Tag Archives: rescue

Bonding that saves lives!

These stories are so lovely and magical. Reading this post is re-empowering me to get back to work with Callie, training for her therapy dog license so she can work with kids.

Original post:

Shelter Dogs and Special Needs Kids: A Match Made in Heaven

By: Vera Lawlor June 9, 2017

About Vera Follow Vera at @vtlawlor

Brook, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, was sitting in a high-kill shelter in Arizona with just two days to live when she was rescued by Janice Wolfe, founder and CEO of Merlin’s KIDS. The nonprofit organization rescues, rehabilitates and trains shelter dogs to work as service dogs for children with autism and special needs, as well as to assist disabled veterans. After extensive training Brook returned Wolfe’s kindness by transforming the life of Julie, 21, who is developmentally delayed due to a premature birth.

Wolfe describes Brook as a “rock star,” a calm sweet dog with the perfect temperament for working as an emotional support service dog. Julie’s mom, Ellen, couldn’t agree more.

“Brook has given Julie a greater sense of confidence,” Ellen said. “They are always together and Brook definitely knows that it’s her responsibility to take care of Julie.”

Before being paired with Brook, Julie was afraid to go outside the house on her own. Now she and Brook take walks down the block or sit together in the yard. Julie has become more outgoing and enjoys speaking or singing in front of people.

“Brook has become an emotional support for all of us,” Ellen said. “I can’t believe that they almost put her to sleep. She is the love of our lives!”

Julie takes a selfie with Brook as he smothers her with kisses.

Another Merlin’s KIDS graduate, Willow, was rescued from a beach in Aruba where she ran with a feral pack. She was so scared that nobody could touch her. With patience and love her foster family won her love and trust. Now after completing the training program, the 40-pound sweet-natured cunucu dog is ready to join three other Merlin’s Kids service dogs in the Animal Adaptive Therapy program at the Calais School for special needs children in New Jersey. Willow is a cortisol detection dog trained to detect stress signals in students and to alert the counseling team so that they can intervene before a problem escalates. She will also work with students to learn the social, emotional and behavioral skills they need to succeed in life.

Willow and Brook are just two of the 1,300 dogs that have been rescued, rehabilitated and trained as service dogs by Wolfe, a canine behavior rehabilitation specialist and author of “SHH HAPPENS! Dog Behavior 101.” In addition to Rhodesian Ridgebacks, the nonprofit organization has rescued and rehabilitated Labrador mixes, pointer mixes and coonhound mixes to work as service dogs. The goal of the organization is to ensure that service dogs are available to families in need regardless of financial circumstances. To fulfill this mission it depends on financial donations and sponsorships.

Wolfe said that Merlin’s KIDS service dogs are highly trained and highly specialized. They can do anything from keeping a special needs child from wandering away to opening doors or picking up pencils for children with disabilities to alerting before the onset of a seizure. It’s important, the trainer said, to make sure that the dogs are physically capable of doing the jobs being asked of them and that they have the right temperament.

“I’m very careful when placing dogs with autistic children because these kids can have such erratic behavior and the dogs have to be able to handle that,” Wolfe said. “Service dogs who will be tethered to a child have to be really chill and calm”

When it comes to autistic children Wolfe’s dogs are trained to serve the individual child. For example, dogs are trained to help children who are overstimulated by interrupting behavior patterns, and they can prevent children from opening a door and running out into the street. Some children need deep pressure to fall asleep so Wolfe and her team train service dogs to lay across their laps at night.

“We have a lot of autistic kids who had never slept in their own beds until they got a service dog,” Wolfe said. In addition to donations and sponsors, Merlin’s Kids is always in need of volunteers and foster families.

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This beautiful article was first seen on the Care2 site and, please, do drop across to that Merlin Kids website.

Learning from Dogs

Again and again the power of our relationship with dogs is breathtakingly beautiful.

If I carried on writing about dogs and sharing articles with you for a thousand years, I still don’t think I would become immune to the joy and wonder of what dogs mean to us. (Luckily for your sake you won’t have to follow this blog for quite those many years!)

Turning to us, the measure of a compassionate and caring society is how it looks after those who, through circumstance and bad luck, are disadvantaged. While there are many in such a situation who are the wrong side of twenty-one there’s something especially important, critically so, in reaching out to help our youngsters.

So why this switch from dogs to disadvantaged young people?

Read on:

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Shelter Dogs and Special Needs Kids: A Match Made in Heaven

By: Vera Lawlor June 9, 2017

About Vera Follow…

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Don’t Forget the Queen

It’s the start of the latest Callie’s Wag post and who do I have the most to talk about again? Charlie.

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Beautiful girl 💕

Yes, he’s a puppy and definitely has the most going on in his day-to-day life but, as I opened my screen to write, I looked at Callie, next to me always, and she raised her head as though to say,

“Remember mom, this blog started because of me.”

That’s my own guilt giving her a voice on a subject to which she cares nothing about.

Her upset wasn’t made up, though, when I had to take Charlie with me to a work meeting last week.

I couldn’t leave him here for the four hours I was going to be gone (over-coddler here!) and so I felt worse and worse as Callie grew more excited at the sight of me packing my work bag. She LOVES going to the office. I don’t know why… that’s a lie, I do. She gets at least one duck wing as soon as we get there, so she’ll settle down while we meet.

Sometimes she doesn’t get to go “with” my work bag, and that’s sad but ok, but this time, I took Charlie of all things! I committed a grave crime in Callie’s book. She snubbed me for hours after we got home.

Callie’s been trying harder to claim us. She’s apter to snuggle up tight or to ask for pets now than she ever was before. We have to make a conscious effort to pay as much attention to her as to Charlie. She second guesses things that used to be solid, like when we release her for dinner. We had to work to get her to sit and wait again when he first got here, so now she hesitates every meal and has to be told at least twice that she can get up and eat.

As so often happens when a new “baby” of any kind arrives in the house, not only is the routine is forgotten but, often, others are pushed aside for a while. I started this blog for her, and, while it’s now about both of them, today it is reminding me that I haven’t given enough of my time or of myself to Callie lately. It’s time for Charlie to take some daily breaks just for Callie and me to get back to our adventures.

No worries though, I’m sure every post is going to include updates on him too. How could they not? For Charlie is quite the puppy.

Cute Charlie on his bed
I’m SO cute – How could I be any trouble?

Speaking of the little devil, Charlie’s had a big week. After we finally got rid of those lovely parasites that came here too and started to put a little weight on the boy, he suffered a sports injury.

It was a 4 lb puppy vs. an 8 y/o girl. They were running around the tennis courts where we live and Charlie, being the underfoot dog he is, ran right in front of her. She tried so hard to stop and then to jump over him, but ended up stepping on his side. Thank goodness, he showed no signs of any serious internal injury or major broken bones although he kept crying out when we would hold him in certain ways. Charlie and I went to the vet the next day to find out his first rib was broken.

Accidents happen. They do. There are so many stories like Charlie’s where everything went fine, but MAN, it was scary as anything!

The worst part was that when he would go to the bathroom, he would compensate for the weakness in his front arm by stepping his back leg out to the side. We are doing everything we can to prevent issues from his luxating patellas, and weird stances compound it.

It does seem like his right hind knee is already bothering him some even as the rib heals. Last night I think he tweaked it while eating and now he thinks the food bowl did it to him. I had to hand feed the silly puppy dinner, and he only ate half his breakfast. I suppose he needs an elevated bowl, but how are you expected to elevate one for an animal which stands about 8 inches tall?!?!? 😆 I tried a cardboard box. Fail.

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Getting back to the beautiful girl, yesterday evening Callie reminded me that I needed to take care of her too. Although I wanted to do the easy – go out, pee, poop, go inside – deal as I was tired, she wanted to go around the smallish grass circle in the middle of our current condo space, one of her favorite things to do. So I indulged her, stopping at every smell, letting her lead the way, and, as we came back around to our door, she bounded like a puppy, a huge grin on her face.

Just in case you haven’t seen in yet – here’s crazy puppy in action this week, choosing his favorite classifieds.

 

 

When Callie Met Charlie

Or – KABOOM! Here Comes Charlie!          WHAT?!

So we got a ridiculously big surprise this weekend.

Jess and I had been talking about getting another Cavalier after we move at the beginning of July but I felt like we were going to be in a bit of a predicament. We wanted to both rescue again and be able to get a younger male, preferably still puppy aged, this time. That’s often difficult to find with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescues.

The Cavalier Rescue USA does an excellent job. However, most of their Northeast rescues are too far away from us for them to consider our application. The rescues are rarely within 3-4 hours of us.

I’ve kept in touch with the rescue Callie came from, Champlain Valley Canine Rescue, since we got her and they were aware that we were looking for a young male. Well,
Sherry called us Sunday morning – they had an 11-week old male Cavalier puppy – did we want him and if so, we had to go get him that day. AHHH!!!!!!

We had a quick debate, knowing the risks of adopting a puppy mill puppy, but we decided to go for it, I mean, fate, right?

Meet Charlie

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This face doesn’t say naughty, not at all😂

And OMD did we fall in love.

I mean, just look at that face! Sweetness and LOVE!

Callie was unamused when we first arrived home. I think she was a good bit jealous and worried about her position in the family but, of course, we make sure to greet her first, give her extra treats “hmm… I get treats when Charlie goes potty outside… 😋” etc. And Callie has become a slightly more snuggly dog, at least asking for affection more.

 

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“I guess I’ll pose with him if you MAKE me.”

 

Callie came around to the idea of Charlie by Monday afternoon, at which point she decided he was her puppy.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this on here before, but Callie’s never been one for making any noise, let alone the amount of yelping and harping we got when we took him out of the room on Monday evening or Tuesday. That was until he reminded her how annoying puppies can be. Wednesday morning we heard Callie BARK, a sound we didn’t know she could even make! I think she got a little tired of the rambunctious monster hanging from her ears.

 

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Who me? Never! I as sweet as can be!

I was a little worried how things would go once G got here and Callie had to share her precious child – we prepped G about how important it was to make Callie feel special, Charlie thinks he is special enough 😂, etc.

Well, I think it went ok.

She did some car multi-tasking, holding Charlie while petting Callie, and also discovered that as cute as he is, it’s not fun to try to snuggle on the couch with a wild puppy. Callie earned her lap back in under 5 minutes!

I think it will all work out.

Here’s the car ride home from dropping G off at school yesterday:

 

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Who needs their own bed when big sisfur’s (already too small) car bed is there to share? 😍

And, while I couldn’t ever get a picture where they were both still, G and Charlie have some serious puppy love going on too ❤️.

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I’ll update more on Charlie soon. He’s going to be our mascot against puppy mills and bad breeders as he already has luxating patellas and a minor heart murmur. But for now, I leave you with this – a happy, silly puppy video❤️ ❤️ ❤️! Makes everyone smile 😊

p.s. please excuse the lack of full puppy-proofing in the room when we took this video.

 

 

 

 

 

A Cavalier Vacation and a Chicken Bone

Ok, so you already know I have a bunch of Twitter friends called the #Cavpack, but I am also a member of several Cavalier-focused groups on Facebook. Who has two thumbs and is a dog nerd? This girl right here 😂.

In January, I first heard about the Wilburton Inn in Manchester, VT on Cavaliers of the Northeast. The Wilburton is owned by the Levis family; Melissa Levis has a Cav named Jetson who is the official Inn welcoming committee, as well as the inspiration for their various Cavalier-themed events throughout the year.

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The Mansion
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Melissa, Jetson, and b&t Cav at a slumber party

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wilburton Inn held a special Mother’s Day weekend event from which we just got back. I was so excited, I booked our stay back in March. There don’t seem to be any other Cavalier’s around here and I thought, what a fun way to spend Mother’s Day Weekend! My wife and I went down on Friday with Callie to have a night to ourselves and then my wonderful ex-husband drove our daughter down to meet us on Saturday to stay over the second night.

Callie got to meet other Cavaliers for the first time since we got her. Besides Jetson, there were two other Cavs there, Eloise and Clifford, and a lovely chocolate Lab named Fred. Callie has always been ok with other dogs, some she likes more than others, she tends to shy away from the overly excitable. When she met Jetson, it was love at first sight. She was immediately involved in cleaning his ears, giving kisses, following him around. Callie barely noticed the tiny poodle who was also there.

It was like that when she met Eloise and Clifford too. She recognized some kind of friend in them.We didn’t manage to get any pictures of Clifford, he arrived the second day. Callie was happy to greet Fred, the Labrador, as well, but not like she was to meet more Cavaliers.

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A faceful of Cavaliers! Eloise, Callie, Jetson.

Melissa led us on a lovely pack walk through historic areas of Manchester, VT. I watched as some cars slowed down to look at the cuteness, or heard people say, “aww.”

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Jess and I with Callie, Laurie with Eloise and Fred and Melissa with Jetson.

 

We tried, sometimes successfully, to get the dogs to pose for pictures.

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Tom with Fred and Eloise, Laurie with Jetson, Jess and me with Callie

 

The grounds of the Inn are amazing, huge sculpture pieces are scattered throughout, and, of course, your dog is welcome almost anywhere 😍.

Callie found the accommodations quite satisfying. She even prepped a #TongueOutTuesday photo while there. IMG_3121

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Callie’s big sister had a BLAST, too 

 

Brunch was fantastic, with complimentary “mom”mosas and amazing food. Plus a bacon mustache and goatee.

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It got a little exciting though, and not in a fun way, when another Cavalier mom behind me saw Jetson grab a chicken bone off the floor. She stood up and ran after him one way, I heard her and went the other way to corner him. Jetson had bitten and swallowed part of the bone and was choking on the joint.

Without thinking, because who wouldn’t immediately try to save a dog, I shoved him between my knees and felt down in his throat. I was able to pull the splintered bone out, so then I pushed both forefingers down either side of his throat, forcing him to gag up the rest of the joint. He was thoroughly unamused when I continued to push my fingers down to feel for any smaller splinters and to make sure he had gagged up the whole bone. Like any dog would, he left a few good bruises on my fingers from his teeth, but as soon as I stopped, he, like almost any Cavalier would, turned and started licking me.

In the midst of all the chaos, while someone found Melissa, I sat on the floor between the omelet station and the stack of plates and cuddled quietly with Jetson, a dog no one could stand to lose.

Thank goodness Eloise’s mom, Laurie (forgive me if I spell your name wrong) happened to see him grab the bone. Not only would it have been a horrible, tragic day, but Jetson is a huge part of what makes the Inn the experience it is. Every employee I met is as attached to him as Melissa – ok, maybe not AS much, but pretty darn close.

 

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She NEVER sleeps this hard in the car!

 

Callie slept the whole ride home and even woke up later than me yesterday – a first! It was obvious that it was a happy exhaustion though, she had so much fun, I don’t think her tail stopped wagging all weekend. Nothing could be better for me than seeing Callie enjoy herself like that, it was beautiful.

Melissa herself received a Mother’s Day treat, as she, Jetson, and the Inn were featured by the Boston Globe.

Thank you, Melissa, for the exceptional weekend, we will be back! For those of you nearby – the Howl-oween Weekend slumber party and costume contest is supposed to be OUTRAGEOUS fun. What are you doing in October?