Tag Archives: puppies

Puppy Proofing

The chewing menace

The chewing menace

(Yes, that terrifying face to the left is my sweet Tyler.) Puppies chew things, this is a fact of life. Once I knew Tyler would be coming home with me, I realized I needed to do some puppy proofing. Because of Bailey, I felt confident that we already had a dog-safe environment. But I knew I needed to look again because Bailey was an older dog and trained to what she could and could not touch. Tyler would be interested in everything, and would want to explore his new world using all his senses—especially his sense of taste.

Things I looked at:

  • Shoe storage
  • Exposed electrical cables and extension cords
  • Stuffed animals on the floor
  • Puppy-available boxes of tissues or rolls of toilet paper
  • Baby gates
  • Plants 
Lovin' da chew!

Tyler is lovin' da chew!

I focused a good deal of my attention in the area of my office and my bedroom—two places I knew Tyler would spend most of his unsupervised time.

I’ve grown sloppy about where I leave my shoes. Where ever I take them off, that’s where they sit. Bailey hadn’t bothered my shoes for many years, but I knew Tyler would be different. So I set a new habit for myself. I cleaned out the bottom drawer of my dresser, and the shoes I wear most often now live here when they’re not on my feet.

Shoes in Drawer

Shoes in the Drawer

As I looked around I also realized that we’ve got several places in our house where there are exposed electrical cords.

Loose Cables

Before: Loose Cables

I purchased some clear plastic boxes that fit underneath furniture, and that don’t look too obtrusive. The cables can all be bundled into the plastic box, and if needed, a small hole can be cut in the lid to let the cable through, leaving the bulk of the wires and cable unavailable to puppy teeth.

Cables in a Box

After: Cables in a Box

We had taken down some of our baby gates after Bailey left us. I put them back in place.

Babygate

Babygate

I think it’s really worth the money to buy good baby gates. They’re stronger, and they look nice. For me, it was definitely worth making the gates permanent by attaching them to the doorways. We have one on each of our three bedrooms.

What is it about tissues and toilet paper that drives dogs wild? I know Bailey was not alone in her habit of grabbing a tissue and eating it whenever the opportunity presented itself. And you could not let that dog near a roll of toilet paper—she would decorate the house and then eat it all! Tissues and TP were not going to be an issue where Tyler was concerned because we never got out of the habit of keeping both out of doggie/puppy reach.

I had to move some stuffed toys to a higher level in my bedroom. And all of our houseplants were up on tables—so Tyler would not be able to chew on them.

Lastly, I got down on my hands and knees for a puppy-eyed view of stuff that might interest an inquisitive and energetic little pooch. Seemed like I had everything covered.

Wrong! I forgot our patio and terrace. So I’ve spent my weekend puppy proofing the garden.  

It started with the gate. I was doing some yard work last Sunday and Tyler watched me open the garden gate and go through it. That was all it took—he wanted to follow me and tried to go right between the slats of the fence. So a quick trip to the hardware center and I had some plastic ornamental garden fence which I attached (upside down) to the gate.

Tyler at the Gate

Tyler at the Gate

But now he knew how easy it would be to slip through the fence slats. So I spent this weekend puppy-proofing the fence.

The wild jungle we thought would hold Tyler back

The wild jungle we thought would hold Tyler back

I needed to clean out the weeds along the bottom of the fence anyway.

Adding the plastic fencing

Adding the plastic fencing

To fix the fence so Tyler can’t squeeze through, I purchased some plastic fencing and some zip cords (like electricians use to bundle cables).

Attaching the plastic fence

Attaching the plastic fence

Plastic fence

Plastic fence

 

Now, Tyler can’t slip through. I think he’s annoyed.

Tyler can't get out

Tyler can't get out!

Small Paws Sunday: Where Does Your Donation $$ Go?

More Small Paws Sunday reading.

This month, in memory of Bailey, I am working with Romeo the Cat to raise money for Small Paws Rescue.

Just FOUR days left to our online Bichon Bash for Small Paws!

It’s important that everyone who donates money to our online Bichon Bash fundraiser understands just how much of a difference their donation makes in the lives of these little fluffy dogs. As Bonnie Ferguson (Director of Adoptions for Small Paws) says,

“Small Paws provides care to needy Bichons that would otherwise not be helped. Small Paws has saved the lives of homeless Bichons, Bichons people no longer want for various reasons, puppy mill Bichons, Bichons scheduled to be euthanized at shelters and many more. Small Paws often takes in the ones that other rescues won’t help because of illness or old age… Knowing that we do the best we can each day and have given it our all, in any situation, puts a smile on my face.”

RELIEF FOR PUPPY MILL DOGS

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Click to read about Regis, the puppy mill cull.

No matter what position you occupy in the dog world, you know what a puppy mill is. Unscrupulous people wanting to invest the least amount of time or money with the intention of making the maximum amount of dollars house their dogs in disgusting conditions. Their dogs do not receive adequate veterinary care. They breed their dogs indiscriminately without thought of congenital health issues, and at every opportunity. Puppies are sold away, when they should still be nursing. And none of the dogs are socialized.

Small Paws makes a point of rescuing Bichons from puppy mills by purchasing them.

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Click to see some example photos

The mighty warriors of Small Paws regularly attend puppy mill auctions—sometimes in disguise. They have developed relationships with some millers, so that they can get the dogs out of the system. Some rescues do not see the value in purchasing dogs that they rescue. But Small Paws members know that pulling the “livestock” out of the puppy mill system might ultimately lead to fewer dogs being bred. It certainly means that the little souls on the auction block will eventually have better lives if Small Paws is there to purchase them. And the membership has never hesitated to contribute money when the word goes out that there’s an auction coming up.

It should also be mentioned that Small Paws has acquired much expertise in the rehabilitation of puppy mill dogs. Their adoption process is a proven success.

Dogs who come into rescue from a puppy mill situation nearly always have health issues because of lack of veterinary care. Their teeth are always bad and in need of a major cleaning. Many times they have congenital issues that require surgery. Sometimes they have heartworms. By far, the biggest bill that Small Paws pays each week is the veterinary bill.

THE VETERINARY BILL

An example of the vet bill

An example of the vet bill

Every week, Small Paws diligently pays the vet bill and then reports the spending to the membership through the Small Paws Newsletter. Each Newsletter includes a detailed accounting of where the veterinary money is going, including a “Transaction Detail By Account” bookkeeping form and an explanatory update on each dog currently receiving medical assistance. The vet bill is (to my knowledge) where most of the money goes that is raised for Small Paws. As an example, for the first 22 days of March Small Paws averaged $1,284.49 per day in veterinary costs.

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Click to read about Maggie, in hospice.

Small Paws is a “no-kill” organization and will go the full measure to make sure that any Bichon entering Small Paws Rescue receives the medical help needed. If the health issue can be fixed, it’s done. If the health issue has progressed to the point that it can’t be fixed, the Bichon is placed in “hospice” where it will live comfortably until quality of life dictates that it’s time to cross the rainbow bridge.

Any Small Paws dog up for adoption has been fully vetted and is in the best health possible.

TEETH

An example of teeth that have not had any dental care.

An example of teeth that have not had any dental care.

Why do clean teeth matter?

Teeth grind up food, which make them important in the digestive process. But (as with people) if teeth are not brushed and cared for, plaque builds up which leads to tartar. Tartar builds up below the gums and bacteria grows which causes inflammation. The bacteria causing the inflammation can enter the dog’s bloodstream and cause or aggravate lung, kidney, liver and heart problems.

Nearly every dog that comes into rescue, but especially the Bichons from puppy mills, need a “dental.”

HEARTS

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Click to see some heart surgery photos

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Click to read about the Small Paws Heart Murmur Fluffs!

Patent Ductus Arteriosus is a congenital heart defect in dogs. Before a puppy is born, it gets it’s oxygen from mom. The fetal heart pumps blood, but the blood is not oxygenated by the fetal lungs so there is an opening called the Ductus Arteriosus that bypasses the lung. After the puppy is born and starts breathing on its own, the Ductus Arteriosus is supposed to close. And when it doesn’t, it causes a heart murmur. There is a really good explanation of this is on the Veterinary Partner web site.

Puppies with PDA heart murmurs don’t live very long. So far, Small Paws has saved the lives of 67 Bichons who were all born in puppy mills and had severe PDA heart murmurs.

EXAMPLES OF SOME OTHER VETERINARY EXPENSES

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Click to read about Melody and her hip surgery.

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Click to read about Marley, who needed a liver shunt.

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Click to read about Elvis, who needed braces!

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SO WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
The money goes to the Fluffs–mostly for their vetting. There are some rescues that will not invest money in a dog that needs extreme medical care, but not Small Paws! Saving Fluffs is what it’s all about! Making sure that they have the best possible start on their new life is the goal! What a great investment!

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Small Paws Sunday: Some Before and After Pictures

More Small Paws Sunday reading.

This month, in memory of Bailey, I am working with Romeo the Cat to raise money for Small Paws Rescue.

Just 10 days left to our online Bichon Bash for Small Paws Rescue!

Over the years I’ve seen many before and after photos on the Small Paws web site and in Small Paws newsletters, and often my mouth drops open in amazement at the difference in the Fluff–once Small Paws takes him or her into Rescue. So this week, I thought you might like to see how the money we’re raising this month will be used.

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Now, isn’t that money well spent?

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Small Paws Sunday: Robin Pressnell, the Heart of Small Paws

More Small Paws Sunday reading.

This month, in memory of Bailey, I am working with Romeo the Cat to raise money for Small Paws Rescue.

Robin Pressnell is Executive Director of Small Paws Rescue. She is an incredibly busy lady, but recently she graciously gifted me with some time so that I could interview her by email. She has devoted her life to Bichon rescue since she founded Small Paws in 1998.

Bev and Robin at a Dayton Bichon Bash (wearing silly hats!)

Bev and Robin at a Dayton Bichon Bash (wearing silly hats!)

BEV: In your own words Robin, could you please give us a brief overview of Small Paws?

ROBIN: There is so much more to Small Paws Rescue than meets the eye. Yes, we do rescue Bichons, nationwide. But we are also a family. Our volunteers and Team Leaders have become close to each other after working on rescue situations, together, for almost 12 years now.

Yes, we are much more than an animal rescue organization. We are also an International prayer ministry, active in 28 countries. With over 6000 members, we want people to know that God loves them more than anyone else ever has and more than anyone else ever will. And that no matter what, they are never alone. We believe in the miracle healing power of prayer and we reach out to people across the world, of all faiths. Small Paws Rescue! It’s a God thing!

BEV: Why is Small Paws important?

Robin and a litter of 4 puppies, from a commercial kennel, with heart murmurs on their way to Texas A&M for surgical repair.

Robin and a litter of 4 puppies, from a commercial kennel, with heart murmurs on their way to Texas A&M for surgical repair.

ROBIN: Without Small Paws, thousands of Bichons would have died over the past 12 years. We’ve rescued over 8500 Bichons since 1998.

The love that these little ones have shared with human beings would have all been lost. People’s lives wouldn’t have been enriched as they have been by giving and receiving love with their adopted Bichon Frise from Small Paws Rescue.

Many people wouldn’t have the close personal human relationships that they enjoy today, without Small Paws Rescue!

BEV: Where do you fit in the Small Paws organization? What do you do?

ROBIN: I’m the co-founder and the Executive Director. I’m the one who keeps the members informed through our newsletters. We let them know about medical emergencies, foster needs, fundraising needs, and updates on previously rescued and adopted Bichons.

I also deal directly with veterinarians daily, all across the country, discussing various treatment options, and of course trying to get the best price possible.

I’m also the Small Paws media consultant, dealing with the press and appearing on cable shows like Animal Planet dogs 101, and Fox and Friends from the Fox News Network in New York City.

I travel each year to several cities, attending Small Paws functions and raising funds. Our vet bills run $30,000-$50,000 a month so fundraising is always a priority.

Robin prepping for a mass exodus of rescued Bichons to foster homes.

Robin prepping for a mass exodus of rescued Bichons to foster homes.

BEV: What do you love the most about your work with Small Paws?

ROBIN: I love the feeling that comes, knowing that I have helped to bring love into the lives of people. Once anyone has experienced having a Bichon Frise, they will never ever be the same. And I got to play a role in making that happen!

I also love knowing that our organization is there for Bichons who have no one else to be an advocate for them. Bichons in danger of being killed in shelters, instead, come into a place of love with Small Paws. What could be better?!

BEV: What do you wish every foster dog parent came automatically equipped with?

ROBIN: A veterinary degree. HA!

After suffering years of neglect, this recently rescued Bichon with ears matted shut will receive the care it needs and a loving furever home.

After suffering years of neglect, this recently rescued Bichon with ears matted shut will receive the care it needs and a loving furever home.

BEV: I supposed you say that because of all the veterinary bills that Small Paws takes care of. If we could take a photograph of Small Paws right now, with would it look like?

ROBIN: It would look like love. Smiles on all of the people and the Bichons from over the years, living and loving together!

BEV: What is your perfect day?

ROBIN: If one of our foster dogs has gotten away from its foster home, and we find the dog, safe and sound. We have had over 100 Bichons go missing in the last 11 years. All have been found. Two didn’t survive but everyone else is doing well. When I hear the words, “WE GOT HIM!” that’s a great day.

When I learn that a particular Bichon has survived a difficult surgery, that’s a great day!

BEV: What keeps you awake at night?

Robin worked for years to secure Romeo from a commercial kennel.

Robin worked for years to secure Romeo from a commercial kennel.

ROBIN: Two things. Will there be enough money to pay the vet bills and wondering if I have forgotten anyone in a shelter. Did I contact everyone I was supposed to? Did I make sure that no Bichon is going to be euthanized and did I get someone there in time?  Every night before I go to bed I play the day back like a movie. Sometimes I have to get back up and turn on the computer to make sure no one was left to be killed.

BEV: What is the most difficult thing you have to do in your work with Small Paws?

ROBIN: For me, it’s the need for constant fundraising. It’s not easy for me to ask our members for money. I’d almost rather be hung by my thumbs in a major intersection than ask our members for financial help again! But I realize I am their voice. These Bichons in need of medical care can’t type, so I am their advocate, explaining the situation, sharing which vet is caring for the dog, including their name and phone number.

 

 

    Romeo, finally in rescue and on his way to a furever home.

Romeo, finally in rescue and on his way to a furever home.

We post our bills each week in the newsletters so that our members can know where their money is going and who was helped!

BEV: As Robin has mentioned, one of the ways she raises money for Small Paws is through the newsletters that are emailed out to all the members. Depending on how badly funds (or prayers) are needed, sometimes the newsletter comes every few days, sometimes it comes several times a day. Always it’s a message of hope, in Robin’s own ‘stream of consciousness” style. Her personality comes through with every word—you know this is a woman who cares deeply about the Fluffs and about the members of the organization. Robin answered my last 2 questions in one of the more recent newsletters.

ROBIN: The other day, one of our members (Bev!) asked me to do an interview for her Blog, where she is currently doing a really neat fund raiser for Small Paws.

I will send out a mailing about it soon. It’s a very interesting personal blog.

Anyway, one of the questions in the interview was: “What is the most difficult thing you have to do in your work with Small Paws?”

This was my answer.

‘For me, it’s the need for constant fundraising. It’s not easy for me to ask our members for money. I’d almost rather be hung by my thumbs in a major intersection than ask our members for financial help again! But I realize I am their voice. These Bichons in need of medical care can’t type, so I am their advocate, explaining the situation, sharing which vet is caring for the dog, including their name and phone number.

 

 

Baby Higgins, sold to Small Paws at a commercial kennel auction with "a stiff back leg" that turned out to be congenital neurological damage. Small Paws found him a furever home.

Baby Higgins, sold to Small Paws at a commercial kennel auction with “a stiff back leg” that turned out to be congenital neurological damage. Small Paws found him a furever home.

We post our bills each week in the newsletters so that our members can know where their money is going and who was helped! “

It’s times like these when we fall short of raising what they truly need that I dread coming and asking for help again.

I try to think of something new and exciting to say.

I look up and ask Him to please inspire me. HA! (I think He’s probably pretty busy right now with things much more important than sending me something brilliant to say.)

The last question in the interview was this one.

“What inspires you?”

This was my answer.

“The reaction of our members to this organization inspires me! The love and commitment from perfect strangers, willing to help a Bichon in need inspires me! The love they have shown over the years to me, taking me in as a member of their family, touches me deeply.

Seeing a Bichon come from the depths of despair, to being a loving family member, inspires me!

More than anything else though, the miracles we have seen over the years, miracles that happen from what I believe is the power of prayer, inspire me! We have climbed mountains that were too tall! Don’t tell our members that something is impossible! They will prove you wrong! Each new day working with this organization is a total inspiration to me! I love this organization, the people involved, and the little ones we save, day after day, with my whole and complete heart. I am the luckiest person in the world.”

And those of you who know me, know, that really is how I feel.

 

The Valentine Rescue--Robin holds baby Woo (as in Pitching Woo), 1 of 33 Bichons purchased at a commercial kennel auction.

The Valentine Rescue–Robin holds baby Woo (as in Pitching Woo), 1 of 33 Bichons purchased at a commercial kennel auction.

At times I wish we would win the lottery and never have to ask for vetting funds again.

But then I think, (I know. That can be dangerous.) if we won the lottery and never had to ask for help again, none of you, the people who ARE Small Paws Rescue, would ever have a part in changing the lives of both the Bichons and the people who love them, ever again!

Whether a person gives $5.00 or $5000,00, they are both a part of changing lives, changing the course of events as we know them.

You all are a part of eliminating pain and bringing love into the hearts and homes of those who needed it desperately.

I want for all of you to know that you ARE what makes Small Paws go round and round, over and over again.

In a perfect world, I’d never have to come and ask for help for them.

But in a perfect world, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in.

Of rushing to keep precious balls of fluff from being killed in a shelter, sometimes, from being shot by a puppy miller who no longer has need for an aging dog who isn’t making much money for them anymore.

I get letters every day from people. People who have adopted a Bichon from Small Paws.

They tell me how much their adopted Bichon means to them and their families.

Sometimes they actually tell me they were so depressed before he or she came into their lives, that they were even thinking of things that are unspeakable.

These little ones have amazing abilities to help, to love, and to heal broken hearts.

You know that I’ve always said that God loves each of us, more then anyone else ever has and more than anyone else ever will.

 

Puppy love!

Puppy love!

Well, when we send a formally homeless Bichon, to a new adoptive home, it’s sort of an extension of that Love.

Our hope is that the new adoptive family will share a love with that new Bichon, reminiscent of God’s love for all of us.

Well, I know I’m rambling here and I probably need to start packing.

I’m leaving soon to be attending the Suncoast Bash in Florida. It’s a pretty large Bash and people come from all over with their Bichons. We try to sign up new volunteers for the Florida team, as Florida is such a large state.

I need to tell the Team Leaders and foster parents of these four babies, Gideon, Serena, Prissy and Scarlett,that we can go ahead and authorize their vetting or not.

Thanks for reading the ramblings of a sometimes silly, blond woman in Oklahoma, who loves each of you more than you will ever know. All My Love, Robin

BEV: Robin, all my love right back at’cha. You are an incredible woman and one of my heroes. Thank you so much for all you do for the Fluffs.

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Chow Hound Husky Puppies

I came across a blog post that made me smile the other day–Chow Hounds on The Daily Dog Blog. Some really sweet photos and a very funny video reminded me about that whole “life goes on” thing. The Husky puppies at the Lazy Husky Ranch love their food–especially on their face and paws!

I took some time today to read back through the January posts from the time the puppies were born. More beautiful photos. And Shannon (the writer) shows such a love for her dogs and the puppies. The Lazy Husky Ranch must be a very happy place with so much love being shared.

Shannon and I share that love for our dogs.

One sweet puppy, Lucy, almost didn’t make it. The runt, her sibs often pushed her out of the way when it came to nursing from mom. But Shannon refused to give up on her. She gave Lucy extra care, keeping her warm, using an eyedropper to give her extra nourishment. Lucy and Bailey each turned their corners at around the same time.  Lucy is now a lovey, chubby pup. Bailey is gone.

Shannon and I both feel the same about puppy breath (nothing sweeter!), but we disagree regarding snow. I guess as a musher it makes sense that she would like snow. Bailey never liked snow, so I never liked it either. And now, perversely, I wish our snow had not melted–her paw prints were all over our patio and the small, fenced-in yard. Now they’re gone. My girl is gone.

Ugh! I continue to work through my grief. It’s been 2 weeks which is at once an eternity and yet no time at all. Friends and loved ones continue to send me cards and kind thoughts. I am surrounded by people who care about me and who loved Bailey and even though I’m not very good company right now, I so appreciate everyone’s kindness. I miss my girl so much, but I am so thankful that there are puppies in the world.