Thursday, November 6, 2008
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.
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 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
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'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
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 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.
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 . . .