My Time with Ryder

There’s a new dog in my life and his name is Ryder. Although he is not a foster, he is the focus of my free time and volunteering, and I love him.
Ryder 5

Since we foster failed last time and Sarge became a permanent member of our family, our fostering days are over for now. But I still wanted to help dogs in need. I have also wanted to find an organization here in Maine that doesn’t import more dogs into the state, but that helps dogs who need homes here. Luckily, I came across Buddy Up Animal Society whose mission is to help last chance dogs in shelters right here in the state. I contacted them and then met Ryder.

Ryder, like so many other ‘rescue’ dogs, has had a rough beginning to his life. I will spare you the details, but he has had some issues with other dogs, which has made a foster arrangement difficult. He has been in shelters/rescue for over two years. Right now, he is in boarding at a local daycare facility. He loves people so much that being kept in a kennel for most of the day is not ideal for him.
ryderflyer

Because of his lack of a consistent schedule and owner, Ryder really needed a brush up on some of his manners. That is where I came in. He and I enrolled in a six week obedience class geared towards bully breeds, called “Good Bully.” Every Friday night I picked up the handsome boy and we drove down to Finish Forward Dogs, a training studio that is extremely generous in helping train rescue dogs.
ryder class 2

The first night was a little bumpy. He was figuring me out and I was trying to understand him. I could see he had major potential and an eagerness to please, he just has had no rules and boundaries to live by. It was clear that he craves attention from people…and chicken treats! As the weeks went by Ryder’s personality and intelligence shined. He already had a solid sit, but we worked on down, down stays, leave it, place, and leash manners. I really looked forward to our time together each week. It felt like a partnership, and we were progressing together. He was learning manners, and I was learning how to teach manners, both with an end goal of finding him a forever family.Ryder class 5

By the end of the six weeks we had really bonded. I could tell he was happy to see me when I picked him up from boarding. Over the weeks I learned that he could get a little worked up in the car when he’s been in the kennel all day, so bully sticks became a weekly treat for the ride. He really loves food, treats and toys and I was happy to find any excuse to give him some!

To ‘graduate’ from the class Ryder had to pass several tests that included:
Leash Walking– Check, he followed me like a pro!
ryder class 1
15 foot Recall– Check, that boy will follow his people anywhere!
ryder class 4
Sit with no food– Check, he is a pro at this!
ryder class 3
Down with no food– Check, we worked hard on this one!
Stay while another dog walks by– Check, again, as long as you are in sight, he will do whatever you want!

He passed with flying colors and REALLY enjoyed picking out his stuffie at the end! Watch the video, it’s super cute!
IMG_5276

Ryder is really a wonderful dog. He charms everyone he meets, and the staff at the daycare and the trainers at Finish Forward have only great things to say about him. He’s snuggly and affectionate and so very handsome! Although in his past he’s had some issues with other dogs, he’s been improving and I don’t think he absolutely has to be the only dog in a household. Just look at him hanging out with other pups before class:
ryder class 6

It is all about finding the right home with the right dogs that will be the right fit for him. But, boy does he deserve it. He is such a love and has been homeless for way too long. He has so many less ‘issues’ than several of my previous fosters (ahem, Anna) so I can’t figure out why he is still without a family.

He and I are scheduled to take the next installment of the bully manners class, “Better Bully” this month. He is such a good boy and this next class will surely help him improve even more. After another six weeks of training I can only imagine how prepared and ready he will be to find his forever home!

Here is Ryder’s petfinder profile. If you know of anyone looking for an amazing dog to add to their family, please share Mr. Ryder. For more information, contact Buddy Up at info@buddyupanimalsociety.org.

Advertisements

Throw Back Thursday: How It All Started

In honor of Throw Back Thursday (and because I didn’t get a chance to finish my post about Sarge!) I wanted to share one of my very first posts, before most of you even knew M&M&NK existed. I hope it helps you understand our beginnings with Nola and why we started the blog (plus, there are cute puppy pictures of Muffin). Enjoy!

This is the face that started it all. We had been talking about getting a puppy for months. Then we found Nola, who at the time was called Camilla, and our journey began.

It was the day before Halloween. She was being transferred from a shelter in Alabama (like so many others), so we met the transport truck at a park and ride in New Hampshire. Of course we were the first in line, because as you’ll come to find out, I am a little bit of a worrier and like to be prepared. As she was handed to me off the truck the barrage of kisses began, and they haven’t stopped since.

Nola was our first dog ever. My family had a dog when I was little, but sadly she was hit by a car before I was old enough to really remember her. I have always been an animal lover, but my brother was allergic, so we could never have pets in the house. Jim’s family never had pets. We really had no idea how to train and take care of a puppy, but as stated above, I am a worry wart like to be prepared so I did all sorts of research before Nola came.

There was a point a couple weeks in when we thought we were over our heads with her. We were DINKS (dual income no kids) so having our schedules revolve around something other than ourselves was a tough adjustment. But, we figured it all out. We took training classes, learned all the places to go on and off leash, made mistakes, called the vet hundreds of times, and asked for advice from everyone we knew with dogs. Through it all I took tons of pictures and told all my colleagues at work every little cute, aggravating, silly and naughty things that Nola did.

This blog is a way for me to chronicle the trials and tribulations of Nola and everything we will go through in the future without having to bore my co-workers anymore. (To be fair, I work with pretty much all women, and the majority of them have kids. Telling my stories about Nola is really the only way I can relate to all their boring interesting stories about their children.) We have learned so much from her, not only about how to train puppies, but about how much we both love dogs and how much an animal can change your perspective on love. I consider blogs picture books for adults, so I promise to keep posts relatively short and focus on the photos I’ve taken of our adorable pup. I am excited to have a place to remember Nola’s puppy days (she is 18 months old now) and to write about all the new and exciting experiences we will have with her. I hope you all enjoy and fall in love with Nola as much as we did!

Old Dogs Can Be Disc Dogs Too!

One thing we discovered very quickly about Sarge is that he certainly does not have the energy level you would think a 14 year old dog should have. We started by only taking him for short walks around the block but when he was easily keeping up with Nola we decided to try walking them together. On weekends Nola usually gets at least an hour of off leash running time, either at the beach, the Eastern Trail, the disc golf course, or Fuller Farm. We weren’t sure Sarge could take that much, but we tried anyway figuring he would at least trot along with us while Nola ran her heart out.
IMG_4131What we discovered when we went to the disc golf course was that Sarge likes to chase discs too! He does this adorable run where he throws up both front paws and sorta hops. It’s like he gets a burst of puppy energy!
IMG_4124 IMG_4129He does not have a soft mouth like Nola, so we made sure to use a disc we didn’t care if he chomped on.
IMG_4125Although he can’t run with the speed or chase the disc the distance that Nola can, he had so much fun and looked so happy to be out playing. This guy is seriously amazing. I have looked over his paperwork multiple times since we picked him up from the shelter to make sure he was actually 14. Judging only on his disc chasing, I would say he wasn’t a day over age 6!
IMG_4135

The Definition of Food Motivated

If you look up “food motivated dog” in the dictionary on Google, the first thing you should see is a picture of Sarge. He is epitomizes the phrase “will work for food.”DSC_0562The phrase I would use to describe Sarge is that the way to his heart is through his stomach. He is the happiest when he is eating or chewing something.
DSC_0490Half of the pictures I have taken of him have a Kong in them.
DSC_0381DSC_0574Whether it’s a treat dispensing toy, just plain old cheese, or a scoop of peanut butter this dog will do ANYTHING for a morsel.
DSC_0442You know what Sarge would do even with no food? LOVE YOU. If you are interested in adopting this amazing elderbull, please fill out an application with BURN.

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?

Vacation Recap: Top Five Best Moments

Originally I intended to write about our entire vacation. But, for the sake of time, and your boredom, I decided to pick the top five experiences to share with you. So here it goes:

5. Finding dog stuff to take photos of/with.

At Universal, the gift shop had stuffies of Hagrid’s dog.
DSCN1831Apparently in this photo, taken at Toon Town in Universal, I was supposed to pretend that Marmaduke was dragging me. Now, it just looks like I’m floating.
DSCN1829On the cruise ship, there was a statue of a bulldog.
photo-1 copyI have to be honest, I tried NOT to look for dogs when we were in port. Some of the islands (Haiti and Jamaica) are pretty poor, so I was afraid what I would see. Luckily, I didn’t see too many strays, as we tended to stay in very ‘touristy’ areas, when we weren’t on a beach.

4. Getting to hold a baby turtle.
DSCN1900
Grand Cayman is home to the world’s largest turtle farm. They breed thousands of endangered sea turtles and release them into the wild. It was awesome to see all different species and turtles in all different life stages. We even got to hold baby turtles! They like getting their chins scratched. Apparently it calms them down.
DSCN1876 DSCN1859 DSCN1907DSCN1914DSCN1937DSCN1906DSCN1891Sparky is the oldest and biggest turtle there, weighing in at 500 pounds.
DSCN1923We saw the breeding turtles get fed. It looked like large bags of dog kibble! I can’t adequately say how cool this experience was for a turtle lover like myself!
DSCN1956DSCN1957

3. Exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Mr. and I love Harry Potter, so it was only natural for us to plan a day at Universal when we decided to fly into the Orlando airport. The replica of Hogwarts was massive, and looked exactly like it does in the movie. You walk through the whole castle and at the end it’s a ride that simulates riding a broom. I really only saw half of the ride, because it shut down right in the middle! It was such a bummer because it looses a bit of the ‘magic’ when you can see the screens and the tracks that the ride is on. I was just thankful that the car I was in was right side up and I wasn’t stuck dangling upside down!
DSCN1801 DSCN1798 DSCN1795 DSCN1835While at Universal we also saw a Matchbox 20 concert and a Mardi Gras parade. It was a great way to kick off our vacation!

2. Seeing the Cozumel Humane Society booth in the cruise terminal.
DSCN1972
It was such a surprise to walk off the ship and find an animal shelter booth set up in amongst all the touristy shops. But I was so happy we did! It was toward the end of the cruise and I was missing Nola terribly. When we turned the corner and saw the puppy, the Mr. and I stopped dead in our tracks. We went right over and gave her belly rubs and ear scratches. We spoke with the gentleman manning the booth for a while. He said that he brings a new dog to the terminal every day to get donations and spread the word. He said the stray dog population in Cozumel has been reduced significantly since the Humane Society got involved. They are a no-kill shelter and try to educate about spaying and neutering. They had all sorts of little souvenirs for dogs, so we donated and got Nola a bone. Even our mere $20 was received by the man like it was a million dollars. He told us that even just $20 could help 4 or 5 (out of the 60!) dogs already in the shelter.
DSCN1971 DSCN1970 DSCN1973 DSCN1974

We went back after we got back from the beach, but the puppy had left for the day.

DSCN1976 1. Coming home to this face.
photo-1 copy 2
The Mr. and I had an amazing time on our vacation, but by the end we really missed our Nola Muffin. She had a great time with my parents, and even though I purchased an international text plan to be able to check in, everything went fine. Nola got to go to the beach with Pepere everyday for an hour or two! She was so tired when we finally got home, that she went right onto our bed and didn’t move until the next morning. We had a great time, but it’s nice to get back into the routine of ever day living. Next time we go away on vacation it will be with Nola and somewhere in the U.S.!
photo-1

Adopt a Dog Night

The Mr. and I are involved with several different rescue organizations and shelters here in Maine. But our love for dogs and passion for rescue reaches into our professional lives as well. Especially the Mr.-he works with the AHL Affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team, the Portland Pirates, selling corporate sponsorships. In other words, he sells the signage on the dasher boards, in the arena, gets the giveaway items and also organizes game promotions.
pirates He is currently planning an event with our favorite doggy daycare, Camp Bow Wow, who also works with rescues to foster adoptable pups at camp, to plan an adopt a dog night on Friday, March 29th. It’s such a great event, people can go and watch a night of hockey and also meet a bunch of adoptable pups!
AdoptADogNightIf you’re local to Portland and would like to go to the game that night (3/29, 7:00pm), you can buy discounted tickets and part of the proceeds of every ticket purchased will be donated to Canine Commitment! In addition,Camp Bow Wow will be on hand in the Main Lobby throughout the game with a number of dogs looking for “FURever” homes! You can purchase your tickets here. And, as if that’s not enough, if you stop by the Camp Bow Wow table in the Main Lobby on game night to make a donation of cash, food or a dog toy you will receive 2 tickets to a future Pirates game!

If you’re not local, but are feeling especially generous and would like to help support this great rescue any donation amount would be appreciated! Donate Now!

Nola LOVES Camp Bow Wow, and we love that they are more than just a doggie daycare. We hope you can help us help support their cause!

Nola being silly at camp.

Nola being silly at camp.

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month Giveaway!

Usually, I can’t stand all these made up ‘days’ and ‘months’ to celebrate. National Grapefruit Month? National Flag Month? Really? But when a topic comes around that is actually beneficial and can help raise awareness for a certain cause, I am on board. For instance, October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Nola was adopted from a shelter, and as  the pet population continues to grow, more and more dogs are ending up in shelters all around the country. So, I am happy to support this month and educate people as to why they should adopt a shelter dog. Here are the top three reasons I think people should adopt a shelter dog:

1. You’ll save a life, or two. When you adopt you won’t only be saving one dog, you will help free-up space for other animals in need.

2. You’ll know what you’re getting. Most shelters and rescue organizations do assessments on every new pet taken in, to determine things like temperament, whether the pet has any aversion to other pets or people, whether he is housebroken, has had obedience training, etc. Also, the dogs have had vet visits to get their vaccinations and have been spayed and neutered.

3. A shelter dog will bring you an indescribable amount of joy. Shelter dogs are so happy to have found homes, they will spend the rest of their lives making you happy. Plus, it’s been shown that the unconditional love and loyalty of a dog can lift depression, ease loneliness, lower blood pressure, and give you a reason to get up in the morning.

To help celebrate this month, Frosty Paws has donated 10 prize packs to give away* to MMNK followers. The prize pack includes a plush dog and 2 Frosty Paws frozen snacks coupons for your pups (a total value of  over $17!). Nola is very excited about this giveaway. She LOVES Frosty Paws. Here she is enjoying a peanut butter Frosty Paws on her birthday this summer:
All you have to do to win one of these awesome prize packs is leave a comment here what you think the best reason to adopt a shelter dog is. On Friday, 10/19 I will randomly choose 10 winners. Sound easy enough? Great! Start posting and I’ll report back on Friday with the winners!

*The giveaway items were provided to MMNK by Frosty Paws. The giveaway is only open to people in the U.S. (Frosty Paws aren’t available internationally, yet.) The plush toy is not suitable for dogs.