Dog Blog

Thursday, April 30, 2009

This anonymous posting appeared on Craig's List on July 6, 2006.  I felt compelled to share it here.  It isn't pretty, but everyone who is considering breeding or buying a dog or surrendering one to a shelter needs to read it.

"I am posting this (and it is long) because I think our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all--a view from the inside if you will. First off, this is a forum for adoption and/or rehoming, as clearly stated in the rules. All of you breeders/sellers on Craigslist should not only be flagged (and I hope the good people on Craigslist will continue to do so with blind fury), but you should be made to work in the back of an animal shelter for just one day.  Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don’t even know.  That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it’s not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there’s about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays,” that come into my shelter are purebred dogs. The most common excuses I hear are: “We are moving, and we can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving to that doesn’t allow pets? Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would.” How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? “We don’t have time for her.” Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! “She’s tearing up our yard.” How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me, “We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her.  We know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog.” Odds are your pet won’t get adopted, and how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off, sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy.  If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don’t, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc.) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don’t get adopted. If your dog doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your dog is good enough and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution; not for long, though. Most get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression.  Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles, chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don’t have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment. Here’s a little Euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put down.” First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash.  They always look like they think they are going for a walk, happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to “The Room.” Every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door.  It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there; it’s strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs, depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the “pink stuff.” Hopefully your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerk.  I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don’t just “go to sleep.” Sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air, and defecate on themselves. When it all ends, your pet's corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed, waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You’ll never know, and it probably won’t even cross your mind; it was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right? 

I hope that those of you who have read this are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head. I do everyday on the way home from work. I hate my job, I hate that it exists, and I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter. Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters, and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can, but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes. 


Hate me or flag me if you want to.  The truth hurts, and reality is what it is.  I just hope that maybe I changed one person's mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say, 'I saw this thing on Craigslist and it made me want adopt.'  That would make it all worth it." 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We went over to visit my mom's dog, Laddie, who is back home again and feeling his old self after a two-day stay at the local VCA clinic (the same place we took Bubba) to unblock his bowel after ingesting pork bones.  He was in such misery and had to have the blockage surgically removed or he would have died, which is the reason I will never, ever give my dogs bones of any kind.  People can harp on about the BARF raw diet all they want, but Laddie's experience is testament enough to me that it's not a good thing to give a dog a bone.  I've learned that with my bassets with their touchy tummies.  This lesson cost my mom $2,400, which she can ill afford right now.

We took Laddie and Peaches for a walk around my mom's neighborhood and Peaches got beat up by a chocolate lab.  Poor girl.  After she was just getting to be a bit braver in strange situations, this had to happen.  Fortunately, she wasn't hurt.  She just got a good slobbering.  Thank God is wasn't a pit bull or a truly aggressive dog.  This dog was just cuffing her around the neck.  He wasn't vicious, but it was scary all the same.  My heart was up in my throat.  He was tethered and had a collar on, which broke.  If their dog was that territorial, they need to invest in a stronger collar for the next time people pass by walking their dogs.  I was just glad he went after the younger Peaches instead of Laddie.  Poor boy has been through enough.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I went to the Pet Department Store today to buy Peaches a new toy to spark up her life.  I got her a Busy Buddy.  The medium size cost $9.99, which wasn't that bad when I noticed another similar toy in another brand that was about three times the cost.  It looks like a bone with a bouncy purple ball in the middle.  The bone ends screw off so you can fit on replaceable chewy disks.  When we came back from dinner, I saw evidence that Peaches had been gnawing on her toy in our absence.  The disks had ragged edges.  

Tonight on our walk, she seemed very outgoing, much more so than usual.  She walked right up nearly into neighbors' garages to greet them, which is very bold behavior for her.  She sat down while we chatted.  Only once did she cower and it's when a friend was showing my husband a long metal object.  I suspect Peaches may have had some abuse of some kind in her past, which could explain her fearful behavior.  I'm glad to see encouraging little signs that she is feeling more comfortable in the world and content with being an only dog, at least for a while.  She's even getting a little bossy with us.  She's a stubborn basset, after all.  Sometimes she seems to be channeling her predecessor, Daisy, who was the bossiest little bitch ever.  

A friend from out of town sent me photos of a beautiful male basset she located right in neighboring Carmichael.  He was predominantly black, like Peaches, and had the longest ears.  She found him on Craig's List.  I guess it pays to check on there every now and then, but I'd still prefer to rescue a dog from the shelter than pay someone a $100 rehoming fee who doesn't want to keep a dog for whatever reason.  That $100 would be better spent at the SPCA to help the discarded dogs that will end up there when they don't sell on Craig's List.  At least people are making some effort to rehome their pets before dumping them.  The most common reason given, by the way, is that the owner has to move and can't take the dog along.  Perhaps some of those are legitimate excuses, but I'm not sure I buy it in all cases.  I'd live in Tent City (if it still existed) before I'd part with my dog.  I do think that in these hard economic times, with so many people losing their jobs and homes, landlords should relax their NO PETS rules to help foreclosed families who don't want to surrender their pets.  Charge a cleaning deposit, but let renters bring their pets along with them, within reason.  That's why many wouldn't leave Tent City, because they didn't want to lose their pets.  


Thursday, April 23, 2009

I've been really sick with a rotten, stinking cold all week, and poor Peaches is bored, bored, bored.  Either that or sad, sad, sad.  Looking at her face is almost more than I can stand.  It's really hard to tell if a basset is depressed, but I'm sure she's still grieving for Bubba.  As with people, it's a long, painful process healing from the death of a family member, and she's exhibiting signs that go along with this, according to what I've read on the subject.  I struggle to keep the daily routines as normal as I can, but I'm also trying my best to keep her day-to-day life more interesting in his absence, taking her for more walks, varying where we go, trying to engage her in her games that she seems to have lost interest in playing.  The competition for treats is gone now, which means she will leave a biscuit untouched, very unusual behavior for her.  The same is true of chew toys.  She doesn't seem to really come to life until my husband comes home, which signals to her that what is left of her pack (sans Bubba) is complete and things are somewhat normal again.  In time, I'm sure we'll all adjust, but it's tough on all of us.  I wish he hadn't had to leave us.   


Thursday, April 16, 2009

I have decided that Peaches is not a dog park dog.  Today I took her to our neighborhood dog park, where there was one other dog, a tiny Shih Tzu.  When she wouldn't play with the dog, it began running in circles around her and barking.  When she could still not engage Peaches in play, the Shih Tzu got frustrated with her.  She began bumping into her and got pretty aggressive.  Peaches just crumbled into a quivering mass of jelly.  She is not an outgoing dog in unfamiliar situations, but she was never this introverted when Bubba was still with us.  She drew her strength and courage from him.  His presence was calming and reassuring to her.  Now that he's gone, she has regressed to her former self, the traumatized pet I adopted over two and a half years ago.  I expect we will eventually have two dogs again, but I am not quite ready to move on from Bubba yet.  I confess I've been looking at the shelters, though.  The two bassets who turned up at the SSPCA were adopted, but they didn't get placed together in the same home, sadly.  I'm kind of surprised that the shelter gave in so quickly trying to place them together, since they came in the shelter that way and obviously were bonded with each other.  They'll have to adjust to another home separately.  I hope that they are placed in homes with other dogs.  Bassets are a pack breed, as Peaches proves to me daily.  It's hard to tell when a basset is depressed, but she is.  Doggone it, Bubba!  Why did you have to leave us?

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Reviewed by Natalie Wyant

Celebrating her big 5-0 is bad enough for Elsie “Beanie” MacBean, but toss in getting tangled up in a murder investigation and nearly becoming another victim to the body layer of the frigid waters of Lake Tahoe (the “body layer” is the layer of bodies that never seem to be found–where the bodies get hung up under the water)–and it really takes the proverbial birthday cake!

To make matters worse, among the passengers of this Fourth of July dinner cruise is the wealthy, demanding and very irritating Ivy Diggs. Ivy and her much older husband are aboard for their anniversary, and by the loud voices emanating from their table, it becomes obvious that it is a not-so-happy occasion. Ivy treats her pampered pooch better than her newlywed husband and soon finds herself swimming with the fishes.

Everyone is quite content to accept the event as an accidental drowning. Everyone that is, except Beanie. Beanie has doubts and sets her sails to discover what really happened. She and her beloved slobbery basset hound, Cruiser, track the case with a bit of help from her devoted and somewhat overprotective friend, Sheriff Cassidy.

Things really heat up and get downright distracting for Beanie when she meets the strikingly attractive blue-eyed Professor Crispin who is studying some mysterious lake events of his own.

Together, Beanie and Cruiser find that there is more than one mystery lurking below the deep and dangerous waters of Lake Tahoe in this puzzling adventure.

Dog lovers will find Cruiser and his other canine cohorts a delight to read about. Beanie is a woman surpassing mid-life and is very comfortable with her four-legged companion and with herself, well, maybe not quite. Both characters are very likable and easy to relate to.

Don’t let the author’s smooth writing style and her ability to lull you with the imagery of the lapping lake waters fool you. She provides a twist or two in this cozy quest that will keep you guessing!

Kudos to Sue Owens Wright on this book in the Beanie and Cruiser series, Embarking on Murder. I shall certainly be on the lookout for the next in this enchanting series.

Armchair Interviews agrees.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Everyone's howling that the President broke his promise of adopting a shelter dog.  I, too, would have loved to see the Obamas choose a shelter dog and send a strong message to America to stop littering and adopt, not purchase, a pet; however, choosing a pet for one's family is a very personal decision, and we really have no say in this one, folks. Allow the First Family to bond with their adorable puppy. We can only hope they made the right choice with this breed and this particular pup. We certainly can't say that they rushed into pet ownership blindly, like many people do. Knowing the President, I'm certain he thoroughly researched the breed before bringing Bo home to his kids. At least they can easily afford the upkeep, unlike many who are surrendering their dogs at shelters in this depressed economy.  

Unfortunately, the popular pet syndrome (Disney's Dalmatians, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and Marley, among others) has already begun again and Americans are now succumbing to First Fido Frenzy. If the President had only stated his intention of getting a Portuguese Water Dog for his kids and waited a year, there would have been plenty of them in shelters to adopt, which is what will happen now when clueless couch potatoes or people who are away from home too many hours a day rush out and buy these large, energetic working dogs from breeders and then can't give them the activity and attention they require.  Puppy mills are probably already cranking out PWD pups on their assembly line of greed and misery.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009