An interesting story in the paper caught my eye over the weekend. Last week, the small town of Berthoud, Colorado (pop. approximately 5500) made history in Colorado by becoming the first (and only) municipality in the state to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet shops. While probably just symbolic (Berthod has no pet shops), the town is making a statement on the topic of puppy mill pets.
In his statement, Mayor pro tem Jeff Hindman said, “We can be up front and take a stand and hope this will spread to other towns and other pet shops across the state,” following the 6-0 vote approving the ordinance banning the sale of puppies from inhumane breeding facilities. You may recall that Elsa herself the product of a puppy mill, came from Greeley, a mere 29 miles (45 Km) away from Berthod. Local residents, many holding their rescued dogs in their laps, filled the Town Hall and applauded the vote. Loveland, CO resident, Lauren Kujawa said, “I’m hoping it spreads to Loveland, Fort Collins, Omaha, Oklahoma, everywhere.” We share Lauren’s sentiment.
Rudi Taylor, who founded Harley’s Dream, a Berthod-based organization had proposed the ordinance. Harley’s Dream was established in 2016 to create awareness and educate the public about cruelty in the commercial dog breeding industry, aka puppy mills. By using a grassroots approach, Harley’s Dream believes large groups of concerned citizens is the most effective way to bring about change regarding these cruel, for-profit farms. Their sole focus encourages advocacy by providing the tools necessary to educate the public on the puppy mill crisis.
Let’s keep our paws crossed that more cities around the country accept the challenge to ban the sale of puppy mills dogs in pet stores. Hitting these profit based farms is likely the best way to combat this insidious practice of abject animal cruelty.
Well done, Berthod! Elsa and I tip our hats to you for your efforts in getting Berthod to ban puppy mills dogs. It’s the first step which I hope snowballs across the state and country.
Over the weekend, Sam ‘pawticipated’ in the Lutheran Fall Festival hosted by the hospital for staff, volunteers and their families. Normally we have our own get-together but this year we decided to be a part of the hospital’s event being featured in a Pet Parade complete with ‘Howloween’ costumes.
It’s well-known that knuckleheads Standard Poodles were originally bred as waterfowl retrievers. It’s a known fact that Sam hates water. He will walk around puddles on sidewalks. Imagine my surprise when I could hardly keep him away from the ‘duck pond.’
Perhaps his DNA leans more toward ‘fishing’ than retrieving.
Sam had a good time seeing his favorite therapy friends and making new ones. One of his besties is a toy poodle, named Teddy. Teddy was a puppy mill survivor who lost an eye but has never lost his heart to make people happy whenever they see him…all six pounds of him.
Not one to shirk his therapy duties whenever there’s a crowd, Sam got busy visiting with all the children attending. And of course, investigating all the sweet treat smells, which to Sam are just as nice as little girls.
Sam adores firemen. Always has. As soon as he spotted this guy, he couldn’t get over to him fast enough. ‘Course, seeing our newest therapy teammate Zoey there probably helped too. She’s such a cutie and is going to make a wagnificent addition to our ranks.
We love attending these kinds of events because of all the terrific people attending. Sam thought he’d try his paw at face painting because he loves little girls and is so creative. Not. But a kid’s lap is just too tempting to not try to investigate. They invariably will deliver a nice ear scratch. Maybe he’s not as dumb as I think he is??
No pet therapy event is complete without little Bindy. This tiny scene stealer with her hanging out tongue is always a therapy hit.
It was really good seeing our buddy, Oreo especially since he’s been under the weather lately with bladder stones. As you can see from his smiling face, he was glad to be back in the saddle. Oreo is also a therapy dog at Denver’s International Airport and brightens the day for DIA’s many travelers.
Two of the longest-serving pet therapists were also in attendance. Beau and Mandy compete in national dance competitions in addition to bringing smiles to patients. They dress up nicely, don’t they?
Coco, the Mountain Dog looked dashing in her pirate costume.
It was a lovely day for a festival with a good turnout of some of the program’s favorite pooches and peeps. Even Sam tried his level best at ‘Bee-ing” good for his autumn ‘pawtrait’ taking.
One year ago today, a sweet little black girl came into my life. It’s hard to believe the Ninja has been around for a year, especially with her snoring next to my chair as this post is being drafted. I’m so used to her noisy “snorfling” noises, I don’t think about it but it’s true she sounds like a fireplace bellows, one of the many things that has endured her to me.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. We were going to see how Sam would react to the idea of a ‘baby sister’ and how she’d react to him. Sam had been an only child for nearly 5 years and although he was very connected to Puck, my pill of an Old English Sheepdog and he got along with all dogs, it was somewhat disappointing to see he was pretty nonplussed by the Ninja. She was still a tad feral (she refused to accept any of the high value treats directly from my hand preferring that I toss them in her direction) but she was nonetheless, quite curious about me. When Jeanne (the poodle rescue coordinator) asked me if I was ready to take her home, I was floored. I thought we were just meeting again so she could see if we would be an appropriate new owner. We had been approaching the adoption in very small baby steps as is Jeanne’s rule.
I first met Elsa, formerly known as Love, who was one of a group of poodles seized from a Northern Colorado puppy mill operation after the owner died. She had been moved through the rescue network through the Greeley shelter. They had contacted Jeanne, the head of the Poodle Rescue group (and who also is a breeder of show quality standards) to see if she could place the seized dogs. Hope, Faith, Charity and Love were the females, and there were 2 males. I had hoped for another male, but Jeanne convinced me opposite sex dogs would probably be better in this case and Jeanne is not someone to argue with, so a female it was. The dogs were originally seized in early summer and each one was completely unsocialized, filthy and matted messes when rescued. Elsa was evaluated and Jeanne spent the next couple of months getting her ready to be adopted which included full health screening, spaying and slow gentle socialization. I met both her and Faith and decided Elsa (aka Love) was the girl I was interested in as she appeared to have the most potential. We met her at her foster home and while she was reluctant to be pet, she was curious enough to come fairly close to catch a whiff of me. We spent a long time with her and she pretty much ignored Sam after the initial meet, sniff and greet. She was wary, but I could see this girl had possibilities written all over her. She was tense and fearful but there was something about her that I just couldn’t dismiss. She received high marks from the Greeley Shelter’s evaluation and was considered to be rehabilitate-able, despite her feral-ness.
When I called Jeanne initially, she told me this process would take a while. She is extremely deliberate with all her dogs, be they rescues or the fabulous show dogs she breeds. These dogs needed patience and s-l-o-w, gentle socialization. Totally understandable but it felt like Christmas Eve for a 3 year old. I wasn’t sure I could wait! When at last the opportunity to meet with her arrived, I took it. And I called her every week. I’m sure she was sick of hearing from me but I just didn’t want this opportunity to escape. I had missed other dogs far less challenging and I wasn’t going to let this one go without putting up a pestering valiant effort. Score one for me since I must have worn poor Jeanne down and surprisingly she agreed to let Elsa go home with us a year ago when I thought we were only being evaluated again. I was thrilled beyond description, Sam was slightly less enthusiastic but we all bundled into the car and made our way home. She handled the ride decently well and her leash manners were remarkably good. Now this is where the story takes a slight detour.
If you’ve been following our journey for a while, you’ll recall that two weeks to the day, Elsa started having Grand Mal seizures. Prior to that Indian Summer day, all was going according to plan. She was shy but we knew that would be the case. She didn’t know anything about being a dog. Didn’t even know how to take a treat from your hand. It took repeated attempts We packed her off for the emergency vet for treatment. She was fairly dehydrated due to the seizure activity and they kept her overnight. I didn’t know if the seizures could be stopped and whether she could stay with us. That episode was terrifying and we were not optimistic. But she had won my heart and I was committed to doing whatever I could to make this little girl succeed, physically and emotionally. We were sent home with anti-seizure medication which she has been on ever since. Our vet suggested we also put her on CBD oil and thus began my education about this highly promising supplemental treatment. Although we’ve had a few ups and downs and she has had some break-through seizures, she is doing well and her vet seems mostly pleased with her progress.
Yes, she has oodles of ‘quirks’ but we’re dealing with them. I know that with love, patience and constant health surveillance, this little pill of a dog who is as sweet as she is funny will continue to provide all who meet her with such joy and happiness. Now if we can just do something about her latest habit of barking for no apparent reason in the house and tormenting her brother. But that’s for another day. Today we celebrate!
Today an extra treat, ear scratch and loads of attention (hmm, that sounds a lot like every day) is in order for the “Gotcha” girl. Welcome to the Ranch, sweet girl. We love ya. [I’ll provide recipes for the quiche and coconut/peanut butter treats next week]
And while we’re celebrating, today is another special rescued girl’s Gotcha Day. Miss Ducky over at Heart My Dogs is also celebrating her own Gotcha Day. Don’t furget to give her digital treats and ear scratches. Both these special girls were lucky to find mums who adore them while they provide their families with constant laughs and love. Happy Gotcha Day, Ducky! Now let’s P.A.W.T.Y. with the girls! Happy weekend.
We’re coming up to the Ninja’s 1st Gotcha Day in a few weeks (egad…hard to believe it’s been nearly a year!) and came across this graphic that seemed appropriate to share given the fact that she’s a puppy mill survivor. Dogs like Elsa endure such horrific conditions and all they are allowed to do is turn out puppies with every cycle until they are discarded (or seized in Elsa’s case), exasperating atrocious genetic lines that invariably have health and/or behavioral consequences. Since it’s next to ‘impawsible’ to monitor every puppy mill operation, please remember to NEVER buy from a pet shop. EVER.