Monday, February 18, 2013
|President Obama and Bo|
It's Presidents Day. A day to commemorate the life and work of our past Presidents. We thought it was just as important to pay tribute to the four legged ambassadors that have been by their side. Here is a glimpse into the life of their dogs.
|Roosevelt and Fala out for a ride.|
|Herbert Hoover and King Tut|
|President Warren Harding and Laddie Boy|
|Lyndon Johnson and his singing partner, Yuki|
|President Kennedy and his Welsh Terrier Pushinka|
|The First Family and their pups.|
|Nixon and the infamous Checkers.|
|Ronald Regan and his Bouvier Lucky.|
|Gerald Ford and Liberty.|
|George Bush Sr. and Millie.|
|George W. Bush and Barney|
|President George Clinton and Buddy share a moment.|
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Kate at california pit bull rescue sent this photo taken Saturday 2/02/2013 of Lisa and Winnie.
I hear they are both madly in love with each other (Winnie's expression says it all)! I just love that little girl and am so happy she has found her forever home! A BIG "THANK YOU" to all who followed Winnie's journey. Your love and support made this happen.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Sara Scott, DPTD,owner of What's Up Dog Training, and her assistant Scott, came over to meet with Winnie last Sunday and to perform a temperament test. The goal of the test was to determine Winnies reaction to different "stressors" and to, generally speaking, get a reading on her psyche. Team Winnie (Pat McIntosh my social media expert and dog lover; Karen my lifelong friend; and myself) watched with pride as Sara pulled, prodded, pinched and generally rough housed this sweet little girl. My eyes welled up with tears as I watched Winnie getting confused, but continuing to tolerate these strangers and their actions. As I had hoped, she passed with flying colors!
|Touching Winnies ears inside and out.|
|Sara judges Winnie's reaction as she pinches the pads of her feet mimicking the feeling of someone accidentally stepping on her.|
|Generally fussing with her mouth.|
The next part of the test involved food. Sara placed a disgusting, but apparently delicious, bowl of canned food down for Winnie. Just as Winnie was in full on food nirvana, Sara took it away from her, gave it back to her, and continued to take it away again. Winnie's reaction, of rather lack of reaction, was perfect! YAY Winnie!
|The Food Test|
Next came the fun part... play! Sara pulled out some toys from her bag of tricks. The goal was to see how Winnie plays, how aroused she gets, and how quickly she can settle down. Winnie was having a blast! Tail wagging, she was full of fun. She was a bit mouthy, according to Sara, but with a soft mouth. Nothing to be concerned about, but something to fine tune. Sara also felt that someone had teased her with their hands, so I have been given a couple of exercises to help her understand that a fast action towards her face is a good thing and not a slap!
|Winnie at play.|
|Ok, I'll tug on this if you want me too!|
|Testing her tolerance and her bite.|
|Winnie, happy as can be.|
The last part of the test was the most anticipated (for me). Interacting with another dog. Sara brought her dog Mikey a female pit mix. Her assistant, Scott, paraded Mikey around Winnie from a distance, getting closer and closer at a very relaxed pace. Winnie was very interested and enthusiastic, but to her credit, not confrontational. She just wanted to sniff that butt and Mikey was sweet enough to let her do it! We all let out a collective sigh of relief (I imagine Mikey did too)!
So to wrap this up, it is my understanding that at this point, Winnie would probably be best with an experienced dog owner. Cats and small children would be a challenge, and not because she is mean, but because she gets excited and wants to play play play. Other dogs would probably be fine, but as with any dog, it is important to introduce them properly and to supervise their interaction at all times in the beginning.
These observations are my interpretation of what took place on Sunday. When it was all said and done, Sara simply confirmed what I already knew... Winnie is a love, and if given the chance, will make a house a very happy home! Sara has promised to send me her evaluation in writing and I will gladly share it with all of you.
A big thank you to Sara and Scott.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
On Thursday August 30th this poor creature was abandoned and found her way to my front porch. It is said that dogs find you, you don't find them. If that is true than this little girl, torn and tattered, must have known that my home was a haven for 4 legged creatures.
At first glance, and being my optimistic self, my mind and heart were hoping that she had her own people, had become lost, perhaps in a fight or hit by a car. But after a visit to my vet, they saw her wounds for what they were... She had been used as a bait dog.
Restrained and helpless, her mouth taped shut to render her unable to bite her attacker, she was a living tool used as bait in order to train the fighter dogs how to fight...and kill.
In the early stages of fight training, bait dogs become the prey. With every defense mechanism stripped away, they're rendered completely helpless. Their mouths are taped shut, their legs are bound, and their bodies are restrained. Then, they're thrown into a ring with another dog... who has been trained to kill them.
I was sick to my stomach. Like all of us, and especially being in the business I'm in, I have seen the news,read the stories, and been appalled by the plight of the Pitt Bull. But nothing prepares you for the harsh reality of golden eyes looking into your soul and reaching out for help. Despite her wounds, broken scapula, and tire tracks on her back, there she was licking my face and showing a human creature, the very species who betrayed her, pure love.
With her wounds tended to, a bright new collar, a new name, and a warm bed to sleep in, I started spreading the word. Having a menagerie of my own, and boarding my four legged clients, I was only in a position to keep her for a short time. She would need time to heal, and I was determined to keep her out of a shelter where I was certain her will to survive would be for naught. My campaign was fast and furious, Social Media spread the word in my small community and donations started coming in. After being so shattered by the dark side of our species, my heart filled with gratitude for those who came to the rescue. Donations are allowing her return visits to the vet, an upcoming appointment to be spayed,the necessary shots, and a temperament evaluation by a trained behaviorist. I want to give her the best chance possible to start a new life in her forever home.
I have managed to find foster care for a couple of weeks, but the campaign for her adoption continues. Sadly, simply by the predetermined prejudiced of her breed, finding her a permanent home is a daunting task. All the right adjectives describe her perfectly: loving, sweet, quite, gentle, playful, and with a strong desire to please. If these were attached to a photo of a Golden Retriever or Labrador, the phone would be ringing off the hook. But mention Pitt Bull, and her plight becomes a strong one.
Please help me in finding Winnie the love she so deserves in return for the heart she is willing to open and sound of her wagging tail. Pass this on to everyone you know and reach out where you can. You can read more about Winnie's updates on my Facebook Page
You can also contact me, Coleen, at 510-908-1680
|Winnie and Greg, her foster Uncle.|
|Good night kiss.|
|What am I supposed to do with it now?|
|Please, just shoot my good side!|
|Every girl needs a bit of bling.|
|Is that biscuit for me?|
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Fourth of July. For us humans this day is filled with everything Americana. Corn on the cob, burgers, pie, ice cream, beer, parades, and to finish it all off, the glory and sparkle of fireworks crackling from the sky. Unfortunately for our four legged friends, nothing can be more harrowing than the sound and site of "The rockets red glare". If your pup suffers from the anxiety of this summertime holiday here are some tips for getting him or her ready for all the crazy that happens once the lights go down.
First thing first.
- Check your pets collar and ID make sure the tags are legible and are secured on their collars. Isabella's insurance provider, VPI, suggested using a clear coat of nail polish over tags to keep them bright and legible. If your animal has not been micro-chipped consider making an appointment with your vet to make that happen. Pets can sometime run off in flight when caught up in the noise and in the confusion it can cause. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
- Set up a safe haven area inside your home. If your dog is comfortable in a crate get it ready. You can chose to leave the door open or not, but keep their area small and in the quietest room in the house. Curtains/blinds closed and low lights.
- Have a couple of Kongs with kibble and cream cheese in the freezer to give them when you leave. Have music playing. Leeds and Wagner developed music specifically to calm dogs. It is very helpful and can be found at this link, Through a Dogs Ear.
- I have heard some very positive feedback from using the Thundershirt. Animal behaviorist, Patricia McConnell PhD writes, "The theory with wraps (originally developed by Linda Tellington of Tellington Touch) is that in a general sense, swaddling provides a sense of comfort and safety. More specificaally the speculation is that the continuous neuronal stimulation of the wrap on the dog's body at minimum distracts him from his fear (a process often called "overshadowing," in which one stimulus modality dominates an animal's nervous system) or at best, creates the production of endorphins that de-activate the amygdala and create a sense of calm". It stands to prove that we all feel better after a hug.
- Rescue Remedy is another good tool. It is the trademarked name of a combination of five Bach flower essences intended for use in emotional or psychological emergencies. It contains the essences of star of Bethlehem, rock rose, inpatients, cherry plum, and clematis. It is by far the most popular of the Bach preparations, and is available as a cream as well as in liquid form for internal use. A few drops an hour or two before the fireworks start can work wonders to keep your furry friend calm.
- If your dog enjoys the company of another dog make arrangements for that dog to come over and hang out. Studies show that dogs derive more comfort from their own kind in stressful situations. Things are always better when you have someone to share them with.
- Remember to never leave your dog outside on the night of fireworks!
- In extreme cases check with your vet for medication. The most important thing is safety, so do what you have to do to keep your dog safe.
If this still proves to be a stressful time for you and your dog, consider doing some counter classical conditioning to get ready for next year. You can find out more about this training on Patricia McConnell's site.
Okay now that we have all of that out of the way. Let's have some fun!
Get started early to wear your dog out! If you have the ability to spend the day doing fun and different things, perfect! The more senses you can engage the better. If you are unable to do that, hire a professional dog walker or find a reputable doggie day care. The idea is to have mental as well as physical stimulation throughout the day so by the time night falls and those fireworks start cracking your dog is just too tired out to care. A perfect day (so Isabella tells me) is picking up a couple of friends and heading out to the park or beach. Run, play, play, run. Repeat! Head out to your favorite spot and grab a Frosty Paw for Fido and a cappuccino for yourself, you'll need the extra boost, then off to the parade. Go to another park, more run, more play. Go to the pet supply store get a bath (Isabella doesn't like that part) and get some bones with the marrow in it, or a chewy. Go for a leash walk in a new (safe) neighborhood. Nothing like lots of new smells to get that brain engaged and tired. Home in time for dinner, into the safe room with treat filled Kongs, bones, music and a nice soft bed. If another dog is coming over, best not to leave food out unless they will be crated. We don't want any arguments over that nasty meaty bone!
A quick shower for you and your ready to head out for the evening festivities. That is if your not too tired out as well!
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Every Sunday morning I go out to the stables to see my beloved Amber. It’s always a flurry of activity to get out of the house. One Sunday morning I am running late. I have my bags, and boots in hand, I open my front door and sitting in front of me are 2 adorable fluffy dogs. I drop my things to say good morning. One is very friendly and the other is a bit cautious. I don’t see a person with them. So I lure them inside (unbeknownst to my husband) with treats, and put them downstairs in our laundry room with a big bowl of water. I go outside and look up and down the street. No one. In that short minute my husband went downstairs tripped over the big bowl of water. Now we have mud, water, puppy prints all over and... a very unhappy husband. When I come back, he is standing at the door with his look of (no we can’t keep them) on his face. The dogs begin to get restless and barky. I call the number on the tags (Milo rescue) it’s a voice mail. I am feeling my husbands glare to do something so I call a connection I have in the rescue world and she gives me the home number of the founder of Milo – who answers the phone when I call! YES!! I give her the ID number on the tags and she says she will check it out and call me back. 5 minutes later I get a call from the founder with the information. I get the address and phone number of the family. I call but no answer. I drive over to their house (which is on the other side of the freeway) and as I pull up in I see this frantic young couple rushing to their car. They had just heard my message and were coming to get their babies! They had let them out for the bathroom. They escaped and found their way to my front door. Kismet!
Skippy and Chula are now a part of the Very Important Pets family. They go out 1 day a week for socialization. Their first life was with someone who doted on them but did not socialize them. They were wonderful with people but very nasty around other dogs. When their first person died Milo took them in. They now have another loving home that understands the importance of socialization. Socialization makes a happier and healthier pet. Skippy and Chula now have a full life with outdoor excursions, mental stimulation, and exercise. Fast forward to June. Skippy and Chula have blossomed. They have funny little personalities. Skippy adores his sister and is happy go lucky on the trail. Chula used to hate her outings. She was like an old stable horse. I had to pull and tug her on the hike but when we headed back to the truck she was the first one there! Now it’s the other way around! She loves going for her walks and isn’t always ready to go back to the truck. It is so rewarding to see them become more confident and less fearful of other dogs. They are not interacting with other dogs in play yet but they are finally able to be in the company of dogs.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Earlier in the week I had an experience with my group that made me very uneasy. I was at the park with 4 small dogs when out of the blue a little boy yelled "Look! Dogs"! Suddenly we were surrounded by about 30 children all who were around 8 years old. The kids had name tags and looked to be part of some type of camp. I looked desperately for an adult but no one was close by. Fortunately all of my dogs were okay around children but I could tell they were a bit overwhelmed. Why not? We had 60 hands grabbing at us. Kids screaming and lots of excited chatter. There were a couple of boys trying to show off. They kept jumping and screeching towards the dogs. At first I remained calm and tried to get some order. "One at a time". "No jumping"." Don't touch". The dogs started getting nervous and they tried to hide behind me. They ended up wrapping their leashes in knots around my legs. I couldn't walk... Still no adults... The kids were still screeching... lunging... I couldn't move. I finally snapped and told the lunging octopus "BACK OFF"! My head spun "I SAID ONE AT A TIME" I spit out "DON'T TOUCH THEM". At last, the latte sipping teenage counselors appeared. Clueless. They stood and watched as I tried to get the leashes untangled. One young woman heard me snap at the octopus "STOP IT"! She finally got the hint and moved them along. Not to protect them from the stressed out barking dogs but from the weird lady that was screaming at the children. This video is a great depiction of what happens when kids just want to say "Hi".