Black and White Sunday #93 – The funny and gorgeous Gir

August 17, 2014 19 comments

Gir with his foot in the water dish

Daisy and Gir at the dog park - August 2014

Looking up. Gir at the dog park.

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

Favorite Video Friday – My Dog Carly

August 14, 2014 6 comments

I don’t know about you, but I like to sing to my dogs.

Most of the time I do it in the car as we make our way to the dog park, but I have been known to sing to them while making dinner or getting ready for work in the morning or while listening to music.

The songs I sing are pretty silly. Little ditties like “I love Daisy. I love Jasper. I love Cuppers. Yes, I love my puppers.” Sometimes my songs meander down strange little paths, losing their tune and going off key. And sometimes, they just end with an abrupt halt as I scramble to find a word that rhymes with puppies or Daisy or Jasper or Cuppers.

I can’t really say that my dogs love me singing to them, but I can confirm that there is no clapping of paws or rolling of the eyes. Perhaps they know I am just singing my love to them?

Maybe it is the fact that I do sing to my dogs that made me to pause at this cute little video and smile, or maybe it was the sweet innocence of the child singing it, but I knew I would be sharing it all with you the minute I saw it.

I apologize up front, it is a bit of an ear worm, but I think you will agree that it is a good one. :)

Happy Friday everyone!

Wordless Wednesday #200 – The Neighbor Waits for Cheese

August 12, 2014 12 comments

Are we rescuing? Or, are we passing the buck?

August 10, 2014 20 comments

Jack Russell Terrier SnarlingReading the latest news on Steve Marwell, owner of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary (OAS), made me realize once again how few of us have actually spent time asking how this all came to be in the first place.

How did a man who had never registered his charity with his state, and who collected donations but never made any of the required disclosures needed to maintain his good standing as a rescue or sanctuary, able to fool so many rescues and animal shelters into sending their unadoptable dogs to him?

How did no one know about all the dogs living in crates and kennels and in extreme conditions, with little to no food? How did this place pass as a sanctuary and continue to receive dogs for years?

The whole awful and disturbing story brought to mind a blog post I had read back in 2012. Written by Jessica Dolce, How I Failed as a Rescuer: Lessons from a Sanctuary, was a sad, but very insightful look into something that happens so often in rescue – we push it on down the line.

As Jessica wrote:

We all keep pushing down the chain. Individuals reach out to shelters, shelters plead with rescues to pull dogs, rescues can’t place all the dogs, so they board hard-to-place dogs in sanctuaries.

We’re all begging for someone else to give us the happy ending we so desperately want for the animals we love. If people deny us, we lash out that no one will help. If a shelter isn’t no-kill, we refuse to donate to them. We keep pushing and pushing until someone will take this painful, difficult situation off of our doorstep.

We all push until we find sanctuaries who say yes. (How I Failed as a Rescuer: Lessons from a Sanctuary by Jessica Dolce, Notes from a Dog Walker, July 21, 2012)

But the responsibility isn’t the person on down the line is it? No. The responsibility is ours, the rescuer’s, and we should be taking it more seriously.

I wonder… Are we asking the right questions when we decide to pass a dog off to someone else? When we choose to ship a dog off to a sanctuary to live out their lives, do we do our due diligence? Do we ask around for references? Do we go visit the facility ourselves? When we choose to save a dog that cannot be placed, are we really “saving” the dog? Or, are we just making ourselves feel better?

Sad Looking Chocolate LabRecently, I said NO to someone who wanted help in finding a home for an unwanted dog. The dog had an extensive bite history (with several owners) and was scheduled to be euthanized in three days. The person wanting to “save” the dog could not take the dog herself, but wanted desperately to find someone else who would. I could not help but be angry. She wasn’t willing to take in the dog in herself, but she wanted someone else to take on that risk? Really? It very much felt like she was passing it on down the line, leaving the dog for someone else to deal with it, all the while patting herself on the back for saving a poor dog.

I won’t lie. I recommended the dog be euthanized. With so many dogs out there in need, and so many of them without a bite history, why would we save this one dog? Why save this dog who has bitten several former owners in the past? 

Desperate to save the dog, the woman ended up taking the dog where? A sanctuary for difficult dogs.  God only knows if it is a “good one” or it it willbe one that we will one day see in the news, like OAS. I can only hope it is a good one and the dog is receiving great care, and hopefully, some retraining. I can’t help but wonder if the “rescuers” have bothered to check in to see how the dog is doing since they “saved” her? I would bet the answer is no, which is precisely the problem. Out of sight, out of mind.

What happened at OAS should never be allowed to happen again. And yet, I know it will.

As rescuers, we need to get better at doing our due diligence. We need to visit the places we send our unadoptable dogs. We need to inspect, ask for references, ask questions (lots of them) and follow-up regularly. But most importantly, we need to stop passing dogs (who cannot be re-homed or who are unsafe in a normal home) down the line.

We need to be honest and ask ourselves if euthanization wouldn’t be a better solution in these types of situations rather than passing the dog off to a sanctuary where they could suffer unimaginable cruelties for years on end. 

Because the truth is, that kind of solution is not rescuing, it’s passing the buck.  It’s contributing to animal suffering, not saving them from it. 

Favorite Video Friday – A man, a dog and the open road.

August 7, 2014 5 comments

I don’t have much in the way of an introduction to this week’s video. It doesn’t relate to something I am doing or the weather or even the time of year. The simplest explanation is that it appealed to my soul. it’s about a man, a dog, and the open road. A journey among friends. The remembrance of a life lost.

I have no doubt that Lance is with them, on every mile they take.

Make sure you check out their blog: The Oasis of My Soul

 

Happy Friday!

May you all have a blessed and beautiful weekend.

(A different) Wordless Wednesday #199 – The lovable Dylan

August 6, 2014 10 comments

give cancer the paw buttonToday I am veering off from the usual Wordless Wednesday post and adding a few words with my picture.

Peggy Frezon from The Writer’s Dog  and  Jackie Bouchard from Pooches Smooches are hosting their very last blog hop dedicated to bringing awareness to canine cancer. Give Cancer the Paw has been a great way to raise cancer awareness and to share new treatments and news in the fight against cancer for dogs, but now it is coming to an end. So in honor of this special blog hop, Peggy and Jackie asked bloggers to “pay tribute to a special dog or cat (or any pet) who has or has had cancer.”

I have chosen a very special dog to honor today. I have known Dylan almost as long as I have had Daisy. He is a former client, friend and inspiration.

Dylan has cancer and is currently undergoing chemo treatments to kick it to the curb. You would never know it to look at him, but he has battled cancer before. He won the battle that time and he will win again. Dylan is a fighter, actually more of a lover than a fighter, but I have no doubt he will beat it again. Feel free to send your healthy vibes and goodwill mojo his way. I am sure his mom would appreciate it. I know I will. Give cancer the paw Dylan!

 

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Dylan asking for a belly rub.

 

 

Is there something out there? #dogpark

Dylan (back) and Abbie (front) look for the elusive squirrel at the dog park.

 

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Keeping an eye on the neighbors.

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Dylan and his sitter, Nika. SQUIRREL!!!

My favorite boy Dylan. #dogpark

The handsome Dylan at the dog park this summer.

 

Since I WordPress.com does not allow Java, I cannot include the linky, but you can join the blog hop here.

Understanding dogs and their need for space: How big is your dog’s space bubble?

August 5, 2014 11 comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal space bubbles lately. Of course, it is mostly in relation to humans and their dogs.

We don’t often thing about space when it comes to us and our dogs, but we should. Our dogs are always telling us something about how they feel when we interact with them. They show it in the way they turn their heads, how they lean, how they turn their bodies and what they do with their eyes, ears, feet and tongue.

Daisy’s space bubble used to be huge (like the whole length of the backyard huge), but now she is happiest when she can cuddle up next to me on the couch. Her space bubble with me is in inches. She wants to be as close to me as possible. With strangers, it really depends. Sometimes she will get as close as she does with me and at other times it may be feet.

Maggie’s space bubble, on the other hand, is about the same as where Daisy started. Outside, Maggie prefers to be as far away from as possible – when I am standing, but when I am sitting, she is happy to approach within feet of me.

Reading Eileen Anderson’s blog post, “You’re Too Close! Dogs and Body Pressure” reminded me how often we miss these social cues when interacting with our dogs. I’ll be honest, sometimes I miss them too.

Looking at pictures or videos of me and my dogs, or someone else and my dog, can really help me to see a each of my dog’s space bubbles much more clearly. It allows me to take a step back and just observe.

For example, take a look at some pictures I have of Cupcake interacting with some friends and their dogs.  You’ll see in the first photo that, unlike the dogs surrounding her, Cupcake chooses to stand back a little. She knows that this takes her further from the treat, and that she risks another dog getting her treat, but this is where she feels most comfortable when it comes to interacting with people (even people she knows). In fact, her space bubble is sometimes so large that I can’t even capture her in the picture involving a person and other dogs.

Daisy, on the other hand, has a much smaller space bubble. Look at how close she gets to the people in each of these photos.

Treat time. #dogpark

This picture made me laugh. Truly a telling moment. The two girls are focused on treats and the boy is focused on what? His stick.

Cupcake's space bubble

Now look at some photos of Maggie. See how far she is from me compared to my other dogs? She knows that she is more likely to get cheese the closer she gets to me, but she also has a space bubble that is quite large and that is where she feels most comfortable and most safe.

Two Shelties are better than one, but three Shelties are better than none.

Sheltie girls when it comes to getting cheese.

 

Jasper on the other hand, will scoot right up to strangers and ask for a little attention. He had never met this man before Sunday, but he kept going back to him over and over again for a little attention.

Jasper is not afraid of getting a little love.

So what are some signs that a dog is feeling uncomfortable and may need more space?

  • Leaning back on his feet
  • Leaning away from you
  • Taking a step back
  • Turning her head to the side and away from you
  • Keeping him/herself out of reach of your hands
  • Lip licking
  • Ducking down and away

There are more behaviors you may see, but when ending space these are some common ones. I recommend reading Eileen’s blog post and watch her videos. They are quite good and quite educational for dog owners.

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