April 28, 2016

Announcing My First Road Trip with Boca

I'm thrilled to announce that in a sponsored partnership with Open Farm, Boca and I will be traveling to Phoenix, AZ in June for the 2016 BlogPaws Conference! There are so many reasons I'm excited about this. Firstly, I can't think of a pet food brand I'm more proud to promote; Open Farm is committed not only to the health and well-being of dogs and cats with transparent sourcing and high-quality ingredients, but as the first Certified Humane kibble, they are concerned with the treatment of farm animals. As a lifelong animal advocate and mostly-vegetarian, these factors are closely in line with my own values. The Ginger Sisters love the food and I regularly include it in their rotation diet. Boca wants me to be sure I remember to pack some! 

April 25, 2016

From Holding Protest Signs to Holding Rescue Puppies

This weekend I helped transport four adorable puppies with Paws on the Ground after spending the rest of the day mailing items from our recent fundraising auction, picking up a donation of supplies, and cleaning and readying crates for transport. Since the beginning of the year we have been working to help a local retail pet store offer rescue puppies for adoption. Here in Colorado we have a licensing and inspection program that oversees all aspects of pet care, both retail and rescue, and we have to be sure that we comply with their requirements. We had a total of thirteen puppies arriving from New Mexico, four going to foster and nine going to the store we are working with. The transport would not be possible without From Forgotten to Forever whose volunteers devote every weekend to long-distance driving with a van full of precious spared lives. The van has designated drop-off points and they have the process down to a science. A Facebook message thread keeps everyone up-to-date on their estimated arrival times, dogs are transfered, pictures are taken, and they are on to their next stop. Between our own volunteers and those from other organizations, we formed a small tribe of animal lovers in the parking lot, sharing stories, appreciation, and excitement about the adorable cargo soon arriving. Mostly, we can't wait to get our hands on those puppies!

April 20, 2016

Heartbeats at my Feet

Denver was buried in heavy, wet spring snow this weekend - all of the eagerly blooming flowers and trees suffered and my townhome grounds are strewn with fallen branches. The remaining snow is now littered with pink crabapple petals, a strange sight of delicate decimation. It snowed for 36 hours straight and even though the ground was warm and much melted immediately, we still had around 18" of accumulation.

I was in a minor non-weather-related car accident while driving a rescue dog to a foster home on Friday evening (I was the front car in a three-car rear-end accident at a traffic light), and while I am okay, I was more than happy to be snowed in with The Ginger Sisters for some enforced relaxation the remainder of the weekend. They are such dear companions, and it fills my heart with love and contentment to see them sleeping at my feet.

April 17, 2016

Protesting is the Easy Part

Carrying "Herbie" from a long transport into the store where he would be adopted several days later. 

Last August I started joining a weekly protest in front of a pet store here in the Denver area that sells puppies from commercial breeders. That's the nice way to say puppy mill. I'm someone who does her research, so I looked up the USDA reports from some known suppliers to this store. The numbers of adult dogs and puppies on the premises at times of inspection told me all I needed to know. These dogs were not frolicking in green meadows and sleeping in warm, comfortable beds. They were spending their lives in cages, producing puppies as fast as their bodies were able. I bought some poster board and my dad helped me make some protest signs. I showed up a few times a month at first, started making some friends and becoming more comfortable standing up for what I believed. As the holiday season approached, momentum built and we organized some all-day protests in shifts. Groups of dedicated volunteers stood on snow and ice in freezing temperatures for hours, holding signs in gloved hands. We didn't see very many puppies leave the store on those days, and the pet store was growing increasingly agitated by us.

April 3, 2016

Practical and Playful Trick Training

My post for Positive Pet Training Week is only very loosely based on the theme of training for first aid and emergencies. Ruby has never worn a muzzle, nor do I have one, but with a fearful/reactive dog I thought that integrating a cue that could lay the groundwork for muzzle training would be a good idea. You just never know when a situation might arise that might be too overwhelming for the anxious dog's taxed inhibition. With an unpredictable reactive dog, a muzzle helps make dog introductions safer. Sara over at Two Blockheads has a wonderful post about muzzle training that I recommend. I introduced the "muzzle" behavior with a plastic cup that we use for the shell game. It was fairly easy to capture since it was just another form of touch, although I was surprised how comfortable Ruby was with shoving her whole face in. The video we took earlier today is probably only the third time at most that we've worked on this. I did some free-shaping to break things up, and I really liked the nose pushing behavior with the cup. Our next step would be adding duration, and later on build acceptance/comfort with a basket-type muzzle being fastened and worn.