Category: Culture

Time waits for no man!

Tik: Tok – The Endless Clock.

Here we are on the last day of June and I am going to share a post with you in a few minutes. But I just wanted ahead of that to muse about the passing of time. I’m 77 and who knows how long I have to go before I die. Luckily Oregon is one of the States that has a right do die statute on the books. It is a strange phenomena this business of time. It is a constant but from a personal point of view it seems to be anything but that. Twenty or thirty years ago one thought that time was almost limitless. Now it seems very fragile and restless.

This thought comes to me because of Pebbles. Apparently he is the oldest living dog. Here is the story courtesy of The Dodo.

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A New ‘Oldest Living Dog’ Has Just Claimed The Title

The toy fox terrier is living the good life in South Carolina.

By Ellen Schmidt

Published on the 7th June, 2022

Turns out there’s competition when it comes to who’s truly the oldest living dog. A toy fox terrier named Pebbles just unseated TobyKeith, a 21-year-old Chihuahua, who held the title for only a month.

When news broke in April of TobyKeith’s appointment, Pebbles’ pet parents, Bobby and Julie Gregory of Taylors, South Carolina, realized their dog was even older than TobyKeith. So, the couple decided to apply for the title, and at 22 years, 50 days old, Pebbles was officially crowned “Oldest Dog Living” by Guinness World Records.

In response to Pebbles’ new status, Julie Gregory told Guinness World Records, “We are truly honored. Pebbles has been with us through everything; ups and downs, good times and bad, and she has always been the beacon of our lives.”

Weighing in at 4 pounds, the brand-new oldest living dog winner was adopted over 20 years ago, and according to the Gregorys, it was love at first sight. Originally looking for a larger dog, the couple came across Pebbles in their search for a new pet.

“She was jumping and barking so much at Bobby that he had no choice but to pick her up and check her out,” Julie Gregory said.

Flash forward over two decades later, Pebbles was already wearing an unofficial crown before Guinness World Records made it official. The much-loved terrier enjoys sleeping in (and staying up late!), snuggling underneath blankets, listening to country music and taking warm baths — a bubble bath was even part of her 22nd birthday celebration!

Pebbles has enjoyed a wonderful life thanks to good health and lots of love and attention from her pet parents. While she did enjoy snacking on some ribs and dog-friendly cake for her birthday, in general, Pebbles sticks to a healthy diet and is in good health for her advanced age.

Pebbles’ mom said that her secret to supporting pet longevity is to treat each animal, “like family, because they are. Give them a happy, positive environment as much as possible, good clean food, and proper healthcare.”

That pretty much sums it up, right? We like Gregory’s thinking. And by the way, no matter your pup’s age, we think it’s safe to say that all dogs should get to wear a crown, just for being awesome (we’re looking at you, TobyKeith).

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(All photographs Instagram/Pebbles_Since_2000)

Twenty-two! Huge congratulations to Pebbles and her Mom and Dad.

The nose of the dog!

More on a recent post from The Dodo.

We watched recently a documentary on Netflix about the special attributes of our pets. It was very good but one thing that we learnt was that dogs have on the tips of their snouts an area that can pick up warmth. Because when dogs are tiny puppies and still blind they find their mothers’ teats by homing in on the warmth of the mother’s body.

Many people are aware of the scenting ability of the dog. To quote: “While humans have about five million olfactory receptors in their noses, dogs are said to have around 300 million.”

(Read that article that I linked above for it is very good.)

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Senior Dog Patiently Waits For Boops In The Same Place Day After Day

“It’s her favorite spot.”

By Candace Powell

Published on the 6th June, 2022.

One of Hime’s favorite pastimes is a simple one: sit near a nature path and patiently wait for nose boops. The 13-year-old Siberian husky figured out long ago that, eventually, she’ll get what she came for.

“She likes that spot so she can watch the world go by,” David Nagadhana, Hime’s dad, told The Dodo. “But she has other strategies.”

Hime, who was adopted as a puppy, hitches a ride in Nagadhana’s bike trailer to get to the best petting spots.

“I cycle her because of her arthritis,” Nagadhana said. “Gentle in her old age, [Hime] looks for affection anywhere she can find it.”

The husky’s place of choice is by the Thames in Richmond, England, but Nagadhana takes her wherever she seems happiest.

“She loves finding new and interesting and exciting locations so that she may proceed to nap in them,” Nagadhana said. “She finds it relaxing enough to nod off on occasion.”

Nagadhana and Hime do everything together, and it won’t stop anytime soon.

“She was there for me when life ground to a halt during the pandemic,” Nagadhana said. “I’ll be there for her until the end. Raising dogs is like a rainbow. Puppies are the joy at one end, old dogs are the treasure at the other.”

Needless to say, Hime gets endless boops from her favorite person: Dad.

(All photographs by DAVID NAGADHANA.)

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One turns to the American Kennel Club for information about the breed, as in the Siberian Husky, and this is what is found:

Siberian Husky, a thickly coated, compact sled dog of medium size and great endurance, was developed to work in packs, pulling light loads at moderate speeds over vast frozen expanses. Sibes are friendly, fastidious, and dignified. The graceful, medium-sized Siberian Husky’s almond-shaped eyes can be either brown or blue ‘and sometimes one of each’, and convey a keen but amiable and even mischievous expression. Quick and nimble-footed, Siberians are known for their powerful but seemingly effortless gait. Tipping the scales at no more than 60 pounds, they are noticeably smaller and lighter than their burly cousin, the Alaskan Malamute. As born pack dogs, they enjoy family life and get on well with other dogs. The Sibe’s innate friendliness render them indifferent watchdogs. These are energetic dogs who can’t resist chasing small animals, so secure running room is a must. An attractive feature of the breed: Sibes are naturally clean, with little doggy odor.

There!

The critical value of a dog.

I am republishing an item from the American Kennel Club on the subject.

Oliver has a very special relationship with me. Plus Jean loves him just as much. That is not to say that he isn’t very friendly with other humans that he knows but there’s something that I have trouble putting into words when it comes to the bond between me and Oliver.

It is very, very special and truly magical.

I am reminded of this bond between Oliver and me because of a post that I want to republish.

It is about emotional support animals and was published by the American Kennel Club. Here is that article.

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Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

By Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT

February 24th, 2021

Key Points

  • Emotional support dogs (ESAs) are pets and not service dogs.
  • Mental health professionals prescribe emotional support animals under the law.
  • Airlines are no longer required to accommodate emotional support animals.

Every dog owner knows there are many benefits to having a dog, from getting themselves out for exercise to receiving loyal companionship. However, for some people with mental or emotional conditions, the presence of a dog is critical to their ability to function normally on a daily basis. The pet provides emotional support and comfort that helps them deal with challenges that might otherwise compromise their quality of life. These pets are known as emotional support animals (ESAs).

What Is an Emotional Support Dog?

Although all dogs offer an emotional connection with their owner, to legally be considered an emotional support dog, also called an emotional support animal (ESA), the pet needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist must determine that the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patient. For example, owning a pet might ease a person’s anxiety or give them a focus in life. The dogs can be of any age and any breed.

Emotional Support Dog vs. Service Dogs

ESAs provide support through companionship and can help ease anxiety, depression, and certain phobias. However, they are not service dogs, and ESA users do not receive the same accommodations as service dog users.

A service dog, such as a guide dog or psychiatric service dog, is generally allowed anywhere the public is allowed; ESAs are not. For example, ESAs generally cannot accompany their owners into restaurants or shopping malls.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” The act clearly states that animals that simply provide emotional comfort do not qualify as service animals. Some state and local laws have a broader definition, so be sure to check with local government agencies to learn if ESAs qualify for public access in your area.

The key difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog is whether the animal has been trained to perform a specific task or job directly related to the person’s disability. For example, service dogs are trained to alert a hearing-impaired person to an alarm or guide a visually impaired person around an obstacle or provide pressure on someone with PTSD who is suffering from a panic attack.

Behaviors such as cuddling on cue, although comforting, do not qualify. The tasks need to be specifically trained to mitigate a particular disability, not something instinctive the dog would do anyway.

Emotional Support Dogs Are Not Psychiatric Service Dogs

There are service dogs, known as psychiatric service dogs that require extensive training to work specifically with people whose disability is due to mental illness. These dogs detect the beginning of psychiatric episodes and help ease their effects. Although this sounds similar to the role of an ESA, the difference between a psychiatric service dog and an ESA is again in the tasks performed by the dog and the training received to perform these tasks.

Psychiatric service dogs (recognized by the ADA as service dogs) have been trained to do certain jobs that help the handler cope with a mental illness. For example, the dog might remind a person to take prescribed medications, keep a disoriented person in a dissociative episode from wandering into a hazardous situation such as traffic or perform room searches for a person with post-traumatic stress disorder. If it is simply the dog’s presence that helps the person cope, then the dog does not qualify as a psychiatric service dog.

Housing Accommodations for Individuals Who Use Emotional Support Dogs

Individuals who use ESAs are provided certain accommodations under federal law in the areas of housing and air travel. The Fair Housing Act includes ESAs in its definition of assistance animals. Under the act, people cannot be discriminated against due to a disability when obtaining housing. Rules such as pet bans or restrictions are waived for people who have a prescription for an ESA, and they cannot be charged a pet deposit for having their ESA live with them.

Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed on Flights?

In December 2020, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced final revisions to its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The final rule, effective in January 2021, defines a service animal as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  This change in the DOT’s definition of “service animal”  aligns closely with the definition that the Department of Justice uses under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The changes also clarify that emotional support animals (ESAs), comfort animals, companionship animals, animals being trained to be service animals, and species other than dogs are not considered to be “service animals” under the new DOT definition. Instead, airlines may recognize and accommodate emotional support animals as pets. For most airlines, the new no-fly policy for ESAs started on January 11. Some airlines now require passengers with service dogs to complete a DOT-authorized form prior to travel that confirms their training, health, and certification.

In the past, the AKC has expressed concern for safety with the previous recognition of ESAs as service animals, including the growing number of people misrepresenting their pets as service animals.

Emotional support dogs can perform an important role in the life of a person with mental or emotional conditions. When people who do not have a disability abuse the system by misrepresenting a pet as an ESA to obtain special accommodation, they undermine important accommodations for individuals with a legitimate need for this assistance.

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This is a valuable article in my opinion and, I am sure, in the opinion of many others. It clarifies the legal position of dogs that are not, however loving the animal is to you, legally-defined as service dogs.

It may seem trivial for those not in the category of requiring a dog that is a service dog but I am certain that for those who definitely do require such an animal this clarification was necessary.

Meantime I will stick with our Oliver, our Brandy, our Sheena, our Cleo, and our Pedi.

And we still miss Pharaoh.

Just being a dog!

Dogs and cell phones!

This may be so!

We have people with us so forgive me for being brief. I saw this article the other day and wondered if that was the case.

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Too Much Time On Your Phone Might Be Making Your Dog Depressed 

He might be sad about all your screen time.

By Ellen Schmidt

Published on the 18th May, 2022.

It’s fair to say that our relationships in life require mental presence and a willingness to connect in order to thrive. Well, the same goes for your relationship with your dog.

In a busy world of daily distractions (social media being a prime example), what happens when we spend too much time on our phones — do our pets notice? Is your phone making your dog depressed?

Dr. Iain Booth, a veterinary surgeon in the United Kingdom, made this assertion more than four years ago. We’ve decided to revisit the topic because during the pandemic, many people became pet parents while simultaneously spending more time on their phones.

We spoke with Colleen Safford, a dog trainer, behavior expert and owner of Far Fetched Acres, for more insight on our relationship with our pets and what dogs might be thinking when we’re on our phones.

Is your phone making your dog depressed?

While no two relationships are the same, each benefits from communication and attention. When it comes to the friendship between humans and dogs, we should try and understand their wants and needs so every pet can live their best life. While we rely on our dogs for love and companionship, they rely on us for, well, everything.

“While I hesitate to ever say that humans can fully understand exactly what is going on in the brain of man’s best friend, dogs by their very nature are deeply dependent on humans,” Safford told The Dodo. “We control every resource in their life, including food, exercise, affection, guidance and support. By their very nature, dogs are codependents in the world of domestic living! Simply put, we are their everything.”

While the larger issue of our dependence on phones is worth countless studies, a few things are clear: Too much screen time can lead to depression and anxiety in humans, among other issues. And it can isolate us from anyone in our presence — including our dogs.

“In relationship to dog depression, if an owner has thumbs too busy to provide petting, eyes too distracted to see that their dog is trying to play fetch, and a brain too busy to provide all those verbal ‘good boys,’ it is easy to understand why phone use can impact a dog’s overall health,” Safford said. “By not supplying our dogs with exercise, verbal attention or physical contact, we are ignoring their needs and increasing the chances of behavior issues and anxiety.”

As Booth said in his interview (in reference to ignoring your dog in favor of your phone), “You do that consistently for weeks, months and years on end, and you’re going to get some real behavioral issues.” So some dogs may even start misbehaving to get your attention.

While wholly dependent on the individual dog, this is something that every dog parent should be aware of, especially considering current events — as mentioned above, during the pandemic, dog adoptions went up as did smartphone usage.

Putting the phone down is step one

“Humans and dogs both release oxytocin from petting and affection, and release endorphins during exercises,” Safford said. “No petting or affection — no love hormone. No movement — no feel-good hormones. It’s as simple as that.”

Physical activity is necessary to maintain a bond with your dog. “Grab a ball and leash, and nurture and deepen that bond. Give your dog all those words of affirmation,” Safford said.

He definitely deserves it.

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I guess the question is how much is too much. But I have my doubts that the majority of dog owners are that disconnected from their precious animals

Picture Parade Four Hundred and Thirty-Seven

We wanted to recognise the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

So I thought that I would find some photos of the Queen’s corgis that I could share with you. Unfortunately all the photographs were copyrighted.

It is a well-known fact that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a dog lover and has been all her long life. There is a delightful story about the Queen and her corgis on the BBC at this moment and you may like to read it. Meanwhile today’s picture parade is all Corgis!

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That’s it folks for another week.

I will close by thanking Her Majesty for all that she done over the years. Her Majesty gave her promise when she was 21 to devote her life to the Crown and all that flows from that commitment. Whatever her private thoughts have been over the years she has remained loyal to the Nation and the Commonwealth and it is an unparalleled record that will never be surpassed!

A final photograph of Queen Elizabeth II that is attributed to the author, see below, and I hope it is alright to show it.

By Original: Joel Rouse/ Ministry of Defence

The emotional support given by dogs.

Dogs and cats, but especially dogs, are the perfect animals for giving us emotional support.

The topic of dogs came up in Jean’s regular review yesterday at the Department of Neurology, Asante. But more on that next Tuesday, which is my next non-doggie day.

Today I want to republish an article presented by the American Kennel Club from February, 2021. The article was a very good one on the emotional support given to us by our dogs.

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Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

By Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT

Key Points

  • Emotional support dogs (ESAs) are pets and not service dogs.
  • Mental health professionals prescribe emotional support animals under the law.
  • Airlines are no longer required to accommodate emotional support animals.
A chihuahua puppy in the hands of a girl.

Every dog owner knows there are many benefits to having a dog, from getting themselves out for exercise to receiving loyal companionship. However, for some people with mental or emotional conditions, the presence of a dog is critical to their ability to function normally on a daily basis. The pet provides emotional support and comfort that helps them deal with challenges that might otherwise compromise their quality of life. These pets are known as emotional support animals (ESAs).

What Is an Emotional Support Dog?

Although all dogs offer an emotional connection with their owner, to legally be considered an emotional support dog, also called an emotional support animal (ESA), the pet needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist must determine that the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patient. For example, owning a pet might ease a person’s anxiety or give them a focus in life. The dogs can be of any age and any breed.

Emotional Support Dog vs. Service Dogs

ESAs provide support through companionship and can help ease anxiety, depression, and certain phobias. However, they are not service dogs, and ESA users do not receive the same accommodations as service dog users.

A service dog, such as a guide dog or psychiatric service dog, is generally allowed anywhere the public is allowed; ESAs are not. For example, ESAs generally cannot accompany their owners into restaurants or shopping malls.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” The act clearly states that animals that simply provide emotional comfort do not qualify as service animals. Some state and local laws have a broader definition, so be sure to check with local government agencies to learn if ESAs qualify for public access in your area.

The key difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog is whether the animal has been trained to perform a specific task or job directly related to the person’s disability. For example, service dogs are trained to alert a hearing-impaired person to an alarm or guide a visually impaired person around an obstacle or provide pressure on someone with PTSD who is suffering from a panic attack.

Behaviors such as cuddling on cue, although comforting, do not qualify. The tasks need to be specifically trained to mitigate a particular disability, not something instinctive the dog would do anyway.

Emotional Support Dogs Are Not Psychiatric Service Dogs

There are service dogs, known as psychiatric service dogs that require extensive training to work specifically with people whose disability is due to mental illness. These dogs detect the beginning of psychiatric episodes and help ease their effects. Although this sounds similar to the role of an ESA, the difference between a psychiatric service dog and an ESA is again in the tasks performed by the dog and the training received to perform these tasks.

Psychiatric service dogs (recognized by the ADA as service dogs) have been trained to do certain jobs that help the handler cope with a mental illness. For example, the dog might remind a person to take prescribed medications, keep a disoriented person in a dissociative episode from wandering into a hazardous situation such as traffic or perform room searches for a person with post-traumatic stress disorder. If it is simply the dog’s presence that helps the person cope, then the dog does not qualify as a psychiatric service dog.

Housing Accommodations for Individuals Who Use Emotional Support Dogs

Individuals who use ESAs are provided certain accommodations under federal law in the areas of housing and air travel. The Fair Housing Act includes ESAs in its definition of assistance animals. Under the act, people cannot be discriminated against due to a disability when obtaining housing. Rules such as pet bans or restrictions are waived for people who have a prescription for an ESA, and they cannot be charged a pet deposit for having their ESA live with them.

Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed on Flights?

In December 2020, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced final revisions to its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The final rule, effective in January 2021, defines a service animal as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  This change in the DOT’s definition of “service animal”  aligns closely with the definition that the Department of Justice uses under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The changes also clarify that emotional support animals (ESAs), comfort animals, companionship animals, animals being trained to be service animals, and species other than dogs are not considered to be “service animals” under the new DOT definition. Instead, airlines may recognize and accommodate emotional support animals as pets. For most airlines, the new no-fly policy for ESAs started on January 11. Some airlines now require passengers with service dogs to complete a DOT-authorized form prior to travel that confirms their training, health, and certification.

In the past, the AKC has expressed concern for safety with the previous recognition of ESAs as service animals, including the growing number of people misrepresenting their pets as service animals.

Emotional support dogs can perform an important role in the life of a person with mental or emotional conditions. When people who do not have a disability abuse the system by misrepresenting a pet as an ESA to obtain special accommodation, they undermine important accommodations for individuals with a legitimate need for this assistance.

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We continued to be overwhelmed by the capacity of the gorgeous dog to undertake specialist tasks for us humans that they wouldn’t normally do.

I notice the AKC have a free booklet on the subject and one hopes it is still available. Go to the original document and just after the end of the article that I republished one will find the link.

See you all on Sunday!

Back again, and with a guest post!

It has been a great time and yet too short!

Last Sunday week, the 22nd May, seems both a long time ago and yet seems as though it was yesterday. Having my son here was fabulous and he was able to take plenty of mountain bike rides and photographs of birds, in particular hummingbirds at our hummingbird feeder.

But that picture does not make a post. What does is an article written by Cara Achterberg about very special mothers and their work in rescuing dogs. It was published on the website Who Will Let the Dogs Out.

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Moms Who Rescue

BY CARA SUE ACHTERBERG

Polk County, Florida is ranked first in Florida and fourth in the nation for the number of dogs ‘euthanized’ each year. The Polk County shelter killed 5000 dogs in 2020. Which is even more remarkable considering 2020 was the year so many shelters were emptied (momentarily).

The only way a dog labeled a bully breed can leave the Polk County Shelter alive is if a rescue pulls it. They are not allowed to adopt out any bully breeds. In 2020, the county took in 16,000 dogs; they killed nearly a third of them.

This is the harsh reality that Shannon and Angie, of the Polk County Bully Project stepped into. Like so many others, they never set out to create a rescue. They met through their children, and their relationship should have revolved around play dates and pool parties, but when they learned the plight of bully breeds in Polk County, they instead bonded over saving lives.

Initially, they volunteered with the Polk County SPCA to secure rescues and transport dogs out of Polk County a handful at a time. That simply wasn’t enough for these smart, driven, passionate women and they realized that with their own rescue they could save more than a handful of dogs. The Polk County Bully Project was born. PCBP saves about 600 dogs a year – almost all bully breeds, but also dogs with medical needs and lots of heartworm positive dogs—the dogs that would otherwise be killed at the shelter.

I asked how they were able to save so many of the breed of dog that others struggle to rescue or find placement for and Shannon shrugged, “We hustle,” she said.

But it’s also that they don’t know any different. They’ve never tried to rescue any other kind of dog. They don’t know there are easier dogs to rescue. To my mind, they jumped right in the deep end of rescue with very little swimming experience. And the remarkable thing is they are succeeding in every measure.

When we visited the rescue a few months ago, the dogs we met were sweet and happy and obviously well-cared for. The shelter is small, a remodeled brick rancher in a nondescript neighborhood. The dogs are divided into separate rooms with maybe four dogs in a room. We arrived at naptime when everyone was contentedly in their kennels, listening to soft music or watching TV. The staff had already had everyone out for walks and playtime, something that happens several times a day.

PCBP is big on enrichment—something critical to these smart, active dogs who need to be challenged. At Christmas they had 25 days of enrichment and every day brought the dogs special treats (anchovies, cheeseburgers, special individual cakes baked by a volunteer) and special activities (like a bubble machine and dog art, which they’ll be auctioning off).

On rainy days, the staff keeps the dogs busy with puzzles and their doggy treadmill. In their play area, where they also have regular play groups (all the staff has been trained to run playgroups), there is AstroTurf, lots of toys, even an agility teeter.

PCBP is a 501c3 run on 100% donations. Many of their adopters become their supporters, but they work hard with fundraising and events to pay for not just the staff (although Angie and Shannon do not take a salary and both work the rescue fulltime and more), but for their medical bills. Last year their bill was 115K! (If you’d like to donate directly towards their vet bills, give Lakeland Vet a call 863-648-4886.)

Beyond treating so many heartworm positive dogs, the rescue takes on lots of medical cases who would otherwise not make it out of the shelter. We met Aspen, a sweet little pitmix whose scarred face, protruding teeth, and wiggly butt combine to make him adorable. He was removed from a home where he’d had a leash wrapped so tightly and permanently around his nose that it was embedded in his skin. He’s had eight reconstruction surgeries to repair his face. But now he’s ready for an adopter.

Other dogs have had amputations, orthopedic surgeries, and Agatha, a sweet senior bulldog mix, has had vaginal reconstruction and eye surgery. We watched as Pippi, one of the staff brought her out to meet us off-leash. She’s 102 pounds of sweetness. When it was time to go back inside, Pippi pointed the way and Agatha ran/ambled back inside to her kennel on her own. Agatha is 11-12 years old, but the rescue would love to find an adopter, or even a foster for her because every dog deserves to live out their lives in a home not a shelter, even one as nice as this.

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Polk County is a tough county for dogs, but even tougher for pit bulls. There are no animal laws, no spay/neuter vouchers available for community animals, and backyard breeders abound. At the time of our visit (January), the rescue had 64 puppies.

Beyond that, it’s simple prejudice (my words, not theirs). The leadership in Polk County judges these dogs not adoptable and condemns them based on their appearance. The rescue hopes that with education and advocacy, they can influence the commissioners in the county to enact anti-tethering laws, require dog licenses and breeder permits, and prioritize spay/neuter resources. Any of those would help to turn the tide.

To reach the next generation (these are two moms after all), they created an Ambassador program to get kids ages 8 and up involved at the rescue. They make toys, treats, and paint rocks in honor of the dogs at the shelter, but more than that they learn about the situation and how important it is we do better for our animals.

Rescues that focus on pit bulls are few and far between, but rescues who do it so well in such numbers are even harder to find. The Polk County Bully Project is saving the dogs who are the hardest to save. As their van says, “We fight for them, so they don’t have to.”

Shannon and Angie are positive people who operate on a currency of hope—that they can change the narrative here in Polk County.

They save the dogs that need them the most through sheer determination with the resourcefulness and creativity of moms, counting on their dog-loving community to come through for them. And they have.

Spending just an hour or so with them, it was clear that these two women are game-changers, rescue warriors, and then some. I believe they will do it, but they will need even more support to fight this battle.

If you’d like to help, you can donate through the secure link on their website, or by calling Lakeland Vet and donating to their vet bills directly (863-648-4886).

We are getting ready to head out on another shelter tour in two weeks. If you’d like to support our tour or sponsor one of the shelters, find out more here.

Until each one has a home,

Cara

Please help us raise awareness by subscribing and sharing this blog. You can also keep track of us on FacebookInstagramYouTube, and now Tik Tok!

The mission of Who Will Let the Dogs Out (we call it Waldo for short) is to raise awareness and resources for homeless dogs and the heroes who fight for them.

You can learn more about what is happening in our southern shelters and rescues in the book, One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues (Pegasus Books, 2020). It’s the story of a challenging foster dog who inspired me to travel south to find out where all the dogs were coming from. It tells the story of how Who Will Let the Dogs Out began. Find it anywhere books are sold. A portion of the proceeds of every book sold go to help unwanted animals in the south.

Amber’s Halfway Home  is our short documentary film produced in partnership with Farnival Films. It follows the work of a remarkable woman and one day of rescue in western Tennessee. Selected for sixteen film festivals (to date), it’s won eight awards (including Best Short Doc, Best Soundtrack, Best of Fest, and Audience Choice), and was nominated for an Emmy! It is a beautiful, heartbreaking, inspiring story we hope will compel viewers to work for change. Please watch it and share it far and wide.

For more information on any of our projects, to talk about rescue in your neck of the woods, or become a Waldo volunteer, please email whowillletthedogsout@gmail.com or carasueachterberg@gmail.com.

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I am privileged to be allowed to share this post with you.

Please help!