Posts Tagged ‘adopt dogs’

Nearly a dozen years ago, we met Cindy Rackley as part of a big story for Horse & Rider magazine on ‘animal communicators,’ and discovered that Cindy was trained in many alternative healing therapies for both people and pets, such as reiki and homeopathy. For years, she’s also been deeply involved with the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary in California.

So, it came as little surprise that her son, Cody Rackley, would be the co-founder–with Jill Anderson–of something as grand as Shadow’s Fund and the Sheltering Oak Sanctuary, a rescue organization devoted to senior dogs and other canines whose sad fate leads them to crowded shelters with a slim chance of adoption.

Shadow’s Fund is named for that smiling senior citizen pictured in this post, who was abandoned by his owners after he’d given them 15 years of devoted service.

No way!” Cooper says. But wait–this has a happy ending, little Coop…

Cody and Jill brought Shadow into their family, and he brought them the mellow companionship and understanding heart that senior dogs just seem to acquire over the years. Here’s a link to their tribute to Shadow–and as our friend Priscilla would say, we double-dog-dare you to watch it without a getting a little ‘sand’ in your eye…

And so Cooper and Swirl would like to thank Cody and Jill for their determination and steadfast devotion to all critters who are down on their luck, thru absolutely no fault of their own. We support you, 100%!

“A wag-of-the-tail to Cody and Jill, and Shadow’s Fund!” says the Coopster.

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Yesterday, we left our chatty harlequin look-a-likes, curling up on the couch with what appeared to be a squeaky duck! We’ll pick up the fun where we left off….

Cooper: Now let’s see, Domino, the last I remember is watching you curl up with a duck (zzzzzz……) followed by some very sweet dreams. Is that duck somethin’ magical, or what?

Domino: It’s my most treasured possession. I am a bird dog (FYI — appreciate your heritage, little Coopster!), and of all my toys I treasure my squeaky bird most, followed closely by my squeaky ball.

Cooper: I’m rather partial to green squeaky balls myself, Domino. That squeak just gets my joy going! Yesterday, you were about to share a favorite story from your therapy dog files. Please do!

Domino: My favorite lady was Miss Ann. Not everyone loves dogs as much as they should, so when you’re doing your therapy dog work, you always have to be careful meeting new people until your handler says it’s OK. But when we first met Miss Ann, I walked in, took one sniff and just knew she loved me, so I jumped right up into her lap! Mom was horrified. But I KNEW! Miss Ann had to explain to Mom what I already understood — that she’d raised Cockers her whole life and loved them the most of anything. I’d lay in her lap for hours and we’d watch TV as she petted me, because she knew all the best spots. Mom says she still doesn’t understand how I knew all that so fast. But I told her, I’m a professional!

Cooper: That’s awesome, Dom! Think of all the joy you brought Miss Ann… I’d sure like to earn my therapy dog stripes! I’d also like to do agility. And I’ve heard you called the Agility King—How’d you get that royal nickname?

Domino: Agility is great. I like doing the jumps – it makes your ears and your skirt (kilt for us guys) fly up like Superman! However, I think running real fast is silly – I like to take my time and just jog between the obstacles. Those dogs that go hell-bent around the course are just asking for a sprain! So, I guess the name is from being king of the course, don’t you think?

Cooper: Yes! You & I have a terrifical resemblance, don’t you think? Are you sure we’re not long-lost brothers, separated at birth?

Domino: Now that you mention it, hmmm… If we’re brothers, may I be the dashing and debonair one?

Cooper: You are already, my brother! Domino–one last question–what do you know for sure? I mean… do you have a motto?

Domino: The greatest thing we can do to be happy is to make other’s lives better!

Fab fotos courtesy Domino’s very cool Mom, Andrea Caudill

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Cooper had such a doggone good time when he interviewed Kelso, aka Special K, he could hardly wait to talk with Kelso’s big bro, Domino. Those 2 lucky dogs have such an active life with their Mum, Andrea (she’s an authentic dog whisperer!), that it took a while to catch the devastatingly handsome Domino with a spare moment. Let’s just say, that when Coop & Dom got started, they didn’t want the fun to end!

Cooper: Jeepers, creepers, Domino, where’d you get those peepers?

Domino: They came free with my tuxedo suit! Many folks think they’re my best feature… but not those neighborhood kids who came to visit one day. They saw my eyes and ran away screaming!

Cooper: Ha! Wish I’d seen that! What’s your story, you handsome creature?

Domino: Well, as pound pups, we don’t like to talk about our “before” lives. Suffice to say I was a young buck out on the streets starving, dirty and cold, and ended up finding the loop of an animal control officer’s catch pole. A few hours later, shivering in a chilly, loud cage, I looked up and saw…. my new Mom! She said I looked like a starved cow with my bones and spotted coat, but adopted me anyways.

Cooper: You lucky dog! What do you love best about your forever home?

Domino: When I first moved in, I liked the mirrors and door springs. They were so fascinating! Now, I like Mom; warm, comfy beds; my toys; and regular meals. In that order.

Cooper: Tell me about your very important job, Dom…

Domino: I’m a licensed therapy dog, and let me tell you, it is truly a calling – 24-7 and no vacations! My main job is to keep Mom’s blood pressure at a healthy level. I jump in her lap and roll around and act silly until she laughs, then I push my head under her hand until she pets me and de-stresses. This is exacting work – many dogs try this as amateurs – but I’m a trained professional! I encourage her to exercise – upper body workouts (throwing my toys) and cardio (taking me for walks). I also like to take Mom to visit our local senior home. Every Saturday when she goes to pick up her keys and my leash, I do my happy dance. I love going and seeing all my peeps!

Cooper: I’d sure like a therapy dog gig — any advice?

Domino: First, no biters allowed, little Coopster! When you master that you, too, can study hard and join this honorable profession… It’s SO rewarding! When folks see me, they holler “DOMINO!” Of course, they’ll holler your name, and that’s when you need to start doing a happy dance! When your owner lets go of the leash, run to them–that makes them feel happy. Then you sit down (still do the happy dance if you can), and smile at them. Then let them pet you.

Cooper: Gee, I think I do that naturally!

Domino: But the real trick, Coop, is to work the crowd so no one feels left out. Make sure everyone has a ‘hello’ and a pet! And take note: Many of them have treats, and they’ll give you lots of treats if you do a few tricks.

Cooper: This is so much fun, Domino, could we continue this interview tomorrow?

Domino: Sure–I have loads more good stories to tell… like the one bout Miss Ann! That’ll give me time to snooze with my favorite duck pillow… there’s room for you on the couch, too, Super Coop! zzzz……

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In 2006, our friend Vicki decided the timing was perfect to open her heart and her home to a 4-legged senior citizen. A savvy dog-lover involved in rescue, she knew that when elderly dogs are surrendered to shelters, they’re often the least likely to be adopted, even tho they have a wealth to offer. So, she sought a vintage pooch. “You rock, girlfriend!” Cooper exclaims.

When Vicki skedaddled to PAWS in Lynnwood, Washington, a dazzling, blond bombshell of Golden Retriever/Spaniel heritage batted her long eyelashes in our friend’s direction. Imagine Mae West of the canine persuasion… Vicki was a goner. Scooty’s gentle spirit was impossible to resist. The pooch played a little hard-to-get, but her heart just couldn’t deny it: They were made for each other. “I knew it!” says the Coopster. “We’re on our way to a doggone happy ending!”

There was one issue, however, that this new family unit had to settle on the ride home. Scooty, 11, had never met a doggie treat she didn’t like–no, love. “Her claims of starvation must’ve persuaded her previous owner,” Vicki says. The evidence was indisputable: Scooty had a body mass index that would qualify her for a canine Biggest Loser production… Time for a diet! “Brussel sprouts are about to become your best friends,” Scooty was told, in no uncertain terms. (“Mom, please don’t get any ideas,” Coop says.)

Scooty’s fitness routine included long walks and weekly swims at a local dog-friendly spa. Nice dog-paddle! And even tho her blond coat shed golden tumbleweeds all over the house, Vicki didn’t mind. Her Scooty was a treasure–an Angel in Fur! Amiable and affectionate but never clingy (hear that Swirl?), she’d spend lazy days watching the world go by from the porch—that is, when she wasn’t digging a comfy, cool pothole in the garden, to nest in on toasty-warm days. She even liked Rico the cat.

In 2 years, Scooty went from 68 pounds to a svelte 43, and regained lost stamina. Vicki also adopted another senior pooch, Ernie, a jaunty little Beagle mix. On Halloween, Scooty dressed as an angel (of course!) and that scallawag Ernie swaggered in a pirate costume, for trick-or-treating at a local nursing home. Senior-2-senior outreach: Oh, the fun they had! It was grand.

Years passed, quickly–as they do when you are having the best of times. Life was good and full and everything it should be with such special pups. Then, when Scooty was just weeks away from her 15th birthday, she took leave of this good earth, to become a real Angel. “I wouldn’t trade those 4 years with Scooty for a whole lifetime with another dog,” Vicki says. “She was a friend who made me a better person.”
Cooper says, “A wag of the tail to senior dogs and to Vicki, a remarkable lady who appreciates the rare joy they have to offer.”
Very Special photos courtesy Vicki Holt. Thanks!

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Ivan is a Cookie Monster (OK, obviously). He is a cherished member of Wayne and Jan’s family, and an alpha dog with the confident swagger that comes with being numero uno in line for cookies. He’s a playful tease, who loves walks and rides in the car. And did we mention, cookies? Most of all, Ivan is a Happy Dog.

Ivan is also completely blind. However, you could spend a significant amount of time with Ivan before you realized it. Cooper asks, “What’s your story, Mister Incredible?”

When Ivan was just 6-months-old, alert passersby scooped up the blind puppy from a busy Seattle street, and seriously increased his life expectancy. They brought Ivan to a shelter.

At the same time, Wayne and his wife, who always had owned and showed Rottweilers (he’s the breed rep for Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue), decided to learn more about Pit Bulls. They wondered, what would it be like to live with one?

Their futures converged, when Ivan went home with Wayne—just temporarily, of course, until a suitable adoptive family could be found… (spoiler alert: The family wasn’t quite so far away as Wayne thought!)

He soon noticed that Ivan had an enormous zest for life; Ivan and his favorite toy were always ready for a tug-o-war! Such youthful exuberance and puppy joy! How infectious!

“Well, not always,” grumbled their aged, 130 lb. Rottweiler, Bear.

Meanwhile, Wayne took Ivan to the vet, and learned that the Pit Bull’s blindness was probably caused by a virus his mother contracted, which stopped development of his optic nerves. It was irreversible. But don’t tell Ivan! This dog is high on life!

Wayne and Jan fell in love with Ivan’s gregarious nature. The outgoing pup was generous with his happiness–tho he shared it with everyone he met, he always had more to give. They marveled at how easily he would assess his physical environment and adjust to it. Of course, he knew every twist and turn of their home by heart. “We just had to remember to close all the lower kitchen cupboard doors,” Wayne says, suppressing a little chuckle. You’ve gotta smile.

Ivan’s second birthday came, and after all the doggie treats were polished off by Ivan the Cookie Monster, Wayne and Jan realized that the sweet pup had become an irreplaceable member of their family. They didn’t need to find him a home–Ivan was home.

This summer, Ivan will celebrate his fourth birthday, and with the newest addition to the family, Merlin, he’ll show proper respect to the chef, by devouring all his cookie treats. And Ivan will continue to show Merlin the ropes, so to speak.

So, if you happen to meet a happy-go-lucky, Red-Nosed Pit Bull, and his dog tag reads, ‘I can’t see you,’ please give Ivan our best regards. “Of course, we think that Ivan sees life quite clearly,” says Super Cooper sagely. “He’s incredible! Ivan makes pound pups everywhere proud!”

Ivan’s photos courtesy Swirl’s hero, Wayne

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then, “… read on to meet Taffy, and her unexpected gift to her rescuers.”

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Once there was a Collie–we’ll call Taffy, for her golden-hued coat–who struggled with a life that was anything but golden. She’d been abandoned in a park in central Washington state. She scavenged to find food, but it was never enough and as days turned into weeks, her body became gaunt; her once-beautiful coat, dirty and matted. A woman with a small rescue group learned of the Collie, and went to her aid. Things were about to get a lot better for our girl.

“When they called to ask if we could take her, they had already given her a bath and pretty much shaved off her coat,” says Steve Thein, the Collie breed rep for the Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue, whose motto is, Where second hand dogs give first class love. “She was just skin and bones, but very very sweet.” For every mile of the long ride to Steve’s home, Taffy rested her head on his shoulder.

Steve and his wife, Kim, live with their six Collies, and at any time, numerous foster dogs. Although he’d been assured that Taffy had just given birth, he couldn’t help but wonder… really? He took her to his vet, who smiled and said, “Let’s just take an x-ray.” And sure enough, the film revealed seven puppies! And they were due any day… Steve, who’d planned to leave on a vacation, canceled it. He was on puppy watch. And he called in reinforcements: Judy Byrd, another SPDR guardian angel.

They didn’t have to wait long: four days later, at 10p.m., Taffy went into labor. It was soon apparent to them, however, that Taffy was weakened from her ordeal, and she would need a vet to help the birth. At 2a.m., the vet began an emergency cesarean delivery. After six squirming pups were born and rubbed-down by Steve and Judy, they thought they were done… No! There were three more!

“It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” Steve says. “And Taffy was a fabulous mother. The pups each weighed 13 oz. at birth, and they all could fit into one little shoe box!” Of course, that was soon outgrown, as at first they gained a pound-per-week, and later, 1.5 pounds each and every week.

“It was lots of fun!” Steve says. “But no one warned us how much nine puppies poop or how many wee pads we’d go through!” Taffy was fed 4x a day, and when her pups were four-weeks-old, Steve supplemented their diet with Gerbers rice cereal and goats’ milk. With NINE puppies, there wasn’t a dull moment at the Thein household!

At about 6-weeks, the puppies developed a little curl in their tails… Was that a clue to their parentage? Echoing new parents everywhere, Steve says, “We didn’t care what they were, we were just happy that they were so healthy.” As adoptive families were screened, Judy–invaluable throughout–prepared the puppies’ dowry: Each puppy left for their new life with a baby blanket, puppy food and–perhaps most importantly–a tuft of Taffy’s golden hair.

One extraordinary family fell in love with Taffy, adopted her, then returned to adopt one of her handsome sons. Another excited new puppy-mom did a DNA test, which revealed that the father was a Siberian Husky… And then, they were gone, into a bright & shining future. With all the kids gone from the nest, did it seem a just little too quiet, Steve?

“The experience was worth it’s weight in gold,” he says. “I’ll always treasure the memory of of those nine little guys coming into the world, and what a great mom Taffy was.” Swirl says, “A wag of the tail to Steve, Kim and Judy!”

Photos courtesy Cooper’s hero, Steve Thein. Thanks!

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Wake up, Precious!  Rise and shine, Sunshine!  It’s Monday, you’ve got a job to do!

Pound-for-pound, Precious is about as powerful as a pooch can be. She was born a Georgia Peach, but now lives the country life in the Great Northwest, managing home and hearth for Alice and Tish. She found Alice at a time when Alice’s mom was struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. Just 2 1/2 pounds of puppy-joy, Precious entertained them and gave them something to smile about!

Because everyone smiles at a little dog in a pink tutu! And we mean, EVERYONE.

Grown-up and a hefty 6-pounds now, Precious, of course, resists the urge to throw her weight around–o my, that’s so not her! She gently coaxes smiles from one & all. She’ll plant a kiss on your cheek (or your toes) when you least expect it, but you need it most. How can sucha big, powerful personality reside in sucha small package? (one of Life’s great mysteries, for sure) Cooper and Swirl say:

Girlfriend, you really are Precious!

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Sammy was wandering the streets in Plummer, Idaho, when a kind policeman nabbed the little urchin and brought him to a Spokane shelter. He wasn’t even 5 months old… Sammy didn’t know it then, but he was about to come out of the darkness and into the light!

That’s when Caryl found him, ‘a filthy little furball, scrunched up at the front of his kennel.’ She couldn’t tell head from tail, until she put her finger into his cage, and a little tongue came out to give her a kiss. Sammy went home with Caryl.

Hey, Sammy, open your eyes to your great new life!

Sure enough, Sammy found he could sail through life with Caryl….

Yes, sir! He could fly!

Caryl, smart cookie that she is, realized that Sammy had a certain effect on people: he made them smile. Even the biggest frown turned upside down around Sammy  ;D

It was a balancing act, but Sammy and Caryl went into pet therapy training, and not surprisingly, Mr Warm & Fuzzy Feelings Sammy graduated at the top of his class! Just four days after his 1st birthday, Sammy passed his Delta Society evaluation (dogs must be at least 1-year-old), on his way to becoming an official pet therapy dog!

For nearly 2 months now, Sammy and Caryl have been visiting their local Ronald McDonald House, bringing smiles and unconditional doggie love to everyone there.

Sammy, you’re our hero! You make former pound pups everywhere very proud.

Sammy photos courtesy Caryl Harper. Thanks!

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There was a slight advantage to being one of the family, for he did not bite the family as often as he bit strangers….  James Thurber

Mom, Thanks for your patience! It’s true, that sometimes pound pups come with baggage their new families would rather leave behind. It takes time to change old habits, and you understood that.

When I was a skinny street stray, I learned to defend myself by biting. Sometimes I was scared or threatened, but sometimes it was just because… I’m cute, so no one ever saw it coming.

But since I’ve had a home and a family, I’ve learned that I don’t need defenses like biting anymore. Tho I’m tempted sometimes, I haven’t chomped on any plump human digits in over a year. Pretty good, huh?

Thanks for being so patient. Thanks for reasoning with me, instead of raising a hand to me. I can change. My intentions are good.

Thanks, Mom!

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There’s no place like home, Toto…. I don’t think Dorothy was just talking to her dog, she was talking to every dog who has wandered or lost his way, and she was talking to all the dogs patiently waiting at Humane Societies or rescue groups for someone to take them home.

I know how it is to wait, and feel lost and hungry. And, I know how it felt when someone looked into my eyes and saw not just a straggly little waif, but family. I wish all lost dogs could be found.

It feels great!

“Wherever smoke wreaths heavenward curl—Cave of a hermit, hovel of churl, Mansion of merchant, princely dome—Out of the dreariness, Into its cheeriness, Come we in weariness, HOME.”   ….Stephen Chalmers.

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