Play!

One of the things that rocks my world is getting to help with play groups.  What does that mean?  Have a looksie:

Pit Bulls Playing

Those are the faces of two very happy girls.  Every morning we take multiple dogs out and put them in play groups.  We rotate through the dogs that we know enjoy playing with friends and give them a seriously needed outlet for their pent up energy and kennel stress.

Pit Bulls Playing

Pit Bulls Playing

Not only does it tire the pups out in record time, and give them a mental breather, it also gives us valuable information about the dogs.

Crazy Eyes

Play Group

Play Group

For example, the crazy-eyed little pooch above seems rather anti-social when in her kennel, but the second you get her out she is a total social butterfly, bouncing from friend to friend, both canine and human.  Other dogs, like Armand (the black, tan, and white boy below) are painfully shy but quickly gain confidence when surrounded by canine friends.

Friends

FriendsAnd how do we figure out who likes play groups?  Well we test them of course!  Everyone gets a chance to see how they like it.  This lets us know if the dogs love canine friends, only prefer human friends, or fall somewhere in the middle.  Talk about valuable knowledge when speaking with potential adopters!  For example, if I know a certain dog really likes other dogs of the opposite sex, but not of the same, and a family is interested in her that happens to have a resident canine of the same sex, then I can warn them that it’s likely not a good match and work with them to find a different dog that would love their current canine and therefore be a success match.  By utilizing this knowledge on the front end I can prevent a dog from going home, things not going well, and getting returned to the shelter where she potentially may have developed behavioral problems.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Adoptable DogsA happy dog is a more adoptable dog; just another reason I am loving my job at the Jacksonville Humane Society.  Have you heard of play groups at shelters before?  What do you think about it?  Have you ever gotten to be part of this magical time?

All of the happy pooches seen here today are still looking for their forever homes!  If you are in the Jacksonville, FL area and in need of a playful friend email me or contact JHS!

Help a Sister Out?

Oh my.  Based on some of the comments on my last post, I’m afraid I may have made it sound like I don’t intend to stay involved in rescue!  That my friends is about as far from the truth as Miley Cyrus is from becoming a nun.  It’s true, I will not be taking in any fosters in the foreseeable future, but there is SO much more to rescue than just fostering.  (Obviously fostering is an integral component though…please consider fostering if you haven’t already!)  Don’t believe me?  Read what my friend wrote here.  I have done and/or still do all the things she talks about, and even some other things she didn’t mention.  Rescues are a seriously complicated business!  It’s a constantly moving target.  A target that is also a gigantic jigsaw puzzle that you’re usually waiting to find the last pieces to.

Elliot

Plus, did you guys forget this announcement?!  Even though I’d love nothing more than to keep fostering, by branching out Last Hope I will potentially be able to help many, maaany more dogs than I would by fostering one at a time.  I’m excited!  But this leads me to the point of this post.  I need your help.  I know many of you that choose to take 5 minutes out of your day to read my little blog are also involved in dog rescue in one way or another.  I need your creative brains, experiences, and opinions!  I’m not having any luck in finding foster families here in Jacksonville, and until I do that, I can’t do anything else.

Joffy

I sent out an email to basically everyone I know announcing the plans and asking that they please forward the email along to anyone that might be interested in fostering.  There was also a flyer attached that I asked them to print and post around the offices, favorite coffee shops, etc.  (I offered to hand deliver flyers if they didn’t want to use their own paper and ink.)  So far I’ve gotten no response.  I think because I did this right before the holidays a lot of people may have disregarded it just because they had a lot going on.  So I’m going to send out another similar email in a week or so.  And I’ve also ordered cute pamphlets that I plan to distribute to vets office, pet stores, etc. all about fostering.  But that’s all I’ve got.  “Sales” is not my strong point and that’s basically what I need to be doing.  I need to sell the idea of fostering and get people, in a city where I just moved and basically know no one, excited and wanting to foster.  SOS!  I need help.  Ideas.  Suggestions.  How do I get complete strangers on board with fostering?  Brilliant Readers Of This Blog, help a sister out!  I would oh-so greatly appreciate any and all ideas you might have and be willing to share.  Thank you in advance!

Daddy

As if you haven’t seen enough of them lately, the pups in this post are some of the ones at the top of my priority list.  They are already part of Last Hope Rescue but for various reasons are living in a boarding facility, even though they are fabulous dogs.  I want to get them out but I need foster families to do that!  If one catches your eye or you would like more information about them, or becoming a foster, please email me at morganrivera518(at)gmail(dot)com.  Thanks!

New Year, and a Resolution?

What is this funny clicking feeling under my fingers?  Oh, a keyboard?  And I’m forming words?  I’m blogging again?!  Okay, so it’s “only” been twenty days since my last blog, and admittedly since I’ve even read anyone else’s, but I’m back!  I’ve kind of had a lot going on: hosting a big Christmas Eve dinner, a close family member that was just diagnosed with cancer of the boobies, the devastating realization that I cannot continue to spend money on rescue stuff the way I did last year (damn you budgeting!), other minor things  (admittedly including a lack of motivation), and lastly, something I debated even sharing: my girls got into another fight.

Atlas

Here’s the deal: I’m embarrassed, ashamed, and heartbroken that I have allowed this to happen…again.  I have sworn to protect these lives.  I am supposed to keep them safe.  I have charged myself with their health and happiness.  And here’s the worst part: it’s actually the third time a fight has occurred.  I never said anything after the second fight because I just didn’t know what to say.  I decided though that the entire point of this blog is to talk about dog related topics, put myself in the blinding spotlight, and hopefully help some people along the way by sharing my experiences; be them good or bad.

Joffy 2

There are different schools of thought when it comes to multiple dog households.  I know some people with even more dogs than me and fights are a regular occurrence.  They liken it to us humans living with roommates.  You live alone, you’re never going to fight.  You live with one other person and likely things will go smooth but maybe you will have little squabbles here and there (Buddy and Tag lived in perfect harmony for 5 years.)  You live with three, or four, or more and the chances of personalities clashing grows with each addition.  I’ll be honest, to some extent this is my mentality.  More personalities = more chances of personality conflicts.  Then there is the opposite school of thought, which is that through proper management no matter how many dogs you have, they should all get along, all the time.  I agree with this, too.  Which leads to my confusion and frustration over the whole situation.  What am I doing wrong?  Am I not tough enough?  Do the dogs not feel safe with me?  Do I not have any control over my own household?!

Elliot II

I’ve analyzed the three fights a million times in my head.  The first time was when we were away at work, so we didn’t see the actual fight happen, but there was strong evidence to suggest that Tag attacked Maggie.  There was also a second foster puppy in our house at the time.  The second fight happened when a friend was in town visiting with her two dogs.  This time the fight was witnessed and it absolutely was Tag that attacked Maggie.  The third fight happened when my brother came over on Christmas with his two dogs.  The start of this fight wasn’t witnessed so it’s hard to say who started it.  What’s the common denominator?  Another dog(s) in our house.

Radar II

As I’m typing this, the girls are curled around each other, almost forming a perfect circle.  There is no arguing that they adore each other…when their world is precisely in order.  It doesn’t matter that they get along perfectly with all of the other dogs that have been present for the fights.  They never fight with other dogs, but their world was out of order with them in it.  As far as I can tell, it’s Tag lashing out at Maggie each time.  And this makes sense if I think about it.  Tag has always been whatever the doggie version of jealous is.  I know their thoughts and emotions aren’t as complex as ours (that’s not to say they don’t have them though!) but if you have ever interacted with Tag, you know what I am talking about.  For the first roughly 3/4 of her life she lived with me and Buddy.  No one else.  No other dogs, no other people.  Then Rich moved in.  Then I started fostering.  Her little world was changing, and she didn’t like it.  Maggie was originally a foster, and I think Tag was okay with her in the house because she thought she would leave one day, too.  But Maggie stayed.  And timid Maggie got lots of attention as I worked to help her gain confidence and come out of her shell.  The first fight happened after Maggie had been in our home for about 8 months.  And there was another dog there, too.  It’s like Tag exceeded her threshold and snapped.

Harley

So this brings me around to my resolution.  After a long chat with Stephanie from And Foster Makes Five (who is truly one of the greatest friends I could ever imagine) I accepted the fact that I need to be spending more one-on-one time with each of my dogs.  I am confident that my dogs are in fact well trained, and know what is expected of them, but there is never such a thing as too much training, or continued reinforcement of the fact that I am the leader, protector, and yes boss, of this family.  Obviously they need the alone time and individual attention more than I had realized.  I don’t need to beat myself up anymore about the fights, I just need to actively prevent them from ever happening again.

Daddy II

Obviously this also means that I can not allow any triggers, i.e. other dogs, into our home again as long as Tag is alive.  This hurts my heart more than I can express with words.  Daily I see dogs I could be helping.  I live in a big house with a big yard.  There is ample room here for other dogs.  I have abundant resources.  But my obligation is first and foremost to the dogs that I have already made a commitment to.  So, no more friends over with their dogs.  No more puppies sleeping over as they travel through town on their way to a rescue or forever home.  No more fosters.  Ever.

Do any of you have a New Year’s Resolution that involves your dogs?  Have you ever had to make a really tough decision, like never having another new dog in your home?  Do share!

Every single one of the gorgeous dogs in this post is still searching for his or her forever home.  They are genuinely good dogs and crave the love and attention that comes from a family all their own.  Please share and help them find their perfect match.  And feel free to email me if you have even the smallest of questions about any of them: morganrivera518(at)gmail(dot)com.  Thanks!           

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Maggie is not very happy with me.  She says I have not been home enough lately and, even more importantly, I have not been keeping up with my blogging duties.  She says her fans miss her and I need to rectify the situation immediately.

IMG_2298My apologies to everyone, including The Moo.  This month is crazy for me: ending my job of five years, getting married, honeymoon, and moving.  So, I may neglect the blog some but I promise to do my best.  I know I’ve got legal issues that need addressing and I shall get to them just as fast as I can!  Promise.

FUNdraising For Food!

Like I mentioned yesterday, I am on a bit of a mission to re-vamp the blog.  Since my current foster, Maggie, has been with me close to a year now, I feel that I have kind of ran out of interesting foster related stories to tell.  This is not to say I don’t still want to promote fostering, because believe me, I do!  It’s just to say that in the interest of continuing to do as much good as possible with this space, I think I need to change it up a bit.  And since I have an (almost) attorney at my disposal wanting to help, I figured why not take full advantage and dive into some legal issues while continuing to promote the “bully” breeds I love and of course, fostering?

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Nala, available for adoption through Last Hope Rescue.

I was inspired to start blogging by Love & A Six-Foot Leash and frequently stalk enjoy their blog.  They do this adorable thing where they take questions from fellow bloggers and their dogs “respond”.  Recently another blog that I love, Mr. and Mrs. & Nola Kisses, sent in a really great question: How do you get famous (i.e. more followers)?  Being such a popular blog, this was a great question for them to answer.

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Maggie, also available for adoption through Last Hope Rescue.

I mentally checked off their suggestions: high quality photos (ok, no more iPhone pictures, duly noted!), post regularly (workin’ on it!), write from the heart (oh, I’ve got that one covered–see here for a prime example of writing a tough post), network (noted!), think big (I’ve already written some pretty controversial posts but this is the direction I’m really hoping to head), and finally, host fundraisers, contests, and giveaways…which leads me to today’s post!

It’s time to FUNdraise up in here!

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Maggie, Nala, and (unadoptable) Tag basking in the sun.

As you may or may not know, I foster through Last Hope Rescue, which is an awesome local rescue that pulls dogs from high-kill shelters like Wakulla that I have frequently talked about, as well as many others.  If I’m going to do a fundraiser, it is without a doubt, going to benefit them!

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Nala’s cherry eye was fixed a couple of days after these photos were taken. Thank you Last Hope!

So here’s the deal: We are doing our own version of “Kibbles for Comments”!  You may have seen this idea around town the blogging world, and I love it, but I can’t just do the same thing as everyone else.  Oh no!  I am going to make you work for it too.  Since I have the brilliant mind of Rich at my disposal eager to help, I want YOU to comment with any legal type suggestions (dog related of course!) for future posts. Together we will research and do future posts dedicated to the issues you raise!  Think of things like, “There is a proposed bill in _____ city and I don’t understand it, can you explain it?”  Feel free to get as creative and in-depth as you want.  We welcome the challenge!  And don’t worry, there will still be plenty of silly posts in the mix too.

For every “legal” suggestion we receive in a comment for the next week, we will donate 1lb. of dog food to Last Hope Rescue!  Now go tell your friends, please!

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Foster mom tells me there are lots of dogs in need of food. Please help her help them!

Field of Wildflowers

Since it’s Monday, and if you’re anything like me your brain isn’t really quite ready to commit to the work-week again, I thought you all might like a nice long post full of pictures of cute dogs that requires no thinking whatsoever, just enjoying.  Here you go!

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Adoptable (and suuuper sweet) Nala!

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Now THIS is a happy pup. Adoptable Maggie!

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Have you ever seen such a goofy, happy grin? Adoptable Duncan!

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Old lady Tag, the only dog there that already has her forever home.

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Mariah spent time taking photos too. Check her out here: http://unsaidyetunderstood.wordpress.com/

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Fun in the Sun!

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Maggie has the right idea, always take time to smell the..err…flowers?

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“This girls are so crazy. I loves them all!” -Duncan

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Foster brother and sister, showin’ the love!

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Back to being best friends.

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I hope your brains enjoyed this laid back post.  Remember, all the dogs but Tag are available for adoption.  Feel free to share away and help Mariah and I find them their forever homes.  Happy Monday!

(not even close to) Wordless Wednesday

So I was scrolling through my phone, trying to decide what the “theme” of my Wordless Wednesday would be, and nothing was really jumping out at me.  Things are slow on the fostering front–Maggie hasn’t decided to eat anything else deadly lately so not much to report there.  I have all these random pictures, from random events, and then it hit me!  Why not just share some of my many random adventures over the last year?  They aren’t all fostering related, but most involve dogs (or some sort of animal), and there is even a little bit of photographic evidence that I do, occasionally, have a life outside of dogs.  Are you excited?  Here goes:

I went on trips to the beach:

Beach

I enjoyed my goofy permanent dogs:

BuddyTag

 I spent a week in New Orleans living at the Villalobos Rescue (from the show Pit Bulls and Parolees) and volunteering with some of the coolest people I’ve ever met:

Puppies

I crawled under a house in the middle of the country to save this sweet little dog:

Annie

I fostered this goofy puppy, Dash:

Dash

And temporarily this one, Harley:

Penny

I learned that snakes aren’t scary:

Kaa

I hung out with my wonderful brothers:

BenNicI nearly had my head bitten off by this huge guy:

KingI temporarily fostered three little kitties until I could find them a rescue:

KittiesI acted like someone my age and went to Vegas (twice):

VegasI helped wrangle dogs like Georgie at adoption events:

GeorgieI started a pack walking group called TallahasseeWalkABulls:

AI saw this guy at a shelter and promised to find him a home, and did:

AceI have been fostering this goof, Maggie:

Maggie MoosAnd (this is technically this year and not last but I’m still so excited about it that I’m sharing it anyways) found these two girls a home, with my brother!

GirlsSomewhere in there I also managed to (finally) graduate from college and get engaged to the most wonderful guy ever.  How am I going to top all that this year?  Stay tuned and I guess we will see!