My aunt is having a huge garage sale for the second weekend in a row. Last week, I checked it out/helped out with my mom. Since I was killing time away from my doggies, I just couldn't return to them empty handed! But what could I bring them back from a garage sale? My first stop was the stuffed animal bin. The only problem is that all of the stuffed animals had those little pellet things inside. Well that's just a disaster waiting to happen. One rip of the fabric and hazardous material would be ready for the consumption. Then my aunt suggested taking a peak inside the free bin where there were a couple of old dolls. Bingo! I found a winner I was sure Mister would love. We named him baby.
If anyone had told me two years ago that the Missaroo would one day have a brother I would have laughed. "Missy is dog aggressive" I would have retorted, "no way." But she and Mister are the best of buds. Another year later and the Missaroo surprised me again while proving the world wrong about biters. Sunday Mister, Missy, my dad, and I all headed out for the dog park. Yep, you read me right. Missaroo went unleashed at a dog park and you know what? She made friends! And more than that, she and Mister both had a great time.
Missy's biggest problem is leash aggression. She's totally "that guy" who picks fights with really big dudes in bars and then yells to her buddy's "hold me back brah." Except she's no guy, the big dude is a dog, and I'm the posse holding her back via leash. She's all talk to them and all bite at me. I nipped the biting in the bud, but not the leash aggression. She is also waaaay over protective of me. So the dog park really is perfect. It takes her off the leash, lets her socialize so she can see not all dogs are bad, and she can meet and greet without me at the other end of the leash. What a sweet deal! Now, this is not to say I wasn't surprised she did so well. The one thing about dogs that bite, they are a bit less predictable than other dogs. I still monitor her play very closely, but boy has she come along way. I can't tell you how proud I was to see Missy playing with other dogs and making friends.
Today we went back to the park and I think I may have met a friend too. There was another dog mom very much like me with her Peanut. No really, that's her dog's name. We talked about how we would both love to be in the animal welfare/sheltering business as oppose to our career paths, vaccines, dog parks, doggie daycare, and the like. I hope I'll see her again at the dog park soon. Just like the Missaroo, I've had trouble making friends. Maybe this is a turning point for both of us.
There aren't a whole lot of places I rather be than home with my dogs. I mean, come on, my ideal job is what I'm doing right now. Unfortunately, I've only made less than a dollar in two years of doing this so I have to look for work outside my backyard. I think if I could pick a runner up, it would have to be the place I go to everyday, Found Chicago. I love it there! Sure, at noon I'm ready to punch out for the day. BUT I'm also just a lowly intern and most of my day consists of picking up poop. That part of the gig is def not my dream job but I put a big smile on my face while I do it anyway. Why? Simple: Everyday we save lives. I would love to help Found save even more lives for the rest of mine. Not only are they apart of the No Kill movement, they are on the cusp of something really great. I want to be a part of their greatness too. So everyday while I'm cleaning kennels, mopping floors, filing papers, and meeting with the head honcho, I just keep smiling. For me, Found Chicago has become the happiest place on earth.
So, now you're on board right? Totally pumped and want to help Found save lives too, right? You can! And we won't even ask you to pick up poop! Just drink! Cocktails for Canines is June 29th at Parlour on Clark in Chicago. I'll be at the front door to greet you. For ten dollars you get two drinks and the chance to make a difference. There's more info on theFound Facebook Page. See you there!
I just wanted to pass along a quick Bill update since it has been three months since his accident. Tomorrow he is being discharged from rehab and will finally go home. Although the best place for him to be right now is probably rehab, that just isn't in the cards for him. So, we will all make the best of it! The good news is he will be home with his loving family. The goal is that he will make enough progress there that he will be able to eventually return to rehab where he can get the care he needs. I am hoping to send him a care package by the weekend. Continue to pray for his recovery. We are just getting started folks! Team Bill.
One of the trainers at Found Chicago told me that dogs have three reactions to stressful situations, freeze, flee, or fight. The Missaroo has always chosen fight... until yesterday. As most of you know, I have been working with Miss for three and a half years now. She suffered from terrible separation anxiety and dog aggression on top of her other crazy habits. When I first started working with her on being less aggressive on leash toward other dogs she bit me. I still have the scar on my right arm to prove it. I've had to nail her butt to the ground a couple of times in order to tell her I was the one who was really in charge of the situation. Over the years, she has calmed down quite a lot. She doesn't even snap at me anymore when I try to get between her and another dog, but her choice remained fight.
Now that we have a fenced in yard, I have been able to work with Missy in a new way. There is a neighbor dog who lives behind us who hasn't yet given up barking at Miss the way Rusty did. This dog always starts the barking, but Missy makes sure she gets in the last word. They meet at the fence and go at it. So, I've been working with Missy to stop the barking and climbing on the fence. Success. But I still had to stay right there and hold her back just a tiny bit. So we kept working at it. Every day, every chance I had to be there with her when the other dog barked, I used as a lesson. And then yesterday a miracle happened.... I mean like the clouds parted and a dove might as well have flown down. Missy not only approached the dog without barking, she WALKED AWAY FROM A BARKING DOG! She simply chose to ignore him. AMAZING. Like seriously! I just about died. My mom was like geez it's not that big of deal, but she wasn't there the day Missy turned her head and bit me. Not the time on the leg. Or the time that left the scar on my arm. She wasn't there when I had to force Missy onto the ground and hold her there until she stopped. She wasn't there when I almost gave up. So she didn't understand why Missy simply walking away from a fence made me so overjoyed tears filled my eyes. And more than being happy for my own success, I am happy that Missy can be just as chill as her little brother Mister. Going through life fighting with everyone is no life at all. I'm so happy Missy just improved her own quality of life! I am sure there will be more fights in the future, that this was just another step and not the end of the journey. BUT it was indeed a breakthrough for the Missaroo.
I turned the big 2-7 on Sunday and, well, I'm not too happy about it. I'm officially in my late 20's and I don't have much to show for it, other than my two beautiful puparoos of course! So I decided I needed to get out of town to celebrate and what better way than visiting a fellow dog mom? So I hopped a plane and headed to Rhode Island for the weekend.
My friend Molly is pretty much the reason I have the Missaroo. We worked together in the Tri-Cities and she was the first person to really tell me "you should get a dog." So this weekend I took a break from my two and visited her and Wiley. While I was there we went to a pet parent event called "Pints for Paws." It was a fundraiser for the Providence Animal Rescue League AND you could bring your dog! It was fun to be surrounded by fellow pet parents who really "get it," although it did make me miss Missy and Mister more than I already did. I told a lot of Missaroo stories, was recommended some books to read, and got to see other dog moms and dads really do their thing.
I met one dog mom who has to spoon feed her dog while he stands up. Then when he's done she has to hold him upright for about 20 minutes while he digests it. Wow! Others just told me funny stories about things their dogs do or heartwarming tales of love and rescue. It was a really great experience and made it even harder to leave. It made me more sad about my current situation.
Coming home, nobody gets it. In fact, I'm sitting out in the garage blogging right now because, seriously, no one gets it. My dogs aren't allowed inside so why would I want to be there? Um, I don't. So I sit outside all day long until it's time for bed. If it weren't for the dogs I probably would have moved into my car and just driven off by now. But there is hope for me out there. There is hope I end up like Molly again one day. Hanging out with my fellow pet parents at the park. Making friends, playing with dogs. It's all I really want.
Missy and Mister are loving their new digs. Between grandpa's undivided attention on the weekends, and grandma's fenced in yard, their days of balcony living seem like a thing of the past. Like a life they use to live, way back when. This new found freedom has also given the Missaroo a chance to rid herself as the neighborhood terror. In one day, she won over even the toughest Missaroo critics in her new home ((my mom's husband)) and in one week flat she became the most beloved dog in the neighborhood. How did she do it? With some good old fashion my way or the high way Missy actions. She put an end to the yipper next door.
Rusty has been terrorizing the neighborhood for nearly a year now. He comes out several times a day and yip, yip, yips. Just like that. Always in threes then a pause and another three barks. Yip, yip, yip..... Yip, yip, yip... Yip, yip, yip. For ten minutes at a time. The worst is at night. He comes out between 9:30 and 10:30 at night and barks. He also manages to set off the motion detectors outside that shine right into my mom's bedroom. Rusty was a terror. Key word was. Enter the Shmoo.
Day one, Rusty comes out with the air of a superior dog ((he's a miniature pinscher mix)). He yip, yip, yips right up to the fence; and then the Missaroo attacked. Mister was trying to make friends when Missy ran up and thwarted his efforts. Halfway through her usually rant and Rusty stopped cold. Just starred at her and walked away. He wanted none of what she was selling. But it gets better.
A few days later and the barker was back at 9:30 pm ((my bedtime)). Now remember, I am a woman who interns inside an animal shelter five hours a day. Three minutes in and I decided Rusty is the most annoying dog ever. YIP, YIP, YIP.... YIP, YIP, YIP.... YIP, YIP, YIP. Enough. I turn to Miss and say, let's go. Out to the yard we went and without making a peep she shushed him. All she did was run over to the fence and Rusty froze. I called her back in and the barking DID NOT start back up again. Mission accomplished. Now every time Rusty comes to annoy the neighborhood Missy is on call to stop him in his tracks. And that's how the Missaroo went from being the old neighborhood terror to the new neighborhood savior in one week.
Today marks day three of the Found internship and all I can tell you is I have no idea what to expect tomorrow. After taking a few doggies out on their potty break and hanging with the cats, I was asked to run an errand. A rather LARGE errand. Meet Brave.
She needed a ride to the Anti-Cruelty Society so she could get spayed. At a year and a half, she's already missed two spay appointment and had to make this one. So they asked me to hop on the Kennedy and take her downtown. It's only 20 minutes away, I was told. Yeah right. So Brave and I headed off ((in my car)) down 94 into the heart of the city. I wanted to intern at 7am for a reason, I didn't want to fight rush hour traffic. Oh well. 30 minutes later I put in a call to Found saying we weren't going to make it there by 9am, but we'd be there soon. Brave and I found the place OK but it's BIG. We parked, ran around the block, up a flight of stairs and right into the vet clinic waiting room. Did I mention I just met Brave this morning?
Brave was such a good girl. She def lived up to her name. I was quite the hot mess by the time we signed in, but she was in pretty good shape ((minus the whole throwing up in the kennel on the way over thing)). The good news is we made it. I really hope she doesn't associate me with surgery forever! A few wrong turns later and I made it back to Found to finish up my day. What an experience! I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Today I met an amazing dog named Henry. Henry is full of life and loves to smile. He does amazing at agility and is often times the most focused dog in the room during training sessions. Henry just makes me want to smile and forget about my bad day. What's even more amazing about Henry is that he is blind. I've never met a blind dog before. I soon found myself saying things like poor Henry. But that is not Henry's attitude at all and lucky for him that is not the attitude at Found Chicago either. He might be a considered a "special needs" dog, but really it Henry who dishes up the life lesson. He shows us, that just like with humans, blind dogs can do everything seeing dogs can, and then some!
At Found, Henry isn't treated like the other dogs, his trainer is even MORE strict with him. Why? Because who wants a rambunctious, blind pitbull? Now thanks to his training, Henry has a second chance at life! Henry is ready for adoption. Click here to check out his bio. Henry is definitely my hero for the month. I hope that someone loving will make Henry his or her hero for the rest of his life.
Today was my first day of interning at Found Chicago. It's an animal shelter who's mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home Chicago's dogs and cats. How awesome is that!?! WAY AWESOME. At the beginning of the year, I set some pretty lofty goals for myself. One was to advance the No Kill movement. What better way than by spending my summer at a premiere rescue shelter in one of the country's largest cities? I truly am living the dream.
Day one was a lot of dirty work. I spent most of the morning sweeping and mopping floors. I also scooped a lot of poop. But then I got to work with the dogs as well. Most of the dogs were probably chuckling on the inside as they put me through the ringer as I tried to get them in and out of their kennels. I probably had a harder time figuring out how to open the doors than I did with anything else. I learned A LOT. Mostly about how important head control is. These are NOT your ordinary animal shelter dogs. These are dogs with serious issues, not Missaroo issues either. Some have been severely abused. Like so abused they were taken away from their owners by the courts. Again, not your run of the mill dog. This is where Found is truly amazing, or should I say the people behind Found's doors are truly amazing. They give these dogs hope. Real hope and a another shot at a home. With two on-site trainers who work with the dogs every day and caring people wandering the halls at every turn, there is great work being done at Found everyday. I am so blessed to be a part of it. Hopefully, it won't be all poop and dirt for me either. My goal is to learn all the ins and outs of animal sheltering there. Maybe one day the Missaroo, Mister too, and I will be running an awesome animal shelter of our own!
The dogs and I are settling into a new home, in a new state a-ok. The dogs are really enjoying splitting time between grandma's backyard and grandpa's attention. I wish splitting time between the two was as easy for me after 13 years as it seems to be for them.