One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

Dear :

You know, I struggled on how to address this “letter” because I don’t think you really deserve a salutation. I have to acknowledge you as something and it’s hard to come up with the right word that can encompass who you really are.  Quite frankly, I’ve never liked you. So, if I had to describe you it would be hard to say anything nice. Your kids are nice? And I PRAY they end up nothing like you. So what are you? You’re a loser, scum, dirt bag, simply the worst.

You see, I work in rescue, and I love dogs. I treat them as equals. I do not look at them as disposable objects, accessories, or beneath me. They have hearts, brains, lungs….they breathe, they feel, they think. They love…unconditionally. I am not better than them and my life is not more important than their life. Every day I see someone “rehoming” their dog. “We don’t have time.” “The dog has anxiety.” “The dog has too much energy.” “I’m moving.” Most excuses are despicable and they make me beyond angry—“we need to rehome our dog because we are renovating our home”. I’m sorry? What? “I am having a baby and we can’t have a dog.” Oh I get it. So the dog was just a substitute until you could “have the real thing”. They didn’t’ just give you years of their life or anything. They are disposable you’re right. Just like those shoes that you only wore three times but they aren’t in style anymore. One that really gets me is when they blame the “problems” they have with the dog on the fact that it’s a “rescue”. ALL DOGS HAVE PROBLEMS. ALL DOGS ARE INDIVIDUALS. A BREEDER DOG CAN HAVE ANXIETY. A BREEDER DOG CAN HAVE LEASH REACTIVITY. A BREEDER DOG CAN RESOURCE GUARD. But you know, people feel better giving up on a “rescue” because they were OBVIOUSLY broken to begin with…so they tried. -_-.

However, I am a reasonable person. I understand that life does happen. Sometimes you are forced to move and you cannot afford to care for this living, breathing animal that you promised to love and care for their entire life.  I know circumstances like that exist. I understand that you can’t risk an incident with your child. Although I most certainly don’t agree with many of the reasons I am open to hearing them because, well, what kind of life would the dog live in a home that doesn’t want them? But for the love of god, I do not understand issuing a dog a death sentence (AKA the pound) because at 13 years old “she scratched too much.”

Isn’t that what you said to me? Oh no, I forgot. When I asked where Zoey had been you said “who? Oh that dog? She’s dead”. Point blank “she’s dead”. Now the way you phrased that most certainly confused me. There was no sense of compassion. It was just cold. I mean I know you couldn’t have cared less for Zoey, but “That dog? She’s dead.” Is just a very odd statement to make. Sensing my confusion and shock you tried to correct yourself but you really just dug a deeper hole showing that even when you think a person couldn’t be worse, they can. “I mean, we took her to Franklin County. She wouldn’t stop scratching. She was dying I guess.” That wasn’t enough you continued. “ I mean they said they could find her a home but she was a pretty terrible dog. She had to wear that cone because she scratched so much. If we took it off she would just eat her tail and butt….she was dying.” Trying to collect myself and answer calmly I mention “Yeah I remember she had that cone on. So she didn’t get better? When was that?” “Oh we took her in probably November or December. She wouldn’t stop scratching. We tried everything.” (I would like to say that an oatmeal bath here and there, and a cone is most certainly not “everything”.) “So yeah, we took her she was terrible so she’s probably dead now. I mean she couldn’t be around kids or other dogs.” At this point I was most certainly confused, livid and all sorts of other things. You have three kids, and another dog. Zoey also got along with my four dogs without issue so that seemed odd to me. “But she was fine at your house with your dog and kids?” “Yeah after like a year. She was awful and you know she shed and my wife is allergic to dogs. We shouldn’t have had her in the first place so it’s for the best. She was dying anyways.”

I know this is addressed to Zoey’s “owner” but for anyone else reading this let me tell you about Zoey. Zoey was a Jack Russell Terrier. She was inherited about 2 years prior when his wife’s mother died. Given Zoey’s age (13) it seemed that she was pretty well taken care of for a 10-11 year old dog. Zoey LOVED to be outside. She enjoyed being a Jack Russell. She loved to chase squirrels and just run around in the yard. In fact she loved it so much that her “owners” left her out for hours on end whether it was below freezing, or 90+ degrees. On multiple occasions I went over to ensure she had water and/or to ask them to bring her in for her safety. They would get annoyed because she would ask to go in then right back out…like most every dog who has a beautiful fenced in back yard. Zoey started to develop a skin condition and began scratching like crazy. They gave her some baths and threw a hard cone on her for months. Assuming that a cone could stop the itch, they kept it on her at all times even when she would play in the yard. The only time they took it off was to feed her. However “we couldn’t feed her because every time we took the cone off all she wanted to do was eat herself because she was dying.” I prefer to call that “relief”. She finally was able to try and make herself feel a tiny bit better for ten minutes a day. Zoey did eat, she had a yard, they let her out, and in some cases this is all we can ask from people. But Zoey deserved more just like all dogs in her situation or even worse situations. Zoey and many dogs like Zoey wasn’t loved after her real owner died. Zoey went two years being neglected of love and we all know dog’s lives are way too short to not know love day in and day out.

So in case you were wondering, Zoey was not “dying”. Zoey had a treatable condition—sarcoptic mange. Let me tell you that this condition is uncomfortable, painful and really bad. It’s treatable and will go away. Zoey had moist dermatitis on her ears which is very uncomfortable but again controllable. You want to know what else Zoey had? She had healthy clear ears, a strong heart, and good clean lungs. She didn’t have muscle, neck, head, or spine issues. She was just getting older with immature cataracts. She needed her teeth cleaned and to be cared for like a senior. Zoey was healthy, but given her age, pain from untreated skin issues and the awful things you had to say about her there would be no way for her to make the adoption floor.  

You failed her but I know you don’t care. You gave Zoey a death sentence. Her number: 98834. This is what you reduced her to— A number on a list to be killed. You dropped her off at a shelter to be killed alone without anyone she knew. And you couldn’t have cared less. In fact, you felt like she deserved to be killed. Lucky for Zoey there are animal rescuers.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There are people in this world that can see an older dog as “good as dead” and there are people that actually see the dog for who they are. A living being that deserves to live every day to the fullest. They see the age but they see the heart and desire to live. They see the strength and the love. These people deserve the unconditional love of a dog. People like you don’t—but dogs love unconditionally, unfortunately. Zoey was probably confused. She was probably scared too. But she’s safe, alive, and happy all because you threw her away and a rescue group saved her. Her bio read:

Zoey (affectionately renamed Sophia Petrillo from the Golden Girls by her foster mom), may be a 13 year old Jack Russell Terrier but she is quite active. She loves going on walks and doing what dogs half her age do.
“She’s dying” seems a little off doesn’t it? She loves walks. I knew she would. You probably didn’t know that though because in the two years you had her you never even bothered to walk her. You just let her sit outside for hours on end alone. Sometimes you let her hit her face on the fence for so long that it would bleed. She likes to go on walks and be with her people, just so you know.

Her owner passed away and the family left her at the county pound. Colony Cats (&dogs).
You must have not told them that you kept her for two years. You kept her from a home that would take care of her and love her for two years. What a way to honor your dead mother-in-laws memory. Abandoning her dog, and sending her to her own death far too soon.

Zoey does well with a variety of people, other dogs and isn’t a cat chaser either.
What was that about not liking people, kids, or other dogs? Just wondering.

At dinner time Zoey twirls around in excited anticipation for her meal.
She twirls. She is happy. She can eat without scratching again. Imagine that.

She has wonderful manners and is such a sweet dog.
Are we talking about the same dog you threw out? “She was terrible.” “she was dying.” “she was just a bad dog.” No. You are just a bad person.

Zoey has been adopted. She has a loving home far better than yours. You didn’t deserve to have her or any other dog for that matter. I wish I could express the amount of hatred I have for you and people like you. But, I choose to put that energy into rescue. I help rescue dogs from people like you.

I hate you for taking two years away from her. I hate you for letting her body go through pain when all you needed to do was take her to the damn vet. I hate you for taking her to a place she would be put to death. You are part of the reason that our shelters are full with dogs just waiting to die. 

Thank you for finally allowing Zoey to have the life she deserves. A death sentence was far better than living another day with you. 

Sincerely,

Margot

So you’re getting a dog….

I’ll admit it. I am not a great foster. I get attached, I can’t let them go, and I cry for days. That being said, I am an excellent resource of knowledge when doing home visits for adopters! I have bought just about everything out there. I have gone to many vets, done research on illnesses, and because of my current foster, I am up to date on how to potty train a dog! I am by no means an expert, but I know a thing or two about different toys, crates, bowls, food, leashes, harnesses etc etc. All these things added up cost you a lot of money, and you never know what you really need and if you’re getting a good deal. So I’ve decided to create a quick guide on what I would have if I am getting a puppy or a dog! I have texted this information to so many different adopters that I am basically a broken record and could recite the items that I value in my sleep. I mostly buy everything on Amazon and watch the prices! 

I haven’t even gotten to the list yet and I must detour to car safety. I am a huge proponent for car safety with dogs. I cringe when I see little yorkies on people’s lap in the driver seat with it’s head out the window. What happens if you get into an accident. Best case little yorkie stays in the car and not out the window, but then you have to deal with the fact that you smashed the poor thing between you and the steering wheel. Even better,  the little dog may have fallen under your feet and you have to avoid stepping on the poor dog. Okay, so you don’t have a tiny yorkie. Next area of concern is the gear shifter. Have you ever accidently switch into neutral? That’s never fun. Dogs that crawl over you when you drive are a hazard and you are not only putting yourself at risk, but also the dog with free range. It’s literally not worth it. A dog that gets free range can cause an accident especially if you are focusing on getting the dog off of you, and not paying attention to the road. “My dog doesn’t like the back seat.” “ My dog doesn’t like to be restricted.” You know what your dog DOES likes though? Living.  I know, I seem to be over reacting, but how many stories have you read where an accident happens and the dog takes off because it wasn’t  “buckled in”? The dogs are afraid and then just take off in an unknown area and typically on busy roads.  So car safety. It’s my favorite thing to talk about. Now I know nothing is 100% but I would rather try to protect my dog than not.

This rant, leads me to item number 1. Kurgo- crash test harness (note the metal buckles, not the plastic ones (not crash test rated) ). Now there are many brands, many reviews, my only concern here is that we at least try to limit the mobility of the dog in the car. This is the brand I use and love. It fits my dogs well, the customer service is great, and it’s very easy to use. Some people find that it rubs odd on their dog, and that is fine, research another crash test rated harness car seat! The best thing about a harness car seat is that you can just clip a leash on and go once you get out of the car. My small dogs still manage to stick their head out of the window and seem comfortable with it.  As a side note I did have one dog chew through it once. He was used to sitting on the drivers lap which again is a huge pet peeve of mine. We then worked with his general car anxiety and only put him in it up front for a bit so we could watch him, and then moved him to the back with the passenger watching him and stopping him from chewing. We would take him on short rides to get used to being clipped in. Now, he can go on long car rides and destroys nothing. It’s wonderful. He also doesn’t seem to anxiety whine anymore.14907663_886545261141_4266429651028107529_n

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Leashes! So many leash options.  Personally, I have two types of leashes. One for harnesses, and quick use, and one that I use on 5/6 of my dogs for daily walks. So my on hand traditional leash is always a 4-5 foot leather leash(6 ft for running). Why? Because they feel nice in my hand, and they last forever. They also never get dirty and they don’t burn you if your dog wraps you up. Side note, if I ever see anyone using a retractable leash, I let them know how dangerous they really are and that my friend’s dog was killed due to the use of a retractable leash. Not only are they dangerous but your dog does not need that much space from you. If you’re hell bent on letting them explore slow down with them or speed up. Get a six foot leash, do something better than putting everyone around you, your dog and yourself in danger.

So, other than a leather leash, I use a harness lead. This is literally the best thing to happen to me. It is essentially a long rope that goes over the neck around the body and up through a loop to create a harness. Why is it so great? It eliminates neck pressure on your dog if walking In a martingale. Also, it fits to your dog as they grow, or if they are just weird looking that day or wearing a coat etc etc. It’s adjustable and it makes life super easy. It hasn’t eliminated pulling in my worst walker, but it’s better than him pulling on his neck. 15032045_892063048451_1870953736500939934_n

Another side note—do NOT walk a dog in a flat collar. Flat collars tend to be lose and if your dog gets frightened it can back right out of the collar. If you insist on walking your dog with a collar get a martingale collar. However, these cannot be left on when unsupervised like a normal house collar. If they get caught on something it would be very difficult for them to get uncaught. All my dogs have a flat collar and they wear them but I don’t attach a leash to them. They also don’t wear them in the house  unsupervised typically because I don’t want them getting caught on anything. You may think that is a bit of a stretch but when you wake up to your dog stock on the door stop by the loop in his collar you think twice about leaving them on inside!

Crates! I used to think, why have two doors? How annoying. Then I wanted to turn my crates a different direction but the door was not accessible. I realized why two doors! I have this one, and I really like the quality of it but most all brands are fine in my opinion. If you are looking for a single door crate, I like precision pet because the door actually requires you to lift up to lock and unlock it creating a bit of a barrier if your dog escapes from crates. 

Another side note—People think crating is mean and it really isn’t. My dogs love their crates. They choose to lay in them all the time even with people home. Crates are like dens for them. It’s their space. No one else comes in that space and it’s safe. And believe me, with my nanny cams, they literally do nothing all day but sleep. So, sleeping is sleeping and a crate is fine. Additionally, it keeps them safe from things you may have forgot to put away or something they just recently discovered. In case of a fire or emergency, your dog is safely in one place and can be caught and moved easily as well. Crates should be used while you are gone but also when you’re home. It’s important for them to not associate the crate with you leaving them behind. It’s pretty simple and they may cry for a week when you do this but it helps long term. When you are watching TV or in the living room, put them in their crate. 20-30 minutes. Do not let them out until they calm down and act like it’s no big deal. It helps to ignore their cries, and not to make direct eye contact. Obviously if the dog is hurting itself you’ll need to work slower with them. (IE starting with the cage door open them in it and you sitting by it. Petting and giving treats. Slowly moving to closing the door and offering treats etc etc). However, I haven’t had too much trouble with getting a dog to hang out in the cage while we eat in the same room. You can work up to putting them in there for 20 or so minutes while you’re home but in a different room. It just really is useful when your dog has a good relationship with the crate. It’s not punishment, it’s “ I want you here for now and that’s just okay.”. And when they do need a time out, it’s not “bad dog” and thrown in the cage, it’s “alright you need a break and need to calm down in your space”. The only time I have ever used the cage “negatively” is when it’s a dog safety issue and I am literally trying to keep dogs separate for safety.

Food! I would research the food you feed your dog. I have tried many different brands and varieties and I literally have four different dog foods in my house for different dogs. Find what works and stick with it! I would caution people to really read the bag and nutritional facts. Some foods may be cheaper or appear good but if you spent a little more money on a food you could potentially feed half as much and thus it ends up being cheaper to feed a higher quality food.  The more protein, the less you feed. However, your dog needs to agree with the food so it may take a few shots. Most pet stores are good about allowing you a return if your dog does not agree with a food—or you can donate it to a rescue!

Bowls in my house are interesting. We don’t have any dog in our house eating out of a normal dog bowl. When dogs eat fast, they can choke, and then they puke and then they try to eat said puke. You waste food and it’s not fun! Eating fast, and excising after eating can also cause bloat (mostly in big dogs with deep chests) so it’s important to ensure that your dog is not eating too fast and running around after dinner. If you are able to use a regular bowl, I suggest stainless steel over plastic. Plastic can grow bacteria very easily. We wash all of our bowls weekly because most of ours are plastic slow feeders. One of our dogs eats out of a cupcake container and that works for him!  I love slow feeders, because my dogs don’t inhale their food and they don’t puke! Slow feeders are essentially a maze or a puzzle for the dogs that has their food in it. The other benefit is that eating becomes a mental exercise as well and mental stimulation also helps to eliminate energy in a dog. So even if you aren’t feeding dinner, you can use the feeder as a way to make them work mentally and get some energy out! You can get a few different kinds but my favorite is the grass. Some are harder levels than others. There are also ball slow feeders, but I would prefer this for a snack rather than dinner because your dog will typically miss a few pieces and you don’t want dog food all over the place.

With six dogs, toys are everywhere in my house. We do not typically use edible toys unless every dog has one and we take it away when that toy time is over. I like Nylabones, Kongs(stuffed with peanut butter and used as a special treat typically in crate), Deer/elk antlers, horns, ropes (although we do not play tug in our house), and Red Barn white bones. I don’t like stuffed animals because my dogs destroy them and it’s hard to teach them to differentiate between the stuffed animal they can eat and one that they can’t. Himalayan Chews are increasingly popular but are edible and thus only used during crate times.  We also play fetch with a few of the dogs and my favorite ball is the glow ball.   

Harness, collar, leashes, crates, food, bowls, and toys—all very necessary when adopting a puppy or a dog. My last item that I deem basically necessary is a Glowdoggie. I LOVE this company and this product. They may be a higher priced item, but the batteries are typically AAA and thus very inexpensive to replace unlike some other cheaper collars. I can see my dogs  in the yard when it’s dark, and on walks they wear the embarrassing glow item not me! They last forever and are literally the best thing ever when it’s cold and you don’t want to go out with them in the yard. I prefer blue and green. I also own red which is just a little dimmer than the blue and green.  

Of course there are so many other things but I think this list encompasses the first day needs(okay maybe not a Glowdoggie, but seriously the best thing).

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Foster Update

Hi! 

Well, I have been MIA. We still have Buster aka-Bussy. He isn’t going anywhere and I love him. But in the mean time we had a successful two other fosters come and go! 

Bert: Jack/Basset mix 7 months old. Bert was great. Super cute, but Woody hated him. He was with us about a week and Woody just couldn’t deal. For safety reasons, Bert got a new foster and has been adopted!
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Tucker: Basenji Mix , 7 months old. Well we were going to take a break because it was pretty obvious Bussy wasn’t going anywhere but when a Basenji winds up in your reach, you just need to take it. Tucker had a foster home prior to me that said some pretty nasty things about him. It wasn’t that he was mean or awful, just he was a 7 month old PUPPY. Given that he was part Basenji and well I have Ben the rescue thought we should give him a go to see if he really is all that he was said to be. Tucks was great, but he was a puppy! He has lots of energy and wanted to constantly play. He is a very good dog eager to learn. But man is 7 sometimes a lot! Tucker found his home about two weeks after we had him and they love him so much. This was my first success and it really sucked letting him go but I knew he needed a family of his own. Tucks is a lot of work and I knew I would have to let go of SOME  fosters. hahahaha. 

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Fostering is great! But 7 dogs is a lot. We didn’t get into this thinking that we were going to end up adopting dogs. (I really swear I didn’t want another dog). But sometimes, things happen and I wouldn’t change it. We will continue to foster dogs that are on the brink of death. We know 7 is a lot but if we can continue to help at desperate times, we will. FYI Pluto a chi mix who couldn’t handle the shelter is coming our way this week ;). 

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Car Safety

This summer has been jam packed with all that is dog for me. It’s actually weird when I DON’T have a dog in the car anymore. My dogs are small and one hard break causes them to fall off the seat. If I had big dogs, I would be afraid of their knees and hips as well. I know nothing is 100% but I never let me dogs ride in the car without a seatbelt. I also never let the fosters I’ve picked up ride with out one…they always borrow one of mine :).bsb.jpg

Like I said seatbelts don’t guarantee my dog’s safety, but as least I try to keep them as safe as I can. This year, I learned that my old seatbelts were not crash test rated, and thus I bought all new seatbelts that were. The brand I purchased is Kurgo. I really like this company and the harness. The harness has nested buckles instead of the traditional clip. The traditional clip and easily crack and come apart during a crash, the nested buckles are metal and have a much lower chance of coming undone.

The Kurgo harness comes with a mountain clip to attach your dog to the car’s belt. It is important to not use just any clip because there are different ones for different weights. You simply buckle the car seat belt and then attach the clip to the harness and the belt.

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My smallest dog can still reach the window and put his head out comfortably this way. I always clip to the shoulder part instead of the lap part so that they can see out the window. This is the safest way to use the clip. If you slam on your breaks the car belt will lock out like it would if there was a human sitting back there and thus your dog could only jolt forward.

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However, some dogs don’t like to be so confined and will chew on their harness or worse your car belt -_-. The seat belt comes with an extra attachment. It is essentially a handle to a leash. You would put the car belt through the attachment and then attach the clip to the attachment and the harness. The dog has a little more space but it is much harder for them to put their heads out of the window if they are small. The other option is to purchase a second clip. You then attach one clip on each end of the attachment and then one clip to your buckled car belt, and one to the harness. These alternative ways are not the best practices way but still help protect your dog.

Most of my dogs and fosters get the hang of the seatbelt quickly and have no problem. Peter, the poodle, did not like the seatbelt that much and would constantly chew on both the seat belt and the car belt. To teach him not to, I rode passenger and every time he went to chew I would tell him no. As long as he stopped chewing I let him sit or walk around as he could. When working with my fosters, I had them sit up front so I could watch while driving, and would tell them no as well. I also bring a toy for them to chew on to redirect the chewing when it is new. The other thing that is important is to just take them up the rode or around the corner so that they just get more used to it. If the car ride is a thing of very few occurrences their excitement is going to sky rocket every time.

The Kurgo seatbelt can also act as a walking harness. Woody wears his for walking every day. He has not gotten any rash from this harness and it fits well.

Second(ish) Foster

Well guys—onto the second foster. Well actually, it’s kind of our first foster. We failed miserably with Mercy and adopted her. We just fell in love and knew she was meant to be a part of our family. Meet Buster man! Buster is a cute what was 8 pound dog, now 11 ever! He is a 6 month old minpin chi mix. He fits in well and is loving having other dogs around him. I thought five was going to be tough and it is/was, but when you have a system it’s much easier!  If I could adopt them all…… I will keep you posted on Buster’s adoption!
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First Foster

So we have taken the next step and have decided to foster. Yes, five dogs, two of us, one house. But I do have some, what I feel are, good reasons to support our decision. Since February, we had five dogs with us because my parents were in the process of moving. It was evident that her dog, Georgie, had very minimal rules, and routines. And okay, I know people and dogs don’t need as much routine as our home, but routine is proven to be very good for dogs and humans too! Georgie was a good dog despite this, and after going through our boot camp, personally, I think she is an even better dog. J When Georgie moved out, we babysat a friend’s dog for a week and once she left, we almost felt a void in our house. There was a vacant cage with soft blankets and beds but no dog.  We missed having the fifth dog around. This is when I started looking at fostering opportunities as well as the pros and cons.

When I thought about it, we have the time, space, and energy to care for dogs. Our four have a great life, and if we can help others, why not? I know I could go to shelters and walk dogs, but doing that makes me lose time with my dogs and I don’t like that. I’ve walked at shelters before and it is so rewarding but given the amount of exercise and time devoted to my dogs each day, it would literally mean taking time away from them. So, if I could just throw at least one extra dog into my pack, I would not be sacrificing their time. Sure, the foster dog will steal some of the attention, but they probably would like that ;).

My boys are very particular in who they like. I have one requirement. A dog must be similar in size to them. They hate big dogs. Riley just can’t handle the movements of big dogs. I also prefer terriers. But, that’s just me. At this point, I’m not too sure about temperament issues. My boys have been friends with even some aggressive dogs. I wouldn’t want an aggressive dog added to my pack by any means but they don’t really have an issue with that yet.

Here’s the thing—my boys are sensitive to other dogs, especially when they encounter a dog when they are out at the park or somewhere with me. My hope is that having foster dogs would help desensitize my dogs when encountering strange dogs. I know it won’t make them “dog friendly” by any means when on leash but perhaps it will help because they are used to different dogs coming and going around them.

So, we have our first foster dog. Her name is Mercy. She is a 1 year old Min-Pin Chihuahua mix. She is from KY and was from stray pregnant with 5 puppies. It’s sad that at 1, she has already had a liter, but at the same time, that is basically what saved her. She got into a rescue because she was pregnant.first day.jpg

I was extremely nervous when picking her up at the vet. I brought our car seat harness for her because regardless of what dog is in my car, they will always be secured. They brought her out. Told me she had an ear infection, fleas (that were treated) and she was in heat. Remember I have four BOY dogs. I know what “in heat” is, but I kind of figured they meant that she was in heat because she just had puppies. Note—they did NOT mention that perhaps I pick up a diaper or two for her -_-. They gave me her medicine, her tags, papers on when to come back with her, food, and of course her. With leash in hand we were off. I was kind of like “is this real life? They just hand me a puppy?”. And Mercy, don’t get into cars with strangers!! So I put her harness on and off we go. She was sweet right from the get go. But in true min-pin form she managed to get her leg up and tangled in the harness. Reminds me of Peter… (our minpinpoo).One handed, I fix the harness and she falls asleep until we get home.

Riley typically meets any dog last from our group. He is the most high strung of them all so if he sees the others being okay, he calms down some. Andy was outside with what I thought was all the dogs so I bring Mercy in and figure why not let her sniff around. Well, that was short and sweet as Riley comes bolting out of the room. Holding my breath (usually Andy takes care of meet and greets because I send fear energy) Riley sniffs and she submits, and they both go on their way. The other boys, of course, get let in and charge and she did great. Not one growl. Her tail just kept wagging. Hm, this is easier than I thought. Mercy seemed pretty potty trained. She does like to go too close to the picket fence for my comfort, and her biggest fault is being in heat. And who’s fault is that really? As I mentioned, I didn’t really know much about that, but I soon learned because of my bed sheets, and of course, white overalls.  Needless to say, she now wears a diaper well.sleepy.jpg

My boys have been great leaders for her. I find it really interesting to see what they bring out in her, and what she brings out in them. Benny is actually being less bratty and more assertive and corrective when she is being annoying. He isn’t being at all aggressive with her and it’s pretty darn cute. Riley has had some issues with trying to hump her and I’m not sure if it’s dominance or her being in heat. All my dogs are fixed so I didn’t think it would be an issue. It’s been easily corrected and when he gets too obsessive I just take him for a walk.group2.jpg

Mercy has learned to sit, eat on schedule, potty on schedule, walk on a leash without pulling(she did NOT learn this from my dogs but I think learned it from being a part of a pack), and bed time.  She is also a great picture poser. She couldn’t care less about loud noises. She sleeps through them(see her sleeping at the parade!).  She loves to be in bed with you and anything soft and comfy. She has chewed on a bone once or twice but isn’t too interested. The cutest thing is she likes to chase fireflies. She will even bark at them. She hasn’t barked much, but she will bark more in the dark. Her whine and bark do sound like she may have had some vocal cord trauma.

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She is learning to be crate trained and that’s a bit of a rollercoaster. If another dog is in the cage next to her she quiets down in about five minutes or so. I know this because of the nanny cams J. If I leave just her in the cage when I take the jacks for their walk, she screams and screams. I think this will just take time. I’ve tried giving her a Kong but she’s really only been in a cage since last Sunday—and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday we were off work! It also seems to mirror Peter’s actions. When I get home they are all crazy excited. I let them out and they go potty, Peter goes back in his room, and Benny gets left behind, and I take the jacks on a walk. When I started this process, Peter used to freak out because he didn’t like going back in when he was locked up all day already. After a few weeks he got used to this schedule and now he comes in and runs in there on his own. Schedule and routine seem to be a min pin’s friend. I’m hoping that Mercy get’s used to it and realizes the cage isn’t a negative place but a safe place. We also started putting her in the cage while we eat dinner. Benny ALWAYS goes in a puppy bed at dinner and he typically chooses the cage anymore so Mercy does seem to stop whining quicker because Ben is right next to her enduring the same “torture”. She falls asleep whining and tries to fight it. It’s actually cute.

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Our first foster is a good one. She is well behaved, cute as can be and loving. I always joke with my one friend who owns I think 7 dogs that she got all the good ones…..Four pits and three shepherds….. She tells me they were all rejects and that’s how she got them but her dogs are well behaved, well mannered, and she can walk all of them at the same time without aggression. Some of them were fosters that just didn’t get adopted so she adopted them. As far as fostering goes, I’m back and forth with it. I’m glad to help and I want to help. I do worry about my boy’s feelings but I also know I may be projecting on them. I may not be that person that fosters every dog that comes along to ensure that adequate attention and care is given to my own, but I feel honored to be able to save lives.bone.jpg

 It’s amazing to see how humble and kind Mercy is even though our society has failed her. When I signed up to foster I knew my boys could teach Mercy things. I knew she could probably teach my boys things. But I didn’t know she was going to teach me things. Animals forgive, and don’t hold grudges. They build trust and are genuinely happy to live. With all this negativity in the world and in our country, we could learn a thing or two from animals. I haven’t even had Mercy a week but I know I’ve helped give her the life she deserves by just opening our empty cage, and home to her  and allowed her to fulfill that 5th dog void.  The pleasure is really ours.

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Honest Kitchen

Summer is here and so are allergies! As I have mentioned, Benny has awful allergies year round but they are particularly bad now. He has to wear a coat at all times and can’t be unsupervised with it off. armour.jpg

Ben’s armor to protect his skin

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Ben’s new custom made coat  (much more comfortable hehe)

He essentially will scratch himself raw. He bleeds, he gets rashes and it’s all sorts of painful I’m sure. He has been on natural foods his entire life including California Natural, Zignature and Orijen. All of these foods I have found successful for my other dogs but not him. He would be okay for a little but at some points it was like we were just keeping him at a bearable amount of itch.

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Recently I have gotten pretty fed up with seeing him in pain. Since he was a baby he had only had fish based food so I decided to go rogue. I utilized Instagram, and facebook groups and asked other Basenji owners what they have done and if they experienced these allergies and I kept getting the feedback to feed Ben raw food. For a year I contemplated this and was not ready to go there with him. My mental image was literally raw chicken bone and all and I just couldn’t imagine doing that. To my surprise, there are other raw options! This leads me to the brand of the hour—Honest Kitchen.

Honest Kitchen is a dehydrated, 100% human grade(but don’t eat it…that’s weird) raw dog food. Dehydration removes the moisture from the food but keeps all the minerals and vitamins. There are no artificial preservatives like canned food nor is it sticky. Sticky canned food causes a lot of teeth issues and gum issues. There is many differences between this and kibble, but most importantly it’s more exciting to dogs! Additionally 0% of the ingredients used come from China. This food has had success in keeping dogs energized, a healthy body weight, healthier skin and coat (my biggest concern) and a general better digestion pattern.

This food is a powder substance. You simply scoop it in a bowl, add water, stir, wait three minutes and serve! Benny prefers a slightly more oatmeal like consistency so I do add a little less water than recommended.  He’s a splasher…..  It comes in a nice small box. A ten pound box is 40 pounds of dog food.

There are multiple blends of this food.  Below is a link to the nutritional facts of the blends. They even have a blend where you can add your own protein to it if you are like cooking for your dogs!

https://www.thehonestkitchen.com/media/wysiwyg/2016/nutrient-profiles/updated/At_A_Glance_Food_Guide_Opt.pdf

For Benny I chose Marvel which is a turkey based grain free food. I chose this because I needed to stay away from fish for sure and he has had chicken before. I thought about it and I don’t think he intentionally has had turkey so I thought why not. The other five ingredients were not in his diet either except some coconut oil here and there.

Honest kitchen has released a product called Proper Toppers as well. This is a limited ingredient topper to food or as a treat. I personally give ben a small handful for breakfast every day since I am trying to limit his exposure to things. There is a chicken based topper and a turkey based topper. I also throw some on top of his food to jazz it up a bit. I received my first bag of Proper Toppers through chewy.com to test for the month. All my dogs loved them! My only complaint about them is that they do not make great training treats because they crush very easily. Using them in agility was tough because they would always end up crushed while I ran.

So the results? Ben’s skin is a ton better. Is he cured? No. Just like human’s with allergies, we are never going to rid him of all the irritants. But I can tell you that his skin is not red, and is soft. Furthermore, his hair had been missing in spots and is actually growing back! He does have worse days than others but he has left his neck alone which was typically his worst area. Going forward we are going to keep Ben on this food and hope for progress. I think we will be staying away from fish for him for a while but we may try some other blends. We may even switch the jacks to this food. The poodle needs a low fat food and has a sensitive stomach so since he is successful on his food we will leave him there!frame.jpgDecember 2015 spot on right

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June 2016 spot on right and one month on Honest Kitchen

Taking Chances

When one becomes so involved with their own dogs, it is very easy to become involved in your local dog community. Where we are there is an amazing group of VOLUNTEERS who run a facebook page called Pet FBI Ohio. This page shares people’s posts about found and lost dogs in order to alert the local community. They calm people down and give tips and tricks that may help find their pet or the owner. (On a side note– it makes me totally sick when people complain that they weren’t helped by Pet FBI Ohio. It’s a volunteer site and they help more people than you would ever imagine. It’s hard to keep up and they want to ensure accurate information is being shared at all times!) There are also a bunch of local groups that cross post the dogs for the local communities but they typically are always pulling from this Pet FBI Ohio page. Summary– the social media community for pets is amazing.

I always try to cross post, tag and be aware of the local dogs and cats missing in my area. If I see a lost pet poster in my neighborhood or park, I personally call them to ensure that they have posted on Pet FBI Ohio and the Pet FBI database. Recently I was tagged in a post about a missing Jack Russell mix that was literally adopted the day before he went missing. When dogs are first adopted it is common for them to run and it is super unfortunate. This missing JRTM was within 5-10 minutes from my house so we jumped in the car and went searching in the area about 2 hours after he had run. We did our best to tell everyone and anyone who was outside to keep an eye out and not to chase the dog that is on the run.

Before we left our house, and when we decided to call it quits, we asked the same question “Don’t you think there are probably a bunch of people out there looking right now? Do you think we should go? Do you think we should stop”. Take a chance. You may be the one that sees the pet, tells the person that sees the pet or makes the huge difference in this animal’s safety. Now I am not suggesting to go out with a mission to be a hero (although I always say I want to be the hero). I am saying that you never know if you will make a difference. The more involved the better chance of a positive outcome. When we finally called it quits that first night, we did feel a bit of guilt and mentioned that if it was our dog we wouldn’t sleep, but we told as many people as we possibly could and really felt like we made a difference.

The next day I had off, so I drove around again, tracing steps, following the map of places there had been possible sightings. I had no luck of course. We had a softball game that night and as we drove home I decided to check facebook for any updates on the dog because dusk and dawn are popular times for dogs to come out from their hiding spot. As we pulling in our driveway ready to eat, someone posted that they had found the dog but was in need of help. The post was 3 minutes prior to me looking. I stopped and thought to myself “I’m sure somebody has responded”. She then posted again saying she really needed help so I didn’t ignore it this time. I called–went to voicemail. I called again–went to voicemail. I thought well third times the charm–went to voicemail. So I thought okay one more time–and an answer. She said no one has come and they did not have a slip lead, or treats or enough bodies to corner the dog. We rushed out with a slip leash and treats in hand to go help. I called to owner to make sure he was on his way, and thankfully he was!

So as the story goes– This lady was driving home and caught a glimpse of dog in her neighborhood that she didn’t recognize standing in a yard. She hopped out of her car just to check that the dog belonged and noticed her vet walking by. She asked if she knew the dog considering she a local vet in the area and she realized who this little white dog was. They were able to corner the dog against a fence in someone’s yard. The owner of the house came out and instead of asking them to leave he jumped in to help too. Just that day he pulled out some wood from storage so he grabbed the wood and started making a barricade so the dog could not run. The dad arrived shortly before us and managed to get him out of the bushes. One of the women took him and held him tight, and seemed to be about the most calming individual ever (turns out shes really into yoga and motivational speaking so that makes complete sense.). The local vet turned out to be the pup’s original vet when he was rescued from a hoarding situation and was diagnosed with parvo.

All these amazing people who just cared so much for a little white dog came together at the perfect timing in order save him. He had been on the run for over two days and that no easy task especially down the busy roads he traveled. Take a chance with strangers. Take a chance with online communities. Reach out and help wherever you can. I was glad to have helped in the small ways that I did and was glad to be able to watch as others saved them. We all hugged, and hugging strangers isn’t my thing but it just felt right. It’s amazing what an online community can do. All of us had no connection to the dog other than the fact that we are animal lovers and were in the right place at the right time.

But seriously, what are the chances that  one woman noticed the dog wasn’t a normal neighborhood dog, her own vet crossed her path(and the vet personally cared for the dog), the owner of the home just getting wood out that day? But the best part, what are the chances that this dog’s name is Chance?13237831_1023890357646258_2178454962790253621_n.jpg

Good Dog! Sojo treats

I am super excited to have the opportunity to test products and blog about them for Chewy.com! They offer great pricing, products, and shipping. I love the variety of options they offer and how easy it is to navigate.

This past week I received my first blog-able product and I’m in love ( I think the dogs are too!)!  I opted to test Sojo’s Good Dog treats! They come in a few different flavors but I decided to go with the apple dumpling flavor because it sounded pretty good and I knew the ingredients were good for my dogs! They are made in the USA, wheat and corn free, and no artificial preservatives flavors or colors.

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After I ordered them, they arrived quickly on my door step. I was probably more excited than my dogs, but that’s only because they don’t realize that 90% of the things delivered to my house are for them (insert eye role).image1.JPG

So let me just tell you guys, these treats smell amazing. The ingredients are so simple that it confused me as to why my treats don’t turn out perfect like these. I mean don’t get me wrong, my treats are pretty good and they work, but the shape is not the prettiest. They are ingredients that I trust my dogs to eat.

The size of these treats is perfect–especially for agility. I am totally done with using Puperoni. They are itty bitty, but they are perfect for training. They are a perfect sized treat to ensure that they are not eating too much because of treats and food!
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So the true test of these treats is not my dog, but my moms picky little terrier mix. She won’t even eat my homemade treats (again, eye roll). I gave her one and at first she backed away but kept it in her mouth. She then proceeded to eat it and return to me as if to ask for more.
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I know this is my first product and I am hyping it up a bit, but they are seriously perfect for my boys. No allergy issues (check), Size appropriate (check), Dog approved(check), training approved(check), and replaces the Puperoni that I hated giving to them but needed quick treats(check)!!

I’m excited to order the other flavors available- Peanut Butter and Jelly, Blueberry Cobbler, and Chicken Pot Pie!

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Nannycam

Today I want to tell you about how much I love my Nannycams. I love my Nannycams. Okay that’s it—CYA!

No, just kidding, but seriously, I had to go a few weeks without just one of my Nannycams, and I felt like I was missing out on way to much. Getting a Nannycam to watch your dogs may seem a little too much, but it was the only way I felt comfortable leaving Woody and Benny together. They used to be out together every day and of course there would be the mystery of who had the accident, who got in the trash or who destroyed something but they were always happy and healthy. Until one day, Andy decided against feeding them dinner, because he needed to go to Home Depot and stare at paint samples, just one more time. Yes, my eyes are rolling too. So the two were hungry, Ben got in the trash and this time, they were not willing to share. Long story short—Woody’s jugular was bleeding, Ben’s face was all scratched up, and we had two dogs in the ER. Woody was the sadest puppy ever, and most of Ben’s were superficial. Luckily, they are both healthy and fine, and they still love eachother, but we could no longer leave them together.
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We knew Ben couldn’t go in a bedroom or a cage so Woody was going to need to. So the first few days was a disaster. Woody’s bark/cry/howl kept setting off our house alarm. He pottied all over and destroyed things. So we decided to put him in a cage in the bedroom. Same thing but he did improve after a few weeks. I knew he wasn’t happy but there was improvement, so I thought okay maybe he’s cool now and I don’t need to put him in the cage. Well that backfired. He was awful and then when I tried to put him back in the cage he just refused.

Side note on something SUPER IMPORTANT I learned from this. DON’T CONSTANTLY CHANGE THINGS ON THEM! Woody wasn’t perfect (or close) in the cage the first go around, but he was getting better. Then I changed things on him again. Prior to this, every single day of his life he was with another dog. So this was a huge change. Think about it, when he was a baby, he was in a cage but Riley was out with him in the same room. When Ben came around all three were in the same room. Woody literally had not spent a day without being with a dog ever. So isolating not only a pact animal but an animal who has never been isolated is probably not going to go over well. Point proven, Woody, point proven. Just a thing to consider in general with dogs, I’ve learned, pact animals like to be, well in a pact. Crazy right?

So, at this point, Woody couldn’t be out with Ben but he also couldn’t be locked in a room, or in a cage in a room. My options were to put him in a cage in the room with Riley and Peter (I just would never trust two jacks out alone together…) or in a cage out with Ben. Honestly, I pictured the Scar and Zazo scene from Lion King. You know the scene where Zazo is in the cage, and Scar is like poking at him. Yeah, I could only imagine Ben doing that to Woody. So, in order to ensure that Ben did not torture poor Woody in the cage, I demanded a Nannycam for Christmas. But guess what. I got two! It was like the best day ever. One to watch the living room where the cage would be and the other for the kitchen to watch Ben NOT get into the trash.

We have the Logitech Circle Nannycam. It was so easy to set up. It needs WiFi and will save 24 hours of footage. You can save different videos if you want to your phone before it erases. The phone app is great, and we always have clear picture. You can hear what’s going on, and talk to the dogs if you want. It’s just the greatest little camera ever.

The Nannycam gave me confidence that Woody would be safe from Ben, but it also allows me to make sure that they aren’t hurt, getting into something, or freaking out. I also like to check if I forgot to put things away, close doors and see if they are doing anything funny (IE-like falling off the couch from scratching). Another great thing about the Nannycam is that when Woody’s freak attacks in the cage continued to set off the alarm, we could check the Nannycam to make sure it’s a false alarm before canceling the police! Another bonus of the Nannycam is that when I’m not home and Andy is, I catch seriously funny footage of him talking to himself and the boys. I highly recommend getting a Nannycam. It is so fun and comforting to know your doggies are safe and sleeping soundly while you’re gone!

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I constantly post funny videos of the boys and me stopping anyfights  from the Nannycam on Instagram. Some videos are too long and on YouTube so check it out!