Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gus and Frodo's North Cascades Adventure

This last weekend Gus and Frodo joined us for a long weekend in North Cascades National Park for a hiking/camping trip. Both of them were little troopers, doing about 6 or 7 miles of hiking on both Friday and Saturday. We brought the ex-pen that a friend lent us and clothespinned a sheet over the top for shade and they didn't mind being in there too much while we were at the campsite. I think they were so tired from hiking that they were too busy sleeping to be bothered with complaining about the ex-pen. They slept with us in the tent of course, one dog per sleeping bag, burrowed all the way to the bottom like they prefer. How do they breathe down there?!

Gus had a bit of a misadventure on Friday. Showing the Chihuahua side of his heritage, that blasted "little man syndrome", he charged a string of pack mules, startling my husband who dropped the leash. Here's this 9 pound little fart trying to take on 6 mules who obviously were less than happy about him charging them. Luckily my husband was able to stomp on his leash, which was a good thing as the park ranger explained that one of the mules hates dogs and tried to stomp a dalmation last month. YIKES! It took a while for my heart to stop thumping after that one.

Frodo has his little problem the next day. We had just reached a tiny, deep little mountain lake that we hike up to on Saturday and Frodo discovered the wide assortment of dragonflies flitting about the shore. Being a bug catcher extraordinaire, he was delighted. Seeing several perched on a big log a foot out in the water he leaped for the log, not realizing it was floating. The expression on his face was priceless. Off the poor guy tumbled into the ice cold, glacier fed lake. He was on leash when this happened and so I was able to lift him out. Nervous on the best of occasions, he was a mess and must have tried to shake the water off for a full 2 minutes. Unfortunately the shore was dusty and so my pretty tan and white dog was soon mostly a tan dog, covered in mud.

Everyone made it home in one piece though, ready for our next adventure this weekend - a visit to see my sister's new baby in Portland, OR. Between their two dogs and Gus and Frodo it should make for some crazy moments.
The photo above shows Gus (top) and Frodo finishing up a very steep 4 1/4 mile hike up to Pyramid Lake. By this time Frodo had dried and hiked off all the dirt (gotta love a smooth coated terrier!)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Check this quilt out!

Each year Ratbone Rescues volunteers make quilt squares that are made into a quilt for our yearly quilt raffle - the group's major fundraiser. The money is all used for the veterinary expenses, such as vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, etc., that regularly go above the $150/$175 adoption fee the group charges for dogs/puppies. Last year over 350 dogs were rescued by Ratbone. That's almost a dog a day! This year we have a bunch of new foster parents and we're hoping to save even more.

To see more photos of the quilt and the 2 throw pillows that come with it, check out the 2008 Quilt page on Ratbone Rescues Website.

This years quilt is dedicated to a very special dog, Basil Ratbone, who was the little dog who started it all. Ratbone founder, Caroline Wood, was so taken with her sweet little dog, Basil, that she created the rescue group Ratbone Rescues, which grew from a small group of helpers into a rescue group spread across the United States and Canada. Basil passed away this year, as did his sweet sister, both dying peacefully of old age.

If you are interested in a chance to win this great quilt and the two matching throw pillows that go with it raffle tickets are 1 for $5; 3 for $10; 9 for $25; and 20 for $50. The winner will receive the Quilt and Pillows by certified, insured mail 7 to 10 days after the drawing is held. To purchase tickets you can either use paypal or send in a check or money order. The paypal link is at the bottom of the fundraiser page (be sure to note "2008 Quilt Project", and how many Raffle Tickets you wish to purchase). If you want to send in for your tickets pay by check or money order: Ratbone Rescues P.O. Box 3237 Seminole, FL 33775-3237. Again, note that the money is for the quilt project and how many tickets that you wish to purchase.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Tails!

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I have received a couple photos recently of past fosters that I just had to share. Here you see Suki and her big sister, Mindawg, the "biker bitches", out for a ride. Does she have the good life now, or what!? If you don't remember Suki, our second foster girl who had a bad case of mange, here's a link to one of her photos when she first arrived at our home in January. Just seven months ago she was mangey and ill and the shelter wasn't even going to show her to rescue - they were just going to put her to sleep! Luckily our Austin, Texas Ratbone angel noticed her and decided to pull this little princess from the shelter. Now look at that lovely coat of glossy fur, her cushy new ride and her cool big sister! She's definitely living the good life as a hiking, biking doggy in the state of Colorado.

Another great photo that I received this week was a hilarious shot of little Nova, or I should say big Nova. Now she's called Holly-Jo and obviously she's still got that great, goofy personality we fell in love with. Holly-Jo and her 7 siblings where flown to Washington with their desperately ill heartworm positive mom. Mom was a 15 pound rat terrier and had endured birthing these 8 large pups while battling advanced heartworm. All the puppies have gone to wonderful homes and momma Millie is in an Oregon foster home finishing up her heartworm treatment. She has a great home lined up and they are anxiously awaiting the end of her treatment so they can get her home and start spoiling her.

In the meantime, Miss Holly-Jo is spending her days being spoiled and playing with her big sister, Xena. Check out that grin!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gus: a dog mourning his testicles

Little 2 year old Gus is our most recent foster dog. He came from a shelter in central California and because it's a rural area, there are very few adopters. Unfortunately there are a bunch of dogs waiting to be adopted in the facility - over 50 puppies and some crates kennels with 5 dogs per crate area. Gus had been here for about 3 weeks and was about to be put to sleep. The California state adoption coordinator drove 3 hours from Sacramento to pick up Gus and 5 other dogs. Only Gus and two of the other dogs were healthy enough to be flown to their foster homes when she arrived (the shelter had rampant kennel cough). These lucky three were pulled from the shelter, brought back to Sacremento for vetting and then put on a plane to Seattle the very next morning where they have all gone to open foster homes.

Gus is only a little over 9 pounds, a ribsy little guy, who was, well lets just say well hung for a dog his size. Frodo was so astonished by tiny Gus' "accoutrements" that he wouldn't stop sniffing them in astonishment (he was relieved of his at 7 months and had no idea they could reach such grand proportions.) Yesterday these gloriously large appendages where sent to the chopping block aka veterinary clinic and now a very irratated and somewhat lighter weight Gus has rejoined us at home.

He's definitely a bit of a drama queen. When my son and I picked him up at the vet (and for the rest of the evening) Gus refused to look at me and when we were home he stayed as far away from me as possible. This went on until bed time. He apparently forgot to be angry with me overnight. When we picked him up at the vet's we heard this loud yowling. We were sure that some dog must be in serious pain, but it had been Gus, protesting when they put a cone on him. He has to be held with the utmost care or he whimpers, and yet he managed to jump up on the back of the couch without any complaints. The incision site looks fine and he is otherwise walking around and acting normal for a just-neutered dog. He's just a bit more sensitive to pain, it seems. Otherwise he's just your average, quiet, laid back dog.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Little Nutmeg is now "Pepper"

Our sweet little foster Nutmeg, now named Pepper, was adopted and she moved into her forever home earlier this week. Let the spoiling commence! The retired couple who adopted this sweet baby has already decked her out in style, taken her to the vet, licensed her and bought her all kinds of goodies. She never leaves their sides and is being given all the belly rubs her little heart desires (and trust me, this girl LOVES her belly rubs.)

This was a dog with a sad, sad history. A throw away pup who had been used as "livestock" and then dumped. But her sad story is over and she is now living the high life. She went from being pulled off the euthanization table to the lap of luxury in less than a month. You go girl!

I just wish that all the dogs in this throw-away society could have such a happy ending. Right now we are in the middle of what we in rescue call "the dumping season". All those cute little puppies that were given as Christmas presents, are now all grown up and because they weren't trained they are no longer so cute and so off they go to the shelter. People have vacations and things to do over the summer and don't want the responsibility of making sure the dog is taken care of. I'd love to plop a few of them on the euthanization table, that's for sure.
Thanks to all of you who read this and have taken a rescued dog into your hearts and homes. Those little dogs are worth their weight in gold and you are a hero for saving them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Happy Endings for Mango and Nutmeg

It's been awhile since I've posted because things have been so busy with dogs and summer vacation. Good news though. Over the last week we've found not one but two homes for our foster dogs. They are the kind of homes that make it easy to say goodbye (especially since they're both less than 2 miles from my house :) to the fosters.

Mango went home yesterday to her new family who has been waiting anxiously the past week as the home visit and paperwork was happening. They were SO excited to welcome her to their home and even their big dog Harry has decided that maybe she's not so scary after all. The most love will come from Mango's new "skin" sibling, DeeDee though, seen in this photo giving Mango a big hug. She walked Mango all over the house showing her around and letting her know where her bed would be and her food, etc.

It just happened that Mango's new family had some friends who were looking for a small dog and that they might be interested in Nutmeg. Calls were made and this morning Nutmeg was taken to be introduced to them. It was love at first site and now we are trying to speed through the paperwork so she can go home to her new family. I couldn't have asked for a better home for this little girl. The plus side it that they live about 10 blocks up the street from me so when we go on bike rides we can stop and say hello and see how she's doing.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mango poo - EVERYWHERE! This has been a heck of a day. I picked Mango up at the vet first thing this morning - she was spayed and had a dew claw removed. So when we came home I brought Mango and Nutmeg into the babygated kitchen with me and began working on getting the chili verde going in the slow cooker. Mango was whiny, but I figured she just wanted a chance to run around after all of the crate time she had at the vet. Chilis roasted in the oven and onions were being chopped, the air was filled with the smell of roasting peppers and tomatillos.

Nutmeg kept getting under foot but wouldn't move away from my feet. I couldn't figure out why she was refusing to move away from the corner when I pushed her out of the way. I turned to move her again and froze in horror. There was a reason that Nutmeg wouldn't step away from the corner and that Mango had been whining for her freedom. It looked like a tomatilla, serrano pepper scented shit bomb exploded in my kitchen. Mango finally gave up on my listening to her and let loose with diarrhea under the kitchen table on Nutmeg's bed. She then proceeded to walk through it with her freshly bandaged foot (dew claw removed) and smeared it on every inch of my kitchen floor. Thanks to the peppers and onions, the smell was masked and I hadn't recognized we had a little bathroom emergency going on.

With the unhappily given help of my 14 year old son, we cleaned Mango up the best we could, crated her and then called the vet. No - she couldn't have a bath. Yes - they would rebandage her foot for me. So after giving my son orders to clean the dog blankets the best he could and get them in the washer. I jumped in the car and was heading back to the vets.

Once the vet finished with her I headed back to the hellish job of cleaning my kitchen. I had to mop the place three times before I felt like it was clean. Everything had to be doused in antiseptic cleaner. Now the floor is clean enough to be eaten off of, although I wouldn't recommend it. Then it was on to getting the poopy blankets washed.

The whole fiasco ate up several hours of my day and as much as I wanted to be angry at that crazy puppy, I only had myself to blame. She tried to tell me, but I was too enveloped in the fog of roasting chilis to listen. This is one of those days that I know I'll laugh about in the future, but not yet. It's just way too soon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Golden Fostering Moment

Yesterday little Nutmeg reminded me why I foster rescue dogs.

Since arriving Monday morning Nutmeg has not really let me out of her sight. She seemed somewhat listless and spent most of her time sleeping, but as soon as I would leave the room she'd jump up in panic and follow me. She didn't seem to be in pain, but walked strangely, with her back legs spread wide and kept stiff. She has obviously had puppies recently and her paws are a mess – pads are deeply cracked and worn flat in areas. She's just one of those dogs who breaks your heart when you think of what she must have been through.

For most of Monday and Tuesday morning she sat in an armchair and snarled at the other dogs when they got close to her. She showed no interest in toys or playing. Around noon I took the dogs into the back yard and sat on the deck to watch them. As expected, Nutmeg sat, pressed close to my side, watching the dogs play and making no move to leave the deck. After a few minutes though she walked down the steps and lay down on the grass. Then she rolled over on her back, closed her eyes and just blissed out rolling in the cool grass. It was great to watch.

In the afternoon when I took them outside, again she sat next to me, watching the wild antics of Frodo and Mango. They were wrestling and all of a sudden Nutmeg went flying off the deck. My first thought was "oh God, dog fight." I figured she was trying to stop the wrestling match. She lunged at Frodo and both Frodo and Mango paused in surprise, trying to figure out what this lump of a dog thought she was doing. Then their wrestling ensued and a chase started. Nutmeg chased along behind them and when the wrestling started again she barked and snapped at Frodo and Mango's necks. I was frozen on the deck, trying to figure out whether this was good or bad. Was it a fight? Was she just trying to mother them and break up their roughhousing? Then, to everyone's surprise, she awkwardly lowered herself into a play position and I could almost hear Frodo and Mango thinking, "OHHHH, so that's what she's doing!!"

I realized I had been holding my breath and I had tears in my eyes. This poor broken dog who has likely spent most of her life having puppies in a metal crate, was learning how to play. It was one of those golden fostering moments that make all the barking and dog pee and trips to the vet worthwhile.