Monday, November 25, 2013

Surrendering A Pet. Why?

Once again, we are full, shelters are busting at the seams and people keep on surrendering animals.  Again, many are outraged about the fact that animals are being euthanized left and right.  Animals keep coming in, the phone keeps on ringing and people continues wanting to surrender animals that they did not have the common sense to spay/neuter.

When asked why they want to surrender, we hear all kinds of stupid reasons:
"I feel like I don't give my dog the time that he deserves" (BTW, that is one I am so tired of hearing!)
"I'm getting married" (AND?)
"I'm getting divorced" (again, AND?)
"I want to travel" (like in Coco Poodle's case, after 13 1/2 years)
"It's my mom's dog..." (sooo, it's a good reason to abandon it?)
"She is too affectionate" (I swear to you people, someone returned a dog for that reason, honest!!)
"Her color doesn't match my couch" (yes, I did hear that!)

Don't get me wrong, there are valid reasons to surrender an animal to the shelter or a rescue; they are VERY few.  How can people expect to not euthanize animals when they are so full, without available foster homes to help, that the next place to "stack" them would be the roof?  When a facility has space for 200 animals and they receive 400, what are they supposed to do when there are no adoptions and no foster homes?

Why do people surrender still so many unaltered animals?  We keep on reading and hearing about Spay/Neuter programs, SNYP, low-cost clinics, etc.  Unfortunately, there are still too many irresponsible pet owners out there, expecting everybody else to take responsibility for their own pets.  I declined two adoptions again this week because pet owners want to breed their current pets.

The one that I hear so often and that really tickles me is:

"I want to surrender my dog, but I don't want him to be put down, so I don't want him to go to the shelter.  He will be put down."
~ "What is the reason for surrendering your dog?"
"I don't have time for him"
~ "How long have you had this dog?"
"Since he is a puppy"
~ "How old is he now?"
"He is 9 years old"
~ "And after 9 years you decided you don't have time for him?"
"Well, he is also destructive and doesn't like other animals.  He is a little bit food aggressive and will bite if we get too close to his bowl of food, but he is a good dog!"
~ "If he is a good dog, why don't you keep him?"
"I can't handle him, but I want him to have a good home and be with someone who will work with him.  I just don't want him to be put down because he is aggressive."
~ "If he is aggressive with other dogs, where am I supposed to have him fostered?"
"Well, I don't know, don't you know someone who would take him?"
~ "Is he neutered?"
"Oh no, my husband wouldn't have it!"

I have this conversation with someone at least twice a week!  Until people take responsibility for their pets, like they should with their kids, we will have to deal with full shelters and rescues.  Until people understand the importance of a well socialized and trained animal, we will have too many of them surrendered because they are hard to control.  Until we have more foster homes and people who will be willing to housetrain and not expect to foster the perfect dog, shelters will be full.  Until people don't want to breed their dog "just this once" to sell puppies and make a few extra bucks, or to supposedly have a puppy from their "beloved" dog, shelters and rescues will be full.

Pointing fingers at everybody else will not solve the problem.  It's start with you, the pet owner.  Spay/neuter your animal!  Stop the overpopulation!  Stop expecting shelters and rescues to solve a problem that is caused by pet owners themselves.

There is just so much shelters and rescue groups can do.

Friday, May 25, 2012

So Hard To Breathe

My boy has been having a hard time lately with his breathing. I took him to the veterinarian to have him evaluated and I was told he had an enlarged heart. He was put in Enalapril. I wanted to know more, why, how, etc. I took him to another one for a second opinion. After running blood work, x-rays, thyroid check, I was told Pooh Bear has a colapsed trachea in his chest and that is why his breathing sounds like a screatching door.
I asked how we could fix this and the answer is to have a stint inserted in his trachea and that would fix the problem. I asked what the expense of this surgery could be and the vet said that, Texas A&M specialists can do that surgery for $4000-$4500!!!!! Are there other options, was my question. Yes, it is medication that will not work for very long and I will have to put him down eventually if he doesn't have that surgery.

Pooh Bear doesn't have a heart murmur or any other health problem than that. If he doesn't have that surgery, I will lose my boy. I cannot afford it because I gave everything I had to save and care for all these dogs that came in along the years and needed special treatment. All these dogs are now healthy, in forever homes and thriving... and I will lose my boy...

Since December, I lost Clyde, Tickle, Soleil, Macaroni, Gallagher and Sparky. Now I have to face losing Pooh Bear. I might as well lose my mind!

Since we have decided to not use PayPal anymore because of the horrendous administration fees we have to pay, that could go toward the care of rescue dogs instead of in a bank's pocket, donations went down by 98%. I have been holding this rescue up since then with my personal funds. We ask people to use or send checks for those who want to donate. But I guess people are too busy to write a check anymore.

I am reaching out to all of you for Pooh Bear. I know that the power of prayer is tremendous. Prayer help before and I am confident it will help again. I am praying for a miracle for Pooh Bear. I am asking you to pray for a miracle for Pooh Bear. If anyone knows a vet who could do this surgery for Pooh Bear without me having to pay $4500 that I don't have, please pass the word around.

Pooh Bear is healthy enough that he could live another 8-10 years if he has that surgery! If not, there is not that much time left and I can't stand the thought of it. I was asked recently if having several dogs, man fosters was probably easier when I lost one because I have the others to compensate. NO, it is not! Each and every one of them have their special place in my heart. Each of them are different and it is never easy to lose one, especially when I know there is something that could be done, but because I don't have the funds to pay for it, I will have to face losing my boy.

Please pray for a miracle for Pooh Bear. Please pray that the Lord will grant me the privilege of keep my boy many more years. I hear often: "I know what you do is tough sometimes, but you have to be strong." Today, I am allowing myself to be scared, to be worried, to be at loss. I am allowing myself to reach out for a miracle to happen and to be able to have my baby with me for many years to come.

I have always been told that when you send words, vibes in the cosmos, it will create movement, a return, and someone out there will catch these vibes and return them for something to happen. Today, I am sending this out in the cosmos... I am boldly asking for a miracle for Pooh Bear and I am asking for strenght to keep on taking care of this rescue.

There as been too many losses in my life since the end of the year and I cannot face another one right now. I gave it all I had.

Pooh Bear's mom, Linda

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Will My New Dog Adapt?

Sure, he will!  Given the chance, with time and patience from his new owner, he will.  On adoption day, many have asked the question: "How long does it take a dog to adapt to his new home?"  I read that the general response to this question is to expect 6 weeks of adaptation period.  I have seen dogs who blended in the same day they arrived at their new home and some who took weeks, months and, in extreme cases, a couple of years.

I adopted a few of these extreme cases.  For instance, my Yorkie Clyde, my Shih Tzu Soleil who took 2 1/2 years to trust me.  I am presently fostering a very cute Poodle/Bichon Frise mix who was with us for several months, was adopted and came back after almost 6 months.  Why?  Difficulty to adapt to new people.  Orbit is afraid of many things and most people.  He came back to me and I have had him for several months after his return.  He is improving slowly, but it will take more time.

I got to think about how quickly some dogs adapt and how slowly some others do.  Then I asked myself, how did I handle change in my life when it occurred?  How well or fast did I adapt?  I am French-Canadian born and raised, from Montreal, QC, Canada.  I lived there for the first 45 years of my life.  In March 2001, I decided to move to Texas and establish myself in a new life, new goals, new everything.  I left what I knew; family, friends, country, job...  I thought it would be a piece of cake.  I was the furthest from the truth.  When I landed at DFW on March 31, 2001, I never imagined it would take me 1 1/2 years to adapt to my new home, laws, culture, city; I felt disoriented for a good period of time.  I didn't have friends, no family, no clue of where was what.  To say it was hard is an understatement.  Many times I contemplated going back home because I thought I couldn't make it.

I grieved for my home, my native language, my family, my friends, the snow, the country.  Tears were shed, many times.   I persisted and finally adapted and I am very happy I did because I met great people in Texas, made friends, adopted wonderful dogs.  During those years, I had a serious accident that resulted in two back surgeries, knee and hip surgery and severe nerve damage.  I am permanently partially disabled.  And I thought..."Here we go again!"  Something else to adapt to.  It took several years of physical therapy, treatments, surgeries, medication to be able to work and walk again.  Because of my left leg and foot being numb, I slip and fall very often.  I cannot look in front of me when I walk or I will trip on something.  I have to look where I put my foot since I don't feel what I walk on, or I will fall.  Did I adapt overnight? Gosh no!  It's been since 2006 and I still trip and fall when I walk because I have not yet adapted to looking down instead of looking ahead or I will fall on my face!

During the course of my life, I was told after several years of not feeling well, that I had Celiac Syndrome and had to change my diet to a gluten-free.  I had to leave behind everything I enjoyed eating for a completely different way of eating and living.  How did that go?  Well, I needed the help of a dietitian to help me adapt to new tastes and foods.  It is true for every change we go through; from a death of a family member or a friend, to getting or losing a job, getting divorced, meeting someone new, menopause, and as common as having new glasses or dentures to wear!

I understand what adapting is about and cannot, and will never give a time frame to anyone asking me how long their new dog will take to adapt.  I know that, without the patience and understanding of the people around me, I would not have made it.  Our new companion deserves and needs the same support that we expect and hope to get with any change in our life.  The changes in HIS life (being relinquished to rescue, new forever home, new pack members, new food, new habits, new training methods, abandonment, neglect,  etc.) will need our patience and understanding... and lots of love.

How long does it take for a dog to adapt to his new home?  Does it really matter?  As long as the reward is a faithful, loyal, loving companion, it really doesn't matter.

Linda Van Asveld
Sheree's Dog Rescue

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Perfect Dog

Unfortunately folks, it does not exist.  I talk with adopters on a daily basis and I hear all kinds of requests regarding what a dog should be to be their perfect new family member.  From being 100% house trained to perfectly obedient, to non-barking, non-shedding, non-this, non-that.

The dog they think is so cute must also be laid back, but playful, well behaved but not boring, obedient but inquisitive, be a guardian but not bark or bite.  The coat must be non-shedding but they don't have time to brush daily and must not be too costly to maintain.  Fido must adapt immediately to a new schedule, food, home, family; he must not react to the traumatic change by having diarrhea or throwing up on the carpet.  He must not cry at night because he is lost and afraid, not understanding what is happening to him... again.

He must get along with the other animals already living in the house as he comes in and must not have any aggressive response to their probing, sniffing, growling or dominant behavior because he will immediately be returned for being anti-social.

Knowing where is place is in his new environment on the very first day is mandatory.  Playing on cue so the new owners can fuss over how good and pleasant he is, is not an option.  Behaving like he has always lived with his new family, not being skittish when meeting the whole neighborhood the very same day he goes to his new home is a given!

I ask myself how many of us, humans, would do everything right, know it all and not be nervous on our very first day on a new job.  How many would not make mistakes, be pleasant, feel comfortable on the first day you work with a new crew and learn a new trade.

Practice makes perfect... PRACTICE, TIME, PATIENCE, TOLERANCE, LOVE; a lot of it is what we all need to become "almost" perfect.  If us, humans, cannot achieve perfection, why do we expect it from our dog(s).  Why are we so intolerant with the animal who worships us the most, regardless of our flaws, lack of   good judgement and patience.  Why are we expecting perfection when we know it is impossible for any animal or human to be flawless.

We have had dogs in our rescue who lived with us from several months to several years before being ready to be adopted to a new family.  The trauma they endured was too overwhelming for them to adapt to anything else.  With time, patience, training, and a lot of love, cuddles and praise, most turned the corner and made it to their new forever home.

When I have people adopting one of my dogs call me after a few hours to return him because he doesn't play with their current pet or doesn't want to go tinkle outside, or is not hungry that day, I simply lose my wig!  Give it time, be patient and let dogs be dogs.  Give your new companion what you would like to be awarded if you would have to go through the same changes... Time, understanding, patience, tolerance, and lots of love.

Let dogs be dogs and communicate together and set boundaries for each other.  They will figure it out.  Short of drawing blood, don't try to mingle in dog talk; let them sort it out, while supervising.  Many dogs came and left my house and my rescue to be adopted since 2004... something like 500.  To say we never had problems would not be true, but we have never had a serious problem with any of them but 2!

Before getting a dog, do your homework on the breed, the gender, the type of personality to be sure it is what will suit you best.  Be ready to house train, leash train, do obedience training and have patience with your new friend.  

People don't want to be disturbed in their ways and don't want to put an effort in working with their new companion.  Dogs are so much smarter than we are.  They feel things about us and they are on target, and we cannot even figure out, most of the time, why they are distressed, what makes them happy.  We are not in touch with how and why they react to what is going on around them and what affects them.  I don't know anyone who was born knowing it all.  We went to school, we had parents to teach us manner and how to deal with everything happening around us.  Dogs are like us.  They need us to teach them what we expect of them.  They were not born knowing that their new owners will have a cream carpet in the dining room and they are expected to never drool, have an upset tummy, muddy paws on that precious carpet.

When I explain this to adopters, the usual answer is: "Oh, of course, I understand that and a few accidents are not big deal."  Two days, a week later, I get a call about returning the dog because they expected him/her to be house trained and they "cannot deal with that".  "I have a beautiful home and I don't want my carpets and furniture to be messed up or disturbed...  I paid a lot of money for my stuff and I don't want dog pee on it...  I thought "the dog" was housebroken...  Why doesn't he play?...  My daughter wants to dress him up and he runs away from her...  My kids try to catch him and he goes and hides under the table...  Why is he panting?.. "  These are only a few of the things I hear regularly from people who expected "the perfect dog".

Come to think of it, the perfect dog does exist... It's a plush toy.

Linda Van Asveld
Sheree's Dog Rescue


Friday, July 2, 2010

Dawson, Oklahoma Puppymill Rescue

Dawson is a 4-pound senior Yorkshire Terrier recently rescued from an Oklahoma puppymill. He is a total darling; he has the cutest personality too!

Dawson was scheduled for neutering, updating on shots and heartworm testing. We also asked our vet to clean his teeth as his breath was just horrible.

The vet told us Dawson lost all his teeth but four. I also learned that his jaw had been broken! His teeth had exposed roots, infected gums AND the jaw was broken.

Dawson had a lot of difficulty to eat due to all these issues. Shortly after the dental cleaning, he woke up normally but soon crashed and became very lethargic. He was put on IV fluids and he was given B12 and dextrose.

We brought him home a few days later and we monitored him constantly as he didn't want to eat and was so weak. We force fed him with Esbilac and special food with a syringe. For several days, we really thought Dawson would not make it. I finally did. He started to eat on his own and regained some strength.

Dawson is on antibiotics for several weeks to get rid of the gum infection. He will also need to have his jaw treated. He will have to have a metal wire inserted in his jaw to help it heal and solidify. Then, Dawson should be able to completely eat on his own.

We were quoted a fee of $600 for the surgery to repair his jaw. You can help by contributing to Dawson's Jaw Surgery.

No amount is too small; every penny counts!

Heartworm Treatment for Eli

Eli is a very sweet and happy 2-year old Yorkshire Terrier/Australian Terrier mix. He was found a stray by a good samaritan who kept him for one month. The family took him to the vet to have shots and found out he was heartworm positive. They could not afford the treatment so they made the decision to release him to rescue.

Eli needs to be treated as soon as possible. He is only 2 years old and cannot be adopted until the treatment is done. Eli is a big boy, he weighs 12 pounds. He is a Yorkshire Terrier/Australian Terrier mix.

The heartworm treatment cost is according to the weight of the dog. The veterinarian quoted us at $400 to treat Eli. He needs to be treated so his heart will not have permanent damage.

Please help us treat Eli by contributing to his treatment.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Holiday Season is near and we are thinking of a special gift for a grandson, granddaughter or our mom who lives alone and would love company. What about making them a big surprise this Christmas and offer them a cute little pup or kittie? They probably would love it!...Not.

Every year, people are offered pets that they didn't expect to care for, don't have space or time for. How many times have I taken a foster pet because someone was offered a little pup and just didn't want it. Nobody asked if they wanted a dog or a cat, what breed they prefer and if they expected the yearly basic expenses a pet could cost. We are not talking about anything else the pet could have, like ear infection, yearly dental, shots, etc.

Unfortunately, in January of each year, we, in rescue, are swamped with dogs and cats abandoned by their owners or simply given to shelters or rescue groups... Owners who didn't expect getting a pet and didn't have the time, budget and the need for a pet.

So many of them are turned in by their owners because the pup just doesn't know how to deal with a baby or a young child pulling their ears or tail and the dog snaps and bites. So many are turned in because the owners "expect" them to know the minute they are in their new home that they MUST NOT have accidents on the beautiful carpet. They should know the owner will be annoyed if they are not housetrained within a week. Most of them spend their whole day crated and are allowed to get out only a couple of hours before going back in for the night and are never taken out for a walk.

If you consider giving someone a pet for the Holidays, please ask that someone first if he/she really wants a pet, expect what the implications of having a pet are financially and if they will bond with a particular breed.

Ask if they will make time for their new pet to bond and go for walks.

Are they allowed to have pets where they live? Do they have a secure environment for the pet (secure fence, no possibility of slipping under the fence, etc.).

How many hours will the pet be alone during the day?

Do they have a designated area in the house for the pet to have space to move at will?

Will the pet be left outside 24/7 exposed to all weather ailments and temperatures, chained, without a dog house to cover from the sun and rain?

If they move, will they bring the pet with them? Would they keep the pet or rehome it?

Will they be bathed and groomed regularly or have nails so long they grow back in the pads and the coat so matted it will stop them from lying down or opening their eyes?

Will they give them heartworm preventive so they stay healthy and make sure they are not infested with ticks and fleas?

If you get a dog of breeds prone to dry eye condition, will it get the daily eye drops it needs to keep his vision?

Pets are not disposable, they are not "surprises", they are living and breathing creatures, just like us. They feel fear, insecurity, pain, affection just like we do. They are faithful and loving no matter what. They deserve to be loved and cared for just like humans need.

If someone would come to me and pull my hair, my ear or slap me, guess what? I would turn around and bite too! It is asking too much from a pet to react differently when it is physically hurt. The pet needs to be trained and the child or adult who does things like that to a pet, educated big time!

In case you consider offering a pet for Christmas, please ask questions BEFORE. If you get a negative answer to any one of these questions, please DO NOT offer that person or family a pet as a gift. They will not commit to that animal.

Never offer a pet because little Johnny or Lucy loves puppies and finds them sooo cute and would love to "play" with it. Pets are not toys! The pup is likely to grow up and be bigger than the family as space for. Lab pups are gorgeous but they grow to be much bigger than a Yorkie! Plan ahead before getting a pet.

Never buy a pet from a pet store, or a backyard breeder or someone parked in the parking lot of a big retail store selling pups on the side of the road. You are likely to buy a sick pup. If you do, you keep them in business.

Generally, these breeders will never let you see their breeding facilities. They will not want you to see the conditions of high neglect the puppy mill moms and dads live in. They will not want to be reported to Humane Society and lose their source of income. They will not want you to see that their breeder dogs are starved and filthy, never get their shots and more often then not have severe health issues, have heartworm disease, and are bred to death. They won't spend money on good food or eye drops... that would take away from the money in their pocket.

Once the breeder dogs are weak and only produce 1 or 2 pups per litter, they dump them and leave them to die. The lucky ones are rescued.

Unfortunately, that is what the pet buyers don't get to see. They protect their nasty filthy facilities well hidden from the public eye. Again, pets are not disposable. They should not be used to make money out of.

If you talked to the person you want to offer a pet to for any occasion, all the conditions have been thought of thoroughly and the live or your new pet have been well planned, please consider adopting a pet. So many of them need a good home, love and the best care, patience, and they will reward you with their unconditional love a hundred times fold!

Also consider adopting an adult or senior dog or cat if you prefer your house to be on the quiet side... They make absolutely great companions given the chance.

Please don't expect your new pet to "know" it should not soil the tile or carpet. They don't but they can learn. All it needs is patience, training and love. Obedience classes help solidify the bond between you and your dog and will build his confidence.

As I write this blog, I look at my 6 rescued puppy mill dogs lying all around me. Some I have had for longer than the others. One is brand new. I lost a few too soon due to the effect of years of severe neglect. I look in their eyes and can see the love and thankfulness for having found a home where they are loved no matter their health issues, age and fears. Time heals.

Pets are not disposable. If you already have pets, please have them spayed or neutered if it's not already done. Don't use them to increase your income and sell them to families where you don't know what kind of care they will receive. They will live a better life and will be much easier to train.

Pets are not disposable. Whether it is a Rottweiler, a Poodle or a Chihuahua, they need the same care, love, attention. Size doesn't matter, age doesn't matter. Don't buy a Rottie to "guard" the house and leave it chained outside 24 hours a day. They will eventually go crazy and aggressive. Wouldn't you?

Pets are not disposable. They are in our lives to be loved, to be our faithful companions and to love unconditionally.

Humans are not disposable, pets aren't either. Think twice before getting a pet for someone or yourself. After you did and you really want a pet and will do everything needed to insure it a good life of love and care, go for it and consider adopting your new friend.