Charlie, Acupuncture Update, Bunnies, OH MY!

Goodness gracious, we have some catching up to do!

First, “we” have been busy setting up a second blog on a local news collective, Callie’s Wag on the DailyUV, to share useful pet information, fun interviews, animal humor, and local animal stories and issues. The three cats, Solly, Leeloo Dallas, and Pippin, and two guinea pigs, Ziggy Stardust and Cuddles, all make appearances on the blog as well. So THAT has taken up a lot of time. I just finished a 3 part series on small animals as pets, which was great fun to write, despite having to cover a partially serious subject, but it also had me focused on the pigs for a few weeks.

Next, Charlie has GROWN!

End of October sunshine and Charlie
Charlie relaxing in the sun – end of Oct!

At 8.5 mos old now, he’s 10 lbs of wild ridiculousness, combined with sweet kisses. He is in complete adoration of his best friend, our cat Pippin, and you can catch a hilarious video of the two of them playing here. It also flurried a bit here yesterday, and the snow stuck – Charlie found the snow both exciting and freezing, yet he wonders why we put his coat on in the morning….

Callie did not react as well to the first herbal plan as the acupuncturist, and I had hoped, as she continued to have the occasional vomiting spell and what seemed like acid reflux. When I removed them from her diet, it helped. So we changed herbs when Callie had her second acupuncture treatment.

arial view of needles
Top View of Needles

This time around the Vet put nine needles in various spots and there were a few which clearly bothered Callie at first, but it was visible as the tension receded. It was interesting this time as, approximately ten minutes into the treatment when it was just Callie and me, some points contracted again and she reacted quickly, but they eased. IMG_5609

She’s been on the new herbs for two weeks or so now. Those seem to be helping much more than the others did. We’ve also seen her grow more flexible and need to stretch out more. She seems to take up more space, whether it’s an increased willingness to claim it, or a stronger need to be stretched out, she’s so lovely, particularly when she looks comfortable and happy.

WE GOT A POSTCARD FROM OUR FRIENDS IN THE BALTIC SEA! Thank you Nanuk and Mom for making us feel extra special!

postcard from baltic sea vacation
Postcard from friend Nanuk at the Baltic Sea!

A rescue dog and family featured in September will be making a reappearance in the next few weeks as they have added a former puppy mill girl to their family….. shh, not giving anything else away yet.

The dogs did not dress up for Halloween this year. It always seems complicated enough to pull it all together just for trick-or-treating with a kiddo, the idea of trying to get the dogs in on it is just too much. Plus, I have the feeling Callie would be horrified and miserable, and Charlie would just shred his! But we got some killer pumpkins (Jess is the pumpkin master!)


Charlotte and Bun-bun

Finally, the family of Charlotte, a rescue whose story I shared recently, lost their house bunny at 12.5 yrs old, just as I put out my series on small animals. Her house bunny was one of Charlotte’s dear friends.

Rabbits often get the worst care as they so frequently are given as gifts to children and then are abandoned or rehomed. Thus, in honor of Charlotte’s Bun-bun, I want to share the most essential parts of that blog series.

“Here’s the biggest deal as a parent whenever your child gets a pet – as the adult(s), it’s our responsibility to research that animal, know what we are getting in to, and be ready to take on the care of that pet as well. Adding any pet to the family is a commitment for the life of that animal, and guinea pigs themselves can live for 5-8 years. You might have the most responsible kid in the in the world, but even they are still going to require both help and reminders.

I scrolled through NH Craigslist, this time counting bunnies listed for rehoming or adoption in the past month – 82, and VT Craigslist – 28. I thought I would share a few comments from some of the craigslist posts.

“…discovered I’m just not a rabbit person.”
“8-month-old bunny, outdoors, no spot to put him for the winter”
“She’s so sweet and only five months old, but I don’t have the time or the space I want to give her…”
“4-year-old house bunny – rehoming because the daughter’s gone off to school for next several years…”
“Unexpected litter due to buck escaping…”

Neglecting the care of any small animal, no matter how tiny, is going to reflect in the interactions you do choose to have with that animal when you feel like giving them attention. Letting your child neglect the care of a small animal just because it’s a hamster in a cage or another creature you don’t see regularly, teaches your child disrespect for animals. It’s showing your child that animals don’t deserve respect and love, or, at the very least, those small animals are throwaways, maybe just dogs and cats are the only ones that deserve our unconditional love.”

Respect the rabbit

 

 

 

 

Happy Gotcha-Day Callie-Wag

To the girl who started it all, the one who fit the missing space in our family, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love you.

You are magic. Your presence has changed our family for the better since the day we saw you; first on Petfinder, with your terrified eyes and ridiculous looking picture – you still make yourself look like a fat turtle in some photos – and then, in person, at the rescue. Again you looked scared beyond belief but you rose above your fear to protect your fellow adult rescue, cutting her off to keep her from pacing too close to the wires where she would jump up and cut her feet. That’s who you are. A lover, a protector of other animals from whatever possible abuses you had experienced at the puppy mill where you had been churning babies out for years.

Even in your eyes on the car ride home, I could see the love blooming, despite your understandable myriad of fears.

I can’t fully put into words just how special you are, Callie, instead I have a photo tribute. Happy First Gotcha-Day baby girl!

The ride home from the rescue
Is that love hidden behind the fear? The car ride home.

 

Callie snuggling on couch
Callie learned that kids make the best friends, and cuddle buddies.
Callie running
Callie learned to go for walks, even if it meant she had to run to catch up
Callie walking
She got a little better at walks 😉
That first time you fell asleep on me. ❤️
Callie watching us in the snow
Callie learned what snow was, but questioned why we played in it.

Callie did amazing in her first obedience class.

And then she got to learn what a real vacation was on our Cavalier & Mother’s Day vacation at Wilburton Inn in Manchester, VT.

Our Twitter CavPack book with our dear friends’ faces and silly pictures throughout.
That time we brought home a puppy. You don’t look very happy in this photo, Callie.
Rescue Cavalier's Callie and Charlie snuggle
Serious little brother love happened anyway.

So much so, he taught you to play –

We started having doggie play dates and you found a new best friend.
Although you’ve been a bit sick lately and we’ve even started acupuncture to help, that hasn’t changed everything about you.
Callie's smile
You’re still one of the smiliest girls around 😊
We were bad, we couldn’t resist getting her some kind of treat for her gotcha-day 😉😁
Because this girl gets to experience freedom forever, even the freedom to go past the yard limit and get in trouble (recognize that facial expression anyone 😂)

Mom made her dinner gotcha-day cake, although sitting at the table was a little scary!

Charlie's bowtie
Charlie looked dapper with his first bow-tie

I love you forever Callie Wag. I hope we will be so lucky as to be celebrating your gotcha-day next year when you turn 8.

pic of Callie snuggling
My heart and soul. This dog is magic.

If you want to see another small tribute to Callie, check out this post from the mini version of Callie’s Wag, a new blog on a local website called the DailyUV.

Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month!

It is adopt a Shelter Dog Month! Remember those loving dogs who are waiting for their forever homes ❤️. Ray is one of the best examples of a magical, loving shelter dog. While his owner started out never having had a dog before, he and Ray learned together, eventually supplying enough education and anecdotes for Colin to write a book.

A Dog's Life? (Stories of me and him)

Thank you USA for providing the greater percentage of my Blog Followers and, probably not surprisingly therefore, the greater percentage of my book sales. I thought it would be an appropriate reciprocal gesture to promote your (ASPCA) Adopt-a Shelter-Dog month!

The ASPCA have designated October as Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month which compliments the “Adopt don’t shop” movement very nicely, and no doubt explains the increase in dog adoption related Posts here in the Blogiverse.

Whereas many will argue in favor of buying a dog from a breeder, there are so many benefits to at least checking out your local shelter before making any decision.  One must always consider that a dog in a shelter  is not there by choice, and would no doubt really love all the comforts of a real home just as you and I do.

Adopting from a shelter serves a double benefit because it is not only giving…

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Rescuing Puppy Mill Girls – Charlotte and Felicity

Charlotte was three months old when her mom adopted her. She had gone to the pet store for rabbit food, but,

“[There was an] adoption drive all set up and boy did they have puppies that day – tons. Most were in one big pen, jumping all over each other and yapping.

‘She was sitting by herself in her own crate. I swear she stared me down. When I walked over, she cautiously wagged her tail a little bit and sniffed my fingers. I asked if I could hold her and when I did, she put one paw on each of my shoulders and buried her head in my neck. So I got a puppy that day.”

Charlotte's first day
Charlotte, the day she was adopted

Charlotte was from a puppy mill but was rescued when she was still a young pup. She was with a rescue called Coalition for Animal Rescue and Education (C.A.R.E.) out of Hillsboro Missouri.

She had already been bounced around between homes at only three months old. The first adopters gave Charlotte back and then she had two foster homes before her forever home came along. Her mom noted that it was a while before Charlotte realized she was going to stay.

Charlotte and mom on bench
Charlotte and her mom

As with many puppy mill puppies, Charlotte was often sick. Her mom said “I don’t believe she came from a very healthy mother. Most of a puppy’s immune system comes from their mother’s milk, and she didn’t have much of one at all. We went through a few upper respiratory infections when she was younger, lots of tummy troubles, and then it turned into a slew of eye infections, UTIs, and eventually diabetes when she was five.”

But even diabetes didn’t stop this pair from their exploits. Like many Cavaliers, Charlotte is her mom’s best friend. She’s 9 years old now.

“Charlotte is my nonstop adventure buddy. We have taken road trips all the way from our home in St. Louis to Galveston, TX, Key West Florida, Savannah, GA, northern WI, even NY, and everywhere in between. Most of the time, it’s just her and me on the road trips. Those are my favorite trips. Just me and my dog on an island, or a mountain, or lakeside, and in the car for hours. She loves fancy hotels and acts like a total diva when we stay in one. When we are home, we go to all the local parks, the drive-in movies or movies in the park events, food truck festivals, run in charity 5ks (her in the stroller) for local rescues, she rides on my paddle board while I paddle around local lakes, and we brunch out on dog friendly patios. Things got tricky when she was diagnosed diabetic, but learning to home test has meant that not only are her sugars very well controlled, but I have the freedom for her to live a normal dog life. I just take that meter and some snacks everywhere so that if there is ever a problem, I can detect it and treat it on the spot. 3.5 years diabetic and you would never guess it, she lives a totally normal, dog life, she just gets poked several times a day, which she doesn’t mind. She’s been the best friend I didn’t know I was missing. She is my absolute heart and soul.”

Charlotte on the beach
Charlotte the Beach Dog

Recently, Charlotte and her mom decided that it was time to add to their rescue Cavalier family and they brought home Felicity. Felicity is a 6 yr old former puppy mill breeder who was saved from the auction block by Gateway 4 Paws, in O’Fallom IL.

Felicity on the couch
Felicity arrives home and discovers the couch!

Gateway for Paws attends puppy mill auctions where they sell off various breeder dogs and puppies, and they buy as many as they can to rehabilitate them and get them out of the cycle. And, as is often true for rescues, they spent four times what her adoption fee was to get Felicity out of that auction and fix her up. She got spayed, cleaned up, and had 11 painfully rotten teeth pulled.

Felicity’s new mom said, “9\16\17 is the day she was thrown up on the auction block, listed as a breeder, covered in matted fur, a mouth full of rotten teeth, and her eyes swollen shut from infection. She was only with them for a week. I adopted her on 9\24. She was still recovering from surgery at the time and required meds, and we are still treating the eyes (I’m betting that will be lifelong), but the foster knew what I go through every day with Charlotte’s diabetes, so she knew I was responsible enough to handle it. Special needs pups are right up my alley.

‘When I applied to Gateway 4 Paws, it was actually because they had posted some cavalier puppies for adoption. When the foster called, she told me about Felicity. I knew that this mill mama needed me and deserved to have a happy, spoiled life. I also knew the puppies would have no trouble finding homes, while not too many people want older rescue dogs, especially when she wasn’t exactly a beautiful cavalier in her current state, but I saw it and knew she was gorgeous under years of neglect.”

And she’s right. It can be hard to see the love and beauty under the horrible condition the mills have left the mamas in. But, if you look closely, there is a glimmer in these mamas, a force of light, because they have already spent so much of their lives fighting to live, they are going to fight to love.

I asked Felicity and Charlotte’s mom how much Felicity has changed already, and her emotional response belies the feelings that most of us have, especially when rescuing puppy mill dogs.

“I have never cried so much in my entire life! Every time she learns something new, that it seems all dogs should know all along, like what a treat is, or a warm bed, you can see the utter joy in her eyes. The fact that she is so willing to trust me and wants to make me happy (that cavalier need to please), even after all the crap she has been through just amazes and inspires me. It was slow going at first. She was just terrified and confused. I patiently taught her all I could. I made a point to hold her and cuddle her, even though it made her uncomfortable at first, so she could see that I wasn’t anything to be afraid of. I had to hand feed her the first night, but now she eats like a champ.

‘My friend who has two mill rescues told me to take her everywhere, make people pet her and hold her, so that’s what I’ve done. She’s been to the pet store a couple times, my parents came over, I introduced her to the neighbors (who work in rescue and have three rescue beagles), and then I mustered the courage to take her to the Canine Carnival this weekend, which I was afraid would scare her, but instead she was so happy. She was totally loving it, letting strangers pet her without flinching, sniffing other dogs, she was all about it!

Stroller dogs in pumpkin patch
Charlotte and Felicity in the Pumpkin Patch

‘She still panics and runs from me sometimes, hasn’t slept through the night a few times, and gets a little freaked out in the back yard if the air conditioner kicks on or a noisy car goes by. She’ll learn. I don’t believe she sees well, which probably contributes to her anxiety. My vet said there is significant damage to her eyes from years of neglect, which may or may not reverse. She greets me at the door now when I get home from work, Cavalier tail wag in full effect, so we’re getting there.”

It sounds like it! And what amazing rescue stories 😍

Gotcha day and welcome home
Gotcha Day and Welcome Home all in one!
Snuggling with mom
Charlotte taught Felicity all about snuggling with mom on the couch.

Too many dogs are being killed!

Read this wonderful post on why you should adopt shelter dogs and debunking some of the myths about them.

Learning from Dogs

A plea to choose a shelter dog before other sources!

Of the six dogs that we have here at home only one, Cleo, came to us from a breeder. That was because we specifically wanted a GSD puppy to be a playmate for Pharaoh as he was getting into his final years.

Pharaoh demonstrating his benevolent status with puppy Cleo. April 2012.

The other five are all dogs that we took from rescue shelters or, in the case of Brandy, from a couple that couldn’t handle such a big dog despite him being the most placid and loving dog one could ever come across.

The Care2 blogsite recently published an article that hammered home the reasons why everyone should (nay, must!) consider a shelter dog first.

Please read and share this. For the sake of those thousands of dogs that never have the joy of loving owners in their lives.

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Stories from the life of a rescued puppy mill mama and the second rescue, a puppy Charlie, who arrived seven months later. Dedicated to other stories about rescues as well, particularly those from puppy mills.

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