The article talks about the almost universally accepted Free Radical Theory. Some Experts point toward antioxidants as the answer to free radical damage. Antioxidants slow or even prevent the changes to cells by removing intermediary chemicals in the oxidation reaction of free radicals. Once the intermediate steps are stopped, damage is reduced or avoided. Many of our fruits and vegetables contain high levels of the of these antioxidants. However, diet alone cannot provide the levels of antioxidants needed without seriously affecting caloric intake and causing obesity. As with most things in life, more is not always better and in some cases, excess supplementation can result in adverse side affects. Antioxidant benefits are numerous, but lack of standardization to dosages and clear research is a concern. 

A better way to reduce the damages of the free radicals is caloric restriction, or maintaining lean body weight. Many different models, from mice and rats to fruit flies, have shown that reducing the amount of calories fed can increase life span. Even dogs have benefited. A recent landmark study showed dogs fed restricted calories actually lived almost 2 years longer than their free fed counterparts.

This article goes along with what I have always believed and promoted, the importance of not over feeding our dogs. The importance of exercise is also mentioned in the article. This is all part of being a responsible dog owner. Don’t make up for guilty feelings of not spending enough time with your dog by over feeding, or give extra food thinking your dog will love you more. Truly loving your dog means doing what is right. Don’t over feed and give them daily exercise.

May the tunnels not have too much suction,
May the course be fun and fast.
May your dog not stop to say “hello”
to the photographers they pass!

May the table not be too slippery,
May the chute house no scary beasts,
May all the yellow parts be touched
with one little toe, at least.

May the wind be always at your back,
May no bars fall on the ground.
May the A-frame have no stop sign on the top,
May the judge’s whistle never sound.

May your dog obey all correct commands
And ignore the ones that are wrong.
May your heart be light, your feet be sure
and the bond with your dog grow strong.

At the finish line, may great joy abound,
regardless of your score,
You have your dog,

It’s that time of year when we start rolling down the windows and our dogs love to stick their heads out the window and breath in all the good smells. I wanted to give some advise/tips on dog safety for car rides. First of all straight to the point, what is the safest ride for our dogs? The safest way to transport dogs in a vehicle is in a crate. It is debated which crate is the safest, plastic or wire. I know many of you like it better and think your dog likes it better loose, but is it really the safest? If you have an accident or even stop quick a dog loose in a vehicle can be thrown to the floor, into a windshield, or worse thrown from the car. We all think it won’t happen to me, but I have read and heard many a very sad story about car accidents and what has happened to dogs loose in the car. I know in my case my dogs are my kids, I wouldn’t let my young kids ride loose and I don’t anymore, let my dogs ride loose. I feel it is not just a safety aspect but a responsibility aspect. A responsibility my dogs can’t take on themselves. It is my job as their mom to protect them. 

As for riding with their head out the window, with the last bit of information it is obvious how dangerous this is. It is one thing if you are driving down a deserted country road. It is a whole different thing to be driving down the road in town with other traffic. Yes most dogs love it, but what we like isn’t always what’s best for us. Please do what is safest for your dog.

I know some dog sizes and vehicle sizes don’t always work for crating a dog for travel. Pet stores do sell dog seat belts. I don’t feel these are as safe as the crates, but they are better than nothing. If you can’t fit a crate in your vehicle I would consider a seat belt.

When I see a dog loose in a car I don’t feel as bad as when I see a dog loose in the back of a pick up truck, but it is still a scary unsafe situation. If you continue to let your dog ride loose and even stick their head out the window, I hope and pray you continue to have safe trips, I wouldn’t want you to become one of those sad stories.

From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a dog,” or,
“that’s a lot of money for just a dog.” They don’t understand the distance
traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for “just a dog.” days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a dog” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then you will probably understand phases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or
“just a promise.”

“Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of
friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.

“Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

Because of “just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.

So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog” but an embodiment of all the
hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure
joy of the moment.

“Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my
thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day. I hope that someday
they can understand that it’s not “just a dog” but the thing that gives me
humanity and keeps me from being “just part of mankind.”

So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog.” just smile, because they “just don’t understand.”

By Kim Lindquist; Professional Dog Trainer and Behavioralist

* Those of you looking for a good breeder can also use this information. Good luck finding a breeder who follows all these guidelines, I say that unfortunately with sarcasm. And this is exactly why we have a pet overpopulation problem and so many unwanted dogs.

This is a very highly debated issue. It is an issue we will never get everyone to agree on. We need to at least look at the facts, agree on them and work from there.

Facts:

There are too many dogs in this world.

There are more dogs than there are good homes.

When you breed, you add to this excessive # of dogs, whether you are a good breeder or not.

Everyone should be able to agree with these facts. If you don’t, that automatically eliminates you from being a potential responsible dog breeder.

A good dog breeder who can justify breeding their dogs does all of the following:

1. Knows the personality/behavior types of the dogs you are breeding, as well as the lines (dogs) your dogs come from

A. Know the personality/behavior types –

1. Hyper? High energy?

2. Dominant or Submissive?

3. Outgoing or shy?

4. Any signs of aggression?

B. You would breed only personality types that will go well together. You do not breed dogs that have extremes of 1,2,or 3. You do not breed dogs that have any lines/signs of #4 (aggression).

C. Dogs you plan to breed are well trained and socialized often. This allows you to be able to know personality/behavior types. A professional dog trainers evaluation of your dog’s personality/behavior type is done. Not just your own opinion.

D. If you purchased your dog from a situation that did not allow you to know it lines, meet and spend time with the parents, learn their personality/behavior types, you do not breed the dog.

2. Knows the medical history and does all appropriate pre-medical testing for your breed for the dogs you are planning to breed, as well as know the lines (dogs) your dogs come from

A. You have researched through books, Internet, Breed Specific Clubs, Groups, Rescues, and Veterinarians to know what potential medical issues are connected to your breed and you do all pre-medical testing that is available to rule out these potential medical issues within your dogs. You know your lines, find out if testing was done with other dogs in your dogs lines.

B. If there are any chances of hereditary medical conditions with your dog or it’s lines you do not breed.

C. If you purchased your dog from a situation that did not allow you to know it lines, you do not breed the dog.

3. Breed Standards were started to try to keep a breed true to it’s original figure. You know your dog’s breed standards. AKC is one reference to look at. Also research breed books and breed specific clubs, groups, rescues.

A. Your dogs fit the general consensus breed standard. If not, you don’t breed your dogs.

B Showing your dog in the Confirmation Breed Ring is one way to know if they fit breed standard. Even if you don’t win with your dog, you can ask the judges opinion of your dog’s breed standard. This is not a necessity to breed, but an option a good breeder should consider.

C. You would never consider mixing breeds.

4. You promote your dogs enough in public that you have people committed ahead of time for your puppies.

A. You have done #1,2,3 listed above. You have your dogs in public, through training, therapy work, etc. enough that potential good dog buyers are wanting your puppies.

B. You pre-screen all potential buyers of your puppies.

1. Have them fill out paperwork that asks the following questions.

A. Have they owned dogs before? What kind(s)? What happened to them?

B. Have they trained their previous dog(s)? To what degree? Do they plan to do formal training with your puppy?

C. Do they work? What is there income? Do they have the funds to own a dog?

(explain the expenses of owning a dog)

D. Do they own or rent? Is their location permanent? If they must move what happens to the dog? (Always insist that if an owner of one of your puppies can’t keep it at any age you will take it back)

E. Do they have the time for a dog? Know their at home verses away from home time.

F. Are they familiar with your breed? What’s involved with owning your breed?

* These are just a few of the questions you should ask. For more info. on questions, I can give you the questionnaire we make potential adopters fill out for our rescue dogs.

* If a potential purchaser of your puppies won’t answer these questions, then you know they are not right for one of your puppies.

C. You breed only once you know you have multiple committed people to buy your puppies. You take a refundable deposit from them for a puppy, that if the breeding fails, or you don’t have enough puppies for those who gave a deposit you give their money back. Only breed your dogs once a year and only if you have people wanting your puppies with deposits paid.

5. You have the money, space, and knowledge to breed your dogs.

A. You have the $ needed for all routine or emergency situations that may occur with breeding and puppies.

1. You have a close relationship with your regular vet, that if there is issues with delivery or puppies you have a go to person.

B. You have an appropriate space set aside for delivering and raising puppies.

1. This should be in your house.

2. A place you can watch very closely what is going on with mom and puppies and easily cleaned.

C. You have researched all the information you can find on how to best raise newborn puppies to create a good foundation for a good start in life.

1. Food and feeding routines

2. Birthing, timing of weaning and sale, etc.

3. Medical issues – vaccinations, wormings, tails, dewclaws, etc.

6. Because you know there is a dog overpopulation problem, if you are adding to this overall number, you do everything in your power to educate others about what it takes, all these aspects listed above, to be a truly responsible dog owner/breeder. You sell your puppies with a spay/neuter contract that requires them to spay/neuter by 6 months unless they can prove to you they can fit all these listed aspects that would make them a good breeder. You help in any way possible with local shelters or rescue groups that promote spaying and neutering.

If anyone wants to know the why(?) behind these six aspects of being a good dog breeder, I am more than happy to explain the why(?). However, if you don’t know why these aspects are on the list, you have a ways to go on the knowledge aspect of dogs and good dog ownership before you should breed.

About the Author:

I have trained dogs professionally for over 12 years. I have worked in an animal shelter as well as worked as an Animal Control Officer. I have worked as a kennel attendant and Vet Tech at a Veterinarians office for 8 years. I have rescued, trained and placed over 50 dogs in the past few years, through the rescue I started, Contented Canines 2nd Chance Rescue. Through all these experiences over these past 12 years I have spent a lot of time and energy dealing with the results of irresponsible breeders. I have seen and experienced first hand the sadness involved with these dogs and situations. I do believe, with my experiences, I am giving you the most complete and accurate information needed for you to determine if you are a potential good breeder or not. Now it is up to you to make the right decision. Please, I beg of you, do the right thing even if it isn’t necessarily the thing you want to do. If you do breed without fulfilling all these aspects then you are not a good breeder and you belong in the same category as the “backyard or puppy mill breeder” because you are not doing all that you should be doing to breed responsibly.

Your dog will do anything you ask it to if it is worth it for them. We would all love a dog that does what we want just because we ask them to, but that very seldom happens. Most dogs need a reward to make it worth doing things for you and to continue to do things for you. If you want the dog that will do whatever you ask you must be in control of all your dogs rewards. The problem is many dogs self-reward and therefore we are not a necessary part of their reward system. If you want to make a difference in your training you must list the top 5 – 6 things that your dog loves the most. Ex. – A type of food, a type of toy, certain smells, etc. List things that you know don’t necessarily come from you. This is your dogs favorites list, don’t factor in your thoughts of what you want your dog to be most interested in.

Once you have your dog’s favorites list, you are ready to start your training program. The second big job is to stop letting your dog get these things for free. Your dog must learn to earn it’s rewards and then you provide or allow them to have those rewards.

If you really want a dog that will do anything for you, you must stop letting your dog self-reward and put yourself in control of all your dog’s rewards. The next step is your learning how to use those rewards in your training program. When teaching a new behavior, show/bribe/lure whatever you want to call it. Do this several times until the dog knows it (knowledge). Then practice, make sure to give the command only once and give random reinforcement (don’t treat every time). Create confidence and start rewarding only the really good/fast responses. Then you will get consistency and speed because you are only rewarding the really good/fast performance and your dog’s only rewards come from you!

This information may seem too simple, but these issues are the biggest mistakes I see many of you make in your training. Remember your dog is what you make it. If you want to make changes/improvements in your training and performances you need to make the changes! If you have questions or can’t make a list of favorites for your dog ask me and I will help you.

By Kim Lindquist; Professional Dog Trainer and Behavioralist 

an Anonymous article on spaying and neutering

Think you have a good reason for not spaying or neutering you dog? Try these or try yours on me, I guarantee I can give you better feedback than your answer.

1. Just one litter and then we’ll have them fixed.

* Studies show that almost the entire pet overpopulation problem stems from “Just one litter”.

* Read my article on Responsible Breeders

2. My dog doesn’t run loose, so he/she doesn’t need fixed.

* Murphy’s Law says otherwise – It only takes one time. Half the unwanted dogs out there are from unfixed dogs getting loose that one time.

3. Wanting your children to witness the miracle of birth.

* There are much better ways to educate children about birth.

* Read my article on Responsible Breeders

4. My pet is so cute and unique, there should be more of him/her.

* The shelters are full of cute and unique pets.

* Read my article on Responsible Breeders

5. We always find homes for our litters.

* With all the puppies being born out there, an equal number of pets don’t find those homes and are at shelters.

* Read my article on Responsible Breeders

6. It’s not natural.

* There hasn’t been anything natural about dogs since we began to domesticate and develop breeds thousands of years ago.

7. I just couldn’t look my dog in the eyes if I had him neutered.

* Get a life – you are giving him human qualities, it has nothing to do with your manhood, but maybe your intelligence.

8. A female dog should have at least one litter for health reasons.

* Medically, factually and ethically not proven. In fact some females die during puppy birthing.

* Read my article on Responsible Breeders

9. Fixing my dog will make him/her fat and lazy.

* Too much food and not enough exercise make a pet fat and lazy.

10. Fixing my dog will change it’s personality.

* Fixing a dog will keep the personality you see now, with maturity an unfixed dog develops unwanted personality traits, example: marking (unwanted peeing), dominance, aggression, very distractible, even to the point of running away.

It is a lot of work to train the easier to train, fixed dogs, let alone to try and train the more dominant, distracted unfixed dog. Many owners struggle with the time and effort involved with training a dog.

IF YOU ARE LACKING IN ANY OF THESE AREAS IT COULD BE WHY YOU MAY BE HAVING ISSUES WITH YOUR DOG – EX. NOT RESPONDING WELL, NOT RUNNING AGILITY AS GOOD AS YOU’D LIKE, CAN’T ACCOMPLISH OFF LEAD SKILLS, ETC.

GRADE YOURSELF EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK AND SEE HOW YOU DO – IT IS NORMAL TO HAVE SOME DAYS BETTER THAN OTHERS – LOOK TO SEE IF ON AVERAGE YOU DO WELL.

IF YOUR SCORE IS NOT AS GOOD AS IT SHOULD BE DO YOUR BEST TO STEP UP AND IMPROVE YOUR ROLE AS A RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER

DAILY SCORES:

BEST DOG OWNERS SCORE: 49+

GOOD DOG OWNERS SCORE: 38 – 48

DOG OWNER NEEDS TO STEP UP: <38

POOR SCORE; OWNER MUST STEP UP OR CONSIDER FINDING A HOME WHERE DOG WILL GET WHAT IT DESERVES: <25

WEEKLY SCORES: ( 4 OUT OF 7 DAYS NEEDED TO BE GOOD)

BEST DOG OWNERS SCORE: 250+

GOOD DOG OWNERS SCORE: 189 – 249

DOG OWNER NEEDS TO STEP UP: <188

POOR SCORE; OWNER MUST STEP UP OR CONSIDER FINDING A HOME WHERE DOG WILL GET WHAT IT DESERVES: <100

 

DOG FOOD: HIGH SCORE: 6

– EARNING FOOD CREATES FOOD MOTIVATION WHICH CREATES A PAY CHECK REWARD SYSTEM, YOUR DOG WORKS FOR YOU THEY GET PAYED

* PICK THE ONE SCORE THAT IS CORRECT FOR YOU

SCORE 0 : FREE FEED

SCORE: 1: TWICE A DAY; NO SIT/STAY; NO PICK UP OF FOOD IF DON’T FINISH

SCORE: 2: TWICE A DAY; SIT/STAY; NO PICK UP FOOD IF DON’T FINISH

SCORE: 3: TWICE A DAY; NO SIT/STAY; PICK UP FOOD IF DON’T FINISH

SCORE: 4: TWICE A DAY; SIT/STAY; PICK UP FOOD IF DON’T FINISH

SCORE: 5: TWICE A DAY; SIT/STAY; PICK UP FOOD; NO MEASURE AND/OR INCORRECT AMT.

SCORE: 6: TWICE A DAY; SIT/STAY; DOG EATS IT ALL UP; MEASURE AND CORRECT AMT.

* SCORE: SUBTRACT 1 IF YOU SHARE YOUR FOOD WITH YOUR DOG; THE DOMINANT DOG DOESN’T SHARE THEIR FOOD

MY SCORE: _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____= _____

ADEQUATE ACTIVITY: HIGH SCORE: 9

– DOG RAN/PLAYED (NOT JUST “OUT IN THE YARD“) A BOND BETWEEN A DOG AND AN OWNER IS STRENGTHENED WITH ONE ON ONE PLAY AND ACTIVITY

* PICK THE ONE SCORE THAT IS CORRECT FOR YOU

SCORE 0 : NONE

SCORE: 1: LESS THAN 10 MINUTES; ONCE A WEEK

SCORE: 2: 10 – 15 MINUTES; ONCE A WEEK

SCORE: 3: 10 – 15 MINUTES; TWICE A WEEK

SCORE: 4: 10 – 15 MINUTES; ONCE A DAY

SCORE: 5: 10 – 15 MINUTES; TWICE A DAY

SCORE: 6: 10 – 15 MINUTES; 3 TIMES A DAY

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT IF YOU INTERACTED IN THE PLAY(NOT JUST DOG TO DOG PLAY OR A BASIC WALK)

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT FOR YOU INCORPORATING DOMINANT PLAY

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT IF YOU INCORPORATED TRAINING IN YOUR PLAY

* SUBTRACT A POINT IF PLAY HAD ANY NEGATIVE; DOG BITING, JUMPING, NOT LISTENING, DOG DIDN’T HAVE FUN, PULLED ON WALK

MY SCORE: _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____= _____

TRAIN DOG: HIGH SCORE: 13

– ALL DOGS SHOULD BE TRAINED TO THE POINT OF OFF LEASH KNOWLEDGE OF ALL BASIC OBEDIENCE COMMANDS: SIT, DOWN, STAY, COME, TO WALK NICE WITH OWNER ON AND OFF LEASH – A WELL TRAINED DOG IS MORE LIKELY TO BEHAVE BETTER IN MORE SITUATIONS AND HAVE LESS ISSUES

SCORE: 0 NONE

SCORE: 1; LESS THAN 5 MINUTES; ONCE A DAY

SCORE: 2; 5 – 10 MINUTES; ONCE A DAY

SCORE: 3; 5 – 10 MINUTES; TWICE A DAY

SCORE: 4; OVER 10 MINUTES LESS THAN 20; ONCE A DAY

SCORE: 5; OVER 10 MINUTES LESS THAN 20; TWICE A DAY

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT FOR POSITIVE TRAINING; DIDN’T GET MAD AT DOG, YOU AND THE DOG HAD FUN

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT IF YOU WERE CONSISTENT AND A GOOD ENFORCER

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT IF YOU SUCCESSFULLY TAUGHT SOMETHING NEW

* SCORE: ADD 5 POINTS IF YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY TRAINED YOUR DOG TO HANDLE OFF LEAD DISTRACTIONS, SUCH AS WALK THROUGH A PARK OFF LEASH, WALK THROUGH A CROWD OF PEOPLE AND DOGS OFF LEASH, ON A SIDEWALK OFF LEASH

* SCORE: SUBTRACT 2 POINTS IF YOU ARE TRYING TO CREATE <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”> TOY DRIVE / USE A TOY FOR MOTIVATION IN YOUR TRAINING, YET YOU LET THE TOYS YOU USE FOR TRAINING ON THE FLOOR ON A REGULAR BASIS

MY SCORE: _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____= _____

HEALTH / GROOMING: HIGH SCORE AVERAGE: 17 / HIGH SCORE + GROOMING DAY: 23

– GROOMING AND HEALTH CHECKS ARE A TIME TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG AND DO THE PREVENTATIVE CARE TO HAVE AND KEEP A HEALTHY DOG

SCORE 0 : NONE

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT PET DOG; CHECKED SKIN/COAT

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT CHECKED EARS / CLEANED IF NEEDED

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT CHECKED TEETH

* SCORE: ADD 2 POINTS CLEANED/SCRAPED TEETH

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT CHECKED NAILS

* SCORE: ADD 2 POINTS TRIMMED NAILS

* SCORE: ADD 1 POINT DOG CURRENT ON NECESSARY VAC.

* SCORE: ADD 2 POINTS CAN EXPLAIN VAC. DOG HAS AND WHY

* SCORE: ADD 5 POINTS IF DOG IF ALTERED; SPAYED /NEUTERED

* SCORE: ADD 2 POINTS DOG IS ON HEARTWORM WHEN NEEDED; MAY – NOV.

* SCORE: ADD 2 POINTS DOG IS ON FLEA PREVETATIVE WHEN NEEDED; MAY – NOV

* SCORE: ADD 2 POINTS DOG WEIGHT IS CORRECT; WAIST CURVES IN/FEEL RIBS

MY SCORE: _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____= _____

IF YOU DON’T HAVE IT IN YOU TO DO THE TEST AT LEAST READ THROUGH THE DIFFERENT CATEGORIES. THE HIGHEST SCORED PARTS ARE THE IMPORTANT THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING WITH YOUR DOG.

Hi everyone…It’s Joanne Soyke with Contented Canines. I know you have all received the recent posts from Kim asking for foster homes for rescue dogs. For those of you who know me, you know that I have been involved in rescue for many years now. Not only have I fostered for Kim, but I am involved with many other rescue groups across the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”> Midwest area and I’m actually on the board of directors for one of them. One of my BOD duties is to answer all the e-mails for dogs needing help or facing euthanasia. I can honestly tell you that I get at least 1 or 2 e-mails each day from people looking to give up their dogs and this doesn’t even include the shelters. The two top reasons are people having babies and foreclosures.

The economy is at it’s worst these days and shelters everywhere have seen at least a 10% increase in dogs being dumped in the last few months. This doesn’t make rescue any easier, but thankfully we live in a community that doesn’t have shelters brimming with dogs needing the worst case scenario to make room for more. I work with rescues on each end of the spectrum… One has over 80 dogs currently in the program and at least 20 on a waiting list to come in. Another has only 6 foster homes with 8 dogs available and a waiting list a mile long as well. The latter is more like Kim’s rescue. It doesn’t matter which one, they are all out for the same goal…to save dogs from facing the end scared and alone. This is not to try and make anyone feel awful, it’s just the daily reality of rescue.

I would just like to support Kim’s plea since I have the same goal. I still remember my first foster dog Maxine. She was a German Shepherd/Daschund (I know, weird right???) juvenile about 16 months. I had her for about 3 months before a great application came along. Every rescue is different, but we reviewed the application and then did a home visit to check out the family and see where the dog would be living. Everything came back showing they would make a great home so I was ready to send her on. It was one of the hardest things to do, but I left her with her new family to begin a new life. I wanted to cry, but after thinking about it, I realized that they were carefully screened and were a great match. I also realized that it was a huge sense of accomplishment knowing that I personally saved a dog and helped to find her a new forever home where she would be loved and taken care of. Not only that, but it also made me realize that if I kept all of my foster dogs, not only would I have over 40 dogs in my house by now, but honestly there would come a point where I just couldn’t save anymore because I wouldn’t have the room.

I am not your typical home. I’m single and have a huge backyard. I currently have my own 4 dogs, 3 cats and I have 4 foster dogs as well. (I know, I’m crazy…) Not everyone can do what I, Kim or the other current foster homes do with so many, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help. I can tell you that if anyone is willing to foster…you can ask for specifics. You only want puppies…Done. You only want a certain breed…Done. You only want a certain sex…Done. You only want dogs that have been assessed and get along with everyone…Done. The thing is…there are so many out there that need help, you can be picky and not feel bad about it. Also, food and vet care are totally paid for with Kim which is not the case in every rescue. You can also improve your own training skills by coming through an obedience class for free with your foster and getting the chance to experience different temperaments. Honestly I don’t think I could be the trainer I am today if it weren’t for my foster experiences. Not only do you get the food, vet and training, but you also have us available as mentors to guide you through each step of the process. Need an extra crate…no problem. Going on vacation…no problem, we have a kennel facility. We are even willing to take in a dog first to asses how it will fit into your household. If you can take one off of our hands, that only frees up a space for another to come in.

Now here’s the part where I am going to tug at your heart strings… Below is an e-mail that I received yesterday and this is a totally common occurrence. Again, not meant to make you feel bad, but this is the reality of too many dogs in America which is WAY worse in the rural Midwest.

My rescue experience doesn’t stop with taking dogs in and rehoming them. I take every opportunity I can to educate those around me. I work in a corporate office and have become known as “the dog lady”. Ask Mary Walters and she will say the same thing about her job at the Scott County Courthouse. We take every opportunity to educate people about rescue as opposed to buying and training as opposed to giving up. Don’t think that you can’t make a difference!!!

I have a co-worker in Tennessee that I have only known for a few months. He told me he was looking for a lab puppy to buy. I told him all the reasons why he should consider rescue. He really listened to me, however, he couldn’t find what he was looking for in a rescue so he went looking for a breeder. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING!!! I am not opposed to breeders. I only want to know that #1, they are out to better the breed and not make money from selling pups. #2, They are doing all necessary health testing to make sure that the puppies don’t develop issues later in life. And #3, they care about temperament and aren’t breeding shy or aggressive dogs. This guy totally listened to me and asked for advice. He went through 7 breeders before he came to one that met all the criteria. I have to tell you that this gave me just as much accomplishment as adopting a dog to a new forever home.

After my story, please understand that we are only out to prevent the pet overpopulation problem that plagues this country. It’s fine if you buy from a breeder as long as they are out to do your breed good and not make profit from puppies. Any good breeder should be willing to answer ANY questions you have without making you feel awkward as well as asking you many questions to know where their puppies are going.

The e-mail below is a perfect example of those out to make money. This is where the Teske’s dogs and the newspaper dogs come from. Those breed dogs that look so cute, are only $200 and seem too good to be true probably are. I don’t need to make anyone feel bad here… Just look at the photos of the shape of these breeding dogs that are now being tossed aside to make room for new breeding stock. You may say why take them to make room so the puppy mills can just fill up the cages with new breeding stock??? The honest answer is that they shoot most of them or just let them die in the cages, so we aren’t making room, we are saving these dogs who have only known cold and alone and giving them their first chance to “just be dogs”.

Please let Kim or I know if you have any questions about fostering or just need more information to educate your friends on where to get their next dogs. You give me a breed and 72 hours and I’ll find anything you want.

Thank you all for continuing to read my novel. The dogs give their lives for it.

I thought I had better let you know that we have moved from the area and are now living in the sunny south Charleston S.C.) We still have relatives and friends in the area so we hope to get back to the Q.C. often. Since moving to Charleston I joined their Dog Training Club. I think I have said it before, but in case I have not, the people at Contented Canines may not know how good they have it. In addition to the great instruction , the classes are continuous, and both obedience and agility are offered at the same place. I go one place for agility and another for obedience. There are no free practice times. $90.00 for 6 agility classes (one per week). We have run-thru usually on Sat. A.M. $3.00 first run $2.00 each additional run. Everything is outdoors. You have a great program at Contented Canines. You realize that when you try to find another place to train.