Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why I Love Dogs, Reason 123: (Mostly) Wordless Wednesdays

A spin on one of my other Wordless Wednesday series, "Why I Volunteer"!  There are so many reasons why I love dogs and choose to pursue a career working with them, it would be impossible to list them all.  But we'll start with this reason:

Dogs always put a smile on my face.

Garth was just sitting like this in his kennel, sitting up straight and tall, stiff as a statue.  Such a goofball!

Gotta love these boxer sisters' underbites! :D

Rico's strange little lean (PS:  This cutie is available for adoption at the HSNI!)

Last night I was a little down.  I had the PM shift to let the dogs out at the doggie hotel I work at; one of the dogs was a sweet standard poodle who came out of her suite, looked around, and then turned around and went back in.  I figured she was just sleepy and didn't want to go outside.  Seconds later, though, she came back out carrying her stuffed monkey toy.  She placed it gently on the ground while she did her business, then picked it up and carried it inside.  It was the cutest thing ever, and it just made my entire night.  It really is the little things. :)

PS:  I'm sure many of you have heard about the recent passing of Dr. Lorie.  I did not know her personally, but I do know she was an amazing woman, vet, and lover of animals.  Please say a prayer for her family and friends; you will be missed, Dr. Lorie. <3

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tuesday's Tails: Beau and Chachi

Update:  Beau and Chachi are, sadly, still up for adoption after more than a year.  These 11-year-olds are far too sweet to live the rest of their lives in a shelter...and they have only grown sweeter with age.  Beau is all kisses, and Chachi never turns down a belly rub!

Beau and Chachi arrived at the Humane Society of North Iowa in August of last year.  I was working customer service with a few other employees the day they were brought in by the local veterinarian.  "They're really sweet dogs," she said, setting the two carriers down on the counter.  "They're older, and they've got some health problems, but they're very friendly."  I peeked in at the small black dog, whose back legs were badly bowed.  "Yeah, his legs are super bowed, but he seems to walk just fine.  We've been calling him 'Bow' because of it," the vet continued, smiling.

"Have you named the Pomeranian yet?" I looked inside at the wiggling mass of light brown fur.

She hadn't, and when I filled out their feeding sheets, I wrote "Beau" (not wanting to have confused customers calling him Bow, as in Bow-Wow) and "Chachi," because, though Chachi is a female, I just thought the name fit her and her spunky personality.  I wondered why the two dogs had been brought in for surrender by a vet and not the owner.

"Their owner passed away," the woman told us.  "They think these dogs were left there for about a week before they found him."

(photo courtesy of HSNI and Arickx Photography)

Chachi is a 10-year-old female Pomeranian.  She has put on some poundage since this photo was taken, but that just means there's more of her to love!  Chachi loves her food and treats, and though she may be up there in age, this girl can play.  She doesn't show much interest in toys, but every once in a while, she'll catch your eye with the funniest little side-eyed glance and bark at you - this is her signal for I want to play! or Pet me now!  Chachi, being an older gal, has some health problems typical of her age and breed; however, there's a lot of life left in this sweetheart. 

(photo courtesy of HSNI and Arickx Photography)

Beau is a 10-year-old male Miniature Pinscher who loves absolutely everyone.  He, too, enjoys food and treats (but who doesn't?!), and he is always quick to compete with Chachi for your attention.  He will jump right up on your lap - bowed legs be darned - and beg you for scratches behind the ears with his adorable old-man grin.  Beau is the sweetest of the sweet, and he deserves to spend his golden years in a warm home with someone to rub his belly!

Beau and Chachi (though often "competitors" for food or affection) are best friends - one cannot be adopted without the other.  They went through the traumatic experience of their owner's death together and shouldn't have to be separated after something like that.  This, combined with their age, makes people consistently pass them by.  Why, people tend to think, would I want to adopt a dog that won't live for very long?  My answer is:  Because old dogs are the best dogs, and because they need a home where they can happily spend their remaining years.  Beau and Chachi are pretty lively for 10-year-old dogs; they have a lot of life left to live.  

When I worked at the shelter, it broke my heart to watch as people considered Beau and Chachi, but then changed their mind once they saw a puppy or a dog that appealed to them more.  These two have been in there for long enough; does anyone with a big heart have room for these two?  

(Please disregard the lovely expression on my face...and focus on the love these two have to give :)  Beau was in the middle of giving me puppy kisses while Chachi gave me her side-eyed grin!)

Contact the Humane Society of North Iowa if you have questions about Beau and Chachi or are interested in adopting them.  Thank you so much for reading.  <3

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bandanas Beware

Whimper, whimper, whimper...sigh.  Whine.  Cry that sounds alarmingly like a human sob.  More whimpering.  

These are Riley's noises whenever we take him to get groomed.  We think he just really hates riding in the car, since he seems happy once he gets to the groomer's and gets plenty of kisses and attention.  (Though he will never EVER take treats from the groomer - so weird.  Does anyone else's dog do this??)

There is one thing Riley hates about the groomer, however:  the bandanas.  With each visit, he comes out to greet us with a jaunty new handkerchief around his neck, coordinating with the season or upcoming holiday.  His latest was this Halloween-themed number, and this photo pretty much sums up how he felt about it.

A couple of hours after we got home, we heard a tearing noise coming from the bedroom.  Sure enough, Riley had wriggled his way out of the bandana, had it between his paws, and was beginning to shred it with his teeth!  Take THAT, ugly Halloween bandana, and THAT!, he looked like he was thinking as he ripped.  

How do your dogs do at the groomer?  Any bandana-related mishaps?  :)  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tuesday's Tails: Olaf and Elsa, Two Special Needs Kitties

Though kitten season is finally coming to an end, there are TONS of kitties in this area that are in need of homes!  Most shelters around Iowa seem to be overflowing with adorable kittens just waiting for you to find them and bring them home.  Including Olaf and Elsa, a brother and sister searching for a very special person to adopt them.  (All photos courtesy of PAWS Humane Society.)

Here is handsome Olaf...

The siblings' mama came into the PAWS Humane Society in Charles City, IA pregnant, resulting in 5 kittens.  Two of those kittens were very special...you see, Olaf and Elsa were born with a neurological condition that causes wobbling when they walk.  The shelter descriptions were unspecific, but this definitely sounds like cerebellar hypoplasia to me.  (Emily over at Kitty Cat Chronicles can correct me if I'm wrong, though.  Her kitty Sophie has this condition, and Emily writes amazing posts about it quite often!)

...and gorgeous Elsa!

Elsa and Olaf have a pretty mild case, however, and they still get along and play just fine.  They are approximately 4 months old, and as you can see, they're absolutely beautiful!  They can either be adopted together or separately, but they would love another playmate to run around with.  And don't be scared off by the "special needs pet" label - this pair is perfectly healthy otherwise and just need a home where they'll get a little extra TLC!


For more information on adopting Olaf or Elsa (or both!), please contact PAWS.

Psst!  Did you notice that the blog is wearing a new outfit for fall?!  So far, I am loving the purple.  What do you think?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 Dog-Friendly Activities for Fall

The official start of fall is right around the corner - can you believe it?!  Summer just flew right on by...but autumn is definitely our favorite season around here, so we're pretty excited.  We can't wait for apple cider, all things pumpkin, scary movies for Halloween.  And, of course, we are planning on including Riley in many fun fall activities!  There are tons of things to do with your pup while it's still warm enough to be outdoors.  

If you and your dog are athletic/outdoorsy, take your dog hiking!  My husband and I aren't really outdoors-type of people, and Riley can only go on a couple of short walks before he poops out for the day (hey, he's an old man!).  But I've always thought going for a hike would be a relaxing and healthy way to bond with your dog.  The fall weather will ensure great weather and beautiful sights!  Just be sure to do your research:  Double-check to make sure the trail allows dogs (and see if they need to be leashed or not), bring plenty of water, make sure your pup is protected from ticks, and don't forget the poop bags!  (Psst...if your dog is older, a puppy, or has health issues, hiking probably isn't the best activity.  Unless it's a very short hike!)

(Photo from here - a great resource for hikers!)

Pumpkin picking!  One of mine and Jared's favorite things to do in the fall is drive to Wisconsin to pick up apples, cheese, and pumpkins.  We have never attempted to bring Riley along, but it's definitely an idea for the future.  There are many apple orchards and pumpkin patches that allow dogs as long as they're leashed, and lots of farmer's markets as well.  A bonus:  Pumpkin (pure, not sweetened) is great for a dog's digestive system!

(Photo from this amazing photographer's website - so cute, right?!)

Go camping or stay in a pet-friendly cabin.  Fall is always an amazing season for camping, especially if you're near a lake where your dog can really have some fun!  Another option is renting a dog-friendly cabin, which Jared and I did last spring.  It was so much fun, and Riley spent a lot of his time enjoying the breeze from the porch - he even went out on the pontoon with us!  

Raking leaves...or, in your dog's case, playing in them!  My family's young dogs love to roll around in a pile of leaves - just like you used to do when you were a kid!  It's a great form of exercise for the both of you, especially if you take breaks to play a game of Frisbee.  (Just don't forget to check your dog for ticks/other bugs afterward!)

(A hilarious still from this adorable video)

Ham it up for Halloween!  We love Halloween, and we kind of go all out for it at our house.  Riley actually enjoys wearing clothes, so we like dressing him up for the holiday - obviously nothing restrictive or uncomfortable, though.  If you live in a neighborhood that is full of fellow pet-owners, it would be fun to take your pup trick-or-treating to collect dog biscuits and treats!  (But be careful of your dog sneaking human candy or chocolate!  And don't forget to leash your dog and notify your neighbors!)  Some bigger cities also have Halloween-centered festivals or parades that are often pet-friendly.  I'm curious to know:  Do you dress your dog up for Halloween?  What is your pet's costume for this year?

Also keep in mind that sometimes the best fall activity to do with your pet is to snuggle up inside with a blanket and a movie...at least, that's mine and Riley's favorite activity for the cooler nights!

A great resource for finding dog-friendly activities and events in your area is Bring Fido - check it out!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tuesday's Tails: Goldie, Goldie, Goldie...

This post is a longer one than my usual Tuesday's Tails, but please, please...read through to the end and share if you can. <3

(Photo courtesy of HSNI)

I have mentioned Goldie - an 11-year-old Golden - on this blog on four separate occasions:

And now today's post, in which I beg - no, implore - you to please share Goldie's story.  She arrived at the HSNI in January of 2013, twenty pounds underweight and severely traumatized.  Her previous owner had abandoned her in an outdoor kennel for over three weeks - out of fear, hunger, and stress, Goldie had chewed off and ingested her own tail.

Goldie cannot be in a home with any other animals.  She cannot be adopted to a home without a fenced-in yard.  She also cannot live with a family who will leave her alone for long periods of time.  Goldie is also not house-broken.  For these reasons, she has remained in the shelter for what's coming up on two years.  Two years!  Goldie is nearing the end of her life, and she has never once known what it is to be someone's pet.  

The amazing Susie's Senior Dogs has featured Goldie THREE times.  Each post has garnered thousands of likes, hundreds of comments and shares.  The comments typically range from sympathetic ("That poor girl!") to just plain unhelpful ("If someone is going to get a dog that's not house-broken, they'd probably just get a puppy, not an 11-year-old dog...").  Most of the comments are something along these lines:  "I wish I could take her, but..."

So many buts.  It's totally understandable - Goldie is not an easy case.  However, she is a great dog.  She is smart, playful, and in great shape.  To be honest, she acts more like a puppy than the senior dog she is.  The great loves of her life are walks, water, and tennis balls.  She could make someone a great pet.  But each day I grow more and more terrified that Goldie's life will end with her still behind bars at the shelter.

The last time Susie's Senior Dogs featured Goldie, the HSNI received one phone call asking about her.  One.  Goldie deserves more than one phone call.  These are the types of cases that make me feel so helpless and so worthless - it tears me apart that I cannot make a difference, that I cannot help this girl.  I so wish that someone would step up and give Goldie a chance.  Is that someone you?

Please share.  I apologize for the depressing novel of a post I've just written...but my heart is breaking for Goldie.  Please share. <3

To end things on a slightly more positive note, check out these AMAZING photographs of adoptable dogs that Love & Luck Photography recently took at the HSNI! (All photos courtesy of Love & Luck and the Humane Society of North Iowa)

Milo, whose fur was so full of painful mats when he arrived that the staff had to stop for a break halfway through!  Don't worry, his furry head is now shaved down and he is super handsome :)

I absolutely love this photographer's work.  Amazing, right?!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Peekapoo Poops in PetCo...

Riley is in hiding today.  

Why, you ask?

Well, because he....

Yes, Riley decided to pop a squat right there in the middle of the aisle of Kong toys, becoming the newest member of the Dogs-Who-Poop-in-Petco Club.  Our 8-year-old pup definitely knows better, and we had taken him for a long walk before bringing him into the store...we think it was probably a mixture of nerves and excitement since we rarely bring him on car rides with us.

We had to do the Walk of Shame over to the little clean-up station to mop up the mess.  Riley stood there, watching and wagging his tail - no shame!

He flashed us these "I'm sorry" eyes after he did it...but he still went home without a new Kong.  Petco poopers never prosper!  (We did grab a bag of Nature's Recipe treats, though!)  

What about you guys?  Where's the most embarrassing place your pooch has ever done their business??

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Your Daily Dose of Cute

I apologize for the length of time in between posts lately; Jared and I have been doing a lot of research on purchasing our current house (!!!).  Budgeting, surfing the Internet for ideas, and purging our closets and shelves to clear up space - the whole process is fun, but surprisingly time-consuming!  To make up for my absence, here are some cute photos of the dogs we spend our time with!

As you can see, Riley tends to wake up with a pretty severe case of bedhead!  He can't go too long in between groomings before he gets shaggy...he's definitely going to be due for one soon!

This is how Roxie, Jared's grandparents' Aussie, likes to ride in the car - draped over the top of the backseat with paws dangling.  What a silly girl! :)

Bella is my in-laws' Shih-Tzu/Maltese, and she is just too. cute. for. words.  She has the longest eyelashes I've ever seen on a dog, and she knows how to work her looks to get attention for sure...as you can see from the pose she's striking here ;)

Can you spot the dog?!  Lots of the pups at the dog hotel I work at like to burrow up in their blankets...but this girl always takes it to the extreme!  She cocoons herself in and is sometimes even too comfortable to come outside and play - too funny! :)

Have a great rest of the week! <3

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tuesday's Tails: ARRR, It's Jack Sparrow!

First off, I wanted to thank my readers for all the wonderful suggestions they had about how to make an animal rescue stand out.  Though the comments varied, the main things most had in common were these:  professional photographs, detailed backstories, great customer service that also has knowledge of each animal, and a user-friendly website.  These are all HUGE things that we are definitely going to keep at the top of the list once we get Wags to Riches off the ground!  Thank you so much for your helpful tips <3

Now, on to Tuesday's Tails!  Most of the people close to me know that I have a soft spot in my heart for the special-needs dogs.  The ones with missing limbs or eyes...those who are lacking in hearing or in trust of humans.  Sadly, puppy mill rescue dogs often fit into all of those categories.

For this reason, I am so glad I was finally made aware of the National Mill Dog Rescue!  This organization takes discarded breeding dogs under their wing, rehabilitates them in foster homes, and eventually adopts them out to loving forever homes. They save the dogs who would otherwise be killed.  The rescue is committed to each and every dog they save, making sure that they are only adopted out to the best homes.   Bringing a puppy mill rescue into your family is a big decision and one that should not be taken lightly - they are often skittish and terrified, having never experienced a real home before.  That having been said, rehabilitating and rehoming one of these dogs is most likely one of the most rewarding experiences ever!

I visit their website at least once a month, checking out/squealing over what new dogs are up for adoption.  Since I began browsing the site in January, one dog has been a constant there...and he never fails to break my heart.  Introducing...Jack Sparrow!

(Photo from here)

Jack Sparrow is a 9-year-old purebred Shih Tzu who was, of course, rescued from a puppy mill after years of being bred.  As a result of his sad past, he is now blind and missing a portion of his front leg - but that doesn't slow him down much!  Though he is a bit wary of strangers at first, he adores human attention...and how can anyone resist this sweet face!?

(Photo from here)

Say it with me now:  AWWWW!!!!  Or, considering his pirate name, maybe...Arrrrrr?  If you are interested in learning more about Jack Sparrow, please contact the National Mill Dog Rescue.  Thank you in advance for spreading the word about this handsome old sailor! <3