Please e-mail us:
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of
the wicked are cruel." ( The godly are concerned for the welfare of their
"Even the animals...know their owner and appreciate
his care." - Isaiah 1:3
Listen to works by Pujol
For your free booklet:
Dog or cat driving you crazy? Go to www.PetsforLife.org
and check out their many information sheets with solutions on common dog and cat
behavior issues. Click on our RESOURCES page for more information.
Start a Neighborhood
Order the booklet "Searching for Your Lost Dog" by contacting the WI Border Collie Rescue. Go to our RESOURCES PAGE and see Sandy Faut's story from her column "The Buddy Beat" (Daily Herald) on losing a dog.
There are many deplorable and shockingly cruel things happening to dogs every day. Yet, countless volunteers are doing everything they can to rescue and find homes for dogs. They are indeed ascribing to the following:
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Whatever way you can make a contribution to the effort to save more
wanted pets will also be helping to over come evil
"God is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to hope or ask."
"Look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others."
Music on this site
courtesy of www.
Go to our RESOURCES
DID YOU KNOW that
FROM THE HEART
NEW ARTICLES ADDED REGULARLY.
The shock collar is sometimes touted as the answer to difficult to handle unresponsive or aggressive dogs. The fact is that such collars cause even more fear in dogs that already have problems, thus creating additional issues.
"Shock collars are not the answer to dog behavioral problems. They don't solve problems but create them," said Master Trainer Brad Howe of Bark Busters. "The shock sets up a negative response to an already negative behavior and makes the dog respond out of fear rather than wanting to please the owner," Howe said.
"A much better alternative is to have the dog respond to voice commands and corrections with a reward-based system (through operant conditioning). The dog thrives on the owner's positive responses and learns with repetition to correct the behavior just to please the owner, who the dog interprets as the leader of the pack," Howe explained. Once the owner is taught how to establish his leadership and correctly get the dog to listen and respond, the negative behavior can be corrected. But it certainly isn't done out of a fear-based response to an outside stimuli like a shock," Howe said. "That type of response is a negative and doesn't last and certainly isn't in the dog's comfort level or best interest." Many times a shock collar will tender aggression and fear from the dog, Howe added.
Next time someone suggests a shock collar as the answer to your dog's bad behavior, think again. How would you respond to that kind of treatment? Respond correctly or else...a fear and trepidation-based system. Or learn to choose the correct behavior, resulting in a positive, affirming response from the owner/handler, thus rewarding the dog for making the right choice.
If you have questions, Howe invites you
to contact him at his office
Andy's little black spot did turn out to
be a melanoma, but a benign one.
That sounds like a contradiction in terms to a lay person, but a benign melanoma means it is one that tends to stay in the place of origin and not metastasize. But there is always the possibility that it can turn malignant and spread, so it is important that all melanomas be removed along with some surrounding tissue.
I did some research online and discovered that melanomas are not all that uncommon in dogs and not necessarily caused by sun exposure. In fact, no one is quite sure what the risk factors are for canine melanoma.
But even before we got the report back, I
had clamed down somewhat. I learned that the fact that Andy's lump was on
his back was good news. Location seems to be a vital factor in the
severity of canine melanoma: oral melanomas and those between the toes and
in the eyes are most often malignant, while those on skin that has hair on it
are usually benign.
Mosquitoes are back and, with them, the threat of heartworm. Mosquitoes act as hosts and carriers of this parasite. Most of us are familiar with heartworm and its blood test and preventatives, but because the name has become so familiar, it's possible we don't take it seriously enough.
Heartworm -- worms that grow and develop in an animal's heart -- can be a life-threatening condition. It is transmitted to dogs and other animals through the bite of a mosquito. The mosquito bites an infected animal, takes in and acts as host for the developing parasite and then passes on the parasite when the mosquito goes looking for fresh blood. In the last three weeks, two dogs taken into Buddy's care tested positive for heartworm. One has a mild infestation and the other serious.
If you have not already done so, take your dog to be tested for heartworm. It's a simple blood test that ca reveal whether there are microfilariae (worm embryos) in your dogs bloodstream. If your dog's blood tests negative for the parasite, your veterinarian can recommend a drug to prevent future infestation or development. If the test is positive, it can be treated. (NOTE from ADOPTING A DOG: The treatment for heartworm includes a series of very painful shots. Spare your dog the pain and anxiety by treating him regularly to prevent heartworm.)
If you don't believe heartworm is a serious threat, here is what Louise, a Buddy foster person, said about one of Buddy's heartworm-positive dogs: "It's really sad how sick Toby is. I saw him again last night, and he is losing weight and can't stand or walk very far before he needs to sit down. At two years old, he should be a wild beast, not an old man. He was just skin and bones yesterday."
Treating heartworm is more difficult than preventing it.
ID your dog: Summer is the time of the year when dogs typically spend lots of time outdoors. It also seems to be the season we get careless about closing doors and gates. If you've ever had that sinking feeling when you see your dog take off through an open gate or run away when off lead, you know you never want it to happen again.
Since there's no way to guarantee it will never happen, the best we can do is make sure our dogs have some form of identification on them in case it does happen. ID tags on a buckle are the traditional safeguards, and they work as long as they are on the dog.
Modern technology has come up with another safeguard: microchipping. The chip is a tiny electronic "tag" that is injected by your veterinarian under the skin between your dog's shoulder blades. When a hand-held reader is passed over the dog's shoulders, it picks up a signal from the chip that translates into an identification number registered to your dog.
I had my animals, including my cats, microchipped last year because I liked the idea of a "backup" form of identification in case I forgot to put on the collars.
When you microchip, make sure the chip is one that can be read by the readers used by animal hospitals and the police. There are different brands of chips. Ask your vet if the chip he uses is the most "universal" available.
If you are squeamish about hurting your dog when the chip is inserted, your vet can inject an anesthetic before the chip is inserted. There is an extra charge, however. (Note: All Buddy dogs are now microchipped.)
*The size of the microchip approximates a grain of rice.
In his case, the dog's owner "got a whopping $200 fine and six months court supervision. He received a slap on the wrist for his negligence which almost cost my son his life," said Armstrong in the article.
"The problems lies with irresponsible dog owners," he said.
With help, he successfully lobbied Illinois state legislators to get Ryan's Law passed. The law now holds dog owners criminally and civilly responsible. "Depending on the circumstances, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony and up to a $25,000 fine. In Illinois, a Class 4 felony is up to 5 years in prison," he said.
He further states, "The Ryan Armstrong Law has been used as a model across the country. I push Ryan's law because it is a fair, doable, yet strict law and prohibits breed profiling."
"Hold the irresponsible dog owners accountable -- period. Not the breed."
Visit Furry Friends Foundation
website by going to our "Shelter" page and clicking on our link to
it. Better yet, visit them in person in Chicago and adopt one of their
dogs, cats, guinea pigs, or rabbits.
Don't Forget to Check Out Shelters When Selecting a Dog
Good start. But where do you go to begin looking for your new family member?
If you know you want a particular breed of dog, check out the Humane Society of the United States' Web site on how to pick a good breeder.
Visit dog shows and talk directly with breeders. Read dog breed books and dog magazines. Check out breed club rescue groups.
If you have an open mind about your
prospective new buddy, whether a purebred or mix, begin the process of visiting
shelters, or in Buddy's case, read about the buddies we have up for adoption.
Answer: Dogs are in shelters because there is something wrong with people. The dogs had nothing to do with it. They had no say in the matter.
"People give up dogs for no good reason. They're disposable," says Molly, the head of Buddy's dog adoptions. "The No. 1 reason people give up their dog," Molly continues, "is because the cute, adorable puppy grew into a rambunctious one-year-old. And that one-year-old, like any youngster, requires a commitment of time, attention, training, and love."
Dogs also join the ranks of the homeless because someone leaves a gate open and doesn't care enough to look for the dog that got out; owners move and it's just too much trouble to find pet-friendly housing; a baby is coming and the dog might be jealous; the children have developed allergies; renters have been evicted and leave the dog behind; the puppy grew to be too big; the dog is old; the dog is too much work.
There are some very good and solid reasons for giving a dog up to a shelter; some for the betterment of the dog as in abuse cases or cases where the health of the owner is compromised and he is unable to care for the dog properly; and some for the safety of the family as in the case of a biter. But most of the time, wonderful, loving dogs are given up for the flimsiest of reasons. These dogs are not sick, they are not deranged, they are not vicious, and though they may not be trained, they are definitely trainable. Mostly, shelters house everyday wonderful dogs that, through no fault of their own, find themselves out on the street.
Those who work in humane and rescue organizations wish that weren't so. We wish that those who take a canine buddy into their family would stick with him through thick and thin and give him a chance to be a loving and cherished family member.
I encourage you to look first at shelters. You will find something there that is so wonderful. For these dogs have known abandonment, abuse, or neglect and are so grateful for any attention paid them. You will find that when you give your heart and time to these dogs, they will pay you back a hundred fold.
I recently resurrected a page I tore out of the local paper last year that summarized what residents should do when severe weather strikes. Since spring is finally here, I figured I'd better refresh my memory since when it happens, it's pretty scary: sirens, lightning, thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes. You have to know where to go if you are in the house, what to do if you are outside or in your car, what to do after the storm.
The article said nothing, however, about what to do with your pets.
Fortunately, I had picked up some information at a disaster-preparedness seminar for companion animals that I attended in June 2002. The seminar made me aware of the importance of planning, and I can remember sitting in my family room last summer watching the "tornado watch" alert on TV. I felt proud that I, at least, had a crate for every one of my dogs and cats in what I considered a safe room in the basement. I was ready to "evacuate" to that room if the "watch" turned to a "warning."
Well, I've made a start, but there is much more to do. Though I shared the disaster-preparedness information with you after the seminar, I thought it was time to review it again before the unpredictable and severe weather is upon us. I'll review the major points and then list some Web sites for you to check out.
First and foremost, have up-to-date identification on your pets. Microchipping, buckle collar with tags, harness with tags, tattoo, etc. Include cell phone, pager or phone numbers of friends or relatives as contact information.
Have a crate for dogs and carrier for cats for each pet in your house. Make sure they are large enough for the pet to stand up and turn around in. In an emergency situation, they may have to stay in them for extended periods of time.
Have a leash for each animal and attach an up-to-date ID tag to each crate and carrier.
Assemble a pet evacuation kit (a fun project for children) and keep it in a handy location. Include your pet's medicine, medical records, veterinarian's phone number, up-to-date photos of you with your pet (to establish ownership), and description of your pet (color, breed, sex, size, age). Include food and water (enough for two weeks), food/water bowls, cat litter, scoop, plastic bags, radio, flashlight, batteries, manual can opener, emergency contact numbers, map of area, paper towels, spoons, trash bags. Include a first-aid kit for your pet. You can buy them at pet supply stores, through catalogs, or consult your veterinarian and assemble one with her guidance. I keep one under the seat of my car.
Establish an emergency "residence" and meeting place away from your home. Human evacuation shelters most likely will not allow your pets. Contact family, friends, pet-friendly hotels/motels, possibly veterinary clinics of shelters to find out if they will house you and your animals or just your animals during an emergency.
If you have advance warning of extreme weather, gather your pets, make sure they have leashes, collars and ID, put them in their carriers, grab your evacuation kit and get out. Don't wait. Waiting may not only endanger you and your pets' lives but the lives of police and rescue workers.
If you have no choice but to stay in your home, go to a pre-determined safe spot in your house or high-rise.
Should every animal lover's worst nightmare happen and you are not home when disaster strikes, make sure you have done the following: Place stickers on the front and back doors to let emergency personnel know there are animals inside. If possible, put a list of your animals and their favorite hiding places near your evacuation kit. Put the evacuation kit in a handy location. Arrange with a willing neighbor to tend to your animals if you are not home. Provide your neighbor with keys and instructions for taking care of your pets.
These precautions take time and effort. But can you look your animal buddies in the face and say they're not worth it?
When Robyn Strickland's baby died during surgery in April, she knew she had to adopt another.
She could have gone to an agency near her West Virginia home and paid top dollar, but instead she called Denise Perry in Burlington Township in hopes of rescuing her future family member from an abusive home and likely death.
Perry brokered the deal, making one of her weekly trips to Bloomington to meet a woman from Leland in southern Illinois who would have Strickland's new dog: Scruffy.
In what is becoming an increasing phenomenon, Perry completed the circuit of an underground railroad of sorts for dogs, bringing animals from rural areas with a low propensity for spaying and neutering and a high number of kill shelters to suburban and urban areas hungry for new canine friends.
Jefferson county Animal Control facility manager Ruth Hughes blames the animal overload on lax municipal and county animal control regulations in the rural areas.
When a group of canine-loving women approached her about adopting out her animals up north, and doing all the marketing and transportation work themselves, Hughes jumped at the opportunity.
"It is really snowballing," she said. "It has saved a lot of lives."
The southern animal control facility gets more than 200 new dogs and puppies a month dropped at its doorstep. Before the partnership with Perry and her friends to bring animals up north, the facility was lucky to find homes for 20 of those. The rest get euthanized.
Now at least 40 animals a month make their way to the suburbs, Hughes said,
Strickland sees the same migration of animals in the rural areas around Charleston, W. Va., where volunteer groups similar to Perry's shuttle dogs into the city.
In Kane County, animal activists say cats greatly outnumber the dogs coming into area shelters.
Whatever the reason, Perry and her partners -- Reda Reese from Maple Park, Sue Christenson from Leland and Alice Jackson from near the Illinois-Indiana border -- have no problem unloading dogs.
In the past three
months, they have found homes for 90 dogs and a few cats. Adult dogs
typically get placed in less than a month and puppies within a couple
days. Her current batch of golden retriever and Alaskan husky mix puppies
is slated to head to families in Ottawa, Chicago, Batavia and Crystal Lake.
To see bios of pets, log on to: www.roverrescue.org
To reach Denis Perry, call (847) 845-4263.
Kathy Kavanagh, also of Hoffman Estates, knows there are dog fights throughout Cook County and believes those engaging in the blood sport should be prosecuted. But it will take private grand money to help her accomplish that in her job as an assistant state's attorney.
Animal lovers Nelson, Zylkowski and Kavanagh have all tread recently in animal, a specialty some say is slowly gaining legitimacy.
Pet custody, animal abuse, contract disputes with breeders, pet trust funds and veterinary malpractice are encompassed under the broad umbrella of animal law, a 30-year-old fringe discipline that animal advocates are pushing, with limited success, into the mainstream.
Animal rights activists are fighting to expand animal legal rights, believing that pet owners should be compensate for the emotional distress they endure at the loss of the pet. There is also a push to give animals standing to sue.
Animals suing? Pain and suffering? Don't laugh too loudly, said Amy Breyer, a Chicago attorney devoted exclusively to the practice of animal law.
"People labeled (environmental lawyers) tree huggers. They were marginalized and laughed at," Breyer said. "Now, environmental law is a mature, well-respected discipline."
Illinois is considered one of the most
cutting-edge states for laws protecting animals, including strict animal abuse
laws and 2004 legislation that allows pet owners to set up trust funds for their
But, by and large, animals are still
regarded under the law as property, worth nothing more than what their owner
paid at the kennel or pound for them.
"At this time we're trying to
reign in the cost of a litigious society," Parke said of further animals
rights legislation. "I think that's taking it a little too far."
Still, academia is starting to notice animal law. Last year, heavy-hitting law schools at Yale and Harvard sponsored an animal law conference and animal law moot court competition, respectively. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has student chapters at more than 50 law schools.
(The article continues some paragraphs later.) Attempting to stem the tide of animal abuse, including dog and cockfighting, are prosecutors who carve out a specialty niche working on abuse cases.
Kane County is the only one of the six Chicago-area counties with a designated attorney for prosecuting crimes against animals.
Assistant State's Attorney Deb Bree sits on the Kane County Animal Welfare Task Force, which she uses to educate police and the public about just how far the law goes in prosecuting animal abusers.
(Several paragraphs later...)
In Cook County, prosecutor and pet owner Kavanagh is searching for private funds to help her prosecute animal cruelty cases full-time during this countrywide budget crunch."
"There's increased recognition that it's a serious crime," she said.
Pets are considered property under the law, no different than a car or sofa. Breyer said clients hoping they can be compensated through he legal system for harm done to their pets are often "frustrated and appalled" at the little protection animals do receive.
(You can read this article in its entirety on the Daily Herald web site. Here are some other points it states.)
The article states that civil animal law includes veterinary malpractice, animal cruelty, boarding and grooming problems, housing disputes, estate planning, custody battles, what to do if your dog bites. "Animal lovers and activists say they are stymied because the law doesn't go far enough to protect birds, beasts and a host of creatures in between," states the article.
As far as criminal law, McHenry County, Lake County, and DuPage County treat animal cruelty cases like other misdemeanors and felonies. In Kane Co. one assistant state's attorney handles most animal cases. Cook Co. is seeking private grants to fund a full-time prosecutor of animal cruelty issues, like aggressively prosecuting those engaging in dog fighting.
The UnderHound Railroad is a team of diehard "road warriors," an ever-evolving, fast-growing group of animal devotees dedicated to saving our nation's most desperate castoffs, animals that languish on death row in some of the most beleaguered, hard-hit shelters in America. We transport animals to safety by matching the neediest souls with rescue groups who will find them homes.
Our network comprises a team of like-minded animal rescuers, transporters, coordinators, philanthropists, municipal shelters, and private rescue organizations from all over the United States. Our precious cargo travels on coach-class tickets en route to first-class lives.
On Jan. 15, the UnderHound Railroad transported 95 cats and dogs to safety. These animals urgently needed help. If they didn't get out of the shelters they were in, all would have been euthanized by injection or by gas in an airtight chamber.
TheUnderHound tem rolled on, despite an ominous weather forecast of subzero temperatures. W were grateful that we got out of the starting gate ahead of the huge blizzard, but Ol' Man Winter deal us a cold, icy blow, with temperatures to 15 below at destinations in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Our day started before daybreak and ended at sunrise the next day. Animals were welcomed aboard two transport lines that converged in the Chicago area. The first team of drivers carrier animals from West Virginia and Kentucky through South Bend, Ind.; the second group originated in Ohio and welcomed more shelter animals aboard in Indianapolis. Fourteen municipal shelters from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana were represented. Seventeen rescue groups from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota offered these animals a place to go.
Complementing the huge effort on the ground was a transport done by air. A Washington state rescue group that specializes in Siberian Huskies flew into Chicago to pick up a beautiful three-legged, blue-eyed dog named Wolfie who had been injured by a car.
The scene where the two teams came together in Barrington Hills was frenetic and highly charged. The heated walk-through trucks and cargo vans converged under the cloak of darkness on the farm of one of our transporters and rescue workers. The rescue groups and their staff anxiously awaited the arrival of their new charges. The glow from two large motion detector lights flashed on and off in response to the movements of people, providing disparate snapshots of the happy scene. There was shouting and shuffling as transporters, rescue workers, ground coordination staff and volunteers moved animals from one vehicle to the next.
"Thirty-six percent of the animals disembarked in Chicago. Others were prepared for their journey north to groups in Wisconsin and Minnesota. After a transport crew change and one big potty break, the remaining animals were reloaded into their crates and walked up the ramp of the truck, secured for the final legs of their journey.
"Several groups were waiting in Madison, Wis., to welcome their new charges where volunteers captured the event with video cameras. A transport team out of Minneapolis drove down to Tomah, Wis., to relieve the Chicago crew. At transfer points, a makeshift desk was made from a large dog crate that served as command and control, where pre-generated reports listed all the animals and their final destinations. When the ink in my pen froze, I put it in my mouth, only to have the pen form an icy bond to my tongue. One of the UnderHound Railroad's star transporters suffered frostbite but full recovered soon after. This gig was not for the faint hearted.
The rescue world coordinates the bulk of their efforts over the internet. UnderHound Railroad is no different. There is so much work that goes into putting these rescue missions together prior to the big day when we move the animals out of the shelters. We are all linked by a labyrinthine web where messages are dispatched by e-mail and posted to virtual chat forums. Most homeless animals find themselves on Petfinder (www.petfinder.org), the largest clearinghouse for pets in need. As a former Wall Street derivatives trader, I think of Petfinder as the New York Stock Exchange for animals, a place where needy animals make their way home.
The UnderHound Railroad prides itself on rescuing the wonderfully deserving creatures that some may regard as hard to place--the big, the black mixes, the elderly, the maimed -- but all animals in need are welcome on our journey. It was a labor of love for everyone involved. All animals made it safely to their destinations where they were spayed and neutered and received a full complement of vaccinations. No longer on a cold cement floor awaiting execution, many have already found their forever homes with families who tuck them into warm beds at night.
For more information on the UnderHound Railroad, contact Dena Allen at Dena@DenaAllen.com or (212) 580-2473.
In the last year, the Buddy Foundation has opened its doors to at least 10 animals from the UnderHound Railroad.
As I was reading through some literature the other day, I found it very disturbing to read the actual number of dogs and cats that are put to death each week by the hands of human beings. What is wrong with those people? It shames me to know there are people out there who drop loving dogs and cats off at shelters knowing that they are going to die! Where is the heart God gave them? When those people chose to take animals into their homes, they were well aware the animals needed total care. Shame on those people for taking the opportunity away from the animals to be placed in a loving and caring home. Rather, they chose their destination to be death.
It is really unfortunate that too many parents buy Spot or fluffy for their young son or daughter as gifts. They fail to teach them how to handle them and before you know it they no longer want the animal. Then all of a sudden the excuses roll in: "My child is allergic; the dog is getting too big; I live in an apartment; my landlord does not allow pets" and so on and so on. I cannot begin to tell you how many times we've heard these lame excuses. I fell we, at the Buddy Foundation, are somewhat like an animal "Boys Town." We never turn down an animal and feel there is no such thing as a bad cat or dog.
For those of us who DO love our animals and DO treat them like family members, it is hard to understand the heartlessness of some people. I thank God for our wonderful foster families who provide love and care to as many animals as they are able. Unfortunately, there are just too many irresponsible people with which to keep up. If people would put as much energy into protecting our animals as they do their personal belongings, our shelters would not be overcrowded and more animals would have a chance at life.
I am a true believer that what comes around goes around and I can guarantee that just as God put humans on this earth, He put these animals here too. He is the one that they will have to contend with in the end. To all that have harmed an innocent animal...Good Luck! You'll need it."
There is no doubt that having animal buddies as part of the family puts limitations on us. Those limitations, depending on our age and priorities, can be viewed as an unwelcome sacrifice or a natural part of loving. I have always tended toward the second view, sometimes to the extreme, and write this column in support of those who have those tendencies, too.
I can remember a time when I was young and the thing to do after work was go out with your buddies. I never did. I had dogs to get home to. I could have left it up to my husband, but he got home too late. Sometimes I wished I didn't had to go home and let me dogs out. I wished I could have gone out and had a few laughs. I could have, but I also knew how guilty I would have felt that my dogs were alone in the house with no one to let them out. I didn't feel it was fair to trade a few laughs for their comfort.
There were times, too, when I was younger, when I just wanted to spend the day shopping. I wanted to start out in the morning and shop, shop, shop, have lunch and then shop some more. Maybe just spend the day shopping and then have dinner with my husband. I never did. I always felt constrained by the limits on the time I felt I could leave my dogs alone.
How could I be comfortable shopping, knowing my dogs were home waiting to go out?
It seems my husband and I have had dogs all our married lives. Two years into our marriage, we got our first pup and have had dogs ever since.
When we were young, our special gift to each other was to take a fall vacation. We always drove, and we always went West, as far west as we could get in two weeks. We were fortunate then to have wonderful parents who took care of our dogs while we were gone.
As the years passed, our "first" dogs grew old and increasingly debilitated, and within a year of each other, we had to make that awful decision to let them go.
I was devastated and could not even think of another buddy. I could never replace those two wonderful dogs. It took over a year before we began to think of adding another dog to our family. It was during that time that I began to understand what was important in my life and what was not.
During that particular year, I had all the time in the world to be out and about, doing whatever I wanted to do. I took advantage of it, and it was OK for a while. Every time I came home, however, what struck me was how deadly quiet the house was. There was no barking. There were no wagging tails, no happy faces, no sparkly eyes so happy to see me. The house was quiet and empty and lifeless. No sounds but mine.
At the end of that year, my husband and I agreed it was time to start our search for a new buddy. I wrote to the breeder of our first dogs. She retired from breeding, but recommended some breeders in our area. It took a while but we finally located a breeder and her dog was going to have puppies.
When our "pup" was 3, we went searching again. Since we had joined a dog club, our search didn't take long and we added another pup to our family. Thus began a different phase of our lives.
My husband and I still treated ourselves to a road trip once a year, and we always headed west. But our parents were elderly then, and there was no way we would impose our rambunctious dogs on them. I didn't trust leaving our dogs in a kennel, so we decided if we were going on vacation, we had to take the dogs.
This was a change for us. We were used to doing whatever we wanted on vacation; stopping when we wanted, going out to dinner when we wanted, visiting tourist attractions when we wanted. Now we had dogs to care for. They were our priority, and that meant frequent stops, walks and feedings.
The most difficult part was finding a motel that took dogs. There were times we drove through the night, from one town to another, looking for that one motel. That many years ago dogs were not as favorably looked upon as they are now.
These were the times we longed for the freedom of our younger years. But we persisted and found our dogs loved traveling. They couldn't wait to get going in the morning. And the joy on their faces when we'd go places they'd never been -- on top of the mountains, through the forests, or along the beaches -- that made up for everything.
When we again lost our two wonderful buddies to age and illness, we didn't wait like we did the first time. In fact, we had already added a pup and a cat to our family. In time we added another cat, another pup and an unexpected rescue dog.
This is where we are now. We have a full house, and we're still doing the road trips. Some family and friends think we're crazy. And then there are those who understand.
# # #
Sandy Faut writes the weekly "Buddy Beat" column (on the Buddy Foundation) in the Daily Herald. Her following story had a darling picture of an older poodle mix. Sandy makes some great points about older dogs, which the public (even those who are pro-adoption) have an unfair bias against. If you're considering adopting a dog, please take a good look at the many lovable, perfectly suitable dogs 5 years and older. They offer many advantages (see page one of this site for a list.) Older dogs have so much to give! Please give them a chance and a home.
By Sandy Faut
dogs. Those are descriptions that came to Molly's mind when she was
telling me about two recent instances the Buddy Foundation was involved in. PLEASE CONSIDER AN OLDER DOG.
PLEASE CONSIDER AN OLDER DOG.
By Sandy Faut
Looking in the eyes of shelter dogs can bring me to tears.
Focus is something we have to try so hard to do in this day and age.
Over the last few years and the last few months especially, we have been
bombarded with life and death scenes and so much uncertainty that keeping focus
in our lives is, to say the least, difficult. Sometimes there is too much
to hear and see and attempt to take in. Overload consumes
and immobilizes us, leaving we who love the animals and their issues lost and forgotten.
Surely there are days for all of us when we feel we can't make it through another 24 hours. Life is too much! A wise prophet (or was it just a pragmatic, overstressed dear friend) who said "just get through the next minute, then the next 5 minutes and the next ten minutes." Total baby steps! Somehow that makes sense.
Being able to cope is very important to anyone with a busy and fulfilled life. If one can't cope with daily activities, everything else is compromised and ultimately short changed. Work, family, children and our beloved animals begin to suffer. In the big picture, it's the same thing. If we get so bogged down by the issues that surround us as Americans, we won't have the energy or focus to reach beyond the animals.
We need to keep our wits about us and keep the most helpless among us in the upper reaches of our concerns. Because, whether there is war or terrorism or not, homeless animals sit in shelters and wait. Whether there is war or terrorism or not, animals die on the street or are euthanized in shelters because no one cares. Whether there is war or
terrorism or not, animals are abused because too many of us turn the other way.
There are so many big and small things we as individuals can do to help animals in need. BIG THINGS: Adopt from a shelter. Rescue a stray. Get involved in animal welfare organizations. Speak up when you see an animal being abused. Call the police. Go to court and follow the proceedings. SMALL THINGS: Donate a little bit of time to an animal shelter. Donate a little bit of money to an animal shelter. Speak up when cruel or disparaging remarks are made about animals.
GET INVOLVED!! While these times are so difficult for our country and for us individually as Americans, we must not forget the animals. When our collective consciousness is focused on terrorism and war, we must fight even harder to focus on the animals we love. We must show our love for our country, our troops and each other, and in doing so it will shine through to our animals. Let each and every one of us put a big yellow ribbon around ourselves and stand up for what is important: God, country, humanity and our beloved buddies.
By Mary Hayashi
A pair of calicos did not make the move to their new family home because the baby that had not yet arrived had already replaced them. They were left behind to realize their fate when all the furniture and all the people left them in an empty room. The Buddy Foundation luckily found these two a home as a pair.
One of today's featured felines lost his home after the new living room carpet was installed. Tiger lost his home because his owners were sick of hair balls on the carpet. I never heard a discussion about diet and diet aids to reduce hair balls. No one wanted to try. Since The Buddy Foundation had adopted Tiger as a kitten, he was returned to us when he was no longer wanted.
I make no apologies for the tone of this column, and I think its sentiment should be echoed more often. This open letter to "Mr. and Mrs. Average Pet Owner" was found on the Internet at portalhound/openletter.htm. The contents of the letter were changed and edited to make it more feline oriented and newspaper friendly.
"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Average Pet Owner:
"Thank you for contacting us animal rescuers, shelter volunteers and foster-homes about your inability to keep your pet. We receive an extremely high volume of inquiries and requests to accept surrendered animals.
"To help us expedite your problem as quickly as possible, please observe the following guidelines:
"Do not say that you are 'considering' finding a good home for your pet or that you 'feel you might be forced to' or that you 'really think it would be better if' you unloaded the poor animal. You have already got your minds made up that the animal will be out of your life.
"Say so. If you don't, I'm going to waste a lot of time giving you common sense, easy solutions for fixable problems and you're going to waste a lot of time coming up with fanciful reasons why the solution couldn't possibly work for you. Just say you're getting rid of the cat.
"Do not waste time trying to convince me how nice and humane you are. Your coworker recommended that you contact me because I am nice to animals, not because I am nice to people.
"I am an animal advocate, not a people therapist. Your pet has only me, and people like me to turn to in his or her need. So don't tell me this big long story about how, 'We love this cat so much.'
"Don't waste my time trying to make me like you or feel sorry for you in your plight.
"Do not try to convince me that your pet is exceptional and deserves
special treatment. I have a waiting list of battered and abandoned animals
who need help. I have no room to foster your pet. We can go down to
the pound and count the animals on death row by the dozens.
"Finally, for the animal's sake, tell the truth, and the whole truth and, if you succeed in placing your pet in a shelter or foster care, do not tell yourself the biggest lie of all. 'Those nice people will take him and find him a good home, and everything will be fine.' "
The author is unknown, but it could be any shelter or rescue worker.
It is The Buddy Foundation's policy that all animals adopted from us be
returned to us when they become unwanted.
"As I was mulling that over, all I could think of was what will my husband say? Will she hurt my grandchildren or my cats? Is she housebroken? Will she ruin my furniture? I knew of the breed's reputation as a fighting dog, and that scared me. But then I looked into her sad eyes and saw a poor, underweight, pathetic animal and said to myself, "Let's give it a try. I'll just foster her and se what happens."
"Mandy's story was a sad one. I had heard she was taken from a home in Robbins, IL, where she was used for breeding purposes. Her puppies were then used for bait in dog fights. Perhaps that is why she cried whenever she heard a squeaky toy. This poor dog was made to live in a cage where she laid, sat, and stood in her own urine and fecal matter. How sickening and disgusting. What kind of people would do that to an animal? The more I thought of how this dog was made to live, the more I was determined to overlook her breed. She needed me.
"When I brought her home, my husband immediately fell in love with her. She was so timid, but she seemed to love people, especially him. She sat by his chair, followed him all around the house, and was really very gentle. But I was still not sure about her and how she would react to my cats. And, of course, the cats were furious with me. How could I bring a dog into the family. My cats didn't even like each other and now a dog!
"For days Mandy tried to sniff at the cats and become friendly. But no, not my prissy little cats. They wanted no part of a dog. So, for days, the cats lived in the family room and the dog lived in the other rooms of the house. One evening I sat and cried because I thought, this is not going to work; the cats will never adjust to this dog.
"Well, a miracle happened. Out of the blue, my cat, Jazzmine, decided to see just how tough this dog was. Jazzmine decided to come upstairs. I was thrilled because by that time, I was madly in love with Brandi, formerly called Mandy, and had made up my mind she was staying. A few days later, my other cat, Mandy, decided it was pretty lonely being in the family room all by herself so she, too, decided to investigate this creature called "dog."
"As the days went by, the dog and cats actually began to stay in the same room without one of them running away. This thrilled me because I really love all my animals and wanted them to get along. As it stands now, they are not best friends, but they do get along, and my dog Brandi is the most wonderful, loving dog imaginable. She is on her own schedule and even takes a nap with my husband in the afternoon. Brandi loves to ride in the car, understands the word "no," and does listen to commands. She did have a chewing problem, but at least it wasn't the cats.
"We cannot imagine our life without her. When I think I almost judged this dog because of her breed, I could have missed out on all the love Brandi has given us. She loves to play, and sometimes I think she is a rabbit the way she jumps around. She loves the outdoors, especially the snow. This dog is the best dog I have ever had, and we just lover her. Thanks, Buddy Foundation, for bringing her into our lives."