Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saburo Found His Forever Home Today

Becky and I made a trip together, along with Saburo to meet Tara and her dog named Tankerz in Mount Vernon, IL.      We actually chose that point because it was the halfway point between where she lives and where I live.   The Internet is an amazing place.    Did you know you can go to a website called  Meetways  and type in two addresses and it will give you the midway point?    I thought that was sooooo cool.    

From everything I could tell about Tara by calling her references, getting pictures of her house and from emailing her frequently, I had a feeling she'd be a great adopter.    Actually one of the things I liked best is how her references knew her dog's name - that says a lot.    If people in your life know your dog's name, it's obvious they're a big part of your life.  

The biggest question was would Tankerz and Saburo get along?     Tara told me that she was a little worried that with Tankerz being out of his element, he might be a little more skittish of other dogs than normal.    According to Tara, he gets a little "psychotic" about other dogs.   HA  I can totally relate with my little Napoleon complexed driven schnoodle, Cooper.  :)    I have to admit, I was kind of hoping that Tankerz and Saburo hated each other and there would be no questions about what to do.     But as you can tell from the title of my blog that's not at all what happened.

Not only did Tankerz and Saburo NOT hate each other, but by the end of our hour together they actually had started to play.    And this was while on leashes!!   Mount Vernon doesn't have any off leash dog parks because that would have been the ideal setting, but hey, you deal with what you've got.     When I met Tara and saw how much affection she gave Tankerz and how much he loves her, I knew in my heart that it would be a great home for Saburo.    Tara was looking for a dog that would just soak up love and attention, and that is Saburo to a tee.     He'll be a little love monkey for Tara and a play nut for Tankerz.    Perfect, perfect happy ending for my sweet boy.

Saying goodbye to a foster we've really grown to love in a word is just awful.    It truly is a little heartbreaking - no matter what a great home they have, no matter how this is so obviously the right decision, it is so hard.    Once we got to Mount Vernon, I pulled over to a gas station for a bathroom break and just sat in my front seat holding Saburo and crying.     And then as we said goodbye to Saburo, I had another little breakdown and I've been crying on and off all day since.    It's just the name of the game.    Not every adoption is as hard as this one, but I pretty much cry every time one gets adopted.   I try to warn people because I really don't want them to feel bad or guilty.    And Tara was so unbelievably sweet - a little after she drove off she sent me a text message telling me not to worry and that she would give him the best home.   See, I told you she was a good one! :)

I wanted Becky to go with me for a bunch of reasons - I wanted a non biased opinion of the situation and I needed company on the ride home.   There was no way I could have driven home without crying my eyes out.   But, with Becky in the car with me we were able to chat away and I didn't shed too many tears once we got on the highway.     I am so grateful she went - it was a huge help.   Plus, Becky is the one who pulled Saburo out of JCAC so she has a bond with the little boy too.    When we met her and he saw Becky, he rushed right over to her to greet her.     These dogs ALWAYS seem to remember the person who took them away from the scary, scary pound.

Now that I'm home, it's a really weird thing.   It's almost like breaking up with someone and then putting all of their stuff away so you're not reminded of them constantly?   I did give Tara Saburo's favorite toy, a blanket and one of the Rescue Heroes he chewed up.   :)    But if you notice, I did change my main picture above because no matter how happy I am for Saburo and know he's in the best place possible I miss him too much to look at that pic.  

Tara is going to send me pictures of Saburo CONSISTENTLY (Right, Tara? ) and that is absolutely the one thing that makes all of this worth while.    When we see a picture of a dog that is so wonderfully happy and know the person is happy too - it makes all the tears and heartache bearable.  

This is the email I got from Tara as soon as I was home - what a great start and what more could I ask for for Saburo? 


I wanted to thank you again so much for bringing this little hunk of love into my life!!! Him and Tankerz have been playing since I got them in the door and he just loves it outside. He's been wagging his tail the whole time so I know he's doing great. I cant thank you enough!!! I just love him so much already. I'll send pictures as soon as my camera is done charging!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There are angels here on earth

Sometimes when we're really having a hard time seeing the brightness of each day, someone shows us a  kindness and reminds of the beauty of humanity.   I just had the happen in the last couple of days with a wonderful woman named Barbara.    Barbara actually resides in Rolla, MO and she has adopted a number of dogs from our group.    She adopted one of Joey's all time favorites, a 12 year old pug named Daisy.   Barbara sends emails and updates of her dogs and has always been a huge fan of Joey.    She's very sweet and gracious and we know our fosters are in great hands with her.   

Barbara is reading my blog - I don't know how she happened to do that.    When I first started it, I sent out an email telling people I was starting one but I keep thinking that really only my family reads it.    She has been very supportive and kind in her recent emails pretty much telling me to keep my chin up and that she admires Joey so and that she really appreciates the work our group does.   That's so nice to hear, especially from such an animal lover as Barbara.

Yesterday she sent me an amazing email - she wanted to donate money specifically for Suzie's medical bills.    How warm hearted and generous!!   She emailed me yesterday and then gave me a call today.    She wanted to know how much her monthly medication is going to cost and she wants to cover that.    She has pledged to give our group $75 a month to be allotted for Suzie's expenses.   Not only that - she is going to be sending in a $200 donation specifically for Suzie.    I am just at a loss that someone can be so kind and generous.   I know times are not easy right now and Barbara doesn't have money to burn, so she is having to rearrange her budget to help Suzie out like this.   I'm still in shock.

Barbara was worried about me that I might need to accept the fact that extraordinary measures for Suzie might not be an option and that I will need to say goodbye at some time.   I do understand that, and I'm sorry I didn't get to reassure her before we hung up.   In the past year I've had to choose to have two of my cats put to sleep.   There were a number of invasive treatments available, but it always comes down to the quality of life.     If my cats were miserable and barely living,  that would be a very selfish act on my part.    I understand Suzie might have that day come for me sooner rather than later.  I just don't want to have to say goodbye to her if a brief hospital stay could give her months or even a year more.

I am in awe of Barbara's generosity and spirit.   I know I foster dogs in need, but so often I forget to be gentle and kind with the humans I share this world with.    I'm fairly typical in the rescue community that I don't trust people easily and have been gravely hurt by betrayals, mistakes and just plain mean behavior.   I'm more likely to give up on a person quicker than I will a cat or a dog.  

True, you might think that Barbara is doing this for a dog but she's really not.    She's doing it for my peace of mind - she's doing it for me AND Suzie.    She is definitely an angel on earth and I think she's watching out for all of us.

Thank you Barbara, I  hope you know the extent the gjft you gave me.   

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I took two of my perma dogs to get their grooming done today - Jingle and Cooper.    I take them to 12th Street Animal Hospital downtown.   I discovered the place while I was working downtown and I really like the owner and the staff.     As with most businesses, it's all about customer service with me.    While I was there I discovered that they're shutting down the boutique portion of their store to just have a vet, groomer and doggie daycare.   They have some wonderful deals.     As it was a boutique, the items can be a bit much for my budget.    But today I got Jingle the CUTEST little outfit - it was originally $28 and I only paid $5!!    I'm probably going to use this as her Halloween costume too since she looks like a little beautiful ballerina.  :) 

12th Street Animal Hospital  also has some amazing mugs and dog dishes and beds on clearance.    Everything is at least 50% off and the beds even more so.    There's a small bed there originally $155 for only $25!!    It's crazy.    If you're able, you should check it out - at 412 N. Tucker in downtown St. Louis.  I'm sad their getting rid of their merchandise because I used to love looking at it and just dreaming.   It's the kind of stuff you just KNOW celebrities would buy their pets.     But it turns out they're having great success with the doggie daycare so they want to use the merchandise area for a small dog room.    I think they've found along with other downtown businesses that they actually are finding customers more from downtown employees and residents than tourists.    So they're adapting their business to their clientele.

They had some guinea pigs there and I have never heard a guinea pig make a noise before ... they make almost like a trilling noise.   It was so cool!  Maybe it was because I was there right before they were fed.   I kind of want a guinea pig now .... HA 

They had two very adorable cats for adoption - no adoption fee, just a good vet reference!   There's a beautiful female  long haired calico and beautiful tortie - not sure of the sex.    I had a hard time walking away from them.    One of my cats, Scarlet, was a calico.    I got her when I lived in Maine with my ex husband and they called them "Money Cats' up there because they're supposed to bring you money.   Well ... I did get a job in a bank.  ;)   If you know of a good home, check these two out.   They seemed young - very playful and sweet.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Suzie Update

Today I dropped Suzie off at the vet to have some current XRays done.     Good news - her lungs look so  much better which means she is responding well to her medication!!!   yay     The vet has also asked that try giving her only 1/2 a tablet once a day instead of twice a day and to monitor how she does.     If her breathing maintains the present state, then she'll only require the single dose.     She will miss the extra spray cheese if this works out.  ;)

The vet confirmed that Suzie should not be considered adoptable so she's basically a hospice dog.   I already knew this was where we were headed, but I've already found a measure of peace with that reality.    He thinks she has at least a year left, maybe more.   I confirmed with the decision makers in our group that I could continue fostering her as a hospice and received the ok.     I was told that the group would only pay for her medication from here on out ... and that terrifies me.    I'm getting clarification but I believe this means no more hospital stays, even if it will prolong her life and no more emergency measures. I guess this is the hard decision making involved in rescue work.   She is going to continue to be listed on Petfinder and Adopt A Pet as an available, special needs dog.

Suzie and Tina ... always close to each other
I also will have to accept the group's decision about her sister ... technically Tina is not hospice and very adoptable.    I personally believe these two 12 year old girls will not survive without each other but unfortunately since I don't pay the bills for our group it's really not my call.   JTK and Tina really  love each other so that's a huge worry for me.     I'm sure you're asking why I don't just adopt the two of them ... I wish I could.    If I had a job it might be possible, but without a job there's no way I can afford the vet bills for these two.   If I can't afford to pay their bills how is it fair that I expect our group to continue paying their bills? 

Even though this is not a matter of blame, I do feel awful about how much they have cost our group.    One of my friends in the group is going to help me do some fundraising via Facebook and Twitter to cover some of their vet bills.    Prior to Suzie's most recent hospitalization, I believe their bills were well over $1,000.00.    I try to reassure myself  by reminding myself that  I'm not the daughter in law of the owner who gave these two girls up in poor health.   At this point, maybe that's why they were given up - because of how much they were going to cost???

Due to situations like this, our group will no longer accept what is considered an "owner surrender" without the dogs being completely healthy, utd on all medical procedures including vaccinations ALONG with a donation.    The person who turned Suzie and Tina over to our group did promise to give us a donation, I even called her up a couple of weeks later and encouraged her to send that in ... but no such luck.    In order to keep rescuing dogs, we can't keep getting in to serious financial binds like this.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays ...

Today is such a rainy day and I had plans to get so many outside things accomplished.   It's not a torrential downpour, but infrequent and misty enough to be annoying.    It is also preventing me from being productive in any way ... well productive in the ways I had planned.   And since I'm so into procrastinating mode, it's not like I can just choose something else to do INSIDE.  ha ha     

I usually HATE rainy days simply because almost all of my dogs refuse to go outside in the rain.    I don't know what their issues are, I'm thinking they've watched "Wizard of Oz" one too many times. :)   I completely lucked out today, though.    The dogs are more interested in what's going on outside than they are with dodging raindrops.     One thing, it IS Sunday and my house backs up to the parking lot of a Catholic Church.     With the number of Masses they have, it's like the dogs can choose from a matinee, rush hour, or midnight showing of Church people.  ;)      Saburo and Cooper were also trying to become a tag team squirrel hunting team.    So far, no luck.  (Thank goodness!)    With so much squirrel activity ... probably because it's chillier than usual and they're freaking out that they aren't ready for winter HA ... I was having no problem getting those two out.     Add on top of that I had opened my window in the back so they could HEAR all potential outside activity ... and voila they were all going outside unbelievably easy.

TRex is a puppy mill boy as I've said before.   I've attended a seminar in which they said short haired dogs have the hardest time in shelter/pound situations in comparison to their furrier dog friends.    With so little hair, they have an impossible time getting comfortable in a concrete or wire caged area.   I would imagine that goes especially true for the puppy mill situation as well.   I think because of this background, TRex seems to love dog beds and couches and blankets and covers more than most dogs.   He is NEVER one to just fall asleep on the tiled floor - no matter how hot it is outside and how cool that tile might feel.   He always is lying on something extremely cushy and as the weather gets chillier, he works on getting himself covered up too.    The other night TRex got himself INSIDE a pillow case.   I tried to take pictures to illustrate it.   I have to admit, it was hilarious in person.    Oh yeah, that's him cuddled up to Jingle.   She's the best dog in the world - even TRex loves her beyond belief.   More often than not, he'll be curled up next to her.   She's my puppy mill perma and I think she was a patient, wonderful mother that could soothe the grumpiest puppies and I think TRex senses she understands what he's been through before he came here.

When I got TRex as a foster, I wouldn't let him sleep in my bed for months.    He became completely overcome with unbridled joy at being in a bed and he could not calm himself down.    Seriously, he looked like the Tasmanian Devil.  It was like he was on multiple shots of caffeine interspersed with Red Bull in between.  :)     Slowly, but surely TRex calmed down when he was in bed because I would let him in bed for limited periods of time.   Thank goodness, because shortly after that he discovered how to jump into the bed himself.  :)  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Trip To The Dog Park

First off, sorry if I sounded a bit off my rocker last night ... but I WAS!!!   :)    My human nature takes me to the point that I get entirely fed up and I have been there this past week with a lot of things that were not even mentionedd in my temporary breakdown.     A few friends reached out to me today after reading the blog, and honestly just hearing that someone actually cares how you're doing and offering to help really can soothe the nerves and the stress.   Thanks guys!  (Elisa, Kati B. and Tracy!) 

Doesn't he look so pleased with being Moxie??

One of them, another volunteer in my group let me know she was taking her dogs to a free dog park in the city.  I had no idea the thing even existed!  So, I packed TRex and Saburo up and met Elisa there.   It was a lot of fun seeing my two and her two acting so silly.    Once again, Saburo is a "non gender specific" magnet because her dachshund, Moxie, decided he was a little bit in love with Saburo as well every other dog in my house.  HA   Moxie is a beautiful 5 1/2 year old dapple dachshund that came from a puppy mill.    He's my favorite type of dog pulled from a puppy mill - he's the age that means he's no longer financially useful to the miller so if our group got him, we undoubtedly saved his life.        He's so pretty and so soft.    But, as Elisa says - he knows it a little too much.    She's thrilled when she meets another dog that won't give him the time of day because Moxie is very self assured and maybe a little stuck up in the doxie world? :)     Elisa's really a very inspiring person.   She's attending school in the US after coming  from Mexico and his currently working on her doctorate in something unbelievably complicated like molecular plant biology???    It's so complicated, I probably have that wrong.     Elisa is very Internet savvy and has come up with a lot of ways via Twitter and Facebook to get our group's name out there.   She's a very valuable member of our group and a GREAT GREAT GREAT dog parent along with her intended, Andy.    

It was really sweet seeing my neurotic TRex just enjoying running around the space without a leash.    I think he sniffed almost every blade of grass.    He was just beside himself with happiness and even behaved himself quite well with all the dogs and humans in attendance.   Joey was at his Dad's tonight and when he found out I went to a dog park without him ... well that is apparently against the rules.  :)

This weekend Joey and I are going to see Shrek The Musical - I just realized TRex's harness is kind of an homage to Shrek.    Maybe I should have named him Shrek ... it kind of rhymes with TRex and he does think he's as ferocious as an ogre!

Am I Thinking Straight? warning .... post from a woman on the edge ....

Yesterday, out of the blue, I ordered dog tags for three of my fosters.    Suzie is ill and I don't believe she should be adopted out, Tina is her sister and I think their hearts would be broken if they're put into different homes, and TRex is so plain crazy I don't know if anyone will put up with him.   So  .... I ordered them dog tags with their names, our address, and my cell number.     Now that I've just decided I can't afford to adopt Saburo so what am I doing ordering these tags?  I definitely can't afford these three.    Suzie and Tina have cost our group a lot of money - something I feel personally responsible and guilty for.    I also know that Joey just loves Tina and Suzie like mad and he was almost relieved when he found out that Suzie was sick and we needed to just keep them in our care - that they're not really up for adoption anymore.    But yesterday I ordered them tags and then made sure they had collars on that are going to color coordinate with the tags I should get next week.    I feel insane today.

I'm not sure what's going on with me ... actually I do.    It's very hard emotionally and mentally being an unemployed single Mom.    Being an employed single Mom is hard in itself.     Even simple things like running out of children's Tylenol when your kid is sick is a huge ordeal because you don't have someone to stay home with them while you run out to Walgreen's or while your significant other does.   Or you run out of milk and your kid is taking their nap and you can't wake them up or leave them alone while you run out to the store.   I've been a single Mom since Joey was just a few months past his first birthday, so I really can barely remember what it was like having someone else to count on.    That would be financially OR emotionally.     And the sad thing is, I only have one child.     Joey is an amazingly smart and wonderful kid.    In so many ways I'm thrilled he's nothing like me, but in so many ways it makes things a bit tougher.   I was the kid who was a people pleaser.   I was quiet, I was shy, I got good grades and I just wanted to do whatever was the "right" thing to do.     In other words, I stayed under the radar.     Not Joey ... he questions the world and he doesn't care who knows it.    If he doesn't see the logical sense in doing something,  he's pretty much not going to to do it.   I tell myself that when he is an adult this is going to be a huge help to him.     But right now, it ends up with me getting emails and phone calls from the  coach at school because Joey  absolutely will not dress out for gym.   :)    Not dressing out for gym, doesn't get him out of the physical activity for the day but it does equate to an immediate zero.    I try to reason with him ... who gets an F in gym?  

As for the unemployment part, it's just plain depressing.    In 2007 I was working in the mortgage business making a decent salary.    Then ... my employer just quit paying me in August of that year.    Mind you, I still had a job but no paycheck coming in.   So...  I started my own business and barely survived for the next year.    I was lucky enough to find a job in the medical field as an administrative assistant.   However, I was fired from that job last August.    Then, I lose my job in July.      That's three years of mostly not knowing how I'm going to make my house payment.     Add to that, I have a very sketchy recent job history which probably makes a number of employers nervous.

Everything is so exhausting and some days I can't handle the emotional stress of fostering these dogs in addition to dealing with my duties as a Mom.   It's not just the taking care of them - the orchestral maneuvers that have to be maintained for a peaceful mealtime.    But it's also  knowing all their awful histories and knowing the sadness and abuse and neglect they've had to face.    It's trying to be one voice telling the world how things have to change and having people I  like and trust manipulating the system and the rhetoric to fit their wants and needs.  And, then, it's saying good bye.   Saying good bye over and over again and feeling bad when I look into their innocent brown eyes being afraid that they're going to think I've abandoned them  just like the person before me did.  

I cry every time a foster of mine gets adopted.    One of our volunteers told me that I needed to stop that because if I allow it to be too emotional, I'm going to get burnt out.   Add on to that the lies and rhetoric out there against Proposition B and I just get totally disappointed in the human race.      I'm taking the weekend off - no bake sales, no adoption events, and just a weekend with JTK.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Saburo the TERRIBLE :)

Do I look Just A Little Crazy??
Some days, Saburo shows just how much of a puppy he is.    The last few days have been like that.    Sunday he found an old toy of Joey's, it's one of the Rescue Heroes     Saburo decided that he definitely didn't need a hand anymore and this is what we have left .... thank goodness this isn't something that Joey loves anymore! :)

Then, yesterday I had just made dinner for myself while Joey was at his Dad's house.    I already had fed the dogs, so they weren't hungry one bit.    But as I spatulad my hamburger out of the frying pan, I missed the bun and it hit the floor.   Guess who got it??? Yep, Saburo!!   It was almost like he had a red bull .. he was a frolicking, crazy, racing  nuthead of a dog last night.    He made me laugh so many times.    He also jumped in the bathtub again today and destroyed my wooden ruler ... sigh .... it's this ruler I have been working so hard to keep out of the sight of every dog in my home.   Well,  Saburo the terrible found it.   I'm sure he was like "HEY indoor stick - how cool is that?!?"   :)    Saburo was 100% puppy today.  

Matt the Medic, Less One Hand
I called all the references on Saburo's application today and the person  interested sounds wonderful.   She lives almost 3 hours away so we need to make sure Saburo and her dog, Tankerz, get along.   I'm pretty sure they will.   Saburo likes dogs around his size - male or female.   Right now he's furiously playing with Cooper and I can hear them tussling like crazy.   Cooper is kind of a brat so if Saburo can play with him, he should be fine with this other dog.    We'll arrange a meeting and hopefully all goes well.

I have adopted a number of my fosters to those who live quite a distance away.   Some people in our group have personal preferences where they choose not to do it.   I just talk to the person as much as I can, call their references and let them know if they decide to return the dog they MUST get them back to me.   I remind them they'll be signing a contract about it which leaves room for a lawsuit if they don't abide by it.    Sounds harsh ... but we have to do it for a reason.    Many people have turned in our dogs to a shelter and if that shelter doesn't bother to scan the chip, there's a very good chance they'll be put down.   No matter what, we take our dogs back.      That's one of my favorite things about our group.

While I was sitting on the couch with Saburo, he fell asleep with my arm around him.    He then started dreaming ... I love it when Saburo dreams.   I wish I could see what's going on inside that head of his because he is an ACTIVE dreamer.   If he were human, he'd be an avid sleep walker.   Here's a video I tried to take.   The visual didn't come out at all, but you can hear his great dreaming noises.  (as well as some crazy, annoying background ticking)   but I didn't want to budge and disturb the little guy.   Make sure you turn your sound up!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Four Muddy Paws

We enjoyed our adoption event at Four Muddy Paws yesterday.     It's such a nice place to hang out and the dogs love it.    It did get pretty hot - much hotter than we expected in September but that just led to excellent naps in the afternoon after we got home.  :)

Quite a few people were interested in Natsumi but she didn't find her forever home yesterday.   I'm confident it will happen soon.    I'm still flying on cloud 9 about her excellent checkup from the eye doctor on Friday. 

I received an excellent application on Saburo today ... I have to admit, I'm in a position I haven't been in a while.   Just last ight I started thinking about adopting him.   He's just such a perfect dog - he's housebroken, he's affectionate, he's playful AND he's nice to my cat.    I actually started crying when I got the application today - that surprised me!    Isn't it odd that I was thinking out where I would get the money to pay Saburo's adoption fee as I fell asleep?     Was this a sign from the universe saying this was the right home for him or gentle prodding to make up my mind?    I'm not sure - I have to call references tomorrow and then arrange a day and time to meet his possible new person and her dog.     That meeting will generally tell me everything I need to know.  

Below is a story of TRex which needs no words .... what a reminder we can do anything if we set our mind to it! :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Dogs and Happy Kid

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Great News For Natsumi

Natsumi, politely waiting for her appointment
We had our follow up appointment for Natsumi today with the eye Dr. and things look great!   The pressure in her left eye, the one which is completely blind and has glaucoma in has REDUCED itself to 27 from 35!!   Normal is up to 24, so we're just 3 points above normal.   As the eye doctor said, her cataract might have "blown itself out" and has stopped leaking liquid.   If this is the case, she will never need to have this eye removed and she'll never be in pain from the glaucoma.

As for her right eye, which has minimal sight, the pressure reading in that one did not increase out of the normal range.   That was one at 22 today and it was 20 before.    The doctor said this is completely normal and nothing to be worried about.    I was so relieved.   I have to admit, I'd put off seeing the eye doctor a bit because I just didn't want to hear anything negative about this girl.

Once again, she was a perfect angel and let the vet do anything necessary and she was also a complete doll to the two office cats.   One cat, Cornelia, apparently likes to torment the blind dogs and she came over and sniffed Natsumi, but she was thrilled with the visit.    Cornelia likes to bop dogs on the head  (remember little bunny foo foo?)  but that's ok, Roscoe does that all the time to Natsumi so she's used to it.   I think she thinks it's a sign of feline affection   ha ha  As I've said, Natsumi is completely mesmerized by cats.    The other office cat, Lydia, was a sweetheart and came over and rubbed on Natsumi.    Even the receptionist said that Natsumi needed a home with a sweet cat because she was so patient and loving with them. 

It was so uplifting to hear the good news about Natsumi.   It's one of those situations where I don't realize how worried or stressed I am about something until I find out it's ok.   Then, I feel this incredible sense of relief and think "Wow, didn't know I was so caught up in that."

THE place in St. Louis to give your dog a good bath ... Four Muddy Paws
  We are going to be at Four Muddy Paws  in Lafayette Square tomorrow for an adoption event - 1711 Park Avenue.   I love this place - it's   awesome.   We have our fosters out on the beautiful patio where they can roam around and socialize and we humans can too ... socialize that is, not the roaming!      Four Muddy Paws also has self serve bath stations, a grooming salon and lots of goodies for your pets.    It's really a great place to go and the owners are very animal welfare and green  minded.    They had someone interested in Natsumi as well since she's featured on their web site.   Will Natsumi find her forever home tomorrow?   That would be great news all around.  Oh yeah, we're having a bake sale there too.   Should be a fantastic day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Winken Needed To Cross The Rainbow Bridge

Sweet little Winken who was finally found on Monday, passed away from his injuries during the night.  He was found  appearing dirty and scared, but his injuries were more severe than that.     He was taken to one of the vets we use and emergency surgery was preformed on him and he stayed at the hospital Monday night.   He was able to come home with tubes and stitches on Tuesday which would have come out tomorrow.    He actually was doing better yesterday more than any other day - moving around a bit and being more active.    However, during the night he passed away in his bed.

An awful sadness has fallen over our group.   It's times like these, that make rescue work so hard.   When every measure was taken and everything that could have possibly done was done ... and we still don't get a happy ending.    It makes us question many things and shed a lot of tears collectively.

Winken was a little guy out of the puppy mill system.   He really wasn't that  old when we got him, but he had been so scarred by his time in the mill that he was very timid and shy.    He was very loving and warm at home with his foster Mom, but he had a terrible time enduring the adoption events and was very skittish. 

Times like these we grasp for reasons to not feel completely defeated.    We tell ourselves at least Winken spent the last year of his life in a loving home with a warm bed, plenty of food in a much more peaceful world than he had come from from.   At least Winken was found and was able to take his last breath in a warm home with someone there to care for him and let him know he was not alone.      But it doesn't take away all the grief and tears.   It seems like when one of our rescue dogs dies, all the other dogs who haven't made it in our group come to mind and add to the sadness and confusion.    The rainbow bridge is a common term discussing when a beloved animal passes on.    The poem is below and I have to admit I usually can't read it because it makes me cry.

The Rainbow Bridge - Anonymous

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rally For Yes on Proposition B

Wayne Pacelle speaking in St. Louis 09/14/2010
Tonight a couple of us attended the rally at the Humane Society in the city regarding Proposition B which will be on the ballot in November.   Proposition B is the proposal to require breeding facilities in Missouri to provide the dogs with the following basic, humane care; room to move around in their cage, clean living environment, food and clean water, veterinary care, rest between breeding cycles, shelter from the elements and a place to exercise out of their cage.    It was very interesting and there were about 100 people there. Even the president of the Humane Society of the United States , Wayne Pacelle, spoke. He's an amazing speaker - appearing to just wing it and pointing out all the important issues surrounding this measure. Approximately 2,000,000 homeless animals are euthanized every year. Approximately 2,000,00- 4,000,000 dogs come out of the puppy system each year. Can you imagine, if we get the puppy mill system under control we could help with the death rate for homeless animals? Nobody wants to stop responsible dog breeding or breeders. Humans do want companion animals, but we just want them held in such better conditions.

There was a video played and I literally couldn't stop crying while watching the images from the puppy mills here in Missouri. It's shocking that people can even treat these gentle creatures so horribly. The pictures showed dogs in huge mounds of feces, with horrible and untreated injuries, dogs stacked in crate after crate after crate - knowing they've spent their entire lives there, dogs with provided with the filthiest water and living on wire bottomed cages.   There was also a portion showing one dog so matted one of his legs was basically fused to the other. It's unimaginable that this is happening in this day and age, but it's so much worse that it's happening so frequently in our beautiful state of Missouri. This is happening in our home.

This proposition will have a positive impact on our nation as a whole. Not only will it hamper the nationwide "pet trade" but it will also help other states follow suit. 40% of all pet store puppies throughout the United States come from Missouri. 68% of New York City pet store puppies come from Missouri. One thing that Wayne pointed out is the amount of money spent on problems from puppy mills - education campaigns, puppy mill raids, and the health problems faced by puppy mill dogs after their purchased. I never though of that, but imagine how much money it would free up and how many animals lives would be saved if we got this puppy mill horror limited. Here is a before and after picture of a dog named Legs rescued by the Missouri Humane Society from one of the 3,000 puppy mills in Missouri. He was named Legs because there were a number of dogs in this raid who were so matted they required amputation of their legs. Legs was lucky and made it out with all 4 legs. 

Legs in the puppy mill cage

I am a huge supporter of this proposition and a big believer that if we are unable to show innocent animals the basic kindnesses then our society and our humanity are doomed.   How can people be expected to treat each other humanely if we can not treat these innocent creatures humanely?

Please let everyone you know how important it is to get out and vote November 2nd for this issue. Email everyone you know and offer to drive them to the polls! We are at a very historical moment in the treatment of animals in our state. Let us stand up and speak for those who have no voice for themselves.

Legs after being rescued in a raid

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Clean Up Crew

One of the best things about having a bunch of dogs is that if you make a mess that's food related, you have an instantaneous cleaning crew!   Tonight I accidentally dropped a sour cream container on my shoe ... so I just took my shoe off, left it behind and let my little sour cream eating piranhas do their work.    Within mere moments, my sandal was as good as new.    I think TRex contributed the most.  :)

Other than the sour cream fiasco the day has been pretty uneventful.     I did get a rejection phone call for a job that I really wanted.   That sucks ... I've had plenty of rejections during this job hunt but this is the first rejection for a job that I actually wanted.    It ended up sending me into a minor panic and blame game fit.     I think the cooler weather is kind of scaring me too ... definitive proof of the passage of time and yesterday marks two months for me being unemployed.   ::sigh::

So I figured I should look at some of my funnier pics.     Here's an excellent picture of Suzie in the litter box with litter on her nose.     Also, Natsumi is fascinated with my cat, Roscoe.   I have no idea why - he keeps bopping her on the head and hitting her but she keeps getting up on her hind legs to try and sniff him.    She doesn't want to hurt him, I think she looks at him like we would a leprechaun or such.  :)    You can see Natsumi's paw on the bottom left of the picture with Roscoe threatening to her to get down.     I gotta love my Roscoe, he's the last cat left from my QRS Gang ... Quincy, Roscoe and Scarlett.   I miss my cats.   Roscoe is the most "catlike" of my gang.   He's the one who is the most aloof, disinterested and actually disdainful of everything around him.     He's about 17 years old now, you'd never know it with that excellent south paw! ;)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lost Dog

Unfortunately, when you have a group like ours that fosters dozens of dogs there are quite a few that get lost   I've personally dealt with two of my fosters getting lost in my care and one getting lost right after she got to the home of her new adopters.    It's a very emotional experience - frustrating and scary and hopeless.     A lot of these dogs that disappear are very scared dogs and to imagine them being in the great big world on their own is hard to to even contemplate.      Right now, one of our long term foster dogs is missing in the woods in Imperial, MO.   His foster Mom and a number of volunteers have looked for him and the encouraging news is that there have been a number of sightings of this little guy.      The terrain is crazy for a human to look in and perfect for a scared dog to find about a million places to hide.    Should he end up in a shelter, he is microchipped and our group will certainly get a call about him.     Winken has been with our group for about a year so he holds a special place in our hearts.   He came from a puppy mill, which is almost always a pretty awful life for these guys.

In my experience and I'm certainly not an expert, these dogs that are scared and in a new environment don't run very far at all.    Every foster dog that I've lost has gone no more than 5-6 blocks from the original house.    I know we hear stories all the time about how dogs go for miles looking for their people, but these are usually dogs that are scared and don't trust people very well.   I had 2 puppy mill dogs lost and 1 dog from a hoarder that was lost.     It turns out, Cynthia was taken in by someone and then when they figured out how crazy she was (being part of a 30 plus Pomeranian pack will do that to ya!) they decided to call me     I was soooo angry - they called me literally at Midnight one night in January after she'd been missing 3 weeks and when I went to pick her up there was one of my signs right across from their house.    When I got her, they proceeded to tell me "She's just not working out for us."   OF COURSE NOT - she's not your dog!       I think that's the biggest fear we have when a dog gets lost that someone will then keep them as their own.   We'd be ok with that if we knew they were a good home and the people honestly didn't know someone was looking for the dog.   I'm sure in rural Imperial people might assume that someone has dumped this dog.   But a huge presence has been made in the neighborhood by talking to people and posting signs.   I'm sure he'll make it home, I just am not sure how long it will take.

If you lose your dog, call the humane society, APA,  and animal control and see if you can verbally complete a lost report. A lot of them have the info to be filled out online.   Also call local vets in the area and ask them and leave a description for them.     Let your postal carrier know as well, someone in our group pointed out today they know a lot about the neighborhood  There's a great site out there called Pet Harbor which I personally love. You complete your missing animal info online and then you can request to have a daily email sent from local animal shelters showing dogs that match the size, color or breed of the dog you're missing.  When I got that email daily, for some reason it was very reassuring to me. Lastly, put up very visible signs.  Plaster them everywhere in the area and put them on neon paper. Even if you think you have too many signs up, they still might get missed. A reward will always catch people's attention too.  But you know what, most animal lovers that want to reunite you with your lost pet don't even collect the reward.

Pass on the lost poster for Winken and maybe we can get him home sooner rather than later.   

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Everyone is tired after today

Today our group had an adoption event at the PetSmart in Arnold and a bake sale at Lowes in the same shopping center.    We ended up making about $360 from the bake sale after all expenses were paid and I think we adopted out 4-5 dogs.    It was a special adoption weekend at PetSmart and they'll donate $45 to us for every dog adopted there this weekend.    It's surprising how much $45 can help us out - but it's really a big deal.    This week I have to take Natsumi back to the eye doctor and that visit will cost at least $40, so one adoption at PetSmart today helps cover that!   Nope, none of my dogs were adopted.   Sometimes I can feel like a failure if my dog doesn't get adopted.    But then I have great people in the group that tell me they haven't been adopted because their right family hasn't come along yet.     Saburo is still waiting on his right family, but he's getting a little more annoying at the adoption events.   He's got issues with bigger dogs and last week he decided he hated this larger than usual Pekingese named Dave.   Dave is a sweet dog and humans like him, but for some reason he sends off an energy that other dogs are irritated by.   I think they think he's a suck up.  ;)

We had so many yummy things at the bake sale.   It's pretty astonishing how our group can pull together.   We've got a fairly good sized group - about 70 people volunteering.    We had fudge, cupcakes, cookies, mini loaves, frosted cakes, cheesecakes, etc, etc.    It was a huge amount of baked goods and almost everything was sold.

Here's some fun pictures of TRex - Virginia is holding him like a baby and he's totally horrified. Virginia understands and particularly loves the craziness of the min pin breed.    He always makes her smile and that makes us happy because she's a great woman.    Also, TRex gets a little bit spazzed out in a car if he can't ride on my lap.   When I was back in the city I was able to take some of these pictures because it looks like he was driving.    Unfortunately, since we drove more than 20 minutes with the radio on .... Joey fell asleep.   I was NOT joking in my previous blog when I said he always falls asleep like that.     Another picture to  traumatize the kid!

People ask me all the time why TRex isn't adopted because he is so weirdly cute and silly, but he's just a crazy obnoxious min pin.   He'll start barking like mad, he doesn't approve of all men, and he's just all around a very "special" dog.   :)   I love him and if I wasn't at my legal limit of dogs I can own, I would probably adopt him.   I've had him so long and nobody is ever really interested in him.   If someone actually wants to adopt him and they're a good home ... well that's a bridge I'll cross when I get to it.    And considering  my history with fostering, now that I'm in a state of mind that no one will ever adopt him,, I'm sure  I'll probably start getting all sorts of calls and interest in him.  :)     The other day Joey even asked me why nobody had adopted him and the best explanation I could give ... "Nobody understands him like we do."   And it's true, he is not your everyday, usual dog.   He's a puppy mill survivor and he's got a lot of baggage, but then again so do I - that's probably why I like him so much.  

We should all sleep very well tonight.    TRex and Saburo have already had lengthy  naps - well Joey even had a short one.   Now I get to snooze for at least 8 hours!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Use For Belly Bands!

For those of you who don't know, belly bands are a great tool to use for male dogs that like to mark inside your house.   It's a strip of fabric that you wrap around the belly, with Velcro fasteners to keep it on the dog.   You can then put some sort of incontinence pad inside the band so when a dog goes to lift their leg, the pee goes into the pad.    It helps keep your house clean and dogs supposedly don't like the feeling of their urine that close to their body and it helps housebreak them.    I've got furry dogs who get "peenie mats" all the time so I dont' know if I'm a complete believer in that part.   It's very important to take the band off the dog when they go outside.   I think they're great,  and our group even sells them at fundraisers at a lot more economical price than you'd find at major stores.

So, I guess Saburo has been using Axe or something because everyone is in love with him.   We took him to visit my Mom and her dog, Foxie Roxie, tonight and she not only acted like she loved him, but she was even nice to him!    Foxie does this weird little dominant thing where she likes to hit boy dogs in the face with her butt ... go figure.   Anyway, Saburo thought it was great fun and they actually played.   That's kind of amazing because Foxie's kind of a cranky old lady and doesn't really like other dogs.    But she was IN LOVE with Saburo tonight.    She was basically doing full body slams on him to get his attention! :)

So, when we got home - I guess Cooper could tell that Foxie Roxie had been flirting with Saburo and he needed to stake claim to his  "Man"again.    He has been unbelievably annoying tonight.    Every few minutes, he's showing his "amorous" urges toward Saburo and it's been driving the entire household insane... even the other dogs!     It finally dawned on me ... get a BELLY BAND and at least Cooper won't be able to let the loch ness monster pop out for 30 mins like he did last night.  ;)

It is so funny - as soon as I put the belly band on Cooper, he just sat down and looked totally depressed.   JTK thinks it's abusive because he's so sad,  and I just told him he's lucky I didn't put pink and purple on him to really shame him into behaving.   ha ha   I'm telling you what - Saburo and I are very relieved I'm so brilliant. :)  

Well, kind of brilliant - suddenly TRex decided he's in love with Saburo too.    ::sigh::    What is it with this dog???    Even Suzie has decided she loves him ... well loves a certain part of Saburo ... wink wink nudge nudge.  

See ya - Kim and her freakie deakie dogs!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nosy Neighbor

I always feel like somebody's watching me!
I always seem to have a foster that loves to slip between the huge spaces in my neighbor's fence and run around like a fanatic in her yard.   Now, mind you, this would normally not be an issue but I'm lucky enough to have one of those neighbor's who monitors the neighborhood for any foul play  and instantly brings it to our attention.   I  Due to fostering, I admit there are times I am over the "legal" limit at my house.   But since I'm doing a good thing and they're all temporary, I don't get too worked up about it.    Unfortunately, not so much with my neighbor.    She actually  called the city health department and lodged a complaint because I was over the limit on dogs.   :(   Luckily, I had a really nice inspector and he accepted our phone conversation that I would maintain my legal limit and he wouldn't have to come back to my house.    I was honest with him and told him what I was doing, so I think he kind of took it easy on me.   This happened in late April and I can't describe how unbelievably upsetting it was.     I was so stressed out, and here I am actually trying to make a difference and do some good!      I'm one of those people that thinks we are way too governed in our country.   I understand laws keep order and civility, but if nobody is getting hurt what does it matter if I have 6 dogs that together weigh about the same as my neighbor's Saint Bernard?        I'm not going to get political, but I do think we concentrate on petty crap instead of focusing on things that really need to change.

This neighbor will complain about anything.   When I first moved in, she got really angry with Joey's kiddie pool because it would be a magnet for mosquitoes.    I'm not a dummy, when I have a kiddie pool out - I fill it up, empty it and start again another day.   Do you think I'm going to let my kid swim in dirty water?    She's also complained that when I mow the grass, I hit her fence and cause these big huge gaps in her fence from the '50s.    And my possible favorite was when I got a great letter on my door one day where she said she couldn't open her windows and enjoy living in her home  because of the dog poop in my yard.    Really??      

So now I try to toe the line and do everything I can to make sure she's happy because I don't want her calling the health dept again.   I've rearranged my furniture so you can't see how many dogs I have in my house if they would get on my love seat and look out the window.    I've also blocked off my front door so too many doggie heads can't be spotted bopping up and down when I come home.   And I also have started letting the dogs out in shifts.    It is a pain in the butt and I have to admit I get frustrated all the time.    I'm a quiet neighbor, I don't blare music, I don't have crazy parties, I just keep to myself so it really ticks me off that I have to keep her happy.     I have to admit, I spend too much time thinking of LEGAL ways to annoy the hell out of her.    My current favorite is to start a composting worm bin- the city sponsors 'em,  and it's all  in the name of living green!  :)    If anyone has any great ideas, please pass them on!

Ok, so here we have a neighbor that doesn't like me too much and clearly doesn't like my dogs at all.     And yet I always seem to have at least one foster at all times that like to get into her yard.      My favorite was one time when a foster of mine Corrie would escape into her yard when I first got her and wouldn't let us catch her.   It was awful.    THEN one day Corrie decided to go up on my neighbor's porch and bark at her while she was in her kitchen.   THHHHHHAAAANNNKKKKSSSS Corrie.  :)

Every one of the dogs that I've fostered that do this are dachshunds ... or have dachshund in their bloodline.   Whenever one of them does it  I get into a serious frenzy and go into high alert to get them back to my house as quickly and quietly as possible.     I try to avoid her coming out into her back yard glaring at me in her house dress.      Here I am at 1 am last night Saburo decides he wants to take a stroll in my neighbor's yard.     The funny thing is, when Saburo or another dog does this - my own dogs go nuts with barking.    They know they're in trouble and they are pissed they weren't able to escape as well.    Little tattle tails!  ;)   Now, Saburo knows he shouldn't be doing this as well.   And since he's a submissive dog, he just drops and exposes his belly and won't move.    If I'm lucky, he's already gone to the bathroom.   If I'm not so lucky, then I'm in for a little bout of "submissive urination."   Last night I was unlucky, but heck I knew that when it was 1 o'clock in the morning and I'm traipsing over to my neighbor's yard in my PJs.      I ran back inside to grab my camera and take a picture of Saburo through the fence before I ruined his adventure.   

"I So Sorry Kim, I can't Hep Mysef"
I mean, he's so submissive and so sorry - how could I be mad?    He even dropped in the alley on the way back to our house.    Saburo, Saburo, Saburo ... you make me smile even if you make my neighbor crazy!    It's not like my dogs get out at any other point in my yard - only the part that is "HER" fence.   I almost got a privacy fence, but that would cost me too much.     Imagine how much dog food I could buy instead?  ha ha So for now, I'm just waiting for that next note on my door.   But I'm still a believer in live and let live!

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Adoption Event For Natsumi

Saburo warned me Kim's obsessed with these clown collars ....
Natsumi made it to her first adoption event yesterday.     I specifically took her alone so I could focus on her and not worry about any other foster.   Since I wasn't feeling great, I knew there was a pretty good chance we would not be staying for the whole event.    When I got into the car with her, she was petrified and trembled like crazy for about 10 minutes.    I had her in my lap and had my arm around her while I was driving.    She finally calmed down after I made a stop at Starbucks and was able to share some cheese danish with her.  :)    It reminded me that I've kind of kept Natsumi a little too protected in my home.    With my other fosters, I generally will take them out to run errands or to visit my Mom, etc.    With her sight issues, I haven't made those same type of car trips with her.   I try to let my fosters learn riding in the car doesn't always end up in a horrible situation - like being dumped at a shelter or going to the vet.

When we got to PetCo, she had another 10 minutes of terror.    She was visibly shaking so I held her in my arms and snuggled with her and she calmed down pretty quickly.     I needed to step away and make some bake sale plans with a couple of other volunteers, so Janet volunteered to hold her for me.     She did really well in Janet's arms.     By the end of the day, I was able to put her into a crate with Anne Marie.   Since Anne Marie had been at my house a few days, I thought it would be reassuring for her to be with someone familiar.

Natsumi exceeded all of my expectations - she actually did fantastic at the adoption event.    After her initial stress, she was eager  to  explore PetCo and talked me into walking around the store a couple of times.    I received so many compliments on how cute she is.   She really is adorable and now I just need to find someone who is able to care for her.    Her lack of sight really isn't a problem, she figures her surroundings out very quickly.    She will need someone who will carry her outside.    She'll need a home of someone who is physically able to handle this feat and is also willing to work with her.   If she found a home that had no stairs into a back yard, I feel she would be fine with learning to go out on her own.    She also doesn't require other dogs for company.    She is spending more and more time with the family in the living room, but she doesn't have to be around dogs.

We did leave early and boy was she wiped out.   It might surprise people, but adoption events are just exhausting.    Even if you only have one dog, they tire all of us out.    And Natsumi is no different.    She took a long snooze on the way home and didn't need to be held for that car ride.

Hey World!   I'm Happy Anne Marie
I got to see Anne Marie again yesterday and that made me happy.   She's such a great girl and it sounds like she's found the perfect foster home with Janet.     Janet said she was even running around in her back yard!    Anne Marie recognized me and was happy to see me - she even did this little jig on her hind feet.    That is always such a good feeling.   :)   I believe dogs really do remember the person that took them from the shelter.    Even if we're a stranger and they're nervous, they quickly see they're in a better place and we're going to treat them kindly.    Whenever Saburo sees Becky, he's still thrilled to see her.     Even though he's been at my house, she's the one that actually rescued him.      I don't think he'll ever forget it.  

Janet is falling for Anne Marie just as quickly as I was.   She is just a really sweet old girl.     Very mellow, very cute and just a wonderful addition to any home.   We still don't understand how someone could walk away from her after 4 years of having her in their home.   I had her for just a few days and I was sad to see her go to Janet's.     And what's worse, I KNOW she's going to a good place.    There were no guarantees for her former owner.