Friday, 24 February 2012

BLACK DOG SPECIAL - Why I foster: Sadie

By Deanne Peterson

For those who know me personally, you’ll know that I have a special soft spot for black dogs.  My three dogs are all black, Border Collie mixes.  Lisa, our Foster Coordinator knows if she needs me to take a certain dog, she just needs to tell me its black.  I did a quick tally, fifteen of my fosters in the past year have been black dogs.  On my first “rez run,” of course I picked Holly, the little black pup, to come home with us.  

I wasn’t aware of the “Black Dog Syndrome” until we were looking for our second dog. At that point, we realized “our thing” was black dogs and from there my fondness for black dogs grew.  Having three incredible black dogs myself, it makes me sad to think others have been overlooked because of the color of their fur.  

One of my personal favourite black foster dogs would have to be Sadie.  MMDR actually named her June Carter (and her brother Johnny Cash), but I didn’t know she had a name when I picked her up, so we called her Sadie.  I was in Regina when I read a post on Facebook requiring a foster for the girl.  Someone offered to look after her for the weekend, but couldn’t keep her longer than that.  When I read black border collie mix, I immediately jumped on it!  Coincidentally I was fosterless at the time, so this was just perfect.  

Sunday after getting home, I go to pick the girl up.  She’s extremely shy, matted and covered in burrs.  She was living in a horse trailer, neglected and starved.  She must have broken her paw a while back as her leg healed crooked.  It was love at first sight.  

Sadie fit right in at our home - we actually had trouble telling her apart from our own dogs. After a week of socializing with our dogs and a trip to the groomer, she was a different dog.  Friendly, playful and trusting.  We’d take her everywhere - off leash at the dog park, on camping trips - she was part of the family.  

I was shocked that not one person inquired about Sadie for a whole 2 ½ months.  Not one. Sadie even made it out to a few events without any interest.  Here’s this girl, so sweet and fun-loving, gentle with kids and amazing with other animals.  

When the Morden Corn & Apple Festival came around, I was unable to attend, but Sara, one of the Directors, was able to bring Sadie for me.  I was a little nervous, because honestly, we loved this girl and were tempted so many times to keep her.  Sadie went out Friday night, but came back with no interested adopters.  She slept over with Sara to go back to the festival Saturday.  

Later that day, Sara texts me, her friend was actually interested in adopting Sadie.  After getting to spend the weekend with her, they saw what an incredible girl she was and fell in love.  A week later, they came by to pick up their new family member.  That day was bittersweet for me.  That being said, I’m so grateful for Sadie to find such a wonderful home, who coincidentally lives nearby so I can visit as often as I want!  And more importantly, I’m so happy to know one more family to fall in love with a black dog.  

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Black Dog Happy Tail "Lefty Lou"

By Laurel McArthur

I had been trying for a while to get my family to adopt another dog after our beloved Golden Retriever, Haley passed away, leaving behind her best friend Holly, a Black Lab mix. We were all very heartbroken and no one had been in a rush to get another dog. However I felt it would take some time to get my family on board for when the time was right to adopt. I started to add all the rescues on Facebook and Manitoba Mutts really grabbed my attention. After months of checking MMDR's page weekly (sometimes daily) I decided it would be a good time to try and get my family to come to an adoption fair. My mother who had been on the fence about adopting agreed to come with my sister and I, but made sure I knew we were most likely NOT getting another dog just yet. Once we got to the adoption fair my mom couldn't help but laugh at me because I knew all the dogs by name. One specific dog really caught my mom’s eye, he looked near identical to our dog at home but a lot smaller. He immediately tugged at my mom’s heart strings when she noticed how overwhelmed and slightly afraid he was from being surrounded by so much action. I walked up with her and told her that his name is Lefty and I pointed out his little broken leg (to explain his name). After spending a couple of minutes with him she couldn't help but want to take him home. I told her to fill out an adoption form so we could get pre-approved, and then go home and try to drag my dad back to the adoption fair. My dad had been pretty stern about not getting another dog, so we were worried that we wouldn't be able to adopt Lefty. Once we got home my mom told my dad about Lefty and asked him to just come and see him for himself. My dad agreed and came back to the adoption fair with us (not knowing we filled out a form for approval already). We showed my dad Lefty and he couldn't deny how cute Lefty is. Even though Lefty was a bit afraid of him, my dad saw how much it would mean to us (and Lefty) if we adopted him. That day we brought Lefty home.

It's been one week since we adopted Lefty and he sure has made himself at home. Some of his favorite things are playing with squeaky toys, going for walks/runs, cuddling, and using his sister Holly as a hurdle (with a 1ft clearance!) that boy sure can jump. Lefty is extremely smart and has so much personality. Once he gets to know you, he'll be your best friend and loves being by your side. A couple of nights I've even woken up with him stretched out beside me with his head on the pillow! He's still a little timid around my dad but there has been a lot of progress and he'll even let my dad pet him sometimes. My dad is being patient, but we know he's eager to have Lefty as his best buddy and is looking forward to when that day comes.

Lefty may have been over looked by others because of his black fur and his funny leg, but to us it isn't about appearances. It's about the unconditional love that any dog is capable of giving no matter their colour or how scared and timid they may seem. They just need to be given a chance.

We love both of our black dogs very much and can't imagine not having them in our lives.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

BLACK DOG SPECIAL - Why I foster: Zepp

By Meaghen Jones

Zepp came to us as our very first foster with Manitoba Mutts Dog Rescue.  I have to say I wasn’t sure what to expect when he jumped out of the car....I LOVE big dogs but have never in my life had a BIG BLACK dog (LOL), so I was super excited.  He was a....well.....excited, to say  the least, I think he ran around for hours that evening (we live on a farm and our yard is on about 20 acres).  

Walking him at first was a challenge but he came to quickly understand that if he wanted to be off leash with his foster brother and sister  he had to listen, which he did very well after a few weeks.  He was a dream to run with because he NEVER got tired!  Unfortunately him and my daughter accidentally collided while running around which made her a little scared of him (no one/dogs fault at all just an accident) and with that we decided it would be best to take a break.  In the mean time we had two other fosters, but I couldn’t stop thinking of Zepp.  He needed time and love and we didn’t give him the time he needed with the kids.  I wrote an email and in a couple weeks I picked him up again, and it has been a blast ever since!!!!

Zepp came running through the doors in true Zepp fashion and my daughter gave him the “what for” (she’s 2) and have been inseparable ever since.  She drags him around by his leash and then vise versa … it makes me laugh just thinking about it!

Zepp has grown leaps and bounds since we have brought him back “home”.  He loves to be outside, and be with us at all times, so being Dairy Farmers he has “the life” he loves!! Every morning when I’m getting ready to head outside, I let him out of his kennel and am greeted by his morning grunts a lick on the hand and then we are off.  I have taught him a little game of pick up and he plays it!!   He used to take off with everything (towels, mitts, touques, teddy bears, ANYTHING) and in those big brown eyes I could see he knew better!  Now slowly he is stopping himself, he still grabs the touques off the kids heads but he stops and brings them back!  He wants to learn and please us so deeply he just needs someone to give him the chance and time he needs.  He walks so-so on the leash, and needs a firm hand to guide him but he is getting back in his element and it’s fun to watch the Big Lug “get it” and be soooooo proud of himself!

Zepp is a Big Dog with the BIGGEST heart, and the most to learn! We love him to death and know in our heart that there is a family out there that will embrace him for being the Big BLACK dog that he is.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Love a Black Dog Month - 10 Great Reasons to Adopt a Black Mutt

Happy Valentine’s Day!  What a perfect time to celebrate Love a Black Dog month.  Looking to adopt?  We asked the black dogs in care and they came up with ten great reasons to consider adopting a BLACK dog:

10.  We can’t clash with your furniture or clothing … we’re the perfect accessory for any room or outfit!  - Ruby

9.  We can rock any color collar and bandana.  Patterns, neon’s, you name it, we’ll look fantastic wearing it!  - Brooklyn

8.  We hide the dirt well!  If we don’t have time for a bath, your house guests won’t notice a bit of mud on our coats.  - Kingston

7.  Black is slimming, isn’t it?  We sure make you look great!  - Blaire

6.  Have a lighter colored dog?  We compliment any and all looks, shapes and sizes.  - Annie

5.  We are always appropriately dressed for cocktail parties.  - Prancer

4.  Be a trend setter.  When friends and family see how great a pet we are, they’ll want to adopt their own black dog too!  - Rockette

3.  You’ll never lose us in a Manitoba snowstorm.  - MJ

2.  We’re available!  You don’t need to worry about long waiting lists with black dogs of every age, size and personality waiting for forever homes.  - Akila

1.  We need you!  Unfortunately so many people overlook us.  We are just as friendly, loving and caring as any other dog – you won’t regret it.  - Chinook

So far 15 black dogs have been adopted this month.  There are still over 30 black dogs waiting for their forever home.  Visit our adoptables page to find your perfect match.  Find out more about our Black Dog Awareness month here

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Black Dog Happy Tail "Jack"

By Danella Whittaker

On December 6th, 2011 we welcomed an adorable black dog in to our world. I first saw his picture on the Manitoba Mutts Facebook Page in September and I mentioned him to my husband Jason, who instantly responded with something to the extent of “NO... we don’t need a dog!” But all I heard was... “maybe”. I grew up with dogs and could not imagine my eight year old growing up without a furry friend.
Soon after I saw his profile I learnt that a patient in my office, Deanne, was actually Jack’s foster mom. This was such a happy coincidence! So, between myself, my daughter, Deanne, and Deanne’s Mom (thank you Fiona) we all started working on Jason to change his mind. Eventually (about two months later) he agreed to a “two week trial”, which to me really meant that he was opening the door.

Deanne and I made arrangements for me to come and pick him up and Jack happily came home with me on a Tuesday afternoon. My daughter was due to be home at 3:45 so I spent the majority of the afternoon just letting him get comfortable in our home. No problem there... he came in, sniffed around a bit and then fell asleep in front of the fire place (which is now his favorite place). When Emma came home the two of them hit it off instantly and have been best of pals ever since. I constantly hear her saying “Ohhhh I love it when Jack does that” or “Jack... you are such a good boy”.

There were two family members who did take a little while warming to our newest addition... our two cats Lilly and Gina. We introduced them very slowly, and Jack was very patient with them, but he sooooo badly wanted to play with them, which they would kindly reply with a hiss or a swat to the nose. I wouldn’t say that our feline friends “love” Jack yet, but they are “tolerating” him. This week there has been more and more “chase the cat” games or “chase the dog” games so I’m sure it won’t be long before they are all great friends.

To make a long story short, the “two week trial” has turned in to a lifetime of love. Jack can usually be found following me around the house with one ear up and one ear down, making new friends at Maple Grove Dog park, carrying around his favorite stuffed dog, or simply just lounging around on his back. We are so very grateful to the ladies at Manitoba Mutts Dog Rescue, The Manitoba Emergency Response for Animals and Deanne Peterson. Without all of you our little family would definitely be a little less furry and lot less loved!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

BLACK DOG SPECIAL - Why I foster: Trooper

Trooper is in my top five favourite fosters, he was energetic, well behaved and BLACK. I picked up trooper from his foster home that wasn't quite working out for him, took him home everyone got to see him and play with him. Not even five minutes in the house he left a big pee trail. At first we thought it was a bladder infection but we quickly realized that he was just so excited that he just couldn't hold it. We immediately calmed down and the peeing immediately stopped. The next few days we started house training, how to sit and wait for his food, walking on leash properly around the yard, etc. He is an especially smart boy who caught on to housebreaking fairly quickly. The only thing wrong with him is that he really HATES car rides.

About four days after I got him, a friend asked if I was fostering him after seeing his pictures on Facebook. Her and her mom wanted to meet Trooper, so I carried him all the way there as he was too young to go on the ground. You could tell they immediately fell in love with him. They asked where he came from, what his personality was like, and why he was still in care (because he was a darn cute puppy even cuter now). I told them because he had mange and he was black, they were so shocked to hear that. I explained how black dogs usually say in care longer just because of their colour.

We scheduled more and more play dates so they could get to know him better and make sure they were making the right choice for their family and for Trooper. They picked him up on September 19th, I was heartbroken, but delighted at the same time, knowing he now has an excellent family. That night I got a text from my friend saying that he was not doing so well, he was just laying there not moving, or eating. I went over to give them some of his old food wet/dry thinking it might be the food change, but it turns out he was just home sick, he was doing much better after i got there and perked right up.

Trooper, now Darko is a wonderful dog, who's only had about three accidents in his forever home. He is now living the life of a very spoiled dog, he also knows a handful of tricks including sit, lie down, roll over, shake, speak and much more. He lives with a parrot and two people who love him so much, along with friends and neighbours too.  He still hates car rides though!  I get to see him on occasions when she brings him to school or I go visit him.

Fostering Darko was a wonderful experience. The black dogs are usually more fun to foster, they seem to put out more personality!  Foster or adopt a black dog today, they make wonderful companions.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Black Dog Happy Tail "Kasey"

By Bill & Lisa Singbeil

We were a one-dog family. We had Kato, a husky-shepherd cross that we all love to pieces and that was good enough. He loves to go for walks with me, and snuggle and pretend that 80 pounds of fluff and fur is acceptable as lapdog material. He's getting older though, almost 11, and not as quick and playful as he once was.

Last June, my husband and I attended the Hi Neighbour Festival in Transcona. We visited some of the vendors, and when we got to our local pet store, Pet Peripherals, we stopped to take a look at some of the dogs and puppies that were outside the store. We learned they were all Manitoba Mutts and a kind lady explained to us that the dogs were all rescues and living in various foster homes. Nice organization, we thought to ourselves, and prepared to go on our way to the next vendor.

That is, until a little black dog all curled up in a crate by herself caught my eye. She looked so shy and terrified, she melted my heart on the spot. I went over to her to try and pet her through the cage, but she was lying against the back wall and wouldn't move an inch. I instantly fell in love with her big brown eyes.

My husband saw what was happening and said we had better get going as our son would probably be looking for us. So we went on our way. For about an hour, we walked around, and the subject of the little black dog kept coming up in conversation. I don't know what he heard, but my husband said he could tell by my voice when I talked about her that she would be coming home with us.

Eventually we made our way back to her. When we got there, the kind lady that had given us the information about Manitoba Mutts had taken her out of the cage and was holding her. She still looked so frightened.

I asked about her, and learned that she had been abandoned with her siblings in a bush somewhere and was rescued by MMDR. I knew I wanted her, but that just solidified the decision. This poor baby girl needed to be loved, and I was already falling rapidly.

Kato was pretty excited to have a new sister, whom we renamed Kasey. We were initially a little worried about how he would react, but it has been a great life changing experience for him. He no longer acts like an 'old' dog anymore - he plays again! We had learned that Kasey had a foster brother that she was close to, so we knew that she would have no problems with her new big brother.

Now they love to play together outside. We have a large field at the end of our street where I take them for walks. Quite often we'll take the paths out further away from the streets and where people walk and bike ride and I'll let them run off leash. Kasey loves to run.

She has been a great addition to our family. She has chosen my 17 year old daughter as her 'favourite' and cries when she leaves home for school or work. I am lucky in that I am able to work from home. Kasey has a bed in my home office, and will spend most of the day with me. She has brought so much to our home with her silliness and playfulness. I honestly believe that we were meant to have her as a part of our family.

It wasn't until after we had adopted her that I learned there was a stigma about black dogs. I had no idea that they were often overlooked! I never even noticed Kasey's markings or paid attention to the fact that she was mostly black until we had gotten her home. It was all her eyes for me. Her big brown eyes.