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Homes Sweet Homes

When I last posted about my Caribbean Beach babies, we were awfully close to adoptions. Well, I just wanted to give an update!

They moved into their forever homes almost a month ago, and everyone is so happy! I know people were worried about them being separated, but, as I suspected, they flourished apart. Within hours of Trillium leaving, Tulip realized that she was one her own and better start letting people love her. Whereas the day before she was fearful about us petting her, she was converting her struggles to snuggles by the evening! Interestingly, both girls have big sister’s who look a lot like them!

Trillium left first and moved in with her new mama Kim and big sister Gilly.

Her new name is Pearl, and, like her namesake, has come a long way from her rough beginnings! She has done great with her potty training, and has a fondness for chewing bones…and shoes…

Pearl and Gilly are very busy, with daily dog park visits and walks. They have a lot of fun together!

She likes meeting new people, but is a little shy, so would prefer to make the first move, according to her mama. She has learned some commands (and knows the word “treat” very well!).

Tulip retained her name, because, well, her big sister is named Daisy and that is too cute to not have two flower names!

Tulip was a little wary at first…

but she and Daisy connected quickly, and enjoy romping in the yard and wrestling. She enjoys getting to know the neighbor dogs as well!

As you can see from her pictures, they tandem sleep as well, lol.

Tulip is a bit slower to trust, which was how she was with us. She just recently worked up the courage to go for a walk — Mama August says it took her 20 minutes to go seven houses, because there was so much to smell! While she likes food, she is cautious about taking treats, so August is being very slow and patent with her training. Just what this little girl needs!

August has sent out Tulip’s DNA for testing, and Pearl’s will soon be in the mail. I think t will be fascinating to see how closely related they are, and how!

Thanks for all your support with them. I have a new foster now, a senior West Highland Terrier named Ebby. I’ll talk about her another time!

From Beaches to Snowbanks

I hadn’t taken on a new foster since before the pandemic, and I was itching for one. So I got two.

Not just any two. And not just from anywhere. We flew down to St Thomas, USVI, and brought back two scaredy dogs.

It started with an email to our International Program Coordinator. Did we have any contacts there? Could she find me some dogs to bring back? She was worried that it would be tough with the late notice, especially since we didn’t have established contacts there, but she’d try.

Meanwhile, we were on vacation, and I happened to strike up a conversation with a boat captain. He told me he was good friends with someone who worked with the St Thomas Humane Society I asked for her contact info, and reached across the aisle.

Did they think we could make it happen? They, too, weren’t sure. But they have a robust international program called Pets With Wings so are very experienced, and they got on the task.

The next few days were full of calls, texts and emails. Could we take cats? Dogs? Bonded pairs? Any breed restrictions? They were feeling us out, as they needed to know they could trust us. Luckily the organizer has heard of Secondhand Hounds and was willing to take a chance on us — and me.

When you travel with a dog to be adopted, there are lots of restrictions. May depend on the airline, and each airline might have different restrictions and requirements depending on where the flight originated. For example: I needed animals small enough to fit in carriers under the seat in front to me; they couldn’t be too young; they had to be healthy. So Rhea worked her magic in the Caribbean, and Taylor finagled from the cold, bold North. And Tammy met me at the airport.

Meet Tulip and Trillium, sisters (presumably from different misters) who were trapped as part of the island’s save the strays program.

The girls are about 4 months old, and scared of everything. Tammy was especially worried that we would try to rush them into acclimating, but I reassured her we would take it slowly.

We got all checked into our Delta flight (they were awesome).

The pups were drowsy thanks to a little Benadryl, and settled into the flight easily. We never heard a peep from them for the whole six hour flight.

When we got them home, I let them out of their carriers, and let them wander into the house on their own. Well, Tulip walked in, took her first right and found my dog’s kennel. Trillium frantically followed, and there they stayed. All night. No interest in food or water, and definitely not interested in the humans. When Stevie Nicks sniffed at them through the door, Tulip growled a little, but that was it. We all went to bed.

On our first full day with them, I began Operation Ignore the Dogs. When you have super skittish pups, they need to learn to trust you. Who knows what these babies endured in their little lives! They were not aggressive at all, but would cower whenever I tried to approach them.

They stuck around the laundry room (that’s where their kennel domain is), ad got busy catching up on what they didn’t do the day before: eat, drink, poop, pee.

Repeat.

If I tried to approach the kennel, they would press their bodies against the back wall and scratch like they were trying to escape.

Periodically I would come in the room and lay down prone on the floor, stick my hand in the kennel, and not look at them. It took awhile, but eventually Trillium, the black one, would do a cautious sniff — then a scurry.

The next day they decided to explore. First they discovered my closet, which is attached to the laundry room. That was interesting with its piles of unwashed vacation laundry. Then they expanded their horizons, going into the adjoining bathroom, then our bedroom. I decided to try something: I scattered kibble down the long hallway to the main part of the house. As long as they couldn’t see or hear me, they would nibble and follow the trail.

When in my office, which shares a wall with that hallway I could hear scampering feet, so knew they were getting braver. A peek around the corner discovered playing puppies! Things like that were big steps I knew If they felt comfortable enough to let their guard down and play, even for a second, we were making progress.

They discovered a dog bed in the great room.

Decided that was cool — but not awesome enough to stick around when they saw me. Back to the kennel!

The next day they decided they were obsessed with Stevie Micks. Not like, hey, she seems cool, maybe we could hang” way. But as in an OMIGODWHERE HAVE YOU BEEN WHERE AE YOU GOING? CAN WE TOUCH YOU? way. They would just flirt mercilessly, curling their bodies and lowering to the ground, frantically wagging tails and bowed ears.

Stevie thought they were weird. She kept escaping outside, which stressed them out terribly. They would cry and whine when she left, certain that the great glass portal door had swallowed her up for all eternity, never to return. I didn’t need to with the door when she wanted back in: the puppies would whine and scratch and jump around — until I walked over. Then they would sprint to the other room, torn between fear for me and lust for Stevie.

I started using that lust to my advantage. I’d put my had out for sniffs when they wanted her back in. Sometimes it worked, but rarely.

They started being naughty: dragging things from suitcases. Chewing slippers. Trillium realized she could jump on the couch. Tulip, a good 5 pounds heavier and three inches taller, wouldn’t get there for a few days. Taunting ensued.

We decided to see how they would do outside. We don’t have a fenced yard, so double-leashing was a must. That’s tricky, when they don’t let us near. But we managed, and out we all went.

They had a ball! Who knew little beachy babies would love the snow? Of course, the main quest was attempting closeness with Stevie, who loves to run and chase and knock puppies over. They were all in. Until, of course, I decided they had been barefoot in the snow for long enough. HWSNBN managed to grab Trillium, who screamed like she was being gutted. I used Stevie to lure Tulip in, so that was a little less dramatic but no less stressful. We have not tried the front yard since.

They prefer napping, anyway.

I have tried to get them used to the leash, by coating it with peanut butter and laying it on the ground. I don’t think they hate the leash — they just hate us getting close enough to put them on (and God forbid we hold the end when we do get them on). I’m going to reach out to the SHH trainers for advice on that.

We’ve had them now almost two weeks. Occasionally I can get close enough to pet or scratch them, but they certainly don’t relax when I do. I wish I could start house training them, but that’s just going to have to wait until we get more trust. I’d also love to get them outside for walks, but again, we seem to be a ways away for that. There may come a day when I decide to separate them, but I don’t think they are there yet, I don’t know that they are relying on each other exactly, so that may not be necessary. I am not ready for them to go up on the website yet: if they won’t let me touch them, bring potential adopters into the house could be traumatic.

I am not frustrated: I have four months of fear to overcome. I am sad they are missing out on walks and pets and cuddles, but all of a sudden one day it will click, and there will be no turning back. I know that they have lives of love ahead of them! And I know that if not for the valiant efforts of rescuers almost 2,500 miles apart, they would most likely have ended up with terrible lives.

So for now, I will continue to throw kibble around, and hope that one day they will look at me with as much joy as they do Stevie Nicks!

If you would like to save a dog or cat when you travel next, and live in the Minnesota area, click here for more information. If you are not in our area, contact your local rescue, or find a rescue in the country you are visiting.

Massively Mastiffs

Da babies grew up and became da toddlers — and now they became someone else’s dream dogs!

Alice and Thimble went home to their forever families last week, When they left me, the once one-pound struggling critters were 19 and 22 pounds each — at 10 weeks old. Gonna be HUGE!

Thimble’s adopters contact me all the time with pics and videos. She is now named Nora, and is a total daddy’s girl. She also has four human sisters — two sets of twins! She also has cat and dog siblings, so no worries about her being lonely.

Both dogs have continued their character traits at their new homes. Thimble likes to sleep (a lot) and sleeps under things as much as possible. At my house, her fave space was under my desk. Her adopters report she likes to squeeze into quiet corners for some shuteye. If that doesn’t work, she has been known to crawl under a pillow and snooze! Thimble lumbers about like a happy, over-served bar patron. Her squat legs don’t quite seem up to the task of holding her girth upright. And her wrinkles are getting jowlier, and the drooling has commenced. (Can dogs wear bibs?)

Alice is now Matilda, and just as sassy as ever! Some of the staff at Secondhand Hounds nicknamed her Karen due to her insistence to tell them her opinions about everything!). She has a big ole mastiff brother named Walter, and her parents adore her. Walter thinks she’s cool, too, but wants her to hurry up and grow so they can play together more safely. Be careful what you wish for, Walter! She is pretty brave, and jumps right into the middle of the action, whether it is meeting new people or greeting much bigger dogs.

When they were living with me still, we worked hard at Dogging 101. During the day, I played YouTube desensitization clips, and it seemed to help. They sleep through storms, and don’t seem phased by barking dogs. I took them out to socialize on walks and to events. They made their first bar appearance, where, of course, they were crowd favorites at the Excelsior Brewing Company! They and two siblings were the star attractions at an event at The Vine Room in Hopkins, where folks cuddled them up while supporting a great local business.

During the last few weeks with me, I had to travel a few times, so they experienced life in other homes. For a few days they slept over with some siblings, on another occasion they lived in a kid-filled house, and on a third they hung out with a big dog named Rosie. Alice loved Rosie from the get go, but Thimble was a bit cautious. By the end of the weekend, however, they were best pals.

Here are some other fun shots from their last weeks with us. I miss them already! (But not the pee. Or the poop. Or the drool…)

A Puppy is Much More than a Sandwich

So I said goodbye to the last of the Sub pups last week. They lived with me for almost three months — three months of laughter and tears and hopes and fears. They were not my first fosters, nor will they be my last, but I wanted to share them with you all on this very important day.

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Today is Give to the Max Day (donate now at https://www.givemn.org/organization/Secondhand-Hounds). It is the single most important day all year for Secondhand Hounds and thousands of other charities. What we raise today will determine the course of the next year: will we be able to save the broken, the sick, the doomed?  It depends, really, on you.

If not for the donations of others, I wouldn’t have met the Sub Pups. They were born July 7th to a breeder mama. There were seven in her yellow lab litter and five had cleft palates. That means they could not eat, not by nursing mama or drinking from a bottle. Historically, breeders often chose to euthanize imperfect puppies. Yes, it seems heartless, but breeding is a business first and foremost, and there is no way a breeder is going to sell a “defective” puppy for full price. Not to mention get back the man-hours and dollars it takes to treat them.

Rescue is about a lot of things, but it is definitely NOT about making money.

So Secondhand Hounds created the Neonatal division, and the coordinator, Teri, has worked hard to let breeders and their veterinarians know that there is another option: surrender the animals to us, and we will do our best to fix them and get them homes. This wonderful breeder agreed to let us help, and we took four of the puppies.

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(Actually, Teri climbed out of bed, made some coffee, hopped in her car and drove hours to get them. Then she snuggled them into the incubator plugged into her car and warming in the passenger seat. She also had to pull over and feed them every 2-3 hours. They were just hours old).

And how did she feed them? Well, since conventional methods don’t work for cleft babies, she (and, later, me) had to insert a tube down their throat and into their stomach and syringe-feed them through that tube. And no: you can’t buy puppy formula at the store. Teri had to figure out her own formula through trial and error (it’s a lot of goat’s milk and Greek yogurt!)

The sandwich shop Jersey Mike’s had run a wonderful fundraiser for us, so they had been given naming rights, and the Sub Pups were born: Jersey Mike, Big Kahuna, Stickball Special (aka Styx) and Philly Cheesesteak (aka Phyllis, the lone girl).

In some ways they were the perfect fosters: they never made a sound. They slept through the night. In fact, they slept ALL THE TIME. I guess that was partly because they were puppies, and partly because they weren’t all that healthy. At the time I got them, they were transitioning to solid food. It’s a challenging time with any puppy (or human infant!), but even more so for a cleft baby. Every time they tried to eat, it would go up through the hole in the roof of their mouths and they would sneeze and couch and it would be yucky out their noses. So we had to get them on solid food asap, and away from mushy baby food.

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I still supplemented them with tube feedings, and every day I weighed them, panicking when they lost an ounce, celebrating at every milestone: they all came in under two pounds, so that first 2 pounder was huge for me!

So they did the puppy thing. They ate.

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(they drank out of what I called a rabbit water bottle so as to not choke on water)

They learned to play!

 

And they slept.

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When they were all diagnosed with pneumonia, we weren’t surprised. It happens. It’s pretty common with cleft palates, as any fluids they consume can easily travel into the lungs. So we started treating them, and we thought they were all getting better.

But not Phyllis.

Little Philly Cheesesteak started craning her neck — like a turtle. I showed it to Teri, and our founder, Rachel, and they decided she needed to go to the emergency vet.

I never saw her again.

Philly Cheesesteak didn’t make it.

The sweet little girlie, the littlest one. She looked like an absolute toy. The vets tried for days, but ultimately she passed in her sleep.

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Phyllis was the first foster I have lost. I grieve her all the time, but I know that I did all I could. That SHH did all it could. And I had three little yellow boys who needed me, so it was time to get re-focused.

I was nebulizing them. I was giving them steam showers. I gave meds several times a day. I did chest percussion treatment to loosen the phlegm. And they began to grow.

From day one I followed the Secondhand Hounds protocol, socializing them and exposing them to sounds and surfaces and textures.

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They met friends!

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And they went places!

Soon it was time to start talking adoption!

Mike was the first to find his people.

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His new name is Winston, and he is being spoiled quite nicely, thank you!

Then Big Kahuna moved on and was renamed, Barney.

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Both Winston and Barney have cat siblings, and are doing just fine with that!

Styx had to be with me longer, as his lungs just wouldn’t clear up. We sent him to a specialist, who vacuumed his lungs and did a culture and we changed medicines. Two weeks later his x rays were much better, so I started contacting potential adopters. Two weeks after that, he was able to go home.

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Now Mr. Styx got to keep his name. It works well with the resident cat’s name, Skittles. But one kitty isn’t his only furry sibling!

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Styx is an office dog now, who has his own cubicle and gets plenty of love!

When the pups are 6 months old, they will have surgery to correct their cleft palates. If all goes well, they should live the lives of normal, happy, loved dogs. But Secondhand Hounds has bills to pay. When we are done, we will have spent more than $10,000 on their care. We will not recoup that cost from adoption fees. We rely on your donations.

So consider donating, please. Because there are hundreds of animals we want to save. So far, in 10 years, SHH has saved more than 10,000 cats and dogs. Every day we hear of another one that needs help — a dog found starving and abused, a cat who had a litter by the side of the road, a breeder pup born with hydrocephaly, an animal abandoned because it was old and now needs hospice care. We have a donor who is willing to match all donations on Give to the Max Day dollar for dollar. So please: get that donation in NOW! https://www.givemn.org/organization/Secondhand-Hounds

In the meantime, here are a few more cute pics to remind you of where your money goes!

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That link for donation again is https://www.givemn.org/organization/Secondhand-Hounds

 

THANK YOU!

The Results Are In

So just a quick follow up from yesterday (betcha didn’t think I’d post again this fast!)

As soon as Stevie Nicks (fka as Sissy) arrived, I did her DNA and sent it out,  The results came in this morning!

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve heard all sorts of thoughts on what she was — a doodle (my bet), an Irish Wolfhound (my daughter’s dream), a wheaten terrier (I was worried about that one, as they are notoriously hyper) and the latest: a Tibetan terrier.  had to google that one: she does look like it! So, what is she?

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Reading about the various breeds, as described by the good folks at Wisdo Panel, I can see it:

Great Pyrenees: “Can be standoffish and wary with strangers and has a tendency to bark.”  Yeah, that sounds like her.  She is a tad nervous when new folks arrive, but quickly warms up (the submissive peeing is getting better, thankfully). She is, unfortunately, much barkier than I am used to.  Hoping to get some training ricks to work on that.  Like a Great Pyr, she is so soft and fluffy! She has a white streak down her chest that I just love to pet! People often comment on how mellow she is for a puppy, and the Great Pyr litters I have been around are kinda dopey, sweet, chill animals.

Standard Poodle: “Have a sensitive nature and respond well to motivational tools such as treats or favorite toys in a reward-based approach to training.” Yeah, she is so into the food.  All the food.  She learned sit too quickly: when she goes outside to potty, she knows which pocket my treats are in and sits, rather than potties, to get food.  We are working on that, too.

Golden Retriever: “Happy-go-lucky, calm, or easy-going dogs, although some can be energetic or nervous. Usually friendly and are generally good family dogs.” Sounds about right.  Also food motivated, like the Great Pyr and poodle.  We have already caught her stealing food, pantry surfing like her predecessor.  Not good. Working on the food whore-dom.

Terrier group: this one they don’t know which terrier, just that some scruffy business is in there.

Her family tree:

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So basically she has purebred grandparents and great grandparents.  Then someone created a goldendoodle (my guess!), and a pure bred Great Pyr slummed it with a third-generation mutt.  Then their kids hooked up, and we got Stevie.

My fave thing about this is that, most likely, we got the good genes from all the breeds.  They also did her health history, and she genetically only carries markers to sightly increase her chances of two illnesses, both that we can all work with. Her adult size is estimated to get to 40-70 pounds, which is just fine with us.  I mean, let’s be honest: we’d be fine with whatever she ends up being!46302869_10217480512714991_792672863432736768_n

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