The ones that are left

I don’t always know the background of the fosters that I get, but when I have found out the stories it usually breaks my heart. And not always for the dog, but sometimes for the owners. For many of my fosters, they were given up because the owner was very sick or died unexpectedly. I will never forget picking up my fosters Bear and Roxie at their owner’s home and seeing him cry as we took the dogs away. The owner was very sick and going to move in with his daughter for hospice care. When he died a month or so later, his obituary asked for donations to go to Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue. He loved those dogs so much that he made sure they were cared for even when he no longer could, the ultimate responsibility of a dog owner.

Part of dog ownership is caring for your dog for life, and that can mean knowing what you’d do with your dog if something were to happen to you. Rescue groups like Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue serve an important purpose to help out families who can no longer care for their dogs for whatever reason. Many individuals contact this group when they have to give up a dog, knowing that the dog will get a chance to go straight into a home and be cared for until his or her forever home is found.

In my mind, sickness and death are the only reasons to give up a dog and in an ideal world, rescue groups would only have to take in dogs from these circumstances. And in this ideal world, no one would ever drop a dog off a shelter, scared and alone. But sadly, that is not the case and rescue groups take in just as many dogs that have been abandoned at shelters. Because shelters are constantly overcrowded, groups like Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, also pull dogs from shelters, like in the case of my recent foster, Boogie. Boogie was dropped off at the Cobb County Shelter in Marietta, Georgia.  I don’t know the circumstances of the family that gave him up, and I don’t want to judge since it may not have been an easy or thoughtless decision, but when I saw this photo from his intake record, my heart broke.

boogie

It’s the trusting smile that kills me. Boogie has no idea his family just dropped him off at a shelter, all alone never to see him again. When I see Boogie’s trusting smile, my heart breaks for him, but also all the other dogs who won’t make it out, or the ones who will spend weeks or months alone at the shelter waiting for a chance to get out. Boogie was one of the lucky ones, being young and cute meant that the shelter knew they could find a rescue group for him. It’s not always the case for the old, the fat, the slightly mean or aggressive ones who are stressed from being left at a noisy shelter. Those dogs deserve a chance out too, but too often don’t get it.

I am not familiar with this shelter (although I have been told it’s a high kill shelter) and I know that many shelters are filled with caring individuals who dedicate their time to make these animals feel safe and secure, but I think we can all agree a shelter is not an ideal place for a dog to spend any amount of time. And, the sad fact is, the more dogs that end up at a shelter means the more dogs that will be euthanized for being too old, too challenging, or maybe even just a certain breed.

So this is all I ask. Make a plan for your dog. If something were to happen where you could no longer care for your dog, do a little research on what would be best. Ask that one friend on Facebook who is always posting dogs pictures (because we all have one of those, like me 🙂 ), if they know of any rescue groups or organizations that might be able to assist. Rescue groups take the load off of shelters and give dogs the chance to decompress in a home environment which makes the life change a little easier.

And if you know someone looking to give up a dog, educate them about alternatives to an animal shelter. Ways they can keep the dog, or if they have to give them up, lead them to a rescue group that can help.

boogie1

And most importantly, know that when you add a dog to your family, you make a commitment to care for that dog for life.  You don’t give it up because the dog is too old, or sick, or having some behavior issues. If you aren’t willing to care for the dog as you would a member of your family, don’t get one. You are responsible for another life, don’t let your decisions lead to their suffering or the suffering of other dogs in the community.

And, just an update on Bear and Roxie because I love this so much. Bear, the younger dog, was one of my most fearful fosters. Because the owner was older and got sick when Bear was young, I don’t think he socialized him much. Bear was adopted with his sister Roxie by a wonderful family who has devoted their time to training and making, especially Bear, feel safe and comfortable. Now Bear is competing and winning in Rally competitions! This is my absolute favorite foster story, and just another example of the fact you can never give up on a dog!

 

Before and after Bear. On the left, hiding under my bed, on the right, winning Rally competitions!

Boogie is up for adoption with Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue: https://www.facebook.com/pg/OhioPoms/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2201785316556883

And please check out all of the dogs up for adoption at the Cleveland Kennel. If you can’t adopt, donations, monetary and otherwise, are always welcome: https://www.petango.com/cacc

 

Let’s Stop Puppy Mills! Step One…

If you read this blog regularly, you already know that ending the suffering of dogs in puppy mills is an important cause for me. I’ve seen the dogs that come from these mills and have heard countless horror stories from people who’ve purchased puppy mills dogs from pet stores. It is heartbreaking. There is absolutely no reason in 2017 that dogs should be bred solely for profit by people who don’t care at all about their health and safety.

And considering that Ohio has one of the largest number of puppy mills in the country, this an issue we cannot ignore in our state. A group called Stop Puppy Mills Ohio recently formed to crack down on puppy mills in our state and is looking for volunteers to help with the cause. This grassroots organization is working on bringing a ballot measure that would regulate breeders as well as pet stores who buy from breeders to Ohio voters next November.

 

A little background…

Although the state passed a law in 2012 to regulate breeders, the enforcement of it has been very tough. That law requires an annual inspection of high volume breeders that sell 60 dogs and produce at least 9 litters in a single year. This 9/60 rule is very hard to enforce as many breeders can get around it by saying that they only breed 59 dogs in a year, or eight litters, to get out of being required to do an inspection. There are hundreds of facilities not being inspected because they can’t get to them based on these rules. Also although the law requires veterinary care, it doesn’t have any requirements about the number of times a dog can breed or much as far as the conditions the dogs should be living in.

SPMOH-website

The new measure

This new ballot measure puts tough requirements on breeding facilities as well as regulates the sale of dogs in the state to pet stores. Here are some of the details:

  • Establishes welfare standards for any breeder with eight or more breeding females. This threshold will be far easier for the Ohio Department of Agriculture to enforce, and will require many more puppy mills to be regulated.
  • Requires breeders to provide the animals with constant access to water, access to nutritious food at least twice daily, protections from extreme temperatures, and regular veterinary care and socialization.
  • Dogs have to have unfettered daytime access to outdoor exercise areas. Enclosures would have solid flooring (no wire flooring their paws can get stuck in), would be cleaned at least once per day. Cages also cannot be stacked or have multiple dogs crammed together in one cage.
  • Safe breeding practices, including limits on how often and how many times a dog may be bred, and genetic screening
  • Pet stores purchasing dogs would have to get their dogs from facilities that are in accordance with Ohio law and cannot purchase dogs from out-of-state facilities that do not meet the Ohio law requirements.

The requirements in this measure are important because they regulate both sides of the industry. It’s not just the commercial breeders that don’t care about the dogs they breed, it’s also the pet stores. Take a look at this paperwork that came along with Hunter (my dog whose original owner purchased him from a pet store) when I adopted him:

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Yes, it actually says a “replacement puppy.” I cried the first time I read that. The people at these stores see dogs as something to be bought and sold, nothing more.

Ultimately, the goal is to make it so hard for puppy mills to operate that many will go out of business. This is an important step to ensuring that we stop the reckless breeding of dogs at these facilities and I can’t wait to take this to Ohio voters next November!

If you’re interested in volunteering to help collect signatures, or just interested in helping spread awareness, you can sign up as a volunteer here: https://stoppuppymillsohio.com/volunteer They need people to gather signatures, write letters to the editor, make phone calls, volunteer at poll places, and more.

I am hoping to collect signatures are Spooky Pooch in Lakewood this Saturday, so let me know if you want to help, or just stop by and sign if you are there!

A letter to my foster Brody

Dear Brody,

This is a hard one. I mean, it’s never easy giving up a foster, but it does get easier the more you do it and sometimes the tears don’t fall when they leave. But, with you, it’s hard.

I just wanted to give you a place to crash until your forever family showed up. I thought we’d have some fun, get you more socialized and then your new family would show up. You are so cute, I figured it wouldn’t take too long. I’ve always said that being a foster is all about your mindset. If you know it’s temporary and you know you can’t have another dog because it would mean no more fostering, or if you know that every dog you successfully foster means another dog can be saved, it’s easier to keep it light. But I still knew that as a foster some dogs will test you and what a test you ended up being!

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As soon as you walked through the door, another shy, scared chihuahua, I knew this wasn’t going to be so easy. Rescued by a wonderful woman, your guardian angel Laura Weitner (read about and see the pictures here:  https://www.facebook.com/pg/llpsinc/photos/?tab=album&album_id=373293723063174), you had such an interesting backstory.  I don’t know how you did it, living alone in that disgusting house for nine months after your owner died, but I am so glad Laura had the determination to capture you and work to rehabilitate you for so many months. She loved you so much Brody, but knew, like I do, that she was just a part of your journey. She let you go to grow and get stronger with tears in her eyes much like the tears in mine now. I think back to when I went to pick you up, how you wanted nothing to do with me. I could see how attached you’d become to Laura and I wasn’t sure how you’d handle coming home with me.

And then we got home and you jumped in my lap! From day one, you were nothing like what I expected you’d be like. Other than your fear of strangers, you were so easy and so affectionate. And so quirky! What a funny personality you have. Obsessing over your lamb toy, demanding attention and crawling into my wine buffet or under my couch. I knew I had to be picky with where you ended up because you were too special. Your new family needed to appreciate your sensitive nature, your kind heart and let’s admit it, your moody nature with other dogs. I didn’t intend to have you this long and get this attached; I just wanted you to have the best.

I know you loved me and trusted me so I felt like I owed you this letter, but I know that this letter is more for me than for you. You will be fine and you won’t miss me as much as I will miss you. And that gives me the strength to say goodbye.

Thank you for showing me that I am strong enough to love so deeply and let go. You’ve cleared the space for another foster, when I am ready (and it will take some time.)

And, please come visit since you’ll be in Cleveland.

Love you forever Brody.

brodyme

The Horrible Hundred 2017

Every year I share this list from the Humane Society of the Horrible 100, the worst of the worst of puppy mills in the U.S., in the hopes that maybe I can educate one more person about why no one should ever buy a puppy from a pet store. I truly believe that there are still a lot of people who do not know the horrors of the life of a puppy mill dog and that buying a pet from a pet store keeps these mills in business. And sadly, in Ohio we really need to be educated because many of the worst offenders are in our own backyard. After Missouri, Ohio is one of the states with the most puppy mills on this list.

As long as dogs are being bred purely for profit with little to no regulation, we cannot as a society support the sale of dogs online or at pet stores. We have more than enough reputable breeders in this country, not to mention the millions of dogs waiting at shelters, to make it unnecessary for anyone to ever need to go to a pet store to buy a dog.

If you have doubts about the seriousness of this issue, please review this list and look at the pictures of dogs rescued from these places. The group I volunteer with, Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, took in a puppy mill dog last year that ended up dying from a serious health issue that the mill ignored until it was too late. This happens all to frequently as you can ask anyone who works in the rescue world.

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Dogs deserve better and we have to be their voice.

DOG1
Dogs were found chewing holes in the walls large enough to stick their heads through during a July 2016 inspection at Ryan Handly’s facility (WI Dept of Ag / July 2016). Credit WI Dept of Agriculture
DOGS2
Linda Lynch was found operating an unlicensed facility in Texas. Inspectors found dogs in tiny cages, piled up and surrounded by clutter. It appeared the dogs barely had enough room to turn around. The facility is now state licensed. (Texas Dept of Licensing and Regulation / November 2016). Credit TX Department of Licensing

Here are the worst puppy mills in Ohio. You can see the full list here: http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2017/05/horrible-hundred-2017-uncovering-puppy-mills.html

Debra S. Baird, Salem, Ohio

Warned about sale of underage puppies; repeatedly failed to have records of medical exams on dogs and puppies.

Nathan & Sara Bazler, Little Puppies Online, LLC, Mount Vernon, Ohio

Puppies found in cramped, undersized cages; dealer bought puppies from unlicensed breeders.

Marvin Burkholder, Berlin Kennel, Millersburg, Ohio (REPEAT OFFENDER)

Received official warning from USDA in June 2016 for repeat veterinary issues.

Gregory Fidoe, Canfield, Ohio

Sold underage puppies and repeatedly failed to get veterinary exams as required, per state records.

Emanuel D. Keim, Baltic, Ohio

Dogs found with hair loss and skin conditions.

Sam Mast, Fresno, Ohio

Sale of underage puppies; no vet records on dogs; unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

James A. Miller, Millersburg, Ohio (REPEAT OFFENDER)

Matted dogs kept in rusty cages; dirty conditions.

John J. Nisley, Loudonville, Ohio (REPEAT OFFENDER)

Dog found with sores on ears and head; prior violations for injured and lethargic dogs.

Daniel Schlabach/Evergreen Designer LLC, Charm, Ohio (REPEAT OFFENDER)

Fire in pole barn filled with “hundreds of dogs” killed an undisclosed number of animals.

Marvin Schmucker/ Ervin Schmucker, Sugarcreek, Ohio

Repeated veterinary care deficiencies; bichon had skin lesions around her neck and on leg.

Leroy Weaver, Walhonding, Ohio

Dead puppies found decomposing in yard; severely matted dogs.

Abe R. Yoder, Millersburg, Ohio

Unsafe flooring not corrected until seven months later and multiple re-inspections; bichon with eye issue had not received surgery as directed by veterinarian.

 

How to Buy a Puppy

Step 1 – Do not go to a pet store

Step 2 – Go to your local shelter or petfinder.com

It actually is that simple – at least in my mind.

Unfortunately, many people just think it’s easier to get a puppy from a pet store. But as an educated consumer, you really should be aware of what you are contributing to when you buy a pet from a store. Purchases of pet store puppies keep the puppy mill industry going. Period. End of story. And there are so many better ways to get a puppy, it’s just not necessary. Here’s a glimpse into the life of a dog living in a puppy mill:

If you didn’t just tear up, or full on cry like I did watching that, you may want to check your pulse. Is that something you want to support?

I do understand that a lot of people want a puppy and don’t know where else to go. But contrary to popular opinion, shelters and rescue groups do get puppies. It’s not as common of course, but if you keep your eye out you can find one. A recent search on PetFinder.com pulled up numerous Cleveland-area puppies and dogs under a year.

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/37167435
https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/37211814

And unless you need a brand-spanking new eight-week-old puppy (pro tip – never buy from a breeder who wants to sell one before seven or eight weeks), getting a four, six or nine month old puppy is still getting a puppy, although slightly bigger and more developed. I adopted Hunter when he was around six months of age and I highly recommend that age. He was almost out of his chewing phase and mostly potty-trained already, but still young enough that he was cute and cuddly and could be easily trained.

My six month old puppy
My six month old puppy

And why should you get a puppy from a rescue group rather than go through a breeder or a pet store? Because 1.2 million dogs are euthanized each year because they don’t have a home, according to the ASPCA. 1.2 MILLION DOGS KILLED.

Ok, if after all of that you still HAVE TO get a certain breed of dog that you can’t find through a rescue group, you may wonder how to find a reputable breeder.  I know a few friends who have used breeders so I asked one of them for some tips on what to do and what to look for once you find one.

Step 1 – Research research research

The friend I spoke with said that she did hours of research over the course of several weeks to find a good Goldendoodle breeder. The one she found through a search of breeders in Ohio had a website with tons of information that addressed most of her questions. The site also had pictures of owners and the dogs they purchased, showing her that people had been satisfied with dogs from this breeder. Of course, anything on the Internet can be faked, which leads to the next key part of buying a puppy:

Step 2 – Arrange a meeting

You should always go see where the puppy was born, meet the breeders and see where they are breeding the dogs. This is so important to make sure this isn’t actually a backyard breeder or someone who is selling to pet stores or online sites on the side. Most good breeders will require this, so if they don’t, that’s a bad sign. One question you should ask if they don’t address it on their website or through the meeting is how many litters they do per year. If they are churning out puppies every week or breeding a lot of different types of dogs, it’s probably a backyard breeder.

Also, I don’t think I should even have to mention this, but just in case – you should never agree to having a breeder ship a dog to you. This is never ok and highly traumatic for the dog.

Step 3 – Ask for references

You want to make sure this breeder has a good reputation. You should ask for references you can call to find out about other experiences people have had with this breeder. This should tell you a lot about whether this breeder has a history of selling sick dogs or generally being a bad breeder.

Step 4 – Get contact information for the Veterinarian

In addition to ensuring you have the breeder’s contact information and have spoken with them on the phone (and made sure they provided a working number) and met with them in person, you should also ask for the contact information for the Veterinarian they use. Before you purchase the puppy they should’ve received shots and seen a Vet, so you will want to verify this was done and confirm the information that was given to you about the puppy’s medical records.

If a breeder won’t agree to these things, that is a major red flag. A good breeder will always want to meet you and make sure you are a good fit for the dog and will be up front about their health history and other dogs they breed. A bad breeder will not want to do this, which shows that they are probably not breeding in the best interest of the dog and just trying to turn a profit.

Here are some good resources to begin your puppy search:

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/find_responsible_dog_breeder.pdf

http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/future-dog-owner/about-buying-a-dog/

https://webapps.akc.org/breeder-referral/#/

Sounds like a lot of work right? You should probably just adopt. Rescue groups do the vetting for you and find out as much as they can about the dog before adopting him or her out. And the cost is usually much less than half of the cost of getting a dog through a breeder or at a store. The truth is, all dogs take work and any dog can have health or behavioral issues, whether they come straight to you as a puppy from a breeder (puppies are the most work of all!) or if they come from a shelter or rescue group. Once you bring that dog into your life and he or she becomes a part of your family, it’s really not going to matter that he came from a shelter or rescue group. And the extra love you feel for saving that dog’s life will just make it even better.

(Side note: if you are looking for a certain breed but want to rescue, this is a good list to check out: http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/rescue-network/contacts/)

Common Misconceptions About Fostering

When I took in my first foster Vinnie for Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue someone said to me, “Oh that’s great that you took him in so he doesn’t have to stay at a shelter.” I didn’t have the heart to tell this person that actually Vinnie couldn’t stay at the shelter, that the shelter was days away from putting him down. Overweight and old, Vinnie had sat at the shelter for weeks with no interest. Luckily, many shelters network the dogs they take in and this shelter connected with Pom-savior extraordinaire, Kim Ray at COPR, who agreed to take him in. But Kim couldn’t do that without a network of fosters.

Vinnie, my first foster
Vinnie, my first foster

The sad truth is that many shelters don’t have the capacity, or money, to keep dogs for weeks and weeks. There are too many dogs they take in on a daily basis, that space just doesn’t allow it. And if a dog shows any slight sign of aggression, is deemed too shy, damaged or old, the shelter may have to make a tough call. It’s a sad reality, especially since most of these dogs wouldn’t be the way they are in the shelter if they just got a chance to decompress in a home environment. It makes me so sad to think the price they have to pay for circumstances a human has put them in.

So yes, it is true that fostering saves lives. Unfortunately, there are never enough fosters out there to save them all. Part of this is just numbers, but part of it is also that there are still so many misconceptions about what fostering really involves. Here are a few common misconceptions I hear and why they aren’t really true:

It’ll be too expensive

Fosters are not expected to cover all of the expenses of dogs they foster. Vet visits, medication, and often food, are all covered by most rescue groups. Money should never be a deterrent to fostering. As long as you have love to give and a home to provide the dog, you can be a foster.

I’ll have no choice in the type of dog to foster

I love dogs, but I am also not very experienced in dog behavior or training. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to foster because it would only be the high maintenance dogs with behavioral problems that would need homes and I’d be in over my head. After talking with some other fosters, I realized that all help is appreciated and you could let the rescue group know what type of dog would best fit in your life and find the right fit for you. Since I knew I liked Pomeranians, I looked for a Pom rescue group to foster for. Start where you are comfortable and see how you like it. Ultimately rescue groups want the experience to be successful, so you should feel comfortable letting them know if you’d rather have a small dog or a low energy or older dog. You should never feel pressured to take in a dog that isn’t a good fit for you.

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Beautiful Brady, my second foster.

It will be on me to find the dog a home

With most groups you can be involved as much or as little as you want in finding the dog a home. The rescue group will network the dog and find the right home, you just need to be in touch with them to tell them about the dog and give recommendations on what the best home for him or her will be. Some groups have events they may want you to take the dog to, but it’s usually not required. One thing you should be willing to do is to take lots of pictures!! Whatever rescue group you foster for will appreciate having pictures to share on their website and social media to network the dog.

I’ll want to keep the dog

To be honest, this one is usually true, but it’s not as impossible as it seems. Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye. Yes, you do get attached. But when you see the dog go off to a happy home, the sadness is fleeting. I think it would be a rare case to find a foster who regrets sending their foster dog off to a new home, no matter how much they loved him or her. It all really depends on your mindset. For as many fosters I’ve known that have “foster succeeded” and adopted their foster dog (I don’t use the term foster fail anymore, because really isn’t it a success when you love the dog so much you want to adopt him or her?) I also know plenty who haven’t. These people generally go in with the mind frame that this is temporary and they want to keep fostering, so they can’t adopt every dog they fall in love with. And one thing that can make it easier is knowing that you can play a role in finding him or her a home and then keep in touch with the family after the dog is adopted. I recently got the chance to watch Brady, one of my fosters, when his parents went out of town.

 

 

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Brady with his new family. Look at those happy faces! How could you regret giving up a dog when the result is a family this happy?

 

 

 

And yes, I did foster succeed with Roscoe. Sometimes it happens. I don’t regret it for one minute, but it did make me have to step back from fostering. It’s important to know what you can handle and if the right dog comes along, you shouldn’t feel as though you failed. You gave that dog a home, and that’s always a good thing.

 

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My foster success, Roscoe. Photo courtesy of Boots and Bee Photography.

 

Disclaimer: I am only speaking from my experience as a foster for COPR and from conversations I’ve had with other fosters. Different rescue groups may have different requirements or practices. It’s important to discuss with them what you can provide and what your concerns are to ensure it will be a good fit for you.

Check out my foster page to see two dogs currently in need of a foster home: https://dogsinthecle.com/adopt/

But I Want a Puppy!

I’ve been disappointed lately that the Northeast Ohio Pomeranian Meetup group I started has turned into a forum on where to get a Pomeranian puppy from a breeder. Although I am not anti-breeder – I know that there are reputable breeders out there that are not puppy mills – I am just so much more pro-rescue that it’s really hard for me to relate or understand why people want to go through a breeder, especially for a breed of dog that can so easily be found at a shelter or with a rescue group.

So far through the posts I’ve heard a few things as to why the people need puppies from breeders: 1) They want a dog that they’ll have for a long time 2) They don’t want a dog that’s been abused.

I get it. Those are reasonable requests. I had similar thoughts before I adopted Hunter. Most people don’t want a dog they’ll only have a couple of years and dealing with a damaged, fearful dog is definitely not for everyone. But, just as you should educate yourself about any breeder that you use, you should also educate yourself about dog rescue and the many available dogs that are out there for adoption. So here are some of the top objections to rescuing a dog and why they aren’t totally accurate:

“I want a puppy!”

Rescue groups have dogs of all ages. Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue just took in a bunch of puppies and I see puppies all the time at other rescue groups. The key is to get on their list early and let them know you are interested in a certain age so if they get one, you’ll be considered. Puppies go fast at rescue groups. Also, side note – have you thought about why you really want a puppy? Is it just because they’re cute? Puppies are so much more work than even a dog that is one or two years old. I thought I wanted a puppy before I adopted Hunter, but I am so glad I got him at seven months when he was mostly potty-trained and almost out of his chewing phase. And, adopting Roscoe at the age of 5 or 6 (I’m not sure how old he is) was even better. Roscoe is such an easy dog, just wants to snuggle and hang out. Although it’s sad to think how I may not have him as long, I am still so happy for the time we have together.

“I want a pure breed”

There is a rescue group for almost every breed of dog. You may not always be able to get their AKC papers, but what do you really need that for? Unless you are planning to enter your dog in shows or breed him or her, do you really need to know for sure it’s a pure breed? Hunter looks like a Pomeranian, so that’s good enough for me. I actually like to imagine that he’s mixed with all sorts of other breeds. Maybe he’s a Pomercorgian, or a ShiPomerinu. I think it’s fun to not really know for sure what your dog is.

Pomeranian or Pomercorgian? We’ll never know…
Pomeranian or Pomercorgian? We’ll never know…

“I need a hypo-allergenic dog”

No dog is hypo-allergenic, some just shed less than others. And since dog allergies are really due to dog saliva, if you have serious dog allergies, no breed is really going to work for you. Although designer dogs of the “doodle” variety are super popular because they are “hypo-allergenic,” there are many other dog breeds that don’t shed much and can be found at shelters. Terrier breeds, Schnauzers, Bichon Frises, Shi Tzus and Poodles, are low shedders and could work just as well in these cases as a ‘doodle. You can always set up an alert with PetFinder to find out when certain breeds are up for adoption or contact your local rescue group to discuss what type of dog you are looking for.

“They’ll probably have been abused”

I think this is on the biggest myths people outside of dog rescue think about rescue dogs. I know it’s something that I thought. Although it definitely happens, it is not as common as people think. And even if some rescue dogs may have been mistreated by their previous owners, you know the amazing thing about dogs? They are so resilient! If you give them love and provide a safe environment they can rebound from pretty much anything. All dogs need training and a period of adjustment, so you can never “guarantee” an easy dog no matter where he or she comes from. From my experience with fostering and meeting other rescue dogs, it’s much less common to encounter one that’s actually been abused than it is to meet once that is just really excited to have a home again.

Roscoe may have been abused, or he may just be fearful. I don’t really know. All I know is that he is the best snuggle buddy that ever lived.
Roscoe may have been abused, or he may just be fearful. I don’t really know. All I know is that he is the best snuggle buddy that ever lived.

 

All photos courtesy of Boots and Bee Photography

CLE Adoptable Canines of the Week

Meet Morty, Bert & Ernie!

From Dachshund Rescue of North America:

Morty is a 4-year-old dachshund mix. He is a down to earth, well-mannered sweetheart that just wants attention and love. Don’t let the 30lbs fool you, he thinks he’s a 10lb lap dog that just wants to be where you are and make you happy. We think he would do best with a retiree, or someone who is home a lot during to the day to give him the interaction he requires.morty

For more info on Morty, contact his foster mom Katie at kmandml@hotmail.com or visit http://www.drna.org/11574

Bert & Ernie are 6-year-old bonded brothers. They compliment each other so well. Bert is always rolling over on his back and loves to be held like a baby and Ernie loves to be center of attention. They both just want to cuddle and are such lovebugs and wag their tails anytime you are near them. Bonded pairs are great to have because while they are trying to get used to their new forever home they have each other which makes the transition so much easier. They are looking for a forever home together!

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Contact foster mom Katie at kmandml@hotmail.com or visit http://www.drna.org/11654 for more info.

Christmas Gift Guide: Shelter Pets

Now that you’ve shopped for your dog and the dog lovers in your life, it’s time to focus on some other pets that need presents this Christmas – the homeless pets of Cleveland. Local shelters have wish lists running year-round for things they need for the animals in their care. Wouldn’t it be great to send a present to one of them this Christmas?

I’ve posted links to wish lists below for many of the biggest shelters/rescue groups in the area. Several of them have wish lists on Amazon to make it super easy to buy things and have them shipped directly to the shelter/organization. Some of the Amazon lists haven’t been updated in a while, so it may be a good idea to check their website, or contact them directly, to see what else might be on their wish list. It’s a safe bet though that most shelters can always do with donations of treats, blankets, toys and crates though. And, of course, you can always just donate money to whatever local shelter you want to support!

And don’t forget Amazon Smile when you’re doing your holiday shopping this year on Amazon. When you shop through http://smile.amazon.com you can choose an organization of your choice and Amazon will donate a small percentage to that organization.

Cleveland APL
http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/17JWHFI8ZR6ZV/ref=topnav_lists_1

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:

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Lake Humane Society
http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/registry.html?ie=UTF8&type=wishlist&id=13A29C482PO0Y

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:

 

Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter
http://www.amazon.com/wishlist/15JCVK42TMWEY/ref=sr_1_1_acs_wl_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388683921&sr=8-1-acs

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:

Berea Animal Rescue Fund
http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/2E6YM99IA1Y2T/ref=cm_wl_act_vv?_encoding=UTF8&visitor-view=1&reveal=

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:

Muttley Crue
https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/ref=cm_wl_search_1?ie=UTF8&cid=A20T6D8AAUHKMI

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:

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Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village
http://www.geaugahumane.org/#!shelter-wishlist/co7y

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:

Northeast Ohio SPCA
http://www.northeastohiospca.org/donations.html

City Dogs Cleveland
http://friendsofclevelandkennel.com/supply_drive.html

Let’s help all pets have a great Christmas this year!

My Thankful List

Thanksgiving is not just about eating copious amounts of turkey and mashed potatoes, it’s also about acknowledging the things in your life that you are most thankful for. This year, I have so many things to be thankful for: a new house, healthy dogs, the health of friends and family – all the most important things in life.

It’s fun to take a moment to reflect on some of things in your life that you are most thankful for, so this year I put together a somewhat silly/serious list of dog-related things I am thankful for.

Dog Rescuers

Some of you may have seen my Facebook post earlier this week about a senior Pomeranian that was staying with me. She was found a week or so ago near a ravine in Cleveland Heights by a nice couple, Jerry and Sally, who took her in and cared for her while trying to find her owners. After no one came forward for her, they got in touch with Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue who said they’d take her in.

Minnie, as I named her, is an older Pom that can’t see or hear very well, but is the sweetest little dog I’ve ever met. I haven’t been ready to get back into fostering, so I just said I could keep her until the weekend, or until a foster was found. A foster came through sooner than I expected, so I only ended up with her for one night. The experience made me so thankful for the network of really wonderful people I’ve become a part of with Central Ohio Pom Rescue, and so thankful for kind people like Jerry and Sally who took tiny Minnie in and loved her like she was their own.

This Thanksgiving, I am truly grateful for everyone who dedicates their time, money and patience (because it isn’t easy) to dogs that have no one else.

 

Dog Sweaters

It’s sweater season!! I never thought that I would enjoy dressing up my dog so much, but when I put that first sweater on Roscoe I knew that he was made to wear sweaters. Now, when he’s not wearing one he looks naked to me. Although, I did come home the other day to find that his sweater had been taken off and was on the floor…. so I’m not really sure if he agrees with me. But that’s ok, he looks too adorable. Plus, I know he really does appreciate it on those cold winter days. Check out the #sweaterroscoe tag on Instagram for more photos of him wearing sweaters.

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Sweater Model

 

A backyard

I moved into a house last month, so I finally have a backyard! Yay! This Thanksgiving, I am  thankful for having a place for Hunter to run (and for Roscoe to run from me, which I’m not as thankful for…). Seeing Hunter run is just about my favorite thing is the world, so I am happy to be able to see this everyday in my own backyard.

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And of course, it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyways) that I am most thankful for these guys:

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Photo taken by Brittany Graham of Boots & Bee Photography

 

I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!