Monsieur BaRU

Much time and several wonderful foster dogs have passed through our house since my last entry. Here’s the boy who came to our house next:

Monsieur BaRU

Rex6

 

When I met this fella at the shelter, his name was Rex. I was there to see the vet with my foster Teddy and while Teddy waited his turn, I cruised the aisles of kennels. If I set my sights on the next dog, I figured, Teddy would find his perfect home sooner. (I’d had him close to four months at the time – and it worked! Or I like to pretend it did.)

The first thing I saw as I walked those dimly lit aisles was an incredible, half blue eye. I walked to the kennel door, and Mssr. BaRu tip-toed up to me and gave my fingers a little lick through the chain link. So gentle. So tender. I picked up the kennel card and read that he had been a stray caught in a trap placed by Animal Control. Just then, a staff member turned the corner and told me Mssr. BaRu had a really sweet personality but was heart worm “smear positive” and didn’t have long there. (Translation: He would be euthanized if not adopted soon).

Let me take a moment to tell you that the staff at Companion Animal Alliance is among the most compassionate of all the people I know. In fact, the person charged with making the euthanasia decisions has 10 dogs of her own and told me when she makes the dreaded weekly list she vomits. Literally.

It’s for this reason that I cannot stand it when people demonize those who work at so-called kill shelters. (Read this fabulous blog on the topic by my friend Abby Knight who works at the shelter.)

The people putting these animals in the line of fire are not those who have to “pull the trigger” so to speak, but rather those who breed dogs for pets, those who choose to buy a pet from a breeder rather than adopt from a shelter, and those who do not spay and neuter those pets, who can unintentionally get out and multiply.

If you fall into any of the above categories, I don’t mean to be a jerk by telling you that. I’m telling you in the hope that you’ll just make a different choice next time, now that you know. I have a dear old friend and a dear new friend who just adopted their first dogs from a shelter rather than buying from a breeder after reading about my experiences here. I would love to hear from them – and anyone else who has recently done the same – in the comments.

But back to Mssr. BaRu, whom I was not able to take home while Teddy was still our foster. Fast forward a few weeks, Teddy had been shipped to his new Mama in Boston, and I was at the shelter choosing my next foster. I headed to the aisle of long timers to make my choice. I had put Mssr. BaRu out of my mind, as I often do when there’s a dog there I like who doesn’t have much time and I can’t take him. But there he was!

Rex at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House in Baton Rouge

Rex at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House in Baton Rouge

 

I brought Mssr. BaRu home and he was as calm and wonderful as he was beautiful. When I posted his first picture on Facebook, I said, “Look: I found a Border Collie who’s not nuts!”

This is an inside joke for dog people who know that the Border Collie is a working breed. Highly intelligent, focused and intense, if there’s no work to do, a Border Collie will often make his own work. (My friend Laurie was fostering a Border Collie when her iphone went missing. She had turned the house upside down looking for it when she heard a muffled ringing sound and found the phone in her foster dog’s kennel, tucked beneath the dog bed. There wasn’t a scratch on it. The dog had just had a ball stealing, hiding, and now lying atop the phone).

Not long after, I got a private message from Nancy, a Facebook friend I had never met in real life, but who is also a writer and a friend of my cousin’s. Nancy had lost her Belgian Shepherd to cancer a year earlier, was heartbroken, and yet she was really missing having a dog. She was thinking she and her husband Frank might be ready to love again. Could I tell her more about this blue-eyed boy?

Suffice to say, that Mssr. BaRu was the perfect dog for Nancy and her husband. And while his heartworm status concerned her, she later told me that being unable to save her beloved Belgian was so rough that in a weird way adopting a dog with a disease that was curable felt like it would help her heal.

I am truly at a loss for words over the Nancys I have met in this world since I began fostering shelter dogs.

Nancy, who lives in Pittsburgh, wanted to speak with her husband and think about it for a few days. Meanwhile, I asked my Facebook friends if they would be willing to donate to the shelter’s sick and injured animals fund so I could get Mssr. Baru stated on doxycycline, which helps to weaken existing heart worms. I was so grateful to the people who did that, and leftover funds were used to help other dogs at the shelter. And then a very generous Facebook friend who is a friend of my parents’ messaged me saying she would like to pay for the costly immiticide injections that are part of the fast kill heart worm treatment for Rex. I could not believe what was coming together.

A few weeks later, Nancy bought a plane ticket and flew to Baton Rouge to adopt a dog named Rex who Frank would rename Mssr. BaRu (BaRu short for Baton Rouge). I picked up Nancy at the airport with Mssr. BaRu in the car. He sniffed her then wagged, she smiled then patted him. Their first meeting was gentle and sweet, just like both of them. A perfect match, I thought. Then we went to the shelter so Nancy could fill out the paper work and pay the adoption fee. Then we got a glamour shot of Nancy and her new boy:

 

Nancy and Rex 3

 

Nancy spent the night at our house and the next day she picked up her rental car and she and Mssr. BaRu headed home.

Rex&Nancy2 Rex&Nancy

From a heart worm riddled Louisiana stray caught in a trap by Animal Control, to a cherished pet living heart worm free in Pittsburgh in just a few months.

 

Rex at home in Pittsburgh surveying the wildlife out the window of his mom's study.

Rex at home in Pittsburgh surveying the wildlife out the window of his mom’s study.

 

How do you like that?

 

Rex in Pittsburgh looking beautiful and possibly up to something mischievous.

Rex enjoys a bone in Pittsburgh where he lives the good life.

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Only Connect

“Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer.”

E.M. Forester

 

If you were my student when I was teaching Freshman Comp many years ago, I might have asked you to journal on this. Now I’ll just hurl my interpretation of it at you and then get to a great little rescue story that just happened.

Why are we here? Human love. (And dog love. Cat love. Love, love, love!)

What should we connect? The prose and the passion. (Work and passion! Living and passion! Whatever: Just live in your freaking passion.)

Why shouldn’t we live in fragments? Because our work, our passion and our love may miss the opportunity to be exalted.

So how should we work? Together.

Thanks for indulging me.

Very often, people who work in animal rescue do so because they love animals, but they’re really not crazy about people and sometimes they’re bad at working together. Having good people skills, however, means you will inevitably be able to place more animals in loving homes. First, the public doesn’t want to  deal with cranky animal rescuers who make them feel bad about themselves. Second, when people who work with shelter animals get along well with each other, they are able to network animals into many more wonderful, loving homes than they might otherwise.

Meet my friend, Jodi (she’s the one on the right, I’m on the left):

JodiGolden

Jodi and I are both Crazy Dog Ladies, Yankees in Louisiana and moms with three kids. We do not share hair type. We do not share politics. We have sparred on Facebook in the past about Big Issues. But we also crack each other up and we have a deep appreciation for each other’s good heart.  Jodi and I have each other’s backs —  not  including the time she almost cut off my finger at the shelter while showing me how to groom a matted Shih Tzu while we sparred about the upcoming Presidential election. We both actually think this is really funny, so we share a twisted sense of humor too.

So when Teddy arrived in Boston a couple of weeks ago and his adopter’s sister fell in love with him and said, “I want a dog like Teddy too!” All I had to do was look at Jodi’s Facebook page to see that she was fostering this guy, Rasta, who  had come into the shelter a dreadlocky mess with a terrible cold. The shelter vets fixed him up with meds, the assistant shelter director, Paula Shaw, did a beautiful job on him with the clippers, and he came out like this:

Rasta2

 

I asked Jodi what his temperament was like and she said calm, sweet and snuggly.

Sounded like Teddy.

Looked enough like Teddy too. Am I right?

Rasta3TeddyEnRouge

I messaged Teddy’s mom, Claire, and shared his info with her. She shared it with her sister. We were honest that Rasta is not yet house trained, but that being recently neutered would help. As would a magical contraption called a “belly band.” Like Claire, her sister is amazing and this was a non-issue for her.

She adopted Rasta by phone. She booked him a trip on the Rescue Road Trips bus. Jodi is going out of town this week and needed  help, so Rasta is here at my house for the next 48 hours, and then he’s on his way to New England to be a Yankee who loves Louisiana. Like me. Like Jodi. Screw the fragments. Only connect.

 

If you would like to donate to help dogs at Companion Animal Alliance, the open-intake municipal shelter in Baton Rouge where Teddy and Rasta once lived, please click here: http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx 

And thank you! 

The Top 10 Dogs of 2014 (AKA: Our Fosters Last Year)

One of the things I like most about fostering is that it allows those of us who really like dogs to try out various breeds, sizes, ages and fur types we never thought we would want for our own. Sometimes I take dogs just because I’m not attracted to them; that way I think the temptation to keep them will be less. Other times, I take dogs because I’m so attracted to them it tears me up to leave the shelter without them (See Izzy, below. She looked so much like my beloved dog, Tick who passed away in 2001 I almost couldn’t stand it.)

Here are the dogs from Companion Animal Alliance who lived at our house for a spell last year.

Yogi, a pathologically shy (sweet) guy, was our foster in the spring of 2013. He was returned to me  in November 2013 because he was really afraid of men and would submissively urinate inside every time the man of the house tried to put a leash on him to take him for a walk. He was adopted one more time and returned to me again after a day (another guy problem). And ALMOST adopted a third time, but he made a break for it on his overnight trail with the adopter which led to a harrowing chase and, well, it didn't work out. In the interim, Yogi and I became quite attached all while he really wanted nothing to do with the men in my house. And they left him alone. At last, in the spring of 2014, his princess came along: An LSU student getting her PhD in psychology. YOGI GOT HIS OWN PERSONAL PSYCHOLOGIST! Seriously, they are so incredibly happy together and I could not be happier that he found the person of his dreams.

Yogi

Yogi, a pathologically shy (sweet) guy, was our foster in the spring of 2013. He was returned to me six months later because he was really afraid of men and would submissively urinate inside every time the man of the house tried to put a leash on him. He was adopted one more time in 2013 and returned to me again (another guy problem). He was ALMOST adopted a third time, but he made a break for it from the yard of the prospective adopter on his overnight trial with her which led to a harrowing chase and, well, it didn’t work out. In the interim, Yogi and I became quite attached. He really wanted nothing to do with the men in my house though, and they respected that and didn’t engage him, so it all worked out fine while he was here. At last, in the spring of 2014, his princess came along: An LSU student getting her PhD in psychology. YOGI GOT HIS OWN PERSONAL PSYCHOLOGIST! Seriously, they are so incredibly happy together and I could not be happier that he found the person of his dreams.

Yaya

Yaya

Poor Yaya didn’t work out at my house. We fostered her through her spay recovery, but my dog Luna didn’t like her and I was afraid one of them was going to get hurt, so I had to return her to the shelter. That’s always the tough part about fostering for me: If a dog doesn’t work out with my pack, they have to go back. It may sound cold hearted, but with a shelter that houses 300 animals, I can easily find a dog there that does get along with my pack and I can’t endanger my animals or the foster (Luna did bite a foster once and it cost me $100 at the vet to fix that). Fortunately for Yaya, a volunteer named Susanna met her at an adoption event and was very smitten with her. Susanna went back to the shelter after Yaya had been there for several weeks and brought her home as her foster. Yaya is still available for adoption. Susanna is her hero.

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Jacy

Jacy and her litter mates were born under a house, had very little contact with humans and by the time they were brought into the shelter most of them were terrified of people. Translation: Unadoptable. Two of her siblings were euthanized and she was slated to be next. My friend, Jacinta, who works at the shelter begged and pleaded for someone to get her out of there, so I gave it a shot. I wasn’t hopeful, because she was just so shut down and wack-a-doodle when I met her. But after a couple of days at my house she totally came out of her shell and became the normal, spunky puppy she was always meant to be. It was kind of a miracle. I brought her to the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House where she was adopted by a lovely young woman after I’d had her for only about a week.

Fosters2014_5

Louis (now Lazlo)

I put in my orders for dogs with my friend, Jacinta who works at the shelter. This time I said, “Kooky (that’s my nick name for her), get me something that’s practically in a coma.” I really don’t have a lot of patience, energy, time, etc. at the moment (or ever). But I do want to help. I just can’t have a dog that’s going to wring me out (or my husband, Ed). That was Louis. You see how he looks in this picture? That’s how he looked at the shelter most of the time. And he was incredibly sweet and well behaved when he managed to wake up. I brought him to a dinner party with me the first night I brought him home because he was so impressive. The hostess, my incredibly big hearted friend, Author Laurie Lynn Drummond, said she would foster him so I could pull another dog from the shelter. I had him a day, Laurie had him a week, and my yoga teacher, Janene, adopted him and he lives happily ever after with her and her husband, Mike and their two other dogs (and so many cats I’m not allowed to tell you the number).

Chip

Chip

“Hey Jacinta, get me another Louis,” I said. That would be Chip. Both Louis and Chip had languished at the shelter for months. Why? No clue. Both were fantastic. Chip stayed with us a few months. Everybody loved him, but nobody adopted him. Finally, a really nice couple from outside New Orleans saw him on the Friends of the Animals Facebook page and came up to their dog adoption house with their dog to meet him. Their dog was his girl twin. They adopted him and he lives happily ever after. At Christmas, they sent out the cutest picture of the two dogs snuggling like an old husband and wife.

Fosters2014_6

Godiva was also on the long timer list at Companion Animal Alliance. They call it the Lonely Hearts Club. Isn’t that the saddest thing? I was at an adoption event with another dog and she was there on a day trip with a volunteer. She had a squeaky toy in her mouth that she was enjoying very much and I watched another dog reach over and take it away from her. She gave it up so willingly, I knew she would fit in just fine in my house (with our holy terror, Luna). That day, I pulled her from the shelter to foster and later Friends of the Animals took her on as a rescue. Godiva too was with us for several weeks.  Again, no clue why it took so long. Is she not the most gorgeous thing? Google “Dutch Shepherd.” That’s what I think she might be. She too was adopted at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House. She lives with a lovely family that includes an old dachshund, an old cat, at teenager and a pre-teen who just worship her — as she deserves.

Fosters2014_7,8

Noodle (L) and Mattie

Noodle and Mattie were short term transport fosters. They were being transferred to a shelter in Virginia Beach and needed a place to stay in the interim to make room for more animals at our shelter. It was only going to be three days, so although I’m pretty adamant about fostering only one dog at a time, I thought it would be fine. They were perfect angels. Mattie would peel her lips back and give me a full blown smile whenever she was excited to see me. She and Noodle liked to perch on my husband’s chair or curl up in his lap while he read on his I-pad. They were adorable. Both were adopted quickly at the Virginia Beach shelter.

Fosters2014_9

Teddy

You’ve heard enough about my darling Teddy already, haven’t you? Well, for this week anyway.

Fosters2014_10

Izzy

Like I said, we don’t usually foster more than one dog at a time, but while we had Teddy, I could not resist taking home Izzy too. She looked just like our dog, Tick, who passed away in 2001. She has a hilarious personality and is a hard core snuggler who also likes to burrow. We’d wonder where she was and then find her under a pile unfolded clean laundry. A police officer and security guard at the produce stand where I shop adopted her at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House. Have I mentioned how much I love Companion Animal Alliance’s partner organization, Friends of the Animals? I foster for them as well. (Godiva and Yogi were both Friends of the Animals’ rescues). Izzy now lives in a home with four humans and three other dogs. Her dad reports that she fits right in.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2015. Raising my water bowl to you and your dog(s)! If you’d like to make a donation to either of these fantastic rescue organizations, both of which could really use the help, please click here their names here: Companion Animal Alliance and Friends of the Animals. I love them equally, and both help so much on the local level.

Please leave a comment and tell us about your rescue dogs. Did you adopt or foster in 2014? I’d love to hear their names and stories, please!

Teddy (III)

Some nice person brought a cheese cake to the vet clinic at the shelter. Teddy was hoping he could have a piece before surgery. But no...

Some nice person brought a cheese cake to the vet clinic at the shelter. Teddy was hoping he could have a piece before surgery. But no, Teddy, we did not fast 10 hours before surgery so you could blow it on cheese cake, man.

Was I concerned about bringing in a foster dog for major surgery that would require me to do post-op rehabilitation (and on the day before Christmas)? Yes.

Did I want to be absolutely sure this surgery was necessary before putting Teddy through it? Yes.

And was I afraid that if Teddy was in pain, which he surely would be after his operation, that he would bite me as I tried to help him in and out of cars and whatnot? Oh hell yes. (Remember, I’m a chicken about being bitten. And I’m not even slightly kidding about that).

Dr. Michaelson’s observations about Teddy were interesting. When he looked at his films, he said, “Dogs don’t walk on X-rays.” All three vets laughed. Clearly, a veterinary inside joke.

TeddySurgery3

Looking at the films. To operate? Or not to operate? That is the question.

“I don’t get it,” I said.

Dr. Michaelson said, “It doesn’t so much matter what the x-ray says if the dog is walking around like nothing is wrong.”

The truth is, after a week of anti-inflammatory medicine, Teddy seemed to be in pretty good shape. He jumped in and out of the car on his own with no problem. He could jump on and off my sofa and my bed. And he had stood on his hind legs and pawed at me in the vet clinic several times during his exam.

“So what would you do if I were a private patient who brought him into your clinic?” I said.

“I would probably tell you to wait a couple of weeks and see if his symptoms returned.”

But the fact is, I still didn’t want to adopt out a dog to someone who might require an expensive surgery down the road, even if he seemed fine in two weeks. What would happen if his symptoms returned in 6 months? What about in a year? Very often, dogs are brought to the shelter because the people who own them can’t afford the expensive medical treatments they require. And this might be Teddy’s one opportunity to have this surgery and go on to live a hip-pain free life based on the generosity of a supervising veterinarian donating his time and services and a shelter that had purchased the equipment to do it.

As we were deliberating, Dr. Salmon picked up Teddy to weigh him and he snapped at her (again, no biting).

“Ah ha,” Dr. Michaelson said, “Now that couldn’t have hurt him. He just didn’t want to be picked up.” I could tell he was now concerned that Teddy might just be unpredictable.

“My hand was on his groin,” Dr. Salmon said. “That may have hurt.”

I also felt sure, after having Teddy in my house for six weeks, that he was predictable and that the way Dr. Salmon had lifted him had, indeed, hurt. “No, watch,” I said, and reached down to pick up Teddy under his chest.” He dangled in my arms like a happy little sack of flour.

Then Dr. Michaelson, Dr. Salmon, and another shelter vet, Dr. Moore, came up with a plan to definitively decide whether Teddy was in pain or just being an ass. They would sedate him for his exam.

So, a shot in the tushy, as we say in my birthplace of New York:

Teddysurgery4

I figured this would simply make him woozy and not really mind being touched in places he ordinarily did not like. I thought it would simply take away any mojo he had for snapping if something they did hurt him.

But no. He was out cold. He looked like a dead dog on the vet clinic floor. See?

Teddysurgery5

Dr. Michaelson was able to manipulate his back legs and hips every which way. And when he really dug in and started working that left hip, Teddy let out a howl from the deepest sleep that just broke my heart.

Teddysurgery7 Teddysurgery8

“We have our answer,” Dr. Michaelson said.

“Let’s do it,” I said.

Dr. Salmon and Dr. Moore nodded and smiled.

And Teddy, a neglected little fella from a rough part of town who had probably spent most of his six years living outdoors with infected ears, a cracked vertebrate and a bum hip, was going to be treated like a dog that was loved (and by people with the financial resources to help him, like other lucky dogs).

Teddysurgery9

Shave that dog’s rump, please, Dr. Moore.

Teddysurgery10

Me: Okay with you if I take pictures, Dr. Michaelson? Dr. M: If it helps other animals, of course!

Teddysurgery12

More shaving for Dr. Moore while Dr. Salmon gets ready to support Teddy’s airway during surgery.

Teddysurgery11

I don’t know how people do this. I’m so grateful that the world is not made up of people just like me (who would faint if she had to do this).

Teddysurgery14

Teddy:  I.  Have become. Comfortably numb.

Teddysurgery15

Did I want to observe Teddy’s FHO surgery? Part of me did. The other part said, “I’m getting out of here!” and dragged the first part home.

Post-op wakey wakey:

TeddySurgery2

Thanks, Dr. Salmon!

The next day (doing great!)

Teddysurgery16

Thanks, Dr. Moore! Thanks, Dr. Salmon! Thanks Dr. Michaelson! Thanks Companion Animal Alliance!

TeddySurgerySalmon

If you have charitable donations you still need to make for 2014, please consider Companion Animal Alliance, the shelter that helped Teddy in Baton Rouge, LA. Here’s the super easy link to click and donate: http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx And thank you for caring!

Teddy

Meet Teddy, our very special holiday foster. I picked up Teddy from the shelter a week before Thanksgiving. On his intake report it said someone had called and reported an injured dog in their neighbor’s yard. Animal Control came and picked up Teddy. His owners never came to get him back.

Here’s the matted, scraggly mess he looked like the day I picked him up at the shelter (he had been there for several weeks):

That’s my friend, Author Laurie Lynn Drummond, who also fosters for Companion Animal Alliance and Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge. We went up to the shelter that day to each pick out a new foster dog . I picked Teddy and Laurie picked Olive, a pretty Border Collie, who was recently adopted. You should read Laurie’s novel, Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Anything-You-Will-Used-Against/dp/B000C9WXUY#

That’s my friend, Author Laurie Lynn Drummond, who also fosters for Companion Animal Alliance and Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge. We went up to the shelter that day to each pick out a new foster dog. I picked Teddy and Laurie picked Olive, a pretty Border Collie, who was recently adopted. You should read Laurie’s novel, Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Anything-You-Will-Used-Against/dp/B000C9WXUY#

At the shelter they had named him Howie. He looked more like a Teddy (bear) to me.

Howie1 Howie2

When he was first brought into the shelter, the vets there noticed Teddy’s ears were badly infected and put him on a course of antibiotics. One of them said they were possibly the worst ear infections she had ever seen. Aside from what the good samaritan had told Animal Control, there was no note of injury on Teddy’s record.

A fluffy, non-shedding, cocker/poodle mix (cockapoo) with maybe a splash of shih tzu thrown in, Teddy had languished at the shelter for weeks after being neutered. Despite his matted hair and bad breath, I knew once he was cleaned up he’d be beautiful. And he sure seemed sweet. He let me bathe him in my front yard without complaint.

Howie3

He let me clean his ears without complaint. When I tried to cut some mats off his belly, he let me, but then I accidentally, um, slipped with the scissors (No blood though!) and he snapped at me. I deserved that. He didn’t bite me, just let out a scream and gave a couple of warning snaps in the air. I think I clearly heard him say, “Yo, I’ve already been neutered. Watch. Those. Scissors!”

I brought him to a wonderful groomer (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pretty-Paws-Grooming-by-Teresa/189305501171383) who said he was an excellent boy and she didn’t even need a muzzle to carry out any of his beauty treatments.

Here’s what he looked like when she was finished:

photo

Teddy2Teddy4 Teddy3

On Thanksgiving, my 17-year-old son was petting his back when Teddy yelped and snapped at the air. Then he ran back at my son to kiss him and make up. Another time my 85-pound Mastiff mix bumped into Teddy’s rump and again, he yelped and snapped at the air, then ran back at my dog to lick his face. I also noticed that when I reached out to pet Teddy sometimes, he would blink as if I was going to hit him. That made me sad. Clearly, he was used to being hit. But he always sought me out for affection and he seemed very relieved and delighted when he knew I was only ever going to caress him and tell him he was a good boy (when I didn’t have a scissor in my hands, that is. Okay, bad joke).

There were a couple of additional snapping incidents when Teddy felt hurt or threatened, but nobody was ever bitten. I don’t foster aggressive dogs; my life is just too complicated and frankly, I’m a chicken! But I didn’t think Teddy was aggressive. I thought something was really hurting him and he was trying to protect himself, so I brought him back to the shelter vet to see what it might be. The answer was something I wasn’t quite prepared to handle. But I would handle it. I’m handling now, in fact, and it’s all good so far. (To be continued…)

Sweetie: Everybody Needs One

Sweetie is available for adoption. And she's a little optimist; psyched about everything!

Sweetie is available for adoption. And she’s a little optimist; psyched about everything!

Today’s guest blog is written by my friend, Lannette, who has fostered many a puppy and kitty in her day. And even entire litters of them. Here, her latest find(s):

“Who does that? That’s so sad! Who could just dump puppies by the side of the road and leave them?” This is what I’ve been hearing almost every day for the past week and a half. But it happens all the time. This time it happened in my neighbor’s front yard. Two adorable pups, about four months old, appeared at some point Saturday night and were waiting, in the exact same spot, Sunday morning for their “family” to come back for them. Except their family never came back.  So, a quick call to my friend, Renee, and we were in touch with the PASS Program. (PASS is an acronym for Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender).

00270 FND Scar catahoula mix - Lannette Cohn - photo 1

This is Scar. He’s a little worried from having been dumped. But taking a break from that right here.

So to add to our pack of three cats and two dogs we now have the two pups; a Catahoula mix the size of a pony and an insanely cute and happy Black Mouth Cur mix. The Catahoula was so despondent about his situation that he had to be carried into the house where he simply lay on the floor with his head down for most of the day. The kids named him “Scar” because, they joked, he was emotionally scarred but it also sounded “tough.”

00271 FND Sweetie black mouth cur mix - Lannette Cohn - photo 2

Oh Sweeeet-aaaaaay!

The Cur, however, is happy to see ya, happy to be here, happy that the sky is blue and happy that it’s raining. She’s pretty dang happy. Her name is Sweetie. She is sweet — super sweet– but that’s not where she got her name. My daughter named her after the assistant of one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta so her name isn’t “Sweetie” it’s “SWEE-TAAAAYYY” as Kim regularly yowls when her wigs need arranging. Unlike her namesake however this Sweetie is happy to see you, will come when she’s called and is very likely to bury your wig in the yard.

And she needs a new family, because hers never came back.

00270 FND Scar catahoula mix - Lannette Cohn - photo 6

Scar is a standout, with beautiful Catahoula markings and the mellowest demeanor of any puppy ever he was sought after as soon as his photo hit Facebook. His adoption is pending and he’ll be going to his new home as soon as he’s fixed, which leaves us with this sweet little nut we call Sweetie. She’s happy and she loves you. She really, really loves you!!!! She’s about five months old, has had all the necessary vet work for her age and will be spayed soon. She wants to play, she wants to watch TV with you, whatever, Sweetie’s up for anything. She’s getting better with the leash and doesn’t “go” in the house. Cute, funny, goofy with a little bit of mischief but really nicely behaved. Sweetie does fine with other dogs, both low energy and high energy dogs, is fine with kids, and fine with cats. She’s a great puppy and will be an awesome companion.

00271 FND Sweetie black mouth cur mix - Lannette Cohn - photo 4

So put your wigs up where she can’t get to them and please contact PASS for an adoption application to make Sweetie part of your family.
Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (PASS) works with owners or finders of pets to determine and implement the best solution for them to keep the pet from entering the shelter in the first place. PASS was created to fill in that gap by helping the public find resources to help them keep their pets or pets they have found out of the shelter. PASS offers resources such as pointing people to low cost medical options; help with behavioral resources; food; advocating on their behalf; lost and found resources or rehoming their pet with ad placement.  

PASS does not have a facility to house the pet during the rehoming process – we ask owners or finders to foster the pet.  All pets in the PASS Program are up to date with age appropriate vaccinations, spayed or neutered and microchipped before adoption.   PASS is an all-volunteer program.

p.s. Did we mention Sweetie ignores cats? She does:

Sweetie could not care less about cats.

Sweetie could not care less about cats.

Email:  pass@caabr.org, Phone:  225-366-7277

 

UPDATE: SWEETIE AND SCAR HAVE BOTH BEEN ADOPTED :}

Rocco: Whoa

It has been a crazy few days in Rocco-land. The good news is, I was able to raise the money for Rocco’s surgery and he had it last Friday. And it went well, though we are waiting for the pathology report on the tumors removed and hoping everything is benign.

The morning of his surgery last Friday. A little early for Rocco to rise and shine, apparently.

The morning of his surgery last Friday. A little early for Rocco to rise and shine, apparently.

The bad news is, two days later, we had terrible thunderstorms here and while Rocco’s foster mom, June, was out, Rocco had a little freak-out. He squeezed himself through a cat door, busted through the screened in porch, and escaped while June was away. She was distraught and searched the neighborhood with friends, but no luck. It was a very sad and restless night that June spent with Rocco on the lam.

We posted signs all over her neighborhood, including in the park near the state capitol where I was starting to think, on day 4 of him missing, that Rocco was gone for good. I imagined him trapped in a drain pipe or caught under bushes by his harness. I imagined all sorts of things I won’t share because the world is sad enough without my horrible fantasies. Although he has a microchip, Rocco wasn’t wearing tags, because he’s a foster dog (and let me tell you, neither June nor I will ever make that mistake again; we’ll have tags made up that say “foster” with our respective phone numbers on them for our respective foster dogs. By the way, read this  article on how to make sure you don’t lose your dog in the first place, and how to get him back if you do).

Most importantly, I posted him on the Lost Pets of Baton Rouge Facebook page, describing his blue harness, his shaved back (he’d had a hot spot and the vets thought it best to remove the hair) and his incisions. And today, after I’d left a lunch meeting downtown, I got a call from a woman named MaryKay. She said she’d seen Rocco outside of her office (which was about a mile or two away from his foster home) but hadn’t been able to catch him. Then she saw his picture and description on the Lost Pets of Baton Rouge Facebook Page, where she’d gotten my phone number. She gave me the address of her office, and I was five minutes away, so I drove right there.

When I arrived, she met me downstairs and pointed to the areas where she’d seen him on the street. “I knew he had to be someone’s dog because of the blue harness,” she said, “But every time I took a step towards him, he ran away.”

Poor boy was still afraid, four days after that thunderstorm. I thanked her and did a lap around the block, calling his name and looking in bushes. I asked a little old  man taking out the garbage if he’d seen a dog and he shook his head. No dog. I turned the corner and asked a middle aged man doing construction on a ramshackle cottage alongside the interstate if he’d seen a dog. He pointed to an alley between the house he was working on and the house next door to it and I said, “Really?” My heart was in my throat. I took a couple of steps in that direction and called, “Rocco!” And guess who popped right out from under that house and throttled me with love and kisses?

Rocco.

There is nothing happier than the abrupt ending of horrible fantasies. I clipped the leash I was carrying in my bag onto his harness and took him to meet MaryKay and say thank you. And snap their picture:

RoccoFound

MaryKay, you made my freakin’ day! Rocco’s too! Oh, and you have extremely cool cowboy boots.

Then I gave the boy a treat from my bag (yes, my bag is like a mini-Petsmart), loaded him up in the car and took him back to June’s house. I have a key to June’s house, because part of our deal when I asked her to foster Rocco was that I would help with stuff like getting him to vet appointments and out for walks on her long work days. Fostering is great but it can also be time consuming, as shelter dogs are often sick, and so fostering partnerships like this can be a great way of saying yes when you might otherwise have to say no.

Anyway, neither of us ever knew what Rocco’s journey might entail (repeated vet visits for kennel cough and surgery and then a great escape and great reuniting). But I can promise you that neither of us regret stepping up for him for even one minute.

And the adopter who was interested in him a month ago? Still interested! In fact, this great guy is putting in a doggy door at his house and then wants to have Rocco over for an overnight visit in a few days to see how it goes. Of course, we will make sure his fence is secure, and we’re going to try out Rocco with a Thunder shirt  so that next time there’s a storm, he remains calm. In fact, I wish they would make those for people because next time there’s a storm, I think I could use one myself after this.