Tag Archives: dog rescue

Adopt A Senior Pet Month

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month and I can say from experience, it’s one of the best thing I’ve ever done!

Annie was 9 1/2 when we brought her home.  She had been in foster care for over a year, but her case was extreme. Most senior dogs that are up for adoption don’t have the emotional and behavioral needs she had.

When you adopt a senior pet:

1. You are saving a life!

2. Seniors have been around, they’ve seen a lot and they have a lot of love to give.  They are usually calmer and adaptable to new situations.

3. Seniors don’t demand the same level of exercise or entertainment of a younger dog.  They are very happy to curl up by your feet and take a nice long nap.

4. They usually have some training, are house broken and aren’t teething so they aren’t shoe destroyers. Seniors are a lot less work than puppies and you probably won’t need to supervise any middle of the night potty breaks!

5. Don’t believe the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.  It might take a little while, but senior dogs aim to please and are receptive to training.  They will learn the “house rules” in order to earn your love and affection.

6.  There is no mystery about how big they will be, what they will look like and what their grooming needs will be.

7. Even though your time will be shorter with a senior pet, I have found that I appreciate each day that much more. There is no lifespan guarantee with our pets but knowing Annie is a senior has reminded me that every moment with her is precious.  Pets change our lives, they give us so much love and every day is enriched with my sweet, old girl.

I feel so lucky to have Annie in my life, but it’s not always easy.  Seniors need more medical care as they age. (Something all pet owners face at some point.) Twice yearly health checks are recommended so one should be prepared for increased veterinary bills compared to those of a younger and middle-aged pet. Their health can change quickly and must be attended to. Annie just developed an abscess in one of her teeth.  She needs to have it removed which requires anesthesia.  I’m nervous about that but we will have it taken care of and hope all goes well.

If I had to make the decision again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I know our time is limited, but really, our time is limited with all of our pets.  I know that I’ve changed her life.  She’s living her best years now and she showers me with love.  She acts like she appreciates everything we give her and she is so happy, every day.  I also know she’s changed our lives and I treasure every moment.img_4487

Oh happy day!

Annie and I had a big day today.  A day that changes everything!

It was time for her rabies shot so our big date was a trip to the vet.  Annie and I have made many of these trips over the last year and 1/2, but this time was very different.

When Annie was surrendered to rescue, the only document that came with her was her 2014 rabies certificate.  By the time she came home with us a year later, the rabies tag was long gone and the certificate we received was in pretty rough shape but the story it told was clear to me.

It’s a copy of a fax and is crooked and faded. On multiple occasions I’ve had to pull it out of her file when asked to show proof of vaccination.  Each time I pull it out, the anger bubbles up because it is a reminder in black and white of her life before us.

The owner’s name and address belongs to the man that operated the kennel/puppy mill.  It’s easy for me to say that even though I’ve never met him, I hate him.  Her name is listed as Anne, but “Paris” is written next to it. Why does she have two names? I don’t know.  Her age is listed as 7, although she had just had a birthday and was actually 8. Her weight is listed as 00. Record keeping was obviously not a priority with these dogs.  There are other notes that are hard to read, but are the vaccinations that she received after she was rescued. At the top are the words Annie Paris, blaze and orange collar.  The final glaring bit of information is the list of vaccinations done which only includes 2 things, the one she received that day and another rabies shot she received May 23, 2008!

IMG_0915
(Names and addresses have been edited)

These are all broad strokes that paint a picture of neglect.  After 6 years, what compelled him to seek out a vet to administer a 3 year rabies vaccination? Who knows, but what really bothers me concerns the veterinarian.  There is no way he could have examined her and thought that she or any of the other dogs from that kennel were receiving proper care.  The conditions they were forced to live in were unsanitary and disgusting.  Knowing Annie as I do, they would have had to drag her to him, with her trembling and cowering.

So now, here’s the good news.  Annie came to us with a broken spirit on the mend thanks to her rescuers and now she is a completely different dog.  She’s happy and loving, she has a spring in her step and a twinkle in her eye. She regularly approaches me and nudges my hand for a scratch behind the ear. She walks on leash beautifully and loves our neighborhood patrols.  She comes running when she hears the scoop in the dog food or the word “treat”.  She doesn’t hide in her crate anymore but instead sprawls out all over the house, moving around, finding a comfy spot on the cool tile or under my feet or on the rug in the next room. She’s quick to come when I’m having training time with Winn and she will do her two tricks, sit and down, with precision so she can also get treats. She joins me in the kitchen when I’m cooking, confident that she will get a nibble now and then.  At the end of every day, we climb the stairs together, I give her her eye drops and then she collapses on her Big Barker bed and lets out a sigh of contentment.

So this time going to the vet was different. Yes, she trembled as we were waiting, it took a lot of gentle coaxing to get her into the room and she wasn’t overly enthused about the attention she was getting but we both eagerly left with a treasure in my hands.  I now have a proper certificate with both of our names in print.  It is signed by a Dr. who lovingly cares for her and is genuinely invested in her well being. The final reminder of her previous life can go in the trash. We belong to each other, and we have no reason to ever look back again!IMG_3205 (1)

 

 

Adopt or shop, just do it responsibly

It’s happened again, a story about Newfoundlands living in deplorable conditions, used strictly for breeding for profit and finally being surrendered due to the owners declining health. These poor dogs lived outside in extreme heat, never received any veterinary care and didn’t even have names.  They were filthy, matted and in poor health. They are all in fair condition but thankfully are under the care of a Newfoundland rescue group. They have been bathed and groomed, probably for the first time in their lives and will be nurtured back to health before being adopted to loving families.

I understand people wanting to buy a puppy for their family. Maybe there is a specific breed they have an affinity for, they don’t want to bring a dog with “baggage” into their family, or any other reason that makes sense for their family.  I don’t take a strict adopt-don’t-shop stance, just shop responsibly with care and thought. I love the Newfoundland breed. Their size, their looks, their loyalty, their need to work and their gentle, sweet personalities.  I have had two Newfies that have come directly from breeders and two Newfies that have come from rescue groups.  Our very first dog came from a huge Chicago shelter.  He was a scraggly terrier mix who still holds a very special place in our hearts.  I think there is room for these different preferences, but the caveat to that is that no dog should be used for breeding with no care for their well-being.

If you want a pure bred puppy, do your research on breeders and research more than one. The first step is to go to the national website of the breed you have chosen. They will have a list of approved, reputable breeders. A reputable breeder will want to meet you to determine if your family is the right placement for one of their puppies.  They will want to get to know you and form a relationship that can carry on through the life of the dog. They will most likely choose which puppy they will place with your family based on your family dynamic and the puppy’s personality. After you have found a breeder that you like, you will probably have to wait a while for your puppy. You might get turned down, don’t be offended, the breeder just wants the best for their puppies and wants to make the best placement possible. They will always want the dog returned to them if circumstances change and you can no longer care for the dog.  They will make every effort with their breeding to ensure a healthy litter.  They will also provide appropriate vaccinations and health screenings before sending them to their new homes. A reputable breeder has nothing to hide and will want you to come to their property to meet their dogs and puppies.  IF YOU CAN’T MEET THE MAMA , DON’T BUY THE PUPPY! A reputable breeder WILL NOT sell to pet stores or on-line because they will want to know where their puppies are going.

Red flags will include releasing a puppy prior to 8-10 weeks of age (this varies by breed and recommendations stated by the national breed group should be followed), advertising “rare” colors that don’t comply with breed standard and offering to meet you half way so that you don’t see the breeder’s property. Colors that don’t comply with breed standard are mismarks and with ethical breeding shouldn’t happen. Deliberately creating rare colors is careless and is generally done for profit only.  Don’t buy a puppy from a pet store or on-line. Receiving AKC registration papers does not mean that puppy has been carefully and ethically bred. For the NCA rescue region that handled Annie’s group,  1% of Newfoundlands come from reputable breeders and 4% are strays. The remaining majority come from backyard and commercial breeders (these breeders provide pet stores with their puppies).

If there is a breed you love and you want a puppy or dog right now, Petfinder is a good resource.  I found Annie and Charlie on Pefinder by searching for Newfoundlands.  Many, but not all, rescue groups and shelters will post animals that are ready for adoption.  You can also contact the specific breed rescue group in your area.  You will need to fill out an application, have a conversation with the person who is fostering or caring for the dog and will probably have to have a home visit before you are approved. These dogs have already come from a circumstance that wasn’t good for them. The people who have taken them in will want to make every effort to ensure that they are going to a good home, they don’t want them to end up in another inappropriate situation.

Shelters all over the country are overflowing with animals looking for good homes.  Puppies get adopted pretty quickly and might not be available, but there are so many rewards to bringing in a dog that is a little older (2 bonuses of an older dog are easy house training and no chewing). Many shelter dogs are mixed breed and will live very healthy lives because they haven’t been improperly bred by an unethical breeder. Our first dog Bogart lived to be almost 15 and didn’t have any major health issues. They are all looking for love and often times you will find your perfect pet by paying them a visit and looking into their eyes. Many people who have found their beloved pets at a shelter say they knew immediately which one would be the one. Adopting from a shelter is one of the many steps to eliminating the breeding abuse of animals.  If the demand isn’t there, puppy mills and unethical breeders will go out of business!

Pets change our lives and bring so much to our families. They are forgiving and loyal and will love you unconditionally forever.  All they want in return is love and kindness. They are a big responsibility and the decision to get a pet should not be made lightly.  Annie was the most challenging dog I’ve ever dealt with.  She had lived her whole life producing puppies with little to no human interaction.  She had never learned to trust because she had been so neglected and had no reason to believe that she could be cared for in a loving manner. She is now my constant companion and craves as much attention as possible. I can’t imagine my life without her. Shelter, health care, food and water are the obvious needs to be provided but attention, affection, and engagement will guarantee the best friend you’ve ever had, for life.

A few of the dogs from Annie’s rescue group (taken from the Newfoundland Club of America rescue site).

Sugar
Hope
Tatoo
Silvia
Tank
Debra
Autumn
Sugar