Monthly Archives: May 2012

From a Rescued Dog

I just read this poem on Facebook and really want to share it here since it perfectly illustrates why we have adopted three dogs (the maximum allowed by law), why we donate money and time (when we can) to TAGS and other animal rescue organizations, and why I and my guest bloggers write here about animal rescue. The author is Arlene Pace.

Once I was a lonely dog,
Just looking for a home.
I had no place to go,
No one to call my own.

An uncertain and undernourished Hogan at the shelter in Cozumel

I wandered up and down the streets,
in rain in heat and snow.
I ate what ever I could find,
I was always on the go.

My skin would itch, my feet were sore,
My body ached with pain.
And no one stopped to give a pat
Or to gently say my name.

I never saw a loving glance,
I was always on the run.
For people thought that hurting me
was really lots of fun.

And then one day I heard a voice
So gentle, kind and sweet,
And arms so soft reached down to me
And took me off my feet.

“No one again will hurt you”
Was whispered in my ear.
“You’ll have a home to call your own
where you will know no fear.”

Frightened Cora in the pound

“You will be dry, you will be warm,
you’ll have enough to eat
And rest assured that when you sleep,
your dreams will all be sweet.”

I was afraid I must admit,
I’ve lived so long in fear.
I can’t remember when I let
A human come so near.

And as she tended to my wounds
And bathed and brushed my fur
She told me ’bout the rescue group
And what it meant to her.

She said, “We are a circle,
A line that never ends.
And in the center there is you
protected by new friends.”

“And all around you are
the ones that check the pounds,
And those that share their home
after you’ve been found.”

“And all the other folk
are searching near and far.
To find the perfect home for you,
where you can be a star.”

Dusty being shown at Petsmart: "Pick me, pick me!"

She said, “There is a family,
that’s waiting patiently,
and pretty soon we’ll find them,
just you wait and see.”

“And then they’ll join our circle
they’ll help to make it grow,
so there’ll be room for more like you,
who have no place to go.”

I waited very patiently,
The days they came and went.
Today’s the day I thought,
my family will be sent.

Then just when I began to think
It wasn’t meant to be,
there were people standing there
just gazing down at me.

I knew them in a heart beat,
I could tell they felt it too.
They said, “We have been waiting
for a special dog like you.”

Now every night I say a prayer
to all the gods that be.
“Thank you for the life I live
and all you’ve given me.

But most of all protect the dogs
in the pound and on the street.
And send a Rescue Person
to lift them off their feet.”

~ Author: Arlene Pace

Three happy tails!

Dusty Putting His Nose to Work

A few weeks ago, I signed Cora up for a nosework course today at Superdog Central. However, last night, Cora started throwing up and having diarrhea (sorry for the details, but dog people talk about this sort of stuff!), so I decided I shouldn’t take her to the course. Fortunately, with two other dogs to choose from, I wouldn’t lose the money I’d spent and could still attend the course.

Lucy loved getting attention between her turns.

Since I’ve been taking Hogan to weekly agility classes, I decided to take Dusty for this one. And, of course, when it comes to sniffing, Dusty’s a natural, so I thought it’d be a great adventure for him. I was sad, though, not to be able to take Cora since I’d enrolled her thinking the course would help build her confidence.

Dusty during one of our breaks







In hindsight, it’s probably for the best that I went with Dusty rather than Cora. There were a lot of people and some barking, and Cora would’ve probably been too nervous to let her instincts take over. But now that I’ve learned the basics, I can set up some containers at home and let Cora put her nose to work, too.

Finn, a classmate of Hogan's in his beginner agility course, was a classmate of Dusty's.

Dusty was really well behaved for the most part. When we first arrived, he barked a lot because he wanted to play with the other dogs, but he seemed eventually to start to understand that play wasn’t the purpose (as he ultimately did in his obedience training at TAGS). Because the instructor wanted each of the dogs to be able to focus on the nosework without distraction, between turns, we had to crate our dogs or remove them from the room. Dusty behaved quite well in the crate. But he did get antsy awaiting his turns. He just wanted to be doing something, so I felt a little bad for him that there was so much downtime.

During his turns, though, Dusty excelled at finding the scent (liver)—whether the container was without lid or with—as demonstrated in the video below. And he seemed to really enjoy the activity, so I just may enroll him in the advanced course next month. However, first, I want to try to figure out how I can make the between-turns time a little easier on both of us. Neither of us is very good at just sitting and waiting!

Our Water Baby

Looking for shells (just kidding!)

As most readers know, Cora, our little rescued beagle, is afraid of almost everything. But when we bring her anywhere near water, Cora becomes a completely different dog.

Before we left, we had to get a group shot under a shade tree

Today we took the three dogs for a walk in nearby Pickering. There are some beautiful trails there by the waterfront (Lake Ontario). Everyone loved the walk, but Cora got very excited about being able to spend time in the water (see video below). Neither of the boys would go in, which surprised me. When it comes to water, Cora’s definitely the bravest of our dogs!

After our beautiful walk and Cora’s swim, we took the dogs to Baskin Robbins, where they shared a single scoop of blackberry frozen yogurt. We thought they behaved themselves enough to deserve that rare treat. And besides, what’s a beautiful long weekend in Canada without a frozen treat?!

Hogan Getting the Hang of Agility

Hogan prefers to sit on a chair like the people while waiting for his turn rather than sitting on the floor like the other four-leggers.

When Hogan began agility training six weeks ago, he was determined to exert as little energy as possible. He walked and sniffed his way over and through all of the obstacles, and the pause table (where his only task was to lie down for five seconds) was his favourite piece of equipment.

However, over the past six weeks, he’s gained some enthusiasm for the sport and has picked up the pace some. He’ll never be an agility star, but for us, it’s all about the fun and the mental and physical exercise, so that’s perfectly okay.

At the four-week mark, I asked trainer Liz to run Hogan through the short course we were working on then so that I could get this video:

As you can see, Hogan is very good at climbing the A-frame. Over the past couple of weeks, he’s been getting much better at figuring out that he has to go through the tunnels. As for the jumps, he’d still rather go around them, but he’s missing them much less now than he was. On Monday, we start the next level of agility training. Go, Hogan, go!

Happy Made-Up Birthday, Hogan!

The birthday boy

We adopted Hogan on July 1, 2011, but instead of celebrating that date as his “gotcha day,” as we did for Dusty and Cora on their adoption anniversary date (click here for more about that celebration), we decided to invent a birthday for Hogan—and what better day to celebrate our little dog from Mexico than Cinco de Mayo?

Enjoying the trails at Greenwood

So this past weekend, we dedicated a day to the dogs in honour of Hogan’s third (we’re guessing) birthday. We headed off in the morning to  Greenwood Conservation Area, only about a seven-minute drive from our house, for a nice long walk along the trails there. The dogs sniffed and peed and pooped to their hearts’ content! They really enjoy going there, but because of the bug population in the summer, we have a small window of time that we can visit Greenwood, so we’ve been taking advantage of it recently.

Hogan checking out the pinata

After many attempts, we finally got a decent shot of all three dogs with the sombreros, the cactus, and the pinata!





Later in the day, we brought out the inflatable cactus and the sombreros and went into party mode. Wes had bought a pinata, which I filled with doggy treats in hopes that Dusty and Hogan would play tug of war with it and open it. No such luck.

But we did get pictures! And, really, for us, it was all about the pictures. And they did get the treats after I opened the pinata—and for them (surprise, surprise), it was all about the treats! Everybody was happy! Happy birthday, Hogie Bear!