Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What I Say When Asked Which Dog is Worse from @TheFurMom

"Three Black Dogs"
The strangest question I receive, a lot, is “which dog is worse?” when people learn that we have three dogs. Not “which do you love most?” or “which is the best behaved?” But that’s okay, I’m happy to tell people which of our dogs is worse, because it’s yet another opportunity for me to yammer on about our dogs.

Of course, being a blogger and a very talkative woman, I don’t have a simple answer for you. Silly of you to think so; I’ll wait while you settle down for a read.

Still waiting.

Okay, good.

We have three dogs; Rodrigo, Sydney and Blue. Rodrigo and Sydney are littermates and polar opposites in many ways. Blue rounds out our house of black and white Cattle Dog mixes with a Tasmanian devilish personality that keeps us laughing. It’s not enough to ask “which dog is worse?” You have to be a little more specific, because like each of the dogs has captured my heart in many ways, each one also has the ability to make me groan and sigh.

Here are the things that each of our dogs do that drive me batty at times, but, oddly, have the ability to make me laugh too.

Rodrigo – Cattle Dog / Border Collie Mix, Male, 2.5 years old, 70 pounds

·      Rodrigo loves strangers, people and dogs a like. He also prefers to be walked off leash. Getting him to understand that he can’t run up to greet strangers whenever he sees fit has been a constant struggle, but he’s starting to get it. So when his excitement at seeing a new face (or tail) prevents him from staying with us on a walk, it drives me nuts. But he’s so happy that I can’t stay mad.

Sydney – Cattle Dog / Labrador Mix, Female, 2.5 years old, 70 pounds

·       Sydney loves food, but more than food she loves to smell pretty.  Her definition of pretty doesn’t match our definition of pretty.  Sydney can find the most disgusting things to roll in and in the past month, she received an off scheduled bath after her dance with dog vomit, a dead seal, a dead bird, a dead cat, and many dead mice.  But she’s so happy that I can’t stay mad.

Blue - Cattle Dog / Border Collie Mix, Male, 8 months old, 45 pounds

·      Blue is a jumper. We’re still working on his jumping. When he was 15 pounds, we would just pick him up (I know, bad dog training!) and now that he’s getting bigger, longer (more reach) and the Pacific Northwest Weather is becoming colder – I cringe whenever he jumps, because soon there will be muddy paw prints all over me. We try everything to get him to keep his paws on the floor and he is understanding, but when he’s over excited – forget about it. But he’s so  happy to see us that I can’t stay mad.

All dog owners have stories of the annoying things our dogs do, but what’s funny is that a true dog lover shares those stories with a huge smile on their face (sort of like the one I’m wearing now).  Our dogs don’t mean to be annoying; they want nothing more than to make us happy, so when they do the things that drive me nuts, I don’t yell, I don’t hit, I don’t shame – I give them a big hug and tons of love for returning to the walk, walking away from the dead seal, and putting their paws back on the floor.

About the Author…
Kimberly Gauthier is @TheFurMom to three Cattledog Mix rescues and two very tolerant cats and writes Keep the Tail Wagging from her rural oasis in Marysville, WA that she shares with her very own Captain America. On Kimberly’s blog, she shares tips on dog training, dog behavior, dog health, dog nutrition, dog safety, and new pet products.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rescue Rocks - Dog Adoption

Rescue rocks. Both of my pups are rescues, and I would not trade them for anything. With apologies to Jerry Maguire, they complete me. However, the road to a happy home isn’t always a smooth one, and you may encounter a few bumps in the road. I certainly did.

Bringing a new animal into your life (rescue or otherwise) is a big change, albeit a good one. Change can be scary, of course. Sometimes, your new dog and you will go together like peas and carrots. (Especially if your dog can overlook your constant need to make pop culture references.) When Bella joined my family eleven years ago, the transition was a breeze. I was lucky.

However, the second time was not a charm. My husband and I adopted Tavish this summer, and I jokingly (well, really seriously) told friends that I’d come down with a case of post-puppum anxiety disorder. (Although not officially recognized by any psychiatrist I know, I’m pretty sure I had a chronic case.) I was so worried about making a mistake that I started to drive myself (and my husband) crazy. What if he has an accident in the house? What if he chews something? What if the dogs hate each other? For a little while, my mind just kept cycling through worst-case scenarios. I didn’t sleep well. I couldn’t eat. To make a very long story short, I was a mess.

If I could go back and give myself one piece of advice when I adopted my dogs, I’d choose these four simple words: cut yourself some slack. I really needed to get out of my own head and take a step back. As a Type A sort of person, that wasn’t exactly easy for me. After several conversations with some very understanding (and dog-loving) friends, I started to do just that. I realized that I needed to give myself some time before I started panicking about the situation. Sure enough, Tavish eventually settled in and we’re one big happy family. (That’s not to say that things always work out for the best – I’ve been down that road too, but that’s a story for another day. However, it’s important not to be too hard on yourself in that situation either – but before you give up, make sure it’s not just your anxiety getting the best of you.)

If you decide to adopt a new dog (and you totally should), I hope you’ll cut yourself some slack as well. Recognize that it might take some time. Don’t be afraid to voice your fears and insecurities. (If you’re searching for a support group, there are many wonderful pet bloggers out there who would be happy to chat. They were certainly there for me, and I’d be happy to be there for you.) Not only will it help salvage your sanity, it will give you the chance to just enjoy building a relationship with your new family member. It’s worth it.

About the Author: A.J. (better known as Pup Fan) is obsessed with bad puns, pop culture, powdered sugar, and dogs. She inherited her love of animals from her family, most of whom agree that they would rather be one of the family dogs if given the choice – it’s a good gig. When not reenacting Legally Blonde as part of her day job, you can find her hanging out with her husband and her rescue pups/muses, Bella and Tavish. She also volunteers with two local rescue groups: Friends of Homeless Animals, where she helps out with adoption events and Twitter; and City Dogs Rescue, where she is a volunteer blogger. She also contributes to Sisterhood of the Whispering Crowns, a blog dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness, and maintains an oft-neglected cupcake blog.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why Adopt? Ask a Child

Autumn is a season of transition, and each year we marvel at the leaves changing color and falling to the ground. It is only fitting that October, the peak period of fall foliage, is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month. While each season is temporary, the change you will make in a dog’s life by adopting is forever. But don’t take our word for it. See why the kids in the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s Youth Volunteer Program think you should adopt!

The following leaves can be found on the walls of the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, and remind us all why we should open our hearts and homes to a dog this October.

 Animals can be helpful. The can bring joy into your life.

Have a loyal best friend.

Adopt! An animal’s love is unconditional!

 Because they love you too!!

Make and animal feel wanted and loved!

If you have headaches, animals help you forget about them!

Because they need someone to love!

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is an independent, local, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and recognized by Charity Navigator as a Four Star Charity. Operating the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, an open-admission facility and Alexandria’s only animal shelter, the League provides care for more than 3,500 animals every year, including strays, lost pets, local wildlife, rescue animals, and pets surrendered by their owners. Serving the community since 1946, the League has contracted with the City of Alexandria to provide animal care, control, and sheltering services since 1989. The AWLA is committed to ending animal homelessness, promoting animal welfare, and serving as an educational resource for the community.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday's Friends

Ms. Cat Lady, of PetConnect Rescue, stopped by my place this week to introduce me to one of her many cats in her wonderful care.

This precious angel (these are Cat Lady's words guys, so no teasing me at the dog park!) was found living under the bleachers of Byrd Stadium at the University of Maryland, hence the name "Byrdie."

Kind-hearted students were feeding her but weren't able to take her in, so we brought her into the PetConnect Rescue fold. She's a quiet little gal who's meow is more like a squeak, but her purr is strong and definite! 

Byrdie has done nothing but purr since coming into her foster home, and even purred during her vaccinations at the vet's office. She is a loving and trusting sweetheart and would make a wonderful addition to any family. 

Byrdie is healthy, has tested negative for Feline Leukemia and FIV, and always uses her litterbox. What Byrdie wants most of all is someone to love. Could that be you? This is a special kitten! If you would like to meet Byrdie, please complete the online application and we will contact you, PetConnect Online Application.

My friend from the Ambassador Pit Bulls introduced me to Lionel when I met up with her this week.   He's a really cool dude!

Lionel is a HANDSOME, affectionate teen! Pictures do not do this boy justice- you've got to meet him! He's got the prettiest green eyes in town! 

Lionel is on the mellow side, but he’ll still need exercise! He trains extremely quickly with positive reinforcement methods. He does very well with the other dogs in his foster home, and pretty much ignores the cat (smart dog!). He's also a love bug who gives the softest kisses!

If you would like to meet Lionel and learn how to adopt him, please check out, Adoption Procedures.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dog Adoption Event Calendar

Here is my weekly calendar of dog adoption events for this coming weekend:

Sunday, October 28, 2012, 12:00 PM - 04:00 PM ET
Dog Adoption Event at Barrel Oak Winery
3623 Grove Lane
Delaplane, VA 20144

Saturday, October 27, 2012, 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Halloween Party / Adoption Event
Celebrie Veterinary Hospital and Canine Couture
12301 Belair Road
Kingsville, MD 21087

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

When Dog Rescue Become Too Much

My name is Kimberly and I’m the Fur Mom to two cats and three dogs and I also own Keep the Tail Wagging, which was inspired by my love of our fur kids.

When I first launched Keep the Tail Wagging, I was gung ho for my idea to address dog rescue from a positive point of view.  And then we adopted a rescue (we were foster failures) and our sweet Riley passed away a week later from canineparvovirus.  It absolutely broke our hearts and pulled me in to the realities of dog rescue and it became too much.

Why I support dog rescue

All of our pets are rescues except our cat Jaffrey, who was sold to me by a woman who had kittens for $30.  I support dog rescue, because our dogs throw a parade at my homecoming.  Because it feels great when one of our dogs crawls across my lap and falls asleep.  Because they are so easy to please and give so much love and don’t expect much in return.

Why dog rescue has become too much

I’ve stopped following many dog rescue groups, because it’s gotten to be too much.  These people have turned me off, because instead of showing happy dogs with their new family and giving updates; they show images of abused animals all day long.

I understand that animal abuse happens, but when all you do is focus on the negative, it leaves little room for us to celebrate the positive and there are amazing, happy endings in millions of households in America alone.

"Blue and Rodrigo"
But there are many rescue groups who have managed to find a balance with sharing the truth about dog rescue, sharing the happy stories and useful tips so that our dogs don’t end up in a bad situation.  It’s all about balance.

Here’s Our Happy Ending

For now, I’m going to focus on our own happy endings which were a big inspiration for Keep theTail Wagging.  Rodrigo and Sydney are littermates.  Their mom was rescued from a dog hoarding in Oregon in 2010 and they were born a couple of months later.  They joined our family in May 2010.

Riley was a stray that was picked up and turned in to a shelter.  Sadly, she had already contracted canine parvovirus and was only with us for a week, but she knew the love of a family during that week.

Blue is our newest addition.  He was also a stray and the shelter contacted Motley Zoo and they took care of the rest, including vaccinations, neutering, and dew claw removal.  When he joined our family, he was a little shy, not sure if he’d be staying.  By the end of week 2, we realized that he definitely is a puppy.

All of our dogs are loved, trained, and well cared for and these are the stories I now focus on and I write for other dog lovers who have similar happy stories running around their house.  Comejoin us.

Guest post by Kimberly Gauthier of Keep the Tail Wagging.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adopting Ricochet

Adopting Ricochet

Ricochet is my 11 year old Jack Russell I adopted when he was about 9 months old. I knew he was reactive as soon as I got him out of the kennel to get to know him a little better. He turned into the Tasmanian Devil as soon as he saw the dog across the way.  I lived with reactive dogs before, had learned a lot since then and was up for the challenge. I filled out the adoption forms and our adventure began when Ricochet came home 2 days later.

"Ric Recharging"
Fortunately, Ricochet had no problems with my other 2 dogs( they on the other hand thought I had totally lost my mind bringing home him into their house). He settled in fine while I began planning how we were going to work on his reactivity. It involved a lot of treats, keeping him at a comfortable distance from other dogs and teaching him to have real good attention to me.

Lucky for me I was active in a dog training club so we were able to be around great dogs with owners who understood and worked with us. We also would travel to PetSmart to so we could work in a more public place.

We mostly spent the first year working on his reactivity. Once I felt more comfortable having him around other dogs, I began taking him to different dog training workshops and seminars  where it seemed like something would happen to test our reactivity training. The biggest test was at one seminar where the speaker had us set up in relay teams. As we walked across the room, Ricochet noticed the dog next to us and gave a little growl. He had never seen a Shar Pei before. I quickly got his attention and we got to the end of the room and waited for our team mates to arrive and line up behind us. As the last members arrived and we were standing in the front of the line all kind of packed together, a toy flew through the air and landed right next to Ric. Ricochet LOVES toys. He thinks every toy is his. He also had gotten a little worked up seeing the Shar Pei. So when I saw the dog coming to get his toy I began to stress and curse the owner who thought it was a good idea to reward their dog by throwing a dog toy in a crowd.  I knew Ric would react. It was a bad setup and I had no place to go.

The dog approached. And Ricochet didn’t react. He watched the dog come over, pick up his toy and leave. Ricochet just watched. I was ecstatic!

All the time we spent. All the work we did. It was all worth it. Ricochet will never be one of those dogs who can go somewhere and be instant buddies with other dogs. I will always watch for potential problems because I can’t always count on other people to understand, but we are able to have fun doing the things we like to do.

Dawn Miklich shares her home with a variety of furred and feathered friends. She blogs about pets at afFURmation and NEPA Pets.

Monday, October 22, 2012

3 Tips on Introducing a New Dog from @TheFurMom

When I was looking at the stats on US households with dogs, I wasn’t surprised to see that there are tens of millions of homes with not just one dog, but multiple. I can only imagine that this is repeated in countries around the world, because once you experience the love and loyalty of an animal companion, it becomes a need.

Currently we have three dogs and they getting along great. Two are littermates that came home at the same time and have spent no more than 8 hours apart. They’ll be 3 years old in March. Our newest family member is Blue, a spunky, 8 month old puppy who baffles the household with his energy, intelligence, and hilarious personality.

We were lucky, because our dogs adapted to our new puppy quickly and I’d love to share what we did to make it a somewhat seamless transition.

We socialized our dogs…

Some people believe that if you have two dogs, you no longer need to socialize them, because they have each other. Try introducing a third dog into that tight bond. We made a point of taking our dogs to the dog park regularly. If a dog park isn’t available for you, don’t fret, here are two great options…

1. You can arrange play dates with fellow dog lovers. You can connect with people when you see them on walks, at the pet store, and on sites like, which has plenty of dog lover grounds (some are breed or size specific).

2. Take your dog on a walk in well-populated areas. A friend walked her dog daily to a local park and then they would sit and watch other dogs and people walk by. This helped her dog get used to new people, dogs, smells, and sounds.

Socializing your dog will make the introduction of a new dog a lot easier.

We developed a hierarchy…

In our family, we have a hierarchy. What we found is that the dogs respected us more when they understood their role and position in the family. My boyfriend is the leader, I’m second in command (although I’m campaigning for that leader spot), then there’s Rodrigo and then Sydney.

Having a clear chain of command helps everyone get along. When it isn’t clear who the leader is, then we experienced more aggression in Rodrigo as he stepped up to be our Alpha.

When we introduced our new puppy to the family, he was low man on the totem pole and the dogs let him know by correcting him under our supervision. We wanted to make sure that he didn’t get hurt, but we were told by our trainer that the corrections our dogs did were natural.

"Blue and Rodrigo"
Love everyone equally…
It’s so easy to gravitate more to a new puppy, but we didn’t want to create aggression between the dogs, so we love the dogs together and separately. It’s important not to let the cute puppy hog all of the attention, pushing through the other dogs to get to their humans. This is a great time to teach “off,” “sit,” and “stay,” which are difficult for a puppy when they’re over excited, but when they get it, everyone is happy.

These three steps may not work for everyone, but they worked for our family. Our dogs don’t have food or toy aggression. They share everything beautifully, enjoying each other’s company, and their family. What we love is that we were able to rescue three gorgeous dogs and give them a wonderful life. It’s the least we can do considering what they give to us.

About the Author: Kimberly Gauthier is @TheFurMom to three Cattledog Mix rescues and two very tolerant cats and writes Keep the Tail Wagging from her rural oasis in Marysville, WA that she shares with her very own Captain America. On Kimberly’s blog, she shares tips on dog training, dog behavior, dog health, dog nutrition, dog safety, and new pet products.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quips, Quotes, Thoughts and Other Notable Sayings

"A Happy Dog"

But as it is written,
Eye hath not seen, 
nor ear hath heard, 
neither have 
entered into 
the heart of man, 
the things which God hath prepared
for those for love Him.
-1 Corinthians 2:9

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Featured Rescue: Ambassador Pit Bull Rescue

My featured Rescue this week is Ambassador Pit Bull Rescue.  Got to meet them a few weeks ago and they a really cool group of people.

Ambassador Pit Bull Rescue,, is a local breed specific rescue/placement organization dedicated to the rescue and responsible rehoming of neglected, surrendered or otherwise homeless Pit Bull type dogs in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area (Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia). Our volunteers are seasoned rescuers who have been rescuing and placing Pit Bull type dogs for many years.

Our mission is to restore the positive image of the once “nanny dog”, back to its original glory. We have all fallen head over heels, madly in love, with Pit Bull type dogs. Through education and outreach, we hope to inform people about their true nature and restore the breed to its former position of esteem in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Through our network of dedicated volunteers, it is our goal to place every one of our ambassadors with an educated, responsible owner. Until their forever home is found, all of the dogs in our program reside in qualified foster homes where they receive medical care, training and love.

We are always in need of good foster homes. Our ability to pull dogs from shelters is directly proportionate to the number of foster homes available to us.
If you would like to find out more about fostering, donating financially or items in need, volunteering, or especially adopting, visit our website at

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday's Friends

My week has once again, just flown by.  Of course, that's a great thing because it means more time with my humans this weekend.  I might even get to see my human's best buddy too, which is always fun.

My friend, "Cat Lady" from PetConnect Rescue brought her friend over to meet me this week.  She is great with the cats and I appreciate her bringing Greyson by for us to meet.


Meet Greysen, a handsome and playful boy full of wonderful kitten energy! His favorite activity is chasing his best friend, Aggie, up and down the stairs. He's a dedicated companion who will always greet you at the door when you come home. Adaptable and sweet, Greysen is healthy and up-to-date with his vetting. He tests negative for leukemia and FIV. If you would like to meet Greysen, please complete the online application and we will contact you,  PetConnect Rescue Online Application.

Next I met this young lady from Operation Pets for Homes who introduced me to Chestnut.

Meet Chestnut, she's a 9 month old pit mix puppy who was given to shelter after family only had her for one day!!

She is a sweet girl, playful and is good with other dogs. Chestnut is quite smart, and eager to please, but sometimes her smarts and her energy can get her into mischief, so she would be the perfect match for an active family that can keep her mind engaged! Her under-bite is irresistible, and her smile is EVEN MORE SO! She is spayed and up to date on shots, and ready to be your girl!

Check out Chestnut's Video.  If you are interested in adopting Chestnut or would like more information, go to: Operation Paws For Homes, Adoption Guide.

"Chessie Running!"
Thank you to PetConnect Rescue, Operation Paws for Homes and MGP Photography for introducing me to this week's Friends!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dog Adoption, Cat Adoption Event Calendar

Here is my list of dog and cat adoption events for this coming Saturday.  And, yes, before you get your hairs ruffled and tails in a knot, I've included a cat event.  I can't help myself- no, I don't have issues and need to see a dogachyatrist, I'm just trying to help my friend "CatLady" who is always kind to me!! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012 11:00 AM - 02:00 PM

Cat Adoption Event at Rockville BARK!
1643 Rockville Pike (Congressional Plaza)
Rockville, MD 20852

Saturday, October 20, 2012 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
18125 Comus Road, Dickerson, MD

To be pre-approved, fill out our adoption application and be ready to take home your new dog right from the event! $10 gate donation includes 3 wine tastings; children are free

Saturday, October 20, 2012 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
1150 Carlisle Street, Hanover, PA 17331
P: (717) 630-0555 

To be pre-approved, fill out our adoption application and be ready to take home your new dog right from the event!

Ambassador Pit Bull Rescue

Saturday, October 20, 2012, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 p.m. 
Unleashed by PETCO 
7395 Lee Highway
Falls Church, VA 22042 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Adopt a Shelter Dog

I never adopted a dog from a shelter before, but I've supported shelters and
rescues for about a decade or more, and have even volunteered for a few.

This year was special, for we adopted TWO shelter (rescue) pups! They are
brothers from the same litter, but we didn't get them at the same time.

About a year ago, we lost our beloved Hector, a hound-dog extraordinaire. He had a brain tumor and died very suddenly on the evening of Hurricane Irene, we think he had an aneurysm (and his death didn't have anything to do directly with the hurricane). We spent six days without electricity, mourning his death. It was awful. We have still not gotten over this huge loss.

It never would have occurred to me that we would adopt a puppy (a puppy!) so soon, but in January, 2012, I saw a cute little puppy posted on Facebook on
the page of a rescue called Great Dog Rescue of New England. This wonderful
organization brings dogs up to New England from southern states where "high-kill" shelters are prevalent. This particular puppy, Charlie Brown, was the last remaining puppy in a litter of eight who were found in an abandoned house in Tennessee with their mama, brought to a high-kill shelter, and rescued by Great Dog Rescue of New England.. The others, and their mother, had been adopted out, but Charlie Brown remained. The picture was so cute, we knew we just had to check him out. But alas, we were too late... the rescue required that we fill out an application and by the time we got around to it they told us "someone is ahead of you." We asked about any of the other pups from the same litter, and we were told they were all spoken for. I asked the adoption coordinator to contact me if anything changed.

Ten days went by, and, having heard nothing, I decided to send the adoption
coordinator a quick email just asking if Charlie Brown had gone to his forever home. She wrote back all excited saying her computer had been broken for several days and her first task on her list when the computer came back was to contact me to tell me the adoption had fallen through, Charlie Brown was ours if we still wanted him! I drove from our home in central Massachusetts to the New Hampshire border and picked up Charlie on January 30th.

The next few months were daunting. I had forgotten what it was like to have a young puppy. Hobie, our 12-year-old "best dog in the world" was a good uncle and baby sitter, though! And having the puppy around brought him out of his depression over losing his best friend, Hector.

Remarkably, six months went by, and I received an email from the woman who had fostered the pups when they came from Tennessee. She sent this email to all of the other adopters, announcing that one of the puppies was being returned to
rescue, and did anyone want a brother for their other pup? At first I replied saying I am interested but "I would be crazy". But the more the story went on, the deeper I got embroiled in it, until the obvious choice was for us to adopt Charlie Brown's brother, Cooper, the so-called runt of the litter.

Cooper's original adopters weren't able to care for him financially, after he had
sustained a terrible injury to his right front leg (we do not know how this happened, but were told it was an accident). The injury was left untreated for too long, and had become inoperable -- the only option? amputation of the leg. Cooper went back to live with the foster mom until he recovered from surgery, and we adopted him on August 23rd, almost exactly a year after Hector died.

We should all take lessons from this remarkable creature, because he has not
let having only three legs slow him down whatsoever. As I write this, he and Charlie are racing around the house playing with toys, jumping on furniture (oops!) and causing a ruckus as only two 10-month-old, male puppies can do!

I feel that we adopted two "less adoptable" shelter pets. Charlie Brown was
evidently seen to be too feisty by all of the other families who looked at the puppies.

Despite his dashing good looks, he was overlooked by everyone and became the
last remaining puppy of the litter. He was looked upon as "the pack leader" and whilehe has a very strong personality he is very well-behaved and goes to dog events with me, meeting hundreds of other dogs, with no problems at all. Cooper was "less adoptable" for obvious reasons: he had medical issues and only has three legs. It takes a certain thick skin to repeat, again and again, the story of why he only has three legs. People don't understand that he's perfectly fine. They feel sorry. They shouldn't. He needs special help occasionally on stairways and while riding in the car. He and the arthritic Hobie are a perfect match, but Cooper also gives Charlie Brown a run for his money, and can often run after the ball faster than Charlie. Cooper can go up a flight of stairs faster than anyone else. So, "less adoptable"? It depends on who you're asking. I wouldn't change this experience for anything in the world.

That's my experience with adopting a shelter dog (or two). Adopt a shelter dog
during Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, or any other time. You will not be disappointed!

About the Author: K.S. Mueller is a travel executive living in Massachusetts who writes essays about dogs, cats and other topics in her spare time. Check out her web sites:;; and Follow K.S.Mueller on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When the "What If Happens"

When the “What If Happens”

Some may know others do not, several months ago my Dad pasted away. Leaving his rescued Golden Retriever to my Mother. Both of my parents are elderly. The concern, “What would happen to the sweet lovable tennis playing golden retriever?”, should Mother past before the Golden Retriever.

Some states have Pet Trust, yes actual probate laws to help pets. A piggy bank to tend to the life of the animal; food, shelter and health care and the best part who the person or persons be to tend to the life of the animals.

Currently there are 46 states that have Pet Trust Statues. First find an Attorney who specializes in trusts and estates. More importantly ask the attorney if their practice includes estate planning for clients includes the preparation of wills and trusts, including trusts for animals. The Attorney will understand the importance of estate planning to provide for the continuing care of companion animals.

Now I am not an Attorney, so please take this information as a thoughtful suggestions for your family and pets. I am a pet(s) owner who does care deeply for the “What If Factor”. Between the horse, cats and dog, let alone the goats, geese and chickens my goal is for each to live their life to the fullest. There is money for the animals and a very good contact person with lots of resources to relocate the animals if the beneficiary in unable to tend to the care of these animals.

So here is a great website that has a FAQ. I do not know this attorney, so I am not selling his service. I am providing a basic website to help you, the reader, channel your thoughts to best suite your situation in your state.

And if your not sure if your state has pet trust statues, here is a link to Animal Legal & Historical Center A Michigan State University College of Law School site

May we all grow old together.

If you liked this article please visit Martha Steward's Darby's Story and More blog.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Celebrating Veterinary Technicians!!

First, I want to say thank you to all the Veterinary Technicians who have helped me when my human brings me to your office (my human said to say "thank you" too.) Even though I don't like the needles and pokes and prods and nudges, I know you are just doing your best to help me out.  So, thank you to Veterinary Technicians everywhere!

Today, I am hosting an article from Pamela Haffner, a Veterinary Technician. 

The decision to become a veterinary technician came from the ever present need I have always had to care for animals. I learned, throughout my childhood, about the right way to care for various kinds of animals; from rabbits, rats and birds to cats, dogs and horses. This is when I also learned that having a pet is a long-term commitment that is well worth the love that is received in return.  I always knew that I would work with animals, so when I heard about a veterinary technology program that I could complete in only two years, I was excited to give it a try.

As I attended college, I found my first job as a kennel attendant at a small animal hospital in Dallas, TX.  During the two years that followed, I completed the veterinary technology program, obtained an associates degree in applied science and passed the state and national finals that are required to be a registered veterinary technician. Even though it was challenging at times, to attend school and work full time at a veterinary facility, I do believe that it worked to my advantage. I was able to apply the vast amount of information that I was learning in school, to real situations. 

What I absolutely love about being a veterinary technician is being able to work with animals and people who love animals. I also love the diversity of the work; every day brings something new. There are few positions within the medical field that require you to be a radiologist, anesthesiologist, lab technician, dental hygienist, and nurse all within one day. Within the field of veterinary medicine, there are a lot of different options to choose from; private practice, emergency medicine, referral clinic, specialist, shelter, zoo or research, just to name a few. I gained my experience while working at several large and small private practices, an emergency and referral hospital, several different shelters and a mobile clinic. I would have to say that working at the emergency and referral hospital was the most exciting and challenging job I have ever had and, that the large animal private practice allowed me to work with animals that you don’t encounter every day; such as zebras and camels.

Veterinary technology, like any job, has its ups and downs. The up-side is being able to work closely with animals of all kinds and that every day brings something new. The down side of being a veterinary technologist is having to deal with patients passing away. With experience, we learn how to put our emotions aside, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care or that it doesn’t hurt when a patient passes away.

After 15 years of working as a registered veterinary technician, I felt the need to do more. With the economy the way it is, I have seen an increase in the number of pet owners who can not afford to provide their pets with veterinary care. With the emergence of social networking, I decided to create an animal specific social-support network for the pet-caring community; a new outreach for pet loving people trying to take the best care of their pets as possible; Pets-Life. Pets-life promotes and supports animal health and care products, services and professionals while at the same time provides a support network for responsible owners and their pets.

I have enjoyed many years as a registered veterinary technician and with the creation of Pets-life, I feel that I am doing my part to help local pet-related businesses survive during times of economic difficulty. I want to thank my fellow veterinary technicians for the work they do!

About the Author:  Pamela Haffner, RVT graduated from an accredited veterinary technology program in 1997. She has enjoyed working as a registered veterinary technician in various animal health care settings in Texas, Colorado and currently in Missouri. After creating and developing in 2010 to support and promote pet-related products, services and professionals, Pamela has been focused on helping pet-related businesses succeed in today's economy by maintaining customer loyalty and by attracting new clients. Her current position at Pets-life is as managing director.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Featured Rescue: Operation Paws for Homes

Our Story
Operation Paws for Homes, Inc. rescues dogs of all breeds and ages from high-kill shelters reducing the numbers being euthanize daily. We provide foster homes where they can get the love and attention needed before finding their forever homes. Our organization provides pet adoption services in Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, and parts of Southern Pennsylvania. Operation Paws for Homes, a 501(c)(3) organization, is 100% donor funded and could not save these dogs and fulfill their dreams of being united with their forever families, without the dedication of our incredible adopters, fosters, donors and volunteers. Sadly, without our help, all of these adoptable animals would face almost certain euthanasia - usually within days or hours of arriving at the shelter. Each year we take in hundreds of wonderful animals who were left at shelters by no fault of their own.

If you love dogs and cats but are unable to adopt, you can support Operation Paws for Homes by volunteering and/or through your donations at Operation Paws for Homes.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday's Friends

Happy Friday!  WOW!!  I'm loving Friday's because I get to meet these great dogs and cats friends and introduce them to you.  I don't like the fact that they are looking for "Forever Homes" but who knows, one of these might be the perfect companion for you.  I know I am the most perfect dog for my human without a doubt!!

This week, I've had the pleasure of visiting several places.  The first one is Operation Paws For Homes.  They have a dog in Manassas.  Meet Elliot. 

"Elliot and a Cat"
Elliot is an 8 month old pit bull mix, the shelter calls him a "Enthusiastic Goofball." (Sounds abit like the way I was when I was young!) Great with  people, kids, cats and other dogs. Would make the perfect family pet. He's about 50 pounds, and fostered in Manassas, VA.

If you'd like to meet Elliot or more information on Adoption, Operation Paws for Homes Adoption Guide.

My next visit was really fun, she is such a beautiful babe, er, sorry, girl, that I'm thinking she'll find a "Forever Home" pretty quick.  

Meet Sasha from the Ambassador Pit Bull Rescue...... (see what I mean?)

Sasha came to Ambassador Pit Bull Rescue from Fairfax County Animal Shelter where she was a staff favorite. She is a friendly and affectionate dog, about 7 years young! 

Sasha loves to go for walks, is quite smart, knows a number of commands and enjoys playing with toys, especially tennis balls. She also LOVES car rides! Inside the home, Sasha is quiet and low energy. She is completely housebroken and can be trusted with having the run of the house when you are gone.

Sasha had not had much exposure to other dogs in her past life and used to be unsure of how to interact with them. Afters spending a week at Canine College she now has the the tools she needs to have positive interactions. She'd still rather be an only dog, though, so she doesn't have to share you.

Sasha is friendly when meeting new people on her walks and when they come into her home. She prefers to sleep in bed with you at night and she does not snore!

If you're looking for a mild mannered, faithful companion who would be happy to accompany you anywhere and everywhere Sasha is your girl!  If you would like more information on adoption, adoption Information and application.

My next visit was with my friends at PetConnect Rescue.  Meet Kane- 

 Kane is a loving, affectionate Lab/Plott Hound mix who was pulled from a kill shelter just a day before he was to be put down. (HEY!!! He's just like me- Lab & Plott Hound!!

Kane is really cool, sweet 1 yr old, 55 lb. boy is so grateful for any attention he gets! He will just gaze up into your eyes as you pet him and he obviously desperately wants a person to bond with. Kane actually cried when his transporters from the shelter left him, even though he had only known them for an hour. Kane is young and will need plenty of exercise, loves playing with a tennis ball, but knows how to calm down, so he's a combination of the best of both worlds. 

Kane is neutered, heartworm negative, up-to-date on vaccines and microchipped. If you would like to know more about Kane, please complete an online application and then email Mike at PetConnect Rescue or PetConnect Rescue Dog Adoption Application.

 I would like to thank Operation Paws for Homes, Ambassador Pit Bull Rescue, Dirty Paw Photography and PetConnect Rescue for supplying the information and images for today's "Friday's Friends." 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dog Adoption In Virginia and Maryland

Here is a list of a few events where you can check out a few dogs and possibly adopt:

Saturday, October 13, 2012, 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Dog Adoption Event at Frederick PetSmart
5401 Urbana Pike 
Frederick, MD 21704

Saturday, October 13, 2012, 3:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Bark for Life Reston/Herndon
Lake Anne Plaza
Reston, VA 20190

Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Healthy Pet Healthy You
2500 Elmerton Ave
Harrisburg, PA 17177

Saturday, October 13, 2012, 1:00 am to 2:00 pm
3000 K Street, N.W.
Plaza Level
Washington, DC

To be pre-approved, fill out our adoption application and be ready to take home your new dog right from the event! 

Be sure to check the websites for any last minute updates!!  Hope you find the perfect puppy dog this weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sharing a Story of Dog and Human Love

During this month of "Adopt A Shelter Dog," I want to share an article that my human found online and shared with me.  If you are on Facebook any at all, and possibly some of the other social medias, you have probably seen this pic many times, but this is the first that I have read this story.  I can't resist sharing with you.

Get your tissues and hankies ready.  The article comes from an news source out of the United Kingdom, 'His tail is wagging again!' Owner of arthritic dog Schoep who touched the world shares intimate pictures of his recovery.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pick Me, Pick Me: Just Another Rescue Tail

If you've ever succumbed to the siren song that comes, seemingly from out of nowhere, grabbing your heart to pound its message ceaselessly into your brain, like the relentless slap of waves hitting the firm surface of the beach, whispering, "Pick me, pick me..." you'll know exactly what I experienced when I found myself online, scanning photo after photo of available, adoptable dogs.

No doubt about it, I was in deep trouble.

We have two elder dogs: Jasper, our 9 year old, male Great Dane and Josephine, our 15 year old, female whippet. At this stage in their lives, they don’t require a lot of up-keep. Nor do they demand the almost constant attention that a young dog requires.

What was I thinking, sitting in the dark, in my study, intently focused on descriptions of temperament and size? I'd already figured out that this third dog would be female, that she’d weigh 20 pounds … or less. It's always good to narrow your search parameters, right?

I was still in deep trouble.

All during my clandestine internet search, I kept my findings to myself, deliberately keeping my husband in the dark. Not that he'd be opposed to a third dog. In years past, we'd had a pack of three dogs. (Several  times.) He'd be a pushover for getting another one, if that dog was a good match with Jasper and Josephine and as long as it tipped the scales at 35 pounds. Or more.

You see, when you live with giant breeds, you tend to look down your nose at tiny dogs. It's not that you dislike these diminutive guys, it's just that you can't imagine yourself living with one. Small dogs are for other people, not you. No one was more surprised than me when I found myself actively searching the web sites of local adoption groups for that one, special (tiny) dog that was speaking to me.
So much trouble.

I'd had some time to think about this. Over the years, I'd watched the daily parade of dog owners in my neighborhood as they walked their miniature Dachshunds, Yorkshire Terriers, the occasional Jack Russell or miniature Schnauzer. It was a slow falling in love process. I didn't even realize how far gone I was until I logged onto the internet one night, almost three years ago, and started reaching out to several rescue organizations.

I knew that my family's history of living with dogs was perfect; that any dog organization would fall all over themselves to adopt one of their dogs to us. I knew this for two reasons. I'd been on the other side of dog rescue for seven years when I was the volunteer Director for an ex-racing greyhound adoption organization. I'd done more than my share of screening prospective adopters, evaluating dogs, doing all that was humanly possible to make that perfect match between dog and family.

Like the volunteers I was now reaching out to, I'd lived the best and the worst of dog rescue. When everything works, it makes your heart sing. When it falls apart, it can break the strongest of us into pieces.

We had an impeccable pet owner history. All of our dogs had been well socialized. Some of them had gotten their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluations; our yard was fenced, our cats were inside cats, and our vet loved us. If I was still running a rescue group, I would have given us any dog we wanted and never looked back!

As much as that whispering voice kept crooning, "Pick me, pick me, pick me....," I knew it was important to take my time; to put my feelers out there to see what might come up. How much trouble could I get into if I was just looking?

Suddenly, there she was in an email attachment forwarded to me by the woman who coordinates placing dogs for a local animal rescue group. She was coal black, so thin her ribs stuck out, leggy with a finely chiseled head topped by enormous bat ears. She had this saucy, baleful expression on her face despite the physical evidence of what must have been a hard-luck street life.

She weighed all of 18 pounds.

She'd been picked up by animal control in a town in Indiana. Not understanding how to evaluate small dogs, the shelter staff had decided she was too aggressive to be adopted out and had put her on their kill list. One of the outreach volunteers for the adoption group I was working with, walked by the kennel run she was in, looked more closely and decided to pull her on the spot.

While I sat in my office, late one night, looking at her photograph, she was on a transport on her way to New York. The email I read ended with this line: "Did I want to see her?"
That was three years ago.

Today, my Tessa hits the scales at a whopping 20 pounds. She is a fierce defender of my family and our home. We've spent a lot of time learning yard manners. I want her to know that it's okay to be protective but, it's not okay to rush the fence while barking non-stop at my neighbors as they walk by with their dogs.

It’s taken her almost three years to come to my husband for affection. When she arrived, she made it clear that she was scared of deep-voiced, burly men. With a lot of consistent behavior on my husband's part, she's learning that he's really a big softy.

She's opinionated, feisty, sweet and a warrior hunter in the backyard. Watching her, I see physical evidence of some kind of terrier mixed with sight hound. Like any terrier combination, she is always happy.  It doesn't matter how bad of a day I'm having, Tessa's having none of that.

Her gift to me is that she shows up, every day despite the fact that some things are still scary for her. She's learning to overcome and she's teaching me to do the same.  Together, we are an invincible pair. You might even say that "trouble' is our middle name!

About the Author: Kathy H Porter lives with her human, canine and feline family in a picturesque village in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  She’s a freelance copy editor, avid reader, soon-to-be-author and dog lover. She blogs at, Healing Rescue Dogs, where she writes story-driven content about how dogs can change your life if you open your heart and listen.