Posted tagged ‘Dogs’

Rescue Me

June 28, 2017

 

We’ve all heard that rescue pets are the best. That when given a second (or third or fourth) chance at having a forever home, an animal will be so grateful they will shower you with their conditional love. While that may very well be true, what you don’t often hear about are the many challenges that can go along with adopting a pet second (or third or fourth) hand.

After we adopted Ace the tenacious terrier, we realized this was only the second time we had brought a dog home that we had not gotten as a small puppy. Even though we’d adopted rescues before, they were very young and had not already been imprinted with another person’s living habits. While at a little over a year old Ace was still a puppy at heart, he had lived somewhere else, in another home, with another family. He was eager to please and just wanted to be loved, but he didn’t have a clue what was expected of him. Nor did we know what he had experienced in his former home. Unlike a younger puppy, he wasn’t a blank slate that we could write only our expectations on. He was house-trained and only had a few initial accidents inside, which was a big plus, and he was used to staying in his crate (maybe too much); but we quickly learned there were things he feared and things he’d not been exposed to (like the outside world). Walking on a leash was new, as was staying outside his crate when we were not home. The past few months have been a process, but he is a smart little guy and he’s learning. He’s also found a place in the hearts of his new family.

So if you are thinking of adopting a rescue pet, please be aware there may be a learning curve, and don’t let your expectations rush the adjustment that may take a little or a lot of time. Realize your new friend has had a previous life that was probably very different from the one you are offering, and don’t be in a hurry to give up.

Remember this is “kitten season,” when many litters come into shelters or are taken in by rescue groups. Donations of kitten food and litter are always most appreciated. But of course the best way to help the situation is to spay and neuter our own cats. They are capable of reproducing at a very young age, so if you have recently adopted a kitten, contact your veterinarian about the best time to have this done. It is truly a gift to your pet.

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The Newcomer

March 19, 2017

His name is Ace and he’s a little over a year old. He’s full of puppy energy and terrier mischief, and now he lives at our house! He came to us from Seven Star Sanctuary and Rescue,  and in just a short time he has become a member of the family. There was a little period of adjustment, as Foo Foo the Pomeranian and the cats Zombie and Sandwich learned to accept the newcomer, but now they are all friends and get along quite well. Sometimes there is a little craziness, as when cats decide to tease and lead Ace on a merry chase around the house. Then mom and dad have to get involved because he hasn’t quite learned how to control himself yet and ends up sitting on a cat. Sometimes there is yelping, when a cat has had enough and puts out a claw, but for the most part it’s all fun and games.
Ace looks forward to walks around the neighborhood and playing in his big backyard. He wasn’t too fond of the snow, but he loves to chase a tennis ball, though he hasn’t yet figured out he’s supposed to bring it back. He also enjoys chewing things, so we try to keep his rawhide bones and toys handy to discourage him from turning to less desirable targets. He’s learning little by little and we just need to have patience. Since we don’t know anything about his background, it’s hard to know what was expected of him in his early months…or not expected. He’s still a bit leery of other dogs, but he’s eager to learn how to fit into his new household.

 

All in all, he’s a good boy who just wants to be loved, as do all pets, and we’re glad he found his way to us. If you’re looking to add a new pet to your family, please remember to check out local rescues and shelters where many more pets are waiting for their forever homes.

I’m Only a Dog

March 28, 2014

I haven’t written anything here since last fall, almost six months ago. It was about that time that we learned our beloved Jack Russell Terrier, for whom The Zeke Chronicles was named, had congestive heart failure. Zeke was only 11 years old, which for a small dog isn’t all that old, but he’d had a heart murmur for a few years. It never seemed to cause him any problem….until one day it did. Like with ourselves, we often take our pet’s health for granted and we expect everything to be fine…until one day it isn’t. After that one day, things are never the same and you begin a new routine of pet care. There were tests done, medicines prescribed, and diet changes made (much like you have to do with anybody with heart disease), and you hope it will make a difference. It did, for a little while, but then the inevitable began to happen. I will admit I was totally in denial that my dog wasn’t going to live much longer. I was certain that if I made his food, gave him his meds regularly, and monitored him like a hawk, he would be fine for a long time. Even when my vet said that I needed to prepare myself, I still believed Zeke would be with us yet for some time.

That was not to be, and one month ago today, Zeke left us for the Rainbow Bridge, the place where pets go to await their masters’ arrival. It is still hard to believe he’s gone, because the house was always so alive when he was here. Zeke was a happy little dog who lived life to the fullest right up to the end. I have to admire that he didn’t let his illness get him down and was ready to chase the wildlife from our yard even on the days when he shouldn’t have been dashing around like a maniac. He taught me what it means to enjoy the journey as well as the destination and to always be ready for life’s next adventure. And he gave me many stories to tell for my column, The Pet Corner, and for the Zeke Chronicles.

Because I was not the only one who loved Zeke and misses him every day, I offer the following written by his walking companion of many years.

Only A Dog

Who would have thought! That September evening in 2002 at “Farmer Joe’s” homestead in Nappanee, IN that a roly poly filthy dirty little Jack Russell puppy living in a dairy barn would mold and shape our lives to meet his needs. This was the day that Ezekiel Kubash was adopted into our family. He was only a dog. Yes he was a dog,Image but he was also so much more. He was a greeter. We were always greeted whenever we entered the house with a joyful dog his tail wagging and him jumping up and down like a pogo stick.  Then he became a hunter when he wanted to go out to chase away the squirrels, birds, gophers etc and maybe even go potty. After dinner he became the physical trainer, as he would jump around my chair until I would get up and take him for a walk either around the neighborhood or for a special treat we would walk in town along the bluff.  Next it was dinner time for us and he became a panhandler looking for a handout. If he’d collected money instead of food scraps we probably would have had more than enough to retire years ago. He also visited Grandma when she was in two different nursing homes and even visited her in the hospital after a stroke. Occasionally the word “go” would slip out and he was ready. Be it a car ride to town to walk or a trip up north, he definitely had to be included. But most of all he was our “Best Friend Forever”.  He took a piece of our hearts with him but we will remember him always.  Rest In Peace “Little Buddy”, Ezekiel “Zeke” Kubash, June 12, 2002 – February 28, 2014.

 

Keeping the Peace

September 24, 2013

kitty in a basketAs anyone who lives in a multi-pet household knows, it is sometimes a little like living in a zoo, or with small children. The best way to keep things running smoothly is to keep to a schedule as much as possible. If mealtimes, backyard play, walks, and downtime are pretty much done at the same time every day, it all seems to go much better. Pets come to expect things to happen at the same time and if they don’t, it can become chaotic. Since our dogs have a large, fenced-in backyard to run around in, we usually only walk once a day. Recently, I had the thought that with the weather turning cooler and in the interest of getting more exercise, we should add a second walk. While Zeke and Foo weren’t averse to going, they did seem a bit confused. “Why are we getting leashes on now? Why isn’t Dad here? (Zeke only likes to walk with him.) Are we going for a car ride? When they found out it was only for a walk, they decided to spend most of it stopping to sniff and let everyone else know they’d been in that spot. We didn’t get far and they were more than willing to turn around and head home. Wrong time of day for a walk I guess. So much for exercise.

We are fortunate to have pets that get along together quite well. Sometimes dogs have a spat over a chewy (we both want the same one) or Foo is just so excited she has to pick on Zeke, who does his best to ignore her. It usually sounds worse than it is, but Mom still has to restore law and order. I’m glad the cats get along the best because I have no desire to ever wade into a cat fight. Ever. I’ve seen one and it was not pretty. Cats have claws and humans rarely come out on the plus side of a cat fight. But these guys are pretty cool with one another, and even Spider who was the lone cat for many years, is tolerant of the younger ones’ antics. Tolerance is probably the key word in having more than one pet. The pets not only have to learn to tolerate but humans do too. Sometimes things will get a little chaotic, but if animals come to understand what’s expected at certain times of the day, it does help a lot to keep the peace.

The September issue of the Animal Aid newsletter is now online. You can find it at www.animalaidswmi.org. In 2014, this local rescue group will celebrate 35years of rescuing and re-homing pets. Please check out their website for more about them and what they do.

Call of the Wild

January 21, 2013

How many of you who are dog-owners sometimes feel like you’re a slave to your dog? Be honest. How many times do you just sit down in your comfy chair in the evening, ready to get back to the book you’re reading or to watch your favorite TV show, only to be met with a pair (or several pairs) of pleading eyes or the music of what I call, dancing paws. We need to potty again, or want to share your chair, or forgot we went for a walk just an hour ago. You drag yourself up and go to the door, in case it is the first of those choices. But then, wait, that isn’t what we really wanted! We stand at the open door and just look out, unable to make up our doggy minds if we really want to venture out into January’s freezing temps. Because we don’t really have to go potty; we just want to see what’s going on next door and hear who in the neighborhood is barking. We do decide to go out, two minutes later we’re ready to come back in (because remember, it’s freezing outside!). We expect a treat then (because we went out) and then we settle down….for another half an hour. Then there we are, staring again. Isn’t it time for another walk (even though it’s dark outside and still freezing)? Shouldn’t we have one more treat before bedtime? Aren’t we going to bed yet? Once we are tucked in for the night, we all sleep peacefully until…wait, we forgot to go potty when we went out because we had to bark instead. Good grief, it’s enough to drive any dog owner to distraction!

Yes, my dogs are spoiled. I’ll be the first to admit it, but sometimes trying to figure out just what it is they really want is a challenge. Maybe they don’t even know but somewhere in their doggy minds they are trying to answer that call of the wild from ancient ancestors. Maybe it whispers in their ears that they really should be out chasing after prey and howling at the moon instead of taking it easy on the couch. Maybe it confuses them as much as it does us. I often wish my dogs could talk and tell me what it is they want; except then, I’m sure, they’d never stop talking.

While I’m on the subject of January and freezing temperatures, just a reminder to watch for those antifreeze spills that can sometimes happen in the garage or driveway or roadways this time of year. Anti freeze containing ethylene glycol is highly toxic to pets and wildlife and only a tiny amount can cause poisoning and death if consumed. There is a new “greener” anti freeze (containing propylene glycol) that is less toxic and does not have the sweet taste that draws animals to it. Newer vehicles may use it, but most of our older ones will still have the ethylene kind, unless we’ve had it replaced. To be on the safe side, always clean up any spills immediately and keep pets away from puddles in the road. It’s a good idea to wipe off their paws after walking along areas of traffic or sidewalks. There is also a paw-safe ice melting product for sidewalks that will not irritate as the common road salt does.

Here are a few New Year resolutions to make us all better pet owners.

1) Brush your dogs’ teeth. It’s one good way to keep them healthy. I’ll confess, we don’t do this as often as we should but we’re working on it. Dental chews are also helpful in keeping your dog’s teeth clean.

2) Use heartworm preventative year round.

3) Use a leash whenever out of the house or fenced yard. It can prevent many a tragedy from happening.

4) Clean up after your dog!

5) Spay/neuter, the best way to prevent pet overpopulation and the plight of homeless animals.

A Dog’s Thanksgiving

November 19, 2012

By Zeke Kubash

            I know I’m just a dog and most people don’t believe I think about these things, but if I could talk here is what I would tell you. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for a lot of things, but mostly I’m thankful that:

1) I have a nice home with people who love me and who put up with my doggy shenanigans.

 2) I have food every day and a warm place to sleep.

 3) I’m not in a shelter because (a) my people got sick or died or became unemployed and couldn’t care for me anymore, (b) they moved and couldn’t take me with them, (c) they got tired of me and the care I require, (d) I became old and inconvenient, (e) a new baby came into the home, (f) our home was swept away in some natural disaster and we have no place to live.

4) I have a fenced in backyard to play in to my heart’s content.

 5) I go for a walk everyday (well, almost every day).

6) I have the veterinary care that keeps me healthy.

7) I’ll get a little turkey in my dish on Thanksgiving (but not the bones!).

8) I have a sister FooFoo. (Hmm, not really too sure about that.)

9) I get to go for car rides.

10) I can bark at the world going by my window.

11) I can chase the squirrels away from the bird feeders.

12) I can sit by dad in his recliner at night and know I’m wanted.

I guess you can see that Zeke’s list is really about the simple joys that dogs (and yes, even cats) find in life, but many animals aren’t able to enjoy them. So at this holiday season, please remember those pets whose lives have been disrupted and who are in need of new homes and families to love them. A big thank you to all those who work so tirelessly to help homeless animals, and a special thanks to the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, PetSmart charities, and all rescue groups who are continuing to help the animals impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Many pets were separated from their families during this disaster and without the help of these national organizations might not be able to reunite with them. I’m sure for all of them, people and pets alike, they are most thankful for just being together again.

May we all be thankful for the the simple things that are really important in life.

Dogs Being Dogs

September 17, 2012

      There comes a time in every pet owner’s life when they seriously wonder why they ever thought it was a good idea to live with an animal. I recently had such a moment with Zeke. (Well, I have to confess, I’ve had many such moments in the last ten years with Zeke.) This one followed a night where I knew some critter had found its way over the six foot fence and into the backyard. I saw it moving around underneath the birdfeeders and so had to take Zeke out on his leash so there wouldn’t be any late night fights with creatures unknown. That worked okay (we’ve done it before). The mistake came the next morning when I ignored the little voice that said “don’t let him out into the yard alone.” After all, it was daylight, the critter was gone and I didn’t see a reason for concern. A word of advice, don’t ever ignore the little voice that tells you something is a bad idea. When I let Zeke in a short time later, he was as excited as a little boy who’d been playing in the mud. But in this case, I don’t think it was mud. Obviously, our nighttime visitor had left behind a nice surprise, and Zeke, in his doggy mind, figured it would be nice to roll in it. Bad idea on his part. I marched him right back out the door and made him wait on the porch till I had the bathtub, a gazillion towels, and plastic gloves for myself ready for the odious task of giving him a bath. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy. When Zeke discovered what was in store for him so early in the morning, he wasn’t a happy camper either. I took the fun right out of his delight in rolling in something, and it sure wasn’t an enjoyable way to start out my Monday morning, especially when I needed to get ready for work. It was truly one of those moments when you wonder if being a pet-owner is all it’s cracked up to be.

            But all is well that ends well. Zeke was nice and clean and fluffy and smelled good again, and I went to work. As I said, it isn’t the first time this has happened and Zeke certainly isn’t my first dog that has needed a sudden bath. It’s just one of those things that dogs do that annoys the heck out of us humans and the dogs don’t have a clue why. Hey mom, what’s the big deal? I smell good! I know that’s what they’d say if they could talk, because they are after all dogs and what we find unpleasant (or should I just say rank) is perfume to their noses! Even the littlest dog will fall prey to this habit and the best way to avoid it is….well, I’m not sure there is a way. If you own a dog, sooner or later you will find yourself dealing with this sort of nonsense, and the only thing you can do is be prepared with plenty of dog shampoo and old towels and patience. Mix in with that a lot of forgiveness for a dog being a dog.

            For sure, though, the backyard light will stay on at night to perhaps discourage those wild critters from climbing over the fence.