Translation for your convience

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Where were they?

Yesterday, Saturday, February 1st, I attended a fostering class at Miami Dade Animal Services located in Medley (Miami), Florida. I arrived early so I walked with potential volunteers and took a tour of the facility. The last time I was there, there were quite a few more small dogs. Good to see the place with empty cages, but the medium and large cages were as full as in the past. The volunteers were shown the ropes, so to speak, and asked to fill out the application and come back. They are the ones between an animal locked in a cage morning to night and a chance to spend time outside in one of the several play areas or a walk in the grass.
I enjoyed the tour and still made it to the foster class early. The saddest part of the class was the fact I was the only one. Me, mom of four rescued dogs (two adopted) and two rescued cats. Where were the other caring people? No wonder rescue groups can’t find foster homes to help remove animals from the shelter or off the street.
After the class, we looked at three litters of puppies. One litter had ringworm, one litter just needed to be out, and the third litter is breed specific–pitbulls and have to be removed from Miami-Dade County. They’ve been at the shelter since 1/25 and there’s concern if no-one steps up to take them, they’ll be euthanized. They also had a dog waiting for transport. He was recently neutered and needed chill and social time until the transport was ready to leave. I couldn’t take them all and the litter with ringworm couldn’t be sent home with the ringworm free litter.
I took Bobby, Missy and Ricky. They have a mild case of ringworm. They will stay with us until the ringworm is gone. Then they’ll be altered and put up for adoption.
Why is it important to get these pups out? The pitbulls can not be adopted in Miami-Dade County, so they’ll just get old there if no-one from an adjacent county takes them. So the euthanization route will be taken. (They could revoke the breed specific legislation, but that’s the best choice and therefore not done).
I’ve already explained about the ringworm. That has to be cured before they can be adopted.
And the most important reason to get animals out is to prevent them getting sick. Last summer the shelter had to be closed and all animals euthanized due to an outbreak of distemper they couldn’t control. The longer a dog, let alone a puppy, stays in the shelter, the more likely they’ll get an upper respiratory infection (URI). Puppies are susceptible to distemper, parvo and the URI.
The healthy litter needs to be removed until they are old enough to adopt out. The state of Florida requires puppies and kittens to be 8 weeks old or older for adopting. Getting them into homes gives them the socialization they need and keeps them away from possible cross-contamination at the shelter.
I don’t know if there were any cats or kittens, but they do come up every now and then.
So where were the needed fosters? I don’t know. Maybe they’ll be in next week or the week after. The need won’t stop until people stop breeding, just to see a litter born, or dumping animals in the streets that breed every time the female comes into heat until she dies.
Fostering for the shelter, at least the one in Medley, doesn’t have to involve a lot of time. Say yes or no when they need a foster. Yes when they have neonates, litters that need bottle feeding, and you have the time to raise them to adoptable age. Or, yes to a week or two until they’re old enough for adoption and anything in between.
In Medley, as stated above, sometimes a dog needs socialization and a place to chill until the scheduled transport is ready to go. These dogs have a commitment at the other end, they just need to be reminded they’re loved. You do that and, the best benefit, you remove them from possible severe depression and possible sickness.
Check out your area shelter and see what you can do. Lost animals need to find their homes or another because their owners can’t be found. Adopting and fostering helps especially over loaded shelters get animals out of cages and into homes and reduces their need to kill innocent pets. Sometimes the Medley shelter is so full, owner surrenders–pets released to the shelter by their owner, are killed within a short period of time. The shelter holds found dogs for five days and then they run the risk of being killed when the shelter is crowded. (this is usually when the number of pets reaches 300 – 325 for the Medley location)
This is not a government problem, this is a problem of education, providing low cost spay/neuter services and easy access to veterinary services near home.
We have a city close to us that doesn’t have a veterinarian. Low cost services are miles from needy areas and rescue organizations are overwhelmed with abused, neglected and abandoned animals. It’s so far to Medley, some choose to dump their unwanted pets onto the streets where they suffer until death.
Stress, lack of proper food and fear of humans often leads dumped animals to end up like this one. Contrary to popular belief animals released onto the streets of Florida can not survive. This one is only steps away from death:
Do what you can for animals in your area. Volunteer, foster, adopt and/or provide financial assistance. Support an individual animal or sign up for regular donations to a local organization. If everyone following a rescue group gives at least one dollar a month, the organization could spend more time rescuing and less time fundraising.
Thank you for reading and getting this far. Since I was a child, our family and now my family, have rescued and adopted. Our present animal’s stories can be found here: Small packages Big Love
Give your little ones, or big ones, a hug and support your local community in whatever endeavor is important to you.

Happy helping and improving your community.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I should have known better...

The first meeting of the month, The Lamplighter's Writing Group reads a prompt rather than from their portfolio. Sometimes the prompt is done during the meeting, sometimes the prompt is given the week before.
December's prompt was 'I should have known better....'
I didn't feel like bearing my soul, although many did. A children's book, "The King, the Mice and the Cheese" by Nancy and Eric Gurney came to mind. I decided to have fun and present the prompt using the pictures from this book. For your pleasure, I drew pictures, now you know why I hired an illustrator for my picture book, "Ten Little Gator Eggs."
Anyway, here's my answer to the prompt:
I Should Have Known Better

Hopefully you enjoyed my take on this prompt. I never know where a prompt is going to go. This was fun and sure met my desire to write a fun piece that didn't require me to bear my soul.
November 2013, my picture book was published. You can find it here: "Ten Little Gator Eggs". If you'd like to download it to your device, it's available in the following formats, epub, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt, here: "Ten Little Gator Eggs". To download free, use this code--DB44J--before it expires January 30, 2014.

Happy writing, even prompts.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Joys Found in Small Packages

Lucky, my first rescue dog, was a Norwegian Elkhound and the size of my dogs continued to grow from here, except for a couple of small ones.  This picture and many others that follow are from the American Kennel Club website.

He was my wheel dog for my dog sled. It was a small sled hand built by an Alaskan Eskimo. It was stolen when I lived in Virginia. I had a lot of fun traveling through the Alaskan wilderness behind our home in Anchorage, Alaska during my teenage years.

He lived to a ripe old age of 14 years.

 Freedom, my next rescue, looked like a Gordon Setter, but was an Irish Setter/Black Labrador cross.

She was a loving, attentive, obedient dog. I took her everywhere I could. 

She died after a surgery to remove a painful tumor. She was 12 years old.

While attending Northern Virginia Community College, NOVA, in their Veterinary Technician program, our veterinarian was asked to end a brother/sister breeding. He decided we’d do well to participate and give the puppies life. 

I followed procedures and was able to help a female Great Pyrenees puppy breathe her first breaths.   I named her Nanook and later adopted her brother from a fellow student. His name was Kazon.  They were a lot of fun and I loved running my hands through their thick coat. They lived to be about nine years old.

While working at a pet shop we, my husband and I, purchased a male and female Schipperke. Misty and Buddy was an interesting pair. They were loads of fun taking for walks and watching their antics when we raised neonate kittens. They loved helping us keep them clean and exercised. They lived to be about 12 years old.

Our next adoption was a merle Great Dane. She was named Millie, but since I had a friend named Millie, my husband changed her name to Daisy. She developed a brain tumor and attacked our 1 ½ year old baby; she ran across the floor and attacked her from behind. I was glad for that since it didn’t instill a fear of dogs.
The emergency clinic and the veterinarian deemed her attack not vicious and she was put on medications.  When we moved from our apartment, it was very large, to our home, it was decided she’d do fine without the medications, so we stopped. She attacked our 5 year old son about eight months after stopping the meds. It was difficult to convince the veterinarian to euthanize her, but they did as we asked. We were on our way to the airport to pick up an exchange student from Germany and I didn’t want her attacking any more family members or the student. Thankfully clothing protected our son and he was not injured.

About a month later we adopted two merle puppies. They were about three months old. We named the female, Sally, and the male, Toby. Sally was the matriarch and kept Toby and Jake in line. 

Jake is an English Shepherd owned by our oldest daughter. We adopted him from Tampa after he was found in a parking lot with burnt pads and was heartworm positive. He’s about 14 years old. 

Sally lived until she was 10. She died of cancer. She was severely dysplastic, but did very well as her muscles did a really good job of being the sockets she didn’t have.

Toby lived until he was a couple weeks away from being 12 years old. He and his sister’s birthday was Mother’s Day. He was one of the best dogs we’ve had the pleasure to share our lives with.

I was extremely concerned they’d die early. Their mother died when they were six months old and I feared they’d die early too. I’m so thankful for their long lives with us.

My husband and I were so upset by their deaths; we didn’t consider another dog for a few short months. Jake was our only canine companion and he doesn’t like my husband. 

 Near the end of the danes lives, we rescued a black long-haired cat, Kikyo,
and a white short-haired cat, Horchata. Due to allergies of several family members, we haven’t adopted, nor rescued any others, but we still help with neonates when we can.

August 2010 we adopted Meiko from ‘This is the Dog!’ He’s a blue, long-haired Chihuahua and this is his story.

"I need another dog," I told my husband, Thom.

"I'm not ready," he responded.

Toby, our 125 lb merle Great Dane, died about 6 months earlier. I still missed him, but I was ready for another dog. Until his death, I hadn't been without a dog in 32 years and I was feeling the hole he left.

Our last 3 dogs had been rescued Danes and I decided I needed a smaller dog. Trying to help Toby get around, toward the end, was as taxing on me as it was on him. I decided to adopt a dog in the 15-20 lb range.

I chose This is the Dog! because I was familiar with many of their foster parents and volunteers and they had a dog that caught my interest. I sent them an email and on August 3rd and attended their adoption day at PETCO. There were many adoptable dogs available, but I couldn't find the one I'd been watching on facebook.

When I saw Meeko (now Meiko), a 3 year old blue and white long-haired Chihuahua, I knew I'd found my next dog. I had my picture taken with him and sent it to my husband and went to the This is the Dog!'s representative and asked for an appointment to meet him in his foster home. (He was too skittish and didn't show well in all the confusion at the shop)

My husband’s remark at seeing the picture was as expected. "No, I don't want a Chihuahua."

My response was expected as well. "This is my dog and we'll get you your poodle when you're ready."

Meiko had been locked in a crate and hidden among bushes on the side of the road. They couldn’t find him in the dark despite his crying pleas. A thorough search was conducted when his crying was heard again the next day in the same area. He went at least one night without food and water. 

His neck and upper body was covered with scabs and his hair was matted about his neck. Fearful and unsure, he met us barking as we entered his foster home. He remained in my husband’s arms, his long neck stretched as far away as possible and he looked as if he'd leap if he dared.

My husband continued to hold him as we discussed his temperament with his foster mom. We wanted to know if he'd fit in with “Jake,” and the two cats. It was decided he'd meet the rest of the family, in our home, later in the week.

My husband handed me Meiko and said, "Never mind the poodle. This is the dog I want."

It was difficult to wait for Meiko to meet the rest of the clan. “Horchata” met us at the door. We set Meiko down, they sniffed and Horchata, bored, walked away. I hadn't realized how small Meiko was until he stood next to Horchata. Horchata towered over him. Later we discovered he's 3 times Meiko's weight.

Meiko then walked over to Jake sleeping in his usual place under the dinner table. Jake looked up, sniffed Meiko, sighed and went back to his nap.

Kikyo refused to leave the high ground and stared at him with her large gold eyes glowing against her black coat. Meiko acknowledged her existence with a sniff and continued to explore.

Saturday, August 18th, Meiko joined our family and, in less than 8 hours, broke the number one rule of our home--no one, human or animal, sleeps with Daddy and Mommy. (He's been there ever since)

About two months after adopting Meiko, we rescued a brown and white, short-haired Chihuahua,  Bruiser. He had been hit by a car. After several months trying to locate his family, we decided he was ours and he was officially adopted into our family.

Bruiser is as loyal as any dog can be. It’s easy for the family to find me when doors are closed. He and Lady are usually sitting outside waiting for me to re-enter. He’s spends as much time with me as he can. When I’m writing, he’s in my lap or sitting next to me.


A month later we adopted a white senior miniature poodle, Lady. She was an owner surrender at the Miami-Dade Animal Services. She was 15 years old and I feared she’d be euthanized due to her age. The veterinarian tried to discourage me from adopting her, but I refused to follow his advice.

She loves to chase her tennis ball, play with the Chihuahuas and her humans. She loves chewing on rawhide and sleeping, yes, with mommy and daddy. 

She’s been a great addition and, as my husband says, we’re thankful for every day she remains alive.

Happy writing and playing with your little one.