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We can all help other doggers in SOOO Many ways

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For every animal that dies in a shelter, there is a HUMAN- somewhere RESPONSIBLE for its death.

April 25th 2009 1:25 pm
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For every animal that dies in a shelter, there is a HUMAN somewhere RESPONSIBLE for its death.

Please do your part to help out

The small things really add up ....please help in any way that you can !

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92 ways to help rescue organizations... without adopting or- fostering a dog

Can you...

1. Transport a dog
2. Donate a dog bed or towels or other *bedding* type items... (Gently used dog equipment is always welcome)
3. Donate MONEY Donate a Kong? A Nylabone? A Hercules?
4. Donate a crate Donate a x-pen or baby gate
5. Donate a food dish or a stainless bucket for a crate
6. Donate a leash Donate a collar
7. Donate some treats or a bag of food
8. Donate a Halti or promise collar or a gentle leader
9. Walk a dog
10. Groom a dog Donate some grooming supplies (shampoos, combs, brushes, etc.)
11. Donate a lawnmower
12. Make a few phone calls
13. Mail out applications to people who've requested them
14. Provide local vet clinics with contact information for educational materials on responsible pet ownership
15. Drive a dog to and from vet appointments
16. Donate long distance calling cards
17. Donate a scanner or digital camera
18. Donate a photocopier
19. Attend public education days and try to educate people on responsible pet ownership
20. Donate a gift certificate to a pet store
21. Donate a raffle item if your club is holding a fundraiser
22. Donate flea stuff (Advantage, etc.)
23. Donate Heartworm pills
24. Donate a animal first aid kit
25. Provide a shoulder to cry on when the rescue person is overwhelmed
26. Pay the boarding fees to board a dog for a week? Two weeks?
27. Be a Santa-paws foster to give the foster a break for a few hours or days
28. Clip coupons for dog food or treats
29. Bake some homemade doggie biscuits
30. Make book purchases through Amazon via a web site that contributes commissions earned to a rescue group
31. Host rescue photos with an information link on your website
32. Donate time to take good photos of foster dogs for adoption flyers, etc.
33. Conduct a home visit or accompany a rescue person on the home visit
34. Go with rescue person to the vet to help if there is more than one dog Have a yard sale and donate the money to rescue
35. Volunteer to do rescue in your area
36. Take advantage of a promotion on the web or store offering a free ID tag and instead of getting it for your own dog, have the tag inscribed with your rescue's name and phone # to contact
37. Talk to all your friends about adopting and fostering rescued dogs
38. Donate vet services or can you help by donating a spay or neuter each year or some vaccinations
39. Interview vets to encourage them to offer discounts to rescues
40. Write a column for your local newspaper or club newsletter on dogs on dogs currently looking for homes or ways to help rescue
41. Take photos of dogs available for adoption for use by the rescue groups
42. Maintain web sites listing/showing dogs available
43. Help organize and run fundraising events
44. Help maintain the paperwork files associated with each dog or enter the information into a database
45. Tattoo a rescued dog
46. Microchip a rescued dog
47. Loan your carpet steam cleaner to someone who has fostered a dog that was sick or marked in the house
48. Donate a bottle of bleach or other cleaning products
49. Donate or loan a portable dog run to someone who doesn't have a quarantine area for quarantining a dog that has an unknown vaccination history and has been in a shelter
50. Drive the fosters' children to an activity so that the foster can take the dog to obedience class
51. Use your video camera to film a rescue dog in action
52. Pay the cost of taking a dog to obedience class Be the one to take the dog to its obedience class
53. Go to the foster home once a week with your children and dogs to help socialize the dog
54. Help the foster and rescue organizations clean up the yard (yes, we also have to scoop what those foster/rescued dogs poop)
55. Offer to test the foster dog with cats
56. Pay for the dog to be groomed or take the dog to a *Do It Yourself* Grooming Place
57. Bring the foster take out so the foster doesn't have to cook dinner
58. Pay a house-cleaning service to do the spring cleaning for someone who fosters/rescues dogs all the time
59. Lend your artistic talents to your club's newsletter, fundraising ideas, T-shirt designs
60. Donate printer paper, envelopes and stamps to your club
61. Go with a rescue person to the vet if a foster dog needs to be euthanized
62. Go to local shelters and meet with shelter staff about how to identify your breed or provide photos and breed information showing the different types of that breed may come in and the different color combinations
63. Go to local businesses and solicit donations for a club's fundraising event
64. Offer to try and help owners be better pet owners by holding a grooming seminar
65. Help pet owners be better pet owners by being available to answer training questions
66. Loan or donate a crate if a dog needs to travel by air
67. Put together an *Owner's Manual* for those who adopt rescued dogs of your breed
68. Provide post-adoption follow up or support
69. Donate a coupon for a free car wash or gas or inside cleaning of a vehicle
70. Pay for an ad in your local/metropolitan paper to help place rescue dogs Volunteer to screen calls for that ad
71. Get some friends together to build/repair pens for a foster home
72. Microchip your own pups if you are a breeder, and register the chips, so if your dogs ever come into rescue, you can be contacted to take responsibility for your pu
73. Donate a small percentage of the sale of each pup to rescue if you are a breeder
74. Buy two of those really neat dog-items you "have to have" and donate one to Rescue
75. Make financial arrangements in your will to cover the cost of caring for your dogs after you are gone - so Rescue won't have to
76. Make a bequest in your will to your local or national Rescue
77. Donate your professional services as an accountant or lawyer
78. Donate other services if you run your own business
79. Donate the use of a vehicle if you own a car dealership
80. Loan your cell phone (and cover costs for any calls) to someone transporting a rescued dog
81. Donate your *used* dog dryer when you get a new one
82. Let rescue know when you'll be flying and that you'd be willing to be a rescued dog's escort
83. Donate a doggy seatbelt
84. Donate a grid for a van or other vehicle
85. Organize a rescued dog picnic or other event to reunite the rescued dogs that have been placed
86. Donate other types of doggy toys that might be safe for rescued dogs Donate a roll-a-treat or Buster cube
87. Donate clickers or a video on clicker training?
88. Donate materials for a quarantine area at a foster's home
89. Donate sheets of linoleum or other flooring materials to put under crates to protect the foster's floor
90. Donate an engraving tool to make ID tags for each of the rescued dogs?
91. Remember that rescuing a dog involves the effort and time of many people and make yourself available on an emergency basis to do *whatever* is needed?
92. Do something not listed above to help rescue.


For All THe Pawrents who have to make hard decisions

April 20th 2009 5:40 pm
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by Susan A. Jackson

May I go now?
Do you think the time is right?
May I say goodbye to pain filled days
and endless lonely nights?

I've lived my life and done my best,
an example tried to be.
So can I take that step beyond
and set my spirit free?

I didn't want to go at first,
I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now
to a warm and loving light.

I want to go. I really do.
It's difficult to stay.
But I will try as best I can
to live just one more day.

To give you time to care for me
and share your love and fears.
I know you're sad and afraid,
because I see your tears.

I'll not be far, I promise that,
and hope you'll always know
that my spirit will be close to you
wherever you may go.

Thank you so for loving me.
You know I love you, too.
That's why it's hard to say goodbye
and end this life with you.

So hold me now just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you'll let me go today.



April 19th 2009 5:58 pm
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It is Spring and warmer weather is coming. I would like to remind everyone, tell your friends, neighbors, relatives, everyone, NEVER EVER go away from home and leave you dog/s outside. Put them in the house or basement, or a safe secured place out of the view of the public eye.

There are what is called "bunchers" that are continually out patrolling for dogs and yes "your" dog. Bunchers steal family pets. When they get a "bunch," they sell them to research for a heafty price. Average is $200-400 per dog. Domesticated dogs make the best dogs for research. These ruthless people, monitor your area, your routine and watch for dogs for when they are left outside. They normally travel in pairs, one buncher drives, the other jumps out and snatches the dog.

Dog Pelts: Last month in Ohio, 14 dogs were found skinned and animal control felt their pelts could have been the reason. Pelts are put on cloths and are popular in many countries.

There are also dog fighters that gather dogs and cats and use them as bait to get their fighting dog ready for a fight. Dog fighting purses range from $20,000-$50, 000 per fight.

There are also ruthless people that would snatch your dog and sell it on the black market for pets.

The economy is an issue and many are looking for ways to make money. I can't stress enough how important it is to secure your pets when your not home and watch them when you are home. A dog can be snatched in a matter of seconds.

-There have already been reports of this in MI with a white van going around.

Thank You!

Visit Going To The Dogs at:



April 17th 2009 6:46 pm
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Dear Friends,

The pressure's building! More pets are being relinquished or abandoned. Adoptions are down. Shelters are crowded. All this stems from the country's economic woes. If you're staying afloat (and I hope you are), you can help relieve the pressure. The hardest part of fostering is letting go once your little rascal finds a permanent home. But there are intrinsic rewards. Try it!

I had to share this !

Enjoy and foster if you can !

Love ,


LINK i?story=18452&search=Soleil&offset=0&count=2

Abby and Soleil

- posted 03/27/2009

from James of Little Rock, AR

Why We Foster: Soleil

Recently, my wife and I drove out of state for a brief gathering of extended family. Our plan was to leave home Friday morning and to be back by Saturday afternoon. Our latest shelter rescue foster dog, Soleil, stayed at our house and two of our neighbors, who love Soleil and have helped us before, were looking after her. We took our own dog, Abby, who was a shelter rescue a little over one year ago, to a nearby kennel where she has stayed before, both overnight and a couple of times for daycare while we were having the roof of our home replaced. Abby has come a long way in the past year, but she is still, and may always be, a very fearful dog. Obedience and desensitization training have done wonders, but the best thing that we have been able to do for Abby, and probably for ourselves also, is to welcome foster dogs into our home. In a short time, the fosters have really helped Abby to come out of her shell and we think that she enjoys being a "big sis." We love being able to watch Abby playing with other dogs and just having the opportunity to be carefree. While in the company of dogs, we know that Abby is no longer thinking about everything else in the world that frightens her. While she is highly intelligent, because of her fear issues we do consider Abby to be a "special needs" dog and it has been too much to ask of a dog-sitter to manage with her at home, especially with periodic fosters to care for as well. We were resistant of taking Abby to a kennel for the first several months after we brought her home from the shelter. We did not want Abby to think that she was back in a shelter. At first if we had to go out of town, we either limited ourselves to day trips in good weather when Abby could stay in our backyard; or we took Abby with us if we could find dog-friendly accommodations; or we just did not go at all. But once we began taking Abby to the kennel (which was at first done by making short visits, then staying for a few hours, eventually for a whole day, and then overnight), Abby seemed fine with the concept. We are fortunate to have a kennel in our neighborhood, which is normally very convenient. The kennel owner is familiar with Abby's history and makes sure that she gets careful attention and also does not encounter any "bully" dogs.

On the day of our planned trip, we dropped Abby off at the kennel around 9:00 AM and hit the road. We arrived at our destination around 1:30 PM. At 3:00 PM, the owner of the kennel called my cell phone (our emergency contact number). We instantly knew that something was wrong. I pictured in my mind an attack by another dog at the kennel. We did not expect that what had actually happened could have been even worse. Without much detail, the kennel owner told us that Abby had gotten away from them. At that time, we assumed that Abby had slipped her collar (which we had checked before dropping her off). The kennel owner went on to tell us that he did find Abby, and at our house! My wife and I were both surprised and proud of our girl. But the kennel owner could not get close enough to Abby and she ran from him. The kennel owner asked if we could think of any tricks or lures that would help him to calm Abby so that he could get a leash on her. At that moment, Abby had disappeared and was running scared through the neighborhood--through speeding traffic is what we were picturing in our minds. We were totally helpless and 250 miles away! As calmly as I could, I told him that I had just one idea. I called our neighbors and asked them take our foster, Soleil, out on a leash and walk her near our house. I also asked them leave the doors to our house and gate to our backyard open, hoping that Abby might just come in on her own and possibly even get into her crate, which is her "safe place." We called on other neighbors to join in the search. We were doing our best to coordinate remotely by cell phone (with less than ideal service on rural highways). We started getting reports of Abby sightings further and further from our house. By this time, my wife and I were already heading for home, but we were still four hours away! We called some of our co-workers and friends who know Abby and asked for their help (of course our co-workers would not have left work early on a Friday afternoon, definitely not). Our hope was that the assembled "posse" could move Abby back towards the house, without driving her further away. We tried to direct some of the searchers to the routes that we typically walk with Abby. Within a few hours, things were looking grim. No one had seen Abby in quite a while. My wife and I were still helpless and hours from home. The search party began to tire and dissolve. Many had plans for the evening and some had to return to work (not that anyone had left work of course). A few friends were already making plans to rearrange their schedules for Saturday to help search and hang posters. One friend even filed a report for us with our city's animal services. This person, who happens to be an expert in canine behavior, also told us that she really felt that Abby would find her way home again. We were grateful and knew that everyone had done all that they could. Soleil probably had the longest walk of her young life. Our neighbors told us that she was very energetic and helped to keep them energized. They eventually brought Soleil home for water and food and to let her rest in her crate. We told them to leave our front door and gate open. Another neighbor stood in her yard and watched for Abby until my wife and I finally made it home at 7:00 PM.

The owner of the kennel met us at our house and told us more about what had happened. He was clearly distraught and felt that we needed to hear everything from him personally. Abby was in an outside run at the kennel. She scaled a 6-foot block wall and chain link fence, walked across the roof of the building to a part fairly low to the ground, and jumped down into a service alley. She then started running full-out. One of the kennel workers, who did not know Abby, said "that dog is headed home." Sure enough, the kennel owner found Abby on our front porch minutes later. When he approached Abby, she ran up our street, around the corner and the kennel owner found her at the house directly behind ours. He tried to corner her again and she ran back following the same path to our house. This time when he approached Abby, she ran up our street and back in the direction of the kennel. This is the point when others had reported seeing her. The kennel owner confirmed for us that Abby was in fact wearing her collar and tags, which was reaffirmed by a neighbor who had spotted Abby earlier in the day. This was somewhat of a relief, as well as the fact that Abby does have a microchip. The kennel owner told us that he had already placed an ad in the local weekend newspaper and was having reward posters printed to post in the neighborhood.

My wife and I were anxious to start our own search and we were quickly losing daylight. We knew that my wife would have a good chance of approaching Abby if we could find her, but Soleil was going to be my best lure. We left one of the doors of my car open in the driveway, having heard that might encourage a loose dog to jump in thinking that she could "go for a ride." Our neighbor continued to stand watch from her yard. Finally on foot ourselves, and armed with leashes and dog treats, my wife went in one direction and Soleil and I headed off in another. We asked every person that we encountered if they had seen a dog of Abby's description. Several people told us that they had not seen her, but that someone else had asked them earlier in the day. We were very proud of and thankful for the initial search party. They did a wonderful job, and on only a moment's notice. My wife, Soleil and I canvassed a grid of several streets and alleyways. Soleil and I also worked our way into a nearby, large wooded park in our neighborhood where we have taken the dogs before. As all daylight was lost, so were our hopes. Then, my wife found some people who thought that they had seen Abby deeper in the wooded park than Soleil and I had gone earlier. Soleil and I joined my wife back at the park and began searching the trails with flashlights and calling for Abby. An expedition which would definitely have been terrifying to Abby if she were to have seen or heard it. Soleil's part-beagle nose was working overtime. I wish that we could know if she ever actually hit on Abby's scent. After a few more hours, we were losing hope of finding Abby in the night. If she was in the park, we prayed for her to stay there, where it would be relatively safe from traffic. Of course we could not be certain that Abby was ever even in the park at all.

We returned home and carefully searched the house and the yard to see if Abby had made her way back. Unfortunately, she had not. We began making reward posters, sending emails and pictures of Abby to everyone that we could think of and posting notices on local rescue and shelter websites, as well as submitting a lost pet classified at We also placed our own ad in the local newspaper, but not in time for the next day's printing. Finally, we contacted Abby's microchip registry. It is amazing how many resources are available 24/7 over the Internet. Of course, realistically we knew that we would be extremely lucky if any of this brought us even one lead, and if so it would probably not be for days. We put one of Abby's beds outside, on the front porch and dimmed the porch light. Emotionally and physically exhausted, my wife went to bed. We fully expected to get up before dawn and start all over again. Soleil and I stayed up on the couch in case we heard anything in the night. Eventually we both put our heads down, but neither one of us could sleep.

Then, at 1:06 AM, Soleil sat straight up, looking at the front door. Four or five seconds later, Abby came up our front steps onto the porch, sniffed her bed and pressed her nose against the outside glass of our front door (a first from that side of the door). Even before Abby appeared, Soleil had sensed that Abby was coming home. I slowly got up and opened the door. Abby, rather casually for her, walked into the house. Thankfully, she was perfectly fine! Soleil, who is only about one-third of Abby's size, immediately jumped on Abby as if to say "Where in the hell have you been...Do you have any idea of what you have just put me through!?!"

We are extremely proud of Abby for finding her way home, no less than three times, and at least twice while being pursued by strangers. Soleil was a trooper and searched tirelessly for Abby. We would like to think that Abby came home to my wife and I, but we both know that there is a very strong possibility that Abby was looking for Soleil the entire time and that may have even be why Abby broke out of the kennel in the first place. Because to Abby, Soleil was the one who was "lost."

Soleil is a devoted friend to all of us and we will always be grateful to her for bringing Abby home.

If the circumstances were any different, there is no way that we could ever give up this little dog. She means too much to us, especially to Abby. But we know that it would be selfish for us to keep her. Soleil has more joy to bring to others. We also know that we can do more to honor Soleil by helping other dogs, hopefully many other dogs. But let it be known to all that Soleil is, and will forever be, our hero.


Jennifer and James Huskins, Little Rock, Arkansas

Abby was adopted from The City of Sherwood Humane Animal Services Department, Sherwood, Arkansas

Soleil was adopted from Little Rock Animal Services, Little Rock, Arkansas by Last Chance Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas in partnership with Mosaic Rescue, Saturna Island, British Columbia (with "forever home" adoption pending)

************************************************ ********

Happy Tail
Adopted Dog

Adopted from Suncoast Basset Rescue.


- posted 03/29/2009

from Leilah of Silver Springs, FL

We found our sweetie Dixie through a search on Petfinder that led us to Suncoast Basset Rescue. Dixie is our third Basset and she is so loving and sweet. She was obviously abused in her earlier life but settled right in with us and her new companion--a Doxie named Weasel. For the life of me, I will never understand animal abuse. Since my experience with pet rescue, I have become very active in fostering dogs. I have fostered 10 dogs who got wonderful loving homes. It takes so little to give to these animals, and the rewards come back unconditionally. I hope everyone will consider a rescue dog for their next family member. They are so forgiving of their past lives. We have been blessed with our dogs and the opportunity to foster others.



April 14th 2009 6:04 pm
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Dear God please send me somebody who will care!
I'm tired of running, I'm sick with despair.

My body is aching, it is so racked with pain,
And dear God I Pray as I run in the rain.

That someone will love me and give me a home.
A warm cozy bed and a big juicy bone.

My last owner tied me all day in the yard
Sometimes with no water and God that was hard!

So I chewed my leash Goad and I ran way
To rummage in garbage and live as a stray.

But now God I'm tired and hungry and cold.
And I'm so afraid that I'll never grow old.

They've chased me with stick and hit me with stones
While I run the streets just looking for bones!

I'm not really bad God, please help if you can,
For I have become just a "victim of man."

I'm wormy dear God and I'm ridden with fleas and
All that I want is an owner to please!

If you find one for me God, I'll try to be good
And I won't chew their shoes, but I'll do as I should.

I'll love them, protect them and try to obey
When they tell me to sit, to lie down or to stay!

I don't think I'll make it too long on my own,
Cause I'm getting so weak and I'm so all alone.

Each night as I sleep in the bushes I cry,
Cause I'm so afraid God, that I'm gonna die!

And I've got so much love and devotion to give,
That I should be given a new chance to live.

So dear God, please, please answer my prayer and
Send me somebody who will really care.

- Author Unknown -


Selecting Your Next Dog or Puppy Where to look for, and how- to select your next dog.

April 14th 2009 6:01 pm
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Where to look for, and how to select your next dog.

By Pat Miller

Thinking of getting a new dog? Chances are you’re inundated with well-intentioned advice from every friend, family member, and canine professional you know about where to go and who to avoid in your quest to find your next canine pal. You may also feel the added burden of finding the right dog – one who will be as close to perfect as caninely possible. It’s an awesome challenge.

Many years ago, I was living on my own for the first time, and
Pet Adoption
Many people have a serious misconception about shelters, regarding them as containing only “reject” dogs. Of course, you can find dogs with health and/or behavior problems there. But shelters also contain many healthy, well-behaved, loving dogs – purebred and mixed – victims of difficult human circumstances.
missed having a dog in my life. I went on a Collie search, and soon answered an ad in the paper for Marty’s Pride, a tri-color Rough Collie whose owner had gone off to college. Marty was near canine-perfect: the first dog I showed in AKC obedience competition (he earned his Companion Dog title in three trials with scores of 194.5, 196, and 197), and the first dog I ever owned who died of old age. He was also the last dog I deliberately went looking to adopt. Since then my selections have been much more serendipitous. My husband and I tend to adopt the dogs who find us, or we trip over them at the shelter and bring them home.

I realize that we’re the exception, not the rule. Most people make more deliberate decisions than we do about the kind of dog they want, and where to find him – or her. Those decisions, although deliberate, are not always wise. I’m constantly amazed by the number of clients in my behavior consultation practice who thought they were making well-educated, well-researched decisions about the acquisition of their new four-legged family member, and ended up with something vastly different from what they expected. So how do you make an educated, responsible decision about selecting your next dog?

Adoption optionsThe advice you receive from friends and professionals can be conflicting and confusing. “Only buy from a responsible breeder.” “There’s no such thing as a responsible breeder; you should only adopt from a shelter.” “Omigosh you’re adopting from the shelter? Their dogs all have major behavior problems and kennel cough! You should adopt from a rescue group.” “Shelter or rescue? You don’t know what you’re getting. The only way to be sure of what you’re getting is to purchase a puppy from a breeder.” So who’s right and who’s wrong? They all are.

There are lots of different places you can go to get a dog. Some are better than others, and there are some you should never patronize. Here’s a guide to help you maximize your chance of getting the dog you want:

■ Animal shelters. This is my personal first choice. I am painfully aware that there are good shelters and not-so-good ones (see “Gimme Shelter,” WDJ Jan 2009). If you live near a good one, your adoption process will be facilitated by knowledgeable and friendly adoption counselors who can help you make a good decision about your new family member.

In the good shelters, staff will have conducted behavioral assessments of the adoption dogs, which will provide you with useful information and help you determine if the dog might be a good match. If you live near a not-so-good shelter you have a choice – to adopt from that shelter, conducting your own impromptu assessment and risking diseases such as kennel cough and parvo that lurk in the corners of substandard facilities, or to travel a greater distance to adopt from a better quality shelter.

A really good shelter will give you a thorough and human-friendly vetting before they’ll agree to adopt one of their dogs to you. If they fall a little short on the customer-relations end of things, have patience and remember, it’s only because they really are concerned that their dogs go to lifelong loving homes. This caveat holds for any of the best placement programs – they will check you out carefully, and may sometimes be a little overzealous in those efforts.

Don’t rule out shelters if you’re looking for a particular breed or mix – many breeds show up in shelters with disturbing frequency. Ask your shelter if they have a waiting list or “wish list” for approved adopters who want to adopt a specified breed or type of dog. Then get your name on the list.

If you know what you’re looking for and what to watch out for, you can find great dogs in almost any bona fide shelter. If you lack experience or confidence in your dog selection talents, take along a knowledgeable friend or positive canine professional to help you make a good choice.

■ Rescue groups. Another place to find the specific breed you want is a “breed rescue.” Like shelters, rescue groups can be good, bad, or ugly. Many breed-rescue groups are affiliated with breed clubs and tend to be responsible about healthcare, spaying and neutering, behavior assessment, and placement. Some even commit significant resources to medical treatment and behavior modification before placing their canine wards. But not all.

Non-affiliated rescue groups, especially those who rescue all breeds and mixes, or a wide variety of breeds and mixes, sometimes take on far more dogs than they can care for. Some end up more closely resembling hoarders than rescuers, neglecting the very dogs they claim to have saved. We absolutely encourage you to adopt from
Pet Adoption
It’s hard not to take it personally, but don’t be offended if a breeder won’t sell you a puppy. Instead, try to understand her reasons. She may give you vital information about what it takes to truly succeed with that breed.
legitimate rescue groups, breed-affiliated or not. If you come across the non-legitimate variety in your travels, report them to the authorities.

You may be tempted to adopt one of the sad faces in a substandard rescue facility. If you do, know that you have a significantly greater likelihood of taking home a dog with physical, medical, and/or behavioral challenges.

■ Responsible breeders. Yes, they do exist, although I know there are some who fancy themselves as “responsible” who wouldn’t fit my definition of the word. The list of qualities to look for in a breeder is long, but some of the most important are:

• Breeds mentally and physically healthy, genetically sound puppies.

• Socializes the puppies well to a variety of places and things as well as to people.

• Breeds no more puppies than she can find homes for.

• Requires spay/neuter for all puppies not destined for the show ring.

• Screens prospective puppy homes carefully and only sells to appropriate private-home buyers who can provide lifelong loving care.

• Allows the buyer to meet the mother of the puppies, and the father too, if he’s on the premises.

• Educates buyers about needs of dogs in general and the specific breed in particular. Will not sell a puppy to a person with unrealistic expectations of the breed.

• Provides follow-up to be sure pups are doing well and keeps in touch with owner for the life of the dog.

• Provides resources and support for owners who are having problems with their dogs.

• Takes back dogs who were sold any time, for any reason, for the life of the dog.

That’s a start; a much more comprehensive list can be found at By the way, responsible breeders never:

• Sell puppies to pet stores.

• Sell sight unseen over the Internet. (They may have a website, but actual sales are personal, and the breeder should want to meet the buyer and have the buyer meet the puppy.)

• Meet you halfway and sell you the puppy out of the back of a truck.

• Prevent you from seeing the conditions under which the puppies were raised.

When I was still at the Marin Humane Society, in the early 1990s, we conducted a project to offer responsible breeders the opportunity to reclaim dogs of their breeding that had ended up at
Pet Adoption
All found strays should be scanned for a microchip and examined for a tattoo, to make sure they aren’t owned and deeply missed by an unlucky owner. Also, a report of the found dog should be filed with your local shelter.
our shelter for any reason. Over a two-year period we received about 30 purebred dogs whose breeders we were able to identify and contact. Of those 30, only two came to reclaim their dogs, and at least one of those two was what many would probably have called a “backyard” breeder because she wasn’t involved in showing or competing with her dogs. That project was an eye-opener for us about the percentage of truly responsible breeders in the real world.

■ Private adoptions. This covers a broad range of possibilities – including answering an ad in the paper like I did for my wonderful Collie; helping out a friend whose circumstances require her to give up her dog; taking in the canine companion of a friend or relative who has passed away; or falling for a “free to a good home” opportunity in front of a supermarket. You may even find you’ve been named as legal custodian for a friend’s dog in her will!

These can be great adoptions, or caveat emptor situations. If you can find the dog you’re looking for in the newspaper, you can skip the middleman (shelter or rescue group) and save the dog (and his human) a lot of stress. We’re talking adolescent to adult dogs here; responsible breeders never sell their pups through newspaper ads.

Look for key words in the ads that give you a clue as to why the dog is being given up. Phrases like “Needs ‘only dog’ home,” or “Not good with kids” tell you the dog has a behavior history that might be cause for concern. Ask the owner why he’s giving up the dog, and then weigh the trustworthiness of the answer in light of your own observations. In these days of foreclosures there are lots of good dogs going homeless for very legitimate reasons.

If you’re taking on the dog of a friend or family member, you probably already knew the dog before you agreed to take him. Be sure all parties are clear – in writing – about legal custody. Who will make decisions about the dog’s health and future, and who pays all the bills? What sort of visitation rights will the original owner have? If circumstances change, will the dog go back to the original owner or stay with you?

As always, use sound judgment when considering the adoption of a dog that someone else is giving up. Conduct your own behavior assessment to confirm the dog is someone you can love and live with for life, before making the commitment to bring her home.

■ Found strays. One of my clients recently adopted a dog she found – or who found her. Maryann wasn’t really looking for a dog; she was perfectly happy with her Lhasapoo, Xena. But when an adolescent American Eskimo showed up on her doorstep she invited him in. She notified the shelter that he was with them and spent the next 30 days in fear that someone would claim him. Dexter is now a permanent part of the family.

In some locations, you have lots of opportunities to find and keep stray dogs. In other, more responsible communities, not so much. Bear in mind that most strays are not “professional” strays (as in “street dogs,” or feral), but rather dogs who got separated from an owner who cares about them, or perhaps dogs who were recently abandoned due to current economic conditions. In any case, if you find a stray you’re thinking of keeping, you must make an effort to find the owner, by leaving a “found dog” report with your local shelter, placing an ad in the paper, putting up posters, having him scanned for a microchip, and of course, calling any number provided on an ID tag and/or license on his collar.

Remember, you’re not morally obligated to keep a stray dog just because you found him. If you’re over your limit – legally, financially, or personally – or if he’s not a good fit for your family, you won’t be doing him any favors by trying to keep him.

■ Petfinder. In a class by itself, Petfinder is an online clearinghouse of information ( about dogs (and other animals) of all breeds and mixes available for adoption from groups across the entire country. If you’re looking for a specific breed or mix, it’s almost guaranteed you can find it on Petfinder. Then you’re only faced with the challenge of a “sight unseen” adoption – not something I recommend. I suggest you use Petfinder to locate suitable dogs near you to consider for adoption, unless you’re willing to travel to meet them and bring them home if they meet your requirements.

■ Pet stores? NEVER! The only positive about purchasing a puppy from a pet store is that you are essentially paying to rescue that doggie in the window – so it’s a good thing for that individual pup. I do have some clients who are completely happy with their pet store puppy purchase. But I have many more who love their dogs but are faced with problems common to pet store dogs, and regret not having made a wiser adoption choice. The risks related to buying pet store puppies so greatly outweigh the single good that we vehemently urge you to never even let the thought cross your mind.

For starters, when you purchase a pet store puppy, you are supporting the horrendous puppy mill industry. Every dollar you spend to rescue that beguiling face in the window goes to produce, market, and sell more puppies who are raised in substandard conditions by mothers who are nothing more than breeding machines, callously discarded when they can no longer produce. Don’t believe the store manager who reassures you that their puppies come from “responsible breeders.” No responsible breeder on earth sells puppies to pet stores. Not one.

Parents of pet store puppies are unlikely to have had any screening for hip dysplasia, eye problems, or any of the other myriad of genetic defects common to various dog breeds, so the chances are far greater that your pup will suffer from one or more of these debilitating defects in his lifetime. The puppies and their parents may have missed out on some important healthcare practices, such as routine worming and vaccinations. Worse, they are almost guaranteed to have missed out on the socialization experiences that
Pet Adoption
Pet supply stores should never supply their customers with pets! All puppies in pet stores (like this one in New York City) come from puppy mills and irresponsible breeders. All of them, no matter what the employees allege.
are critical to normal social development. The sooner people stop buying pet store puppies, the sooner pet stores will stop selling them, and the sooner puppy mills and other irresponsible breeders will start going out of business.

The how of selection
You’ve determined the source from which you want to acquire your next dog, or at least identified which sources are the most likely candidates for you. The next question is how. How do you decide which dog is the right one? Let’s assume the family has come to agreement about breed, or at least variables like size and type. If you’re purchasing a pup from a responsible breeder, she will guide you in selecting the best pup for your circumstances and dog-owning goals. If you want to show or compete, she’ll have a good idea which of her pups are best suited for that. If you want a family companion, she’ll identify which pups in the litter are best suited for that role.

On the other hand, if she thinks your situation is totally unsuited for her breed – an active Border Collie or vocal Sheltie in a small apartment – she’ll tell you that too, and then decline to sell you a puppy. Take her advice to heart, rethink your adoption choice, and don’t just go get a puppy of the same breed from a less responsible source.

If you’re adopting from a good shelter or rescue, they will already have performed behavior assessments on your pool of prospective adoption choices, and will help you make an educated selection. If you’re doing a private adoption or looking to a group that doesn’t assess, you’ll want to do your own assessment to explore a few behaviors before you adopt.

If you are a novice dog owner, I recommend taking along a more knowledgeable a friend, or a behavior/training professional who offers pet selection services, to help you with your decision. If you are reasonably knowledgeable about dogs and dog behavior, you should be able to determine at least some basic important qualities about your prospective adoptee on your own. Things to look for include:

■ Does the dog happily approach to greet you? A fearful dog is probably not well-socialized, and it will take a lot of work (behavior modification) to help him become “normal.” Love is not enough! Unless you are very skilled in training and behavior and ready to commit to a significant behavior modification program, I suggest you resist the temptation to rescue a shy dog, and instead adopt a friendly one. Friendly dogs need homes, too!

■ Is he more interested in you or the environment? Social dogs want to hang out with people. If he totally ignores you, it will be harder to create the kind of relationship most people are looking for with their dogs.

■ Does the dog play well? He may or may not play with toys (some dogs need to be taught how to play with toys), but will he follow you and romp a little with you? Does he get too aroused while playing, mouthing you, jumping on you, and unwilling to calm down when you’re ready to stop? Does he have a playful world view, or does he seem very serious? Again, a playful dog will be easier to train and bond with; a serious one may be more challenging to motivate and interact with.

■ Is he easily aroused? Most pups bite some, as they explore their world with their mouths. But adolescent dogs and adults should have learned that putting teeth on humans isn’t acceptable behavior. If the dog in question gets overaroused easily, to the point of hard biting, non-stop biting, biting clothes, or growling, snapping, and snarling, he’s a good one to avoid.

■ Will he eat treats? Most positive training relies at least part of the time on reinforcement with food. If the dog won’t take treats he could be too stressed (anorexia is a sign of stress) or he could be a dog who is not highly motivated by food – which will make training more challenging, especially if he’s also not interested in playing (another very useful reinforcer).

■ If the dog will take treats, can you get him to sit? Put the treat right at the end of his nose, and slowly move it back over his head. If he jumps up to get it, whisk it out of sight for a second, then try again. When he sits, say “Yes!” and feed him a bit of the treat, then try again. If he starts offering sits for your treat after a few repetitions, you have a solid-gold winner. If it’s difficult to get him to sit, and/or he doesn’t seem to get the idea after several repetitions, he’ll be a more challenging dog to train.

■ Try holding him close and looking at his teeth a few times in a row, then (carefully!) hugging him. If he resists restraint and becomes aroused, pulling away from you, perhaps even using his teeth, he probably won’t be a warm, cuddly dog – which is fine if that’s not what you want. Probably not a good choice for kids, though, who tend to want a lot of physical contact with their canine pals.

■ Speaking of kids, the dog will need to meet any human youngsters in your immediate family, and should absolutely adore them. Any reluctance on the dog’s part to engage with the kids should rule him out as an adoption prospect. Dogs who live with kids need to love them, not just tolerate them. You should also introduce your adoption prospect to any dogs you currently own before making a final commitment to adopt. Again, ideally you’ll see joyful acceptance on both sides of the canine equation. Anything less is a sign that behavior work might be necessary to keep peace in the pack.

■ Take a wooden spoon along with you in your assessment kit. While someone else holds the leash, set a bowl of food on the floor (dry food with some canned mixed in for palatability) and let the dog start eating. When he’s happily engaged, walk toward him. Watch for signs of tension: he eats faster, moving his nose into the bowl, or stops moving altogether, looking at you out of the corner of his eye. If you see tension, stop. If not, touch him with the wooden spoon, then put the spoon in the bowl and press it against his muzzle. Again, if you see tension, stop. If not, have the other person move him away from the bowl with the leash and pick the bowl up. Be careful! Dogs who are stressed about you being near their food can become ferocious very quickly.

Tension, growling, or snapping around food or other high-value objects is called “resource-guarding.” This is often a modifiable behavior, and it can also be a dangerous one. Dogs who show signs of resource-guarding should not go to homes with children, and are best adopted by an experienced dog owner who is willing to use positive, non-violent methods to modify the behavior.

■ I would not recommend adopting any dog who shows signs of shyness or aggression, including resource-guarding, or a dog who easily becomes highly aroused, unless you are a skilled and experienced owner looking for a long-term project.

Pat Miller, CPDT, is WDJ’s Training Editor. She lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, site of her Peaceable Paws training center. Pat is also author of four books on positive dog training. See “Resources,” page 24, for more information.



April 14th 2009 5:59 pm
[ Leave A Comment ]


I was born in the Summer a few years ago.
Quite why I was born, I'll never know.
Some folk who owned my mother, decided to breed.
No reason I know of except for their greed.

I know I was hungry, I know I was cold.
They sold me quite early at just five weeks old.
My number one owners seemed friendly at first.
And life was quite good till my bubble burst.

They started to argue, their marriage split up.
And in the AD: "For Sale - 4 months old pup".
Some folk arrived, the next ones in line.
They treated me kind and life was just fine.

But Master dropped dead, and she couldn't cope.
So she sold me again (I'll soon give up hope).
I now had a new home right up in the sky.
We went up in the lift fourteen floors high!

The new folk were kind but they left me all day.
I was bursting to wee and had nowhere to play.
It was boredom, I think, when I chewed up the chair.
They agreed I should go as it just wasn't fair.

The next home was good and I thought "this is it"!
They started to show and I won....well, a bit.
Then somebody told them that I had no bone.
And in went the AD: "For a good home".

The next lot were dreadful, they wanted a guard.
But I didn't know how, although I tried hard.
One night they got burgled and I didn't bark.
Tied up in that shed and alone in the dark.

For four months I lay in that cold and dark shed.
With only an old paper sack for a bed.
A small dish of water all slimy and green.
The state I was in, well, it had to be seen!

I longed for destruction, and an end to the pain.
But some new people came and I went off again.
Well now I'm with Rescue and this home is good.
There's walks in the country and lots of good food.

There's kisses and cuddles to great me each day.
But I dread the time they will send me away.
But for now here I stand, skin and bone on all four.
PLEASE......don't let "ME" happen to any of yours!!

~ Author Unknown ~


A Rescue Dog’s Poem

April 14th 2009 5:54 pm
[ Leave A Comment ]

This poem was given t0 me by the owner of Russell Rescue and Multiple Breed Rescue at Crazy W Farm in Elyria, Ohio. It’s source is anonymous.

——————————————— —————-

Once I was a lonely dog just looking for a home. I had no place to go, no one to call my own. I wandered up and down the streets in rain, in heat, in snow. I ate whatever I could find, I was always on the go.

My skin would itch, my feet were sore, and my body ached with pain. No one stopped to give me a pat or gently say my name. I never saw a loving glance, I was always on the run. For people thought that hurting me was really lots of fun.

Then one day I heard a voice so gentle, kind and sweet, with arms so soft that reached down to me and took me off my feet. “No one again will hurt you,” was whispered in my ear. “You’ll have a home to call your own where you will know no fear.”

“You will be dry, you will be warm, you’ll have enough to eat. And rest assured that when you sleep, your dreams will all be sweet.” I was afraid, I must admit, I’ve lived so long in fear. I can’t remember the last time when I let a human come so near.

As she tended to my wounds and bathed and brushed my fur, she told me about this “rescue group” and what it meant to her.

She said, “we are a circle, a line that never ends.. In the center of it, there is you protected by new friends. All around you are the ones that check the pounds, and those who share their homes with you after you’ve been found.”

“All the other folks are searching near and far, to find the perfect home for you, where you can be a star.” She said, “there is a family, they are waiting very patiently, and pretty soon we’ll find them, just you wait and see.”

“And then they’ll join our circle, they’ll help to make it grow, so there’ll be room for more like you who have no place to go.”

I waited very patiently. They days, they came and went. Today is the day, I kept on thinking, my family will be sent. Then just when I began to think it wasn’t meant to be, there were people standing there gazing down at me.

“I could tell they felt it, too, for a special dog like you.”

Now every night I say a prayer to all the Gods that be. Thank you for the life I live and all you’ve given me. But most of all, protect the dogs in the pounds and in the streets. And send a Rescue Person to them to lift them off their feet.


A Rescue Dog's Poem

April 14th 2009 5:49 pm
[ Leave A Comment ]

A Rescue Dog's Poem

All through the country, every shelter and rescue is full.
Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare, we hope every minute that someone will care.
They'll come to adopt us and give us the call, "Come here, Max and Sparkie - come fetch your new ball!!
But now we sit here and think of the days. We were treated so fondly -we had cute, baby ways.
Once we were little, then we grew and we grew - now we're no longer young and we're no longer new.
So out the back door we were thrown like the trash, they reacted so quickly - why were they so rash?
We "jump on the children", "don't come when they call", we "bark when they leave us"," climb over the wall".
We should have been neutered, we should have been spayed, now we suffer the consequence of the errors THEY made.
If only they'd trained us, if only we knew... we'd have done what they asked us to do.
We were left in the backyard, or worse -let to roam- now we're tired and lonely and out of a home.
They dropped us off at the shelter and they kissed us good-bye.
So now here we are all confused and alone... in a shelter or rescue with others who long for a home.
The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat, with so many to care for, they can't stay to chat.
We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads. Of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds.
Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears -- our friends filled with emptiness, worry, and fear.
If you can't adopt us and there's no room at the Inn -- could you help with the bills and fill our food bin?
We count on your kindness each day of the year -- can you give more than hope to everyone here?
Please make a donation to pay for the heat... and help get us something special to eat. The shelter that cares for us wants us to live, and more of us will, if more people will give.


P.O. Box 72040
Newport, Kentucky 41072



April 14th 2009 5:46 pm
[ Leave A Comment ]


He is always right on the money !!!!

Enjoy ! Then take action !

BE AN EMPOWERED PET OWNER ...take charge of your pets health is in your hands !!!

Love ,


Ever felt overcharged?

I am talking about you going to your
Veterinarian, and leaving with a bill that
seemed way to high.


What happened?

Perhaps you didn't consent to all of the diagnostic tests.

Or perhaps that Hot Spot could have been treated easier.

There are many examples I could bring up, BUT most
important is WHAT you can do to not have this happen

what to do to avoid this:

Become an Empowered Pet Owner.

The BIGGEST Key to avoid getting taken advantage of by any
Veterinarian is by being an involved and empowered pet owner.

Take Charge of Your pet's health care.

You know your pet better that anyone else. How well do you think a
Veterinarian can get to know your pet with a 15 minute visit once a year?


Ask WHY your Veterinarian is doing a certain test.

ASK if there is another option. Such as a Homeopathic remedy
for the abscess, or Acupressure instead of conventional Pills.

ASK if this can wait.

ASK for a written and signed estimate.

Take matters into your OWN hands

In my newsletter, Veterinary Secrets, the one big thing that I talk
about over and over again is how you as a concerned pet owner can
begin caring for your pet at home.

You can begin to offer treatment options such as herbs, Homeopathics,
Acupressure and Massage, that most Veterinarians won't even consider.

You can begin to practice preventive health care with your pet.

Let's use allergies as an example.

Many of you have allergic pets.

Your vet has likely prescribed a steroid. They work, the stop
the itching fast, BUT they have serious side effects and the
itching usually comes back.

After utilizing my course, you will know the specifics of first
eliminating external parasites as a cause.

You will then be able to perform a proper food elimination trial.

You will begin to add in supplements to decrease the intensity of the itch.

You may try a Chinese Herbal combination that can eliminate the itch
WITHOUT steroids.

This is ONLY one small example - but do you see how you can take charge
of your pet's health care and have a happier healthier pet?

Thousands of people have done it, just like you.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ///////////////////////////

P.S. If any of you have had unpleasant experiences at your
Vet that you would like to comment on, please go to my
blog and make a post here:

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