Musings for the New Year …

Tanqueray & Tonic in hand, I wander back to the computer this snowy, cold day.  Granted not really either when compared to friends in Minnesota or Canada but, certainly cold/snowy enough.  A trip to the computer also serves as an excuse to get away from the football blaring from the TV in the front room.  A sometimes fan, today isn’t the day.   A pan of brownies is cooking in the oven to go along with the pork tenderloin, steamed broccoli and stuffing to be fixed later for dinner.  It’s been a reading-by-the-fireplace and dog weekend … Teller got brushed/bathed/trimmed Saturday; Frankers and Dante were brushed out today in anticipation of a trip to the groomer sometime in the coming week.  Hopefully when it’s warmer as I always feel bad when they have a spiffy new short ‘do and then the temps drop and the snow flies.

The time since my last posting has been hectic, to say the least.  A major surgery the third week of November, trying to keep Teller mat free during my recovery with him having a major coat blow and then getting ready for Christmas was, ummm, interesting.  Hubby informed me the surgery was karma for taking so many fosters in to get spayed … I say it was good karma for warding off some more-than-likely major problems in the future.  The three weeks off work has been dubbed my “spaycation” … hmmph, some vacation!

For the second year in a row, one of our adoptive families (Judy and Magoo) made a Christmas donation to rescue.  The only “condition” was that I write a letter to her great-granddaughter telling her what it meant to rescue and how it was used.  The back story … Judy had inquired of her grandson what the baby could use for Christmas.  He replied that the baby had more than she could possibly use and that if Great-Grandma wanted to do something, make a donation and then explain what that donation meant to the receiving organization.  The letters would be kept and read to the child when she was of an age to understand giving and sharing.  Kudos to these parents for instilling empathy and compassion early on in this child’s life … and thanks to Judy for including rescue in her holiday charity.

Best buds ... Sammy & Budha
Best buds … Sammy & Budha

We also heard over the holidays that Bubba (n/k/a Max) was doing fine and that Sammy’s family (f/k/a Wrigley) added a new Tzu named Budha.  Little red Tess in Golden continues to do well and pretty much rules the roost at that house.

Senghe … adopted in 2007 and n/k/a “Peanut” … continues to do well in his new home even with some major changes.  Here’s what his Mom has to say …

I thought you’d like to see Peanut’s big transformation today!  We had been growing him out and while he looked so adorable with his topknot (I took it out for the before photo for dramatic impression), it was obvious he is much happier with his close puppy cut.  As evidence of that he has been a complete ball of happy energy ever since I picked him up from the groomer this afternoon.  He even gets to wear his sweaters which he absolutely loves – weird, huh?  He will follow you all over the place if you have one of his sweaters in your hand and will hound you (no pun intended) until you put it on him.  He wasn’t able to wear them with his longer hair since they had a tendency to mat him up and he really hated the unmatting process!!  He also wasn’t real fond of the topknot so that was a constant battle.  Oh, well, now he will just look like a puppy all the time!

Senghe n/k/a Peanut
Senghe n/k/a Peanut

We got married this summer … Peanut absolutely loves his new dad and pretty much ignores me when Christopher is home Christopher has been awesome for him too – he is very structured and does not let that little darling get away with anything.  Peanut is his first ever dog so I’m quite surprised at his ability to handle him – I’m sure you remember that Peanut is quite the strong willed little thing.  I think Michelle would be shocked and amazed at the different little man Peanut is now.  He has learned so many new commands of which the most amazing is wait.  He will wait for quite a while even with a treat right in front of him on the floor and he waits for his dinner quietly until you tell him he can go eat.  Another cute thing he has started doing all on his own is to put himself away.  He is way too curious for his own good so he has to go into his kennel when we leave the house.  We used to tell him “kennel” and he would go in and sit down.  Now…all I have to do is grab my purse and he runs to his kennel.  I think the treat he gets when the door closes has a lot to do with it!  It is awful cute though – although sometimes I am just grabbing my purse to get something out of it and then you have to convince him you aren’t going anywhere.

Unfortunately, our little ones age right along with us and I got word that Oscar lost his battle with Cushings.  He was such a nice foster with a sweet, sweet face!  I know he is greatly missed by his family.

On the home front, Teller is being shown on a limited basis … and probably even more limited (read that “not”) until his side coat gets longer :::sigh:::.   Dante sired a litter here in Colorado in August and his two daughters (BeBe and Lily) will hit the ring sometime this spring.  Frankers is, well, Frankers and at 13.5-years old, he’s entitled to his off days.  He’s still pretty spry, all things considered, and we’ve had really good results using Dog Gone Pain (DGP) as recommended by my vet.  Definitely something to consider if you have older dogs with arthritis issues.  And while we’re on the issue of older dogs, studies have shown that it is easier to prevent joint problems than fix them after they develop.  For this reason, I start my dogs on glucosamine/chondroitin once they turn 7-years old.  We’ve had really good luck with Glyco-Flex II, a half caplet every Mon-Wed-Fri.   Don’t be put off by the price … a 90-caplet bottle will last you a year+ on a Mon-Wed-Fri schedule.  And, yes, Frankers gets the Glyco-Flex as well as the DGP.  He injured an SI joint several years ago chasing squirrels and this regimen keeps him both comfortable and mobile.

Wishing everyone the best of the coming year!  May the snows fall lightly on your winter … and may you always find a heartbeat at your feet …

Home at Last …

Our recent foster, Mia, went to her new home last weekend.  And got a new name in the process … Abbey Roze.  She’s already settled in like she’s lived there her whole life.  I’m certain she’s enjoying the one-on-one attention with her new family.  A very lucky dog, Abbey will get to go to work with her new mom (if it sounds like I’m jealous, I am!!!).

Mia/Abbey’s journey to rescue was a bit unusual.  She was found wandering in Aurora, CO.  The family who found her managed to locate her owners and she was returned with many comments on “what a nice dog and how well behaved.”  Five days later, the original owners brought her back and asked the finding family if they’d like to keep her as the original family had little time for her.  While with the new family, there was a change in circumstances with their daughter and grandson moving back home with their own pets.  Simply put, it was too much for the family to absorb/manage and they contacted us.

Arrangements were made and Mia/Abbey was picked up by our foster family (Neil and John) and transported to Loveland to keep her from being placed with a puppy broker in a kennel facility.  Big thanks going to Neil and John for making the trip when I couldn’t!  That was September 11th … Colorado’s flood would start that evening with torrential downpours which stranded John and Neil in the Big Thompson Canyon.  Talk about getting her in under the wire … or water as the case may be!

Mia & Family  11-02-13Mia/Abbey had an uneventful stay in rescue and a quick recovery from the spay.  Well behaved, she got along with all the dogs in the house and perfected her house training and crate training while in foster care.  Meet Abbey’s new family … congrats to Pat and James on the new addition to the household.  We wish you “Lhasa” happy and healthy years together!

Mid October saw Teller and I at the American Lhasa Apso Club’s National Specialty in Sacramento, CA.  A week of shows, activities, seminars, the annual Board Meeting and the annual General Meeting makes for a “working” vacation.  While we didn’t get any points in the ring, our showmanship (and Teller’s behavior) improved each day … a “win” in and of itself.  Some days/shows, it’s the little things that count the most.

Survivor …

Highway 34, scoured to bedrock
Highway 34, scoured to bedrock

September saw Colorado in the midst of historic flooding.  The images are hard to digest with deaths and massive destruction in the wake of five straight days of torrential rain.  Many places — Loveland included — saw record amounts in 24-hour measurements and in total.  Some experts are calling this a 500- or 1000-year event.  Just west of town, the Big Thompson River carved a new path down the Big Thompson Canyon and destroyed or scoured Highway 34 to bedrock.  Low lying areas many, many miles east of the mouth of the canyon were flooded as well.  Even eastern Nebraska braced for flooding as the river continued its journey.

Andy … our puppy mill survivor … is now a flood survivor as well.  He was being fostered in a home up the Big Thompson Canyon when the rains started.  Luckily, the home is on high ground south of the river and sustained no damage.  The bridge across the river to the small community, however, didn’t fare so well.  By late Wednesday night, it was impassable and then simply sunk into the river.  Which effectively left our foster home stranded with no electricity or cell phone coverage.  With the loss of the bridge across the river as well as the road through the canyon, the only way out was to hike out and meet up with National Guard for transport to Loveland.  Imagine going through your house trying to figure out what to pack, knowing you’ll most likely be gone for a minimum of nine months (takes a while to build a road and replace bridges).  And it all had to fit in a backpack or suitcase.  Oh, and don’t forget you’re hiking out with three dogs.  Three small dogs.  Three small dogs who, at different times during the trek, needed to be put in a backpack to continue and which included a river crossing.  And one of those dogs a puppy mill survivor who was just now bonding with his foster family and learning to trust them.

Flooded Bridge

I’m advised that Andy did fantastic on the hike out … which is remarkable given what he was like when he arrived in rescue.  The long-term product of a puppy mill, he had never been socialized and manifested major trust issues to the point of not allowing someone to touch him.  To quote a friend, “What an incredible leap of faith … from puppy mill to loving foster home to flood on the Big Thompson to a hike out in rugged mountain conditions.”  Once again, the resilience of the canine never ceases to amaze me.

Now staying with relatives in the metro Denver area, the future is a bit uncertain for John, Neil and the dogs, Ollie, Trey and Andy.  Imagine having a home and vehicle and not being able to get access to any of it until next spring.  And that’s only if the road up the canyon has been rebuilt within that time frame.  Imagine trying to make a mortgage payment and a rent payment.  Imagine living with only what you’ve been able to pack out.  One day you’re watching the rain come down from the comfort of your home and the next day … one is basically homeless.

All except for Andy.  Andy has found a new home.  During a conversation with John who was updating me about what was going on, he slipped a fast one in.  “We want to adopt Andy.”  Not quite believing what I’d just heard, I said, “Come again??”  “We want to adopt Andy … but we know our situation may not be the most stable and therefore not an approved home for adoption.”  A bit of a surprise to me as I had just recently asked them if Andy needed to come back to Loveland to be fostered given everything they were dealing with!

Andy ... "home" at last
Andy … “home” at last

“Where” is immaterial to Andy as it is not the walls that surround us that make a “home.”  His home is where he has come to his full potential, found love and formed a bond.  Home is where he is loved … and loves in return.  To John and Neil … my undying thanks for taking Andy into your home as a foster.  And then going one step further by taking him into your hearts.  While I may have lost a foster home, Andy has found the greatest gift of all … a family to call his own.

Broken …

Tess

Unknown to most of my readers, I took in two puppy mill survivors who were adopted by a family from a local  shelter (“local” being a relative term here in the West).  Unfortunately, the family was in a serious automobile collision necessitating emergency back surgery.  Because of this … and the fact they lived in a second story apartment … they were no longer able to care for the dogs and get them in/outside.

Unlike our first mill survivors (MaeMae and McKenzie) who came to us at less than two-years of age, Andy (5) and Tess (6) had spent many years in the mill.  They both bolt from their crates when the door is opened, like it’s on fire.  To my knowledge, the only time Tess was handled (if one can even use that term) was when the miller reached into her cage, grabbing whatever body part he/she could to pull her out and then remove her puppies.  Given that’s the only contact Tess had with humans, her behavior was like a wild, cornered animal.  If one managed to get her picked up (and in the process sustaining long scratch wounds from her nails), she emotionally shut down.  Her fear of handling by humans so great that she defecates on the spot, physically shutting down as her heart races and her eyes lose focus.

Separation from other dogs causes anxiety as well.  She’s climbed a 24-inch exercise pen, a 30-inch exercise pen and a 27-inch baby gate.  Contained in a crate, she managed to break a lower canine chewing at the door.  Any anxiety causes her to soil her crate.  Short of putting her in a 2×3 or 3×3-foot pen with a secure lid on it, there is no other way to contain her.  Certainly that’s doable but then she’d be removed from the other dogs as space is an issue.  Putting her in with one of my dogs doesn’t work because they get upset with her behavior.

That someone could do this to a dog — solely for for profit — just infuriates me.  And it greatly saddens me because Tess could have been a sweet dog given even the littlest bit of handling and socialization.

When I first became involved in rescue, my mentor shared the following:  “Some dogs are so damaged they can’t be fixed … some dogs are so badly damaged they shouldn’t be fixed.”  After several consultations with my vet (who does rescue herself), a trainer, use of an anti-anxiety drug and a course of Rescue Remedy, we came to the conclusion that her psyche is so damaged she will never accept handling.  Her fear is so great that she is miserable, living on the fringes and scurrying away from humans.  I also had to accept the fact that if I … an experienced rescuer and dog owner of some 28+ years … could not handle/manage her behaviors, then she was not, by any definition of the word, adoptable.

I have cried over no less than seven dogs on the euthansia table in my lifetime.  Some my beloved, long-time companions; others, badly-damaged fosters, victims of circumstance or greed.  It never gets any easier even when we know it is the right thing.  Godspeed Tess … I hope you can, at last, find the joy that eluded you here on earth.

The next time you see a cute puppy in a pet store, remember Tess.  Remember what was done to her, all in the name of profit.  Remember that she wanted to be a good dog but didn’t have even the basic skills to interact with humans.  Remember that there are thousands and thousands more like her, living in misery in the mills.  So broken that they can’t be fixed by anyone.  Remember.

Andy is one of the lucky ones … he’s making weekly progress, is learning to interact with humans and to play with his canine housemates.  My deep thanks to John and Neil who said “yes” and took on the challenge.

Catching Up …

It’s been a bit hectic since the last posting so we’ll just jump in here and get started.  Spring has been late coming to Colorado.  Really, really late.  We had four straight weeks in April where a snow storm rolled through and dumped significant amounts of snow on Loveland (we got 30″ in April alone).  While we desperately need the water, a nice warm, soaking rain would have been a welcome change.  Forget about any of my spring bulbs blooming as the single-digit temps and snow took most of them out.  As hope springs eternal, the long-range forecast doesn’t show snow or freezing temps so we geared up and got most of the annuals planted in the big pots scattered throughout the yard and the fountains up and running.  A few more annuals to find and we’ll officially be open for summer!

ApsoRescueColorado was the recipient of a nice donation thanks to Katie Culkins of K.C.’s Grooming in Windsor, Colorado (Katie is a National Certified Master Groomer and has owned her shop for 25 years now).  She was an entrant in an international online grooming contest as sponsored by Animology of the UK.  Lucky for us, her submission of Toby’s new hairdo won the contest and a donation was made to us by Animology.  Thank you Katie and Group 55/Animology!! 

If you’re out and about this weekend, please come visit the rescue booth which will be set up at Loveland’s 2013 Paws on the Promenade at The Promenade Shops at Centerra.  If the weatherman can be believed, it appears we’ll have a typical Colorado spring day (i.e., wait ten minutes and the weather will change) to celebrate our four-legged companions! 

2013 Paws on the Promenade

A Bit Hectic …

Teller Tubby!
Teller Tubby!

… the holidays snuck up on us, ready or not. We seemed to be in the “not” category this year, although we actually have some outside decorations up thanks to a dwarf Colorado Blue Spruce near the front porch that’s perfect for stringing with white lights. Work has been nuts … last-minute guests for the long Thanksgiving weekend … and then a scramble to get errands/chores/shopping done before Christmas, i.e., meaning not much computer time in the evenings.  The new year has brought a laundry list of projects to get done (forget about resolutions).

Added to the general chaos is the new addition to the family:  Teller.  Knee deep in potty training at soon-to-be 8-months old, it does appear he’s got the concept of it down (mostly).  I taught him to “speak” several weeks ago — with the help of Frankers a/k/a “Uncle Grumpy” — and he transferred that behavior to asking to go outside.  All on his own.  We about fell off the couch the first time he barked at the back door for a potty run. WTG puppy!!!  It’s still rather novel for him so we’re encouraging him by making him “ask” to go out if he forgets an audible cue of some sort … bells, bark … something, anything!  Just as long as I know your back teeth are floating.  One byproduct of teaching him to speak is he’s vocal about asking for his food bowl … now we’re working on “quiet.”

A typical puppy, he delights in scattering toys from one end of the house to the other.  When that’s done, he starts pulling pads out of crates, articles of clothing off the hampers (hey, I was going to wear that again), and whatever else he can find to deposit throughout the house.  Then there’s always the cat to pester, keeping in mind that if one gets within two feet of him, he starts squeaking.  Note to cat:  if you don’t like the puppy that close, why do you insist on jumping the gates to be in the same area?!?!

It’s long been held that what you do today — on the first day of the year — will be repeated throughout the year.  So, we’re going to start 2013 with the “awwwww” factor.  Here’s an email I received regarding one of our former fosters, Kalsang.  Now named “Biscuit,” it appears he’s greatly enjoying his golden years:

Hi Vickie, I got your lovely card and thought I better let you know we are doing fine. I decided not to send cards this year because my arthritis has made my handwriting a mess! We are still going strong and “Biscuit” is the darling of the neighborhood when we go walking. He spends most of his time close to my side when we are home. We are so predictable, it’s funny! He doesn’t wait for me to go up to bed these days and goes on his own. Some mornings he sleeps in. We anticipate each others needs like an old married couple. He knows when he can go in the car with me and when he must stay home. His eyes are bad but he is doing very well for an old boy and the Vet thinks he’s very limber and healthy. He gets exercise chasing the squirrels in the backyard and I put peanuts out there to make it interesting. They love to tease him. Anyway, I think of you often and thank you for the joy you have brought to both of us! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year……..Mary

McKenzie

And then we have this update from McKenzie, the little one that came from a puppy mill … she’s made great progress!!

We stopped by the Lhasa website today because we saw a post about Teller. We decided that we should send you an e-mail. Kenzie is settled into a routine here. We have had 0 accidents in the house since those first couple when the home was new. Kenzie has graduated up to being able to go into the bedroom and living rooms when we are home. So she pretty much has free roam of the apartment. She’s eating well, and is not so freaked out to go outside. She has made huge strides.

We have a chair in the corner of the living room, and its back is to a window. Kenzie likes to sit on the arm of the chair and rest her head on the back of the chair and look out the window. It is adorable to see her there when I come home from school. She has a favorite toy which is an ornage dinosaur with pink felt hands and feet. She likes to chew the hands and feet. We bought her a spiky bouncy ball and she loves to play with that.

I’m currently growing out her coat, and she gets brushed about 3 times a week. I can’t stand to pet her and find a knot of hair that isn’t smooth. When I find them I have to give her a brushing. She is doing well with that. But she isn’t terribly fond of the comb that I use to work out some of the sneaky ones that get past me on first inspection.

She got to experience her first snow at Grandma Marnell’s house in Casper. We have decided that we need a blow dryer near the door because the snow just sticks like glue to her fur. We are considering booties for her feet.   She follows me to the door when I leave, but she still doesn’t come to greet us. My friend Ashley got a new puppy who we baby sit once in a while and Kenzie isn’t sure what to think of her.

Kenzie got to spend the weekend at Ashley’s house once when Tom and I had to fly out to a family wedding. She did wonderful! We are going to enroll Kenzie in an obedience class to hopefully help her gain some more self-esteem and confidence. She LOVES to go for a car ride with the window down. But she is never terribly excited to actually walk to the car. We are trying to get her out of the apartment more and more, but it is so cold here that we don’t like to be outside for very long. ><

I’ve included some of my favorite pictures of Kenzie that I’ve taken over the last month or so. We just love her to pieces. We leave her kennel door open at night and she migrates between the bed and the kennel. We’ve never had an accident or woken up to anything chewed! She likes to get on the bed in the morning and headbutt one of us for a belly rub. When she wants to play with us, she runs up to us and crouches with her tush in the air and her tail wagging and barks at us! She barks! It’s wonderful! So we play with her and chase her around the house or toss the ball for her.   We think that she is starting to feel at home.

I was watching the video of Teller and he was crying in the bath and Kenzie heard and jumped up on the couch to watch with me. I don’t think she knows why the box was making that noise but her face was adorable. Teller looks like quite a handsome little guy! We hope to see more of him in the future!

Best wishes, Liz, Tom and Kenzie!

P.s. the picture of her all wet was sent to me by Tom while I was in class. He was her outside to potty and they got caught in a downpour. I nearly laughed out loud during class. It’s such a cute photo.

Not to be left out in the snow and cold, here’s a greeting from Tori (f/k/a Lucy)

Tori
Tori

Hi there, I haven’t talked to you in a while and thought I would say hi! Tori (Lucy as you knew her) is doing wonderful…..I just want you to know we love her very much and enjoy her every day! She is so spunky and full of enthusiasm it is adorable. She plays with toys all the time, usually by herself, and she has taken a liking to sleeping with me on my bed, which I love. She is a joy to have around and we couldn’t imagine our home without her. Brody and her are bonding more every day and he is becoming much more tolerant of Tori. Anyway, she is wonderful and I just love her dearly. What a beautiful sweet doggie she is.  I’ve attached some pictures for you. Have a wonderful holiday season! ~ Abby & Jaidyn

Last, but certainly not least, we have this in about Dawa

I wanted to update you on my baby boy Dawa. He is still as sweet as can be. We found a kitten in our basement window well and he is our new pet. Dawa has been really sweet with the kitten provided that he does not see me as his mama. He still has the attitude that I am his. Still a barker but working on it. Dawa and Lilly continue to be best of friends. Lilly was a challenge with the kitten.   Hope your little ones are doing well.    ~ Emma

I honestly have to say that these are probably my best Christmas presents (shhhhhh, don’t tell Hubby).  What a grand way to start the New Year!

The Resilient Canine …

… is never more evident than when dealing with puppy mill dogs.  Typically, they have never been socialized to humans or handled by humans and are not familiar with the sounds and routine of a normal household.  Some never get over trauma of living in abject conditions.  These are the dogs that, upon release, are so shut down they move through the rest of their lives with very little interaction with their surroundings.  The canine spark we have come to hold so dear is simply gone.

Rewind four weeks’ past.  I’m contacted by the local humane society about dogs from a BYB (backyard breeder) bordering on being a puppy mill on the eastern plains of Colorado.  Dogs are being surrendered as forced by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.  Y’all have seen the TV shows where animal control goes in and removes dogs in horrid, horrid conditions.  Our scenario is basically the same only without the film crew on hand.  I agree to take on a two-year old female, knowing full well this will not be the typical foster.

During the hand-off, I am completely appalled by the condition of this dog.  She has huge mats throughout her coat … mats that have been there for more than quite a while.  I’m concerned about whatever else might be under the matting, i.e., open sores (severe matting can literally pull skin off the dog) and parasites.  She has a cherry eye on the right that, gauging from the size and inflammation, is also long standing and, most likely, infected.  She is filthy dirty and reeks of urine.  And she is so scared of being handled that her body is board stiff, front paws splaying wide and outward at any movement I make while holding her.

In less than twelve hours of her arrival in rescue, she is being shaved down and given a much-needed bath immediately after which she undergoes a spay, surgery to tack down the cherry eye and her ears flushed in the first  step to start dealing with the ear infection present.  She tests negative for heartworms (thankfully) and has a microchip implanted while under anesthesia.  A very big day for a very little dog.  For the next two weeks, we keep her quiet in an Elizabethan collar … actually, a large blue floral donut that brings to mind images of a frilled lizard.

As we move slow and speak softly, she starts to respond to us and her surroundings.  She’s canine savvy, interacting with Frank and Dante appropriately.  My heart swells when I get to see her run on grass for the first time in her life … her joy is unbridled, her feet swift.  Then there are the mill survivors … those dogs who embrace fully their new-found freedom and the world around them.  Meet McKenzie.  A survivor.

While she may start away at sudden movement or noise, she recovers quickly and engages with the household.  She is curious about everything!  She sleeps quietly in her crate at night.  She’s also learning not to whine or howl when we’re not in her line of sight.  She’s discovered chew bones and squeaky toys … and how to jump up in the middle of the bed!  I won’t say that she’s house trained; however, she does potty appropriately when taken outside and she’s clean in her crate.  She didn’t have any accidents here but I tend to watch the new arrivals a little more closely and get them out more often.  A quick study, I have no doubt that she’ll pick up the housetraining easily.  You’ll note her coloring … she is what as known as a “red-white parti color.”  On the small side, she weighs 12.5 pounds.

McKenzie is available for adoption.  Her ideal home would be a single woman, a retired or semi-retired couple with or without another small dog in residence.  Or a young couple with no plans for children.  If interested, please visit our website for more information or contact me directly:  ApsoRescue@aol.com