Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Happy 4th of July for ALL of the Family.

        So as your making your plans for the 4th of July, you probably have it all laid out: the hotdogs, the hamburgers, cheese, onions, pickles, coke, coal for the fire, etc etc.  The 4th is a time of celebration and remembrance, but for  many pets it can be a time of stress. For some pet owners, it becomes a day of regret when a pet runs away, scared of fireworks, or is given a special treat which sends they precious pup to the emergency vet.

So, what can be done so the 4th of July is a fun day for the whole family? The following tips can help keep the whole family happy and healthy.

Which if these dishes will hurt your pet?
First, consider your food, This is a site which will tell you several plants and foods which are toxic to our best friends. Some of the food you might be considering serving might need to be "for people only."

Foods for Pets to Avoid: Avocado, any fruit with a pit, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, nutmeg, onions, and of course chocolate can all be very dangerous for your pup.

Additionally, large amounts of garlic, specific parts of tomatoes, potatoes, and rhubarb can be toxic. Also, one thing few people think of is any "sugar free" food; Artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol (in tea, soda, cookies, etc etc) can be toxic to your pet, so when in doubt, don't share! Also, remember grill scraps and pork can upset stomachs (and possibly cause pancreatitis) so again, no sharing.

If you really would like to share a special treat with your pooch, consider some plain white rice, boiled chicken, or making a pet safe homemade dog cookie in a patriotic shape like a star, or make them some "doggy ice cream." Here are two sites which have some pet safe recipes (I would avoid anything involving bacon: DIY Dog Treats and Created by Diane: Pet Treats.
We would like to think the 4th is
a fun time for our pets,
for many, it is terrifying.

Next up, the Fireworks!
We would like to think that our pets would enjoy sitting outside and watching the fireworks with us under a beautiful night sky... This, however, is not always the case. May dogs become frightened by the flashes of light and loud booms. The number of lost pets rises 30% around the 4th of July, and on average, only 14% are returned to their owners... Don't let your pet be a statistic!

Some Basic Precautions should be taken to protect your pet.
  1. Have a Visible ID Tag - make sure the ID tag has your name, your pet's name, your phone number, and other identifying information on it. Make sure the tag is well secured to a strong and durable collar (no chewed marks, no frays).
  2. Get a MicroChip - A vet or shelter can chip your pet. It is a very quick procedure, minimal pain (like that of a shot) and it is a permanent way to have your pet identified, even if there is no collar on them (or if someone steals your dog). Make sure the information associated with the chip is up to date and the phone number is correct.
  3. Bring Them Inside - A panicked pet will find a way out of a yard. It is safer to have your pet inside in a safe and secure location, than outside with all the noise of fireworks.
  4. Have a Kennel - I understand many people do not want to crate their pets, however, when a pet is scared they may chew, dig, bark, and bolt. Protect your pet and your home by having a crate ready if things get intense. You can put a blanket/towel and some toys in if that helps.  If you have company over who will be coming in and out of the house, a Kennel can ensure your dog doesn't slip through a door.
What can you do to help a frightened pet feel safe?
If you know your dog is afraid of thunder or fireworks, there are a few options to Help Them Cope With Their Fears. 
  1. Play Calming Music - I have a CD of classical piano music which I take on every dog transport for the same reason you should have it for the 4th of July: it is calming, and can drone out other noise. You can get a cheap one at Walmart or a dollar store. You could also turn on the TV (there are music channels too!) or use a white noise machine.
  2. Medication - If you know your dog has some serious issues with anxiety, talk to your vet. They might be able to prescribe a sedative which can help your pup calm down and not get too upset.
  3. ThunderShirt - A ThunderShirt uses compression to calm pups and several people have reported success with it. You can get them at some pet stores and at Bed Bath and Beyond.
  4. Relaxing Treats - More and more often there are treats on the market similar to Blue Tranquility Treats which contain relaxing ingredients like lavender and chamomile. I have an 80lb dog and 1/2 a treat takes the edge off, a whole one knocks her out. If you have a small dog, start with a small piece (like a 1/4 of a treat).  There are other brands, but make sure they have a good track record. Many chicken treats have been linked to salmonella issues.
  5. Thinking Toys - These will keep your pet busy and distracted. You can hit them with a double whammy by putting the relaxing treats in the toys. We have a Kong Wobbler and it keeps our girl intensely busy.
  6. Use Your Voice - You are often a source of security for your pet. Talk to them calmly.
  7. Act Natural - If you freak out, your pet will freak out. Be your normal self, and possibly even play with your pet to make the noisy time more positive. Remember, Safety First.
  8. Hide It - Close the blinds and doors so your pet can't see the outside. Sometimes it is simply "out of sight out of mind." Also, if there is a part of the house which is more insulated from the sound, let them stay there.
  9. Go "Dog Counselor" on Your Dog - You can work on desensitizing your dog to the sound of fireworks. Get a good recording of a firework show and play it softly at first while your dog gets to eat, play, etc. Slowly increase the volume over time until your dog is accustom to the sounds.
A little planning can go a long way. Bellow is an info-graphic about how the days surrounding the 4th can affect the pet population and shelters. Don't let your best friend become a statistic.  

By getting your pet and home ready you can make sure the 4th is a safe an happy time 
for everyone in the family.

Photo/Image Credit to

  1. July 4th Fireworks – Keeping Your Pet Safe
  2. PRWeb: More Pets Are Lost on July 4th Than Any Other Time; What To Do  
  3. American Kennel Club: Pet-Friendly Fourth Of July Tips  
  4. Cesar’s Tips: Fourth of July 
  5. Dogster: Poisonous Plants and Foods for Dogs 
  6. Kong: Interactive Dog Toys 
  7. ThunderShirt 
  8. Romp Italian Greyhound Rescue Chicago: Homemade Dog treats 
  9. Created By Diane: Pets 
  10. BLUE Tranquility Tasty Chicken Natural Jerky Dog Treat 
  11. Google Images

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"I couldn't do what you do!"

"I couldn't do what you do" - Those 6 words (or 7 words) are something I hear on a regular basis. My friends, family, and others in rescue have all said this at some point... -Heck I've said it. I Love doing transport, but I couldn't be a foster (yet); partly because of my living situation and partly because I get attached too easily.

In the beginning, as a transporter, I got VERY attached to each little transportee. I loved Buddy, barely let go of Popcorn, and Mosey... Oh Mosey I could have kidnapped her, Precious! An Joey? Heck he had nothing when he came on transport so I bought him the blue collar and leash you see in his pictures.

I got into transporting because I couldn't have a dog. I stuck with it after getting a dog because I loved it too much to let it go.

Too often I hear people who are hesitant to help with rescue because it can be painful, and they're right. For all the happy stories we have, there are just as many stories where we were too late, or couldn't get transport, or got the pup and then couldn't save them due to health issues. Even just being a transporter I got attached. On a transport I assisted with I ran in to Charlotte and Katie. Charlotte had 5 babies and Katie was secretly smuggling 9 more.

#7 of 9 - had a tiny white heart mark right on her butt.

The first dog we ever lost (of the ones I helped with) was one of Katie's nine babies... little number 7. She was only about a week old and had a little heart mark on her back. It was like God knew she'd need a little extra help. She had a cleft palate that didn't allow her to eat effectively and surgery at such a young age could be life threatening. We let her go at only a week old so she wouldn't suffer. I cried like a baby. She only had 7 days of life, how is that fair!? I was mad, not at rescue and not at the decision, but mad that things like this happen.


Then there was Charlotte's baby girl, Brie. She was being spayed so she could go to her forever home (who were so excited about having her home). I had helped carry her to her transport car and took pictures and videos of her. Precious! ...Brie never woke up from the anesthesia...   Everything went fine in surgery, the anesthesia just never wore off... she reacted badly and passed quietly in her sleep. She had survived a shelter, a long transport, a second shorter one, and surgery ... she had a home and a sweet family waiting for her... and she just slipped away... Losing Brie was almost harder than losing #7 because I'd held her when she was just a wiggly grunting baby. Again, the hurt and the anger- how do things like this happen!?

Well, it took a while for me to come to terms with this, but here is the fact of the matter. For the week 7 lived she was loved like none other and we fought for her as long as she had the will to live, and when she didn't, we let her go so she didn't have to suffer and slowly starve to death (the fate she would have faced without help). And Brie? She was loved by many and her loss was out of anyone's hands. There was no "choice" to let her go, she just went. It is a fact of life that anyone who owns or cares for any living being faces every day. Without our help Katie and Charlotte and those pups would likely be dead. So we lost 2 but saved 15. It doesn't make the loss of the 2 hurt less, but the joy of the 15 (now all in loving homes and doing well) helps heal the wound.

That's the thing about rescue. It can be a very fragile act, and have heart wrenching consequences. You can do you absolute best and still lose. Heck, it wasn't until Bart was in the car with me that we realized how sick he was, and as I floored it to our vet.

I knew his Parvo test would probably be positive, and that meant that this sweet little collie puppy could die, possible before dawn, but I still talked sweetly to him and carried him close to my heart as we ran in to the vet because I knew as scared as I was and as sad as I was, HE was the one fighting for his life, and I was gonna do everything in my power to fight with him, and encourage him to keep on fighting. I won't lie, I still cried when I heard the test was positive, and slept poorly until I heard he'd made it through the night, but all of that is part of rescue.

Bart Lived. He kicked Parvo's butt and Pneumonia too! He is now huge and stunning! His success story makes the losses and yes, sometimes the returns, easier to deal with.

Then there was Courage, who came in with Katie, Charlotte, (all the pups), and Madigan. He was so sick, and tired, and scared that he just quit on us.

He lay down in the dirt, clinging to the earth, and refused to move. It was as if he just said, "That's it, life sucks and I am resigned to just stay here and die." Heck I carried him to the car too and he kicked me in the face as if he were kicking and screaming "No! Put me back down! Just let me die already!"

Well we're not called "rescue" because we're in the business of quitting and thank God for that, Courage is now Captain Courage and enjoys boating on the weekend!

So am I saying "Heck yes, anyone can do what I do, and MORE!" Well, No. Transporting isn't for everyone. You see a lot of dogs and do a small service for each. Maybe you need a more involved step, like foster, or a less involved step, like event planning or just volunteering as a weekend walker or even a cross poster who posts shelter dogs pages to rescue pages which might be interested. Maybe you simply have some supplies that a rescue might be able to use (dog supplies, office supplies, or cleaning supplies for example). There are plenty of jobs that rescues need help with.

Here are two links that give examples of how you can help:
So maybe your right and couldn't do what I do. That doesn't mean you can't work in rescue. And yes, it can be heart breaking, but the joy of the happy endings is SO worth it. For example, although I have told you 2 stories which ended in losing a dog, I have transported 53 dogs (not counting the assists) and all are in happy forever homes. It is worth it, THEY are worth it, and without rescues and adopters, all of them wouldn't be here today.

So next time, before you say "I couldn't do what you do" consider this, 
If you can't do what that person does, what can you do?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Petfinder Blog: Tips for traveling with your pets

Here's What You Said: Tips for traveling with your pets

By Joan, staff writer
Posted July 23, 2012 10:00 AM

In June we asked you how you meet the challenges of traveling with your pets. Here are some of the responses we received.

Finding pet-friendly accommodations
Several of you mentioned that you find pet-friendly accommodations, including campgrounds, thanks to websites like and A web search on "pet-friendly motels (or hotels)" will turn up other options.

Others of you were specific, recommending Motel 6, La Quinta and Kimpton hotels (in larger cities). "Kimpton is totally pet friendly," says Michelle, "even welcoming my Yorkie with treats and a toy!" Marriott Residence Inns, she says, are pet friendly but there's an extra charge.

Some of you also travel in motorhomes, which simplifies stopping for the night with a pet.

Keeping your pet safe in the car
What about the hours on the road? Many of you harness or otherwise secure your pets in the car, for instance, in tied-down crates, to protect them in the same way you protect the rest of your family. (New Jersey's Click It or Ticket law now includes pets. If you are pulled over and have an unrestrained animal in your vehicle, you can face a fine of $250 to $1,000.)

We at Petfinder recommend restraints, but know, too, that not everyone follows what is definitely the "best" practice. Many of you praised your vans and motor homes for giving your pets room to roam during trips.

Beth uses a pet hammock that bridges the gap between the front and back seats to keep her pets from falling if there's a sudden stop. There are also "bridges" that do the same thing. Both hammocks and bridges can be used in conjunction with physical restraints like harnesses.

Preparing your pet for the trip
Some pets aren't too into traveling. Practice runs before the trip may help, Nicole says. In this way pets get accustomed to the car. She also uses Bach's Rescue Remedy for Pets.

Like Nicole, Annabel uses a calming aid for her Pomeranian, who has anxiety issues. He likes a soft blanket on the floor of the car. She thinks the vibrations are soothing. Jen finds that a Thundershirt helps her pet cope.

Many of you, like Brian, suggest bringing your pets' favorite things on trips -- blankets and toys -- to make your pet feel comfortable. Brian also plays easy listening music, keeping things low key, he says.

Others suggested that you make sure your pets have visible identification tags on their collars and are microchipped, just in case you and they get separated. It's a good idea to carry their immunization records along as well. You can make copies of these and keep one in each of your cars.

Taking people and pet breaks
Plenty of exercise breaks will make traveling easier. Billie travels long distances with three dogs and stops at trucks stops and "Welcome Centers" because both usually have large grassy areas for exercising her pets. Because she can't walk all three at once, she has two sets of car keys so on hot days she can keep the car air conditioned while walking the pets individually. To avoid upsetting her pets' stomachs, she carries water from home in a gallon jug so that her pets don't have to drink water from different areas.

Finding pet-friendly places to eat
Eating out may be the biggest challenge when traveling because it's not safe to leave your pet in a closed up car in hot or cold weather. In the winter, Judy and her husband usually eat fast food in the car at noon or bring carry-out food to a motel after a day of driving. In the summer, they buy deli foods, find a park and have a picnic or search out restaurants with outdoor seating where pets are welcome. Once again, the motorhome vagabonds have it easy.

Dragging a big bag of food out of the car when you stop for the night can be a pain, so Linda portions out meals in plastic bags for the entire trip.

It's getting more convenient to travel with pets as new products are developed and businesses are becoming more aware that pets are part of our families. We want the welcome mat to be out.

This article came directly from the Petfinder Blog.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Publix Paws Post - Monthly Pet Tips

Have dog? Have cat? Will travel!

Ready for a summer vacation? Maybe your pet is, too! 
As you make plans, include preparations that will allow your pet to come along.

Start with a health check. Have your veterinarian clear your pet for travel and make sure all vaccinations and medications are up-to-date. If you're flying, the airline will require health certification from your vet; confirm details with your airline prior to your visit so you can request the right documentation.

The Check-in desk at a local Marriott
Plan your stay. Next, consider accommodations. If you’ll be visiting family or friends, have a frank conversation to be sure your pet is welcome. If you're staying at a hotel along the way, or at your destination, you'll need to confirm that your hotel is pet-friendly. Also ask if there are any additional fees for your pet. A quick Google search (start with "pet-friendly hotels") can help you find your ideal situation, whether that means a hotel that merely welcomes your pet, or one that pampers him.

Map your route.
Now consider transportation. Driving? How does your pet like the car? If he doesn’t take many rides, start to acclimate him now with drives around and out of town. You’ll also need a comfortable crate that will keep your pet secure during the drive. Get him used to the crate before you depart on vacation.

Flying? The earlier you plan, the better. Bringing your pet on a flight—in cargo, or in the cabin with you—requires meeting your airline's specific requirements. Check with your airline to confirm all details, including crating specifications, required heath documentation, certification of ownership, prohibited breeds, and to understand anything else that could impact your plans—for instance, most airlines impose temperature restrictions to protect pets flying in cargo. Generally, if the arrival or departure airport forecast is for temperatures exceeding 84 degrees, your pet won't be allowed to fly cargo. To avoid heat issues if your pet is flying cargo, you may need to schedule early morning or evening flights, or plan your vacation to a cooler locale.

Time to pack. When it's time to get everything together, consider what your pet will need en route as well as at your destination. A crated pet will enjoy having a few favorite things, like a blanket or toy, in the crate. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water enroute. Pack a leash and waste bags for pit stops and walking breaks. Bring along a first aid kit, and any medication your pet needs. And pack enough food for the duration of the vacation, in case your pet's brand is not available. Some extra towels come in handy for wiping off muddy paws.

Keep a close eye on your pet. Make sure she's on a leash when she's outside. In addition to her regular tags, attach a temporary tag that will direct her back to you at your destination location. Unless you are certain about her temperament, be cautious about leaving your pet alone in your hotel room or vacation home. Even a well-behaved pet could act out and cause damage in an unfamiliar situation.

Finally, if you're pondering where to go, an internet search of "pet-friendly cities" will give you tons of ideas. You'll find all kinds of pet-friendly beaches, restaurants, parks and other attractions that will make vacationing this summer with your pet a treat for both of you.

This article came directly from the Publix Paws Website.
Please consider joining their email program for coupons, pet tips, and more helpful information!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Heart of Rescue

What is the heart of rescue?

Everyday, since beginning to volunteer as a rescue transporter (and general supporter of a rescue group) I  see pictures of loving animals sitting in shelters, waiting for something to happen.

There is one outcome, someone will come for them.
That's right, every single dog. There is a catch however. The catch is whether that the person who comes for this dog works for the shelter or not. If they work for the shelter, this poor person has to take the dog on their last walk, this is shelter life.

Shelter life doesn't care if the dog is healthy or not, it doesn't care if they are 8 weeks or 8 years. Shelter life operates on one thing, Time.

It is the one gift and curse each dog is given, Time, and in shelters it is a VERY limited commodity. Dogs are either adopted or rescued in the time they have, or their time runs out, and in a story repeated hundreds if not thousands of times per day, the dog is walked out of their cage, and never returns.

Here I must apologize, because I have given your name, your identity, to a thief. Well, perhaps not a thief, but all the same, this thing now knows you as it has known me for a while now. It is the heart of rescue.

Either by reading this, or seeing a picture of a dog in need, or just by visiting a shelter while looking for a pet, the heart of rescue will find you and will ask for one tiny piece of your heart. Not a lot mind you, just one little piece. 

It might be in the form of a donation to a shelter, or adopting your next pet instead of buying them, or transporting a pet to a rescue, or fostering one, or maybe simply by reposting the picture of a dog in need (or any of the other animals waiting for homes) or passing on an email, but all the same, you will feel, deep in your heart, a tiny pain. 

A twinge of pain about the suffering our best friends are facing. This pain is the heart of rescue preparing to collect it's tiny piece, all you have to do, is one thing. Just one. Share the picture, drive an hour in the car, open your home or maybe your wallet but there is some, single, special way you can help and it involves giving up this one little resource, and a little piece of your heart.

This one little piece, from each person, will come together, and with all those little pieces it forms one heart. This is the heart of rescue, and it is incredibly powerful! 

It is the force that helps thousands of dogs escape the shelter, sometimes with seconds to spare. It is that voice in your head screaming to pull over when you see a lost dog on the side of the road. It can rescue a dog from near death in Georgia, bring them to Florida, and then send them to Canada where one person is waiting to give their one piece of the heart and a home to a dog who will never be abandoned again.

The heart is like a bank loan.
You give it your little piece, and it takes it for a while, but then it pays you back. You see photos of the dog in their new home, you hear how your donation helped a dog escape in the nick of time, or you know, deep down in your heart, that your one little piece, for one little life, mattered.

If you are anything like me, at this point, you might be reaching for the hammer and chisel because after I experienced this for the first time, I was ready to give about a thousand pieces of my heart. To some extent I have and some of them... some of them will remain holes in my heart.

I gave a piece of my heart to Elvis, a puppy who never made it out and whose face I can still see every time I shut my eyes... to a litter of puppies who were never born because the shelter aborted them all, within days of their impending birth. Those little holes will remain, and I am thankful for that.

The holes remind you that the problem still exists. Thousands of perfectly adoptable dogs will die this month because there was simply not enough time, not enough homes, not enough pieces to help the heart of rescue pull them from the shelter. The holes push you to give just one more piece. One more "share" on Facebook, one more mile in the car, one more bit of love. Lives hang in the balance, waiting, holding on to what little time they have left. Maybe you can feel the twinge, it hurts, and sometimes it can hurt a lot, but it is worth it, they are worth it.

This year as we make our Christmas lists, 
Please, remember that a shelter dog has only one thing on his or her list... 

To Live.

I'll donate a piece of my heart to that.

This post was inspired by the following Video:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Musical Inspiration - The Change - Garth Brooks

The Change - Garth Brooks
One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It's like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

This heart
Still believes
The love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It's like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss

And I hear them saying you'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

As long as one heart still holds on
Then hope is never really gone

I hear them saying you'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world we know
Never changes me

What I do is so
This world will know
That it will not change me