Mental Health Break: Photos

Snow and sleet, you are a big freaking deal.  Love, South Carolina.

Randi

Randi

Linus

Linus

Schroeder

Schroeder

Patty

Patty

Happy New Year!

What is the best animal-related thing that happened in your life in 2013?

For me, it was adding Wendy to the family.  It was a bumpy start dealing with her myriad medical issues and her repeated escapes though.  The vet knocked out all her medical problems one at a time and she’s been in good health ever since.  Project Runaway was a horse of a different color.  It’s not something I’ve dealt with before and at first it was perplexing.  She would be out in the yard, seemingly fine and then POOF – she was gone.  We added additional fencing but that was just a little exercise for Billy apparently.  What ended up working for us was a combination of limiting her outside time to direct supervision in a small portion of the yard and taking her for leashed walks.  When she needs to go out for a potty break or wants to have a bone, we put her on a tie-out (only when we are home and can see her out the window if we are indoors).  She loves her tie-out and took to it like a duck to water.  My vet guessed that perhaps she had been on one previously and it represented something familiar for her.  Whatever the explanation for why it works, I am just happy that it does.  We haven’t had an escape since we started using this system and she seems very content.

Wendy was shot at some point before we got her, as evident by the small game shot visible throughout this x-ray.

Wendy was shot at some point before we got her, as evident by the small game shot visible throughout this x-ray.

The trigger for Wendy that causes her to run away is gunshots.  We did not realize this for quite awhile.  We were aware she was afraid of gunshots (and firecrackers and thunderstorms) but had no idea this was what was putting her into a state of panic.  Then one day Billy was outside with her in the small portion of the yard where she gets her freedom under direct supervision and she happened to be on the back deck when a gunshot was fired in the area.  Being on the back deck, she could have either come to the back door and scratched to be let in or gone down the stairs to get down to the yard.  Instead she immediately began attempting to hurl herself over the side of the deck.  This would have resulted in a fall down to the back yard and accomplished nothing from a practical point of view.  In other words, she still would have been outside and within the small fenced portion of the yard.  Billy intervened quickly and brought her inside.  But the behavior was revealing.  Apparently hearing a gunshot outdoors sends her into such a state that all she can think is to hurl herself over the nearest barrier, without rhyme or reason.  I guess this would be described as an extreme fear response and it would explain why and how she escaped several times in her first weeks with us.  We live in a rural area where gunshots are common and it’s possible that she exhibited this same extreme response then, which resulted in repeated yard escapes.

Now that we have the routines in place to keep her safe and know that if we hear a gunshot when she is outside we need to run, not walk, to carry her indoors – it’s all good.  The only problem now is that Billy has stolen her from me – just like he did with Graham.  The man is obviously not to be trusted.

Beagle thief and his loot.

Beagle thief and his loot.

Mental Health Break: Photos

I took some pictures of the Flatcoats today because it’s been awhile.

Randi, age 11

Randi, age 11

Patty and Linus, age 7

Patty and Linus, age 7

Schroeder, age 1

Schroeder, age 1

[More]

Please post a link if you have some photos of your pets online that you’d like to share.

What Really Happens to FREE Shelter Pets

Added, October 14, 2013Some of you have taken this tongue-in-cheek post seriously and have jumped in without watching the video or reading anyone else’s comments.  I have just two things to say to you:  1.  It was meant to be IRONIC and CLEVER and SWEET.  2.  You lot are ruining the internet by making me explain this.

Original post:

To the many commenters who have visited this blog in an effort to set me straight on the the hazards of free adoptions – specifically that they put shelter pets into the hands of abusers – I dedicate this post to you.  Last night I received this horrifying video from someone who requested to be kept anonymous.  She proudly stated she had obtained this shelter dog for free.  As if the cruelty exhibited in the video isn’t bad enough, she admitted the dog is subjected to this same abomination every night.  While I have agreed not to publicly identify the abuser, I did Google her and suffice to say – she looks like trouble.

Please take care that no small children are in the room when watching this clip, particularly at bedtime, and turn the sound up in order to experience the complete terror.

Shelters, rescuers and all animal lovers, please remember this poor dog the next time you think about possibly waiving adoption fees on pets.  The next free pet you place could end up in this same situation.

Labor Day

A good time for everyone to take a rest. In your proper pack order, of course.

wendy and billy

In Which Wendy Goes to the Vet

Wendy has a bladder infection and had to go to the vet to get checked out today.

Wendy was shot at some time prior to arriving at the pound.

Wendy was shot at some time prior to arriving at the pound.  The white dots are small game shot she has lodged throughout her body.

She was displeased with the visit and engaged in civil disobedience on the ride home.

wendy car seat 062013

I refuse to lay on the soft blanket provided for me on the seat. I will however use it as a head rest while sitting defiantly in the foot well.

Priority: Life

Should we put resources into saving the sick, the old and the aesthetically imperfect pets in shelters when there are so many perfectly healthy, young and adorable pets being killed every day in this country?

Ask Wendy.

Good morning sunshine.

Good morning sunshine.

The Official Beagle Announcement

As you may have heard, we got a new Beagle a week and a half ago.  Her name is Wendy.  I took her to see my vet the first full day we had her and posted the report here.  Since then she has received a round of Panacur, two doses of Ivermectin and is finishing up her Doxycycline.  She is a good eater (that is, she demands a second breakfast and a second dinner every day) and began putting some meat on her bones right away.  Her coat is also looking much better – the copious dandruff now gone and a nice little shine beginning to take hold.

Wendy is a great snuggle buddy and sleeps with us every night.  She often attempts to convince Surrey that she is a super bed buddy by trying to squeeze into whichever bed Surrey is curled up in at the time.  Usually all Wendy can manage is to get her back end sort of on top of snoozing Surrey but she has squeezed herself full in there once or twice.  Thankfully she’s tiny.

Here is the photo that was included in the forwarded e-mail I received about Wendy being in a catch and kill pound:

Jan23BeagleF#19

She does not look particularly thin to me in that photo but after she’d been there for however long she was, all her bones were sticking out which makes me wonder if they bother feeding the animals at the place and if they do, what are they feeding them?  At any rate, here she is today, in all her cuteness:

wendy feb 10 2013

For those keeping score, I got Wendy for free. It’s been a week and a half but the novelty has not worn off yet. That is, I haven’t put her on the 5 foot chain and hut accommodations in the backyard.  For some reason, I find I still love her.  Come to think of it, I still love Surrey too.  And she was free as well.  Go figure.

Wendy has just half a tail.  Surrey actually has a whole tail but is wagging ot so fast, it looks like half here.

Wendy has just half a tail. Surrey actually has a whole tail but is wagging it so fast, it looks like half here.

Pre-Announcement Announcement

I was going to wait until I had more info to share, such as a name and other important items, but I am too happy to wait.  So this is the pre-announcement announcing the arrival of a new beagley family member, who will be announced in more detail in an upcoming announcement.

This little girl was in a catch and kill pound which allows someone in to photograph dogs.  The photographer then sends out an e-mail with the pictures and that e-mail gets forwarded by various pet advocates.  Someone forwarded me the e-mail containing the beagle pic one week ago and with the help of some people I’ve never met, the dog was pulled, fostered and transported to within 90 minutes of me.  I picked her up yesterday.

The ride home.  Those toenails were trimmed shortly after arrival.

The ride home. Those toenails were trimmed shortly after arrival.

Her bones are sticking out, half her tail got left somewhere at some point and she looks generally like she’s been through the wringer.  But she is as gentle and sweet as can be.  She’s been sleeping in one of the beagle beds like she has never slept before in her life.  She’s only gotten up when it’s time to eat or to go out and potty.  We have a vet appointment today for a tune-up and an all points inspection.  You can count on seeing an update on this gal very soon.

Thank you so kindly to everyone who sent me beagles in need.  And of course to those who helped me get this sweet dog home.

***

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. – Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

The Gap Between Rescues and Adoptions

I posted on the blog’s Facebook page yesterday that I wanted a beagle but was exasperated by so many restrictive and invasive requirements from the various rescue groups I was seeing on Petfinder.  I have visited this topic often on the blog and as regular readers know, I am all for reasonable screening (picture ID along with a 1 or 2 page adoption application which provides enough information for the group to search for animal cruelty convictions and call the vet reference) but I am opposed to most of the other arbitrary requirements (e.g. signing a contract that allows a representative of the rescue to inspect your home at any time during the pet’s life and repossess the pet if they so choose).  I also favor free or pay-what-you-wish adoption fees.

There are millions of pets being sent to the landfill every year in this country and rescue groups literally begging for adopters and fosters while imposing all manner of restrictions.  There is a gap here.  A gap the size of Oklahoma.  By imposing the arbitrary requirements and/or high adoption fees, rescues are not only turning away good people, they are turning off good people from considering or recommending rescue in future.  And meanwhile, rescues continue to issue daily pleas because they have no cage space or foster space for more pets and shelters continue the killing.  There is a gap.

Rescues have the right to impose all the restrictions they desire.  They have the right to charge any fee of their choosing.  And they have the right to fund raise in any manner they wish in order to cover their expenses.  None of this is in dispute.  It’s all legal.

But to my mind, if rescues are in fact driving adopters away with their restrictive and invasive requirements and their high fees, they do not have the right to continually beg for adopters and fosters.  Because it’s wrong.  There is a gap.

Many people replied to my comments on Facebook.  Some shared their experiences trying and failing to adopt from a rescue group.  Others posted statements of support.  Still others felt that because I am poor, I should not have pets.  One commenter wrote:

How do we know that the best of her ability is some little dog hut in the back yard with a 5 foot chain. I’m sorry, but this is the last person I would give a dog to.

Another person added:

I might as well give an animal to a dog fighting group, and that isn’t going to happen EVER…. I will make sure to tell anyone and everyone that these people and this “blog” are to be avoided when ever and where ever possible.. I have seen enough.. you anti-rescue people deserve to be fleeced and rejected by anyone with a conscience .. enjoy being second rate pet owners and second rate human beings..

I want to clarify for the record that the posts on this blog and on the YesBiscuit! Facebook page are attributable to just one person:  me.  I further want to clarify that I am not anti-rescue.  I am pro-rescue.  I have evaluated and pulled pets from shelters for rescue, adopted from a shelter myself, and I continue to support various rescue groups both on and off the blog.  I am trying to support rescue right now by adopting a beagle but I haven’t yet found one with reasonable screening processes and fees.  Thus my posts on Facebook yesterday.  There is a gap.

I am not ashamed of being poor.  I may be a “second rate” pet owner and human being in the eyes of some, but the question rescues ought to be asking themselves is this:  Is a pet better off dead than living in a home we consider to be “second rate”?  Because even though most rescues don’t kill pets, many do leave pets on death row because they have no space for them.  Freeing up space using reasonable adoption screening processes and fees is a win for people and pets.  The other way – well, we see every day of the year how well the other way is working.

None of this is to say that rescue groups are responsible for doing the job the municipal shelters are supposed to be doing.  None of this is to say that pet killing is ok, under any circumstances.  I’m just saying that rescues should be part of the solution to the pet killing problem in most communities and if you’re going to be part of the solution, why not be the most effective you can be?

***

And:  Many people have sent me leads on beagles and I would like to thank everyone who did.  I will let you know what happens.  I love you guys.  (Also, if any of you want to take shifts wearing Billy down on this, I’ll post a sign up sheet in the hall.)

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