Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The (Big Black) Dog That I Needed - Cash

By Janice Dudeck
My story of adopting my black pup Cash started with the passing of my beloved Sparky in November of 2010 and then my mother-in-law passing away exactly one month later.  Needless to say we had a very sad house for that winter. The following February someone came to my house by accident as they were looking for #36 of a street close by mine. The house that they were looking for was a foster home for Manitoba Mutts. This incident got me thinking – and I started to look up different dog rescues in the city and eventually landed on MMDR’s Facebook page. I started to look at all the different types of dogs and realized that I was looking for what I had lost – Sparky. Sparky was a Parson’s Jack Russell, white and tan in colour. I reminded myself that another Jack Russell was out of the question. While Sparky was an amazing, special dog that we loved to death the last eight years of his life (he lived to 14) the first six years resembled a love/hate relationship. Also, I knew that we could not replace him so we decided to go the opposite direction – a big black dog!

I kept watching the website and saw so many beautiful pups get adopted as I was trying to make up my mind.   Then I watched the saga of Julia and her pups, they were getting very adopted quickly and it was down to one black pup left - Rie.   When I contacted MMDR I was told that there was a waiting list for him and that I had to submit an application and then attend the adoption fair that following Saturday to see if he was still available.  At that point I pretty well gave up but submitted my application that Tuesday. The next day I got a call from Jill saying that the original person did not really work out and if I wanted him to come and get!  It was all quite a shock and it turned out that Jill lived only a few blocks away, her address was 36. Figuring that this had to be fate, how could I refuse? My daughter, Molly, and I went to meet Cash for the first time.  As this happened pretty fast, I asked Jill if she could keep him for one more day while I prepped my house and myself for what I'd gotten myself into.

Needless to say Cash has been a work in progress; he is amazing and smart but also very trying… However, he has come along way since that first day!  The dog trainer that we were working with said that he was the most strong-willed dog that she has come across, actually someone affiliated with MMDR that she knew had suggested to her to adopt him (this happened prior to us meeting her) because he would be a challenge for her.  We didn't finish our obedience classes due to Cash being too much of a social butterfly and wanting to play with all the other pups (at this point he was about 70 lbs and hard to hold) and disrupted the class too much.  He has come along way since that day - we love him to pieces and can not imagine our lives without him - he is such a character.   He has helped our family to heal and give us joy again and challenges us daily all 87 lbs (and still growing) of him! 

I like the saying that you don't always get the dog that you wanted but you end up with the dog that you needed - and that's how I feel about Cash.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Dog I was Meant to Foster

By Kinesa James

On May 10, 2011 I was casually browsing the Manitoba Mutts Facebook page when I saw a picture of Ginger (now called Mycah) who needed a temporary foster home. Immediately I knew that I was meant to foster her, long term. I was informed of her aggression and was told that she should go to a home with only one other dog. I wasted no time convincing my grandmother to agree for us to foster her, and ended up picking Mycah up that night. When I met Mycah, it was instant love! She was so gently, loving and appeared to be a little social butterfly. In my truck, she sat back like she did not have a care in the world – this did not seem like a dog with aggression, I was beginning to think that that I took home the wrong dog. After unloading all her things (bowls, food, treats etc.) and got settled we took Mycah into the backyard to meet Akira (my grandmother’s dog). Everything was going fine until Akira came within five feet of her… then aggression came out. However, when I think about it now, it may not have necessarily been aggression but more so fear.

When Mycah showed aggression, I stayed calm and told her that there would be none of that. I took Akira inside to suit her up for her walk, putting on her backpack filled with water bottle and harness. I put Mycah’s leash on her as well and walked with both dogs by my sides. About five feet down the street Mycah put on the breaks – she was extremely scared. I calmly spoke to her then tied her leash onto Akira’s harness. She still put up some resistance but she got better and better through out the walk. Occasionally it took a bit of motivation to get Mycah moving, but overall she was walking much better. When we arrived at Chalmers field I let Akira off leash and watched her chase her ball. After about the fifth time she brought the ball back I noticed that Mycah wanted to play with her. I tied Mycahs leash to Akira’s harness again but noticed that it was not that comfortable for either of them when running. I unattached the dogs and they ran around playing together for a good hour.

When we got back to the house Mycah’s tail dropped between her legs and she hid in the corner of the backroom refusing to eat or touch her water. After a few hours, I was worried about her so I hand fed her and let her drink water from my hand. I took the leash and guided her to the living room where it took her half an hour to settle down. She took favour to one of Akira’s dino-bones. When night came, it took a huge amount of effort and coaxing to get her into her kennel. She hated that kennel – the night was filled with a series of cage banging and howling. In the morning, Mycah greeted us with so much excitement, as if we were the best thing to ever happen to her. We began working with her, teaching her that she does not need to be scared and how to be a real dog.

On May 24th, 2011 it was Mycahs first Adoption Fair at Best Western Foods. She was over whelmed by all the other dogs, puppies and people there. I took her on a couple walk to try and calm her down. She growled at every dog that came near and tried to sniff her, she even snapped at a few of them. With some corrections, her growls were reduced by the end of the Adoption Fair.

The next day we took Mycah to Kincona Dog Park. The moment she arrived she was completely terrified, tail tucked and ready to defend herself. I took the leash and told her to come, we began to walk and each time a dog came up to her I would let them sniff for no more than three seconds then continued walking. Finally I decided to let her off leash and let her run free and play with Akira. By the end of our dog park outing she was allowing other dogs to sniff her without showing any aggression towards them.

On June 1st, Mycah became best friends with an English Mastiff named Gibbs that I was dog sitting for a month. They played together all day, their favourite game was tug-of-war which to my surprise, Mycah won every single time! Gibbs went home on June 24th, she constantly searched the house for him completely heart broken and depressed.

On June 25th at 3:30pm, Mycah was adopted into her forever home. I was so excited when I entered the house and met her new mom. This was the perfect home for her. I fought back the tears watching the dog that I loved and cared for over the past month go from a frightened dog that hid in the corner to now walk into a house confident, wagging her tail knowing how to sit, shake a paw, lay down, sit pretty (beg) and wait at her dish until being told to eat. Watching this little angel who did not know how to be a dog become an amazing dog is one of the greatest gifts of all.

Mycah update: Mycah is a favourite at the daycare where all the kids call her “Baby Mycah”. They play with her and dress her up! She loves being a dog – and loves the snow!

Akira, Mycah & Gibbs

My Happy Foster Girl

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

My "Perfect " Dog

By Brenda P.
I lost my beloved Taija two years ago after three bouts of cancer. She was my pride and joy and an important member of my family. From the time she came to us as a small puppy we shared such a bond and were constantly together. I had lost other dogs in the past but losing Taija devastated me and completely broke my heart. I vowed I would never get another dog as no dog could replace her in my heart and we still had our other dog, Dakota.
Being an animal lover, I decided to get into fostering to fill the void that Taija had left and company for Dakota who was missing his best friend. I contemplated it all winter before I made that call last spring.
When I decided to foster, I was determined that I was not going to foster failure. Being such an avid animal lover, I knew it would difficult to let them go afterwards so I made myself a “Perfect Dog” list. I set the bar so high that no dog could ever pass. I have fostered some great dogs but none ever came close to being my “perfect” dog. I loved fostering and everything was going to plan…Or so I thought.
  Then along came Shilo (aka Buddy). I saw him come up on the website and was immediately drawn to his picture. He reminded me so much of Taija and his name was Buddy (Buddy was the name of Dakota’s grandfather who we lost in a hit and run eight years ago). I reluctantly agreed to foster him and thought to myself; he’s probably not my perfect dog anyway. Shilo definitely proved me wrong - he is that and so much more. He fit into my family perfectly from day one and I am so glad that we found each other. He helped me open up my heart to love again and I gave him the love he needed when he lost his.
Sometimes I wonder if it was fate we are together and if Taija and Buddy somehow guided us together to mend our broken hearts.
 I so love my "perfect" dog.


Sunday, 18 March 2012

A Dog to Love - FINALLY!

By Colleen Skrepich
My entire life, I have always wanted a dog, but unfortunately, the people in my life have not allowed this to happen. Growing up my parents were not dog lovers (crazy, I know!) and then my spouse was adamant about not getting a dog. But about a year ago, at the age of 46, I was finally in the position where no one could hold me back from getting a dog so I began my search. While looking online, I came across MMDR…. And I am so glad I did.

I stayed on top of the MMDR Facebook page, keeping an eye on the adoptable dogs when I saw Ori and the ice cream puppies (two brown pups and two black pups). I immediately thought Ori was so beautiful, and how could I resist her cute puppies. I arranged a meeting with them and fell in love with both Ori and Nilla, her cute black puppy with white paws. We ended up taking them both home.

I loved them both, but a problem arose. I have a pool in my backyard and Ori would not do her business on the cement. It was also very difficult to keep Nilla from wanting to nurse, we had to separate them when we could not watch them. Nilla, just being a puppy, was too young for walks, but Ori had to go for many walks as she would not “go” in the backyard. I was completely exhausted. The tough decision had to be made – we could not keep both anymore. We decided to keep Nilla as it would be easy to train a puppy to pee in the backyard, and with Ori being such an amazing dog, I knew she would find a wonderful home. Which she did.

Nilla is 9 months old and she is the best dog. Since she was five months old she has been able to have the run of the house when she is alone. She has never chewed anything or had an accident. She has a lot of fun at the dog park playing with other dogs. We recently got a kitten, and boy does she love her, too… but she does like to chase her around now and then. Even my mom, who never liked dogs, loves Nilla and agrees that she is the best dog ever!

Nilla has gotten me through a really tough year, full of changes.  There is nothing better than coming home and having such a loving greeting waiting at the door. I know that technically I gave her a second chance, but she has helped me, in so many ways.

At the MMDR Christmas party, we got to see Ori again and also met Nilla's sister Cara. It turns out that we live close together and have even had a puppy play date with Cara.

I've recently been thinking of becoming a foster for MMDR and would sure be partial to those sweet black mutts! It should be Love a Black Dog Month EVERY month of the year!  

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Channelling My Inner Dog Whisperer

By Jenn H.

I would never consider myself a dog trainer by any means, but being such an avid fan of Dog Whisperer, I like to pretend that I’m qualified. I thought I had my work cut out when fostering Maple, a four month old puppy, untrained, fearful and permanently situated under my kitchen table. I couldn’t be more wrong! I picked Miss Maple up on January 8th and I quickly learned what the key motivator for her was… Food!
First things first – the dreaded collar:
Maple had no problem allowing me to put the collar on her; it was when the collar on her that the problem arose. You see, the second Maple would take a step while wearing it; she would fall to the ground and try to scratch it off! A series of many full speed jaunts and various flips followed in attempts to rid herself of this “dreadful thing” around her neck. Happily, after 4 days she finally gave in! One thing down, many more to go.

I figured as a border collie/husky cross, Maple surely had the brain capabilities – but did this sweet girl have the patience? Well, it turns out that patience can be bought in the form of treats – and Maple had patience for anything – as long as there was a treat involved. Within only a few short days (and a few treats later) Maple learned to sit! I am proud to say that this little princess now sits, shakes both paws and lies down on command (I guess I have a little Dog Whisperer in me after all). Our next barrier to work on: To get this girl a loving forever home – which we were successful at as well! 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Making a Family Whole Again - Tig!

By Tara Leger

We had just purchased our house and were preparing to move in, when our 11 year old lab, Buddy got sick. Our poor baby who had struggled with allergies and had been slowly going blind for most of his life had developed an ulcer on his eye. Sadly, despite the veterinarian’s best efforts, Buddy just kept getting sicker and sicker. On his last night the poor guy couldn’t even keep water down. Various tests proved that unfortunately we would not be able to improve Buddy’s life expectancy and we were forced to make the heartbreaking decision to put our poor old man down. This left us with empty hearts, my husband especially as this had been his baby. Behind, Buddy also left a very sad fur brother at home.

We moved into our house and Cheeko, our sadden fur baby seemed to be going through a depression mixed in with a lot of changes. I had started looking into adoption and fostering options for us but my husband was not 100% on-board.

I added various shelters to my Facebook to see what rescue dogs and puppies were available. I completely fell in love with Tig when I first saw his photo! Those eyes melted my heart. Now it was just convincing my husband that it was the right choice for us. We arranged for Cheeko to meet Tig, (as Cheeko can be a bit bossy). They got along amazing…My anti-social little man actually played with Tig…My husband couldn't believe it! I still had some convincing to do with my husband, but two days later Tig came home with me!

Now Tig has it so good and he is so good to us. In the mornings after my husband gets up for work, Tig cuddles with me in bed. Now when I say cuddles I mean literally cuddles - he wraps his paws around me and snuggles my face with his! My husband has become really attached and takes both boys to the dog park almost daily! He's working with Tig on his training and really enjoying his company!
Tig loves his bossy big brother but doesn't let him boss him around. They are always playing together and chasing each other around. Tig is an amazing addition to our family and I am looking forward to seeing how the boys are with the newest addition – coming any day now!

Thank you Manitoba Mutts for saving Tig and his family, he is truly a blessing to our family and we are enjoying every minute with him!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Finding Love Again. Twice. (Milo & Otis)

By Sara R.

My journey with Manitoba Mutts is just beginning, but I wanted to share my story anyways, because meeting Milo has been life changing for me.

Our family shared seven years with a beautiful border collie named Freddy.  He was loving and smart. Freddy loved learning new tricks, he was my best friend and I was his person.  When he was three, something happened (we later learned he had had a stroke) and Freddy got very sick.  We had him tested for what we thought was everything, and found very little.  He recovered, but he was never quite the same dog, and while 95% of the time, he was just Freddy, loyal and loving and rooted by my side, he would have these “episodes” – he went into a rage and was completely uncontrollable.  They worsened over the next four years, became more frequent.  There was no warning, he would go from calm one minute to cornering one of us the next, and then he started to attack.  I bear many scars from Freddy, because I wanted to try EVERYTHING before I would accept that I could not help him.  It was a rescue shelter for border collies that helped lead me to the dreaded answer, Freddy had a brain tumor. When Freddy would attack us he would not eat for days…he was whiny and moped.  When we knew what it was, we had no choice, our Freddy was suffering.  The day he died was the worst day of my life and even months later; I could not get past the grief.

My husband came to the conclusion that it was time for another dog - he knew before I did how much I needed it. He wrote to Manitoba Mutts with what he thought would suit our family… a young very pregnant Shipoo had been brought in, and we could meet her to see if we might be interested in one of her pups. We walked in and Milo (then Harlo) was petrified.  She was shaking and my heart reached out.  I needed to give this dog a home!  I spoke to her, and her tail moved, a little wag that made her mine!  We decided that day to adopt Milo and one of the pups (who we would name Otis, why? Because that’s just cute!)

We were not able to bring Milo home that day, as she was due in the next two weeks, in addition she had some medical issues from her previous life that needed to be resolved.  Our Milo gave birth to seven puppies, just after Christmas! The countdown to her homecoming begins!

Manitoba Mutts has made this journey with Milo a joy, we have been allowed to get to know Milo through visits, and we love her SO much!  She has become very comfortable with us, bonds more each visit, and “claims” us a little around her foster brother, Bonzai!  Last visit, I had a wonderful snuggle with one of her beautiful boys, while Milo sat contently on my husband’s lap, gently wrapping him around her little paw! 

Our story continues, as Milo will be coming home soon – in about three weeks, and Otis will follow two weeks later. Our journey is just beginning, but has changed my life! Thank you MMDR for bringing a light back to my heart!


Thursday, 8 March 2012

You can have allergies and a dog ... five ways to create a pet-friendly home

With spring just around the corner, most of us will experience some “spring fever” allergies.  Although dog allergies may deter you from adopting, there are a handful of things you can do at home to enjoy a pet without compromising your health. 

Get a good allergist
If you have allergies to dogs or other furry creatures, there’s a good chance you suffer from other allergies too.  If you get other allergies under control, it will make living with a pet that much easier. 

Create a pet-free zone
The most ideal place would be the bedroom.  This allows you to spend a good portion of your day free from pet dander.  Have a good night’s sleep and be healthier. 

Invest in HEPA filters and air purifiers
Most allergies are triggered from pet dander and dust, most of which are so tiny they can’t be seen.  Vacuuming with a HEPA filter and running an air purifier will catch these allergy triggers allowing you to breathe cleaner. 

Opt for washable pet bedding
Most airborne allergens will collect where your pet hangs out most often.  And where would that be?  Yup, in their bed or sleeping area.  Washing your pet’s bedding on a weekly basis will reduce allergen build up and it’ll probably smell better too. 

Take a bath
Bathing and brushing your pet is a sure way of reducing allergens.  Get in a routine of a weekly bath and brush to keep hair and danders to a minimum.  An added bonus, regular baths are good for your pet’s health too. 

Most people with mild to moderate allergies can live a happy, healthy life with a pet.  Living with allergies doesn’t need to mean living without a pet.