Happy Valentines Day from Best Friend’s Animal Society

Author’s Note: This is a non-interview post that was offered to me by Best Friend’s Animal Society. I was in no way compensated for my time, I just wanted to share. 🙂 


Looking for Love That Lasts?

Best Friends Animal Society Can Help You

Adopt a Pet to Realize Those #RelationshipGoals 

Best Friends and Hallmark Channel Team Up to Encourage

Everyone to Swipe Right to Find “The One” at National Pet Adoption Event

 HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! Oh. Now the bad news… As sincerely as we try, statistics show that being “consciously coupled” is often fraught with failure. According to bestselling author Hellen Chen, more than 85 percent of dating relationships end in a breakup. Not to mention, nearly a third of marriages end in divorce.

But don’t fret, there is a way to set realistic #RelationshipGoals this year: Ditch the dating and adopt a pet.

When looking for love, you’re more likely to find the real deal at your local animal shelter than at your local bar, or on Tinder, or Ashley Madison for that matter. Just for starters, about 81 percent of people on dating sites and apps lie about height, weight or age in their profiles (according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study). But dogs and cats don’t lie about tail length or being housebroken, what you see is what you get.

Instead of roses this year, Best Friends Animal Society is offering you a dozen reasons why your #RelationshipGoals should include the adoption option. (You’re welcome.)

 

  1. Hanging with a pet will give pleasant new meaning to “Netflix and chill.”1
  2. Your pet’s lasting love will make you never fear being “ghosted” again.2
  3. Adopting a pet will help you overcome that fear of commitment.3
  4. You’ll always have someone there to kiss you good morning, even before you brush your teeth.

    Ruby (little, gray) and James (bigger, black) with Matt Wigham
    Ruby (little, gray) and James (bigger, black) with Matt Wigham
  5. Walking a cat on a harness and leash is a guaranteed attention-getter.5
  6. Chances are your pet will love to spoon and snuggle as much as you do, if not more.6
  7. Your new canine companion will give you a valid reason to hang out and meet people at the dog park.7
  8. More than 63 percent of people consider pets to be members of the family (according to the AVMA). So no matter what the configuration of a family unit, pets are a perfect source of love and companionship.

    Xavi and dogs
    Xavi and dogs
  9. If you’re not finding true love on Tinder, adopting a pet may be your answer.9
  10. A pet will help you get accustomed to 24/7 adoration and unconditional love.

    Julie and Ken with Zephyr the cat
    Julie and Ken with Zephyr the cat
  11. An adopted pet can help you become less self-centered, as you learn to put another’s needs before your own.

    cats
    cats
  12. If you’re looking for love, but are freaked out by forever, check with a local shelter or rescue to find out about fostering.Twelve

Contrary to what you see online, there’s plenty of drama-free companionship out there. To make it even more attractive, Best Friends Animal Society and its official media sponsor, Hallmark Channel are offering pet adoption fees starting at $14 to help you find “The One.” The national event is taking place February 1-15 at Best Friends adoption centers in Utah and Los Angeles, and at an event in New York, as well as through participating No More Homeless Pets Network partners across the country. (More information about the promotion can be found at http://bestfriends.org/TheOne/.)

“If you’re looking to bring home a new pet, few people will argue that adopted animals reward their people with a depth of love and loyalty that pets from other sources often don’t seem to rival,” said Gregory Castle, co-founder and chief executive officer for Best Friends Animal Society. “They seem to know they were given a second chance, and they spend their lives repaying their families.”

Who knows, having a pet might even help you meet that special someone, if you haven’t already. Relationships come and go, but adoption can—and should– last a lifetime.


About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, adoption centers and spay and neuter facilities in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City as well as lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 1,300 rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding in 1984, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in American shelters from 17 million per year to an estimated 4 million. By continuing to build effective initiatives that reduce the number of animals entering shelters and increase the number who find homes, Best Friends and its nationwide network of members and partners are working to Save Them All®.

To become a fan of Best Friends Animal Society on Facebook go to: http://www.facebook.com/bestfriendsanimalsociety

Follow Best Friends on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bestfriends

bfas

Together, we can Save Them All®

Happy Tails: Meet Remy

   snuggle

 How old is Remy?

2 years & 10 months

What breed is he?

beagle
tilt

How did he come to live with you?

My ex and I bought Remington in Feb 2011 when he was 4 months old. Then when we broke up in June, my ex took him while I was at work and brought him up to MA. I heard from his friends that he wasn’t treating Remington right…In August my ex dropped Remington off at my best friend Tina’s house in RI with just a chain around his neck (no collar or harness or leash). Tina got Remington ready for his flight to FL to be reunited with mama, which included buying a travel crate, getting a vet checkup, and getting a leash & harness. Remington spent almost a week at Tina’s while everything was prepared. Finally on August 20th, I picked Remington up from the Tampa Airport. I don’t know who was happier, me or him. 🙂
tail

Is this your first dog?

No. we had a girl beagle when I was a kid. Her name was Pudgy.

What are his favorite things to play with?

Dirty socks

Does he have an fursiblings he lives with?

Yes, he has a boxer brother, Spartan.
brudders

What are his favorite things to do?

play, snuggle, run & sniff

Has he had any obedience training?

hahahhahaha no
brudders2

Does he know any tricks?

yes: sit, roll over, low crawl, dance, stay, shake

What advice do you have for first time dog owners?

Remember that dogs have feelings too. Some people don’t realize that a dog is a living, breathing, conscious being. He is sad when you are gone and happy when you are there. Give him lots of luvins.

Is there anything else you would like to share about Remy?

I love him more than anything.
crate

Pets that Blog: Meet Wiley of Wiley’s Wisdom

How old are you?

I am five doggie years old, which I believe translates to something like 35 people years old. But I prefer to say I’m five doggie years young because that’s how I feel.

Where did you name come from?

My name was given to me by an angel named Katie at the Oshkosh Humane Society. When she saw me, she said I looked like a coyote, “like Wiley Coyote” I remember her saying. The first family that adopted me tried calling me Zorro, but that never stuck. I’m a coyote at heart.
Thinking of You

How did you get to be with your furever family?

That’s a great story actually! I thought I’d found my forever family (or that they had found me) when a family took me home from the shelter. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered I was wrong. The family had two other dogs and three cats and there wasn’t enough love (or food) to go around. I jumped their four-foot backyard fence thinking I’d set out for a better life, but they found me and took me back to the humane society where my real forever family found me a couple months later. The folks at the shelter were very protective of me because I had been returned, and apparently mom had to put up quite a fight to prove she was buying ME, not just buying a cute face. She had to agree to take me to a behaviorist, who signed off on that silliness herself. I’ll never forget when she told my mom “he’s so smart – I don’t know why they would have made you bring him to me.” I was so happy in that moment, not only to be called smart, but to be called smart by an expert in front of my new family.

Where did the idea to start blogging come from?

It’s something I always wanted to do – share my joy with the world. I didn’t know how to do it until that special day with my mom in the snow (December 20, 2012). She was so happy and I was so happy and I couldn’t tell whose joy started first. As I watched the snow fall down from the sky that day, it was like little notes from heaven inspiring me to send the notes right back up. That’s where joy: from the ground up came from. That’s where it all began.
Singing in the Rainbows

What is your favorite post?

It’s hard to pick just one. So I am going to cheat and pick two. One of my favorites is called “Let Me Be A Lantern of Love,” which was among my first posts. It is dedicated to my best friend and forever mom. (Need I say more?) Another favorite is “Mirror, Mirror,” which features a photo of my drawn by a family friend as well as one heck of a message. I hate how women look at themselves in the mirror and just wish they could all see themselves like I do.

What has been your least favorite post?

Any writer has good days and bad days. Sometimes I struggle to come up with something to say and these are the days I am least happy with the product. But I’d have to say my least favorite post is the one I did on the Lance Armstrong debacle called “My Favorite Kind of Chance.” The post itself wasn’t too bad, but the picture with me on the bicycle? I was terribly uncomfortable with that one.

I saw you’re a Packers fan, who is your favorite player & why?

Sports stars get a lot of attention, so it’s important to me that they use their stardom to do positive things in the world. Being a good leader expands far beyond the locker room and the field. While I have a soft spot in my heart for Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver is my favorite player of all-time. Not only was he a team leader, but he has been a leader in Wisconsin in so many ways for so many charities. He is a role model to many, and for good reason.
When Dogs Blog

Do you like the snow or do you prefer the warm summer days?

My feelings on the weather change as frequently as the seasons do in my neck of the woods. I love each and every day and nature never ceases to amaze me with its beauty. I do place a higher value on these days when I’m enjoying them with my people, however. Summer days have walks and times at the dog park, but winter days with the snow brings out something childlike in my people that doesn’t happen on walks. Because of this I would have to say I favor the snow that brings joy with it as it falls from heaven.

Is Wisconsin cheese really better than other cheese?

Of course it is! I’m not supposed to know this (of course) since cheese is one of those things mom always says are “not for doggies,” but let’s face it – I’ve had my fair share of cheese. It’s Wisconsin, after all.
Figuring it all out

What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?

Spending any time with my people is my most favorite thing in the whole world. It doesn’t matter if we are on an adventure or sleeping.

Do you have any fursiblings?

I don’t have any fursiblings, and while I do greatly enjoy the friends I have at the dog park, I’d prefer it to stay that way. I’m not afraid to admit I am a one-dog-household kind of dog who loves every waking second of attention and love. I don’t think I’m very good at sharing. Maybe I should work on that.

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?

The only thing I’d like to share is the biggest thing I can share – joy. Please come and check out my blog on joy from the ground up.
I love you world!

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Sir Wiley for answering my questions and letting me borrow some pictures for his article. The pictures were used with permission, you can visit his blog here or facebook here.

Photos were used with permission.

This article is a part of the Pets that Blog theme, for more interviews on blogging pets, click the image below. Many thanks to Miss Ann from Pawsitively Pets for the image. 

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Pets that Blog: Cult of Otis

Author’s Note: Cult of Otis is a blog I’ve been following for a little while, check out the webpage for a bit of background. The Cult is made up of Leader Otis, Brother Oliver, Brother Henry and Sir Thomas. Mama Cat is a new addition at the moment as she was taken in by the Guardians for medical care. The blog promotes keeping cats safe indoors and shares the experiences of the cats as they remain vigilant and watchful for the long feared Dog Uprising.

Cult of Otis Banner

First of all, Leader Otis, can you share how you became leader of the cult?

Leader Week 6

I did not become a spiritual leader overnight. It was a long journey that began with My being born the son of two feral cats. I spent My early life wandering the wilderness. I was hungry and frightened all the time. Just as it seemed I would slip away into The Shadows like My parents, I encountered two humans who reached out to Me. These two humans, now known as the Guardians of Otis, coaxed forth a loving, True Spirit that I didn’t even know I had! Brothers Henry and Oliver helped them with the process, and they also taught Me the ways of life in The Promised Land after I was swept up in The Capture. There were many more steps to My eventual ordination as The Leader, but basically, I was chosen because I had walked the path of the cats we most wished to help. My sister Marvie, now Saint Marvie, was the real catalyst that led to the creation of The Cult though.

When did your problems with your legs start and what can the followers of the cult do to help you?

My health problems have been a real challenge. When the Guardians first swept Me up in The Capture, they took Me to The Bad Place to be neutered. When I returned, I had a terrible limp in My right leg. They took Me back to The Bad Place but the people there said they couldn’t find anything wrong. The limp lessened, and then disappeared after about two weeks. Fast forward to last year and the limp returned with a vengeance. The Guardians took Me to our new Bad Place and X-rays showed that I had an old hip fracture and bad “Art Thritis”. The old fracture explained the limp from after My first Bad Place Visit. My “Art Thritis” required surgery, which I underwent last December.

My recovery was going well for a few months but then I seemed to plateau. Then I started having weakness in all four legs. For the past two months I have been visiting both My regular Bad Place and a Bad Place that specializes in nerve problems. I’ve undergone more tests than I care to think about, and I don’t think the Guardians have received any concrete answers from them yet. There are still some test results pending, so hopefully those will bear some answers.

We have appreciated all of the supportive words and purrs that have been sent our way by The Disciples of Otis, and we have been very thankful for the contributions many have made to help pay for My and, recently, Mama Cat’s care.

Brother Oliver, how did you become inspired to take photos of Sir Thomas?

Oliver looking flattered

Ahhh yes. You are referring to My latest photographic endeavor, the “Whiskered Gallantry” series. Well, I’ve always been fascinated by Thomas, even though I hissed at him quite a bit after he was swept up in The Capture and entered The Promised Land. I mean, you’ve seen those whiskers right? They are a kitty photographer’s dream! Unfortunately, Thomas has been traditionally shy of the camera, but his recent knighthood seemed to boost his confidence. I was thrilled when he agreed to collaborate with me, and I assure you there are many more photos in the series yet to come!

What advise do you have for helping other cats trying to discover their talent?

Well, we cats are curious by nature. As long as our human Guardians provide us with safe boundaries and plenty of enrichment, we will discover our talents. It is really up to our Guardians to provide the conditions in which our talents can blossom.

Brother Henry, as a follower of the cult of Otis I am concerned about the impending invasion of the dreaded wiener dogs, what can we do to help prepare?

Henry Watching Oliver

Oh boy. Wiener dogs. Has Thomas been talking to you? I feel like I need to make it clear that we don’t currently have any field intelligence that leads me to believe that the wiener dog threat is great than any other dog-related threat. That being said, the threat of The Long-feared Dog Uprising is definitely real. You can prepare by keeping your eyes open for any suspicious canine activity, and reporting anything out of the ordinary to Me, Thomas, Brother Oliver or Leader Otis immediately.

Do you think you will model for one of Brother Oliver’s photography projects?

I actually have modeled for him a few times in the past. I guess I would do it again if the project felt right.

Sir Thomas, congratulations on becoming a knight. It is truly a wonder that you came from being in Limbo to being a trusted member of the Cult of Otis.

Thank you very much, M’Lady! I really thought these cats were weird when I first got here, but I have always liked them. I was very honored to be the first kitty ever knighted by Leader Otis!

Can you share your story of how you came to be swept up in the Capture and taken to the Promised Land?

I… I have a little trouble telling my story because I still do not fully understand it. I had a guardian before the Guardians of Otis, but she treated me differently than they do. She left me outside all the time and rarely interacted with me. I had two brothers that were left outside with me, but our guardian rarely had much to do with them either. The Guardians of Otis always showed an interest in us. They talked to us, played with us and fed us when our own guardian was not around. One of my brothers disappeared, but I learned later that the Guardians of Otis had swept him up in The Capture and sent him to a forever home in The Promised Land. I was terrified by the idea of being swept up, but I was also terrified living outside.

One night, my guardian left and never came back. I was left sitting on a cat tree surrounded by a garbage pile in the backyard of my house. Soon after that, the Guardians of Otis caught me in a wire cage and took me inside their house. I had been swept up! I was terrified at first, but I got over that once I realized that I would never again be cold, hungry, in danger or all alone. Recently, I have even started letting one of the Guardians pick me up for very brief periods, and I hardly lose my stuff at all when he does it!

Have you ever modeled before? Your photos are stunning,I am still in awe of the Battle Cry of the Knight photo.

Nightwatcher 2

Ummmm… Gosh, no. I have never modeled. Brother Oliver is really good at explaining what he wants me to do though, so I just try to follow his lead. I am just so glad he no longer hisses at me.

Mama Cat, congratulations on your recovery. It must have been so scary to be swept up and taken to the Bad Place and then come into the shelter of the Guardians and the Cult of Otis.

Wait, what? The Leader has a blog? And I’ve been featured in that blog? Whoa. I’m sorry but I’ve kind of been out of the loop on this one. So that’s why they keep taking all those photos…

Anyway, thanks for the congratulations. Yes, it was kind of scary to be swept up and taken to The Bad Place, but I gotta say, I handled it better than Brother Oliver who rode along with me. That mancat really has a set of lungs on him!

As the first female to reside in the domain, what has been your experience so far and do you have some advise to share with other female cats scared of living with such important male cats?

Well… The thing is, I’m not sure what I think of the situation so far. The Guardians are letting me mingle with the boys some, but I tend to get a bit annoyed with these youngsters and I can’t help but hiss at them. The Guardians don’t seem to like it when I do this, but I’m not sure whether or not I’ll be able to turn it off. I got kind of used to fighting for what few comforts I could find outside. It’s hard to remember that I no longer need to do that.

What words of inspiration does the Cult of Otis have for those who are trying to convince Limbo cats that the Capture will lead to the Promised Land which is much better than being outside?

Leader Otis here. The first thing I would say to anyone that is working to bring kitties in from the wilderness is “Thank you!” Too often people turn away, or simply convince themselves that cats are just fine living in Limbo or in The Shadows. They don’t truly see them. They don’t acknowledge the scabs and scars. They don’t recognize the pain and fear in their eyes. They don’t grasp the full weight of it. They are not just fine out there.

The second thing I would say to those that are reaching out to these cats is, “Never give up.” The Guardians worked to earn My trust for more than 5 months before I even let them touch Me. They worked with Thomas for nearly a year while he was in Limbo and for another year and counting since he was brought into The Promised Land. If you have followed his story you have seen how far he has come. Among the Patron Saints of The Cult of Otis are many more examples of cats that have successfully made this journey. There are also some, including my sister, that were lost along the way. But the stories of those that were lost are even more motivation to keep trying.

I know there are millions of them out there. I know it is overwhelming. I know you feel like you can’t save them all. But if you at least try to save the ones in your own backyard, you will be making a difference. You will also be setting an inspirational example for those around you to follow. Who knows? Maybe someday the whole thing will get so big it will become like a new religious movement. Stranger things have happened.

Thank you so very much.

Again, our pleasure. Thanks so much for the interest.

Blessings of The Leader Be Upon You,

The Guardians, The Brothers, Sir Thomas, Mama Cat, and Leader Otis

Author’s Note: Many thanks to the Guardians, Leader Otis, The Brothers, Sir Thomas & Mama Cat for letting me interview them. You can follow the cult of Otis on the blog, check out the website to learn more about the Good Word or purchase some merchandise or like them on facebook . Photos were used with permission.

This article is a part of the Pets that Blog theme, for more interviews on blogging pets, click the image below. Many thanks to Miss Ann from Pawsitively Pets for the image. 

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Happy Tails: Balton

Meet Balton
 

How old is Balton?

 

He was estimated to be 1-2 years in 2012, when he was found as a stray and taken to the Florence Area Humane Society (a partner shelter of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue). We tend to think he was on the younger end of that spectrum, and guess he’s probably about 2 years old now.

Where did his name come from?

 It’s the Lucky Dog name he came with, given to him at the shelter. We had called him by his foster name for so long before adopting him that we couldn’t begin to think what else we would call him.

How did you find out about him?

 Balton arrived on a transport in mid-July 2012, and I met him there when I was picking up a different dog to foster. I remember him well because he was this goofy, bouncy, nice dog, lacking manners but very friendly. As I was getting my foster into the car he came rushing up to say hi (they were both Shepherd mixes and looked a lot like each other) and for whatever reason it left an impression. It wasn’t until 6 weeks later that he would come into my home and make an even bigger impression.

Is he a foster failure?

Balton the foster failure
Balton the foster failure, he’s happy at his forever home
 He is our very first foster failure. We had remained strong for about 2 full years of fostering before Balton came along, and for some time I was very proud not to have adopted any of the temporary houseguests I had fallen in love with to date.
We began fostering Balton in September 2012, after he was adopted to a family and, unfortunately, subsequently returned within days for reported aggression to everyone outside the family. We had never seen or heard of any signs of aggression with previous fosters or at adoption events, and will probably never really know how they manifested. Either way, the reports back were very (and surprisingly) different from the dog we had come to know. His first adoption event back after his return he was lunging and snapping at anyone who came too close. Since I had fostered a good number of some of our shy dogs in the past and helped them along with their fears (and my foster at the time had since been adopted), I was asked to foster Balton.
My husband and I went to pick him up with our resident dog from Wagtime, a doggy daycare and boarding facility that helps to foster Lucky Dogs. We all agreed if he showed aggression to us we would not be able to foster, but we also made a point to pick him up as a family unit so he had the opportunity to spend time with us in a neutral space and in the car on the way home. He has been great with us since day one, and settled easily into our home. He loves us is goofy, sweet, and affectionate with the people he trusts. I’ve been his cheerleader since day one, and never stopped believing there was a right home out there for him. I was also steadfast in my belief that we were an appropriate foster home, but not the right forever home for him.
As months went on, it became apparent that Balton’s fear of strangers wasn’t something that time would heal or someone could “fix.” He would require a lifetime of training, management, and confidence building. A trainer assessment in May of this year confirmed this, and indicated he would need to find a family as committed to carrying that out as we had been. From an adoptability standpoint, his window was incredibly small and presented risks should he end up with a family who didn’t provide him what he would need during his lifetime. So, my husband and I talked it over and decided that we would adopt him.

How did you discover his fear of strangers?

 We knew going into fostering Balton that he had some issues to reckon with. Putting those issues into context, identifying what triggered his fear responses, and knowing how to help him with them, was what we needed to learn. What we’ve found is that Balton is reactive when he feels cornered by unfamiliar people, and that he can’t get away. Given the choice, his first instinct is to remove himself from that which makes him uncomfortable. He can go to dog parks and does well in doggy daycare environments. We suspect this is because he is off leash and can create his own space. When he feels he doesn’t have that option, he barks, lunges, snaps at the “scary monsters” of his world. So, he is leash reactive and also reactive to unknown human guests coming over. If we don’t create space for him or show him that we can handle keeping strangers at bay, he will become reactive to them. Unfortunately, we most effectively learned this through some mistakes along the way in our early months together, like trying to introduce him to strangers before he was ready or not creating enough space on walks to keep him from practicing reactive behavior.
Balton and his flying squirrel toy

What have you been doing to gain his trust and ease his fears?

 We are currently enrolled in a behavior modification class called “Relaxing Rowdy Rovers” at All About Dogs in Woodbridge, VA and practice a good deal of in home training activities and management. He is very food motivated, and we always have a clicker and treats on hand to reward the practice of calm behavior on walks. When he sees a stranger, and doesn’t bark or lunge, he gets a treat. Creating distance is a functional reward for him, so I make a point to offer him that along with bonus treat rewards at any opportunity I can. He’s learning to offer different behaviors that what he had previously seen as effective, and trusting that we won’t push him farther than he can go. I’ve learned a lot about dog body language in our time together, and Balton is very good about telling me “this makes me uncomfortable” in a non-confrontational way. I make a point to recognize what he is telling me, and more importantly, to listen to him when he tells me that he doesn’t want to go any further in that moment.
We also implement a good deal of management at home to maintain low stress levels and teach impulse control. We have frosted our front windows to keep him from seeing people pass by our home, which had historically set him off. It’s been a huge help. We exercise impulse control by having him “say please” for his favorite things. He politely sits and waits for his dinner, and we practice “sit” and “focus” exercises playing soccer at the dog park, quite possibly his most favorite activity in the world. Positive reinforcement training has been a huge motivator and confidence builder for him.
 

How’s he progressing? 

We have good days and bad days, but I continue to see more good days on a more consistent basis. When we first started Rowdy Rovers class, he had a very tough time integrating into the classroom setting and offering behaviors because he was constantly worried. Today, he still worries, but far less than he did before. He has made great strides and seems more confident each week. Translating our lessons to daily life has been a challenge, but walks are gradually becoming easier and less stressful (for both of us!). This weekend, we also had visitors over for a few days and carefully managed his time out and about with them, but mostly offered him space and distance. It was definitely hard work for him to keep it together for 3 days, but he did it, and did it well! He had this big happy face after they left, like he knew it was a big deal what he’d accomplished, and like he was grateful to us for keeping him safe.
 

What are some of his favorite things to do?

 As I mentioned, he LOVES the soccer ball and is like my little Pele. He fetches it and delights in when we kick the ball across a wide open space for him to chase after. The dog park is one of his favorite places to be. He also enjoys tug and playing with squeaky toys, and chasing (or being chased by) his doggie brother around the living room. At home he is a giant couch potato and snuggle buddy. He loves to sit beside us on the couch and put his head in my lap while I read, or while we watch TV together.
 
Balton the Brave

Does he share the house with other pets?

 He does – a 16 lb Jack Russell Terrier who he looks up to as his “big brother” and two cats. He doesn’t entirely get that they are not also small dogs, and seems puzzled as to why they are unresponsive to his excited barks and play bows when he tries to initiate play. We continue to treat him for calm behavior around them, and also make sure the cats always have an oasis area from the big annoying dog.
He also graciously shares with an occasional overnight/weekend foster dog. For as wary as he is about human visitors, he loves having live in doggy playmates and acclimates incredibly well to their arrival!

What advice do you have for those who have dogs that are fearful of people?

 Learn to listen to what your dog is telling you, and work with a reward-based professional trainer who has experience in working with reactive dogs. Early on in our time together, I received some training advice that recommended the use of a choke chain and some traditional punishment based methods. We followed that guidance against my gut, because I felt desperate to help him and low on options. I also tried to force interactions in an effort to socialize him, rather than giving him the space he was so desperately asking for. I had all the best of intentions, but my efforts clearly broke down some of the trust Balton had already built in me. He became confused and hesitant to offer me basic behaviors he had learned, because he was afraid of if I might hurt him. I ultimately had to recover some ground to move forward.
I share this because it’s important for people to know that training is an unregulated field, and there are a number of people desperate to help their dogs who may be put in a place where inhumane methods are used to address a reactive behavior based in fear. I learned the hard way that these methods can truly devastate a fearful dog, and I’m grateful I shifted gears before I went too far.
Having said that, there are many trainers who have a working knowledge of positive reinforcement and dog-reactive dogs, but struggle in working with dogs who are reactive to humans, so it’s important not to just go with any positive trainer. You really have to feel like they will understand and help your dog as an individual. It was a blessing to find All About Dogs, because there are so many trainers who won’t give dogs like him a chance, or whose Reactive Dog classes simply state they aren’t for human-reactive dogs. All About Dogs answered a million questions and allowed me to observe a class before we went to train with them, and I knew we had found the right professional help to take us where we needed to go.
Do as much research as you need to to find the right learning environment for your dog, and recognize their fears are very real. It is our job as their caretakers to protect them, look out for them, and make sure they know we are keeping them safe. Suzanne Clothier’s two-hour seminar about Arousal, Anxiety, and Fear helped me to understand that and start asking my dog the ever important question, “How is this for you?” What I learned in those two hours served as a turning point for me in understanding and empathizing with Balton, and I recommend it to anyone who is facing similar issues. It can be downloaded at http://suzanneclothier.com/catalog/downloads
Balton and the soccer ball

Anything else you would like to share about yourself, Balton or Lucky Dog? 

I feel like perhaps I’ve overshared already! But I am chronicling our continued journey together at my blog, Faith Trust, and Foster Pups (faithtrustfosterpups.wordpress.com), and its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FaithTrustFosterPups).
Balton playing nurse

Many thanks to Balton and his mom for sharing his story. If you would like to follow his progress you can visit him on Facebook or on the Blog.  Photos were used with permission and belong solely to Balton and Miss Lynn.,

This article is a part of the Happy Tails theme.

Happy Tails: Meet Tater

How old are you?

9 months young!

Where did your name come from?

The fosters husband and youngest daughter called him Tate/ Tater so my family decided to call me Tater Tot!

I see you were adopted from MARS what is that?

It is a rescue in Minnesota, Mars stands for Midwest Animal Rescue and Services

What do you think of your new family?

I love them very much! I love getting treats and new toys!!

Were your parents looking for a pittie?

My littlest human,who’s 14 years old was set on having Pit. She has been wanting one since October, when she first learned about the breed.

What advice would they first time pittie owners?

Always us positive training methods, never physical. My humans hired what they thought was a really good trainer, they had read a lot about him and the reviews all said he was the best of the best. After 3 weeks we decided to fire him because he was too physical with me. Every time someone tried to pet me I would duck my head. After about a week of not having him I then learned no one is going to hurt me when they would go pet me. It wasn’t my humans fault, trainers should never be as rough and as physical as him. They didn’t know it was going to be like that until after they hired him.

Do you have any fur siblings?

Yes! I have 2 cat siblings that I love and would never hurt!

Have you learned any tricks so far?

I have, I know sit, down, shake, switch, high five, roll over, over (for agility), jump, wait (working on it), come, rest, leave it (still working on it), bang (play dead) still working on it)

What are your thoughts on BSL?

I don’t agree with it, nor do my humans. Taking the dog away itself is not the solution to what they think is a problem. If they are so untrusting of the breed they should require all owners, even responsible ones to go to workshops, training classes the city would pay for, ect. Also what I think every shelter should should do before they adopt out and vets should do at every check up is a temperament test, with all breeds! That would keep every community safer, because sadly people either train their pets to be aggressive or love them too much to give them to a place that is experienced with his or her needs and train the owners how to handle the dogs issues.

How are you working to fight it?

My human just went to her first Anti BSL peaceful protest this past weekend to learn how we can help. Also we are educating people about “Pit Bulls”.

What plans to you have for the future?

I am in an obedience class right now and train with my little human during the day. We have hurdles that we do if its not to hot out and I will be starting an agility class soon. I will be a service dog for my little human in the future

What would you like to say to people who are scared of pitties?

If you are scared of them because something happened to personally with a pit, try not to have anger, fear or blame to every pit you see, being afraid won’t get you anywhere in life. If you are scared of them because of things you have heard , don’t be. I bet you have met dogs that are one of the “Pit Bull” breeds and you haven’t realized it. Just give them a chance!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just always remember to ask the handler if you can pet their dog before you do! 🙂
Many thanks to Tater for the interview, photos were used with permission. Please visit Tater on his facebook page here

To skip to other “Opt to Adopt” Articles link the below link.  The image was made by the wonderfully talented Miss Ann of Pawsitively Pets.

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Happy Tails: Sassy & Manny

How old are you?

Sassy 1.5 years
Manny 2 years
Josie between 7 -12 years, vet is unsure

Where did your names come from?

Sassy came about because I was a lil spitfire and mom was going to call me Amelia after Amelia Bedelia books but Sassy just stuck. And yup, I live up to my name! Manny came to us as Little Man and mom started calling him Manny or Manny Bananas. Josie was a little bit harder to name, she was just a number at the puppy mill so we had to make sure she had a beautiful and proper name. Josie certainly is a good name for her and her boyfriends on FB call her Sweet Josie.

Manny, I read you came from a puppy mill, do you remember any of that?

I was only 8 months old when I was mauled and attacked by other dogs at the mill. We lived in very cramped quarters. I remember being scared and hoping I wouldn’t die. I knew in my heart I had a purpose in life so I hung tough, even though my whole side was chewed on and most of the skin gone. My wound was approx. 6 inches in diameter and by the time I got to the vet the skin around the wound was turning black and infected.

How did you get rescued from that horrible situation?

I was in a small crate with 4 other dogs. They attacked me and wouldn’t leave me alone. They mauled my whole side of my body. The breeder left me with my open wounds for 2.5 days. I think she was hoping I would die, but I knew someone wonderful would come for me , so I fought to stay alive. The breeder must have felt somewhat guilty after those 2.5 days and called a rescue liason to come get me. The breeder wouldn’t take me to her own vet cuz she knew she would be in trouble for leaving me that way. The rescue liason was horrified at my condition and got me to her vet right away, she was my angel (click here to see the pictures, warning they are very graphic) . I stayed with her for about a month so she could help my healing process. Then mommy caught word of me through her rescue. The mommy and Grammy drove 2 hours one way to pick me up! I was Mommies first foster ever and it was to be temporarily. B UT I snuck into her heart and now I am a furver foster! Sadly the breeder also had a yorkie who died the same way in her care that week and was only given a $650 fine for failure to get vet care for us . Just a slap on the wrist for her especially since I almost died! Our long haired Chihuahua, Josie , is also from a puppy mill . She has a tattoo on her ear of 36, which was her number. She was to be killed that weekend by her breeder. The rescue liaison contacted mom and they went on a mission to save Josie and another lil dog named Bella. Josie’s jaw had broke throughout her life because it literally disintegrated. She had never had dental work done. She is 4.5 pounds and had 4-5 old placentas left in her body from having so many puppies. The vet said she would have died if she had been bred one more time. Her teeth were rotten and Dr didn’t want to do further damage to her tiny jaw. The vet determined her age to be between 7-12 years old. She is also going blind but we have a blind dog, so we will make it work.

What advice would you have for those thinking about buying a puppy from a breeder?

This is a tough question. There are responsible breeders who do the right thing. But sadly, there are backyard, quick buck breeders . Stories like Manny & Josie’s are far to common. We feel it is important to share our stories . PUPPIES from the breeders are for the most part healthy . Since they are for sale, they are often socialized, vaccinated, etc to SELL. BUT when the puppy won’t make them any money any longer, they become disposable to the breeders. After Manny was mauled, he was no good to the breeder and certainly wouldn’t make her any money. It is the the mom and dad doggies at the mills that are forgotten. They are used for the sole purpose of breeding. They rarely have dental checkups or are vetted, poorly socialized and rarely know what love is when they are in the mills. Please don’t support the puppy mill breeders! ADOPT DON’T SHOP! For those puppy mill dogs that do make it out after years of breeding, please give them a chance! Consider adopting a rescue dog! They make life so rewarding and should be given a chance to be loved! We make the best companions and need angels! So many dogs never make it out of the mill . Once the puppy mill breeder is done with them, the animals are usually killed and it is not humanely done. Remember they are trying to make money and keep costs low. It is sad but true.

Sassy, I read you came from a hoarder, do you remember how many other animals you were living with?

I was just about 7-9 weeks old. I remember there was alot of other dogs and we lived on a very busy street in downtown Green Bay. That is all I remember. Luckily though, I was healthy and well socialized. Thank goodness for that!

How did you get to be rescued from that situation?

Mommy has lived in our area for about 13 years and has driven past the house where I was at a million times. My brother Oliver was dying of cancer and mom wasn’t expecting to get a dog. She was on her way to grammy so they could check out the rescue my mom now volunteers for. Mommy SHOULD have driven the other way, but for some reason mommy turned left and came towards the house that I was in. It was 7:30 in the morning in Feb 2012 in frigid Green Bay. Mommy saw a lady outside going for a walk with about 7 adult chihuahua’s and a few puppies. Mom stopped and asked her if she had puppies for sale…(mom to this day does not what compelled her to stop, but she is glad she did)…the lady didn’t speak english so her granddaughter came out to translate. Mom asked if she could buy one of us and chose me. The granddaughter then asked mom to come back later in the afternoon to pick me up. Mom figured she would get to find out all my details at that time. But when the mommy got back to pick me up the lady wasn’t home. A young man appeared in the window and said “what do you want???” Mom told him she was there to pick me up. He then came outside and exchanged the $50 cash for me. Mom said she felt like she was doing a “dog” deal. The young man didn’t know anything about me. Mom left with me and when we pulled into our driveway, I gave mommy a big ole wet puppy kiss. I liked to lay by my brother Ollie and mom thought we looked an awful lot a like. Oliver was a rat terrier and he passed away a week later. On Ollie’s birthday mom found out I was Chihuahua & Rat terrier mix. Ollie was a rat terrier so it made the story that much sweeter!

Manny, what is your favorite trick to perform?

I love giving my mom high five! I also give her all my money when we play “stick up ” and if mom asks me for money to go shopping I slap my paw on her hand as if I am giving her money!

What was the hardest one to learn?

Probably the stick up one. Mommy makes a gun with her finger s and says “give me all your money” . Sometimes I look at her like she is nuts…bol.

Do you want to share any tricks you are working on?

Mom is trying to get me used to our new makeshift dog pool, so that will be a trick in itself if I go in it!

Sassy, how did your mom find out you liked to dress up?

Mom bought me a few dog sweaters and then my wardrobe started to grow. She got me a zebra print dress when I was a puppers and it was too big. Now I fit in it! We also have Josie girl in our life and she likes to be dressed up . Sometimes we do a doggy fashion show. When we go to events for the rescue mom volunteers for, we get lot s of attention. Who doesn’t like being told they are cute…bo0l

What has been your favorite outfit so far?

I love my red dress, it has ruffles. I also love my Liz Claiborne sweater with the snowman on it and I just got a Green Bay Packers Jersey! One of my besties online is sending me a swimsuit so I can’t wait for that. Josie girl loves her mermaid outfit and loves being in any kind of dress. We swear she poses for the camera!

Do you two live with any other pets? Are they also survivors?

There is Josie Girl and Brat the Cat . She came to mom from the vet we go to. She was from upper Michigan and w as a kitten who was set to be euthanized . A rescue group in Michigan brought the kittens to our area and had them for adoption at our vet. We also live with Bug, our blind Chihuahua who mom adopted from the Fox Valley Humane Association about 13 years ago and Tori, our grumpy 14 year old yorkie. He was from Michigan and mom got him as a puppy.

This question is for your mom – how did you get involved with rescuing animals?

It was something I always wanted to do. Growing up I would try to help save stray kitties etc. About a month before I started volunteering for Green Bay Animal Rescue a coworker found a stray cat and asked me to take her. After several days of looking for the cats owners, it paid off. The cat was micro chipped but the chip info was not up to date. A friend of the cat’s owner had called the local humane society who then contacted me. That was the best feeling being able to reunite the cat with her owner! After my rat terrier died, I decided to start fostering and volunteering. It is so good for the soul! The special bond between Manny and I is amazing and having to change his wounds twice a day for several months made me realize how precious life is! I never questioned taking him in and fostering him. I didn’t know I had the strength to do the wound changes but when it came to it, I just did it. People often say to me that I am an Angel or bless me for having such a good heart. I don’t think of myself as a hero, just someone who loves pets and tries to help those in need.
What would you say to those who are concerned about adopting dogs from hoarder/puppy mills situations? DO IT! These animals want to be loved. It will take patience and kindness . Pllease understand many of these dogs have never been exposed to things we see in our daily lives. Things like grass, leaves or snow are new to them . A TV playing or vacuum is new. Often having fresh food/water and a warm place to sleep is new. Usually they have been so beaten down mentally that they have no aggression issues and most do not have teeth or the ones they do have are pulled when they are vetted. These animals didn’t ask for this and just need good homes. It is r ewarding to see an animal come out of their shell and know you played a special yet meaningful role in giving them a taste of a good , loving life.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you for having your site as a platform to give those animals a voice and share our stories. If we can make a difference in one person’s life it is it worth it. Though we have horrible stories to tell, we feel it is something we need to do. We enjoy meeting new people and sharing our stories! We want people to realize what happens in puppy mills and to understand how loving and forgiving these animals can be.

May I use pictures of Manny & Sassy for the article? I will state the pictures were used with permission. Absolutely, I give you my permission. Sassy is the black one, Manny is black and white and Josie is the golden longhaired chi.


Many many thanks to Manny & Sassy’s mom for answering the questions. It is such an privilege to get stories of not one but two dogs from a  puppy mill & hoarder. Pictures were used with permission and belong solely to Sassy & Manny 

To skip to other “Opt to Adopt” Articles link the below link.  The image was made by the wonderfully talented Miss Ann of Pawsitively Pets.

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Happy Tails: Meet Sadie & Zoey (Guest Post)

These are my girls. Sadie, a Belgian Malinois and Zoey, a Taco Terrier (Chihuahua, fox terrier mix).

 

Let me tell you how they came into my life.

In 2008 after helping my two girls, Gracie and Tatonka, (who I fostered at four weeks of age and adopted at six weeks), cross to wait for me at the Rainbow Bridge, after sixteen years of them being there for me through everything. They had been sisters from the same litter and their health started declining at the same time. So as they started life together and lived life together, they went the next step together.  I had not planned on getting another dog.

 

My  daughter, who is grown and has two children, didn’t think I should be living alone without a dog as we always had at least two. I didn’t think I was ready but a month later I found myself on petfinder.com were I found my Sadie. She was a year and a half old and I had never adopted an adult dog before. So I took my daughter and grand-kids with to meet her to be sure they would be a good mix. Sadie warmed up to my grand-kids before she did me, which was perfect with me.

I had Sadie for two days and had to leave her with a house sitter to go be with my family and my Mom as my Mom crossed over to take Gracie and Tatonka over the Rainbow Bridge. Sadie helped me through some very hard times when I got back.

Now Sadie did have some issues that we worked to overcome. She showed fear aggression toward strangers, mostly men as she had been abused earlier in her life.  I also had to teach her how to play with a ball and how to swim.

She has been very protective of myself and my family.

 

Three years later, on my way home from work one night there was this little dog in the middle of the highway and everyone were just driving around her. I stopped, picked her up and took her home. The next day I took her to the vet to look for a micro chip. There was no chip and no collar. I went home and placed ads in the paper and online, also printed flyers and put them everywhere by were I had found her…. but after three months no one had claimed her and she and Sadie had become quite good friends.

Zoey then made a trip to the vet for her checkup, shots, got micro chipped and we found out she was about the same age as Sadie. Next appointment, to get her spayed. I am a firm believer that there are plenty of dogs and cats out there… so please spay and neuter your pets. From Zoey’s actions around other dogs it is believed she was used as a breeder dog. She would not let any other dogs approach her from the rear or she would start yelping and back into what ever was close to hide her back side. Then Sadie would come and stand over her to protect her.

 

They both have overcome most of their fears and aggression. Zoey still has some food aggression but is dealing much better with other dogs being around her and Sadie is still a little skittish of men wearing baseball caps, sun glasses and shirts or jackets with name patches on them.

Zoey and Sadie are always there happy to see me everyday when I get home from work and no  one can come to the door or in the yard without them letting me know.

I love my girls and God help ANYONE who tries to hurt them in any way.

 

Dedication:

This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Gracie and Tatonka, you will always be loved.


Author’s Note: Many thanks to my good friend Miss Jody for sharing the story of her girls – Zoey & Sadie. Pictures were used with permission. They do not have a facebook or blog, but I will forward comments to their wonderful mom.

 Photos were used with permission and belong solely to Miss Jody Nila.

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Pets that Blog: Wallace & Samuel

First of all, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed.

Thank you for asking us – we are so excited, this is our first interview!

Sir Wallace, how old were you when Sam came into your life and what did you think of him?

I was 6 months old. Our big brother, Bailey, had just crossed the rainbow bridge and I was lost without him. So, mom and dad decided to get Sammy. Sammy and I hit it off from the first bark and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

Do either of you require a lot of grooming?

*BOL* that depends on who is answering the question. We don’t think we need any grooming ever. Butt mom & dad disagree. Our beards and scottie skirts can get a little tangled at times & do need some brushing.

Do you take baths often?

Since our hugely successful “occupation couch” campaign we’ve had to take baths more often. It was part of the final agreement with dad – we could finally get access to the couch IF we took more regular baths.

What are you thoughts on baths?

We can both just about tolerate them because we know that they are followed by a fun towel drying session with mom which includes tummy rubs and hugs.

Sir Samuel, can you share how you to be with your furever family?

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Wally was very sad and lonely after Bailey crossed the rainbow bridge – Wally adored Bailey and hated being left alone when mom and dad went to work, so they decided to find him a Scottie brother. Mom searched and searched and searched and finally found ME! I was 3 months old and still living with my biological mom & dad in Bloemfontein (a city about 4 hours drive from Johannesburg). Mom arranged for me to be flown up to Johannesburg and she and dad and my Auntie Kym picked me up from the airport…and as they say…the rest is history!

Sir Wallace can you explain what a Wheaton Scottish Terrier is?

Oh yes!  Wheaton refers to my colouring. You see I am kinda like the colour of wheat – a golden blonde. I get lots of comments because people are used to seeing black Scotties. Often people mistake me for a Westie ‘cos of my colouring – this really gets mom & dad going butt I don’t mind, Westies are pretty cool dogs too.

Sir Samuel can you explain what a Brindle Scottish Terrier is?

Absolutely! My furs are made up of  a mixture of 3 colours – black, wheaton and brown.  When I have my summer cut you can also see my tiger strips, which is another characteristic of being a brindle. My Oumie (grandma) loves my brindle coat, when it is long in winter she says it looks like I have highlights *BOL*

What are you favorite snacks?

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Ooooh…we both LOVE: fresh green beans, green bell peppers, watermelon, special pork bones mom buys for us and peanut butter!

Where is your favorite place to sleep?

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Wally: between mom and dad on the couch

Sammy: on either mom or dad’s lap…what?…I’m a small dog, I’m as light as a feather!

Why did you start blogging?

It was actually mom’s idea. She had come across a whole bunch of blogs by other Scottish Terriers & thought it would be fun for us to start a blog of our own. There don’t seem to be very many South African “dog bloggers” out there so, we thought it would be pretty pawsome to be able to share not only our stories butt also stuff about South Africa.

What has been you favorite blog post so far?

ooooh that’s a tough one…uhm…we are quite enjoying our South African-isms series at the moment. We are teaching everybuddy how to speak South African – it’s been a lot of fun. We cover three letters of the alphabet every Tuesday in our “Teaching Tuesday” post.

(Here’s the link to the first lesson )

What has been your least favorite blog post?

We don’t have one…we only post stuff we want to share and which we know our followers will enjoy.

Sir Wallace, your mom mentioned you are an “old soul”, can your mom explain?

Certainly. Wally has a very serene and calm air about him. When the Italian Greyhound cousins come to visit, Sammy and the Iggies go CRAZY chasing each other, playing bitey face and generally just exhausting themselves. Wally prefers to sit / lie with the hoomans and watch while “the children” play. He is our old man in a puppies body and we just love him for it.

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Anything else either of you or your parents would like to add?

Uhm, we’d just like to thank you for the opportunity to be part of your wonderful blog. And we’d like to send a bark out to all of our blogging buddies *AROOOOROOO*

Thanks you so much for inviting us to be interviewed – it’s been great fun!! Please let me know if you need anything else.

Have a wonderful day,

Robyn & the boys

Dedication:

This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Bailey – April 2003 – July 2011

Run free big brother – we will love & miss you always.


Author’s Note: Many thanks to Wallace & Samuel for letting me interview them and for sharing some of their posts with us, you can follow them on their blog. Photos were used with permission and belong solely Wallace & Samuel.

This article is a part of the Pets that Blog theme, for more interviews on blogging pets, click the image below. Many thanks to Miss Ann from Pawsitively Pets for the image. 

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Happy Tails: Zoey says stick it to canine cancer

How old are you Miss Zoey?

I’m pushing the big ‘3’…I was born on October 10, 2010…10-10-10!

Where did your name come from?

I am pure white, with the exception of a small spot of brown on my tail, so the original name given to me by the shelter that rescued me was Spot.  When my mom came into the picture she thought the name Spot was cute, but a different name came to her after a couple of days of observing my free spirited behavior.    As she watched me teasing and playing with my brother and the other dogs that share her life, the name Zoey popped into her head, so Zoey it became.  Interestingly enough, she recently found out that the meaning of Zoey is ‘life’.

How did you come into your mom’s life?

My mom is a huge advocate for pit bull type dogs, and receives emails on a daily basis asking for assistance from rescues and individuals to help place pit bulls.  She works tirelessly for dogs in need, so nothing was out of the ordinary when she received an email from a local Colorado rescue asking if she could foster, and help find homes for eight pit bull puppies that had been pulled from an unsuitable environment in Wyoming.    Unfortunately she was going through a very difficult time when she received the email.  You see, it was a few months earlier, that she had lost her very best friend Cain to cancer, and much as she wanted to help, she didn’t feel that she was ready to foster, but here’s what happened.  I believe that some things are just meant to be, and that there was a much higher power that brought us together.   Though I never met Cain, I feel that he was that special power; her forever angel that watches over her to this day.  As the story goes, my mom agreed to take one of my brothers and me for a short period of time.  She, along with others, had been networking quite a bit, and though I already had people lined up to adopt me, I wove the magic and the special powers that be, deep into my my mom’s heart.  The rest as I say…was meant to be!

I read that you are a part of Wishcuit, would you like to share a bit about what the group does and how it got started?

Wishcuit, (rhymes with biscuit) was originally founded by my mom as a dog treat company to help raise funds for dogs in need, and also as a way for her to be able to spend more time at home with her dogs.  She had a very lucrative career in real estate, but wasn’t very happy because her work took her away for too many hours of the day.  Her plan to start her own business making and selling dog treats, also included donating money from sales to help rescues  and urgent dogs in need.  It was a couple of weeks after she embarked on her new venture though, that her best friend, and heart dog Cain was diagnosed with cancer, and she made the decision to put Wishcuit on hold while she spent the precious time they had left together.  During that time, Cain inspired her to look deep inside herself, and at the world around her and though she had known it all along, she truly learned just how precious each moment is.  It was on a beautiful summer day, as Cain sat by her side, that she sketched a simple drawing on a scrap piece of paper that depicted the love that they shared.    When she lost Cain a few months later, she was devastated, and in her grief turned to the drawing.  She titled it “Love Adds Up”, and embarked on a mission to raise awareness about canine cancer and to help find a cure.  Over the past 3 1/2 years the Love Adds Up symbol of love has raised thousands of dollars and has traveled around the world on bumper stickers, magnets and other products for dog lovers.  A portion of Love Adds Up sales is donated to help rescues, dogs in need and comparative oncology research, along with raising awareness about canine cancer.

Do you have to do a lot of training to become a good spokesdog for Wishcuit?

Not really.  I’m just myself!  A pit bull doing all that I know how to do…sharing my love with everyone I meet.  I have this magnetic power that draws people to me.  Along with my various wardrobe of tutus, which have become my trademark, I can be found at various events throughout the country, helping my my mom, while spreading pit bull love, and being a positive role model for pit bull type dogs.

What are a few things you would like to share about those that don’t know much about canine cancer?

Cancer is a disease that is diagnosed in millions of dogs each year, and sadly 1 in 4 will die from this disease.   That said, the lives of dogs and cats are being extended through advancements that are being made in cancer research, clinical trial studies, and through early detection.  Humans and dogs share many of the same cancers, and it is being found through comparative oncology, that many of the treatments that are used to help save dogs are doing the same for humans.  I would also like to add that vigilance is key in when it comes to cancer.   Please check your dogs and cats once or twice a month for lumps and bumps, and become familiar with the early warning signs of cancer. I have a card, “Warning Signs of Cancer in Pet Animals”, that I share at all events that I attend, and every Love Adds Up sticker and magnet sold, includes the card as well.

What are a few things you would like to share about pit bulls such as yourself?

I could talk all day long about how great we are, but I’ll keep it short and to the point.  Pit Bulls have an inspiring zest for life and a passionate affinity for people.  Beneath our muscly bodies, we are faithful, fun-loving, and affectionate companions.   My mom says that we must use the power that we possess to educate the public and show people the true nature of who we are.

What is your favorite place you been to so far?

There are so many, and I have to say that each one has been very special to me.  Being able to leave my paw print wherever I go, and raise awareness with as many as I can, makes every place my favorite!

What are you favorite toys?

Anything, and I mean anything, with a squeaker!

What is your favorite place to sleep?

Snuggled in bed, or anywhere for that matter, next to my mom.

Do you have any fursiblings?

I have the best fursiblings in the world!!!  First there’s my sissy Bear.  She’s an 11 year old American Bulldog.  Mom says she’s extra special because her ears are broken.  She was born deaf, but mom says that her heart does all of her hearing for her!  Then there’s my bro-bro Pirate.  He’s a pit bull type dog, and he came from a shelter in Salt Lake City called Salt Lake Animal Services. He’s super handsome and athletic, and the girls swoon over him.  Sometimes it goes to his head, but I keep him in line!  I currently have a foster brother that my mom named Eddie.  He was brought in as a stray to a local animal shelter where my mom is on the Board of Directors.   No one ever came looking for him so he’s staying with us for a while…maybe even longer…Wink!  Wink!  My other sissy Sadie, was the happiest, most beautiful yellow Lab ever.  She also got cancer, and I was lucky enough to share the first year of my life with her before she passed away.  My mom says her star shines brightly and watches over us right next to Cain’s.

Has anyone overcome a fear of dogs or pit bulls, after meeting you?

Yes many times!  It’s one of the greatest things to see the expressions on people’s faces when they find out what type of dog I am.  I live outside of Denver, which has a ban on pit bulls, so I run into people all of the time who have misconceptions.  Sharing my love, and the truth about pit bulls has been equally important in my mission of raising awareness about canine cancer.

Anything else you or your mom would like to add about your mission?

Yes!  I hear people say, “Cancer sucks”, or “Fight cancer”,  and I’ve even heard people refuse to say the word at all, referring to cancer as the “C” word.  I myself choose to look cancer straight in the eye and say, “Let’s Stick It To Canine Cancer!!”    I hope that millions will join me in my Love Adds Up mission.My mom has a special ending for everything that she writes, and I’ll share it here as well…FTLoCA, which stands for, For The Love of Cain Always. ♥FTLoCA♥

Author’s Note: When I went to the BlogPaws conference in May, this was one of the first pet celebrities I recognized and I was so excited to meet her and say hello. What a huge honor it is to have the chance to interview her this month.  Big huge thank yous go to Miss Zoey and her mom. You can find Zoey on her facebook page,  check out Wishcuit or twitter or learn more about Love Adds up for a Cure . Photos were used with permission and belong solely to Zoey & her mom. 

To skip to other “Opt to Adopt” Articles link the below link.  The image was made by the wonderfully talented Miss Ann of Pawsitively Pets.

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