Why You SHOULD NOT Adopt an Older Dog

In preparing to foster Sargent I read numerous articles about ‘why you want to adopt a senior dog.’ Instead of listing the reasons why I think adopting a senior dog is a great idea, I am going to tell you all the reasons why you don’t want to adopt an elderbull, especially one as wonderful as Sargent.
 DSC_0374You SHOULD NOT adopt an older dog if:

  1. You want a dog that you have to spend hours training, instead of an instant companion that already knows commands and can walk on a leash very well.
  2. You want a dog that is constantly on the go and never settles down, instead of one with a good amount of energy, but loves nothing more than to lay with you on the couch.
  3. You want a dog that you have to walk for hours every day, instead of one or two short walks around the block.
  4. You don’t want a dog that you already know his personality and you would prefer to take a chance on a puppy who’s personality could change over time.
  5. You don’t want a dog that will love you more than anything in the entire world and who is just grateful for your love.
  6. You prefer to constantly watch, monitor and clean up after a younger pup.
  7. You don’t want to save a life and are fine knowing that older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first euthanized at a shelter.
  8. A few years seems like too much of a commitment.
  9. You don’t feel bad that after almost a lifetime with someone else they are now in need of a soft place to land to live out their golden years.
  10. You don’t like the salt and pepper ‘distinguished’ gentleman look.

DSC_0513If the reasons stated above do not apply to you, and you feel like you DO want to adopt an older dog, I happen to know one that would be perfect for pretty much anyone. He is handsome, well trained, pretty low energy, but still acts like a young pup even at 12 years old. Sargent is the perfect dog and is available for adoption!

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Nola Muffin Monday: On Zeus, and Having Three Dogs

Let’s face it, I’m a picky dog. I generally TOLERATE all other dogs, LIKE a pretty good amount, but I only LOVE a select few (especially when they are living at MY house). So you can imagine my surprise that after only 4 days, I was well on my way to loving a new dog that my parents brought home. And no, it’s not my foster bro Sarge, I am still in the tolerate phase with him. My new buddy’s name is Zeus.
IMG_3972Last week, Mom picked me up from Camp and I took a snooze on the car ride home, just like I usually do. But when we got home, there was a strange black dog on the deck with Dad. Of course, I had to let him know that I did not approve of him being there with my patented half growl, half bark. All I could think was, ‘They brought home ANOTHER dog?!’ Mom told me to relax, he is jut visiting for a few days, and put on my harness so we could take a walk. The black dog and Dad came with us. When we walked next to each other and I got a whiff of him, I realized he wasn’t half bad. Dad said his name was Zeus and that I had to be nice to him because he is Dad’s boss’ dog. (Haven’t I heard that one before?).

Zeus seems like a big name for a small-ish dog, with a cat like, fluffy tail, but who am I to judge? Besides the fact that he stopped to pee on EVERYTHING (ghawd, why do boys feel the need to do that?), I enjoyed our walk very much. Mom and Dad let us play in the back yard too. He didn’t seem all that impressed with my play-bows and boxer moves, but he got with the program and at least let me chase him for a bit.
IMG_4014 IMG_4010He seemed a little scared in the house, maybe it was because he had never met us all before. Sargent picked on him a little and tried to hump him too, but Mom and Dad protected poor Zeus just like they do for me. I tried to tell him to just stay clear or the big lug, which he did, when he stole my spot on the couch. But Sargent wanted to sleep next to him, so they both shared my spot.
IMG_4037Eventually he got the hang of dealing with ol’ Sarge and they napped together quite a bit.
IMG_4020 IMG_4022Now let me just tell you, I like Zeus more than the average dog that Mom and Dad bring home, but with two ‘others’ in the house it felt a bit crowded. I tried to find a spot on the couch, but decided I needed my own space and slept on my bed.three dogs IMG_4017I stayed in the living room so I could keep an eye on everyone, but man, am I glad none of them tried to snuggle with me.
nola-bed-zeusOn Saturday Mom and Dad brought me and Zeus for a long walk on one of my favorite trails. Sargent got his own walk then stayed home because he’s too old and can’t keep up with us young-ins. For the first half of the walk Zeus just peed on everything and I stayed close to Mom and Dad. Then, I decided enough was enough and it was play time. We discovered a stream and found out it was fun to run through the mud and jump from bank to bank. When we got to the part where there is a big field, I showed Zeus my track star like speed. He couldn’t keep up, so I slowed down for him a little so he would still play. We were so tired when we got home.

IMG_3980While Zeus was at our house he slept all alone on the couch in the living room at bed time. Dad is still sleeping downstairs with Sargent, so I had the bed all to myself (oh, and Mom). But, Zeus was lonely so he wanted to come up on the bed too. I was ok with it, which doesn’t happen very often, so Mom let him come up and we all snuggled before it was time to get up. Before he left to go home to his family, I even let his snuggle with me…just a little.
IMG_4034I liked Zeus a lot, but am glad we are back to only having two dogs in the house. Two is still one too many. I do hope that Zeus can come back and play again soon, but only on a temporary basis!

(Now we just have to find a place for Sargent to go…)

Why Crusies are Like Pit Bulls

For two weeks before, and still two weeks after vacation, I have been dealing with all the negative comments people have about cruises. They watched the news and saw the horror stories of ships breaking down recently. They said to me: “It must be so awful being confined on a ship like that,” or “I would never want to go on a cruise,” or “Bring a poop bag for the ship!” All of the people that made theses comments have never even been on a cruise. How could they judge something that I love with no previous experience or knowledge on the subject? Why were they letting a few stories in the media influence their opinion and then feel the need to tell me how horrible they are? I’ve been on 5 different cruises and can say I have never had a bad experience. Why won’t people give cruises a chance?
cruiseAs I was sitting in my doctor’s office this morning, again defending my reasons for choosing to take a cruise for vacation, I had an epiphany. Cruises are just like pit bulls.

When you Google ‘Carnival Cruise’ here are the headlines you get:

  • Man sentenced to 20 years for gang-rape of teen on cruise
  • Are Cruise Ships Safe? Carnival Cruises‘ Triumphant Fall From Grace
  • Carnival Triumph Adrift: Cruise Ship Breaks Loose In Mobile, Alabama

When you Google ‘Pit Bulls’ here are the headlines you get:

  • Pit bulls removed from slaying site headed to Boise
  • Boy, 7, dies four days after being savaged by pit bulls
  • Teaching pit bulls to be nice

See any similarities? Because the media focuses on negatives, you never hear positive things in the news. Bad, scary things are news. Good, happy things are boring. Media outlets don’t report on fantastic cruise vacations just like they don’t report on ‘pit bulls’ who are therapy dogs and wonderful family pets. While it is true that some cruise lines have had issues, and for the people who were stranded for days with no power on a ship it must have been horrible, but that is the minority. Not all cruises are bad, just like not all pit bulls are bad. It is wrong to label the whole cruise industry after a couple negative incidents, and it is the same thing people have been doing to pit bulls for years. The entire breed is not viscous and dangerous, just because individual dogs might show these characteristics.
IMG_3441I have been defending pit bulls for the past several years, and cruises for the past several weeks. What I’ve learned with both topics is that it is easy to get frustrated when you feel defensive about something you love. It is hard to change the mind of people who have no experience with whatever you are defending. I like to have a few points in my back pocket that I can count on if you get into a discussion about something. But what I’ve found is that you aren’t always going to get the results you want. It is hard to change someone’s uneducated opinion. If more people would read about the positive pit bull stories or give pit bulls a chance in person, I believe they would change their opinion of them as being scary aggressive dogs.
side by side couchBut, not everyone will do that, just like not everyone will give cruises a try. All you can do is love them and change people’s opinion by being a good example.

Introducing Sargent!

It’s cliché, but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.

For about a week the Mr. and I were struggling to decide on a dog to foster. It was down to two, one 12 year old boxer/pit mix and one 2 year old pit mix. The dogs needed to get out of the shelter for different reasons, but both had been there too long for their own good. We, a bit selfishly, had different reasons for wanting to take each dog, including ease of transition into our house, time commitment to training, and which one would have a better chance of getting adopted if we took them in.

Before we could make a final decision, the 2 year old got adopted. After being in the shelter for 5 months, the weekend we had to decide, a decision was made for us! As I eluded to on the Facebook page Friday, the two things I checked off my rescue bucket list are walking a dog out of the shelter and fostering a senior! Meet Sargent!
IMG_3913We picked up Sargent from the NHSPCA, a shelter that has worked with BURN to foster their pitties that don’t do well in a shelter environment. Everyone their said how great of a dog he was and were sad (but happy!) to see him go. He was so wiggly and wagged his tail so much that almost every picture I took that night was blurry.

IMG_3893Sarge was brought into the shelter after 5 years with his previous owner due to housing issues. He wasn’t neutered, but since coming to the shelter he had the surgery. He has lived with other dogs, kids, and cats. His information said he is crate trained, house trained and walks well on leash. So far, we agree with most of these statements.

He and Nola have not spent a whole lot of time together yet. They have had several on leash walks together, in which they did great. Our first meet and greet in our yard didn’t go all that well. Sargent seems to be missing the part of his anatomy that got snipped at the shelter, because he was much too interested in mounting Nola. Just as any shelf-assured girl would do, Nola would not have it. So, we need to keep an eye on that situation and figure out how to curb that behavior.

He also did not appreciate our set up at bed time. In our house, Nola is the queen of the people bed and fosters are not allowed up unless we say it’s ok. The crate is set up in mine and the Mr.’s bedroom and that is where temporary guests get to sleep. In this case, I bought an orthopedic crate pad, a pillow and two snuggly blankets for Mr. Sargent. He was not happy about it and has cried, whined and barked until the Mr. gave in and slept with him on the couch. We have some work to do figuring out a sleeping situation that works for us all.
IMG_3924Overall, even after just a few days, we can tell Sargent is a great dog. He is very obedient, friendly, walks very well on a leash and is overall just a nice boy. His ears are so adorable because one stands straight up and one folds over. He has a surprising amount of energy for an elderbull, and loves to go on walks. He didn’t mind bath time at all (which was good because he STUNK after we got home from the shelter), and he loves to play with toys (balls, not so much). He has the biggest head I have ever seen on a dog his size, and he uses it to give you kisses and lay on your legs. He wants nothing more than to be with us and we’re happy we can give him that.

Know anyone who wants to add an adorable elderbull to their family? Please spread the word about Sarge: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/25845462

Rescue Bucket List

I realized when I got back from vacation that I had forgotten that the Mr. and I just passed a couple of big milestones. The first was the one year anniversary of when we got our very first foster, Laynie. It was one year ago that I drove home after being in Boston for five days for work, picked up the Mr., and then drove another 45 minutes north to get Laynie. When we met her she was bouncing off the walls and the Mr. and I were afraid of what we got ourselves into. It took some adjustment time (read about it here, here and here) but soon we fell in love with Laynie and with fostering.
IMG_1681The other milestone was that I started this blog right around the same time as Laynie came into our lives. I originally just wanted a place to write about and share photos of Nola, but soon discovered that it was a wonderful resource to write about fosters to help get them adopted. Through this blog, I have ‘met’ so many wonderful people and I have learned so much about the world of rescue, fostering, and dogs in general. The network that I have uncovered over the past year has been invaluable. I am excited to keep learning, making more connections, and saving more dogs!
IMG_1606Looking back, and forward at the same time, I have begun a list of things I want to accomplish through rescue. With all the information I’ve gathered from reading other blogs, following rescues, and volunteering, I have started to realize the scope of the problems rescues are facing. Shelters are full, some are still euthanizing perfectly healthy dogs, strays run rampant in some parts of the country, and BSL is threatening to make things worse. As I get deeper and deeper into the world of rescue sometimes I feel like ignorance was bliss, but then again, I am glad I know what I know now so I can help. I know I can not save them all, which believe it or not was a hard realization to come to, but there are certain types of dogs that I have been thinking that I want to rescue for one reason or another. So, without further adieu, here is my rescue bucket list:

  1. Rescue a dog directly from a shelter- literally walk the dog out of the shelter and into my home (and heart!).
  2. Foster, rescue or adopt a senior dog who can live out the rest of his or her golden years in a loving environment.
  3. Rescue/foster a momma AND her puppies.
  4. Foster a little dog (30 pounds or under).
  5. Become a foster failure!

The last one might seem like a strange goal to some of you in the fostering world. But to me, fostering first and really being able to see how another dog fits into our lives would be the best thing for us. Nola is very tolerant of other dogs in her home, but to officially add another four legged member to our family I would need her approval first. I love EVERY dog and want to keep them all. But, it’s the ‘queen of the castle’ that needs to make the decision for us.
IMG_1352 What do you think of my list? Do you have a ‘to-do’ list having to do with dogs or rescue?

Nola Muffin Monday: How I Spent Easter

Hey Everyone! Mom hasn’t let me blog in a long time. She says she’s been busy, and if busy means not being home very much than she has been VERY busy. But, she was home this weekend because it was Easter. I’m not really sure why we celebrate Easter, but I got to do some fun things anyway. First, and not very much fun, Mom made me pose with stupid rabbit ears on. They were heavy and I didn’t like them much, but I got lots of treats if I sat there, so I did.
DSC_0165DSC_0191 DSC_0201Then when I decided we were done, I took the ears and ran around all silly in the backyard. THAT was fun!
DSC_0199 DSC_0204 DSC_0205 DSC_0206 DSC_0211We also got to go to the beach. I wish there was still snow there, I love running in the dunes with the snow. Mom seemed to be happy it was warm and she didn’t have to put her boots on. The water was really low so I had LOTS of beach to play on.
IMG_3843

Really?! I have to sit and pose again?

Really?! I have to sit and pose again?

I also explored the little pools of water. I saw this little creature moving all funny so I went to check it out. Mom started yelling “Leave it!” just when I got close enough to sniff it. I don’t know what the big deal was, but she gave me a treat for being a good dog and listening to her and not touching it.
IMG_3850Then, later in the afternoon we played ‘find it’! ‘Find it’ is my FAVORITE game. Usually we play it with Teri in the big blue room or in our basement, but today we played outside. Mom filled these round things with chicken and put them in the yard for me to find. She said she stole borrowed the idea from Athena’s mom at Pitlandia. (Hi Athena! Thanks for having such a smart mom so mine can get ideas from her!)
DSC_0218 DSC_0216 DSC_0230DSC_0252At first I wasn’t sure how to get the chicken out. Then I realized if I used my paw enough it broke and out popped the yummies!
DSC_0258 DSC_0250 DSC_0242 DSC_0223 DSC_0227DSC_0266Easter must be really special because on top of all that other fun stuff, Mom and Dad  made ham and I got to have a few bites! (But only when I sat nicely on my mat.) So, to recap: I got treats, went to the beach, played ‘find it,’ ate chicken, then ate ham. Best.day.ever.

DSC_0159Hope you all enjoyed Easter as much as I did!