Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tribute to Lost Dogs

Everyone of these dogs in this video was killed in just 5 short days (between March 5th and March 9th 2011) by Animal Care and Control of New York City. Something has to be done to improve the conditions, reduce the upper respiratory infections and provide more room for dogs so that it is not in the shelter's best interest for these dogs to get sick and put down for coughing and sneezing.

These colds can be cured in ten days with antibiotics- both our dogs had coughs and in a clean environment, they got better rapidly. With enough space- colds are no reason to euthanize.

Bronx Fire Dogs Put to Sleep

So far 3 (and some say 4) of the 14 dogs rescued from the blaze in the Bronx a few weeks ago have been put to sleep by Animal Care and Control of New York City.

Read my first post about the fire here. Read the NYTimes article here.

The ACC says three dogs are still there and alive- (actually two: Boss and Buster) - two of which they say have kennel cough, and one has 'behavioral issues.'(I'm guessing that is the mysterious missing dog that has already been pts.) Only Buster is still listed on the ACC list of adoptable dogs.

What is the worst part about all this?? The ACC is still using the story to solicit donations.
Here is the picture on their website they are using to raise funds for dogs they are euthanizing (by the way no dog from the fire was a chocolate lab- every dog was a pit bull mix):

Mom & Pups at the ACC

Luckily this pit bull mom and her puppies have a foster home so that they aren't likely to get deathly ill- as is often the case at ACC- Hopefully they will find good homes but the type of person that is willing to adopt a pit bull puppy from ACC for $20 may not provide the best environment- A lot of dogs that the ACC adopts out are returned in some way- as strays or due to financial struggles... Here's to hoping Lola, Lady, Cinnabun, Snippet and Precious find good homes forever.

If you are interested in adopting, contact their foster here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Animal Cruelty at its worst: Patrick's Story

Warning: The photos in the post are graphic:

The day before Saint Patrick's day- a man emptying the trash at a Newark apartment building discovered a bag moving slightly. Fortunately, he opened the bag and found a crippled figure inside. A dog had been thrown down the trash chute- still clinging to life. The dog had a body temperature of 96 (6 degrees too low), had bones sticking through his skin, and was an imae of death. He was rushed to the Garden State Veterinary Specialists where he somehow made it through the night.

This is Patrick:

With donations, gifts, letters, food, treatment, and care- Patrick is improving. He has gained 2 1/4 pounds, can walk a bit, and his tail is wagging. You can follow his progress here.

According the NY-SPCA officials, Kisha Curtis (28) of Newark (who allegedly threw Patrick 19 stories down that chute) has been charged with four counts of animal cruelty and could serve up to 6 months in jail and pay a $1000 fine. This was later upgraded to 18 months and a $3000 fine. To many animal advocates- this is hardly enough- follow the attempts to implement Patrick's Law here.
Read the full story here.

Here are some pictures of Patrick as he has been improving- hopefully he will continue to get better and I can write updates about his health and his new home in the future.

Wordless Wednesday

"oh hai mom, i has a bunny!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Miami-Dade Shelter Crisis

A deadly outbreak of distemper in a Miami-Dade Animal Shelter has led to a mad rush to adopt or rescue dogs before they will be put down. Due to the severity of the disease, the shelter officials face the tough reality of needing to basically "cleanse" the facility by removing or killing all of the dogs.

Thankfully this has led to overwhelming response from the rescue community- but the dogs will not have homes- rescuers are taking home many more animals than they can possible handle to bide their time and hopefully save them from being exposed to the virus or being killed for having it.

Officials have waived the adoption fee for dogs, but as of Friday night, 100 dogs were adopted, but 180 still need rescue and "one way or another- all the dogs need to do" before the shelter is set to be "sterilized".

Read more here and here
Donate here

The Miami-Dade shelter website provides a list of adoptable dogs, but it is unclear if these dogs are actually still available and why there are only 16 listed.

This golden retriever, known only as "this dog"  is apparently among the dogs that are available and need rescue:

Saving Man's Best Friends in Japan

Since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, I have been wondering and hoping about the animals there--with so many humans dead and displaced- you can only imagine what has happened to their family pets left behind. In addition, thousands are fleeing the country with rising fears of nuclear radiation- leaving many of thier pets in shelters or locked homes. Read more here.

Thank goodness for this heroic group Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support - check out their facebook page where you can find stories of their rescues and follow the efforts to save more animals from the badly beaten coastal towns.

The video above is of the now-famous story of the dog that wouldn't leave his injured friend behind--thankfully both dogs have been rescued.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Our pups finally fell in love

When Bruno first came home, he licked Winnie's ears for about 15 minutes straight. When he was done, her whole head was drenched in puppy-spit. We felt like this was a good omen that they were going to get along- but alas- within a few weeks, their true relationship began to show- it seemed they would play, wrestle and chase each other, but never really be best friends. Winnie usually growls whenever Bruno tries to cuddle with her and gets up and goes to another room whenver Bruno tries to lay next to her... and generally makes moody faces like this:

"Go away, Bruno"

You may remember, I was super excited when Winnie finally laid her head on Bruno.

"I guess you're more comfortable than floor..."

Well, I'm starting to notice signs that Winnie may not just be putting up with Bruno, but may actually be starting to appreciate and love him.

They've been palling around more and sharing their tent:

They've been sleeping next to each other on the couch:

Winnie has been putting up with him climbing, stepping, and sitting all over her (he does to us too-- somehow he always puts himself right in front of the TV) Bruno has no concept of his own body...
"What... am I in your way??"

"ugh... he's sitting on me AGAIN..."

But the best moment for me as a dog-mommy was when Bruno was having a nightmare (he twitches and howls) and Winnie comforted him by laying her head over him:

"it's OK brother..."

He stopped twitching and howling right away :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pups love Peanut Butter

I just LOVE watching them trying to get this yummy sticky stuff off of their tongues and noses :)

"mooove over, its MY noms!"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Update on Cookie & Lady and and theirPups

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I told you all about Lady, the pregnant Pittie that Animal Care and Control slated to be put to sleep? It turns out she would have been put down just nine days before her puppies were born.

Now she has a great foster home, has a new name (Maggie), and has delivered her pups. She was saved by Waggin Train Rescue and gave birth to 9 puppies. (That's a total of 10 lives saved!) If you are interested in adopting when the puppies and Mom are ready, fill out an application here.

Here is a video of Lady being a super "mouths-on" mommy :)

Guess what!? In that same entry- I told you about Cookie, another pregnant mom to be put to sleep.
Well Cookie was also rescued (By Forgotten Friends of Long Island) and gave birth to her puppies as well. :)

Things we love (for a home with big dogs)

It's not always easy keeping a house or apartment looking neat and organized when you share it with two dogs, especially when that apartment is only two rooms (spacious by NYC standards). Finding items that look great but can't be ruined easily are the key.

Here is a list of our favorite things:

1) Dog Haus (by ABO Gear) Tent:

This tent was a fantastic find. It comes in a small cylinder bag that unzips and there is absolutely no set-up! All you have to do is take it out of the bag, pull the string, and it pops up into place. It has a flap-door that the gives the doggies their privacy and makes them feel safe and cuddly inside.
It is a great size and fits two 50lb pit bulls comfortably. It doesn't come with anything inside, but I put Bruno's dog bed in it and it is getting much more use in the tent that under the dining table.

2) Replaceable seat cushion fabric:

If your dogs shed like ours, you know that their dog hair can ruin your nice fabrics and you need to find things that are either washable or replaceable.
I am in love with Ikea's inexpensive fabric: for four chairs you only need a couple yards, and at such a great price, you can change the fabric whenever you want to!

We went with this funky crab/under-water pattern because we love bright colors.
All you need is a screwdriver, scissors, and a stapler (heavy duty is best, but I used a regular one). First unscrew the seat cushion from the chair frame, cover with cloth, and staple in place (no need removing the original cover if you like it and want to keep it for later- the staples can be removed easily to expose the original or replace with a new fabric!)

3) Art that benefits shelter-dogs:

Etsy is full of fantastic items, craft-pieces and art-work. I chose these because they were colorful, fun, and 10% of each purchase is donated to the artist's local animal shelter.
I chose these three pieces and hung them over our dining-table.

 4) A cork board for your jewelry:
$75 mirror frame from and $5.00 cork board inserts purchased at RiteAid.

I used to be less organized about my jewelry, but since the dogs will eat anything small (and even sharp), I need to keep everything up off of table surfaces and away from Winnie & Bruno.
This is a great solution- I found this mirror frame on Etsy that I loved- unfortunately when it came to me, the mirror had been broken in shipping- so I filled the frame with thin cork-board that I found at Rite Aid, pinned up my jewelry, and voila! All of my jewelry is up off of the table away from inquisitive doggies.

5) Fake flowers

I love having flowers around, but when much of your day revolves around keeping two big goofy eating-machines well-fed and happy, you can't always care for plants. Also, some plants can be poisonous to dogs, and I didn't want to take the risk. These potted orchids did the trick- they look perfect all year 'round, look 100% realistic, and only need occasional dusting as up-keep!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Traveling with Dogs

When traveling with medium or large dogs, you almost always have to drive. (So living in a city without a car and with two pit bulls poses some problems.) Luckily my parents live in the suburbs and are always willing to lend a hand when we need to travel long distances.

Once the dogs are in the car however, they are usually less than perfect. The back of our Hyundai has two loops by the back door that we loop the dogs' leashes around to keep them from jumping into the back seat on trips. This works great for Winnie, she usually doesn't give us any trouble and sits or sleeps in the way-back without voicing her discontent.

But Bruno seems to think he is being abandoned back there- he starts by whining and slowly builds up to a full out scream. (Do any of your dogs do this? Its very strange, I'm going to try to capture it on video, but basically its a frantic high pitched yawn.)

Of course this drives Winnie nuts, and I imagine her saying "Why did you leave me back here with this crazy animal?"

"mom, I am mad at you..."

And the screaming isn't exactly the best sound-track for a 6-hour drive, so I usually jump in the back seat, un-hook his leash, and let him sit with me. Sometimes he calms down and sleeps on my lap (can you say, separation anxiety??), sometimes he jumps in the front seat, leaving me all alone, and curls up next to his dad and pretends to be his "co-pilot."

Sometimes, rather than let Bruno steal the front seat from me, I share it with him. He thinks he is 15 lbs (he is 52) so he cuddles up in my lap and sleeps.

One time he put his face on the ac-vent and slept there for a whole hour:

What do your dogs do on car-trips?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What IS a pit bull, afterall?

While volunteering, I've seen a few litters of puppies born at Animal Haven, and one thing I've learned is that for the most part they NEVER look like mother, and often never look like each other.

With mixed breeds, appearance can vary so much-- a couple months ago a brindle Pit-bull-type mother named Myra, gave birth two a litter of what looked like two yellow labs, one mix, and one brindle pit-mix like her:
(Below are Myra and one of her puppies, Ring Ding.)

I noticed that while Ring Ding wouldn't be outlawed in any city or state, her mother and one of her brothers would be- but they shared much of their DNA!

While mixed-breed dogs' DNA is highly variable, human perception is not. Studies show that shelter erroneously label many dogs as "Pit Bulls" when DNA tests often reveal they are wrong.

This dog, Cernun, was labeled a "pit bull mix" by shelter personnel, but DNA has shown him to be part Bull Mastiff and part Boxer.

With so much variety- even among litter-mates, what is the point in even trying to identify the breed in well-mixed dogs? By mis-labeling shelter dogs as pit bulls, the dogs are given even less of a chance at a happy life. Some shelters even kill pit bulls automatically. When dog bites occur, people often wrongly assume the breed of dog to be a pit bull, when in fact it could be a Presa Canario, a Dogo Argentino, a Boxer-mix, or just a mutt that looks like a pit bull.

In certain jurisdictions, Breed Specific Legislation mandates that dogs be assessed based on physical attributes, not behavioral testing. In Denver for example, whether or not a dog is a pit bull depends on an assessment based on 36 points- measuring the head size, chest, paws, etc.  If a dog is found to be a pit bull, you have 24 hours to remove it from the city.

With such high stakes, why are shelters labeling so many dogs as pit bulls, when DNA tests would prove that many have either no "Staffordshire" DNA, or DNA that comes from predominantly other breeds.

These dogs all look so different, but all were labeled Pit Bulls or American Staffordshire Terriers by New York Animal Care and Control:

If pit bulls are this genetically diverse, how can we ascribe one temperament-type to all of them?

What breeds do you think these dogs are? Post your best guesses in the comments (for reference top right is dog #1, and bottom right is dog #4)

Read more here, and here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back to Nature

Saturday was my Mom's birthday, so we took the pups home to New Jersey for a day. Not only do they love going to their "Grandparent's" house in the "country" (aka suburbs) because of the smells, wild-life, and room to run, but they love the extra love and food they get from Grandma and Grandpa (which they have cut down on significantly since they came home repeatedly with tummy-aches.)

My Dad suggested we take them to the town lake, which is drained in the winter- a perfect place for them to run and explore:

Hijinks ensued:

We found out that Bruno looves digging in the sand:
And dragging his stick around in it:
And fishing his stick out of this tiny stream:
And tearing roots out of the ground:

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