On Sunday, October 7, 2007, at 4:00 p.m., bring your beloved pet to Houston’s downtown Christ Church Cathedral Bishop’s Courtyard for a blessing in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, founder of the Order of the Franciscans, and a poet. Pets will receive a St. Francis medal for their collar.

I’ll be there getting my foster dog, Wrigley, blessed. We need all the help we can get. ūüôā

The Cathedral is a beautiful and historic church in downtown Houston. My husband and I were married there three years ago. If you go, check out the stained glass and woodwork.

When I moved to Houston as a kid in the late 70s/early 80s I remember thinking how weird it was seeing people selling stuff along the side of the road. On a Saturday afternoon along FM1960, a road on the north side of Houston , it was common to see things for sale like fudge, bar-b-que, crafts, seafood, as well as animals–puppies, kittens, rabbits, birds. I’d never seen anything like that before coming to Houston.

It’s taken 25 years, but the powers that be in Harris County have *finally* decided it’s a bad idea to sell animals by the roadside. It’s about damn time.

If you see someone selling animals by the road in Harris County, report it. Call 281-999-3191.

I have last years’ Saving Animals/Astros calendar that featured players’ pets and BARC pets. They’ve done it again this year and will have an autograph and free microchipping event Saturday, September 29, 2007. Details:

Astros Players to Host Autograph Signing for 2008 Player & Pet Calendar!
Dogs Receive FREE Advantage Flea Prevention and resQ Microchip from Bayer

WHO
Houston Astros Dave Borkowski, Chad Qualls, and Chris Sampson, Saving Animals’ Pet Adoption Center, Bayer Animal Health, Northwest Mall, People and Pets.

WHAT
The 2008 Astros Player and Pet Calendars are hot off the press! Attend the kick-off event and be among the first to purchase the calendar and have Astros players autograph your copy. Dogs (on a leash or in a carrier, please) attending with their human will receive a free resQ identification microchip implanted by Saving Animals‚Äô veterinarians. Plus, every calendar includes a coupon for a free tube of Advantage¬ģ flea control

Bayer Animal Health generously sponsored the production of the 2008 Astros Player & Pet Calendar. Educational messages in the calendar promote animal health care and the importance of permanent identification for dogs and cats.

The 14-month calendars are only $15.00 (plus shipping and handling if ordered on-line) and available at most Texas Petco stores. Calendars are also available at The Shed souvenir store in Minute Maid Park, in the ballpark souvenir stores in Round Rock and Corpus Christi, and at www.astros.com/petcalendar and www.savinganimals.org. 

WHEN
Saturday, September 29, 2007, 10:00 a.m. to noon CDT

WHERE
Saving Animals Pet Adoption Center at Northwest Mall
9800 Hempstead Hwy. at Loop 610
Entrance D
Houston, Texas

I read this heartbreaking story about a male Chow mix that laid down in the middle of a busy street to keep watch over his companion, a female German shepherd mix, after she was hit and killed by a car in Denver. Whether his actions were based on feelings of loyalty or protection or caring–I think it really demonstrates how complex dogs are.

caring chow¬†mix¬†This dog¬†was picked up by the Denver Animal Care & Control¬†and his future looked like it might be grim. Because of the outpouring of support and PR for this dog, nicknamed Romeo, it looks like he may get a new lease on life¬†at MaxFund,¬†a no-kill shelter where they can work with him on some of his “issues.” There’s even a woman with Chow experience who really wants to adopt Romeo.

Romeo is a deserving dog with what hopes to be a happy ending.

Poop-eating Dogs

September 21, 2007

Seriously. Why do some dogs eat poop? My Golden Retriever, Bailey, has always been a poop eater. I adopted her at two years old. I don’t know if something happened in her puppyhood to cause it, but I do know her previous owners kept her crated a lot–like 12-15 hours a day sometimes.

My vet said there are ways to curb it. She suggested putting pineapple in all of my dogs’ food. It releases an enzyme that makes poop taste bad. Hello, taste bad? Like it’s so damn tasty to begin with?! My solution is to pick it up immediately. Not my favorite backyard task, but it has to be done. Don’t fear it.

Wrigley, my foster puppy, is a poop eater. Makes me sick. I wonder if he learned it by watching Bailey…

Vote for Rummy, a sweet red Husky rescued in a terrible state. This poor baby is blind and was neglected and emaciated, but with help from Houston area Husky Haven, Rummy has had a miraculous makeover is now a beautiful dog. He’s one of 10 finalists in Purina’s Rally to Rescue contest. Your vote for Rummy could win Husky Haven $5000 in pet food.

Act now. Voting ends September 30. (All of the dogs and rescuers are very deserving. After reading their stories, the choice is difficult.)

There are always more.

The 12 dogs on BARC’s death row all made it to new homes or to rescue groups. Good news. Sounds like Scouts Honor¬†came to the rescue. I’ve seen their name quite often related to last chance dogs. Turns out one of the dogs was a pure bred Portuguese Water Dog–he’s in breed-specific rescue now. The bad news–there are so many dogs at BARC with the clock ticking.

When people in Houston think about adopting a dog, the Houston SPCA is the first place that comes to mind. It’s a nice facility teaming with volunteers and potential adopters. I adopted my first dog from there. It’s clean and pleasant and filled with happy people and happy animals.

BARC is filled with desperate dogs, City employees, and spent volunteers. That, and no one knows it exists.

I started thinking about how easily¬†it seems that my rescued Dacshund will be placed in a new home. I barely hand her off to Dacshund rescue and someone already wants her. She’s meeting her potential new family–who¬†is driving more than an hour to¬†meet her–this weekend. Yet, I’ve had this adorable Lab mix puppy for almost seven months and no one has been remotely interested.

Could it be because people are “brand” obsessed? They define themselves by what they own? Or do they feel some comfort in being able to answer the question “so what kind of dog is that?” Or maybe they grew up with the perfect Brand X dog and thing that the replacement to Brand X will be just like the original.

Why are hybrid dogs are so much more difficult to place? I get frustrated at adoption days having people walk up saying “Don’t you have any <fill in breed type here>?”

Two of my three dogs are purebreds. I didn’t seek them out–they found me. They were unwanted and mistreated. I didn’t want them because I could identify them; I wanted to help them have a better life. I love them no matter what they look like.

But isn’t there something entertaining about that quirky looking mutt that makes you wonder, What the heck are you? Where did you get those silly ears and those big feet and that curly hair? My oldest dog is like that. When I adopted him, my only criteria is that I wanted a big dog. I was told he was a pointer/terrier mix. As a puppy, I guess you could say he was pointer-ish. But at some point in his life, he got really hairy and his nose got quite long and pointy. I haven’t been to a vet yet that says he’s anything except a Greyhound mix.

But all of that doesn’t matter to me. He’s still my bud and has been for 10 years. He doesn’t care that I can’t pinpoint my exact lineage and I don’t care that I can’t pinpoint his.

Hybrids rule.

A representative from All Texas Dacshund Rescue picked up Apple, my temp dog, today. She already has her own web page.

I didn’t think it was possible for me to really get an attachment to a little bitty dog, but Apple¬†really grew on me. It was funny to see how she interacted with my big ole dogs. My Rottie accidentally stepped on her once and it scared the crap out of both of them. After she was gone, my dogs looked all around for Apple. They circled her crate and searched the back yard. It was really quite sweet.

Apple apparently already has a potential adopter somewhere near Waco. That’s awesome. I just wish it was that easy to get mixed breeds adopted.

Wandering Weiner Dog

September 6, 2007

Stray and dumped dogs are an all too common sight in my neighborhood. While I’ve never caught anyone in the act of dumping an animal in the park across from my street, I’ve talked to others who have. Last weekend, someone dumped a large black and white dog that appeared to be a Pit mix in the park along with a bag of food. I tried to catch him, but he’d have none of that. A neighbor said he spend most of his time guarding that bag of food. I haven’t seen him in a couple of days and I only hope someone was able to rescue him.

Also last weekend while on my way to a dinner out, I noticed a Dachshund darting around the park by itself. No one was around and this dog was tiny. It was raining–had been all day. At first, the dog wasn’t interested in being caught. She ran into the street and flipped over on her back as if giving up. I scooped her up and put her into the car. I had to sit there a minute and ask myself “What now?” I’m all dogged up at the moment. But I took her to the house, quickly set up a crate, filled it with towels, added a bowl of water, and introduced her to her temporary digs. My foster puppy in the crate next to her was confused. I went on to dinner so I could formulate a plan.

The dog had a collar, but no tags (what’s up with that?!).¬†I¬†could hope that she was microchipped, but I knew that was a longshot. I sent an email out to the homeowners association email list about a lost dog. No response. I posted her on craigslist, too. As a backup, I located a couple of Dachshund rescues online and sent emails.

I don’t deal with small dogs. While I like all dogs, I prefer big ones. I don’t have room for another foster–especially not a small, shivery, needy dog. I took a closer look at her. She was dirty; long-term dirty, not the kind you get from being outside in the rain for a day. She had freaky long toe nails, dirty ears, dirty teeth, and a couple of scabby hairless spots. If that was mange, I couldn’t take her to the SPCA–she’d never be deemed adoptable. I decided to take her to my vet in the morning.

Everyone at the vet loved her. And I don’t blame them–she is quite cute. I pretty much have to carry her everywhere we go. The vet gave her the once over. She’s 10 lbs. She’s 5-7 years old–not too old for a very small dog. No microchip. That’s bad. No heartworms. That’s good. She’s not spayed and badly needs teeth cleaning (which my vet thinks is more important that the spaying at the moment). The bald spots are just hotspots from fleas. More good news.

So now what? I’ve received one return email from one of the Dachshund rescues–they don’t have any available foster homes. I haven’t heard from the others. I’m going to check some more lost and found sites and do some posters. If that fails, then I’ll start bugging Dacshund rescue again. I need to make a flyer for her to post at the vet.

People love small¬†dogs and I’m sure someone will want her. I think I said something like that to myself about people liking puppies–which was how I justified fostering the puppies,¬†one of which is now a teenager. More adventures in dog rescuing…