What you can do about puppy mills

It’s not something I like to think about often, but my dog Hunter most likely came from a puppy mill. Although I knew a little bit about the dangers of dogs from pet stores when I adopted him from a friend, I didn’t care too much at the time that he was originally purchased from a store. I just fell in love with his sassy personality and cute little fox face and knew he was the dog for me.

The day that I got all of his papers though and saw the certificate he came with that said if he died within a year I could get a “replacement dog” made me cry. The fact that anyone would think this was ok was heartbreaking. You can’t just “replace” a family member. If something happened to Hunter, that last thing I would want to do is run to the store to get a replacement.

I have often worried about his history since. Although he has mainly been healthy, a couple months after I adopted him he began limping and was diagnosed with Legg Perthes disease, a degeneration of the hip bone that can occur due to a trauma or from a genetic defect. Considering I didn’t recall him getting hurt or suffering any trauma, it seemed that this was most likely genetic. It was an expensive surgery, but he recovered well (better than I did, really, dealing with the stress of a dog who can’t walk for weeks), and it’s something I rarely think about now.

Puppy Hunter, the cutest thing you’ve ever seen:

Of course, no matter where you get your dog from you can never guarantee that he or she will be 100% healthy. But the facts about puppy mills (taken from the ASCPA Puppy Mill FAQ) are really scary:

  • Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization.
  • Puppies born in puppy mills are typically removed from their littermates and mothers at just six weeks of age, which can lead to extreme shyness, aggression, fear and anxiety.
  • Female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. After a few years when they are no longer can reproduce, breeding females are typically killed.

Although I am so thankful Hunter was brought into this world, I hate to think about the conditions he may have come from. I especially hate to think what could’ve happened to his poor mother “Friskie” as she is named on his certificate. The luckiest ones are the ones saved by rescues, and they often have serious health and socialization issues.

As more people become aware of the horrors of puppy mills, changes are happening. The city of Chicago recently passed a law banning the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores and other cities have enacted similar laws. Last year, the state of Ohio took some action in this area passing stricter laws regarding puppy mills, requiring high volume breeders to get a license and abide by certain standards of care. Goddard’s Law, named after Dick Goddard, another law aimed at dealing with animal cruelty passed the House but has been stuck in Senate committees.

Whatever the answer is, I think we all can agree that something needs to be done. If you are in support of Goddard’s Law, you can write your Senator to let him know action needs to be taken. You can find your Senator here.542486_371377879549178_1808136279_n

Or, if you want to stop the sale of puppy mill dogs and cats at pet stores, the Humane Society recommends:

1. Encourage local pet stores to become puppy-friendly

Contact the Humane Society at stoppuppymills@humanesociety.org with your name, phone number, city, and state. They’ll send instructions and a copy of the invitation and pledge, or you can download and print them at:

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/puppy_friendly_store_invite.pdf
http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/puppy_friendly_store_pledge.pdf

Visit local pet store(s) to explain the benefits of the program and invite them to sign.

Return the signed pledge(s) to the Humane Society.

2. Find a puppy-friendly pet store near you

Text “PUPPY” to 30644 to see puppy-friendly stores near you

Browse lists of puppy-friendly stores by state on their site. Here’s the list for Ohio: http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/pfps_oh.pdf

Also, visit: http://www.thepuppymillproject.org/take-action-now/ or http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/puppy_mills/tips/what_you_can_do_stop_puppy_mills.html for more information on what you can do.

The number one, easiest thing you can do is adopt and encourage others to adopt! There are so many great dogs waiting for a home. Check out our adoption page and share with your friends: http://dogsinthecle.com/adopt

If we all begin supporting homeless dogs rather than buying from pet stores, maybe we can eventually stop the practice of unethical breeding. I am hopeful at least!

 

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My First Foster

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may have seen a lot of pictures lately of a cute little white furball named Vinnie. Up until a few days ago I was fostering him for Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue. Vinnie was dumped at a shelter, severely overweight, and stayed there for weeks with no interest until COPR rescued him days away from being put down. It makes me tear up thinking about it. I mean look at this guy:

vinnie

From the shelter to two different fosters, Vinnie showed no signs of the trauma and hard times he’d been through. So many times you hear  from people who haven’t had much experience with rescued dogs how hard it is to adopt a rescued dog. ‘Oh, they all have issues… You don’t want to get into that.’ And of course, some of them do have issues that take real work and patience to deal with. Wouldn’t you have issues if you were dumped at a shelter, abused, abandoned or any of the horrible stories that rescuers like COPR hear about every day? It’s not an easy life. What is amazing about dogs though is that they are resilent. If you give a dog love and show them that you can be trusted, they will come around. They have so much love to give. And sometimes you get a dog like Vinnie, who just loves everyone he meets and goes along with what life brings him. Although I only had Vinnie for a couple weeks, he quickly found a place in my heart.

There are millions of dogs like Vinnie out there looking for homes. Some of them are damaged and some of them aren’t. But once you see all of the dogs that need homes, you know how important dog adoption is. This blog is a no judgment zone, so I am not going to get preachy here. I only bring this up because I think there are still people that aren’t aware of the millions of wonderful dogs being rescued every year that need a home. Or, more often, people that don’t realize the horror of the puppy mills that most pet stores dogs come from. I share Vinnie’s story to let people know that there are great homeless dogs out there. Hopefully next time you’re looking for a dog you’ll consider adopting one of them.

It wasn’t easy to give Vinnie up. I can tell you I came very close to being a foster failure. But when I met the family that wanted to adopt him I knew that it was the right place for him, that he would finally get the life he so deserved. Their love for him was instant, as it is for everyone who meets Vinnie, and I knew he would be spoiled rotten in the best possible way for the rest of his life. I would’ve loved to have Vinnie around longer, but it’s for the best. There are more dogs out there that need a home and I am excited for my next foster. COPR recently rescued 15 chihuahuas from Kentucky so there are lots of new dogs that will soon be looking for a home. If you are interested in fostering, or want to donate to help out with this large intake of dogs, contact CentralOhioPomrRscue@gmail.com.

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Visit https://www.facebook.com/kimraycopr/media_set?set=a.767432519968612.1073742012.100001056129730&type=1 for more info on these dogs.

Love you always Vinnie, congratulations on your new home!

Vinnie with his new brother, Prinzie.
Vinnie with his new brother, Prinzie.

 

Also, check out the recently updated adoption page if you are in the market for a new dog: http://dogsinthecle.com/adopt/

So you want to be a dog foster

I think most of us dog lovers have thought about fostering dogs at some point, but maybe weren’t sure where to begin or what exactly is involved. I decided to ask a friend of mine, Kara Jakubec, who fosters along with her sister Katy, some questions about her experience as a dog foster to find out more info. Kara and Katy have been fostering for over two years, mostly for Secondhand Mutts, and have had 18 dogs stay with them over the course of that time.

So if you’ve ever wanted to know what kind of financial commitment goes into fostering, how much say you can have in the dogs you foster and how it feels to give up a dog, keep on reading.

Why did you get involved in fostering? 

My sisters, Katy and Kristina, and I have loved dogs since we were very small and continually denied ownership of one by our father. Though he eventually caved and we got Oreo, our dalmatian, we always wanted more. When Katy and I lived together in Chicago, she brought Nelly, the beagle, and we later adopted Murphy Lee, the cocker spaniel. We saw how well they got along and how caring for two dogs wasn’t much more work than caring for one, so we decided to help out rescue organizations by providing a space for dogs in need of fostering.

How long on average is the time commitment?

The time commitment for fostering varies, and it really depends on what kind of commitment you want to make. We have had dogs stay with us for as short as a three-day weekend and as long as three months, though we have known others to foster one particular dog even longer. Finding the right forever home can sometimes take awhile, and providing as much stability in the meantime is key.

Baxter, Kara and Katy's most recent foster. Baxter is going to his forever family this weekend!
Baxter, Kara and Katy’s most recent foster. Baxter is going to his forever family this weekend!
We are fortunate to volunteer with Secondhand Mutts (SHM) which has a great network of foster families and is related to the Mutt Hutt, a dog daycare and overnight boarding facility. While we personally try to commit to fostering a dog from intake to adoption, SHM works with foster families who might need a break for a vacation or a swap to a dog that fits in better with their home. Additionally people can volunteer as short-term fosters to keep dogs while long-term fosters go on holiday or when a dog is definitely getting adopted but just needs a place to stay for a few days.

Can you choose what kind of dog you want to foster?

Secondhand Mutts does a super job of matching dogs in need of fostering to foster families based on both the foster dog’s needs and temperament as well as the foster family’s availability and resources. We tend to foster dogs that are low-key and moderately energetic to match our pack’s mentality; we also generally foster older dogs that are housebroken because we are not home all the time to work on that.

How hard is it to give up the dog for you?

This also varies, for sure. We have had some dogs who we totally love and could keep forever; we have had some dogs who are great but also need to leave ASAP. (Kidding.) But it can be difficult depending on how long the dog stays and how closely we (and our pack of dogs) bond with the dog. I try to keep in mind the whole time that this is a temporary situation that is good for the dog while we have him or her, but ultimately he or she will be moving on to the best situation possible in a forever home.

What is the financial commitment for fosters?

The financial commitment is pretty light, especially if you volunteer with an organization that provides everything from food to medical care. Our fosters usually end up on the same diet as our pack (keeping them from eating each other’s chow can be a difficult task) so we usually “donate” in the form of buying food. Other than that it’s completely free!

What was your hardest foster case?

We have had a few that are tough with dogs that were going through a trauma. Two in particular were Sriracha, a chihuahua-esque puppy who we saw through a leg amputation, and Butterball, a big guy (maybe beagle-pit mix) who basically had PTSD. Butterball (or Butters, as we called him) came to us by way of a family that asked their vet to have Butters put down after their child developed allergies, so we knew his original situation had to be the pits. He eventually came around with our pack and is now living happily with a great family, but it was tough to let him go having seen all the progress he made with our dogs.

Do you have any foster failure (a dog you kept from fostering) stories?

We have two foster failure stories, and both of them apply to us! Every now and then we will foster two dogs at a time — usually if they are a bonded pair, like Barry and Joey, these hilarious chihuahua-terrier mixes who our neighbor just found one day in his yard. Also if we only mean to have the second one for a week or two, it’s like dog sitting and easy.

Anyway we had just gotten “Gabby” into our care when we were asked to look after “Bella” for a week. Both dogs were so fun and amazing and they became best friends immediately. As luck would have it applications for both dogs started rolling in and the idea of losing either dog made us feel sick…so they both stayed with us! Bella is still Bella; “Gabby” is now known as Frankenstein.

In case anyone reading this is looking for a dog, tell us about the dog you are currently fostering.

Most recently we fostered Baxter, a beagle/King Charles/collie-type mix, who was taken in as a stray after he was seen running around the Kenmore area for around a year’s time. Baxter was one of our favorite fosters ever! He loves people and other dogs, playing and napping, and was totally housebroken. He was a gem and we are so happy for his new forever family.

Abra is still looking for a home. Contact Secondhand Mutts for more information.
Abra is still looking for a home. Contact Secondhand Mutts for more information.

At Secondhand Mutts right now there is a super sweet girl named Abra who is in need of a foster or forever home! Abra was taken to the City of Cleveland Kennel a week before Christmas…with her 10 puppies! All of the puppies have been adopted — and Abra herself had a family for a short time — but she is back at Secondhand Mutts right now looking for a forever home. Abra is a very social, housebroken girl who gets along wonderfully with children, other dogs, and cats. MOre information about Abra can be found at the SHM’s website: http://secondhandmutts.org/abra/

What advice would you give someone who wants to start fostering?

Go for it! Seriously. I mean, first have a good chat with the organization through which you would like to foster. Get a sense of the organization’s ability to work with you and the dog in terms of transitioning to your home and back if it isn’t the best fit for you and your pack. And, like with any dog, be patient with this new (albeit temporary) member of your family. Most of the dogs are coming with some problems other than simply being without a home and they need — and will benefit from — all the love they can get!

If you have specific questions about dog fostering, you can reach Kara at karajakubec@gmail.com or contact your local rescue group.

CLE Adoptable Canine of the Week

Meet Odin!

odinblog

Breed: Terrier, Pit Bull Mix
Age:  7 years
Sex:  Male
Home: Lake Humane Society

About Odin: Odin has been with the Lake Humane Society since September. Odin is a recipient of The Angel Fund, a donation-supported fund to provide veterinary care to animals in need.  They’ve determined Odin has Color Dilution Alopecia and he is currently on medication. LHS describes Odin as a sweetheart and who just wants companionship. They say he is a good candidate for a foster since a home environment would be good while he’s on medication and healing.

To learn more visit http://lakehumane.org/dogs.html or call them at (440) 951-6122.

Have a dog you’d like featured here? Contact me at dogsinthecle@gmail.com

 

CLE Adoptable Canine of the Week!

Meet Sammee!

photo

Sammee has a very sad story, but is looking for his happy ending! He was found New Year’s Day frozen to the road in Southern Ohio. Thankfully, a woman stopped to check on him and saw that he was still alive. He is now on the mend and spending his days with Marilyn’s Voice, waiting for a furever home. They say he is an easy dog and, at 10 years old, he mainly just sleeps and eats. He does wear belly bands, as they say he likes to mark, but Marilyn’s Voice will provide plently of belly bands for his adopted family.

If you’re interested in this sweet little guy, you can fill out an application here or contact Marilyn’s Voice (www.marilynsvoice.org) for more info.

Have a dog you want featured here? Send photos and a bio to dogsinthecle@gmail.com

 

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CLE Canine(s) of the Week – Adoption Edition

It’s a special edition of the CLE Canine of the Week this week featuring two adorable puppies that are looking for a home.
Meet Tanner and Stripe!
Full Name: Tanner and Stripe
Breed:  Not Sure, some kind of terrier or collie mix.  We might know
more once they get a little bigger.
Age:  6 weeks old more or less.
Tanner
Hobbies:  They are both very loving and playful boys. They love to be picked up and carried, but are also happy to follow right along wherever your going.  They are brave and love to explore the house and yard.  They get cold easily and need some snuggling when they come inside from a cold morning visit to the yard.  They are good with other dogs and often play with their foster brother Rocco the Golden Retriever.  They will even play tug-a-war with him despite the forty pound size difference.
Stripe

Background: They were full of fleas and worms and in sorry shape when they arrived, but after a few days of TLC, medicine, and good food they are flea free and healthy and full of joy and life.  They boys are mostly quiet, though Tanner can sound off when he wants to.  They sleep all night.  Their accidents are few and they go outside with no problem except for the cold.  They are very little trouble and lots of fun.

They will be ready to go home right after Thanksgiving.

If you’re interested in learning more about Tanner and Stripe, contact their foster, John Chapman at j_black_2001@yahoo.com

It’s National Adoption Weekend!

If you’re in the market for a new dog or cat, this is your weekend. PetSmart will be holding its winter National Adoption Weekend from Friday through Sunday at all Northeast Ohio PetSmart stores.

(video courtesy of PetSmart.com)

You can catch these local rescue organizations, among others, at PetSmart events this weekend:

PAWS Ohio
PetSmart Mayfield Hts
Friday, 11/15, from 3-7 and Saturday, 11/16 from 12-4.
Dogs will be available Saturday and Sunday from 12-4. PAWS will also be at the Parma PetSmart with cats and kittens on Saturday from 11-4. There will be special pricing at both locations for cats and kittens.

Paws & Prayers
PetSmart Chapel Hill
355 Howe Ave, (330) 922-4114
Dogs will be available Friday from 4-7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Cats will be there from open on Friday til close on Sunday.

Erie Shores Humane Society
PetSmart Elyria, 263 Midway Blvd, (440) 324-4665
Valley-Save-a-Pet (cats)
PetSmart Macedonia
8210 Macedonia Commons Blvd, Unit 10, (330) 908-0531

These other PetSmart stores will also be holding adoption events:

North Olmsted
26063 Great Northern Plaza, (440) 777-8900

Parma
6870 Ridge Rd, Parma, (440) 845-9592

Also, through this Sunday, Lake Humane Society is running a special offer on senior pets in honor of “Adopt a Senior Dog Month.” When you adopt a dog or cat 6 years or older, you can name your adoption fee. Check out these adorable guys up for adoption:

Sparky
Odin

Find out more information here: http://lakehumane.org

Monster Mutt Dash

The annual Halloween-themed “Monster Mutt Dash,” a dog friendly 5K and 1 mile walk, brought in a packed crowd of runners and dog lovers all out to support the Berea Animal Rescue Fund this past weekend.

According to Juleen Russell, Marketing/Public Relations for the Berea ARF, the event broke attendance records this year, with 974 walkers/runners – 224 more than last year. Since I haven’t been able to train my dog to be a runner, I was excited to take part in the event as part of the one-mile walk. The runners and walkers all lined up together, which seemed a little chaotic to me, but most of the walkers from what I could tell were smart enough to head toward the back of the pack to let the runners go first. My sister, who does not own a dog, did the 5K and said that it wasn’t that crowded really. Most of the runners around her didn’t have dogs, so there was a lot of space to run.

There was also a lot of good Halloween costumes, which made the walk especially fun. Hunter and I enjoyed walking next to this cute costumed dog. I think Hunter thought his costume meant he should race him.

The event also featured a Howl-O-Ween after party featuring vendors, dog activities and a pet costume contest. The after party had some fun games I haven’t seen at other events, including bobbing for treats and musical hoops. Hunter especially enjoyed the bobbing for treats.

Organizers are still running the numbers, but they are currently at 53% of their goal of $15,000, according to Russell. The fund raising page will be up until Nov. 12, which means there’s still time in case you would like to donate. Visit the fund raising page for more details: https://fundraising.active.com/event/MonsterMuttDash.

All in all it was a fun day at the Monster Mutt Dash. My sister and I decided this will be an annual event for us. I’m already starting my training for Hunter to do his first 5K at next year’s event!

Woofstock Recap

More than a thousand dog lovers gathered at Holden Arboretum on a beautiful September day to show their support for homeless animals at Rescue Village’s annual fundraiser Woofstock.

Although numbers for the event were down slightly this year, with around 1600 people and 800 dogs participating in the one mile walk, event organizers were pleased with the results. According to Katie Campbell, Marketing & Events Coordinator for Rescue Village, Woofstock’s tentative fundraising numbers are at $66,000, but they may see a bit more money trickle in over the next week or so.

This was my first year participating in the event and I was excited to raise money for such a great organization. I hadn’t been to Holden Arboretum before, so it was nice to get a chance to walk around it as part of such a fun event. My dog Hunter was also excited to see all the dogs and vendors on Vendor “Rrrow.”

After the walk the dog contests began. Contests included longest/shortest tail, most creative name, tallest/shortest dog, dog/owner look alike, guess the breed and an ice cream eating contest among others. In addition to the contests, Vendor “Rrrow” featured some fun doggie activities including an agility course run by North Coast Dogs and a kissing booth.

It was definitely a fun event that I will be back for next year. If you missed out on the event but still want to help out, Rescue Village accepts donations all year round (and of course, also has dogs to adopt if you’re in the market for a new one). Visit https://geaugahs.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/Donation/tabid/221150/Default.aspx for more information.