Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Show Me the Puppy!

"Looking for a Puppy to adopt"

Yup, that is the most common line I hear when it comes to families looking to add a new addition to their home. Puppies sure are cute, there is no denying that at all; but the reasons why people often look to babies when bringing a dog into their home may stem from misconceptions about shelter dogs, and also misinformation that is often still spread by the animal rescue community itself.

One huge misconception is that all shelter/rescue dogs are behavioral nightmares.
While it is true that many dogs entering into shelters do need to have certain training issues addressed, most of those training issues originated from pet owners unable or unwilling to provide appropriate training for their dog as a, *You Guessed It* puppy.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The 4 stages of Animal Rescue

When you see as many rescues come and go as I have, you start recognizing certain things. Allow me to explain what I believe are the Four Stages of Rescue.

Stage One 

Or,  the "I Must Save Them All" stage
At this stage, things are so new. Emotions are intense, feelings are raw and most rescues take that feeling of helplessness to the cruelty of the world and use it to make the decision to Open Their Very Own Rescue. How Exciting! This is the stage that normally comes after someone has already had just enough exposure to the animal world to see the real horror that happens, but not enough experience with various situations to be able to make decisions that are not ruled entirely by their emotions. They may even have the warped idea that having a non-profit will have people literally throwing money in their direction, because after all, they intend to save them all, no matter how impossible that actually is. This stage varies, and normally lasts between 6 months and a year.

Stage Two
or, the "Honeymoon" Stage

Maybe at this point, they have been relatively successful obtaining donations. They have supporters, active social media pages and a website. They have most likely made mistakes by this point, and depending on how severe those mistakes were, they have probably learned from and grown because of them. Rescue is not as wonderful and exciting by this point, and reality is slowly setting in, however, they are still new and the newness of their mission is still helping them to ride that "Honeymoon" stage in their community and in the animal Rescue Community as well. Hopefully by now, they are no longer making decisions based on emotion and have started to do real research about animals, behavior and community programs. There are two phases of this stage. The tail end normally creates a sense of capability and confidence, leading many to feel like rescue experts. This may in turn cause "SuperHero Syndrome"
Super Hero Syndrome is not all bad, because it does lead a rescue to try and better themselves, learn more, do more, and start up new programs that directly affect the community. This can give a community a great source for information, however, it also has a downside. It can lead many rescues to believe that no one can do the job better, that they somehow have the market cornered on responsible ownership and many may feel as if they need to carry the world on their shoulders because no one else can be trusted with the job. While a sense of responsibility is wonderful, it can exclude others who have the ability to help, create an us versus them situation, and give a community the idea that rescues are somehow superhuman, and that average people are not just as capable. This stage can vary the most, sometimes lasting between 6 months to several years.

Stage Three
or, the "What The F*ck" Stage

By this stage, the rescue has been there, done that. They have built lasting friendships with other rescues, they are often called the "Old Timers" of rescue. They are not bleeding hearts, they have dealt with situations that would make most new rescues run screaming, and they have established programs and resources. Because they are not New and Fresh, they can often be overlooked by supporters, and they often have their vast amounts of experience and knowledge dismissed by newer rescues and animal advocates. They know Dog Behavior, They know the Training Methods, They know about Disease and Medical Conditions, They know about Multi Dog Management and if they are Breed Specific Rescues, You can be certain that They. Know. Those. Breeds. Probably better than you do, and yes, better than new rescues. They feel undervalued and unrespected. This series of Photos is the only way I truly know how to describe this stage of Rescue. 

Yes, this stage is jam packed full of WTF as we try to make sense
of not just the animal rescue community but, where all the crazy is coming from, how people could possibly believe all the misinformation, how they could support such stupidity and how in the hell some of this information is believable. At this Stage, Animal Rescues Simply CANNOT with rescue politics and drama. They just CAN'T with everyone right now. Directly leading to Stage Four.

Stage Four
or, the "I simply CANNOT with you" Stage

At this stage, rescues are more than happy to allow newer rescues to take on all the difficult situations.  I like to think of it as the "Oh, You Think You can do Better??!! Be my guest. Do Better. Please." stage. By now, rescues are practically experts in their field and simply cannot with rescue politics. Not only will they happily allow all the new rescues to take on these situations, they will most likely be laughing on the sidelines and shrug in that "I told you so manner" 
The good rescues they will take under their wing, and nurture like their own children, because at this point, they have a wealth of information that anyone should be lucky to gain, they want to mentor, they want to help usher forth the next generation of GOOD rescues because in all honesty, they are ready to get out of the game.
Yes, it is also the "Why You NO Take My Dogs!?" stage.
No really, please, adopt all these animals!
This also leads to "You think you can do better? Here! Take my dogs. No, Really, Take them! Seriously, no adoption fee, just here!" 
"Why are you Running Away!!!????"
"I thought you wanted to Save Them All!?"
"Come back and Take my dogs!!"

Stage Four Rescues have mastered the ability to say NO

No to shelters
No to other rescues
No to owner surrenders and
No to all caps postings about urgent dogs in every state
If they take in an animal, don't fool yourself into thinking they will take in another one next time you ask. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Cherry Pickers

Believe it or not, all groups, on some level, cherry pick their dogs. 
For the most part,.. this is normal.  No really, it is!

The Good:

  • Choosing dogs you can actually take care of.

        If you don't know how to train a dog above Sit and Down, well, you probably should not take on that super fearful dog cowering in the corner. Why? Well fearful/shy dogs can sometimes exhibit pretty drastic behavior challenges including. but not limited too,. fear biting, human directed aggression, separation anxiety, destructiveness and possibly even dog directed reactivity. Hey, love cures lots of things, and maybe this dog just needs to be shown some of that,.. but the good cherry pickers will make sure they are capable of handling the possible behavior problems before they take in the dog.  That's right, the rescue is not being cold or heartless,.. they are being responsible. They do care about the dog, but lots happens once a dog is "safe" and they want to make sure they have the ability to give the dog what it needs far past the desperate plea on facebook with ALL CAPITOLS is long forgotten.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I Have a Dream,... ...

I would like nothing more than to see every Animal Rescue Group in my area provide reduced cost or free Spay and Neuter assistance to the community.

Offering this type of program can often be spendy and require substantial and consistent donations. If there is a program like this in your community, you can provide the help to directly reduce shelter populations. That is pretty awesome,.. you have the power to reduce the number of unwanted animals in your community.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bait Dog or Not?

Used as a Bait Dog!!

We hear it all the time, and most likely so have you. It seems anymore, that every dog that comes in with injuries, especially a bully breed dog, is automatically assumed to have been used as Bait.

You might be thinking "What is wrong with that?"
Well we are here to shed a little light on the topic, and hopefully reduce the overused label of "Bait Dog" in the rescue/shelter/advocate/general, community.

So what is a Bait dog anyway?
Well, it is said that dogs used for bait (and really not just dogs but cats as well) are used to build a fighting dogs confidence. Sometimes these dogs are said to have their teeth filed down or pulled out, others duct taped about the mouth, and some just thrown into the fray,  in the belief that this will make the other dog better able to gain fighting skills.

We are not debating the fact that there are dogs who have survived horrible circumstances in Dog Fighting rings, both as dogs that have been fought for profit as well as those that have been placed in the ring with other dogs and have been encouraged to fight.

What we are debating is the percentage of situations where this is actually the case,vs the percentage of situations where it is assumed to be the case.

When a dog comes into our rescue, their history is often unknown. We don't know exactly who had them, how many places they have been, what kinds of homes they were in, how many other dogs shared the space or if they were ever allowed to wander loose around the neighborhood.

some things to consider when you see a dog with injuries -
  • Breaking out of a kennel or crate - this can often cause injuries to the face and legs. Depending on how exactly the dog broke free, soft tissue could have become caught on broken wire and ripped as the dog attempted to free itself.  The front of the body might have punctures from the crate wires or scrapes along face, chest, legs and sides. 
  • A Rock Chewer - dogs who chew on rocks and pebbles or other items with a porous surface can result in teeth that are worn and appear to be filed down. Breaking out of fences and crates could also result in injury to teeth and the need to have some teeth pulled. 
  • Fighting or Scrapping in a Multi-Dog household -  let's face it, sometimes dogs get into arguments when they live together, maybe because one put their nose in the others dog bowl, maybe because there was a toy they both wanted, or perhaps something got them all riled up and they redirected onto each other. These injuries would of course be consistent with Dog fighting or baiting but not the result of professional dog fighters. 
  • Stray dog -  Stray dogs can get themselves into all sorts of situations and may scrap with other strays in the area or become caught on a good number of items that can result in ripping of soft tissue.
  • Animal Abuse - people are cruel, and duct taping a dog's mouth shut might be for a number of reasons, a makeshift muzzle, the dog won't stop barking, and so on. 
  • Street fighting - There are many degrees of dog fighting and sometimes, two kids can let their dogs go at each other to prove a point, to earn bragging rights or even to make some quick cash. This can result in damage to the dogs, but neither of the dogs are being used as bait. Loosing dogs may be left behind.
  • Over correction by adult dogs - Many injuries that I see listed as a result of being used as bait, especially in young puppies, could actually be a case of an adult dog over correcting and not using bite inhibition when doing so.  
  • Fence Fighting - neighboring dogs or enclosed and not enclosed dog fighting through a fence or kennel can result in damage to the soft tissue of the face including that tissue being ripped or torn off. 
The point here is, baiting is a term that is overly used to explain a very wide range of possibilities. It is highly unlikely that a dog thrown into the ring with a game bred dog, in a professional dog fighting ring, would survive a fight, especially if their mouth and or legs were duct taped. Can you really believe that a small puppy would make it through an ordeal like that?

Fights happen, and sometimes they are accidental, sometimes they are orchestrated by professional dog fighters, sometimes young adults or kids might grab up a few dogs and try their hand at amateur dog fighting on street corners or in parks, sometimes it is the result of an upset in a multi-dog home, sometimes it is not fight related at all and injuries are obtained in a variety of other ways. The fact of the matter is, we are overusing a VERY emotional and  ugly activity/word in situations where we do not have the facts to prove it.

Yes, there might be some instances where rescues and shelters are using the term to gain support, donations, and publicity for the dogs in their care, but there are also many instances of people who do not know the breed, do not know the circumstances and are just assuming that an injury is an indication that a dog has been used as bait.

The problem with this is that not only are we continuously reintroducing the act of baiting out into the general public, but we are also inadvertently introducing the concept to those young adults and kids who may then be putting it into action, especially in areas and communities where these activities might be the norm. The general public looks to shelters and rescues and other animal professionals to provide them with accurate information, the latest trends in training and animal care, as well as being an example of how to advocate for the breed. We need to make sure that we are advocating responsibly.

Yes, there are cases of dog baiting, and it is horrible and outrageously cruel and it can ruin many lives. Please though, make sure your information is factual, that it is not assumed, before you put it out into the public. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Demona is Available!

We are honestly surprised that there has been no serious inquiries about Demona yet.

6 years old
Mini English Bulldog
Fully Vetted
No cats (They are SO FLUFFY)
No dogs *may make an exception for owners who have knowledge and experience with the breed and the time to do slow introductions*

Demona is just about wonderful and she has learned so much. From knowing no basic commands to learning sit and learning lay down.
We can't wait to find Mona the perfect home <3
Is it with you? 
Visit our website to fill out a screening application!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Don't say Mornings

A Day in the Life of Dog Rescue:

It is a very rare occasion that I get a good nights sleep.
Normally I sleep diagonally, so that I do not disturb Capone, who now weighs 75 pounds. Regardless of how much room he has, he seems to make sure to curl up right next to me, gradually stretching out throughout the night until I am lucky to occupy the upper corner of my Queen size mattress. Of course I can't blame it all on the dogs, stressing how to pay bills, get good grades and run a rescue make sleep pretty impossible. I am actually surprised impressed that I function at all, but it does tend to explain my increasing need for caffeine.

Back to sleeping. So when I actually do sleep, I am ecstatic. *well actually I am asleep, so I guess I am not really anything*
Here is me,.. sleeping. (or at least here is a picture I drew of Z's in various sizes that is meant to represent me sleeping, though it might look as if I am snoring oddly, and as I am single, it does not matter if I do. Either way, that is enough on that subject)
Often times, I wish I was one of those people that could sleep indefinitely, but that is not the case. I am a clock watcher. Sure it is not so bad if I have no where to be, or nothing to do early in the morning, but even without that, I watch the clock. I don't mean to. In fact, not having a clock does not make me stop, because then, I look outside and try to gauge what time it is by how light it is outside. Yes, I really do that. Of course, I can't just have one of those small, none irritating alarm clocks that gently tell you the time. No I have a huge, annoying one that is bright enough to burn the time into my retinas. 

After I close my eyes again (and eventually the sting of my scorched eyeballs fades), I think to myself "I have an hour before I have to be up, I will just go back to sleep" Now when I say, (have to be up) it is more so because the dogs in the house need to potty in the morning, and even though I would love to lounge in bed until I am rested, that would mean having to clean up messes that I honestly don't want to think about 
*Times 4* so, it is really in my best interest to be as punctual as possible. So I settle back in, get comfortable, pull the covers to my chin and head off to sleep. 
But Wait!! I must check the time Again!! Did I oversleep? What time is it? It sure feels as if I have overslept! Look at how light it is outside, it MUST be late! 

Nooooooooooooo!!!! 5 Minutes!!!! Now I am angry, which is a completely irrational feeling unless it is someone else who is waking you up, in which case,  understandable. Since it was me, waking myself, to obsessively check the time, I felt pretty stupid. I might laugh if this happened once in a blue moon, however, I do this more than I care to admit, thus making it pathetic and sad.

What happens normally after this is that I finally drift off to sleep approximately 15 minutes before all the dogs wake up for good and no amount of pretending to be dead will make them settle back down to sleep.Once the first dog stands and shakes his head, they are all up, stretching and yawning. Mia's tail locates the object or door that will produce the loudest sound when struck and proceeds to wag rhythmically until my head is throbbing in time with the deafening noise.

Capone starts to lick my feet (usually because during the night he steals my covers and claims the majority of the mattress, causing my feet to hang off the edge), as if this will cause me to wake up in a good mood. Soon, he will creep towards the pillows, stare at me for a bit and start licking my face.I am not really sure why I drew slobber in such a way, but it represents the film of drool that Capone leaves behind on any surface he licks. Resistance is futile. 

The dogs win, they always win. I shuffle out of bed, grumpy and exhausted. I emphasis the Grumpy. Because it is very important. Now that I am up, I am up all day. All Day! Blah!
As you can tell, everything is doom, gloom and a strange yellow spider that should be a sun, but there is a line through it so either way I want nothing to do with it. And rain, and Blah! and mad faces. Damn it don't forget the mad faces! The only thing good is Coffee! Yes Coffee!!

That is when I let the dogs outside. Mia hops like a bunny in a spring meadow, full of life. Capone acts as if this is the first time he has ever seen the yard! Everyone is happy, excited and delighted to potty in the yard because life is good!

It bothers me that my dogs enjoy waking up so much. I can't fully enjoy hating mornings when I have such happy animals. So this is a day morning in the life of a Dog Rescue. Now get me some coffee.