Tag Archives: Rescued Dogs

Pet Dogs, Feral Dogs, and Just Being

Have you ever seen a dog (or cat or any other animal) that you know would be perfect for your home, but due to whatever circumstance you are unable to adopt it? I feel like that right now. There is a Beagle rescue in Norman that has a dog named Donner. He is described as “almost feral.” He prefers to hang out with dogs rather than people. He will never be a lap dog.

When I read that I thought he’d be perfect for my little family. I know, two humans and six dogs isn’t what a person would classify as a “little” family. Anyway, I digress. At my house, my dogs are allowed to be dogs. They come in when they want to come in and go out when they want to go out. We are a loose pack, coming together when we feel like it, but otherwise tending to our own business. Donner would fit right in with our low stress (except meal time) life. At my house we just are and have learned to to “be.” As long as they exhibit basic obedience I’m good with them just being dogs. I think Donner would like that.

What’s preventing me from adopting him? First, six dogs disqualifies me. No adoption agency is going to visit my house, see six dogs and allow me to adopt a dog. Two, Buddy isn’t fond of new dogs. Properly introduced though and I think Buddy and Donner would get along. It might take a few months though. Three, not all my dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Of course that’s an easy fix. Okay, so there is only one strike against me. Everything else can be fixed.

So what is stopping me? The question if I can handle seven dogs. It’s not that hard to have six dogs (except at mealtime), what difference would a seventh dog make? Perhaps it is because Donner is an adult and I’m afraid he would get into a fight with Buddy. Perhaps it is because people will dub me insane if they find out I have seven dogs. Perhaps I’m afraid my neighbors will turn me in because of all my dogs. If not all of that, I just know that bringing in a seventh dog would be a bad idea.

I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it. I want a Beagle, but I probably won’t try for Donner. Then again, maybe I could get my house set up, get a kennel license (so I can house multiple dogs), and then I can try for Donner in the fall providing he hasn’t found a home yet. If Donner isn’t available at least the house will be ready for any additional dog.

You think I’m crazy, don’t you? I think I’m crazy, but paradise for me is being with dogs. I can’t say I’m the happiest when I’m with my dogs, but it’s pretty close. Being with dogs helps me forget, even for a few minutes, about my mental illnesses.

Yep, I’m crazy, but I don’t mind.

Until next time, take a moment to just be…


Origins: Luna

The only reason I can think of why I looked on the animal shelter website was my puppy biological clock was ticking…again…as usual. If that wasn’t it, I don’t remember why I looked. Either way, the result was the same. I visited the animal shelter website to look at the dogs they had up for adoption.

I saw her, our eyes met…well my eyes met with her photograph. She was a dirty, scraggly, terrier type looking out from her pen at the camera. She looked so sad…so lost. My heart broke and I called the shelter to see if she was still available. They told me that her holding period wasn’t up and told me what day it would be. I vowed I would be there as soon as they opened that day.

That day came and I went to the shelter. I wasn’t able to get there right as they opened, but it was early in the day. I requested to look at the dog. They called her inside and closed the outside door so she wouldn’t run back outside. She was scared and wouldn’t come to me. I decided right then I’d adopt her.

The guys told me how it was difficult to catch. Apparently she ran them tired. They weren’t even sure she was a female or male, even though the website stated the dog was a female. Either way, the dog was coming home with me.

The adoption process was simple: go to the vet of my choice, get a spay voucher, then return to the shelter to pay the adoption fee (most of which would be refunded to me after she got fixed) and take her home. Some vets require payment as service, but this vet required payment ahead of time, I suppose as a collateral thing. I didn’t have the money right off, but they told me about Care Credit. I signed up, was approved, and paid. Then off to the shelter to get my dog.

I learned on the way home that she got car sick. I cleaned up the car and took her inside. I bathed her and while bathing her, I either encountered a tick or thought about ticks. That led to the word lunatic, which led to her name Luna. It worked on all levels, she was a white dog and–I learned later–she was crazy.

I introduced Luna to the other girls. They didn’t mind her and she didn’t mind them. She was skittish of me, though. I let her be, confident that she’d come around eventually.

Eventually didn’t come for two weeks. Up until that time, I had to be gentle, move slowly, and use quiet, encouraging words. She’d cower in a heap. I’d scoop her up and bring her inside.

Then she got fixed and she opened up. She became the friendliest dog I had ever met. She begged for attention, jumped for attention, and barked for attention. Clara, who had been unsure of her at first, played with her and I nicknamed them Clair De Lune (my favorite Classical song). They were my rambunctious twins, inseparable.

When she met my dad, she fell in love with him. She insisted that he give her attention. He obliged. They became good friends. There was one time that she bit his shoe, but that was because he came into the backyard from the gate and she was protecting her territory.

After seeing her abandon my lap in favor of a male family friend, I figured that Luna’s previous owner was a male. I imagined that he was doting on her; they were best friends. Then one day she got out of the yard and she couldn’t find her way back. He looked for her, but couldn’t find her. She ended up in the shelter where I adopted her. I wondered if her owner would see me walking her and recognize her. Though I had already bonded with her, and she with me, I knew that I would give her back in that situation.

It never happened. I’m neither glad nor disappointed. It is what it is. Luna is my baby and she will forever be my baby.

Luna still begs for attention…actually it’s more like she demands attention. She can’t stand when one of the other dogs is getting love and not her. Often I have to pet Luna and the other dog at the same time. Of course that gets complicated when a third dog decided that she wants attention too.

I’ve learned a lot about Luna in the five years I’ve had her.

  1. Luna is pack oriented. When she’s not with at least one of the other dogs, she is a nervous wreck. I’ve walked her by herself and she usually walks directly behind me and keeps her tail tucked between her legs. That tail goes up and she walks ahead whenever one or more of the other dogs accompany her on the walk.
  2. Luna is a follower. She does whatever the more “dominant” dogs do. She follows the crowd. Whatever the crowd is doing, she’ll do too.
  3. Luna is hyper. Enough said.
  4. Luna makes a good, and annoying, watchdog. Everything is worthy of being barked at: squirrels, moles, swaying trees, the wind, nothing…Nothing gets past her. I try not to let her outside after ten because she’ll run outside and start barking just because she wants to bark.
  5. Luna is a great comforter. Whenever I have a panic/anxiety attack or am just not feeling well, I get Luna or have my boyfriend bring Luna to me. She sits on my lap, puts her paw on my nose and does whatever she can to make me smile and laugh. Once I start laughing, she gets excited and starts jumping around and licking my face. She is the only one that I have this bond with.

Luna annoys me something awful with her constant barking, attention-seeking, and jumping. I often tell her that I hate her and try to “give” her to my mom. She’s so frustrating sometimes. Yet, at the end of the day, I love that dog. I wouldn’t trade her for anything. Although an off button would be nice.

Until next time, pet me…pet me…pet me…pet meeeeeeeeee


Day 3:Difference Between Night and Day

During the day, I can’t believe how lucky I am. Despite a few bumps in the road, my life isn’t that bad. It could be worse. However, when night comes, my outlook on life is darker, more sinister, more condemning. There’s something about the silence that makes my mind think things that never even enter my mind during the day and makes feel negative emotions that seem to come out of nowhere.

Most of these negative thoughts are worries. Am I raising my dogs right? Are they living the quality life that they are meant to live or is there something–a toy, a food, a holistic treatment–that they’re missing? Other worries concern my health, or other things that I have no control over. I also worry about things that I do have control over and that I have taken control of, but it just takes time to see the result. Then there are other things that I worry about that don’t even concern me. I even know that they don’t concern me, but I still worry about them anyway.

 

This worrying behavior is one of the things that I’m trying to get a handle on. All the worrying does is causes me to have panic/anxiety attacks. This is easy to avoid during the day. All I have to do is just keep busy (cue Dory’s song). I don’t have that luxury at night, especially when I’m climbing into bed and trying to sleep. Everything that I’ve ever done wrong or will do wrong comes back to me. I’m filled with worry and guilt for things that I may or may not do. It’s annoying, but I can’t seem to stop it, no matter how many positive things I tell myself.

That negative part just won’t be soothed. So, I spend hours worrying and crying and my crying worries me; an endless cycle that only stops when I’ve cried myself to the point of exhaustion. The crying doesn’t solve anything, but sometimes it makes me feel better. Other times I just don’t have any tears left.

I want to delete this post because it is so depressing writing it, but I guess a part of me hopes that there is someone out there who can relate and maybe this entry helps them feel less alone; less scared; less angry. Or at the very least they’ll go back and read some of my happier posts and get a laugh at the antics my dogs try to pull.

Speaking of my dogs, the girls have been put to bed. Nia was a bit fussy; we exchanged words (well I had words, hers were pitiful whimpers). She’s quiet now. Buddy is sleeping by the front door. I don’t know if he’s preventing me from leaving him or preventing someone from coming into the house. Probably both. He does the same thing when we’re in my bedroom; he places himself between me and the door. It’s comforting, you know.

And sad. Sad because no human male I’ve been in a relationship with has ever made me feel as safe as Buddy does. Tragic huh? I probably should reevaluate the men I date. Or even better, let Buddy evaluate them.

Well I’ve chattered enough for this entry. Thanks for sticking with me. Until next time (and I hope it is tomorrow) keep calm and give the ones you love lots of slobbery kisses.

 


Birthday Bash…Well Sort of

Saturday was my birthday. After church, I spent the afternoon with my pups and took some pic

Clara and Luna playing together. I call them Clair de Lune.

Clara and Luna playing together. I call them Clair de Lune.

Clair de Lune still at it

Clair de Lune still at it

The new girl Luna

The new girl Luna

Clara (very back), Molly, and Luna playing tug-of-war

Clara (very back), Molly, and Luna playing tug-of-war

The girls sniffing around my room

The girls sniffing around my room

Molly Doll chewing a bone

Molly Doll chewing a bone

It may not have been a big celebration, but it was wonderful spending the day with my girls!


Sleeping With Dogs

By the way, my husband and I have yet another dog. I know. Every time I blog I seem to have another dog. Her name is Jinks. The shelter had her listed as a German Shepherd, but she looks more like a Jack Russell/Boxer mix. Perhaps sometime this week I’ll get a chance to post a picture of her.

Anyway, on to the actual story.

The other day, my husband and I decided that we’d try letting all five dogs sleep with us. We sleep on two twin mattresses pushed together, so there was no lack of space. Or so I thought.

Ares and Jinks slept on the floor on a blanket and on a dog bed. The Shih Tzus slept on the bed with us. They’re a lot more restless than Ares and Jinks. They changed positions, woke us up several times, and so on. My husband eventually took Clara downstairs because she was licking him (turns out she had to potty) and I later took Molly down because she too was restless.

All of that wouldn’t have been so bad if the Shih Tzus would sleep smack dab against me. Even if I moved them, they’d return. So I had three little dogs sleeping against me and then trading places. Sometimes they were at my feet, sometimes curled up at my abdomen, other times sharing the pillow with me.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night. The Shih Tzus haven’t slept with us since.

Ares and Jink sleep with us still, but they’re only allowed on my husband’s mattress. It doesn’t bother him if the dogs are up against him. He just sleeps right through the night. Lucky! I envy people who have no problems sleeping.

So, I guess I’ve learned my lesson. Or at least for right now. I imagine that soon I’ll want my beloved little girls with me again and for a few moments I will enjoy the bonding that we have and then I’ll say “Never again!” At least until next time.

Yeah, a short post. Go me!

Until next time, make sure you take over the whole bed. Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you can’t boot your humans off the bed.


My Thoughts on Rescued Animals

*Disclaimer: I was a child in the early nineties, so my perception may or may not have been the actual perception of the adult world.*

Back in the early nineties, I never heard much about animal overpopulation. Yeah, there was talk about spaying and neutering, but I remember it being an expensive procedure and often female dogs in heat were just kept separate from the rest of the animals. Generally a female was spayed only in an emergency and males weren’t spayed. It was a fact of life that unaltered males roamed.

Generally pets were acquired from friends, or there was a sign in front of someone’s house announcing “Free Puppies” or “Free Kittens,” or people adopted strays. Those with money (definitely not my family) got dogs from breeders, those that didn’t have money, but still wanted purebred dogs got them from “breeders” (or puppy mills or backyard breeders as we call them today). Those with “Pedigree” dogs did have the bragging rights and those with mutts just shrugged and hoped that their dog was better than the pedigrees.

This is where my family got our dogs: from family friends, as strays, from oops litters of our own and others, and from breeders. Despite their origin, our dogs were family and were treated as such. We didn’t think about the fact that taking in a stray was considered a “rescue” or was “saving a life.” We just saw a dog with physical and personality characteristics that we liked and the dog became ours.

Fast forward to a few years ago. I was feeling the pressure to “rescue” because my family had never rescued animals in the past. Then as I read more and more literature, I realized that the term “rescue” is a broad term. The accepted term is used when someone adopts from a shelter or rescue, but I’ve seen people refer to animals they’ve taken in off the street, or those adopted off of Craigslist, or those taken in from a bad neighbor or former tenant.

That made me think about all the animals in the past and some of them could be deemed as “rescues.” Cujo, our Great Pyrenees/St. Bernard mix. He, along with a few other feral dogs, lived on a housing development construction site. My dad and the other workers fed this group of dogs to keep them from starving. Cujo, being a puppy, came home with my dad. Aztec and Muffin, brother and sister cats that we got from the shelter during the shelter’s kitten boom period. Penny, a rat terrier adopted from a shelter in OKC. I also got numerous rats from the same shelter I got Penny from. Zip and Bella, two Blue Heelers that probably got lost, but no one came looking for them. Others were Shaffer, Ares, a couple male rats that were abandoned at Petsmart, and so on. All of these animals can be deemed rescues…

But you know what? I never considered them rescues. They’ve always just been family members. When we adopted Ares we got a packet with coupons and on the packet it thanked us for saving a life. Saving a life? I never thought I was actually saving a life. In fact, Ares came from a no-kill shelter. So how could we save his life if he was in no danger of losing it? I realize that if I think too hard then my brain will explode.

I guess I have a different view on bringing animals into my home. They’re my family. I don’t like to look at where I got them from. I don’t want to know about their past. Their past doesn’t matter to me; only their future…with me.

To be honest, I hate the pressure that society puts on us pet owners to rescue animals because if you don’t you’re a heartless person. They don’t say that, but it is implied. Really, it is. Next time you watch those adoption commercials, pay close attention to what they’re saying and what they’re not saying.

I love my animals equally and I don’t feel that my rescued animals love me more or less than those I got from breeders. I can’t speak for everyone, though.

I apologize if this was a rambling mess. I just wanted to write out my thoughts. I also apologize for my long period of silence. I was ill for three weeks and in bed for most of the time I was sick.

So, until next time save a life and rescue a human. They will love you for it.


Guilt

It’s not a life or death decision, but it is still a dramatic decision. Looking back now, it was a spontaneous decision that was made because my husband and I felt special; we felt chosen. We had to attain what had chosen us. In hindsight, maybe we were setting ourselves up for failure. I mean we brought a dog into our house with an abused past. He seemed sweet and innocent and scared. He was afraid of men. He didn’t have a personality. He followed the vet around and couldn’t stand being out of her sight.

We thought we wanted that. We wanted the worship that Shaffer had to give. We wanted to be the chosen ones. So we adopted Shaffer.

For awhile things went smoothly. Shaffer was a sensitive dog, afraid of everything. He’d run and hide when our voices raised, whenever we grabbed his collar, whenever we walked toward him. It took weeks to bring him around; for him to seek out our company not because he needed to be with us, but because he wanted to be with us. I remember rewarding him for small successes: his tail jumping, him bowing playfully, him jumping up on command. It was so cool seeing this dog go from an insecure canine to a stable family pet.

But for some strange reason, this stability came with a few quirks. It started with small things like him escaping his crate no matter what the cost was or how much he was harmed. This puzzled us because he spent most of his time in a kennel at the vet; in fact even if the kennel was open he stayed there. So we decided to cease kenneling him and just keep him in the bedroom. He tore up the door in a frantic escape to get out. He tore up wooden blinds. My husband was angry and I stood up for Shaffer.

Then he developed more annoying habits. Stealing “treats” from the litterbox. Taking things off the table even though we were in the other room. He once ate a whole package of crackers while my husband was in the shower. I laughed it off. I thought it was good that he was showing us his personality.

Then he started growling at the younger animals whenever they would get near him. If the puppy was playing with a toy and got too close he’d growl at her. If the kitten walked by him, he’d growl at her. It didn’t bother me that he’d growl at the kitten. After all, she was the one who used to wake him up from his nap only to hiss at him when he’d look at her. It was him growling at the puppy that started raising red flags.

I know that older animals sometimes become bothered by younger animals, but I’ve never seen a dog that just doesn’t want the younger ones near him. Haley will sometimes discipline Molly when she starts bothering her, but if Molly is playing nearby Haley doesn’t really care. Shaffer is bothered even when Molly plays nearby. He doesn’t really like her near him. He hates it when she lays next to him.

Strangely enough, he doesn’t mind dogs his size. During the storm a few weeks ago he stayed with my in-laws. At first he was a little unsure of their Sheltie, but by the end of the next day he was running around the backyard with her. I started realizing that maybe, just maybe, he needed to be in the country running with dogs his own size.

He’s now mastered the art of jumping the fence. If he’s left in the backyard by himself too long (too long being over ten minutes) he’ll jump the fence and lay on the front porch.

We told the vet a several weeks ago about him suffering from Separation Anxiety (in hindsight, him following the vet around was an indicator of this). She gave us some suggestions, but we all agreed that we didn’t want to give him any sort of sedative. We followed these suggestions and things got better for awhile.

I’m not saying that things have reached a point of n return. He doesn’t do a whole lot of “bad” things, but he does enough annoying things that have made me wonder if we’re really the right home for him. I mean, we live in a home that is less than a thousand square feet with four cats and two other dogs. He’s the biggest one of them all. It does get kind of cramped in the house and I think he feels this.

I’d like for him to have a place to run, but as I said above he won’t stay in the backyard and we have a huge backyard that I’m sure I bigger than our house. I’ve taken him to the dog park, but all he does is finds a place to lay down and stays there the entire time we’re there.

I’ve stopped laughing off his quirks and I’m starting to wonder if he really was the right dog for us. Should we have adopted him? Should we have been so quick in deciding? Was our feeling chosen the reason why we adopted him?

Then sometimes I wonder if Shaffer was only supposed to be in our lives for a short time. Maybe we were only meant to be foster parents and not his forever home. Maybe our task was to bring him out of himself so he could enjoy life in a home in an active family. Maybe it’s actually up to someone else to teach him how to play, how to be a dog.

I honestly feel guilty about even contemplating taking him back, but I want to look out for his happiness and our happiness. I console myself by saying that it isn’t a death sentence for him. He’ll return to the vet where he was adored and doted on. Where he got pizza crusts, pets, and where someone was there 24/7 (it’s an all hours vet). He got multiple walks a day, companions his size to hang out with, and free vet care. The resident cats are so used to dogs that they don’t hiss, arch their backs, or show any sign of aggression.

Still, I feel like a bad person giving up on him. Then part of me says that I’m not giving up on him, but giving him a chance for true happiness. I’m lying to myself, aren’t I?

I’m still debating on whether or not to take him back to the vet. My husband doesn’t want to. Now he’s the one that’s standing up for Shaffer. He’s the one that’s making excuses for Shaffer: maybe something spooked him, maybe he was trying to play with the cat and not actually went after her, maybe this, maybe that, maybe…maybe…maybe.

I apologize if this post paints either Shaffer or my husband and I in a bad light. I just needed to wonder. I know I could wonder in my own private journal, but I feel a need to be judged, or sympathized with, or yelled at; told that we took this dog in and it’s our responsibility to take care of him until death do us part. I don’t know why I crave that right now, but I do.

…Until next time, those clumps in the litterbox aren’t treats; if you’re looking for the good stuff knock down the nearest bookshelf, the treats are at the very top.