Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Martin, yet another "not my dog"

Nancy is getting really ticked at me. She is one of my fellow fosters with Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue. I hooked her up with her first foster dog Loki, and I helped find a forever home for him just a few short weeks after his arrival in NJ. Her next foster was Martin, the cutest little doxie puppy ever, from a CODAR transport from Tennessee. But unbeknownst to Nancy when she went to pick him up from CODAR on Saturday morning, I was already on the phone working his adoption! By late afternoon she begrudgingly brought him over to Red Bank to meet his new owners, Christina & Charlie, who are tickled pink with this little 8-week old darling! Now he's "Jack."

Allen the Boxer - another "not my dog"

Monday was Allen's lucky day!

Several weeks ago, after Hurricane Irene, we had a fill-in guy on our trash collection route. He saw me out in the yard with Lulubelle and asked if I did dog rescue. Then he asked if I ever got boxers, and I said "just all the time!" He wanted a young male, since he lives in a house full of girls with another one on the way. Of course that meant I could only find females on the rescue list, so I set it aside and waited to see what might come up.
But this weekend there were so many dogs on the red list in Greenville. I felt so bad for the director, knowing that she would have to make that horrible choice pretty soon - which dogs were going to have to be put to sleep. So I emailed and asked if there were any particularly nice dogs that she didn't want to see euthanized. She pointed me to the photo of Allen - a MALE BOXER!! And a handsome one at that!
So I got on the phone as quick as I could and called Beth at the town clerk's office to track down the trash guy. Turns out he'd lost my card and was grateful for my call. He and his wife agreed to take Allen, sight unseen! They thought he was even better when they saw his picture. I can't wait to get him transported to New Jersey!

Lulubelle the little pink girly dog - UPDATE

Lulubelle is still with us, heading into week 4. I know some foster homes who have had a dog for months, but I have trouble believing that this beautiful little girl isn't just flying out my door. Last night she slept on the foot of Maggie's bed. This is good, but this is also bad because Maggie is becoming attached. Lulu is definitely good with kids and even good with cats.
Every day I take Lulu to work with us at our retail jewelry store. She accompanies me to the post office, to Elsie's or the Bagel Oven, to the bank. Lots of people in town recognize her now and fawn over her and tell her how beautiful she is. She stops to greet everyone (even if they don't necessarily look like they want to be greeted!) She is Miss Congeniality. Lots of people say they want her, but still no applications for her adoption. What's up with that?
She is totally housebroken, crate trained, super trainable (comes with an assessment from Urban Dawgs - copied below) and is without a doubt the friendliest foster dog I have ever had. She is also a fun, playful puppy who walks well on a leash. She is not a dog-park dog, meaning you can't really let her off leash because she dislikes strange dogs, but she can be introduced to other dogs and could certainly live happily in a house with another dog. Teddy Bear is going to miss her terribly when she goes. They romp together like old pals. And they clean each others' faces in the morning when they get up. SO cute! She is also very good with my cranky old cat, Butterscotch, who generally avoids my foster pups, but stands his ground with Lulu and even tolerates her wet puppy nose inspections. Butterscotch doesn't really go for the flying, bouncing puppy play, but there's no harm in it.
Most of the time, Lulu camps out sleeping in the cushy chair at the store. She is so quiet you'd hardly know she is there. Except when customers come in, she slides off the chair and gives them the whole-body wag greeting, and then goes back to sleep. Good dog. Perfect dog really.
Lulubelle is a socialite. She needs companionship and is NOT the dog to be left at home alone for a long, sad day. She needs to be someone's go-everywhere co-pilot. Surely there is a family with a pack of kids who needs a dog - or a young guy or gal who wants a dog to follow them everywhere - or a shopkeeper who would like a greeter-dog. So who is going to make this dog their own?

Urban Dawgs/Pitbull Guru Assessment by Drayton Michaels:

Lou Lou Belle is a great, small, quiet and easily adaptable dog. Here are her stats below. 

Name Lu Lu Belle
Terrier mix
Age 4 – 5 months
Female – Spayed.
Weight – 30lbs
No apparent dietary issues, allergies or health concerns. 

Rescued in Greenville SC transported to NJ. 
Currently lives in quality foster home with one dog, one child a teen. 
The neighborhood is active and busy with people and dogs.

Working on Sit – Down – Leave it – Touch – Stay 

Generally Quiet – Likes chew toys – Tug – knows drop it relatively well. 
Responds well to prompts

Not jumpy unless people bend over and gets super duper baby talk – a little is all you’ll need with this dog. 

Not barky – May bark upon seeing dogs on leash. Easily brought under threshold with “leave it” or a simple prompt. Fast bounce back – seconds after reactivity Lu Lu Belle is back to sniffing and on her way. 

Walks like a dream – very little pulling – easily reduced with gentle stop start and or lengthen – shorten leash. 

Overall Assessment – 
Lu Lu Belle would do well in a home with dogs and kids or as a companion for a couple or single adult. 
As long as they are committed to a kind consistent approach and are looking for a dog to have as a companion she’ll fit right in. 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pitbulls - Puppy Number 11

One of my first dilemmas was this: Do I pull dogs from high-kill shelters where it's easier to kill (did I say "kill?" Oh I'm sorry, I meant "euthanize.") the dogs than it is to make an effort to work with rescues and find homes for them, or do I work with those shelters that are kill-shelters but who work closely with their communities and with rescues to place as many dogs as they can and to kill as few dogs as possible? My decision was to mostly pull from Greenville County Animal Control in South Carolina. They have developed a really good system for taking in large quantities of dogs (and cats) sometimes up to 150-175 dogs PER DAY in the summer. They manage to deal with kennel cough, mange, and parvo virus outbreaks. And the director of dog rescue, Lauren, is really good about helping me with accurate temperament testing, which is super important when you have a dog with issues like my Teddy Bear. I like to save the ones that are shelter staff favorites...dogs with great personalities in not-so-exciting bodies. Some people call them the underdogs. Pitbulls are almost always underdogs. Which brings me to my second dilemma and my most recent foster puppy: Lala.
Lala is a four-month old pitbull mix. Maybe a mix, but there is unmistakably, undeniably pitbull in her appearance and her personality. The dilemma is, do I take a dog like Lala who more than any other dog needs me to help her find a home and is one of the most likely dogs to be euthanized just because of a label, or do I just keep pulling the doofy, happy-go-lucky, easy-to-place golden retriever, lab and border collie mix puppies that are super-easy to find homes for?
Here is what I have learned about her in the last week:
First of all, she didn't respond to the name Lala, but does come when you call her Lulu or Lulabelle in a southern accent, sickeningly sweet, sing-song voice. Lulu was billed to me as the most loving dog in the shelter, which she absolutely people. When she sees someone coming down the sidewalk, she begins to wag her whole body. She will accept the slightest (even unintentional) invitation to climb into your lap and kiss your face or any bit of bare skin from the feet up - whatever is within reach, or lick your clothes if there's no skin she can get to. She adores my Maggie and is even more smoochy when Maggie giggles. The markings on her lips make her look like a little girl who tried to put lipstick on herself, so she even looks smoochy. She's definitely a people dog, and there is not the slightest bit of aggression towards people...absolutely ZERO aggression with kids, even when they are running and rough-housing...not even a nip.
She is not so warm to other dogs though. It took me and Ian quite a long time, standing out in the yard in the rain, holding Lulu and Teddy Bear by their harnesses and trying to calm them with bacon training treats while they lunged at each other, barking wildly. We finally brought them into the house and continued the treat-giving, setting up the baby gate between them, and slowing working them toward each other between more bouts of wild barking, snarling and lunging. Until finally we could drop one leash and let them explore a tentative interest in one another. There was a little more snarling at feeding time. But by the evening, they were romping on and off the livingroom sofa as if they were lifelong friends. So I can say that she will do OK with other dogs given the proper introduction. To anyone else, it must look and sound a little scary when she and Teddy Bear are rough-housing, but I never worry about stepping into the middle of it or putting my hands in between them.
Today we went for a walk around Red Bank with Drayton Michaels from Urban Dawg. We came across another dog in front of Zebu that was off-leash. Lulu was a little startled and barked, but Drayton drew her interest away with his hand and she forgot the other dog almost instantaneously. She then walked by two pomeranians and a sheltie without even noticing them. Yay!
In terms of other training, Lulu is a great dog. She is very interested in pleasing her people. She understands "NO." This is especially important because she is a curious puppy when it comes to the cat. She wants to stick her big, wet puppy nose into the cat's butt, which the cat is not having. So "NO" will spare Lulu's nose leather from being swiped by the claw of doom.
She's not much of a chewer, although she did get one of Maggie's flipflops today. I'm actually happy about that because I've been yelling at Maggie on a daily basis to put them away and not leave them laying around the house. (Thanks, Lulu!) Mostly she is happy with the dog toys that we have...bones, rawhides, tennis balls, tug-o-war ropes, kongs, etc. She doesn't really need to look elsewhere for things to play with like shoes and furniture!
She is also not much of a barker, unlike Teddy Bear. She is certainly alert to things moving in and outside the house, but is quiet. She'd be a good apartment dog.
She is crate trained and is quite happy to amble into her crate and curl up for the night, although she won't turn down an invitation to sleep in the bed! She also likes to sleep on the chair by the window in my room. And she makes it through the night without accidents.
Generally speaking, she is housebroken. She still has an occasional pee-pee in the house, but as long as I take her out on the leash every couple of hours, she does her business immediately outside.
Really, she's a great pet on so many levels, but I need to be sure that she gets placed with someone who is a strong, calm, consistent dog owner. Today Drayton said that she is a "soft" dog who never needs you to raise your voice to control her. She is so willing to please, and when I saw Drayton handling her, I could see that with training she could be an amazingly obedient dog - like a therapy dog or one of the dogs you see in agility trials.
Ideally, she will find a home with someone who just wants a super-loving dog - just one dog by itself or maybe with cats and/or kids. She is a sit-on-the-couch-with-you and kiss-your-face dog. She will love you forever, and I love her enough to find that person for her even if it takes a little longer.

Punky the Beagle - not here yet but needs a home!

He's here in NJ and he has his forever home!!

Meet Punky! He's not in NJ yet, but he's coming...soon...

This is Punky leaving Greenville Animal Control the first time. His rescuer found out shortly after that that Punky is heartworm positive. That's an expensive vet bill. Sadly, the rescuer had taken other dogs that also had expensive medical issues, and she left Punky at the vet with an enormous boarding bill, so the vet had no option but to return Punky to Animal Control. How sad would that be, to be sprung from doggie prison, sent to the vet where the staff just loved him to pieces, only to be returned to the concrete kennel/cell at animal control. I couldn't stand the thought. So I pulled him from the redlist.

Then I found out that New Jersey and New York won't allow heartworm positive dogs into the state. This was a problem! I had someone who was willing to foot the bill for his heartworm treatment (thanks Pam!) but I needed someone to keep him while he is getting the treatment, which takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days - YIKES! I called Taryn, who does short-term boarding when dogs need to leave animal control and wait for a transport, but she was full, so she referred me to Sally. What a blessing! I had such a hard time trying to find a vet. The first one who initially had Punky won't work with any rescues anymore since it was such an awful experience for them both emotionally and financially. Then I got a referral to another vet who is self-proclaimed "not the least expensive." They also planned on a 60+ day treatment, which would be prohibitive given the boarding situation.
Sally took the time to go out and check other local vets for me, and got Punky all squared away. She is taking care of him during his treatment, which is no easy task. He's not allowed any kind of strenuous activity because the dying heartworms could dislodge and he'd have a heart attack. But she's great with's a couple of pictures of him after he got back from the first set of shots:
Everyone I have spoken to, the staff at Animal Control, the staff at the vet's office, and of course Sally, they all tell me that he is the cutest, sweetest little beagle boy. I just know that someone here in NJ will fall in love with him the minute they see him. He already has a huge following on our rescue network. Wouldn't it be great if he had a home already lined up and waiting for him before he even gets here? Sad for me, because he would become one of the not-my-dog rescues. I would never have the pleasure of getting to have this little snuggler stay with us. But so much better for him, and that's what really matters. That's why I do this. So let's get the word out! Find this little boy a home!!
Sally emailed to tell me that he'll get his last set of shots on September 22, stay overnight at the vet, and then he's ready to travel to NJ after September 23. Maybe he'll come to live with YOU?

Not My Dogs, sort of

Sometimes my work as a rescuer seems so overwhelming...there are so many dogs, and to do the best work, I can only help one at a time. So this week I decided the best thing I could do was to recruit other people to join me in my puppy rescue efforts. The following dogs are not my rescues (sort of) but they are safe because I was driven to save them:

 Loki, on the left, is an American Bulldog/Dalmation mix. Elsa, on the right, is a Catahoula Leopard Dog/Pitbull mix. Both are going to be big dogs. They've been fostered together for a while now and totally love each other.

Elsa & Loki came to me from another rescue in South Carolina. These dogs had been in animal control and were pulled to safety by Jenn K. Unfortunately, in terms of finding their forever home, they had no more luck with Jenn than they did with animal control. Every day they were looking less like puppies and more like grown dogs. Every day it was seeming less likely that anyone was going to come forward to adopt them. So I petitioned my fellow CODAR fosters to find someone here in NJ who would take them in. Thank you Nancy and Kim!! As an update - Loki has already gone to his forever home with Devi & Jarrod and their kids, and we are hopeful that as soon as she is ready, Elsa will also join Loki to live in Ocean County in their forever home TOGETHER! How wonderful is that?!

The next dog I helped is Cannon. He's another plain brown-wrapper cast off dog, but he needed someone to sponsor him (pay his pull fee) so that another rescue could take him from the shelter without having to worry about paying any fees. Other folks, including my friends Heidi & Thomas, contributed to Cannon's transport fees to get him out of South Carolina and on to a place where he is more likely to find someone to adopt him.

Interestingly, after seeing the rescue work that I was doing, networking online with dogs like Cannon, my friends Heidi & Thomas (OK, mostly Heidi!) decided that maybe it was time for them to get their very own rescue dog. Enter Petunia, an 8-lb little beauty who was a puppy mill girl. Sadly, like most puppy mill breeders, her owners had not taken very good care of her. She was transferred to another holding facility after the bust, and then on to another rescue, before she was loaded on a two-day transport to NJ. The stress of her former life and all of the passing around was too much for this frail, little girl, and she became very ill. She is living in Staten Island now, but her health is shaky. She has a severe giardia infestation, a collapsed trachea, an upper respiratory infection - possibly pneumonia, and is being medicated for extreme anxiety and stress. She is not eating much and is coughing 24/7. Her new family is trying very hard to bring her back to health, but it's very hard on all involved. So sad, and yet, I'm so grateful that she finally has someone who loves her like the baby that she is.
This is what Holly's foster mom had to say about her:
Holly is 17-18  inches from paw to shoulder and a beautiful brindle mix that when the sun hits her she shines like a dappled copper penny! (I think Penny should have been her name....) Her white chest blaze and white dipped paws are charming and she is a very slender and gracefull 30 or less pounds at this writing. She was understandably a bit timid at first meeting but has proved exuberant when introduced to my CODAR canine rescue Snow Angel and my Maine Coon feral rescue cat Lucky; She absolutely loves to play and knows how to throw toys in the air and put them in your lap to elicit a she knows how to do this having been in a shelter for the last three months simply speaks to her adopt- ability as far as I am concerned. She was a dreamboat on the ride home in the transport crate in my car
> and has willingly gone into the open wire crate that I set up for her in my "animal room". She has also invited herself into my rescue Angel's transport-style crate that stays in my Living Room.  Thus far, Holly is toy, food and water non-aggressive but I will monitor closely in the coming days as we all acclimate her into my family and animal household.
We tried to take new pictures of Holly to post on the website but she could not sit still from excitement! The existing website photo of her standing at attention at the kennel is wonderful but I think it makes her look so much bigger than she really is. I was so surprised at her smaller size when I picked her up from transport.  She is very slender and graceful. I was also surprised at her elongated snout and ever so slight droop in her jaw. I think it hints to a lab or hound mix in her background!
Holly has constantly followed me around the house, tries to sit on my lap and now sleeps at my feet whilst I do this computer work. Having been in a kennel for the past three months, I am sure that she will need intensive  house-training and I will work very hard upon that.  I can say that she seems to know what a stern "NO" means and I have been spending the last several hours reinforcing the word "down" so she does not jump over the pen and gates that I have set up to keep her contained in her space.  I keep telling myself : "Good Luck With That"
as she is quite the agile one and apparently has never had to be told NO on this.... her rescue kennel gates were surely much higher than my 36-48 inch convertibles :-).
Holly's medical records and micro-chip info are in hand and she appears to be healthy and very, very adoptable.   All in all, I think Jen did a really good job on this pull and I thank you JEN, Pam and CODAR for giving me the opportunity to support your worthy efforts. 

Holly was adopted this weekend at the Aberdeen Day adoption event!

The last of my Not-My-Dog Rescues is actually ten (that's right - 10) puppies. Greenville Animal Control was inundated with baby dogs over the weekend and things were looking really bad. So many puppies on top of all of the usual dogs aged young to senior and everything in between. So I put in some calls. No one at CODAR could take them in - we're all full. The Monmouth County SPCA had just built its puppy wing but could not take any more until the end of the month, but Briain, the director of the new puppy facility, also made some calls and connected with Sherri at Homeless Paws NJ, who agreed to take the ten pups. What this involved on my part was getting Homeless Paws NJ all signed up with GCAC, finding someone else to network to find the funding for pull fees and transport fees, coordinating the transport, picking up the dogs from the transport (after waiting two days during an earthquake), bathing 10 stinky, flea-covered puppies at 6:00 at night and driving them down to meet their new foster parents in Forked River!! Thankfully, my husband and daughter were really helpful with the bathing and drying, and Maggie kept the puppies happy from Red Bank to Forked River and helped me move them from our car to the fosters' car in the pouring rain.

So, 14 dogs rescued. None ever saw my own doorstep, and I will not have the responsibility or enjoyment of caring for them, but in my own little way I helped them along to safety. In many ways, this kind of help was much harder than just agreeing to pull one dog and take care of it until it finds a home. It was much more short-term labor-intensive. Lots of hours on the computer and phone. Lots of stress about whether people were actually going to show up to take them when they arrived in NJ. Lots of worry about the puppies on the transport. Lots of fretting about poor Petunia. Even though they are not my fosters, I still love and worry about each one - times 14. Whew. I probably won't do this kind of rescue again.