Catching Up

I feel like I’m saying this all the time, but the blog sure has been quiet lately, hasn’t it?  If you follow THPL on Facebook you already know that in the beginning of February I was taken by surprise and asked to become an Adoption Counselor for the Jacksonville Humane Society.  Quite flattering and super exciting!  The only downside?  I have decided, for now at least, to keep my current boring desk job.  Between the two I’ve been working a lot of hours each week (like, more than double what I was previously), hence the neglected blog.  But I L.O.V.E what I do at the Humane Society, which means it doesn’t feel like “work” at all, and quite frankly I have the greatest husband and dogs, so for now it works.  Stay tuned for some lessons I have already learned in the short time I’ve been working there!

Hiking

You might remember this post where I shared my excitement over deploying with the HSUS to be part of the #367 rescue.  I was adamant that I would go into the week remembering that they don’t need my tears, they needed my strength.  Despite thinking I was pretty well prepared for the experience I still had a hard time, at times.  There were major highs and in particular one major low; it was an emotional roller coaster.  I promise to go into more detail later but for now I will say that the majority of those dogs have it better than most shelter dogs do.  There were some things I didn’t agree with, but in general I felt like the HSUS was fighting for the dogs’ futures.  In fact, one of the highs was when seven dogs got to leave and go start their lives in foster homes.  Talk about thrilling!

Foster Puppy

With all the excitement/lack of free time, I have neglected to mention one very exciting piece of news: I have a new foster!  Okay, okay so that’s not exactly true.  But I have secured the first foster home in Jacksonville for Last Hope Rescue, and the first foster dog arrived a couple of weeks ago.  Bootsie is her name, being adorable is her game.  The foster mom is a good friend of my brother’s (see this post for how freaking awesome he is) so he is constantly over there helping her with the ins and outs of parenting a puppy.  I’m not sure if  Bootsie is just really super duper smart or if my brother is just that awesome at training, but either way, Bootsie is pretty much the perfect puppy.  She absolutely adores other dogs and has become quite the little hiking buddy (see: pictures throughout this post) and as far as I can tell, her only flaw is that she still needs some help in the loose-leash walking department.  If you happen to know anyone in the Florida area that is looking for a perfect little Lab type puppy, please do share this post with them!  I’d love for her to be adopted while she still has a little puppy breath left.

Foster Puppy

There.  I think I have managed to briefly catch up on things here at THPL.  Since today is my one day a week off, and my dogs are giving me majorly pathetic sad puppy eyes, I am off to take them on a much deserved romp in the woods!

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Some pictures from Buddy’s day:

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You might recognize the pretty little lady from this post.

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I’d say those are some happy pups, wouldn’t you?  If you missed it on Facebook, here is the link to my Etsy shop.  It’s sparse right now, but I plan to add new listings every day or so, so check back often if you think you’re interested!

Thankful

A little over a week ago I was approached by someone I work with asking if I might be able to help with a friend-of-a-friend that was trying to re-home their dog.  I got their information and reached out, sure that I would not actually be able to help, but wanting to try anyways.  The young girl was nearly in tears as she told me about her recent breakup that left her a struggling single mom and how she loved her dog but felt she couldn’t afford him anymore.  She was having a hard time even affording food and was struggling with a flea infestation.  I was so thankful.  Hear me out!  So often people want you to come and just take their dog; their mind is made and they are resistant to any sort of help outside of what they have decided they want.  Here was a girl that really, really wanted to keep her dog and was willing to accept help.

Intracoastal

Over the weekend I was back in Tallahassee for a friend’s birthday and to meet with the president of Last Hope Rescue (more on that soon!) and we were able to get together enough supplies to last this girl about four months.  On the way back to town I stopped at a Home Depot and got her some things to try to get rid of the flea infestation in her home as well.  While dropping off everything the girl also asked for help finding a veterinarian.  Her dog wasn’t neutered and I was more than happy to oblige!  Here in Jacksonville there is actually a clinic that performs free spay and neuters of pit bull type dogs so I got her all of their information.

Florida Wildlife

I am thankful that the person I work with thought of me to ask for help.  I am thankful this girl wasn’t too proud to accept my help.  I’m thankful Last Hope Rescue was willing to help me help this girl keep her dog in her home and out of the shelter.  I am thankful there are low cost spay and neuter clinics.  Most of all, I am thankful to have met so many other people that are willing to work together to save lives.  What are you thankful for the most this year?

Moss and Palm TreesOk, fine, I’m also thankful to live in Florida where it’s still in the 70’s and I can take the dogs for gorgeous walks with scenery like this!

Dogs and Snake Bites: A Cautionary Tale.

With fall in full swing, and (here in Florida at least) gorgeous, sunny days upon us, I am reminded of day I spent hiking almost exactly four years ago.  If you’ve been a long time reader, you know I love to take the pups for a good romp along the trails, so why do I remember a specific outing almost exactly four years later?  Because that was the day I nearly lost my Tag.

Black Lab

It was the day after Thanksgiving, warm and sunny, and my boyfriend at the time and I decided to take advantage.  We loaded our pups up (Buddy, Tag, and his little girl, Nala) and headed to our favorite secluded spot where we could let them run free.  The dogs ran like crazy, venturing into the water occasionally for a drink or to cool off, and then continued their games of chase.  Once we decided it was time to go I yelled for them to “go get a drink!” and started walking back to the trail that led to our car.  Buddy and Nala raced past us but when I looked back, Tag was acting funny.  She caught up to me but wouldn’t budge from my side.  “Go on!  Go get the last of your runs out!” I told her, but she wouldn’t budge.  Very odd.

Dogs at the Lake

Once we got to the car, she didn’t flop in the back as usual but repeatedly tried to crawl in to my lap.  Eventually she settled into the floor in the front seat.  Again, very odd.  By the time we got home, I new something was definitely wrong.  We got out of the car and I looked at her face to see if she was cut or something.  It was started to really swell along the right side and I thought maybe she ran into one of the other dogs and hurt it?  We went inside and I thought maybe I should ice it to help the swelling.  Something made me look a little closer though, and I noticed two perfect puncture marks, right on her nose.  Holy sh*t!  That’s a snake bite!

Hiking Trails

I immediately called the emergency vet (remember, it’s the day after Thanksgiving) and described what I saw and where we had been.  “And how long ago was this?” they ask.  I tell them it had to have been about 45 minutes ago and they respond with, “You need to get here, now.  You do not have time to waste.”  Holy sh*t again!  The vet’s office is probably at least 20 minutes away.  I carry Tag to the car, her face continuing to swell, get in the back with her, and give my boyfriend strict orders to speed like crazy and stop for nothing.  I was fully prepared to screech into the vet’s office with police officers in hot pursuit if necessary.  While we are driving I’m holding Tag and I can literally feel her slipping away.  She can’t hold her head up and her eyes are rolling in the back of her head.  As you can imagine, I am pretty close to hysterical at this point.

Black Lab

We arrive at the clinic (thankfully sans police officers) and I carry Tag, her face grossly swollen, through the doors, sobbing like crazy.  The vets immediately carry her to the back and start working on her.  A few minutes later, the doctor came in and said he needed to discuss our “options”.  Options?  What other option is there than to save her?!  He tells me it’s obviously a rattlesnake or, even more likely, a water moccasin bite and that she will need an anti-venom to guarantee she makes it.  “Ok, what are you waiting for?  Go!  Give it to her!”  I am flabbergasted that he is wasting time in here talking to me.  “Well, it’s about $2,000.”  At the time, I was a poor college student, but isn’t that why credit cards were invented?  “I don’t care!  Go give it to her!”  He tries to argue with me but I insist that if it’s the only guaranteed option, then he must do it.

Hiking

Thankfully Tag made a full recovery with no side effects.  The moral of this story?  If you live in a wooded area, or an area near water, you are at risk!  Of course I don’t mean you should remain locked inside and never venture out into the great outdoors, but you do need to aware of your surroundings.  Snakes love to bask in the sun to raise their body temperature.  I suspect since it had been cool, but was super sunny that day, Tag simply stumbled across a basking snake.  If you take your dogs into an area that likely has snakes, check them frequently for bites.  The nose (you know, because they are always sticking it places!) is a very common place for them to be bit.  From personal experience, I can tell you that it will be noticeable.  You should also check their legs, as this is another common area for them to be bit.  You might also speak to your vet about available vaccines.  My vet offered a rattlesnake vaccine but cautioned that it is not a complete preventative, but simply lessens the severity of the symptoms and increases the amount of time you have to make it to a vet.  If you are an “at-risk” person, I highly recommend taking the time to at least speak with your vet and determine if this is something that might help protect your pup.  According the emergency vet, if we had been even 5 minutes later, Tag very likely would not have stood a chance.

Bragging Rights

I mentioned on the Facebook page on Saturday that we were thinking about taking the pups a dog park.  A guy that I work with was telling me about it so when we got up on Saturday I found the site online and read about it.  It sounded great!  The park is 42 acres, has a lake (which is getting a dock that will be used for dock diving, which of course made us think of our friends at And Foster Makes Five), offers agility classes and trails for hiking, and has strict rules that must be followed.  I know a lot of people are weary about taking their dogs to parks because of all the opportunities for something to go wrong, which I generally agree with, but this sounded so structured (not to mention you pay to get in) that I felt confident it would be a positive experience.

Pit Bull

 Maggie was SO excited to go on a trip.  I love seeing her confidence growing each day.  A year ago, she would have been flattened to the seat in fear, look at her now!

We decided at the last minute that even though we felt really good about the place, it would be wisest to just bring one dog to check it out the first time.  So we did, and I bet you won’t believe this, but we picked Maggie Moo to be the lucky one.  The other two are so much older and lazier that we knew they wouldn’t mind a quiet afternoon alone, lounging in the air conditioning.  I’ll admit, I got a little nervous when we pulled up and saw just how many people were there.  The place, huge as it was, was packed.  We brought Maggie inside to pay and so they could confirm she was current on her rabies, and they gave us a brief tour.  Now, maybe I’m hyper sensitive to these things, but just felt like they were giving us a little extra scrutinization because of Maggie’s breed.  But being the angel that she is, she was great, even when a pushy German Shorthair Pointer rudely got in her face while we were squished inside the office.  That’s my girl!

Hiking Trails

We chose to head to the section of the park with the trails (partially because we love trails, but also because it seemed less packed) and we got down to business: havin’ fun!  I have seriously never been as proud as I was of Maggie that day.  Every dog we encountered from big to small, hyper to mellow, Maggie would look at me for cues on how to act.  She’s never been a fan of dogs getting in her face too quickly but instead of telling anyone to back off, she would just look at me and I’d tell her, “It’s ok, Moo.  Good girl, let’s go now!” and we would continue on our way.  She never got more than 10-15 yards ahead of us before turning around to check in or running back over for a quick pat.  Moo would come the second we called her, even when other dogs were right by.  Her impulse control was simply amazing!  I just can’t stop bragging to anyone that will listen about how proud I am of her.  She’s the best.  End of story.

Backyard Lounging

We didn’t stay too terribly long because everything was going so perfect we wanted to make sure we ended on an excellent note.  We will most definitely be back!  They offer lots of different classes and I’m trying to pick which one I want to sign up for.  I can’t wait for them to put the dock in so we can check that out, too!  The rest of the weekend has been spent lounging around and (obsessively) checking out Your Pit Bull and You’s Facebook page to see how Maggie is doing in the contest.  If you haven’t already, I would sooo appreciate if you voted for her!  Puh-puh-please go here and “like” her picture.  (I know, begging is so unflattering, but I just can’t help it!)  We hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend, too!

Tuesdays are for hiking.

I feel like that should be a rule.  Who do we talk to about making it one?

IMG_3032This whole having-a-week-off-work-and-nothing-specific-to-do thing is sure making our dogs happy.  We were out the door, headed to beautiful Torreya State Park, by 8 am this morning.

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IMG_2956After we got a ways down the trail and realized there wasn’t a soul in sight we let the girls off the leash so they could run free.  There was this huuuge ravine and I swear, it was like an amusement park ride for the dogs.  Maggie and Tag ran up and down and off the walls and up and down and…you get the picture.  I can honestly say it might be the happiest I have ever seen Maggie.  That dog is an acrobat!  She was in pure Heaven.

IMG_3028Buddy and Tag helped themselves to a sip of water from the Apalachicola river, but not Maggie!  She jumped right in and swam all around.  She is such a water lover, it never ceases to amaze me.

IMG_3013I have to take a second and brag: my girls are awesome.  Seriously, they barely veered off the path and the second I called their name they turned and came running right back.  Maggie was especially impressive and anytime she got more than about 20 yards in front of us she would stop, turn, and check in with us; waiting for the ok to continue further ahead.  Can you ask for anything more than that?!

IMG_3057So, even though there are a few wedding/move related things I need to get done this week, I foresee more adventures!  I could I resist when it means I get to look at cute boys like this:

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