Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Flowers

Friday flowers is back. We discovered these pretty tulips while out exploring the yard.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Paws in the Park Wayside Inn Sudbury, MA

Hi folks it is time for the annual Paws in the Park sponsored by Save a Dog this Sunday May 1 from 10-3. If you live in the Massachusetts area there is no better time to visit the beautiful historic Wayside Inn area in Sudbury and help raise money for animal shelters in the area.

Along with a beautiful short walk for you and the dogs there are also lots of fun activities for dogs, children, and adults. Our dogs love shopping there and the vendors always have something new to discover. Many local shelters have booths to raise awareness and funds for their local shelters as well.

Come out and join the fun on Sunday. For more information please visit their website here.

Monday, April 25, 2016


We haven't been around and it after a few inquires it seemed like it was time to come back and talk about it. Bailey is fine, but changed by what happened as are all of us.

We heard about an available Sheltie right before Easter weekend. We went down to meet the dog the weekend after Easter and brought him home. While I haven't written to her, I can only thank Dachshund Nola's Mom for sharing her rescue experiences because it helped me think through what we were experiencing and to understand we couldn't accept what had happened. Perhaps sharing this may help others who have to make tough decisions when rescuing or encourage rescues to be more honest in what they tell potential adopters.

The one hard fast rule we had when approaching another rescue dog was that the dog had to be compatible with the two we had, no exceptions. We won't accept an aggressive dog. We were lied to and feel betrayed and after almost a month still angry. It is one thing not to know a history of a dog and make a bad placement. It is another to know a dog has problems and not disclose those issues to a prospective owner, thinking perhaps they will deal with it and not bring the dog back.

We had looked on the website and had seen several younger, very tempting dogs that were clearly labeled as not being able to be adopted with other dogs, in homes with other male dogs, male owners, etc. Not all dogs are listed on the website, the policy has always been that they will call people with applications on file with a match first. So, we had some confidence when we got the call that we would be getting a dog that was compatible with a male and female dog, since this dog hadn't been listed and they screened applications for compatibility. He was older than we'd hoped for, but we were willing to adopt a senior if he was a good match for our other two and we'd not have to deal with aggression issue.

Sadly, this was not the case and they knew it before they ever contacted us. This is what has taken me so long to calm down enough to write about is the anger and frustration this caused. None of this would have happened if honesty had been at the center of this adoption discussion. The dog had come in with a female and they were adopted separately. This we only discovered because two names were listed on the dog's adoption folder. This in itself is not unusual. Sadly, it is hard to find homes for one senior. Finding someone who can take on the challenge of two senior dogs can be insurmountable. However, in this case placing them together was never considered. We only discovered the full story after returning the dog. He had been very aggressive towards his female housemate and it was determined she would be happier away from him. Who thought placing him with another female was a good idea!!!!

I do take some of the blame I didn't listen to my gut. This is an important message I think all of us need to understand. There is a profound difference between doubts and a gut instinct that is telling you something is wrong. I had some questions when we got Katy because we were going in blind with her. They provided little background information on her. However, she didn't show any signs of aggression, more of shyness and fear. I had concerns, but I wasn't feeling that gut instinct, more mentally trying to figure out how we'd work around her challenges. With this dog it was different. My gut was screaming at me we were making a mistake when we were signing the paperwork for this dog. While I told myself I'd had the same concerns when we'd picked up Katy, I knew I was lying to myself. This situation was very different. We should have walked away.

When we brought him home he attacked Bailey and attempted the same behaviors with Katy that I found out later he had used on his previous housemate. His triggers were not consistent. He could be fine about something and then lose it. We quickly had to keep the dogs separate and that was not a workable solution to living with multiple dogs in the same home. In trying to locate some information about his previous housemate to see if that would give us some clues under her adoption notice, I found his had already been posted. While we'd never been given his adoption write up, here it was clearly posted on the adoption page. He was supposed to be an only dog as he didn't like to share attention with other dogs. At that point he had already been added to Katy's yearly vet appointment and I hoped perhaps the Vet could tell me what was causing this change in behavior since the foster indicated he'd been great around other dogs. After reading that notice I cut and pasted it into an email and sent a notice stating we were enforcing the contract and returning the dog within the two week trial period.

The one positive I walk away from this experience with is I believe he is more ready for life in a single animal home. He has been appropriately groomed (don't get me started on that), the Vet discovered he has arthritis in both knees so that can be treated. I hope we have demonstrated he should be an only dog as the original adoption notice indicated. That was one of the most frustrating things to discover. I think he would actually be a great only dog. Someone had taken the time to teach him commands, so that would be a plus for someone who wanted a dog that was trained. For someone who wanted a devoted dog, he's your dog. He just isn't going to be a dog you want in a home with other animals. This is why I haven't used his name or discussed where he came from in this post. My hope is he does find that single dog home where he and his new owners will be happy.

Before anyone mentions it I am aware that rescues are run on an all volunteer basis. It is hard work and believe me I more than appreciate the hard work, love and effort that brought us Katy and Bailey. This mistake is one that I'm hearing about all too often. This was not a matter of not knowing the dog had issues. This was a failure to inform. Had we been told the dog was aggressive, we'd never have brought him home. Talking to other adopters I've heard far too many stories of people not being informed of dogs having previously being returned for issues of aggression, or other serious issues that can impact a successful adoption. Clearly no dog is ever perfect, but knowing as much as you can about a dog you are thinking of adopting helps one make an informed choice and is likely to result in permanent home.

I am not sure where we go forward from here. This failed rescue weighs heavily on all of us. It did some damage not just physically, but emotionally to Bailey and Katy. Bailey and Katy grew apart while he was here because he bullied both of them. Thankfully, after they were sure he was gone, they seem to have resumed their relationship. Bailey however, is weaker than he was before. He has less energy and confidence and that only increases my guilt.

My DH and I also felt hugely guilty about giving up on the rescue, but our Vet really pushed home the damage being done to Bailey and that helped reinforce the choice to return him. I've never felt a moment of concern or doubt about the safety of letting Bailey and Katy roam freely in the house together. Sure they get into doggy mischief, but I never question that they'd hurt each other. I never had a moment of peace with the rescue here. The only time I knew that all dogs were safe was when he was crated, the other two were outside, or he was outside and they were inside. I will not live that way.

As I said, I'm not sure where this leaves us. We are still in the same situation we were before with Katy. Bailey is our miracle dog and according to the Vet is doing well against all odds. However, when the time comes she will not be happy as an only dog and I'm going to have to find a solution that brings another Sheltie or perhaps a Collie into the family. How that happens I don't know. I was always 100% sure it was going to be a rescue situation. Now I don't know where we go from here.