Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Heart of Gold

When we lost our sixteen-year dog we didn't know if we would ever be ready for a new dog. The tears shed for her were beyond what we ever could imagine. A year after she passed, I happened upon a pet
adoption site and found Echo. There was something in his eyes that made me melt, I knew I had to meet him. The minute I met him, he leaned into me and gave a shy wag of his tail. The shelter filled us
in on Echo's past (abused, a heart condition and a really bad case of kennel cough) but we chose to adopt him with open arms. This shy, sickly little boy has turned out to be the most wonderful dog in the world. We renamed him "Tanner" because he loves to lay on his back in the sun. With a lot of encouragement and a lot of patience, he has left behind his shy, unsure self and has become quite the lethal tail-wagger. Once afraid of every little noise and new sight, he now holds his head and tail high. Everyone who meets him can't help falling for him. We are head over heels for this gentle boy and could never imagine life without him.

Didier Piquet

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet Juliet

I rescued a dog from a shelter in August 2009 and little did we that she would save our family! Her name is Juliet and she is a wonderful and loving poodle/schnauzer mix. This is our story:

I have two children with ADHD and a spouse who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and 
Depression. Due to these medical issues, our lives ban be very stressful, emotional and chaotic! Once
we brought Juliet home, our lives changed for the better. She has brought us so much joy! I can honestly say that she has somehow magically taught us to become more patient with each other. She has reduced our stressful lives immensely! My husband is happier and calmer and I believe it is because of Juliet! The look she gives you just takes away your pain and stress. My children are more patient and understanding. When we first brought Juliet home she was afraid of my husband and showed some signs of possible abuse in her past. Well now, my husband and Juliet and inseparable, and yes, she even shares a spot on our bed. They have such a wonderful bond that I cannot describe! He truly needed Juliet's smiling eyes and leaps of happiness. Our house is now filled with smiled and laughter and a much less stressful life thanks to Juliet.

Thanks for reading!
--Amalia Cahue

Monday, September 20, 2010


 I am a dog groomer and have taken dogs no longer wanted from clients over the years. I am also a fancier, and am partial to Sighthounds. Those are the dogs that hunt by sight. The Greyhound type of dogs.

I groomed dogs, went to college part-time, got an assistantship to graduate school and then joined the Peace Corps. Some friends took care of my old Whippet while I was overseas.

When I returned from the Peace Corps, I got the Whippet back, but he soon died of old age. I used to do lure-coursing, so I called some people (this was before the internet ;) and got in touch with a Saluki breeder and got one of his older dogs. That dog died of cancer about four years after I got him. By that time, you could search breed rescues on the internet.

At the time, Whippet rescue still had no dogs in rescue. Saluki Rescue had no dogs either, but knew of a hobby breeder who had an older dog she was hanging on to until the "right person cam along." See, that the thing. Hobby breeders don't breed unless they can keep the dogs they breed indefinitely. It is generally not their dogs that wind up in rescue shelters.

I had the Saluki, a very nervous dog, for about a year when someone from Whippet Rescue called me. I had been on the waiting list for 4 years! The dog's owner had died, nobody in the family wanted the dog and they could not track down the breeder. I told them I would take the dog of he got along with my Saluki. Dogs have to choose their own friends.

It was love at first sight and they have been best buds every since. I was showing the Saluki and had Bebop (that's what we call him) at the show with us and a Whippet breeder aksed me where I got him. I told her his story and she told me, "I think I bred him! I would have taken him back." I am not sure shw would have, but the family did not know her. She gave me all his registration information in case I wanted to do obedience or agility, but he was, and still is too goofy to exhibit! He is a wonderful pet!

--Robyn Michaels

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My rescue, My ring bearer

My fiance and I adopted our rescue from Chicago Canine Rescue in November of 2008.  He was about a year old, severely underweight, picked up in Tennessee and transferred from that county kill-shelter up to CCR.  We couldn't imagine life without him!  He had pretty bad separation anxiety but over time he's gotten so much better and has such a great personality.  In fact, he has such a wonderful personality that we decided he would be the perfect candidate for ring bearer in our wedding! He did a wonderful job and made our wedding day truly special. We are so glad he is in our life and we made some pretty good friends at the shelter during the adoption process.  As we settle into our married life, we can't wait to adopt another rescue!

--Lyn Hooley

Monday, September 13, 2010

Big Love for Bam Bam

About a year ago this month, my daughter came home with this little white thing. At first I did not know what it was. I thought it was a little piglet from afar, but then she came closer and I could not believe my eyes; it was this precious little baby puppy! He was only about 5 weeks old and we later found out that his mother and siblings had all died in an alley. He was discovered underneath his mother, shivering with the trauma.  My daughter, knowing that I am a huge animal lover (especially dogs), brought him to me and I immediately went to the pet store and bought all of the things I needed until I could get him to the vet the next day.  I really did not think he would make it. He was so very, very small and sooo tired that it seemed like he just wanted to curl up and go to sleep forever.  I rushed him to the vet the next day and he got all the shots and tests that he needed and, amazingly enough, he only had worms which was easily treated.  Bam Bam is now growing up in a loving home with 3 brothers and 1 sister and he is loving every single day!  I have so many photos of this animal that I could make a blog just for him, but I will share two with you today. One when we first fell in love with him and a recent photo with him and his big brother, Taz the Pom, also a rescue. Thank you for this opportunity to share this little story about our BIG LOVE for Bam Bam!
--Donnamarie Alfano

Friday, September 10, 2010

85 Pound Bundle of Love

In April of 2009, the officers of the Watertown, N.Y. Police Department rescued two dogs from a closet with their mouths tied shut with rubber bands. These wonderful, compassionate officers tried to cut off the rubber bands before they even got to a vet. One of the dogs, a 4-month-old pit mix was featured on the local TV station. My family, like most people, were horrified at his swollen, bleeding muzzle, but were glad he was rescued. About a month later, on my mother's birthday (she was a woman who loved dogs), my daughter and I were at the local dog pound, just looking around. In the end kennel was a small, scared pup with two rings around his mouth. When asked what the marks were, we were informed he was one of the "rubber band dogs". When my daughter asked to see him, he climbed in her lap, put his head on her shoulder, and sighed, as if to say, "I've been waiting for you. What took you so long?" Apollo (named for the sun god, because he'll never be in the dark, alone, scared and bleeding again) has been with us ever since. Apollo is now an 85-pound bundle of love. Apollo holds nothing against humans for the abuse he suffered. He may have scars on his muzzle, but none on his heart. Some people are afraid of him because of his breed. At a high school football game, the woman at the entrance asked if his scars were from dog fighting. When informed how Apollo got them, she bent over to pet him. Apollo put his front feet on the table, extended his paw, and shook hands with the woman. He made an immediate friend, and scored one against the conception of "vicious pit bulls". Apollo lives with two other dogs--so much for the idea that pits are always dog aggressive. My vet believes that rescue dogs know they are lucky and are actually even more loving and affectionate than other dogs. I hope people will consider rescuing their next best friend. I am thankful everyday that Apollo adopted us. This is a picture of Apollo soon after his first birthday.

--Elaine Murray

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Reason for Smiling

My story begins about three months ago when I became a foster home for a Chicago-based organization known as One Tail At a Time.  I had always grown up with a dog, and after being an active volunteer for One Tail I began to realize just how much I missed the presence of a canine companion.  So I filled out an application to be a foster mom, and sure enough I was contacted with a dog that seemed to be a good fit.

I met Emmet on June 1, 2010, and I fell in love with him the moment I saw his big floppy ears and that adorable face.  I was greeted with a wagging tail that stood out among his bony body.  Emmet was very thin.  I could see every bone in him as if there were nothing holding him together.  After spending the week getting to know Emmet, I really got an opportunity to understand him, both in terms of his breed but also what made him that special dog for me.  Emmet is a Treeing Walker Coonhound, a breed that I knew little if nothing about.  When I had first heard he was the dog that was going to come live with me, I decided to do some research to see if I could get some insight as to what I could expect.

No matter what I read online or in books, nothing could have prepared me for what to expect with Emmet.  He is a ball of energy.  I was fostering Emmet for about a week when I got news that there was an applicant interested in his adoption.  My world stopped at the thought of having to give up my new best friend, and at that moment I decided to be Emmet’s forever home.

The adoption was finalized on June 9, 2010, when Emmet got his first official collar and tags with his name and address already engraved.  He strutted around the house like he owned the world, and to me he did.  Not only was I able to provide a forever home for Emmet, but he has made my home and my life complete.  He is that joy that I find when nothing seems to go right in a day, he is the reason I break into a smile, and he is the reason I look forward to coming home.  There is never a dull moment with Emmet around.

Looking back on the situation, it breaks my heart to think that Emmet would have been put down.  He came from a high-kill shelter in the Northern Chicago land area, and if it were not for One Tail and their dedication, Emmet would not have had his second chance at life.  He is still a puppy, slowly learning that he is indeed not a lap dog (although he insists that he will fit on your lap), and he is still trying to perfect that Coonhound bay.  There is not a dog in the world that Emmet doesn't leap for joy at the chance to play with, and there isn't a squirrel that he wouldn't love to chase.

Within the first week of adoption, I took him on his first trip to the pet store to pick out his very first toy.  His Coonhound characteristics must have taken over because sure enough he picks out a goose that honks.  He goes through about one a week, but it is all worth it to see him run around the house tossing his goose around.  Just when you think playtime is over, he brings out the tennis ball for you to throw around, or sometimes even your slipper.  One of my fondest moments of playtime with Emmet is when he chases his own tail, and after five minutes of not being able to catch it he sits down and howls at it.  He is indeed a goofball, but he is truly a joy.

I could go on and on with my stories about Emmet and how great a dog he really is, but in order to truly appreciate him and the happiness he brings to me...well you will just have to meet him.  Thank you One Tail At a Time for the bundle of joy and endless laughter you have brought me through my forever companion.

Kathleen Dutton

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Introducing Zoe and Company!

I am an Animal Science Grad Student about to start at Mississippi State, however I am originally from San Luis Obispo, CA on the central coast. My most recent dog adoption, a female pit bull named Zoe, was owned by some terrible people. She was chained in a back yard for years with one other pit bull, and was never socialized with people or other dogs. She became both human and dog aggressive, and after biting the landlord of her owner’s rental home, she was evicted. She went to a boarding facility, where the employees fell in love with her, although they could not handle her dog agro issues. Not wanting to send yet another pit bull with dog aggression problems to the pound, they called me knowing I love the breed and have experience working with pit bulls. It took me about four months of challenging and consistent work, but with the help of my lab pit bull mix, we got "Zoe" rehabilitated. She passed her Canine Good Citizen Test through AKC 6 months after I adopted her, and is now a working therapy dog and is completely dog and human social. I got the opportunity to be on Dog Whisperer and watch Cesar Milan in person when my best friend's dog was on the show, and I accredit a lot of his teaching and support for the breed for my success with such a challenging dog.

Thanks for loving an amazing breed of dog!
Meryl Cohen

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"We've gone pittie and won't go back!"

My husband is a blue-collar guy who has never had a dog in his life. I'm a corporate executive who has rescued a couple of greyhounds. When we married, we bought our home in a normal family oriented neighborhood and fell in love with it, because of its large fenced in backyard.  We were pretty close to being your typical suburban yuppies. We weren't going to have kids so we decided to adopt a dog - never even considering going to a breeder because “breeder” is not in my vocabulary.  I started researching dogs and, to my dismay, my husband fell in love with the look of the pit bull. “Forget their media background and my lack of dog experience,” my husband reasoned, “they are a strong, sturdy, beautiful breed with little shedding, great loyalty and a large adoptable population.”  I, however, thanks the media hype, wasn't sold.  We looked at a dozen or so different dogs including a couple pitties. The last dog they brought in to meet us was this little black pittie named Luda, short for Ludacris. She ran into the room and, instead of wrestling with the pile of toys like I assumed she would, she nestled right into my lap and smiled gently at me with her soft brown eyes.  SOLD!!!!

After adopting Luda, we went through training, got her into a doggie daycare and spent a lot of time researching and learning more about the breed. As our research deepened, we learned more and more about the horrible things this breed is likely to encounter, including the injustice of the media. Who could ever damage a dog like that?! As our search for more information continued, we met Bombshell Bullies at a pet expo and the real education started.

To make a long love story short… this, “not so hip on adopting a pit bull suburbanite yuppie,” not only owns a pit bull, but now fosters, does public speaking on BSL, advocates for them, educates people about the breed, does fundraisers, press releases, works at the kennel, etc.  A bigger convert there could not be!! And we’ve had a lot of hurdles to overcome, particularly in our neighborhood and with my husbands side of the family, but "we've gone pittie and won't go back!"

So that's our story. I thank you for what you are doing to educate people on the breed and give them more positive exposure. 

Kim Brunner-Ashbaugh, Bombshell Bullies

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rudie is Famous!

 It’s actually one year ago today that we brought home Rudie. I first heard of him through a fellow rescuer who basically said “there’s a deaf, unadoptable Old English Sheepdog” at the pound in DuPage, and they are going to euthanize him.  I grew up with Sheepdogs and my rescue, One Tail at a Time, works with that particular pound so I put a call in.  We found out that he was dropped off by his family with his sister (a pit bull!) and he wasn’t doing well.  He was “aloof” and didn’t care for the volunteers.  I was so nervous of what I would be picking up so I worked with Midwest Old English Sheepdog Rescue that was going to take him.  I got really excited to pick him up and then the day before they called me to tell me he had parvo and not to bother.  They were going to euthanize him the next morning.  I was heartbroken and ready to throw in the towel, but Midwest OES urged me to pick him up anyway.  They were of the mindset that there was no problem that couldn’t be worked out.  I was incredibly inspired and armed with bleach to kill the parvo in the car I drove to pick him up in.

Rudie was the most beautiful monster I have ever seen in my life. Bright blue eyes gorgeous black and white coat and a trot you wouldn’t believe.  Long story short he was not deaf, did not have parvo, and was just depressed that his family left him and his  sister died in the kennel next to him.  Heartbreaking.

He sat in a foster home for 2 months until I couldn’t take it any longer.  I fell in love with that dog the moment I saw him so I picked him up the next day and he has been a part of our family ever since.  We went through hell and back with him.  He largely ignored us for several months.  We couldn’t get him to lose weight and he had no hair on his scraggly tail.  To top it off he was a trash eater and got a hold of a corncob which almost killed him.  $2000 later and he’s still alive, but left with stomach problems that 
plagued us for months.

I’d say about 5 months ago we finally discovered that the source of the problem was a very under active thyroid.  We got him on medication and he is a whole NEW DOG!  He shares his love in the funniest way; thumping his now huge bushy tail on the ground and rubbing his huge head in your lap.  He jumps for joy when it’s time to eat and when he gets excited he jumps on his sister to play.  He loves to sleep, eat, and play with pit bulls (we think they remind him of his sister).  He’s a show stopper and we cannot walk the block without little kids trying to hug him and adults asking us about his bright blue eyes.  He’s mischievous and naughty and I have stories for days.  Our kitchen is spotless because anything left in the kitchen, counters, garbage etc. is fair game.  He is the biggest fluffiest best pillow out there and a great porch sitting partner.  
I could go on, and on and on.

I couldn’t imagine life without him; he’s absolutely the biggest character I have ever met.  Although I had been doing rescue for years prior, Rudie taught me that every dog deserves a chance.

--Heather Owen, One Tail at a Time