Likes: Visiting my doggie pals at Misty Pines Dog Park, belly rubs, car rides, visiting my grandpap and playing the "Getcha" game.
Pet-Peeves: Being alone. I still suffer from separtion anxiety. I guess I don't want to be lost again.
Favorite Toy: Not a toy lover, I like a good bone to gnaw on.
Favorite Food: Chicken treats (reserved for special training)
Favorite Walk: Trail walks with my dog pals at Misty Pines Dog Park.
Best Tricks: High five right and left paw, double high five, walking a ladder, guessing which hand the treat is in. I can spin and twist, go over jumps on signal, watch, touch, go through legs, weave and many other cool skills.
Arrival Story: Late in May of 2008, I started looking locally to adopt a dog from one of our local shelters. Chance, my beloved dog passed away mid May of 2007. He was a wonderful dog, with a love and zest for life. And through the cancer, diabetes, pneumonia, daily medicines and shots, he never gave up his will to live. For one year, my husband, father and I mourned his passing. The emptiness was overwhelming. For the first time in our lives, we were without a dog. I felt that it was now time to honor his memory and give another animal the kind of life he experienced. I started searching for a full pedigree Rhodesian Ridgeback because Chance was mostly Rhody and a superb dog. But after much rethinking, I decided that many of these dogs always get homes, while so many other dogs are in need of homes. I found that a good majority of the dogs are listed on http://petfinder.com/. Many are full pedigree dogs and many are mixed breeds. Thus began my hours upon hours of early morning and late night searching for my new dog.
My experience was an eye opener to the tragedy that is going on in America today. Pets being discarded as if they were nothing more than a piece of worn out furniture that is tossed to the curb for the local waste management vehicle to come along and haul it to the dump. I wish I could have adopted a dozen, but in reality I can only have one and hopefully two. The stories are basically the same. No time, moving and can't take it with us;...too big, ....too loud, not good with kids, in foreclosure, etc. Some give no reason for surrendering the dog. The really sad cases aside from those that are dumped or abused, are the older pets. How heartbreaking to see an 11 or 12 year old dog being sent to a shelter after living out most of its life with one family. Their only fault is the fact that they are old.
During my search I attempted to adopt several dogs, three were under adoption agreements, three suffered some serious issues with separation and socialization, and the last one was kept by the foster because she became attached to her after having her in her care for a few weeks. One shelter almost seemed like it did not care if her dogs were adopted or not. But most of the rescue organizations were very helpful and caring. I understand now why they scrutinize their perspective owners. They want these already fragile creatures to go to a home that will no longer put them through more turmoil and stress.
Although I applied for adoption at several different rescue groups throughout Ohio and PA, I kept coming back to a group in central Ohio called Stop the Suffering. I found that they always went out of their way to help a person find the right pet. Lynn Aronson, a rescue worker that finds homes for these animals, told me about a dog she was getting from another shelter. I kept hearing wonderful things about a sweet black fur ball.
Java landed up in the Fulton County Pound. She was picked up as a stray. When Nancy Wolfe a rescuer from Northwest Ohio Siberian Rescue went in to save a husky; the warden told her that he had a dog that he thought had a wonderful temperament. (Just the word "warden" sends shivers up my spine. It conjures up visions of a person overseeing a cell block of cats and dogs waiting on death row for their unknowing execution.) The warden went on and on about how he picked up this dog and that she rode all day in the front seat of his truck while he went around and picked up strays. He showed the dog to Nancy and said that if she did not take her, he was going to put her down at 3 PM because he did not want to come back in over the weekend to feed her. So Nancy, going on her instincts, pulled Java from the hands of death one short hour before her execution and took her and a husky back to her home.
Java spent the next few weeks living in a sled dog house with Nancy's own Huskies and other rescue dogs. It was apparent to Nancy that this dog must have been someone's house pet because of the characteristics and behaviors she exhibited. Did the owner fail to look in the right place for her or did they truly not care what happened to her? From there, Java went to Stop the Suffering, where she was placed in the care of Shelly, another volunteer. Shelly owns a farm and also shelters many dogs and cats. In fact she houses most of the cats that are rescued by Stop the Suffering, as well as some of the older dogs that no one seems to want. Shelly has a soft spot for the seniors. Java went to live on Shelly's farm for a little over the week and she continued to display a wonderful disposition.
On Monday, July 28, Deb McDonald, another volunteer at S.T.S., picked up Java for us and drove her an hour from Columbus to Cambridge, Ohio so that my husband and I could cut our drive time down to two hours both ways. Java slept the entire ride back to Pittsburgh and had immediately settled into life at our home. One would never know that she has only been with us such a short time because she has adapted very well. Surprisely, resiliency is one of the attributes of rescue dogs.
Although Java was a very appropriate name for our dog because of her coffee colored coat, we decided that it was a more of a masculine name for a girl. After much consideration and debating, I attempted to come up with what I felt would be a good name for her. Java is now called â€œMerit" because she is one worthy of being saved. Her name suits her well because this is a dog that should never have ended up in a county pound waiting for her execution. She was someone's pet, a house dog that was taught numerous commands, housebroken, obedient and apparently loved.
Merit has brought so much love to our home in the short while she has been with us. We are getting to know her quirks and she is getting the feel for her new home. She loves to ride in a car. No wonder she was good for the warden. She enjoys giving kisses and loves to be scratched or her have her belly rubbed. She can sit, lay down, sit up, give paw, stay, guess which hand has a hidden treat by tapping it with her paw and snatch a dog treat off of her nose. She does not beg food, jump up or get on the furniture. She loves going for her walks and she wants to be where her people are going to be. She is a gift from heaven; the perfect dog. She loves everyone she meets and she is the sparkle in my 85 year old dad's eye. I watch how she makes him light up when she is in his presence. I shutter to think that such a sweet creature almost had her life taken from her. She went through five placements in over two months and through it all she was a trusting and loving creature. I am so blessed to have her be a part of our family. She is currently dealing with separation anxiety. This is a common issue with rescue dog's; particularly those that have been abandoned, surrendered or lost. But with time, I am sure that Merit will realize that she is safe, and that she is now in her forever home. And after only a few short months, we can not imagine life without her.
Having your pet spayed or neutered is the second most important step you take when adopting a new dog or cat. Every single day, thousands of dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are being put to sleep. If you don't believe me, read the true story about Sam. Make sure you have a tissue or two before you start. http://www.lyonsdenrescue.com/id38 .html
May I encourage you to find it in your heart to consider adopting a pet from a shelter. They are so deserving of a second, third or even fourth chance. By doing so, you reduce the chance of wonderful cat or dog like Merit being put to death. By doing so you are giving an animal new purpose and recycling it for better life. My thanks to all those that aided in the rescue of Merit and all those that have dedicated their lives to rescue work. They spend endless hours volunteering their time, services and money to seeing that these animals find forever homes.
One of the volunteer rescuers that I worked with at S.T.S., signs off on all her emails with the following quote. I think it says it all.
"If you save one dog, you won't change the world;
but you will change the world for that one dog."
Bio: It was obvious that Merit had some basic training. I found that she was learning new tricks very quickly. In September of 2008 she was enrolled in starter obedience classes. She quickly progressed, passing her first two levels and in March 2009 became TDI and CGC certified. She now attends advanced training and is currently making visists to two hospices and area nursing homes.
It has been almost two years since my last entry on here. It has been a long and rocky road for Merit. Along the way, we struggled to understand the new and upcoming bacteria to attack dogs.
Merit was diagnosed with MRSP in the bladder. MRSP was so new back in 2009 that it took me on countless hours of researching it with health officials in the US and UK. My vet specialist did not even know much about MRSP. It was my researching that helped educate her. Through the connection of The Bella Moss Foundation, I have now been working with other pet owners whose animals have come down with MRSA or MRSP.
MRSP has now surpassed MRSA cases in the US. It will be the next pandemic of dogs in the US due to the over use of antibiotics. Europe has already realized this and is now decreasing its use of antibiotics in animals. Sweden has reduced MRSA cases in their hospitals due to the reduction of antibiotics to its patients.
Merit had a long road to recovery. With very little information to go on by our internal medicine vet, we basically were left to learn about this horrible infection. Merit had a relapse and had to go on a second round of antibiotics. After that, we decided that we would not inflict her with anymore dangerous drugs that could possibly kill her and decided to work on improving her overall immune system. We connected with a holistic vet in the UK and through a protocol of homeopathics, nutrition, vitamins and chinese herbs, we improved Merit's heath. We pulled her from all visitations to nursing homes, stopped all dog training and outside visits for literally for 10 months.
What we learned through all of this that while we struggled through the process, we learned that we were not alone. Every day, dogs and cats and other animals (now cattle) are coming down with MRSA and MRSP. There is a need to educate veterinarians that hand santizing and good cleaning of facilities is absolutely a neccessity. Animal hospital workers need to wash hands between patients and stop the practice of contacting animals casually in waiting rooms. Many times they are the carriers of this bacteria.
We learned that vets need to reconsider their need to give out antibiotics like candy. It is often more beneficial to do a culture before pumping the wrong antibiotics. A vet should never vaccinate an unhealthy dog no matter if shots are due. Most dogs have a 7 year immnunity to diseases once the intial vaccinations are given. In our case, Merit was vaccinated while being treated for an ear infection. She had reactions at the vaccination sites which showed that her immune system was compromised by the antibiotics and thus allowed an opportunity for MRSP to take hold.
Since Merit's MRSP episode, we have made lots of changes. We have beefed up the quality of her nutrition even though we felt it was pretty good to begin with. We add lots of beneficial supplements to her diet. We already had a chemical free yard,...no lawn fertilizers and weed killers. We made sure household cleaners were green products that were safer for humans, animals and the environment.
Now we are trying to educate others. We are putting together a blog about MRSP and we are helping others whose dogs fall victim to this bacteria. Hopefully we can help others save their dogs lives.
It has now been a month and a half of going to the vets to clear up what my mom thought was a bladder infection. Three antibiotics later and possibly no improvement and I have a confirmed staph resistant infection. The doctors think I got it in the nursing home or hospice that I visited. I can't go back there anymore for fear that I may contract it again. I can't go to my doggie obedience class because mom doesn't want to make other dogs sick. I can't even go and visit my grandpap because he may get it too. I am so sad. I only wanted to help people feel better and instead I picked up some people disease. If this antibiotic does not work, mom says I will have to go on another that can possibly damage my kidneys. No wonder she seems so sad and won't let me give her kisses.