Maggie’s First Christmas

Maggie is almost two, but there is no doubt in my mind that this was her first Christmas.  Rich’s parent’s very sweetly got a gift for all three dogs and we decided to let them open it themselves.  It was a hoot!  Watch the video here. (I suggest you hit “mute” now unless you want to listen to me laughing like a fool.)

Each of the dogs now have their own, new squeaky toy to play with.  Buddy is particularly smitten with his.

photo-4

photo-2photo-1Id say this was a pretty great first Christmas for Maggie!

Captions!

As many of you know, Maggie makes faces.  Funny ones.  I thought it would be fun to add captions:

"I'm sexy and I know it!"

                                                             “I’m sexy and I know it!”

"My plan is almost complete.  Muahahaaa"

                                           “My plan is almost complete. Muahahaaa”

"You mean you're NOT my real mom?"

                                       “You mean you’re NOT my real mom?”

"I do not appreciate pictures this early in the morning!"

                              “I do not appreciate pictures this early in the morning!”

Please, tell me what you think her captions should say!

 

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Some pictures from our pack walk last weekend.

Precious Lola.  A former Last Hope Rescue dog that was adopted by the most wonderful couple!

Precious Lola. A former Last Hope Rescue dog that was adopted by the most wonderful couple!

Handsome Kahlua is working through some of his fears (like scary bicycles!) and doing very well.

Handsome Kahlua is working through some of his fears (like scary bicycles!) and doing very well.

IMG_0672IMG_0681IMG_0671

The "Black Dog" club.  All gorgeous.  All saved from shelters where their coloring could have lead to their demise.

The “Black Dog” club. All gorgeous. All saved from shelters where their coloring made it a miracle they got out alive.

Lola (left) Maggie (center) and Lola's sister Yagé (right)

Lola (left) Maggie (center) and Lola’s sister Yagé (right)

IMG_0723I can’t wait for our next walk this weekend!

 

Merry Christmas, and Happy Versatility?

Merry Christmas Everyone!  This morning after breakfast a couple of rescue friends that were in town and I loaded up and headed down to Wakulla to do our best to spread a little cheer to the dogs at Animal Control.  It’s not a particularly nice day out today but the dogs were certainly happy to get to run around and play.  We were hoping a couple of potential adopters might come out but we had no such luck.  Regardless, we were glad the dogs all got extra playtime and lovin’.

versatilebloggernominations

The actual point of my blog today is to announce that I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award!  Thank you SO MUCH Grimm’s Furry Tail!  I am SO flattered to have received this since it means that apparently I’m not as boring of a writer as I think I am.  I feel like I’m a little all over the place: fostering, starting the Tallahassee WalkABulls, Board Member for Last Hope Rescue, and now everything I’m trying to do with Wakulla County Animal Control, but it’s all dog related and I’ve therefore never considered myself very versatile.  So, thank you again Grimm’s Furry Tail for seeing in my blog what I apparently can’t.  (By the way, anyone looking for a new blog to follow should totally check out this blog–great stuff!)

So, there are a couple of rules to make this official.  First, display award certificate on your website (see above).  Second, announce the win and post a link to who nominated you (see this post).  Third, post seven interesting things about yourself (below).  Fourth, nominate 15 others deserving bloggers (I might struggle with this one and do less), and finally, tip off the others that you have nominated them!  So, for my interesting facts:

1)  I looove scary movies.  And thrillers/mysteries.  And comedies.  NOT mushy movies.  I have total guy taste in movies.

2)  I learned how to swim before I learned how to walk.  I am a total fish.  I joined a swim team when I was 5 and swam competitively through high school but like an idiot turned down a college scholarship because I was “burnt out” (not one of my better decisions.)

3)  I graduated from high school a year early, moved into my own apartment, and started college.  I then proceeded to change majors approximately 47 times and finally ended up with a degree in Accounting.  Nerdy much?

4)  I’m getting married in less than 5 months and we’ve basically planned everything already (it’s very small and simple) but if I were going to actually have a full blown wedding, I would insist that it be Day Of The Dead themed.  Sugar skulls?  Yes please!

5)  I’d like to become a certified personal trainer one day.  Or a photographer.  Or surf instructor.  Basically, I just don’t want to sit at a desk (good thing I got that accounting degree, right?)

6)  I snort when I laugh.

7)  I love to cook, and very rarely follow recipes, but am always told that I’m good. Either Rich is a liar or I should add “Cooking Show Host” to my list of acceptable non-accounting careers.

Ok, now for my nominees!

1)  Two Pitties in the City – I love this blog, they are incredibly versatile, and are the reason I started Tallahasse WalkABulls.

2)  And Foster Makes Five – I love this blog for it’s honesty and support of bully breeds.

3)  Love and a Six-Foot Leash – Totally inspirational.  Beautiful dogs.  Amazing pictures.  Seriously cool people.

4)  Pittiful Love – They own, foster, and advocate for bully breeds.  They rock.

5)  Peace, Love & Fostering – Yet another blog all about fostering and supporting bully breeds.  Get lost in her pictures!

6)  kate with a camera – Kate is  beautiful photographer and animal advocate.  Her pictures are simply amazing.  I want her 1/100th of her talent.

And for my last nominee I thought I’d throw in ONE that isn’t dog related:

7)  From a Miss to a Mrs – This blog is written by a friend of mine (and fellow dog lover) but is mostly centered around her life as a newlywed.

I hope you consider checking out some of these awesome blogs!  And thank you again Grimm for nominating me!  Merry Christmas everyone!

(almost) Worldless Wednesay

I just bought Maggie a new dog bed and about three days later I came home to find this

photo-2I asked Maggie if she had fun with her bed and this is how she reacted:

photo-1After refusing to come into the room for about 10 minutes, she then decided that her best bet was to sit in the middle of the crime scene with the poutiest puppy face she could manage, and beg for mercy:

photo-1 copyFor the record, all I did was laugh.  How could anyone be mad at that face?

Tallahassee WalkABulls

Some of my more astute readers might have noticed that there is a new little tab at the top of my page that says “Tallahassee WalkABulls”.  This is something that I recently added but haven’t spent much time actually talking about so I figured hey, why not today?

IMG_0263There are quite a few different blogs that I follow and that have inspired me in different ways.  One of them is Two Pitties in the City who started a group call Chicago SociaBulls.  I just thought it was the coolest idea ever and started researching “pack walks” more in depth.  Initially I thought it would be a great way to showcase pit bulls in a positive light, and it certainly is, but the more I read, the more I realized it has other huge benefits.

IMG_0486Many dogs, like my foster Maggie, come with their fair share of “issues”.  For Maggie, among other things was meeting new people and dogs.  When Maggie first came to my house she was terrified of the world.  I worked and worked to gain her trust and my efforts paid off.  She realized that we (Buddy, Tag, and I) were actually her friends and that she could trust us.  This was all good and well, but Maggie was still scared of new people and dogs.  If a dog came up to her to sniff and say “hi” Maggie would respond by snapping at them.  Not because she was mean, but because she was scared.  If a person tried to say “hi” to her, she would back away and cower as if they were going to start beating her at any moment.  If we were outside the safety of my apartment, Maggie’s tail never came out from being tucked between her legs and she would basically crawl rather than stand upright.  So you can see, she had “issues”.  After reading all about “pack walks” I realized that this would be an excellent way for her to get some socialization and begin working her through these “issues”.

IMG_0494The idea behind pack walks is simple.  Dogs are by nature pack animals and by getting together with other responsible dog owners, we help to simulate that “pack” feel for the dogs.  I have a very strict rule with the pack walks: no dog to dog interactions.  The dogs must stay a leash length away from each other initially and can slowly move closer as the dogs get into the groove of the walk.  You’re thinking, “wait a second, I thought this was supposed to help with socialization?”  Well it is!  By not allowing the dogs to actually meet face to face, we eliminate that social pressure and the dogs very quickly relax and are able to comfortably be part of the pack.

IMG_0499Some dogs, like handsome Jango pictured above, have basically no issues.  Other dogs that come to the walks have never even met another dog that doesn’t live in their home.  We welcome dogs of all socialization levels to join us.  I started this to have fun, exercise our dogs (and ourselves!), help dogs with “issues” and of course, positively showcase as many pit bulls as we can!  No matter your dog’s personality type or socialization level, this is a place where you will be welcome.

IMG_0259I’ve had a lot of people ask me if only pit bulls are allowed to come.  Of course not!  How shameful of me would it be to deny a dog access to a fun and positive event just because it wasn’t a pit bull?  Very.  Pit bull owners routinely find themselves excluded from events just because of the way their dog looks.  What kind of an advocate would I be if I did the same thing?  No way Jose!

IMG_0265I am hoping to one day make this group popular enough that I actually attract volunteers that don’t own dogs so they can walk some of the foster dogs for the various organizations that I volunteer with.  It would be a great way to get adoptable dogs more exposure and adopted quicker so that their foster could save another.

IMG_0487I really do believe that these walks have enormous benefits for the dogs, after all, I have have living proof in the form of Maggie!  So, if you are in the Tallahassee area and own, foster, or would just like to walk a dog, email me and come on out!  The more the merrier!

m.parr.lhr@gmail.com or TallyWalkABulls@gmail.com

The Butterfly Effect

Saturday night I finally got off the phone with a fellow volunteer around midnight and as I lay in bed I started thinking about the butterfly effect.  You’ve all heard of it, right?  The theory that the flap of a butterfly’s wings can create a chain of events that leads to a tsunami on the other side of the world?  Well, I felt like I was smack dab in the middle of one of those tsunamis, and realized that not only was I, but tons of other people, in this position because of one person’s actions.

IMG_0446To make an incredibly long story short, the animal control that I volunteer at had a Great Dane surrendered by the owner last week.  Hell broke loose across the state of Florida on Friday night after I posted his picture with people wanting to save this dog.  On an unrelated note, I find it extremely frustrating that people were literally fighting over this dog while we have tons of other beautiful and healthy dogs (the dogs featured in this post are just some of them) that are sitting there with no interest in them at all-but that’s another issue for another day.  Anyways, I lay there thinking about all of the people that were working to save this dog.  There are the three officers at animal control, plus the volunteers (there are four of us), plus all of the people that do crossposting and help us keep track of comments on Facebook, plus the various decision makers at the rescues that were interested in him, plus the volunteers that they got in touch with to try and help them with transport, plus all of the people that those volunteers reached out to for help….the list goes on and on.  Here we were, midnight on a Saturday, not much more than 24 hours after we had posted his picture, and I’m guessing a couple of hundred people were in a state of panic.

IMG_0508

And why are all of these people in a panic?  Because one person decided that they could not care for their dog and, instead of taking any personal responsibility for their animal, they dumped the dog at animal control where it would become someone else’s problem. It’s this attitude, this “it’s someone else’s problem” mindset that is making me crazy.  Because that’s what it boils down to, isn’t it?  The dog/cat/whatever isn’t the owner’s problem once they don’t want it anymore; there is someone else that will clean up their mess.

IMG_0528

And it’s not just pets that people seem to have this attitude with.  There is the person that throws their trash out the car window because someone else will pick it up.  Or the person that leaves their cart in the middle of the parking lot instead of walking 10 extra feet and putting it in the cart spot because someone else will do it for them.  Or the people that see a person with a flat tire but continue driving because surely there is someone else that will stop and help them.

IMG_0534

Last week I was very graciously invited to an hour long radio interview where I got to talk all about Last Hope Rescue and at the very end, the host asked us, “If you could have just one wish, any wish, what would it be?”  The other person said it would be to win the lottery and build a huge facility for Last Hope to use.  Since this was a pretty great wish I felt a little put on the spot and answered “increased education so people would understand the importance of spaying and neutering, and responsible pet ownership so that we can get to the root of the problem”.  I see now that I made a mistake.  My wish should have been for people to take responsibility for their actions.  Because until people start to do that, other people are going to continuing using their time and resources to fix what becomes a huge problem when really there shouldn’t even be a problem that needs fixing to begin with.

IMG_0554

Can you imagine if everyone that made the decision to own a pet took it as a lifelong commitment?  It would mean that all of the energy myself and other volunteers spend saving the life of a dog that the owner no longer deemed their problem, could be spent saving dogs that never had a home to begin with.  Or educating people on responsible pet ownership.  Or lobbying for better laws surrounding pet ownership, breeding, and breed specific legislation.  We could actually get to the root of these problems.  It would be the butterfly effect but in a positive direction instead of the negative one we seem to be stuck in.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?

King - the dog an entire state fought over.

King – the dog an entire state fought over.