Ok so maybe not chickens – but how about puppies?? I took my sister in law with me yesterday to walk some wonderful dogs at the SPCA. I was reminded that Spring also means an influx of puppies to the shelter. Once we were finished walking our big guys, we treated ourselves with a walk through the puppy room and saw these little angels.
As most of you know, Puppies need to be socialized. It’s so important for them to experience a variety of people early on. I’ve even heard a raw statistic that a puppy between 3 and 6 months should meet 100 people, and have a positive experience with every single one. This will help them be less fearful or nervous later on in life. A balanced dog, can be a wonderful thing. So why not start with them when they are at the SPCA.
“As the weeks go by, exposure to a variety of experiences is crucial to his becoming a well-rounded adult. Studies have shown that a puppy’s experiences in the first three months of life strongly influence what kind of companion he will grow to be and how he will react to the world. ” – AKC
Early socialization is a vital piece of a puppies’ life. I took full advantage yesterday. We played and took these little angels for a walk, hoping to encounter many people along the way. Of course, then we treated ourselves to some snuggles and play time in the front yard.
These little guys are Shepherd/Border Collie mixes. Huge paws and beautiful brown eyes. My heart melts everytime I see them. Need I remind you that “Puppy Therapy” is the very best kind there is?
You’ve all been patiently waiting to hear who my newest boarder is. So without further ado, meet Richard (aka – Great News: Part 2) !
Richard is Newton’s brother, former play buddy and identical personality twin. Newton was boarded at his house when we traveled. When his owner asked me to board him for a week or two, I tried to hold back tears. I couldn’t.
They were tears of happiness.
If I’m being honest – our house feels like a home again with a Bernese visitor in it. I love all of my boarders, but this one is obviously a bit more emotional for me.
“There’s something about being greeted at the door by a giant black and white panda bear, full of fur and drool, that warms my heart.”
I see Richard, and am reminded of Newton – This time in a positive light. Great memories pour in as I enjoy my time with him. I am reminded of why I fell in love with Newton in the first place, and also the breed. Those big goofy eyes, giant paws and furry faces exude love. What better therapy is there then that?
You should my other two little fur kids faces!. It was like Christmas morning when Richard breezed through the house. Frankie and Stewart were greeted with “cat baths” from him, which Stewart begrudgingly accepted and Frankie loved (and now receives a few times a day). Now Frank “the Tank” has turned into Richard’s shadow, which I find amazingly adorable.
I honestly wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but happy we were open to the opportunity. I’ve found comfort and joy in being around other dogs (fostering, boarding and training can be healthy and healing – when you’re ready!). It makes me aware that a new addition would not take the place of Newton in our hearts, as we have room for more. I wasn’t convinced of that a week ago.
I continue to miss Newton every single day, which I don’t expect to change. Grief, after all, does not have an expiration date.
My advice if you’re feeling down? Find a cool pup that enjoys a snuggle or two.
A huge thanks to Richards parents for entrusting us for the next little while with this wonderful fur kid, stay tuned for more pics and posts to come 🙂
I’ve been so busy with my new boarding business and renovating my flooded basement, that I am just getting to this now. Apologies, as my timeliness is not representing how humbled and honored I am by receiving this award!
I’ve still been falling in love dog walking at the SPCA 3-4 times a week, plus taking on boarders. *SPOILER ALERT* I cannot wait to share who I get to spend my time with next week!
Today I am thanking blogger K9 Harper Lee for The Missy Award Nomination. If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, she’s an incredibly talented and charismatic Golden Retriever. She also has a great sense of humor – what a gem. Make sure to check this blog out!
The Missy Award is presented to bloggers who support and advocate for animals, either as the main focus of their blog or in a single blog post. The nominated bloggers can be animal lovers, vegetarians, vegans, rescue workers . . . doesn’t matter . . . it’s all about the animals.
The rules for this one are pretty simple:
You must post the award picture on your blog. (Who doesn’t love putting award pictures on their blog?)
And answer these two questions: What inspires you to write? Why do you love animals?
Nominate other worthy bloggers (whatever number you’d like), or you can simply accept the award and complete only Steps 1, 2, and 3.
Finally, please let your nominees know you nominated them.
Q – What inspires me to write?
A – That’s easy. My big hearted, gentle giant that we sadly lost to Chronic Kidney Disease – Newton.
Newton was only 2.5 years old when I said goodbye last December. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I miss him every day. We tried everything to keep him with us longer. We had a week after his diagnosis to bring him home and give him his perfect day – every day. We recognized the signs he was giving us, and knew it was time.
Every day, I remind myself what he was all about – Love, Patience and Joy. I learned life lessons from my furry kid, and I have also turned them into my life’s mission statement. I started working with rescue dogs – training, walking and grooming. Then I opened my home to boarding other peoples’ dogs who want a home away from their own. I’m healing, and surrounding myself with “pawesome” animals plays a huge part in the process.
Q – Why do you love animals?
A – Easy, because they represent the best pieces of humanity. I think we can learn a lot from our canine and feline friends. We just have to listen. Too deep? Then how about this – I think getting to know their quirky, amazing and adorable personalities can be an amazing process. The animals I hang out with make me laugh on a daily basis. Laughing is great food for the soul.
Now for my nominees:
1. Oh Melvin (and Yo Jake) – a blog about the unlikely canine couple who found themselves brothers. Their owner writes about life with two hilarious rescue dogs, one of whom has severe allergies. Their owner tackles issues like socialization, food allergies and training. Talk about loving animals and making it work at all costs – She’s the real deal. You can feel the love between the three of them!
2. Peace. Love and Fostering – I think the name of her blog says it all. This blog highlights the stories of the amazing Pitbull fosters she opens her doors to. She also adds her wisdom and experience throughout. I eventually see myself getting into Foster Care, and she is an inspiration. Talk about someone who LOVES animals. This is it!
Sidenote – I’ve personally fell in love with Johnnie and cannot wait to see the progress of finding her a forever home!
3. Gardens for Goldens – I’m not ashamed to say I had tears the first time I found this blog. Gardens for Goldens is amazing, it’s all about creating a memorial garden for rescue Golden Retrievers. Through this story of a rescued garden, GFG hopes to share the love for rescue! A beautiful tribute, please check it out!
I also want to thank all of you for all your love, advocation, commitment and passion when it comes to the protection of distressed and homeless animals. All of your blogs inspire me on a daily basis. Thank you for that.
Beyond that, many of you have shared your own wisdom, encouragement and thoughts with me. I am beyond thankful to be a part of this wonderful community. I also nominate each one of YOU for this award!
Strange as I usually do not get a lot of visitors of the two-legged kind….
My neighbor and his 8 month old puppy, Gus, were standing there when I opened the door. He just been called into work for the day for an emergency. With his wife away, they didn’t want to leave Gus alone for the entire day.
I appreciated the hound-dog look on both faces. Let’s be realistic though – hangouts with a puppy? Yes please.
Gus is a pretty lucky duck dog. He has two wonderful owners who truly appreciate him. They experienced a similar loss to us, with their 3 year old Chocolate lab early last year. They took the time they needed, and then happily brought rescue puppy Gus into their lives last fall. Gus’s feline brother from another mama. “Beau” is featured below. He adores dogs, so much that he ensures to go visit them all in our neighborhood – whether they reciprocate his love or not.
Hang-outs with Gus reminded me why puppies are fantastic – once again.
They inject an air of goofy happiness that never ceases to amaze me. They also help reinforce important life lessons like…
There’s something to be said about being a doggie mama.
It’s an identity.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has remembered me because of my dog. I know they have no hope of ever remembering my name.. but my dog? Always! My feelings weren’t hurt. I’d prefer him too – look at that FACE!
I adored being “Newton’s mom”. The name itself implied an ownership and and truly personal relationship – meaning I was his, and he was mine. How much better does it get then that?
The same is said in reverse. I know most of dogs around our neighborhood by sight, I’d probably know most of their names and MIGHT even know which house they belong to. However, to tell you the names of their humans could be a downright impossible task if I was ever asked. I’d cheat and look for the last name on their mailbox and then add a Mr or Mrs in front of it – cheating?? Never 🙂
I have a few friends that do not understand this reference to “Doggie mama”, “Fur-child”, “Grand-puppies” and “fur-babies”. They don’t believe in the wonderful world of doggie daycare, socialization or playdates for creatures with four legs. They automatically raise their hackles and call me out on it. I don’t fight them on it – but really why can’t I be considered a doggie mama? I don’t fully understand this nerve that I’ve hit – maybe because I don’t have kids? I do have friends who have kids and adore their dogs – and even have said in the past – “I have 5 kids, whether they have two or four legs is irrelevant”. Love this gal.
So in trying to get to the root of the issue as it’s hard for me to see the other side – Is it because I’m putting my dog on the same level as their child by putting them in the same category as “child”? I’m not trying to say that raising a dog is exactly like raising a child. There are MANY differences, I get it. There are also similarities too. Gone are the days where a dog is JUST a dog. Taking into consideration what being a mother means, why can’t we call ourselves “mamas” or “papas”? It is indeed a giant job, a huge undertaking that I know all of you understand. When you decide to bring a dog into your life, It’s a vast spectrum encompassing love, patience and understanding. Why can’t you be considered a mama if it’s in reference to rearing a dog?
To me a mother is the woman who raises you, who is there for you to comfort you when you are sick or hurt, the woman who laughs with you, who cries with you, who loves you, even when you aren’t exactly lovable and forget all the hours, days and weeks of training. I’d do all of these things for my dog, again and again. In the end, as a dog mama or papa we ultimately have to make the toughest final decision of all, and place their needs leaps and bounds beyond our own.
“There are many definitions of the word mother, and many are applicable. Only those with “closed eyes” can’t see that there are many meanings to “mother.” A person who gives birth is a mother. A person who raises a child is mother. A person who loves and cares for a child is a mother…etc. Mother Theresa was a “mother” to thousands of poor children. It is not an all-or-nothing word….it is a spectrum.”
As most of you know, I love being around dogs, but there’s just something about being a doggie mama that really feels right. Nothing quite prepares you for the first burst of pride when your dog is FINALLY behaving out in public and someone compliments you on your dog. Or you see your dog land a trick you’ve been training for OR you see your dog do something that’s amazingly sweet and unscripted – like this:
It’s something I feel only a parent can feel – whether it has two or four legs is, as a friend said, is irrelevant.
Parental pride and love, people, is a thing of beauty.
Enjoy being a doggie mama (or papa), as it goes by all too fast. I can’t wait to become a doggie mama again – I might just get it embroidered on a sweater 🙂
It’s because I was busy with my first boarder – this sweet pea!!
Yep – I said boarder. I’m in the animal biz somewhat “officially” now as a one-dog -at-a-time kennel/boarding facility. I made the waiver and dog info forms, had a lawyer review and we’re here! We have the space, a fenced yard and the time – so why not?
Merit’s an 8 year old Golden Retriever with a heart full of gold (sorry for the age disclosure dear Merit – its just a number anyway!).
We started by having a trial day two weeks ago to see if she got along with my two rescue cats.
Since we’ve opened our home to accepting boarders, I had an overwhelming response. My March and April are almost completely booked up. I do only take one dog at a time as I still work my 9-5. I want to ensure my full attention is on our new friend.
We have a kennel/crate area set up in one room and require a trial day ahead of time to ensure the dog to get along with cats.
As most of you know, we’re not open yet to owning as we’re still healing. This, like dog walking at the Shelter, is a great option with staying connected to furry friends. My Mr. and I agree, it’s amazingly nice to have a pup around again. We’ve agreed that fostering is a good next step for us, at some point 🙂
We’ve taken time this week to reflect on how our Newton would have loved her. Her gentle and loving nature reminded me a lot of him.
Merit’s also won over my Mr. He’s been home off work from Thursday until Monday, and spending most of his time with her. Here’s the evidence he’s found love with another woman 🙂
We’ve had a ton of fun this past week. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, spent more time outside (as naturally Merit prefers two walks a day, with a longer off-leash hike on the weekends) and tons of puppy snuggles. Proving our theory that “fur-therapy” really is the very best kind.
I’m going to change the pace and write something that will hopefully give you happy tears for a change – Imagine!
This weekend I had the pleasure of volunteering at an Adopt-a-thon. PetSmart and SPCA teamed up all weekend long to host PetSmart – NB’s first ever Adopt-a-thon – How exciting! We paired experienced SPCA volunteer handlers with an adoptable dog to create an interactive experience. There were also four SPCA cats up for adoption – you should see their adoption space, there’s even a play space in the back!
PetSmart partners with non-profit animal shelters like the SPCA to create an interactive space for adoptable animals. Plus, they get tons more animal lovers coming through naturally. Our hope was to expose these little fur babies to a great experience and more – people who may be interested in giving them their forever home.
I believe PetSmart is only in Canada/US. Here’s a bit of background for my European/Aussie peeps! They are an all-in-one pet warehouse where they welcome you to come shop WITH your pet! Some locations may also have some of the following: Grooming, Overnight boarding, Training and Doggie Daycare. I’m usually all for supporting the little guy – i.e. small business, but I love me some PetSmart!
Back to the Adopt-a-thon!
To reduce the amount of returns completed like a Wal-Mart customer service desk, we ask a lot of questions up front. After all, we hope for a forever home, not a weekend stay.
Temperament testing sheets were available
Vaccinations were up to date
Volunteers were on hand to call references immediately (including 3 non family members and current/past vet contact)
Training: PetSmart trainers were present to speak to potential owners about helpful hints on whatever concerns they had. They also volunteered to help socialize any new adoptees to any new furry brothers/sisters.
Second thoughts? We were urged to tell people to think it through, take the night to think it through or bring their families in for a second visit.
Financials – PetSmart had these savvy sheets that outlined financial costs associated with dog ownership.
Spaying contracts – As all the dogs had been neutered we did not require spaying contracts to be signed.
We were ready. Doors opened, and it was time.
Meet the dogs
I had a lovely 8 year old German Shepherd named Chance – appropriately named! His family had him for 8 years before surrendering him due to moving. A sad story, and one seen too often.
Chances new parents saw him, and we took him for a walk outside together. I heard their story. They only adopt Senior’s, and call themselves the “Golden Oldies”. They’re mission is inspiring. They adopt Senior dogs and cats and give them a safe and happy place to live out their golden years. How AMAZING is that?
Chance had never lived with other animals before. They currently owned a 9 year old Bernese Mountain dog (*sigh*), a 7 year old Shepherd mix and 2 cats (14 and 16 years) on 20 beautiful acres of country space. Once we called their references, including their current vet, Chance went home with them. The lovely couple brought all 3 dogs in later the afternoon for a bath, so we got to see him again. Who doesn’t love a SPA DAY! They said Chance went into the house, sniffed everyone, grabbed a football and jumped up on the couch to have a nap.
Enjoy your new home my friend!
This little lovebug is 3 year old Lab/Retriever/Shepherd mix Mishka. Mishka’s been with us since November. She’s a sweetheart, with the focus and smarts of a Shepherd. What a terrific combo.
Mishka was found as a stray. Posters were put up, she was announced on the radio and a profile was made on the SPCA website and Facebook page. No responses. During testing, we found she can be slightly reactive to other dogs, but appeared fine other then that.
Mishka’s new family had been looking for a puppy. When they came in for catfood, they took home more then they had initially planned on. The connection they had was instantaneous. They’re references checked out, they had budgeted appropriately and their vet gave a glowing report! Mishka was adopted!
They also bought adult training sessions for Mishka to start working on her reactive nature, starting this week. Wins and tail wags for all.
I know I’m not supposed to play favorites, but too bad – he’s it!
This dog has a better resume then I do! Pepsi is also our longest resident. He’s been with us since June 2012. He had been microchipped and spayed – proving he had been taken care of once. His family was contacted and they said they do not have the time/energy and did not want him back. He found the shelter a highly stressful environment and was put into a Foster home in December. Pepsi has come a LONG way. He’s extremely social and loves people and big dogs.
One small fault – Pepsi tries to herd anything smaller then him – it’s the Border Collie in him. What a great agility dog he would be!
-Border Collie/Lab mix
– 3 year old
– High Energy
– SMART! This dog learned sit, sit/stay for 10 mins, down, paw, dance, crawl and beg in the matter of a 2 month span.
Pepsi did not get adopted, but is still looking for his forever home. I added him into the mix as I adored working with him and I wanted to showcase how amazing Foster Care can be. What a difference to the anxious dog I met months earlier.
These were the three dogs that I worked with during Saturday/Sunday. There were many others in attendance – Here are just a few others!
I’m proud to say that all in all, 8 new furry family members are sleeping in warm new beds as of Sunday. Meeting all these families first hand, I have no doubts that they will be amazing parents. It was an amazing experience to participate in.
I know all over Canada and the US, most PetSmart’s are partnership with a local Animal Shelter of their choice.
If you’re interested in participating – please do not hesitate to contact your local PetSmart to find out more.
Thanks for reading !
*If you’re interested in any of the other dogs listed, please see monctonspca.ca for more information!
When your family loses a pet, your ENTIRE family loses a pet. Not just your two footed bi-ped members, but your furry four footed ones as well. The purpose of my writing today – a friendly reminder to take care of your furry friends (as well as yourself) during this very tough time.
I’m ashamed to say that when we first lost Newton, I was so lost in my own anguish that I forgot this all important thought.
Of course, I kept up with their daily routine and was a good parent – but not a present one. I was stuck in a self-centered sad bubble of a life for a little while. Thankfully I went home to my parents at Christmas time to drink a lot of wine and cry heal. This was a change of pace for Stewart and Frankie and they got a ton of attention they so deserved.
2. a cause of distress (as an unsatisfactory working condition) felt to afford reason for coplaint or resistance
Obsolete, so final and definitive. Exactly how I felt.
The point I’m getting at is that for those first few weeks, I was lost. I was grasping for reason, some semblance of normalcy. I’m not beating myself up about this, as I was learning my way. Nonetheless what I should have been was a better, and more present Momma, to the two wonderful fur kids I still had.
To help give you some understanding of our story, I’ll share a little bit about my two lovely fur-kids.
The story of Stewart and Frank “the tank”
Stewart has always been the more resilient of the two. We had him from around the 4-6 week mark of his life. He literally found us and chose us to be his.
Stewart’s always gone in the car (LOVES it in fact), he’s gone on road trips, spent time with other members of our family, goes with us on our week long summer getaways. My point – Stewart has always surprised us with his acceptance of change.
In case you don’t believe me…
Most importantly, when we introduce new members into our family, he stays as cool as a cucumber. Here are some pictures of his first minutes with both new family members.
Frankie on the other hand, does not deal well with change.
We adopted Frankie almost 3 years ago when my fiance and I were volunteering at the SPCA. We were looking for a furry friend for Stewart, and found Frankie. He had been named “Gadget”. He was born and lived all 10 months of his life thus far in the kennel at the SPCA. We fell in love with him instantly. We found out that his hind end muscles had never developed properly, and he was left unable to jump, sprint or walk in a straight line. We chose not to be sad about this fact, it was just Frankie.
We like to think that as Frankie ran face first into the plexi-glass when he first saw us, he was giving us a sign… I mean COME ON… A cat trying to jump through fake glass to get at you?
We got approved for adoption and took him home almost immediately. Once Frank the tank was cozy, he showed us he does not like his routine disturbed. He’s actually kind of a jerk sometimes (albeit, our own lovable jerk). Wherever we went, he marked his territory by seeking out each and every corner of his new temporary home and hissing at it (obviously terrifying all the spiders lurking in the corners). Even so, I considered Frankie my little lovebug from the start, he snuggles whenever and wherever he can.
We both cheered him on as his back legs developed muscles over time. As he eventually learned to jump and run stairs for the first time, we were witnessing milestones really.
However, due to his temperament and aversion to change, I believe he was affected more then Stewart by Newton’s sudden departure from our lives.
During those first 2 weeks home, anything I saw of Newton’s made me burst into tears. I took everything that was “his” and placed it in the spare bedroom and shut the door. I couldn’t look. I noticed Frankie’s change immediately. He snuck around the house, my own personal “velcro”, then would let out what I can only describe as “yowls of death”. I thought something was seriously wrong with his health.
Then I had a thought.
I brought back out one of Newton’s dog beds. Immediately he curled up and stayed there for almost two days, leaving only to eat and use the litter box.
“I’m a terrible person for not trying this sooner”, I thought to myself. I lifted him off the dog bed and “traded”. I brought out one of Newton’s old blankets, which I folded and tucked into a basket. Four weeks later, Frankie still lays in his basket, with Newton’s blanket inside. He lays beside the couch from 7:30 pm – 11 pm every night while I watch terrible reality TV. He does not come to bed with me like he used to, but I know he’s content where he is. There are no more “yowls of death”, and he acts like his happy self. Frankie still cannot run a straight line to save his life, but what really do you require that skill for?
The main thing is he’s back to playing with Stewart, inquisitive about new visitors and eating normally. So, why did all this happen?
My cat was grieving.
I’m not writing to make you sad, even on such a topic. I’m sharing this with you all to hopefully learn from my mistakes. I should have been aware earlier on, and helped make the transition for all in our household, as easy as possible.
Cesar Milan writes,
“A dog that has lost a companion may show signs of emotional distress with a lack of appetite, aloof behavior, or even be demanding of attention and affection. We have to remember that when a living animal relates to another for a long period of time, they do develop relationships; they do create habits, routines, boundaries and even rules around each other. When suddenly one of the ‘partners’ is no longer there, the dynamic changes.”
“Though it may seem an odd question, how are you responding to the loss? Cats are sensitive to changes in human emotions, behaviour and routine. If you are upset, your cat will respond to this and may become anxious, depressed, agitated or physically unwell.”
Of course I was a mess! Not a hot mess at that… A cat is never “just a cat” and a dog is never “just a dog”. They are important members of your family. An important part of ours abruptly went missing, we were not whole. I was anxious, depressed, easily agitated and did not go back to my normal routine of work, gym, dinner, family pet time. Things had changed, and I had too. How could I not expect my furry friends to pick up on this? We needed to find a new normal. So we are picking up the pieces.
If you’ve lost a furry friend, I’m so very sorry for your loss. There is no time limit for grief. Take all the time you require, but make sure you do not get lost in it. Do not let it define you. Whether you like it or not, you will have to find your new normal.
My advice to you, should you go through this terrible ordeal, is observe your other pets’ behavior. Sometimes I’m sure what they need is to feel some semblance of normalcy – just as you do. Just as important, is to ensure you take care of yourself in this difficult time. I’ve offered suggestions that have helped me here. I should have also added to ensure that you give your pets some extra TLC. It’ll make you both feel better, after all snuggles never hurt. Do not feel bad if you find your feelings of grief do not subside. Know there are many groups and professionals available and ready to help.