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.

June 28, 2012

Dealing with the unexpected

When we planned a last minute trip across country, I thought I was very clever in setting up some posts with automatic publication times. I checked up on the blog, twitter, and facebook occationally to show that there was someone still out there and had planned an apology for the neglect, and had intended to post a few pictures of our trip.

Unfortunately, we got into an accident the weekend after we came home. Everyone is FINE! Relay wasn't in the car thankfully, but the car was totaled. Now I'm spending my time working with my insurance, shopping around for a new car, and trying to stay lucid despite some pretty strong muscle relaxers.

So, please just bare with me as I deal with all this craziness. Thank you.

June 25, 2012

Review your rescues

You can review your mechanic, your stylist, your realtor. But what about your rescue? Not only can you, but I encourage it!

There's only two ways this can go. Either you liked your rescue group (in which case you want to shout it loud for all the internet to read, which brings positive attention to your group) or you didn't like your rescue group (in which case you should let everyone know so that people avoid having the same kind of troubles).

Here is a list of websites that are perfect for getting your opinion out there.

The Top 4
Yelp: This is a great website that reviews just about everything and gets the best search results.

Guidestar: This site is amazing. From here you can not only review your organization, but you can also look up quite a bit of vital statistics for the group, such as tax records, not for profit status, etc.

Volunteer Match: This site helps people find specific volunteer job listings and needs from groups, but also allows for reviews of the groups as well. (A great way to solicit fosters!)

Dogster: This site is heavily trafficked by dog owners across the country, why not add your group to increase its exposure? The reviews here are the most user friendly.

And a few more:
Zootoo, Find the Best, Canine Chat

Please, make sure that your review are honest, and that criticism and praise are clear, constructive, and respectful. Bringing attention to your rescue groups not only helps them, but also the cause of homeless pets across the country, so get your volunteers to start typing!

June 21, 2012

Spotlight: Foster Dogs

You know I'm all about a website dedicated to the support of foster families.

Foster Dogs is a tremendous resource, and should be your first stop should you consider fostering a homeless pet. It touches on basic information about what fostering is, common problems you may encounter, steps for a successful adoption, tips on incorporating your new foster dog in your home and so much more.

But really, what I love most about FosterDogs.com is their Yahoo! Group. These are real people (over 650 strong) who are in the trenches, just like me. I go there for support, to ask dumb questions, to vent, to find direction, to converse with people who are experiencing the same things that I am.  And I have found some terrific people there. People who have been fostering longer than I've been on this earth, who know just what to say, people that simply offer kind words of encouragement.

My inbox is always open to anyone who has a question about fostering, but I suggest jumping on this group and listen in to get a feel for what the day to day is really like. It has been an incredible and positive experience for me, and I can't wait to see you all there.

June 18, 2012

Questions to ask a rescue Before you foster

Success in fostering is more than getting a dog adopted. The rescue group greatly dictates how positive the experience is, and after a few trials and errors, we now understand that we want to feel that any group we foster for is also the best fit for our family. The rescues we volunteer with now must organized, legitimate non-profits, and have views and principals that align with our own.

We've talked about some examples of not so great groups and we talked about our own follies with our first rescue group.  Now, before we ever sign up to volunteer again, I ask for a phone interview. The following is a list of questions that I have ready so that I can better understand the organization, and to weed out rescues that simply will not work.

Name of organization:_____________________ Telephone:_________________
Website: ___________________ Point of Contact:___________________

Questions about the dogs:
-What type of dogs do you take in?
-How many dogs does your group normally have?
-Where do you typically get your dogs?
-What are your normal intake procedures?
-Do you conduct personality assessments prior to placement in foster care?
-Do you have trainers or support for behavior problems?
-What are your typical adoption fees?

Questions about medical care:
-Do you provide all medical care prior to placing in foster care?
-Do you provide heartworm and flea preventative while in foster care?
-Who is your vet?
-Who is responsible for securing vet care and transport?
-What are the procedures for emergency vet care?
-Do you spay/neuter prior to placing in foster care?

Questions about fostering:
-Do you have a dedicated foster coordinator?
-What do you provide fosters? Food? Collar & leash?
-What are your expectations for foster parents?
-In the event of travel or an incident is there a backup plan for dogs' care?
-How long are dogs typically in foster care?

Questions about the rescue:
-Are you a state registered non-profit / 501(c)?
-Do you have any paid staff?
-What percentage of donations and fees go to dogs?
-Do you have liability insurance?

Questions about outreach:
-Are you active in social media?
-Do you hold events in the community?
-Do you have adoption days? Who is responsible for transport?
-Do you have a relationship with local animal controls?

Questions about adoption:
-Who is your typical adopter?
-Are there any restrictions to people wanting to adopt?
-Are fosters involved in the adoption process?
-How far away do you adopt to?
-What is the policy on 'foster failure'?

This is by no means the end all be all of lists, but it is a great start. Very quickly you'll be able to see any red flags or get a sense that the group could be just what you are looking for. I recently went through this whole process with our next prospective rescue, K9 Justice League, and I just felt so much better. Having a nice long talk with the group I found them to be open, friendly, and sincere in their desire to help dogs find perfect homes. Our next foster will be with them, and we cannot wait to be a part of their group.

June 14, 2012

The great dog food debate

I love my handsome boy. Relay is a great looking mutt, with a trim figure, beautiful coat, and a face that gets him whatever he wants. Of course I want to give him the best life and health possible, but when it comes to feeding him right I find myself at a loss.

Try to google "what to feed your dog" and you will find a war has been waged on the internet. There are so many types of food out there: kibble, dehydrated, canned, roll, frozen, home cooked, raw... There are also many, many more very adamant opinions.

"Feed kibble, the best brands have the nutritional balance required for a healthy pet. Don't feed kibble, the food is so processed and full of additives it is slowly poisoning your dog. Feed raw bones, they are a natural healthy way to impart nutrients and necessary in a diet. Don't feed raw bones, the small shards can splinter in your dog's stomach and cut him up inside. Raw meets are the only way to go. Raw meats are all contaminated with bacteria. Feed garlic. Don't feed garlic. Dogs are like wolves. Dogs are nothing like wolves. Dogs are omnivores. Dogs are strict carnivores."

It is a mad house out there. 

So, what do I do? I will continue to research and have a list of books to go through on the topic of dog nutrition, but in the mean time, I choose all of the above. Relay is a picky eater anyway (he gets bored with foods rather quickly), so this helps me justify it, but I do feed it all to him. We buy high quality kibble, we get canned, roll, dehydrated foods, we feed him home cooked meals, frozen meals, and some raw. At this point our pup has a cast iron stomach and can tolerate most anything we throw his way, which I have to admit is pretty convenient. 

Is this wrong or right? I'm going to have to say that it just simply is. I am no expert, nor do I pretend to be. But I will simply say that I believe moderation is the key to anything in life. To date, my pup seems healthy, happy, and well loved, so I'm just not going to stress it.

June 10, 2012

Happy "Gotcha Day", Relay!

One year ago today, my love. One full year of smiles, tail wags, kisses, and just more love than I know what to do with. Thank you for bearing with me as I learned how to be a poochie momma. Thank you for be a great foster brother. Thank you for just making our family whole. Without you, my puppy, none of this would be possible.

June 8, 2012

Ain't gettin' no pug love

Oh my goodness, I love me some pugs. I turn into an absolute child when I see one, and I can't get enough. Shetland Sheepdog is Jeff's favorite breed and we have had two turns fostering shelties, it's now my turn.

Problem is, I just can't seem to get one.

Back in January I applied to be a foster for Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue. The home visit took 5 people to coordinate (that really should have been a red flag), and now months later I am an approved foster home that is just sitting by the way side. It's a crazy thing really, I stalk their facebook page like a mad person, respond to posts about an incoming pug needing foster instantaniously, and yet I am pugless. 6 months I have waited, now having contacted 9 of their volunteers, responded to more pug adds than I can keep track of, and no pug.

I applied to Pug Rescue of North Carolina a few months ago online and simply never heard back.

Finally, I've been in contact with Pugs U Gotta Save. They aren't very facebook active, but I have gotten a few tweets. I spoke to volunteers on the phone and in person, attended some of their community events, and all seemed great. It has been a month since I've applied. We are trying to make this happen, but I am losing hope.

So that's three strikes. I suppose it was just not meant to be, I'm just so very bummed about it. Thankfully, there's a guy that comes to the local dog park every so often, who has 5 pugs. I will just have to get my pug fix then.

June 6, 2012

The saddest dog

This is what happens when Relay goes to the dog park and no one comes by.


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