Pet Stuff...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bonding with Dogs

When a dog first comes into the house they're usually really scared so we leave them alone. Show them food, water and where to go out and then give them time to find their own way.
Some refuse to meet my eyes, others stare at me as if looking for something. A friend? Someone to trust? Each one has their own history. We never know exactly what it is, but it's a burden they will carry for a long time. Most are such great dogs I wonder how anyone can give them up. I wonder this about 7 month old Penny.
Penny was one who refused to look at me. She would turn her head whenever I looked at her and when I took her chin to meet my eyes, her's would dart away. Looking for anything, but to meet mine.
She's been here three weeks. The first week the tail was down all the time and she slinked from place to place as if waiting for a smack. She freezes when picked up. I don't hold her too long. She doesn't need the stress.
Week two the tail is up some of the time. A wag here and there and a little play time. She's loving the other foster dog and when he's adopted she searches for him.
Week three she's a wagging maniac! As soon as we wake up she's wagging her tail and running through the house at top speed. Still scared when picked up, but she'll sit on the couch with me for belly rubs.
A couple of days ago she met my eyes. Now she looks at me all the time and wags her tail. Something in my soul smiles.
She still fears being picked up and will freeze and shake. I think someone must have dropped her (or thrown her?) and now she will hold that fear for a long time.
But all the wags and happy yaps make up for it. I think someday she'll trust completely again and know that being picked up can be a good thing.
I have numerous applications on Penny and I'm looking for a calm family where she can find the trust and love she needs to forget whatever happened in her past.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Penny the Shy Dachshund

This is Penny. She's 7 months old and had a bad start in life. I don't know exactly what happened to her but she came up from a southern state with a lot of fear. She'd freeze if we even looked at her. Try to pick her up and she'd sink to the floor as if to disappear. Seven months old and there was no fun or life in her. I have to wonder what the hell happened to her before she came into my home. A seven month old puppy should only be thinking about playing and making friends.
Penny's been here three weeks. For the first week she never lifted her tail from between her legs. It stayed down, never wagged, never lifted up. Her eyes were downcast and even when I lifted her chin she would do her best not to meet my eyes.
Week two that tail would come up for wags but only if she was playing with my other foster dog, Leo.
Leo loved everyone and loved to play. He was the one who brought Penny out of her shell and showed her the joy of playing once again. She still wouldn't meet our eyes.
Then Leo was adopted. He went to a great home where he's #1 in his new adopter's eyes.
Week three and Penny's tail is always held high now and wags every time we look at her.
Yesterday she finally looked into my eyes and I almost cried. Sweet Penny is finally opening up to the fact that life can be good and she's among those who love her.
Monday, barring any issue with the Nor'easter heading our way, potential adopters will be over to meet her. I feel bad that she has to be uprooted again and basically start all over but I know she's going to be fine. She's a sweetie.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Reason

I would've died that day if not for you.
I would've given up on life if not for your kind eyes.
I would've used my teeth in fear if not for your gentle hands.
I would have left this life believing that all humans don't care
Believing there is no such thing as fur that isn't matted,
skin that isn't flea bitten,
good food and enough of it,
beds to sleep on,
someone to love me,
to show me I deserve love just because I exist.
Your kind eyes, your loving smile, your gentle hands
Your big heart saved me...
You saved me from the terror of the pound,
Soothing away the memories of my old life.
You have taught me what it means to be loved.
I have seen you do the same for other dogs like me.
I have heard you ask yourself in times of despair
Why you do it-
When there is no more money, no more room, no more homes
You open your heart a little bigger, stretch the money a
little tighter
Make just a little more save one more like me.
I tell you with the gratitude and love that shines in my eyes
In the best way I know how
Reminding you why you go on trying.
I am the reason
The dogs before me are the reason
As are the ones who come after.
Our lives would've been wasted, our love never given
We would die if not for you.

Love, all of your furry friends that have a better life because of those who care

Author Unknown

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Free Spay/Neuter for Large Dogs

From People For Animals:
PFA is Offering FREE of charge spay/neuter for Dogs larger than 45 lbs! (Hillside, NJ)
(PFA) People for Animals is now giving completely FREE spay/neuter for dogs that are over 45 lbs. (before surgery). Please check our prices online on our web site at Low Cost Dog Spay/Neuter | You will realize that our already low cost is cheap to you. If not, just tell the receptionist that you would like to take advantage of the Large Dog Voucher Program once you schedule your pet's surgical procedure. Your dog MUST be greater or equal to 45 lbs. (at the time of surgery) to meet the requirements. The voucher program can cover the whole cost of surgery meant for you if essential. However, if you'll be able to afford to make a donation of any quantity toward the cost of surgery, that can facilitate our funds go further and permits us to reach a lot of animals in need.

*This voucher program is designed to help low income households afford spay/neuter services. If applicable, please use our normal low cost fees.

Call us at 973-282-0890 to schedule a FREE neuter or spay designed for your dog that is 45+ pounds or visit to get additional info.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yay! New Jersey Senate!

Today the New Jersey Senate passed S-515 which will allow veterinarians to satisfy part of their continuing education requirement by providing free care. The bill originally was limited to spay/neuter. Governor Christie conditionally vetoed it asking for the bill to include all veterinary care. This bill is a priority for PAWPAC and we have been pushing hard for its passage. Next up: final vote by the General Assembly and then Governor Christie's desk!
I wonder if this includes dental....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Freida and her 7 Homes

By the time Freida came to my house she had been through seven homes. As a puppy she was adopted by a 90 year old woman. Really? A 90 year old woman adopts a puppy? Who in their right mind allowed a woman to adopt a dog who would definately out live her? Insanity for both the adopter and adoptee.
But who am I to judge? I'm just one of the peeps who is there down the line.
Next Freida went to a nephew. Kudos to the man who didn't want a dog but gave it his best shot. I don't know why he gave her up.
So to the shelter she went. A healthy two year old Basset Hound who, down in the south where she came from, had a very slim chance of getting out alive.
But some nice person at the shelter saw the potential in this sweet young lady and fostered her as she searched for someone to take her.
Step up Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue who were three states away. Freida was put on a transport and sent up to New Jersey where she went to another foster home for a week and then to her adoptive family. Within two weeks the adoptive family returned her because she snapped at their 2 year old. Why you'd let a two year old next to a dog that just come into your home, was scared and uncertain in her new surroundings and had never been around kids before...yes the adoptees knew her history, is beyond me. But they deemed her too dangerous and returned her.
So Freida came to my house.
As with all dogs who arrive here we showed her food, water and potty places and left her alone. At first she sat on the other side of the room and stared at me, never coming any closer than necessary.
Day three I realized something I didn't know about Bassets. Those long droopy ears get into their food and need to be wiped off. Freida and I were about to get a lot closer. Out came the puppy wipes as I sauntered over to the little Basset. She backed away.
I inched closer whispering soft words of comfort.
Freida ducked and ran. . . right into the screen door.
Now Halston, my 14 year old golden who is still not out of puppyhood, raced over and opened the door. Yes, she can open the sliding screen door with her nose, a trick that comes in handy when I don't feel like getting up to let her out.
Both of them charged outside and I was left holding the wipe.
Gradually, Freida blossomed, like all dogs do, and came running for hugs and kisses. Her favorite thing was cuddling, she couldn't get enough love!
When the email came with a great application I had mixed feelings. This would be home number 8 for Freida. Did any dog deserve 8 homes? To be passed around like her feelings didn't matter?
I did my work, called references, vets, checked out their house and spoke at length to the husband and wife.
And darn it, if I couldn't find one thing wrong with them.
When they came for Freida they brought their dog, a beagle rescued from a laboratory, and the two dogs got along great.
When we walked them out to the car and Freida realized they were leading her away she put on those famous Basset brakes and refused to go. The husband scooped her up and placed her in the car. He closed the door and Freida pushed herself up to the window and looked at me. Guilt stabbed at me. Would she ever understand I wasn't giving her away as much as saving her?
That night I told my husband that if Freida is returned again we're keeping her. I wasn't going to let her get passed around again.
So far the family reports she's been great. The two dogs are bonding and Freida is right at home now.
God bless Freida, it's time for her real life to begin.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet Sally...

This is Sally. She came up from a high kill shelter in North Carolina. When the transport truck arrived she was huddled in the very back of her cage and wouldn't come out. She literally had to be dragged from the truck. She cried and shook uncontrollably.
Sally was first taken to the home of one of our volunteers where there were about 10 of the other dogs that were rescued. She was bathed (some of these dogs come up a real mess) and put in a crate with a soft bed. She slept.
When I came to get her she was put in my arms and her little paws wrapped around me like she was holding on for dear life. The whole ride home she trembled.
She met Halston (golden retriever) and Gizzmo (cranky old cat) and Elvis (African Grey Parrot who thinks he's the boss) and began to settle in. We gave her treats and lots of love and slowly she began to come out of her shell. She loved hugs and cuddles and always wanted to be by my side.
The first night I put her in the crate out in the family room and she ate the plastic bottom out of the cage. When I came home I found all these little black pieces around her cage and couldn't figure out where they came from until I pulled her blankets out to wash. Sally didn't like the crate.
My favorite part about fostering is watching how the dogs transform. Scared, shaking little creatures turn into wonderful members of the family with their own personalities. Sally had a great personality. She always wanted to be right next to me and listened well. She was truly a dog who wanted to please.
When we got a great application on Sally my heart broke a little. The family looked great and I knew from our phone interview they would be prefect for Sally.
It was time to say goodbye to my little girl.
When I handed her over, Sally looked at me as if to say, "Please don't give me away!" and she left a little chip in my heart. Some dogs stay with you. They nuzzled their way into your life and under your heart and you never forget them.
I've had emails and pictures from the family that adopted her and she seems to be ruling the house. That helps.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


A puppy? Me with a puppy?
When I was first approached to foster a lab mix puppy I felt a ripple of fear run down my spine. It had been 13 years since I last had a puppy in this house. Years since I had to house break a dog or deal with the perpetual energy that comes with a puppy.
Me? Foster a puppy?
Rusty was a rescue from a high-kill shelter in North Carolina. He and his brother were pulled the day before he was to be euthanized. Whew!
When he arrived, Rusty moved slowly around the house, cautiously sniffing each person, animal and piece of furniture before settling down on our golden retriever's (Halston) bed. He'd watch us from across the room, then get up and run over, only to skitter back to the dog bed if we reached for him. He must have decided Halston was safe because he began to follow her everywhere. After a few days Rusty would wait till Halston was sleeping and then climb on her back and go to sleep. Halston's nice and fluffy.
We showed Rusty where the food and water was and the bathroom. Every twenty minutes we showed him where the bathroom was...and he caught on fast.
One thing about puppies...the adopt out fast. We had three applications for him the first week he was up here. We read each one, checked the references and called their vet. When everything checked out okay we asked them if they would like to come up and meet Rusty. They did and it was love at first sight. Rusty had a new home.
And then along came Sally...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Since the Gulf oil spill, one shelter in Louisiana euthanized 900 animals in a single month. This is due to families, devastated by the loss of jobs caused by oil spill, had no choice, but to put their pets in a shelter because they can no longer afford them. Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue in Aberdeen, and Pet ResQ, Inc in Tenafly have teamed up with Pilots N Paws to help these animals find new homes here in New Jersey
On September 18th Pilots N Paws will be bringing up 20 dogs from Louisiana for Castle of Dreams and Pet ResQ Inc. They will fly into New Jersey and then be placed in foster homes until permanent, loving homes can be found.

Pilots N Paws,, is an online forum that connects animal rescue groups with volunteer pilots to rescue thousands of homeless animals around the country. This enables rescue groups like ours to help animals in areas that really need us. The oil spill has devastated Louisiana in many ways and we’d like to help give these innocent victims a second chance. Many had families who loved them and are victims of the oil spill. Their owners are just barely surviving. They no longer have the means to care for their pets, but we can help.

To adopt, foster or donate please visit our websites;
These animals need help now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Confession...

I confess...I had a Petfinder obsession. Like an addict I'd surf that site to see the dogs and wish I could help. I thought about adopting and hesitated. I wanted to be sure the dog would fit our lives. Since we work I wanted an older dog, one that was slower and wouldn't mind lounging around all day. I wanted small since I had a shoulder injury that never quite healed. I wondered what else I should look for as I surfed the pages. It wasn't an easy decision and I wanted to be absolutely sure. After all, I was committing for a lifetime of love and care.
Then I started poking around on the rescue sites. I read about how they pulled the dogs from shelters, vetted them, and how there were many ways to help. And that got me thinking. Instead of adopting just one, what if I could help more?
I emailed a few organizations, made some phone calls and visited their adoption days. Finally, I found Castle of Dreams. They were always quick to respond, answered all my million and one questions and took their time to explain how it all worked. I volunteered.
Up top is a picture of Peanut, a little brown beagle mix. She was rescued from North Carolina. She was my first foster dog and my whole family fell in love. Shy and sweet, Peanut just soaked up love and gave it back tenfold. When the email came that there was a family for her we all cried. No one wanted this gentle dog to leave, but off she went to her forever family.
Next came Sally...a black chihuahua mix.
I think the trick to successful fostering is to remember that if you let one go, you can save one more. Because until there are none...we foster one.