Pixie and Ivy

March 13, 2009

This is Pixie

This is Pixie

I’m taking a foster break. That’s what I have to tell myself every time I walk through BARC and see all of those sad eyes looking at me. Fostering is a tough job and sometimes you need a break to restore your sanity, your household, your bank account…

Apparently I fell off the wagon because a few weeks ago, I pulled a sweet mom and her pup from BARC. In addition to being on an alleged break, I also said I wasn’t going to foster any more puppies. Guess I messed that one up, too. And they’re small dogs. While I don’t have a thing against smaller dogs, I’m really more of a big dog gal.

Little Pup, Ivy

Little Pup, Ivy

Pixie, the mom, is by farthe easiest foster I’ve ever had. She’s house trained, quiet, well behaved, HEALTHY, cute, sweet–and she has an adopter! She’s going to her forever home with a very nice, caring couple next week.

Luckily, I have a great friend who not only comes up with excellent pet names (Pixie and Ivy), but is also fostering Ivy until Pixie gets adopted. Ivy is cute–seriously, damn cute. And she’s smart. An excellent combination of beauty and brains!

Any guesses on the breed mix for either of these two? I think dogs like this are the reason someone invented doggy DNA testing. I think Pixie (about 18 months old and 16 lbs.)  is spaniel/sheltie and Ivy (about 10 weeks old and 8 lbs.) is spaniel/Australian shepherd. Who really knows? And does it really matter? Not to me. Mutts rule.

Take a look at Elliot. This gorgeous purebred Labrador retriever arrived at BARC on New Years Day. His characteristics scream lab—friendly, active, loves to fetch, silly. I spent about 30 minutes with him Sunda0979427-elliot1ay taking photos and getting to know him so he could be marketed in this week’s BARC Starz email that features highly adoptable dogs. Lab rescue was also working to try to spring him from the shelter. Options—a lot more options than some shelter dogs have.

Isn’t he great? Don’t you think there’s a family out there who would just adore such a smart, attractive boy?

Oh, I failed to mention. He’s dead. That’s right. Twenty-four hours after receiving confirmation from Dr. O, the head vet at BARC, that Elliot would be ready and available to be featured in BARC Starz, she euthanized him due to “illness.” I spent half an hour with this dog two days ago. Firm stool, no coughing or sneezing, no injuries. In addition, this dog was fully vaccinated on intake and heartworm negative. So why, exactly, did Elliot have to die, Dr. O? Unfortunately, she has yet to provide a response.

One more bit of proof that Houston’s City Pound, BARC, is truly a disaster.

BARC’s head vet, “Dr.” Eunice Ohashiegbula-Iwunze (Eunice Ohashiegbula-Ozuzu), had her vet license suspended in New Jersey after she provided poor care that lead to the death of three dogs in 2003-2004. Oh, and she failed to mention it on her employment app with BARC. Apparently, a couple of years before, she also received a fine associated with poor care and poor record keeping.

Houston, the fourth largest City in the country, and this is the best we can do? How many times have I asked myself that very question when thinking about BARC?! Yeah, it’s a lousy job. But it’s also a job where you have a chance to make a difference and bring an ailing and backward program into the current century. It’s an opportunity to be a hero, a leader, a forward thinker. But the City of Houston hires an incompetent butcher and two-time loser? Houston animals and Houston tax payers deserve better.

A Bayou by any Other Name

November 7, 2008

After first moving to southeast Texas, it took me a while to realize a bayou is kind of a fancy word for a drainage ditch.

How pretty could a drainage ditch possibly be? Lately, I’ve spent more time walking the paths along the bayou with one of my dogs and I’ve come to realize and appreciate the beauty of a bayou. 

The bayou in my neighborhood is a channelized (paved) one, but there’s still an amazing amount of animal life around it. Seeing egrets are herons are an everyday occurrence. Once I saw what I thought was a stray dog, but it turned out to be a coyote. Turtles the size of toilet seats sun themselves on the concrete embankment. Last weekend, I saw a hawk on the sidewalk looking under my fence. At night, opossum cut through my yard and bats fly overhead. All of this under the shadow of downtown Houston. It’s really quite amazing.

Contents of pet food (and human food!) is still an issue and seems to be in the news constantly.

Take a look at Dog Food Analysis and see what your dog’s food contains. You may be surprised. The web site includes extensive information about what’s really in dog food and reviews. I visited this site about a year ago and checked out how my dogs’ food ranked. I immediately changed foods. My senior girls now eat Canidae Platinum and my young boy eats Innova. There’s some new dehydrated dog food I want to research, too.

No Buddy Gets Left Behind

October 20, 2008

I’m a firm believer that pets contribute to your personal well being.

I’ve read a few stories here and there about soldiers who have worked hard to get companion animals back to the U.S. from Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s not an easy process. Sad, because I know these animals really meant a lot to these people.

Today, I read about a soldier and Ratchet, the dog that helped her make it through her 13-month deployment. Ratchet is on his way to the U.S. thanks to many, including Operation Baghdad Pups. They help transport unit mascots and soldiers’ companion animals to the U.S. Very good work.

It’s a sad day for the animals in Houston. I just got word that Saving Animals Across Borders has closed and is filing for bankruptcy. Saving Animals operated a spay/neuter clinic I recently used for a foster dog.

I can’t say I didn’t see this coming, based on a recent article in the Chronicle.

Luckily, there are other discount spay/neuter clinics in the greater Houston area.

Willow Needs Your Help

August 18, 2008


Help Willow with her Vet Bills
Help Willow with her Vet Bills

This sweetie is Willow, rottweiler puppy rescued from BARC, Houston animal control/City pound, at the end of July after all of her litter mates were euthanized.

Willow has spent her very short life in and out of a shelter, foster homes, and vet clinics. One minute is seems like she’s fine, the next she’s in an oxygen tent fighting for her life. Rottilove Rescue is footing the bill while vets try to do their best to make her healthy. Willow has pneumonia and an oxygen block in her lungs. This is a photo I took of her the day she was sprung from a certain death from the shelter.

The bills have really stacked up for the small, underfunded Rottweiler rescue group. They could use some help with Willow’s treatment. Bills for this little pup will exceed $1000. I’ve pitched in $100 and will try to do another $100 in September.

No amount is too small. Seriously, $5 can help! Donations can be sent to:
Rottilove Rescue, Inc.
175 Fawn Ridge Rd.
Cedar Creek, TX 78612
Include a note that your donation is for Willow. Rottilove is a 501c3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.

Willow in an Oxygen Tank


Willow in an Oxygen Tank

Don’t let funding get in the way of this little pound puppy having the life she deserves.

O Happy Day for Mel

August 16, 2008

I’m so happy! Melbourne, my Australian Cattle Dog foster, has officially been adopted. There ended up being several people interested in him but the final choice was pretty obvious. Mel’s new Dad is a very nice guy who had a heeler for 15 years. Man and dog bonded almost immediately. Mel will live in the city but will spend weekends in the country on several acres with cattle. Mel the cow dog will get a chance to see cows! The adopter is willing to continue to work with Mel on obedience and socialization and seems to be a very committed owner. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I hope there will be many happy days ahead for Mel. He has been through a lot and he deserves a happy and fun-filled life.

I guess this is the City of Houston’s idea of a hurricane evacuation plan for BARC, the animal control shelter. City bureaucracy at its finest.

FOSTERS!!! HELP NEEDED! See below from Dr. O. They are asking us to help evacuate dogs and cats from BARC and house them temporarily during the storm. This would obviously be a short term foster need…hopefully only a day or two and the animals can go back to BARC.

It is my understanding that Sean Hawkins is organizing an air transport of some dogs and cats to Denver. Not sure how many will be going. Obviously, if we can get some of the dogs and cats out and housed here that would be better. If you can go get a dog/cat or two or three, please go now! I believe that all dogs and cats not taken today will be euthanized.

Please respond with questions to kdeffebach@sbcglobal.net or call me 713-412-1693.


—–Original Message—–
From: Ohashiegbula-Iwunze, Eunice – HLT
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: Hurricane Warning- is BARC in need of help today??
Importance: High

It is official, spread the word and come get them. Only south kennels first.
Eunice Ohashiegbula-Iwunze
Division Manager
Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care
Dept of Health and Human Services
City of Houston
2700 Evella
713 229 7309

SavingAnimals.org has apparently chartered a 757 to transport 300 cats and dogs to Denver. Apparently they’re still trying to get recipients on that end. We’ll see what happens.