September 3rd 2014

Help find Pepper

Hi everyone, this week’s blog is not so much a story as a cry for help. My husband’s friend Ira and his wife Jill recently lost their little dog Pepper. They have done everything they can think of to locate her including Facebook, Craigslist and hanging posters with the offer of a reward.  They even hired a tracker and just last night they asked me if I knew of a pet communicator.  I suggested they write up a blog for my site as it is viewed by so many people who are involved in rescue. As we all know it is not uncommon for dogs to be picked up in one county and surrendered at a shelter in another. If anyone has any information on Pepper please contact Jill directly at the email address listed at the end of the blog. Thank you all so very much for your help. Jill and Ira are wonderful dog parents and just want to see their puppy home and safe. They are keeping a positive attitude and will continue their search indefinitely. 

Peppers Story 

On 7/25 our little Pepper was helping us clean out the garage around 5:30pm at our house on Thornton. I heard a commotion with my hens, I went to go look, and there was a yellow dog on our property that had come out of the woods to catch a chicken dinner.  I made scary sounds and got it to take off back in to the forest. Pepper, who was now with my husband heard me, and shot out of the garage and blew past me after the dog into the forest. 

Me and my husband were instantly running through trees and bramble calling for her. We never heard a single bark or whimper. We searched until 1am, and for hours everyday after. We posted signs, handed out cards with our number and her photo, we searched and called...the whole time not sure if she was even alive. 

Then ten days later, about two miles south of our house two people saw Pepper on the road trying to get into their car...neither person knew she was a lost dog, and didn't notice the signs we posted for a week before they called.

We hired a professional tracker, his dogs followed her scent all the way to Neptune beach, where he informed us that she had been picked up by someone and was a stolen dog. We spend everyday looking for her, and receiving calls of possible sightings and driving around everywhere looking for her....and still no Pepper. We both love her dearly, and not a day went by, when we didn't know how lucky we were to be her humans.

Jill

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Peppers Details

Name: Pepper

Breed: Yorkie looking mutt  ( white, grey, black soft coat)

Weight: 6lbs

Age:     5

Sex: Spayed female

No microchip :(

 

Lost:  7/25 from the west end of Thornton rd

Last seen:  8/4 on the corner of Elder & Mountain View

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Contact information 

If you have any information please contact Jill at the below email. 

  jill.feenstra@gmail.com

Comments

Posted by Yvonne on
Ira and Jill, you are in our thoughts, we know how much Pepper means to you and we pray for her safe return.
Posted by Judith Swanson on
Hi Jill,
So very sorry about your sweet Pup. Could you please send this to me in email form so I can post on Facebook? So many animal lovers are on there & can help maybe to bring Pepper home. Also since Thornton means nothing to me can you be precise about where you live (don't need number just street & city) and also precise location from which she ran. (Cross streets are good as long as you name the town.)
I got this from Yvonne Harper in case you are wondering.

Will pray that this little sweetheart if returned to you soon!

Judith
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Bramble_C.jpgBramble_D.jpgApril 29th 2014

Bramble's Back! by Yvonne Harper

Hi everyone, just wanted to share a quick update on our wee Bramble. She has had many firsts since I last blogged about her. Here are a few of them.

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Our wee Bramble lost her first tooth in February and I actually found it! Here it is beside a grain of rice, sooooo tiny. She had 4 double teeth. She lost 3 of them and we are hoping her body manages to push the last remaining baby double tooth out naturally.

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Bramble also took her first of many trips to the beach and she loves it. This really makes us happy as the beach was one of Kizmit’s favorite spots. It means so much to us to be able to share this special place with her too. She is so brave, this photo was her first time at the beach and she is fearlessly exploring the great Pacific Ocean. She is so awesome!

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She also went out in her first snowstorm. She bounced around like a bunny for a while but we could see she was very cold so we took her back inside.

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She sat at the window in wonder watching the flakes fall from the sky. She must think what a big strange ever-changing world she lives in.

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Bramble is definitely a sun worshiper! This being her first spring she bathes in any little ray of sunshine that comes through the window, she loves it.

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She has also come to some of her own conclusions as she is growing into herself. For example, Bramble can’t figure out why you would only play with one toy when you can play with them all at once.

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She also loves chews and she will sit and chew, chew, chew whenever she gets the chance. In saying that, she doesn’t always chew on what she is suppose to, nothing is out of bounds, our shoes, her bed, my PJ’s. If you leave it within her reach chances are she will run off with it.

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After all her playing and running around Bramble likes to settle in for a nap. We can tell when she is sleepy because her ears fall. Just when we thought she couldn’t get any cuter we discovered what we call “Tired Bramble”. Seriously, how cute is she?!

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Well that is it for now, I will write again soon and let you know what else she has been up to. Life is definately eventful with Bramble in it, she is a constant source of joy and we love her so very much. Thanks again for all of your support!

Many hugs,

Yvonne.

 

Comments

Posted by Judith Swanson on
Bramble is a little doll! I would love to get her & our Terrier Coco together & see what trouble they can get into. Coco when happy will take all of her toys out of the basket & spread them through-out the house. (It's kind of like picking up after a 2 yr. old. But it's wonderful to see them so happy!)
We are so happy for you & Jason that you are able to share all the love you had for Kizmit with another little dog that needed you.
Blessings!
Posted by Jodi Morton on
I LOVE all the pics of Bramble. She is seriously adorable. Please keep updating about her, I love reading about her. Sophie took her first trip to the beach last weekend, but she was afraid of the water so would not get close to it. We will try again when it is warmer.
Posted by lena on
I have a little pile of puppy teeth in my jewelry box. Thanks for the cute update on your little one!
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March 25th 2014

Welcome Lena, our sixth guest blogger!

Hi everyone, I would like to welcome back Lena! Lena was our first guest blogger and she is back with another wonderful, inspirational and educational post. Lena is very passionate about the Pit Bull breed and here she shares with us some information on Breed Specific Legislation. I thought this would be an appropriate blog to follow Frankie's plea for a home. For those of you wondering if Frankie found a home or not I will provide an update as soon as I hear from the rescue, I know we all have our fingers and toes crossed for him. Hope you enjoy this blog.

Breed Specific Legislation by Lena

On May 3, 2014 in Washington, DC there will be the first ever One Million PIBBLE March.  This date is significant for many reasons.  For those of you that don’t know, “pibble” is an affectionate term for pit bull.  Pit bulls are also the most abused, neglected, and persecuted dogs in the United States, and this term is used to show the wonderful traits that they have: loyalty, gentleness, intelligence.  For me, this march signifies that the tides are finally turning for America’s nanny dog.

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Rebecca Corry, comedian and founder of ‘Stand Up For Pits’, came up with the idea for this march to help bring awareness and end Breed Specific Legislation.  Her pibble Angel is her inspiration, a rescue that was found as a breeder and bait dog, with her ears cut off and acid burns on her back.  Angel’s story prompted Rebecca to do something for the breed; she wanted to change the negative image of pits and bring awareness and education for the abuse and hate that often plagues this wonderful breed.

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Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is a hot topic throughout the country.  BSL is exactly what it sounds like, legislation passed based solely on the breed (aka appearance) rather than behavior of a dog.  In cities that have enacted BSL, a list of breeds are banned or restricted.  If the city has an all out BSL ban and a dog that looks like a breed on the list is in the city limits, the dog can be taken by Animal Control and is often times euthanized.  There are many reasons why BSL doesn’t work, and thankfully many cities are revoking their current bans/restrictions.  BSL has not only been proven to not improve public safety or decrease dog bites (reasons why people often push to inact BSL in the first place), it is also extremely subjective.  DNA tests prove that visual identification of a dog’s breed is usually wrong.  Because of this, there are currently lawsuits happening as dogs that were proven not to be a breed targeted by BSL were euthanized, and their families are sueing the cities that killed their dogs.

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Luckily, awareness and education are causing a change for the better.  Many cities and states are revoking their current breed specific laws and others are enacting laws that prohibit BSL from even being passed.  As perceptions are getting more positive, pit bull adoptions across the country are increasing.  Last year, this topic even made it to the White House.  In August 2013, the White House issued a  response to an online petition which garnered more than 30,000k signatures asking for laws that target dogs by breed be outlawed at a federal level.   The White House issued a statement which began with “Breed-Specific Legislation is a Bad Idea”.  This statement was a cause to celebrate after a long time battle and hopefully will cause more communities (and military bases) to overturn existing BSL.

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This year, on May 3rd I’ll proudly wear my One Million PIBBLE March tshirt and post online about advocating pibble awareness and being a voice for the voiceless.  There is no room in this world for hate and discrimation, and it is our duty to stand up for those that cannot stand up for themselves.   Thank you.

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For more information on Stand Up for Pits and the One Million PIBBLE March: http://standupforpits.us/

A great resource for BSL education: http://stopbsl.org/

Official The White House Response: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/breed-specific-legislation-bad-idea

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 By Lena.

Comments

Posted by Yvonne on
Lena, thanks so very much for sharing this wonderful and informative blog with us. Hopefully it will help open some minds and hearts to this breed.
Posted by Jules on
Yvonne - it's nearly midnight and I'm exhausted. But I needed a pick me up. Thank you for your bloggers who remind me that there are good humans out there. And thank you to lena.
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February 27th 2014

Frankie Needs A Home 

Hi everyone, I know I usually only send out blogs on a Tuesday but after contacting a friend I decided this blog needed to be posted ASAP. I had emailed Lena, a good friend of mine and my first guest blogger, to see if she would like to blog again as there are at least 2 more subjects I want her to write about. We got to chatting (writing) and I mentioned I would like to begin featuring a dog or cat that may need a little extra help finding its forever home. Lena told me someone had just contacted her about a dog that is having a challenging time.

Anyone who has read my Blind Faith books knows they are about special need rescue animals and the people who adopt them. For me there are many rewards to writing these books, one of which is witnessing these very special animals in their forever homes. However I do know that there are many animals out there still waiting in shelters and rescues for that person who is willing to overlook their special need and just see the special companion that sits before them. Frankie is one of those still waiting. I have never met Frankie but the women who wrote the blog below has, her name is also Yvonne and her rescue is Lady's Hope Dog Rescue. She has included some videos and photos of Frankie at the shelter and at her home on a home visit. If you think you can help or know of someone who may be able to help please share this blog with them. Thank you! 


Hi everyone, I’m Frankie!

I'm a special, smiling boy. Will you watch my video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRHK397eyOI ? Did you see how beautiful and happy I am? Yeah, that’s ME!

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I’m 5 years old, I love toys and tennis balls, I ride great in the car, take treats softly - I will even sit for them, and, I am sight impaired. Being sight impaired really doesn’t slow me down, you can tell that from my video. I can see shadows and movement, I map my environment and navigate it well! I’m a joyful and sweet little man, I’ll climb right up in your lap and give you kisses!

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I’ve been trained to walk on a leash using a halti and it works great! I’ve also mapped my play yard and have learned where I can run around and play!
I love to be with my people, and roll around on my back for tummy rubs! Remember in my video how I sit for treats? Yeah, I’m a talented boy! Check out that video again, and I know you’ll fall in love with me. And, here’s another video of me during a house visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mONpvBvEO6o

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If you want a super sweet, joyful, wiggly boy - pick me! I promise I will love you forever. And I will show you that, even though I don't see well, I’m as wonderful as any perfectly sighted dog could ever be! Maybe even more special because of how well I adapt!

With love (and some kisses!),
Frankie
 
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Here’s a quick recap of this handsome, goofy, sweet superstar:
 
·         He and his owner were homeless, his owner was taken away and he went to a shelter.
·         His sight loss is NOT a result of abuse.  Even though he cannot see well, he maps and navigates his environment very well. He plays with his ball, and can even follow it when it rolls away.
·         He has been in the shelter for several months, and still has a wonderful disposition which is a testament to his stellar personality.
·         He thinks he's a lap dog and will give you kisses!
·         He LOVES to run in the play yard!
·         He settles right down when he's in the house.
·         He loves treats and plops down into a perfect sit when he hears the treat bag.
·         He prefers to be the only dog in the home, no kitties, no small children as they may not understand his sight impairment.
·         His shelter is being remodeled and he needs to be moved when the work begins, currently slated for mid-March.

·         He is totally, absolutely, fantastically, handsome!

Please contact Lady’s Hope for more information on how you can help Frankie at info@ladys-hope.org

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Comments

Posted by Yvonne on
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share Frankies story with my readers. He looks like such a wonderful boy and I hope this helps him find his forever home. Please keep me updated!
Posted by lena on
Thank you so much for this special blog promoting Frankie! It is wonderful to use your blog as a tool to get this handsome boy more exposure. Thank you!!
Posted by Jen on
I have personally met Frankie and can attest to his sweet nature and fantastic energy! If my own dog wasn't an aggressive brat, Frankie would have been on my couch ages ago! I would strongly encourage anyone looking for a fun loving companion to go meet this adorable boy. He'd make a great sidekick for hiking adventures and Netflix marathons alike!
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February 18th 2014

Welcome Angela, our Fifth Guest Blogger!

Hi everyone, I would like to introduce Angela, this weeks guest blogger. Angela is blogging all the way from Hong Kong, were she was born and still resides. I met Angela a few years ago when she wrote to me via my website. The reason she wanted to say hi was because she had also adopted a blind dog. She emailed me some photos of him and when I opened them I could not believe my eyes. Her dog Grover could be Kizmits twin!! Seriously, they look so alike. Angela has kept in touch over the years with a note here and there and when I told her Kiz had passed she sent me lots of photos of Grover, her wee eyeless Peke to help cheer me up. She truly is a dog lover and has told me she just can’t imagine her life without one in it. Angela is also a patient dog mum, Grover sounds a bit like Kiz, complicated to say the least. When I told Angela about the blog she couldn’t wait to share Grover’s story. I hope you all enjoy it!


My Life with Grover, by Angela

I first met with Grover back in September 2005 when I volunteered for Hong Kong Dog Rescue, a non-profit dog rescue organization in Hong Kong.  I was helping at an adoption event and Grover was one of the candidates.  At the time, Grover was only 2 years old, and he was a healthy dog with full vision.  He was very handsome and I was the one who introduced him to a couple.  At the end of the event, the couple signed the adoption papers and agreed to pick him up in a week’s time. I was so happy for Grover.

One week later, I emailed to Sally (the person in charge of Hong Kong Dog Rescue) and asked her if Grover had already been picked up.  She said no and Grover was in a hospital.  Both eyes had developed severe ulcer and one eye had to be removed completely.  The other eye was also serious and the vet needed to put eye drops 8 times a day.  It was heart breaking.  The couple who agreed to adopt him finally decided not to pick him up.

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A few days later, Sally called me and said Grover’s remaining eye needed to be removed as it burst overnight.  Hence, he would become totally blind with no eyes.  The vet suggested to put him to sleep as it would be very difficult to find an adopter to adopt a blind dog.  In addition, since his blindness, he became aggressive and would bite. 

I told Sally that I would bring Grover home.  The surgery went well and Grover’s two eyes were removed.  He then needed to stay in the vet clinic for 2 weeks due to the surgery.  I visited him every day after work and helped to walk him and helped him to adjust to his blindness.  He was a very clever dog and adjusted very quickly to his new life.

Two weeks later, I took Grover home.  I must say he is a very clever dog.  Within 1 hour in our home he knew where the toilet is, where the water bowel is, and the location of his bed.  He recognized my voice too and also he got on well with his brother Snoop, our other adopted Shih Tzu. 

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That said, Grover can be aggressive due to his blindness.  He has bitten all our household members – myself, my husband, my dad, my mum, our helper and some of our guests.  But that's alright, we don’t care.  He is our lovely darling and we totally understand the reason why he bites.  Although he cant see, he is walked 3 times a day, and he enjoys going to country parks, to the beach and to the bush.  He also knows how to swim with a life jacket.  His favorite place is our kitchen, and at night time he loves to sleep with his bone!!!!  Because of his size (7kg) and he is a very quiet dog, I can carry him everywhere, to shopping centres, to coffee houses, to restaurants etc.  He also likes to bark to the big dogs, I believe that because he can’t see he does not know how huge these big dogs are!!!!

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Although Grover looks very cute and he does not look like lions for nothing, and I have learned over the years that he is stubborn, grumpy, independent and fearless. His home is, as far as he is concerned, his kingdom and he is the ruler. The flip side of that is that he is funny, affectionate, has great characters.  He does not tolerate fools, and I have grown to love him so much for all these reasons.

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Grover is turning 11 years old in the coming March 2014.  Our whole family love him so much and I wish him a happy dog as always.

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Angela

Comments

Posted by Yvonne on
Angela, thank you so much for sharing your story with us! As you know I have a special place in my heart for your wee Grover because he looks and acts so much like my wee Kizmit. I wanted to say thank you for adopting him when no one else would but I would also like to say an extra BIG thank you for giving him such a normal, full and fun life. One of the many things I strive to show through my Blind Faith books is that special need dogs can live normal lives and you have helped illustrate that through your blog. Every time I see Grovers huge smile I think of Kizmit, it is just so crazy how much they look alike. Thanks again Angela and please keep the photos coming, they always make me smile! Big hugs to you and Grover.
Posted by Glenn on
What a lovely story! He is a cute rascal.
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February 4th 2014

Hi I’m Bramble! by Yvonne Harper

If you had told me on December 17th we would have a new puppy in the house by Christmas I would have said you were bonkers! But here she is, Miss Bramble! I had been looking at her photo on a rescue site (k-9 rescue & rehab) for about 6 weeks. Being a cute wee puppy I just figured she would get a home and every time I clicked on her profile I expected it to say no longer available. I had shown Jason her photo several times and he kept saying how cute she was and we should go meet her. I decided one day to contact her foster mum and within 48hours we had an appointment set up to see her.

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It all happened so fast. One minute I was giving the rescue references and the next thing I knew we were driving home with a new dog in the car. So let me tell you a bit about our new girl. We adopted her officially on December 21st 2013. She was born in rescue and spent the first 4 months of her life there. Her sister and mother both got adopted but no one showed any interest in her.

My only guess as to why she wasn't snapped up is she is a wee bit odd looking, at least that is what everyone who meets her seems to think. Even my vet said she has never seen anything like her. She kind of looks like a wee wild dog, a Coyote mixed with Hyena with a bit of Dingo. Sometimes her profile looks like an Irish Wolfhound that has been shrunk down. Other times she looks like she is part squirrel or fox, to us, when we look at her, all we see are the little eyes of an adorable dog starring back at us. 

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What we do know about her is her mum was a Chihuahua/min pin mix, we are guessing her dad was some sort of Terrier mix. She has an amazing coat, she is Brindle in colour and although her hair looks coarse it’s actually very soft and she does not shed. She is 5 months old and weights under 4 lbs.

We took her to our vet for a barrage of tests and she is healthy. She is the first dog we have adopted in 14 years that is not special needs, she is our first puppy, and our first dog with eyes. This was not a choice we made deliberately, actually normally I would not consider bringing a dog home who was not disabled in some way or another, but for some reason we were drawn to her. She is what we need and she needs us.

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We decided on the name Bramble because it is the word we use in Scotland for a prickly wild berry, it just seemed to fit her. Her personality is insane, she is by far the happiest little thing I have ever met. Everything is a fun game, she is friendly and loves everyone. Her energy level is through the roof, its like she has an on off switch, she is either running around the house with a case of the zoomies or she is snuggling on my lap fast asleep. She has brought laughter into our lives and is helping us heal from the loss of our dear Kizmit who we still miss so very much. She has managed to make our house a home again.

Now anyone who knows us well knows it will only be a matter of time until a special need dog wiggles its way into our hearts and home which brings me to one of Brambles most endearing qualities, her incredible sunshiny disposition. She is confident but gentle, and when the time comes she will make a fantastic sister to a special dog that really needs a special home.

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We love wee Bramble so much, she has quickly become the center of our universe. She is the reason it took so long for me to start the blog up again, honestly I was just enjoying her. The reason I called the blog Hi I’m Bramble is because she runs into a room with such enthusiasm it’s although she is yelling hi I’m Bramble! She is just so wonderful and we are truly blessed to have her as part of our family. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce her to you and I will blog often with updates. I also want to say thank you to Tamera at K-9 Rescue & Rehab for taking such good care of our girl until we adopted her! Thanks again to everyone for all of your support with my project! I will write again soon.

Hugs,

Yvonne

Comments

Posted by Judith Swanson on
Bramble is just what you and Jason needed to heal your hearts & share all that love you have to give. With her ears she reminds me a lot of our Terrier mix Coco (who I took in from our neighbor to make sure her 8 puppies got fed & weaned properly). Then when it was time to give her back with the puppies all getting adopted, etc. my husband said she's not going back to be tied out 24/7. I love her & want to keep her! So we now have a dog too! And Bramble sounds just as high energy as Coco. She's like a windup toy that never runs down! Only Coco isn't "wee" - she's 45 lbs. I am so happy for you and Jason to have found "your dog" & it sounds like she picked you. (They always do you know.) Thanks for letting us know about Bramble & hope to get to meet her one of these days. Hugs to you all!
Posted by elizabeth Woche on
Oh Yvonne I am so happy for you! Bramble is so beautiful and she is going to fill your life with so much love and laughter. I look forward to hearing more about her as she grows.
It is no coincidence when these beautiful souls find their way to us. I am sure that Kizmit had something to do with that. I am so happy for you and for Bramble and I know that she will inspire you to share so many wonderful stories and important information with us. God Bless Your Family!
Posted by Becky Haase on
ah-ha!! I was hoping that was why you were a little absent!!! YAY! she's SOOOOOO sweet. I can't wait to hear about your adventures with her. I truly believe these little hearts pick us just as much as we pick them, and the time was right for you and Jason. Enjoy the new crazy that is known as "life with a puppy"!!!... :) xo!
Posted by Glenn on
Oh Yvonne, little Bramble looks just perfect! Congratulations on the new addition to the family (and a new cousin for Sparkie Doodle). I hope to meet Bramble someday! Jasper and I are so happy to hear of your new adventure with this wee little bright-eyed pup. Hugs and Love all around!
Posted by Julie Walters on
Congratulations Yvonne, Jason, and Bramble :) I was thrilled to hear about your new addition right before Christmas and I love seeing these pictures of her. Those ears are absolutely adorable. Like everyone else, I'm looking forward to hearing all about the Adventures of Bramble Harper! Sending the three of you lots of love ~ Jules
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January 28th, 2014

Welcome Becky, our Fourth Guest Blogger!

Hi everyone, Happy New Year! Sorry it has taken me such a long time to get the blog up and going again but I have a good reason, which I will share hopefully in next Tuesday’s blog.  This week I would like to introduce a dear friend of mine, Becky. Becky was kind enough to share with us how she adopted her second cat, Oliver, his official name is actually Sir Oliver Pickles Hugglesbee, although he is sometimes referred to simply as O. Lots of us have been in the situation were we want to add another dog or cat to our family but are a bit apprehensive because of the changes it could bring. Most of us are creatures of habit and we become very comfortable in our daily routines and don’t know if we truly want to rock the boat. Becky felt this way but her kitty clock was ringing and she just could not resist. Becky is one of the best cat mums I have ever met and I am so pleased she took the time to share her story with us. 

 

Adopting a 2nd Kitty by Becky.

I adopted Gracie from Motley Zoo Animal Rescue in September of 2010. She was found alone on the streets at about the age of one month old. When I adopted her, she was 4 months old. Gracie required some extra love and patience in order to earn her trust but she soon learned she was in a safe place. We formed a fun routine and she quickly became my shadow following me everywhere around the apartment.

 

I had always assumed that having two kitties in the house is better than one. The assumption on my part was that they would like someone to hang out with while I was at work. However, I found that my life with Gracie was so fun I was worried about upsetting her world. I didn’t know if Gracie would “want” a brother or sister! I asked my vet his opinion on the topic and he said, “well, ask yourself this – have you liked everyone you’ve ever met?”. Clearly the implication being that it’s not an easy question to answer. He went on to explain that you just won’t know if the cats will be best buddies for life but that you can certainly do the best to set yourself up for success.

 

I contacted Motley Zoo to let them know I was looking. I “thought” I knew what I needed/wanted – a female kitten, very young, and I have a soft spot for black cats, so I also wanted that. Before I knew it, they had a cat for me… but she was a he, and he was a year and a half, not a fresh baby. Motley Zoo knew Gracie’s personality and thought that although this adoptable guy was not what I (thought) I wanted, they thought he’d be a great match for Grace. He was not aggressive, they explained that male/female is often an easier combo to make work, and he had this crazy trait. He hugged you when you held him. I met him and fell in love. He puts his big arms around your neck and just loves to be carried around that way. I knew that getting a small kitten was a gamble… you don’t know their personality yet, and Gracie may or may not get along with it. With Oliver (my new guy), we had a great chance for success. He was mellow in disposition, but also loved to play.

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When I initially brought him home I was struggling… it was hard to see Gracie upset in her own home. I knew that they had to figure it out on their own, but it was hard to witness that first week together. With some time, they felt more comfortable and started to play with one another. It took about 4 weeks for me to feel like they actually “liked” each other.

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To see them together now you would never think they were ever apart. They walk around the house bumper-car-ing… it’s my word for how they walk side-by-side bumping into each other as they try to anticipate each other’s (or my) next move… are we going to the kitchen?... the bedroom?... it’s all a crazy adventure for them.

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It’s been 3 years since adopting Gracie and about 2-1/2 years since adopting Oliver. They truly are little buddies. They chase each other (usually in the middle of the night and early morning), they wrestle (often next to me while I’m trying to sleep), they nap next to each other, and they try to both sit on my lap together. They are the cutest little buddies. We don’t know where Oliver was the first year and a half of his life and we don’t know what caused Gracie to be on her own at the young age of one month old, but with the help of my rescue people, Motley Zoo, we all found each other and it’s been so great – better than I could have wished for!

 

Becky Haase (Gracie & Oliver’s mom)

 

Posted by Yvonne on
Hi Becky, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I was thrilled when I heard you were thinking about adopting another kitty. I was especially excited when you told me you were looking for a black cat, for some reason black cats and dogs have a challenging time finding homes. You really are one of the best cat mums I know and I hope one day you will blog again and share one of your many funny stories with us! Thanks and hugs to you and the kitties!
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December 16th 2013

Welcome Rilla, Our Third Guest Blogger

I would like to introduce Rilla, my 3rd guest blogger. I met Rilla while making my second book Blind Faith Expanded. Her cat Teddy is one of the animals featured in the book and on the website. Teddy is missing an eye and has diabetes. I was thrilled to have another “Sugar Kitty” in the book to help raise awareness for this disease. Our own cat Sydney was diabetic and I remeber all too well how overwhelmed I felt when he was first diagnosed. Rilla is an advocate for home glucose testing your cat and in her blog she explains why. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!  

(The blog usually posts on a Tuesday but I am posting it a day early because of the holiday season. Please check back in January for our next guest blogger. Happy Holidays!).


 Your Cat has Diabetes, by Rilla

“Your cat has diabetes.”

If you’re like most people, hearing these words from your vet probably feels overwhelming. Cats get diabetes? Am I going to have to give him insulin injections? He’s never going to let me stick a needle in him twice a day! Isn’t that terribly cruel? Maybe it would be kinder to just put him to sleep. How much is all this going to cost?

That initial panic and confusion is one reason why many vets do not bring up the topic of home glucose testing.

Most of us who love our cats did our freaking out, then pulled ourselves together, gritted our teeth and learned to give the shots. Our cats- who trust us- adjusted. Food is a great motivator in the lives of our feline friends! Cats also like routine. It doesn’t take a cat long to notice that insulin shot time coincides with mealtime. Well, this isn’t so bad after all! One quick poke in the scruff. It’s very common for a diabetic cat to learn to jump up on the counter and wait for his insulin shot. A little diabetic-friendly treat (like a bite of chicken) and a snuggle and praise can make this into “Quality Time” for you and your cat.

Okay, so you can handle this. Now what?

Just as we are responsible for educating ourselves about our own health- and that of our children- so that we can make wise decisions, we are responsible for the care of our pets. It’s tempting to trust the guy/lady in the white coat and just do what they say- isn’t that why they went to college for ten years? Isn’t that what we’re paying them for? I don’t know anything about diabetes!

While most vets are caring and well-educated, this is YOUR cat. He trusts you to take care of him. The buck stops with you. This is too important of a responsibility to hand over to someone else.  You must be an educated, active partner in your cat’s health care.

Fortunately for us today, we don’t have to spend a month’s worth of evenings in the library poring over 6-pound science textbooks full of incomprehensible words, trying to understand diabetes. We have information at our fingertips- our computer keyboards. 

It’s still a daunting task. But it’s a daunting task that has been tackled by many pet owners before you. Guess what else that keyboard offers? Connections to those people- many of whom remember exactly what it was like in those first few weeks after diagnosis, and are more than happy to help you learn the ropes. Yes, in English- in words of two syllables or less, if you need that. I know I did.

Administration of insulin causes your cat’s too-high blood sugar level to go down- most of us understand that much at the outset. As you learn more about diabetes, one of the things you will discover is that when you give your cat food, his blood sugar goes up. If you give him a good protein-based food, it will go up some. If you give him a grain-based food of dubious quality, it goes up a lot more.

An in-depth discussion on pet food quality is not the focus of today’s article (perhaps a future one!), but ideally when you get your diagnosis, one of the things that you will do is switch your cat to a diabetes-friendly diet. You are also probably starting insulin. But what did we just learn in the preceding paragraph? With better food, your cat’s glucose levels should lower. Some cats- once their bodies adjust to the new diet- are able to regulate their glucose and eventually go off insulin altogether!

With the combination of factors affecting glucose level, it’s important to keep track of what’s happening. Too-high glucose levels make your cat sick (and- over time- damage organs and eventually cause death).  On the opposite end of the scale, a too-high insulin dosage can cause your cat to “hypo”- bring the glucose level down so low as to cause seizures, blindness, brain damage, and many other ills, including death.

We keep track of the glucose pattern by testing. Glucose testing at the vet’s office has two big drawbacks- 1)high cost, and 2)it’s at the vet’s office. Not only is it an inconvenience for you to take your cat to the vet’s for testing, your feline diabetes self-education will reveal another cause of blood sugar increase- stress. Do you think being taken to the vet’s office and having his blood drawn by strangers is stressful to your cat? (I’m pretty sure my cat would reply to that question with an eyeroll, if he could.)

The stark, scary truth- I’m gonna pitch it to you straight, now- is that if your cat’s blood sugar is low enough when you give an insulin shot, your insulin shot will kill him. Shooting insulin without hometesting glucose first is playing Russian Roulette with your cat’s life.

Maybe his blood sugar is lower than expected because his body is responding well to the new, healthier diet. Maybe his blood sugar is lower than expected because he threw up his breakfast behind the couch and you didn’t know about it. Honestly, sometimes my cat’s blood sugar is lower than expected for no earthly reason that I can discern (and I know my stuff). It’s critical to have this information before you administer that insulin. This is why we hometest.

Hometesting your cat’s glucose twice a day- before each insulin injection- will greatly lower the danger of an accidental “hypo”.  If he tests below a certain threshold, you don’t shoot insulin.

 autumnandmeter.jpg

"Look Mom! My blood glucose is too low
for me to get my insulin shot this morning! Good thing you checked!"

 

Over time, you will also be able to use this invaluable information to make decisions (ideally with your vet’s help) about increasing or decreasing insulin dosage. A “curve” is a graph of your cat’s glucose activity over the course of a certain period (often 12 hours). This test is conducted after the cat has been on a specific insulin dose for a while, and we want to see how it’s working out.

 

diabetes400.jpg

"Zow! Get a load of that! You should probably run a
curve on me this weekend and fax the results to Dr. Rogers. She might want
to raise my insulin dosage." 

 

A glucose curve is supposed to be a snapshot of a typical day in your cat’s life. Glucose curves conducted at the vet’s office- besides being rather costly- do not constitute a typical day for your cat! He’s in a cage in a strange place with scary noises and smells, being pulled out every two hours and pinned down on a table to have his blood drawn by strangers. The chances of getting an accurate curve- that is not distorted by the effects of stress (and also, likely, the cat’s less-than-enthusiastic response to mealtime) are negligible.

One last consideration for you- say you come home from work and your cat is acting a little odd. Oh my gosh!!! Is he having a “hypo”? How will we find out? Well, you can rush him to the emergency vet and pay a few hundred dollars. Or you can take your chances- maybe he just has a little bellyache- and lie sleepless all night, twitching every time your cat does. Or- you can test his glucose yourself and have confirmation in under one minute, for a little over a buck.

 

 

116diabetes.jpg

"See, I'm not having a "hypo". You can stop worrying now. I was acting weird because I am a cat. We do that."

 

I hope I have made a good case for why home glucose testing before each insulin shot- and regular home glucose curves to evaluate treatment- as well as access to a sure and instant method of determining whether or not your cat is having a diabetic emergency- are important! Now let’s look at the stumbling blocks.

“Aaack! This is way too complicated for me!”

--------------

We all felt that way at first. But you can do this. Start with some very basic information.   http://www.felinediabetes.com/ is an excellent resource. 

Get a human glucose meter, some test strips, control solution, and lancets. Read the instructions in your meter (your vet, pharmacist, diabetes educator at your local hospital, the help line listed in your meter’s instruction materials, or a volunteer from the Feline Diabetes site may be able to assist you in learning how to operate your meter.) There are also a number of nice how-to videos available on the internet. Run some controls and make sure the results are within the ranges they are supposed to be. Test yourself. Test your family members. Then try your cat!

“My vet didn’t mention hometesting.” "My vet told me that hometesting is unnecessary." Or even, “My vet discouraged me from hometesting when I brought it up.”

---------------

Unfortunately, there are still some veterinarians who are not comfortable with hometesting. Some fear that we can’t perform it competently, or that we will be changing insulin dosages willy-nilly without their guidance.

You do not need your vet’s permission to hometest. Again, this is your cat, and his health and safety is your responsibility.  The buck stops with you.

Discuss hometesting with your vet. If she or he is not on board with the idea, often you can change his or her mind when you bring in your neat list of glucose readings and the results of a 12-hour curve.

If your vet simply will not work with you in allowing you to be an active, informed partner in your pet’s care, you may need to find a new vet who is more open-minded.

“My cat will never put up with being stabbed in the ear twice a day for testing. It will hurt him. He will hate me!”

-------------------

If you have been giving insulin injections for a little while, you have already seen that this is not the case. The cats adjust. The brief discomfort of a lancet poke is easily alleviated by praise, snuggles, and perhaps a small diabetes-friendly treat. Again- most of us find that our cats learn to treat this as ho-hum routine. It is not unusual for cats to come running when they hear the rattle of the lancet box, and to purr while they are being tested.

“The supplies are expensive!”

------------------------

Yes, the test strips cost. The ones I use run about a dollar apiece, and I usually use two per day. The lancets I use are about eight bucks for a hundred. You can often get meters for free (the companies make their profit on the strips, so they want you to have their meter).  So you’re looking at about two dollars and change per normal day. You can sometimes find deals on supplies, buying in bulk or using coupons.

Long term, poor management of diabetes results in organ damage that will require additional costly vet care. If your cat has a “hypo” and winds up in the Animal ER, your bill will run well into the thousands. If he dies...... well, the cost of that cannot be calculated.

As you can see, smart money is on hometesting!

“I just can’t do it!!!! I can’t stick a lancet in my cat’s ear!!!!”

---------------------------

I felt just the same.

For many people who are having trouble starting out, I suggest that they attempt to test their cat before every shot, and make three tries. If they still can’t get a reading after three tries, then just let it go till next shot time. This way neither the pet owner nor the cat get too frustrated. Don’t forget to praise the kitty whether you get a reading or not. You are establishing a familar routine together. Make it pleasant for him.

I remember one young fellow who did this- twice a day, every single day- for WEEKS before it started to come together. Twice a day he reported his failures with much frustration and despair, while we kept up the encouragement and advice. But he persevered. Twice a day. Every day. And eventually, he started getting readings. I have so much respect for that man.

Fortunately, that was a particularly difficult case, and it is very unlikely that you will have to struggle to that extent! 

I forced myself to start testing my cat before his evening insulin shot. It was a daily trauma for both of us. I was freaking out, and he knew it- which caused him to bring the “cattitude”.  It usually ended in tears, and I successfully produced a glucose reading maybe one out of three nights. I just couldn’t deal with attempting this emotional rodeo at all in the mornings before work.

It took a blunt acquaintance to dump a much-needed pail of cold-water reality over my head. Now, this fellow has alienated a number of people with his….candor…..and his approach is not right for everyone, but what he said to me (editing out a little cussing and a lot of hyperbole) boiled down to this: “Quit your whining, get your act together and do what you need to do before you kill your cat.” 

He was right. It wasn’t fun to hear- I felt angry, defensive, frantic and despairing- but he was right and I knew it. This was my responsibility. If I didn’t get my act together and I killed my cat, I’d never forgive myself.

Here’s what I did. First, I committed to the “Three attempts before each insulin shot” program. Then- because by now, I was convinced that I simply couldn’t do this, and my cat was convinced likewise- I decided to turn the job over to somebody else… sort of.

When it was time to test, I got my equipment together on the bathroom counter, mentally put on my white coat, and briskly collected my “patient”.  I placed him on the counter and went through the testing procedure with as much assurance and confidence as I could muster, explaining aloud to my imaginary clients what I was doing. I had to act self-assured, no matter what I felt like inside- after all, I was “the vet”! I know, it’s silly and stupid- but you know what, my cat’s life was at stake, and I’m 100% on board with silly and stupid if it gets the job done.  It helped put me into a no-nonsense mindset, and my cat responded to that much better than he’d responded to my pleading and ranting.  After just a couple of days, we started getting readings four out of every five tries. Soon after that, we were reliably getting readings almost every time, with no problem.

That was many years ago. Today, I sometimes test him while he is reclining in bed, and he barely bothers to wake up and notice.

Hometesting your "sugarcat"’s glucose is an invaluable tool that you can use to help protect your pet and take the best care of him that you possibly can. You can do this! 

 

----------------

Rilla Foxdancer is currently owned by two "extra sweet" diabetic cats. Teddy Snowshoes is the rescue cat who taught her all about feline diabetes (and uveitis, and mast cell tumors, and a few other things). Lately he is on 1.5 units of Lantus insulin twice daily. Richard was adopted from Diabetic Cats In Need in December 2011. His blood sugar remains under good control via a quality high protein diet. He is off insulin, and currently requires no special treament for his diabetes.






Comments

Posted by Yvonne on
Rilla, thank you so much for writing up this blog. I know how intimidating this issue can be but with guidance and information it can be manageable. The photos were great, they made me smile! I look forward to having you on the blog again, I know you have lots more to share. Have a great holiday and give the furkids a hug from me.
Posted by Fran Morehead on
Rilla,
As a retired RN with a diabetic husband and a diabetic cat, I can tell you, your article is spot on. I totally agree with all that you wrote. I have been giving Hot Shot Lantus 2 times daily for about a year and a half and the Vet did indeed say I did not need to home test. At first I was uncomfortable not testing then became complacent but watched him like a hawk. Fortunately we have not had a problem with low sugars and his health has improved, but I suspect he might not be getting as much Insulin as he should. I do not juggle doseages and he gets a curve done at the vets periodically. However like you said , due to stress his curves are always high. Now you have my attention. One little problem, maybe two. You don't say how you do the stick or where in the ear you do the stick. Do you hold the lancet manually, and here it gets tricky, how do you control the depth of the stick or can I use the husband's spring loaded lancet holder? Let me know all the little tricks you have learned. Thanks so much, Fran
Posted by Rilla on
Hi Fran-

https://www.facebook.com/notes/diabetic-cats-in-need/hometesting-diabetic-cats/735394603157232

Here's a good pic of the area of the ear that you want. I like to poke a little lower on the ear than that pic shows, but you should be able to get blood anywhere along that edge.

I do it manually. My favorite lancets are OneTouch Finepoints (the purple ones). I squat behind the kitty, press a Kleenex to the front of the ear and stab the lancet to the hilt right through the back of the ear into the Kleenex at a very slight angle.

It helps a lot if the ear is warm. It's hard to get a good blood drop out of a cold ear. Many people use a "rice sock" or similar tool to warm up the ear a bit. I like to test the kitty after he has been lounging in front of the heater.

Not everyone does it this way, but I like to wipe the blood drop onto the side of my clean thumb and then test from there. I had a lot of trouble with Teddy flicking his ear just as I tried to touch the test strip to the blood drop. Then my blood drop was spattered across the wall, or on my glasses- and I had to start over. :( I poke, drop lancet and Kleenex, gently pinch the ear on each side of the poke spot and wiggle my fingers back and forth a bit till the blood drop looks big enough. Then wipe it onto my thumb. I have the meter sitting beside me with the test strip inserted but not pushed all the way in. Once I have the blood on my hand, I push the strip in, wait for the beep, and touch the test strip to the droplet.

Google hometesting diabetic cats, there are several nice homemade demo vids on the web. Watch a few of them and see how different people do it.
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December 3rd 2013

Welcome Elizabeth, our Second Guest Blogger.

I would like to introduce Elizabeth Woche. I met Elizabeth last summer at Scrub-a-Mutt. This is a fun event were people and their dogs gather together to raise money for various rescues. Elizabeth is dedicated to helping all dogs in need but she has a special place in her heart for the senior dogs. Here she tells with us why. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

 

Life with senior dogs by Elizabeth Woche.

My name is Elizabeth Woche and I have been involved with the rescue of senior dogs, some with special needs, for 6 years.  When my heart dog, DemiLou, turned 8 years old I started to worry about her aging and leaving me.  But she lived for 7 more years and taught me that being a senior is a wonderful thing!  

The seniors are ready to spend their golden years just doing what makes them happy and what makes them happy is whatever makes us happy.  Shortly after DemiLou passed, I began fostering dogs for a local rescue group, Old Dog Haven, which is run solely by foster homes.

DemiLou

photo-3-1.JPG

  

Old Dog Haven works with dogs 8 years of age and older who have found themselves homeless after being part of a family.  Ruby, a 3-legged black lab, who found herself roaming the streets of Tacoma, was one of the most wonderful foster dogs that we could have hoped for.  She greeted us with a smile every single day of the 3 years that she lived with us.  In the end, while she was fighting so hard against the cancer that attacked her remaining front leg, she still smiled that beautiful smile that only she was capable of.

Ruby

IMG_4793.JPG 

Harold and Ginger, the chocolate and yellow labs, are our Final Refuge dogs.  They are medically too fragile to put up for adoption, therefore, they will remain with me until their time here draws to a close.  Until that day, I will be forever grateful to the founders of Old Dog Haven for sharing these wise old souls with me.  They have taught me not to sweat the small stuff.  They live in the moment and they are a shining example of making every moment count.

Harold and Ginger 

photo-7-1.JPG

You are probably thinking that it is too heartbreaking to have these dogs for such a short time. Yes, countless tears are shed when they pass.  But, if given the opportunity, I wouldn't give up that pain for anything.  That is because something so beautiful must bring great pain at its passing.  Each one of my animals, dog and cat, owns a window in my heart.  When they arrive, that window opens. And when they leave. that window closes, but belongs to them forever.  The best part is that the heart has an infinite amount of windows meant to be owned by any living things that need love.  This belief is the very thing that dries my tears and helps me start over again.  I have yet to be disappointed.

Fortunately, we live in an area where there are many animal rescues and shelters working tirelessly to help these animals find a loving, forever home.  Old Dog Haven is celebrating 9 years of rescuing senior dogs and they have rescued 1800 dogs to date.  It costs an average of $39,000/month to operate but with the generosity of their supporters all over the world they are really making a difference in the world of rescue.  

My passion for rescue took a turn six years ago and a friend of mine and I began Scrub-A-Mutt. Scrub-A-Mutt is a dog washing fundraiser devoted to raising money and awareness for those wonderful animal rescuers who make a difference every day.  Our event takes place every year in August and it is a day filled with fun for dogs and the people who love them.  In addition to dog baths and nail trims, we have an endless supply of items for a drawing that brings people from near and far!   Every dollar raised on our event day is donated to local rescue groups and shelters. Next year, our event will be on Saturday, August 16.

No matter what your favorite animal is there is always a need for donations in the world of rescue. You can find breed specific rescues, age specific rescues and rescues devoted entirely to special needs animals.  If you can't afford a monetary donation, adopters and foster families are always needed.  And if all you can do is spread the word then please do!  The absolute best advertisement is word of mouth!

Please visit http://OldDogHaven.org to learn more about them and you can also see the beautiful seniors that they have helped.  You can also see the dogs that are adoptable and waiting for their happily ever after!

Please visit http://scrub-a-mutt.org to learn about what we are doing in our community to bring homeless animals home.

By Elizabeth.

 

Comments

Posted by Bill Woche on
Well this article is by wife, so perhaps I'm a bit bit biased, but when I get past the tears and read these words realize even more how wonderful the work she has done to help these causes and animals really is. She is spot on about how much these animals have brought to our lives. Thank you so much for all you have done Elizabeth. You are the most caring person I have ever known and you inspire me to do better.
Posted by Yvonne on
Elizabeth, thank you so much for your heart felt story. I know how challenging it is for senior dogs to find homes and I am so grateful to people like you who open their homes to them time and time again. I look forward to having you back on the blog!
Hugs,
Yvonne
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Nov 26th, 2013

Welcome Lena, our First Guest Blogger

Hi again! I am so happy to introduce Lena, our first ever guest blogger. I met Lena while making my second book Blind Faith Expanded. My friend Eleni, founder of Furbaby Rescue, sent out a note to everyone she knew asking if they lived with special need rescue dogs or cats. Lena was one of the people who responded. She had a few very special need dogs and I knew instantly I wanted every one of them in my book. I set up a photo shoot and interview and that was the beginning of our wonderful friendship. 

Lena is not only a special need dog parent, Lena and her husband are also foster parents to dogs who are waiting to find their forever homes. I think this is by far one of the most challenging “jobs” in rescue. I am one of those people who can’t imagine doing what they do. In my first book I dedicated a whole page to The Foster Parent because I know their help is invaluable, without them rescues could quickly become overcrowded.

Thanks to people like Lena who help take in the over flow more animals find their way into rescues and get the help they so desperately require. Fostering is a calling and it takes a very special person to do it.

Lena has a huge heart and she is a wonderful foster parent. I hope you enjoy her story. 


My Life as a Foster Mom by Lena

When people hear that my husband and I foster dogs, we are often met with the response "I could never do that; I could never let them be adopted!"  Although that sentiment is one that I can't deny (which is why we have a pack of 6), I always look back to the reason why we keep on fostering: When my foster dog is ready to be adopted, that means that she doesn't need me anymore and that spot is opened up for someone new who does needs my help.  Reminding myself of that makes it easier to say good-bye (even if it is with tears) and prepares me for my next adventure with a new, temporary family member.

I have always loved dogs.  I started to get rescue emails, and saw the need for foster homes.  I got an email from a local rescue that wanted to bring in more dogs, but didn't have enough foster homes.  I filled out an application which was very similar to an adoption application, so they could learn more about us, our dogs, and our life.  We were approved to foster and so it began.

Every dog that comes through our home has a story.  Some stories are sadder than others, and some dogs are here longer than others.  But each and every one is part of our family for the time that they live with us.  A few dogs that have come through here are happy, healthy family dogs right away, which is great to see.  However, often times it is not like that.  Some of the dogs come from shelters, where caring volunteers contact rescues on their behalf since they know that they don't have a good chance of adoption staying at the shelter.  Some have medical needs that shelters aren't equipped to handle; we had Alfie and Sawyer who had horrible mange, and Lucky whose owner surrendered him with a shattered leg that had to be amputated.  We have had dogs that people rescued from horrible conditions; Penelope was rescued by a boy when he found out that her sibling was killed by cruel kids.  At times, Animal Control has saved the dogs: Georgia and Buster were evidence in a cruelty case; Lily, Winston, Teddy and Sparky were feral dogs that the owner was cited with and was posed to dump.   And in our case, others have needs or personalities where you just can't see them in a home other than yours so you adopt them yourself.  This is how we adopted our own Honey and Huckleberry, who are both deaf and partially blind dachshunds; and Bruno, a scarred up pit bull who had been chained to a tree his entire life.

Every time someone new moves in, it is exciting - not only for us but for our dogs as well.  Watching them heal, whether it is physically or emotionally, is the most rewarding experience I have ever had.  Seeing these dogs blossom and finding their own personalities means that I have done my job well.  When they are ready, they are placed on Petfinder through the rescue that took them in, and adoptive families are screened.  The dog will stay here until the right home comes along.  And when adoption day finally comes, and an excited person or family is thrilled to meet their future dog, my heart always breaks a little.  But then I remind myself once again, that this day has come because I have done my job.  That this dog is ready to go because she no longer needs me, and another dog that needs my help will then be saved and gets to move in.  And so it continues. 

In a perfect world, all homeless pets would have a home.  But until then, please consider opening up your home and being a foster parent.  I can honestly say it is one of the best things I have done in my life, and it is well worth a little heartbreak to know that you have helped a pet in need have a second chance at life.

Lena.

 

Here is a photo of Lucky, the amazing Pit Bull Lena fostered and nursed through his rear leg amputation. He now lives with his wonderful forever family who love him. 

Lucky.jpg

Photo by Lena

 

This is a photograph of Lena and her husband’s dogs. From left to right are Huckleberry, Honey and Bruno. All three dogs are special needs. 

Huckleberry_Honey_and_Bruno.jpg

 Photo by Lena

Comments

Posted by Amy on
Excellent blog! This absolutely inspires me to foster as soon as I am able. I also have Blind Faith Expanded and love it! It's great to be reminded that there are many others out there who also adore their animal companions and provide exceptional care. I have a special needs dog and two older cats (one with lymphoma) and this book really affirmed the care I provide and inspired me to do more. It's a must read for anyone who has an animal requiring extra care. You quickly realize you are not alone in your endeavors to do right by the animals. Thank you!!!!
Posted by Yvonne on
Lena, thanks for sharing your story and for being my first guest blogger! Your continued support for the project means so much! I look forward to having you on the blog again. Thank you for all you do, you really make a difference for so many dogs in need. Hugs to you, the furkids and your giant husband.
Love,
Yvonne.
Posted by Holly on
Lena ,
Every time I am reminded that Lily was considered " feral " it makes me respect what you do even more, considering she is laying at here in the middle of the bed after giving everyone I good night kiss. It takes a very special person to be able to build up the trust in a little dog who has been through so much. I am glad you do what you do, and I know Lily (the happiest dog on earth) is forever greatful to you too.

Thank you,
Holly, Madeline, Lily, and princess Sally (our one eyed half tailed cat with asthma the is currently cleaning Lily from head to toe)
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December 10th 2013

Blind Dogs Love Christmas Too by Yvonne Harper

Hi again! Before I begin I would like to say thank you to my first two guest bloggers, Lena and Elizabeth. They are two amazing women who are actively making changes in the lives of so many dogs in need. I am so lucky to know such inspirational people. Thank you also to all the new visitors to my website, I do hope you are enjoying the blogs and getting a chance to check out the rest of the site. Again my goal is to continue helping animals in need in between writing books, so I appreciate all the support.

The reason I am writing this week instead of a guest blogger is because I promised to share some Christmas video of Kizmit. I can’t believe Christmas is almost here. This year is very different at the Harper home. This will be our first Christmas in the house without Kizmit, we moved in November  1st and Kizmit moved in December 13th. It has been 10 years of happy holidays but this year we feel a little lost without our wee man. Kiz had fun everyday but he definitely had 2 extra favorite days of the year. He loved Halloween and Christmas.

Like most families we have traditions at holiday time. A tradition I brought from Scotland is Christmas Crackers. We pull them at the dinner table and reap the rewards inside, which usually includes a silly joke, a plastic toy and a paper hat, which we all wear through dinner and the rest of the evening. Yup we brought that one all the way from home. We don’t do crackers every year but when we do we laugh a lot! What can I say, we are easily pleased. Being part of the family Kiz got his own cracker, here he is proudly (patiently?) wearing his hat!

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A tradition from my husband is hanging Christmas Stockings. Although we do have those in Scotland they were not as important as they seem to be here, at least not in the house I grew up in anyway. My husband was raised wth this tradition and it's one we continue in our home. No one looked forward to their Christmas Stocking more than Kizmit. He loved that thing! Perhaps you have seen the one he had in stores. It has a dog head on it with bells on its ears. You press a button on his paw and his ears bounce up and down ringing the bells and he sings Carols, beginning with “Ringle Bells”. That’s not a spelling error it really is Ringle!

The day we put up the tree always begins the same. Jason drags the tree from the shed into the house and while he sets it up I bring in the boxes of ornaments. Kiz waited patiently until he heard that first faint glorious jingle from inside the box and then that was it. He was obsessed. He would follow me around until I gave him his stocking. Yes a blind dog really can follow you, seriously they can do just about anything a sighted dog can. I openend the box as quickly as I could and handed him his stocking. While I continued to decorate the tree he'd scoot under it dragging the stocking with him. He'd chew on it and it would go on and off, singing and jingling. He loved it. By the time I hung it on the mantel it was all slobbery.

He played with it over the holiday season until the sad day when the tree came down and the stocking was packed away for another year. Now I know if you have not lived with a blind dog it must be difficult to imagine that they can do “normal” things. Kiz hated to see his stocking go. Here he is making a final attempt to play with it one more time. It shows his stubborn side, which I loved. Kiz had a huge personality and being blind did not stop him from having fun. Oh and don’t worry, he wasn’t deprived of his stocking. Kiz played with it until he was bored then I snuck it into the box when he wasn’t paying attention. This year there are no stockings on the mantel, I just could not bring myself to hang them. Kizmit is missed everyday but Christmas will be especially lonely without him. I am so grateful for all those years he was here to help me decorate the tree. Hopefully by next Christmas my heart will be healed enough to continue our traditions and his stocking will again hang on the mantel along with ours. I hope you enjoy the clip, it's very short but sweet. It makes me smile! Check back next Tuesday for a new guest blogger. 

Merry Christmas!

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Comments

Posted by Becky Haase on
oi... I understand how difficult the holidays can be Yvonne... the fur babies who have come and gone never leave us completely... :) I love the video of Kiz - he is seriously the cutest, and clearly is quite persistent... I love it! Thanks for the post.
Posted by lena on
Thank you so much for sharing this sweet video of your little boy. What a wonderful tribute during his special time of year. xoxo
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About The Blog

 Hi everyone, welcome to my blog! First let me take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself incase you are unfamiliar with my website. My name is Yvonne Harper and I am the author/photographer of the Blind Faith Book series. The reason I write my books is to raise awareness for special need rescue animals, to celebrate their lives and the lives of the people who adopt them. My books were inspired by my own special need animals. My two blind dogs, Twinkle and Kizmit, and my diabetic cat Sydney. With my second book recently published I thought it would be fun to start a blog on the website. My goal is simple, to encourage people to share their stories and wisdom with each other. Some blogs will be informative, some inspirational, others just for fun. Although the blog will for the most part revolve around animals we may hear from someone every now again who does not fit the mold but whom I believe has an inspiring or important story to tell. I do feel there is something I should share before going on with this first installment. Anyone who has read my books knows I have spent my life with blind dogs, first Twinkle and then Kizmit. Twinkle passed 11 years ago and one year after his death we adopted Kizmit. As well as being blind, Kizmit had many other health issues, which included heart disease and chronic bronchitis. During the last month of production of the second book, Blind Faith Expanded, Kizmit lost his battle with his heart. I’m afraid at this point I do not feel emotionally ready to share much more about his passing, it’s still too painful. However I can tell you he died at home with both Jason and me by his side. That is all I am prepared to say on the subject for now. Since Kizmit was literally the center of our lives my days now feel empty and uneventful. There was always something going on when the wee man was around, seriously there was never a dull moment! With Kiz gone and the second book complete I feel like my world is a tad mundane. The most exciting thing that happened to me today, besides writing this, was I had a cinnamon raison bagel for breakfast and I highly doubt anyone is coming back for a second installment of that blog! So my solution is to invite lots of guest bloggers to share things that are going on in their world. I will still share things about Kizmit, Twinkle and Sydney. I plan to continue celebrating their lives with stories, photos and the occasional video. Something else I hope to accomplish with this blog is to share lots of things about my boys and to hopefully help people see that just because a dog is blind doesn’t mean it cant live a full, active, fun life. I have a feeling between me and the guest bloggers this project will take on a life of its own! I will also keep you updated on anything that is happening with the books. I do already have several guest bloggers working away on their articles and I hope you will check back and read them. If you think you have something you would like to share with us all please contact me via the contact button on this website. We can discuss your idea and see if it would be a good fit for the blog. I hope you will all join me on this new adventure! Thanks for your support!

Hugs,

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News About the Books

I actually have an announcement about the books! To help launch the holiday season I will be having a book signing. It will take place on Sunday November 24th from 12-4pm at the pet store Bow Wow and Woofs, which is located at 8115 Birch Bay Square Street, Suite 111, Blaine, WA. I am so excited for this event! Both my books will be available for purchase and I will be donating 10% of my book sales from the signing to Furbaby rescue. If you are unfamiliar with Furbaby rescue here is their link. http://furbabyrescue.com They do great work for so many dogs in need. Oh and if you already have a book and would like it signed bring it by, I would be happy to do that for you. Heather, the owner of Bow Wow and Woofs, has arranged this fun, festive day. Thanks Heather!! Not only will I be there signing books but Santa will be there too. It wouldn’t be a kick off to Christmas without Santa! If you would like to get your dog’s photo taken with Santa the photos are by appointment only so please call/contact http://bowwowandwoofs.com  360-332-3647 and set up an appointment. Heather has done this a few times in the past and finds it works best this way. She will also be donating 10% of photos sales with Santa to a rescue of Matthew Adairs choice, he is the photographer for the event. If you would like to check out his work here is his link http://matthew-adair.artistwebsites.com/ There will also be Whatcom Humane Society calendars for sale too. So many ways to help so many rescues. What a great way to get into the holiday spirit! I can’t wait to see all the puppies with Santa! I miss my dog so much. Meeting new dogs does my heart good. So that is my book news, I hope to see some of you there. If you know anyone who may be interested in either the books or getting a photo with Santa pass this on to them. Keep your fingers crossed that I sell some books and Heather gets lots of photos with Santa set up, the more money we raise the more we can donate! Since this was holiday related announcement I had to include a photo of Kiz under the tree. People who have not lived with a blind dog have a difficult time understanding that they are really just like normal dogs. Kiz loved Christmas so much. As soon as the tree went up he was under it! I have some great Christmas video that I will share with you in December. Thanks for your support!!

Talk to you soon!
Hugs,

 

 Kiz waiting on Santa PawsKiz_under_the_tree.jpg

 

And Our First Guest Blogger Is...

I am so excited to announce I already have a guest blogger set up for Tuesday November 26th! My good friend Lena is going to talk about her experience as a foster parent. It’s a great article so be sure to check back and read it! Anyone who knows anything about rescue knows the important roll a foster parent plays. Thanks Lena!!

Comments

Posted by Jules on
This blog is such a wonderful idea, Yvonne. I'm already looking forward to sitting down with a cup of tea to read Lena's article on Tuesday. And I also hope that you won't forget to post the video footage of Kizmet next month.
As an aside - I was at a family member's house today and he announced that their family cat has kidney disease. It reminded me of when my Allie-cat had kidney disease. It was a 2 year battle that was really heartbreaking. BUT - just thinking about it today reminded me of all of the wonderful people I met (mostly online via kidney disease chatrooms or whatever they're called) as a result of reaching out for help when Allie was ill. My job focuses on what people do wrong, so I need to remember my time with Allie and how she indirectly showed me that human beings can also be very kind.
I love you tons and can't wait to read more on your blog. I think it will be a good reminder to all who read it that there really is a lot of love out there.
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