Pet Stuff...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Housebreaking a Chihuahua?

I have a foster Chihuahua. Anyone know if it's possible to totally house train a Chihuahua?  She's 9 years old and came from a hoarder so she's never been trained. 
I fostered a puppy (the Chihuahua's been with me since January) and once the puppy started using the wee pads, Corona, the Chi, decided it was beneath her to use the same wee pad as the intruder. After the puppy was adopted, I babysat two cats for my daughter. Corona still didn't want to get back to the wee pads. Now the house is back to normal. . . or as close to normal as we ever get...and she's still missing the wee pad. So do Chihuahua's ever get totally house trained? 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tear Stains and Shih Tzu Dogs

I'm sorry I never came back to tell  you the secret tear stain removal. I didn't mean to leave you hanging but got side tracked with some issues on my book, Soul Mates (Now available on Amazon!) 

If you love dogs, it's definitely going to put a smile on your face. Check it out and you'll put a smile on my face!

Tear stains plagued my poor little puppy mill survivor but since her health wasn't the best when she arrived I make it my work to keep her as healthy as possible and give her a nice relaxed life. She's my angel and my best friend.

So the thought of treating her with a low level antibiotic (Angel Eyes) or going near those dark, button eyes with any kind of chemical had me cringing in fear. I searched and search for an alternative.There had to be a natural cure out there somewhere!

I posted in forums and every place I could find to ask for a natural way to help my little friend.

Someone told me to only let her drink filtered water from my refrigerator door.
Really? Are you kidding me?

But I tried it. Why not? I have to fill her dish everyday anyway, so why not take the  water from there?

I did nothing, NOTHING else to resolve the tear stain problem. You see the results. Her face and paws (the tears stained her front paws too) are now snowy white. I didn't even realize we had such a dramatic change until i was going through some old photos. These two pics were taken 6 months apart. The result wasn't instant, she improved slowly, but you can see how great she looks now.

Makes me wonder what's in our tap water.....

For a feel good read, check out Soul Mates:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tear Stain Improvement

Gracie is a pure bred Shih Tzu that came to me at 7 years old from a Puppy Mill in Missouri. Tear stains covered her face and paws. Because of her past (and because I prefer more natural methods) I refused to treat them with chemicals.
So here we are after a few months of natural treatment. Aren't we looking good?
Wanna guess what this natural treatment is?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Betrayed by an Angel on Amazon

My book, Betrayed by an Angel is now Available on Amazon!
When an angel appears to tell Shay Deville she can’t marry her fiancĂ© because she will forever alter his destiny, she thinks she is going crazy. Shay learns she was supposed to die seven months ago, but Merrick, her own guardian angel, broke angelic law and saved her. Now she is a woman without a future – or a guardian.

In spite of the angel’s warning Shay refuses to give up her dreams. She hunts down Merrick, her renegade angel, and demands he help her.

Guardian Angel Merrick knows the Heavenly Handbook better than anyone, but when the time came to help Shay Deville cross over, he just couldn't do it. Now Merrick is stripped of his wings and banished to the earthly realm until he corrects his mistakes and completes the destiny of his charge. But how can Merrick arrange to take Shay’s life when he has fallen in love with her? How can he not?

Will Merrick give up his wings and forever be cast to Earth for the woman he loves?

Can a woman without a destiny ever find happiness, or true love?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pancake Dogs Need Forever Homes

I've been fostering for a few years now and I've probably had maybe 100 dogs through my house. (Only 1 or 2 at a time!) some are here and quickly get adopted. Others are harder to find homes for. They have issues. Things happened to them in their short lives that left scars. Invisible scars that can't be seen from the outside.

They might have been neglected. They might have been unsocialized. They might have been beaten. They might have watched other dogs being abused. We may never know. But there's something there. Its in their eyes, in a look of panic they have when approached, in the tension in their bodies. And we have to deal with these issues when they come into the foster home.

I don't want to scare a potential foster to think every dog that might come into your home has a problem. Most don't. Most of the dogs I've had were loving, sweet pups who went on to make great family dogs. If you find a good rescue who knows the ins and outs of fostering they will make sure your foster dog fits your family dynamics so that your fostering experience will be a good one.

When I get a dog into my house that has that deep fear I ignore them. I set up a bed and a crate and show them the water dish. Then I let them sit there, crate door open and ignore them. A dog with fear issues doesn't trust easy. They need time more than anything else. So I watch TV, prepare dinner, do my computer work and avoid eye contact. Eventually they venture out to explore their surroundings. Slowly. We have a fenced in back yard and after a day or so I'll just leave the door open and let them wander in and out. I offer treats and if they don't want to come near me, I just drop them on the floor.

Because these dogs came in contact with some very bad people, they need time to learn to trust again. It's not going to come quickly and sometimes it's not going to be easy. They say time heals all wounds but these dogs need kindness too. They need to know that not all people are bad. Not all people will hurt them.

Corona came from a Hoarder but she pancakes when I reach for her. Pancake is when the dog flattens itself to the floor and cowers in fear. I've had this pup since January and she still pancakes. This shows me that not only was she from a hoarding situation, she was abused, too. Corona weighs 10 lbs, a little Chihuahua.

Sometimes its hard to hold the anger at the people who did this at bay. I have to remind myself that this little soul came into my life to share love and kindness. The anger I feel at those horrible people is useless at this point. It has no place between Corona and I and I have to let it go.

After those first few days of ignoring her, Corona slowly came to trust. She now will take treats from my hand, come over to be petted and runs around the yard chasing squirrels. She is now free from the hoarder and most of the fear that kept her a prisoner in her own mind, but the scars are still there. When company comes over, she barks incessantly. I either have to hold her or crate her. But its improving. It's one of the last things we're working on.

Right now she's beside me on the couch, tapping me with her little paws so I pay attention to her and not my keyboard. She's giving me kisses and letting me know when she has to go out. She's sweet and loving but at 8 years old, adopting her out will be hard.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Gracie Home Again

Gracie took a while to wake up at the vet and I kept calling and calling. Nervous mama.

But she's home now and determine to lick her self better. During the day I'll just watch her but at night or if we go out, its cone time. After I got the cone on her she walked in circles. Between the sore paw that she's limping on and the cone, she has no navigational skills left. She just flops around in circles until she flops down. Then she glares at me, "what did you do to me Mom?"

But we're taking our meds (pain killer, inflamation killer and antibiotics) with yummy chicken and cheese and that's got her smiling again.

We go back next week for biopsy results and to have our stitches out. Please pray for good results on the biopsy. Gracie's had a hard life. She deserves a break and a good life from here on.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dogs and Surgery

My sweet little Gracie is in for surgery on her paw today. Last week we found a growth on the side of her paw, under her dew claw. It feels like a soft bubble but the vet said he didn't like the look of it and wanted to remove it.

So here I sit by the phone waiting and worrying.

Gracie was my foster dog two years ago. She came from a Missouri puppy mill. When she arrived she sat where ever you put her, looked at the floor and didn't move or make a sound. She had infected spay incision and double ear infections and was shaved to the skin.

After medication she was feeling better but still shy. She'd sit in her little bed and just watch us as if she expected something bad. She was so gentle and sweet that she stole my heart as none of the twenty or so previous fosters did.

Gracie stayed. She warmed up slowly, learned to play with toys and after a couple of months she actually barked. Hearing her bark for the first time brought tears to my eyes. It was a sign she was truly home and felt comfortable enough to express herself.

Now I sit and wait for the vet to call and tell me that the surgery went well and I can come get her.
Time drags.....

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hidden Cost of Rescue

These costs are just a fraction of what's spent on dogs in rescue. Some dogs come in with issues that cost thousands of dollars to cure.

Heart worm pups come in all the time and the loving people in rescue have to make a big decision. Do we let this beautiful 2 year old dog die or do we nurse him through treatment to live a good life? They always choose life. Add a couple of hundred dollars.

A litter of puppies come up from the south and immediately start displaying symptoms of Parvo, a nasty and contagious virus. These pups require around the clock nursing, medication and a foster that will deal with the other issues to prevent Parvo from spreading. Some puppies will require lengthy overnight boarding at the vet to get better. K-ching!  More unexpected costs.

A dog, fearful because of all the changes in his life, runs from his foster or new adoptive home and gets lost. Rescue angels immediately organize search parties to find this scared pup. If that doesn't work, they hire professionals. More $$$$ goes out. A good rescue never gives up on any dog that comes into their care.

Foster families still need to feed the dogs in their care. Some fosters are able to afford the food themselves, others receive food from the rescue. Hopefully, this food has been donated by wonderful companies or caring people. If not, it needs to be purchased. K-ching! More $$$

So aside from the fees listed in this little cartoon, there are plenty of hidden costs associated with Rescue. If I thought about it a little longer, I'm sure I'd remember more. I'm sure tomorrow something else will come up, another fee, another unexpected expense, but the rescue will manage to cover it. A good rescue takes full responsibility for their dog.

One special needs dog is Clarence a Newfie found sick and injured. He's coming into the Castle of Dreams to find a family, but first he has major medical bills. Clarence's full story can be found here;

Fundraising is year 'round and constant. The rescue volunteers are constantly looking for new ways to make money to care for the dogs. If you see a rescue set up at a pet store, park or other venue drop your spare change in their jar or leave a couple bucks in the donation box. A little goes a long way in the work to save just one more dog or puppy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Surgery for bump found on leg. . .

The groomer found a soft bump on one of Gracie's legs, just below the dew claw. We were at the vet yesterday and they want to remove it. We did blood work and scheduled the surgery for Friday.

My poor baby! Gracie was rescued from a puppy mill two years ago. She came to my home as a foster and stayed. She is the sweetest dog ever! Gentle and friendly to every person, dog and cat.

I'm so worried. She has my heart.

More on Friday after surgery.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Hoarder Dogs

Saving dogs from Hoarders can be one of the hardest things a rescue can do. Most hoarders think they are either saving these dogs or in love. Some simply don't spay and neuter and then when the puppies come they can't give them up, can't afford to spay or neuter and the cycle continues. Soon the Hoarder is in over their heads and they lose control. They can't keep up with cleaning, cost of food and vet bills or socializing necessary for all pets.

When you have 100 dogs in your house and yard there is no way to give them all the affection they need to love and trust humans. These dogs will run from humans and seek to hide in the pack. Although pack life can be hard, too. Smaller dogs are often starving as the minimal food offered is often claimed by bigger more aggressive dogs.

Hoarder dogs are often aggressive because its how they had to survive. All are fearful of people and new places. The world which used to be confined to a pen, home or yard is now huge and they don't know what to make of it.

Another problem with Hoarders is that they don't want to give up their dogs. We had one incident where the woman with 130 dogs in an apartment in the city agreed to let rescue take her pups. She knew she was in over her head and neighbors were now complaining of the smell and noise. When several rescue groups arrived with crates and leashes the woman changed her mind and refused to let the rescues take any dogs. Luckily for the dogs, the police who where present told her either the dogs go with the rescue or he would have the moved out by animal control. The woman relented and the dogs were taken into rescue.

One of these dogs was Madison (little black dog pictured above) who came to my house skinny and extremely shy. It was evident she had just had puppies but there were no puppies found in the apartment. I set up a crate and put her bed in there with a small blanket. I was worried she'd be cold since she was so thin. For the first week I fed her next to the crate and she ventured out only to use the wee pad. Luckily, she knew what those were for. Gradually, she ventured closer to us, first for a sniff only to run back into her crate. We tempted her with treats and sometimes that would work. It was a few weeks and then she was on the couch getting belly rubs. When company would come she's hide behind the couch. That changed too over time.

Madison went to a good home. She learned her social skills and how to accept people as part of her pack. It was a slow go. Her normal socialization was stunted by a Hoarder who, although she meant well, was in over her head. She may always be a bit on the shy side but I know she'll have a happy life. Madison is a very good dog.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dog Breeders vs Hoarders

Dog breeders are motivated by greed. Make no mistake, there is no other reason to make a dog have litter after litter of puppies. Don't tell me they love puppies and people want them. If they truly believe that then they're uninformed and simply selfish. Selfish in that they either close their eyes to the truth because they don't want to stop having puppies, or they're just trying to justify  careless actions. Breeders do what they do for greed, plain and simple. If they loved dogs they'd be working in shelters or rescues. Lets look at the facts for each litter bred.

Say there are 6 puppies in the litter and you sell all 6 dogs. If its a pure bred and popular breed you could get at least $500 per dog. Five time six? That litter earned $3000. (Now tell me this isn't greed?)

Percentage facts? If 2 of these dogs get good long term homes where they'll be well taken care of their whole lives, that's luck. The other 4? Chances are good that they'll end up in a shelter or just be victims of abuse or neglect. Will someone with unrealistic expectations adopt one of these precious pups and then realize the dog is more work than they thought? Will that puppy face a life in a cage? Kept there more than 10 hours a day because dogs are work? If the dog's lucky, they'll be pulled from the shelter by a rescue group and these loving souls will find the dog a home. If the rescue is full, or the dog's plight just doesn't reach the rescue in time, the dog will be euthanized. Shoved in a tin box with dozens of other unwanted dogs and gassed. Was that worth it? Breeders don't care about the long life of the dogs they breed. They care about cash.

The parents of those cute little puppies in the window? They're caged 24/7 with little or no human contact. They're often fighting infections without proper veterinary care and will be bred over and over again while still sick. The puppies they breed have a good chance of developing congenital defects that might not be evident right away, but something the buyer will have to deal with for the rest of the dog's life.

Once the parents are too old to breed or not producing sell-able puppies, they are sold off, dumped in shelters, or simply put down, often by crude and cruel methods.

This is Gracie. She's a puppy mill survivor. Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue was contacted by a shelter in Missouri. Some breeder dumped a bunch of dogs at the shelter and they needed homes. Puppy mill dogs who have never lived in a home, were not housebroken, never had any human contact so probably couldn't live with kids, and most were sick in some way.

Gracie came to my house as a foster dog. She wouldn't look at me, cowered whenever I came near her and had infections in both ears and her spay incision. She was completely shaved down because the breeder had never had her groomed and she was completely matted when she arrived at the shelter. After a few weeks she was feeling better physically but still had a long way to go. She never barked, played or acted like a dog. She was fearful and didn't like to be touched. When adoption applications came in I hesitated. It took me a little bit but I finally admitted this shy little pup had stolen my heart. We worked on housebreaking skills, tempted her with treats and toys and eventually, slowly she opened up. One day I came in from work and she barked. She'd been here almost 3 months and it was the first time I heard her bark. I almost cried.

Now Gracie plays with toys, raced through the house and barks when we come home. She snoozes on the couch and hides her treats under the cushions. She was one of the lucky ones, she got out.

Tomorrow: Why Hoarders are different from breeders.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Foster Dogs & Training

Foster dogs come into my home with all kinds of issues. Where to potty, not sharing toys, snapping at visitors, excessive barking, fear, shyness, aggression...the list goes on. We learn about their problems as days pass and work with each as best we can. Some are quick to heal, other's take time.

A few months ago I had a foster dog that would wake up at the crack of dawn barking. I don't know if it was the light or maybe something she could hear outside, but every morning come 5 or 6 o'clock she was up and insisting everyone else wake up too.

That little pup is now adopted out to a good family who are having a great time with her. Her 5 a.m. jaunts were over and she fit into her new life just fine. A great match up for family and pup.

Now my little Shih Tzu, Gracie, rescued from a puppy mill two years ago, picked up this bad habit and runs around the bed barking, 5 or 6 a.m. every morning. She doesn't know the difference between weekends or weekdays. Sun up? Gracie up? Everyone up!

Any advice as to how to stop this crazy behavior?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cats Need Love too

Every shelter in America is overrun with cats and kittens. With spring, also known as kitten season, upon us, please remember spay, neuter, adopt!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dogs, Coats and Fear

Corona wasn't feeling good this morning. I woke up to realize her tummy must have been upset over night. The results were all over the family room floor. She wouldn't eat and didn't want to go out. I put a little coat on her and she still wouldn't go out. I carried her out and she ran back in. Okay, I wasn't going to push it. We keep our house at a cool 68 degrees so I left her little coat on her.

We had a dog adoption day and I had a crate I had to drop off so I left Corona home and took my Shih Tzu, Gracie with me. The adoption day looked like a success, crowds of people checking out the dogs, a few who had completed adoption applications and were approved were picking up their new dogs. I handed over the crate, chatted a bit and then headed home to check on Corona.

When I got home Corona was huddled in the dog bed in the front living room. She didn't come to bark as I came in, she didn't run up for pets. Slowly she followed me into the kitchen and crawled into the bed there. I opened the back door to see if she had to go out and she just looked at me. Right about then I'm thinking we'll be heading to the vet tomorrow.

Now I'm really worried.

So I check her over, she looks fine, isn't whimpering or wincing when I touch her. I take the little coat off her. I turn to fold the coat and put it on the shelf. I turn around and she's up and running for the door, yapping happily. She runs over to the food dish and takes a few bites. Runs up to me wagging her tail.


All this poor sick doggy act because I put a coat on her?
And she's a short haired Chihuahua! She needs a coat when its 30 degrees out!

Just another adventure in fostering.....

Friday, March 22, 2013

Senior Dog Adoption

Adopt a senior dog. We hear that all over. The word "senior" would be different depending on the breed. I adopted my Shih Tzu from a puppy mill in Missouri. She was 7 at the time. Definitely not a puppy but I didn't consider her a senior. Shih Tzu's live like 15 years in optimum health. I think of her more as middle aged. Although she acts like a puppy.

My foster dog is Corona. She's an 8 year old Chihuahua from a hoarder. Very shy and sweet but learning to live with people. I believe she was abused at some point because she pancakes. (Pancakes: flattens to floor in fear when reached for, usually due to past abuse) But if she finds a family that's calm and quiet, she'll do fine. I won't adopt her to a family with kids. Even though 8 isn't old for a Chi, she hasn't been with kids, ever.

Are either of these dogs seniors? What's the line that declares a dog a senior pup? Is it the grey in their face? The hitch in their gait? Corona is very grey so she even looks older. This cold NJ air doesn't help (where the heck is spring?) but I tuck her in every night, wrap a fleece blanket around her little body and let her snuggle into dream land.

Senior Dog considerations:
1. Already housebroken
2. May have good house manners
3. Vet checked and no health issues
4. Calmer, they're out of the puppyhood and into lets relax
5. They want to love you forever.

Corona is available at She's looking for an older couple, quiet home and lots of love

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rescue Dogs Rock Adoption Day!

Adoption day can be stressful for some rescue dogs. Homeless dogs come from various situations and abused, hoarded, or puppy mill dogs usually aren't well socialized. So when you put them in a crowd they don't handle it well. The shaking, hiding and nippiness you see at adoption day might not be a true  example of their personality.
Corona shook like a leaf the entire time. If anyone came near her she would freeze, growl and show her little teeth. That's not the dog cuddled next to me on the couch right now. Corona does not show well on Adoption Days.

There are two ways to handle this situation. Stay and hope she eventually relaxes, gets used to the crowd? Or take her home and let her hide in her bed for the rest of her life? We compromised. I kept Corona in my arms, stood in the back behind the table and away from the crowd.

But some great things happened today too! Big crowds showed up at Pet Supplies Plus and lots of adoptions are underway. Applications were filled out, puppies and dogs chosen by those who came by and as long as all the reference and home visits go well, there will be some new homes for these precious pups!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Behavior of Dogs

Animal rescue can be challenging. Rescue dogs come in all sizes, but sometimes they have one thing in common. A past. Unless they've come into rescue as a puppy, they have an unknown past. A mystery that displays itself in their behavior. Some react defensively. They might growl or snap in self defense. Even though you're not a threat in their life now, they don't forget the bad people who came before. Some react by cowering or hiding. They fear everyone, even those who come to help.

This is Corona. She came into rescue from a "Sanctuary" in Tennessee. I put "Sanctuary" in quotes because I don't believe this place was anything other than a hoarding situation. Corona, and all the other dogs pulled from this same "Sanctuary" display the behaviors of hoarder dogs. She is afraid of all humans. Hoarder usually have so many dogs they don't socialize with each one. Its like a wild pack of animals. They spend their days with the other dogs and occasionally see the human when they come to throw food to the dogs. But I see something else in Corona's behavior. I think she was abused.

In rescue we have a term called; pancake dog. This is when the dog pancakes to the ground and will flatten themselves down when approached by a person. Sometimes they tremble or will roll onto their back to show submission. This behavior is usually seen in dogs that have been abused; hit, kicked, or thrown. Although Corona has been in foster homes since August she still pancakes when I try to pick her up. She'll look at me from across the room and shake. Loud noises have her searching for a place to hide.

Don't get me wrong, she is getting better. She's more relaxed when I pick her up. Will settle on the couch with the other dog. Follows the other dog around and will even play with the other dog in the house. Play is coming slowly. She won't play with humans yet, only my Shih Tzu and only occasionally.

Corona is up for a adoption. A senior dog at 8 to 10 years, she's going to need a quiet home where people are home most of the time. No kids because she needs to relax. She hasn't learned walking on the leash yet, but comes when I call her. Sweet and shy and working on house training.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Salmonella Dog Treat Alert!

A warning just posted on the Dog Food Advisor's Website is a recall for numerous brands of dog treats due to salmonella. Yeesh!

Kasel Industries is recalling the following brands…
Boots & Barkley
Nature’s Deli
Colorado Naturals
Best Bully SticksMore information with exact lot numbers is on the Dog Food Advisor's website. 

I don't buy anything from China for my dogs because of the issues with contaminated food. In some stores its hard to find any chewy thing for treat without that "Made in China" note. Now we have salmonella.

From what I've read salmonella will make your dog pretty sick with vomiting, diarrhea and a whole list of other nasty stuff. If you think your dog has eaten something off the list call your vet. Even if your dog isn't exhibiting symptoms, better safe than sorry.

I have a friend who makes her own dog treats. Although I'm really not a cook, that idea is getting more appealing.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Free ebook! Soul Mates

Love dogs? And FREE ebooks?

When a deal with God goes terribly wrong a woman is reincarnated as one of the smallest dogs on the planet. Follow the adventure as she seeks her place in a world where she has little control.

Soul Mates (A different kind of love story) is free on Amazon for the weekend. Enjoy a story about a dog that who's spirit never gives up.

I wrote this book on the idea that maybe our Soul Mate isn't a lover or spouse but someone we connect with on a more spiritual level. When soul meets soul and people do the right thing, they can find the thing they've been searching for; unconditional love.

If you like it, leave a review on Amazon. I'd love to hear from you. To find out more about the writing of Soul Mates visit my website.
I hope you enjoy reading Soul Mates as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Dog Food Reviews, Recalls, & Alerts

With all the scary recalls on dog food and dog treats hitting the news lately its best to be on high alert when purchasing anything for your dog. One of my favorite places on the web for dog food reviews is Dog Food Advisor. On this site you can check out any food for nutritional value, see best and worst rated foods and sign up for recall alerts. They rate all dog foods and give all the details of each ingredient. They explain why the ingredients in your dog's food are good or why they are bad. It helps to make an informed decision on what to feed your precious pup.

I strongly recommend everyone sign up for email recall alerts.

I never get any spam from this site and the only things they ever send are the recalls. Receiving these alerts allows me to check my own pantry and forward the email to my friends and relatives who own dogs.

 I have a Shih Tzu, Gracie, and usually a foster dog in my home and I feed Natural Choice Grain Free for small breeds. When my Gracie first came to my home she was itching all the time. No fleas, oatmeal shampoos and regular grooming but still she itched. A Shih Tzu forum suggested a grain free food so I went to Natural Choice and the itching stopped. Yay! It's only a 3 star food on Dog Food Advisor, but she's doing good on it so we're sticking with it for the time being. I also give her Fresh Pet Select for dinner. That's a five star food so hopefully these two foods will give her the balance of nutrients she needs. Gracie came from a puppy mill where she was not well cared for during the first seven years of her life so she needs all the good food she can get!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adopting a Hoarder Dog

Adopting a dog is usually a joyous event for a family. They can't wait to bring the pup into their home, show the dog his new bed, toys and treats and cuddle it. They want to pet him, stroke his fur and tell him all about the great life he has ahead of him.
This would strike terror in the heart of a of hoarder dog.

Most dogs that come from hoarding situations have had very little human contact. They've spent their days huddled with the other dogs and often had to fight for food. To have a human, who can seem like a giant to a smaller dog, approach with arms out, reaching toward him can scare the heck out of him. Imagine if you're in a foreign land where you don't speak the language and all these really big people suddenly have their hands all over you. You don't know where the bathroom is, you don't know where your other dog friends are, and you don't even know how to ask for a drink of water.  You've barely seen people, let alone have any want to touch you. Most hoarders do it because they love dogs and are trying to save the world. Unfortunately, the dogs are often unsocialized and neglected as their numbers mount.

Hoarder dogs can make the best pets. They are sweet, loyal and usually fairly calm. Their one flaw. Hoarder dogs are very shy. The one thing they need from their adoptive family isn't the toys and treats (although treats always help!) is time.

When you first bring your hoarder dog home show it the bed, where the water and food is and then just stand back. Leave the dog to explore on its own. Some will come out fairly quickly and others might hide in their crate for a day or so. Don't worry. If he's hungry he'll come to the food. Just make sure you show him where it is. Depending on how your home is set up you might want to offer the food closer to his crate for a day or two and gradually move it to the spot you prefer.

I'm not always a proponent of crate training but for a hoarder dog it can be his safety spot. A place with walls to protect him while he figures out the dynamics of the family. When he goes into his crate let that be his quiet time. The crate should be big enough for the dog to fully stand and turn around in. If he's going to be crated for hours at a time, it would have to be even bigger. Crating for hours is not recommended.

The major thing with a hoarder dog is to let them come to you. After a few days offer treats. If they don't want to come to you for the treat, toss it on the floor and walk away. Eventually, the dog will realize treats are good and come closer for them. Always keep your movements slow and gentle. Sharp movements or sudden noise can scare your hoarder dog.

Slowly your dog will start coming to you. Scratch behind his ears. If he likes that stroke his head and back. Your dog might run back to his crate but this is a milestone for your foster dog. He reached out for just a bit and opened his heart. Its going to happen again and again and sooner or later he'll be in your lap and giving kisses.

The magic word here is "Time". Hoarder dogs need time to get used to humans and the love they can share. Give them time, love and affection and soon you'll have a great dog who will be romping in the yard and cuddling on the couch. 

This is Corona. She came from a hoarding situation in South Carolina. She's about 8 years old and didn't come out of her crate for two days. The first day I put her food dish next to the crate and she's stretch her neck out to eat. Two weeks later she's on my lap getting belly rubs, eating in the kitchen and wandering around the whole house. When she's not on my lap she's on the dog bed next to her crate. Big step. She just needed time.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Slow Days in Rescue

Adoption applications have slowed down. Here in NJ we had Hurricane Sandy hit in late October and things just fell apart. Our rescue, Castle of Dreams, is close to the shore so some of our foster homes lost everything. Other fosters took in dogs misplaced by the storm. For everyone in the area life changed to some degree. Either your friends and family members were affected or were helping those who were. Adoptions for the dogs in rescue stopped.

Then came the holidays and that's always a slow time anyway.

I've had Leena since early October, well before the storm that wrecked our shore. I knew when the hurricane hit that Leena would be with me a while, but now I worry that she's getting too attached to me.

Leena is approximately 7 or 8, a Yorkie or a Yorkie-mix and all of 8 pounds. She's very playful and sweet to people. She's not so thrilled with the other pets in the house. For an only dog she'll be great, but she does have issues.

Since Leena was not getting along with my Shih Tzu I decided to take the dogs for walks everyday to work off some of that aggressive energy. (Note: Leena was only aggressive to my Shih Tzu when she was near me. Otherwise she would just ignore her) After about three days of these long walks, Leena wakes up one morning and won't walk on her back legs.

A trip to the vet reveals she has what amounts to a herniated disk in her back. Of course by the time we get to the vet Leena is running and jumping and looks just fine. (don't they make a liar out of you every time?) The vet suggests blood work for tick disease and x-rays and we do both. Before adopting out any dog we like a full picture of any health issues. Blood work show a tick disease so she's given a cortisone like shot and pills for the back and antibiotics for the tick disease.

That's the extent of her problems. She's a sweet and wonderful dog with jealousy issues around other pets. She needs a calm house without other pets. Probably either older teens or a nice retired couple. She loves to play fetch and will bring her toys to anyone in the house.

So if you're in Rescue; have you noticed a slow down in applications?? What are you doing about it?