Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The latest: Suki and Rocket

A lot has happened since my last post on the 23rd of December. On Christmas day Bess, now known as Suki, went home to her forever home with the Martinez family. Most of the family thought that she wasn't arriving until mid-January, but as a surprise to Suki's two boys, Devin and Cody, we brought her home on Christmas day, complete with a pointsettia Christmas dress that her new mom had bought for the event.

She spent time running around and exploring, introducing herself to her 12 year old fur sister, Puffin and then conked out on Grandma Mary's lap, fully relaxed and at home. Unfortunately, house training continues to be a challenge and as many of you know, house training is not my strength, so if anyone out there has any good tips on how to help with a girl who is refusing to poop outside be sure to let me know.
The photo shows Suki between her boys as they help her open her Christmas gifts that are in the new bed that she' peeking into.

The newest member of our foster family to arrive is 5 year old Rocket (he just had a birthday this week). Rocket had a congenital defect in his knee called luxating patella and since it was never corrected he also developed painful arthritis on top of that. We had him taken straight to the vets for the necessary surgery and for updated vaccinations and picked him up this afternoon.
As you can imagine, he's not feeling especially chipper right now since he's had surgery and three vaccinations, however he seems to be a very sweet boy. He's resting in a cushy bed in the living room and hopefully will feel well enough this evening to spend some time getting to know the other dogs.
If you know of a home without young kids that's looking for a mature, stately gentleman, Rocket is your man. He's looking for a soft lap that he can warm and he promises that he's the perfect dog for the job. He has many years of devoted companionship to share and deserves a forever home that will treasure him as the sweet, kind dog that he is.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Catching Snowballs

One of Frodo's favorite snowy activities is to catch snowballs. Suki(Bess) tried to play along but preferred to chase Frodo rather than get a mouthful of snow.

In this rather dizzying video you see Frodo catch 2 snowballs and Suki run around a bit, enjoying a little playtime in the snow.

And the winner is....

The Pet Market at Dash Point in Federal Way held a raffle for a beautiful doggy basket over the month of December to benefit New Rattitude Rat Terrier Rescue. The raffle raised over $300 that will be used to pay veterinary expenses for rescued rat terriers. Thank you, thank you to Jillian, owner of the Pet Market who donated the basket valued at $160.

Our rattie, Frodo, who usually loves to eat paper was sure there was a set up when we put a box full of paper in front of him so he would "pick" the winning ticket. He refused to do anything but sniff so we had to bury treats in the tickets and the first ticket he knocked out of the box was the winner.
And the winner was....(insert drumroll here)...Patience Miller. Thanks to everyone who participated in this great event.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Coke Rewards points for Rescue!

The New Rattitude fundraising team has come up with a great idea. We are collecting Coca-Cola rewards points and then will purchase something with the points that we will then raffle off.

For those of you who haven't heard of the rewards program, any Coke products typically have a code under the lid. A person can sign onto a Website and enter those numbers to get points. The points can then be used for a wide array of prizes.

So here's what I need you to do. Save your Coke lids and then E-mail me the number under the lid and then what product the lid was on (i.e. Cherry Coca-Cola 2 liter). Any Coke products will have these so look for Minute Maid, Dasani, Barq's Rootbeer, Sprite... I will then sign into the New Rattitude account and enter the codes to upload the points. Then when we have enough I'll announce a raffle. Sound good?

Right now the fundraising team has come up with a goal of 1350 points. In just 2 days we have 120 points just from New Rattitude team members, so this is very doable. Start E-mailing me those Coke codes! I know a few out there (who shall remain nameless) who should have quite a few Diet Coke codes to send to me. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Whew, this is the third post today! I promise, it will be the last because I've got stuff to get done!

Anyhow, I work at an awesome independent pet store and sometimes a rep comes in and offers us a deal on collars that she/he is clearing out of their stock. This happened recently and I bought up several of the smaller sizes thinking that either I could sell them to raise money for New Rattitude or use them for the fosters.

They left collar is a 10-14" collar, with ribbon sewed to 3/4" black webbing. My favorite are the two red webbing 3/4" collars with the bone design, both 10-14". Then the little rainbow Celtic design collar is a 7-10" collar on 1/2" green webbing. The last collar is an 8-14" "Gentle Collar" by Goldpaws and is made of orange microfleece with the white fabric sewn on top. They are super soft collars - great for dogs who tend to have somewhat naked necks like my Frodo. The first 4 collars are by Premier. I'll sell the collars for $8 each plus whatever it costs to ship them which is still below retail which I believe is $10-$15. There were some larger collars as well so if you have a bigger dog, I could probably pick out some larger ones to show you, too.

Just E-mail me at adoptapup @ earthlink.net (remove spaces) if you are interested.

Tilly Plays Ball

Okay, not the best video quality and it starts out sideways but here's a video of our rescued puppymill girl, Tilly, playing with a ball. She loves attacking balls as well as flipping around (read "killing") stuffed animals. Enjoy!

The Clicking Paid Off

I am excited to announce that New Rattitude won the "daily click" contest for the state of Georgia which means $1,000 will heading our way to help out with the vetting expenses of rescued rat terriers! Thanks to all of you who took the time to vote for New Rattitude, even when theanimalrescuesite.com kept crashing. Each somewhat healthy dog (just needs shots, spay/neuter, microchip, and some TLC) costs NR about $50 beyond the $150 adoption fee that is paid when they go to their adoptive homes. So $1,000 can help a lot of dogs.

If you are wondering what to do with all that time on your hands now that voting isn't required, consider clicking on The Animal Rescue Site's "click for food" button each day. Advertisers on the site pay per click and all that money goes to pay for food for animal shelters in low-income areas. A click generates .6 bowls of food. You can even set it up so they will send you a daily reminder.

Thanks again, everyone. The fact that a brand-spanking new rescue group could win out over all the other groups and shelters based in Georgia is pretty amazing! That's teamwork for you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Izzy Update

I just received an E-mail this morning from Izzy's dad along with a couple of photos. Doesn't she look great! She's fillling out and growing up and is still as cute as ever. What a sweet, special dog Miss Izzy is.

In this picture the little Texas transplant is experiencing her first snow and her dad said that she was less than thrilled with the stuff.

Here at our house the dogs are also having a little snow time. Frodo doesn't mind it and actually likes trying to catch snowballs in his mouth. Bess just acts like nothing has changed but Tilly is a little primadonna and doesn't like her toes to touch the snow. She tries to get away with peeing on the doormat so she doesn't have to move away from the door so now I get to bundle up and carry her across the yard to where the big Douglas firs have kept the ground clear of snow. Then I get to stand and shiver while she takes her sweet time marking every plant in the snow free zone and trying to find the perfect spot to poop - you know the routine - sniffing every spot and then circling in ever narrower circles, spiraling down to the perfect spot. The temperature is in the teens tonight so by the time we come back inside my teeth are chattering and I'm frozen.

Stay tuned for an introduction of our newest foster, Rocket, who will join us here after he has knee surgery on December 29th.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

K-9 Rescue Barbie

Someone posted this in New Rattitude's online volunteer "den" and I thought I'd pass it on. Those of you involved in rescue or who have spent much time with a rescuer will totally understand this cute description of the newest "Barbie".

K-9 Rescue Barbie

This Christmas season, give the latest, hottest new Barbie -- K-9 Rescue Barbie. She comes with her own Ford Aerostar van, and various size dog crates inside. She has a cell phone that's barely working due to overuse and underpayment. Barbie herself is decked out in jeans, grungy athletic shoes, and a t-shirt that says "Dogs are Better Than Any Other Living Thing on Earth". She comes with a road atlas of every town and state in North America, and a compass on the dashboard of the van. She also has a map of every Starbucks. Optional is the special Rescue Dog Barbie laptop computer with the names and addresses of every other dog rescue person on earth, in case she gets somewhere and a contact fails to show up. Running buddy, "Lucky", the three-legged, blind Shih Tzu doll is available for an additional $49.95. For $89.95 you can complete the set with "Pissed off husband at home, Ken," and the various foster dogs at $20 each.

Prices for accessories are:
Fake snow falling on Barbie's van: $12.95
Flat tire for Barbie's van: (see "Barbie's Road Service Kit")
Barbie's First Aid Kit: (human): $11.75, (canine): $69.50
Barbie's Speeding Ticket: $95 (Mississippi- -$195)
Barbie's coat-that-she- had-to-buy- in-Minnesota: $85
Barbie's Vet Bill for Lucky in Vaughn, New Mexico: $63.45
Barbie's contact, Rhonda, who she had to give gas money to in Mesa Verde,Texas: $20
Barbie's bill to get her contact, Luis, out of jail in Bakersfield, California: $500
Barbie's bill to get Luis's dogs out of the pound in Bakersfield, California: $265
Barbie's hotel/kennel bill in Laughlin, Nevada, while she waits for her contact:$532
Barbie's overalls that she has to buy while in Minden, Nebraska, hunting down lost coonhounds: $49.95
Pizza for Barbie's suspicious looking hitch-hiker with sick puppy: $15
Vet bill for hitch-hikers sick puppy in Des Moines, Iowa: $143.29
Barbie's doggie wheelchair for "Klause" the rescue dachshund in Leavenworth, Kansas: $143
Barbie's van detailing/fumigation from hauling parvo/kennel cough puppies: $187
Barbie's resume to get new job when she gets home from run: $29.95

And let us not forget her sister doll - Cat Rescue Barbie, who comes with the same equipment, (substitute "cat" for "dog"), plus:

Folding ladder in vehicle: $129.95
Have-a-heart trap: $29.95
Cans of tuna for baiting trap: $11.95
Long handled fishing net: $39.95
Case of Simple Solution: $259.95
Black light (to detect cat urine): $29.95
Tee shirt that says "The More I Know About Men, The More I Love My Cat" $19.95
Running buddy "Jeep" - 3-legged tailless cat named after vehicle that claimed her missing appendages: $89.95
Vet bill for Jeep $397.95
Friend Edith, 87-year-old feral colony feeder, who calls begging favors when her arthritis acts up and she can't get out: $59.95
Food for Edith's colony cats (after all, Edith is on Social Security) $139.95
Friend Margie, do-gooder with pristine home and one spoiled cat, whose idea of being a rescuer is to pick up strays and take them to Barbie for rehab, vetting, fostering, and placement: $89.95
Vet bills for Margie's rescues $892.95
Mother Sadie, who calls weekly to ask Barbie when she is going to get rid of all those smelly cats and give her some grandchildren already $89.95 (telephone extra)
Shrink who talks Barbie out of killing above-mentioned persons each week $500
Vet who makes house calls and doesn't blink at unannounced visits and odd-hour consultations: *priceless*

Friday, December 5, 2008

A quick update

I've been super busy this week, but I wanted to give a quick update on Bess (now called Suki here since that is the name her new family has chosen for her.

She had her second heartworm treatment shot on the 3rd and unfortunately had a reaction to it. There was a lot of swelling and it was quite painful, however, an anti-inflammatory quickly solved the problem and she was back to normal. She doesn't seem as knocked out as she did with the last shot and isn't at all happy about being kept kenneled again now for so much of the time. We are using a mild tranquilizer to keep her calm, but it doesn't work as well as I wish it would.

In 4 weeks she'll be back at the vet's for a final test to make sure she is heartworm free and assuming all is well, she'll be heading to her new home in early January. I'm happy because she will be living a couple miles from my house so I'll get to visit her and hear about how she's doing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Human Training

I'm sure that you've heard about the process of "dog training" but did you know that often dogs do a little "human training" and you don't even know it?

Tilly and Bess had done some "human training" of Troy and I and last night we had to start the process of letting them know that we are the ones who do the training, not them.

The foster dogs sleep in crates in our bedroom at night. We keep the house pretty cold at night so I prefer to have them in either Hunter or our bedroom upstairs where it's warmer. Anyhow, one night I was woken by Tilly, frantically scratching at her crate door. I figured it was a bathroom emergency and carried her crate downstairs and let her outside. She immediately ran and leaped off deck for the nearest fern she could mark. After that she did her typical wandering and marking every shrub and tree she could find in the back yard (trust me, there are a LOT) and then she was back at the door, ready to go back to bed. Of course, when I went back upstairs Bess was awake and so I figured I might as well take her out as well if she needed to go. So out we went.

That was the first night. Well, this became a nightly occurrence. Bess wasn't as bad as Tilly. She doesn't like being cold and so the prospect of a cold backyard wasn't as enticing to her as it was to Tilly. Tilly on the other hand got to the point where we were taking 2-3 trips a night down the stairs to the sliding glass door. Yesterday I realized what was happening. As long as she had a chance to run around outside before bed there was no reason she needed to get up 3 times for trips outside. She had trained me to get up at 1, 3 and 5am so she could have a little fun.

So last night the retraining happened. I went to bed with a squirt bottle at my side. That was all it took for Tilly - a squirt bottle sitting next to me where she could see it. There wasn't a peep out of her last night, even when I knew she was awake because Bess was being loud. Bess on the other hand, needed a couple squirts from across the room before she realized the "make the humans get out of bed" trick was no longer working for her. After that it was quiet. Everyone slept until 6 am. I was SO glad it was as easy as a couple of squirts.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bess is home again

I'm happy to report that Bess' surgery went well and I was able to bring her home today. We stopped off at the Pet Market to pick her up a freeze dried lamb liver and a pizzle stick as a reward for being such a brave girl.

She checked out the store and charmed everyone before we headed for home. Right away she found her very favorite squeaky toy in the whole world and sat down for a good five minutes of squeaking. Then the squeaky was put away for awhile to help the rest of us, dogs and humans, retain our sanity. She's now working away on her pizzle stick in her crate, perched on a fluffy pillow and surrounded by her favorite toys. Thanks to everyone who was thinking of her as she went through this rough few days.
She'll get to visit with her new adoptive humans this weekend. Now that she's past the worst of the heartworm shot danger she can have a few visitors as long as she doesn't get too excited. On December 3rd she'll have the second half of her treatment and then it will be back to her crate. Poor girl. The good news though is that she should be ready to go to her forever home around New Year's seeing as she's already been spayed. It will be a happy 2009 for sweet Bess as she will have a loving family of her own for the very first time: mom and dad, boys, grandmas, an older fur-sister, a back yard - the works! She definitely deserves her happy ending.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Sadly, we discovered this week that Bess was pregnant. She must have been newly pregnant when dropped at the shelter so it wasn't until now, about 5 weeks later that the signs started to show. Unfortunately, over the last five weeks she has been vaccinated and had the first half of her heartworm treatment, both which can cause extreme deformation and death in pups.

Multiple vets were consulted and it was decided that the least risky course of action for Bess was to do a pregnant spay, ASAP, and then she'll have 2 weeks of recovery before she's scheduled for part 2 of her heartworm treatment. She was dropped off at the vet's office this morning for surgery and I will call later today to find out how she's doing.

In this photo you can see Miss Bess' pregnant belly as she sits in the crate. It seemed like once we noticed, each day her belly was noticeable bigger. It's very sad that we aren't able to save the puppies.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do you goodshop?

One way you can give to New Rattitude with with no money coming out of your pocket is to goodshop. Goodshop.com is a Website with links to hundreds of retail Websites. All you have to do is designate New Rattitude as the group that you goodshop for and then link to your favorite online store through the goodshop site. Anything you spend there during that "shopping trip" earns money for us.

So save yourself some driving this season and shop from your computer instead. You can buy just about anything through goodshop. Recently I asked the volunteers at New Rattitude what the weirdest or most obscure thing that they have ever goodshopped for. I wanted to get some examples for you to prove that just about anything can be found on goodshop - and earn New Rattitude some money when you buy it.

They came back with some great things: smurfs, herbal moth repellant, day planner refill pages, shoes, specialty skin care products and German silver cello strings.

Some of the most common sites that people shop at can be linked to from Goodshop: Target.com, Bestbuy.com, Amazon.com, L.L. Bean, Gap, eBay, Toys R Us, drugstore.com, giftcertificates.com...

A Website that one of my adopters told me about and I just love is Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Supplies (drsfostersmith.com). They have great prices and a huge selection of doggy stuff. Another Washington New Rattitudette swears by Zappos.com, an online shoe store. I'm sure that whatever you love to shop for, you'll find it on goodshop.com. It's a great way to stretch your holiday shopping dollar: you will be shopping and giving to charity at the same time.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tilly Tugs

I just had to share this great moment in Tilly's rehabbing. I was playing tug with Frodo and Tilly inched up and grabbed a corner and was pulling with him. I let go and lo and behold, she started playing tug with him! She even won and headed off under the coffee table to chew on her prize. Little Miss Tilly has come a long way, from the terrified puppymill girl who came to us in August.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Last night I decided that I really needed to get started on clicker training the girls. Frodo was sequestered elsewhere (he becomes quite the pushy show off when he takes part in training sessions with the fosters) and I took Bess upstairs in the bedroom where it was quiet and there was limited space so she wouldn't dash around.

When clicker training, the first thing that you do is "load the clicker". You teach the dog that click=reward. Most of the time it takes about 3 clicks and the dog has figured it out, but Bess was so overjoyed about not being on the end of a leash that she could really care less about the treats and was more interested in exploring. After a few minutes she settled down though and figured out that clicks are GOOD!

Within a couple minutes she understood the sit command (with a hand signal) and was really fast with her sits. What a smart girl she is! We'll work on this a couple more days so it's really ingrained and then we'll work on sit-stay.

For Tilly I muffled the click at first because I was worried that it might frighten her. In fact, I wasn't sure that she was even ready for training, but I figured, what the heck, it won't hurt to try. I think that she understood, but I'm not fully certain. She too was busy exploring the bedroom because she usually is only in the room at night in her crate. She understood the click=reward part, but her skittishness made it tough to fully know much she was taking in. Sit is easy for Tilly because (at least for me) if I say "Tilly" she will run over to me, look up at me and sit there to find out what I want. It's just what she does. I used the hand signal with her as well, however, I think she was more nervous about the hand and that was why she sat, not because she understood that I was asking her to sit. That's okay. We have time to work on things and as long as the training periods are short and positive, it can only do good because she's getting more socialization.

Today at the Pet Market a regular customer offered to hold her for me while I rang something up. I warned her that in the past Tilly has nipped when she gets fearful and wants to get down. She said she didn't care, she'd been bitten by much bigger dogs than an 8# terrier, so we tried it. Tilly was NOT happy about being pushed so far out of her comfort zone, but she lived. She stiffened up and looked pointedly up at the ceiling to avoid eye contact, but she didn't snarl or nip. (Phew) The lady just pet her and cooed to her. As soon as she was handed back she snuggled in close but kept looking over at the lady, checking her out and then quickly looking away to make sure the eye contact wasn't seen as a challenge. YAY TILLY! On top of that, she was so cute in her little bandana that we got about $10 in donations in Izzy's surgery donation jar just this morning. Only $85 to go and the surgery will finally be paid for. Then the jar will become Bess and Allie's heartworm treatment donation jar (Allie is a momma dog that is being fostered with her pups in Yakima and also needs heartworm treatment once they are fully weaned.) Since we don't have heartworm here in Washington (thank goodness!) the cost of treatment is sky high. Even with deep discounts from our rescue vet it will still be about $300 per dog to treat them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Izzy's last evening with us

Hunter took some video of Izzy and Frodo wrestling downstairs in the rec room on her last evening with us. They played and played until Frodo kept running to the door, checking to see if it was open so he could escape the little terror. But alas, he was trapped. We are still really missing this lively little family member.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Goodbye, Izzy

Izzy's application was approved and so we were just waiting on the contract/fee and decided that she should go stay with Kathy for the last couple days so she'll have a bit more freedom than she has here, thanks to Bess' heartworm treatment. For some reason ever since Bess started heartworm treatment the girls, who had been inseparable buddies, hated each other and would try to tear each other apart if they even got close to each other. It was extremely strange, especially for two very friendly dogs.

Anyhow, Kathy has a couple foster puppies at her house so Izzy will get to play with them in one of those giant crates that Kathy has (more like a small room) instead of being cooped up alone, like she has been here. I took her to work with me yesterday and Kathy picked her up there. Since it was slow, I let her wander the store and it was very cute to watch.

She has been one of the most difficult fosters for me to let go. I'm not sure why, but I think it is something about her friendly personality. When she was at the pet store with me, she was positive that each person approaching the counter had come expressly to see her and would strain to escape the front pack I had her in. I would lift her out and she would attack the customer with kisses like they were her long lost family and of course this helped with donations to the "help pay for Izzy's surgery" jar on the counter. :) So, I kissed Izzy, gave her a bunch of hugs and then said goodbye to my girl so I could help the next customer. When he asked about where she was going, I explained her story with tears rolling down my cheeks. It was embarrassing, but the poor guy felt so bad that he shoved a five dollar bill in Izzy's donation jar, so at least my humiliation paid a bit.

Here are some photos I took of her that morning in the store as she wandered around. For all her good traits, she is quite the little shoplifter!

Stealing bully sticks

Stealing cat toys

Trying on coats

Shopping for dog food

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The 2nd Great Poop Disaster of 2008

Oh my goodness. I am now finally recovered enough to type this tale without feeling panicked. Bess was up in my room in her crate and the guys were out running. Everything was quiet as I walked into the bedroom and a wall of stench. In the few minutes since I had last been in the room Bess had an explode-a-poop in her crate and was standing in it. Luckily she didn't sit in it, but it looked a little as if she had been fingerpainting with it. Her bed, toys, chews, blanket, and even the blanket draped over the outside of the crate had poop on them.

Now, although this was disgusting, it isn't like I haven't had to clean out a poopy crate before. Puuuuuleeeaaase. The problem was, I'm home alone with a dog that hates water, can't have her pulse race, and I've got to get her washed off. At the same time, I know that at any moment the guys will ring the doorbell because for some reason the extra weight of running with a key kills them and they need me to open the door for them. This will set Frodo off, who will bark until the door is opened. In the meantime I'm holding a dog that is dripping in crap.

I got the shower sprayer down, warmed the water, and then tried to spray off her legs and paws thinking she wouldn't mind it as much. Her legs were spinning, trying to climb out of the tub and I could feel her heart pumping. I was panicking and thinking - oh please don't die, please don't die. Poop is everywhere - in the tub, on me, on her - THEN the doorbell rings because the guys are home and they want ME to come downstairs and open the door for them. Like clockwork, our neurotic dog Frodo starts barking his head off. I'm crying and trying to calmly whisper the whole time, "It's okay baby, you're alright, we're almost done good girl..." OMG!! I just about had a nervous breakdown. The good news is that for the first time ever Hunter didn't repeatedly ring the doorbell until I came to open the door. After the second ring I heard the garage door open.

Troy helped clean up the crate while I dried and calmed Bess and he even got everything in the washer. Then Hunter went and got a magazine and crawled in bed with the freshly cleaned Bess and held her while he read and talked on the phone to his friend. She curled up under the covers, let out a big sigh and fell asleep, exhausted from her ordeal.

I have to hand it to all of you Midwest/East Coast foster moms who go through this over and over with your foster dogs. You gals must have nerves of steel.

I am assuming a day of chewing pizzles and tendons had something to do with Bess' upset tummy. Likely, the heartworm meds are also taking their toll. I mixed some pumpkin puree in with her food tonight and hopefully that will help put a halt to any "3rd Poop Disaster of 2008." For those of you who are new to the blog, back in July we had the "1st Poop Disaster of 2008" with our foster dog Mango.

So, things are calm and quiet again. The dogs are all snoozing in their crates and the guys are in bed. I am confident that we can avoid anymore problems like this. Plus, I'm proud of how the guys quietly stepped in to help calm Bess and get things back to normal - whatever normal might be in this dog crazy household.

The Girls

I thought I'd take a little time this morning to update everyone on our girls.

Izzy, as you can see in this photo, is busy teething and has become a toy hoarder extraordinaire. Sometimes her bed is so full that she has to lie on top of things. Yesterday I even found a post-it note in there that had fallen on the floor at some point.

Currently there is one application on her and although they look like wonderful adopters, they are in New Jersey and I really don't want this little one to have to fly cargo all the way across the country. I'm still hoping that someone at the pet store will fall in love with her when I bring her to work. Long transports are pretty rough on the fosters.
Tilly is really doing incredibly well. After a bit of plateauing on her rehab, she has started to progress again. After months of refusing to have anything to do with Troy and Hunter we decided it was time to force her to face her fear of them. We started by having them give her bits of dried chicken breast (it's like doggy crack, I swear) while I was holding her. At first she would barely take it from their hand. After awhile, Hunter would lie on the ground with his hand reached out and a bit of chicken in it. Tilly would hem and haw, pacing back and forth and then finally run up and snatch the chicken out of his hand and run away. Then, amazingly, she let him pet her while she ate the chicken - I was in the next room. Now she will actually come up to him and lick his foot and look up, waiting for a piece of chicken. Troy has done the same thing and the other day she actually came up to him while he sat on the floor and put her paws on his legs. This was the first time she had initiated contact with him when food wasn't involved. We are truly ecstatic that our puppymill gal has come this far. In the beginning I had wondered if she was too far gone and would have to be put to sleep because she was SO messed up. Now she's getting close to acting like a normal 6 year old dog. Go Tilly!!!

And last but not least, Bess. Miss Bess started her heartworm treatment 2 days ago and is heading into day 3 after the shot. Yesterday was her first day home and she did really well. I'm trying to keep her from getting bored in her crate by giving her things to chew on. Unfortunately, she's ripping through these rather expensive treats. So far she's gone through a 12" pizzle, a long "flossie" beef tendon, and she's now working on the hunk of himalayan yak cheese (a tough, smoked chew treat). I'm going to have to find something for her to chew on that will last a bit longer as we've got a long road ahead of us and at $6.50 a 12" pizzle, my pocketbook will only go so far. I think I'll pull out one of the nylabones and see if she goes for that.
And our permanent furry resident, Frodo, is his neurotic little self. I've put him on the herbal calming drops as well, in hopes of keeping his barking down and his need to charge the sliding door to scare of squirrels and birds. Luckily if there is a cushy blanket thrown on a chair in the living room he will burrow to the bottom of it and sleep, so that keeps him from noticing the critters hanging around outside. After a full day of being calm and quiet, I turned him and Izzy into the backyard last night and they ran back and forth through the leaves of the Japanese maple trees in a frenzied race, kicking up a gorgeous shower of red, orange and gold. Their race was so full of pent up energy that you just had to smile to see the sheer joy they were feeling as they ran their rattie 500.
So that's the latest with these four furry terriers and their three tired humans. Be sending healing thoughts to our Bessie girl as she heads into the critical period of her heartworm treatment.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Last Romp

On Sunday night Izzy and Bess took one last romp together around the living room before Bess started her heartworm treatment and had to be kept crated and calm. From the video you can see that Miss Bess looks very healthy and robust.

Well yesterday, when they ran the hearworm test to check the level of her infection we were sure they were going to come out and tell us she was either a low positive or even that the shelter had run a false positive test. Ends up poor Bess was high positive and will have to go through a double treatment protocol. They ran a chest x-ray to determine if she was a level 3 or 4, and thank goodness, her heart looks normal so she is a level 3. She received her shot, was kept overnight, and this morning I went to pick her up.

The poor thing looked so scared. I carried her out to the car and gave her some rawhide to chew on and put her in her crate with her favorite blanket and bed. She settled right down and started chewing.

When we got home everyone got fed and I added the herbal anti-anxiety drops to everyone's food to keep everyone calm. Heck, I even squirted some in my coffee because, lord knows after the weekend/Monday that I had, I needed some as well.

Now everyone is resting calmly. I added some milk thistle to Bess' food to aid liver function while the chemicals are still in her system. She's also getting probiotics and Omega 3 and 6 to help boost her immune system.

Later I'll run by the Pet Market and pick up some more yummy chews that will keep her from getting to bored. I have some drugs that I'll use to relax her during the critical days, but for the next few days we are going to try to do things naturally. Seeing as there are 4 dogs and a teenager in the house, this may be more difficult than expected, but we'll take it one moment at a time and adjust the plan as needed.

For now, everyone is sleeping and the house is unusually quiet for one that has 4 terriers in it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Parasite Pals

Well, Izzy and Bess share everything - toys, beds, blankies, crates... It seems that Bess brought some other things to share - fleas and worms. Heartworm, of course can't spread dog to dog, but it's easy for them to pass on other types of worms thanks to a shared backyard. I'm pretty sure that both Izzy and Bess have whipworms now and Bess has tapeworms. And of course the fleas were easy for her to share. So tonight all the furry ones got Frontline Plus treatments and tomorrow I'll go pick up wormer from Kathy and everyone will get wormed. Yuck.

When you foster rescue dogs you end up learning all about things you never thought you'd have to know - heartworm, whipworm, hookworm and any other worm that might find its way into a dogs system, mites, ringworm and other fungal infections, mange... When you have a weak stomach like I do, it makes for a lot of gagging.

Of course, watching the dogs heal and come to life makes it all worth it. That's the biggest paycheck a person could ever hope for.
The photo above shows Bess and Izzy enjoying a quick snooze in the kitchen, sharing a bed, of course.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Mad House

Things have settled down to a more typical pandemonium at our house now. Blessed, who we call Bess, has made herself at home and her and Izzy immediately clicked. They sleep in the same crate now and keep each other occupied in the kitchen since neither of them is house-trained and I don't trust them to run free in the house.

Bess loves sqeaky toys, but after about 2-3 minutes of squeaky, she gets bored and decides she needs to see what it is that's doing all the squeaking. Then she gets busy performing a squeakectomy on the toy. So far Izzy has been our only foster ever who is satisfied to chew stuffed toys and not disembowel them.

Tilly is getting braver and braver. She will even go up and sniff the guys' hands these days and took a treat from Hunter's hand the other day when I wasn't even nearby. AMAZING!

Frodo is busy with his job as the fun police, since Izzy and Bess are always wrestling and playing. He keeps everyone in line as we've come to expect from our persnickety little man. He is getting ready for his 4th birthday this Saturday, but he has the attitude of a 10 year old dog. I can only imagine how he'll be as an elderly dog. Sheesh.

This photo was taken on Bess' first day with us. She was trying to introduce herself to Frodo, but he wasn't so sure he liked her.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Izzy lost a baby tooth last night - one of her molars, or whatever the canine equivalent might be. She was running around making weird faces and then she would rub her face on the couch. It got so frenzied it started to look like a seizure.

Hunter helped me get a hold of her and I slid my finger back to try to figure out what was stuck back there and - pop - out came a tooth. She calmed right down once the irritant was removed and went back to wrestling with Blessed, which seems like a 24/7 activity for those two. They are inseparable!

A little while later I freaked out because I noticed that Blessed had bloody marks all over her hind legs. I knew they played rough, but I didn't hear any yelping so how had it happened! Then I had to laugh. Izzy's molar was bleeding a little and so every time she nipped at Blessed as they wrestled, she left a little bloody spot. By the time her mouth stopped bleeding poor Blessed looked like she'd been used as pit bait or something - bite marks everywhere! Luckily she cleaned right up.
This photo show Iz and Bless in one of their favorite wrestling "rings". Most of the time Izzy is on her back snarling, long skinny legs flying, biting whatever gets close to her.
Their closeness has been wonderful, because Blessed tends to have separation anxiety and she gets very upset when she's crated and we leave. I've learned that if I push Izzy and Blessed's crates right up against each other she calms down. I'd put them in the same crate, but I don't have any of the jumbo wire crates that would work for that.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blessed: the new dog in town

Miss Blessed's journey from an Arlington, Texas shelter to us was truly blessed - which is why the New Rattitude members gave her this name. Her adoption at the shelter fell through because it was discovered that she had heartworm. This doomed poor Blessed to the euthanization list unless a rescue group would take her.

So New Rattitude members kicked into high gear. Donations were made to pay for her heartworm treatment and I had a friend at Horizon Airlines try to find a volunteer to fly out to Dallas and bring her back to Washington since she couldn't fly in cargo because of her heartworm.

She was pulled from the shelter and driven quite a distance to Jodi, a NR volunteer in the Dallas area. Jodi cleaned her up, gave her a bunch of love and got her ready to fly to Washington.

An incredible volunteer was found and he spent an entire day flying and sitting around at airports to bring little Blessed to safety. We met him at Sea-Tac Airport and welcomed Blessed to Washington State. We'll have her here for a few days until her foster mom, Kathy, is back from Arizona. Then she'll start her heartworm treatment and get healthy so she can find a family to join.

Blessed is such a sweet little gal. She hates when her people aren't around and gets worried and barks, but we are working on that. She just needs to learn that just because she can't see someone, doesn't mean they won't come back for her. She's playful in spite of the heartworm and has made a great playmate for our foster, Izzy. One thing she has in common with Izzy is that she isn't housetrained, but we are working on that as well. With her one ear up, one ear down, she has a sweet comical look and is quite adept at stealing hearts. What a great story of how much can be accomplished when a bunch of great people work together to save a dog.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rat Terrier Earrings - All proceeds go to New Rattitude

A couple of talented New Rattitude volunteers made earrings out of rattie charms. There are four sets left and they are going fast so if you want some, order fast!

The cost is $20, which includes shipping and handling. Each set has sterling silver shepherd's hooks. Some of the beads are made from Czech glass and some are the best picks from years of collecting. The charm at the bottom is rat terrier fun! All proceeds from this sale benefit New Rattitude.

To see the color combos of the four remaining sets, check out the Image event album. To order, contact Contact leveckemas@ yahoo.com (remove spaces in E-mail address). Thanks for looking!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tilly and the tennis ball

Here Tilly is discovering the joy of a tennis ball and what rascally little devils they can be - always rolling away. It's such a joy to watch this little dog learn how to play and start to feel safe.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Texas-Washington Shuffle

Often our team of foster parents and volunteers here in Washington teams up with the Texas volunteers to get rat terriers who are listed to be euthanized transported from Texas to open Washington foster homes. Up here in Washington we are lucky that puppymills aren't as prevalent as other parts of the country and Texas has a bunch of them. We are also lucky to live in a part of the country where more couples have dogs than have kids, so it's very dog friendly and full of folks interested in adopting rescues. The shelters that we work with in the Dallas and Austin areas are woefully underfunded and dogs with any medical issues like heartworm, mange, broken bones, etc. doom most of them to the euthanization table. Thankfully, the shelter workers go above and beyond the call of duty to find breed rescue groups to save some of these dogs.

So, meet "Blessed". She's a young girl who was determined to be heartworm positive in an Arlington, Texas shelter. They contacted New Rattitude volunteers attempting to save this little gal. And so the Texas-Washington shuffle began.
Jodi in Texas contacted Kathy who agreed to pay to fly this gal, a momma and her 5 week old puppy to Washington and find them foster homes. The shelter was notified and little Blessed was taken off the euthanization list. She was pulled and transported to Jodi in Dallas. Now, we are scrambling, trying to find a volunteer at Alaska Airlines to fly her so she doesn't have to fly cargo because of the heartworm. The E-mails fly fast and furious - who is picking up at the airport, how soon can they get flight health certificates, who can temp foster for a week until the three can be transported to their foster homes.... It happens time and again. Incredible volunteers working together, giving of their time, money, and energy to save another 2 or 3 or 4 dogs.
I'm proud, you might even say "blessed," to be part of this team.
Psst... don't forget to click the link on your left (purple colored icon) and vote for NR Georgia in the shelter challenge. We have dropped out of first place in Georgia, which means we won't win that $1,000 unless we can move back up the list.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another voting opportunity - this one's easy

Another animal welfare website, care2.com, is putting on a contest giving money away to shelters and rescue groups. In this one you only have to vote one time and you're done. The top shelter wins $10,000 and they pick a random group weekly to win $1,000. So easy! So help us out and link to care2's contest page to quickly vote. Try it on multiple computers in your house. You may be able to get one vote per computer.

Thanks everyone!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Izzy: Full Tilt

After over a week of having to take it easy, I let Izzy run around and play. Her and Frodo wrestled for ages and this is just a little snippet of that.

Mealtime Madness

I was in the middle of preparing a mealtime for the dogs when I looked at the table and thought, "this is crazy! I've got to get a photo of this!"

We are watching a previous foster, have two special needs fosters and then our healthy and rambunctious Frodo. With all the supplements, and foods and medications added to each mealtime, it can get really crazy.

Here's what gets added:

Tilly gets Orijen adult kibble mixed with Merrick soft food, probiotic powder, vitamin and Omega 3 supplement, drop of oil of oregano for immune system and the kennel cough she caught from Izzy, pinch of buffered vitamin C powder, and a tablespoon of pumpkin to avoid the soft stool caused by all the supplements!

Izzy gets Orijen puppy kibble mixed with Merrick soft food, and all the same supplements as Tilly PLUS pain pills, post surgery antibiotics and in the evening, a glucosamine supplement. Luckily the pain pills and antibiotics are done now.

Frodo gets Orijen adult kibble with a dribble of Merrick on it along with the vitamin and Omega 3 supplement and vitamin C (until the kennel cough passes.)

And Bud, our house guest, gets his kibble mixed with soft food along with the sprinkle of vitamin C that I'm giving the other dogs.
With each foster the things I add are different, depending on what their health is. I've ended up collecting quite a full bin of medicines both from the vet and homeopathic to deal with things that come up. Sometimes we use things from the cupboard, like honey as a cough syrup, but if you do this, check and make sure that the things you are choosing are safe for dogs, not just humans. Some things that we eat are toxic to dogs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Modified Rattie-run

I'm happy to say that Miss Tilly is acting more and more like a rat terrier everyday. This morning she partook of her first rattie run around the living room. It wasn't the typical circuit that Frodo and most of our fosters use, but it was Tilly's very own puppymiller style modified rattie run.

For those of you who have dogs of other breeds, let me explain to you what a rattie-run is. Out of nowhere at any time of the day, a rat terrier will break out into a joyous sprint at greyhound-like speeds in large looping circuits. In their mind there is a particular track that must be followed at any cost, no matter what lies in their path. Couches lept in a single bound! Stairs? What stairs? Who needs stairs when you can fly? Another dog? Isn't that just a hurdle?

It is something glorious to see (unless of course you are one of the obstacles that they are jumping) and you just can't watch without a grin. At the dog park you will see people with big dogs turn, jaws dragging on the ground, staring in wonder as Frodo, a tiny 12# streak of tan and white flashes by, rattie style. Guys who previously had turned up a lip at my tiny little terrier change their disdain to respect when they have witnessed a full speed rattie run.

Anyhow, Tilly has discovered this joyous terrier past-time and has adapted it to her comfort level. She will tear from her favorite corner over to where I sit on the floor and then stop in front of me in play position. When I reach for her she will tear to the other corner and sit in her crate (not out of fear, but that's just second base). When I say "Tiiiiilllllyyyyyy" she races back to my lap and then back over beneath the dining room table. In each spot she freezes a moment, listening for my "Tiiiillllllyyyyyyyy" and then she's off again, back to me. My husband saw her doing this and said, "wow, she's acting like a normal dog!" For a dog who used to roll over and pee on herself when you looked at her from across the room, this is major!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tilly playtime

I thought I'd share a little shot of Tilly playing. I wish I had been able to get more but she noticed a rawhide and decided that was more interesting than me.

If only I had taken video of her when she was first with us. The difference would be amazing.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Both of Allie's little puppies here in Washington have received names, thanks to Marilyn Y. She donated $200 for the vetting expenses of the pups and received naming rights. Their names are Benny and Katie, and here's the great story behind how she decided:

After much thinking, I have decided to name them Katie and Benny -- and here's why. I'm a newspaper editor who got in this business because I saw the power of newspapers when The Washington Post's great work ultimately led to Nixon's resignation because of Watergate. I was just a kid then but knew from that moment on that journalism would be my career and my passion. (Along the way, I added rat terriers and Kenny Rogers as passions, too, but that's another story.) So, Katie gets her name after Katharine Graham, who was the publisher of the Washington Post during Watergate, and Benny is named after Ben Bradlee, who was editor of the paper. (And would probably kill someone if they called him Benny!)

There was recently a puppymill bust in North Carolina and 137 rat terriers were seized. New Rattitude has foster parents fostering several of the mommas and their newborn pups so there may be more opportunities to name a few more puppies.

In the photo, Katie is on the left, and Benny on the right.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Izzy's Surgery

I picked Izzy up from her surgery yesterday, and boy, did the poor thing look pathetic. Her rear end and legs are shaved making her look like an odd cross between a rat terrier and an American Hairless terrier. At first she was quite unsteady on her feet, which is understood. She did quite a few face plants as she tried to balance and walk on her front feet only.

What a difference a day makes, though. Today she has learned to use the cone as a tripod and will sometimes walk along with two feet and the cone. It's hilarious! However, by this afternoon she was walking almost normally - just a little stiff.

The happy surprise after the surgery was that it came in at $775, rather than the $1,000 that we were quoted. Kathy Young has covered the cost of surgery until enough money comes in to pay for it. That way we didn't have to make poor Izzy wait for the surgery until we were able to raise the full amount of money, which may take awhile.

If you can donate even a little bit to her surgery, link to New Rattitude's Canine Clinic page and there's a donation button on the page that will specify the money goes to cover Izzy's surgery. We need to get this paid off ASAP because there was a puppymill bust in North Carolina and 137 rat terriers were seized. New Rattitude will be fostering many dogs and puppies from this bust which will be a bit of a financial strain.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Name the Puppies" Fundraiser

New Rattitude is proud to announce the birth of our first set of rescued puppies! Their momma, Allie, was about to give birth but there was parvo in the shelter and if the pups were born in that environment it would be a death sentence. All dogs would have been put to sleep, including momma.

We found a volunteer flying from Dallas to Seattle and had Allie carried on the plane and hand delivered into foster care. That was about 1 1/2 weeks ago and now this week the pups were born. Sadly, the first pup - Pumpkin, didn't make it, but the other two are healthy roly-poly little munchkins (1 male, 1 female) just waiting for names.

Puppies can be quite expensive. Just like newborn babies, there are lots of visits to the doctor and lots of vaccinations, which add up very quickly. This is why we are running a fundraiser for this darling duo.

So the first $100 donation toward each puppy's vetting expenses will earn the giver naming rights. If you aren't first, your donation will be reimbursed. Aren't they sweet? If you are interested in participating, link to the puppy page on NewRattitude.org to learn more. The black and white pup is the male and the brown and white one is the female.

Psst... There is a lot going on right now so check the blog regularly for posts about Izzy, a rat terrier puppymill bust in South Carolina that we are helping out with, and more!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

With a click a day, you can help us win this grant!!!

Hi everyone. There's a very cool grant opportunity through "The Animal Rescue Site" for small rescue groups like ours. Each year they do a contest and the grand prize is a $25,000 grant to the rescue group who ends up with the most votes. For a start up group like ours this would be a dream come true! Do you know how many little spotted dogs we could rescue with $25,000!!!

Anyhow, we need you to go to the Website each day through December 14th and vote for New Rattitude. You don't have to register or give any information. All you have to do is link to the contest page, type in New Rattitude in the "Shelter Name" line, and for state, choose Georgia (that's where NR is incorporated.) This will bring up New Rattitude with a button at the end that says "Vote". Click on that. Then, to make sure that some computer geek hasn't found a way to hack into the contest, they will show a picture of an animal and you have to type in the name of the animal (all lower case letters) and click to confirm your vote. It's really quite simple and by just taking a few minutes each day you could help out a lot of dogs.
Right now we are in 33rd place nationwide, but it's only been 2 days. The voting runs through December 14th and you can vote (on each computer in your house) daily. Second place is $10,000 and if we are number 1 in the state of Georgia we win $1,000. Right now we are 2nd place in Georgia! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssse take time to do this each day. Spread the word and tell your friends. If everyone takes just a little time we can win this thing! Just look at the photos of the sweet doggy faces in my blog and multiply that by hundreds. That's who you'd be helping!

Izzy's Surgery

Well, I dropped Izzy off this morning for her knee surgery, poor little girl. She was so scared and the next few weeks will be rough for her. They will be correcting the luxating patella in both knees, and while she's under getting the staples from her spay surgery removed and also getting her puppy booster vaccination. We figured we might as well get all the painful stuff out of the way while she's asleep.

Repairing the foot was beyond what they could do at the vets and would need an orthopedic specialist. All the bones would need to be rebroken and pins put in to set things correctly. She's still so young and at this point it might do more harm than good to work on the foot. The emergency vet in Texas didn't think that it would be worth it to fix the foot, since it's the knees and not the foot that is causing the pain at this point. We'll see. I'll call later this afternoon to see how things went and will post a comment to let folks know the details. We'll pick her up tomorrow morning. It will be a relief to have her back home with me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Do you see your dog?

New Rattitude is working on putting together a small store on Etsy.com of art and craft creations made by the group members and donated to raise money for the rescue and vetting of more ratties. I'll be making 5x7 cards that feature photos of different rat terriers that I have fostered (and our dog Frodo, of course.) I put together the most professional shots of the dogs that I had and came up with a very nice set of cards. There are 8 blank, ivory cards in the set featuring photos of 5 different dogs: Suki, Pepper, Sprocket, Tilly, and Frodo. If your dog isn't in the set, it's not because I don't think they are beautiful, it's just that I didn't get a good enough photo of them. I'm also thinking about doing some Christmas cards featuring a cute photo I have of Frodo in a red collar (like Santa's reindeer wear) with bells. Let me know if you're interested.

Since the Etsy store isn't up and running, New Rattitude decided to start selling the cards directly. It's $15 for a set of 8 cards and $3 for shipping, however if you are nearby we can arrange for you to pick up the cards or to meet somewhere. Of that $15, $4 goes to pay for the cost of the materials and $11 will go to New Rattitude. To buy them either go to Paypal and pay the money to fundraising@newrattitude.org or send a check to New Rattitude, P.O. Box 14064; Lansing MI, 48901. Be sure to note that it is payment for the rat terrier cards. Either include your mailing address in the note to the treasurer or E-mail me with the address and I'll send them out as soon as our treasurer notifies me that the payment is received.

They really turned out quite beautiful. They are packaged up with a dog bone gift tag, so they'd make a nice gift as well.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Goobers, goobers and more goobers

Yesterday was the day o' goobers and grossness. I'm talking pus and poop and boogers out of every doggy orifice. I took a shower twice and changed my clothes three times and still found dog boogers on my sleeve when I was getting ready for bed in the evening.

As you read in the last post, Izzy has a runny nose and with every sniff she sprays wet booger juice. Gross? Yeah, tell me about it. So that was still going on. Then, she pooped on the kitchen floor. "At least it wasn't on the carpet" I was thinking as I cleaned up. At the same time, Tilly was in the living room, ON THE CARPET, pooping. Exasperated, I got the Spot-bot (a necessary tool for any foster family) out to steam the spot before we headed to the dog park.

At the dog park I took Tilly out of her crate in the back and she submission peed in her bed. She had also puked in the crate on the drive over. Wonderful. :I Then, Frodo stepped in poop and also rolled in something dead and rotting. While Frodo worked up his stink, I was looking at Tilly's paw and noticed she had these large bumps on the side, they looked a little like infected slivers. After a little prodding, "pop" out came a pussy sliver on my hand. By this time I was trying not to retch.

We got home, cleaned Frodo up, started up the laundry to wash Tilly's bed and blankets and then went to get Izzy to take her outside. Too late. Poor Izzy had peed in her crate and then sat in the pee. More bed washing. More dog washing. Once you throw in the eye goobers from Tilly and Izzy, you've got one big mix of dog grossness.

Of course, cute little Izzy licked my face as I washed her off. Frodo did a hilarious dance of joy at his discovery of the putrid "cologne" and Tilly stood on her hind legs and danced in front of me, trying to get a few pets and looking completely adoreable. They all reminded me that sometimes you have to put up with a few goobers to see what's really important.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Puppy Boogers

It's pretty common for new fosters to come home with kennel cough, essentially a cold. So far over half of our fosters have had mild cases, but Izzy is the first dog we've had that has gotten this congested. The first day I figured that I would just give her the typical immune-system boosters that I give all new fosters: Omega 3s and 6s, pre and probiotics, and maybe a little vitamin C powder.

She wasn't eating well and I was sitting with her in my lap, working on the computer as she sniffled away. After awhile I realized that there was this spattering of little green dots all over the table and laptop in front of me. Similarly, my pant leg where she was resting her head was also polka dotted, as well as the blanket she was wrapped in.

It ends up that each time she sniffed, she was spraying a little shower of snot over everything. The snot combined with coughing until she vomited let me know that she was in need of a round of antibiotics. Luckily I still had enough for a full course in the refrigerator, left over from another dog. I'm happy to say that, although the boogers are still a-spraying, she is eating more and seems a bit livelier.

I purchased some oil of oregano, hearing from a rescue friend that it works great on a congested puppy. They said to put a drop of it in their food. Well, I guess Izzy isn't fond of Italian, because she won't come near her food if it has the oil in it. It's pretty potent stuff and just the drop that I spilled on my hand opened up my sinuses, so I decided to put a couple drops on the puppy pad in her crate. Now our bedroom smells a bit like an herbarium.
Her surgery has been postponed while she heals up from the kennel cough and while we try to come up with the money to pay for it. The photo above was taken in the back yard during one of many trips outside, hoping that she would pee. Mostly she just follows me around, sans-peeing, and if I stop, she sits like this and stares at me as if she's saying, "so what are we gonna do now?"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Isabella's Story

Last night we had the honor of welcoming a special new puppy t0 our home. Her name is Isabella and the first 12 weeks of her life have been pretty rough, but happily, things have taken a change for the better. Little Izzy (as we call her) is a beautiful blue tri-color rattie with the silkiest coat imagineable. She likely came from a puppymill or backyard breeder who is in-breeding, as she has a congenital birth defect that is common in small dog breeds that are irresponsibly bred.

Both of Izzy's back legs have luxating patellas. Typically a dogs kneecap sits in two grooves which keep it aligned and allow it to move up and down, but not side to side. In a dog with a luxating patella (kneecap) the grooves are very shallow and/or the tendons that hold things together are attached crookedly. The result is that the patella can pop to the side, causing pain and lameness. Sometimes, in mild cases, it is fine to leave things as is. The knee will pop back into place and after a short while the dog will be walking normally. However in severe cases such as Izzy's, the problem is constant. With both rear legs affected, eventually it will cause arthritis and total lameness.

Izzy's case was pretty bad, but to make matters worse, someone stepped on her foot early on, breaking the toes. The foot was allowed to heal incorrectly and the bones in the broken toes fused together, pulling off to the side. This put even more stress on her knee.

Here her sad story changes though. Izzy was dumped at the Town Lake Animal Center in Austin, Texas, one of the most rescue-friendly shelters around. They had x-rays run, had her seen at the emergency veterinary hospital, and presented her prognosis to the New Rattitude Rat Terrier Rescue volunteer in the area. She was vaccinated, spayed and had a microchip inserted and they offered to reimburse New Rattitude $250 of the surgery necessary to repair her knees.

Well, who could pass up such a sweet, beautiful little baby like this one! Our volunteer pulled her from the shelter and little Izzy was flown with all her medical information to Seattle. She has been seen by the veterinarians who take care of all our foster dogs, and they have offered to do the surgery at a greatly reduced rate of about $1,000. We have applied for a grant that would cover $300 of the surgery, so at this point we have $550 raised for the surgery. That still leaves $450, which for a rescue group who is scraping by to just cover vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries, is a lot of money. Right now surgery is on hold until we can raise enough money. If anyone can donate any money toward little Izzy's surgery, it would be greatly appreciated. Any amount would help! Let's get this little dog running and playing, pain-free, like a normal puppy. Donations can be made by clicking on the New Rattitude Paypal donation button you see on the left side of this blog (near the top) or can be mailed to New Rattitude, P.O. Box 14064, Lansing, Michigan, 48901. Just make sure to note that the donations are for Isabella's surgery. Thanks so much! I'll keep you posted on how Izzy is doing and how the fundraising is progressing.

Currently she is dealing with kennel cough on top of everything else, poor girl. In spite of everything though, she always has a kiss to greet people and still loves having snuggle time.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bye-bye Shelby

Today is Shelby's last day at our house. Tonight (or tomorrow morning depending on schedules) she'll get picked up by her new mom and fur-sister, Djinn, a beautiful blue (gray) and white rat terrier. It has been wonderful spending the last few weeks with her because she's such a wonderful, well-mannered dog. She loves to play, but is even more happy snuggling in someone's lap or down underneath a big pile of cushy blankets. Things we'll remember about Shelby is her funny little whine - she hates to be away from her people and cries like a baby when she's separated from them; and her ability to jump about 4 1/2 feet from a standing position, over and over and over like a little tan and white pogo stick. Her temporary foster mom in Texas will remember her for her ninja-like ability to scale a 6' chain-link fence. She just wanted to get back inside to the people though, not run away, so she would climb the fence and then go sit on the front porch to wait for them.

I know that she'll have a happy life, gaining confidence as she settles into her forever home and blossoms from the love and stability she'll experience.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Rattitude's E-Newsletter

The new rescue group that I'm volunteering for, New Rattitude, Inc., is going to put out a monthly online newsletter that will be sent right to your E-mail inbox! This will keep you posted about what's going on with the group and to share some of our success stories with you. Our list of subscribers will NEVER be shared or sold. If you are interested in subscribing, link on over there and get yourself signed up fast because it will be sent out soon! The service will send you a confirmation E-mail after you sign up. Be sure to open that and click on the link to finish the application. This is just a safeguard to make sure that you indeed chose to sign up and someone didn't do it for you. I hope you'll join us.

To learn a bit more about the group or just to see the cute little ratties that we are already rescuing, link to the New Rattitude Website. The site is still under construction so bear with us as our Web team finishes up the new site design, but there's plenty to see on it currently so don't wait to check it out. One of these days you'll open the Website and the home page will dazzle you, I promise. :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fun shopping opportunity - plus you help the ratties!

New Rattitude is doing a fundraiser through the uncommongarden.com selling candles, monogrammed doggy towels and personalized notecards. A very generous portion of each sale will be given to New Rattitude over the three weeks that the event runs. The candle scents are great and the doggy towels are SO cute. Anyway, how about doing a little early holiday shopping and earn some cha-ching for rat terriers at the same time! Just click on the link above and start shopping!

Here are photos of the one of the types of towels and the candles. Be sure to visit the Website to look at the notecards also.

A Quick Update

The applications are being sent in fast and furious for Shelby and we haven't even shown her at the adoption event yet. She is doing great, such a sweet little dog and although she's had a couple accidents in the house, she's doing pretty well with the house training if she's kept to a schedule. We have really enjoyed having the chance to foster this sweet girl.

Tilly's progress continues and these last two days we have some great benchmarks that she's met. First, yesterday when I tossed out a bunch of new floss knot toys for the dogs to play with, Tilly grabbed one and actually played with it! She's nosed tennis balls around before, but this was her first time to actually chew on something and throw it around.

These last few days I've been trying to give her more free-run of the main floor of the house, but I'm taking the dogs outside every 30 minutes to help avoid any accidents. Well, this afternoon she actually scratched at the sliding glass door to go out. I was ecstatic! Well... quietly ecstatic, so as not to scare the pee right out of her.
We are still taking our daily trek to the off-leash park, carrying Tilly in a baby pack and letting her down for a few minutes when only calm, older dogs are around. She seems much more relaxed at the park, although some of that might be the herbal anxiety relief drops that I'm slipping into her food and treats. She's a great dog and whoever ends up with her in their family will be lucky indeed.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A change of heart

Well, as you can see in the photo, Bud has decided that maybe Tilly isn't so bad after all. I mean, he has to realize what good taste she has to be so in love with him. Tilly's love for Bud has not seemed to abate, and Bud now lets her sniff him and I even caught them playing together a bit over the last couple days. It's so odd how Tilly, who is pretty standoffish with other dogs (and very standoffish with people) just seems to be so connected with Bud. She will be very sad when he goes home on Friday.

Bud is on house arrest right now until I can move the compost bin to a new spot in the back yard. Today he jumped up on the bin and over the fence into the neighbor's back yard. Unfortunately he was working in his yard and had the gates open and out Bud went for a trot around the neighborhood. We sprinted after him for about a 1/4 mile before we were able to corner him in someone's yard. Have you ever raced a rat terrier? Trust me, you will not win unless they let you or you're good at herding.

Then he did it again this evening only the gates were locked so he was trapped in our neighbor's yard, thankfully. Now he is on leash when we go out for bathroom breaks and tomorrow I'll fix things up so he can roam freely with the other dogs again. He is acting like I am killing him by making him be on a leash when he's outside.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Love Triangle

We are pupsitting one of our past fosters, Bud (used to be Gus) and for some reason Tilly is obsessed with him. She follows him everywhere, trying to get him to play with her but he shuns her at every turn, annoyed by her playfulness. Tilly just won't give up, but her stilted odd puppymill dog-play just irritates Bud.

You see, Bud has his eye on our new 2 year old foster Shelby, a beautiful little tan and white who is happy to play with anyone. So both the girls play with Bud and Bud plays with Shelby and nips at poor Tilly. It d0esn't seem to hurt her feelings though - she just keeps stalking the longsuffering guy.

The top photo shows Tilly approaching Bud and Bud turning to look at her and give her the "what, already?!! Just back off!" look. The bottom photo shows Shelby, our new foster in one of her rare still moments when she isn't wrestling with Bud.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tilly on Vacation

We took Tilly and Frodo with us to visit a friend at her home in Central Oregon and it seemed like a vacation was just what Tilly needed. I was so proud of her! She hiked with us - her first time on a leash - and did great travelling in the car as well. The best part though was when she initiated play with Frodo. Yep, you heard it correctly. Tilly tried to play. It was a stilted odd little playtime, but a playtime nonetheless. She even nosed a tennis ball around a couple times.

In this photo you see her after hiking up to the top of Fort Rock. She really enjoyed the hiking, as long as she got to walk behind everyone else. For a little dog who spent all her life in a crate, the wide open vistas of the high desert of Central Oregon must have been pretty inspiring. Doesn't she look happy compared to some of the earlier photos that I've posted of her?

I won't say that the vacation completely ended her fears, but she has made some great progress that seems to be sticking. Yesterday she went to the off-leash park with me. For most of the time I had her in a front pack, however, once the more rambunctious dogs left I put her down for awhile and she wandered around and sniffed things out. She even let two of our human dog park friends pet her while she was in the baby pack without even snarling or lifting a lip.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Measure of Confidence

Day by day Tilly's confidence grows and I have learned that a good measurer of her courage is the volume of submission pee that is coming out of her. Now, I'm no stranger to submission pee-ers. Our Frodo used to dribble on shoes in excitement when he first saw us when we got home and he still has the occasional accident when he's nervous. Tilly though is a whole different story. Tilly didn't just dribble a little pee to show you that she agreed you were the boss, she rolled over on her back and sprayed a fountain of pee on herself. I went through a bevy of baby wipes and doggy diapers the first few days until she she finally stopped rolling on her back.

The next step was that she didn't roll over, but she would full-on pee in fear when approached by a person, even from the side. This waned to a steady dribble, then down to 3 drips, 2 drips....

Well I'm proud to announce that I have picked Tilly up 3 times today without a single dribble! She was still rigid with anxiety, but she didn't pee, so I'm calling it a victory. I think she's learning to show her submission using doggy kisses (much more acceptable to humans) instead of becoming a canine fountain anytime she had to interact with a person. She now gives me kisses whenever I sit down on the deck stairs, sidling up beside me and tucking her head under my arm. Today she even hopped into my lap which almost startled me because it was so unexpected from her.

The other great measuring stick of doggy confidence is the tail. For the first week her little nub of a tail was always tucked down and I was starting to wonder if that was just how hers was situated. Even when she was in her big crate on her own that tail never budged. Then yesterday I watched her little nubbie lift horizontal to the ground as she wandered around sniffing. Her tail worked!! Today was even better! I witnessed a wag. Not wagging, just one little wag, but a wag nonetheless. She still always keeps her tail tucked when she is around me, even when she's giving kisses and trying to jump up, but with all the progress she's making it will only be a matter of time before her tail will be wagging all the time.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tilly update

So Tilly went in to be spayed on Thursday and things did not go well. To start with Tilly was pregnant with 3 puppies. I never even guessed that she was pregnant - she just looked a little overweight since she was thick through the waist area. Plus, she was bleeding like she was in heat. I didn't even ask how far along she was because I didn't want to know. Anyhow, that was one discovery when they opened her up. The other discovery was that she had gotten into the puppy's food that morning, without me realizing it and vomitted for quite awhile at the vets.

That alone would have been enough to be irratating to them, but add to it the fact that Tilly went into high fear mode and was biting and charging at anyone who even looked at her before and after the surgery. They gave her a pain shot both to help with her pain and also as a sedative to calm her down so she would rest for awhile. When I picked her up I went in the back and sat on the floor, thinking she would see me and run to me in relief. Nope. She was frozen in place curling her lip and not letting me get within about 2 feet of her. Finally they just gave me a couple of towels which I used to protect my hands from being bitten when I picked her up to take out to the car.

We put the crate in a corner of the living room and everyone steered clear of her until bedtime. After the other dogs were done outside I carried the crate outside and set it on the lawn, talking gently to her the whole time. Then I set a bowl of water on the ground and opened the crate door from where she couldn't see me. Luckily she was thirsty and out she came. I closed the door and she wandered around a bit and peed, which made me ecstatic. Then I squatted down next to her, facing away from her and she let me pet her for a bit. She seemed too weak to walk back across the lawn, so I brought the crate to her and gently lifted her inside. I pet her as she was standing near the front of the crate so she could see that someone's hands in her crate wasn't a bad thing. Whew.

Since then we have been taking regular forays outside, but always carrying her outside and inside in the crate. I want to give her more time to heal before I start getting her to come out of her crate and walk around the house. It's a little frustrating, because it feels like I've lost all the progress that I had made, but the fact that she is letting me pet her and actually seeking me out lets me know that she will bounce back once she's feeling a little better.

Sprocket will be neutered this coming Tuesday and thankfully his surgery and trip to the vet should be much less eventful.

The photo above shows Tilly the day after she came to us, before I had noticed she was "in heat" and she was still running around sans diaper. It shows her "thick waist" from behind.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Classical Canine

We discoved the other day that one of our current foster dogs, Tilly, a puppymill girl who is an emotional wreck, loves Bach's Cello Suites. I had the sliding glass door open so the dogs could run in and out and realized I hadn't seen Tilly around for awhile. I went outside and she was down lying on the patio against the sliding glass door, right next to where my son was practicing cello in the basement. I figured it was just a quirk but as soon as he finished practicing she came inside and hid in her crate. He practiced again about an hour later and back out she went, down to the patio next to where he practiced and stayed there until he was done.

I think she has great taste - I have always found Bach's first cello suite to be one of the most soul-soothing pieces of music that exists, and lord knows that Tilly needs a LOT of soul soothing. In this photo you can see Tilly stretched out for her daily concert. Since he practices 3-4 hours a day, she's getting plenty of music time.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Big Boy Ears

Sprocket went to bed with folded ears on the 13th and woke up with his upright, big boy ears the next morning. He held them up all day long, but in the evening the right ear must have gotten tired because it flopped back over, which was very cute. Ah, they grow up so quickly. I love the floppy rattie ears, but most of the dogs never keep them past puppyhood. But the erect ears are so much more expressive, IMO, and I love them too.

Sprocket is growing like a weed and has started playing with Frodo more, which is hilarious to watch. Frodo leans down and lets Sprocket jump around on his head for awhile and then takes his arm and pins Sprocket to the ground. We call this move the "puppy smackdown" and it is one of Frodo's favorites. He's gentle though, and Sprocket just pops back up ready to attack again.

Our other foster Tilly is relieved that Sprocket has discovered wrestling and chasing with Frodo because now he isn't so obsessed with her. No matter how much she snapped at him, he would just come back for more.

The little guy is very healthy. The vet said his worms are gone now, but we just discovered a ringworm fungus spot inside the tip of one of his ears so we've started treating that. The kennel cough that we thought he might have never developed so he's just racing down the road toward adoption. As soon as he's ready to be neutered, I'm sure we'll have a home ready for this incredibly beautiful rat terrier puppy.
In the photo above you can see those big, beautiful ears as Sprocket lays across my lap taking a midday snooze.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tilly and Me: Learning together

Although I've had other timid foster dogs before, none have been so extremely submissive and terrified of people as Tilly is. So as Tilly is having to learn to relax around people, I am learning how to foster a puppymill breeder dog. It is proving to be a challenging road for both of us, but there are little baby successes along the way that keep us going.

Awhile back on the Ratbone Rescue online chat group I remember that someone had asked for some suggestions on how to deal with an extremely submissive dog. Several of the expert foster parents said that when the dog does something submissive, like rolling on their back, don't try to make them relax, instead just ignore them. At the time I thought they were being so harsh. I mean, this is a poor, abused dog! It needs some love! Boy, were they ever right.

The first day I couldn't look across the room at Tilly without her rolling onto her back. Rubbing her belly wasn't helping so the next day I decided to try the tough love approach suggested in chat. I sat on the stairs of the deck outside and Tilly would cautiously approach me (luckily she really wants the love, but it just scares her). I would slowly reach down to pet her back and over she would roll, so I would stop petting her and look the other direction. When I could see that she had righted herself, I would start to pet her again. It only took about two sessions of this and she wasn't rolling over, just creeping along on her belly. I let her do the belly thing for awhile and then today the goal was for her to sit rather than scooch along on her belly when she wanted some love. Today's success is that not only will she sit up while being pet, she will come to me and put her paws up on my knees to let me know she's there.

Like many longtime puppymill breeders, Tilly isn't exactly house trained. Interestingly she lifts her leg to pee and does some marking (although it looks like we have that under control now.) Right now she's finishing up her season, so she has to wear a diaper and three times she pooped in the diaper. To help manage this and to help with the submissive urination we've been taking frequent trips to the backyard. However, today Tilly has started to feel so comfortable and safe in her cushy crate that she refused to leave it. She was using her crate to hide from the world. I figured I'd try to entice her out and when I stuck my hand in she went nuts, snapping and growling. I closed the crate and took a breather to think things over. Then I decided it was time for some more tough love.

Ever so slowly, I tilted the open crate until she was forced to crawl out before she fell out. We went outside for about 30 minutes so both of us could relax and get ready for the next test: for her a test of courage, and for me a test of patience. When we returned to the living room I removed the cushy blankets and dog bed from the crate, locked it and set the bed next to the wall, but in an area were she was forced to see what was going on in the house. After scrambling at the door of the crate awhile she gave up and crawled into her bed, tucking her head under the blanket so she can pretend that I'm not there. That's all I'm going to ask of her today. She's doing her best and needs a breather between each forced step towards courage.

So today's wins: petting without slinking AND she pooped outside AND it wasn't on the deck or patio

Today's issues: growling, snapping and hiding in her crate; our solution - let her have the soft dog bed, but take it out of the crate and place it at the edge of the room.
The photo above was taken last night when Tilly was still getting daytime access to her crate.