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Posts from the ‘Dog Related Information’ Category

The First Rescue Dog: White House

You may have already heard, but there are dogs in the White House, again, including the first rescue dog in the White House named Major, who Biden adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018! Recently, there was even an “Indoguration” for Major, which you can view here!

This positive attention on rescue dogs will help highlight that there are many abandoned dogs and other animals that are in need of homes, which is especially timely during this pandemic, as many animals have been displaced due to the current pandemic.

We will always have a rescue dog, and I cannot imagine life without a rescue dog in our lives. Our little family has gained so much from our beloved, Victory, a rescue Shetland Sheepdog, who has been a member of our family for over seven years, already, pictured below! My life has been forever changed, for the better, because of our rescue dogs. One positive aspect of the pandemic is that we are getting to spend even more time with our fur girl, Victory, which she loves as well! And, our girls are bonded for life.

If you are considering getting a dog, I highly recommend visiting your local shelter or local dog rescue groups, which can be located easily, via a Google search. There are so many dogs (and other animals) in need right now. Finally, I look forward to reading this book by Kelly Conaboy about her rescue dog, Peter, and all his lovable quirks!

Happy Halloween from our Crayola red crayons!

Happy Halloween!  I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by that it is already time for Halloween, one of our favorite times of the year!  We love the fall season!  It is Alex’s third Halloween!  Victory is a Crayola red crayon this year for Halloween along with her little sister, Alex, shown below!  We think they look pretty adorable!  Victory (along with Alex) was Super Woman last year; a unicorn (with Alex) two years ago; Wonder Woman three years ago; a fifties girl four years ago; a lioness five years ago; a butterfly six years ago; and a ladybug for her first Halloween, seven years ago.

(It is still somewhat tricky to get the girls to sit together; and everyone’s patience was at capacity, as we took these photos after celebrating Victory’s birthday! I did my best, shown below!)

Doug spent roughly five hours, the other day, so earnestly working on carving our Halloween pumpkin, featuring a ghost trick-or-treater in honor of Alex and Victory!  He did a wonderful job! A short video of our lit carved pumpkin is also shown below.  A few photos are shown below of the girls with the pumpkin Doug diligently carved! 

Additionally, here are links to other pumpkins carved by Doug: last yeartwo years agothree years agofour years agofive years agosix years agoseven years ago; and eight years ago!

Alex has greatly enjoyed going on daily walks (and drives) spotting pumpkins, which she affectionately refers to as “punkies!”

Here is a short video of the lit pumpkin Doug carved for us this year!

We hope that you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

Since this has been a trying time for kids, during COVID-19, we believe Halloween is an opportunity to celebrate since it takes place outside. We plan to set out candy and take Alex trick-or-treating, weather permitting!

Here is a look back at Victory and Alex over the years on Halloween!

Victory: A Birthday Celebration — 9 years!

October 12, marked seven years since we adopted our sweet dear little Victory!  The time is going by much too quickly!  We decided to make October 12 Victory’s birthday — the day we went to Michigan and adopted our sweet fur girl.

As such, we recently celebrated Victory’s birthday marking her seventh year with us since her adoption!  This also marks three years of being a ‘big sister’ to Alex!  This year, for Victory’s birthday, we did a pink theme with a gold accent! (As shown below, last year, we did a pastel rainbow theme with a silver accent; two years ago we did pastel theme with a gold and silver accent; three years ago we did a gold and champagne theme; four years ago we did a light pink and gold themed birthday; five years ago we did a pink themed birthday; and six years ago, we did rainbow themed birthday for Victory!)  We purchased some fun pink-themed decorations, party hats, balloons, and a pink sweater for Victory, a tradition, in honor of her birthday!  Victory also enjoyed her very own cupcake (with no icing, of course!) Victory looked absolutely adorable and beautiful on her birthday, as always, shown below!  This is the third birthday that Victory celebrated with her sidekick, Alex! It is wonderful to witness their relationship blossom as Alex grows older. Alex loves giving Victory treats and hugs (with supervision!) Victory had a fun birthday and she truly enjoyed being over fed and the center of attention!

We are truly the lucky ones to share our lives with this wonderful, loyal, and loving being.  Victory has been such a source of comfort during this pandemic. She is always by our side. Victory has also fully embraced her ‘big sister’ role!  Victory is very attuned to her little sister and loves to greet Alex in the mornings!  It melts our hearts!  Victory continues to join us each morning and evening for play time and story time, in addition to all feedings!  We also do our best to keep Victory fully integrated in our outings as well, and she has gone on some fun, fall outings with us, as always!  We are so very grateful and thankful for our Victory.  She means the world to us and we love her very much.

For Victory’s birthday, we gave her a new: leash; and a new pink sweater!  

(All birthday decorations are via Sweet Lulu.)

Here is a video of the girls celebrating our fur girl, Victory!

A look back at Victory’s birthday celebrations over the years…

Here is a look back at Victory and Alex on Victory’s birthday!

If you are considering getting a dog, especially during this difficult time, I hope that you consider adopting a rescue dog.  There are so many dogs in need of a good, loving home, especially now. As shown below, Victory, a rescue, has changed so much physically and emotionally over the years since we adopted her, pictured on the left (image from Victory’s foster mom via the Michigan Sheltie Rescue).  You really can save a dog’s life, while simultaneously enriching your own life/lives. We cannot imagine not having a rescue dog in our lives!

Beautiful Dog Lettering: Cielle Graham

I fell in love with the work by Cielle Graham, an illustrator.  In Cielle Graham’s illustrated book, An Alphabet of Dogs, each letter takes the form of a small shiny ball surrounded by a cast of different dogs.  Her work is beautiful and highly intricate.  Nearly 200 dogs are contained in her book.  A few images of Cielle Graham’s work from this book are shown below.  Alex would love this book, a perfect combination, combining her love of dogs and letters into one!  There is even a sheltie friend shown below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images are courtesy of Cielle Graham.

Finland: Coronavirus-sniffing dogs at Helsinki Airport

 

In a recent article, Finland has recently launched a pilot program involving coronavirus-sniffing dogs at Helsinki Airport, in the hopes that dogs can play a key role in screening for the virus.

The voluntary canine tests will deliver results within 10 seconds and require less than a minute of travelers’ time, said Anna Hielm-Björkman, a researcher at the University of Helsinki who is using the trial to gather data.

Researchers in other countries, including the United States and the United Arab Emirates, are also studying canine coronavirus tests.  However, the Finnish trial is among the largest in scale and farthest along.

Changes in health can affect the way people smell, researchers say.  Dogs have long been valued for their ability to sniff for drugs and bombs, and have also proved able to detect cancers, infections and other health problems.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki this year found promising indications that dogs can detect the virus.  Scientists say only large-scale trials, such as this one, can demonstrate just how effective the method will be in practice.

The dogs to be deployed in Helsinki will sniff sweat samples and will not come into contact with travelers.  People who agree to the test will swab their own necks to produce a sample, to submit through an opening in a wall, said Hielm-Björkman.

Regardless of whether they test positive, they will be urged to take a standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coronavirus test, so that researchers can monitor the dogs’ accuracy. All tests are free for travelers arriving at the airport.

Hielm-Björkman added the dogs may, according to preliminary research, be better at spotting coronavirus infections than PCR and antibody tests. They “can also find [people] that are not yet PCR positive but will become PCR positive within a week,” she said.

Out of the 16 dogs trained, four are ready to work.  Six others are still in training, with another six found to be unsuitable for a noisy airport environment.

Experts have warned that canine tests, however effective, can be difficult to scale.  Training is time-consuming and expensive.  Even so, researchers are optimistic that it will come to play a role, even if it cannot alleviate the demands on the world’s overstrained testing systems.

You can view a video of these dogs here.

*Photo credit: Washington Post.

Dogs: Foster Child Development

 

In a recent article, a study finds that a family dog has the benefits of helping young children learn social and emotional skills.  Specifically, owning, walking, and playing with a family dog could encourage a small child’s social and emotional development.  The study found that toddlers from families who owned a dog, who participated in the study, were 30% less likely to have conduct and peer problems in comparison to preschoolers from families who did not own dogs, the researches found.  Even at this young age, toddlers can benefit from interacting with a pet while supervised.  Dog ownership has also been linked to responsibility, positive identity, and trust.

According to data, toddlers from dog-owning families were more likely to exhibit higher levels of prosocial behaviors, and they had lower overall difficulties.  Children who walked a pet dog with their families at least one day weekly and played with their dogs at least three times a week had higher prosocial scores than those who did so less often.  “These results highlight that even a small to moderate commitment to involving preschoolers in time spent walking with the family dog may provide important social and emotional benefits for young children,” the study said.  One current worry about children’s development and loneliness in the absence of friends and activities during the pandemic “fits nicely with the positive effects of dog ownership for young kids,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Center for Human Growth & Development at the University of Michigan, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Additionally, as separately studied in adults, children might have experienced “vicarious pleasure” and happiness when playing with the dogs, which can also lead to better prosocial behavior.  Animals are sentient beings with feelings and thoughts, but they can’t talk with us, Radesky said.  “You have to work to read what your dog is thinking and respond to their behavior.  That gets kids out of their headspace and more thinking about what another being is thinking,” Radesky said.  “That’s [the magical factor] of empathy and social reciprocity, meaning the back and forth of relationships that helps us heal during times of stress.”

Outside of children, there are so many benefits that adults derive from having a dog, which we have experienced.  We will always have a rescue dog in our family.  Biscuit and Victory have added so much to each of our lives, and we cannot imagine life without a furry family member.  We literally refer to Victory as our ‘older daughter,’ our regal princess!  Alex loves having a fur sister, and their bond is unique; and Alex understands more and more about Victory (and other dogs) as she grows older.  Alex affectionately spots and refers to every dog as a “baby” or “puppy!”  She loves dogs, and I hope that she always will, as a result of growing up with Victory!  Simply put, dogs make life so joyful!

Some Happy News…

I have some happy news . . . I finally finished my long-term dog photography project after seven years of work, including a year of revisions!  I am very elated to have finished this body of work inspired by our sweet dear Biscuit, who changed my life forever.  It is just a feat to finish.  It was one of the hardest endeavors I have ever undertaken.  There were so many times I thought I would never finish; many times where I encountered problems that I had to figure out and resolve; many times I experienced intense fear; many times I felt like my revisions would never end; and there were many times where the path felt uncertain.  However, my desire to finish this body of work outweighed everything else, and I really learned to trust the process and journey.  I, ultimately, learned to have blind faith through this process.  I am ecstatic to be on the other side, which, often times, felt like I would never reach this point, during this process.  I learned so much about myself during this process, while seeing this project though to the end, through think and thin, which is the only way to make dreams happen.  (I previously wrote a blog post about what I learned during this creative endeavor, here.)  I am really proud of this body of work, and I hope that it will positively impact others; and, importantly, helps other dogs like Biscuit and Victory.  My blad and proposal are nearly complete, and I am excited to move onto the next steps of shepherding this work out into the world.

So, if there is something you really want to accomplish, it is possible, and I encourage you to try.  The Universe will always support you.  I am so sincerely grateful to my mentor, Deborah Samuel, who has helped shape my path and provides countless advice, feedback, encouragement, and support.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.  The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living.  The courage to go on that hunt in the first place — that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.  The often surprising result of that hunt — that’s what I call Big Magic.”  — Elizabeth Gilbert

 

 

(Image credit: Morgan Harper Nichols).

Pandemic Puppy

 

Our sweet and beloved Victory, has been such a comfort during this pandemic.  We have all adjusted to our ‘new normal,’ for the most part, going on seven weeks of quarantine, and I am not sure what we would do without her.  Victory has always been a part of every facet of our lives, but she is especially such a source of comfort and solace during this time.  We love her so much.  In fact, other people, who normally would not otherwise have a dog are getting ‘pandemic puppies.’

According to a recent article, “[p]ets have been shown to help ease feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression—making them seemingly ideal companions for an emergency situation that demands isolating ourselves from friends, family, and our normal day-to-day interactions.  Pets can also decrease feelings of isolation, and force us to get off the couch every few hours, traits that are perhaps even more important in the era of social distancing, says Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.  According to PetPoint, an application that collects data from more than 1,000 animal-welfare organizations in North America, in the recent weeks, adoption rates have varied greatly across the country, while instances of fostering have increased significantly in aggregate.”  In some areas, there is such a high demand to adopt a dog or animal, that some people leave empty handed and have to return multiple times.

There are also many animals being surrendered to shelters and rescue organizations during this pandemic as their humans are unable to care for them for one reason or another, such as financial reasons.  So, if you think a dog might help you during this time, and you feel you are able to rescue and adopt an animal, for the long term, a ‘pandemic puppy,’ might just do the trick to lift your spirits.  According to this article, “[a]s long as new owners act intentionally and with long-term planning in mind, the prolonged stretch of time at home may likely provide a unique chance for owners to bond with new dog.  This difficult period may mean that people become more attached and attuned to their pets than if they were seeing their animals for only a few hours a day, while working under ordinary circumstances, which may help get them through the hurdles of pet ownership with less frustration.”

Victory has been with us for six-and-a-half years, already, which is difficult to believe.  Importantly, Victory, our rescue sheltie, has given us the invaluable gifts of endless love, joy, and peace during this pandemic.  We feel so grateful and blessed to have her as part of our family; and we are grateful to all be together during this time.

 

Here is a video where Alex has learned to feed Victory from her high chair versus dropping the food on her mat for Victory to eat!  I know Victory is pleased!

Transition: Integrating Your Furry Family Member

Before Alex arrived, Victory was our ‘only child’ for nearly five years!  I previously wrote a blog post about preparing your furry family member when a baby arrives.  However, this post, today, is about continuing to integrate your furry family member upon the arrival of a child and it can also be applied to a major life transition.

Even though our hearts expanded in every way, we are so, so grateful, and this is the best season of our lives, it was a big change for everyone when Alex arrived, including Victory.  Our overarching goal was to be sure that not too much changed for Victory, even though a whole lot changed, if that makes sense!  We are all in a groove now, getting sleep, figuring out things as we go, which is great for everyone!

First, we included Victory in Alex’s birth.  Victory was at the hospital, the day after the birth, and it was so lovely and memorable.  I am very grateful to the hospital staff for being so accommodating with our request.  Victory was a hit with the hospital staff, and she got right up into the hospital bed by with me, by my side, and she did not want to leave!  Our entire family was together, for the first time, and I will never forget that time together introducing the girls to each other.

Second, we always encourage Victory to be with us wherever we are in the house.  She knows that she has free reign of the house, but we wanted to be sure she knew that she was still, of course, a part of all family activities, and that would never change.  So, from the very beginning, she learned to go in Alex’s room and be apart of our daily routines, etc.  It is very special to hear Alex say, each morning, “Hi Tory!” and waive her hand to Victory with a big smile!  It warms my heart as Victory always follows me into Alex’s room each morning, even during the times when Alex’s room smells like a bathroom, if you get my drift!  Victory wants to be apart of everything, which is so great!  And, she has and continues to be extremely patient and tolerant of Alex since she was born.

Third, we encouraged the girls to bond.  We never kept Victory away from Alex (Victory has never been aggressive to anyone); in fact, we encouraged her to sniff and interact with Alex.  (There, however, have been times that we have had to keep Alex from Victory).  And, since Alex was quite sick, this winter, both girls have really bonded, and it is so great!  Victory loves licking Alex, and Alex knows not to pull on Victory’s fur or chase Victory, thank goodness.  So they reached some sort of mutual understanding, even with limited verbal communication, between them!  Victory knows so much, and is quite remarkable how in tune she is with everything and every person in our home.  Victory has been by our side meandering through mountain tops and valleys, and she is so loyal and she is always there for all of us, and we never take that for granted. We feel so grateful for her.

Fourth, we also continue to take Victory on outings, which she always loves, and Alex loves them, too!  Even in the dead of winter, when there are not too many options for places to take Victory to, there is always Lowes, on standby, which Victory and Alex love!  We also take Victory with Alex, year-round, to get soft-serve ice cream at TCBY, which is a hit with Victory!  We are very much looking forward to the spring, just around the corner, and the summer where there are a myriad of options for outings with our girls!  Victory loves outings and it is always a ‘morale boost,’ for Victory, especially during the winter when she can get cabin fever, at times.

Fifth, we continue to take Victory on vacation with us!  Even though it is not always easy to find a rental that accepts both a small dog and a small child, we make it work!  Doug is always really good about finding places for us to stay!  Victory has been on every single vacation with us since we adopted her in the fall of 2013!  We would not have it any other way!

Finally, most of all, our love never waivers with Victory, and we spend time with only Victory each day.  She loves her time with us!  She is our fur girl, forever!  And, she is such a great ‘big sister’ to Alex!  You can see their love reflected in the recent images, below.  Doug and I are so fortunate.  We love our girls with our whole hearts.

All of this said, if you take the time, and make a conscious effort, to include your furry family member during a big change or transition, such as adding another family member, it will work out for everyone in the long run!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog Rescue: Beer Cans

Have you heard about the recent heartwarming story about a dog, Hazel, shown in the blue bandana below, that was reunited with her family after being discovered on a beer can?

Hazel went missing in Iowa roughly three years ago.  She is reunited with her family after being featured on a beer can in Florida via Motorworks Brewing helping to raise money to build a local shelter in Manatee County.  Hazel, 7, was one of four dogs chosen to have their smiling profile picture featured on the beer cans at Motorworks Brewing in Bradenton, Florida, in hopes that they would get adopted.

Monica Mathis, who now lives in Minnesota, was scrolling through social media when she spotted a story about a Florida brewing company featuring adoptable dogs on their beer cans.  “I was looking at the dogs and I was like oh my gosh, that’s Hazel,” Mathis told CNN.

Hazel left the Mathis’ home one day in 2017.  “She was an escape artist; she was very good at getting loose,” Mathis told CNN.  Hazel known as “Day Day,” entered the shelter in March of 2019 as a stray, Hans Wohlgefahrt, with Manatee County Animal Services, told CNN.

Hazel did have a microchip, however, the contact information for her owner was outdated.  With no method of contacting Hazel’s owners and when no one came forward to claim her, Hazel went up for adoption.

Mathis submitted vet records and photos to the shelter and she was able to claim her long lost dog.  While it is unclear how Hazel made her journey to Florida from the Midwest, Wohlgefahrt said she is healthy and a very happy pup!

What a wonderful story and a unique way to promote dog rescue!