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. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Orphans at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue

My friend and rescuer Karen of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue just sent me an email. Of course, I send her lots of emails and lots of my photos because I want to make sure she never forgets me :) She assures me she never will. They've recently been getting a lot of puppies and I had to share with you her latest email about some orphan pups and how Jaycee (who has her own litter of 7) took on the added job of also nursing these orphan pups:

"We are experiencing lots of puppies arriving at the shelter the past few weeks. Our efforts to reduce dog and cat reproduction is helping, however, we still are obligated to help the puppies and kittens that arrive.

We received a call last Saturday that a mama shephard and a litter of 10 from Ponemah were in trouble. The mama had apparently eaten, what the owner thought was a fish, and it had killed her. The pups were very young and the outlook was not good for the little family.

We finally got the pups to the shelter yesterday, 6 days later, thanks to Polly who made the long trip to Ponemah and hunted down the poor little orphans. Since the call, one had died, and 2 more died on arrival at the shelter last night.

There are 7 surviving pups, whose eyes are just starting to open. They were ravenously hungry and we started to bottle feed them. Then we had the idea that maybe one of our 2 lactating moms here might foster them.

Well-Jessica who came in starving late last week was now producing milk but had 7 or her own pups to feed. She did not have enough milk for all.

Then we had our dear Jaycee who came in starving and with mange 2 weeks ago. After getting puppy kibble and canned food in unlimited quanitity- she has began to produce great quantities of milk.

Her own 7 pups are now eating and are able to sustain themselves, so Mike and I made the decision to have Jaycee foster them and then supplement her feeding with noon bottling as well. The pups are thriving and hopefully will all survive.

It is really not fair for Jaycee to have to feed another litter, but we keep telling her she will never have to have puppies again!! She is a wonderful dog and a great mom in spite of her own rundown condition.

Pet Projects is thankfully taking Jaycees own litter of 7 on Sunday
freeing up Jaycee to be a full-time mom the the orphans.

Thank you Pet Projects and dear Jaycee!! Karen RLRR"

And Karen, thank you so much for all you do.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Winter bedding drive for my friends up north!

As winter approaches I am reminding of how I was roaming around in the frigid cold last winter ... thank goodness Karen of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue took me in along with my 8 pups. Karen has posted on her blog how they are preparing for winter. Last November when my Human came back up north to pick me up I was living with the "big dogs" in igloos. Karen made sure we had lots of straw so that we would stay warm. She always worries about the pups in her care :) There's no indoor shelter. All the dog kennels are outside. I was lucky last November ... I was able to go home with my Human and no longer had to sleep outside in the cold.
Well, my friends up north need your help. If you think it's cold here in Minneapolis/St. Paul, just imagine how much colder it is about 6 hours north of here! I went back last December with my Human to visit Karen and to help out for a week (okay, my Human helped out ... I had to just sleep and relax -- yes, doctor's orders as I was going through heartworm treatment and was instructed I MUST stay calm!! Yeah, not hard for me to do!). On our visit last December my Human got this great photo of Diedra (her new name is Chelsea) .... Chelsea was adopted by a vet tech at Pet Haven's partner clinic. I hear she's going to be featured on the Pet Haven dog blog soon -- so watch for her story!

Okay, I digress .... back to the point of my blog. Please consider helping my friends by making a donation. Karen needs to purchase 300 bales of straw (@ $2/bale) and 20 bales of cedar wood chips (@ $5.29/bale). For more information on Red Lake Rosie's winter bedding drive visit the Red Lake Rosie's blog.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Meet Lola and Emma!

Yesterday my Human went to Pet Haven's Dog Adoption event and took pictures of a bunch of my friends who are hoping to find their forever homes. When I first met my Human it used to drive me crazy because she would always have this black object attached to the front of her face and she kept following me around and I would hear this clicking noise (editor's note: Ahnung used to run away every time I would pull my camera out]. I hated it before ... now, I love posing for her!! Well, my friends need all the help they can get so that potential adopters out there can see just how beautiful they are. So yesterday she took a million photos of these cute little pups (Lola and Emma) who came to Pet Haven's foster program from Red Lake Rosie's Rescue (yes, the one and only Karen who also saved me!). She put together a video ...

If you (or if you know anyone) are thinking about adopting puppies please pass my blog link along to them so they can watch this video.

If you want to check out another video my Human made (and it has quite a few of the other dogs who were at the adoption event yesterday) go to the Pet Haven blog.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lazy days coming to an end ...

I know it's hard for you to imagine ... but I do get bored just hanging out at home. So I talked my Human into registering me for a class at Canine Coach AND we're also signed up for the Canine Good Citizen test at the end of the month. I told my Human I could pass that test today ... she doesn't seem to think so. Somehow she seems to think i have a mind of my own and that when I decide i've had enough, i've had enough. Well, it's up to her to motivate me to listen to her, right? Why she insists on blaming me for things I just don't know ....

She's been telling me about this really cool pitbull Wallace - he even has his own website and blog. Check out the photo of Wallace the pitbull (taken by Chris Perondi) on the left. Well .... I'm telling my Human not to get any crazy ideas. I may get bored just laying around the house and the back yard, but I am NOT ... let me repeat once more ... I am NOT going to be jumping up in the air catching some crazy frisbee. Kudos to Wallace for that, but you will not be seeing this girl flying in the air. Between us (don't tell Wallace!) ... i'm much smarter -- if you just wait patiently, the frisbee eventually does come back to the ground. Yes, something my Human calls "gravity." I'm all about efficiency and moving as little as possible. Yup, that's me.
I'm thinking i'll be more cut out for working with at-risk youth (which I am going to be volunteering again this fall at The Lab -- a really cool program of St. Paul Public Schools). My Human and I are working on developing a series of lesson plans that we can offer to these often over-looked kids. Last year I had a chance to work with "R" ... he's a really cool kid. I had just been adopted by my Human so I was still learning how to trust ... so I when "R" and I first met we spent a few weeks scoping each other out and just hanging out. As you can see from the photo we started to bond. I'm hoping i'll be able to team up again with him this year.
You should definitely check out The Lab's website. If you are looking to volunteer and make a difference, here are a few non-profits I would highly recommend volunteering with: The Lab, Pet Haven, Red Lake Rosie's Rescue, and A Rotta Love Plus. My Human and I have personally worked with each of these groups and can vouch for them ... So let's stop lounging around, and start making a difference in this world for kids and for the animals.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Escape Artist on your hand?

Before I came to live my Humans they had this super sweet black dog, Shadow. Well, I understand that Shadow was quite the escape artist. Like me, he was found wandering the country roads, except in his case, it was in the dead heat of summer in Tulsa, Oklahoma and temperatures were a squelching 105 degrees! Like me also, he was shot and was scavenging for food... lucky for him, my Human was finishing up a workout and he crossed her path ... he lived like a king the rest of his life, as it should be :)

Shadow could dig his way out of the back yard, squeeze through open car windows, and even open doors! My Human had to put special locks on doors in the house to keep this houdini from getting to spaces he wasn't supposed to go.

Anyway .... my friend Auntie Laura has written a great blog posting on what to do when we decide to get loose and escape. You have to admit, from our perspective it's pretty fun to tour neighborhoods. One time my sister Missy got out of the backyard because the fence door wasn't securely latched. I hear she didn't even try to go too far ... a neighbor brought her back home because she was sitting at the corner by the stop sign looking lost ... she had her chance to check out all the city alleys and she passed on the opportunity. I'm gonna have to teach that girl how to roam the neighborhood!

So check out Auntie Laura's blog by clicking here. Yeah, see if you can outsmart us. I challenge you!! :)