Spring chickens

Hi friends,

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.

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Meet Freckles, he’s Ellie’s brother (Previous post)

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.

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Puppy play
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Puppy on your head….
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Puppy love
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Gotcha!

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?

Cheers,

Dailyspro

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The Missy Award

Hi friends!

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!

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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:

  1. You must post the award picture on your blog. (Who doesn’t love putting award pictures on their blog?)
  2. Link back to The Missy Award.
  3. And answer these two questions: What inspires you to write? Why do you love animals?
  4. Nominate other worthy bloggers (whatever number you’d like), or you can simply accept the award and complete only Steps 1, 2, and 3.
  5. 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.

Image 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!

Thanks for stopping by,

Dailyspro

Neighborly Hang-outs

Hi friends,

This past Saturday, I heard a knock at my door.

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.

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Could you say “no” to this face?
WHAT A MUG

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.

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Check out his baby blues!

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…

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Finding happiness in simplicity – like a sweet stick
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Never give up on your dreams – Even if it includes trying to drag a fallen tree back to the house…

Pleasant reminders I thought worth sharing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dailyspro

Animal House – it’s official

Hello friends,

Apologies on being lax this week with the posts..

It’s because I was busy with my first boarder – this sweet pea!!

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Meet Merit!

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.

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Frankie ensuring the hierarchy of the house stays the same….

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 🙂

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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.

Cheers to the next adventure.

Dailyspro

Paperwork and Personalities

Hello friends,

My fiance and I took another visit to the now two week old Bernese Mountain dog puppies. It was his first time returning since we went to meet and discuss a home for our Newton, 3 years prior. We once again were received with face licks, body wiggles and Berner smiles (From the dogs, not the breeder – haha). After an little while chatting with one of the breeders and snuggling with the 2 week old puppies, we went to a friends’ surprise birthday party.

puppy snuggles are the best kind
puppy snuggles are the best kind!
Week 2 - eyes are open!
Week 2 – eyes are open!

My mind however lingered on the Berners. I know there’s a long wait list for puppies, so when we arrived home we talked. We talked about our readiness, our commitment, our finances, our time, and of course Newton. As you can imagine, I talked the most. What came out of our chat was that we believe we’ll be ready to welcome our arms up after our big three week trip to Europe in July.

While Newton still has my heart, I think I’m able to share what bits are left. Waiting for a bit longer will also give me more time to work on what I need to.

I need some more time just to honor and remember Newton. It may sound strange, but I feel as if I’m giving him a disservice if I stop what I’m doing now. Also, let’s be serious I could not have a new puppy or dog and leave for 3 weeks. Thank you to my Mr. for making me realize this. There is just NO WAY. Even though we’d have fantastic support, I’d constantly be thinking of everything I was missing out on! If it turns out to be a rescue or a puppy, we need to reintroduce consistency. Leaving for 3 – 4 weeks is exactly the opposite!

I also took my Mr. to the SPCA with me yesterday. He met my new buddy Rusty. Rusty is super sweet, but very timid to strangers and anything new. He’s like the 80 year old woman next door that peeks out from behind her curtains, curious about what’s going on but wants his door closed for protection against life. We’ve developed a special relationship – in the dog runs, he runs into my arms full speed and turns last minute and collapses in them. Always giving me face licks in the process.  I really need to work with him on the full speed ahead tactic 🙂 We worked with him meeting my Mr. (new people!), going past with his tail high and wagging, and ears up, rewarding him the entire time. He also went to meet my Mr. once free in the training room all by himself, sniffing his leg and hand, allowing my Mr. to even reward a head pat or two. What a good boy!

"listening"
“listening”
good boy
Being a good boy, greeting new people with tail wags!

Then there’s Des. You’ve met Des before, she puts me through my paces every single freaking time. Walking her is a workout. I can’t even try and manage her until she has run out her energy. We take her to a dog run, play “catch the snowball” and run the excitement out of her. Then we get to work on her resource guarding. Des is like the grouchy old man of my little pack that likes HER things. “Silly youngsters”, I can imagine her saying, “Keep your paws off my stuff!”. She has been letting me slowing get closer to her as she holds her tennis ball. Today she looked at me while holding her tennis ball with her tail wagging, I rewarded her with a butt scratch. She dropped the tennis ball at my feet. PROGRESS!!

old man
This photo does not do Des justice, she’s actually a beautiful dog. I had to spend all my attention on her, rather then taking pics.

So we came home and took one more step forward – We filled out the applications for both the SPCA and the breeder. We want to be ready in case we find the right rescue or the right puppy or dog for our family after our trip. We wanted to get started early as I know some people who have been waiting a year or two for one of their Berner puppies. There are a few reasons for this, first of all, they do not churn out puppies like a puppy mill. Secondly, they only breed dogs that pass their pen/hip score clearances and eye exams. This helps weed out early hip/elbow displaysia and the eye/health issues that Berners are prone to. We’re going to fill out another form for the Bernese Rescue Society of Canada after our trip.

I’ve discovered three things throughout this process so far.

1. I never want to be just a single dog family again. Ideally I’d like to welcome our arms in July/August to a new furry friend, then keep our eyes and ears open shortly after for another.

2. Filling out both forms was both exciting and gut wrenching *sigh*.

3. Our retirement plan will be to Foster dogs 🙂 Long term planning at it’s finest, we’ll see – maybe we’ll be ready before!

There was a guilt that I felt about moving on to another dog that I knew would be there, but still did not feel comfortable. Newton will forever be a part of me, this I know. I’ve said this once, but I believed he was the daily food for my soul. Sounds dramatic, but true nonetheless. I am trying to consider this next step a tribute to him. A testament to him, making us better owners and dog lovers. Newt would want us to be happy, living life to it’s fullest as he did.  Our lives are the happiest and richest when we have a furry friend by our side. Until July, we’ll keep taking it day by day, week by week, month by month.

Aww Newton, the best teacher in the world. Photo cred: Norma Jean Worden Rogers
Aww Newton, the best teacher in the world. 

Thanks for reading,

Dailyspro

Puppy love? Some homework for first time dog owners

Hi friends!

There is something about a puppy. You all know what I mean. Instantaneous and infections smiles erupt and spread like wildfire. You NEEEEED to go over, introduce yourself to a complete stranger, and ask if you can pet their pup (or maybe this is just me?). Puppies can turn civilized individuals into excitable freaks. It’s amazing and irreversible.

It’s going to be a longer post today folks, so get comfy. Let me start by telling you about my day.

I walked my new best bud Des at our local SPCA, then took her off leash to a dog run, where she tired me out by teaching me to fetch. What a smarty-pants!

Des being the great girl she is!
Stop taking the picture already, lets play!!*

I then treated myself to snuggling these little love bugs again… yah, you’ve met them once or twice already from previous posts.

puppiesThe thing is, Zorro* (darker ears) had already been taken out today. Freckles* (lighter of the two) had not! Fantastic for Zorro, but unfair for little Freckles. Let’s face it, I was looking for any excuse to hang out with either of them.

I fully endorse adopting a senior or adult dog. In fact, there are tons of amazing perks! Everyone wants a puppy, but with an adult you’ll be much more likely to have: Less destruction (hopefully), a house trained (or again, hopefully) buddy and you’ll probably get more sleep (especially through the night). Lots of the dogs I work with have basic and some pretty spectacular commands down pat, so their basic training is already there!

As most of you are aware by now, we lost our furry best friend Newton last Dec. I started volunteering to share all the wonderful things he taught me. To be honest, this is my own form of grievance therapy. I’d be lost without them, they are helping me heal. I’m telling you people, if you are having a rough day, find a puppy and snuggle. There is nothing quite like what I call “puppy therapy”. While I love all dogs, for me there’s something about  a young pup that makes me want to squeal like a kid (most likely frightening the little guy) and have strong urges to snuggle.

So I’ll try and capture the 10 reasons why I think puppies are fantastic & further why some people suck need to do some homework first.

Why puppies rock (In case you didn’t know)

1. Puppy smell. Some human friends prefer the “baby smell”. I think there’s nothing better then puppy smell. Freshly baked bread is a close second

2. Puppy fur. Nuf’ said here.

3. The ability in which they always force smiles, even out of the most grumpiest of people. Look around you next time a puppy is present, It’s almost like seeing the “wave” done at a basketball game, except with pure happiness. Try it out Tommy Lee Jones.

tommylee
Maybe Will Ferrel and Kristen Wig should have built a puppy into their routine at the Golden Globes!

4. They love you unconditionally, immediately.

5. They help you to socialize. It’s how I actually met all my neighbors! Also, if your a single guy, there’s no better chick magnet.

6. They greet everything new, head on and with such abundant joy.

7. The loyalty they have, even at such a young age, is amazing.

8. How unbelievably uncoordinated they are.

9. Puppies can actually better your health – Dr. Oz & Oprah said it best here

10. Lastly, I will leave you with this…

Puppy eyes…

puppy cuteness overload...
puppy cuteness overload…

& puppy breath!

I'm not going to fight you on this one Freckles
I’m not going to fight you on this one Freckles*

People, I totally get why you want a puppy. I am one of them. I fall for their little furry faces everytime. The issue I have is I find a lot of people really do NOT do their homework before making the leap between admiring and owning. This is mostly for you first timers out there.

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Homework for first time dog owners

In the last 2 weeks at the SPCA, I’ve seen 5 puppies adopted (yay!), and then 3 returned a week or so later (boo!) due to multiple reasons.

To these people, I want to say many things, many not appropriate for this blog. The PG version is that I think with a little homework first, you really could have gave whichever furry friend you choose, a forever home.

To further assist in my point, peteducation.com suggests that surrendering a dog after a bond is formed can be a cause of separation anxiety,

“Dogs that have undergone a traumatic separation from a previous owner, such as those relinquished to shelters may have an increased risk. Dogs that have missed out on normal social interaction with people or other animals, especially as puppies, may also be at increased risk. A dog that has never had a prior problem may develop separation anxiety when there is a change in the routine such as an owner’s altered work schedule, or after the household has moved to a new home. Some dogs may develop this separation anxiety as they grow older.”

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Answer the big questions first

-Think about what kind of dog you want first: size, age, temperament, breed.

-Think about what you want to do with your dog, will it be a working (therapy, drafting, herding) dog, or will it be a family dog – or both?

-Think about the COSTS associated with a dog, do you have the budget you need?

-Are you willing to make a lifetime commitment, will you want a dog in 10 – 15 or even sometimes 17-18 years?

-Do you have the space for a dog? What kind of space will the dog have? (crate, kennel, dog bed, fenced yard, a safe place for free play)

-Are all members of your family on board?

-Do you have the TIME for a dog? (Another big one to consider – grooming, walks, free play, socialization time, quality time, training time are just a few time commitments to consider). Many people want a socialized, well behaved dog – not many people understand the time it takes to make this happen.

-How are you going to ensure the dog gets the exercise it needs?

-My biggest question for all of you – are you ready to give your pets the good life they deserve?

Once you have most of these questions answered, I still don’t think you’re ready to make the leap to owner. I think you are ready to hang out with an actual dog – dog sit a friends’ dog, visit the SPCA and spend time with the breed/type you think you’re ready for. I’m not talking about an hour, I’m talking a few visits so you can see the responsibility of being a dog owner. Talk with people who have similar types/breeds so you know what to expect.

These visits can also help sort out allergy related issues BEFORE you bring them home.

Choose your adoption preference (a reputable breeder who is trying to better the breed or your local SPCA). Deciding which way to go is your choice. I personally will NEVER purchase from a online breeder (Kijiji) pet sale or a pet store as these are not routes I ever want to support. Sometimes, for a first time dog owner a reputable breeder can help with this “homework” side.

As an SPCA volunteer and former teacher, I strongly urge people to do their homework first! As this..

Bernese

Quickly turns into this….

This is Newton only at 7 months!
This is Newton at only at 7 months!

Who am I to ask this of you? I’m a dog lover, a former dog owner, a dog sitter, a dog walker and a volunteer at our local SPCA. I genuinely like animals more then most people. I abhor animal suffering and disdain the anti-ethical treatment of them. I have a serious respect for all great dog owners. I do not think there’s such a thing as a bad dog, only bad dog owners. I see dogs being returned on a weekly basis due to the fact that their “owners” did not do their homework first.

I have seen first hand what the right home can do for the right dog. My best friend has adopted two adult dogs that their owners were ready to give up, for multiple reasons. With love and patience, she has turned these two pups who had issues into amazing dogs, she and her boyfriend really do give these two the good life. .

The dynamic duo - Allie andJake
The dynamic duo – Allie and Jake

                        -photo credit: J. Russell

If you are ready and go for it, as we will when we are ready – then do it. Make the leap. My end verdict? Puppies are amazingly cute, but too many people lack the education needed to have them. They fall victim to the cuteness epidemic and make spontaneous purchases.

I think going from zero responsibility to a dog, for kids or adults, is a huge step. You may want to consider a goldfish first…

Thanks for reading/listening to my rant,

Dailyspro

*Freckles, Zorro and Des are all available at the monctonspca.ca