Celebrating our beautiful boy's anniversary

Happy Gotcha Day, Relay

A great family trip

Our trip to Amherst, VA was amazing.

An easy way to make your own jerky

A DIY project your pups will love.

Set up an email alert for your perfect pet

Use Adopt-a-pet's search saver to let you know when your right pet needs a home.

Let's here it for the boy

I was so happy and incredibly proud.

We do it for all the smiling faces

Dog overpopulation is growing problem in the US and I'm trying to find my way to help.

How Relay became ours

Every dog has a story, and this is how our perfect pound pup came home.

An easy treat

Find directions on how to make one of Relay's favorite treats.

May 30, 2012

Ever wonder what's under the stairs?

It never occurred to me to try and look under my stairs. That I got that opportunity is thanks to our lovely kitten foster, Pink, who managed to get stuck.

The entire ordeal was absolute chaos from start to finish. She managed to get into a crevice but could not fit back out again. I tried to pull her out and only succeeded in scaring her. So then I had to break open the stairs and wait for her to come out.

Sweet as she is, Pink was not happy with the next part of the story. Not knowing what she covered herself with under there, I had to give the little girl a bath. I know that it is an old joke that cats hate water. I thought it was an exaggeration, like when people say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Having little exposure to cats, I was unprepared for anarchy.

Along with some bruising and cuts from the excavation, Pink sent me off with a few expressions of her displeasure, as well.

See that cute face up there? Take a look back at some more shots of how Pink is just the sweetest little kitten. Let me say that she's not so cute when she's wet and angry.


Thankfully there is a happy ending to this story. Just when I thought that I had scarred this poor girl for the rest of her life and that she'd never forgive me, a thought came to my head. I made a quick stop to the pantry and came back to visit Miss Pink who was now dry, but very clear that we were not on speaking terms. I prepped her food dish (side note, it was completely empty as one opportunistic hound decided to clean it out when no one was looking). I put a good helping of dry food, a generous dollop of wet food, and a big piece of tuna fish in her food dish and covered the dry food with the tuna water. I have since been forgiven.

May 29, 2012

Sponsoring a shelter pet: The story of Tanisha

It began with a phone call.

Pets for Patriots wanted to know if I knew of any dog trainers in the area for a member patriot who has contemplating giving up their honorable adoption. I let them know that I would look into it, but as the person was local, maybe I could try and help in the mean time. Most dogs are good and want to be loved and make their families happy. In my experience most behavior problems stem from boredom or not understanding what it is expected of them.

I called the family hoping to help. The dog, a six year old chow shepherd mix re-named Sadie, had only been in the home a few months, but was chewing up the children's toys. I asked a few questions, gave a little training advice, but found out that they didn't walk, socialize, or exercise their 60 pound dog. I offered to set up some play dates with our pup to see if expending some of Sadie's energy and working on the redirection and training techniques at home would help out the boredom induced chewing. Instead they turned the dog back into the local animal control.

I was so frustrated and very sad for this poochie. I know it is better for her to have a chance at a home that wants her than in a home that doesn't, but it was this girl's second time around at Norfolk Animal Care Center, through no fault of her own. It was bothering me, so I had to go see "Sadie" myself. On my way to volunteer for the Pet Pantry I stopped by the adoption floor to see her.  She was now back to her original adoption name of Tanisha and she was so sweet. I left to start my shift helping give out pet food and litter and kept thinking about her. I went back to the adoption floor.

NACC is a wonderful place with a great staff, so I was sure that Tanisha would be treated well. But now I had an itch to help. Initially, I thought to simply take her to the yard to play. That led to pictures and a thought to post on the blog as well. Finally, I just paid her adoption fee and sponsored her. At the counter there was a slight mix up with the fees, and in lieu of getting a refund, I just sponsored a older beagle named Stan Laurel, as well. (You know I love beagles).

I can't adopt, but I can help get them adopted. So, if you're looking for a great girl who is kid friendly, ready to romp, and has the most gentle disposition, give Tanisha a look. If you want a nose to the ground, kind and wise hound who loves some rubs, Stan Laurel is your man. These are two great dogs needing some great homes with the added incentive that they don't cost you a thing to pick up, as long as you promise to love them the rest of their lives.

May 22, 2012

Congratulations, Ruby!

It was an incredible and very busy weekend for everyone here. Jeff, Relay and I made appearances at as many dog events as we could fit in. Ruby got busy getting her sweet face noticed at two all day events and of course we are not surprised one bit that she was adopted.

We knew that Ruby was just too sweet and gentle not to be snatched up, but this girl is breaking records for how quickly she found a home. Making her first public appearance at the Norfolk SPCA Dog Walk held over in ODU, Ruby and another lovely sheltie looking for a home named Sobe grabbed a lot of attention. They also managed to grab quite a few snacks from admirers, so it was a very happy day for our girl.

Sunday, Ruby was off to the big Bow Wow picnic, put on by Collie and Sheltie Rescue of Southeast Virginia for all their friends, volunteers, prior adopters, and lovers of theses great looking dogs. The turn out was tremendous, and Jeff and I were very sorry to have missed it (they really could have used an extra mutt running around to shake things up.) Ruby found her perfect match from the family of a prior adopter who had brought their daughter to the picnic. She just fell in love, and judging from the picture of Ruby in her lap I am willing to bet that she's just fine with the arrangement. 

We haven't met her future owners yet, but have absolutely no doubt that she found the best home. In the less than two weeks we've had Ruby she has made quite an impression on us, and has come a long way with her nervousness. She has not had an accident in about a week, she is learning to sit on command (treat required), and she is starting to approach people with a greater ease. Ruby just needs to have a loving and supportive family to take her the rest of the way. 

May 17, 2012

Federal government responds to "puppy mills", asking for your input.

Last year I signed a petition to reign in the sale of commercial dog breeding over the internet, to increase protections to dogs bred in "puppy mills". The White House response can be found here.  The fight against some of the inhumane practices of large scale breeding operations has been ongoing since the advent of the internet. One of the most prominent being launched by the ASPCA.

Whatever side of the argument you are on, the federal government has drafted a proposed amendment to current legislation and is asking for your feedback.

View the proposed legislation here.

The central change of this legislation is the redefining what a pet store is. Currently, anything defined as a pet store does not fall under the auspices of Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulation and does not require licensing. The change would narrow the scope of what is defined as a pet store, and would require an estimated 1,500 breeders to become subject to AWA rules of basic care for animals.

There are still a few exemptions to these requirements. They feel that with certain established breeders if a person can physically go to the location where the animal is being bred, view the conditions and health of the pet, that should negate the need for inspection. Further, if a person only maintains no more than four (a proposed increase to the current three) intact females, they are also exempt in order to concentrate on the operations posing the greatest risk.

The proposed rule makes a point of explaining how they came up with their decisions, options they had considered, and why they feel that this is not being sufficiently taken care of on a state level requiring federal intervention.  But this rule is not yet law. The government is asking that we the people weigh in.

So, here is your chance to be a part of the democratic process. Here is the link to make a comment. Agree, disagree, have a better idea? Let it be known!

May 15, 2012

Getting to know Miss Ruby

As little Miss continues to recover from her surgery and gets to know the lay of the land here at Relay's house, we are starting to learn more about her personality.

Ruby is very sweet and wants to become a part of the family, but even after a few days is still too unsure to settle in. She will pace around and around, circling closer and closer, trying to get some petting and attention, but will back off when you put our your hand. Day by day she is getting better, and I hope to have her settled by the time she can get her stitches out. Conversely, if you just pick her up and set her on your lap, or beside you on the couch, she is all contentment and a sweet cuddle dream.

Walking Ruby is bit rough to start, as she freezes up when the leash gets on her, but once you get going she is incredible. She just walks so nicely right beside or behind you, a slow and steady pace, but never pulling. Once we can get the into the habit of walking more regularly, I'm sure she will warm up to the sight of the leash quickly.

She is doing really well with Relay. They peacefully coexist, but she like to check out what he's up to every so often. When she is feeling a little spry she will chase him around the back yard and the two of them have a ball. With cats, my foster coordinator says that she does well, but here in the house with Pink, our foster kitten, she is very distrusting. If Pink makes a run for one couch or another Ruby yaps almost to say, "I'm watching you."

When we took in Ruby, we were told that she was not potty trained, but so far only one accident here. Right now we are just giving her plenty of access outside and keeping her in the two front rooms when we are home or and crated if we ever need to go out. Next week I will start to work with reward based training and try and teach her the verbal command for potty. She is food motivated so that should help.

But all in all, a healthy, happy dog. Ruby is just so sweet and pretty, she is generally making it all easy on us. Shelties are just a little sensitive, and each rescue has its own particular needs and issues to work through. I have no doubts that this girl will be the perfect pet for some lucky family soon.

May 12, 2012


Second time around with Collie and Sheltie Rescue of South East Virginia, and I have to say they get some great looking dogs. Ruby is gorgeous! I will have to work at getting a picture that really shows how beautiful she is. In my head I call her Lacy because she is just all delicate, fine, and daintily pretty. 

Little missy has come to us much the same that Harley did. She has just been spayed, so she will need a few weeks to recover. She is a two year old owner surrender and very skiddish. From what I understand of her background, she originally belonged to an older person who went to assisted living. From there a friend took her in, but found a dog to be too much with kids. And now we have her. 

Ruby is very much a case of undersocialization, but for that there is no better remedy than some TLC and some guiding paws ala Relay. So gentle and sweet, I think if we take things slow, show her the ropes of hanging out with pooches and people, it will be easy to find a great home for her. Did I mention that she was stunningly pretty? 

May 10, 2012

(Irrationally) scared out of my mind

Our friends at Norfolk Animal Care Center are getting in the spring kittens. I'm team Poochie all the way, but I thought why not lend a temporary hand. Fostering kittens is a small time commitment (until they are adoptable at around 7 weeks), and how much trouble can a little fur be?

That's what I told myself anyway. That is until I got a call to say that there was a little girl named Pink that needed a place to stay. Panic set in. Seriously, I drove over freaked out, picked up Pink (still freaked out), drove home so spastic I got lost.

I set her up in our bathroom for the time being. That such a little thing can turn me into such a child is beyond reason, but there it is. So, here for your enjoyment is a few shots of Pink checking things out.

May 9, 2012

Why I foster

A charity for pets and vets, what's not to love?
Last month, one of my favorite organizations, Pets for Patriots, had an article detailing what pet fostering is. My initial thought was how silly was I that I never covered that in my blog. Reading over their post, I don't think I could have done any better explaining what fostering actually entails, why it is so important, and how you can get involved.

After reading, I started to examine my motives behind fostering. Of course, we want to do our part to help with the dog overpopulation problem. There is a great sense of satisfaction knowing that we are helping to reduce euthanasia, helping rehabilitate and train pets to make them good family dogs, and putting those pets with families waiting to love them for the rest of their lives. I love that fostering gets me involved in the community and puts me in contact with a great many people fighting the same good fight all across the world. By fostering, and broadcasting all about it, I have "converted" people who had previously purchased their pets.

But really, if I looked at it honestly, one of the biggest reasons I foster is because I don't want a second dog. Sounds funny, but it's true. Relay is a perfect pet for us. I don't see how I could be happier with any other dog in the world, but also I don't want to try. I found my happy ending, and by only having one dog, I have an open spot(s) in my home that allows us to temporarily "rent" him a playmate or two. Not only can I help save more pets this way, I still get to have a little freedom.

So, why should you foster? If you are interested in doing a little good one cute face at a time, if you are interested in adoption but want to do a "test run", if (like in my case) you want a playmate for your pet but don't want to commit to another dog... or really for any reason in the world. It doesn't matter why, but if you do foster you'll have one wagging tail thanking you each day and eventually one family that will be grateful for years to come.

May 3, 2012

Quick Tip: Homemade Liver Treats

Liver treats have long been a favorite of dog owners because of their health benefits and because dogs just love them. I tried my hand at making them myself, and I am proud to say that they were a success!

I started by boiling the liver a few minutes in water with stock (from Relay's stash). I then proceeded to slice them up thinly, placing them on a non-stick cookie sheet. I set the oven to 200, while keeping the door cracked open to allow the moisture out, and cooked for hours to the appropriate 'doneness' for my dog.

That's it! I chose to dry them out completely so that they could be an easy grab on the counter, but if your prefer to have them a little softer, just store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Enjoy, and check out our other treat recipes here.

May 1, 2012

Lessons learned from Harley and CSRSEVA

First off, let me start off with the obvious: Harley is beautiful. He is so perfect a looking sheltie, that I cannot believe that he was turned in. Surprise number two was that the Norfolk Animal Care Center had contacted Collie and Sheltie Rescue of Southeast Virginia because they had believed that Harley was unadoptable. 

Let me take a minute to explain this. NACC is a wonderful organization that I support wholeheartedly. They are breaking the stereotypical concept of 'pound' with a bright, clean, open facility with dedicated and friendly staff. As much as they do for the animals there, however, being turned in is a traumatic event for pets. Most dogs are very resilient mentally, but shelties are notoriously sensitive. Harley just shut down. He was high anxiety, very fearful, and just a wreck. The workers felt that it was too much stress on him, and worried that he would become fear aggressive. So, they called the Collie and Sheltie Rescue and they in turn called me. 
By the way, this is my favorite picture of Harley.
This is the Harley that I met. A little nervous, needing a good bath, but overall a good dog. Out of the shelter he was just a calm, cool, and collected dude. Initially, both Relay and Holly (our other foster at the time) kept their distance, I think in large part because of the cone. Also, hearing his background, Jeff and I took it slow with him. After two weeks of getting adjusted and the cone no longer in the picture, the dogs were just dogs. They played, they chased, they ate, they slept.


Harley taught me that dogs want to be healthy, happy, and well adjusted. Sometimes even behaviors that are assessed as insurmountable are just factors of circumstance. It is very easy to imagine, had he been dropped off at another shelter that doesn't contact rescues, Harley would have been put down. That beautiful, vibrant, loving dog would have never been a part of our lives. 

UntitledNow as for Collie and Sheltie Rescue, after my first failed relationship with a different group, I have to admit being a little apprehensive and more than a little sensitive. I was waiting for the shoe to drop, but it never happened. Logistically, there were some issues with correspondence via email, but that is pretty much the only hiccup. Our foster coordinator, who also runs the rescue, was just kind, supportive, and completely engaged with every dog who comes through her group. She has a passion for the breeds and a big knowledge base. When I called with a question, I got her undivided attention and we worked through to a solution.
Getting a belly rub

Thankfully, this is a group that I believe we can build a lasting relationship with. Jeff was always partial to shelties, and now having known Harley I can very much understand the appeal.

Harley's now happily settled in his forever home. I did get a chance to meet his adoptive family prior to and I'm very happy to say that my blog helped facilitate that. It was great to know that someone was able to read up on our boy, learn about his personality, and have that information help aid his adoption. There are times when I feel I'm just talking to the wind, but there are times when I get feedback letting me know I'm on the right track. Hopefully, we'll be able to see Harley again here soon (and you'd better stop chasing those cats, Mister!) Until then, lots of love for the best looking dog in Hampton Roads.


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