My Cats & Dogs

Most people who have pets, know it’s very possible for different species to get along.  If introduced safely and properly dogs and cats can be best friends.

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My two cats are also rescued, Sixx (named after Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx) & Angel (Named after Criss Angel), were feral kittens when they were rescued.  They lived at an animal haven until they were about one years old.  The founder was just about to give up on them finding a forever home when I called her, looking for two cats.  Sometimes things are just meant to be.

At the time, I had one dog, Dupont, he grew up with a cat, who had passed away and he missed her terribly.  So, it was no surprise when Sixx & Angel moved in, Dupont was thrilled.  Of course, the cats were not too sure of this 100 lbs dog who would whimper for them to come see him.  Eventually, Sixx did come out and that’s when Sixx realized life as a dog was pretty awesome.

Sixx started mimicking everything Dupont did, he would play with dog toys, try and eat dog bones, and come running for treats.  At walk time, Sixx would come to the door, expecting to go for a walk with Dupont.  I tried to leash-train Sixx, but he never took to it, so he eventually gave up on wanting walks.

Angel is much more reserved, he still doesn’t like to interact with the dogs, but he doesn’t hide from them.  Unlike Sixx, Angel realizes he’s a cat so he behaves as one.  But even having a cat who doesn’t think he’s a dog, he lives quite peacefully in a houseful of them.

Flipflop likes to show off as new fosters come and needs a reminder not to chase the cats. The fosters tend to take their queues from Flipflop on how to behave.  With that said, with each dog it’s a different situation and I am always cautious when a new foster is moving in with us.

When introducing a new animal into your home, regardless of the species, introductions are the key to success. It’s best to introduce the pets slowly and keep them separated when you’re not around.

Like humans, animals have personalities and sometimes even if you do everything right, they just may not get along. But when they do, there is nothing as cute as having a dog and cat who are best friends.

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Adoption of a Senior Dog

I know the hesitation, I have said it myself.  The thought of adopting a senior dog was taboo for me, as it is many.  What a heartbreak, you adopt this dog and give it all you can to have it leave you a short time later.  It’s true, loving a dog always leads to heartbreak, their lives are much shorter than we’d all like.

When I started fostering, I knew I’d be sad as the dogs left me but I also knew they’d be going onto wonderful lives with loving families.  I was, so I thought, mentally prepared for this.

Nine months ago, I was waiting for my fourth foster to arrive, her name was and still is Dahlia.  She’s an eight year old Catahoula mix, and had a lot of baggage, including recovering from a 5 hour surgery as she was saved from her abusive owner and rushed into surgery to fix the leg he had broken in three places.

I have lots of experience with dogs who need to recover from ailments, such as ACL injuries and chronic arthritis pain.  I knew, as the rescue did, I could rehabilitate this dog and get her ready for her forever home.  What I didn’t know, is the forever home would end up being mine!

Dahlia loves me, and I mean LOVES me, like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  Don’t get me wrong, I know Flipflop loves me and we have a special bond.  But with Dahlia its different, its deeper than love, in her mind, I saved her.

It wasn’t an instant bond with Dahlia and I, she feared me at first, as she did all people.  I loved her instantly, however; as I saw the damage the blows to her head had done to eyes, the scar down her leg from surgery, the fear eight years of abuse and mistrust did to her. And yet, she still wanted to be loved, she still wanted to try and trust humans.  It broke my heart.  That was in April 2017, I adopted Dahlia is June, although I am pretty sure she would say she was adopted in April.

Dahlia gets excited to see me, she loves to be near me, but what makes her so different, is her gratitude.  Dahlia will dance with delight and glee at every meal time, knowing she’s being fed, even after 9 months of consistency.  When we are at off leash parks, she will go off for a moment or two and then return to me constantly for reassurance that I’m there.  And unlike most dogs, she gets so excited at anytime to be put back on her leash, much like at meal time, she dances when she is being clipped up to her leash, knowing she’s staying with me.

Like most dog owners, I travel from time to time and I’m very fortunate to have amazing neighbours who will take my dogs and fosters for me.  Dahlia does very well when she’s at others homes, she knows all the neighbours and that they love her. But when I return, she loses her mind, she shoves all the other dogs out of her way to come to me, and she cries while she dances around and nudges me to pet her.  She tries to crawl up on me (but she’s 80 lbs) so I go down to her level so she can feel closer to me.  And when we go for our first walk after I’ve been away, she refuses to do her business as it means she needs to leave my side.  I have to get her home and sit on the couch with her on my lap (she doesn’t realize she’s big, she really thinks she’s a little dainty lady) for at least an hour before she recovers from her excitement that her mom is home.  It’s a toss up of emotions for me, part of me is frustrated I can’t do anything for an hour but on the flip side, I am so overwhelmed that I am everything to this sweet girl.

We’ve all heard it and it’s true, dogs know when they have been saved, I see it time and time again, not only with my own fosters and dogs but also through the dogs that I meet that others are fostering or have adopted.  It’s wonderful to see and hear the stories of growth in these dogs once they learn to trust and feel loved.

Dahlia has shown the me the pure joy of adopting a senior dog and the amazing way she has learned to communicate with me and show her gratitude.  She was so sad when I met her, she didn’t know how to play or what toys were.  Now she walks around with great pride carrying her favourite toys, or will give me a nudge with her nose if there is a ball in sight and she wants me to toss it for her.

I am literally watching Dahlia get younger every day as she becomes more playful all the time and she is so happy. When I look at her and she smiles at me, I know whether she lives to be 15 or her body retires on her tomorrow, this girl is going to leave this earth happy and knowing she has experiences true unconditional love.  The kind of love and happiness that all dogs deserve.

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Doing too little doesn’t exist

While I have been fortunate to enjoy a successful career, wonderful friends and a pretty darn good life to date, nothing compares to the passion I have for animals.  I always knew I loved animals but  I never realized how it was my life purpose to do more to help them until I decided to write a book.

My book (to be published shortly) was a bucket list item for me.  It came out at a dinner with two colleagues, in general conversation, and they convinced me to do it.  I just needed to figure out what my book was going to be about.  One of them suggested I write about Flipflop (my Bahamian Potcake, who has the most energy and personality I’ve ever seen in a dog). Sure there was enough Flipflop stories to write a trilogy, but it didn’t light a fire in me.

I went home that evening and when I woke up the next morning, I woke up with more excitement than I had in a long time.  I wanted to write a book about rescue, realizing I’m not the first person to do this, nor will I be the last, but I’m not writing to become a famous author, in fact I suspect short of friends and family my book will not sell, but regardless, all proceeds will be donated to the two rescues who saved Flipflop and Dahlia’s life.

Now I digressed, but my point is, it wasn’t until I started writing my book I realized  just how passionate I was about rescue.  I started fostering, volunteering and talking rescue to anyone who would listen.  I’ve had several people tell me that when they decide to get a dog, they will adopt it, and never before thought about adoption, until meeting me.  I don’t have words to describe how happy I am my message gets heard. Even if by one person, it’s one dog saved.

Through my volunteering and fostering I have met so amazing people who all have the compassion, love and dying desire to end animal abuse, neglect and uncontrolled breeding, that I do.

I have formed many networks and friendships and learned so much about what can be done to help:

  • Share posts on social media – not the ones that make us cry, the ones of dogs and cats looking for homes (foster and forever homes).
  • Educate, make people aware.  Flipflop and I appeared on Breakfast Television a couple of years ago, it was an unexpected opportunity and I had zero time to prepare, but took advantage of it. It amazed me how many people saw it and said they didn’t know some of the points I mentioned (and there were still so many I missed). (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eBXOiBZ0Dc)
  • Donate, and not necessarily money, rescues always need old towels, food, collars, bowls, crates, bedding, etc.
  • Volunteer to be a transporter, pick up dogs from airports, transport them to locations, or if on a vacation, work with a local rescue before travelling and arrange to bring a dog back to them (the rescues will work on the paperwork and all you need to bring the pup back to the rescue or shelter).
  • Foster, yes you will fall in love and want to keep every one of them, but you will also understand the greater need for foster homes and the rewards of your foster going to a wonderful forever home.
  • Adopt.

These are just a few things you can do, but what inspired me to write this blog, is an awesome lady I met through rescue, Mandy.  Mandy adopted one of my fosters, Hannah, who’s story is shared in my upcoming book.

Mandy has two young boys and the moment I spoke with her on the phone, we instantly connected, I think we talked for over an hour about our past dogs and of course I told her all I knew about Hanna.  Mandy and I are still in touch and connect every few months on the phone, just to chat and catch up.

So, it was no surprise when I received a text from her that her was her sons birthday and they had a lovely party.  But what Mandy also shared was a photo, of what looked to be a gift table.  However; upon closer inspection it was dog supplies…..and then I read her message.

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Mandy and her family asked all the guests to the party to bring a donation for the rescue that Hanna came from.   Such an amazing gesture and so thoughtful of Mandy and all the party guests.  Apparently her son was also so excited to be helping dogs in need too, she sent me a photo of him by the donations just beaming.

My best friend has made crafts and snacks in the past and sold them at her office and donated the money to rescue, another friend collects blankets and such at her work every year to donate.

Not everyone can afford to donate money, but the beautiful thing is, there’s always something you can do, if you’re inspired to help.

Lucy – Post 5

I see so many ads for dogs in need of a home and/or foster care.  When I am without a foster dog I often read them to see if there is one that would do well in my environment.  It’s not always easy as there’s certain criteria a dog needs to meet to be fostered by me:

  1. Good with dogs (I have two of my own)
  2. Good with cats (I have two of my own)

And a third one that is often looked for by adopters is Good with children.

So I look look at my sweet foster girl Lucy:

  1. Good with dogs – CHECK
  2. Good with cats – CHECK
  3. Good with children – CHECK

Lucy checks all the boxes, she has some anxiety and is fearful in new situations but calms down fast and loves quickly.  So, I can’t help but to scratch my head as to how I am going onto four months of fostering this amazing dog.

When outside Lucy loves to chase squirrels, run after a ball or chase and wrestle with a canine friend. But once Lucy comes inside, she’s as calm as can be, she’ll entertain herself with a dog toy or cuddle up on my lap to snooze.  She’s not your stereotype terrier, who destroys things.  The worse she does, if I forget to close my bathroom door when I leave, is she likes to unravel the toilet paper roll.  A small thing in comparison to what some dogs have done when unattended.

Even as I write this, Lucy is curled up beside me, her head on my lap sleeping.  To meet Lucy is to love her, my wish for 2018 is this amazing dog finds her forever family. She deserves the best!

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Happy New Year!

2017 has exited and we welcomed 2018 in around the world.  I was fortunate enough to spend my New Year’s at a friend’s house with her lovely family and bring my three dogs, Flipflop, Dahlia and my foster, Lucy.

I have posted on Lucy in the past, and she is still a sweet mystery to me.  Based on her previous behavior,  I didn’t know if she’d be scared, hyper or unsure.  Much to my delight she was Lucy!  The Lucy I have come to know and adore.  She was friendly, calm and very sociable with the adults and kids alike.

Much to my surprise, Lucy socialized with a man immediately, and connected so well with my friend’s son.  It gave me a whole new hope that we’ll find this sweet girl the perfect home yet.

Lucy is never aggressive but her timid personality sometimes makes her afraid, of even the kindest people, but last night she was in her zone.  I don’t know if it was having Flipflop and Dahlia there, who are very familiar with the family and their home, or if she just felt safe, but it was so wonderful to see her calm, relaxed and showing her true self.

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She even refused to sleep downstairs with me and her foster siblings and insisted on sleeping upstairs with our hosts, in their bed.  Of course they were only to happy to allow her, despite one of our hosts allergies!

I know we’ll find Lucy her forever family soon, one that is understanding, patient and hopefully one with another dog and/or a child for her to bond with.

Lucy is available for adoption through Royal Canadian Pooch.

https://www.royalcanadianpoochrescue.com/