Category Archives: Dog Stories

Saving Sally at Salvation Army

Sally, fully grown now. Late summer, 2015.

Sally, fully grown now. Here she is about 80 lbs. Early spring, 2015.

I want anyone to know, who might happen to read Sally’s little story that I do not write these pet stories looking for a pat on the back or some sort of praise. I am not a rescuer per say and do not wish to be known as anyone special. I do what I do because I love dogs and cats. I don’t have a lot of money but live simply in order to take in an animal here and there. Some are placed in an appropriate home when the match is a good one. Other animals I keep because they have behavioral issues or health issues. Some I keep because they are happy with me and a good fit. People are reluctant to adopt an animal with any kind of health need/s that requires spending a bit of money. This is something that I will never understand. They are often passing up the best friend they will ever have.

 

 

Labor Day week-end of 2014. During an afternoon rain, I was sleeping soundly and dreaming some sort of nonsensical dream when my cell phone rang. I reached for the phone and mumbled something that resembled hello.

“Hey, Yvonne. You sound tired. Were you napping? Are you feeling ok?”

“Well , yes Katey I was asleep. What’s going on?”

” Oh not much. Me and Merlin. came to eat and it’s raining real hard. Do ya think ya could give us a ride home?”

“So, where are you?”

“Oh,  not far from the rails, bout maybe two blocks. I think it’s south something.”

Katey, I’m sorry but what do you mean two blocks from the rails?”

” Oh,  yea. the rails as in choo-choo, Ya know, train tracks.”

Katey you are feeling your spring oats. I wish you’d get your story and your direction on the right track. And I’m not making a pun. The odd thing is that you have jumped the track somewhere along the way.”  What is the landmark nearest you? Are you in a building with a name or at somebody’s house?”

“We’re over here not far from Franklin and the Dr Pepper museum. I think it’s 5th or 6th or something close to that. Maybe Webster. Ain’t no house. It’s sort of like a store but it’s a building.”

“Can you go ask someone where you are. Do you think, with your apparently addled brain today, that you can give me a landmark and then I can find you?”

“Oh, yea, I’ll do that.”

For some strange reason , Katey was so vague I thought she must have been out “to lunch” and had not found her way back.  I continued to hold my cell phone and finally she began to speak.

“Oh we’re here at the Salvation Army where we usually eat breakfast and supper.”

“Well  Katey that makes sense. Why didn’t you say that in the first place?”

“Oh, I never thought about that. I didn’t’ think you’d know the location.”

Salvation Army. Why oh why, did Katey not say that in the first place? This young woman is extremely smart but sometimes common sense is not her forte. The best groomer I’ve seen who can handle just about any cat or dog and never get a scratch.

I drove down town and across the tracks to Salvation Army. As I pulled up to the curb, a skinny, scrawny, mangy, whitish  dog ran to the truck and sat down on the curb. Katey and Merlin were standing under an awning and then walked to the truck as the dog continued sitting and looking forlorn and in apparent anticipation. There was still a light rain. And, the dog was wet and she looked more beige than white. And she was not a small dog. In fact the dog was almost as tall as my big lab. Muddy.

“Okay Katey. where did the dog come from and why is it sitting by the truck?  Did you tell it that I am the taxi service for humans as well as canines?”

“I’m sorry Yvonne, I don’t think she belongs to anybody and those guys over there said she sometimes follows homeless people around to get fed a meal here. A bunch of people got in a car and the dog is still here. Nobody claims her. I already asked.”

Oh, that’s great. A homeless dog with mange and soulful eyes to boot, at a homeless shelter for the poor and downtrodden. What a dilemma.  Should I leave her here and maybe she’d get run over? I can tell she’s young with very little fur.Maybe about  7-8 months old-just a wild guess. 

“Ok Katey, you and Merlin put her in the back seat of the truck. I sure hope she does not throw up. I’ll bet she’s never ridden in a vehicle before.”

Half way to Merlin’s parent’s house there was a big heave and up came turkey, carrots, gravy and, mashed potatoes. The rest of the ride was disgusting but we made it to Merlin’s house and then Katey. and I drove to my house. By the time we made it to my house the rain had stopped.I found an old collar that had belonged to Molly, one of my labs and attached a leash to the collar. We tied her to the back chain link fence. Then we got buckets, Dawn dish detergent and two rolls of paper towels. We both went to work to clean up the sticky, smelly mess from the floor board of my truck. It appeared that she had only been eating human food and it was greasy and disgusting.

We finished cleaning  and then it was time to tackle the dog. I had warmed Katey. before hand that she would need to help me with the dog. First order was a bath with as much water on two humans as there was on the errant canine. She jumped and bucked around for a bit but then finally gave in after realizing she was feeling better. Pink skin and some sores showed through sparse hair which had thinned from what appeared to be sarcoptic mange.

Katey. and I toweled her dry and  stood in awe of the big dog. She was actually white with a patch of black on one hip and symmetrical markings of black on her head and ears. I also noticed that she had dew claws which meant she was Great Pyrenees mixed with something but at the time I had no idea what kind of mix. Big Dog had short coarse fur and I figured that she was not going to be a long haired fluffy dog- even after her fur would hopefully grow back.

Katey and I had a short discussion about what to do for fleas and mange and we concluded that an application of Revolution that I had on hand, would take care of the fleas and the sarcoptic mange. I decided that all she needed was a bowl of water and then we put her in a large wire cage that I had bought months earlier from Attwoods, a farm and feed store.

Big Dog was not immediately happy in the crate but soon settled down on a bed of clean coastal Bermuda hay. She whined for a bit but soon went to sleep. It was probably the best sleep in her life thus far. Katey. and I stood outside the welding shop where we had placed the cage. I looked at Katey. and said, “you know, I try to give my animals a name that fits them. I think I’ll call her Sally, for Salvation Army.

Note: There is more to the story – much more. I still have Sally and she is a pretty dog, very smart and very head strong. I hope to finish her story at some point. It’s educational because it involves a disease that almost killed Sally. I think  a lot  can be learned from her symptoms, emergency treatment and the meds that saved her life.

Sally playing wiht a shop rag

Sally playing with a shop rag. In this photo -age approximately 11 months?

Sally walking up the lane toward me. Still looking a puppy

Sally walking up the lane toward me. Still looking like a puppy

July, 2015. Sally with jher favorite toy.

July, 2015. Sally with her favorite toy.

Post and photographs property of Yvonne Daniel

Reblog with permission.

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She Was, a Lady

Lady: Border collie:  March, 1998 to June 3,2014      She belonged to my son, Danny. She lived to be near him and to ride in the truck.  Lady's story begins below Lady: Border collie: March,1998 to June 3,2014 Lady was my son’s dog. She lived to be near him and to ride in the truck. Here she is looking down the lane as Danny drives away. I’ll write Lady’s story, in segments. If you are not a pet person then pass on by. I’m not a writer. I once read that if one is going to write, it should be in one’s own voice. I’m still in the process of re-doing parts of my initial writing effort. When I wrote this in WP I could not get the italics to work in the proper places so I wrote it all in italics. It was my mouse (I need a muse)  that was amiss.

Part 1 “She Was, a Lady.”

Early one morning in 1998 or 1999, DP went out to his red “92” 4×4 Chevy truck to retrieve his cell phone. Dressed in casual garb of faded starched jeans, a denim shirt and, Roper boots he had not bothered to grab a jacket or wear a cap.

The cold and damp March morning air was laden with a foggy mist. “Yea, he thought, the weather feels just like my brain.”  It was not yet spring. He was glad that maybe winter was nearing an end. He shivered a bit as he walked to the driver’s side of Ole Red. Standing there he began ruminating on a relationship that had ended.  His mother was right about many things, but he was not one who would ever admit that, “Mama often know best.”

Making matters worse was the prospect of no jobs- no money. This time of year was worrisome. Income tax time was about a month away and people held back on extra spending for their home or property. No calls had come in for bids on any custom ornamental iron jobs for the past two days. March and April were slow months which meant that he had to be extra frugal. He and his ex girlfriend often argued about money. She liked to go out and be a part of the local nightlife. She loved to dance to country music and much to his chagrin, she could “drink him under the table.” They argued about that too. Too much beer and she flirted with the guys in the bars. Too much beer and twice she had become an embarrassment. Those times she was more than three sheets in the wind. Too drunk to drive to her house, he and a buddy drove her home, placed her on the den sofa, locked the door behind them and left her to sober up. He wondered how in the world he had let her into his life. She worked for an insurance company but spent all her money on clothes and her fancy car. He thought that just maybe she was an alcoholic or maybe not. DP was a man who was always giving folks the benefit of the doubt.  But he knew his mother thought differently. “You’re too good-hearted for your own good and in all the wrong places” How many times had he heard those words and how many times had he been warned? “Why, did I not listen to my mother? “ His now ex-girlfriend left him for greener pastures. Those were her words, “Greener pastures!” Somehow the words didn’t seem to hurt.

He felt devoid of any feelings that morning. “Oh, I’m just ticked. But I feel empty and in a bottomless pit. Anyhow, I’m glad and relieved our relationship ended.” Before opening the truck door, he made a cursory survey of his tree-lined three acres and noticed that he had forgotten to close the sliding iron gate. He unlocked the door to his truck, reached for his cell phone, took a few steps back to slam the truck door and, then felt something brush against his jeans. Quickly he looked down. Sitting near one boot was a waif dressed in a long black fur coat, with grayish brown trimming around the collar and down the front of its chest.  Stunned for a few moments, he muttered, “What in the world? A dog?” It was a pitiful thing with sad, dark brown eyes that seemed to plead, “Please don’t make me leave. I’ve come a long way. I’m tired and very hungry.” He continued to stand and stare and think. “I bet that once upon a time it was real pretty. It has long jet black fur. Maybe that dingy collar is really white. Its ears fold over at the tips. It looks a bit scared but not bad. Wonder where it came from? Now what I am going to do with this dog?  I know that I’ve not seen it across the road or in the general area.” Finally with cell phone in his hand, he quickly dialed a number for an answer to his dilemma. “Mama, some stray dog came from out of no where and must have slept under my truck last night. I found it when I went to get my phone. It looks awfully dirty and skinny. Its coat is matted with pieces of sticks and burs. What should I do with it?” Mama did not hesitate to answer and gave her son instructions. “Take off your belt and put it around the dog’s neck. Lead it into your office and throw one of your old sleeping bags on the floor. You know you have a couple in the storage room. No dog in distress is going to hurt your precious old sleeping bags.  Get a couple of eggs, bread and milk and, stir that all together and pour into a hot cast iron skillet that you’ve coated with Crisco. Stir it until the egg mixture looks done. It’ll give the dog quick energy until I can get there with some canned and dry dog food. We’ll need to take it to Dr. what’s his name, for a microchip scan. I’ll bring a stack of the past two months of newspapers that I’ve saved for recycling. We can look in the lost and found ads. It might have an owner. However, it could be a dog dumped miles from your house. It clearly is a lost dog. Funny that it found its way to you.”

Yea, Mama thinks it’s funny. I’m not laughing and I don’t want the responsibility of a dog. I’ve not had a dog in a long time. Andy was my last dog and that was a long time ago.”  If only I’d closed my gate last night….” Within a few minutes, he had put his belt around the skinny neck of the waif, led it inside and placed a dusty sleeping bag on the floor. Without any coaxing, it plopped down on the bag with a soft groaning sound. He watched the dog for a moment as it moved its muzzle back and forth on the bed. He could see the dog was watching him as much as he was watching it. He took a few steps back to get a better look as the little dog’s eyes followed his every move. “I reckon when it’s cleaned up and has gained a few pounds, it’ll be a good-looking dog. It seems really glad it’s out of the damp cold. Dang, I think those eyes are talking to me.  Huh! I don’t even know if it’s a male or female. What am I thinking? I’ll have to find a home for it if there’s no owner.”  

He was unaware that his mother was smiling and thinking, “Lord, thank you for sending the dog. It’s just what my son needs. He sounded angry and I know that he doesn’t want a dog.  This will help get his mind off that break-up even if it’s a brief reprieve. Maybe the dog doesn’t belong to anyone. And, I seriously doubt that it has an owner. That much I know. People dump their pets when they become too much trouble or they just don’t want them anymore. I’m glad it’s a dog and not some ding-a-ling woman like the last one whose elevator did not go all the way to the top and was detrimental to his ego. She secretly referred to her son’s latest ex-girlfriend as the “gold-duster in conversations she had with her husband about their son’s choice of girlfriends. Mama cringed as she had visions of the Gold duster who always seemed to have every finger of both hands, sans her thumbs, adorned with a gold ring. “Gee monyetti! That girl could put some alcohol away. I know she wasn’t good for my son. I don’t think she cared one iota for him. How in the world did that co-dependent relationship survive that long?” As mama drove the 12 miles to her son’s house she thought that it’s a lucky Friday. It was the beginning of her two days off. And, just maybe a new beginning for her son. Today she had the time and energy to help her son or was it the dog she would be helping or, both?

To be continued.

Please do not copy my work and no rebloging.  Property of Yvonne Daniel

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HERO DOG AWARDS – Hallmark Channel October 30, 2014 : 8pm/7pm Central Time

The Hallmark channel presents a special hero dog’s program this October 30th. I highly recommend all dog and non dog lovers watch this very special program. The nominees are through the AMERICAN HUMANE ASSOCIATION.

2014 FINALISTS: Dogs in 8 categories. The judging panel will consist of animal experts and celebrities.

Of note: Here is a link that will give you info about Suzie the dog that won Hero Dog of the Year. A compelling story of the will to live of the dog and the human in this true story.

http://www.susieshope.com/p/story

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Seeing Past the Ugly and Aggressive Dog

This is an example of what I call the innate ability to connect with an animal and the wisdom to feel there are fine qualities hiding underneath an ugly and hostile dog.

Individuals who are attuned to and who possess an affinity for dogs, cats, horses, etc. are able to see past an animal’s ugliness and most times defensive aggressive behavior. Dogs and cats use the only defense they know to defend themselves against further abuse. That is the out of control and aggressive behavior that is often displayed when put in a shelter situation or when forced into a corner when fending for themselves out on the streets in a very cruel world.

Next time you are looking for a new pet: dog or cat, please visit a kill shelter and save a life. You will be the recipient of a pet that will become absolutely wonderful and one that will be forever grateful.

Please watch this video It is a gut wrencher.

Hagar has posted numerous videos of rescues and an animal’s recovery on You Tube with photographs on Flickr. Several organizations work with Eldad and Audrey Hagar. A prominent one is Bill Foundation. There are others as well which I’ll add to this post later.

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The Heart of an Unusual Man And a Rescue Video

The story of Eldad and Audrey Hagar is one that I have followed for a number of years. I am sorry to say that it had not occurred to me to post any of his videos.

However, I finally had what O. Winfrey calls an “ahha moment” after I was reading and viewing some of Eldad Hagar’s latest rescue photos over on Flickr. It was the “ahha thing” that caused me to think about posting some of his videos. The rescues are transfixing and will maybe cause you to shed a few tears if you have a soft spot and a heart for animals.

I’ve been quite ill for the post three months and today I think I might live a few more years. 🙂 I’ll write a post about what were two culprits causing me to believe I was soon going to bite the dust. I hope that I am not writing this too soon and jinxing my return to my former eccentric and “happy little body” self.

Please click on the video link below. You’ll be glad that you did. I have posted two videos back to back. These are among my favorites.The videos are the embodiment of hope, dedication, compassion and, persistence. These are the sterling qualities of an animal rescuer.

Rescuing Bethany. A very ill and homeless dog’s rescue and her road to becoming a “new dog.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_4ZgY5VOa4

An Article From “The Dogster” The Daily Scoop ( this is a good one)

Click the link at the bottom to read the story.

I subscribe to The Dogster and often the online magazine has tremendous stories. I loved this one. But I didn’t like the disapproval of the woman condemning the person who paid 6G to save the family dog that will add two more years to its life.

My question to the criticizing woman is, do you give to a charity, how much did you spend on your vacation, your clothes for the year, how many trips did you make, did you need your big screen TV, iphone, and all your fancy clothes?

Click the link below and read the article. It is a good one.

http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/would-you-pay-6000-save-an-elderly-dog

~yvonne~

Kippy- “A Jewel in The Rough” (rescued from local shelter) Original post-11/29/11

Kippy looking worried re: grooming is about to begin.

Kippy looking worried re: grooming is about to begin.

Kippy: Happy that grooming is "all done."

Kippy: Happy that grooming is “all done.”

Kippy knows he is looking good.

Kippy knows he is looking good.

 

I was not intending to get another dog when I entered the  local Pets Mart to buy dog and cat food. When I first saw the little dog, he was crouched in a cage in the far corner of a row of  dimly lit cages that the store provides for humane societies to show their cats and dogs that are left over during adoption day. He had been left the day before. I could see him shaking and as I approached I saw fright and bewilderment in his eyes. Nothing had been done to make him look more appealing. His coat was  wiry and shaggy-he had a long nose ,under bite, long skinny body, and huge stand-up ears. Truthfully, he was an ugly dog. I could visualize no one wanting to adopt him so I told the young lady that I would take him. After I arrived home with  Kippy, (I chose a  name for him on the way home) I looked through an assortment of old puppy collars that my now adult dogs had out grown. I placed a small collar around his neck, attached a lease, and took a step toward the back door. Kippy immediately crouched on the floor and urinated. At that moment I realized that he had never worn a collar and he did not know how to walk on a leash. And, he had probably suffered abuse. It took approximately a month of many trials before he got the hang of walking on leash. I had to pick him up to get him outdoors. Immediately after putting him down, he would lower his entire body to the ground where he remained until I picked up AGAIN, put him down, then take a few steps, and pick up AGAIN. I repeated the same process over and over again.  Each time he took a few steps he was rewarded with a bit of milk bone biscuit. This process went on for 2-3 weeks.  Finally one day he decided the leash wasn’t so bad after all. Since that time many years ago he has continued to walk on leash without any problem.

Submissive urination was a whole different story. He urinated on the floor any time I attached the leash and attempted to walk him to the door. Without saying anything to him, I cleaned it up and acted as if there was no problem. It took about a year for him to realize that he would not be punished before he stopped urinating on the floor.
 
 Physically, he appears  to be part dachshund,  maybe a little beagle, and with the long, stand-up ears, I’ve decided he’s part chihuahua. Possibly he’s a little bit Jack Russell terrier. 
 
Kippy has keen hearing and is a good little watch dog. He runs around the property with his tail held high. The tip of his tail is white and it looks like a little flag waving as he runs and plays. In the summer I shave his hair really short.  In the winter I let his coat grow out some but try to keep him trimmed so that he doesn’t look scruffy. In the photo he is due for some trimming. He actually loves a bath which he gets about every two weeks beginning in late spring and throughout the summer. 
 
Now people say, “he sure is a cute little mutt. Where did not get him?”  Kippy was simply a stone in the rough that needed a little polish to turn him into a jewel. 
 
 

Post and photographs – Yvonne     

  
 
   
  
  
  

 

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The Herding Group: Part I Border Collie Original post: November,2011

Rocket walking toward me

 

In Texas, the most popular of the herding group appears, at least in my area, to be the Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog,(Blue Heeler or Red Heeler) and the Australian Shepherd.
I love dogs that belong to the herding goup. But I am drawn to these dogs in a special way. I suppose that I like their agility and intelligence. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
A little knowledge can help you make the right decision about whether to adopt a herding dog. Will the dog be suitable for his/her/family’s life style? Can you meet the demands of these high energy dogs?  If you adopt a herding dog please make a  COMMITMENT FOR THE LIFE  of these wonderful dogs. Don’t be guilty of adding to the number of animals surrendered to a shelter.

Rescue groups try very hard to save as many dogs as possible from almost always a sure death. But even rescue groups have limits and most times can only pull (take an animal from the shelter) as many, as these individuals can care for in their homes.

The number one issue with the herding dog is that (almost) all of them are extremely smart, highly energetic, agile, love to play, and require some type of activity that provides an outlet for their energy. Simply put, most of them need a job or an activity that gives the dog and the owner fun and satisfaction. IF THESE NEEDS ARE NOT MET- 98% of the time the dog becomes bored which leads the dog to become destructive,  bark incessantly, dig up the yard, might become a biter, and in essence will have become a nuisance and no longer a pet but a pest. At that point, the owner, will be tired of dealing with a dog that appears neurotic and is too difficult to manage.

1.  BORDER COLLIE-  These dogs are quite different from other dogs breeds mainly because their PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR IS HARD WIRED. This incredible dog comes in different coat lengths and various color combinations. The most popular color is black and white. Other colors include merle, white with spots/patches of black or brown, solid black, and red and white.  Some  Border Collies have been taught to follow more than 200 plus voice commands. One Border Collie in Europe can follow 500 word commands.  CHASER:  A Border Collie (in the USA) that is 7 years old and knows 1,022 words (nouns).  

This breed was developed  for herding sheep.  Arguably, the Border Collie is the best all around dog for herding sheep.  These dogs are said to possess the ability to make rational decisions: “think for themselves” or figure out what move to make that will result in a favorable outcome. And, as many people know, this dynamo is adept and excels at frisbee and agility. Some of the champion frisbee dogs in the U.S. were adopted from a shelter.

The Border Collie is rated as highly trainable, possesses a high degree of intelligence, and is  quick to learn.  These are dogs that are very sensitive and punishment or a harsh voice will get you no where fast. Good basic obedience is a must and if you do not have the time to train this dog and/or enroll the dog in an obedience class and give it plenty of exercise with a job to do, then PLEASE DO NOT GET A BORDER COLLIE. The Border Collie can become an integral part of your family. They make excellent pets and like being around people but always give them something to do:  catching a frisbee, chasing a ball, herding some sheep or goats or agility for at least an hour or more per day will keep your dog happy.  I can not stress enough, the importance of proper socialization and at least basic obedience combined with sufficient exercise.

The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge is shown on TV about 2-3 times a year. I watch the program each time it is aired. The dominant breed in agility and frisbee continues to be the Border Collie. The dogs, to me, are unbelievable. But so are their human owners/trainers. These dogs display a level of skill that takes years of training:  The winner of the frisbee contest was a BC from Japan whose owner/trainer is just 21 years old. Human and dog worked as one.  This dog performed some incredible tricks that were jaw dropping.

Where to find a Border Collie puppy/or adult dog?  Look no further than your local shelter or rescue group for a BC. PLEASE NEVER BUY A PUPPY FROM A PET STORE( these puppies most of the time come from puppy mills).  If you want to spend lots of money then do your homework and purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder. Never buy a puppy unless you can visit the breeder’s home and ask to see the mother and the father of the puppies.  The condition of the adult dogs speaks volumes.  Are they clean and free of ticks and fleas? Is the living area or the kennel clean?  Does the owner have a relaxed manner and does he or she make direct eye contact when answering your questions? Has the puppy received any kind of socialization ?  Can the owner produce authentic records of vaccinations?  Ask to speak with the veterinarian who handles health issues for the breeder’s dogs. Make sure that you are really speaking with a veterinarian or better yet visit the veterinarian in person and ask for proof of vaccinations, de-wormings, and other health issues. Unscrupulous breeders are known to give false vaccination and registration papers. (See story of “Saving Annie” and you will get a good dose of reality from this post). How does the puppy interact with you? Do some research on the Internet and learn as much as you can about dogs in the herding group.

Rocket in his favorite place      10/13/2011  12 years old in this photo

My rescue of sorts:  I read the pets ads in the paper each  day as well as the lost and found. About 6 years ago I noticed an ad for a BC to be given away. The ad said he loved to play frisbee.  Why would someone give away a frisbee playing dog?  They are such fun to play with and to own!!! I noted that the ad would be in the paper for a few days, disappear and then reappear. Of course that peaked my interest. Mystified- I watched for the ad for about two weeks or more. I finally called the number and the owner said she had given the dog away three times but that he was not working out for the latest adopter. She told me that he was (7) years old, loved to play frisbee, was terrified of riding in a car, and that ” we are giving him up because we are moving to a house next to a golf course.”  I could see that the family had little regard for the family pet. Her five year old daughter, she said, loved the dog and she wanted the dog to go to a really good home. “We don’t want to give him up but he just can not go with us to our new house.” I thought this was a poor excuse to give up a dog, so why not, I thought, continue to live where you are so that the dog can remain a part of your family? However it was not my place nor my intent to question the woman.  There was one thing for certain- she was adamant that the dog would not be moving with the family.

I had always wanted a Border Collie and even though I had four other dogs, I for some ridiculous reason thought I would be the one to save this dog from a  terrible fate that the owner could not envision. I reasoned that if he had not worked our for three other people then the woman would just give him to anyone and the outcome would surely not be in the dog’s favor.  So over the phone and sight unseen I said, “I will take him and give him a good home.” I  gave her a brief history of some of my  pet experiences and rescues, etc. and the woman seemed relieved. “A farmer has him right now. He was about to bring him back but I don’t want him back anymore. I’ll give him a call and tell him to bring him to you.”  Believe me that farmer and his wife brought the dog over within an hour. I was waiting in the front yard when the people arrived in a pickup with the dog in a crate in the back of the truck. I helped the man get the “orphaned” dog from the crate and the first thing that I noticed were his eyes: wild-eyed and glassy which to me denoted utter fright: a fear of the unknown and desertion- from living in a home where he was cherished by a little girl and then suddenly going to live at different homes all within a few weeks.  “Well, I’ll tell ya. This fella runs off and he barks at my wife’s cat.  Won’t stay at the house. No, I didn’t put him in a fenced yard. He acts wild.”  Thought he might be good company but he just don’t seem to like me. ” The farmer handed me a small bag of dog food,  leash,  frisbee, and a stainless steel food bowl.  As the man got in his truck his parting words were, “hope ya have good luck with him. I reckon he needs patience and we don’t have none of that. Too  much trouble to deal with a dog that acts  just plain stupid. ” And with his parting words, he and his wife were soon out of sight.  I stood in the driveway looking at a beautiful  black and white Border Collie who was very traumatised. He was shaking and I assumed it was from the ride in back of the pickup as I remembered the woman saying that he was afraid of vehicles.

I knelt beside him and looked into his eyes that seemed to speak volumes: sadness, fear, trauma; the whole works of a dog that had been thrown into the unknown. I ran my hands through his thick glossy fur and stroked his head for a few minutes. I hoped with all my heart that he would believe that he was here to stay. So, I was now the owner, of a very fearful Border Collie who was probably trying to understand what the past two weeks were about and why he was no longer with the family that he had known since he was a puppy. 

 I learned quite a few lessons from Rocket. He gradually adapted to his new home and eventually bonded with me. He was a quick learner and I wish that I had had more time to work with him. One of the first things I did was help him overcome his fear of getting into a vehicle. I used treats as a reward. Within two days time he was jumping into my vehicle and ready for a ride.  It was just as simple as that.
 
Rocket continued to bark not just in the morning but throughout the day. I had to do something about the barking- so I purchased a large metal crate from Tractor Supply ( which had the best prices). I put Rocket in a crate in a spare bedroom. This stopped the barking. It seems that Rocket just wanted to be in the house and to be part of a family again. I did not trust him with my cats so he was always supervised when out of the crate. I put him in the crate while I was at work.  During the day he was free to roam the fenced yard with the other dogs. It took several years before I felt he would be okay around the cats.
He goes wherever I go in the house and at night sleeps beside the bed near me. I am sure that all of this would have transpired much sooner had I not been working at the time. Rocket is not a perfect dog but then I never expected perfection. I just know that I have given him a good life- he gets to play ball- no more frisbee because he began limping and I realize d that his age was a factor. So, he gets to chase a ball around and doesn’t have to jump. His biggest love was to catch a ball or the frisbee but now, I roll the ball so that he doesn’t make any jumps to retrieve it. For the past 5 years the golf cart appears to be his favorite activity. Sometimes he beats me to the cart and is the perfect gentleman as he sits down opposite me and eagerly waits for the  ride to begin. Our property is a hill and a  shallow valley, so I use the cart several times a day and Rocket is always on the cart ready for a ride. I find it ironic that his former owners moved to the edge of a golf course and now the dog they once owned rides in a golf cart several times a day.
 
Rocket is now about 12 years old. My vet said he has the heart that sounds like a young dog. I really was happy to hear those words. HE DOES GET HIS EXERCISE. When I go out to feed the animals he races around and around the yard as if he is rounding something up. He has worn a path that looks like a cow trail. The trail  is quite visible. At any rate he is getting his exercise and he is a happy dog. He always comes when I call him to the house. That look of fear? Well that vanished after a few days. I believe that he knew he was here to stay . I am so glad that I made that rash decision to take him- sight unseen that day.
Photos and post:  Yvonne  
 
 Addendum: This post was written in the fall of 2011 about the same I learned that Rocket was in renal (kidney) failure. I was able to keep Rocket going for approximately 8 months. I used Ringer’s lactate IV fluids ( which is also given sub cu (subcutaneous) under the skin with the needle inserted between the shoulder blades. I also gave him vitamin B12 and B complex under the skin.  There are  two medications that can be used but one is very expensive. The other medication Rocket, could not tolerate at all. In June, 2012 Rocket was euthanized after 2 days of not eating and not  being able to stand up. I know he was ready to go to doggie heaven.  I miss Rocket a lot. He was not my dog for his entire lifetime but I think he liked his home with me. And, I would like to believe that he loved me, as much I loved him.
 
                                                                                                                      

Rocket: declining in health but still very alert

 

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The Pitifull Pittie Puppy (and) How Could I Say No? (Original post: March 8, 2012 11:51pm)

 
Before you decide to peruse or read this, the puppy in this story was a foster.  This little story for me had a bittersweet ending for I had become attached to “Spotty” and knew that as soon as he was strong and had gained weight and provided that he did not get sick, I would have to give him up to another rescuer who drove him to Austin,TX and then turned him over to another rescue organization. To this day I worry about who adopted him and if he is in a caring home that can provide for his needs and not allow him to be stolen as a fair number of pit bulls are. I think I did a very good job of getting him to a healthy weight and vigor and a puppy that was socializing very well with people, dogs, and cats,  when I had to give him up.
For various reasons, I wrote this story in detail and it is a long read if you choose to read it in entirety. Scrowl to the bottom of the story for two pictures that were taken about 2 weeks before I gave him up for adoption.

 The last week of December, I arrived  at my vet’s office with one of my older cats that needed pre-dental labs. As I entered the office I noted that my vet’s wife was not behind the desk. In fact no one was in sight nor did I hear any voices. Then as if by magic my vet’s wife and another woman emerged from an exam room and as they made their way toward me, I could see that the young woman was carrying something wrapped in a blanket. They continued talking about the something that was in the blanket and then stopped about three feet from where I was standing.

The crux of the conversation: Ms M. “well I can’t keep him here because we have some parvo puppies that are being treated. So that is out.” The young woman, “well you know that I do fostering for the shelter and I had some parvo puppies and the germs are still in my house, so I can not keep him either. I just can not bring myself to take him to the shelter because his chances of making it would be pretty slim since he is so young and undernourished.” As I stood there next to my cat in the carrier, suddenly both women looked at me. Ms. M. did not hesitate for more than 30 seconds when she took the puppy from the woman’s arms and said, “here Yvonne, you are perfect and you’ll take him won’t you?” My mouth wanted to say no but the puppy was already in my hands. I looked at the puppy and then at the two women who now were looking at me with pleading eyes.  Of course, I knew that I had been had. Well, to get on with this little story. Ms. M. told me to hold on and  then ran to the back and got a small fuzzy blanket which she wrapped around the puppy. “Yvonne, I’ll vaccinate him for free and do any labs or what ever if you take this puppy.” I looked at the puppy again and saw that it was no less a white pit bull with a black spot above his tail and some small black dots scattered over his back. Right then and there I should have made another deal to get free lab work for my cat but I did not have the sense to even think about it. I simply blurted out, “this puppy is so thin and looks pitiful. He’s going to need some fast care to turn him around.” Ms. M. then told me that, yes indeed, the puppy’s temp was 2-3 degrees below normal.  I knew that he needed some rapid intervention.

I ran from the clinic to my truck, put the puppy in my lap, turned the heater on high and made my way home. I took quick peeks at the puppy as I drove and he looked up at me with dark listless brown eyes that seemed to say, I’m safe now.” Yes, I projected human emotion into the eyes of this pitiful puppy. Swaddled in a warm blanket he still felt cold as I ran my hand over his body. I had never seen or touched a puppy so thin.

I just happened to have a helper that day. I asked him to set up a large wire crate in the den.  I filled two hot water bottles which I wrapped in towels. These were put in the carrier which was placed in the large wire crate. I put the puppy that was still wrapped in the fuzzy blanket on top of the hot water bottles and closed the door of the carrier. I then hastily soaked some Purina EN canine in warm water and then added a tad of feline Purina EN to that mix which was then placed in a shallow bowl. I offered  very small amounts about every 30 minutes until he had eaten about a cup and one half.

For additional warmth, I used portable reflector light with a 75 watt bulb that I rigged above the doorway of the cat carrier. I then opened the door of the carrier so that the puppy could feel the additional heat.  I replaced the hot water bottles with a heating pad. That evening I removed the heating pad after he was suffiently warm but left the hanging light in place.

The puppy was dehydrated.  I warmed a liter of Ringer’s Lactate in hot water in a small bucket and gave him about 75 ml  (2.5  ounces).  An 18 gauge needle is inserted under the skin between the sholder blades. Sub cutaneous is a quick method to hydrate. IV is better but the process is more difficult and involved. The warm fluids helped increase his body temperature.

By mid-afternoon of that first day he was more alert. I continued to offer small amounts of food every 2 hours. Clearly this puppy was starving and would have died that day had he not been rescued him.  Ribs, hip, and shoulder bones protruded from his frail body. There were probably too many puppies to compete for his mother’s milk. Being the runt of the liter he should have been taken into the house and given supplemental feedings along with allowing him to be the only puppy to suckle for a few minutes. That way he would be getting immunity from the mother’s milk. The temperature that morning was about 38 degrees and windy. That is when she intervened and took the puppy to my vet’s clinic. The day of his rescue the young woman who had been feeding he neighbor’s dogs noted that the did not eat nor attempt to suckle. He was lying next to an old shed. The weather that day was windy and 38 degrees.

I have yet to figure out how people have such disregard for an animal, that only wants some food, water, a warm place for shelter and at least a pat on the head now and then. These individuals had purchased a pit bull female and then a male but said to the rescuer, “we had not intended for her to have puppies.”  What a crock of dodoo. The town where I live has pit bulls coming out of the kazoo. It seems to be a status symbol among some groups of individuals. They just get a dog and toss it out or chain it in the back yard. This city has animal control but the laws are not enforced- just for some people. 

After his little body was warm he either slept or watched the action in my house.  He lay on his stomach with his head barely visible. I could see that he was taking in all the sights and sounds of the house and of my other dogs.  Spotty adjusted completely that first day. He did not whine, yelp, or bark for attention or food. Of course, I did not give him a chance to cry for food. His cage was cleaned with fresh newspaper at least twice daily.  I gave him lots of attention so that he would be accustomed to handling and petting. And lastly I allowed him to socialize with my Australian cattle dog and to come in contact with the cats.  

 I am still angry that I had to give him up even though I knew I could not keep another dog. I become too attached. I have other animals in my care. I am too busy. It is too demanding emotionally and physically.  I vow to never foster another dog.

Spotty the pit bull foster puppy

Spotty the pit bull foster puppy

Post and photographs Yvonne

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Dancer, the Aussie Saved From Euthanasia (click photos to enlarge)

Dancer, Australian Shepherd

Dancer, Australian Shepherd

Dancer waiting for my cue

Australian shepherd – high intelligence

Tagged for euthanasia the next day. This was the fate of a beautiful shiny black and tan australian shepherd. Had it not been for a lady named Nancy,  I would never have known the dog that has been mine for the past 8 years.  The little Aussie had been named Sadie by the workers at a Fort Worth, Texas, animal shelter – a kill  shelter. The animals that were not adopted after a certain length of time were put on the list to meet the grim reaper. Sadie’s fate lay in the hands of a lady named Nancy who “pulled”  dogs from the shelter when ever she had room at her home for a dog/s. 

 Nancy belonged to a small rescue group who used their own money to foster dogs until the dog could be placed in a forever home. Nancy was allowed by the shelter to take any or as many dogs that were doomed for euthanasia as she could manage. Nancy personally could only handle up to four dogs and generally she only took small dogs because she had life threatening medical issues. and these were easier for her to foster. However that day she happened to see Sadie as she made her way through a maze of huge cages.  Nancy had met her personal quota of dogs to “pull” but decided at the last-minute to take the dog named  Sadie, because, “her eyes spoke to me as if begging me to take her.” So that day about 8 years ago Sadie went home with Nancy.  That afternoon, Nancy began making phone calls to her “dog friends.” The first call was to her friend Shirlene, another rescuer of dogs. Shirlene an acquaintance, of mine,  in turn called to ask if I would foster an Australian Shepherd.. She said the dog  was one day away from euthanasia. Of course I was not going to turn her down after she told me the dog was destined for euthanasia.  “Sadie”  so named by the shelter staff was believed to be about 1-2 years old.  I spoke to Nancy in Ft. Worth on a Wednesday and the next day, Shirlene arrived with Sadie, at my house, 100 miles south.  

 

Shirlene opened the back of her vehicle and a black dog lay curled up near the door. The dog was wearing a tiny collar with a small frayed leash attached. I called her name and with a gentle tug of the leash she jumped to the ground.  As Shirlene and I stood talking, Sadie began licking my hands and then my shoes. Finally she stopped, looked  directly into my eyes. lowered herself to the ground and began crawling on her belly as she made circles around and around my feet. I had never observed a dog exhibiting such total submission. Finally I said, “you know Shirlene there is no need to foster her. I’ll adopt her but I am going to change her name right now to Dancer. The name popped right from thoughts. And, Dancer still dances around me to show her happiness.

I felt a strong connection to Dancer and her bond to me was immediate. She has shown her gratitude by being incredibly loyal and obedient. I only have to call her once and she is at the back door.
I really did not need to train her to do anything. She possesses high intelligence and is very quick to learn whatever I choose to teach her.

How could a person be so cruel and release her to the shelter? I will never comprehend man’s inhumane treatment and total disregard for a lesser creature, who has been a part of one’s life. How do you make the decision to dispose of the animal as if it were nothing.  

I think this is a good place to include one of my favorite quotes.
“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”
by Immanuel Kant

Dancer is much more laid back than my other dogs. But she thrives on my attention. I’ve taught her to sit, roll over, and of course to crawl since this was a natural proclivity. She will absolutely crawl for yards until I tell her to stop.  Dancer has proven to be one of my best watch dogs. She has keen hearing and usually barks before the other dogs hear a new sound. She becomes very agitated at the sight of any man. Possibly she was mistreated since she is especially distrustful of men. 

I am eternally grateful to Nancy for listening to her heart the day she pulled Dancer from the Ft. Worth kill shelter. And, whoever took Dancer to the shelter that day was the loser for I consider myself the winner, the day I gave her a forever home.

 Post  and photographs: Yvonne

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Saving Annie

Annie      March,2011      Age: 4 years

This little story was told to me by Dr. D., my daughter. I wrote the story as she would have written it (first person). It seems that I can only write these stories in this manner. Maybe the wording comes easier for me this way. This is also one of my favorites and actually to do justice to Annie and my daughter there is another story to be added to make Saving Annie complete. Sometime in the future I will write another.

Another week-end day spent working at the emergency clinic. Known to most veterinarians as plain EC. I worked part time at the EC with the intent of learning from veterinarians who worked there as a steady job. All EC vets are extremely smart, fast, and know their stuff. Most of them thrive on the fast pace and the adrenalin rush. I can honestly say that I learned a great deal during my part time stint there. But it is not my steady cup of tea. It takes a special person to work in EC just as the nurses and MDS that work in the human version of the emergency room and the EMTs that bring in the sick and injured.

The day began fairly routine with some animals that were very sick and others that were not so sick or hurt. I always tried to mentally prepare myself for any and all challenges but if a vet needed help there were three or four of us with great vet techs who were super fantastic at their jobs. Two lucky veterinarians are on the job from 10pm until 7:30am. Those hours are not necessarily slow. The EC in Austin is almost always busy, regardless of the time- day or night.

About mid morning I was about to take a short break when I was told I had a case waiting for me in one of the exam rooms. As I entered the room I saw 4 children that appeared to range in age from toddler to about 10 years of age. Their mother was standing with her back to the door. She did not turn around to look at me as I spoke her name, Mrs—– , nor when I introduced myself. I maneuvered through the maze of four children so that I was facing Mrs —. Her dress and demeanor exuded the quintessence of wealth.

After speaking to the lady I then saw a small red puppy that was sitting on top of its carrier. The pup made direct eye contact with me. I have no idea why- but I knew this puppy was going to end up as my dog. I’ve been told that I have ESP but I do not always have the special gift. This day, the feeling about the puppy was quite strong.

The lady said that she had bought the puppy from a breeder and paid $700 for her. “I have her registration papers and proof of vaccinations that the breeder gave me. We’ve only had the puppy for two days. Yesterday, late afternoon, she began having loose stools with a little bit of blood. She has been eating but not very much and this morning she did not want to eat her puppy chow.” So I explained to the lady that first we would get a fecal sample and test for parasites and also test for the parvovirus.

In the mean time the lady showed me the pup’s papers. I quickly scanned the papers and they were really nothing. There was no AKC registration and no proof of vaccinations. To be honest the lady had been had. As I waited on the test results I questioned the lady about the breeder’s home and if there were lots of dogs, cages, etc. She told me what I suspected. The breeder’s home and set up, sounded as if it were a puppy mill. The lady appeared angry after I told her that the puppy was not an AKC registered dog.

A tech brought me the results of the fecal and the parvo test. Well there was good news and bad news; as far as the lady was concerned. The parvo test was a weak positive. The fecal test- well that was a doozie. I had never seen such a wide range of parasites in a dog before. But this was just an example of what you get when you buy a dog from a pet store or a puppy mill. The lady’s facial expression changed from horrified to total disgust as I continued to explain the parasites and the parvovirus. The puppy had roundworms, hookworms, tape worms, whip worms, coccidi, and giardia. After telling the lady the news of the worms she then said, “well the breeder said I could bring her back when I talked to her this morning. That is really what I should do.” At that point I wanted to yell. So I then had to convince her that all was not lost because the parasites would be fairly easy to treat and since she had a mild case of parvo, the puppy would be on the road to improved health within 4-5 days if not sooner. Her stay at the EC would just be overnight and then she would pick up the puppy in the morning and take it to her regular vet to finish out a round of IV fluids and medications. During that process she would receive other instructions and medications for further treatment of the parasites. But the lady persisted that the puppy should go back to the breeder. “I don’t want to spend any more money on this dog.” I then said, “if you take her back, the breeder WILL NOT treat the puppy and she WILL DIE! Please understand that her treatment will not be that expensive.” Then the lady said, “I’ll call my husband and ask him what to do.” I left the room and when I returned a few minutes later, she told me that her husband had given the okay to begin treatment.


I explained the treatment of the parasites and parvo. The puppy would need some IV fluids that contained some special meds that would help knock out the parvo. The IV fluids would provide electrolytes, re-hydrate the puppy and as a bonus, IV fluids help a sick animal recoup faster and just plain make the animal feel better. I told the lady that she and her husband could return for a visit to see the puppy or they could just call. I assured her that the puppy would respond very well to treatment.

The puppy’s owner finally left with her unbelievably well mannered four children in tow. I called for a tech, who helped me weigh the puppy, I calculated the drops per minute for the IV fluids and set the rate on the pump. I then shaved a spot on one front leg a few inches above the paw. I applied the tourniquet so that the vein would be easier to find. I palpated for a vein (sometimes the vein is not visible, so you feel (palpate) for the vein and I was in luck when I found a tiny vein on my first try. I pushed the needle in and then removed the metal needle leaving in place a small plastic pliable needle (this plastic needle stays in the vein better than just a metal needle). I then connected the IV tubing to the plastic cannula. The IV fluids with the added meds were then ready to begin flowing. (I’d like to add that it is no easy feat to start an IV on a puppy or tiny kitten. It requires a steady hand and lots of patience.) Medications were then given to the puppy by mouth to treat the wide range of parasites. The tech and I were still in luck because the puppy readily swallowed the not so good tasting medications. We then carried the puppy with the attached IV and pump stand to the back and placed the puppy on towels in a cage. I asked the tech to watch the puppy for a few minutes to ensure the puppy did not vomit the medications. With the puppy cooperating with the meds and the IV, I left the treatment area quickly since I had another case waiting to be examined.

That evening I checked on the puppy before my shift ended. She was sleeping peacefully. My day had been tiring. Dealing with the puppy’s owner had been an ordeal. When I got home I tended to my brood of pets and ate a bowl of cereal before falling into bed at 8:30 pm. I was in deep sleep when my cell phone rang. I looked at the time on my phone before answering. It was 11:30 pm and who in the world was calling me this late. It was one of the vet’s from the EC. He said that the parvo puppy’s owner was there and wanted to have the puppy euthanized, “because his wife feared that they would get attached to the puppy and it would then die.” With those words, I was then fully awake. I almost shouted, “What did you just say? That puppy is not critically ill and she will be just fine after a few days.” Dr. C. said, “well, all of us here tried to persuade him not to have the puppy put down but he said his wife was adamant that she no longer wanted to get more involved with a dog that could die. We have called several people and tried to get someone here to take her and then we thought of you.” Holy cow! I could not believe what I was hearing. “Okay. Tell the man to wait there, have the release papers ready for him to sign the puppy over to me. I’ll be there soon.”   

Hastily, I got dressed and drove the 30 minutes it takes to get to the EC. The man was waiting. I greeted him as I entered the waiting room. He merely nodded his head in response. Someone handed me the papers to sign and then he signed his name to release the puppy to me. He handed me the paper, and without saying a word, walked out the door. I went to the treatment area and asked one of the techs to get the puppy ready because she was leaving with me. I did not want the expense of the EC and I could easily treat her at home.

As I drove home with the puppy in a large dog crate in the back of my SUV, I remembered my thoughts when I first saw this little red dog. My ESP had been right again. Since this is proving to be a long post, I’ll continue with the puppy’s story in a future post. By the way- the former owners had named her Annie, which I thought was a fitting name for this little red haired Aussie.

Post and Photograph:  Yvonne

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