After that long “winter” (even a born and bred Texan like me can’t really call that a winter!), spring is here! And with spring comes loads of dog-related and dog-friendly events. Here are just a few…
This Sunday, thank Dog. will be at Easter in the Park (probably my favorite annual event). If you’re coming, stop by the booth and say “hi.”
And check out the DFW Rescue Me booth to see a few of the available pups, like Cupcake here (for those that follow thank Dog on Facebook like you should!, the pug named Cupcake was quickly adopted; this is obviously a different Cupcake, perhaps even sweeter!)
Or, if that’s not your thing, the Deep Ellum Art Festival Pet Parade is also on Sunday. I can’t be there since I can’t be in two places at once, but it’s a fun event.
And, the Dallas Pet Expo is a few months away (June 23). They’ll be all kinds of pet-related stuff going on, plus it’s indoors (Tower Building in Fair Park) but still open to dogs.
I recently read an article by a woman complaining about her difficulty in adopting a dog from a rescue organization. Several commenters agreed and relayed similar experiences. It got me thinking…
First, I don’t know the author. Nor do I know anything about the rescue organization she was trying to adopt from (I think everyone was from New York).
Second – I’m far from an old hand at this. I’ve fostered 1 adult dog and 7 puppies, including Jet. And these are only my own thoughts and opinions – I’m not speaking for any rescue organization or volunteer.
So… do I think it’s “harder” to adopt from a rescue organization than from your local shelter? In a word, yes. But there are a number of good reasons why…
We have the time to be more selective. The dogs in the rescue organizations are no longer on death row. The threat of euthanasia is gone. They aren’t going to die if they aren’t adopted in just a few days. Once a dog is within the rescue organization, he or she is safe. We can take the time to do home visits, check vet references, etc. We can care for them through all their vetting, illnesses or whatever. The urgency is gone.
We become attached. Most rescue organizations are all volunteer, and the dogs are in foster care. This means they live in our homes and share our lives – sometimes for months. Jet has been with me for almost 3 months now. The little stinker sleeps in my bed. Belle, the Queen of Disdain, has fallen for him. So do I want him going somewhere that’s “fine” or “okay”? No, not really. I want him to go to the perfect home for him. Even if/when that home comes along, will I cry? Almost certainly. Do we all seriously consider keeping (one or more) of our fosters? Of course. Am I considering keeping Jet? You bet. The attachment we have to our fosters makes us really want to find great homes for them – homes where they’ll thrive and be happy.
We know the dogs. I know Jet. I know he’s a high energy puppy who loves other dogs. I also know he’s noisy (I hear him from the driveway – coming and going), he can be destructive (so far, the tally is one shoe and a bathroom cabinet), he’s smart but stubborn, he has sweet moments, and he has a well-documented tendency to eat inappropriate things. Because I know him, I know what type of home he needs – and what type of home would not be a good fit. We have turned down an application on Jet – very nice and well meaning people, but everything about the circumstances spelled disaster and future behavioral issues.
We’ve had dogs returned. You might be surprised by how often this happens – sometimes a few days or weeks later, sometimes months later. Frequently the issue is a mismatch of energy between an existing pet and the new dog (or a clash of personality). Sometimes it’s a new boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t like the dog or the dog doesn’t like him/her (though I would guess it’s always the former). Other times it’s a realization that they don’t have the time needed for the dog they adopted (some are high maintenance, no doubt about it!). By being more particular with the original adoption, we hope to avoid this. We can’t always. Don’t get me wrong – we want them returned to us versus the shelter.. but we also obviously would prefer neither.
We’re all volunteers. Most of us have other jobs. So if it takes a little while to respond – or if the whole process is slower than you hoped, please have patience.
Basically, yes, it probably is more of a process to adopt from a rescue organization. But it’s because we truly want to match the dogs up with the best homes — and vice versa. If you let us know about you, your lifestyle, your family, etc., we’ll do our best to pair you up with a dog that will be a good match for you. We’re not trying to be difficult, we just honestly want what’s best for everyone involved (especially the dogs, as that’s where our attachment lies).
So what if you’ve found a dog you’d like to adopt? Here’s a few tips to help the process along:
Yes, our dogs are rescues, sometimes from awful circumstances, other times not. But just because they made it to a shelter does not mean they do not deserve a good home. Indeed, many of them have gone through enough already – they deserve us spending a little time and effort to make sure the next chapter in their lives is a happy one. That’s all we’re trying to do. So please be patient and understanding – it’ll be worth it.
I’ve posted about some of this episode on Facebook (if you don’t “like” thank Dog, you should!), but here’s the complete story…
Wednesday night, the little guy threw up. I didn’t worry too much about it – dogs sometimes vomit. But the next morning, Mr. Jet was super lethargic and he had zero interest in his breakfast – highly out of character. I began to worry. Around lunchtime, I returned home to check on him. He was still acting super pathetic and still hadn’t touched his breakfast. Given his penchant to put anything and everything in his mouth, I instantly began to worry about a possible obstruction so I felt around on his belly — and he cried out in pain. Oh no.
After a frantic message to DFW Rescue Me, I took Jet to the vet. They had the same suspicion I did so they took a few xrays of the dude. Unfortunately, the xrays weren’t overly helpful — it looked like there might be something blocking the exit of the stomach into the intestines, but it was impossible to tell conclusively. Regardless, it was very clear the little guy did not feel good – plus he’d developed a bit of a fever, also worrisome. The vet gave us a few options: (1) open him up for exploratory surgery – which may end up being unnecessary; or (2) wait it out to see if he passes or digests whatever it is – risking him potentially becoming septic and/or perforating. Fun choice, right?
Before that decision was made, I moved Jet to a different clinic – one that was open late and had staff on hand 24/7. Vet #2 examined him and his xrays… and pretty much said the same (with a potential addition course of action – a barium series to tract movement through the digestive system). The ultimate decision was to get him on an IV and to closely monitor him through the night. Since his symptoms had only appeared the night before, he hopefully wouldn’t become septic or perforate if we waited an additional 7-8 hours. And if he started to turn for the worse or vomited again during the night, they’d go ahead and perform surgery then and there. If not, they’d continue monitoring him and try feeding him a bit in the morning. Luckily he made it through the night fine, and scarfed up the food in the morning. Even better, he didn’t vomit but did poop. His belly was still tender, but less so (particularly after he relieved himself). He was fed several more times throughout the day, each time keeping it down. A bit more poop (there were a few red strings in it, but nothing that would have obviously have caused the problem). The decision was made to let me bring him home last night and monitor him here (with catheter left in place just in case). When I picked him up, he was clearly feeling better – not back to his normal self, but a lot better (he was SO pathetic on Wednesday – everyone at both vets commented on how sweet the little baby was. While he is sweet in his own way, he’s not cuddle-up-in-your-arms-with-sad-puppy-eyes-when-there-are-other-dogs-around sweet.)
He did well last night. I fed him a couple small meals, which he again kept down – but his poop began to worry me (nothing appeared that could have been an obstruction, but I won’t get any more graphic and gross than that). The vet was not overly concerned with the poop issue (something about upper and lower intestines – his was consistent with irritation in the less troubling of the two). More importantly, his behavior indicated he definitely was feeling much better. He is almost back to being a crazy, friendly, noisy, pain-in-the-butt, stereotypical lab puppy. He’s well hydrated, has a healthy appetite, his gums look good, and his poop issue was not overly concerning to the vet. So the vet removed his catheter today and sent us home again with a couple medications for his gut.
So…. what happened? I don’t really know. There was clearly something very wrong with him – and all the vets who saw him agreed, enough to seriously consider emergency surgery. Everything pointed to an obstruction, and Jet is a lab puppy so it seemed likely. I’ve tried to watch what he puts in his mouth (I’ve recovered innumerable sticks and rocks and pieces of trash and parts of toys from his mouth), but I’m sure things have gotten past me. But since nothing appeared to have made its way through, I began to worry that maybe something else was wrong (I had no idea what though). Today’s vet on staff reassured me though, as she thinks he probably just finally digested whatever it was. If Jet continues to eat well, and doesn’t vomit – and his poop issue clears up – the vet thinks he’ll be back to 100% in 72 hours or so. Of course, if he vomits again, we may be right back at the vet. Fingers crossed.
Why am I disclosing all this? Well, because his vet bills, including the emergency care, overnight stay, multiple xrays, medications, IV, etc., are… high. I’m not positive, but I’d estimate they are now in the $800-1,000 range. That’s a significant amount of funds not budgeted for – funds that DFW Rescue Me could have used to rescue several other dogs. So… if you’re able and willing, please consider making a donation to DFW Rescue Me. If you do make a donation, send me your name and address, and Jet and I will send you a thank you card.
On a side note – I’d like to give huge thanks to both City Vet – Oak Lawn (vet #1) and Hillside Vet Clinic (vet #2). All the doctors (and staff) at both locations were caring, helpful, and willing to patiently talk through everything with me, even when I was calling every couple hours.
You might remember that awesome field of bluebonnets (and indian paintbrushes) from last spring… Well, it was on my friend’s property out in Midlothian. I’ve been meaning to go out and photograph her horses ever since — but I was busy and then it was repulsively hot and then… Well, I finally went on an overcast day this week. She’s added in a new baby since I was last out there – totaling four now.
It was a very very grey day – and the horses weren’t interested in much beyond grazing (and the occasional snapping Lucki into line). I’d like to go back sometime when Denise is working them so I can get a bit more variety… one of these days.