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Favorite Video Friday – The Dogist: Dog Photographer

February 19, 2016 5 comments

This week I’m going in a bit of a different direction with the Favorite Friday video. Normally, I focus on the dogs – funny dogs, cute dogs, amazing dogs and just dogs having fun, but this week I thought I’d share a video featuring a dog photographer.

I happened across this interesting video on Vimeo and thought it was fun and interesting. If you follow this blog, you know that I love taking pictures, especially of dogs. It’s interesting to see someone actually doing it very day.

Meet Elias Weiss Friedman aka The Dogist, a writer and photographer. He takes some amazing photos of dogs in New York. You can follow him on Instagram or Facebook. He also has a website: http://thedogist.com. I hope you enjoy learning more about him and the dogs he photographs.

Happy Friday everyone!

The Dogist from E.J. McLeavey-Fisher on Vimeo.

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Can you describe a “normal dog?”

February 18, 2016 10 comments

Cupcake. My heart. Jan 2016I was just preparing a post for my Facebook page (it will post later today) and realized that in my comments introducing the piece I had put the words “normal dog” in quotes. It was in reference to a dog that had been on its own for 4 years and was now safe in a shelter and learning how to be a dog again. He is very fearful and shy and not what one would term a “normal dog” right now.

I haven’t had dogs one would call “normal” for some time now. Daisy was my first puppy mill dog, Jasper probably came from a mill or a backyard breeder, Cupcake came from a mill, as did Maggie. Of all of them, Jasper is probably as close to normal as they get.That’s a whole lot of not normal in my life.

And, I’m not the only one. I know lots of people with reactive dogs, frustrated dogs, or dogs who just need a little extra special handling. It makes me wonder what we consider to be a “normal dog” these days. Do they exist?

How would YOU define a normal dog? What characteristics would fit a normal dog? Does your dog fit your definition of normal?

Favorite Video Friday – Ski Patrol Dogs of Snowmass

January 29, 2016 2 comments

Minnesota has been a little lacking in snow accumulation this year. We’ve had a lot of hazy, cloudy, warm days and not a whole lot of sun and snow (for those of you in warmer climes, the sun seems to come out more when it gets cold, and that cold comes from having lots of snow to reflect the sun).

Instead, all the snow appears to be going to everyone around us – the west coast and Rocky Mountains are especially getting a lot of snow this year. No doubt the downhill ski business is booming (much to the relief of many a ski business owner).

I think that’s why this week’s video seemed like the right one to share this Friday. It features the ski patrol dogs of Snowmass, Colorado. Gray, Piper and Caleb are well-trained, professional and absolutely adorable. They make me want to pick up skiing just so I can meet them!

Happy Friday everyone!

Ski Patrol Dogs of Snowmass from Vital Films on Vimeo.

Favorite Video Friday – Golden Retriever cuteness

January 22, 2016 5 comments

 

This week’s Favorite Friday Video is all Golden Retriever cuteness. I love puppies (who doesn’t?) and especially Golden Retriever and Lab puppies. I think it’s all that wrinkly skin that they have yet to grow into. They are just so squishy and cuddly cute!

Boomer looks like the perfect little puppy. He’s curious, courageous and fun.

He is everything you need to start your day off right.

I hope this week’s pick will make you smile. Happy Friday!

The ASPCA Rehabilitation Center that is changing the lives of damaged dogs

January 13, 2016 10 comments
Maggie gets this close for chicken. #sheltie #puppymilldog

Foster Maggie telling me it’s too much pressure to “touch” my finger when I am this close.

If you would have asked me what my dream job was five years ago, I would have said professional pet sitter. It was what I was doing at the time, and I loved it. I loved caring for other people’s pets and making them feel loved while their parents were away. I also loved being able to train and socialize the ones I walked each day. Puppies were the easiest, they were always so eager to learn, but what always got me excited was working with a shy or fearful dogs. I can’t explain it, but there is something so rewarding about being able to build their confidence and win their trust.

Even when I volunteered at our local shelter, it was the shy or fearful ones I was most drawn to each day. In the 8 1/2 years I was there, those were the dogs I woke with most. I think it’s in my DNA. It’s most certainly how I met my dogs Indy, Daisy and Jasper.

Several years ago, I heard about a small facility that was being set up as a pilot site to work with and better understand how best to help dogs coming from dog fighting rings, puppy mills and hoarding cases.

Operating out of St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison New Jersey, the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center rehabilitates dogs that are damaged and traumatized by abuse and neglect. Their goal? To give dogs, most likely to be euthanized at local and county shelters, a new leash on life.

Back when I first read about it, it was more of a proof of concept, an experiment designed to prove that these dogs could be rehabilitated. But, it was also a study into learning what worked and didn’t work when rehabbing these dogs.

Fortunately, it appears they are succeeding. Thanks to the ASPCA and the wonderful people working at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, dogs are successfully being rehabbed and placed into new loving homes.

And now, they are ready to graduate and take it to the next level. Recently, they announced that they will be moving to a brand new (and much larger) facility in Weatherville, North Carolina in 2017. This is HUGE news. For those of us who work with puppy mill dogs, it means we may soon learn more about how best to help these dogs recover from abuse, trauma and neglect, and that really excites me.

This is my dream job! Think they would be open to a Minnesota transplant with a silly Fargo-like accent? Would it work if I made up a sign “Will rehab dogs for food?”

A person can dream, can’t they?

If you want to learn more about the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, there is a great piece on it in NJ.com: Meet the ‘miracle’ dogs: N.J. center rehabilitates animal cruelty victims

Kindness to animals

Where does a rescue or shelter’s responsibility end when it comes to a dog?

January 10, 2016 20 comments

Jack Russell Terrier SnarlingWhen you work in rescue, you encounter a wide variety of situations that you not only can’t anticipate, but for which you also don’t have an easy solution. Things are rarely in black and white. Answers aren’t always easy, and many times you second guess yourself.

There is no question that rescues are there to save every animal they can. No one wants to be the one to make the decision to euthanize an animal. When an animal is in pain and suffering, the answer is a little easier because you know that it will no longer need to suffer in pain. But when it involves behavior or genetics, it can be so much harder to know what to do.

I often struggle in this middle ground. I firmly believe that many animals are euthanized when they could have been saved. Proper training and dedication can help many a dog who is fearful or has fear aggression. But, I also believe that there are animals being saved who should not be. Many of these are animals are ones who but for the perfect owner, would be a danger to others, people or human. and dedicated and self-sacrificing that without said owner, they would be a danger to others, people or animal.

Perhaps my strong sense of what is right and wrong prevents me from seeing other possibilities and options, but in a world where mistakes can happen, where perfection is impossible, I just cannot see how saving a dog that is a potential danger to other dogs is the “best” decision.

Last year, I participated in a group discussion involving a dog who had killed an older resident dog in the foster home he was staying in. The foster mom had made an urgent plea for someone to please take the dog. Many in the group expressed their condolences. Many praised her for being able to see beyond her grief to want to save the dog despite him killing her dog. A few of us expressed our condolences and broached the topic of euthanasia. She was seriously considering it.

But then, the person who had originally rescued him was able to get the dog into a no-kill shelter just south of here and he was saved. That was a little over six months ago.

Since then, I’ve often wondered…

Was the shelter informed about the death he had caused? If the shelter was informed, did they plan on or did they tell prospective new owners about the danger (I am assuming they are legally required to do so)? And, if they have told prospective owners, and he was rejected on that basis, would he spend the rest of his life in a shelter?

I also wondered if he had been placed in a new home and if the new owner knew understood the risks involved if the dog were to get loose or live in a home with another dog. I wondered if his new owner was experienced with dogs with behavioral issues. I wondered if he or she was continuing to work a training and behavior modification plan with him, like his foster mom had been trying to do, and if the he had harmed another dog since being shipped across the border.

j0387553I hope he is in a home where he is the only dog, and that he is living with someone who knows how to work with him and will make sure he does not harm another dog again, but I will always wonder.

I fully support rescues and shelters transporting dogs to places where they can have a better chance at living in a real home. I also support trying our very best to help a dog who has behavioral issues rather than choosing euthanization first. So many dogs have been saved this way.

However, when it comes to dogs with serious behavioral issues (or a history where another animal in the home was killed) I wonder where a rescue or shelter’s due diligence and responsibility begin and end. Is it okay to pass on a dog who has serious issues as long as the receiving rescue or shelter is aware of it? Is it okay to simply hope that the receiving rescue or shelter will do the right thing and inform the new owner of the possible dangers? Is there a right and wrong decision when it comes to this dog? I don’t know. Maybe there isn’t, I just hope it wasn’t passing the buck.

What do you think? Where does a rescue or shelter’s responsibility end when it comes to a dog with serious behavioral issues?

Favorite Video Friday – A Weimaraner at work

January 8, 2016 6 comments

If there is one thing I love to do, it is watching a dog doing what it was bred to do. Watching Border Collies and Shelties herding sheep is awe-inspiring. Watching a Greyhound or Whippet lure coursing (for fun) is a sight to be seen. Watching a husky with a smile on its face as it leads a sled dog team is happiness at its core.

There is a joy they emanate when they are doing something they are bred to do. But, there is also a finesse and a naturalness to what they are doing that is hard not to appreciate.

I think that’s why I find this video so much fun to watch. This Weimaraner is amazing. Take a look and you’ll see what I mean.

Happy Friday everyone!

go after a

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