Tag Archives: Rescue work

Update on Zeke the Foster Dog

It’s time for an update on our foster dog, Zeke. I have had people inquire about how he is doing which is encouraging for me. Although I can’t say Zeke is over his issues and acting like a normal dog, I can report that he is showing improvement. To what do I attribute this? Two things. Number one, time and consistency. Number two, drugs! The vet prescribed Prozac and occasional Valium for him.

The Valium seems to have little effect so I have only used it twice. Both times he still “drove” his crate across the dining room. When in his crate and we both go away he apparently flings himself against it so hard trying to get out that it moves across the room. We find it up against a piece of furniture or the wall where it was impossible to go any farther. If you’ll remember, he also drools buckets in the crate with standing puddles of it inside the crate and some flung out while we are gone. One time he cracked off part of a fang. He only had two fangs when we got him and now we know why. The Valium has no effect on these episodes so I probably won’t give him any more. Luckily for Zeke, the times when my husband and I are both gone at the same time are rare.

By the way, Zeke is fine in his crate when we are home. We feed the dogs in their crates and then they have a rest time in the crate right afterward for a short time. Zeke also sleeps in a crate and is fine. It’s the being alone that’s the problem. I felt the need to crate him when we leave the house though because I suspect that he would jump through a window to come look for us. The first three weeks I would crate him when I left for work because my husband was still upstairs in bed. (I leave at 6:00 am so who could blame him.) Zeke would do some minor barking and lots of drooling. So, I got brave and left him loose in the house because my husband was still home, just upstairs. Zeke has been good as gold. He has not tried to jump through the window and has been laying down and being good as gold at these times. Someday I may get brave enough to let him loose in the house when we both go away. Not anytime soon though. Because he has been known to knock pans and containers off the kitchen counters and stove. We also need to make sure there will be no incidents between him and the other animals. They get along fine but there is always the possibility of a misunderstanding occurring and the results of that could be disastrous.

Zeke was barking in his crate at night at random at first. Nothing hysterical, just attention seeking. We moved his crate beside our bed and now he doesn’t make a peep. Usually I would not allow the dog to control us like this but these are extenuating circumstances. Zeke needs to gain confidence and calmness to overcome his various problems.

Luckily Zeke is easy to love. He is affectionate and loving. He likes to snuggle and sit on your lap. You better have a big lap because he probably weighs about 45 lbs. now! He has a pleasant temperament and is fairly obedient when given commands. He listens when you talk to him and seems to understand a great deal, given his reactions to conversations.

More on other Zeke behaviors soon!

Kammie 

Kammie left this world this morning, after a lengthy illness, with her loving human mother by her side. She was nine years old.


We had the privilege of being Kammie’s foster family for 14 months. She was a sweet dog with an agreeable personality.  Her first human passed away which landed Kammie at one of the Cleveland shelters. She didn’t kennel well and was fortunate to be taken in by a short term foster family. They wanted the best for her so sent her on to our sheltie rescue. She was on thyroid medicine and antibiotics for a bladder infection. I met someone in a parking lot to do the transfer to get her to us. The plan was to get some weight off of her,she came to the shelter at 59 lbs, get her healthy and then find her a home.

Little did we suspect that she was home. She underwent treatment for several bladder infections that never really seemed to clear up. She came to our house in April of 2016. In July, after undergoing an ultrasound, she was diagnosed with several bladder tumors. At that point she was deemed unadoptable and we decided to provide her with whatever time she had remaining at our home.


So Kammie became one of our pack and a member of our family. She would bark and run outside with the other dogs. Sometimes she would then turn around and come back inside, her job escorting the others outside having been completed. She received a number of medications without complaint: Thyroid pills, piroxycam (to slow tumor growth), often antibiotics, and in the later days, tramadol for pain.  Not only did she take them without complaint, she would come and wait for them at the appropriate times. She was a good girl.

Kammie slowed down a little bit at a time with her back end getting weaker until by late this week, she could no longer walk. After a couple days when she had shown no improvement and the veterinarian thought the tumors had probably metastasized to put pressure on her spine, we knew the time had come.  Our time with Kammie was a gift and it was time to give her back. 

Thank you Kammie for sharing your time with us and letting us enjoy your gentle smile and spunky personality. We were blessed by your presence. Kammie’s medical care was provided for by Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue. The love was provided by us.

News from Sweetie

Dog-Sweetie

News from a previous foster dog of ours! Sweetie was our foster last year. She came before the foster dog we have right now, Kammie. Sweetie was a joy, even if she was a bit challenging.  After all challenging describes our kind of dog.

Her new family adores her. They say they can’t imagine life without her and she goes many places with them. One thing she does with the family is camping.

Dog-Sheltie-Sweetie

Here she is sticking out of the tent. She is definitely a much loved part of her new family. This is what we hope for when we let someone adopt a dog that we have  taken into our homes and loved. It is hard to let them go. But when we get reports like this, we know that we have done the right thing. And we know that this is what it takes to be able to help the next dog that comes along. And there is always a next dog. We have fostered over 40 dogs so far.

The greatest hope of all people who work in animal rescue is that we will one day be put out of business. That there will be no more need for our services. We want to become a thing of the past. But until that day, stories like Sweetie’s keep us going.

Sweetie Goes Home

Sweetie

It was a rough weekend. Why? Because our foster dog, Sweetie, went to a wonderful new home. She is a busy, driven girl, who is a challenge at all times. She was our kind of dog. She spent her time following whichever of us was moving. Our every act needed to be supervised. If we sat still, she made up her own activities. Chewing on daddy’s shoe, picking up bits of bark from firewood to chew and scatter around the house, snuffling cats. One time she even chewed on a corner of the coffee table in front of us as if to say “I can’t help myself, I’m bored, can’t you do something”. Most people would probably say Sweetie was a challenge and just too much. We find this type of dog to be rewarding and full of character.

Sweetie

Although letting her go was hard, one of the hardest for me in a few years, we are comforted by the fact that she is going to a wonderful home that we think will suit her perfectly. Sweetie will be living with a younger couple that hikes and camps and wants to take Sweetie on these excursions with them. Additionally, the wife works from home so Sweetie  will rarely be alone. We couldn’t have asked for a home more suitable for her. All this activity and companionship will give her a fulfilling life. It is a match made in heaven.

So although I cried for some time after Sweetie left, I know she is in the best place for her. She is an only dog and can have her fill of attention unlike at our house. She has a cat sibling and at some point, plans to go to a dog park. She had a good connection with her adopters and they obviously fell in love with her. Still, it is Sweetie. She lived in our home and was a part of our lives for five months. Perhaps she will be one of the ones that I pretend is still my dog and that she is just staying with someone else. Although sending them to new homes makes my heart hurt, it makes me feel content at the same time.

Good bye little girl. I know you will have a good life. Momma still loves you. As does your new momma. You are a blessed little girl.

Sweetie

Things to Come

House bed

I spent Saturday afternoon clearing out the perennial bed beside the house. It was overgrown with phlox, bee balm, black eyed Susan’s, and other plants that bees and hummingbirds like. The wygelia bushes were barely visible any more. It’s always a challenge for me to keep the foliage in the beds under control. It seems as if I am keeping up with things and the flower beds look good. Then one day I look over and it’s all out of control and overgrown. I don’t know how this happens. I should have taken a before picture so you could see the difference but I found that idea to be too embarrassing.

The impetus for all this clearing and getting the plants under control is that we are going to have a Fall Gathering here for our Sheltie Rescue group. And their dogs are welcome too so I hope to have some wonderful photos of the dogs to share with you in a couple of weeks. Hopefully some of our past foster dogs. We are very excited at the prospect!

Datura

I got a surprise last week from one of those plants that came up as a volunteer. The white trumpet shaped flower is a Daturum. We planted those last year and several returned to put on a show for us this year. I knew the plants had come up but I didn’t think they would get big enough to bloom, but they did. It was a most pleasant surprise.

Cleome

This cleome is also a volunteer. It took hold in between the sandstones. It impresses me with its tenacity.

20150926_111904   Pinks

There are still some beautiful flowers in bloom even though it is late in the year. The mandevilla and pinks continue on.

Hydrangea

As does the hydrangea that I purchased three or four years ago at a discount store for $3. It was a single, bare twig. Now it is several bushes. I’d say that was a good investment.

Caterpillar

I found this fuzzy caterpillar when I was looking at the flowers. I wonder which type of butterfly it will be next year? He is chewing on the plants, I imagine, getting fuel to try and survive the winter.

Burning Bush

This burning bush is turning red already. The others aren’t, just this one. The others have been planted for a number of years in their current location but this one was just moved last year. That must account for the difference.

Trough

The petunias are putting on their last hurrah before frost comes. To be honest, by this time of year I am looking forward to frost. I get tired of working in the gardens and beds but feel too guilty if I stop while plants are still growing. Fall and winter come as a welcome break. Although by the middle of February I am chomping at the bit to get started again. So I will enjoy it while I can.

The Mind Is a Scary Place

image

Time for another look into the inner workings of my mind. Scary thought, isn’t it? The brave among you will keep reading.

I got another lesson in self control over the weekend. Someone called and wanted me to take their parents’ dog into rescue because said parents had their house re-carpeted. My first thought was, you’re kidding, right? Sadly, no. The caller went on to explain that the dog was now living outside in a kennel but it had a dog house. Like the dog house was some great gift that made them caring, compassionate human beings. Never mind that the dog was now probably wondering why he was suddenly relegated to live his life outside, away from his pack. Winter was coming the caller informed me so they wanted to turn the dog into rescue before it got too cold. Did they want a gold star? It seemed so.

I’m proud to say that I did not let any of the comments racing through my mind come out of my mouth. Some of the kinder among them were:  idiot, moron, are you serious? I bit my tongue and kept them to myself. Why? Because I’m a good person? No. Because I knew that if I alienated them, I would not get the dog who would then spend the winter cold and alone. So as is always the case for people who do dog rescue, it’s about the dog, not about me or anyone else. It’s about saving the dog. That’s why I continued to be pleasant and helpful.

Whenever something like this happens that my mind can’t come to peace with, I try to frame it by Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World. If I can’t deal with it, I look to another source. Prayer sometimes helps me but I want to change the world so I put it into this formula.

  1. Change yourself. I’m trying to change myself, that’s why I didn’t blurt out my feelings.
  2. You are in control. I was in control for that moment. Yay, me!
  3. Forgive & let go. Well I don’t hate these people. That’s something.
  4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere. I referred the people on to our rescue intake coordinator to get this dog to us.
  5. Take care of this moment. See #2.
  6. Everyone is human. Maybe when these folks were younger they were better able to deal with having a pet. Maybe they have health problems that make a dog too much for them.
  7. Persist. Well, I will continue to rescue dogs. I don’t know if I really persisted in this instance.
  8. See the good in people and help them. Even though I don’t agree with the decision, I will try to help these people rehome their dog.
  9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self. Not sure if I did this by keeping my mouth shut. Helping the dog is what I do and who I am though.
  10. Continue to grow and evolve. I’m working on it.

 
Somehow I can’t help but feel I fell short with this interaction. I didn’t teach those involved anything. Maybe that is not my purpose. I will have to learn to be content with whatever comes of the situation. I will have to put more effort into learning how honor number 3 on the list. At the very least I got a notable story.

What the Dog Ate, Part III

Phoebe

 I am intending this to be the last installment of What the Dog Ate, but I know better so I am just calling it Part III. I’m sure that some of my current or future dogs will eat some amazing things as well.

Pictured above is Phoebe. She looks so innocent, doesn’t she? Don’t be fooled. One day, when she had not been with us very long,  we were looking for the cable remote to turn on the tv. We thought we must have really misplaced it because we couldn’t find it anywhere.  Eventually we did find bits of it but couldn’t be sure where the rest of it was. We had seen Phoebe pick it up before so we knew it was her. Some time over the next few days my husband was picking up after the dogs and came across a very incriminating pile. It was covered with numbers and buttons that said things like “menu”. If only we had a digital camera at the time! That would have been a photo for posterity. Or at least a good laugh. Phoebe is older now and doesn’t get into much trouble anymore. The only thing she did recently was take fur bundles from dog brushings out of the trash can and distribute them around the living room for decoration every time we left her in the house. Just bought a trash can with a lid on it.

We also had a strange dog eating conundrum in our rescue a few years ago. We got a call from some adopters who took their recently adopted dog the vet because it was passing a pair of lacey thong panties. The foster home and the adopters vehemently denied owning any such garments at any point in recent memory. We can only assume that the item was ingested at the dog’s original home. All ended well with the exception of one vet bill with a never to be known cause.

Sassy

Then there was the foster dog above that some of you may remember. This is Miss Sassy Pants. She came home from the vet’s with one of those stretchy, self adhesive bandages on her leg. I put her in her crate for the night, as I have done with many a dog, and in the morning the bandage was gone. I never did find hide nor hair of that bandage so I have to believe that it passed unnoticed and all is well.

Lacey and Sky

Skylar was another foster pup who had a remarkable digestion. This boy loves his toys. Especially those he can chew. I had to take a tied and knotted polar fleece bone from him one day because he was destroying it. Apparently, I was too slow. Skylar liked to go to the mail box with us. One day on the way back to the house he stopped to make a deposit in the drive way. It went on and on. This turned out to be because he was passing a piece of that pink polar fleece bone that was about six inches long. It snowed that same day and many days thereafter. I saw that pink remnant during the spring thaw and got another good chuckle.

I’m sure we’ve had other “passings” over the years but none stick in my memory banks as well as these. I hope cleaning up after your dogs is a mundane and unimpressive task.

Why I Like My Life, Part l

NikkiNikki

This was a good day. I volunteered at a Pet Expo today to promote the dogs of Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue. Above you see Nikki at the beginning of the day and on the ride home. It was a busy and tiring but good day. We worked the whole day and talked to probably a couple hundred people.

ShelbyShelby

This is Shelby at the beginning of the event and again near the end. Please note that while I was equally tired, I did not sleep on the drive home. That’s why I’m the mom. Shelby and Nikki were excellent ambassadors for their breed. People sometimes ask why I  take my own dogs to these events and not our available adoptees. With so many people around I don’t like to take dog/s that I may not know that well. It is a stressful situation for a dog  and I want a dog that I can rely on and predict their behavior. Shelby and Nikki are very  reliable. I  know what to expect from them. They also know that they are safe because I will protect them.

I am free to have a good time because I know how my dogs will behave. And I do have a good time! I have been a part of the doggy world for some time now. I  see old friends from various breed rescues and shelters so i take a few minutes to catch up with them. I  see newer acquaintances from the training club. And just friends in general because nearly all of my friends have dogs. I even see people and dogs that I tested and certified to be therapy dogs.

Stroller full of shelties

And I see folks that I recognize from previous years. Would anyone like a  stroller or two of shelties? I don’t really know these people but I can tell you I like them. They are my kind of people! 20150606_20525820150606_205358

Another good thing about these events is the vendors. They sell things that suit my taste as a discriminating dog fanatic. See my new earrings above.

So it was a successful day. Life is good. We talked with people, promoted our dogs, sold a few things, and made contact with some potential sheltie adopters. And with so many rescue groups present there is no doubt that some lives were saved and new family units formed. So once again, namaste.

It’s Not Always Black and White

Shetland Sheepdogs Gracie and Zoey
Shelties, Gracie and Zoey

This is a blog post that I first published in 2015, and am sharing again in the hopes that you will enjoy the dogs’ stories as much as I do! Some of them have since gone to the Rainbow Bridge, but all went to loving homes.

One of the things I sometimes hear about animal rescue work is “Why don’t you spend your time helping people?” This irritates me for a number of reasons.

Reason number one is because animals are God’s creatures. The God I know wants us to be kind to every living thing. Animals are God’s creation just as we are. Do you really think that God will think it is ok if we let animals suffer when we could have helped? I think not. I realize that not everyone is capable of dealing with the things I encounter in dog rescue. But I am capable and it is my passion so I should do the work.

Reason number two for me is, helping animals is not mutually exclusive to helping people. Doing one does not take away from the other. Helping humans, and animals, can coexist. Just because there are people who need help does not mean it is ok for harm to come to animals until all humans are safe.

And lastly, (for this post anyway!), if you think that I don’t help people while doing dog rescue work then you really don’t understand what I do. I have a few stories to illustrate this point.

Pictured above are Gracie and Zoey. Their owner had terminal cancer. He knew he was not long for this world but he stayed at home as long as he could for his girls, Gracie and Zoey. He didn’t want anything bad to happen to them. But eventually he became too ill. He had to drop his girls off at a local shelter on his way to hospice. He was an older gentleman and didn’t know about breed rescues. He was so sick by this time that he had to sit down and rest on his way into the shelter. I’m sure it broke his heart to leave them there. A couple of nice ladies that volunteer at the shelter saw that the girls were not doing very well in the shelter environment as most shelties don’t. They tend to shut down in this setting. The ladies took Gracie and Zoey home with them for a few day and then set about finding a rescue because, of course, there would be more who needed them. This is how these two shelties came into Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue and specifically came to be fostered at my house. Their owner wanted them to be adopted together and that is what I agreed to do. I knew this poor man must being worrying about his dogs all the time and did not want this to weigh on his mind during his final days. I called the shelter and got the man’s phone number so that I could try to call and let him know that his girls were ok. That I would make sure that they got a good home. The man was not at home but I left a message on an answering machine with the hope that a relative or friend would stop by and hear the message to let him know his dogs were ok. I don’t know if that ever happened but I desperately hope so. By the way, after spending a few months at our house, Gracie and Zoey (now Selah) did get adopted together to a wonderful new home where they are dearly loved.

Shetland Sheepdog Princess
Shetland Sheepdog, Princess

And here is Princess. She is a wonderful girl that I would have loved to keep. She played so beautifully with our own dogs. Her owners have a story too. They also loved Princess dearly. Her owners had to separate and live in different house holds even though they didn’t want to for reasons I won’t disclose. Neither was able to get housing that would enable them to keep her. Luckily they did learn about breed rescue and were able to drop her off at my house. They cried and I cried with them. I listened to their tale and sympathized and hopefully made them feel just a little bit better. They had fallen on hard times and saw this as their last option. I was blessed to have Princess in my life for the time we fostered her and to find owners that loved her.

Sheltie, Blitze
Sheltie, Blitz

And then there was Blitz. He also came from a loving home. The husband of the couple passed away and the wife had to move to be closer to her children. She did try to keep Blitz. She brought him to her new condo but the ice of winter was too severe. She was an older lady and while taking Blitz out for potty breaks, fell on the ice three times.  Blitz is a good dog. The weather conditions were just too harsh for the owner to safely care for him. The lady loved him very much. He arrived at our house with a large bag of dog food, an entire garbage bag of toys, his bed, vet records and a card with his baby teeth taped to it. This boy had a good life. I went to pick him up and the lady cried. Her family was present to support her. I stayed for an hour and talked with them to ease yet another loss. I told them how we care for the dogs and take them in as a part of our family until their forever family comes along. I told the owner she could call me to check on his progress and she did. I told her how he plays with our dogs and has fun. I called to let her know when he got his permanent home and it eased her mind and the guilt she felt. Blitz on the Job, Even at his Foster Home

So, tell me again how I should be helping people and not animals. I hope at the end of the day that I have helped all living things that have crossed my path and left the world to be a slightly better place.