Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009 Southeast Rat Terrier Jamboree

Well, I'm back from the Jam and boy was it ever fun. After working with these "virtual" friends online to save dogs for the past 2 years it was great to finally meet them in person and I can't wait to see them again next year. At the airport Levecke and I listed the states that we met people from and other than us Washingtonians there were folks from Florida, Minnesota, Kentucky, Texas, New York, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Maryland and Wisconsin.

The Washington team (Kathy, Levecke and I, pictured above outside a Tennessee Cracker Barrel) flew on Southwest airlines so we couldn't bring any dogs with us or transport any fosters home, unfortunately. However with 100 plus ratties running around the field at the event there was always someone who was willing to hop up on a lap for a snuggle.
The event is put on by the Yahoo group, Southeast Region Rat Terriers and boy do they do a great job. The entrance fee to attend is only $3 to the KOA for the entire weekend and then an item for the raffle that benefits New Rattitude. That raffle made over $1,000! New Rattitude directors also threw a lunch on Saturday that benefited NR. There was also a "guess how many tennis balls fill the crate" game, a microchipping booth, and our ReTail booth that raised money for rescue so I can't wait to hear the grand total that was raised.
Friday was a laid back day where the event is set up and people and dogs meet and greet each other on the huge mowed field temporarily fenced for the 100+ rat terriers running around. That evening the SE group hosted a barbecue dinner and New Rattitude's Jaime and Neil from Wisconsin hosted a campfire and treated us to delicious Wisconsin cheese. Saturday was the busy day. Most folks arrived Saturday and the field filled up with every variety of rat terriers imaginable. There was a flyball demonstration by Jaime and Neil, obedience trials, terrier races, and an agility course. The raffle was held as was the NR lunch of pulled pork sandwiches, pasta salad, chips and goodies. All the NR folks and a few others ended the day with a dinner at a nearby Southern style restaurant and another campfire at Jaime and Neils.
Sunday was for clean up and goodbyes. The NR contingent breakfasted at The Dinner Bell and I tasted grits for the first time. It was sad to say goodbye but I was ready to get home to the guys and my own furry duo. We are still foster-free right now but should have a 1 year old male we named Buzz arriving in the next week or so from Austin, Texas. Due to the cost of flying dogs it has been difficult to fill up the WA foster spots lately. There are so many being put down in the South and Midwest and yet we can't get them here. On occasion rattie rescues happen in Washington (like Abby and Rocket), but there just aren't that many rat terriers here. What there is, is a high demand for small dogs so it's sad that we can't get the ones here that are being put to sleep elsewhere. Sigh. If you know of anyone who works for an airline and would be willing to help us fly dogs with their cargo discount then be sure to let me know. Or, if you are travelling somewhere and would be willing to carry-on a dog then let us know that as well. Transport can be almost as costly as vet care if we don't network to find ways to get around the costs. Okay, enough whining.
Next year you should consider joining me for a trip to the 2010 Jamboree. You haven't seen anything until you've watched a field full of rat terriers playing chase.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quick Update

On Saturday both Sally and Abby went to their forever homes leaving us foster-free at the moment. It is SOOO quiet here. Well, that's an exaggeration since both of my personal dogs were the barkers of the bunch, but you get the idea.

The timing was perfect since I'm getting ready to fly out to Tennessee this week for the "SE Rat Terrier Jamboree" which is a great get together of rattie enthusiasts which benefits New Rattitude. There will be agility contests, flyball demonstrations, raffles, shopping, and lots and lots of cute spotted dogs. I'm really looking forward to meeting so many of the people that I work with daily via the Internet as we all work together across the country to rescue dogs.

When I get back I'll be sure to post photos and let you guys know how things went.

PS: Don't forget to keep voting in the www.theanimalrescuesite.com shelter contest for New Rattitude, GA! We are in 1st place for the state of Georgia but it is close and there's a long ways to go before the voting is finished. We won the state contest once, so let's do it again!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Sniff-fest

After a couple really miserable days of cold downpours the sun has broken through and it has been beautiful here in Western Washington. The cherry blossoms, daffodils and early tulips are blooming, leaves are budding out, and it smells beautiful - that indescribable smell of spring.

The dogs have been oh-so-happy that they don't have to go out and do their business in the rain. I've been letting them out more often and there have been some great romps in the back yard, but mostly there has been sniffing.

I took the camera out thinking I could get some good pictures with the warm sunlight, but it was not to be. I couldn't get the dogs to look up from their sniffing long enough to get a good shot. Something about the rock path was especially enticing and they spent lots of time turning the rocks with their snouts sniffing at whatever might be underneath.
In this photo you see the backs of the girls, Tilly, Sally and Abby, sniffing their way along the path.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Help New Rattitude win another $1,000!

It's that time again, folks. Remember back in December when you were visiting the Animal Rescue Website daily to vote for New Rattitude to win a shelter grant? Well they are running the contest again. Last time we won the prize for the top vote getter for the state of Georgia (New Rattitude is incorporated in Georgia.) This time lets set our sights on the $25,000 prize!

We need you to go to the The Animal Rescue Site each day through July 26th 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.

We won $1,000 in December and with your help I know we can do this again! Remember to vote from home, from work, from your phone and even from the library computer if you happen to be there. The more votes we get the better!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Abby has arrived!

Happy news, everyone! Beautiful Miss Abby was transported from Eastern WA, across the Cascade Mountains and ending up at the Pet Market where she kept me company at work today. How someone thought this was an "awful, psycho dog" is beyond me.

She is a typical, energetic, terrier pup - eager to play and eager to please. She helped out at work by demonstrating how great bully sticks are for chewing and which toys hold up to terrier teeth. I picked out a special "just ducky" collar for her because a pretty girl deserves a pretty new collar.

She has fit in great with the pack and spent a lot of time with Frodo and the puppies doing rattie runs in the back yard. She is F-A-S-T! Man, can that girl run. She seems very healthy other than a little extra shedding that is likely due to stress. Tomorrow we'll do a brushing session with the furbuster and she should be as good as new.

There is definitely some emotional healing that will need to happen. She gets quite frightened if she hears voices raised in what she thinks is anger and she is hand shy until she knows a person is calm and safe. But she is all about giving love and has the essence of that wonderful rat terrier personality.

The best part is that 2 hours after she arrived at the store a couple, regular customers, came in with their wonderful cairn terrier, Angus. Angus and his parents fell in love with Abby and tonight they called to let me know that they were submitting an adoption application for her.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy stories

Well, the last post to this blog was about 2 rescues that at the time I thought had failed. Happily, everything turned around after I wrote that entry and now both dogs will be saved.

Cocoa's owner stopped in the Pet Market today while I was working and let me know that she wanted to hold onto Cocoa until the last possible moment so she would bring her in to the store with her vet records and papers on Monday. I snapped a few pictures to send to prospective adopters and breathed a sigh of relief.
But my happiest story is about Abby, the rat terrier in Eastern Washington who with a flip of a coin in a shelter ended up in a hell that we didn't think she'd escape. Well, arrangements were made and the owners surrendered her to a good Samaritan in Pasco, WA who then drove her to Zillah to be handed off to a New Rattitude foster parent. The good Samaritan was told what a horrid dog she was and that they (the loser owners) had been beating her for 3 days when she was bad and she still didn't learn. Abby snoozed in the rescuers lap the entire drive to Zillah and perked up when she reached her temporary foster home in Yakima. She followed the humans around trying to get attention and it is reported that she is a spirited, typical rattie and doesn't seem to be sick at all. Tomorrow she and another rescue foster, Reese, will hitch a ride with friends from Yakima to the Seattle area and should be at the pet store with me by noon, safe and sound. Reese will then head up to a foster home in Seattle where he can go on a home visit to a potential adopters house and Abby will settle in with us for some TLC and training.
Although the sad stories happen way to often in the rescue world, I'm happy to say that often there are happy endings to be reported. Stay tuned for more info about Cocoa and Abby's adventures.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sad stories

So, I haven't heard anything back about Cocoa so I think that the lady has changed her mind. It is very sad because that dog really needs someone who will invest some time and love into her so she can learn that life isn't always so scary. I am still hoping that the owner will change her mind once it comes time to travel, however, I have to be realistic.

I've actually been trying to save another Washington state dog who is over in Eastern Washington. Abby's is a very sad story. A great lady decided she wanted to adopt a kid friendly terrier dog for her family. Their current elderly toy fox terrier was quite crabby with the kids and they had learned to steer clear of her. What they needed was a breed who welcomed their attention and wasn't a one person dog.

Off they went to the shelter and they met Abby. She was a rat terrier, about 1 year old, and for the next hour they played with her and got to know her - a sweet kid-friendly dog. When they were ready to adopt they found out someone else was interested in her so the shelter decided they could flip to see who got to adopt: the family or the 20 year old who openly expressed her plan to breed the dog and sell puppies. Sadly, the 20 year old won. The family was extremely upset, and the lady made sure to give the young woman her card and said to call her if she ended up changing her mind.

A week later the woman called. The dog wasn't house-trained and was "awful" and she wanted to get rid of her. The family had adopted another dog and couldn't have a third but the mom contacted New Rattitude, hoping we could help. However, Abby's owner had decided she wanted $150 for the dog instead of the $45 she paid the shelter. Since we can't pay for dogs and the lady could only really afford $50, the 20 y.o. said she'd think about it.

The next day the lady received a call. The owner hated the dog and wanted to shoot it so she needed to come and get it or else. Because there was a worry that the dog might be sick, the family was unable to foster it because they didn't want to expose their dogs. The owner was livid and hung up.

The mom didn't give up though. She talked with her sister and talked her into holding Abby for a day or two until I could get her over the Cascades to our house. The sister said she'd help so today she called back the young lady who was less than happy to talk with her. She was angry and said her roommate was ready to shoot the dog. Since this was Eastern Washington it wasn't an idle threat but a real possibility. The lady was at work and wouldn't talk with her at work. Abby is home with the roommate who hates her. Now we are just waiting and hoping that the young woman will call the family after work and they can pick her up. Until then I can't start recruiting people to transport her since we don't know if the lady will call back at this point.
So I may be heading up Snoqualmie pass tomorrow, but I may not. All I know is that my heart aches for this once happy little dog who lost a dream home with the flip of a coin.

It is a sad, emotionally draining tale. I've been working with the family who had tried to adopt her and communicating with the mom, play by play, trying to get Abby to safety. Last night I was sure it was over and she couldn't be helped. This morning I am hopeful again. It is awful having to wait on an unreliable, horrible person's decision which will determine if a dog will live or die.
The photo above was taken by the shelter and had been on Abby's petfinder.com page.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cocoa puff

So, I rescue rat terriers, right? Well somehow I have found myself in the middle of trying to save a very puffy, overweight dachshund named Cocoa. A lady came into the store wondering if we knew anyone who wanted a dog. It seems that in October the previous owner had a brain aneurysm and the dog was kennelled until February when this friend took her. Now the lady is planning on travelling and doesn't want to be tied down by a dog.

I told her I would take her and find her a good home, but the lady seemed reticent about letting her go once the reality of saying goodbye set in. She was supposed to bring her back yesterday, but called and made some excuse about her car breaking down. At this point I don't know what will happen, which is sad because within one day, Jillian, owner of the pet store, and I had not one but 3 possible homes worked out. If indeed she does turn the dog over I am sure that one of the three excellent possibilities will pan out.

I looked over her vet records and this purebred chocolate dachshund is current on shots and spayed, a rarity in rescue dogs. The vet notes that her ideal weight should be around 15-18 pounds but I'd say that she currently weighs closer to 25. With a good walking routine and some healthy, grain-free food she would lose those pounds in no time. So cross your fingers and think good thoughts for Miss Cocoa-puff. There is a great life waiting for her, and I hope she'll have the chance to experience it.