Today, I am joining a blog hop to promote pet adoption. I know most people are focusing on shelter pets, but since I am with Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, I thought I would promote one of our adorable adoptables instead. My thanks to our host, Lisa, over at Dogs N Pawz for putting this together. i love it when we can help to promote a pet up for adoption.
Meet the adorable, smart and funny Mr. Romeo. Is he not handsome?
Romeo is a friendly guy who loves playing in the snow and with other dogs and people. His new favorite thing to do is play doggie games with his foster mom. In fact, Romeo has learned lots of new games and tricks since being in his foster home! I’ve included a video of Romeo below so you can see him in action. Trust me when I say, he puts my dogs to shame.
When Romeo isn’t playing with his new toys or outside with his foster siblings, he’s cuddled up next to you on the couch. He prefers to be close to his human when the day winds down.
If you are interested in a dog that will make life fun, interesting and sweet, contact Minnesota Sheltie Rescue.
Now about that video…
Today I am going to do something a little different and share an old blog post from Daisy’s blog, “Daisy the Wonder Dog (and how she found her inner Lab)“.
I don’t write on her blog much anymore, two blogs just became too much to manage, but I still treasure the words I wrote then because they remind me of how far Daisy has come since she first came to live with me as a foster dog in November 2007. I hope you don’t mind me sharing.
I first wrote this back on October 14, 2008, almost one year after I first adopted Daisy.
I always like to share the story of how my dog Daisy came to live with me.
When I first met Daisy, she was swollen with milk, having just weaned her puppies, and very, very scared. This would be her last litter (one of the many she’s had over the past 4 years).
Daisy, a yellow Labrador Retriever, had been brought to our shelter (the one I volunteer at) by a service organization. They had gotten her from a puppy mill – pregnant and scared. They cared for her during her pregnancy and after the birth of her puppies. Luckily for the puppies, the group had decided to keep them to be trained as service dogs, but for Daisy this was not even a possibility. She was too terrified, and often just curled up into a ball waiting for something awful to happen to her. You see, Daisy was puppy mill breeding dog, everything bad had happened to her up until this point.
When I first met her on that day at the shelter, she was sitting at the back of her kennel – terrified and alone. She cowered in my presence and refused to make eye contact. When I raised my hand to unlock the kennel door, she went straight to the ground, crouching in fear, and froze. It was easy to get the leash on her, but getting her to walk to the door to go outside was a slow process and required slow movements.
I walked her, with much difficulty, around the shelter property. She was so scared that she mostly walked low, slunk to the ground, and would freeze at any sound – or if I made any sudden movements. I avoided talking to her; hoping it would calm her. It didn’t. After a short walk, I sat down on the parking lot curb outside and waited to see what she would do. Her whole body language conveyed fear and distrust – averted eyes, lowered head and body, frozen body posture, and her back kept towards me at all times. She was telling me she did not trust me, and I didn’t blame her at all given her history.
I let her be for a moment as I remained seated and gave her some time to adjust to my presence. She never did. She allowed me to pet her, but I think that was only because she was too scared to move. My heart broke for her. I think I knew then that somehow this dog and I were going to be connected.
I already had a wonderful older dog (Aspen) at home whom I adopted about 7 months previously. Aspen had several health issues and took a lot of time and care, but I knew that I couldn’t leave this dog behind. I was afraid that she would never make it to the adoption floor given her extreme fear and lack of socialization. I also knew that I couldn’t really adopt her. But I knew one thing, somehow I was going to make sure this dog had a fighting chance. “Perhaps I could become her foster mom” I thought, “Maybe I could help her to become an adoptable dog.” It would mean taking on even more responsibility (adding another dog to my life), but I think in that moment I had already decided to give it a try. If ever there was ever a dog that needed a chance it was this extremely fearful Lab. Maybe with a little time and patience, she could be adoptable I thought.
And so, Daisy came to live (as a foster dog) with Aspen and I in November 2007, only a few days before Thanksgiving.
Little did I know how much work, time and patience it would take to make her an adoptable dog. In the end, it didn’t matter because she was my dog. My best friend. Little did I know how much she would come to change me and my life.
What has become one of my favorite events of the year was held this past weekend – the annual Minnesota Sheltie Rescue Reunion. What a day!
Adopted Shelties came from far and wide to spend their Saturday afternoon with us (one group even came down from Fargo, ND!). It was so wonderful to see so many of the Shelties that have been adopted this past year, and in years past. I loved seeing some of the same people I had first met in the adoption process now with their new dogs and looking so happy.
The attendance was amazing this year. Probably one of the largest attendance crowds ever!
The day was chock full of things to do, including Sheltie games where dogs and owners could compete for prizes in the shell game, peanut butter lick off contest, pooch a smooth, egg walk and agility activities. Attendees could also get their professional pictures done, Ask the Trainer a training question, get a massage for their doggie and Speak with an Animal Communicator. There was an auction with some pretty awesome items up for bidding (I nabbed the cutest Sheltie flag on a pole that can be stuck in my garden.) and people could purchase fun games for their pups from Dog Prodigy and homemade jerky treats from Four Paws Gourmet or find out more about Top Dog Country Club, our sponsor for the event.
But the highlight of the day was the Sheltie Parade. So many Shelties took the walk with their new families. It was great to see them so happy. I saw a lot of pride and joy on Saturday as Shelties pranced alongside their owners.
I thought I would share just a few highlights of the day with you. I have to give full credit to my friend Cindy Dahl Smith for the majority of these pictures. I forgot my camera and all I had was my iPhone (all the fuzzy pictures are mine). Thanks Cindy!
A couple of weeks ago a friend posted on her Facebook page that her brain was hurting after attending a Suzanne Clothier seminar. I had to laugh. I could SO relate to what she was feeling. Back in November, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend two of the three sessions held by Suzanne here in Minnesota.
To say the sessions were mind-blowing would be an understatement. I can still remember driving home after that first session and feeling like the synapses in my brain were going off all at once. I learned more about dogs in those first three hours than I had ever learned before. I’m pretty sure I said “Wow.” at least twenty times during that first night’s drive home.
The second session was just as mind-blowing as the first and included a lot of real life demonstrations using dogs with real issues. It was exciting to be able to pick out some of the behavioral cues being given by the dogs as Suzanne worked with them.
But the highlight of the session (for me) was a video Suzanne showed during her last session. When I say it was a highlight I mean that it gave me that “A-ha” moment, a moment of insight into myself and into dogs.
Suzanne introduced the video by saying that what we were about to see was an initial meeting between a potential adopter ( a man) and a Shepherd/Husky/Lab mix. The man had come in to meet the dog after seeing his picture on the internet. He was certain that this was the dog for him.
We watched the video in silence as the man met the dog outside. Right away, it was evident that the dog had no interest in the man. As they stood on the gravel driveway, the dog made it clear that he wanted distance. He stood at the very end of the leash and put his back to the man (facing out and away from him). When the man tried to pull the dog in closer to him, he resisted and tried to maintain some distance from him.
When the man sat down on the ground, he pulled the dog in towards him and tried to hug him. The dog tolerated it way more than most people would have, but it was clear from his body language that he wanted no part of it. He pulled away, and even when pulled in close, looked uncomfortable and stiff and always faced away from the man. There were also a lot of yawns and lip-licking (signs of stress in a dog).
As I watched the video, I remember being irritated with the man for not recognizing the dog wanted nothing to do with him. Couldn’t he see the dog was resistant to his attention? Couldn’t he see the dog did not want a hug?
I was so caught up in the dog’s behavioral signals that I had failed to notice something else, something that Suzanne later pointed out – the man’s behavior. In every move and action, he was telling us what kind of dog he wanted,. He wanted a dog who was affectionate and wanted to be close to him. Throughout the video, he made every attempt to create this closeness – pulling the dog towards him,, hugging him, holding him, etc.. The only problem was that he was trying to create that closeness with a dog who clearly preferred distance. This was a dog who probably preferred to sleep on the floor across the room from you or maybe at you feet, not a dog who wanted to be hugged.
What I had completely missed throughout the video was the dynamic between the man and the dog. Suzanne called it a mismatch, and she was completely right. It was a mismatch. The guy was a perfectly nice gentleman, and the dog was a perfectly wonderful dog – they just wanted very different things from one another.
As I thought about it even more, I started to realize how similarly matched me and my dogs are to one another. I am not someone who wants constant affection and attention from my dogs, and funny enough, my dogs are not interested in giving it back to me on a constant basis either. That’s not to say that I don’t like to cuddle with my dogs from time to time. I do. It’s just I prefer not to have a dog glued to my side and needing to touch me at every moment of the day. I like that my dogs prefer to sleep on the floor at night. I love that they have some sense of independence from me.
And yet I know, for other dog owners, this would be the exact opposite of what they want. They want that closeness. They want the little dog in their lap at night… and you know what? That’s totally okay. In the end, it’s making sure that the dog you have matches what you want and that what you both have a need for the same things.
So it made me curious… Do you consider yourself someone who wants that closeness with a dog? Or someone who prefers a little independence and distance? Do you consider you and your dog well-matched? If so, why do you think so?
And, have you ever had a dog that was a mismatch for you and how did you know?
The first time I saw Jasper, it was here…
He was in impound with his sister, waiting to be examined by one of our vet techs before being fostered or put up for adoption. I fell in love with his handsome little face right then (I also fell in love with his sister). I practically begged to foster them…just for a little while. But I should have known then, he wouldn’t be leaving. He was home the moment he walked through my door.
The first time I saw Daisy, she was cowering in a kennel much like the one Jasper was in. She was terrified as hell and my heart broke when I saw how she cowered and flinched when people came near her. I knew then that I would foster her. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I worried someone inexperienced would adopt her and place her in a situation where she could be further damaged.
But it wasn’t until two weeks later, when I picked her up after being spayed, that I knew that she was mine. Her vulnerability drew me in and captured my heart. She needed me. She needed someone who understood her. There was no way I would give her up to someone who didn’t understand her needs for space, time and patience. She was home.
Cupcake was different. She had already been living in a foster home and was more than likely going to be adopted soon. Besides, I had already had a talk with myself about how I would not be falling in love with her. Two dogs was more than enough thank you. I couldn’t possibly take on another. I was sure she would be moving on to her forever home soon and then I would foster yet another dog in need of help.
But then, one fateful night, she went missing, and I was distraught. I was a complete wreck. I imagined all sorts of awful things happening to her. I worried she would be killed by a coyote or would starve to death or be hit by a car. It wasn’t until she was found and finally started to recognize me again that I started to have an inkling that she would be staying. At that very moment when she recognized me and sighed and leaned into me, I knew. There was no way Cupcake would be leaving my home to go to another. She already was home. She had been all along. I think she knew before I did.
I suspect that most everyone has had that moment, the one where you just KNOW that this dog is “the one.” With each of my dogs it was different. Jasper was love at first sight (he had me at “Hello”). With Daisy it was much more gradual. It started as a strong sense of responsibility towards a dog in need and slowly grew into something much, much more. With Cupcake, it took a traumatic event to make me realize how much I loved her. Like I said, I think she knew she was home before I did.
So what was your moment? When did you KNOW that your dog was “the one?” Was it love at first sight? Or, did it take time to bond? I would love to hear your story.
Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.
The other day I heard one of the radio DJs refer to this week, the week between Christmas and New Years, as the “lost week.” I suppose in some cases this is true. So many people take this week off from work that not much really gets done in terms of “real” work.
But for me, this week is a time to reflect. A time to look back on the year that has passed and to think about what is to come in the year ahead. I’m not sure why, but for some reason I have been doing a lot of reflecting on one particular dog this year – Cupcake, my sweet little Sheltie girl.
My how far she has come in this past year.
Last year, she had just returned home after being lost for 12 days. I was just happy to have her back home again. It was such a relief to know she was safe and not lost in Eagan or someplace beyond.
But this year, I find myself reflecting on her amazing progress.
I can still remember the very first day she came to stay with me (as a foster dog). She was so scared and uncertain, both of me and her new home. I remember her standing at the gate watching her former foster mom get into her car to leave and how she ran along the length of the fence, trying to find a way out, to follow her. Dawn had been such a rock in her life up until then. How sad and scared she must have been as she watched her leave.
But that Cupcake is long gone now. The one that has replaced her is so much more confident, happy and secure, not only in herself, but also in others.
The old Cupcake was afraid of all strangers and never would have even considered approaching someone other than me. Over this past year, I have watched her approach people she has come to know as friends (or those she deems as “safe”) as well as strangers. It seems she has learned that some of our dog park friends carry treats, and because she is treat-motivated, she will approach them to get one. At first it was only come close enough to have tit tossed to her, but now she will take them right from the person’s hands. She even approaches people she doesn’t know, if she suspects they have treats.
The new Cupcake also loves to play, and will tear around the house with her brother, Jasper, as they wrestle and growl and act like silly pups. (She has even been known to play a game of tug with her sister, Daisy!)
She also plays with some of the dogs at our dog park, especially Duncan, another young Sheltie, who seems to have caught her eye. She will twirl and jump and dance just to get his attention.
Watching her playful side come out has been such a joy.
The new Cupcake also knows the commands “sit”, “down”, “come”, “drop it” and “watch me”, and is quite good at solving some of the most difficult doggie puzzles. (She also is quite good at stealing the cat’s food, but we won’t mention that one will we?)
In the past year, she has also had the chance to experience new things, like a hike in the woods, putting her toes in a lake, walking along a beach and chasing more squirrels and rabbits than one can count.
She has also learned to share my attention, doggie bones and her toys with her siblings. She is still the first to corner me in the bathroom, but she doesn’t mind sharing the space with Jasper if he wants to join her.
I love that she will now put her paws up on the edge of the couch and paw at me to let me know she wants some attention. I love that her preferred sleeping space is right next to my bed (or on my bed) and that she wants to be where I am because that is where she feels safe.
I love that she feels safe and happy and curious and confident in her new home. I love that she knows this is her home. (I think she knew it before I did.)
The dog I adopted a year ago has turned into quite an amazing little dog. I never could have guessed she would have come this far in just a year. It makes me wonder… what will she do in the next year?
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of year. It’s a time to pause and reflect. A time to feel gratitude for all that we have in our lives. For some, it might not be much, but for all of us there is at least one thing we can all be grateful for in our lives, whether it be a our children, our pets, our friends and family.
I am thankful for quite a lot this year. I have a job, a house, three lovely dogs (safely at home and not wandering throughout Eagan), a wonderful family and some really awesome friends.
I am also feeling grateful for all of you, my new friends, who have added so much to my life. You laugh with me, cry with me, question me, challenge me and support me. You also share your very own personal stories – many of which have moved me to tears. When I started this blog it was to share information with my pet sitting and dog walking clients. I never expected it to become a place to make friends. To have such wonderful people like you reading my words (as good or bad as they may be some days) is something I never expected. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, but above all for sharing your very own stories. I love reading them.
As I was thinking about what I wanted to say this Thanksgiving Day, I realized that there were two groups of people I wanted to say THANKS to this year.
To the volunteers and staff with Minnesota Sheltie Rescue I say thank you for all you do. Thank you Karen, Estelle, Susan, Mary, Heather, Cindy, Francine, Pat, Kathy, Judy, all the foster parents and volunteers I may have missed. Most people don’t realize all that is involved in saving dog’s lives, but I do – transporting, vetting, fostering, conducting home visits, calling potential adopters, answering inquiries from people wanting to surrender their dogs, helping people with lost Shelties, – you do all of this and more. Thank you! (A special thank you to Estelle and Susan who spent their Thanksgiving last year helping me find Cupcake. I hope you actually get to enjoy your holiday this year!)
To the volunteers and staff at Animal Folks MN,thank you for your continued work and dedication to bringing attention to the puppy mill situation in our state. Nancy and Ann – you have worked tirelessly to bring about change in Minnesota. We may not have the most puppy mills in this state, but we do have some of the largest facilities in the country. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your hard work and dedication in leading the charge to change how breeding dogs and cats are treated in this state. Daisy thanks you too!
May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. May the blessings be great and the connections deep.
Here we are about to enjoy another Thanksgiving together and I can hardly believe it.
I can’t believe it has been five years since you first came to live with me – first as my foster dog and then as my very own. Where did the time go?
I remember the day I first brought you home and how terrified you were getting out of the car, through the kitchen doorway and across that darn slippery wood kitchen floor. Do you remember how you used to run as soon as you hit that wood floor because it scared you so?
I remember those first few days and how you hid in your kennel, afraid to leave it for fear of what might be outside it’s safe confines. Do you remember how I used to sit on the floor outside your kennel and toss you treats in hopes that you would learn to trust me?
Aspen was your rock then. She was the confident dog who knew what to do around humans. She knew the couch was a safe place and you felt safe there too… as long as she was there. You would lie next to her on that couch with your head on her body and sleep so deeply, only leaving her when I got up to go into the kitchen or bathroom.
I didn’t know how much you had come to rely on Aspen until the first and only time I left you in your kennel and latched its door. Oh how you must have panicked. The teeth marks on the top and sides told me how scared you had been. I never shut that kennel door again did I?
Do you remember how you used to panic when coming in from outside? Those darn doorways have always been a bit of a problem for you. So many times I would hide behind the door and let Aspen lead you inside, but often there were times when something would spook you and you would back away from the door. Aspen and I would come back outside and try to lead you inside again – over and over again, until you felt safe.
Do you remember that time it was pouring out and you were too scared to come in? It wasn’t until I put your harness on that I was able to lead you back inside. I smile when I think of that crazy night now. How silly we must have looked.
I still remember the first time you saw a lake. You were so scared. Get your feet wet? No way! I gently encouraged you until you let your toes touch the water. Who could have guessed then that you would come to love water so? No longer afraid, you now jump in as if it’s the best thing since sliced bread. And to you, it is just that.
I look back now and can hardly believe that it has been five years. You’re nine years old now, and oh how much you have grown.
I swore when I adopted you that I would give you the very best life possible. Sitting in a cage having puppies over and over again was a thing of the past. I wanted you to have every opportunity to enjoy all the things most dogs do – long walks at the park, swimming in a lake, playing with other dogs, cuddles and belly rubs, a chance to hang your head out the car window and enjoy the breeze, the pleasure of eating the occasional ice cream cone from Dairy Queen. I wanted you to live a life free of fear. I wanted you to feel true happiness and joy. I wanted you to be a dog. Not a scared, muddled mess of fear hiding away in a kennel for the rest of your life.
I am so proud of you my girl. You have accomplished all of this and more. You experience joy. You are not afraid to explore and try new things. You love most people and approach them on your own.You aren’t confident 100% of the time, but who cares? You are who you are and I love you just the way you are, here and now.
Happy Gotcha Day my girl.
I could not have ever guessed that the dog I offered to foster that day five years ago would bring such joy to my life. You have truly found your Inner Lab.
For 161 Malamutes in Montana it took a while for that tide to turn, but turn it did.
On October 18, 2012, the owner of the dog breeding facility (i.e., puppy mill) in which these dogs were kept, Mike Chilinski, was convicted of 91 counts of animal cruelty.
According to Jefferson County district attorney Mathew Johnson said the dogs were “were in serious poor health from lack of adequate nutrition”. Four veterinarians testified during the trial and said most of the dogs were severely underweight, and had scars and parasites.
I can’t help but be happy on behalf of the dogs that suffered and/or died under his care. Here in Minnesota, we are lucky to get an animal cruelty conviction for dogs suffering under similar conditions. Let’s face it the laws suck here.
That’s right. I’m not mincing my words today.
A many of you know, it is my never-ending plea that people stop buying puppies from pet stores or over the internet. I have shared the following information over the past few years, but it bears sharing again.
USDA-licensed does NOT mean they are not a puppy mill.
Mike Chilinski does not appear to have been a USDA-licensed breeder, but that is not too surprising these days. Most puppy millers are choosing to forgo the USDA license to avoid inspections. Without the USDA license they cannot sell to pet stores, but they CAN sell over the internet as Mr. Chilinski did.
“This case should open people’s eyes to the fact that even people who advertise alleged ‘show-quality’ dogs may actually be operating puppy mills,” she said. “It’s easy to hide the truth behind a professional-looking website that seems to say all the right things.” (Gina Wiest, executive director of the Lewis and Clark Humane Society)
Having a dog with an AKC certification means nothing. Puppy mill dogs can also be AKC certified.
“Being a breeder that often breeds over seven litters a year puts me automatically on a list for AKC inspections,” he said under oath. “Having had two recent inspections by AKC representative Gene Brennan, I felt confident I was obeying all laws and the stricter AKC rules. The police were aware of the fact the AKC had inspected me because I often would remind them that the expert from AKC had found no health or care issues.” (testimony of Mike Chilinski)
Responsible dog breeders do not sell their dogs to pet stores or over the internet
“I have shipped dogs for 30 years and have never had an incident. I have dogs in Australia and on every continent.”(testimony of Mike Chilinski)
Puppy mills are cruel and horrible places where dogs are kept in deplorable conditions because it’s not about the dogs, it’s about the money.
Bill and Carole Peterson of Nye, provided a deputy with photos of what they suspected of being a puppy mill. The couple went to the residence in mid-September to purchase a Malamute puppy and say they were horrified by the conditions of the dogs, which were living in kennels full of feces with little to no water. (Puppy mill and illegal pot operation busted in Jefferson City, Independent Record, 10/14/2011)
I found it a bit ironic that Mr. Chilinski was convicted without the USDA Proposed Rule Change being in place since he was opposed to it. You can see his name signed here (petitioner #2509):
His comment on the petition?
I’m guessing he still feels his 3rd amendment rights were violated, but it didn’t take the USDA to convict him, just his own cruelty caught on film. One more puppy mill closed down.
Don’t shop, Adopt.
Don’t buy over the internet, Adopt.
An update on the Malamutes rescued last October:
The dogs are now being transitioned to the care of Malamute rescue groups around the country who have offered help in placing the dogs in permanent homes. Lewis and Clark Humane Society says that the finalization of the adoption process will have to wait until after sentencing, in about two to three weeks.
Potential adopters can email the American Malamute Assistance League (AMAL) at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on a list to adopt one of the malamutes.