Saturday, September 3, 2016

Happy 6th Gotcha Day Katy

Six years ago on another Labor Day weekend we made a long trip to Conneticut to bring home a sweet Sheltie girl from her foster rescue home. While Bailey wasn't crazy about visiting the place he'd started his foster experience, the minute we left the house you two were instant friends and it lasted until his very last day.

You were so brave, loving, and caring while Bailey was sick. You kept him with us for far longer than anyone believed possible.

This summer you explored new adventures on your first vacation.

We love you Katy girl and we are so glad you came to stay with us.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Using a Breeder When You Aren't Looking for a Puppy

As those of you who follow this blog know we started looking for another Sheltie last fall when we realized Bailey was sick and Katy would not be a happy only Sheltie. We returned to Sheltie rescue which had brought us two beautiful dogs. Sadly, the third time wasn't a charm. We were left frustrated and at loose ends. We filled out an application for another regional Sheltie rescue in the area and never even got the courtesy of an acknowledgement that our application had been received despite our attempts to confirm. We were at a loss as to where to go from here. Thankfully another Sheltie owner suggested contacting Sheltie breeders.

This confused me. I knew we didn't want a puppy. Puppies are adorable, but having raised one we knew we wanted a slightly older dog. Our friend informed me that breeders sometimes have dogs they need to place in pet homes. This was news to me, but it made sense. Even promising puppies don't always end up having success in the show ring. Show dogs are sometimes retired after their breeding days. I had no idea.

I started with the American Shetland Sheepdog Association ASSA which provides lists of member breeders by state. I wanted to make sure I didn't end up dealing with a puppy mill and I'd never worked with a breeder before. My experience had always been with rescue. This list was a great help. Most breeds have similar organizations that can be incredibly useful in finding an ethical breeder and avoiding the puppy mills.

I have to say this journey has been amazing. I began contacting breeders by email explaining my situation and that I was looking for a dog between the ages of 1-3. I shared information about our dog history, what we were looking for, and our home situation.

The first contact I made was with a breeder in my home state. She was amazing and the kind of breeder people should meet when they bash breeders. She didn't have any dogs available, but she went out of her way to help me make contact with other breeders in the area by contacting breeders she knew. We received information on dogs between the ages of 6 months to 8 years old. What was amazing was how fast some of these dogs were placed. It is important to think through your decision, but you don't always have lots of time to make the decision before someone else decides to take the dog.

What I've learned on this journey is to trust my instincts. Don't feel guilty, it doesn't help the dogs. Feeling bad for a dog isn't the reason to adopt one. It needs to be the right placement for you and the dog. If it doesn't feel right, accept that and realize there will be another dog. That has often been the hardest to accept.

Based on conversations I've had online, out on walks with the dogs, and at various rescue events, I know we aren't the only ones who have attachments to a specific breed and don't necessarily want a puppy. People are often surprised to learn about breed rescue as their only experiences with shelters are often mixed breed rescues, which rarely have the dogs they are seeking. However, there are many people who don't have breed rescues in their area and it turns out breeders can be an alternative for people like myself. It seems only fair to share this information as well.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Kennebunk Dog Park

This was one of the prettiest dog parks we've ever visited. The area is wooded which kept it cool. It has grass and wood chips and lots of trees. There is a pretty gazebo, but Katy refused to go in.

Mom got so involved watching me that she forgot to take pictures of anything but the sign until she was sitting in the car and she was too lazy to get out and take more pictures.

If you are in the area, it is a beautiful place to take your dog. Like all places it all depends on the others who are there how your experience will be for the day. My only real complaint was people who failed to clean up the dog poop. Katy loved exploring the woods. We followed her and cleaned up after her. Others let their dogs run and seemed not to notice that their dogs were pooping. It is this kind of behavior that makes it hard to get dog parks approved because somebody then has to go in and do the clean up.

If you are visiting the area, this is a great place to give your dog a chance to run off leash in a cool, beautiful area.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Goose Rocks Beach

There aren't many dog friendly beaches where we live. However, one of the first things we discovered when we were researching our Maine vacation was that Goose Rocks Beach was located close to where we were staying and was open to dogs before 9AM and after 5PM.

We weren't really sure how Katy would react to the beach. We'd taken Bailey and Katy to Hopkinton State Park and Bailey's reaction was similar to the Wicked Witch of the West's. He hated standing water. Katy followed Bailey's lead for a long time. We were curious to see how she'd react to a beach full of dogs.

We were surprised to discover Katy liked the water. The weather was warm in Maine. Perhaps the water felt cold and that's why she was willing to wade in the water this time when she had always refused before.

The only part she didn't like was when the waves splashed up on her and that is when Katy would retreat.

While the Inn doesn't allow inside bathing of dogs, they do provide hoses for outside cleanup. Katy got a paw rinse to get the salt water and dirt off her when we got back to the Inn.

Katy's still not hooked on water, but she is open to wading in it, which was a huge step forward for her.

Our experience was very dog friendly during our time there. People did have some dogs off leash, but they were being responsible keeping their dogs under voice control, which made the experience much more enjoyable.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Captain Jefferds Inn

Dog Dad and Mom decided in June they wanted to have a weekend away to celebrate Mom's birthday and their anniversary, both in July. After losing Bailey Mom didn't want to leave me behind, so she started researching dog friendly options near water. Yeah Mom was a bit obsessed about being near water this summer. By the time they got around to booking, August was the earliest they could travel.

One thing Mom learned during the research is the definition of pet friendly varies widely, as do the costs. Some are very restrictive, dogs must be crated at all times. Others are far more open to pets and provide a wide range of options for owners and pets.

Mom and Dad decided on the Captain Jefferds Inn, a bed and breakfast in Kennebunkport. The Captain Jefferds has several pet friendly rooms. We booked the Baxter room, which from what Mom researched was the nicest room in the inn. The description of the room says it is decorated as a Maine Camp. Mom did question what camp has a 2 person whirlpool tub, but it was nice sized room for humans and dogs. It has a bedroom, small sitting room, bathroom, and small private porch area, with a larged dorm sized fridge. (We realized this was a big deal when one of the other couples complained their room had no fridge.) Mom said she and dog Dad kept quiet about their porch fridge. Our room was at the back of the Inn.

Those stairs went right up to our porch and room. It was nice having a private entrance. We could head right out for our walks when we wanted. I could only stay alone in the room when Mom and Dad went to breakfast, as breakfast was served in the dining room in the main portion of the Inn and I couldn't go there. However, the Inn did offer pet sitters and I met a very nice boy who took care of me twice.

I had a Moose cookie waiting for me when I arrived along with a reminder letter reminding me of the rules of the Inn. I had no problem following the rules.

My porch

I settled in with my cookie.

Settling down and relaxing

Making myself at home.

We are planning a return visit to the Captain Jefferds. Our experience was amazing.

Just to be clear we got nothing for writing this review of Captain Jefferds. I love reading about my fellow Bloggers trips and appreciate hearing about different options for visiting different part of the country.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Heading to Maine

Mom and Dad took me on my first vacation this weekend. I thought they were kidding when they said we were going to have an adventure in Maine. I was sure I was going to what they "cutely" refer to as doggy camp (kennel), but they kept promising me they weren't leaving me behind.

I knew something was different as Dad had put my fleece pillow in the back seats. Dad never puts pillows in the car. This was new and by the way really comfortable.

Dad hooked my harness in and I was ready to go. We made a few stops along the way so we could all stretch and make bathroom trips. We arrived in Kennebunkport, Maine, but Dog Dad said it was too early to check in. I wasn't sure what that meant. He parked the car and took us to a really cool pet store, Scalawags Pet Boutique. Mom found two really cool toys I'll post about later and an item we will be needing at the end of the week.

If you are traveling in the Kennebunkport area with your pets, check out Scalawags website. They have lots of pet friendly travel ideas for the area. We found it very helpful in planning our trip.