Friday, August 30, 2013

Too Quiet

We are heading to New Mexico to visit our son at college in Albuquerque so this last week we've been super busy getting not just ourselves packed but the dogs also all packed up and ready to go to various dogsitters.

Our personal dogs, Frodo and Tilly, stay home at our house with dogsitters, but asking them to manage 6 dogs is a bit much so the four foster dogs are off to stay with other foster parents until we return next week.
Juniper examining a leaf... before she eats it
While we've been busy, the pups have also managed to keep themselves very busy as I'm sure you can see - busy being cute and busy bugging the other dogs.

Now they are all safely delivered to their foster homes and it is very quiet here. I'm not used to having such a fur-free household.

If you want to keep up with the puppies I'm sure you'll see some posts about them on their temp foster mom's blog.

And if we have time we will try to get a post or two in since we will be visiting Chima and Salinas' namesake places while in  New Mexico.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rescue Railroad: New Dogs Arriving Tomorrow!

We have two new foster dogs who will be arriving in foster homes tomorrow and can't wait to welcome them to Washington.

First arriving is Meadow. She's a sweet one and a half to two year old girl who has been waiting a long time for a foster opening. We are really glad we could get her into her permanent foster spot so we could look for a home for her. She's a New Rattitude girl now and I'm sure will find a home in no time. Meadow will be fostered in Marysville, WA.

And the other dog arriving on this trip is Cony. He's a six month old Rat Terrier puppy and weighs about fourteen pounds. Cony was found in a park by a good Samaritan and they took him to the vet and helped him heal up from the wounds he had. Apparently it looked like he had been attacked by some kind of animal, maybe another dog. The family then found rescue for him with New Rattitude. Cony will be fostered in Snohomish, WA and you can follow him on his foster mom's blog

Follow them on the New Rattitude Northwest Region Facebook page as well where we post weekly updates about the dogs currently being cared for in the Northwest foster homes.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Evasive Maneuvers

You might wonder what the other dogs in the house are all doing while the puppies tear around. Often these days the yard seems empty except for the pups whereas it used to be teaming with terriers.

Frodo, high up on a table so he is completely out of puppy range
Salinas, Tilly and Chima, keeping their eyes peeled for wandering pups
You can find them by looking to whatever point in the yard is furthest from the pups for the most part. Every once in awhile they will hang out with the puppies - mostly to steal a prized fir cone one of the pups might have happened upon - but they can only handle so much wildness.

So when the pups are wrestling in the ornamental grass or tearing around in circles in the yard the adult dogs can often be found up on the deck, keeping an eye on the pups so they can hightail it out of there should the pups decide they want some play time on the deck.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Like most pups, wrestling is a favorite game for the kiddos, however with their size difference, I am careful to monitor interactions. Juniper fights back with the best of them but the fact that her brother outweighs her by over 2 pounds puts her at a distinct disadvantage. The pups were weighed on Sunday at the vet and Juniper is up to 3# 6 oz while Mesquite is now 5# 8 oz.

Mesquite scores with a pin

But Juniper isn't giving up

And she's back on her feet, getting ready for a throw down!

The thing to watch for is that both dogs are taking equal time being the chaser and the chased, and that one dog isn't spending most of the wrestling match being pinned. These two do great at taking turns when chasing, however, when wrestling I occasionally step in to distract them and give Juniper a breather if she seems to be overwhelmed. Once she chooses to throw herself "back in the ring" I let them go at it for another round.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Greeting Grown Ups

An important part of socialization for puppies, as important as hanging out with other dogs their age, is spending time with adult dogs. Because we've been dog sitting several past foster dogs over the past couple weeks Juniper and Mesquite have been getting lots of practice and are being pretty respectful of their elders. And when they get too rambunctious the adults have no problem telling them to calm down.

Mesquite meeting former foster boy Hobbs

Juniper saying hi to Hobbs

Mesquite, deciding whether or not it would be worth it to pounce on old Tilly. He's been told off by Tilly before so he thought better of it and went looking for his sister instead.

Juniper showing off her appropriate dog greeting skills

So far along with all the dogs they've met at work with me, they've met Tilly, Frodo, Salinas, Chima, Langley Hobbs, and Willow at our home and had play time with these dogs. Langley was a bit overwhelming to them since he would run over the top of them. Salinas thinks they kind of look like little bunnies when they do their hoppy runs around the yard and can't stop herself from chasing them so they steer clear of her as well and we keep Sal distracted when the pups are loose. But all the other dogs they've gotten along great with and have handled any corrections from the grown up dogs well, always coming back with a couple muzzle licks to show submission and then running off to play elsewhere.

Good puppies!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Collaring a Pup

The pups are so small that their collars don't fit. Since a loose collar is quite dangerous (pups can get their jaw stuck around part of it or more easily get hung up on things) for the most part they aren't wearing them. However, they need to get used to the feel of a collar and things like what it feels like to be on a leash, or the feel of a human holding onto their collar.

So when the pups go outside for potty breaks or playtime and I am right there following them around we practice with the collars. Juniper was completely unphased by it and went on with her hunt for things to chew on.
Juniper finds a leaf much more interesting than her collar.

Nom, nom, nommm...

Mesquite on the other hand was quite interested in his collar and at first tried to kick it off. When that didn't work, he decided chewing on the tags was quite fun but they were too tough to catch.
Mesquite tries to scratch off his collar

But practice makes perfect so we'll keep working on it and before you know they'll be old pros.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Puppy Play Time...

Frodo and Salinas are fed up with whippersnappers. All that playing and growling and wrestling and chasing?! They decided to stay up on the deck and out of the the wild rumpus.

But the pups thought those old fogeys were crazy to miss out on all that fun. They ran and wrestled and tore around like little hellions.

Mesquite told Buddha to talk to the paw.

And he did a lot of smiling. Because there's plenty to smile about when you are a puppy on a sunny day running free in the back yard.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ratters in Training

The puppies have a favorite toy and in true terrier form, it's a stuffed rodent! I think one of my favorite things about puppies is seeing a cute little pudgeball of a puppy trying out grown up dog behaviors. Those first growls, meant to elicit toughness but only resulting in giggles from the humans... Or in this instance, practicing their terrier death shake on their toys.

Dead Rat.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Juniper is named for a tree that is widely found around the world but is well known in the Southwest landscape and long prized by the Pueblo peoples for it's medicinal uses. It's from the Cypress family and in the right conditions the Alligator Juniper in New Mexico can grow to 60 feet or more. Our little Juniper pup is a much smaller species although she does seem like an alligator with her needle sharp puppy teeth and love of chewing on anything in her path.

Juniper, also known as Junebug and Junie B., is the more confident and less needy of the two pups being fostered here with us. That said, she's still pretty leery of humans and will watch me carefully from the other side of their exercise pen as I approach, while her brother is excitedly sliding towards me on his belly. She's used her mouth once when very afraid (during her initial bath at our house) - not really a bite but something that could become a bite if her space isn't respected and she isn't given a choice to make decisions for herself. Once she feels she gets to make some choices, she relaxes and is interested in carefully joining the play. When frightened she currently reacts by screeching but the more work we have done around giving her new experiences and socialization, the more confident she has become and her terrified shrieks are few and far between.
Juniper in her ex-pen

With Mesquite she's quite bossy but I'm guessing that as long as she has exposure to well balanced adult dogs who don't let her get away with bossing, she'll do fine. No human trainer in the world can teach a dog quite so fast as another dog can teach them.
Pretty profile: Junebug isn't fond of the camera so a lot of her photos are a profile view

She's one of the smallest pups in the litter and weighs 2 pounds 12 ounces right now as opposed to Mesquite who is one of the larger pups at 4 pounds 13 ounces.

I think that Juniper is pretty much a typical undersocialized young puppy at this point. She has a strong terrier personality underneath and with some exposure to other people, dogs, and environments she will be able to move past her current skittishness. Her and her brother's trips to work with me are making a world of difference.

Friday, August 16, 2013


In continuing with our New Mexico theme, our new pups have been named for two trees commonly found in the state. The Mesquite tree can grow up to 18 feet and is a drought resistant legume often found in dry climates.

Unlike this hardwood tree, our little Mesquite, also known as Mosquito, Skeeter, and Messy, is a sweet and soft little guy. Soft because he's a pudgy little puppy with soft puppy fur. Soft also because he has what I call a soft personality. He's a bit shy and nervous and is always the guy to get bossed around. Even though Juniper is half his size, Mesquite always steps back when she goes to nudge him out of the way or take a toy that he has been playing with. He's a gentle little soul who would easily get lost in household full of dogs without a very careful and thoughtful human at the helm. His life would also be pretty sad and miserable if he ended up with a dog sibling who was pushy or bossy because he's just not the kind of guy who will ever stand up for himself.

This picture shows how different the puppies are in size

But even with his initial nervousness with new people, he will quickly scooch on his belly over to someone and give cuddles and kisses if picked up. Like any puppy he loves to play and will initiate play with people and dogs alike once he's comfortable. He takes corrections from the adult dogs in stride, licks their muzzle in submission and then finds someone else to roughhouse with. However, too harsh of a correction from an adult dog will have him cowering and he is quite sensitive to the mood of the humans around him and will shut down and try to avoid humans if he senses any frustration.

I think he's my foster pup that I'm most worried about since everyone is crazy for his split face markings and most people care much more about the look of their puppy than what the puppy needs from their human. The adoption team will keep this all in mind though as they thumb through the myriad of applications he will get to find that special someone who will have the willingness to help him build his confidence.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Off to Work We Go

Puppies need lots of experiences in new places and when they meet new people and dogs, their humans are setting them up for becoming confident and happy adults.

With that in mind, I decided to bring Juniper and Mesquite to work with me. I work at a natural pet food store so there are plenty of chances for them to meet people and dogs.

The trick to good puppy socialization though is to make the experience a happy enjoyable one for the dog overall. If it's very unpleasant for them, you've just reinforced to the pup that the world is really scary.

Wrestling time in the play pen

These two pups are pretty nervous so to start with I am just keeping them in a playpen behind the counter so they have lots of space and can see things from a distance without feeling threatened. They get lots of chances for new experiences while they chew on bully sticks, play with fun toys, and wrestle. I did try to introduce them to a large, sweet dog at one point and Mesquite was okay with it - just a bit nervous. But poor Juniper shrieked like she was about to die. Obviously she needs to work up to close up meetings of large dogs.

Snoozing  after tons of play time

After about an hour of all this excitement, the puppies were completely spent and crashed for the rest of my shift. It was a good start and I plan to keep bringing them to work with me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Puppies are People Too!

Okay, well they are dogs, but the point I'm trying to make once again is that a pup is not a blank slate. They come fully loaded with genetic predispositions that can't be ignored. In the world of nature vs. nurture, nature is always going to kick nurture's butt. But let's talk nurture. Dogs have a short window of opportunity as puppies to be well socialized to new people and other dogs and to have as many new experiences as possible. If that socialization isn't done carefully and thoughtfully, or doesn't get started until the end of that window, there will be anxieties that will need to be worked with. Our pups are nearing the end of that socialization window and are just getting their first outside of the home socialization. They are starting out with some deficits that are going to take time and dedication to work through.

Don't get me wrong, we want these puppies to be adopted - none of us are fans of life with a houseful of puppies since it's so much work.  But we want these pups to be adopted by people who understand that signing on to parent a pup is a huge responsibility. A dog is going to come with genetic baggage and their family's job will be to meet the pup where they are at and educate themselves on how to help that puppy (through positive training) to become all the pup they can be. That may mean rearranging the human's schedules, paying money for a person to come and give the pup play time mid day; and it definitely means spending the money for puppy training classes from a knowledgeable and certified positive trainer.

The reality though is that most people have cute puppy blindness and are positive that all will be right with the world if they can just get their hands on an adorable little furball of terrier cuteness.

For people who really want to know what they are getting themselves into when bringing a terrier into their lives, I highly recommend the book Terrier-Centric Training: From Tenacious to Terrific by Dawn Antoniak-Mitchell. And if you want to hear more about how puppies are not a blank slate be sure to check out this wonderful blog post over at Paws Abilities.

Stay tuned to learn about the unique personalities of Mesquite and Juniper - some of the areas where they will need some help from their humans, and what we've learned about them so far. Not just cute faces. Unique individuals who are certainly adorable but who have their very own personalities, likes and dislikes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hot Dogs are MAGIC!

Seriously! I have always heard trainers talk about getting a super high value treat when you need to distract a dog from something that they really, really want to do (and that you really DON'T want them to do).  I belived them and I searched high and low for that special treat that would be more exciting than a squirrel or the neighbors dog at the fence or the big pile of poop that Langley knew just had to be hiding somewhere in the bushes.

I work at a natural pet food store so I have access to some pretty spectacular treats. My dogs have taste tested every cow, bison, lamb, duck, deer, elk or even ostrich body part that some genius rancher thought to market to the boutique pet crowd. Heck, Frodo has even snarfed on kangaroo and shark tails. But nothing had the magical power to break through the singlemindedness of a terrier on the hunt.

During the annual Rattiefest celebration there was a booth where dogs got to bob for hot dogs and when purchasing the hot dogs I grossly overestimated (and gross has more than one meaning when referring to hot dogs) the amount of hot dogs needed. Instead of throwing away several pounds of nitrate free all beef hot dogs, I figured that I'd freeze them and then thaw out a few at a time for Frodo's Nose Work classes.

With Langley visiting, I was determined to let him have free off leash time in the back yard but still needed to find a way around his compulsive search for poop in our lower yard. He tends to quickly ramp himself up when outside and I didn't want him to fall apart after his dad has done such a great job getting him pulled together.

I attached a 12' drag line to him and let him run around but he immediately started compulsively scrounging for poop in the lower yard. So I ran in the house and got some chopped hot dog. I opened the bag and waved it around like a wild woman, trying to get the scent to him.

It worked! After 14 months at our house with nothing to break into his brain during a poop hunt, hot dogs did the trick.

And that my friends, is why hot dogs are magic.  Ask Langley. He'll tell you that they are even more delicious than a turd.

Langley's Transformation

I've always said that likely much of Langley's issues were that our home was not a good fit for him. It's something I always try to stress to adopters - the very most important thing in choosing a dog for your family is to make sure that their personality and needs are a good match to your own. If not, both the dog and the humans are going to be pretty miserable and that's not fair.

Langley's been in his new home for about 3 weeks now and from all the reports I've gotten he's been doing incredible: he has doggy friends, he goes to the dog park to play, he takes the occasional visit to pet stores with his dad, he gets multiple walks each day, and he even sleeps through the night in bed with his dad now. A far cry from the compulsive mess that I was working with back in 2012. Heck, he's a far cry from the dog who left here 3 weeks ago.

His new dad is getting ready to retire and move to his island cabin, but as work winds down, he was scheduled for one last business trip that would take him out of state. Because I was concerned about Langley being boarded, I had told his dad when Langley was first adopted that Troy and I would be happy to dogsit Langley for him since I thought that a boarding kennel would really be tough for him. So on Sunday Langley arrived for a 12 day stay.

While I didn't think that his dad was lying about Langley's new persona, I had lived with Langley for over a year in his former neurotic state so it was tough for me to imagine this new and improved version of Langley. Seeing is believing though. We met Langley and his dad at a dog park in our town for the handoff and Langley had actually been in the park tearing around and playing when we got there. On leash he excitedly, greeted three very fat spaniels who were much bigger than him. No reactive growling or lunging, no frenetic pacing. Just slightly excited but very proper butt sniffs between the dogs. Even when surrounded by the 3 spaniels milling around him off leash while he was on leash, he kept his cool. OMG!

And it gets better. He is down from 15 mg daily of fluoxetine (an SSRI drug for anxiety - generic Prozac) to 10 mg without any noticeable uptick in anxious behavior or compulsion according to his dad.

And beyond that, the lower stress looks good on him - his coat is much shinier than it was here with me, in spite of the good food and skin and coat supplements I fed him, and his hair loss issue around his ears has finally cleared up. Anxiety is hard on one's health.

So am I just not good with anxious dogs? No, I don't think that was the issue. I have a lot of experience working with fearful dogs and on top of the experience have taken a lot of classes to try to add to my knowledge. The truth I want you to take away from this is that you can be the most knowledgeable dog person in the world - way smarter than me and full of experience and know how - and you still might not be a good fit for a dog because of the life you lead, your energy level, or the other dogs in your home. Langley came a long way at our house but he had plateaued because I couldn't be what he really needed to reach his full potential.
Video above is of Langley getting reintroduced to Chima and Salinas. He was completely unphased - at the time because he was too busy hunting for poop.

So kudos to his dad for being willing to take a chance on what was a somewhat neurotic and frenetic dog but who has turned into a healthy and beloved, albeit energetic, dog. He believed me when I told him "this is an amazingly sweet dog - you will not find a sweeter dog" even though Langley puked in his driveway upon first meeting him, peed in his house and then proceeded to tear around and pace for most of that first meeting. He stuck with the adoption process even after being grilled by me about his choice of trainers, and receiving email after email with links to Websites with behavioral information.  And because he stuck with us he has discovered that I was not lying and cherishes Langley for the amazing dog that he truly is.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Going to the Dogs

Chima and Salinas were just hanging out, minding their own business. An occasional hunt in the back yard or chew in the living room - they were starting to think this new life of being a house dog was pretty dang swanky.
Chima and Salinas: kicking back in the living room with a favorite blankie and some toys

But then this happened:
Puppy containment is key but that means that our house has turned into a maze of ex-pens

Mesquite and Juniper 

Then they weren't so sure how nice this gig they had scored was. And then as if two squirmy poop machines wasn't bad enough, back came the wild man himself, Sir Langley-lot! He's not back for good - just for a visit while his dad is out of town on business.
Langley heading back to our house. He thought riding tethered in the doggy car seat was a huge improvement from the crate. 

So Chima and Salinas' nice routine has been blown out of the water with the new arrivals. Everyone is still settling in but  are getting along well, so that's good. Stay tuned for updates from our dog zoo.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Rescue Railroad: 7 New Dogs in NW New Rattitude Foster Care

You've heard all about the two new kiddos who'll be squeezing into a non-existent foster spot in our home - Miss Juniper and Master Mesquite.


Here are the other five dogs who will be arriving in Northwest foster homes this weekend...

Jack and his sister were repeat visitors at the shelter thanks to regularly escaping the back yard where they spent most of their time. This last time no one came to claim them when they were called. They sat in the shelter for quite awhile and finally reached the "last call" list. Several rescue groups worked together to get the dynamic duo out of the shelter and transported to a temp foster spot in Fresno. In that temp foster home it was discovered that this purebred Rat Terrier pair weren't serial escape offenders - they were just super smart and bored with their life in a back yard. They proved to be delightful, confident, friendly dogs who are great with kids, people and other dogs.

Jack will be fostered in Redmond WA, but quite possibly not for long since we have an adopter who's been waiting for a dog who will be a good fit and Jack seems perfect for him. Jill is still hanging out with our New Rattitude temp foster parent until we have another spot open. She had a spot but then we had to squeeze all the puppies in at one time so sadly the pretty girl was bumped. But look for her on the next trip.

And last but not least, we have the other four puppies from the Fresno litter of pups. Sawyer is a male and Skye a female and these two cuties will be fostered in Yakima, WA.


Good luck to their foster family with telling those two apart!

The last two girls are Bailey and Efeste'. Bailey is the runt of the litter and is a tiny little thing but she doesn't let that keep her from taking on the bigger pups. Bailey will be fostered in Redmond, Washington.

Efeste' is a sweet little girl with the cutest face markings. It is believed Efeste' is deaf so she'll need a family who is willing to spend a little extra time learning how to best create a safe environment for her and how to train her. Efeste' will be fostered in Seattle, Washington.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Working On Touch: A Chima Update

When Chima first arrived she didn't want to be on the same side of the room with me, let alone having me touch her. And even though she now trusts me for the most part, she still isn't fully comfortable with touch. Back in May I wrote the post Stupendously Wonderful Baby Steps about her progress and the work we had done using a paint brush to help desensitize her to touch since it was less scary for her than my hand.

We've continued our desensitizing and counter conditioning work over the last three months and I'm pleased to say we've continued making baby steps that whole time. And three months of baby steps adds up to some great progress.

At first when we were working on this I had to have treats in hand and she would work at the treat in my hand while I gently stroked her neck with my hand, releasing the treat after I marked the behavior.

Next we worked on her receiving touch while she saw the treat in my hand but not needing to have her mouth on it to tolerate the sensation of touch. She started to show more pushy terrier like behavior with me, putting her paws up on my lap and standing on her hind legs trying to get a treat. I talked about that in the post When it's good to be bad. Not saying that's great behavior, but in a dog who didn't want to approach me, acting like a typical demanding terrier is a good sign that trust is building. I was turning from a scary unknown into a benign treat dispenser. Exactly what I want to be to Chima.

And now here we are after three months of training. I now don't have to have a treat in sight for Chima to allow me to touch her. She knows from experience that touch = delicious treat from all our counter conditioning work. When we are doing long touches, like in this video below from yesterday where she gets a full on ear scritch and head rub, I'm still always marking the touch and following with a food reinforcer. We are still not to the point where touch has become something she desires or tolerates for long. I want to lengthen the time she tolerates it and help her become more desensitized to it. We want to move from tolerating to enjoying and that is going to take some time.

But for the occasional short touch she allows when she comes up to me on the deck, she doesn't always get that food reward. I'm trying to vary the length of time the touch happens before she is reinforced, and also vary the type of reinforcers she gets - sometimes a verbal reinforcer, sometimes food, sometimes a favorite chew toy... My goal being to really make this behavior - seeking out touch and physical interactions with humans -  become an everyday habit that is part of her normal behaviors, not something that she will only do when a piece of food is present. That is the part of training that people who poo-poo using food as a reward don't understand. The food makes the learning speed up and happen pretty fast, but then that food is faded out for the most part, as the dog begins to use that desired behavior in a habitual way.

And that is working too. Chima likes to check in with me and we have this little check in touch that we do - I hold out my fingers she touches my hand and I wiggle my fingers a bit, touching just the side of her snout as she licks my fingers. She rarely gets treats for this anymore and it's just become her little check in routine that we share - something that feels safe to her. And if I'm honest with myself, it's probably less about the checking in with me and more about checking in with my fingers to see if I've touched any dog treats recently and if there are residual crumbs she might be able to lick off. But that's okay. It's a great behavior and one we both enjoy.

Since physical interaction with humans started out as a huge struggle for Chima, I do believe that this is something that she'll need to work on and practice for quite awhile. It's not a huge commitment of time - more like keeping treats available so you can do little one minute touch sessions occasionally through out the day. Making the commitment to 5 one minute sessions a day will keep this progress going.

So a big round of applause for Chima's continued hard work and well deserved success. She's an amazing dog who with the right people will continue to blossom and show what a goofy, fun girl she can be.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Puppy Rescue Conundrum

I personally am not a huge fan of rescuing puppies. They are always the first to get adopted from the shelters because everyone wants a pup. And while I understand they are more susceptible to the diseases that are common in shelters, I still would prefer to pull a one year old dog who's never been taught any manners or house skills to an 8-12 week old puppy. Because the spazzy one year old fearfully barking his head off, isn't going to make it out of the shelter. The spazzy 12 week old yipping his head off probably will.

As the rescue coordinator for the Pacific Northwest foster homes, I try to rescue dogs who urgently need out of shelters or the situations they are in but also dogs who the foster parents that I work with are skilled enough to work with, and who are truly adoptable dogs (or can become adoptable with a little work.) Some of the foster parents need young dogs, some need older, some prefer toy and minis and some prefer standards, some can work with special physical and behavioral needs, other haven't built up that skill set yet. So it's a bit of a dance trying to decide which dogs are going to fit where and then rate which of those dogs need out the most. Because trust me there are always 5 or 10 or 20 more that need rescue but that I don't have room for. I look at them all and then have to choose one or two. It sucks.

But occasionally we get a chance to make a big difference and that difference can be made by taking a litter of young pups into rescue. I try to only pull young pups if they are listed to be euthanized, but there is this one situation where I joyfully will jump in and take a litter of puppies off an owner's hands.

You see, Lynn, my partner in crime down in Fresno and I have a "pull rule" for people who approach us asking us to take an accidental litter of pups off their hands: "yep, we will take them but first you have to spay their mom."  Often these female dogs are having litter after litter of pups, many who end up in shelters later, undersocialized and needing basic training. I used to get so angry at people who let this happen, but now I get over myself and instead choose to help educate people to make a change. Having a tantrum feels good but it sure doesn't do anything to help the dogs.

The puppies' mama; happily her mama days are now over and she can just be a goofy terrier
This current litter of pups the team is taking in is one of those situations. The family had 2 females and 2 males, all unaltered in the house. Each time a female went into heat, accidents would happen, dogs would figure out how to get around enclosures, and another litter of pups would arrive a couple months later. It's a common story. Family members had taken puppies, friends had taken puppies, and now everyone was done with taking puppies. I think this was litter number 4. Someone told the family about potential rescue groups to contact and that's how they got in touch with New Rattitude's Lynn.

Lynn talked with them on the phone and let them know that sure, we would take their 6 puppies into foster care, but only if they spayed both of their adult females. She offered to find them a low cost option for these spays, and even offered to take them into the clinic with the dogs to help them with the paperwork. But the puppies couldn't leave the situation unless that happened. The family thanked her profusely and took her up on the deal. Their adult girls are now spayed and we are following up on our end of the deal by taking the puppies.

The puppies' dad

The happy ending of this story is that in one fail swoop Lynn saved not just 6 puppies, but quite likely hundreds of dogs. You see, those two adults would keep giving birth to litters. And in the Central Valley of CA, it isn't super common for people to alter their pets, so many of the puppies the females had would also give birth to more puppies who would give birth to.... well, you get the picture.

Mama's last litter

On top of stopping that downward spiral, the six current puppies, four females and two males, will be properly vetted, spayed or neutered, and will go to responsible adopters who have what it takes to raise a puppy. And they won't end up in a shelter since once a New Rattitude dog, always a New Rattitude dog. If their placement doesn't work out they can come back to us and we'll find another home for them that does.

So there's the reason I would take in a beautiful litter of purebred puppies who weren't knocking on deaths door. We did it for their mama and for all the future pups their mama and auntie would have had.

A huge thank you to Lynn Bonham since she does all the really tough rescue work for me and then sends our team wonderful dogs who just need a little polish before they head to their final homes.