absolutely lost as she was perched on an unfinished part of a house already flooded up to the window sill level. We asked around and people said the dog had no owner, and nobody had gone back for her or fed her.

PAWS' Rescue Team Head - Dr. Nielsen Donato- went in to get her. It was a fairly easy rescue. She had nowhere to retreat to--everything was surrounded in water.

'When Nielsen handed her over to me, a Philippine Star photojournalist snapped a photo, and it made front page.'

'We named her Julia.'

My friends at the other end of the world need help. I'm so glad they have someone there fighting on their behalf. The woman who runs it sounds just like my rescuer Karen Good of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Volunteering at The Lab

This past Thursday I had a chance to "work" again .... this was week 3 of working with the same group of kids at The Lab (a program of St. Paul Public Schools). It's so amazing to see how far the kids have come in 3 weeks. I could tell they were excited to be there ... as soon as they arrived I got hugs and pats from my new friends. Yes, they are my new friends. I especially like this one kid, "R"..... towards the end of the class session we got to go for a walk and "R" wanted to walk me. We just walked in the corridors of the school. I kept looking at him and he kept looking at me. My Human was close behind me (I guess keeping close tabs on us! ;-) He looked at me with these really kind, gentle eyes and said "Ahnung ... you okay?" Awww.... that made me feel so good. He cares about me and he wants to make sure i'm okay. My Human tells me that that is HUGE for these kids.

"R" wanted me to shake but my Human had never taught me that .... well, this week, we worked on it and now I know how to "shake." I can't wait to go back so I can show "R" that I know how to shake. Well, my Human says it borders on slapping and not shaking ... well, we can't all be perfect, right??? My Human is going to the Philippines next week so we're going to miss the next session at The Lab. I'm going to miss working with the kids and especially "R" but I'll be there for the last session. I'm hoping we can have a group photo shot.

I just love volunteering at The Lab!

And one more thing ... did I tell you, that by next month i will be a registered Therapy Dog!! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Therapy Dog in Training

It's hard to believe i'm half way through my therapy dog training class that i'm taking through Canine Coach. I have class again tonight. My Human has been really good this week and has taken me lots of places ... we went to Chuck & Don's (my favorite store!), Tires Plus, and of course the big Pet Haven Fall Benefit where I was a star! :) The photo on the left was taken at the Fall Benefit. I also got to work on Thursday at The Lab with at-risk youth of St. Paul Public Schools. My lesson plan was to "talk" about trust and boundaries. I really connected with this one kid .... I think he really liked me to. After my mom got done sharing my story, he said "I can really feel Ahnung's pain." At the end of the 45 minute class period, he came up to me and gave me a big hug. I could tell he didn't want to leave. I gave him one of my photos and told him I would be back next week (i'll be seeing him again on Thursday!). I can also relate to the pain these kids feel. It was hard for me to trust at first too.

I really love working with the kids at The Lab. I'm so glad they love having me around too. We're helping rescue each other.

Monday, November 9, 2009

2009 Pet Haven Fall Benefit

My Human is the president of Pet Haven so she got to speak again at their largest fundraiser this past Saturday, their third annual Fall Benefit! This year, I got to be a part of her presentation and I got to hang out at the benefit. Oh, it was so much fun! My Human didn't bring her camera so I don't have any photos to show you as proof I was there so you'll just have to take my word! She shared my story as an example of the "special needs" dogs that Pet Haven takes in-- like many of my other friends we came into Pet Haven with heartworm and they spent lots of money to help us get well and treated for heartworm. My job for the benefit was to try to raise LOTs of money for my friends.

She showed the photo of me when she first met me in October, 2008 (yes, it's a sad looking photo of me!). She then showed them where I slept when she came back up to Red Lake to pick me up in November, 2008 (in an igloo as part of the big dog clan). It sure was cold sleeping outside!

Then finally she showed them where I NOW get to sleep ... ahhh, this is the life ... getting to share the red couch with my siblings Mister and Missy! Sometimes even Henry the kitty joins us on the couch! She also shared with them how i'm a Canine Good Citizen and a Therapy Dog in training and how i'm already volunteering with at-risk youth at The Lab!

I then issued a challenge to the 250 people that came to the event (yes, it was SOLD OUT!) ... i would match dollar for dollar all donations up to $1,000 (now, that's a large chunk of my doggie allowance!). I haven't heard the final numbers yet but preliminary estimates say we raised over $3,500 just from my plea!! :) Now how's that for a girl with such a rough start!

My Human then played the following video ... make sure you have tissue by your side :) [Music is by Josh Groban: "Don't Give up"]

Thanks to everyone who came and helped make the event a HUGE success!! You should've also seen the fashion show .. as soon as I get photos from Sarah Beth Photography who was there again this year to take photos of the pet fashion show, i'll let you know! I'm hoping a couple of them find their forever homes as a result of the terrific fashion show!

One last thing ... Photographer's Guild, who took this great photo of me on the right, is offering to donate the cost of a photo sitting session to Pet Haven ... all you have to do is mention "Pet Haven" -- so be sure to call and schedule a session!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Rescuer Karen needs help!

My rescuer Karen up at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue needs your help! Winter is approaching and Karen is doing all the work by herself (she recently lost her helper). The following email was sent out with a plea for help:

"Karen needs to get the tarps up on all of the kennels, but she cannot do it alone and with all of her other work. She really needs help to get this done. With the wet weather, the kennels/pens/straw get soaking wet, and the animals aren't protected from the cold winds. Can anyone go up on the weekend after the clinic (11/13-15) and help to put on the tarps?

   FYI: Karen is quite overburdened with animals right now and with the spay/neuter clinic coming up, there will be surrenders. The shelter is more than full, so there is no room for surrenders. If any of you know anyone who might be able to foster puppies or a dog, it would really help. Also, with Mike gone, Karen is doing everything alone and teaching, too. She has about 20 puppies and many young adult dogs, several with litters. She also has lots of cats, which are very time-consuming to care for."

If you are able to help you can contact DeeDee at

The following video will give you a sense of the amazing work that Karen at Red Lake Rosie's does to help abandoned, abused and neglected animals:

Monday, October 26, 2009

I love Photographers Guild!

I just love the Photographers Guild! I had a photo shoot with them earlier this year (it was a fundraiser they were having to raise money for Pet Haven). Not only were they doing a good thing helping raise money for my homeless friends ... but they took such great photos of me .... AND i'm also featured on their pet page of their website.

YES ... I just love them! And the owner of Photographers Guild is a really cool guy! He's such a huge supporter of Pet Haven and they are so generous!

I have a movie from my photo shoot at Photographers Guild ....

check it out!! And to all my furry friends ... tell your Human to schedule a photo shoot at Photographers Guild! You'll love it and they'll make you look like a star!! :) Be sure to mention 'Pet Haven' when you go --- they'll be donating 100% of the proceeds from the photo shoot to Pet Haven! Not only will you get to be a star, but you'll be helping your fellow homeless pals --- can't beat that, can you??

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Strays to the Rescue

Through facebook my Human learned about this new book that will be coming out on November 1st. A Book titled "To the Rescue" and is a photo book about dogs rescued from shelters and streets who are now registered therapy dogs, giving back to the community.

Check out the Time magazine piece on this book and their website.

I'm really excited that my Human is committed to us working together so that we can become registered with Delta Society as a Pet Partner team. She heard back from the therapy dog evaluator the other day and is going to observe some therapy dog evals so she knows what the test entails. Even though i'm still finishing up my Obedience I class I will also be starting my Therapy Dog class next Tuesday! My Human and I are going to be busy!!! After my Human observes the therapy dog tests she's been told that as soon as she feels we are ready we can sign up for the test. She's also been busy studying the Delta Society Pet Partner's Team Training course student manual which is another requirement.

Who knows ... maybe some day I can be featured in a photo book too!! :)

Photo by Diana Walker.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pet Partner team -- here we come!

I know it's only been a few weeks since I got my Canine Good Citizen certificate .... and I know i'm really technically only in obedience I ... but i'm starting therapy dog class next Tuesday night as the teacher thinks I would do great in the class (she said I didn't need to do obedience II). She told my mom that I have the temperament for a great therapy dog.

One of the exercises in the Delta Society Pet Partner's team evaluation is called the "restraining hug" ... well, as you can see from the photo below that I won't have a problem with that. Loud noises, crowds and yelling also don't phase me.
My Human has inquired with one of the Delta evaluators about setting up a time for us to be evaluated as a Pet Partner team. I know i'll do my part .... the BIG question is whether or not my Human can hold her end of the bargain!! :)

I've been telling her not to sweat it. We'll both do fine. I think she needs more reassurance than I do that we'll be okay. If you talk to my Human, will you tell her to "chill."

She was nervous about me taking the CGC test after only 2 official dog training classes when they recommend completing Obedience I and Obedience II. Don't get me wrong, my brother Mister probably needs to go through both classes before he can pass the CGC test (just kidding brother!) .... some of us just know what our calling in life is. Mine is to be a therapy dog .... i just need my Human to work her end of the leash ;-)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Two's company ... three's a crowd!

So we have this one couch in our living room. We play lots of musical chairs between sleeping on the couch, the dog bed, and the leather chairs. The other day my one Human snapped a photo using her cell phone of the 3 of us..... i'm sound asleep and so is Mister (who's hogging the right side of the couch). Poor Missy doesn't have much room .... guess she's feeling a little scrunched when the photo was taken but I understand that she eventually settled down and went to sleep too :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

One year anniversary ...

This weekend is my one year anniversary from when my Human took her first trip up north to Red Lake Rosie's Reservation .... I decided I wanted to re-post my first blog entry from March of this year to celebrate my anniversary ...

I've decided it's time for me to start my own blog. My Human has written about me soooo much. She's told my story a million times over and I even have a video of my story. Since this is my first posting i'll go ahead and share the movie with you. I'll share a few links with you where she's written about me .... then after you've had a chance to go through all of it, and of course the movie, i'll share my story from my perspective!
Here are a few of my Human's entries from her own personal blog: She meets me for the first time in October, 2008 on her first trip up north to Red Lake reservation where I am from. All I can say is thank god for Karen Good, who helped me out and so many of my friends who have been abandoned, abused and neglected. My Human reflecting on her trip in October 2008 where she meets me for the first time. I was kind of a wreck. I had these squirmy, squealing puppies (yes, 8 of them!) that kept latching onto my nipple. I had to share an igloo with them and to be honest, i needed a little break from them as much as i love them.... and Karen was kind enough to give me short breaks. At night though i'd escape from my kennel and wander around the land. What can i say, i'm a free spirit. My Human returns to Red Lake in November. Yes!! She's come back for me. My puppies were taken in by another rescue .... here's her reflections from that trip (somehow she seems to think that she'll be able to just foster me ... i wiggled my way into her heart and home and you'll soon learn she eventually adopts me! :) She names me Ahnung (pronounced ah-NUNG) which means star in ojibway. I love my name... and yes, I love my Human. Check out her reflection and some photos of my first few weeks as I become a city dog! By the end of November i've successfully continued to wiggle deeper into her heart and her soul. Since I have heartworm I was hanging out at Bloomington Vet and my Human came every day to pick me up so we could go hang out a dog-friendly coffee shop. I really looked forward to our trips every day. She still kept saying she was only "fostering" me ... yeah, right!!! She was also starting to mention something about going back up to Red Lake to visit Karen and pick up some of my friends who needed to be rescued. By the end of November I can sense she's really torn between keeping me and adopting me ... personally, i'm hoping she'll just keep me. I also don't think she's cut out for fostering ... just my humble opinion, not that you asked! Well, we took a 6 hour road trip in December to my home town of Red Lake reservation... it was surreal to be back there. I loved seeing Hazel again (she's the shepherd mix at the very front ... i was part of the "big dog clan" hanging out with lots the shepherds .. all such cool dogs, but that Hazel ... she was extra special!). We were best buds and would hang out together all the time and saunter around the land. My Human wrote yet another reflection piece after our trip in December (we got caught in a blizzard while we were there). The best part of that trip is she decided to adopt me! And now that I am a part of my Human's family (there's one other Human, and I have 2 big black dog siblings ... Missy and Mister, and a black and white kitty brother named Henry). We all get along so well. I've also started to volunteer at this really cool program called The Lab. You can read more about it on the Pet Haven dog blog. Well .... I could go on and on and on ... but since this is my first blog posting, i'll try not to bore you too much. I'm really excited about all this outreach work i'm doing and getting to hang out with these cool kids. I'm going to check with the program coordinator of The Lab to see if I can chat with my friends at The Lab through email (can you believe it .. I finally have my own email account!). You can email me directly at Not bad, eh, ..... from surviving heartworm and lymes disease, a gun shot wound and starvation (in case you don't know I have have no front teeth ... i was desperately searching for food when I was wandering around up north and would eat dirt ... how did I know my teeth would be ground down to my gum (no one told me, and a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!!) ... from all that to sleeping on LL Bean doggie beds and couches and spending my days either sleeping or hanging out with kids. Life sure doesn't get any better. Lastly, I just have to give a special thanks to Karen Good of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue for rescuing me and giving me a second chance. Karen ... you are the best! I want to come back and visit you and my pals up there ... i'm working on my Human to commit to a date, but don't worry ... i'll be back!! Well .. i'm pretty psyched about having my own blog. I have so much on my mind that I want to share and I don't want to have to fight my Human for time on the computer .... I hope you'll check back often ... Later, ahnung

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I love to play now ...

When I first got here I had no idea what this "play" thing is ... well, when one has to worry about finding food and just surviving who's got time to play! Well, let me tell you friends, I LOVE to play now. It took me a few months of watching my siblings Missy and Mister play till I finally decide to jump in and try. Of course, I started with Mister --- he's the king of play! He should be the king of play for as much time as he spends at various doggie daycares!

I especially love to play with my brother Mister. I also love to play with my sister Missy, but only if Mister isn't around. I don't really know how to play with two dogs at one ... as they say, two's company -- three's a crowd!

here I am playing with Mister!

and here's what happens when Missy join in ... now when Mister is hanging out at Auntie Laura's (aka Rescue Buddy Boarding) which he does when my Human is traveling for work ... then it's just Missy and me, and boy, do we have fun playing. Who would've known that this play thing could be so much fun. My Humans tell me i've got some pretty quick moves :) One thing I like to do is to go after Mister's back legs when he thinks we're done, and in my opinion, we're not! Anyway, when there's 3 of us I don't know how to play, so this is what I do ...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Help us stay with our families!

In January of this year my Human witnessed an owner having to part with her beloved companion, Osso, a 6 year old shepherd. She was going through a divorce and she could not find a place that would allow her to keep her beloved dog. The sadness and grief felt by both that morning was more than my Human could bear. She fought tears back as she took photos of Osso that morning.

Did you know that many owners who lose their homes chose to remain homeless than give up their pets and take refuge in a homeless shelter? Did you know that over 5 million of my friends are killed each year because there aren't enough homes for us? I know there are so many people who are working so hard to help us ... my rescuer Karen from Red Lake Rosie's is one of them (I always have to thank her any time I have a chance!)

Did you know that the second reason that owners surrender their companions to shelters (after behavioral issues) is because of "housing issues" and because landlords won't allow pets. With so many people losing jobs and losing their homes they are having to move into apartments. Many of these apartments won't allow pets -- more allow cats, some dogs (but under a certain weight or size) -- if you have a big dog (like me, or Osso who was surrendered back in January) -- you're out of luck! There's this non-profit, FirePaw, that is dedicated to promoting animal welfare through research and education. They completed this really cool study in 2005, "Companion Animal Renters and Pet-Friendly Housing in the United States." If you're a numbers geek like my Human you can read the whole article, but if not, they are essentially trying to use facts, statistics and research to show landlords that it's a good thing for them to allow pets -- we actually do less damage than children and we stay longer at their rental properties. We also cost them in less in marketing their properties.

FirePaw has also developed the Companion Animal Renters Program which is a 7-step program to assist landlords in making the transition to offering pet-friendly housing. Now don't get me wrong ... i know that Osso has since been adopted by a very loving family. But wouldn't it have been better for Osso, and his previous owner, if they could've stayed together? That would've also opened up a foster slot for Pet Haven that could've gone to another dog. It's better for us, and it's better for the Humans if we can keep them together. I'm so glad FirePaw is doing studies and coming up with programs to help landlords see the benefits of pet-friendly housing. They also give good tips for owners on how to find, keep and enjoy pet-friendly rentals. One suggestion is a pet resume [Click here for the full article]. And on that resume they suggest listing things like age, weight, special personality traits, references from groomers, vet, doggie daycares, even a photo ... and any special training. I think i'm going to have my Human work on my resume now ... i have lots of great photos where I'm posing :) AND I can also put on my resume that I volunteer at The Lab AND that i'm a Canine Good Citizen!

There's also another really cool organization that's formed here in Minnesota called The Pet Project. Their mission is to help keep people and their pets together by providing pet food and basic supplies to those who are struggling. They're also working to make connections with vets to provide lower cost care and to be a resource for pet-friendly housing.

If you can help us stay with our families ... then that's fewer of us landing at the intake lobbies of open-admission shelters or taking up a foster slot!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Officially a Canine Good Citizen!

We did it!! Yes, my Human and I went through the Canine Good Citizen test last night and WE passed! I don't know why she was so nervous about it. She said something about i've only gone through two classes of the first obedience class at Canine Coach and that I really should complete the first two obedience classes (that is, the entire 6-week series)?? Whatever .... that's what I told her. When you're a natural, you're a natural :) She told me she needs to get all this paperwork to make me "official" so I can keep volunteering at The Lab with the kids. I start again in about a month and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm still hoping i'll get to hang out with "R" (the kid who is in the photo with me) --- we got to hang out every week last year and I really liked him, and I think he really liked me. If not, I guess I can work with other kids.

My Human has signed up for a workshop next weekend called "Kids and Dogs: Canine Facilitated Mental Health Protocols for At-Risk Youth." She's gotten really serious about all this stuff. I think that's cool because then I can bring her with me to schools and we can start developing programs for these kids and the general public. We're going to continue our obedience I class through Canine Coach --- I just love our trainer Danielle ... she's not only fun; she's got much better treats than my Human! If I can get my Human to remain calm then I think I'll have her sign us up for the Therapy Dog test. She, of course, wants us to "train" a little more ... I keep trying to tell her i'm a natural at all this and this is what my job is ...  well, that's okay, I'll let her keep "training" me. The truth is (but it's our secret, okay?) I'm "training" her and right now we're working on confidence-building ... she'll get there.

I have a job ... and right now it's to work at The Lab with youth. I'm just glad my Human understands how healing animals can be for people, as in this case, youth who have been cast aside .... I understand that (and so do many of my friends who are rescued too). Be sure to check out the great programs that The Lab offers  --- it's a program of St. Paul Public Schools and is one cool program!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cartoonist looking for stories of Rescued Dogs

Want a chance to be famous ... well, my Human got a request from Bruce, the co-founder of Draw the Dog .. they are looking for stories of rescued dogs and their antics. I know there's a lot of you out there with lots of stories and antics to share. Don't be bashful -- give it a shot and submit your story. Here's his request ... [i'll be working on my story to submit soon, or maybe it'll be Mister who'll submit a story] ...

"We are in the early stages of launching a website called Draw the Dog, where we will post one new dog cartoon each day. These cartoons are a bit unique, because they draw themselves. We have a few samples here:

Most of the cartoons will be based on a dog submitted by its owners. So we are looking for stories about real dogs and their real antics. If the owner wishes, we will acknowledge their dog next to the cartoon.

We would especially like to include cartoons about rescue dogs in our early group (I own two.) Would you consider forwarding this email to your friends/volunteers and asking them to send me their favorite story about something amusing, remarkable or plain silly their dog has done?

Jim George draws each cartoon. He is an ex-Disney animator who has created many characters for movies and TV. He's remarkably talented. It's not often you get to have your dog made famous by an artist from the movie industry.

We're racing to get the site ready, and will really appreciate anything you can do to encourage your members to help inspire Jim.

Many thanks,

Note: The photo of the cute dog (above) is Cody (formerly Fred), a former Pet Haven dog, who has been adopted. He's just slobbering thinking about all the ways he could be a star ... and then the photo below is of Mister who simply can't contain his excitement!! I think i'll have to step aside on this one as Mister probably has a lot more antics and crazy stories he can share."

So everyone! Give it a shot! See you if you can share your story and if it will be enough to inspire Jim George the cartoonist!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Humans working with our quirks

My Human is in New York City right now for work. When she goes out of town for work she sends my brother Mister away to go hang out at Rescue Buddy Boarding with Auntie Laura. My other Human has to work and leaving Mister with Missy, Henry and I apparently isn't good enough for our brother .... he barks and barks and barks, and just goes crazy! For you humans, it's like he's having a panic attack! He's the sweetest guy as long as one of our Humans is around ....

I heard when Missy arrived she went crazy when they put in her in a kennel to sleep the first night. She barked and barked and barked. They gave in after 30 minutes of non-stop barking and let her sleep upstairs on what used to be Shen's dog bed (which was right by their bed). She slept through the night without any accidents and has been kennel free since that day/night. I'm kinda like Missy ... just let me hang out where I want and i'll be just fine. Lock me up in a cage and i'm not so happy. Interestingly, when Mister was a puppy my Humans kept him in a kennel and he loved it. When he hit 2, he started to rebel .... yes, the terrible 2s!

I've learned that Humans like to put labels on things ... i think it makes it easier for them to put things in categories ... well, Mister's problem is labeled "separation anxiety". You know how they have a DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) manual for Humans. Hmmm, I think they need a  DSM for Doggies and there should be an entire section devoted to Rescued Dogs and Cats because we're a whole breed in itself!! Our neighbor calls me the "Zen Dog" .... I kinda like that!

If you want to read a good article on Separation Anxiety check out The Canine Coach website. The owner has written an article titled "Separation Anxiety: A Common Struggle for Rescue Dogs."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My friends at the Twins Game today!

Four of my pals at Pet Haven got to hang out for a couple hours at the Metrodome today before the Twins Game. I wanted to go with them but my Human said it was just for adoptable dogs (and I am NOT up for adoption anymore!). So Pepper, Jonnie Cakes, Sonoma and Skipper got to be Pet Haven ambassadors for the day.  My Human will write more about what the event was all about, but I just wanted to share the video as I promised my friends I'd get their movie up on my blog ... I really do hope they find their forever homes soon.

To learn more about dogs and cats available for adoption through Pet Haven visit their website. The dogs will also be having an adoption event on Saturday the 19th from 10 am - Noon at the Richfield Petco. I think I might actually get to stop by and say hi to everyone on the 19th! I'm trying to convince my Human to let me go.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How old is the oldest dog ever?

Last night I got an email from my friend Tucker. My Human has a friend who loves the small dogs and has a soft spot for adopting the older dogs with health issues that no one else one. We need more Humans like her! Well, Tucker is approaching his 17th birthday (which is on Dec. 28th). He's run into a few bumps though so send some good thoughts the ole guys way, okay? He has a followup appt with the vet on Monday.

The note from Tucker got me thinking about how old the oldest dog is. My Human took me to see my vet, Dr. Jim, yesterday because i ripped my entire nail off of my front dewclaw -- what's a girl gonna do when a foreign intruder comes into my yard (editor's note: a bunny came into the back yard -- must have a death wish to to run into a yard with 3 big back dogs on patrol!). My Human asked Dr. Jim how old he really thought I was ... when I was rescued everyone said I was around 2 years old which makes me 3 now. My Human seems to think (for whatever reason) that I am probably around 5 or 6 years old. Dr. Jim concurred. Well, I never count years or celebrates birthdays like Humans do. It doesn't matter to me. I guess my Human will never know how old I really am.

After Tucker's note though it got me wondering "how old is the oldest dog" - since Humans seem to fixate on age more than us furry four-legged I'm sure there's something out there on the internet. And yes, there was. I found this article on Bella the lab mix who's supposed to be close to 29:

The joy of gnawing on a bone is a distant memory and these days the only walkies she can manage is a potter around the garden. But that's not bad going considering Bella the Labrador cross is around 29 years old.

That's 203 if every year of a dog's life equals seven human years. The faithful pet is believed to be the world's oldest living dog and could even be the oldest dog ever.

Unfortunately her owner David Richardson, 76, has no documentation to prove her precise date of birth and so Bella's extraordinary longevity will never enter the record books.

Mr Richardson bought Bella for £70 from an RSPCA rescue centre on June 21, 1982, when she was "about three years old". They have been companions ever since.

But only this week the pensioner thought he was finally going to lose his faithful old friend. Bella suddenly fell ill and was unable to walk. With a heavy heart Mr Richardson made an appointment with the vet to put her down and dug a grave in her favourite spot in the garden of his home in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

However, after a sleepless and tearful night Mr Richardson decided he couldn't go through with it.  He cancelled the vet's appointment and as if by magic Bella appeared as good as new as he filled in the grave.

Mr Richardson said: 'I phoned to cancel the vet because I just thought it would be better if Bella died in her sleep. She couldn't walk, but when I went out and filled in the grave she appeared behind me and was stood there watching. Since then she has been fine. ...
The world's oldest ever official dog was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey. He was eventually put to sleep in 1939, aged 29 years and five months.

Until his death in 2003, the only other official Guinness World Records holder was Butch, a 28-year-old Beagle from Virginia, USA,  who held the title of "oldest living dog".
To read the full article click here.
My Human worries about my age. She worries that I have a little arthritis in my joints. I tell her not to worry. Whether I live to be as old as Bella, or that cattle dog Bluey, or the beagle Butch, or even my friend Tucker .... I tell her it doesn't really matter. What matters is that I have a great life NOW and that she ignores what Dr. Jim says about having to put me on a diet! If I have any say so in this "losing weight" matter, I vote "No." My joints are happy to carry around an extra 5 pounds.