Tuesday, October 17, 2023

A surprising resource for an old dog rescuer

I recently attempted to apply for a Petfinder Foundation grant to repair our sadly dilapidated dog play yard. Reunion Rescue fits the requirements to a T. 

"This grant program is part of our commitment to enhancing shelter dogs’ quality of life by allowing them to engage in natural social behaviors. Play Yard Renovation Grant are available to active Petfinder members that have completed a play-group training seminar. Grant funds must be used to construct or improve play yards to bring them into compliance with current safety recommendations."

One of the specifications was to complete two Maddie's University courses. The first course Canine Body Language in the Shelter focuses on understanding how dogs communicate what they are experiencing. The course includes a video followed by interactive materials to reinforce the learning. I immediately liked the instructor Sara L. Bennett, DVM. She was calm, spoke clearly and was very easy to listen to. Unlike many 'dog professionals' she didn't come off with a didactic 'leader of the pack' attitude. It was surprisingly refreshing and her approach compelled you to come to the class with a desire to learn what she had to impart.

Without giving away the whole class, she covered body language and signs of arousal. Despite all of the dog training classes I've attended and tons of speeches, many highlighted in my book Pit Bull Nation: Special Edition, I found Dr. Bennett's class to be informative and enlightening. I have used her teachings already in my dealings with the dogs here at Reunion Rescue refuge. It is fun to observe the dogs in your care and ask yourself what are they thinking? What does that wrinkle mean on the forehead? What does the growl mean? It's not always aggression. It gave me a deeper dive into the goings on with the dogs in my care. The class is designed toward shelters, but I feel any pet owner will benefit from this resource-packed session.

The classes offered at Maddie's University are free to the public.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

When a rescue helps a rescue rescue a rescue

Reunion Rescue/Animals First has been trying so hard to keep these two puppies together.

These two very bonded two puppies were found abandoned in Lodi and turned over to Reunion Rescue/Animals First Rescue by finder who feared that the landlord would discover them illegally housed in her apartment. Reunion Rescue had them vetted and immediately offered on our Petfinder/Adopt-a-Pet and website in hopes of finding a foster for both dogs. It was very important to Reunion to keep them together as they are extremely bonded. Being abandoned in a high crime area on the banks of the Lodi river, these two puppies - Jaco only five months old and little Coco just a year - only had each other in a terrifying environment. It's my belief that they survived the trauma because they had each other.
Coco was fostered under our foster-to-adopt program with the stipulation Jaco would be fostered with her until a perfect home could be found nearby where he could visit Coco. The foster immediately violated Reunion/Animals First protocol by attempting to adopt Jaco to people in Nevada. She was told Reunion Rescue never adopts out of state. Too many horror stories and we hear them all. We even suggested two very needy and adorable baby Chihuahuas on death row at Stanislaus Shelter in Modesto where we pull dogs, but they never answered our email.
The foster became irate and began demanding more vaccines for the two puppies when both had just recently been vaccinated. The vaccine certificates specifically state to not vaccinate for at least 3/4 weeks. When Reunion Rescue cited again the holistic protocol guidelines printed on our website - the same protocol the foster had agreed to initially or she would have never been allowed to foster for our organization.
The foster stated in text she no longer wanted the dogs in her home and we asked for a couple of days to arrange transport. Less than 48 hours, out great friend and longtime animal advocate saw our posting on Facebook and fell in love. He called and asked to adopt both dogs and keep them together forever. Thrilled, Reunion tried to text and call the foster who shot back she was keeping the dogs and "that would be her last communication."
Our representative attempted to visit and speak with her and the foster became highly agitated. The police were called as the dogs are now legally stolen. They under California law are legal property of Reunion Rescue.
She violated Reunion Rescue protocol and had both tiny dogs re-vaccinated less than two weeks since vaccines. The foster also told the police on record she'd had both the dogs microchipped again after they'd been microchipped by Reunion Rescue as legal Reunion Rescue dogs. All Reunion Rescue/Animals First Dogs are never adopted to the foster until the Reunion Rescue Adoption Contract is agreed to and signed by both the former foster and Reunion Rescue. No such contract exists between Reunion Rescue and this former foster. The foster only signed our foster application which has strict terms involving our holistic protocol and vet care, periodic wellness checks in the home and other strict guidelines listed in the signed agreement.
We have Jaco and Coco's best interest at heart and a great home for them to enjoy a wonderful long life together with our friend of well over two decades. We need funding to take this matter at once to the court system where a judge can look at our paperwork with Reunion Rescue listed as 'owner.'

I spent the week freaked out calling lawyers and got two great Oakland area lawyers who’re now on my speed dial to share with anyone else who need East Bay legal assistance. I have the names of three animal lawyers in the area to help other rescues who face these dire circumstances.

my beautiful friend Pali Boucher

Amazingly, the finder phoned me, frantic that the foster was threatening to bring the dogs back to her or leave them at some vet. When the finder asked her to relinquish to our good friend Pali Boucher, founder of Rocket Dog Rescue, she was turned down.

The finder was told the foster would only release our two dogs Coco and Jaco to her. She would bring them to Lodi Saturday 9/16 at 10 a.m. p.s.t. I didn’t sleep all night and waited for word. Nothing. Finally get a text from VCA Emergency Hospital in San Leandro from a woman who asked Reunion Rescue to send a rep to the hospital to pick up the dogs at 2 p.m.

I had a wedding to attend, good longtime friends and our landscape clients, but kept phone on silent to help officiate this exchange. Suzie E, a great friend and animal advocate repped Reunion as volunteer and retrieved the dogs. But, where to put them? They’d missed out on two arranged transports down to our good friend Bill where they have been adopted.

Here’s the magic part. Pali was in the midst of a lost puppy situation with all hands on deck tracking the missing dog. Even though she was completely wrapped up in her own rescue trauma, she without missing a breath told me to have Suzie bring the dogs to her. She would take care of them. And that she did. They are safe in the care of Pali who is truly the best animal rescue person I’ve ever met. She never stops and never says no. I will never forget this kindness. If more rescues like Pali and Rocket Dog behaved this way with each other, we truly could empty out all the shelters. 

Jaco and Coco...safe!

Here's what you can do...share Pali's Rocket Dog Rescue with wonderful adoptable dogs: 

Follow Rocket Dog on Facebook

Check out Rocket Dog website: Rocket Dog Rescue

and help by hitting the big orange DONATE button where you can help Rocket Dog Sanctuary save the lives life has thrown away.

Check out Pali's wonderful dogs for adoption AND foster homes..cuz you know what? Fostering saves lives!!




A little side story for all you believers...

the minute I got in the car to attend the wedding and still not in possession of the dogs..my rescue theme and in my book PIt Bull Nation - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Learning to Fly came on the radio immediately...when the wedding was over and we got in the car to go to the reception..it came on the radio again!!

These are the lyrics that keep me going in rescue from that song:

Well, some say life will beat you down 
break your heart, steal your crown 
so I've started out for God-knows-where 
I guess I'll know when I get there

Last but certainly NOT LEAST: Sign up for the Reunion Rescue newsletter to help us empty all the shelters all the time. We can do this ya'll!

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Hippo-pittie-mus time at the dog ranch

How do you beat the heat? Well, the Bakersfield 4 have a solution. They love to run and play in the water and Angela keeps 'em happy. Yesterday, the family splashed and frolicked like the best of 'em and it must have been 105 in the shade. They didn't care. These dogs are so happy to be together and in a place where they can just be dogs for the first time in their lives. Thank you so much to the kind people who helped me save them and who keep donating so they can stay together in boarding.
Someday we'll all be together with them here at Reunion Rescue, but until there is room here, they're doing pretty good as you can see. We did a little bit of housekeeping with some poop scooping and sweeping. I got their beds rinsed off and some nail clipping and brushing. Then it was playtime. Check out these happy dogs!

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Mud puppies

Today was one of the awesomest days ever with the Bakersfield 4....Paolo, Lola Do, Danger Mouse and Chicken. Sure it was hot, but these puppies know how to keep cool. I got Paolo semi-brushed, about halfway. He is so busy with his job being big brother, he can't be bothered too much to get a spa treatment. He did let me clip one paw's nails. Chicken let me get almost all of her front paws clipped and the other two, Miss Lola and Danger Mouse were absolute perfect dolls and let me clip every single nail. They are so precious. I could tell they really enjoyed getting a little bit of girly girl mani-pedi.

We indulged in a ton of treats. Paolo took time off from his watch dog duties to enjoy some cookies and the three girls really snarfed 'em up. They've all put on a couple of pounds, but it's so nice to spoil them. If that means we are going to have some chunky monkeys, then let it happen. It's my job to spoil this family and I feel so gifted to be able to spend time with them. I can't wait till someday when we're all together 24/7.

Then it was swim time. Angela filled up their pool and in jumped Ms. Lola-cita! She loves herself some swim time. They all do. Little Danger Mouse especially likes a mud puddle as you can see from the photos. Thank you all who are following their exploits. I couldn't believe they allowed me to cut their nails! Until next week.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Feels like summer with the Bakersfield 4

I got to visit with the Bakersfield 4 yesterday afternoon and got a big surprise. Paolo has discovered his great big blue Cooleroo in the shade. What I saw was a dog who had no idea what a bed even was last week. I kept leading him up to the bed and he would stand there like "what do you want me to do?" But, this Saturday was a whole 'nother deal. He has claimed the blue bed as his own and naps throughout the day on it in the shade of his little house porch.

I see footprints on the terra cotta beds for the girls, so I know they're using them. While I'm there with them, though, the three girls are excited and jumping around. Everybody gets treats and chews and lots of hugs and kisses. I mentioned last week how I'd given the three girls nicknames. Dolores a.k.a. Dodo for Dorothy in the purple collar. Danger Mouse for Indica in the blue collar with the bow. And Chicken for Chiquita who keeps removing her collar. Tomboy, anyone? She really really answers to Chicken. I think she digs her new name. It suits her. I think she picked it out and somehow telepathically sent the message to me. And I got it, loud and clear. All three answer to their new nicknames. New names, new little house, new beds, new big red umbrella and new lives. Lots and lots of love and kisses.

I'm trying to come up with ideas how to keep them together in boarding. Last month in June I did a Reunion Rescue dog walk challenge and raise $240 toward their monthly boarding. I need ideas. Anybody have a suggestion?

For now here are this week's photos of four happy dogs, happy at long last.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

The Mary Jane Girls....in our house...

Got the Bakersfield 4 new beds and a big red umbrella to go with their little house. Pink for the girls and blue for Paolo. They've all got new nicknames. Wanna know what? Ok. Their group nickname is The Mary Jane Girls like the Rick James artists. Dorothy with the chopped off tail is Dodo short for Dolores named after our good friend. Middle girl who used to be Indica is now Danger Mouse...why? Cuz she so shy and loves hiding up underneath the house. Little Bit who used to be Chiquita is Chicken. She is so sassy. Their official names are still Rza, Sza and Cardi respectively, but nicknames are so much fun. And they earned those. And then there's Paolo! Who you have to pronounce like House of Gucci Jared Leto. He is such a big movie star and truly enjoying his new role as protector and ambassador extraordinaire.

I love them all so much. Still can't bring them home with me until our numbers here lighten up. But, someday. I daydream of the day I can walk each one at the greenbelt trail. I know they will truly love it. They're all a little bit tomboy, those Mary Jane girls. It was kinda sad because they didn't know what to do with those Cooleroo beds. I had to show them how to get up on them. I don't think they've ever slept on a bed. Just like Paolo had to learn to chew up a dog cookie. He didn't know what to do with it. But, those sad days are behind us. From now on only good times.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Always late with your kisses...

I love my weekly visits to hug and kiss on Paolo, Rza, Sza and Cardi. Each week they get more and more adorable and share a bigger place in my heart. They've inspired my new Reunion Rescue newsletter to try and help dogs like the Bakersfield 4. Their story is so important. See, rescues like Reunion Rescue should be helping dogs like these four who needed trauma rehab with good people and experts who know what they're doing like Angela and Ruben. There are so many dogs in shelters right now who are there for no reason other than their owners dumping them. Those are adoptable dogs who can go straight into someone's forever home. Lots and lots of information and resources on the Reunion Rescue website to help pet owners and even more on the new newsletter. These four dogs are responsible for this effort. They are truly an inspiration. 

So, selfishly, I am anticipating the day when they will come to live with me and Scott here at Reunion Rescue. I daydream about walking them in the Greenbelt and showing them all the magic and wonders that make my world such a wonderful place. Like the two black-throated hummingbirds that were playing and flying above me the other day deep into the trail. Or the wild lantana that blooms in all the colors of the rainbow. There are spots that remind me of Golden Gate Park complete with the same smells. I can close my eyes and almost feel the ocean on my face, air conditioned by God like they say out there. 

But until then, each week it gets better and better. I can tell they're as happy to see me as I am to see them. I get out the pick axe and go to work on the weeds. It's easy to work up a sweat while doing so. And then I whip out my fur-a-lator and go to work on Paolo. Take a look at him! What a beauty he is. I don't think anybody's every brushed his coat. And he is so pleased, he struts around and lets me photograph him like he's posing for the cover of Dog Magazine. He is truly a superstar.

The little girls are so full of kisses, it reminded me of the old Lefty Frizzell song, so I'm including the video at the end of this blog post sung by Dwight Yoakam..the Bakersfield sound of course. I love them so much and think of them all during the week until it's time for another visit, daydreaming of them while I'm hiking the trail. 

                                                           Soundtrack Dwight Yoakam singing Always Late