Saturday, June 30, 2012

In just under the wire: Write a Post, Help a Dog!

Well, behind as always, I just learned about Pedigree's "Write a post, help a dog" campaign going on through the end of June this year. Yikes!

Since I'm not the fastest writer on the planet, I'm glad that all I really need to do to help shelter dogs get some free food out of Pedigree's charity "Pedigree Foundation" is mention the campaign in this post and then add my post to the linky tool provided. (Psst, you don't have to be a pet blogger to participate but you are running out of time and the clock is ticking!)

So what's the big deal?

"For every blog post about the campaign between now and June 30th, Pedigree will donate a 17 pound bag of food to a shelter."

That's a lot of food for shelters who are struggling with donations in this tough economy. (And if you write a post, you can get this spiffy badge to put up on your blog!)

Did you know?

More fun stuff

The Pedigree Foundation does a lot of good for shelter dogs. If you have some time, check out their videos here: Adoption Videos. They're far too awesome to miss.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 45 - My dog is seriously silly

A few more pictures from the Sato Reunion 2009 - Bella discovers the joy of kiddie pools!

It took us a while to coax her into the pool.

Until she realized she could drink it.

But wait, how much head do you need to put in water to drink?

She's not drinking - she's blowing bubbles!
(Click to view full size and see the bubbles.)

And then she got creative...


Ahhhh! Much better, thank you.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Save a Sato Reunion 2009

In my last post, I mentioned the Sato Reunion we attended back in 2009. What a fabulous idea and I wish everyone whoever adopted a dog or cat had the opportunity to meet their pet's rescuer. It just made it so real to me and it was shortly after meeting Nilsa that I made the decision to get more involved with rescue as a sort of "pay it forward" gesture in her honor.

But the day wasn't all mush and sentiment - it was also a boatload of fun. There was a musician playing Puerto Rico- and dog-themed music (Pup Fan of I Still Want More Puppies would have loved his musical modifications to tilt every song dog-wards). There were a variety of contests from best cuddler to waggiest-tail, fund-raising raffles and a grill station serving up everything from plain old hot dogs to Puerto Rican sausages. And of course, there were plenty of vendors on hand to demo their pupper-wares (tons of treats were tossed to tempted tummies!)

Wicked Local covered the event. Check out their great photo gallery.

In the meantime, here are a few of pictures from the event:

There's nothing cuter than a girl and her (very patient) dog.

They say everyone has a doppelganger.

Check out the pup in the back. I want to know what he sees that I don't.

Just another lovely little Sato.

Being this cute is hard work.

Winner of the "Best Kissy-face" contest.

Bella played with this darling dog for a good while.

That's one sleepy puppy.

Be sure to come back Wednesday for pictures of Bella's rather unique approach to dealing with the heat and festivities of the day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wedneday 44 - Bella meets her hero

So, not exactly wordless today but a little explanation is necessary.

Back in 2009, we had the opportunity to attend the "All Sato Reunion" held by Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, Massachusetts. More on that event coming soon but first, the reason we traveled an hour north on a blistering hot summer day:

Jan and Bella meet Nilsa, Bella's rescuer.
I think Bella remembers her, don't you?

Nilsa is a Save a Sato volunteer. She rescues starving and abused dogs off the streets of Puerto Rico, brings them to her home and nurses them back to health before they are sent to "partner shelters" in the States for adoption. I cried upon meeting her.

(Please try to ignore the prong collar. We were new to reactive dogs and stupid.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Missing out on all the fun

"The Worcester County Horticultural Society, the third oldest active horticultural society in the United States, is a nonprofit "educational organization for the purpose of advancing the science, and encouraging and improving the practice of, horticulture."" -- Tower Hill Botanic Garden, the headquarters of WCHS.
We've been really busy this spring/summer preparing our yard in support of the Tower Hill Botanic Garden's annual fund-raiser: "City Spaces, Country Places" garden tour. It's been a tremendous amount of work but our gardens haven't looked this good in, well, ever.

Unfortunately, that means we were unable to attend some of the pet-friendly events in the area this year. (Altogether now: "Boo hiss, bad pet parents!") We usually attend a variety of these events for several reasons not the least of which is to continue developing Bella's social skills. Since most of the rescue organizations I volunteer with are represented, it's a good time to catch up and take pictures of the pups. And I usually pick one event/organization for which to raise funds each year. It's also just a whole load of fun.

This year the event planners themselves kind of hurt their cause by scheduling several of the events for the same day so we wouldn't have been able to attend all of them anyway. We are still planning to get to Buddy Dog's "Woofstock" in October which was the best of them all last year anyway, at least from a "dog in need of space"'s perspective. (Wow, that's a grammatical nightmare...)

While we didn't get to go to these events this year, we did go last year and since we didn't have a blog last year, that leaves me with pictures and no place to put them. And, since my arms are pretty much ready to fall off from hauling mulch continuously for the last 72 hours (okay, perhaps I exaggerate...), I thought it might be easier fun to show some pictures here.

Paws in the Park - May 2011

Sponsored by Save A Dog, Inc, this was only our second big event with Bella and we really didn't know what to expect of either the event or the dog. And of course, I forgot my camera. But here are a few pictures of Bella courtesy Buddy Dog Humane Society who was taking pictures of all their "alums".

All decked out in her "I'm adopted" bandana, harness, collar and head halter.
(Geez, mom, a little overkill or what?)
Bella finds a friend.
The photographer loved her.
You can see more of their photos here Buddy Dog's Facebook photos or read a nice little write-up (and view lots of pictures!) by the Sudbury Patch.

Whisker Walk - June 2011

Better prepared for this event, I did remember my camera. This is an incredible, free event sponsored by Sterling Animal Shelter, Inc. but not one I would recommend for "dogs in need of space" since there isn't any. Well, there's lots of space but it is all filled with dogs and kids. This is more of a "country fair" kind of atmosphere with rides and games for the kids with the dog event feeling almost like an after-thought to me. It was a great day but pretty stressful for us and our scared-y dog.

Tough to find a quiet spot in the shade away from other dogs but Bella did.

This lovely Great Dane was raising funds for a local Great Dane rescue group.

We didn't think it was possible but we met a dog who was actually more scared-y than Bella.
They played together for quite some time.
Seriously, does no one see the world of "uh-oh" about to happen here?  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 43 - The view from here

Hello up there! Remember me?
(Scenes from the dog park.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name

So while I was off globe-trotting (okay, East Coast-trotting) back in May, Sarge had a Nickname Game contest and we missed it. :(

The game was to list all the nicknames you've ever called your pet and then let your visitors comment and choose which ones they like best.

Something you may not know is that Bella has quite possibly the most nicknames of any dog ever and we really would have enjoyed participating in that event. So even though the contest ended a month ago and everybody's two favorite Basset Hounds (Fred and Gloria) won, we're game to play for a day anyway. ("A lot of alliteration from anxious" authors... Sorry, went away for a minute... I'm back now.)

Jan has a whopping two nicknames for Bella: "Littlest One" and "Kid". I believe "Littlest One" started because he used to call Beau "Little One" and Bella, being smaller, became "Littlest". Okay, makes sense.

Some of the nicknames I have for Bella I can't for the life of me explain. I just very seldom call her by her real name (unless I'm trying to get her to do something or, at the very least, acknowledge my existence.)

So here's the list. Leave a comment below and let me know your favorite.

  • Bella Boo
  • Boo
  • Boo Boo
  • Bella Boop
  • Booby-doop
  • Booby-dooby-do (Sung to the tune of "Strangers in the Night". Yeah, I'm a little odd.)
  • Duck (Wha?)
  • Duckling (Really?)
  • Sweetie
  • Sweetie Pea
  • Sweet Pea
  • Punkin [sic deliberate]
  • Punkin pie
  • Bug
  • Princess
  • Snoodles 
  • Pupschkin (Sounds like Alexander Pushkin but with a "psch" instead of just "sh".)
  • Pudding
  • Pudding pop
  • Munchkin
  • Belladonna
  • Bella Lugosi
  • The crazy dog
  • Scared-y pants
  • Bella the wunder-pup
  • Pupster
  • Kid
  • Kiddo

Any of these on your list? Which ones? Or, really, am I just losing it in my old age? Should I seek help? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 42 - Just chillin'

While not entirely "unstressed", this is still a fairly rare picture of Bella in the yard not actually hiding under a bush.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pittie Post Day: Challenging ourselves

One day early in our life with Bella, within the first couple of weeks of getting her, Jan and I took her to a local trail where she could get some exercise and maybe meet some dogs in a safe, controlled way. Lots of dogs and their owners walk here and most have their dogs under voice control if not on a leash outright. But it's a wooded trail that winds and twists and you can't always see what's around the corner.

Part way into our walk, we came to a corner that had a big, bounding dog running around it. A big, bounding Pitbull. Off-leash. No collar. And no owners in sight. Heading straight towards us.

And we with our scared-y dog - presently straining at the end of the leash behind me and just a blink away from getting out of her collar to escape the big, bounding dog. And I admit it, we spooked.

Both Jan and I reacted immediately and strongly out of fear of this dog potentially hurting our pup. While I scurried to gather Bella up in my arms, Jan stood between us and the approaching dog, arms spread to appear as big as possible and yelled a warning to the dog to stop.

To our utter amazement and eternal gratitude, she did.

Finally, her owners came around the corner and introductions were made. She was a beautiful blue and white American Pit Bull Terrier a few years old. She had excellent dog greeting skills and I was truly embarrassed at our own little ruffian's bad manners when she snipped at the greeting. In true Pittie fashion, the beautiful stranger just snuffed and walked away not interested in playing with the snarky little pup any more.

You're probably wondering why I'm telling you this now.

Well, today is Corbin's, of "Oh Corbin" fame, third birthday and for his birthday gift, he has asked folks here in Blogville to say a little something about Pitbulls.

When I first heard about Corbin's birthday wish, I mulled over a bunch of different ways to approach the topic. I could write about the many bully breed dogs we met when we used to visit the Tufts Farm Field or at different dog-centered events we attend. I could recall how I used to jump at the chance to walk the bully breeds at my local shelter because they were always the sweetest, cuddliest creatures in the kennel. Or maybe I should write about the horrid and inhumane breed-specific legislation popping up all over the country? I could talk about how breed stereotypes are hurting beautiful dogs like Ed who sit waiting in shelters for someone to look beyond appearance and recognize them for the beautiful souls they are.

But when I thought about that one unexpected encounter we had in our history with Bella, I couldn't get out of my head how we reacted without thinking. How, even though we knew better, our feelings were still influenced by the non-stop media barrage that paints these dogs as dangerous and inherently vicious. Yes, we can try and excuse our feelings by saying the dog was off-leash, had no collar and no owners in sight. But let's be honest, would we really have reacted the same way had the approaching dog been a Golden Retriever?

And therein lies the problem.

If it's hard even as dog-lovers for Jan and I to let go of the fear being instilled in us by this insidious media campaign against Pitbulls, what can we expect of the average person or worse, those who are afraid of or dislike all dogs to begin with? And how do we reach those folks to overcome the media myth?

Campaigns like this one Corbin is running and the many Facebook groups and blogs that have formed to present a positive pit bull image are a great start. Even better are the meet-up groups like the Chicago-based SociaBulls and Vancouver's HugABull that get the dogs out in front of people and give them a chance to interact with the community. We need to do anything and everything we can to get these beautiful dogs, real animals, real family members, out in front of people so they can interact with them and see for themselves they are not the monsters the media is trying to make them out to be.

Because once you've actually put a face to the name, it becomes harder to devalue the individual soul you're talking about 'eliminating'. And it becomes easier to discount what the media is selling. And when you know these dogs, when you look into their eyes, it becomes impossible to imagine a world without them.

Happy birthday, Corbin!
We truly hope one day you and all your brethren will be allowed to live in peace again.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday's Dog: Nessie, the Chocolate Couch-Potato

Photos courtesy North East All Retriever Rescue (NEARR)
There seems to be a run on Chocolate Labs entering our rescue lately. I don't know why because they're all lovely, sweet and cuddly-bugs. And 7-year-old Nessie is the cuddliest of them all.

Nessie came to NEARR from a local Humane Society where they just loved her too much to let her sit in a kennel all day long. She loves her people, is good with children but doesn't much care for other dogs and dislikes cats.

Nessie is a REAL couch potato for a Lab - walk her once a day, throw her a ball or let her go for the occasional swim and you will have a happy girl will to sit by your side at days end. (She will also "keep your yard free of anything that moves, which includes skunks", so beware.)

She's allergic to wheat and fleas so you might have to get inventive about treats but since she doesn't like to exercise, maybe she should be eating carrots, not cookies, anyway. (In fact, Nessie would make a great partner for anyone interested in participating in the "K-9 Kamp Challenge" going on over at Kol's Notes right now!)

Learn more about Nessie in her profile over on the NEARR website.

Do you have room in your heart for this big, lovable girl? Or maybe you could tweet or share her story so the family we know is looking for her can find her even faster? Nessie and I thank you for helping her get to her forever home.