Pet Stuff...

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Damaged Dog; Chihuahua

I have a Chihuahua who pancakes when I reach for her. Usually pancaking (flattening themselves to the floor) is a sign the dog was abused. I already knew that, but when I pick her up she's trembling. Which leads me to believe someone picked her up and hurt her. Threw her? Beat her? I'll never know what happened to this tiny dog before she came into my house as a foster at age nine, but in the almost two years she's been here, this pancaking behavior is still there when I reach for her. She was 9 when rescued from a life of neglect in a Tennessee hoarding situation. Skinny, shaking, scared. :(

She's a gentle little yapper. More cuddly every day. She used to stand stiffly when I'd pet her. Eventually, I'd move her onto my lap and she'd still be stiff and refused to sit down. She'd come to be petted, but didn't have the trust in her to sit. She was ready to bolt at any moment. It took over a year for her to sit and relax in my lap. Now she'll jump in my lap and curl up to be loved.

She hates company, but luckily we have a quiet house. Just me, hubby, a 10 year old puppy mill Shih Tzu and 20 year old cat. If someone does come over she'll bark at them from the time they come in until they leave. We're working on this issue. At first I'd let the people drop food for her and she'd calm down enough to eat, then resume her barking. After she'd been with us a year, had her spot on the family room couch, dog bed in the front room she claimed as her own, we moved onto shaking pennies in a water bottle. She was startled at first, but soon realized it  meant knock-it-off. She'll quiet for a while and restart. We're working on this issue.

She came to me with the name Corona and I wanted to change it to something ...more gentle, sweeter, but so far nothing's sticking.

I can't change what happen to her and try hard not to dwell on the hate I can feel for those who did this to such a tiny and loving dog. I wish them karma. Let the universe take care of them.

Moving forward I'm open to any suggestions for her barking at anyone who comes into our house. Its incredibly annoying! Although I understand she spent the first 9 years of her life living in fear, I feel there must be a way to let her know no one is going to hurt her now. Ideas?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dog Found Cliffwood Beach, NJ

 We're calling him Bruce Springsteen since he was found on the Jersey Shore. (Its a Jersey thing~ Springsteen and summer) He's about a year old, very friendly, neutered, and so skinny he was either out on his own for a long time or ...maybe...neglected and dumped.

However Brucie is very friendly and after a couple of weeks he'll be up for adoption if an owner doesn't come forward. (with a good explanation on why he's so skinny!)
His vet check went well and we updated his vaccinations just in case.

If you know of anyone who lost this cutie...go to Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue and drop us a note.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Throw Away Dog

Got a call today from a friend who works in a shelter. A family was dumping their 7 month old dog off because it bit the father. He said the dog was aggressive toward his daughter and he got in the middle and it bit his hand. As he turns the dog in he says he's had problems with the dog from the beginning. They said they adopted the dog from our rescue. We looked it up and will be picking up the dog tomorrow. He'll be evaluated and we go from there. We'll pay for training and socialize him. The shelter says so far they've seen no aggression and he seems to be a normal exuberant puppy. Hopefully, he'll be adopted. We've done it before, we'll do it again. And probably again and again and again...

Okay, listen up...if you're going to get a dog you have to train it. Training takes time and patience. If you're having problems figuring out how to train a dog, hire a trainer. A good trainer. One who will train all the family members, too. Dogs need to know how to behave, but people need to know (and practice) how to train a dog. Some stranger taking over your dog for a few weeks is not training anyone. Everyone in the family has to be trained right along with the dog. That's how you create a successful relationship with your dog.

Next issue; A dog is a family member. You are his pack so treat him with the same love and affection that you treat the rest of your family/pack members. Learn to work with them, learn from a good "positive" trainer to make a successful relationship with the family and the dog.

You don't give up on family members. You don't dump them in a shelter where they'll be stuck in a cage, confused and scared and away from the only people they ever loved. You wouldn't do it to your children, don't do it to your dog. If you can't promise the dog forever, then you aren't ready for a dog.

Okay, sorry. Vent over.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fundraising for Dog Rescue

We save the dogs, bring them into our homes, share love, good food, and a warm bed. Then comes the hard part; handing them over to their forever home.

Now for the other pain of Dog Rescue; FUNDRAISING!

Rescuing dogs is more expensive than anyone, but the rescue team, will ever know. Dogs come into rescue with heartworm, parvo, infections, and too many other problems to list. (Newbies please don't get scared! Not all dogs come in with issues. Most are perfectly healthy, wonderful pups) When dogs come in with health issues the $$$ can add up quickly!

That dog that came in thin as sticks with cigarette burns on his back needs a full blood work up to be sure he's healthy and the burn marks are going to heal. (he is, they did). The one that seems to be limping when he came off transport needs x-rays (and more surgery to heal his back leg). A litter of pups where three out of five end up with Parvo need to be treated by the vet for at least a week (yes, they made it and are now in good homes!). This list goes on and on....

Most times adoption fees don't cover it all. Veterinary bills can add up super fast so a Rescue is constantly looking for more fundraising ideas. Here's a few we've used in the past;

  • Cans. Cans can be put in local stores with pictures of your cutest pups to ask for donations. This requires some organization as someone has to check the cans on a weekly/monthly basis.
  • Paws for the Cause. Purchase paper/cardboard paw print cutouts and get a local store or restaurant to sell them for a small fee. As people buy the paw they put their name on it and it's posted on the wall of the business. This makes the business look community minded while earning money for the dogs. 
  • Bowling days or Restaurant Dinners. Get together with a local bowling alley and offer games of bowling where the rescue gets a cut of the profits. Check with a restaurant in your area to host a Rescue night. When anyone mentions the rescue, the restaurant donates part of the profits. This is usually not a very big fundraiser but is a great way for volunteers to get together with friends and family to support the rescue. 
  • Gift auctions & Bingo nights. Lots of work to organize this as gifts have to be secured from generous donors to make up the gift/gift basket prizes. Check out local fire departments and schools as places to have your venue.
  • Craft shows. Another top earner, but takes a good organizer. Find a venue, sell spaces to crafters and vendors, sell some food and drinks. 
These are basic fundraisers. If you have any other ideas please post them! We'd love to share the ideas to save the pups!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fostering Dogs and Volunteering

Over all I've probably fostered about 100 dogs. I never realized there were so many of these lost souls through my home until I started to look through the files on my computer and saw all those furry faces. All went to good homes.
My last foster was Corona, the Chihuahua rescued from an abusive hoarder. Nine years old, fearful, she was at that point; unadoptable.
Good news! She's adopted. Right here, by me. It took so long to gain her trust I just decided to keep her. Now she joins my other fur-baby, Gracie the puppy mill Shih Tzu. Two quirky dogs. Corona doesn't know how to play, Gracie loves squeaky toys. They've come up with their own weird kind of play where Corona runs circles around Gracie with a bone in her mouth and Gracie barks at her.

My cat is 20 years old and having trouble walking. She's tiny and now frail, has to be lifted onto furniture and roams the house at night screaming.

So I'm taking a break from fostering for now. I don't want to risk this 20 year old frail cat to harassment by the puppies or danger an older, bigger dog can bring.  Sometimes when a dog first arrives it can be unpredictable. Even if cat-tested at the shelter, once in the home it could be different. Food or bed aggression could cause a problem.

Instead I'm at the adoption days, helping with fundraising, public relations and any other opportunity that comes up.

If you want to help homeless dogs and can't foster check out local rescue groups and find out what else is available.
Everything is part of the process that brings these wonderful dogs into their furever home.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Craft Show for Puppies!

Calling all vendors!

Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue is hosting a Spring Craft show on April 26, 2014 at St. Joseph's Church in Keyport, NJ.

Tables cost $30 each. If you are interested in joining us for this event please email:

Come out and help save dogs and puppies!!!!
They live because you give. Yes, it really is that simple.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

No Breeders Welcome!

Yes there are ads on this page, please don't hate it. Truthfully, I never look at them. They rotate automatically and I never know what's popping up. However, today I saw one selling puppies. I was outraged! Selling dogs for profit goes against everything I believe in. There are far too many homeless dogs in shelters and puppy sellers are half the cause of this problem.

I've blocked this ad and will continue to block any ads I see that sell puppies or dogs or any kind of animal. Rescue welcome, breeders go away.

To the Breeders, here's a message for you;

Don't call yourself a "responsible" breeder. There is no such thing. Every dog you breed has the possibility of ending up in an overcrowded shelter. Or, if not spayed, having their puppies end up in a shelter. If you don't believe this then start visiting shelters and count the pure bred dogs sitting in cages, shivering with fear. Most of these, even the purest of pure breds, will not make it out. They'll die there. Look it up, do your research, and maybe you'll stop breeding. I have two dogs in my home who are pure breds. Both ended up in a shelter and, if not pulled by rescue, would have died there. One Chihuahua and one Shih Tzu. Beautiful pure bred dogs, and I've fostered too many pure bred dogs that were dumped in scary high-kill shelters. Every foster family has fostered a pure bred dog.

There's only one reason people breed dogs: GREED. Stop the cycle of homeless dogs dying in shelters. STOP BREEDING!

To all my readers I apologize for the vent, but I was so mad at seeing that ad I just had to say something.

Adopt, don't shop.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rescue Dogs and Heartache...Their's and Your's

Most foster dogs have been through a lot. They may have been passed around, lost an owner they loved, or been abused either mentally or physically. Either way, any of this emotional or physical trauma would be enough to drive a human crazy. Yet, dogs endure. They can go through unspeakable things and yet still look at the next human that comes into their life as a possible friend. Dogs are unconditional, be nice to me and I'll be nice to you. If you ever meet a bad dog, it's just his reaction to the last bad human he met. He wants to trust and love. Its his nature. But sometimes, when trust is lost, the next human in line has to give a little to rebuilt it.

Corona came to my house last January as a foster. She was afraid of everything, the household humans, the cat, the other dog, company, going outside, and ...well, everything. She sat in her crate for about a week, door open, and watched us. One day she came out to explore but ran right back to the crate when anyone made the slightest move. It was hard work getting her to take a treat. Mostly I ignored her and let her find her way over to me. She did so in her own time, slowly, fearfully.

Corona came from a hoarding situation and never in her 9 years had she seen the outside. She was kept in a barn having puppies. Her whole life was a fight for food, space, and survival. Hoarders bred her over and over again for 9 years and took her puppies too soon. When they did have contact with her, it wasn't in a good way. Most of the others that came up in her rescue transport were just like her; too thin, infected mouths/spay incisions, and afraid of everything. Some in the transport reacted by cowering and trembling. Corona went from retreating and shaking to charging and shaking. She was, what I'd call; un-adoptable. I knew her type of fear would escalate so I called in a professional trainer who worked in the "Positively" type of training.

It was slow, but over the months Corona came around. When I used to put the harness on her she'd run and hide. Take her out on a leash and she'd freeze and refuse to move. It was like standing on the front lawn with a little Chihuahua statue. Now, after lots of patient practice, when I pull out the leash she jumps up and down and runs to the front door. She loves walks! She's cuddly and sweet and loves belly rubs. She's a new dog from the one who had to be carried into my home a year ago. Now I'd call her adoptable.

A year. Corona has been by  my side for a year. She lost her fear here, learned to love here, and ...somewhere along the line, she stole the heart of this seasoned foster mama.

Introducing the newest addition to our household; Gambit! (formerly Corona) She found her furever home in our hearts.
If you want to know where the name "Gambit" came from look here.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

12 Months a Foster Dog?

What do you call a dog whose been in foster care for 12 months?
She's a 9...wait...10 year old, Chihuahua rescued from a hoarding situation in Tennessee. Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue brought her up last August with 4 other dogs. All were adopted except Corona.
This little dog had BIG fear issues. Mostly of people, outside, cars, noise, other dogs, and well, everything.

In hoarding situations the dogs rarely have human contact so a simple thing like a rub behind the ears can send the dog into panic mode. She's never been touched by humans so why should she trust you?
She's never been outside in all her 9 years and it really is a big, scary world out there. Cars? Never imagined such things. Other dogs? In a hoarding situation she had to fight for food, to protect her puppies, and even for the small spot of bare floor she called a bed. Her whole life was a fight.

In August 2012 she went to another foster home. She was emaciated, shaking, and so fearful she'd explode in barking fits at the slightest movement in the room. Although she was starting to come out of her shell in that home, things happened and she was moved to my home.

I recognized the fear right away. I could see it in her wide eyes as she tracked my movements, her growling as my own dog or cat went anywhere near her, and her tightly curled body. I set up a crate with a soft bed and blanket. Put a dish of water near by and fed her just outside the crate. She barely left the crate for over a week. One day I looked up and she was exploring the perimeter of the room with slow, hesitant steps. A day later she came up to me as I sat on the couch, gave me a sniff and ran back to the crate. Each day brought a little more daring on the part of this little Chihuahua, everyday she relaxed a little more.

We got a trainer for her. This trainer used positive training and things got a little better. She's more relaxed now, will walk on a leash (actually runs to the door now when the leash comes out instead of hiding). She's a great companion dog now with one exception; she barks at company.
I feel this is her last issue. Other than that she's a great dog. As I write this she's curled up by my side on the couch taking a nap. We're working on the barking. She's still up for adoption, but she is one year in my house this month so its going to hurt so much if she gets adopted.
Do I let her go so I can save another?