Friday, February 19, 2010


We haven't been able to take Harley outside his kennel yet, but check out these photos.  He is too cute!

We'll do a proper write-up when we have more to tell you.  He really does seem terribly sweet, though.

(UPDATE 2/24):  Never got around to doing a proper update, but it doesn't matter now.  Harley was euthanized today, due to acute illness.  I'm sorry we didn't get to spend more time with you, Harley Dog.


I have only met Sadie briefly, so I will let Tim do the write up.  But I wanted to at least introduce her to you and show you her pretty pictures.  Sadie was dumped at the shelter by an owner who actually said "We're selling her pups but we just want to get rid of her."  Her teats are still swollen and lactating, so we're not sure just how long ago she gave birth.  Our own foster dog, Mia, was dumped with two of her puppies.  A new mother should have peace, quiet and security and her babies need to learn those things from her.  These horrible owners who treat dogs like puppy dispensers should be forced to work the "back room" of a shelter when these unwanted dogs are put to sleep.  Just let them see the final result of their thoughtless, careless actions (or inactions in the case of unspayed females.)

She is so scared and so timid.  No one is going to give her a second look.  She doesn't look like a cute little puppy or a heroic guard dog or a fancy lap ornament.  She looks small and dark and so very intimidated, but she's brave enough to trust you if you give her a chance.

Honestly, she probably won't make it out alive.  No one seems to really notice her.  But we just want those folks who will probably answer the "Puppies for Sale" ad or sign to know that the story doesn't end with the purchase of a puppy.  A lot of stories end on the cold steel table in the back of a shelter.

UPDATE (2/22):  Sadie never got her happy ending.  I sat with her and walked with her and played with her, but trust moves slowly.  And the current of human thoughtlessness moves swift and strong.  She was put to sleep today, to make room for incoming animals - most of them brought in by their owners.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jasper, the One-Eared Dog


When Jasper first arrived at the shelter, we really didn't know what to make of him.  He huddled in the back of his kennel, pretty much sitting and glowering.  He wouldn't come forward to take a treat from me - even when I tossed it halfway across the kennel floor.  But he didn't growl, or give any signs of aggression, and the poor guy needed some water.  So in I ducked to get to know him better.

At first, he looked shy and confused:  one ear flat and laid back, the other standing semi-erect and forward.  Once inside his kennel, I could understand why a lot better:

My initial thought was that a previous owner tried to "ghetto-bob" his ears, and gave up after the first wouldn't stay erect.  After discussing it with some of the other folks at the shelter, though, it seems much more likely that something - something very large -  had gotten ahold of him at some point.  Jasper isn't a small fry by anyone's estimation, but whatever happened to him was very big and very scary, and it's left some pretty deep scars.  Not all of those are flesh wounds, either.

He's extremely frightened - almost never standing fully upright when he walks, ducking and shaking uncontrollably when he's touched too quickly or startled.  Yesterday, we had to cut short our walk because he was terrified of even the pigeons and grackles in the parking lot.  A little later, we ventured back out with Laney, a happy-go-lucky young boxer/chow/shepherd fellow, and Jasper found a bit more pluck and courage.


 I only had a chance to stop by for a few minutes this evening, but made sure to stop and say hello to Jasper.  He was a lot more relaxed, and nuzzled up under my arm contentedly.  I have yet to see him smile outright, but I have a feeling that he's not too far from it.

NOTE:  Time and weather allowing, we'll try to introduce him to our dog Amelia tomorrow -  she's no stranger to working with frightened dogs herself, and maybe she'll help Jasper locate his misplaced confidence.

UPDATE (2/11):  It snowed like crazy today.  Undaunted, Jasper and I went outside to hang out with Frosty, another dog on the "urgent list."  Someone was interested in both of them, so I figured it would be a good thing to see if they could stand each other first.  How did it go?  You be the judge.


And, at long last - Jasper smiled today.

UPDATE (2/13):  Jasper finally got to meet Amelia today - along with Rufus and Mia, when he came to stay with us for the next week!  Minnesota Animal Rescue pulled him (along with Frosty, and three other dogs) today, and he'll be heading north next weekend, health permitting.   So it looks like Frosty and Jasper could get used to this "snow" thing after all...

UPDATE (2/19):  Tomorrow is the day Jasper is supposed to go to a new foster in Minnesota.  We will let you know how that goes.  He's been a wonderful guest and I will miss his sweet little face.


UPDATE (2/20):  Jasper's prospective foster did not reply to Tim's email, so Jasper is still here.  Our house is a bit too small and crowded now and so we are looking for another temporary foster for him until things are set for him in Minnesota.  He's super sweet and snuggly, and although he is being treated for URI, he's happy and energetic.  He does like to chase the cats and has a strong prey drive and should not be in a household with cats or other small animals unless supervised. He does not like strangers coming up to "his" house or gate and will let you know if someone's approaching.  Other than that, he's very observant of both his human and canine packmates and is eager to be a good boy, whatever that entails.  If you are interested in fostering or adopting Jasper, we can certainly arrange a home visit with your family/pack.  Email to


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Help Needed

Three lovely young dogs - Rexa, Layla, and Gilda were rescued from the shelter last week, which provided safety for them as well as direly-needed space for other dogs. Unfortunately, the rescue they were slated to go to has suddenly found all of their foster homes flooded with litters of "holiday puppies."

That leaves our girls in a bit of a bind until space at the foster homes can be made once again.

All three are currently in the care of our good friend Christy Wilson, who herself has a full house. She's valiantly taken it upon herself to see that they are boarded, vetted, and spayed - at a tremendous cost to herself.

If you would be interested in fostering (or adopting, once they are spayed) one of these sweethearts, please let us know and we'll try to put you in contact with Christy. If you'd like to help, but don't have room at home (something we can very much relate to), there is a "chip-in" page to help offset the cost of boarding and vetting them. Please donate if you can - no matter how small, every bit will help.

All three of these girls are outstanding ambassadors for their breeds, and we think they deserve the best future they can get.

Remo (the Second)

February has been shaping up to be a busy month. Not only are our "day jobs" and fostering young Mia keeping us busier than usual, the shelter staff are preparing to move to a new facility (a lot bigger, and about 35 years newer). It seems like there's never any time where we, the dogs, and the sun can all be in the same place at the same time.

It's a real shame, too. There is a legion of wonderful animals stuck here, and far too many will never be seen in time. Remo is one of the ones I worry most about, because he's (like Rexa before him) just too quiet and polite in his kennel to catch people's attention.

At first, he looks all stoic and grown-up. And big. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if he had a little bit of American Mastiff in him, especially considering the loose skin on his face... not to mention his warm and affectionate personality. Apparently his previous owner wanted to give this impression, since he had Remo's tail docked. That, of course, means you have to look a little more closely to see his tiny nub of a tail wagging a mile a minute.

Remo is pretty reserved in his kennel. Going out the front door, he slinks along the ground like a soldier under fire. Keep on going though, and keep on encouraging him, and once you get him out in the sun, he absolutely shines. And wallows. And occasionally fetches. And rolls in the grass again. There's just something ineffable about his personality, though: a joyful warmth that's really hard not to fall in love with.

UPDATE: While writing this, I learned from Russell Posch (the awesome resident Shelter Walker) that Remo has been moved - along with several other outstanding dogs - to the "urgent list". That means that if the shelter fills up again, he might have to be euthanized to make room for new, incoming animals.

UPDATE (2/6): ADOPTED! After an amazing outpouring of support and offers to help young Remo out, he was pulled today... And the people who picked him up are thinking he's not going to be needing to find another home. I couldn't be happier - and that's not literary license; I really mean it.