Pet Stuff...

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; http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/clarence

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.