Tuesday, 31 January 2012

This month, love a black dog.

With Valentine's Day in the middle of the month, we decided February was the perfect month to show a little extra love to our black dogs.  Have you ever heard of Black Dog Syndrome?  Probably not.  It's understood that black dogs are often the last to be adopted in shelters.  Black dogs are often overlooked for lighter color dogs.  Why?  

Your guess is as good as ours.  Black dogs can be hard to photograph and therefore hard to promote.  Sometimes black dogs can appear scary or menacing.  Some people consider black dogs as "ordinary" or "boring".  

Black dogs have just as much love to give as any other colored dog.  This month we want to put our black dogs in the spotlight.  When you adopt any of our black dogs, you'll get a special adoption gift bag, our way of saying thanks for giving a black dog a chance.  

All month we'll be having special events and activities - all dedicated to black dogs.  Stay tuned to our blog for weekly adoption, fostering and awareness stories.  Come out to Maple Grove Dog Park every Sunday in February 10am - noon with your pup as we celebrate black dogs (all dogs welcome)!

We have so many black dogs in care right now, check out how beautiful they are in a special video dedicated to these black beauties.  Visit our Love a Black Dog page with more information about Black Dog Syndrome and why MMDR loves black dogs.  

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Happy Tail "Holly"

By Deanne Peterson

I get to share with you all a lovely adoption story ... and nicely enough, it's of one of my own fosters!  Today I got to meet Barb, who was looking to add a furry friend to her family.  Barb was initially coming interested in Dolly, but also met Holly since I am fostering them both.  I told Barb about both dogs - their history, likes/dislikes and personalities.  Barb loved both of them, I mean, how couldn't you?  They are both incredible dogs.

At the end of the visit, it was really Holly that picked Barb.  As soon as Barb came in the house, Holly was right by her side, and pretty well never left it.

Barb, it's with tears of joy that I congratulate you and your family on your new addition.  I wish you all the best for you and your dogs!  Holly is truly one special dog.  I have never met a tougher girl with a zest for life.

To my dear Holly, I picked you up off a deck on a cold winter day and took you to my home.  Right from the start we had issues ... from emergency vet visits late at night (one of which was 2am Christmas Eve) to tearing apart the deck (twice) to pull you out from underneath.  Not once did I give up on you.  You are a fighter.  On Christmas Eve when we realized you had kidney worms, I held you tight and made a promise to give you the best possible life.  Two days later you were waiting like a trooper at the vet for your surgery.

Even though you weren't a good candidate for the surgery, we went forward, fingers and paws crossed.  Everyone was rooting for you, including all the vet staff you won over with your quirky personality.  Five long days later, you were back home in our family, recovering like a champ, of course.

You were a different dog after your surgery - full of energy, life, happiness.  Even though your road to recovery was not over, you had survived, and were living life to the fullest.

I have two very fond memories of you which I will always cherish.  First is your "chair" at the vet.  Every time we walked into the office (and it was often) you hopped right up onto one of the visitors chair.  You figured, well if I'm here, I might as well be comfy!  Second is your love for toys.  I'll never forget Christmas Day pulling out new toys for all the dogs, and one by one, the toys "disappearing", only to find you stashing them all in the bedroom!

I will always remember you as the foster who wouldn't give up on life.  You taught me a lot.  I wish you many, many years of fun, play, and of course ... toys.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Keep your pup happy and warm in the winter months

It’s January in Winnipeg, which basically means we’re all bundled up inside trying to keep warm. It also likely means our dogs aren’t getting out as much as they need. It’s not easy to spend an hour or two at the dog park, or go on an evening walk.

Even when it’s 40 below (which I know we’re all feeling right now) it’s important for our dogs to exercise. Here are some alternatives to outdoor activities if you've found yourself "stuck" indoors lately.

One of the simplest solutions is Doggy Daycare. There are many facilities around the city which offer daily indoor daycare services for your dog to play, learn and socialize with other dogs. It’s a great opportunity for your dog to let out some extra energy and learn social skills from other dogs too. Daycare can be a bit pricy though.

Another option is obedience classes. May sound odd, but obedience training is a great way to work your dog mentally. And a mentally exhausted dog can often be just as tired as a physically exhausted dog! Obedience classes are a great way to connect with your dog and involve the entire family too. Usually classes run for six weeks once a week, giving you an opportunity to get out of the house with your dog on a regular basis.

Have you ever heard of rally obedience? It’s a combination of standard obedience commands (sit stay, down stay, formal returns, etc) and the concept of working a “course” like you would in agility. The neat thing about rally is you don’t need expensive equipment or very much room; it’s easily something you can do in your living room or basement. The Canadian Association of Rally Obedience offers a list of novice exercise cards with a brief explanation of the activity.

What do you do to keep your dog(s) exercised in the dead of winter?

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Why I foster: Tony

By Tracy Grenier

Tony would have to be my most challenging and eye-opening fostering experience.  He is some sort of beagle mix that was pulled off of a reserve. He is about 1 ½ years old and had never been inside of a house before. That being said he had absolutely no training.  Tony had a horrific scar around his body from being tied to a barn.  Apparently this was the best solution for him escaping out of his collar on a regular basis.  It hurt me just to look at the poor little guy.  He didn’t know what it was like to be fed on a regular basis and would jump all over me until he knocked the dish all over the floor!  At least he was kind enough to eat it all up in a matter of seconds so that I wouldn’t have another mess to clean up.   

It wasn’t Tony’s behavior that got to me, but the reality of how horrible people really can be towards these innocent animals.  Before Tony moved in with me I believed that this stuff did happen but I chose not to see it, he really was my eye opener.  Tony acted like a puppy and just wanted to be loved, warm and fed.  Of course it was beyond frustrating when you are constantly cleaning up pee and poop from an adult dog and yes you get mad when you can’t leave your sandwich unattended long enough to answer the phone but when you see a dog that has endured so much obvious pain in his short life and he is the happiest most loving dog you could ever imagine, it really breaks your heart.  It has been about eight months since Tony found the most amazing forever home but I can’t seem to go a single day without thinking of him.  He is so goofy, he can make you smile and laugh when you are having the worst day of your life.  Tony is an inspiration to all of man kind, he moved on from the horrible treatment he had and forgave people without hesitation…if only people could be that way!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Happy Tail "Duncan"

By Nick & Jennifer Harding

We adopted Duncan AKA slice March 3, 2011.  After a year of loss with our two 17.5 and 18.5 year old kitties, my amazing mom, and my Dad taking ill shortly after, my love for life was shaken.  I spoke of wanting a dog for many years, but we were dedicated to our elderly fuzzy babies.  I dreamt of a Bernese mountain dog but my husband wanted a Border Collie. We even looked at Australian Shepard’s.  For well over a month I sent pictures of adorable puppies to my husband via email.        

Once my Dad returned home out of the hospital, and the year anniversary approached of my Mom taking ill of Pancreatic Cancer and the loss of my love Kiisa (who I moved away from home with) I seemed it hit a really bad spot.  My husband knew I needed something and started to give in to my puppy interest.  We were looking together on Kijiji and we saw the most precious little fuzzy boy.   We emailed asking if he was still available and could we meet him as he checked all of our boxes: his markings met mine and he was a combination of both a Border/Aussie Mix.  

We did up the adoption papers in advance and set up an appointment to meet Jill his foster mommy.  Because of our schedules we had to wait three long days!  Watching posts asking about him, I was panicking! I was emailing Sarah and Becky (poor girls) making sure we would have our opportunity.   When we got to meet him, he ran straight to Nick playfully as I loved up another cute foster pup.  Then Duncan came to see me.  He was bigger than the photo, but what a character, the last of the litter. We took him home that night, without giving any of our family members advance warning of even the thought process of our new addition.  He melted everyone’s hearts.  

I would take him to visit my Aunt in the hospital, and everyone on her floor loved to see him come trotting in.  He brightens his Nanny and Grandad’s day each day and has become a neighbourhood favourite.  He has filled my heart with love, brought Joy to everyone once again and has blessed our family with his character.   Thank you Manitoba Mutts we will be forever grateful for your big hearts in rescuing the Cheese Pups, and giving us our handsome boy Duncan.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Why you should adopt … not shop.

We came across a fantastic article from Vancouver Humane Society.  It’s well worth your read and demonstrates why to consider rescues over a “breeders” or pet stores.  

Nowadays, it’s most common for people looking for a new family pet to use online breeders or look for someone selling their dog/puppies on Kijiji, but is approach can be risky.  The internet provides anonymity for backyard breeders and puppy mills, allowing them to avoid accountability for their animals.  If you buy online from unknown source, you’re at risk for being sold a sick and mistreated animal.  

Pet stores have been known to obtain their “stock” from puppy mills and other unacceptable sources where animals may be suffering.  It’s nearly impossible to track down these sources to find out what conditions the animals are raised in.

The way we see it, a pet is part of the family.  They are not property you can buy and sell. For every dog purchased at a pet store or online “breeder”, another dog is left in rescue, waiting for its forever family.  

If you are considering a new pet for your family, be sure to do your research and get your dog from a reputable source.  

If you’re in the mood to adopt, Manitoba Mutts is hosting an Adoption Fair on Sunday, January 15th at Pet Valu on 963 Henderson Hwy from noon to 4:00pm.  Stop by and show your support!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Happy Birthday ... to us!

In celebrating our first year open and all the successes that came with it, our staff had some fun stories to share about their favourite moments. Thanks to our Directors for all their hard work and for creating an impeccable team. 

Lisa, Foster Coordinator
Hazel, the beagle, was one of the first dogs in care and was my first MMDR foster. She taught me a lot.  This poor girl came from a rough home where she was abused and neglected, but nothing held Hazel back and that was inspiring.  She loved life and knew how to have a good time. She was always up for anything - a run with the other dogs, fetch, a cuddle on the couch.  When she was adopted I was so happy for the little beagle. Sadly, a month went by and the adopter decided to give Hazel back to us, so I took Hazel back into my home. She was sad and her big brown eyes weren't full of excitement as they were before. She didn't even want to play fetch. I saw a dog who was giving up. Seeing this with my own eyes made me realize how much every single dog truly needs a family to love and be patient with them. Luckily, Hazel bounced back and finally found a family who loves her so much. She lives in Churchill Manitoba and even has a beagle sister named Lily. They spend most of their time being spoiled by their family. I recently received an email from Hazel's family and it was so nice to hear that Hazel was finally in a real home. Hazel inspires me to do more in dog rescue and to help more dogs like her.

Trista, Graphics Lead
I have many fond memories with Manitoba Mutts even though I've only been around for a few months, but the one that sticks out is a story about Blaire. We picked her up for a photo shoot one Saturday. She had been with us almost a year, and with WHS for longer... I couldn't believe how lovable and sweet she was upon meeting her! How could such an awesome dog be overlooked for so long? We took her to the dog park after as a little treat and she was honestly better behaved than our own dogs! Greeting everyone politely, playing nicely with every size of dog, listening and coming running back every time we called her. After we brought her back she was on my mind constantly... The best part of the story was at our adoption fair a little while later we all got the amazing news that her foster family couldn't let her go and was adopting her! She had been helping care for their special needs son. A dog that so many people deemed unadoptable was now this important to a special needs boy and his family that they couldn't let her go. Wow. I think all of us shed a tear that day. 

Deanne, Marketing & Communications Lead
I have many favourite dogs, but there are four little puppies who changed my world.  I had dealt with many behavioral problems in the past, but I didn’t know very much about medical problems.  That all changed when I took in 6-week olds Dusty, Tig, Kit and Telly, aka “the mange babies”.  Initially their condition had only affected their scalps, but as they were so young, they couldn’t be on the right type of meds to fix it. I saw them get sicker day by day.  I found out later the Directors did not thing the pups were going to make it – it was that bad.  This being the case, you would think they had no clue how sick they were.  These puppies were so happy, playful and loving.  They really showed me not to judge a book by its cover.  Good things come from a difficult situation – it’s worth every effort.  

Jocelyn, Spay & Neuter Coordinator 
My fondest memory with the Mutts crew is most definitely the trip I made with Lisa and Deanne to rescue some pups from a northern community. I had never been before and it was truly an amazing experience. I would take that over sitting behind a desk any day of the week! From spilled dog food in a parking lot to placenta covered seats and Deanne, it was an awesome experience. I'm glad I got to be a part of rescuing those dogs and starting them onto a new life filled with love!

Thanks to everyone who has made this past year possible for us.  If you missed our montage of our adoptable dogs from 2011, watch the video here.  

Monday, 2 January 2012

Why I foster: Jax

Recently we put a general ask out to all fosters to share their “success” or “challenging” foster stories with us.  We want to share these stories for others to read the joys of being a foster parent and also for other fosters to relate.  Why not start this off with the story of one of my favourite fosters.  

It was March of last year.  My second foster pup, Raven was recently adopted, so I decided it was a good opportunity to take a short break from fostering and be with my dogs.  Not a week into that “break”, I get an email from Lisa desperately needing foster homes for some pups coming.  I’ve never been one to say no … if I can help out, then I do.  

Shortly after that email, I’m picking up four month old Austin (who we called Jax), a Shepherd X Husky, from Becky’s house.  He’s a timid boy.  Him and his siblings had never been inside and this was his first time meeting people.  Becky tells me he’s “the most feral out of the bunch”.  To be completely honest, I wasn’t even sure what feral meant, I had to look it up!  (In case you didn’t know - it’s essentially referring to a “wild” dog.)  When I got home it took me a good ten minutes to get him inside, only for him to run and cower in the bathroom.  I put him in a kennel to relax and get comfortable in his own space.  He spends the next three days in there, only to come out to grab food and water when no one is around.  

Jax the day I brought him home.
The forth day was a success - Jax approached me and I was able to pet him.  This dog had no clue what love was; no idea what it meant to be a dog.  The next big thing was introducing him to my dogs.  He wasn’t initially a fan of them, but they basically told him (in dog words) “if you’re gonna live in this house, we’re gonna be friends.”  Next, Jax learned what toys were.  He was so excited, clearly this was the best invention to date; I couldn’t stop smiling!  He was becoming what a dog is supposed to be.  

In front of my very own eyes, I saw a dog go from scared, defeated and unsure where to go … to (wo)man’s best friend, playful, snuggly and lapping up every bit of love possible.  I pretty much haven’t taken a “break” since then.  Fostering is part of my life.  Even in the few days between one getting adopted and another coming home, my home feels empty without my foster(s).  

Jax at about 6 months ... gorgeous boy.
We would love to read your foster “success” or “challenge” story … please email yours to marketing@manitobamutts.org.  We thank you in advance for sharing.  Interested in fostering?  Click here to learn more.