News and views of Chicago's animal rescue community and supporting businesses

Posts tagged ‘Dogs’

Our thoughts and prayers for the parvo dogs…

I grew up with cats in the house. Throughout the years we had a variety of indoor-outdoor kitties that shared our bed and our love. I was sad each time one of them went on to the rainbow bridge. But, that didn’t really prepare me for the first time I had the life of a cat held in my hands as an adult.

Wedge lost his battle with parvo on Saturday.

Rhett the Wonder Cat was 15 when he came down with what appeared to be a bladder infection in April. He recovered but  started to present symptoms again in July. We made many trips to the vet getting few answers until we finally switched vets and were referred to Vet Specialty in Buffalo Grove. By the time we brought him in, it was too late. They couldn’t save him. When I called my husband from Vet Specialty to let him know how much it would cost if we tried to save him – he said – “I don’t want to know, do what you can.”

Fast forward to three years later, Rhett’s sister Scarlett had just had a good check up the previous week when she started to vomit on Sunday. She could keep nothing down. I rushed her to the vet Monday morning and they ran a series of tests. Her blood pressure was through the roof. Her heartbeat, very irregular, they gave her fluids started working on a diagnosis and sent her home with me.

Solo is also battling Parvo.

When I went to pick her up from the vet that night, they told me it was very likely Scarlett, at 18, wouldn’t make it through the night. (Her vet bill was also very high.) Her best bet was to go home with me and be loved and cared for like I always cared for her…If she made it, we would take it day by day. Our girl pulled through and each day ate more and more. She was diagnosed with Inflamed Bowel Syndrome and put on a range of medications for that and high blood pressure. She not only made it through the night, but lasted for another year and five days before her body gave out at 19 1/2.

When Rhett died, I was heartbroken. But, I felt so much worse because he was my baby, my rescue and I felt deep down that I should have gone to a different vet much earlier – I trusted the guy we were with. One of my friends took me aside many months later to remind me the loving, spoiled life I gave this once homeless kitten. It made me feel a bit better – on some days.

When we rescue an animal, we take them in, love them, and do what we can to give them a long healthy life. I’m thinking a lot about Rhett and Scarlett the past week as I pray hard everyday for a group of dogs I’ve never met fighting parvo at Animal Care Center in Chicago.

A wonderful group of rescuers – Trio Animal Foundation and Project Rescue – took responsibility for these dogs. Now, as they face overwhelming vet bills, they are doing what they can day after day to try right by these puppies. I can’t image what it’s like to be in their shoes but I get where this dedication comes from – they rescued these dogs, they are doing what they can.

TAF has seen the worst of what humans can do to animals and worked to rescue and rehabilitate pets no one else would go to bat for. We all should have someone like that in our corner.

The sad part about this story is that Antlers puppies were almost home – they’d been rescued, loved and were about to be put up for adoption. When TAF got the bad news about the Parvo last week, they did what I did, told the vet to work to save them and then went on overdrive trying to find the funding to help. They knew what the costs were, they’d just save several other dogs from parvo as well.

Here’s what you can do – keep praying. Modern veterinary medicine is wonderful, but I’ll never underestimate the power of prayer. Donate – there’s a chipin set up to help the puppies. Stop by the fundraiser – There is a fundraiser for TAF at Franklin Tap on Wednesday. Here’s the link to the details and my story.

Note – Army, the little dog in the last photo, died Tuesday afternoon.  Solo is still hanging on.

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About the puppies in the window…

I was baking Christmas cookies with my nieces – aged 16-18 – and the discussion of dogs and puppies came up. My in-laws are considering adding a dog to the family, the first since their beloved lab died six years ago. This time around they are well aware of some allergies in the family and are looking for non-shedding dogs, which haven’t been bugging the allergies of the three people in the house that suffer from them.

My youngest nieces has her heart set on a golden-doodle – while her mom and I have been talking rescue. Then she said it – “I found some stores and internet sites where the dogs are on sale.”

Before I could go into puppy mill overdrive her older cousin commented – “if you had googled puppy mills like I told you two years ago, we’d not be having this conversation.”

Dogs in puppy mills - courtesy of The Puppy Mill Project..

I was so proud. Especially since I’d just recently become involved with the Puppy Mill Project and hadn’t even started to talk about puppy mills with them. We did a quick lesson on how to use the site for the Puppy Mill Project, the Amish  and their connection to puppy mills and the dogs at Lambs Farm (puppy mill dogs as well).

In my circle of friends, we all know where the puppies in the window come from. However, my circle is very full with people in the animal rescue community. That isn’t the case for the rest of America. According to the Puppy Mill Project, an estimated 75 percent Americans are not aware of the puppy mill/internet/pet shop connection.

If you live in the Chicago-area, here is a very short version of a list of places not to purchase your puppies –

  • Lamb’s Farm
  • PetLand
  • Happiness is Pets
  • Furry Babies
  • Puppies R Us
  • Go here for the full list.

There are three pet stores that I know of that used to sell dogs and have now moved to adoption through various partnerships. Wilmette Pet Center made the move over a year ago with the help of Adopt-a-Pet. Thee Fish Bowl in Evanston worked with the Puppy Mill Project(TPMP) and Chicago Animal Care and Control to set up an adoption program.

Chip was rescued by Annie's Little Angles and Dog Patch for adoption through Dog Patch.

In November, it was Naperville’s oldest pet store – Dog Patch Pet and Feed – that made the move with help from TPMP. Annie’s Little Angle’s Rescue has been working with Dog Patch to pull dogs from Death row at CACC (Dog Patch already had a relationship with a Wisconsin Shelter for cats).

So far, all three stores have found many new customers since making the move to adopt instead. And, dogs and cats are now being saved from death row.

In the meantime, animal advocates will continue to protest and get the word out about puppy mills. Go here for an article on the efforts of the Puppy Mill Projects Cari Meyers (and vote for her at this site each day).

Isis on the mend…

She was an animal story in Chicago that drew a lot of attention.

Isis the dog was abandoned by her family on the cold Chicago streets when they moved and the new landlord didn’t allow dogs. Then, neighborhood kids beat her, police were called and she was taken in by animal control.

Isis had been a faithful, loving companion for 10 years and this is what she got. The dog’s former owner, Lashon Parks, was charged last month with animal cruelty and failure to comply with an animal owner’s duties, both misdemeanors charges.

The story got a lot of attention and lots of families stepped forward offering to adopt or foster the sweet senior dog. She’s stayed in the care of Chicago Animal Care and Control and has recovered quite well. Cherie Travis of CACC says Isis will soon be ready to go up for adoption. She will get the happy ending she truly deserved, but didn’t get from her original family.

While the flood of potential adopters comes forward for this one dog, what about all the others?

Isis will soon be ready for adoption from CACC.

Over 7,000 dogs are put down in Chicago each year (and a more astounding 9,600 cats)! Many of these animals are also abused and all are abandoned. What about them?

As the people line up for consideration for this one dog, it would be great if they walked through the pavilion and tried to rescue one or more of the other souls at CACC – dog or cat. There are so many seniors just like Isis that have been abandoned by their family when they hit their golden years. There are so many and just not enough adopters walking through the doors.

The numbers would be much worse if not for Chicago’s awesome rescue community – a record number of dogs and cats were pulled last year from CACC. At Animal Welfare League, another large contingent was also saved through transfers and adoption.

I’m so happy that things worked out for Isis…but let’s not forget about the other animals left behind.

Protecting Pit Bulls in Chicago

For my New Years resolution, I’d really like to see a ban on stupid people…and stupid legislation!

Anyone who knows me knows what is coming next. The world is filled with stupid people who go out and get pets – dogs, cats, ferrets, etc. – and then stupidity sets in. (Actually, stupidity was already festering.)

Here’s the deal. When you adopt, buy or acquire a pet, it’s your responsibility to not only care for and feed the pet, you must train them.  Let me say that more slowly for the idiot patrol – It – is – your – responsibility – to – properly – train – your pet.

Dogs of any size need to be trained!

Any dog can attack, but the damage done by a big powerful dog is so much worse than that done by a little dog (duh). Because of that, the big dogs get a very bad rap and lots of terrible publicity when some bad owner fails to  properly train and restrain their dogs and someone gets attacked.

On Monday, an unsuspecting jogger was attacked, mauled and critically injured by two unrestrained dogs on Chicago’s lake front. The dogs just happened to be 70 pound, unneutered, unrestrained pit bulls. They were shot and killed by police.

The dogs were unleashed (against city law), not licensed (against city law) and apparently trained for something other than being a family pet (if trained at all). For a day, there were rumblings of possible Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) – until cooler heads prevailed. Now there is talk of creating laws that are tougher on bad dog owners (not that bad dog owner follow the rules anyway).

I have a better idea, lets ban stupid people (oops, there goes the city council). Or, better yet…If they really want to put some teeth into some legislation, maybe they should write some laws that make it very tough on people who don’t train and restrain their pets. Let’s really make it painful financially (and otherwise) for people who own dogs that attack others (people, dogs, cats…)

Courtesy of Dolly the Pit Bull - Sweet or Scary???

The dog’s owner in this case is using the excuse of “someone let them out.” The dogs are still his responsibility. If they had been properly socialized and trained, they never, ever would have attacked anyone (unless that is what they were trained to do). You can bet that if there’s a lawsuit, his homeowners insurance will hold him accountable in this case.

As the debate raged this past week on what to do, one thing became abundantly clear. People I know that walk dogs for a living and deal with dogs they know and dogs they don’t know in many situations all said the same thing.

They didn’t have any problems with the pit bulls they walk and encounter on walks – with the rotts or shepherds for that matter. They did have a lot of issues with stupid and irresponsible owners. The owners that let their dog run off-leash everywhere or those using a retractable leash with no control.

You’ve heard of distracted drivers, distracted, irresponsible dog owners are causing just as many problems in their community. Dog owners on walks texting and not keeping an eye on their leashless dog was a huge topic on social media. Lots of issues were occurring when dogs they walked were encountered by dogs they didn’t know who were out of control. Some of the worst offenders – Golden Retrievers, Labs, Rat Terriers and Pomeranians. Where are the articles about those dangerous breeds – wait, they aren’t dangerous…their owners are.

It will be interesting to see what new laws, if any are enacted and how they will be enforced. Since leash laws, licensing laws and other pet-related laws are already not being enforced…it’s likely not much will change. In the meantime, Chicago’s rescue community will continue to work hard to rescue and rehome all kinds of dogs, especially pit bulls. And, the next time BSL hits a discussion, lets hope its to ban stupid pet owners.

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