Monday, April 21, 2008

More dogs

Two more dogs to add to my possibilities list:


Nicky is right here at the CNY SPCA! Supposedly some sort of lab/chow mix (though I don't see much chow in him, really). No clue on weight...just described as "large" (which may ultimately mean we can't have him but I'm trying to talk David into it! lol). Described as "always wagging his tail, ears up and ready to go." He looks so soft and fluffy and happy!





Dahlia is, of course, the dog I met this past weekend. She was sweet, fairly mellow but still with some energy, and quiet. She was a definite hit with me!

No link yet

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Transport #13: Dahlia

Lucky #13! And boy was I lucky. My weekend was supposed to consist of two transports. The first one was for a random couple dogs (which kept changing, finally ending with an Airedale mix named Kelly). That one was set up for Sunday morning. Well, Friday rolled around and suddenly it got switched to Saturday and I could no longer do it. They found someone else and the transport went on without me. The second transport was for three Brittanies. A woman had written to find out if I could help out. I volunteered for a leg and never heard back from her. On Friday I finally got in touch with her and she said she didn't need me. So, since those two got canceled, I contacted the people who needed help with Dahlia, a BBD (big black dog). For those who don't know this, BBDs often have a harder time getting adopted than dogs (and even cats) of lighter colours. Some of it is attributed to not photographing well in the confines of a shelter, some is attributed to people not being able to read their expressions as easily, and some is attributed to people finding BBDs more frightening. Whatever it is that causes it, BBDs are euthanized more often than other dogs. Dahlia was scheduled to be euthanized last Tuesday and a rescue pulled her for transport this weekend. I stepped in at the last minute to relieve a driver from having to drive 164 miles each way to help this beautiful dog. And wow am I happy I did!

Today was a beautiful day. Mid-70s, sunny. I drove all the way out to Rochester with my windows down partway (of course, some of this is attributed to my air conditioning being broken!). I arrived about 15 minutes early, relaxed, and then met up with the other people and Dahlia. My first impression of Dahlia was that she was a wonderful dog, and seemed much smaller than the 50 lbs they said she was (I would guess more like 40-45). She was utterly sweet and wanted to do nothing more than snuggle up to you. She immediately came over to me and gave me kisses. She walked over to the other women that had brought her on the previous leg, sat down, and put her leg up on her. She was just utterly sweet. We got her into the car easily enough and then it was on our way!

Unlike last week's crazy transport, this one was incredibly easy! Dahlia curled up in the back seat, not even tethered, and slept the whole way. She popped her head up a couple times and I reached back to pet her a bit (and was rewarded with some kisses), and then she'd just curl back up and sleep again. She was quiet and mellow.

We arrived a bit early, which was just fine with me! I got her out of the car and we wandered around a bit. She only pulled a bit on her leash and frequently ran back to me and looked up to me. She seemed like she'd be an easy dog to train. She already knew sit and shake, that much I discovered! We spent a bit of time out on the lawn. I sat down and let her explore around me and she would return to me and press her face up against mine. She was SO sweet. I would have adopted her in a heartbeat if I fact, I may get in touch with the rescue she's going to about possibly adopting her. I just totally fell in love with her!

The other woman showed up way too early and I think she could tell I didn't want to let her go. Oops! They finally took off and now Dahlia is on her way to Vermont. *sniffles*

Here are a few pictures. The rest can be found here.







Friday, April 18, 2008

Keeping track of the dogs

So far, these are the dogs we're seriously interested in. "Shaggy," from the last post ended up getting adopted and we're very happy for him!


French Brittany, only 23 lbs, 11 months old, described as "a bundle of energy, kisses and love all wrapped up in one."




Flat coated retriever mix, 40 lbs, 2 years old, described as "super affectionate, crate and leash trained, quiet, polite with silky shiny fur and a great perosnality." Toby sadly keeps getting passed over!




Brittany, 1 year old, described as "one nice boy, cute as a button, does well in crate, quiet." We'll get to meet him this weekend!





That's right...this boy is still up for adoption!

Australian Shepherd, 8 months old, deaf, and described as "pretty active, but settles inside, curious, still very much the puppy, and loves getting belly rubs."




Sheltie mix (supposedly), 1 1/2 years old, described as "the sweetest dog, beautiful, very gentle, and sweet." For some reason, this poor kid keeps getting passed over.




You might remember this girl from this post. She's the one whose owner decided to put her down instead of finding her a home, despite her young age!

Schipperke mix, 30-35 lbs, a bit over a year old, described as "gets along with other dogs, loves people, just wants a home to call her own."




Whose name should really be Seamus!!

Papillon/spaniel mix, 25 lbs, unsure of age, described as "I love to run and play and if you visit me we can go on my favorite walk-through the woods, over logs & stuff and finally back to my place. I could sit on your lap for hours while I get treats. Then we could plan on going to your place for toys galore. I would like to be your pampered pup."




Sheltie, unsure of age, deaf, described as "a real cuddlebug, choosing to lie near your feet or with you on the couch, in bed, etc. He is even a little demanding for petting -- nudging his nose forcefully under your arm to get some lovin'. He also follows his foster mom and dad around the home -- to the bathroom, to lie down nearby when you are cooking, etc. He really prefers humans to dogs, although he gets along fine with other dogs."




American Eskimo dog, 2-3 years old I think, right here in CNY, came in with her puppy who has been adopted, described as friendly

Link that ALL for now? LOL I'll be adding to this as more dogs come up that interest me!

Monday, April 14, 2008

In search of a dog

My partner and I do not have a dog. I know this is probably a surprise as my blog is all about the dogs I transport. I got involved in transporting because I was looking for a way to get involved with dogs, to help dogs, and partially to hopefully quell this driving need to have a dog of my own.

The two first ones have gone off brilliantly. The last one? Not so much. In fact, it has made it worse. I went from wanting a dog and accepting that it would happen sometime down the road to needing a dog now. And I mean like yesterday. To that end, we are moving this summer...from our cozy little too small apartment in Liverpool, NY. To somewhere else that will allow me to have that dream.

But then comes the search for the perfect dog. This has been a somewhat agonizing search as so many dogs need homes and so many of them look so right for us.

It all started with Tanner, the lovely deaf Aussie who we helped to transport around St. Patrick's Day. David fell totally in love with him, as did I. He's still available, living up in Ontario with his foster family. The problem with Tanner? He's an Australian shepherd and we're going to be living in an apartment in the city. While there is plenty of room to walk in the area, it doesn't seem quite adequate for most Aussies. We know Tanner is somewhat different, as most people describe him as calm and say he doesn't quite have the Aussie personality. But still. Surely he would have too much energy for us. I think I may still look into him when we are able to finally adopt a dog, but I think it's going to be darned unlikely that he would be allowed to come home with us.

Then I got involved in transporting Brittanies. Lovely dogs all. Energetic, but not the working dogs that Aussies are. We settled on the possibility of getting a Brittany and in searching, I found what looked to be the perfect dog. She's a little French Brittany (23 lbs), named Sammie sweet. David thought she looked special too. There's something about the look in her face and the little tuft of hair on her tail. They described her as "a bundle of energy, kisses, and love all wrapped up in one." We both agreed she's a definite possibility. She's fostered in Delaware, but we could easily pick her up or get her transported up to here.

When I arrived home Friday evening, I had a message waiting for me from a friend of a friend, about her mother's dog, Sam. She needed to rehome him as her mother's husband died and she was moving into an apartment that doesn't allow dogs (always a shame -- I wish we were like Ontario where, I understand, there is a law prohibiting people from having a no pets clause in their lease). Her mother's dog is a 6-year-old male American Eskimo dogs. David loves spitz-type dogs and I think they're beautiful. They tend to be no larger than 35 lbs, with many quite a bit smaller (they have toy and minature versions as well). We know nothing about this dog, but we're open to the possibility of adopting him. I haven't heard back, so it's all up in the air anyway. (The picture to the left, btw, is not this particular's just a picture of some American Eskimo dog...I have not even seen a picture of this dog!).

And then last night I was searching, yet again, and I found this lovely dog, named "Shaggy." He's a puli mix. David's dog, Heidi, was a puli mix and I've heard him talk about how much he loved her and how much he loved pulis. I showed him this dog and he immediately was smitten. He's in Ohio and we know nothing about him...not his age, weight, temperament, anything. I told David I would check into him whenever we find out if we can get this apartment for sure. Maybe we could get him fostered for a month if we think he'd be a good match for us.

All of this is so up in the air that I'm just so unsure of what to do! I guess we'll know when the time is right. But I do think they're all great looking dogs and only time will tell.

The Meaning of Rescue

This is a lovely poem sent to the Canine Rescue list.

~The Meaning of Rescue~

Now that I'm home, bathed, settled and fed,
all nicely tucked in my warm new bed.
I'd like to open my baggage, lest I forget,
there is so much to carry - so much to regret.

Hmmm...Yes, there it is, right on the top,
let's unpack loneliness, heartache and loss.

And there by my perch hides fear and shame.
As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave -
I still have to unpack my baggage called pain.

I loved them, the others, the ones who left me,
but I wasn't good enough - for they didn't want me.
Will you add to my baggage? Will you help me unpack?
Or will you just look at my things - and take me right back.

Do you have the time to help me unpack?
To help put away my baggage, to never repack?
I pray that you do - I'm so tired you see,
but I do come with baggage - Will you still want me?

~ Author Unknown ~

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Transport #12: Bindi and Eli

To date, this was probably one of the most fun, but most challenging transports I have done. I'm finding that each transport is a sort of "live and learn" experience and this time I definitely learned some things NOT to do. The drive out to Rochester was easy. I stopped to grab lunch at Tim Horton's along the way and had a lovely conversation with the janitor at the rest stop. It started when I got napkins to clean off my table and he said "Looking for a job?" It turned out that he had a rescued cockapoo and his sister had a rescued lab that had some one on of the transports like I do. Neat guy and it was nice to chat for a few minutes. I arrived at the site right at 12:45pm and the other people were already there with the dogs. Getting them into my car was a bit of a pain and took a lot longer than it should have. She was insistent on tying them to the so-called "oh shit" handles. She said it worked well for her, but I had some issues with it. My first issue was she wanted to tie them on such a short lead that they couldn't even lay down. No no...that wouldn't work. I got her to tie them at a longer distance to allow them some freedom.

We finally took off, pretty much on time. But immediately there were problems. Eli, who had been tied into the front seat crawled into the back. And then Bindi, who had been tied in the back, wanted to be up front. She ended up getting herself into such a position where she was almost hanging herself. I tried to undo her from the lead, but couldn't with one hand, so I ended up pulling over on the side of the thruway in order to do it. I got her loose, Eli settled down in the back, and Bindi curled up on the front seat, free to move about the car as she pleased.

We started off again. This was when I discovered that the one place Bindi really wanted to be was in my lap. She would crawl into my lap and roll over, legs splayed, in order to get a belly rub. All well and good in normal circumstances, but I was driving. She was leaning into the steering will sometimes, and then at other times she's stretch her legs out and they'd come to rest on the steering will (or even hanging over part of it). Eek. I started to get a little worried that she might move suddenly and jerk the wheel! A couple times I was able to get the strength to pull her away from me and push her back onto her seat, but she always came back. She was what people describe as a "velcro dog" -- she really just wanted a belly rub and to lick your face (a lot!). It finally got to a point at which I was very nervous about continuing to drive with a 40 lb dog crawling around my lap. So, once again we stopped, this time at a rest area. I got Bindi fixed up in the car so she could get only over to my lap but not lay across it. It left us in a much better position than we were in before.

We started off yet again. The trip seemed to be going ok at this point, until Eli decided he wanted to get up front. First he tried to go underneath Bindi and she growled at him -- she definitely did NOT like having him underneath her. I got him into the back and he ended up getting into a strange position he couldn't get out of, again nearly hanging himself in the process. Like before, I couldn't undo his the lead from his collar with one hand, so for a third time, I stopped. Like the first time, I stopped on the side of the thruway. I managed to unhitch him, remove the lead from the "oh shit" handle and tie him around the back of my seat, which gave him a bit more room to move (it also, unfortunately, gave him the room to get to the plastic bag I had sitting down there -- which I managed to remove from him, leaving my purse to the effects of his teeth...alas, now my purse has a strap that is chewed in half *smacks forehead*).

Yet again, we started off. The remainder of the trip wasn't too difficult. Despite three stops on the way through, we made it to our meet up spot just 2 minutes after we were supposed to be there! I handed off the dogs to the next woman (who had a crate large enough to put Bindi in, which I'm sure was a great help!) and who agreed that tying them to the handles is definitely not a good idea (like I said, "live and learn"). And then they were off on the next leg of the trip.

Now, I know this all probably sounds like they drove me nuts. But really, I adored both of these dogs, and especially Bindi who clung to me the whole time. They were incredibly sweet and silly and their new families will be very lucky!

Here are a few of my favourite pictures. The rest can be found here. I didn't get nearly as many pictures as other trips since I had Bindi in my lap most of the time and needed one hand on the wheel and one hand to keep her away from the wheeel!









Sunday, April 6, 2008

Transport #11: Indie and Sweeney

I had been looking for a transport that would get David and I out in the general vicinity of Rome so we could bring my parent's dog, Teri home with us. It seemed like a logical idea since we had to go that way anyway. It turned out there was a transport for two lovely 2-3 year old Brittany spaniels heading out that afternoon.

We arrived at 2:45pm to discover the driver before us had arrived about 10 minutes early. That gave us a chance to meet the dogs a bit. David took Sweeney out for a little bit of a run, since he seemed to have a little excess energy to burn of. I held onto Indie, who just seemed to want to hang out near you. After the previous driver took off, we first got Sweeney into the car. Immediately, he went for my Erik doll. Poor Erik! He's now been mauled by two transport dogs. I was able to get him away from Sweeney easy enough, no fight, no attempts at playing tug of war with him (god forbid!). Erik, who has guarded my car for over 8 years, was relegated to a place in the glove compartment...poor guy!

I hopped in the back with Sweeney (who then proceeded to sit across my lap) and David got in the front with Indie and we were off.

The trip out to Herkimer was one of the easiest trips I've ever had with these dogs. Sweeney immediately curled up with his head almost in my lap and rolled sightly over so I could give him a belly rub. He fell asleep fairly quickly and spent nearly the entire trip like that. Indie curled up on the front passenger seat and with David petting her, curled into a tight little ball and also fell asleep. There wasn't a peep out of either of them and they didn't really wake up until we got off at the Herkimer exit.

It always amazes me that dogs that are so active when you first meet them, raring to go for a run, climbing all over you, eating your stuffed toys, can so quickly settled down and fall asleep. It must be something about the rocking of the car.

We arrived at the Herkimer exit about 10-15 minutes before the next driver did, which gave us anothe chance to get the dogs out for a little walk. Sweeney found some sort of trail he had sniffed out and was following it, nose to the ground. David just let him run. I spent my time with Indie, who just wanted to wander around aimlessly a bit and really just wanted someone to pet her and sit with her. She was an incredibly quiet, calm dog who clearly just loves people.

The next driver finally arrived (to much sadness on our parts!) and after letting them get acquainted, we loaded them up in his car. Sweeney jumped up easily enough and set off to exploring. Indie (who had recently had her spay stitches removed) had to be helped into the car. I had to laugh at Indie though. She turned around and sat with her legs hanging over the edge of his vehicle and refused to budge. We had to sort of force the poor girl back into the vehicle (by having me go around to the other side and get her attention) in order to shut the door so he could be on his way.

David and I agreed that either one of the dogs would have been wonderful companions for us. Brittanies are such gentle, sweet, energetic dogs. Because there were two of us on this trip, I got a TON of photos. A few of my favourites are below. The rest can be found here.


(Sweeney with my poor Erik doll!)







Both dogs




Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Someone in a dog lovers community recently asked for suggestions on books to read. I made some and then thought I should put together a more comprehensive list. Here are the books I recommend, followed by a couple I read that I don't recommend!

These are books people wrote as a tribute to the dogs in their lives.

What the Dog Did: Tales from a Formerly Reluctant Dog Owner by Emily Yoffe -- Yoffe is one of those people I never quite "got" -- she didn't want a dog and yet ended up with one anyway. Funny at times, a very good read with a happy ending.

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan -- John and Jenny Grogan bring home Marley, their "Labrador Evader," who gets into a whole lot of trouble. A fantastic read, follows all of Marley's life so you can imagine what the ending is like.

For Bea: The Story of the Beagle Who Changed my Life by Kristen Von Kreisler -- This was a sweet story about a woman who finds a beagle who had been used in medical experiments and her rehabilitating her. It was well-written and both funny and sad at the same time.

A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life by Jon Katz -- Jon Katz adopted a neurotic border collie without really understanding what border collies are like. The book is funny, a good read, but will make you angry at times if you're a lover of herding dogs and understand them. As a warning, because it surprised me and I wish I had known: the book has a really unhappy ending.

The Dogs Who Found Me: What I've Learned from Pets Who Were Left Behind by Ken Foster -- While not entirely a memoir of his dog, this book tells the story of how Ken Foster came to adopt a shelter dog and how he got involved in rescuing dogs. A very good read.

Beautiful Joe by Margaret Marshall Saunders -- This book is told from the dog's point of view. Beautiful Joe was horribly abused and finds a new home with a family of animal lovers. Densely-packed, without a lot of action, but a lovely story nonetheless.

Dogs of Dreamtime by Karen Shanley -- Another book about working dogs that end up being a bit of a problem. It starts off warm and fuzzy, but quickly turns to the darker reality of dealing with problem dogs. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic book. Shanley is a great writer. She has a blog which is well worth reading:

Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale by Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff -- Dye and Beckloff are the founders of the Three Dog Bakery. This book tells the story of the Gracie, a partially blind and completely deaf Great Dane who was the inspiration for starting the bakery.

Dogs I have Met and People they Found by Ken Foster -- A continuation, of sorts, of the other book by Foster. In this one, he introduces some of the people and their dogs that he met while promoting the other book.

Shelter dogs
These are books that generally have a bunch of shorter tales about dogs who are adopted out of shelters (or not, in some cases).

Disposable Dogs: Heartwarming, True Stories of Courage and Compassion -- Sweet book, definitely heartwarming. Many of the dogs in the book were on the brink of being euthanized when they were rescued by some loving person and given a second chance at life.

Stories of Dogs and the Lives They Touch -- Another sweet compilation of short tales from people about dogs they rescued.

More Stories of Dogs and the Lives They Touch -- Sequel to the previous book. Sweet compilation, but it didn't click with me as much as the first set of stories did.

Second Chances: Inspiring Stories of Dog Adoption -- This is's compilation of stories written by people who rescued dogs through their site. It's a sweet read and it is also a great advertisement for a wonderful site.

Found Dogs: Tales of Strays who Landed on their Feet by Elise Lufkin -- Another uplifting compilation of short stories about dogs who get a second chance.

One at a Time: A Week in an American Animal Shelters by Marilee Geyer -- This is a true to life account of what happens in an animal shelter. Some of the animals chronicled make it out, to new homes. Some don't for varying reasons (no room in the shelter, dog turns vicious from being in the shelter too long, etc.). Some stories make you cry with joy, others make you cry with sadness.

Animal rescue
These books are about rescuing animals -- included are books on rescuing animals from disaster areas and books about animal sanctuaries. While not 100% about dogs, they are still a large part of these books

Out of Harm's Way by Terri Crisp -- This is the story about how Terri Crisp came to rescuing animals from disaster areas. It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen -- This tells the story of the founding and eventual success of the famous animal sanctuary in Utah. A great read. It convinced me to taking a "working vacation" sometime to volunteer there.

The Man Who Talks to Dogs by Melinda Roth -- This tells the story of Randy Grim, who takes to rescuing stray dogs in the St. Louis area. Very well-written and covers all of his exploits with rescuing dogs -- from dealing with puppy mills to rescuing dogs off the street.

Miracle Dog: How Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death Row by Randy Grim -- Quentin is an amazing dog and while much of this book is more about Grim's speaking out for animals and Quentin's being his "spokesdog," it tells a fantastic story.

Fifteen Legs by Bonnie Silva -- Bonnie Silva discovers the wonder and joy of animal transport. While I was disappointed that many of the stories were not about dogs, it was still nice to see someone writing about what I do!

Other books
Books that don't fit the other categories.

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul -- Typical chicken soup book...short tales sent in by people. Most are sweet and fun to read.

Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul -- Similar to the last book, except all the books are about dogs.

Thurber's Dogs by James Thurber -- This is a compilation of articles written for the New Yorker by James Thurber. He often wrote of dogs and drew dog cartoons to go along with them. Some of the stories are very funny, others sad and heartbreaking. It appears the book is out of print, but you can still purcahse used copies on

No Dogs in Heaven?: Scenes from the Life of a Country Veternarian by Robert T. Sharp -- Sharp, a small animal vet, ends up in rural Ohio working on large farm animals. It's a great read and while there are only a handful of stories about dogs, I still recommend it.

A Cup of Comfort for Dog Lovers: Stories That Celebrate Love, Loyality, and Companionship -- This is similar to the chicken soup books...a quick easy read of many short stories

Books I do not recommend
The Gift of Jazzy by Cindy Adams -- I wanted to like this book. I really did. The parts talking about Jazzy's life and the crazy things he did was great fun, and the parts where she talked about her aging husband's struggles and finally dying were poignant. But then it all became about name dropping...which big stars and political people she had lunches with, etc. That got annoying really quickly. She wrote a sequel, but I won't be reading it.

Stealing Love: Confessions of a Dognapper by Mary A. Fischer -- I honestly didn't think I'd finish this book. I had started at one point and then point it aside, finally picking it up later determined to finish it. The problem? She starts with a bang, about how she was sneaking in to take the dog belonging to some guy who abused it. But then she veers away and says she needs to explain how she got to this point. That took all but about 30 pages of the book. Well over 200 pages devoted to her life, with little mention of dogs. So it wasn't so much about the dogs she rescued and found good homes, but more about the way she grew through the years. She wrote well, but the title was terribly misleading. I'd love to see her follow up the book with one actually about the dogs because I would certainly read that.

Dog Culture: Writers on the Character of Canines -- I read books about dogs because I love dogs. Many of the stories in this book were more about people who didn't like dogs coming to tolerate (but not love) their presence. Some of the stories were quite good, but overall, it left me feeling cold.