Thursday, November 6, 2008

Punkin - Absolutely, Positively, the Last Spoiled Royal

We don't know a lot about Punkin's history. He was a breeder surrender and taken in by WolfSpirit's Toy Breed Puppy Mill Rescue. He was to be transported to another rescue group but the day before the transport, the second rescue group decided they did not want an older dog that would be slow to be adopted (he's about 9 yrs old.)

Punkin needed to be moved so we picked him up anyway with the intention of fostering him but once his foster dad saw him it was a love at first sight. Punkin is a tiny little Pomeranian, with a really big attitude. He has about 3 teeth in his head and has problems with his right front leg. The vet thinks it may have been broken at some point and left untreated. He has this adorable little move where he backs into you when he wants picked up and he barks his dad out the door every morning.

He sleeps on the pillow at night and thinks nothing of chasing other dogs three times his size if they annoy him. He is as adorable as his photo and fits right in with the rest of the Spoiled Royals.

Sunny - She's A Delight

Sunny, also known as "Sunny Delight" is a doll. She was originally rescued by Puppy Mill Rescue during Awareness Day 2006 in Lancaster, PA and later adopted by us. Sunny came with quite an attitude, we later learned that her owner had died and a family member dumped her at the shelter.

A shelter worker said she believed Sunny was originally from a mill. She may have been but she had lived as a much loved and very spoiled dog and coming into a home with lots of other dogs was initially very difficult for her. She was snappy & snippy and not at all happy to have to share her persons. Over the past few years Sunny has learned to play nicely with the other dogs, she understands that 4:00 pm every day is her time for a belly scratch and she knows that no matter how many others are here, she is a much loved little pupster who will always have a special and unique place in our hearts.

She loves to go on walks, thinks going to the groomer is the best thing since sliced bread and is convinced that Pup Corn is the treat of choice by all discriminating dogs. The one thing Sunny has never gotten over is that she absolutely hates to have her picture taken!

Holly - Foxy Lady

Eight year old Holly was taken under the Puppy Mill Rescue umbrella from a back yard breeder in Ohio. We adopted her along with her two Pomeranian siblings in July of 2007.

She is our "Foxy Lady" and although she came into rescue as a frightened, skinny and unhappy dog, she has adjusted to freedom beautifully. She literally jumps for joy over the silliest things.

Tell her it's treat time and she jumps in the air with all 4 paws off the ground. Ask her if she wants a toy and smiles and hops will accompany her yips of joy. She is a happy girl who loves nothing more than to run, run, run in her very own fenced yard. She greets every day with a smile and reminds us what it means to simply be a happy dog.We have watched her change from a fearful dog not sure of what was going to happen next to a happy, bouncy, joyous dog who expects a belly rub at 7:30 every night and if we forget, she is right there reminding us.

It has been a pleasure to watch Holly go from a frightened, distrustful dog into one who welcomes each day with a huge smile on her little foxy face.

Oscar - Our Loveable Clown

Oscar was rescued from a Lancaster, PA puppy mill in September of 2005 during Puppy mill Awareness Day 2005. He is a hairless Chinese Crested and the clown in the Spoiled Royals pack.

Oscar was adopted in October of 2005 but the adoption did not work out so he came back to the rescue and we agreed to foster him again. After a couple of weeks his foster dad decided there was a reason Oscar was returned and the reason was he belonged here as a Spoiled Royal - and I must agree, it was an excellent decision.

He has the most expressive face, loves his fur siblings as well as his Dad & me and there is not a day that goes by that we don't laugh out loud at one of his antics. A rescue friend, who helped bring him back to us when his adoption did not work out, refers to him as her "Knight in Shining Armor", I don't know about the armor, but he is definitely a happy and loved "Knight" in our pack.

Callie, Our Shy One

Five year old Callie came from the same terrible place as Myla and even though she was only 9 months old when she was rescued, she still deals with fear and trust issues.Callie was adopted by a wonderful rescue friend who became ill and needed to place Callie in a home that understood mill dogs. Callie came to Camp Spoiled Royals in May of 2006 and while her Mom could have her back if she was ever able to take her, we consider this a case of shared parenting.

Callie loves the other dogs here and plays, plays, plays with them. She needed to be in a home where she had other dogs to interact with and she certainly has that here. She still has problems trusting people but will come to us for an ear scratch when we are sitting down, she will always take a piece of Pup Corn from our hand and she loves cuddle time around 9:00 or so at night when things are quiet and the others are unwinding from their day. She hops up on the sofa and climbs into my lap and politely asks for a belly rub. She is secure enough in her trust that if a belly rub is not forthcoming she will paw and nudge until I get it in gear. We love her dearly and get such a kick out of her playing with the others. We are confident that in time she will totally forget her first 9 months of life and understand that is completely a thing of the past.

Data - One Cat, Big Heart

Data is the lone cat in our home - born in 1993 and surrendered to an animal shelter at the age of 2 because the son in his original home developed allergies. Their loss was truly our gain. Data is everything you could want in a cat, tolerates our dogs with much patience and is most definitely a Spoiled Royal.

He's a great guy with a typical cat personality - he wants what he wants when he wants it and on occasion he wants our attention and will condescend to allow us to play with him. lol

He gets along with all of the dogs in our home (or they all get along with him) and has been known to rabble rouse now and then by reaching out and tagging a passing pupster. He has been known to cuddle in a doggie bed with one of his fur siblings and tolerates the occasional tongue licking he receives from one of the dogs. He has never been declawed but is very good about using his scratching post and not our furniture. He is the perfect cat in a houseful of dogs. Next to Tucker, Data is the alpha in our home and as any cat lover knows, rules the roost with a regal air.

Tucker's Story

Tucker came to us from Forgotten-4-Paws rescue in December of 2003. He had been abandoned in the middle of the night, in an outside cage in freezing temperatures at a local vet clinic. He was covered with Velcro so the rescue Angel who took him in named him that. When we met him, his new dad named him "Tucker" and the name is appropriate. When Tuck wants a full body scratch he "tucks" his head against us. It's such a sweet move that he always gets his way!

We foster puppy mill survivors and Tucker has been a God send to these dogs. Easy going, lovable and the most gentle alpha dog we've ever seen. Tuck is the one who first greets the new foster, taking them under his wing, teaching them how to walk through door ways, go up and down steps, take treats, where the water dishes are and keeps frightened dogs from fear fighting. He has been known to head butt a dog who barks too much or takes an aggressive stance. Tucker will get between two dogs thinking about squaring off and stop the behavior very quickly, he keeps order in the pack and makes us laugh every day. He is a great dog and we are so thankful Forgotten-4-Paws allowed this guy to come into our life. Every day with Tucker in it is a good day!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prince Charming

Prince was adopted from Puppy Mill Rescue in May of 2005. His mother had been rescued from an auction and was pregnant with 4 puppies. Like many poorly bred dogs, Prince has a host of medical problems. He has hydrocephalus - also known as water on the brain, so far his only symptom is a head shake and then a few seconds where he is disoriented. He has never known any other way to live so he takes all of this in stride. We've been told he may live out his life with no other symptoms or he may start to have seizures in the future. At age 4, he is still seizure free. At the vet's recommendation, we put him on lasix for a month or so to see if it would help with the fluids but we did not see much of an improvement so he is no longer on lasix. If his condition appears to worsen in the future, we will revisit a lifetime of lasix.

He also has a condition called Microvascular Dysplasia (MVD) where the proteins are not properly cleansed through his liver. He has been on a prescription diet for three years and his bile acid tests indicate that his MVD is under control.

His last two medical problems have to do with his teeth, he's had 32 teeth pulled in his short life. We suspect because his mother was in poor health and not receiving proper nutrition, his teeth as well as those of his brothers and sisters are poor. Every time this little guy has a dental, he loses more teeth. Luxating Patellas also plague him, although because we watch his weight, don't allow him to jump down from sofas, ottomans, etc. they have stayed at a grade 2. Hopefully they will not get worse as he ages and require surgery. One of my pet peeves is when a vet says "Small breeds are prone to bad teeth an luxating patellas." No, they aren't. Poorly bred dogs are prone to bad teeth and luxating patellas. Those breeders who care about their dogs (and there are a lot of them) do their best to breed out both of these conditions.

Prince does not seem to understand he is just a tiny little dog, on a good day, soaking wet he tops out at 4 1/2 lbs. We refer to him alternately as "Prince Charming" and "The Devil Dog." He understands that he is the cutest little thing and can charm anyone into giving him his way. We often cave to his demands and agree to belly rubs, ear scratches and hand outs of his favorite treat Pup Corn quite readily. The Devil Dog designation comes from the fact that if there is a fight brewing or trouble occurring, we know without a doubt that Prince will be in the middle of it. He loves to tease and harass Mason, chase Sweetie and Callie and basically rabble rouse at the drop of a hat. His middle name is Ornery.

Prince was born with his medical issues and has lived with them all his life, to him this is all normal. He does have higher vet bills and he needs to see a neurologist periodically to make sure he is stable. We have to take extra care when he has anesthetic but other than that, he is a happy go lucky little dog who most definitely has his Daddy wrapped around his adorable little paw. Of all the people in his life, he loves his Dad best.

Sweetie - The little Princess

Sweetie came to us a few years ago. She was clearly the much loved dog of an elderly owner. Sadly, her owner became ill, first going to the hospital, then to a nursing home. Sweetie had no idea what happened to her "Mom." One day she was a treasured family member with full run of her home, the next day she was banished to the basement. She went from daily walks and lots of attention to being held prisoner in a basement, with visits from relatives every few days.

Sweetie's Mom always had time for her, fed her the best food she could afford, brushed her daily and loved her unconditionally. When her owner became ill, the family members did not want to bring Sweetie to their home so they kept her locked in the basement, stopped by every few days to replenish the dog food they had left for her and to hose down the basement where she pottied. She went from being a much loved and socialized dog, cared for by a loving owner to a burden, a chore that had to be done by a family who honestly believed they were doing the best they could to care for her.

After five months of isolation she was slowly going stir crazy. No more walks, no sunlight, no hugs, no human contact just endless days of being locked in a basement. Then, when it became clear that her owner would not be able to come home, Sweetie's luck changed. A very nice man learned of her situation and came to us and asked if we could help find her a home. We said, sure, have her caretakers give us a call.

Two days later the very kind man pulled into our drive way exclaiming "I've got your dog!" My husband & I looked at each other and said "Our dog?" We walked over to meet Sweetie, an extremely hyper Yorkshire Terrior. She barked, yipped, squirmed and spun in fast circles. Oh my, what are we getting into? We carried her into our back yard and put her down. She ran around like a crazy dog - jumping, barking, coming back to us and jumping on us. She was like the Energizer Bunny, she kept going and going and going.

At that time, we had two other dogs. Both older, quiet, easy going and very sedate. We were in shock, what on earth were we going to do with this bundle of energy? We called the relatives to let them know we had Sweetie & would find her a home. During the conversation, we learned that she had been locked in the basement for 5 months. As infuriating as that was to us, we understood that the family thought they were doing "right" by her by not taking her to a shelter. They also had a large dog that was kept outside much of the time. To their way of thinking, she was inside, fed and watered and cared for. They really had no idea that Sweetie was a social creature and needed to be around people. We told them not to worry, we would see that she went to a good home. After we hung up the phone, we decided Sweetie was home to stay.

We did not care for the name "Sweetie" and tried out several different names. But as she became familiar with our routine and was once again around people, had unlimited access to fresh water, good food, could run outside, go for walks again, and understood she was allowed anywhere in the house she settled down. It became clear that she truly was a "Sweetie" and that she had found her home. We contacted the nursing home where her "Mom" was living and made sure she knew that Sweetie was safe and in a home where she would be cared for the rest of her life. Two days later her first Mom passed away. We think she held on until she knew her beloved best friend was safe and somewhere that she was once again the treasured little Princess she deserved to be. We will keep her safe and love her until someday, I hope years away, Sweetie can reunite with her original Mom and give her our thanks for lending this wonderful "Sweetie" to us.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meet Myla

Myla came to us a couple of years ago in 2006, she was rescued from a puppy mill and was one of several very damaged dogs that were freed by an angel disguised as a rescue volunteer. Physically, Myla's health was relatively good but emotionally this little lady was terribly damaged. She is one of the two most damaged dogs we have here. No surprise, the other dog was rescued from the same mill the year before.

She was terrified of people, hid behind furniture or in a crate with an open door. She always wanted to be alone, never near other people or dogs. We left her alone for the first several weeks, just letting her get used to the everyday sounds in the house, the commotion of other dogs and the voices of the people. No one (human or dog) could be in the room when she ate. She would not go near food or water if anyone was within viewing distance.

Myla fear peed & pooped when we put a harness and leash on her to take her to the vet for a checkup. She shook and shivered if we tried to hold her or touch her. She tried her best to escape, succeeding once or twice but we were there and managed to bring her back. She was afraid of us but more afraid of what was "out there" so she allowed us to gently approach with the familiar "Myla Up" phrase that she had learned. We picked her up and brought her back to the only safety she had ever known in 7 long years.

She spent her first three months of freedom trying to stay isolated from us - she was not going to let anyone in, no one was going to hurt her. She'd been there, done that. But one of the advantages of having a pack of dogs is that each new rescue will watch the others that are already here. Myla watched the interaction between dogs & human, dogs & other dogs. She saw the others came to us without fear, she watched them receive treats and belly rubs and ear scratches. One day, for just a moment, she took a chance. We were on the sofa when she gently jumped up beside me. I reached out to scratch her ears - she stayed for just a few seconds then jumped down and hid again. It was a start. . . . she had the courage to hope. It would be enough to hold us as we watched her internal struggles over the next year.

Myla wanted to believe she had finally found a place where dogs were treated kindly. Where respect & love went hand in hand - but she had been in a mill, adopted out, sent back to the mill, adopted out again and immediately escaped -caught and sent back once again to the horrid place where she was born. Her fear was so great when she first came here that we know her life at this mill was terrible. Others who have met the miller tell of the unbelievable cruelty they witnessed in short visits to rescue dogs. If this person could not control them self in front of a witness for a few hours - what must the dogs have endured during years of captivity at this person's hands?

(And yes, we tried to stop this person from breeding, they were reported time and again. No one ever took any action but age did what we could not. The miller is no longer in business and has no more dogs.)

Over the next year Myla took two steps forward and one step back. She would come into the living room on her own and lay in one of the doggie beds and watch us. Then she would hop up on the sofa for an ear scratch. She allowed another dog to be in the same room when she ate, I was allowed to stand outside the room and look at her as she ate. She stopped hiding in the gazebo when I called her to come inside and actually responded to her name.

And then another small miracle occurred - the Angel who helped rescue her came to visit. Myla had not seen her Angel in over a year but wonder of wonders - she recognized her. Myla allowed the first person outside of our home to touch her. She hung around us and close to her Angel. After our friend went home, Myla seemed to make a decision. She started interacting with the other dogs, she was less skittish, she discovered toys, for the first time ever she rolled in the grass. She decided it was great fun to bark at mealtime (that was another thing, Myla rarely barked.) She was less afraid of storms but still comes when it thunders - she just doesn't shake as much.

Her Angel came to visit again a month or so ago and Myla greeted her like a long lost friend. I think she wanted to show off her socialization skills. She absolutely loves to go to the groomer, jumping in excitement when she sees the once feared leash & halter come out. If it is possible for a dog to smile (and I think it is), Myla smiles all the time. She has overcome so many fears in the past 2 + years. She's a happy dog and a joy to watch as she continues learning about trust, freedom and what it means to live a life without fear.

I often joke that I really don't like Pomeranians because they shed but I will happily brush her and vacuum the fur for as long as she lives. The gift that Myla has given us is the sure knowledge that love conquers all and that forgiveness sets one free. (Oh yeah and that the very best gifts come disguised as a Pomeranian!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mason Knows

When Mason came to us as a foster in July of 2005, he was a very scared little dog, unable to go up and down steps or walk through a door. Once in the house, he hid under the bed in fear. Before coming into rescue he was matted, and covered with fleas and ticks. The kennel owner shaved him and "dipped" him in a concoction that had my vet shaking her head. Mason's little body had bite marks all over it from fleas, ticks and other crawly things. His teeth were a mess and over the last two years, at every dental, he has lost teeth, a total of 25 so far. He also arrived with two severe ear infections that produced smelly, black gunk until he started taking antibiotics and having his ears cleaned regularly.

Mason traveled from Oklahoma to Texas to Ohio. When we brought him home from the airport, he was shaking so hard I was afraid I'd drop him. Once we arrived home, we took him into the fenced yard so he could stretch, run and do his business (and then we spent the next 2 /2 hrs trying to catch him.)

The photo below is of Mason the day before he flew to Ohio. Skinny, homely, afraid of his own shadow and terrified of humans. He grabbed my heart and has owned it from the moment I saw this photo.

Mason was with us for about a month when I wrote the update below. He is an amazing dog, he was terrified when he arrived, he had no reason to trust people and yet. . . .

What Mason Knows. . . .

Mason understands he will be fed twice a day, every day
Mason understands to go to his spot and wait just a few seconds
Mason knows he does not need to eat his fur sibling's food
Mason knows he does not need to hoard his food, there will be more

Mason knows that he has his own food dish
Mason knows he will not be hungry again
Mason knows how to go up and down steps
Mason knows how to go through a door with a human

Mason knows that I love him
Mason knows that he loves me

Mason knows there are fresh bowls of water all around the house and deck
Mason knows he will never be thirsty again
Mason knows what a toy is
Mason knows what it is to play with other dogs

Mason knows that a human can say the word no and not hurt him
Mason knows that all men and women are not mean
Mason knows what kindness is
Mason knows the word gentle

Mason knows what it means not to be itchy and scratchy
Mason knows what it feels like to not have pain in his ears
Mason knows what it feels like to be clean
Mason knows he has a beautiful tail

Mason now knows that his dad loves him
Mason now knows that he loves his dad

Mason knows what pup corn is
Mason knows what a carrot is

Mason knows how to ask for a treat
Mason knows how to smile

Mason knows he can bark when he is happy or mad or excited or when he wants something
Mason knows we will figure out what he is trying to tell us
Mason knows how to ask for his ears to be rubbed
Mason knows that he can not do anything that will cause a voice to be raised

Mason knows that he can be friends with other dogs
Mason knows that he does not have to fight with other dogs to survive

Mason knows what grass and flowers are
Mason knows about chasing chipmunks and squirrels and his fur siblings
Mason knows what it is to run and play in his very own yard

Mason knows what a gazebo is
Mason knows the pleasure of lounging on the love seat with his fur sister
Mason knows about being lazy and he knows about barking when people come to the door
Mason knows this is his home

Each little step this precious angel has taken has been leading him to the big step:
Mason knows what it means to be free . . .

and to be loved . . . .

and he knows what it is to love

My precious little guy knows . . .

Introducing The Spoiled Royals

They started as the dogs no one wanted . . . . one was covered with Velcro and dumped in the middle of a cold January night in an outside cage at a vet's office. Two others found themselves with no one to love them when their owners passed away. One was locked in a basement for 5 months the other pulled from a shelter hours before being put to sleep. Several survived years living in a puppy mill - one by one they started their new life in our home and secured a place in our hearts.

This blog will share the adventures and perceptions of a pack of dogs affectionately known as "The Spoiled Royals". Wherever they go, they inspire smiles, laughter and joy. They are a forgiving bunch, quick to offer a doggie kiss, a head butt or ask for a belly rub. Stop in every so often to meet the pack and see what they have been up to. . . .