Thursday, July 10, 2014

Maude: What's in a name?

Canine infatuation arrives in all forms. With this girl, I was smitten the minute I saw her name. MAUDE it said in big capital letters on the side of her kennel.  

Maude is also the name of my 8-year-old niece — my only niece — and we are very close. We both love drawing. And elephants. And being silly.  And I know, implicitly, that she would be delighted  that I’m comparing her to a blocky-headed dog with a slight under-bite.

Canine Maude is every bit as gorgeous as my niece, though considerably less chatty. There are other similarities too. For example, a strong desire to please, tempered with a healthy independent streak.

Both are strong and athletic. Both are curious.

Both know when they've got you wrapped around their little finger (or dew claw).

Both play nicely with others.

And while I would never tell her moms this, when I first learned of my niece’s name, I didn’t love it. Eight years later, it’s one of my very favorites. I think I may be destined to adore every Maude I meet. 

It certainly happened with this cutie.

omiGAUDE, is she cute...

And like my niece, canine Maude is going to land in someone's family and remind ’em just how incredibly much you can love someone. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gwennie's Got the Grinnies

Hanging out with Gwennie today at the Barn, I suddenly started thinking about "Black Dog Syndrome" -- that is, the oft-cited phenomenon that black dogs (and cats) are harder to adopt out than other animals. Whether the syndrome truly exists generates some debate, but the reason cited is pretty consistent: Many feel that it's harder to photograph darker colored dogs than lighter ones, and therefore they don't get as much attention online.


I'm clearly no photographer, but come on. Is there any doubt that Gwennie is a gorgeous freakin' specimen? Look at that grin.

And sure, she's way cuter (also sassier, smarter, bubblier, etc.) in person, but isn't that true of most of the dogs you first see on a website and then meet in person?

Today, Gwennie charms not only me, but the resident gentlemen as well. Not sure what witty observation she's passing along to Eddie (maybe, Does that human with the camera ever wear anything besides overalls?) but Beast also hopes to get in on the secret...

And Beast still has his eye on her a bit later when Gwennie decides to see what the rope-toy is all about.

Honestly, can you blame him? Over by the slide, I start to tell Gwennie the joke about the blocky-headed canine who walks into a bar. Before I can finish, she gives me a knowing laugh:

Black Dog... what?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Gal pals: Molly and Widget

Molly is one of those “guys’ girls.” Athletic, a bit flirty, and just barely masking a vulnerability that brings out the protective side in both Eddie and Elliot. It doesn't hurt that she’s stunningly beautiful.

But whereas Molly can be a bit of a mystery, Widget wears her emotions on her tail. She’s all wiggle and full of spunk — optimistic to the core. For weeks, she’s been Molly’s next door neighbor in the Barn. And then, this last week, it seems they went from a couple of chicks on the same block to... really good friends. 

Hey? Hay! It's Molly and Widge!

Where Widget goes exploring, Molly is eager to follow. And when Molly wants to hang out in the shade, Widget manages a few wiggle-free moments to keep her buddy company.

Tennis balls. Shade. It's cool.

 Innocent as they think they look, like all good gal pals, they share a few secrets.
Up to no good -- who, us? 

And at the end of the day, when Molly wants a minute or two with her good pal Eddie, Widget doesn't mind. Friends understand these things.

Still... there's nothing like old friends.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Invasion of the best kind!

Just over two weeks ago, our 2013 Christmas gifts arrived when a group of dogs who survived a large scale dog fighting case was delivered to Oakland. (News LINK of the raid, that saved 367 dogs from a life of fighting.)

We'd first met these survivors when our team of handlers flew to the the southeastern US to assist with the dogs' care. We worked in the HSUS temporary shelter, where 13 different groups of dogs lived until their abusers had their day in court. Once our group of dogs was able to be released, Chris Schindler - the Animal Fighting Response Manager of the HSUS - made a big cross country trip to bring them to CA.

It was gratifying to see them again, to say the least:

and Megg (photo, right)

We've also committed to helping young Ollie, Lady Bug and Luna - who we can't show you yet since they're still inside the custody window. Dixie left with Chris to join her new home in CO with breed advocates ColoRADogs, and Londyn and Megg stayed behind for two weeks, getting acclimated to life outside of a shelter before leaving for new adventures with the Seattle Animal Shelter.

It's been a very busy time for our team, but everyone has been handling the extra work like a pro.

If you visit our facebook page, you may have seen this. It's a SLIDESHOW (with heart tuggy music, of course) with a few of the dogs' firsts - first play session, first sensation of cool grass under their feet, etc.

Today, a video of the wonderful Monkey. She enjoyed a week of wrestling, rolling fun with Elliot and Eddie before leaving for foster mom Letti's house to begin two 30-day heart worm treatments. Sigh. We sure wish she didn't have to, but it's time to get healthy and then get that HOME finally. We sure love us some Monkey.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March happys at the Barn

It's always fun when Seattle friend Maggie McDowell pops by for a visit. Not only do the dogs love the extra attention (slumber party in the cabin!), we get to enjoy the little moments she photographs while she's here.

Here are a few snaps taken during working shifts at the barn. Thanks for sharing your eye with us, Maggie!

A breakfast of champions for a hungry girl. "Wait, Esther!"
It's taking every ounce of focus she has not to jump up on the counter
and hurry Charity along with this morning chore.

Eddie and Molly show off some carousel style prancercise moves. The not-so-shy-anymore 
Molly will be going to class for the first time this coming Saturday, then will 'graduate' to 
adoption status. We hope she finds a nice home with a dog mentor to take Eddie's place.

Elliot teasing his now-favorite barn dog Widget into a game of chase.

Esther flirting with Charity, "Can I pretty, pretty please?"

Molly gets some TLC from Jose.

Yes Esther, you really are a pretty little thing.

Megg enjoying a quiet conversation with Connor.

Londyn is just here for a few days.
Next stop: Seattle, where she hopes to find a new home through Seattle Animal Services.

"I can see you!"
Lookie who discovered a new place in the yard to squeeze and get stuck.
Gee, thanks Londyn! She was able to move forward but couldn't back
out to release herself. We were giggling so much that it took twice as long as it
should have to free her.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Steady Eddie, Brave Dave

He probably has no idea, but Eddie’s a natural teacher. Last week at the Barn he helped show shy Molly the ropes. Today, he demonstrated perfect sits for unfocused Esther —

 and then revealed how to swipe a plastic chicken right out from under her nose.

"Now we're sharing..."

"Now I've got it!"

And on Sunday, Eddie achieved what I'd never been able to get my own dogs to do.

My father-in-law, by his own description, is not what you’d call an “animal person.” Sometimes dogs can make him a little uneasy — even fearful, it’s fair to say.  I’m really not sure what he thinks about my involvement with a group rooted in advocacy for pit bull-type dogs.  

So when Dave, who was visiting from out of town, sweetly expressed an interest in visiting the Barn, I was nervous. Not that his experience would be bad, but that it would be… just… meh. And I wanted my father-in-law not only to see what I see, I wanted him to fall in love with these crazy blockheads. And to understand why I do what I do.

Of all the dogs, Eddie caught his eye. I’m not sure who approached whom first, but I do know that when I glanced their way, I saw Dave stroking Eddie’s ears like he’d been doing this all his life. The rest of us talked. We walked around the yard. And each time I looked over, there was Dave, lovin’ the heck out of Eddie (who was relishing every second).

“Are you seeing this?” I asked my husband. He snapped photos, and I stood there and grinned.

The cutest image of all, however, wasn’t captured on film. When it was time to go and we headed out the gate, Eddie remained on the other side, his eyes fixed on Dave. “Your new friend doesn’t want you to leave,” I said.

My father-in-law turned around to look at Eddie. He paused. And then he smiled, perhaps pondering the significance of it all. He didn’t need to say anything.

Monday, February 24, 2014

In the Barn This Week...

Its always fun to go to the barn and see new faces and find out the little things about each dog that makes them special. 

First up, Widget.  This super affectionate girl has the most beautiful soft brindle coat. Her favorite activity is snuggling and she is very skilled at curling her petite body into a lap.

Next, Eddie brings the charm. He spent a a good part of the afternoon rolling around on his back proudly showing off his new neuter.  Then he saw a squirrel and was convinced that it ran into a storage shed to hide from him. Sweet guy!
Molly quickly made friends with me and showed that she might not be so shy after all. Not caught on camera - her gazelle-like leaping skills. 
Last, but certainly not least Esther brings the puppy power. This youngster is the "senior" barn resident now that Benny and Joon have gone on to their forever homes and she is keeping all the adults on their toes.  Go, Esther!

These four dogs are just amazing - sweet, fun, beautiful and eager to please. Each one of them will make their future families complete.  If I didn't have two dogs of my own and a new foster on the way...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Molly and Eddie

Eddie needed Molly. Fresh from the shelter, he had bad infections in both ears and was a bit depressed because of it. He moped and whimpered when he arrived.

Molly needed Eddie. Also fresh from the shelter, she was fine outdoors but very frightened of being IN-doors. She flattened as if the roof might come crashing in on her. And she thought dogs were no good - except Eddie. He was calm and gentle ... and still unaltered (mmm) so he smelt like heaven to her.

After shuffling everyone around a bit, we decided to put them in the same kennel divided by one wall so they could get better acquainted and their friendship could bloom.

"Where are we?"  "I dunno. Follow me and we'll figure it out."

"Woo hooo! We can do this."

From belly crawling and waiting for something to go wrong, to now kangaroo hopping on all her human visitors in kookie daily greetings, Molly is getting her groove on. With Eddie's good influence, she's starting to meet other dogs and is learning that they're safe and nice to hang out with. 

Now on meds and settling in to the routine and the fun, Eddie is perking up. Dogs helping dogs is a theme that repeats around here.  Life is good at the Rescue Barn.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Many Faces of Miss Joon

I think Joon was born for the stage.  Her expressions are so soulful, so varied!  With one look, one gesture, she can make you double-over laughing, or inspire you to ponder the deeper things.  And so, without further ado, I now present to you...the lovely Miss Joon!

"Do you mind if I rest my head on your hand for just a moment?"
"So you wanted me to sit, huh?  For how long exactly?"
"My favorite Mary Oliver poem, you ask?" 
"Hmm...I like the one that goes: Love love love, and run as fast as you can..."
(Running at top speed with her best bud, Benny)
"Ha!  That was fun."
"What shape do you see on my chin?"
"Okay, I'm ready for my close-up."
"Do I look more becoming with my ears back?"

"Or forward?"
"Yay for scratches!"

Love, Joon