Thursday, May 29, 2008

Update: Suki, Baxter, the puppies and more

I just got some great pictures of Suki and her new sister, Mindawg and wanted to share one with you. In this one, big sis Min is teaching Suki the art of effective begging. Queen Mindawg has let Suki know that she only has princess standing, and now that Suki has accepted that, they are getting along swimmingly. We could not have found a better home for Suki anywhere - this was a perfect match - a mom, dad and sis just waiting for their new furry princess. Check out Team Mindawg's photos on to see a few more pics of the girls together.

And exciting, happy news: Baxter, the old 11 year old rat terrier that was brought into one of our Washington state RBR foster homes has found his forever home. He and his new dad will be retiring soon and heading for the hills to kick back and enjoy the good life. A happy ending for a dog who is ready for some good ol' "R & R".

Of the 8 pups who were flown to Washington, 4 have homes and the other 4 have some possible applications. Their mom - the poor little rat terrier who had to birth all 8 of these lab/terrier pups - is undergoing heartworm treatment and assuming all goes well, will soon fly to Washington and her forever home. So a happy ending is in the works for all 9 of these sweet dogs.

Other Washington dogs about to go home or recently gone home: Diva, Delilah, LeMae, and Ellie. The Washington state boneheads are on a roll! Keep those little dogs coming and we'll find a happy ending for them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Warning: Poo talk

Dog lovers, much like parents of infant children, have this odd fascination with the consistency of their dog's crap and if you spend any time at off leash parks you may regularly be privy to "state of the poop" addresses by fellow dogists. One of these conversations might go a little like this:

Jane: Hi, how's Fluffy doing? (note: Jane asked about the dog, not John. At dog parks it is only required to know the names of the dogs - common dog park etiquette)

John: Well, his energy's fine, but his poop is a little loose. I mean, not explosive diarrhea, but runny. No blood though, thank God!

Sorry if your gut is turning, but most of the people who read this blog are not just dog lovers but they are crazy dog lovers, so you're just nodding your head going, "Yeah? How is this weird?"

Now, in case there is some lone cat person who accidentally stumbled upon this blog thinking they were visiting the "Rescued Catties" blog or something, you should now exit the blog because I am going to delve into actual dog poo talk now, not the imaginary stuff, and it might be a little too much for a cat person to handle. Consider yourself warned.

Anyhoooooo... This has all been a lead up to a very disgusting post about the state of my current foster dogs' poop. As you've read in past blog posts, when Nova and Astro first arrived here they were loaded with worms. The worms have since been shipped off to the landfill, since the pups have had their 2nd dose of Strongid for the roundworms and hookworms, and then a shot of Droncit for the tapeworm issue. But recently, another Ratbone volunteer who is fostering 4 pups from the same litter said something about wondering whether they also had coccidia. She said that I should watch their poop for mucous and blood and also sniff the poop to check if it smells worse than usual. Yeah, right.

Now, I've mentioned before my very active gag reflex. Because of this I don't make a habit of breathing through my nose when I'm in the back yard on a scooping mission. I mean, I do get a little obsessive about the thought that by breathing this way I'm sucking poop molecules into my mouth... but I digress. So now I've got to figure out if the poop smells worse than regular poop that I haven't been smelling in the first place. How does one go about doing this? Once I start gagging, I'm not able to rate anything on a 1 to 10 scale and since normal poop makes me gag, I'm at a loss.

Astro is making this tough too because his poo will seem like normal dog crap one time and then the next time the poo will be all runny. All I'm asking for is a little consistency! (No pun intended.) I think I'm going to give up on trying to self diagnose the poo and just take some into the vet's office, pay the $25 and let them deal with it.

So poo issues continue here in rescueland. Until resolved we will continue with our routine of wandering around in the yard until they poop so we can go to the off-leash park without worrying about spreading our little potential bacterial sidekicks. The state of the poo is - unknown.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Fun Police: Frodo on patrol

Frodo has this need to control any fun that is being had by dogs at our house. If there is one other foster then he refuses to play with it unless he initiates the play. The poor pup is left to go chew on a toy or convince one of us that it is time to dog wrestle. But when there are two foster dogs at the house Frodo has a dilemma. They go off and play together and could care less that he won't play with them. He's left standing on the deck looking down imperiously, irritated that the pups would dare have fun when he has not initiated the wild romp.

At 8 weeks, Astro and Nova are all about wrestling and chasing. They tumble through the back yard, crushing plants, hiding in the decorative grasses running under the dripping rock sculpture water feature in the Japanese garden - these are some wild and crazy pups.

Frodo has decided that it is his job to police any fun that is being had in the back yard. Now 1/2 lab Nova weighs almost as much as he does so this can be tricky for him - he needs to keep a safe distance in case she decides to take him down. The photo above is a perfect capture of the three in action.
In it you see the puppies wrestling: Astro on the attack and Nova putting on her crazy eyes and getting ready to flip and pin little Astro. Pretty much this is what they are always doing - except when they are sleeping. Actually they sleep curled up together so they look a bit like this when they're sleeping too, minus the crazy looks on their faces.
Frodo is in perfect form: a safe distance away in case they unexpectedly tumble in his direction, legs flexed and ready to run should they misinterpret his bark as an invitation to play, and mouth open in the middle of a disapproving bark. He allows them to wrestle, but if they start to make any noise while wrestling then he is there in a heartbeat barking his fool head off.
He follows them everywhere. Even in the rare moments that they lay down on the lawn to rest, Frodo is there looking on, ready to show his disapproval if they decide to play again. Life is rough for a persnickety terrier who is old beyond his 2 1/2 years.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Worms, Worms and more Worms

Frodo and the past fosters haven't had bad infestations of worms, so this is my first time dealing with them. I knew that roundworms were likely a problem thanks to the tell-tale bloating of their tummies so I gave them Strongid-T which I thought would take care of everything. An email from Kathy and more surprises in Nova's poop this morning have let me know that there is work yet to be done. Coccidia and tapeworms may also be an issue.

So we are off to the vet this afternoon for a shot to deal with the tapeworms. I will be glad when this is over because it completely grosses me out. Never the possessor of a strong stomach, I am regularly having gag-fests in the backyard each time they poop.

Otherwise they seem like typical, healthy, roly-poly puppies. We are really enjoying their silly antics and sweet natures and hope to quickly find placements for them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Introducing: Astro and Nova

Last night the Washington State Ratbone Rescues Coordinator picked up 8 rat terrier-mix pups that had flown in from Austin, TX. After a visit to the vet she drove over to our house and when I looked in the back of her car, what did I see? Eight lab puppies. Now, we know that they are all half rat terrier because the mom is a tri-color rattie, but man, the puppies look like labs - 7 yellow, chocolate and black labs with one large rat terrier looking pup.

So we picked out two and proceeded to do all those "just off the plane from a shelter" things that need to be done. They had pooped in their crate so the first order of business was a bath and then a combing for fleas. Then they each had a dose of dewormer and got their new collars: purple with flowers for Nova and a sun/moon collar for Astro.

They slept a large crate together last night and after some initial crying went to sleep. We were up at 2:30am for a potty break and then again at 5:30am for them to poop. Blechhh! Their pooh was so full of worms that it looked like rice-a-roni! I went back to bed because I didn't have to get up until 6:30 but was so queasy from seeing all of those worms that I just decided to get back up.

Nova's belly had looked a bit distended, and by the quantity that came out of her I'm sure it was from all of the worms. I've put both of them on a high quality puppy food - Orijen puppy - and this morning will add Missing Link Omega 3 supplement. Astro likely already has a home, but Nova will be tougher to place since most Ratbone adopters are looking for small terriers - not a chunky chocolate lab. She's so cute though that I'm sure it won't take long to find her the perfect forever home.
The top photo is of Nova getting her bath and the bottom is a shot of Astro.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Suki heads for home

After nearly 5 months with Suki it was finally time to say goodbye to her yesterday. Her new mom, an aquaintance from Denver, flew out and stayed a couple of days so Suki could get to know her before they left. It went beautifully and we had 2 days of fun in the rare Seattle spring sunshine. By Sunday Suki had strongly bonded to her mom and was ready to go home and meet her dad and new older fur sibling. Truly, I couldn't have wished for a happier ending for Suki. She had a chance to bond with her mom before leaving so the transition was very easy on her. She's going to a totally dog-centric household where she will be loved and spoiled and well cared for.

Oddly enough, this goodbye went easier than past foster goodbyes. I was sure it would be terrible because she was with us for so long and had become one of the family. It's not that I don't miss her, I do, but she bonded so quickly to her mom that it was clear that she knew where home was. Plus, it helps to know that the family will come visit again sometime and we will get a chance to meet their other dog, too, which we've wanted to do for quite awhile.

Tomorrow our state coordinator has 8 puppies that will be flying here from a kill shelter in Austin, Texas and then she has 4 more flying into Sea-Tac three days later. We'll get two of the pups tomorrow evening and life will move forward again. There are always more dogs that deserve the happy ending that Suki received.
The photo above shows Suki being held by her new mom at the Starbucks Headquarters in Seattle.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sweet Ol' Baxter

People are often more interested in puppies than senior dogs, however, the old dogs have just as much love to give without the housetraining!

Baxter is an awesome dog who as an 11 year old rat terrier likely has many years left to warm someone's lap. He's laid back, doesn't chase cats and gets along well with other dogs. Do you have room in your heart and on your lap for Baxter?

He was picked up by animal control in Austin, Texas and had a crushed hind leg. He was deemed "unadoptable" due to his age and injury and was scheduled to be put down. A Ratbone Rescues volunteer pulled him from the shelter and got him the medical treatment he needed. It ends up that he had been hit by a car and had a crushed femur. He had surgery on his leg and healed up wonderfully.

Since it's difficult to place older dogs in Texas, he was flown to a Washington state foster home where we are hoping to find him a loving forever home. If you are interested in learning more about him, email Kathy at

Friday, May 9, 2008

Goodbye, Luci

Sweet little Luci was picked up Wednesday evening, May 7th, by her new mom and taken to her forever home. It will be a great home for her, but we will miss her. She is such an incredible dog - laid back, smart, obedient - that we believe her new family is very lucky to have found such wonderful puppy. I can't imagine why anyone would drop such a sweet, young, dog off at a high kill shelter.

Suki and Luci really hit it off and it was so sad the first morning without Luci. Suki tore down the stairs in the morning and searched each floor of the house, looking for Luci. When she didn't find her she came and looked at me, puzzled and then went back to bed.

It was easier to say goodbye this time than it was with little Smudge, our first foster. Of course, we only had Luci with us for one and a half weeks. I seem to go through what I call the 4 stages of puppy grief. Here they are:
First the denial stage: I tell myself that it wouldn't be so bad to have two dogs and foster a third, and consider trying to talk my husband and the state rescue coordinator into letting me keep this one, even though an application approval has already been sent out.
Second the depression stage: I realize that I have to give her up, have trouble sleeping at night and for a day or two feel sick to my stomach.
Third the acceptance stage: I start to let go, emotionally separate from her, and to think of her as someone elses dog that I am watching. I remind myself that the family will love and care for her just as much as I do. I think about the sweet little dogs that are currently waiting for a foster spot to open up and how they will be put to sleep if there isn't a spot for them.
Fourth and final stage, moving on: Kathy, the state coordinator sends me an email listing the bajillion dogs in Texas that she's trying to rescue and fly up to Washington - the eight puppies and their heartworm positive mom, the 11 year old male who's sweet but hard to place because of his age, the 2 year old female with only a day before she's going to be put to sleep because she's too scared to show well in the shelter, the puppies who will be put down because they contracted kennel cough.... For a few days I'm sad and battle with getting the picture of her worried little face as she left us out of my mind, but before long I'm busy with the next dog. I know that I can email and ask the adopters for photos or call and see how the transition is going.
So many people ask "how can you let them go?" or "but don't you think it's traumatic for them to get attached to you and then have to go to another home?" or any number of variations of that question. At times it feels a bit accusatory. We are not heartless. Yes, it hurts like hell to let them go, but it's not about me. I'm willing to feel awful for a few days, knowing that they are healthy and alive because we let ourselves love them. And yes, it is stressful for them to become attached to me and then have to go to another home, but it's more traumatic for them to be gassed and thrown into a landfill - common practice in the south. The reward is seeing a scared and broken little dog come to life before your eyes and learn to trust again. That is more than worth the rough week of saying goodbye.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Easy ways you can help us save little dogs!!!

I've talked before about using the search engine as an easy way to raise money for Ratbone Rescues (1 penny per search), but here are two more ways you can help even more while you shop for groceries or gifts.

Ratbone Rescues has been registered as a charitable organization within the "Kroger Cares" program which means that you can earn 5% of everything you spend at a Kroger affiliated grocery or jewelry stores for Ratbone Rescues. Some of the many grocery store chains owned by Kroger are Fred Meyer, Fry's Food and Drug, Fry's Marketplace, King Soopers, Smith's Food and Drug, Smith's Marketplace, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, City Market, Hilander, Jay-C, Pay-less Supermarket, Owen's, Dilons, QFC, Gerbes, Foods Co., Baker's, Fred Meyer Jewelers, Littman Jewelers, and Barclay Jewelers.

Money raised goes into Ratbone's general fund and pays for the vetting costs of the hundreds of rat terriers that we rescue each year. All you have to do is order a $5 Kroger gift card from us (pre-loaded with $5), then refill that card and use the card for purchasing items at Kroger affiliated stores. For every dollar loaded onto the card, Ratbone Rescues will be paid 5%. For a household that spends $100 a week on groceries, that would be $240 a year being donated to Ratbone. If you buy your gas at a Kroger gas station it's even more. Or do you buy people gift cards for places like itunes, restaurants, the Gap, etc.? Well, consider using your Kroger card to purchase the gift cards at the gift card center within the store. They have a ton to choose from. It's SO easy! If you are interested in taking part in this program, email me at for more info.

The other way you can earn money while you shop is through . Just designate Ratbone Rescues as the organization that you goodshop for and then link from the Website to the store that you want to shop at. Just about anywhere that you would think to spend money online is part of this program: itunes, Target,,, Toys 'r' Us, Walmart, various computer companies and even ebay! If you use the link above it will take you to the home page which shows the most popular online stores. To the left of this page the shops can be browsed by categories: clothing, pets, food, jewelry, you name it. If you link to the store through the site (with Ratbone Rescues designated as the charity on the drop-down list) then a percentage of what you spend will be donated to Ratbones. Sometimes up to 10% or more, but mostly around the 4-5% range. It's easy to do and costs you nothing.

The more people who are willing to help us out and shop this way, the more dogs we can save! Even if you just spend a little at these stores, every penny adds up and your time and effort expended on these fundraising programs are next to nothing. Thanks in advance for joining in and helping raise money for dogs who deserve a chance for a happy, healthy life.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Luci has an application!

Wow! After less than a week with us, someone has decided that little Miss Luci would be a perfect fit for their family. The home visit and paperwork still needs to happen, but I have a good feeling about it. She would have a fur-brother about her same age and size, which would be perfect. Luci LOVES to run and wrestle and play with other dogs and I was hoping we would find her a family with another small, young dog for her to play with.

As usual, it will be sad to say goodbye to such a sweet little girl, but it will be the happy ending that she deserves.

I took Luci to the Pet Market here in town to buy her a snazzy new Silverfoot collar and while we were there the owner gave her this pink tie-dye t-shirt. This photo was snapped soon after that in the back yard.