The Dog Blog

A Central Florida dog blog, rescues in specific.
If you can’t say something nice…

If you can’t say something nice…

I’m going to tell you about the shelter on Sunday. It’s going to come to you in two parts of this post, and I hope you’ll stay until the end.

We had 44 dogs to photograph on Sunday.

That’s a lot, when we average 30 on a Sunday shoot. It’s less than the previous week of 53. We try our hardest to give each dog special time, attention, love, and whatever they need to help them get adopted. Sometimes, this includes giving them a bath, or clipping their nails. Sometimes it’s giving them extra treats, or snuggles. Sometimes it’s as simple as telling them that they’re a good dog, and that they’re loved. Words, some of them have never heard before—and for all of them, we mean it. The volunteers I am lucky enough to work with, mean it; EVERY TIME they tell a dog they love them, and they prove it with their labor every Sunday and Wednesday. There is not a group of people more passionate than the people I am lucky enough to call my team mates.

On Monday, after being at the shelter for 6 hours, and spending 4 hours of editing, this comment popped up on a photo one of our brand new photographers took, on a news feed I follow:

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“Pisses me off that they stuck a dumb flower on the dog but don’t care to bathe her.”

and another one.

“Geez, couldn’t someone have bathed her”

Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive, but these comments shook me so hard, to the core—I cried.

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How dare people, who have NO idea what goes on at the shelter insert their negativity. Instead of bitching and complaining, why don’t they DO something? I shared these comments with a couple of the other people in our organization, and it took off like wild fire. It made every person as upset as it made me. Here’s why…

On Sunday- at the very beginning of the day. (we start shooting at 930, and I get there around 9 to walk the kennels). I was greeting all the sweeties looking for their forever, I stopped in my tracks and saw a face I will never forget. Ralph lifted his head, but stayed on his bed. His kennel mate greeted me politely, wagging his tail, and asking to be taken for a walk. Ralph just stayed there. Miserable. Defeated.

He was covered in mange, and I could smell him from where he laid. His white fur, exposed a bright red, itchy, mess. My eyes filled up with tears, and I put my hand to the kennel, begging him to come see me. He didn’t. He put his head back down, and closed his eyes.

All the while we were photographing, my heart was racing. I needed to get that dog out of the kennel and into my arms. I needed to snuggle him; it might be his last opportunity to be snuggled. When his photo shoot was next, I went to his kennel to get him—as soon as he saw that leash in my hand, he hopped up, gave me a very subtle tail wag, and sat down, waiting for me to slip the lead over his big head. I did, and he immediately rubbed his face against my legs; pushing my backwards. His face was so itchy, he couldn’t help but try to get some sort of immediate relief. He left my legs covered with blood. I filled up with tears again, and knew this was going to be an emotional photo session.

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Once we took his pictures—which, seriously you guys—look at this face—we all cried a little, and hugged each other, but mostly we hugged him.

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Cynthia—one of Pawsitive Shelter Photography‘s most passionate volunteers and I decided we were going to bathe this guy. We would give him some relief, even for just a short period of time. So we set up the hose, and special soap, specifically to give itchy dogs relief. And we started. We gently rubbed all those itchy spots on him, on his face, and under his belly. We felt all the scabs, and scars under his arms, and on his back legs. And he sat there, with his eyes closed, loving every single minute. For an hour, we spent extra time with this guy—all of us knowing it would most likely be the last time he felt this loved, this cherished.

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We knew it would take an amazing person to walk in, and be willing to adopt this dog. He was a perfect candidate for rescue, because, honestly—what private adopter would be willing to take on such a challenge?

put a little bookmark in your brain, because we’re going to come back to this.

Fast forward to when the shelter opened, at 1 PM — we still had about 20 dogs to photograph, all of them small, and most of them filthy. There were two kennel mates in specific, both covered in urine and feces. Both in desperate need of love and attention, photographs, and a bath. Because the shelter was open, and potential adopters were coming in, in droves, we needed to pick up our pace, and get their photographs done as quickly as possible, without denying them the love and attention they so desperately needed. Just as we were about to take their photographs- a person walked up, and said “you have the dog I’d like to meet”. Now, we all know that our photographs are amazing and help save lives—<brag>— but, a potential adopter AT THE SHELTER, there to MEET A DOG, goes farther than our photos do. So of course, one of our volunteers, spent time with the family, and the two girls, hoping and praying they’d see the potential in them, to give them a forever home. When they were done, and wanted to move on to meet other candidates, we quickly took their photos, then bathed them. No, we didn’t have time to update their photographs, we needed to continue with the other dogs who also needed special attention. But these dogs went back to their kennels looking as good as possible, and smelling FAR better than when they came out.

All in, we bathed four dogs— Ralph, (don’t worry, we’re going back to him), a dog who’s bottom was essentially crusted shut he couldn’t use the bathroom, and the two small kennel mates. We also trimmed the nails of a senior who could barely walk because his nails were so long; literally sat in a pool to coax a dog in, for some relief from the heat; cleaned up 55 piles of dog poop, (yes some dogs go more than once); let tick infested dogs, and dogs covered in things you don’t even want to talk about, crawl on us, and lick our faces. And this was all before we went home, and LITERALLY spent hours editing the images.

Can you understand why the Facebook comments upset us so much? Do you feel we’re being overly sensitive? yeah. I didn’t think so either.

Now- let’s go back to Ralph.

As we were finishing drying him from his bath, a woman walked up; her face lit up like the sun. “I’m here to meet this boy”. I stared at her, completely stunned. “you’re an angel,” I whispered to her. After they met, and interacted, she was in love. This was her dog. She was taking him home. As we walked back to his kennel, she said to me—there is a girl, who writes a blog, and I couldn’t believe she hadn’t written about him yet. I laughed, and told her “that’s me! and I was going to, but here you are, and he doesn’t need my help!”. We both got a little teary. We were meant to have met that day. She said, she didn’t care what it took, but she wanted this dog, and she wanted him to have relief NOW.

Ralph got his name because his new brother’s name is Fozzie—so a nod to the muppets, and Ralph it is. They’re going to be fast friends, and he’s going to LOVE his new life.

As Rebecca (new mom!) was leaving, she came out and hugged us all, and thanked us for giving him the extra attention, and letting him know that he was loved even before she got there. She knew he was hers, and loved him the moment she walked into that shelter, but she thanked us for spending time with him, and giving him comfort in a time when he had so little.

That’s my story, folks. I thank you for following it to the end, and now—I want to challenge you.

It’s so easy to throw stones, especially in a time when social media gives us that immediate ability. The woman who posted the original comment had no idea one of the photographers would immediately read it—let alone it be someone who writes a blog—I am an entity behind a computer. I’m not a “human” to her. But I am still a human. So please, if you’re upset about something that is going on at the shelter, or within our organization—do something about it. Don’t complain about things we’ve done, when that’s all you’re doing.

CHANGE IT. Come and help us. Offer to wash the dogs if you’re that upset about it.

DO. SOMETHING.

And if you can’t do something, then shut up, because we are there, busting our asses for these dogs while you sit at your computer and say things like “I wish I could help”.

Guess what?! You can.

Need some inspiration? Here’s a post about ways you can help shelter animals.

If you’re new here, WELCOME! I’m glad you made it all the way to the end of this post. Cruise around and read all my other blogs. If you read an old blog about a dog looking for adoption—sorry, you’re too late- they’ve all gone to their forever homes. But check back, there is always someone special I’ll tell you about. And just so you don’t miss a post—add your email address to this fancy email subscriber thingy. 

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Dear Facebook, WTF. All animal abuse is offensive to normal humans.

**Warning graphic content. Please read the post before clicking links.**

This is what dogs are for.

Sometimes blog ideas are brought to my attention that are sweet. “hey! you should write about this cute Instagram account!”, “Lauren! Write about this rescue who is doing amazing things!” It’s hard.. I have a “real job”, a husband, three dogs, and a house that is currently in shambles from water/tree damage. Life takes precedence, and I have to say “no” to a lot of things.

But today, when a fellow hypeorlando blogger sent me this article, with a note. “hey- you might want to check this out”. I furiously went to the facebook page without reading the headline. This was a mistake. The first thing I saw, was a picture of a person carrying dogs who had just been euthanized in a clear trash bag- with the caption: “yay! trashday tomorrow!”.

I got up from my desk, and ran to the bathroom- I thought I was going to be sick. I wasn’t, but I stood there, and sobbed.

Someone hates dogs so much that they’d be willing to create MULTIPLE facebook pages to tell the world just how much so.

I get it.. some people don’t like dogs, some people have hidden me on facebook because I pretty much ONLY post about dogs. It’s fine. Some people have the same feelings about babies on Facebook, but you can bet your sweet ass that no one is making a facebook page called “kill your baby” or “babies are scum”.

The whole Kendall Jones controversy is all over the internet, and they took her photos down. Pictures of mothers breastfeeding on facebook have been taken down for controversial content, but for some reason, facebook is allowing this page, and many others like it, to remain in tact. The administrator has even taunted commenters by saying he’ll just create a new page if this one gets shut down. I just don’t get it. Can you help me in contacting Facebook, and demanding these pages get taken down? It won’t be pleasant, and you’ll have to see some terrible, terrible things. But this needs to end.

 

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In all honesty—the guy who runs these sites, needs help. He’s mentally ill—but that’s a battle we’ll need to let authorities fight.

So help me, please go to these pages, and report the content.

Sign the change.org petition here.

Join the FB petition here.

Report this page

Report this page

 

Sugar is sweet. An amazing girl in need of a home.

Sugar is sweet. An amazing girl in need of a home.

** UPDATE: Sugar received an adoption application yesterday afternoon. I am so thrilled for her and her new family! I thank you all, for sharing her story—her family read about her, and went to the shelter to meet her. Once again, friends, you’ve saved a life. 

I get contacted daily about dogs who need to be promoted, and written about. Everyone loves different dogs, and all of them are worthy of getting attention. Unfortunately, with this blog, I have a sense of responsibility—I won’t write about a dog unless I’ve personally met it. It just makes me feel like I am advocating for a dog I would ACTUALLY bring into my own family, rather than someone just telling me how awesome a dog is. This is a hard-fast rule. With no exceptions.

Until today.

Paul Wean, is one of the founders of Pawsitive Shelter Photography. Between he, his wife Joan, and Barbara, the other founder, I’ve gained three incredible family members. These three pick me up, let me cry, and encourage me on a daily basis. I trust them implicitly, and when it comes to the shut-down, fearful dogs, no one knows my heart like Paul does.

So when he texted me on Sunday asking me to write about Sugar, a dog he’d met at the Osceola Animal Services, I didn’t hesitate. I knew if this dog was special enough for him to ask me to share her story—she is a dog I would have personally fallen in love with. So! Here is Sugar’s story, written my our fearless leader.

sweet Sugar
“In Osceola we shoot inside a garage. One of the 3 photographers today, Jill, sat with Sugar on the floor of the garage for about an hour while she was waiting to shoot. While people and dogs came and went, Jill and Sugar sat in the middle of all the action. Sugar basically was her lap dog and stayed close to her and they didn’t move the entire time they were together. While this may have been a comfort to Sugar, I didn’t see it as making any progress in overcoming her timidity. Because Osceola does a great job in providing us with outside volunteers to wrangle, when I finished shooting and it was Jill’s turn to shoot, I took charge of Sugar. I carried her outside the garage so she could have some sun and fresh air. I held on to a big dog biscuit which didn’t seem to interest her. She did occasionally stand and walk as far as five feet or so to sniff grass, to find a more comfortable spot in the shade and to generally adjust her location. But she did not seem inclined to explore much beyond the length of her body extended. On a hunch I gave her a bowl of water which definitely interested her, and when she was finished drinking, she looked up and immediately licked my face in what I took to be gratitude.

 

In the next 45 minutes I moved her location several times, but could not get her to walk more than ten feet at any time. She was very interested in having her belly rubbed, and willingly rolled over to allow this. Her teeth are very white and her paws relatively small, she is a young girl, who’s most likely been bred at least once. I estimate her weight to be about 40-45 pounds, and she exhibited no signs of aggression or anxiety. She’s just nervous in her surroundings and needs someone to provide her with security to allow the playful puppy in her to appear. I could not bear to carry her back to her cage, and had to ask two other people to do it. I noticed as they carried her off the slight swish of her tail as though she were a princess being carried by servants. I think this dog actually has a sense of humor in addition to very bright eyes.

 

I have no doubt that she is a wonderful dog and will make a fine pet. These dogs who are timid and shy tend to show incredible gratitude to people who adopt them and treat them well. I saw that by how she immediately licked my face to thank me for a bowl of water, and how she craved contact with people.”

 

Sugar is as sweet as her name implies. Won’t you consider welcoming her into your home?

Saving Good Pets Through Better Photography

If you’re interested in meeting Sugar, or want to know more about her, please contact me at dogblogorlando@gmail.com, or go meet her at OSCEOLA animal services.

Orlando’s the least walkable city. What about the dogs?

Orlando’s the least walkable city. What about the dogs?

Orlando is the least walkable town according to a new study that was just released by the George Washington University School of Business. It’s unfortunate that with such a huge place, we all hop in our cars, crank the AC, and drive 2 miles to our next destination.

pardon the terrible photo.

pardon the terrible photo.

Tim and I had a conversation last night; he works 5 miles from our home, (I work 67 miles away). It took him 47 minutes to get from door to door last night, while it took me a whopping 59 minutes. There is just no easy way to navigate downtown Orlando. And for someone who is an urban-biker, it’s especially frustrating that there are no paths easily accessible. We drove to have dinner with friends about 4 miles away from our house, drove home then strapped the leashed on our dogs, and walked around our neighborhood.

at bluebird, our favorite coffee shop

at bluebird, our favorite coffee shop

That being said, we live in an amazing neighborhood. We live steps from the Winter Park East End Market, (we designed the logo for their event center!), a few more steps and we are at Bluebird, our favorite bakery & coffee shop. And the bars in our ‘hood are plentiful. But where can we go with our dogs?

after a walk around Lake Baldwin

after a walk around Lake Baldwin

We live a few miles from Baldwin Park—just a little too far to walk to, but just close enough to spend a LOT of time there. We load the “kids” into the car, and drive down to have dinner at Colibri, or Seito. All the restaurants in Baldwin Park are pet friendly if you’re dining outside, and there is the beautiful lake Baldwin to walk around. I get it.  It’s not “metro”. It’s not even “urban”, but for our needs, it fits the bill. So, while we aren’t racking up 18,000 fitbit steps a day where we live, we’re getting along okay.

If you’re interested in bringing Fido along on some adventures with you, but you’re not sure where to go, here are a few of our favorites.

Winter Park:

Pretty much anything along Park Avenue. While you can’t take your pup inside,  they accommodate your pooch with water bowls, (and sometimes treats!) Our favorite is Eola Wine Company

Stardust

Dexters

Thornton Park: 

Tijuana Flats

Dexters

903 Mills Market 

Burtons

Wildside BBQ

Baldwin Park:

Seito Sushi

Colibri 

Random Pockets of Orlando that I don’t know how to classify:

White Wolf/Wolfies 

Treehouse truck (so. Technically this is a food truck, but we love it, and so do the dogs.)

OLV

Gnarley Barley 

Flip and I at the Gnarley Barley with her goddog-mother. (yes, that's a thing)

Flip and I at the Gnarley Barley with her goddog-mother. (yes, that’s a thing)

I hope you guys get out there for some urban-escaping, and bring your dogs with you. Even if it means driving them somewhere to do it.

If you have any additional places to contribute to this list, please contact me at dogblogorlando@gmail.com, or leave your comments here on the blog! I’d love to add amazing walkable places for our pooches! 

Workin’ like a dog.

Workin’ like a dog.

Just over a year ago, I lost my job.

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A job where I worked 16+ hour days. I job that was frustrating, demanding, and also rewarding. My husband and I bought our first home in April, and I lost my job in May. Knowing I couldn’t let the full burden of our brand-new mortgage fall into my husband‘s lap—i immediately started my own company. I worked like a dog—trying to bring in as many clients as possible. I worked closely with a copywriter, and we created some amazing work. I took pictures of babies, and dogs, designed logos and planned weddings. I became social-media savvy(ish). I even started tweeting.

All the while, I had two dogs laying on the couch while I did it.

Three months later, we agreed to foster Flip. When we took her into our home, (I hope we all remember that story), we had no idea what we were doing. Oliver, who is really my husband’s dog, has a neurological disorder that affects his hind legs so he can only be stimulated for short amounts of time, and Mac, was a completely adjusted 8 year old when we adopted him, who is extremely independent and completely happy entertaining himself. Our dogs have always been more than “dogs”; they’ve always been members of our family; they’re our kids. But when we took Flip into our home, things changed.

Flip became my constant companion. For the first 6 months of her life with us, I worked from home. She laid at my feet if I was at my computer. She laid next to me while I was gardening. If I ran to home depot, she was in the passenger seat next to me. We frequently went for lunch together, and she was always ready to go for a coffee break when I needed one.

She became my coworker, and we worked well together.

She’d nose my leg when it was time for a break- or if I’d forgotten to eat lunch. She’d let me know when the mail had arrived, or if there was someone at our front door. She was one of the best coworkers I’ve ever had.

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Now that I’ve gone back to work full-time, I miss my little buddy. So, today! It’s take your dog to work day, and I’m so excited to have my “office manager” with me. Flip is participating in @redenvelope #workinlikeadog project, and she’s so happy to be back in the office.

If there is ever a question of the benefits of owning a dog, a quick google search can help you understand them. But somethings employers might not realize are the amazing perks of bringing your dog to WORK. There is a slew of benefits to it, and I’m hoping employers, and employees- are enjoying those today.

1. Employees who have a companion animal with them are statistically more productive. Bosses, read: they work harder, longer hours. I mean, this is just logic to me.. If you don’t have to leave to feed/walk your dog, you can stay at your office longer!

2. Employees who have a companion animal at work with them are generally happier. Having an animal in an office environment cultivates teamwork, and positive interactions between team members.

3. Employees who have a companion animal at work are generally healthier. Dogs force us to take breaks. Rather than a coffee break, (how did the frappuccino taste?) or a smoke break, people take their dogs for a quick walk around the building.

Don’t believe me? Here’s more proof.

According to this article for fox business:

“Studies have shown dogs in the workplace can be good for business resulting in higher productivity, increased employee collaboration and lower stress levels.” 

 

In a study by Virginia Commonwealth University, the following findings were made. If you want to read the complete study- check it out here.

“pets in the workplace can be a great bonus for employee morale …,” “having dogs here is great stress relief” and “dogs are positive; dogs increase coworker cooperation.””The effect of pets in reducing the impact of stress and enhancing communication found in other settings may extend to the workplace,” said Barker.”Pet presence may serve as a low-cost, wellness intervention readily available to many organizations and may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support

I think it’s safe to say we’d all benefit from a little canine companionship in the workplace, and I hope all of you are able to snuggle your pup today.

If by some chance you don’t HAVE a dog to bring to work, I can certainly help with that. Let me direct your attention to these gorgeous kids in desperate need of a forever.

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Halie

Saving Good Pets Through Better Photography

Spector

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Monty

If you’re interested in knowing more about any of the dogs in this post shoot me an email at dogblogorlando@gmail.com, or head down to orange county animal services to meet them. Like all of the dogs at Animal Services, their time is extremely limited. If you’re interested in learning more about making your office pet-friendly, I can try to help with that too. 

Spector: a distinguished fella looking for love.

Spector: a distinguished fella looking for love.

**UPDATE: Spector is currently having the jingle taken out of his bells, and will be available for IMMEDIATE adoption (yay!). If you try clicking on his link, and it won’t come up, but still want to meet him, just take his ID number #293559 the front desk and they’ll help you out.

As we were setting up the studio for our shoot on Sunday, I saw a couple volunteers in a play yard with a puppy. Granted, it was one of the cutest puppies I’d ever seen, but my heart broke a little. That puppy will be going to its forever home any day. The shelter is full of adult, and even senior dogs that are so amazing, and because they aren’t bouncy and don’t have shark-teeth, they don’t get the same attention. I made a comment to one of the other photographers about it…”I wish the ol’ boys would get as much attention.” She looked at me with a knowing/sarcastic look and responded with something like, “Yeah, but they’re not as fun or cute.”

This is a tragedy.

 

Meet Spector. 

Saving Good Pets Through Better Photography

Spector was the first dog I was able to snuggle on Sunday. Paul, our fearless leader, was photographing first, so I got to get my hands on this sweet fella. When I walked up to the cage, I usually have a feeling about a dog. I’m either going to fall in love, or I’m not. This boy looked at me with his gorgeous eyes (seriously people, look at that crystal blue eye!) and stood up. He walked over to greet me with his tail wagging, sat down, and waited for me to open his kennel. The patience in him was outstanding. He’s not my typical heartbreaker – much like most girls, I have a type, and he didn’t really fit into it. He isn’t pathetic. He isn’t sick. He doesn’t need special attention. He’s just a six-year old boy, whose owner was no longer able to care for him. Someone else took the time to potty train this guy. Someone else took the time to teach him how to politely walk on a leash. Someone else took the time to teach him how to sit, and stay. And he took the time to fall in love with that person. He took the time to be loyal, and listen. He took the time to learn his commands, and decide which treats he liked.

Saving Good Pets Through Better Photography

And then his family could no longer care for him.

Now, you guys know I have three dogs. Two of them are under 3, but our third—is a distinguished gentleman. Mac, (we affectionately call him Mac-and-Cheese), is our 9-year old boy – we adopted him when he was almost 8. He is far and away the easiest of our dogs. He’s loving and independent. He’s never once had an accident in our home. He’s playful, energetic, and smart as a whip. He knows how to fetch, knows all of his commands, and we can set a clock to his poop schedule. Mac went into rescue because his owner passed away, and his wife couldn’t care for him. They put in the work, and we reaped all the rewards.

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A lot of times, people surrender their animals for different reasons. We see it. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes, it’s because the puppy grew up and wasn’t as cute anymore. Sometimes, it’s because the puppy hasn’t grown up, and is chewing their shoes instead of their toys. Sometimes it’s because they’ve lost their jobs and can’t afford the dog. But sometimes, their owners can no longer care for them. Spector is a big boy, and he appears to have been well loved. I can’t imagine having to give one of my kids up because I can no longer care for them, but sometimes, bad things happen to good people, and people run out of options. That’s what happened to Mac, and it seems that’s what happened to Spector.

I hope people can see past his grey muzzle, and see how much love he still has left. I hope they can see that he just wants someone to lean against, and is willing to roll over for a belly-rub as quick as the next guy. He’s potty-trained, loyal, sweet, snuggly, and amazing.

Saving Good Pets Through Better Photography

Spector isn’t my type, but boy did he steal my heart. Please give him a warm place to sleep, and as many belly-rubs as possible.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Spector, shoot me an email at dogblogorlando@gmail.com, or head down to orange county animal services to meet him. Like all of the dogs at Animal Services, his time is extremely limited. 

Don’t overlook Brinley, an adoptable dog.

Don’t overlook Brinley, an adoptable dog.

**UPDATE: Brinley received an adoption application early this morning. I’m so happy, I cried when I got the email. I promise, if her new family will allow updates, I will post them for you all to see. Thank you so much, friends for reading her story and sharing her. You’ve given her the best gift. A forever. If you’re still looking for a companion, and had your heart set on Brinley, might I direct you to meet Mickie- a gorgeous itty bitty pittie, with two different colored eyes. 

Over the weekend, at the Orange County Animal Services “Hot Dogs, Cool Cats” event—140 pets got adoption applications. Can you believe that!? Amazing.

Happy Graduation, Sydney!

Happy Graduation, Sydney!

 

While a few of us were at a graduation party, celebrating one of our very own volunteers—we discussed how we were surprised by some of the dogs that didn’t get applications, and surprised at some that did. We were so encouraged by the numbers, and by willingness of our community to come together when the animals needed us the most, and adopt!

 

 

 

Today, while we were photographing the remaining 21 dogs that hadn’t been adopted, we were all excited. All of them will make such amazing pets, and because so many of the dogs are already adopted at the shelter right now, we knew these special 21 would have a great chance at finding their forever.

And then I met Brinley. She was shaking at her kennel when we went to get her. She cowered in fear though she wasn’t labeled fearful, or shy. She’s just sad, but mostly scared of her surroundings.

When she got to the play yard, much in the typical way we handle most dogs, (i.e. we let them run, and chase a tennis ball, go to the bathroom, or just give them a little bit of freedom) we let her loose. It took a minute, but then… she clambered around the play yard in true puppy fashion. She chased a tennis ball; she tried to get the attention of the ducks outside the fence; she put her nose through the fence to politely greet another dog then play bowed, hoping that dog would play with her (not understanding the fence would prevent that); and then, she trotted over to me, and with a huge sigh, climbed into my lap.

Which is where she stayed for the next hour.

brinley_blog

A couple people came up to the fence where she and I were snuggling, and told me how beautiful she was… information that I already knew. A little secret about me- I’ve always wanted a blue bully-mix. It’s a running joke at the shelter, every time we photograph one, the other volunteers look at me with wide eyes, wondering if “this is the one” I’d take home. Luckily (or unluckily?) our house is full-up with 12 fur-feet trotting around (that’s three dogs, folks)—so the threat is never imminent.

But today.. it became real.

Today….this amazing girl, in kennel WD32—Stole. My. Heart.

Courtney, one of the other volunteers, kept exclaiming, “she is the PERFECT dog!” It’s true. She is the perfect. dog. She’s young, and eager to please; she’s a cuddler, and is learning how to play fetch. She’s trusting and sweet. She’s gentle when taking treats (even though she’s a little picky about WHICH treats she takes).

brinley_lounging

 

photo-19Knowing there was no chance I could sweet talk my husband into another fur-kid (even though I tried, by sending him 18 million pictures of her), I was so excited that so many people showed interest in her when we were just sitting in the yard. I knew by the end of the day, she’d have “I’ve been adopted!” slapped on her kennel intake card.

As I was leaving, the shelter was opening, I peaked around the corner to see who was waiting in line to see her, and my heart broke when every single person walked right past her. Why? When so many people told me how beautiful she was!?

 

Brinley has mange. It’s a skin infection that’s caused by skin mites.. it feeds off of yeast and sugar, and requires temporary medical baths, and antibiotics; there are even holistic approaches to handle it! It’s completely curable; it just looks scary. Perhaps too scary for some people to look past.

I went over to her kennel to say goodbye. She squeezed herself as close to me as she could through the door, pleading with me to hold her, rub her, love her. I stayed for a few minutes, with my fingers between the bars, rubbing the squishy skin between her eyes, telling her how much I loved her, and how lucky someone is going to be to have her in their lives. With tears in my eyes, I put my face next to hers, she licked my nose*. I said goodbye, and promised her I’d try. I would try to explain to people how easy and affordable this skin allergy is. I would try to explain that we can find sponsors if someone needs help. I would try to explain to people that she is going to be the MOST gorgeous dog to walk the Earth once she’s all fixed up. As I stood up to leave, the light in her eyes looked back at me, like she understood what I was saying.

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When the shelter closed tonight I immediately got online, and looked at her page. No adoption requests. She didn’t get that bright shiny “I got adopted!” sticker on her intake form, so now it’s your turn. I need you to help me try.

*when visiting the shelter, please do not put your fingers, or noses in the dogs faces. (do as I say, not as I do)

 

If you have questions about Brinley, or about Mange—though I am no expert, I can certainly try to help with some information, and putting you in touch with someone who can direct you. If you meet Brinley, and fall in love with her as much as I did, and are willing to give her a forever home, please email me at dogblogorlando@gmail.com—I’d love to help in any way that I can.

 

** thank you to Tricia Banks of Pawstive Shelter Photography for the awesome professional photos, and video. 

Whose fight is it? For the Apopka dog-fighting raid, everyone loses.

Whose fight is it? For the Apopka dog-fighting raid, everyone loses.

UPDATE: The man living in the home where the dog-fight was busted, suddenly wants his animals back. Orange County is petitioning to get custody of all 34 dogs that were rescued. That being said, there is a high likelihood of them being put to sleep because of their animal-aggressive tendencies.These dogs have a chance to make a full rehabilitation, just like the Vicktory dogs, they just need a chance. I hope you’ll sign this petition for their safety.

I have a hard time watching the news in general—it never seems to have anything uplifting, or positive. It’s just all of the inhumanity and heartbreak in the world. This morning, as I was drinking my coffee, I watched, with my jaw open, as an Apopka dog-fighting ring was busted. I watched the dogs being carried off of the property. A home with treadmills, and training devices set up. But worse.. a home with toddler toys in the front yard, and dead dogs buried in the back. (watch the news report here)

I’m thankful that we live in a society that animal abuse is more often being acknowledged as a federal crime, but what does it mean for these animals? These dogs that were tortured, trained, beaten, and chewed up. These dogs, were taught to be killers. They are fine with humans, but they are trained to attack other dogs. Many of them are fighting for their lives. All of them soon will be. Speculation is that they are at Orange County Animal Services right now, awaiting their fate. They were posted early this morning, but then the links were immediately taken down.

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When the raid went into the home the first of at least 4 fights was in session; one dog was carried out on a stretcher. He was in the worst shape physically, but all of the dogs were emaciated, chewed up, and angry.

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Of course they were angry.

And we are all angry for them. Let’s do something about it. How can we make a change? How can we put an end to the massacres that happen to animals on a daily basis? This raid happened because of a neighbor. And somewhere around 20 dogs were saved from a life of continued torture, but their fate is still questionable.

The dog fighting ring that was broken up last night was witnessed by two children. Both, were under the age of 6. They were being taught that animals are pawns in a game. It’s fine to torture animals. It’s okay to watch them suffer as sport.

This needs to end.

I can stand on my soap box, and make a broad statement. “SAVE THESE DOGS, ORLANDO!” And tell people that they should adopt these dogs—because, I do, genuinely want them to be saved.

But I want them to be saved by the right people, for the right reasons. These dogs will take someone patient, and strong. Someone willing to be the boss, and take the time to retrain them to know what a life is supposed to be like. Someone who has worked with animal aggressive dogs before, or someone who has the time to learn how to. These dogs need to be rehabilitated. They need a chance, like the Viktory dogs. Like Chum, who is still available for adoption, and has made huge strides in his rehabilitation- but still has work to do, and needs his forever to continue that work. (read more about his story here) 

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They all will have work to do, and so do we.

We need to speak up when we notice suspicious behavior. The expression “when you see something, say something” goes a long way. The raid last night was broke up because someone was suspicious, and heard growling, barking, and dogs crying in the backyard. They tipped off the police. They knew something was going on, and did something about it, and 26 people were arrested because of it.

We need to stop listing dogs for free on craigslist. Those dogs “free to a good home” end up as training bait for fighting dogs. Some of them end up in the ring fighting for their lives, but most of them, end up as bait for fighting dogs. They end up tortured and ultimately, dead.

We need to be diligent about spaying and neutering our pets. There is an overpopulation of animals, and orange county animal services is literally at capacity. Ya know those swanky night clubs you wait in line to get into on the weekends? The same rules apply here. “one in, one out”. When these animals came into the shelter late last night, where do you think they go? A lot of people say, well, I don’t want to neuter him but I’m always with him, so he will never get another dog pregnant.

To those people, please, I beg you…come volunteer at the animal shelter for one day. In the summer.

 

There is a lot of work to do. Let’s start doing it. 

Forever Friday: Meet Lexi

Forever Friday: Meet Lexi

Donna and I met at our very first Hypeorlando blog event; she writes an amazing blog about empowered women.. go read it. We’d emailed a few times before, both being new to the blogosphere, we were excited to be part of such an awesome community—and learned a lot from each other. I was thrilled to learn that Donna was an animal lover, and had rescued her sweet girl, Lexi. When Forever Fridays started, I was SO excited when Donna contributed Lexi’s adoption story! Thanks Donna, I’m so excited to share Lexi’s story!

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Pet’s Name:
Lexi (aka Lexi Girl, Lexus)

Mom:
Donna

Adoption Date:
March 3, 2012

Estimated age of your rescue:
5 1/2 approx.

Breed:
Boxer

Rescue:
Florida Boxer Rescue 

Adoption Story.
I decided to contact Florida Boxer Rescue after researching breeds and also a few failed attempts of adoption by others. The first, although a sweetheart of a dog, wasn’t cat friendly with my Maine Coon, Pearl. Miss Pearl had been with me since a little kitten, and I was only going to adopt a dog that would not cause her grief. The second dog, as well had some issues with Pearl. I have to stress that there was nothing wrong with the dogs at all, they just had not been kept around cats previously.

I really was impressed with one of the rescue volunteers coming to my home, meeting me and discussing some of the items on the adoption forms I completed online. Patty told me that night about Lexi. She said as soon as they received my request for adoption, they knew she would be the perfect dog for me. Lexi had been found on Craigslist by a volunteer and was relinquished for adoption with two 9 month old puppies. The man told FBR that he had obtained Lexi from another party. He was the second owner, and he said she had also had a litter of puppies before him, and quite possibly it was her third litter. He said he had been unable to sell the last two puppies, so since that was his “purpose” for her, he was looking to get rid of her.

Patty mentioned that Lexi had heartworms and would also need to be spayed before she started treatment. Hearing all of this my heart ached for Lexi before I even had the chance to meet her. She would have to have a foster home before heartworm treatment could begin, and she said that I could also adopt her at anytime. Patty said that Lexi had checked for compatibility with cats while at the Vets and she assured me she would be fine with Pearl.

I met Brenda, another volunteer at Longwood Veterinary Clinic on 3/3/12 and fell in love with Lexi the moment I saw her. Although, I felt like a brand new mother. It had been a while since I owned a dog, but Lexi immediately put me to ease, and I brought her home and gradually introduced Pearl a few days later. Lexi seemed to allow Pearl to remain the Princess of the house. The first three months were rather hard for Lexi, she was only allowed very limited activity as she went through her treatment. People. Give your dogs heartworm medication. Please. Go online and look at images of heartworms in dogs. Can you imagine someone allowing you to get these? Nope. I thought not.

Have you ever heard the term, “Who Rescued Who?” Well, it is the perfect term for Lexi and I. As a widow, I really needed her companionship and she is the best thing that could have happened to me. Rescue animals are so grateful and full of love. We lost Miss Pearl to stomach cancer last year. Lexi seemed to know she wasn’t doing well even before I did.

Some Other Facts about Lexi:
Lexi is absolutely perfect. She is a brindle boxer and she has uncropped ears and her full tail. That tail can hurt when wagging full force! Lexi gets so excited and does this lovely butt wiggle, when she is excited and her whole back end moves side-to-side. Her tail whips against her and she has to stop as she wonders what is hitting her side. Lexi doesn’t have the long boxer legs, but has short legs like her mommy (me). She also isn’t as exuberant like a lot of Boxers, as she was only used for breeding and kept in a crate. She has no idea what toys are. After 2 years, I still try to get her to play ball, and she still gives me that look, like just pet me mom.

lexi2Lexi loves people, and she loves children. Lexi just wants to be loved and petted. She also has a boyfriend named John. He is married to my daughter Sara, and she is always so excited to see John. She really thinks it is special when she goes to their house and spends the night. When John and Lexi are together there is no pulling them apart. There were here over Easter and Lexi pouted for 2 days after they left.

Lexi doesn’t like thunderstorms. It breaks my heart sometimes as I am unsure if she was left outside during storms. I work from home, so I know when it is going to rain, because she comes and gets under my desk and lays right on top of my feet. Any other time, she sleeps on her bed in my office and snores. Loudly.

Life is perfect with Lexi in it. Yes. Who Rescued Who?

 

Forever Friday is a series started to show how amazing adopted animals can be. If you’d like to have your pet profiled, please send an email with a picture of your pet to dogblogorlando@gmail.com  

If you missed last week’s Forever Friday, you can check it out here.

Please, Orlando—save Stella.

Please, Orlando—save Stella.

*UPDATE: Stella received an adoption application today! We’re so thrilled for her! A few of you have emailed me asking how you can help Stella. There is a youcaring site set up for her eye surgery (link at the end of the blog). If you contribute to her care, your contribution will go to a private adopter rather than a sanctioned rescue. Funds may be given directly to the vet, once that information is available, and Stella’s surgery is scheduled. Thank you for sharing her story! She is SAFE! Go adopt someone else! 

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Every week when I get to the shelter, I walk up and down the kennels—and talk to the dogs, I look for anyone needing special attention. Sometimes, it’s so loud I can’t even hear my own thoughts. Other times there is a dull whisper of Christmas carols playing on the overhead speakers (no joke it really does calm the dogs down). Other times it’s almost silent. So quiet, all I hear is my heart beating, the hose spraying, and the dogs panting.  

That was this Sunday.

When I got our list of dogs to photograph this Sunday and realized that there were 42 (yes, 42) dogs that needed their pictures taken— my heart sank. All of the volunteers are familiar with the summer. It’s the worst time to volunteer at the shelter. It’s hot. It’s humid. It smells, and.. it’s breeding season. There are more dogs in the summer than there are any other time of year. It’s the worst time to volunteer at the shelter. But it’s the time that the shelter and the animals, need the extra volunteers.

When Ali and I saw on the list that there was a fearful dog we exchanged a knowing glance and decided that we were going take a look. When we got to the kennel a very happy well-adjusted dog greeted us at the door.. this dog is fearful?!  This sweet boy was most likely labeled that upon his intake day, if he showed signs of being scared. But now he has just as good a chance as anyone else to get out of the shelter alive. As we kept walking the kennels I stopped in my tracks and looked at Ali.

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“This is her.”

Stella was laying curled in a ball shaking uncontrollably and looking at me with one light brown eye. I got down on my knees and talked softly to her she cowered, pleading with me not to hurt her. Pleading with me to love her.

So I did.

I opened her kennel door, slipped a lead around her head, and coaxed her out. She was timid, and hesitant—but she wanted me to be happy, so she reluctantly followed me. When we got to the play yard, I unleashed her—and let her roam free. She immediately went to the bathroom… this girl is trained. I sat down in the shade and watched what she would do.I was amazed when she trotted over to me, and put her paws around my neck, and rested her head on my shoulder (I can’t make this stuff up). I sat there and put my arms around her, and scratched her back.stella1

She was so happy. This! This was ALL she wanted. Someone to love her. We spent some time snuggling together, she chased a tennis ball a couple times— but didn’t know what to do with it once she caught it, but she was trying.

 

When it was her turn to be photographed, she got a little nervous. She wasn’t sure about the white background (a lot of dogs aren’t) but I sat with her, told her how good she was, that I loved her, and that no one was going to hurt her anymore.

I hope that’s true.

This sweet girl is most likely a throw-away mama. A dog used for her pups, then tossed aside when her owners were done with her. She is as sweet as can be. Loves giving hugs, and more than anything, wants to know what being loved feels like. When I brought her back to her kennel, she put her brakes on. She begged me to not put her back in her kennel. She knows she has less than a week to find her family. She has less than a week to know what life after the shelter feels like.

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If you’re interested in meeting Stella, or finding more about her, please contact me at dogblogorlando@gmail.com, or go meet her at Orange County Animal Services. If you’d like to contribute to her eye surgery, please see the youcaring link here. If you’re looking for ways to help shelter animals, but can’t adopt, please see my post here about other ways to help. The shelter is in desperate need of volunteers, and Pawsitive Shelter Photography is in need of photographers.

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