Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea and Spectre were surrendered to us after being chained all their lives. Spectre is a joyful lab mix who is now a SNIPSA dog and lives with us. Sweet Pea is a gentle Pit Bull who is being fostered in a local home. Good Pit Bull rescues are hard to find and completely swamped, so the unwanted and unloved pit bulls in this town have a rough break.

Sweet Pea switched foster homes today. Her previous foster family dropped her off to be fixed this morning, and Adam picked her up this afternoon. She rested comfortably in our home and was briefly reunited with her sister, Spectre. Adam is now dropping Sweet Pea off at her new foster home. The situation is up in the air, but they hope to offer her a forever home if things work out right. Here's hoping she will never have to make a pit stop at our home again. Pun intended.

PS - I am surrounded by eight sleeping furballs here in the living room. It would be ten if Reina and Big Stan weren't in their bedrooms. :-D


Adam is the local rep for Dogs Deserve Better, a national anti-chaining group. A week ago he got a report of a seriously ill and emaciated chained pit bull. He made three attempts to get the owners to contact him. Finally, we resorted to reporting it to the Animal Control Officer we work with. She went out yesterday and told them they had two options. One - surrender the dog immediately. Two- face serious charges and we would seize the dog anyway.

They surrendered him immediately and we picked him up right after work. He was the most emaciated dog I have ever seen and to boot he was carrying around a 40-pound abdominal mass of fluid. He kind of looked like those African children who are all bones and big belly. He couldn't even walk or support his weight, and his breathing was very labored and shallow. We took him home and waited an hour to see if our rescue vet's plane would get in from Houston (she was out of town). She was delayed, so we took him to the urgent animal care clinic.

They saw him right away and almost immediately called us back to speak with the vet. We knew it wasn't good. He had massive heart failure and treatment would extend his life only a very short time and the quality of life would not be great. His condition would deteriorate regardless.

We opted to euthanize him, and we were there for his last breath. It only took about ten seconds. He just went to sleep very peacefully. He was very much loved by us. We named him, took him as our own, and showed him true love and affection in his final moments. For Walter, there were worse things than death. Rest in peace, Walter. We will never forget you. We will continue on in your memory, so that your loss is not in vain.

Big Stan

Adam took Big Stan for a home visit on Sunday. There was a lady who absolutely wanted another big dog to play with her lab. She was so excited to meet him, and we really hoped it would stick. Stan was on his best behavior, but her other dog, the boxer mix, did not like Big Stan at all. They got into a scuffle and he left a gash on Stan's ear. She really really wanted him, too. Sigh. No dice for Big Stan. Someday he will find his forever home. Someday.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Saturday

We woke up with the pups and did a full 'pup shuffle'. A pup shuffle is letting them all outside in turns so that no one who doesn't get along is outside together, and then making sure they all have food and water. It takes quite awhile these days.

Adam went to check on an emaciated and extremely ill chained-up pit bull. This was his second visit; he slipped the dog a heartworm prevention/medication treat and left a note for the owners. If they don't contact him in 24 hours he will give the go-ahead to the Animal Welfare Officer who he has already contacted. The officer will then give them 24 hours to take the animal to the vet; if they don't he will be seized immediately.

While Adam did that I:

*cleaned up the house a little
*gave Stormy, the foster, her cocktail of meds
*brushed a couple dogs
*made a phone call to our rescue vet
*lured back naughty Sidney after he slipped under our back fence

Later this afternoon we paid Tyson a visit out at the ADL. We also visited our favorite shelter manager. The shelter is moving in a different direction; we will see how it goes over the next few months.

As far as animal rescue, Adam got a call today from someone who is fostering a pit bull for "us". She was freaking out because Sweet Pea was chewing on her stuff. Umm, maybe this is not someone who is the best candidate to be a foster mom. Just a thought. He talked her into keeping her until Tuesday when she gets fixed, and then we can move her into another foster home. I was emailed by a co-worker about a stray cat; by the time I called her the cat had escaped their backyard already.

Spectre and Stormy are doing well in our home. I think Katie is going to be a Moran after all. We'll see. Stan has a home visit tomorrow - fingers crossed! No dog has ever been more deserving of a forever home.

We have never been busier with animal rescue. Every day there are phone calls and emails with tips about neglected, abused, chained dogs. It feels like what we are doing is only a drop in the bucket, but if there are others who are putting drops in the bucket maybe one day it will come close to being full.

Friday, April 10, 2009

FAQ about the Pack

Are they all indoor dogs? Don't they mess up the house and ruin everything?

Yes, they are all indoor dogs. We don't believe in dogs living outdoors 24/7. No, they don't mess up the house. They are all housebroken, and they actually like to keep their living areas clean just as much as we do. There are accidents occasionally, but it is not a regular occurrence.

Don't they eat a lot? Isn't it expensive to feed them?

Our own pack of six go through forty pounds of food in ten days. Three bags of dog food per month is not expensive, and we even purchase high-quality dog food. We are diligent about keeping up with monthly and yearly preventative care. That combined with their good food keeps them healthy and keeps our costs down.

Do they all get along?

For the most part they all get along. They are a pack, which is how they should live. They are highly social and there is a hierarchy. Of course, there are squabbles here and there as is the case with any social creatures.

A Puppy Tale III

When we met we had three dogs between us: Mason, Nala, and Keifer. Right as we started dating Adam rescued Sid after he was dumped at the dog park, putting the grand total at four dogs. For a year we had a pack of four. Seems like such a small number now. Ha.

Right around Christmas 2007 Adam picked up Colby from the southside. He was supposed to go straight to a shelter, but I couldn't bear it since it was Christmas and all. Adam pointed out that Colby did not know it was Christmas. We kept him anyhow.

In June 2008 we decided to take the plunge and adopt number six - Reina. The Animal Defense League of San Antonio originally had 100 Hurricane Katrina animals, and after nearly three years at the shelter she was the only one who had not been adopted. Being big, black, and old were three strikes against her. We figured she should have a good home for her last few years. And besides, if you're gonna have five why not have six?

We have become increasingly involved with animal rescue, and we have met some wonderful dogs and people in the process. There are so many ways you can get involved in the process. You can help animals receive the vet care they need, improve their current living conditions, even foster them or help re-home them. We currently have three fosters who we are hoping to place in their forever homes. Yes, that puts our grand total at nine right now. It is a bit complicated, but we make it work. People say we are crazy, but crazy is a relative term. Look at the shows like Jon and Kate plus Eight or Seventeen Kids and Counting. Having more children than average is a lifestyle that is not only possible but also rewarding, and the same goes for having more dogs than the average family. Maybe we should have a reality show. Nah, that would be boring to watch.

And it all started with Mason. Oh, Mason.

A Puppy Tale II

I should start this blog by mentioning that up until a few years ago I was scared of dogs and never really like them much. I never had dogs while I was growing up, so that's why I was scared of them. Mason himself terrified me on a regular basis during the first year I had him. He was quite the mouthy puppy, and I couldn't get this little creature to stop nipping me and everyone in the house! To this day no one can believe the transformation that has occurred in my feelings towards dogs. I went from never having a dog - and never wanting one - to having many of my own and being very involved in animal rescue. Now I can't imagine my life without dogs in some capacity.

Despite my former feelings about dogs, I always had a fantasy about having a black lab puppy of my own. Don't ask me where that came from; I have no idea. Having had Mason for over three years now, however, I don't think he is lab at all. Our best guess is that he is some sort of Weimaraner mix.

Anyhow...back to the ways this dog has influenced my life. From the moment I got him I have treated him like my child. He went to the best doggie daycare in Minneapolis when I was a student. Having a large dog limited my housing options, so finding an apartment in Minneapolis and then San Antonio was a bit of a task. Giving him up or leaving him behind was not an option. When I adopted to him, I committed to him for his lifetime.
Mason and I moved to San Antonio on our own in July 2006. Being less than impressed with the doggie daycares here, I was forced to start taking him to the dog park every day after work. Little did I know that Mason was leading me straight to my husband! We met at the dog park, started talking and dating, and the rest is history. Everyone says it is just like a movie...

To be continued...

A Puppy Tale

It all started with Mason. Oh, Mason. This dog has shaped the course of my life over the last few years...

It was a series of unplanned events that led me to adopting this black ball of energy. I never planned to study abroad a second time which left me 'homeless'. I never planned to crash at my parents' house after that second study abroad. And finally I never planned to work at a deli that summer, where I would meet the co-worker who was giving Mason away.

The conditions to be able to adopt a dog were perfect. I lived in a large home in the country with a large yard where my landlords were my parents and my roommates were my siblings who were eager to have a puppy. I was a senior in college and actually had disposable income (what's that?). After having all this pointed out to me by my co-worker, it was on the back burner of my mind for several weeks. After the second or third time she asked me about adopting her neighbor's puppy, I decided to run it by my parents. They were fine with it, so I arranged a time to go pick him up.

If I had known I was picking up a 12 week-old 35-pound demon dog I may have reconsidered the whole thing. I thought I was picking up a tiny furball that I could hold in my hands. I got my first glimpse of him as he came barreling at me, jumped on me, and put a hole in my t-shirt with his puppy claws. Ugh. What had I gotten myself into??

To be continued...

Monday, April 6, 2009

I am an Animal Rescuer

"I am an Animal Rescuer"
By Annette King-Tucker

Wild Heart Ranch Wildlife RescueClaremore, Ok

My job is to assist God's creatures.
I was born with the drive to fulfill their needs.
I take in helpless, unwanted, homeless creatures without planning or selection.
I have patted many a mangy head with a bare hand.
I have hugged someone vicious and afraid.
I have fallen in love a thousand times.
And I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body too many times to count.
I want to live forever if there aren't animals in Heaven, but I believe there are.
Why would God make something so perfect and leave it behind?
Some may think we are masters of the animals, but the animals have mastered themselves... something people still haven't learned.
War and abuse make me hurt for the world, but a rescue gives me hope for mankind.
We rescuers are a mostly quiet but determined army, and we are making a difference every day.
There is nothing more necessary than warming an orphan, nothing more rewarding than saving a life, and no higher recognition than watching them thrive.
There is no greater joy than seeing a human or non-human baby play who, only days ago, was too weak to eat.
By the love of those who I've been privileged to rescue, I have been rescued.
I know what true unconditional love really is, for I've seen it shining in the eyes of so many grateful for so little.
I am an Animal Rescuer.
My work is never done.
My home is never quiet.
My heart is always full.

A Day in the Life

5:00 am - wake up

6:00 am - leave the house w/ Adam & Spectre, the foster, following behind

6:30 am - pick up my student's dogs, Link & Pretty

6:45-7:30 am - check in Spectre, Link, & Pretty to get fixed at the animal clinic

7:45-1:30 pm - work, work, work

1:30-3:00 pm - waste 90 minutes of my precious time trying to go to a dr.'s appt. that my insurance messed up

3:30 pm - pick up Link & Pretty from the clinic and take them back home

4:00-5:00 pm - decide to head back to school for the staff meeting

5:30 pm - pick up Spectre from the clinic

6:00 pm - arrive home at long last...12 hours after I left.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Well, this is it.

I am officially on blogger. I loved blogging on myspace, but have since stopped using myspace. It doesn't do it for me like facebook does. Ha. I can't bring myself to write 'notes' on facebook. It doesn't quite seem like a blog to me; it's not a continuous story if you will.

I hope to use this blog to clear my head of the minutiae of daily life, share interesting updates with friends and family, and most importantly share my experiences of life with the dogs and animal rescue.

More to come soon!