Monday, February 4, 2013

Everything is NOT for Everyone

How many times have we heard the old cliché "everything isn't for everybody?" Well this couldn't be more true for adopting a pet.  There are many facets that go into becoming a pet parent and although many people embark on that journey its sad to say many do not complete the journey.  Being around pet parents some think it's easy to have a pet especially a dog.  Look at the benefits of having a do to name a few.
                                    1)      They do not judge

                                    2)      They give unconditional love
                                    3)      They're true companions
                                    4)      They keep you healthy by getting you off the couch
                                    5)      They help with your social life
 The list goes on and on however, what most people fail to realize is the true life changes that occur when one adopts a dog.  Changes that occur are as follows:
                                 1)    Waking up in the  middle of the night/early morning to let the dog out or walk dog             
                            2)     Veterinary cost (wellness check up) maybe emergency visits (very costly)
                                    3)      Purchase food, treats (clothes maybe)
                                    4)      Purchase collar, leash, dog bed (maybe), crate, tags
             5)      Registration cost (county, municipality) usually a small yearly fee
                                    6)      Potty accidents (poop, pee)

                                    7)     Cost for training
                                  8)      Purchase medication (heartworm prevention meds monthly), flea and tick (some areas are seasonal/spring, summer or warmer climates all year round)
                                    9)   Change in work and after work outings/travel
 Adopting a pet should not be a decision taken lightly.  Considering the holiday season is over, many  people received a pet as a present without understanding what they were getting involved in.  This is a personal experience we have experienced within our family.  A pup we rescued in September was adopted to a family member on Christmas.  We did our best to convey to the family member what to expect and they learned the hard way that they were not ready to be a parent pet.  Within the first week the family member complained and we did our part  in providing guidance and solutions however, the family member was not committed to being a pet parent.  The family member admitted they went into it blindly and didn't take our advice seriously.  As a result the pup is back with us.  This scenario is played out many, many, many times throughout the year.  The person/persons drop the animal off at the shelter and is free to carry on with their life with no regard for the pet.  Then you have people and organizations such as us that come by to pick up the pieces.  Animals are not disposable and are NOT for everybody.  If you or someone you know is considering adoption but have questions we provide a service, "Paw Consulting" where we go through a process to help determine if a person or family is ready for a pup which includes a mock adoption (fostering a pup for a trial period). At the end of the process the person or family will know for sure that they are ready to be a pet parent.  More information is on our website

Is It Open Season on Pit Bulls?

If you are on any of the social media outlets or listening to the news you’ve heard about the blatant assault on pit bulls. In the month of January alone there has been a minimum of 12 incidents in which police have shot and killed several dogs. The latest incident happened in Philadelphia, PA where a person picked up a stray dog, put the dog in the back of the vehicle where another dog was and a fight ensued. The person was unable to separate the dogs and decided to call the police. When the police arrived they immediately started shooting which ended with both dogs being killed.  Another well publicized incident was where a pregnant woman was locked out of her house.  She feared something had happened to her husband so she called the police.  By the time the police arrived at the home the woman’s husband who was in the house sleeping opened the door. The pit bull dogs were excited to see their female guardian and as most dogs do they greeted their guardian excitedly.  The trigger happy officer asked the very pregnant woman to get her dog. The woman attempted to oblige when the officer opened fire shooting both dogs. One dog fled and the other dog died in his guardians arms. Another incident was where a police officer opened fire on 5 CAGED dogs in an animal shelter citing “he feared for his life.” The dogs were caged so what was there to fear other than fear and ignorance?  There are many more stories such as these which beg the question is it open season on pit bulls? Are pit bulls that feared it warrants an officer who’s suppose to be calm and assertive to take his/her gun out and start shooting without assessing the situation? Don’t they deal with people who can and have shot, stabbed and, beat them yet very few of these criminals are shot and killed by the police. Yes, a dog of any breed can and has caused damage to people and other dogs.  We’re not negating the potential damage a pit bull can cause however, in any of the cases we’ve spoken about in this blog and many others the dogs were not the aggressor. The incident where the person picked up the “stray” dog and put it in the back of the vehicle didn’t make the smartest decision. In many of the cases the officer will say “they didn’t have a choice” as our grandfather, a former Marine, told us “you always have a choice, both choices can look bad but one is better than the other.” With that being said the choice should always be to refer back to training and assess the situation. Most officers do not receive more training after they leave the police academy which is a travesty in itself. Many trainers have offered training at a reduced price or free of charge to better equip officers in the field when they’re answering a “dangerous” dog on the loose call. How many more families have to endure the loss of their beloved pet or be afraid of the police when walking their dog because of the “breed?” As a community lets come together to end the senseless violence against our pets and “stray” animals.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What went wrong?

It was an early and dreary Sunday morning. We were still tired from the early part of the weekend's errands (a lot of driving up down 95 North &South) so, we didn’t feel like getting up. When we got up & opened the blinds to see fog, wet deck & damped grass we definitely weren't motivated. With that attitude we should’ve stayed home and let Sasha & Krush go in the backyard with our foster MD & Bentley (who was returned to us) tp play & do their business. Instead we prepared ourselves, Sasha & Krush to go for our usual hour long walk. The walk started out normal, took a different route, the pups did their business quicker than usual (YAY) so we kept chugging along. Once off the alternative path we were on our usual path, Krush’s body posture turned from relaxed to head & ears up and he began to pull, Sasha picked her pace up as well with her head to the ground (we saw this however, being in a fog and feeling dreary like the weather they were not corrected). As we rounded the corner Sasha & Krush became more intense (again not paying attention, not normal for us) finally we saw (not before Sasha & Krush) what peaked their interest. It was another beautiful pit bull who was much stronger than her/his guardian and appeared as intrigued by Sasha & Krush as they were with her/him. The worst thing anyone can do is pull a dog away when they’re excited, of course we knew this but the guardian of the other pit bull did not and it was almost a collision course of epic proportions. We remained calm and continued to walk and noticed a jogger with her black Lab a little ways off. Again Krush was on high alert whereas Sasha was unfazed. This time we were in control of the situation so we provided enough room for the jogger to run by and not become nervous about Sasha & Krush. Sasha & Krush were put in a sit with a focus on us. A quick turn of our head to look at Sasha, before we could turn back to Krush there was a tug and Krush was off to the races towards the lab. One can only imagine how we felt more importantly how the lab and the lab’s guardian felt. The lab’s guardian attempted to thwart Krush all the time we’re holding Sasha & trying to step on Krush’s leash. The lab went into the street and thankfully the cars & trucks saw what was going on and stopped & watch as if it were a drive in movie. Finally, we got a hold of Krush and made sure the guardian and lab were ok. No one or canine was injured. The moral of the story watch your attitude & mood when you’re around your pack. Your pack looks to you for guidance in every situation & if you’re not being the pack leader EVERY TIME, EVERY SITUATION your pack will let your know!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Winter Walking (tips)

It's brrrrrrrrr outside and your four legged companion still needs her/his daily walks. Walking is an important part of having a dog. It has many health benefits for your pup and you as well. The walk is not just so your pup can do her/his business, it's about socializing and desensitizing your pup to the world surrounding her/him (various noises, cars, horns, other dogs etc.). Depending on the breed of choice this may be your furever family members favorite time of year. Examples of pups that love the brrrrrr weather are Akitas, Newfoundland's, Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows to name a few, these breeds have a double coat that keeps them warm during those chilly winter days and colder nights. A family member has an Akita and he loves, loves it when it snows. Max would play for hours with the kids in the snow, he didn't want the kids to come in and he definitely didn't want to come in the house. If you're fortunate to have a pup that loves cold weather make sure you're bundled up because you're going to be out on the walk a little longer as they explore their world. If you have a pup that's not fond of these chilly temperatures such as Pit Bulls, Greyhounds, Maltese, Pointers or Boxers to name a few; a sweater will be needed for the walk. These breeds do not have undercoat to trap heat which means they lose body heat quickly. So if you needed a reason to dress your pup in those adorable comfy sweaters at PetSmart, a breed with short hair is your reason. No matter the breed ALL of them need proper exercise whether they like cold or warm temperatures. A 30 minute walk accompanied with 10-15 minutes vigorous indoor play should be adequate exercise for those that aren't fond of the frigid temperatures. Indoor activities that would suffice are:

        1) Playing "Touch" what's needed stairs, treat or dogs favorite toy, and two people. How to play: one person is at the top of the stairs and one person at the bottom of stairs. The object is to say the dogs name to get her/his attention once you have the dogs attention, hold your hand out, back of the hand facing the dog, once the dog touches the back of your hand with their nose give them the toy or treat. The person at the bottom of the stairs will call the dog's name once you have the dogs attention, hold your hand out, back of the hand facing the dog, once the dog touches the back of your hand with their nose give them the toy or treat. You may repeat this as many times as desired. Usually 10 minutes should suffice. Be sure to have water close by and allow the dog to take breaks. Although the dog may not appear to be tired to periodic breaks to ensure overexertion doesn't occur.

        2) Hide N' Seek what's needed 1 person, favorite toy or treat. Object is get the dog to find his favorite toy or treat. This is a cognizant game testing your dogs ability to use her/his nose to find their favorite toy or treat. Hide the toy or treat anywhere in the house and ask your dog to find it. You can use stairs or a bed. Make sure not to hide the object near sharp objects or chemicals. This will keep your dog occupied for a little while. Never leave the dog unattended when playing this game.

        3) Doggie Daycares are a good source for your pup to release excess energy please contact your local trainer, ask friends or relatives where they take their pup or visit your local doggie daycare. Make sure you do your homework, ask plenty of questions and don't be afraid to drop by to see what goes on prior to you signing your pup up.

 As we mentioned earlier walking is vital the health of your companion, it's more than a walk, it's a time to social and become desensitized to her/his surroundings and it's a great way for you to get know your neighbors, show off your pup and it curtails mischief! Get out and walk today!

New Year, New Rescue

   Before the ball even dropped signaling a new year we were on the phone with a concerned member of a rescue group setting up a time to visit a shelter on New Year's day. We were asked to conduct a temperament test for one dog and potentially rescue a puppy. The drive is a little over a hour for us so planning and timing is everything. What's awesome about this individual was that we conducted her home visit for a foster a little over a year ago. My have we done a lot in a years time. The conversation was nice as we shared our values, views and love for pit bulls. After swapping foster stories, philosophies and training solutions the time was set to meet less than 24 hours later.

Upon reaching the shelter we met the pup that we were to temperament test. It was a beautiful chocolate pit bull no more than 2 years old. The pup was very mild mannered and happy to be out of his run. The facility is small and full of pit bulls and other exotic pups (Basenji & Anatolian Shepherd/Pyrenees) these aren't usually found in shelters in our neck of the woods. The shelter operator is wonderful and doing all she can for the pups that come in her care however, with little exposure and very little funds this shelter is nowhere near the radar. That's going to change since it's been brought to our attention (that's another blog coming soon); let's get back to the topic at hand. We met the dogs that were outside in their runs and they all were very sweet dogs. We put "Chocolate" back in his run to meet the pup we came to potentially rescue. This brindle pug mix was adorable, he was in the run with two other itty bitty black puppies (don't know their breeds). Rolo (pug mix) was a true bully in every since of the word, he even bullied this huge cat that was safely behind her cage. Rolo didn't care he wanted to exert his dominance. We weren't pleased with what we saw out of Rolo and wasn't sure he would fit in our pack (Sasha & Krush) because we have enough alphas in the house. The person we met at the shelter wanted us to see another puppy that needed out. This boy was beautiful all white with spots silhouetting his body and a huge brown spot on his back. He was friendly and excited about getting out of the cage. He was so gentle with the small black puppies. We named him Milk Dud (MD) because of white body & the brown spot on his back. He played nice with Rolo as well. Rolo was a little more submissive when MD came into the picture. We considered taking Rolo after seeing him with MD who was bigger but gentle playing and enjoying the free time out of the cage.

We put all of the pups back and proceeded with the temperament test with Chocolate & Vegas (the volunteers dog). Chocolate was too hyper and Vegas was not having any of it. We ran a little bit with Chocolate to dispense some of that energy but he was too focused on Vegas. We walked by them and it was too intense. At the end of the day Chocolate was too excited and intense for Vegas. We provided our input and went back to the puppies. Prior to making a decision as to which pup would come home with us we put Vegas and MD to the test. MD passed with flying colors with Vegas. Vegas fell head over hills with MD immediately. After observing MD and Vegas it was decided MD would be a better fit for our pack. The shelter operator was thrilled that we were talking MD. MD appeared to be thrilled as well. MD jumped in our vehicle immediately went to the backseat and fell asleep for the short 5 minute ride to PetSmart. Entering PetSmart MD was happy to see Vegas and vice versa. MD greeted each person and canine with a jump and play bow. MD even loves felines!! After saying our see you later to Vegas and thanking the volunteer for the opportunity to work with her and rescuing/fostering MD we headed home to our pack.

 The moment of truth had arrived, it was a long ride home and MD nestled up in the seat and slept the entire hour plus ride home. We reached our house and Sasha & Krush knew immediately something was different. It amazes me how they know that another pup is around and it's funnier to watch them "sniff us down" when we've been around other canines. We take MD to the backyard and introduce MD and Krush first, all is well so we bring Sasha out next and again all is well. Sasha will have nothing to do with MD for a couple of days whereas Krush attempts to dominate but he knows that's a no go and plays with MD. This is the life we've grown accustomed to. We predicted many positive things happening in 2013. We were going to extend ourselves more, be more active and proactive, help the canine community more, be more of an advocate and train as many dogs and their guardians as possible, make our name known throughout the canine community. It appears God heard us and thought what better way to ring in the new year with a new rescue!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Micro-chipping has been debated for some time and in our opinion it's a no brainer. Show your pet a little more love by micro-chipping her/him. What is a micro-chip? A micro-chip is a tiny device that has either your vets or your personal information (name, address & phone number) that was registered, it has several identifying numbers that a scanner will pick up when it's ran across the pets body. A veterinarian or rescue organization will implant the micro-chip into the middle of the shoulder blade of the skin of the pet (cat, dog), there's no pain, discomfort or bruising to the animal. Why is it important to micro-chip your pet? Should the unfortunate happen (pet is stolen or lost) it makes it easier to find your pet once your pet is found. If your pet is picked up by shelter workers once at the shelter they will use a scanner which they run across your pets body. If your pet has a microchip the scanner picks it up, the information on the microchip shows on the scanner (vet, rescue organization or your personal information)and who's information is on the microchip will be contacted and your pet is home safely quicker. Unlike a leash, collar, name or any other "identifying" markings you can remember about your dog a microchip cannot be tampered with, falsified or removed.

We highly recommend micro-hipping your pet. Sasha & Krush are micro-hipped and the few pups we've rescued are microchip. It's another way of holding people accountable for their dogs actions. This statement is not meant to disrespect or offend anyone. We believe most pet parents are responsible. This statement is for those irresponsible individuals who for whatever reason abandoned their pups. There are plenty of stories from shelters and rescue organizations where pets have been abandoned for days, weeks months and sometimes years. There was a story recently of a family that abandoned their pup in Atlanta, GA. The pup was loyal, he stayed at the house that was empty for 3 years. He survived by eating scraps from the neighbors trash and a few neighbors feeding him. Had the pup been micro-chipped authorities would've known who the family and possibly gone after them for neglect. Thank God this story has a happy ending. The pup was finally taken to the shelter, the news reported the story and now the pup is happy with his new guardian in Ohio. A pet is a companion not a disposable garbage.

It is our belief micro-chipping should be mandatory, it's the same as having a license for your dog. Most cities, counties &municipalities require all pets to be registered, this helps keep track of pets and their rabies shot. There is a small fee to register your pet a please check with your city, county and/or municipality regarding licensing prior to adopting or buying a pet. There are many feel good stories of pets being found alive and well after weeks, even years of being stolen or lost. There was a story a local story around Christmas time last year of a family who lost their beloved pit bull over 8 years ago and the dog was in California. The pup had a microchip which helped bring her home to her family who was eager to be reunited. If that isn't reason enough we don't know what is. Prayerfully your pet isn't stolen or lost however, you can find solace in knowing if your pet is micro-chipped he/she will be found sooner than if he/she isn't.

If your pup isn't microchip and you're interested in getting them micro-chipped please contact your vet or the rescue you adopted from. If either of those are not an option for you here are a few companies you can contact (NOTE: most companies charge either a monthly fee or one time lifetime fee). Please do your research:

Pet Microchip Database: (individuals, veterinarians, shelters or rescues can register, good for US & Global search, $19.99 lifetime)

HomeAgain (endorsed by Betty White, for veterinarians & shelters, national database, lost pet alerts & travel assistance for found lost pets, annual fee $17.99)

24Pet Watch (offers pet insurance as well)

Saturday, November 24, 2012


  Along this journey we've experienced the highs and lows of advocacy, fostering, rescuing, training, heartache of knowing many wonderful dogs losing their lives due to overcrowding shelters, uncaring owners, breed specific legislation and rejection as we've had the door slammed in our faces from other organizations. On the other side we've experienced tears of joy in watching our fosters walk into their new furever home. Occasionally we receive updates on some of our fosters progress which brings more tears of joy but, then there are those that "got" away, and we wonder their fate. There have been the occasional rescue which ends with that dog being trained and a furever happy home found. In our short time in the advocacy/training/rescuing world we've seen and been through a lot. As we often reflect on our journey one thing remains constant.....the "Paw Prints" all pups have left on our hearts and minds.