“Dog Town”, Another Barking Great Read

DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption Stefan Bechtel

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The BlurbA national rescue organization with more than 200,000 members, DogTown is the area where dogs live at the nation’s largest companion animal sanctuary run by Best Friends Animal Society. This informative, inspiring book presents representative stories of dogs considered unadoptable by other shelters. They come from many backgrounds: some were abandoned; some prowled the streets as strays; others suffer from mysterious illnesses, serious injuries, or antisocial behaviors that discourage potential adopters. But good fortune led them to Best Friends and the dedicated people devoted to helping them recover and find welcoming homes.

These compelling, winningly illustrated true stories, each uniquely moving and inspirational, draw upon the experience of veterinarians, trainers, and volunteers to probe a range of tough, touching cases that evoke both the joy and the occasional but inevitable heartbreak that accompanies this work. Each chapter follows a dog from the first day at Dogtown until he ultimately finds (or doesn’t find) a permanent new home, focusing both on the relationship between the dog and the Dogtown staff and on the latest discoveries about animal health and behavior. We learn how dogs process information, how trauma affects their behavior, and how people can help them overcome their problems. In the end, we come to see that there are no “bad dogs” and that with patience, care, and compassion, people can help dogs to heal.

What I Thought:

Sometimes I avoid dog books because I become upset when reading of an animal’s suffering and the cruel things people can do to them. However, I’m happy to report that this isn’t one of those books that focus’ on the suffering – it rather focus’s on the dog’s recovery and it’s “happily ever after”. It is filled with life affirming moments both from the actions of the wonderful staff and the dogs themselves. Even when dealing with a death there is great solace that the dog found its way to a place where it could experience happiness, comfort and a fulfilled life.

After reading this I too want to pack up and head to DogTown to not only help out in caring for the animals, but to also meet the amazing, dedicated people who care for them.

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Phoebe’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Rescue Dogs, Various Behavioural Issues

Tool(s) Used: Book Resource

Cost: I got the kindle edition from amazon.com for $5.79

Ease of Implementation: Not applicable. Though there were some really great tips in the book, these are aimed more at dog owners and inspiring them when things are tough, as opposed to a “how-to” guide.

Phoebe’s Effectiveness Rating: 5/5. Effective mainly because it inspired me to carry on and realise that there honestly is a light at the end of the tunnel and that with time and effort I just know we’ll get there – she’s already made so much progress!

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Have you read the Dogtown book, or seen the TV series? What do you think of it?

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rover.com’s Most Popular Dog Names 2014

rover.com dognames2014

The people over at Rover.com have compiled a comprehensive list of all the most popular dog names sorted by popularity and theme. Many of them are familiar, but there are a few pop culture references I would never have thought of but love.

What I found particularly interesting was that 3 out of my 4 dogs’ names appeared on the list. I thought the household was more original than that! 🙂 Of the dogs, the only one to receive a “new” name this year was Cooper, and I honestly believed this was a bit of a unique name – obviously others would have it, but to be number five in the Top Ten names? Wow!

RoverNames2014Carrie12.3.14-01 cropped

 You can go check out the full lists on rover.com by clicking here.

So what do you think? Does your dog feature on any of the lists? Is there one you loved and will name a future dog of yours?

 

Introducing Rocky Rockstar and Bella the Beautiful…

Our family has grown once again! It seems like just the other day that my only dog was Phoebe and that because of her extreme fear of other dogs I couldn’t even consider allowing the canine family to grow… And then came Cooper crashing into our lives… and now we have two more (unplanned) additions to the family!

“I say, thirteen is too many dogs for good mental health. Five is pretty much the limit. More than five dogs and you forfeit your right to call yourself entirely sane.
Even if the dogs are small.”

– E. Lockheart “The Boyfriend List”

I’ll post more on the blog about these two new cutie-pie’s, but in a nutshell, the way they got here was through a long series of re-homing events. These two had originally been my Boyfriends first dogs that he got as puppies in 2005 and 2010 respectively when he lived in another city for work. They then moved back into the family home with him when he moved back into town, and then stayed there when he moved again last year as his niece and nephew loved them and they had free reign in the large house. But as they were about to move again in October new homes were found for them with family members as the new place they had to move into doesn’t allow pets, and I was too concerned about Phoebe and the cats accepting new dogs (not to mention the sheer amount of animals that would be in the home!). All was going according to plan until literally the day of the move when the new homes for them fell through.

What to do now?!

We knew that with no other good homes available we would have to take them in, and if they didn’t adjust we would deal with it either through training, or finding a new home with trusted families. Only time would tell how the household would adjust.

We’re a few weeks into the new arrangement, and I can report that all the pets were a bit rattled in the beginning but are now adjusting wonderfully. There are obviously a few hiccups we need to address (which I’ll post about soon!), but overall, the newly extended family has been mostly successful!

So there’s the back story, and here’s the part you’ve been waiting for… the introduction to the new additions! <***drumroll please!***>

Rocky Rockstar (Chihuahua, 10 years old):

rocky

…and Bella the Beautiful (Pekingese x Jack Russell, 5 years old):

Bella 2

For those regular readers trying to keep track of the animals in our household, here’s a quick (updated) recap:

Dogs:

  • Fabulous Phoebe
  • Super Duper Cooper
  • Rocky Rockstar
  • Bella the Beautiful

Cats:

  • Angel
  • Cleo
  • Katz

So now we’re an ever-growing, big, happy family of all species!

In this entry there’s no usual “Effectiveness Rating” because we’re still finding our feet, but I’ll update with all the trials, tribulations and successes as they occur in the future. Be sure to pop in to check on any new developments!

Blogtober Day 29: How much of the world have you seen?

Travelling the world far and wide to find the perfect furever home!

Travelling the world far and wide to find the perfect furever home!

Cooper says:

To be honest, not much. I was born somewhere in the Boksburg area, and then I was left at kennels in the Benoni area (neighbouring suburbs in the East of Joburg, Gauteng). This is the same place my Mom found me at, so actually I haven’t done much travelling at all. But I don’t really mind that I haven’t been to many exotic places – I already know that home is my favourite place in the world!

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Phoebe says:

I’ve managed to see quite a bit of the world, and consider myself as “well-travelled” in  both dog and human terms. I was born in Ruretse (Gaborone) Botswana and my entire dog-family were taken in by a rescue organisation there run by a South African couple. Then something went wrong with their visa’s and they had to move back to South Africa quickly. They couldn’t find another rescue organisation for us in Botswana, so all 40 dogs in their care were then sent to Cape Town, South Africa where we waited to find our new adoptive parents.

I stayed in a foster home there for a short while, but in the end we were all kept on a farm outside of the city. Life was tough, but there were lovely volunteers along the way who made an effort to make us comfortable. When I heard of a lady in Pretoria wanting to adopt my sister Lavender, I got the travel bug and decided in that split second that I would cheat the system and go on that new adventure to a new location in Lavender’s place! I’m so glad I did!

I love my history of travelling, but I’m also glad to have finally settled down in my furever home!

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You can see the full 31 Day Blogtober Challenge here

Blogtober Day 20: Your favourite Dog charity or organisation

Phoebe says:

As a rescue dog, I am especially grateful to all those Charities and Organisations that dedicate themselves to saving, caring for, and finding homes for animals in need. I recommend Barking Mad because they are a major umbrella networking organisation that has its own rescue centre where they take in dogs with major medical or behavioural problems, as well as serve as a networking organisation for hundreds of other charities in the country who are looking for homes for the dogs they work with.

You can check them out at their website, or like their facebook page.

barking mad

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Cooper says:

My Mom also found me on the Barking Mad facebook page, so my first choice would have to also be for them, but more specifically, I also have to give a fond acknowledgement to the original rescue organisation that first took up my case, and started spreading the word about me – Petsave. Petsave is a rescue organisation that specialises in creating a network to foster animals in need until they can find the perfect furever home.

You can check them out on their website, or like their facebook page

petsave

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Mom says:

Both these organisations are close to my heart, but there is another organisation I would also add to the list, even if I personally haven’t gotten an animal from them. They are a great right to life organisation and do amazing rescue work. They also have great fundraising and awareness campaigns that deserve all the support that they get. This organisation is Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre. Go visit their website or facebook page if you get a chance!

wetnose

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You can check out the full Blogtober challenge here

Blogtober Day 18: Does your name have a special meaning?

Phoebe says: “Bright, Pure”

When I arrived at my Mom’s door I already had a name – Phoebe. I’m not sure who named me, but it’s a name I really like, and it also seems to be a popular name for dogs on the blogs that Mom reads.

To check the full explanation on the “Behind the Name” Website, you can click here. But here’s a snapshot of what it said:

Screenshot (170)

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Cooper says: “Barrel Maker”
When my Mom found me, the rescue organisation had called me “Droopy”. My Mom didn’t really like the name, and I wasn’t very responsive to it, so we all decided a name change was in order. The two choices were “Cooper” and “Dudley”. I’m happy we went with Cooper though – I think it suits me!
Screenshot (171)
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Mom says:
Naming pets has become more and more difficult for me, as we’ve had so many different cats, dogs and fish over the years! I try to pick a name that “matches” the personality of the pet best, but with rescue animals I usually stick to their name because it’s part of their identity and a word they can respond to.
Of the names that I’ve given pets my top 3 “best” – ie. most fitting for the animal – would be:
  1. Mrs Miniver – I had just finished watching the old classic with my gran when we adopted a beautiful, majestic persian cat. The name fit her perfectly!
  2. Robin – My beautiful sidekick and faithful companion. He was the bravest, most loyal Boy Wonder!
  3. Jordan – Another beautiful, loveable German Shepherd I had as a teen. This boy was named after my biggest crush: Jordan Knight from New Kids On The Block. And just like his boy band namesake, Jordan was full of energy and loved to dance and sing with me in the afternoons as I put on imaginary concerts for my imaginary audiences. Jordan was my biggest fan, and I his.

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You can see the full Blogtober Challenge here

Blogtober Day 11: What kind of dog are you?

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Cooper says:

I am a Labrador x Basset Hound. My Mom did some research on the internet, and apparently this is quite a popular cross breed, that even has a name: The Bas(s)ador.

At first sight I am quite strange to look at with my Labrador head, 3/4 Basset ears, Lab body, and short little Basset legs – complete with the “ballerina” front feet pointing out. But I think all these qualities put together make me beautiful and handsome at the same time!

Check out how handsome I am!

Check out how handsome I am!

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Phoebe says:

I am an Africanis. I was recently officially recognised as an emerging breed by the Kennel Union of South Africa. My breed is often confused with other mixed breed dogs that roam impoverished areas, often referred to as “township dogs”, but we are different because we have specific traits, genetics and a long history of living harmoniously on the African plains in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Aren't I beautiful?

Aren’t I beautiful?

You can click here for more information about me and my breed.

It is my experience that the Africanis is a marvellous pet and house dog. Guided by its instinct of subservience it will steal your heart before you realise it. – Johan Gallant, President of the Africanis Society of Southern Africa (September 9, 2005).

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Mom says:

Yes, “Rescued” is my favourite breed,as the picture on top says. But I assure you, I’m not one of those people who thinks that ONLY rescue dogs should be taken in. All dogs and breeds deserve a good home, and I’m not against (legal, responsible) breeding. In fact, if I have to be honest, I will always have a soft spot for German Shepherds, as I grew up with them most of my life. I would get a pure breed one again in a heartbeat if we had the space and need to grow the family…. but of course, a rescued pure breed GSD would be even better 😉

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You can check out the full Blogtober 31 Day Dog Blog Challenge here