Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Year!

We are leaping into the celebration.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Once Upon a Time Blog Hop

Once upon a time there was a younger son of a King named Bailey. His father's kingdom was not a prosperous one, so he was sent off to be a knight in another kingdom. However, there to his dismay a human child was born and Prince Bailey was told he would have to leave and find another Kingdom to serve. He was fortunate to find a very kind group who helped displaced Sheltie Knights find new kingdoms with lots of squirrels needing to be tended. There he was placed in a temporary foster Kingdom with a woman who taught him lots of skills a Sheltie knight would need to be successful in a new kingdom.

Soon Prince Bailey was introduced to a new King and Queen who were in need of a Sheltie knight to take charge of their backyard. He ruled fairly and wisely. He even eventually learned to stop chewing on everything in the house, although paper continued to be a life long temptation. He practiced his herding skills on his toys and made friends every where he went.

The King and Queen noticing he was rather lonely decided it was time to find him a Princess and contacted the person in charge of finding misplaced princes and princesses new homes. They found a beautiful princess they felt would love to come and live in Prince Bailey's kingdom. Now Prince Bailey didn't know quite what to make of this talk of a Princess. After all the King and Queen had weird ways of telling silly stories to amuse themselves. For instance, they would joke about a trip to the groomers as a trip to the spa, implying some kind of luxury retreat. The groomers were no luxury outing. Just what did they mean by him getting a Princess to share his realm with and did he really want to share?

The day arrived and the King and Queen loaded up the carriage to go to the Kingdom of CT to make a royal visit. Bailey loved royal visits so he was quite excited until he arrived at his destination. This couldn't be, for this was the place where he had been abandoned by his first King and Queen. It couldn't be happening again. All was well in his kingdom. He was sure his King and Queen loved him and were pleased with him.

The King and Queen were puzzled. They had been certain he'd wanted a friend to come and live at the house. This reaction seemed odd. Then they realized while they had never been to this location before, Bailey had for this was the arrival spot for all Sheltie's displaced from their Kingdoms. Their beloved Prince did not realize he was not staying, but bringing home another to his realm. No reassurances would comfort him. He spent the entire visit scared. Even the site of his beautiful Princess Katy was not enough to relax him. Sure she was a beauty, but not worth losing his kingdom over.

Then something surprising happened, the King and Queen rose to leave and motioned for Bailey to follow them. He wasn't being abandoned after all. Wonders of wonders, the beautiful Princess Katy seemed to be following as well. With some encouragement from the King she hopped into the car and snuggled right in beside him. His princess was coming with him!!!

We can certainly say they lived happily ever after.

Join the hop here.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Protecting Mr. Magoo

This is not a sponsored post. We have been hunting stores for Multipet talking toys since Bailey got his first one years ago. After about the fifth time the "Oh No Magoo you've done it again who hoo" goes off again I question my logic, but Bailey loves these toys. Don't get me started on the giggling Koala that one is creepy.

DH managed to capture this picture over the weekend of Bailey protecting Magoo with his body. Not sure what the threat was, but he obviously felt strongly about him.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dog Adoption and Children

As many of you may know we are on a list with a Sheltie Rescue to add another Sheltie to our family. As we've been going through this process several family and friends have also been working with different rescues to look for a new companion for their families. All shelters and rescues have their own rules and restrictions. Some go across the whole rescue, others are dog specific. One that has struck me recently is the raising of the age restrictions for children when adopting. We don't have children, so this doesn't effect us, however, it does effect others we know who want to adopt. It is also concerning because it has the potential to turn away people who would otherwise considering adopting from a shelter/rescue rather than looking at a breeder.

I am going to use the terms shelter/rescue interchangeably for this post. For this post the mission statement of rescuing dogs and placing them in forever homes is the same. The methods used for the points I'm trying to make are not as important as they might be in other discussions.

Now, I will say I can see why rescues have some issues with children and rescues. Bailey is a prime example of what can happen in families who don't understand the challenges of children and puppies. My understanding of Bailey's back story is he was purchased from a breeder as a puppy at the time the couple had a baby at home. I suspect the couple thought having the dog and baby grow up together would be a great idea. Having the equivalent of two babies at home proved to be too hard and Bailey was turned in to New England Sheltie Rescue. That being said I've also known several couples with young dogs and babies who still have the dog well past the baby years. I doubt it was easy, but they also had experience with dogs and knew the challenges that would come with a dog who had needs similar to a young child and a human baby totally dependent on parents for its needs.

One of the things that has disturbed me recently, as I've looked at listings for myself and family members is seeing the child age restrictions on dogs available for adoption. Some are clearly a result of screenings and those while sad are hopefully accurate and done to make sure that the dogs will be in a healthy and stable environment. You don't want a dog who will react or bite children and then face the consequences of an action that could have been predicted and prevented. However, recently I saw a shelter with a statement across the board that they will not adopt to homes with children under 12!!! It doesn't mention any dog specifically, just any home. Another I looked at stated no adoptions to homes with children under 10. I find it hard to believe that every dog brought into an all breed rescue, which these two were, is dangerous to all children. Others seem to be more reasonable and deal with a case by case basis, one had a restriction of age six for children.

My issue honestly is that I am constantly reading articles stating we need to push people to adopt, not buy from breeders. One of the largest pools of people who want dogs are families with kids. If we exclude them, those who can afford it will turn to breeders.

I do understand that for the rescues their first obligation is to the dogs. They need to find homes that are safe, stable, and secure for their dogs. Homes with children can be risky. While children can provoke a dog, harm a dog, and create problems for a dog, the dog ultimately ends up being responsible for any negative interactions.

However, there are families who can and do take in dogs and do very well with them. Not all children are monsters as these restrictions imply. Some dogs love kids and shouldn't be prevented from having the opportunity to be a family dog because there is a risk involved. There have to be some better options for screening potential adopters.

While many rescues are requiring obedience classes, perhaps prior to adopting families need to do some dog safety classes with their children. Parents could learn some of the dangers their little ones pose for the dogs and some techniques for preventing these negative interactions. One of the best ways to prevent negative interactions between dogs and kids is to anticipate them and decide how to prevent them from happening. Even if you have owned a dog before, owning a dog with children can be a very different concept. As an adult you interact very differently with a dog than kids do and seeing how to change those interactions to a safer atmosphere could save an adoption from failing. Those who have adopted since having kids could perhaps just do a screening.

Another thing I think would help are more community activities that promote healthy interactions between dogs and kids. Even if a child never owns a dog, knowing how to interact with one appropriately could cut down on injuries to dogs and kids both. At the various fund raising adoption events we attend every year in the kids area, having activities that teach, encourage, and remind kids how to behave with and around dogs could be very helpful not just for potential adopters but for kids who live around dogs. I can't tell you how many times I've had to instruct parents and children how not to grab my dog's face or tail. Thankfully, Bailey and Katy are very sweet dogs, but I am hyper vigilant when children are near because lots of kids don't know how to treat a dog. I can see why this would make rescues nervous, but education is the solution, not exclusion. Kids who grow up with rescue dogs are at least inclined to think about the idea when they are old enough to afford one.

I also know that rescues have a great deal on their plates. Adding more is not easy. However, excluding a large population of adopters does not make the process any easier. Children and dogs can make a placement more challenging, but it can also change lives. Dogs can be an important part of childhood. They can also make a rescue dogs life.

I guess my point with this long winded post is education not exclusion. Rescues are always going to have some dogs that have specific exclusions, not being with other dogs, cats, children, etc. It is important for a successful placement that these exclusions be made. However, I find it hard to believe that the majority of rescue dogs can't handle children. There have to be ways to better prepare families for the challenges of managing dogs and kids under the same roof so that all survive and thrive.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bailey Keeps On Suprising Us All

Mom got a shock the other day while snuggling with Bailey. She found a lump on his tummy. She's been waiting to find tumors. After all everyone told her they'd come. Bailey had made it through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, even New Years, and then there were lumps. His annual appointment, which nobody thought he'd ever need was just a few days away, so Mom worked to calm her fears knowing the Vet would have answers then.

Poor Bailey had to endure 5 needles Saturday. Not only did he have a lump on his tummy, but the vet found two others. The vet aspirated all three lumps and Bailey went on to endure the shot for rabies and the blood draw for heart worm. To add insult to injury he also had the meds up the nose for kennel cough. It was not an easy day. The vet being the amazing vet she is, did the tests right then and we got results right away rather than having to wait until Tuesday when regular office hours resumed. The growths were similar but different to growths Bailey had before. They are not tumors but fatty deposits. She measured them and noted them in his chart to keep track of any future growth of them. However, Bailey still shows no signs of Lymphoma. He has even gained another 1/2 pound since his last weigh in. He's almost to his goal weight and we are cutting back on the steroids again.

Bailey may turn 13 in March. Mom's Baby Boy may actually be a teenager. That was something we hadn't even considered when this all hit in the fall. We ask for your continued prayers.