Archive | August, 2013

A Forever Home: Jagger Finds a New Pack

I’ve got another great Happy Ending to share with you today from Erica Gagne Glaze, the blogger for Farming Fort Collins!

So here’s where I confess to you that most of my life I considered myself a cat person. I love pretty much everything furry but never had a dog of my own, until the day I adopted a boxer and fell head-over-heels for that ridiculous, goofy, and affectionate pup. Thus began my love of boxers, and my love of dogs.

So it was my love of boxers caused me to get very excited when Erica told me about her boxer pack, and I just couldn’t wait to read her boxeriffic Happy Ending! I hope you enjoy it, too!

New Pack Member

I can’t help it. Sometimes I just randomly cruise the shelter websites. Just looking. Really, just to look. One day I came upon a boxer. My husband and I have two boxers we purchased from a breeder. They are a year apart and from the same mother. They are amazing. But I do have a soft spot for the rescue dogs. My last dog was from a shelter. I found him days before he would have been put down and brought him home the day after Thanksgiving over a decade ago. He was my companion for over ten years and made the move from the east coast to Colorado with me. He passed in the spring of 2009. That fall my husband bought me a boxer puppy. We were hooked. The next year, same time in November, we added puppy number two.

So, in cruising through the shelter sites I saw a boxer at Larimer Humane Society. I told my husband I couldn’t believe there was this beautiful boxer available. We marinated on the idea but weren’t ready to commit to three dogs. Shortly after I went back to the website. The original boxer was not there but there was another. Again, we talked about who could give up a boxer? Yes, when we are outside on our 4 ½ acres they run around like maniacs and love to wrestle and play. They are goofy and jokesters. But indoors they love to nap and be close to their humans and pile up with each other on my reading chair. What could be the problem?

This little guy wasn’t getting out of my head. So, the day after Thanksgiving, first thing, I went to the shelter. I think I was an hour early. My husband told me to call and we would talk about it. Now he tells me he knew I was coming back with a new pack member.

image002

When I got to the shelter and saw him he was the sweetest and most curious fella. And he was 20 pounds underweight, after the shelter had put a couple pounds on him. A total bag of bones.  He was released by his owner and had never been to a vet. Well, you know where I’m heading right. I called my husband and said we are coming home. “Rocky” spent the ride to the vet and then home with his head in my lap. I’m easy. He hooked me big.

image003

Since that visit we realized he had not spent any time outdoors, and his feet would bleed just walking across the driveway. His records said that he liked to run away and play “catch me”. Well, if I wasn’t let out too much I would make the most of it and run around too. That behavior stopped once he realized he could go out and run and play for extended times. We also had to do some quick fence fixing. Seems this guy can leap over 5 ½ foot fences with ease. So our Fort Knox pen needed some upgrades and fast!

image005

He is white and pale. His fur is thin but getting thicker, which allows you to see his pink skin and black dots under his fur. He has a black Charlie Chan mustache and what I call a Clockwork Orange eye. He dances around like a lanky pasty skinny Brit I know, so we re-named him Jagger, after his famous moves.

image007

Jagger is now at his ideal weight, and has incorporated himself into the pack. We have had a couple scraps between the boys. I have an alpha male and Jagger had his testicles until he was rescued, which is somewhere in the vicinity of 2-4 years old. They needed to figure out who was the leader. We also had a lot of folks ask if he was deaf. I didn’t realize why until a friend of ours who grew up raising boxers explained. The white dogs are prone to deafness, blindness and developmental deficiencies. They are usually put down at birth because of this. So far, this guy has none of those issues, but we do keep a close eye on any changes we notice. I did however learn from my last shelter dog, who progressively went blind starting at two, that they are amazingly adaptable. 

And no one gives us the love this guy does. There is something different about a rescue. The loyalty, the companionship, the reciprocal love. Jagger makes the best truck dog on our farm. He has been a great addition. So, instead of Black Friday shopping at the mall, I vote for Black Friday, and everyday shopping at the shelter.

image009

The pack: Jagger with Ananda (the fawn colored male on top) and Prajna (the reverse brindle female).

Share your happy ending!

I’d love to share your story and feature your pet on Tails of Fort Collins- just send me an email at chrysta@tailsoffortcollins.com !

A Forever Home: Avery’s Second Chance

 

Today’s Happy Endings is comes from Allie Clarke, a media and marketing coordinator for Animal House Rescue and Grooming. It was Allie’s Happy Ending that inspired her to get involved with rescue animals! I was so touched by Allie’s story and I hope you feel inspired to share her story with someone who may just be willing to give a sick shelter dog a second chance.

The dog that changed my life

I wanted to tell you about me and my sweetheart Avery. He is a Boxer/Red Heeler mix, about three and a half years old now, and he completely changed my life.

Three years ago, when I was 21, I knew that I wanted a dog. I had never had a dog before and didn’t know anything about how to care for one, but I was convinced my life was missing a dog. I went to the humane society not even sure what I was looking for. I fell in love with a sweet two year old black flat coated retriever who was already on hold. I was about to leave the shelter but decided to walk through the last row of dog kennels on my way out.

In one of the last kennels in the row I saw the back of a tan dog who was sleeping soundly despite all of the ruckus his kennel-mate was making. I couldn’t see his face but I felt I  needed to meet him. At the time there was a 30 minute wait to meet with dogs, and I almost left multiple times during the waiting period, fully aware that as a struggling college student I didn’t have any of the necessary supplies to impulsively adopt a dog that day. I didn’t leave.

A very sick dog

When I met Avery that day he was a skinny, shy, six-month old mess of a dog. Dried mud was caked all over his haunches, clinging to his dirty, dull fur. I didn’t know much about dogs and I didn’t realize how odd it was that a six month old puppy wouldn’t come over to meet me, preferring to stand cautiously against the wall instead of bouncing off the walls demanding attention. He had bloodshot eyes and his nose was yellow and crusty. He had trouble walking and was not interested in pets or ear rubs in the slightest. The kennel staff member said, “um, I think this dog might be sick…”, and took him away. In hindsight, it seems undeniably obvious that he was extremely ill but somehow that was overlooked during his time at the shelter.

I left the meeting room, unsure if I was interested in adopting him because he seemed aloof and distant when I tried to give him attention- not what I was looking for in my new best friend. A different shelter staff member approached me in the waiting room and told me that the dog I had met with seemed to have kennel cough, and his temperature was extremely high indicating that he was most likely dehydrated.

I looked through his known biography and learned that he had been picked up at four months old as a dirty stray. He was at a shelter in Southern Colorado for a month and was then moved to a different shelter where he spent an additional month. It was noted at his initial intake that he was covered in mud, likely meaning that he had not received a bath during his time at these shelters. My heart broke for this poor baby who had spent so much time in cages, clearly filthy and uncomfortable and very sick.

I immediately filled out the paperwork to take him home, including signing a wavier indicating the shelter would not be held responsible if he didn’t survive.  I paid the $90 adoption fee and loaded him up into my car. I took him to a veterinarian near my home where he was seen right away.

I found out my new dog had pneumonia, kennel cough, mange, and lots of intestinal parasites. He was very, very sick and might not recover from this level of illness at such a young age as his immune system had probably not developed properly. I spent the entirety of my savings account, approximately $850, on treatment and medicine to take home, and I spent the next two weeks nursing my sweet Avery back to life.

Avery’s Second Chance

Happy Endings - Avery

When Avery finally recovered he turned into the true Boxer puppy maniac that he should have been all along. I soon realized that I had no idea what I was getting into when I brought him home! He had never been taught basic obedience. I quickly realized that Avery was a very nervous dog with severe anxiety problems. Additionally, he had terrible digestion issues that my veterinarian could not seem to cure with any amount of medication.

I spent the first six months of my time with Avery learning everything I could about basic dog care, training techniques, nutrition, general health, and how to assuage his anxiety.

I eventually realized that food allergies were probably the cause of Avery’s upset tummy and after many unsuccessful attempts at feeding him high quality kibble, I began to cook him a homemade diet of beef, mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies. His digestion issues cleared up and he hasn’t had them since! I cooked homemade food for him every day for six months until I found a high quality kibble that didn’t upset his tummy.

Avery’s anxiety has decreased significantly, though he still whines a lot. The key to his anxiety cure was a combination of wearing a Thundershirt, DAP hormone releasing plug-ins, plenty of exercise, obedience training, mental stimulation, occasional melatonin supplements, Rescue Remedy, and three years of consistent love and friendship.

Happy Endings - Avery & Allie

My deep love for Avery led me to pursue an internship with Animal House Rescue & Grooming, where I eventually I became a paid animal care tech and the Foster Care Coordinator; now I work on marketing and media projects to increase Animal House adoptions so that we can help more dogs like Avery who need a second chance. Some of the best, kindest people in my life are from Animal House.

I honestly don’t know what my life would be like if I hadn’t brought Avery home that day. My heart hurts for all the Averys- sad, sick, and wasting away at shelters across the United States. I want to dedicate my life to helping high-kill shelters reform their programs to place more dogs in loving homes and I especially want to help shelters improve their medical treatment standard operating procedures for dogs like Avery who are sick while waiting to be adopted.

Share your happy ending!

I’d love to share your story and feature your pet on Tails of Fort Collins- just send me an email at chrysta@tailsoffortcollins.com !

Dogs, and cats, and rabbits! Thanks for an awesome Reader Appreciation Event!

I am so pleased to bring you a recap and photos of my great Reader Appreciation Event!

I have been looking forward to spending time with my readers for quite some time. The original event was scheduled in July, only to be rescheduled until August. I’m happy so many of my readers were still able to make it to the rescheduled event!

We met at Juiced On Imagination, nestled between a yoga studio and children’s clothing store in Old Town Fort Collins, enjoying a bit of conversation along with fresh-brewed spiced iced tea and spinach and artichoke hummus dip.

We settled in to start painting our blue dogs (or cats, or rabbits, or paintings of our own imagination)! Our host, Julie, suggested we simply begin painting, without sketching the details first. Eeeeeep! I’m a color inside the lines kinda girl and I admit I was a little nervous about free-handing but I was up for a challenge. After initially sketching out my blue dog’s ears, I decided to give up the pencil and go with it!

We painted the ears, nose, body, and legs, filled in the background and came back to the dog itself to add highlights and contrast. The more I painted, the more the seemingly haphazard shapes became an actual dog.

Reader Appreciation Event - my blue dog in process

My blue dog in progress!

As we continued to build on our dogs, I started getting creative, adding my own flair to my painting, like orange highlights around the eyes and adding a tail to my dog.

I looked around the table and was amazed to see just how different and beautiful each of our animals became- some readers creating their own completely unique animals!

20130820_204422

Reader Appreciation Event - bunny!

Other attendees loosely followed the inspiration of the blue dog, making their painting their own.

Reader Appreciation Event - lavendar dog

Reader Appreciation Event - yellow dog

And then there were those of us, myself included, that felt a little safer following the inspiration painting a little more closely but with different results.

Reader Appreciation Event - blue & red dog

Reader Appreciation Event - blue cat

I tried to snap photos of all the wonderful works of art but I was so wrapped up in my own painting I wasn’t able to capture good pictures of all the wonderful creations.

Here is my completed piece!

Reader Appreciation Event - My blue dog

When all our works of art were complete, we gathered for a group photo, proudly displaying our paintings.

Reader Appreciation Event - All the readers in the house!

What a fun night! Thanks to Julie at Juiced On Imagination for hosting us!

Becoming a CSU Vet Student

I’m excited to share this guest post with you from Haven, blogger at the Domesticates. Haven is a first year veterinary student at CSU, new to Fort Collins and embarking on a rewarding journey, helping people and animals. I’m looking forward to reading more about her experience as a vet student!

Facing my fears

The responses of strangers varied from cringing and raised eyebrows to guarded well-wishing when I mentioned my plans to go to vet school. Many told stories of people they knew who had applied numerous times, to no avail. It was probably those reactions that gave me apprehension when I applied this past fall. I made plans for how I would spend a year off if I didn’t get in (gestation), and started counseling when I realized how terrified I was to try for something with a very real chance of failure.

It was the responses of my friends and family that gave me hope. Well, that, and my first A in chemistry. My path to vet school wasn’t a straight one. I was applying at 27 years – the age at which a good number of vet students graduate. I had a degree in German with a minor in French. What I also had was years of animal experience as a wrangler, packer, 4-H member, recreational dog musher, shelter volunteer, and a genuine, life-long affection for animals.

People will tell you how competitive it is to get into vet school – and it is. But there is a formula. As a pre-veterinary student, you know the GPA required, the GRE, and the number of veterinary hours. Some of the best advice I got was that those numbers put you in a certain pile when it comes to acceptance – it’s the personal statement and letters of recommendation that will move you between the piles.

So I wrote 13 drafts of my personal statement, and had 12 people read it over (here’s to you Jon, Dr. Mattix, Mom, and Stan!). I tried to explain how my background in the humanities could be an asset. The people I requested letters of recommendation from, I knew to be strong, persuasive writers, as well as people with whom I had meaningful relationships.

And then I pressed “submit.”

Embracing kismet

A little less than a year later, I’m procrastinating packing for my move to Fort Collins by writing this post. On Monday, Jon, Cao and I will drive 9 hours from Montana to Colorado. 1 week later, I’ll be headed off into the mountains with 145 colleagues, where we’ll do some trust falls, talk about our aspirations and professionalism, and inevitably solve most of the world’s ills.

“Kismet” seems somewhat effusive, but so far, everything to do with Fort Collins has fallen together in a way that affirms both my choice to go to vet school, and to choose Colorado State as the place to do it. I’m excited to learn from veterinary ethicist, Dr. Bernard Rollin, to walk my dog, Cao, on the Poudre River Trail Corridor and up near Horsetooth Reservoir, to live with a house rabbit, to eat banana bread french toast at the Rainbow Cafe, and to learn to help animals live the healthiest lives possible.

During vet school and beyond, I will be updating my blog, the Domesticates, regularly with insights on companion animal health and care. When you see Cao and I out and about in Fort Collins, please feel free to stop us to say “hi!”

haven & cao

How you can help Larimer Humane Society with just one email!

Larimer Humane Society desperately needs a new shelter facility. The current facility is too small, and the building is literally crumbling!

Larimer Humane Society Shelter Conditions

Larimer Humane Society hopes to get a tax initiative on the ballot in November to let citizens vote on a one cent per ten dollar tax.

Community support for the initiative was overwhelming and they collected over 14,000 signatures in support of putting the initiative on the November ballot. Necessary documentation was turned into the Larimer County commissioners office only to discover they were short the 11,263 eligible and verifiable signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot.

Larimer Humane Society isn’t giving up yet. You can help by emailing county commissioners to show your support for the initiative and asking that it be put to citizens in the November ballot.

Will you send just one email?

Yesterday I received this email from Judy Calhoun, Executive Director at Larimer Humane Society:

Larimer Humane Society supporters,

 

I want to first thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the countless hours spent collecting signatures and/or getting the word out to get our tax initiative for a new animal shelter on the November ballot. Your support of the animals has been overwhelming and we are hopeful that you will continue to help us push this initiative forward. I wanted to give each of you a detailed update on this and encourage you to contact me directly if you have any questions at 970-530-2950 or jcalhoun@larimerhumane.org.

 

We have been notified by the county clerk that we did not turn in as many signatures as we thought and will not have the required number of valid signatures to get our initiative on the November ballot. This is not due to lack of support of this initiative. In fact, the support of the community has been overwhelmingly positive. Nearly every person who was asked signed our petition and wants a new animal shelter in Larimer County.

 

Unfortunately, a counting error was made and we need your help to ensure this initiative still gets on the November 2013 ballot. We have asked the county commissioners to refer this issue to the ballot and we need you to email your county commissioners to show your support. Please act now by sending the following email to your county commissioners to help ensure a better animal shelter for generations to come.

 

 

 

Subject: Please put Larimer Humane Society on the November 2013 ballot

 

Dear Larimer County Commissioners,

 

Please refer Larimer Humane Society’s tax initiative to the November 2013 ballot so our citizens can vote for a new shelter for the animals in Larimer County!

 

Sincerely,

 

(Your name here)

 

I know with your support we can move this initiative forward and build a welcoming home for every animal in need.

 

Kindest regards,
Judy Calhoun

Larimer Humane Society No Outlet

Helping animals for many years to come

A new shelter facility is absolutely necessary for Larimer Humane Society to continue to help not only the animals, but our entire community. Larimer Humane Society provides a valuable service that keeps stray and homeless animals off our streets. They provide education and support that enriches the human-animal relationship and improves the safety of all Larimer County citizens.

You can read more about the initiative, and why I wholeheartedly support it, here!