Monthly Archives: October 2012

Halloween 2012

Last year, Wes and I had ideas about what costumes we’d like for the dogs, but we didn’t have time to make the costumes ourselves, so we ended up with store-bought ones, which were cute but not necessarily well matched to our dogs’ personalities (click here to see last year’s Halloween pictures).

This year, however, we made sure that we would have time to make the dogs’ costumes. We decided last year what costumes would be perfect for each of them. And this past weekend, just in time for Halloween, we sewed, glued, and tie-dyed, and here’s what we ended up with. (For those of you who follow us on Facebook, I’m sharing different pictures here than I shared there.)

“Soy un chico muy bueño! Cookie?”




When people learn Hogan came from Mexico, they usually respond, “He even looks Mexican!” So we decided to honour his heritage with a poncho and sombrero (and tequila shot glass).












“Yep, I’m the sheriff in these here parts, and don’t you forget it.”














Not only is his name “cowboyish”; Dusty just has a cowboy swagger about him. The sheriff badge wasn’t part of the original plan, but it really does complete the costume—and it suits our Dusty.










“Peace, love, Clomipramine. Yeah, man.”















Cora is our flower child. She is a gentle, peace-loving soul who often seems just a little out of it (I say that with love).



























And here are the three of them, wagging their tails, knowing they’re adorable in their costumes and looking for the treats they always get when we put them through such craziness!

Sheriff Dusty, Señor Hogan, and Cora (a.k.a. Moonbeam)

At Last, I’m a Volunteer

Dixie is very nervous, much like my Cora. She came to TAGS as a puppy and is now only a year old and hoping for a forever home.

When we first looked at adopting Cora and Dusty in April 2011, I learned a lot about rescue. I knew then that I wanted to help out in some way. But when we first brought two dogs into our home, especially super-timid, scaredy-dog Cora, I had enough on my plate (their training classes, cooking for them, walking them three times a day, trying to convince Cora we weren’t going to beat her, plus, of course, editing full time and teaching part time). And then, we decided to adopt a third dog—in part, to give another rescue a home—and free time was even more at a premium.

Four-year-old Biscotti is up for adoption through TAGS. I know I shouldn’t have favourites, but I can’t help it where she’s concerned!

It took about a year for us to really get a good groove going with the three dogs. We have a fantastic routine that includes two daily walks, scheduled meal and snack times, regular dog park visits for socialization, and occasional training courses. The dogs know what’s expected of them, and for the most part, they cooperate quite well. We often talk about how lucky we are to have three such well-behaved, well-adjusted (relatively speaking in Cora’s case) dogs, but, in reality, there has been a lot of work in getting to where we are.

Josie is a very timid girl rescued from a Missouri puppy mill, where she was used as a breeding dog.

Once we adopted Cora and Dusty, I stayed connected with the rescue, offering editing and writing help on occasion. But it wasn’t until July of this year that I decided I had time to start giving back more fully to the rescue that had saved Cora and Dusty. The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS) is, from what I’ve seen, unique among rescues. Its screening process—like the one we went through to adopt Hogan from Rat Terrier Rescue Canada—is quite involved, and then once a dog is adopted, the owner must attend training classes with the dog (included in the adoption fee, which is actually cheaper than many rescues’ adoption fees). While some people may balk at having to do training courses, it makes perfect sense to make them mandatory—dogs who are trained are much less likely to be surrendered at a later date. A prospective dog parent’s willingness to do the course also assures TAGS volunteers that the adopter is dedicated to spending time with and energy on his or her new family member.

Raggs was part of a family for ten years but was given up because he “got too old.” Now he’s looking for a good home to spend his remaining years in. Sad.

Anyway, in July, in my role as a volunteer, I started showing TAGS dogs at Petsmart. Since then, I’ve spent one Saturday each month with a variety of wonderful adoptable dogs. Some have been surrendered by their owners; some were strays; some came from high-kill shelters in the U.S.; some from overfull Canadian shelters. All are really sweet dogs deserving of a good home, and I feel so privileged to spend time getting to know them and sharing their stories with prospective adopters. Volunteering for TAGS has proven to be a really rewarding experience, and I strongly encourage you dog lovers out there to consider lending a hand at a local shelter or rescue. Even a few hours a month can really make a difference for homeless animals wanting nothing more than to be loved.

In one week, all of these dogs were adopted from TAGS. It was a very happy week! So many dogs still need homes, though.

An Autumn Morning at the Dog Park

I know it’s not the most interesting of posts when I tell you about our trips to the dog park, and I admit there’s not really much to tell. But there are pictures to share, so here you go!

(These pictures were taken at the TAGS dog park! Some of these dogs are up for adoption.)

All ready to go to the dog park!

It was a busy day at the park. There were more than twice this many dogs at one point! (I love this picture of Dusty—it’s hard to see, but he’s mid-blink!)

Hogan, Azriel, and Rolo on the picnic table

Nancy brought treats! Look at all the good doggies!

Cora and Biscotti (I love Biscotti and would adopt her if I could!)

Dusty and Hogan

My three angels!

An Early-Morning Hunt

This morning, instead of going outside for a quick pee before breakfast, the dogs turned their first outing into an all-out rabbit hunt. They ate a full twenty minutes later than usual (Cora ate even later than that!). My dogs NEVER come late for a meal, so this was big! Poor Hogan, though, was not so happy about the situation.


Cora and Dusty zigzagged all over the backyard and side yard for a long time, starting when it was still dark out and ending in the full light of day. I love seeing Cora just being a dog without a care in the world…other than that rascally rabbit, of course. She’s funny to watch, in part because her tail seems to have a mind of its own but also because she truly just follows her nose—never allowing a hurdle or obstacle to deter her. Although she’s not a young’un, she moves pretty darn well when she wants to!

Here’s some video of the hounds on the hunt!