Misery from Kansas … Part II

C.A.R.E. transport
C.A.R.E. transport

As we pull out of the Petco parking lot with Emmy in the back in a crate, she starts to whine, cry and dig.  Alan and I just look at each other with the silent thought, “I hope that doesn’t continue the entire way home.”  One can only imagine what it must have been like for the transport vans with 20 dogs (+/-) in each one coming across Kansas.  My guess is once the initial miles are laid and the vehicle settles into the hum of the road, the dogs all quiet down.  Sure enough, that’s exactly what Emmy does within ten minutes of our departure.                   

Upon arrival at home, our dogs are run outside, given potty treats and allowed to calm.  Because we have prepared for Emmy’s arrival before we left, getting her into the house and comfortable is a matter of long-established routine.  She’s taken outside on a leash and walked in the yard until I know she’s fully toileted.  I bring her in the house and she goes into a wire crate in the front room that’s covered on three sides with heavy towels.  While I’m getting food and water set up in the crate, the other dogs slowly check her out.  Ali and Frankers are old hands when it comes to integrating fosters into the pack.  As long as the new dog is well socialized with other dogs, there are few problems.  The house turns in for the evening around 10:30 p.m. and Emmy is moved to a crate in our bedroom.  She goes in with no fuss and — to our surprise — sleeps the night through.  That certainly can’t be said of all new fosters!                     

The next morning Emmy is fed along with the rest of the dogs in the kitchen … she’s ravenous and quickly cleans her bowl up.  Not knowing what she’s been fed, how much or what her digestive status is, I start her out slowly.  What I don’t want is to overload her system with quality food, causing a bout of diarrhea.  A call is made and she’s lined up for her rescue exam in two days … exam, heartworm test and dewormed at a very minimum.  I take photos to document her condition.             

Because I was advised Emmy appeared to be housetrained, she is allowed to be off leash (tether) in the house the next couple of days.  Also making the freedom possible is the fact she sticks to me like glue so monitoring her toileting habits is easy.  She’s plumb wore-to-the-bone tired and spends much of her time sleeping.  Between running the streets for who knows how long in Kansas, the malnutrition and a stressful trip across two states, there isn’t much energy left in this little dog.  The second night she disappears from the office where I’m working.  Ever mindful of the ongoing toilet training, I go looking for her and this is what I find … she’s found the best spot in the house.  Imagine the long sigh that surely had to come from her as she settled into the down comforter and slipped into a peaceful sleep.                    


During the rescue exam on Friday, it’s found that both eyes are infected.  Not a surprise given the redness present or the fact she’d not been groomed regularly (if ever at all).  She’s a good girl and patiently endures the poking, prodding and blood draw for a heartworm test.  Our biggest surprise, however, was finding out she’s in heat!!  Alrighty then … will have to let hubby know that under no circumstances are Dante and Emmy to run together.  And if it does happen, then he’d best be getting his hands on one of them pretty damn quick!  Will be interesting to see how Dante — as an intact male — handles himself while she’s in heat.   Because of Emmy’s severely emaciated condition, she can’t be spayed any time soon.  Better that she’s in heat now while we’re fattening her up than in three to four weeks when we go to spay her.                    

All lined up at the cookie bar …

Over the next three weeks, Emmy settles into the household routine.  Within a week, I start seeing sparks of what her personality is … she loves to play with toys, will race around the yard just for the joy of it, and gets along with the rest of the pack.  She really is house trained as well as crate trained so the transition is pretty uneventful.  Since she’s not gaining weight as quickly as I’d like, I end up at the local feed store in search of a high-fat/calorie puppy food.  I hit the jackpot … they’re very generous with their samples packs when I explain what I’m looking for and why.  I begin to see a “softening” of her bones as she starts to fill out and is further substantiated when I pick her up … she’s definitely gaining weight!  I keep telling her she’d better hurry up and grow some hair, too, as winter is on its way.         

Misery from Kansas …

In early August, I was contacted about a stray in Wichita, Kansas.  A three-year old female in bad shape, to be exact.  “Emmy” had wandered up to an office building where one of the workers (Marilyn) took pity on her and attempted to find her home.  Her “owner” — and I use that in the lightest of terms — was located whereupon she promptly advised that she didn’t want the dog, didn’t want it to begin with (it was given to her), and she wasn’t taking the dog back.  She did, however, keep her long enough to sell the litter of puppies Emmy had recently whelped … and then went on to state she didn’t have money to take care of the dog.    

Matted coatMarilyn took poor Emmy to a groomer to see what could be done with the horribly matted coat.  A complete shave was in order, taking the coat off in a pelt.  Based on her condition, it was  highly doubtful she had been ever groomed.  Pretty bad when one realizes that Emmy is three-years old.  Amazingly, she had few skin issues and no fleas.  Oftentimes, severe matting will actually pull chunks of skin out as well as setting the dog up for bacterial skin infections by holding moisture to the skin.   Once the coat came off, it was painfully apparent that Emmy had been on low rations for some time … her bones jutting out from all angles.  Nursing her pups had taken every bit of reserve she had and then some without sufficient or proper nutrition.    

Marilyn contacted me and we began the mad scramble to get Emmy to Colorado on the next C.A.R.E. transport, just days away.  She had to have current vaccinations and a health certificate to be accepted onto the transport.  Arrangements were made to get her vetted, a health certificate issued, and then to the pick-up place and on the van.  Thankfully, Marilyn was quite close and able to accomplish it all with a minimum of trouble.     

Via phone calls and email, we were advised the C.A.R.E. transport vans would be pulling into the Petco in east Aurora around 7:30 p.m.  Unlike the late evening when when we picked Bubba up, the north parking lot was full of people and vehicles, awaiting their new charges.  Some are rescue organizations, others are adoptive families there to pick up dogs coming from other rescues.  I later find out that, on this particular evening, 41 dogs are coming in on two vans … 41 chances for a new life in the West.  Grayhounds, Cockers, Weinie Boogers, Mastiff, Catahoula, assorted Terriers, Labs, Pyrs … it’s like a rainbow of dogdom.    

Emmy …

One of the biggest surprises of the evening was pulling up and finding my vet, Doc Sherry, waiting there as well to pull four dogs off the transport … two adults and two puppies.  I’ve used her as my vet for going on a decade now and we have a great working relationship.  Sherry and I stand chatting until the vans arrive; she says she wants to look at Emmy before we head back to Loveland.  Once I get Emmy off the van, gather her paperwork and have a chance to really go over her, I’m appalled at what I find.  She is, literally, starving to death.  With a grassy area close by, we make a potty run as I’m sure it had been quite a while since the last relief stop.  Sherry, who has her dogs watered, pottied and loaded, swings by our vehicle.  She, too, is disturbed by Emmy’s emaciated condition.  Her eyes are infected and we’re hoping that she hasn’t developed dry eye as well.  During the exam, Sherry bends down and whispers in Emmy’s ear, “I’m so glad you are going home with Vickie.”  

Stay tuned for Part II …

It’s an “E” weekend …

First we have “Elwood” … did you know his name is Old English meaning “from the old forest”?  And just what, per chance, did I happen to find on the front page of Thursday’s local paper?  That would be a big “Elvis Poopsley,” thank you very much!!  

Elvis, on the right


Elvis was the first stray ever surrendered to our organization (most of our dogs are OTIs, i.e., owner turn-in).  Found by two ladies in metro Denver, he had been wandering a Capitol Hill neighborhood for weeks.  Concerned about him freezing in the approaching winter weather, they bundled him up and brought him to Loveland.  Fairly new to rescue, I wasn’t quite prepared for what greeted me.  He looked like he’d been on the streets for some time as he was matted to the skin so badly it was impeding his ability to walk.  The mats on top of his paws alone were at least an inch thick.  Because of the smell emanating from him, I was concerned he might have open wounds somewhere.  Of course, this was late Saturday afternoon and an opening with a “real” groomer wasn’t to be found anywhere … poor Elvis was stuck with me.   

Not willing to make him wait another day in that condition, I started cutting the mats off him with a small pair of scissors.  Four hours later and some nicks because the skin was so tightly adhered to the mat, we had a buck nekkid dog.  A nice dog who didn’t once try to bite or nip at me despite having plenty of opportunity to do so.  His color pattern was a bit of a surprise … he arrived charcoal gray and emerged a brindle after his grooming!  One of the local radio stations was doing a tribute to “The King” that day and Elvis Poopsley just kinda fit, so Elvis it was.  

Several weeks later, Elvis was adopted by an older couple in Loveland, Willa and Vic.  During the homecheck, I met their daughter and her Tzu, Pootie Bear.   We’ve keep in contact over the years, usually by Christmas card.  Vic passed away some time ago; Willa had a stroke a couple years back and Elvis is credited with her good recovery — she simply had to be there for him.  Elvis is around 12-years old now and fighting off  immune mediated hemolytic anemia.  But, he still gets out and enjoys his walks.  Here’s to the old dogs … and the people who love them …

Elwood …

It’s very rare that we get a quick placement in rescue as our fosters usually arrive with more “baggage” than just their food, toys and bedding.  This generally necessitates at least a month in foster care to address medical issues and work on behavioral problems with training.  Most of our fosters stay 6 to 16 weeks, depending on our assessment and how they are progressing.  Even rarer is a home waiting to take on a ‘Poo mix, sight unseen. The stars are evidently aligned just right because this sweet boy went to an experienced Apso home … long nose/legs and all … within days of his arrival in rescue.      

His new family is just delighted with the addition to the family.  Here’s the email I received three days into his new home (as a side note, DaVinci, f/k/a Sterling, was adopted from us three years ago — we just love repeat adoptions!) …          


He is an absolute little sweetheart and has fit into the family just fine.  It’s as if he has always had us for his family – he has shown no anxiety at all.  I found out on the way home from Longmont that he loves to be hugged and cuddled.           

When we got home, our dogs were naturally curious about Elwood and did their sniffing thing. Ha!  We took all three of them for a walk and when we got back all three dogs played in the back yard together.            

Elwood learned the doggie door in about five minutes and goes in and out like a pro.  He has not had a potty accident in the house as of yet and he sleeps all through the night.  The only problem we have had was when Piccolo and DaVinci had a few minor territorial disputes with Elwood.  That seems to now be over, and things are going very smoothly.           

DaVinci and Elwood have been playing well together and that is what DaVinci has needed.  He and Piccolo have played together some too, but Piccolo tires out quickly.  Elwood discovered a tennis ball in our dog’s toy box which he promptly brought to me to throw.  He has apparently been taught to fetch because he is very good at it.  In fact he loves it so much, he could do it 24 hours a day – Ha!          

Elwood is still such a puppy and he is so exuberant!  He is doing great here, and we are so happy to have him.   I will definitely give you updates on how he is doing, and when his hair grows a bit longer, will send you a picture of Elwood with his brothers.   DeLores and Lou          

And a week in to the new home …          

We want you to know that Elwood is doing great and we just love him!  He has the cutest personality and such cute puppy ways.  He has adapted to a routine that he enjoys which includes sitting with me in the recliner while I read the newspaper first thing in the morning, then when his dad gets up, he sits with him while Lou reads the newspaper, and then it’s off for the morning walk.   He loves his daily walks with his brothers, and afterwards he still has energy left and wants to play fetch with the tennis ball.  We do that several times a day with him because he has such high energy.   All three dogs get along great and love playing together.           

Elwood’s previous family can rest assured that he is a very happy dog in his new home and that his new family is so happy to have him.          


My new family ... am I a lucky dog or what!!!!

Under a Wolf Moon …

Wolf Moon

… the boys arrived on one of the last days of January.  January 30th to be exact.  “The boys” being Dawa and Jasper, 8-month old Apso pups from Morrison, Colorado and surrendered to rescue.  Because an immediate name change was in order — they were originally named “Barack” and “Obama” — I chose a Tibetan name for the foster who was to stay at our house.  During one of the first night potty runs, a brilliant Wolf Moon bathed the yard in a soft white glow.  Dawa, meaning “moon.”  It also described his little moon-pie face.  Dawa.  It fit.  And he quickly picked up the new moniker.  Much quicker than the housetraining, actually.  Like his brother, Jasper followed the same path … quick with the name but a bit slow on the housetraining.

A challenge from the minute they arrived, they tested our mettle as rescuers, dog owners and amateur groomers.  The first hurdle was getting them bathed and clipped despite their urine-soaked and feces-matted coats.  Next was integrating them into our household with other animals, family members and a set routine which included crating as part of the housetraining process.  Having never been crated before, each dog voiced his displeasure at being confined.  Loud voices … loud barking voices … loud barking voices that went on for what seemed an eternity to everyone else in the household.  Even Dante chimed in a time or two as if to say, “Knock it off … it’s my nappy time!!”  After several weeks, they both figured out that barking didn’t bring the desired results — release from the crate — and would quiet down after just a few minutes.  Finally!  Conversely, they both took to the crate at night and slept the whole night through (much to everyone’s relief).

Comparing notes on the brothers we found that Dawa was the more social of the two, easily meeting strangers.  A gentle pup, he was very content just to hang out with a toy or chew bone or roll around one of the many beds in the house.  The exception was if Frankers was up for a good morning romp, then there was a low level of chaos rumbling through.  Even I had to laugh when Dawa managed to coax the old grand dame, Ali, into playing with him.  In spite of my best efforts, I was not able to get a photo of Dawa and Frankers when they were in the recliner.  I’d come around the corner and up would pop Frankers’ head, quickly followed by Dawa’s, just to the side.  Yin and yang, ebony and ivory … and not a photo one.

Dawa was fascinated with the cat and would follow him around until the cat (Boogins) got tired of it and removed himself from the immediate area.  Boogins is pretty dog-savvy, having been raised with the breed from the time he arrived as an 8-week old kitten.  His reaction to the various fosters … or lack thereof … pretty much guarantees he’s only an object of simple curiosity.  Can’t chase a cat that won’t run, which makes him a very boring playmate.  The boys’ interaction with the cat was pretty typical of all the fosters.  Despite never having seen or been around a cat before, they all manage to get along fine.  Or at least with little concern on our part … if the cat’s not squeakin’, it’s not a problem!

Jasper was more reserved with strangers.  He especially didn’t like young, quick-moving children or loud teenagers.  He was, however, much more sharp with the training than Dawa.  Jasper and the other dogs in his household (Anne, a beautiful Border Collie, and Jackson, an Apso adopted from us) finally figured out how to play together without a brawl breaking out.  Jasper has been staying with us the past five days and the first thing I noticed was he’s much more energetic than Dawa.  Hubby calls him “spastic” but he (hubby) isn’t exactly a puppy person.  Give him an old, sedate dog and he’s perfectly happy.

Surprising to everyone was the fact we had few applications on them despite a PetFinder listing and local exposure through the newspaper.  Puppies are generally a rarity in rescue and even more so in this breed … which usually means they’re a hot commodity and are placed quickly.  That was not the case with these two which is probably just as well since it allowed us more time to work on their training issues (explaining this to our spouses after 10 weeks was a bit of a hard sell).  Not 100% reliable with housetraining but getting pretty darn close.  Not bad for two pups who had never been housetrained when they arrived in rescue.

The house is quiet tonight, having settled into its old routine.  It never ceases to amaze me how the dynamics change during the time a foster is present … be it the dogs or hubby.  Dawa was placed with a family in Longmont the end of March, giving us a couple weeks off.  Late this afternoon, I saw Jasper off to Littleton with his new family.  Gems in the rough, I have no doubt these boys will shine with a little polish in their new homes.

Nine Hours Later …

… we had two 8-month old Apsos home and clean.  Not only matted but urine-soaked feet and bellies.  It took three people and almost six hours to get them cleaned up.  Matted to the skin in various places on their heads, muzzles and around the neck, chest and shoulders.  Feces caked on the rear.  

These boys are horses … I’d guess they weigh 21+ pounds (to put it in perspective, my boys weigh 14.5 to 15 pounds at maturity).  Golden in color with black tipping.  And exceptional temperaments.  Through it all, the only thing they offered were kisses.  No snapping, no biting, no whining … that’s saying a lot given what it took to get them cleaned up. 

They could be twins and we’re having difficulty telling them apart.  At the moment, one has retained baby canines, the other doesn’t.  Neuters are scheduled for the 19th.  They have a bit of separation anxiety but we’re working through that … 

Dawa and Momo
Rub-a-dub-dub ... Apso in the tub
Linda (l) and Debbie (r)

These little cuties … well, not so little … will be available for adoption in the next four to six weeks.  They need to be neutered, caught up on their vaccinations and microchipped.  We’re also in the midst of contacting a trainer/animal behaviorist to work on their separation anxiety.  While they’re getting better, we want to make sure we’re doing all we can for them to ensure they are well-adjusted.

Update:   Spoke with the trainer/behaviorist today.  She does not believe they have separation anxiety.  As they lived in an apartment that didn’t allow pets, every noise was responded to by the owner so that behavior [barking] was reinforced by the attention.  We’re ignoring the barking and it should extinquish itself in the next four to six days.  We’re also using a D.A.P. diffuser and spray as a calming agent.

Into the New Year …

Now that things have calmed down somewhat and the holidays are but a distant memory, we’ll start working on getting the Blog updated.  Quite a few changes in the past few months, both personally and with rescue … lots of things to post about.

As many of you know, my father passed away in early September; the next three months were a blur for us.  Besides dealing with his death — physically and emotionally — there was also the matter of cleaning out his house and getting it on the market.  Add into the mix a week-long trip to Carlisle, PA for the American Lhasa Apso Club’s 50th Anniversary and National Specialty … a great show with lots of history.  My souvenir from that trip was a cold, the cough of which lasted 6 weeks.  Then, to top off the year, we got an offer on Dad’s house in mid November … which meant we would spend the next 30 days sorting through what was still in the house, getting it ready for closing and having an estate sale.  So now you know why you didn’t get a Christmas card from rescue this year!! 

We’re getting adjusted to four dogs in the house and Buttons seems to have settled in pretty well, all things considered.  We do note that her sight is getting worse — she didn’t have much to begin with — so that’s something we’re dealing with on a daily basis.  She’s been seen by an ophthalmologist at CSU and had some testing done.  Unfortunately, they believe she has a lesion on the optic nerve and there’s nothing that can be done to improve or restore her sight.  Matters not … she’s home, a promise kept. 

Alrighty then … stay tuned for more info, upcoming events and some exciting news!  We’ll end this with a photo of Dante and his favorite present from Santa Paws …

"I just love my new bed!!"

Update …

… on our little senior, Kalsang who went to his new home in September.  He’s doing just fabulous and his new Mom thinks he’s pretty special …

Kalsang and Mary

“We got the I.D. yesterday and appreciate all the trouble you went to for us.  Halloween was very quiet but Kalsang was good and seemed to understand what was going on.   He is a big hit at the Dog Club [training class] because he is more of a senior observer and contributes his wisdom when he feels like it. Ha Ha.  I personally think he is the cutest dog there.  He performs when he has his turn and then stays quiet laying by my side.  He loves going and enjoys the social part and the different smells.  He may have a little trouble with ears and eyes but his nose is in overdrive!  We try to walk twice a day for about 20 minutes each time and he isn’t as concerned when I leave because he is allowed to roam the house more freely and I tell him I’ll be back soon and he knows I mean it.  We have cut way back on treats because he is more secure now. He is just the most perfect dog!  He does love to get covered with snow and talk about muddy feet!  But what’s a mother to do.  I just love the fact that he doesn’t mind being cleaned up after he has a good romp in the yard.  He is laying near me now.  I really have the “good fortune”.    Later,  Mary

Good fortune …

 ... for Kalsang!   Senior dog placed with a senior owner.  She found us at the Animal House pet expo last weekend and fell in love with Kalsang (Tibetan meaning “good fortune”).  She had about given up on ever having a dog again as she wanted an older one.  What she’d found so far were either too young (read that “hyper”) or gone before she could get there. 

Prior to the home check, she made dog cookies and bought a crate.  Said if she didn’t get him, she’d donate the crate to rescue.  Sharp lady … 73 and still does her own house/yard work, scoops snow, and plays clarinet in a senior band twice a week.  We had an apsolutely delightful visit for the homecheck.  House was immaculate (hmmm, wonder if she’d like a part-time job).  When I commented on how clean her house was, she replied, “Too damn clean, it’s a dead house … needs a dog to give it some life.” 

We discount our adoption fees for the senior dogs … she, however, added $75 to the fee stating “use it for whatever is needed”  What a gem!

From a raggedy little dog lost  …

 To a bright, new future for the golden boy …
Our golden boy ...
May they enjoy “Lhasa” happy, healthy years together!

Kalsang …


Kalsang (“Kehl-sang” … Tibetan meaning “good fortune”) is an 8- to 10-year old Lhasa Apso who came to us from the county humane society. He was found urine-soaked and matted to the skin. He had extreme ear infections and an eye infection. The HS, who believed he was about 5 years old, cleaned him up, shaved him to the skin and began medical treatment. After their assessment, they believed he was just too sweet of a dog to wait out a new home there so they contacted our organization.

The first week in foster care was just plain sad. Kalsang didn’t move, had no reactions to anything; paid no attention to his foster home mates. He cried when he walked and cried when he slept. He was a dog with no soul. 

By the end of the first week we had him evaluated at our own vet. It was confirmed that he was older than the humane society believed him to be. Although his ear infections were cleared up, we began treating his eye infection and arthritis.

In just a few short days, a new dog began to emerge. First, with his pain under control, he was able to sleep comfortably all night in his crate. Small moments of play were noticed, either with a toy, a nylabone or with his foster home mates. It was brief, but signs of life began to show.   Now — several weeks later — his eye infection is cleared up, he’s on daily OTC meds to control his arthritic pain and his activity level has increased exponentially.

Kalsang is house trained and sleeps in a crate at night. Because of his age, his activity level is low and most likely will always be; a true couch potato. He will find a toy to carry around or chew a nylabone for awhile.  He also enjoys a Kong with filling to pass his time.  Kalsang is a good eater and loves his treats. He gets along with other small, low activity-type dogs and cats. He has shown interest in investigating his yard and surroundings, but never goes too far.

This senior would make a great companion for someone who matches his activity level. Kalsang is very loving and greets everyone as though he’s always known them.  Kalsang certainly deserves ‘good fortune’ for the rest of his life and a loving home to see to this old boy’s simple needs.  While technically a “senior,” he has many good years left … it is not uncommon for Apsos to live 15-17 happy, healthy years

Somebody needs their bangs cut ...
Somebody needs their bangs cut ...

UPDATE!!  Kalsang has literally bloomed in foster care.  He’s got more energy, is playing with toys and the other dogs.  Just a couple days ago, he emptied the toybox.  Not sure what he was looking for but he was a dawg on a mission.  Yesterday, he was at the fence — barking at the goats.  I’m sure he was telling them that was his yard and they weren’t welcome.   Like fine wine, this old boy just keeps getting better and better.  A true gentleman, he’d make an excellent companion for someone not interested in daily walks … a few cruises a day around the backyard  is sufficient.


Her name …


… is Mae-Mae.  And she’s a puppy mill survivor from Missouri.  Despite her lack of socialization and handling, she’s an unbelievably sweet little dog.  Living in a puppy mill, she has no household skills and is unfamiliar with even the most basic of sounds.  Like the telephone or the dishwasher.

She had her rescue exam this morning.  The vet’s office was a bit chaotic with ill-behaved and/or loud dogs.  Mae-Mae just sat there, taking it all in.  More than one person commented on how calm she was.  Pretty amazing considering what she’s *not* been exposed to in the past.  As suspected, she has a pretty severe infection in both ears.  They will need to be flushed out while she’s under anesthesia to extract a broken canine tooth.  The spay sutures will be removed as well. 

Image041More to follow on this little one as we update her progress in foster care … and her new life outside the confines of a wire cage and endless breeding.

Update  22 July— I can tell she’s feeling better now that the ear meds are beginning to work.  With the amount of black goo that was coming out during the daily cleanings, I’m pretty certain she was in quite a bit of pain from the infection.

Mae-Mae is already crate trained and sleeps the night through.  She gets along with the resident critters, dogs and cat alike.  She has good canine social skills and respects the corrections that Ali and Frankers issue, modifying her behavior appropriately.  She loves to run in the grass/yard — something she’s never had an opportunity to do before. 

At the moment, we’re trying to impress upon her that the plastic airline crate in the bedroom is the same as the wire crate in the front room.  I’d like her to sleep with the rest of the pack; however, her digging at the door when placed in the airline crate doesn’t work for sleepy humans (makes hubby really grumpy).  Baby steps … she spent a little time there this morning while I was getting ready for work.  Both times when she started to dig and get all twitterpated, a quick “ehh, ehh, no!” stopped the behavior.  She’s a quick study …

Seniors in the twilight …

animated-hourglassThere’s a reason why we don’t normally take senior dogs into rescue.  Actually several reasons.  Most folks looking to adopt a dog are not in the market for an older companion as they’d like to spend more  than just a year or two (or even less) with their new best friend.  Many times, the old dogs arrive with serious behavioral and/or medical problems.  Rescue has a term for these dogs … “forever fosters.”  “Forever” because they usually end up spending the rest of their lives in foster care.  The problem with that scenario is spacing  and funding.  Available space is at a premium — at least for us — and having a forever foster takes up a spot that could be used for a younger, more adoptable dog.  Funding is always an issue so taking care of an elderly dog becomes problematic.

For me, the seniors are particularly difficult.  It usually starts with a phone call and a voice on the other end saying, “I need to get rid of my dog.”  The vocalization “get rid of” is distasteful as it brings to mind a worn out item or a piece of trash that needs to be disposed of.  Often times it is an elderly dog that outlived its usefulness for whatever reason.  No matter how many times I review the applications on my waiting list, I don’t have someone looking for an old, sick dog.  These poor dogs that have given their life to their family only to be turned out when their need was greatest.  It then falls to me to tell them that we have no one interested in an elderly dog.  And that if they take it to the shelter, he or she will spend its last days — frightened and confused — before dying at the hands of strangers.  Far better for them to take it to the vet and make that last journey in the arms of loved ones.  Despite having “the speech” memorized, there are still times when my voice breaks, the emotion spilling over.   One of the first things my rescue mentor taught was that we can’t save them all.  I truly know that with my heart … however, it doesn’t make it any easier some days.  Harder yet is having to put down a rescue for medical or behavioral issues.  Even though it’s not one of my dogs, it still hurts.  Rescue isn’t supposed to end that way.

Having said all that … we find ourselves with a senior in rescue.  A stray, he was pulled from the Larimer Humane Society.  We know little of his story other than the fact he’s been long neglected — whether in his former “home” or because he was on his own for an extended period of time.  We also know he is the product of a puppy mill because his microchip was traced to the Hunte Corporation — a known broker of puppies produced in the mills of misery and sold in pet stores.  His coat was matted to the skin and urine soaked resulting in a complete shave-down at the shelter.  Nothing more pitiful than a buck-naked Apso.

Our rescue exam revealed he has had a long-standing eye infection.  Thankfully, he does not have KCS or “dry eye” as it’s commonly known.  His age is estimated to be 8- to 10-years old … not all that old for an Apso but which still puts him in the “senior” category.  He does have arthritis on the right front/rear; however, he’s responding quite well to the Rimadyl, even trying to play with the resident foster home dogs.  Some high-powered supplements are on the way and we’re hopeful he’ll get good relief from those as well. 

Despite how rough his recent days/years have been, this dog is exceptional.  He greets everyone as a long-lost friend.  If you are familiar with Apsos, you know that’s not always the case.  When I picked him up at the pound, he came out of the kennel — head and tail up — and offered himself in greeting.  Those old soul eyes saying “I’m yours … take me with you.”  And then he buried his head in my hands, taking whatever comfort he could find in the moment, however brief.  As is our tradition, we’ve given him a Tibetan name.  Kalsang (pronounced “Kehl-sang”) and meaning “good fortune.” 

Perhaps it will be Kalsang’s good fortune to find a forever home in the twilight of his years … a home that understands that the love of an old dog is, indeed, a special gift.

Meet Manny …

Our man, Manny
Our man, Manny

Update:  I received word that Manny went to a new home earlier this week.  Wishing his new owners and Manny “Lhasa” happy, healthy years together!

From time to time, we work with other groups in the area that find themselves with an Apso … in this case it was supposed to be a Tibetan Terrier but, on arrival, it was determined he’s definitely an Apso.  And a darned cute one at that!

Manny is a very sweet black and tan Lhasa Apso, around 6 years of age and weighs 22 lbs.   He is neutered, current on his vaccinations, microchipped, housebroken, will use a dog door, just had a dental cleaning, is good with other dogs, cats and older children.  

For his new forever home, he needs a stay at home, experienced dog owner, preferably with Lhasas who will go slowly with his transition to his new home.   He can not be crated or closely confined, has a slight thunder phobia, likes to sleep on the foot of the bed and cuddle on the couch.  

Handsome dude ...
Handsome dude ...

Nice Dog, but …

daily-rover-newspaper1I get a great deal of email most days between my personal contacts, what’s generated by the various lists of which I’m a member, and what comes across for rescue. Every now and again, something is actually worth passing along. Today’s entry is just that …

Bob McMillan of the Herald-Citizen in Cookville, TN has written an great article on dogs, our relationship with them, and the need for training …

Nice dog, but you have to train him

Happy Howlidays … or how you can help …

Welcoming Santa Paws ...
Welcoming Santa Paws ...

Thanksgiving came late this year so, a scant three+ weeks later, Christmas will be upon us.  This is about the time I start hyperventilating as I’ve literally not done a thing for the holiday preparations.  No gifts purchased — no decorations put up yet — haven’t even started my annual Christmas newsletter or my cards that I send out every year to the adoptive families.  I consider it lucky that I’ve made it this far in the year.  Between work, the house/yard, the rescues, being elected as a Board member with the national breed club, and showing Dante as a special, it has been an unbelievably busy year.

While the rest of you are making those lists and checking them twice, I would ask that you keep rescue in mind.  Besides the ever present need for foster homes, funding is always an issue.  I understand that the economy is an issue for virtually most of the people I know … at the current rate, my “retirement program” will be working as a greeter, “Hi, welcome to Wal-Mart.”    :::sigh:::

If you are interested in fostering — making a difference in the life of a dog — please contact me directly at ApsoRescue@aol.com.  However, one does not need to foster to be of assistance … 100 Ways to Help Rescue.  Granted, a few additional foster homes would be a gift from heaven for us!!  If you’d like to make a donation of some type, please contact me at the above-noted email for details. Some folks make a monetary donation at the holidays; some on the anniversary of their adoptions; others to commerate their Apso’s birthday; and yet others in memory of a beloved companion.   Please be assured that any donation of time or money is gratefully accepted.

This post would not be complete without a “thank you” to our rescue volunteers.  If you’ve adopted from us, you’ve most likely met one or both of them … Sue S. of Parker who does our metro Denver homevisits, and Michelle R. of Wellington who has been involved with fostering and assisting/attending the various functions, i.e, pet expos and what we hope is an annual picnic.  Michelle is also our very capable webmistress.  Their dedication and service to rescue is truly priceless.  With their assistance, we’ve been able to help even more Apsos and still maintain some semblence of sanity.  Thank you, ladies …

Perhaps between now and Christmas I’ll get something up for the cat to take apart and stash down in the basement under the throw rugs.  He’s particularly fond of the little gold dingleball decorations attached to the garland that finds it way to the floor with his “help.”

The Tibetan Dog Reincarnation …

As appearing in the November 18, 2008 The Norman Transcript … 

Bedtime for Buddhas
Bedtime for Buddhas – L. Park

The Tibetan Dog Reincarnation

In Tibetan lore each Lama (like the Dali) has a Temple dog. When a Lama dies it is believed that he is reincarnated as another Temple dog. Thus he would serve two lifetimes of strict adherence to ritual worship, chanting, meditating, sacrifice, no tv, no dessert and no squeaky bone toy.

Sid saw Buster abandoned on the highway. At first she thought he was a porcupine. Covered with burrs, leaves and sticks, his hair matted in dreadlocks, he was a pitiful sight, but… he was a dog.

She pulled over, opened the door and picked up Buster. It was a hot Saturday afternoon in southern Pennsylvania. Sid drove back to the State Police Barracks and asked the location of the Humane Society.

“Don’t have one in Fulton County,” said the policeman.

“A dog catcher?” she asked.

“I saw his wife at the grocery store. He’s gone for the weekend. Be back Tuesday,” replied the officer cheerfully.

“Is there someplace I could ask about a lost dog report? Like a radio station or newspaper?”

“Nope. But you could take him to the pound in Adams County. Just don’t tell them you’re from Fulton County or they won’t take him.”

He gave Sid a pair of plastic handcuffs so she could take Buster out to pee. Bent at the waist, grasping the stiff handcuff leash she looked like a beachcomber dusting the lawn with a giant hairball.

At a strip mall in Chambersburg she bought a leash, harness, crate and dog food. This was how she arrived at her destination, the house of a friend who promptly said, “You can’t leave it here.” She put him in his crate, from which he escaped three times, the last of which was from the crate; duct-taped, bungee-corded, locked and put in the garage… in 15 minutes. Houdini couldn’t have done it better. They all agreed that Buster had adopted Sid.

Later at the dog wash, the attendant recognized the flea-bitten, moth ridden, canine flannel rag mop as a Lhasa Apso, a revered Tibetan Temple Guard Dog. Trying to recreate his recent history, they concluded that after his first life as a Lama, followed by his reincarnation as a lama’s dog, both lives spent under strict monastic guidelines, he had finally escaped.

“Free at last. Free at last,” he must have been chanting when Sid picked him up on the highway, handcuffed him, crated him, then the final indignity, had him neutered.

Which just goes to show you that the grass ain’t always greener on the other side of the Dali.

~~ Baxter Black, author, cowboy poet and former large animal veterinarian, lives in Benson, Ariz.


A Special Rescue …

… may we all have someone so special in our lives.

I Rescued a Human Today …

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor, peering apprehensively into the kennels.
I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.
I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel, I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage.
I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today.
Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card, I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past.
I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.
She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.
I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her.

Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.
A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.
So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors.
So many more to be saved.
At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Bosa …

We have a new foster available for adoption … 

My new haircut!
My new haircut!

Bosa (pronounced “Bow-sah” and meaning “Ivory”) is a one-year old Apso with boundless energy! She is spayed, housetrained, up-to-date on vaccs, microchipped and healthy! Bosa enjoys daily walks and playtime with other dogs her size. Toys, nylabones & kongs keep her busy for hours. Plays well with cats.  Because of her high energy, she will not be suitable for homes with small children.  She’s a curious pup and will need someone who can provide supervision and a puppy-proofed environment.

Coming into rescue, Bosa had no obedience training. She is currently learning manners and commands necessary to be well-behaved little dog. Her new family should be willing to commit to furthering her obedience studies and providing a puppy-proofed house. Bosa is crate-trained and sleeps through the night in her family’s bedroom. If you are interested in adopting Bosa, please begin our process by filling out an application at ApsoRescueColorado.org.

I'm a happy girl ...
I'm a happy girl ...
Bosa (right)
Bosa (right)

Okay, call me paranoid but …

… the following article just underscores what I’ve known for years.  That pets rely on their humans to keep them safe from harm and it is our responsibility to ensure their well-being.  Think of your Apso as a perpetual two-year old.  Would you leave a toddler outside unattended for the day … left in a car at the grocery store … allowed to roam the neighborhood without supervision?   Uhhh, I didn’t think so.  And your Apso — a perpetual toddler — should be supervised closely as well.  These are not isolated incidents happening to “other people.”  Take heed, pet owners.  The life you save may be sitting at your feet this very moment …

American Kennel Club Cautions Owners: Pet Theft on the Rise;

AKC Appears on NBC’s Today Show Offering Tips to Keep Pets Safe

Dog Owners and Breeders Advised to Keep Dogs Safe at Home and on the Road

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The American Kennel Club® is warning pet owners and breeders about an alarming rise in dog thefts in recent months. From parking lots to pet stores and even backyards, more dogs are disappearing. In the first three months of 2008, the AKC has tracked more than 30 thefts from news and customer reports, versus only ten for all twelve months of 2007.


Media reports have chronicled the escalation of these “dog-nappings” from all around the country. Incidents have included armed robbers entering a breeder’s home, tiny puppies being stuffed into purses at pet stores and most recently, purebred pets being snatched from cars in parking lots and even shelters.


“The value of pets in people’s lives has been on the rise for a long time and now we are seeing thieves trying to capitalize on this. Whether they seek to resell the dog, collect a ransom or breed the dogs and sell their offspring, thieves seem to be attuned to the increased financial and emotional value pets have in our lives,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “Losing a treasured family pet is devastating to the owner.”


“Criminals look for weaknesses and exploit them. They know pets can’t protect themselves, so that means owners need to be alert,” said Lt. John Kerwick, a law enforcement K-9 handler and the President of the U.S. Police Canine Association, Region 7. “Be wary of anyone who approaches you and asks too many questions about your dog or where you live. This is a red flag that they may be out to snatch your pet.”


Peterson added that “These ‘dog-nappers’ are misguided and naVve. They’re stealing living beings, not jewelry that can be pawned. Plus, it’s unlikely that they can sell the dogs for high prices without proper registration papers, and these inept criminals are not realistically going to collect a ransom. Caring for a dog — and especially breeding — is a time consuming endeavor that requires a lot of knowledge. Thieves will find themselves with a frightened and confused animal that needs a lot of care.”

 The AKC offers the following advice to prevent your “best friend” from being a target of a crime:

At Home

Don’t let your dog off-leash — Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. A Saint Bernard that had wandered away from his owner in Nebraska was snatched up right off the road.

Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard — Dogs left outdoors when no one is home for long periods of time can be potential targets, especially if you live in a rural area and the fenced-in yard or dog runs are visible from the street.

Keep purchase price to yourself — If strangers approach you to admire your dog during walks, don’t answer questions about how much the dog cost or give details about where you live.

Breeders need to be aware of home visits by potential puppy buyers — Criminals posing as would be “puppy buyers” have visited breeder homes to snatch dogs, while other homes have been burglarized when the owner was away. From Yorkies in Los Angeles to Bulldogs in Connecticut, thieves have targeted young puppies of these highly coveted breeds.

On the Road

Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked — Even if you are gone for only a moment, an unlocked car is an invitation for trouble. Also leaving expensive items in the car such as a GPS unit or laptop will only invite thieves to break and possibly allow the dog to escape.

Don’t tie your dog outside a store — This popular practice among city dwelling dog owners can be a recipe for disaster. Reports have surfaced of such thefts in Manhattan. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.

Be vigilant when entering or leaving establishments or venues catering to dogs such as grooming salons, veterinarians, doggie day care or hotels — Be aware of your surroundings, such as slow moving vehicles, or people watching you and your dog. Carry pepper spray as a precaution and, if possible, don’t walk alone late at night or stay in a well lit area.


Protect your dog with microchip identification — Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your recovery service provider. Several pets have been recovered because of alert people scanning and discovering microchips. For more information and to enroll your pet in a 24 hour recovery service visit www.akccar.org.

If you suspect your dog has been stolen — Immediately call the police / animal control in the area your pet was last seen.

Have fliers with a recent photo ready to go if your dog goes missing — Keep a photo of your dog in your wallet or on an easily accessible web account so that you can distribute immediately if your pet goes missing.

AKC Appears on NBC Today Show to offer tips on keeping your pet safe