Tag Archives: Rescue work

A Memory Captured

Super Weasel

This is a sketch I drew of one of our foster dogs a number of years ago. I know it’s no great piece of art, but it captured a memory.

This was a foster dog that came to us with the name of Lawrence. Our neighbor Larry had recently passed away and I felt odd standing in our yard repeatedly saying “Lawrence, do you have to pee?” Not to mention, it was a formal name for a one year old sheltie. He had a vey slender build and was always jumping up into the air. He especially liked to jump up and hit me in the butt with both his front feet when I would turn around to walk away. I often turned and said “You little weasel.” This eventually led to me affectionately calling him by the moniker Weasel.

Hence, this sketch with “W” on his front that I call Super Weasel.

He was a wonderful little dog that I loved dearly. I still remember tearing up when we left him at his new home. He went to a great family that also loved him dearly. He was renamed Scotty and became best friend and companion to a young girl. He became a 4-H dog and went on to run lots of agility. I couldn’t have asked for a better home for him.

Scotty left us to go to the Rainbow Bridge much too soon. I am still happily acquainted with his family, and that young girl is now an adult who has since adopted another sheltie from our Rescue.

Sometimes You Get It Right

Do you ever feel like fate has a hand in your life and when you follow your gut instinct, sometimes you get it right?

I recently did away with our landline and switched that number over to my cell phone. The old cell number is now defunct. I felt that it was important to maintain the old landline number because it has been used for our dog rescue business and is printed in numerous places so that people can reach us when they need help. I could have replaced it with another number, but it didn’t seem like the right thing to do. It would have been a fair amount of work and just didn’t seem right.

Well, I got a call today from someone in our Rescue family. They fostered and adopted a dog from us recently and this was not their first dog from us either. Rescue members become a real community and like family. I would not have received the call if I had not kept that phone number. The changes would not have been updated to our documents yet.

Our Rescue friend’s wife had passed away unexpectedly two days ago. We talked for a bit and I was able to offer condolences and some kind words. I was blessed to hear how the dog he has from our Rescue group comforted him. He thought we should know what happened and I am touched that he shared this with us. I hope I was able to bring him a small bit of comfort in this difficult time.

I have long said that rescuing dogs, is helping people too. I am blessed to do both.

A Heart of Gold

This is Maizie. She was our foster dog seven years ago and passed to the Rainbow Bridge after spending a little over a year with us. She had a heart of gold. Following is what I wrote at that time.

Dear Person Who Abandoned this Senior Dog,

Maizie was found by the pound and when they sent you a letter to come and get her, you did not come. She spent 30 days in the pound kennel waiting for you before the efforts of two rescue groups brought her to our house as a foster dog. Today we discovered that she has kidney failure and will live out the rest of her life with us however long that may be. What lesson am I supposed to learn from this? Perhaps to have compassion for you and not be judgemental? I will work on that.

I know that I have been blessed to know this dog who is sweet, loving, and grateful for every bit of attention. She smiles at us constantly and is one of the happiest dogs I have seen. Occassionally she will try to play and has a small, joyful hop to her step. Our lives have been enriched by knowing this kind dog.

My dreams will be sweeter knowing that I have helped and loved this girl. May you be able to sleep at all.

Welcome Home!

This is the newest member of our family! Meet Claire. She has been our foster dog for the past 6 months so if you know us, she’s not new around here.

I honestly did make a good effort to adopt her out. Our rescue isn’t doing home checks right now because of the pandemic. Over the past three months I did speak to previous adopters about her but the time and situation wasn’t right for any of them.

Mercifully, after speaking to the last potential adopter last week, they decided the timing was not right. I say mercifully because after I got off the phone with them before they had decided, I fell apart at the thought of Claire leaving us.

I don’t know if I’ve changed? Or I lost my edge after taking a year and a half fostering break after Zekie came to us? Or if it’s due to the fact that I’m home all the time now? Or if it’s just Claire. But the thought of her leaving is unbearable.

This does mean that we are on a moratorium from long term fostering for now. We will still be available for fostering those shelties that only need one or two weeks here.

So Claire is home! As you can see, she is quite happy about this. And so am I.

Foster Dog-Two Weeks In

Claire has been with us two weeks today. It has passed quickly, mostly because she keeps us so busy. You must keep your eyes on her at all times when she is not crated. She spent some time in her crate because she is in heat and some of the time just because we were not able to watch her every minute.

She hasn’t had a potty accident in about a week. Before that I think it was mostly marking due to being in heat and not actually accidents. Claire also wanders around the house. A lot. I don’t know if this is a trait of bitches in heat or just because everything is new to her.

And I mean everything seems like a new experience to her. Walking on a leash, people eating food, cats, things on coffee tables. You need to constantly watch her or she will take things and then be puzzled about why you are upset.

Claire is learning though. When I say no, she stops what she is doing to look at me which gives me a chance to praise her. She is getting along with the cats better, although she still reacts sometimes. Luckily she thinks the cats are great fun rather than viewing them as snack items.

And occasionally she will lay down. This makes me happy. A few minutes for me to relax is appreciated. She improves a little bit each day. We’ll get there.

First Foster Dog 2020!

A new foster dog has arrived! We have been without a foster dog for over two years. That is an eternity for us. We had not been without a foster dog before this since 2003. When Zeke came, he was such a handful that we could not deal with any other new dogs. So when I decided to adopt Zeke, we had to take a break from fostering.

Zeke is still a handful. I would say that his behavior gets marginally better all the time. At this rate he will be a normal level of crazy in several more years. Well, either Zeke is a bit better or our tolerance for trouble has increased. Because in the late fall, we decided that we were ready to foster again. Turn-ins to our group Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue slowed down and we have some other great foster homes available so it didn’t work out for a dog to come to us until yesterday. This girl’s name is Topanga. We will be renaming her soon as that is quite a mouthful and she doesn’t seem very responsive to it.

Topanga was turned over to our Rescue group along with four other dogs. All of the dogs are female Shetland Sheepdogs and about 4-5 years old. Two are sables, two are tricolors, and there is one blue merle. The owner is apparently beginning to suffer from dementia and is no longer able to care for the dogs. I applaud the owner for realizing her limitations and doing what is best for these girls no matter how hard it is. Many of us could end up in a similar situation and I can only imagine the grief it would bring. The other dogs are going from their initial intake home to long term foster homes too. They will all get any updates to their care that is needed along with love. Love is what our foster homes do best.

I would like to point out that as with all Rescue groups, we have a protocol that we follow before placing dogs in adoptive homes. We require applications and then we conduct vet checks, followed by home checks. Then we place each dog into the approved home that is the best fit for him or her. We have enough approved homes on our waiting list to provide an adoptive home for all of these dogs. If you are interested in a dog, it is wise to get an application in early so you will be ready when we have more dogs come along.

I have to thank Cheryl, who picked up the dogs from the owner for us. And a big thanks also to Kathi who met Cheryl at the local pet store and both ladies spent their evening bathing, trimming, and transporting these dogs. These are two ladies from the local Shetland Sheepdog breed club as well as members of our Rescue. It is great and always a help when these two parts of the dog world can work together. Bravo ladies!

Topanga will be here for a few weeks at least while we update her veterinary needs and get her spayed. We can already tell she is quite a character. She was jumping and trying to play with me when I was grooming her yesterday. She keeps running around and trying to get the other dogs to play. She is also trying to get the cats to play but so far that results in hissing and a swat or two. I’m sure it’s only a matter of a few days before she is outside playing with the other dogs in our fenced pasture.

Updates to follow!

Maizie, A Good Dog

This is a tribute to Maizie who we fostered for Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue. She arrived in 2013 and passed on to the Rainbow Bridge about a year and a half later, while laying on a dog bed in our living room, with me by her side. She now lies buried in our woods with our others who have passed.

The letter below is one I wrote in 2013, right after we discovered she had kidney failure. We are blessed to have known her. She enriched our lives.

Dear Person Who Abandoned this Senior Dog,

Maizie was found by the pound and when they sent you a letter to come and get her, you did not come. She spent 30 days in the pound kennel waiting for you before the efforts of two rescue groups brought her to our house as a foster dog. Today we discovered that she has kidney failure and will live out the rest of her life with us however long that may be. What lesson am I supposed to learn from this? Perhaps to have compassion for you and not be judgemental? I will work on that.

I know that I have been blessed to know this dog who is sweet, loving, and grateful for every bit of attention. She smiles at us constantly and is one of the happiest dogs I have seen. Occassionally she will try to play and has a small, joyful hop to her step. Our lives have been enriched by knowing this kind dog.

My dreams will be sweeter knowing that I have helped and loved this girl. May you be able to sleep at all.

It Takes a Village

One of my first impressions of Nash, besides the fear, was the smell. Nash had such a doggie odor that after working with him I would smell the same way. I had to hang my coat out in the hall at work rather than near my desk. I noticed nobody wanted to pet him much because it involved washing your hands every time you touched him. So, on his second evening with us I decided to give him a bath. You can imagine how that went. Nash literally thought I was trying to kill him. I felt so bad for him fighting for his life that I almost gave up, but I didn’t want him to think he could get his way by throwing a fit in the future. So, I sang him stupid songs and washed away. His struggles became less after a while. Luckily, he didn’t have too much fur at this point, so it went pretty fast. He really enjoyed the towel drying at the end.  Needless to say, the bathroom and I were both covered in water and I was exhausted and sore.

I took Nash for a walk the first day after work and it went about how you would expect. He couldn’t walk in a straight line and kept tangling me in the leash. Every so often he grabbed the end of the choke chain in his mouth and tried to get free. And he was furiously trying to eat all the snow he could like he thought he would never have water again. All in all, it could have gone a lot worse. We made it a little over a mile. It did nothing to calm him down though.

During the first days when I would take Nash out of his crate and try to pet him he would constantly jump, lunge, and try to kiss. I mean he didn’t ever stop trying. After the bath incident he actually laid still for several minutes as long as I kept petting him. It was a fight to get the choker and leash on and off of him every time I needed to take him out. And getting him back in the crate involved forcibly putting him in, which sometimes involved wounds (scratches) to the person involved. I knew he would take more work than any other dog I had fostered but that he would also be the most rewarding.

After a couple of weeks with us Nash was still neurotic and needy. I thought he loved everyone but that was not the case. He wanted to chase off the furnace repair man, didn’t like a friend of ours who came over (a large man) and attacked my brother’s dog when he came to spend the weekend. On the other hand, he liked my daughter when she came home from college for the weekend and liked my sister-in-law the two times he met her. And on the day my brother’s dog, Dakota, came I got him out on leash when I came home, and he was fine with Dakota. They never had another problem. Nash has met a number of visitors to our house since then and after he warms up to them he is fine

As time goes by I am sure he was abused. We still can’t pick him up without him going into self preservation mode. Sometimes I just pick him up anyway and let him put his mouth on me since there are things I have to do. Like put him in a crate to ride in the car or give shots. Oh, and anytime your foot comes into contact with him which can be often since he follows so close he runs into your feet, he squeals like you are trying to hurt him. He also has the strong food drive that you sometimes see in dogs that went without for a long time. He will try to take food from any of our seven dogs. And if we are eating you better believe we keep an eye on our food.

Nash, or Nashville as we like to call him, has been with us for a couple of months now. He has come a long way since the early days although he still has a way to go. His frantic kissing and attention seeking are down to about the first 15 minutes after I come home. Of course, he is willing to sit on my lap for the entire evening if I will let him. And you need to be careful or he will jump on your lap anytime. On two occasions this resulted in me wearing an entire cup of coffee. These days Nash runs in his crate eagerly and turns around with his head sticking out waiting for the biscuit he knows is coming. And a couple weekends ago I took him on a three mile walk at a nearby state park where we passed other walkers with dogs and some bicyclists. He circled the leash around me a few times but was otherwise well behaved. By evening when we are relaxing if I tell Nash to get down, he will go lay quietly on a cushion in the corner. Of course, anytime I make eye contact with him he comes running to see what I want, and I have to tell him to go lay down again. But he has come so far.

Nash is ready for a home with the “right person” who will have the patience and understanding to continue working with him. If someone with the right skills doesn’t come along in the near future, we will keep working with him until he is ready for a home. I say “we” because it is a family affair. Everyone in our family has a hand in Nash’s transition and so it will need to be with his new family.

I wrote this tale about Nashville’s escapades in 2009 when he came into Rescue. He was adopted by a wonderful family with two children later that summer and they adored him. I remember sobbing uncontrollably as I drove away from leaving him with his new family. Even though it was a great match, I had invested so much of myself in him that I loved him dearly. The family did comment that he hoarded cans of food in his crate. He must have somehow thought that he would need this food to survive if times ever got tough again. I don’t know how he planned to open them. Nashville was one of those dogs that as a coping mechanism, I always considered to be mine and that another family was just taking care of him for me. Thanks Sara, for his initial transport to us. It takes a village…

Smiles All Around!

It’s a happy day. A friend contacted me about finding a home for this dog that an acquaintance of hers cannot keep. I do shetland sheepdog rescue. This is a red merle border collie. She is a 2 1/2 year old, spayed little girl.

Since the couple got her, the wife’s health has taken an unfortunate turn and the husband is working long hours now. This pup is loved but needs and deserves more than the family is able to give her with current circumstances.

I had a number of suggestions. Find a neighbor to walk the dog. Or contact a training club or 4- H group about adoption. Post a flyer at the vet office. Anyone who is there takes care of their dogs. Our rescue could do a courtesy post.

But look at that face! What would happen to her? I worry about these things. I spend time sitting around pondering options. You might say I become obsessed. It is in the forefront of my mind for hours. When I am presented with situations like this, my brain takes responsibility. I have to exhaust all avenues open to me to fix the situation. Dogs well-being, if not their lives, depend on it. I do not take this lightly.

I was copied on a post of someone who was looking for a sheltie. Or possibly a small collie. We don’t have many shelties in rescue right now. I thought, hey, they’re willing to consider a sheltie or collie, they don’t really have their heart set on a specific breed. A border collie is a herding breed. Maybe they would be interested in this dog. After hearing more about this person, I am confident they would provide a very good home.

So, long story short. They are going to meet this little border collie girl on Saturday and probably will adopt her. Sometimes things just fall into place. This appears to be one of those times. Smiles all around!

A New Life

As you may or may not remember, I am a member of a local Shetland Sheepdog Rescue group. I received a phone call at work on Friday from our local pound which is just next door. They said they had a sheltie who was just surrendered and not adjusting well. Would we take it?

I made a call to alert our Intake Coordinator and plans were set into motion. I was already scheduled to leave work early so I said, sure, I’ll be up shortly to get the dog.

Well, I got there and this is the dog they had. It’s a little hard to tell from the picture but this is not a Shetland Sheepdog aka sheltie. He was the right size, about 22 lbs. My first clue that he was not a sheltie was the fact that he had no tail. And upon closer inspection, he does not have a sheltie head or muzzle and the build was not right.

I finally realized that this dog, whose name is Stormy by the way, is actually a Miniature Australian Shepherd. So I made another call to our Intake Coordinator and between us, we decided that we would take him anyway. We don’t have enough shelties for everyone on our waiting list and I think a lot of people waiting on a sheltie would be quite happy with Stormy. Plus, it sprung Stormy from the pound so I see it as a win for everyone.

Stormy was markedly happier once he was in the car and getting farther away from the pound. Now to be fair, our pound is a good one. They are no kill, get the dogs vetted, and are just nice people. But still it is very loud with lots of barking and kennel runs which did not suit Stormy. He turned out to be a friendly little guy that I enjoyed my time with as I transported him to his foster home.

Stormy has since been to our vet and I’m sure will have a wonderful home soon. I am happy to have been a part of the journey on his way to a new life.