22 thoughts on “Open Thread

    1. She’s fitting in fine on the Island of Misfit Pets. I love her to death. Thankfully I have another normal dog, also a Beagle, so she’s not completely alone. The compulsive herder/mommy guarder has been very mean to Surrey (not physically violent, just an epic bully) which is about the worst of it. She seems to be a little bit D-U-M-B but that’s all right. She consistently goes to the hinge side of doors to go outside. And when I put the panel in to close up the doggy door, she keeps butting her head against it as if it’s going to open. She picked up a stuffy for the first time yesterday – a little puppy one – and I thought maybe she was going to treat it like a puppy but next thing I see is her trying to gut the thing. (She was arrested for attempted stufficide and released on her own recognizance.) She loves every type of food I’ve put in front of her so far which is good. Only one pee accident on the carpet in the first week which I think is excellent. Billy was less excited about the frequency and more concerned with the quantity (took almost a whole roll of paper towels to soak up). Her teeth aren’t in good shape (some worn, some icky) and the tip of her tongue sticks out when she sleeps. It stays that way for a little while after she wakes up which adds to the D-U-M-B look. The vet who examined her in TN guessed her age to be about 7. That seems a reasonable guess to me. I’ll be asking my vet for a guess when I take her in there for a pre-spay exam. Did I mention I love her to death?

      1. Shirley have you tried Feliway to help ease some of the stress on the ones that have been around longer? I use it, especially when we get a new arrival and between that and a little extra treats & reassuring I have seen them ALL calm down a lot!

        I’m so glad you are happy with Surrey – and that Billy didn’t kill you for getting her!

      2. I bought 2 plug-in diffusers of D.A.P. (the canine version of Feliway). They don’t seem to be doing anything but mocking me for spending $45 on them.

      3. I found them fairly cheap on Amazon….I also use the spray is there is any area that there are territory issues with. I have also used the treats and rewarded the older residents with dog treats every time that they are good with the new arrival. I know it takes time regardless of how you do it! Besides you have to remember it hasn’t been that long. I’m sure that soon they will calm down – I’m sure your herder is probably just trying to run the show and put Surrey in her place. Give it some more time.

        And I’m sorry that the DAP (I just ordered Feliway and wasn’t thinking when I posted!) isn’t helping! I have had such good success with it! It’ll work out – I’m sure, especially after all the hoops you jumped through!

      4. I’m so glad that she’s worked her way into your family so quickly! Sounds like she’s worked her way into your heart, too. Lucky girl.

  1. Just received in the inbox, spam that begins:

    You’ve been identified as an industry leader in Tennessee for Bars and Restaurants…

    It’s so nice to be recognized.

    1. Guess what Guess what?? KAPONE HAS BEEN FOUND. I received the email from the CA this afternoon, but WHY of WHY did they have to take him Back to the Pound??????

      Six months after he was first picked up by Memphis Animal Services and then disappeared, the dog Kapone was found this afternoon — alive — at a home in Senatobia, Miss.

      Kapone was briefly reunited with family members, who identified the dog, and then taken to the local shelter while authorities tried to sort out the matter. Two people at the Senatobia home were interviewed by authorities.

      A tip to CrimeStoppers of Memphis and Shelby County led to the rescue of the missing dog. A reward of some $8,000 had been offered for the return of the 11-year-old male pit bull.

      Kapone had been missing since June, when he was picked up by animal shelter employee Demetria Hogan. Hogan was fired and criminally charged.

      So glad he is ok.

  2. I often have people tell me to teach and not preach. I must confess I’ve been preachin’ from the pew on reformers v. apologists this week. Only in limited circles, but I fear I may be morphing into Nathan over time. A contact south of me gathered the emotional strength to approach elected officials about a county shelter in which horrendous acts were taking place. MAS Number 2, of sorts. Reports have been filed by eyewitnesses with the sheriff’s office but there are many in the weeds who have a lot of knowledge who simply will not step up for one reason or another, none of which impresses me in any way. Ok, so you have too many dogs in your house in violation of a city ordinance. If you file a criminal report with the sheriff over torture at the county shelter, that does not mean the animal police are gonna come to your house and do a dog count. Really.

    I know Nathan has talked about our battle being not with the public but with the cowards of our movement who will not speak. I beg to differ. If they will not speak, they are not part of my movement. They are part of a separate sect that says, “well, I’m not really happy with the whole torture and cruelty thing but it means more to me to keep my mouth shut that to make it stop. Leave me alone with my singular starfish and don’t ask me to put my neck out there.”

    Shame on you if you are an apologist. If you do not speak up about what you have seen and heard, who will? Shame on you for expecting someone else to fix the system for you while you continue to save X dog or Y cat and tell yourself you did a good thing.

    1. You might (or might not) be surprised at how often I hear of a pet being needlessly killed or some other atrocity at a shelter and the response from the rescuers involved is, “We don’t want to say anything publicly against the shelter because they might ban us”. I try to remind myself that they think they are doing right by keeping the door open to rescue more pets but it’s very hard because the other door they are keeping open is for the shelter staff to continue to inflict cruelty on pets there. I try to always keep the big picture in mind although I understand how one can lose sight of it sometimes.

  3. The idea that beautiful Surrey may be D-U-M-B reminds me of my first Beagle. I had him, then Penney, a hound mix and then another Beagle named Louie. I put in a dog door. Penny already knew how to use the dog door; Louie learned in less than two minutes. Dear Oliver took at least 1/2 hr to learn to use the door. When I mentioned this to my vet, she commented, “You know, he isn’t the brightest bulb in the box.” She will bring you so much joy.

  4. First, I want to say AWW about your new beagle. :) I have known dogs who sleep with the tip of their tongue hanging out (these particular dogs were smart though, lol) and I think its just so cute when dogs do that! It seems to show pure contentment.

    Ok, on to the other reason for my post. I am trying to gather opinions on a particular subject, and perhaps even some advice to help out some homeless dogs. Is a dog who doesn’t get along with other dogs (maybe even has drive enough to seriously hurt or kill them), yet loves people, considered “adoptable” to all of you? And I am speaking in terms of all breeds, although this question does come from knowing several pit bull/bulldog types at the rescue shelter I volunteer for who are consistently passed up for adoption because they don’t like other dogs (although, I don’t think the older female will actively go after another dog, she’s lazy, lol). We even have one mix (possibly shepherd/chow) who is fabulous with people, but is very choosey with her dog friends.

    My other question is, how do you successfully market these dogs while still properly educating potential adopters about managing their dogs properly so that they can be safe, well-behaved members of society? I know that some people do feel dogs who will severely hurt/kill other dogs given the chance should be PTS, but I can’t look at the sweet dog tenderly licking my fingers and pressing himself into my body because all he wants is love and attention and think that he deserves death because he has natural drives that make him not like other dogs.

    What do you all think?

    1. Not every home wants or needs to have five dogs! (That fact that mine has more than 20 is beside the point.) YES! A dog-aggressive dog is still highly adoptable. Trick is, the the adopter needs to be aware and be prepared. So many people want dogs that they can take to the dog park, or want a *buddy* for a pet they already have.
      I personally can’t handle a dog-aggressive dog. I have my hands quite full, and everybody here really has to be willing to share more that even I would like! (I’ve rehomed several dogs for this very reason…most worked out, one did not.)
      My marketing style is to be brutally honest. I tell it like it is. If you sugar coat it, those who don’t really understand won’t figure it out until it is too late. Those who *get it* will know right away and either will or won’t want the dog anyway. (I get hives trying to decide which button to click when the rescue listing says
      O requires fenced yard
      O good with cats
      O good with other dogs
      O good with children

      So many of these buttons are actually management strategies. I know LOTS of people who do a fabulous job with their dog without having a fenced yard, but with huskies…well, the fence really will save your bacon when the high-drive kid gets out the door without a leash.

      p.s. dogs that are perhaps not good with cats, other dogs, or small children might do just fine with YOUR child, or my cat(s) or even somebody else’s other dog! It depends on the supervision and your training and management skills. I don’t like the idea of creating vet bills for others, but I also hate the idea of killing an animal because a willing adopter doesn’t have a fence, or has another dog and wants the dog in question anyway and is willing to take the risk. BUT THEY MUST UNDERSTAND THE RISK.

    2. I see lots of dogs online listed as “wants to be an only dog”. I think it’s important to remember that not only are their people who want just one dog (as Lynn mentions) but there are people who want a dog as a pet but don’t plan to take him anywhere except for the occasional vet visit. We are fortunate enough to have sufficient space to exercise all our dogs without leaving home. So unlike when I lived in Seattle, I don’t do walks around the neighborhood anymore. I don’t go to dog parks because there are none nearby (and also because they tend to attract owners who use the dog parks as a staging area to release their unexercised dog into the wild). My dogs pretty much stay at home and, if I was one of those who only wanted one dog, there would be no reason for me not to adopt a dog I fell in love with solely because he was dog aggressive.

    3. I actually rescue/rehab pit type dogs and have had my fair share of dog aggressive ones. I think first of all it is VERY important to be bluntly honest with potential adopters about any concerns you have with the dog – including possible or known dog aggression. While I know not every shelter can do this – what I do is have them come over and meet with the dog, if the love connection is there we then take it a step further and do a home visit. IF there are other dogs in the home I actually prefer to start the first “home visit” in a neutral area where the other dogs can be present. This will give them the chance to be around each other without the concept of ‘this is mine not yours’ going through their heads. I keep kicking it up a notch each visit – I don’t try to push too much into one visit because I don’t want to overwhelm the dog, plus this will show me how much the potential adopter is serious about getting the dog! I work with them one on one to address concerns. Maybe your shelter has a behaviorist or volunteer dog trainer that would be willing to donate their time to help with this? (If you don’t I would put the word out to see if you can get at least one volunteer that can help get dogs like this adjusted when they DO go home.)

      My biggest challenge in situations like this are – does the potential owner know how to read the dog’s body language and note warning signs? Does the potential owner WANT to learn how to help their dog? Basically it comes down to actually training the people and not the dogs! I think it’s important to remember that these are dogs – and EVER dog has the potential to bite – another dog, a cat, a person. That potential is ALWAYS there, even with none dog aggressive dogs. But the biggest step is training the people how to deal with the dogs. May sound crazy but I have actually found this to be easiest when this is someone’s first dog – otherwise you often time end up with someone who ‘thinks’ they know dogs and they fail to be receptive to learn from you.

      I know plenty of places that adopt of dogs that they say do not like other dogs, or cats, or kids…but you must remember that this is based on observations that often times has been made in a setting that can contribute to the dog being scared or worried and this will definitely cause the dog to react differently than they might in another setting. I ALWAYS take the dogs into a lot of different environments and check them out in different settings to see if they are consistent. I have had dogs that are ready to eat everything in sight at a shelter that I can take outside and they are instantly friends with every dog they come in contact with! So don’t rely on just one setting to decide the dog has problems. Remember that any dog’s demeanor can change based on where they are and the feelings they get from the person who is handling them, the sweetest dog in the world can turn to a beast and vice versa.

      I would take a minute and look around on Pet Finder. See what some of the other shelters are saying/doing about dogs they believe are dog aggressive. And call them! Talk to the folks at the shelters that do have dog aggressive dogs listed and ask them how they do it. Each place is different and I bet if you call enough places and ask enough questions you can come up with a plan that will work for your shelter. If it were me personally working at a shelter that had dog aggressive dogs that we were trying to adopt out I think having a plan in place – with a behaviorist/trainer…and educate the new owners on things they can do to prevent something from happening – a lock on their gate, having a kennel for a safe zone, teaching them how to teach others how to handle being around the dog (including bringing their own dog around)…having plans in place might help someone who is sitting on the fence about adopting a dog aggressive dog actually take that leap. I have found that most times people will not adopt out of fear of what that dog could potentially do – if you say “Hey we’re going to hold your hand and make sure you AND doggie are comfortable and everything is in place and good.” You might see a better rate of adoption for dogs like that.

      Good luck – I know it can be daunting and I wish I had a magic wand for you. But I also know that some of my favorite rescues over the years were deemed dog aggressive and the shelter wanted to kill them. It was quite interesting to see the dog morph into all it was meant to be. Yeah – it’s not all lollipops and ice cream…but it doesn’t have to be gloom and doom either. Just remember it is an educational endeavor more than anything – if you give the people the tools they need to succeed then you will probably have a wonderful adoption experience!

  5. The beagle is adorable, but then so is every beagle I’ve ever met. My first dog was a beagle lab mix, she was wonderful.
    I just dropped by to rave about a book I’m reading, it’s the sequel to Secret Life of Dogs and it’s called The Social Life of Dogs.
    I’ve read a lot of not so great books about dogs so had to praise this one, it’s well worth the reading and the illustrations are great.
    Also on the good read list is A Small Furry Prayer, the life of a dog rescuer. He and his so run Rancho de Chihuahua rescue. Anyhow, if there is still a need to give a dog lover a gift, or ask for one thought I’d drop the thought.

    1. Hi Vida – Just wanted to ask if the first book was as good as the second? I’ve wanted to read the first one (haven’t got the time lately but one day…) I just figured if I’m gonna read one I better read the other too! :)

      1. Sorry so late to reply, Yes, I loved the first book. which I misnamed in the post, ugh, The Hidden Life of Dogs.
        You don’t really have to read in order, actually I think I prefer the second book if I had to make a choice. It’s a hard call though.

  6. Such beagle cuteness!! She reminds me very strongly of my neighbor’s beagle growing up. She was always chained, but never minded being loved on by the flock of kids next door.

    On a more sober note- this story has been bothering me since I read it. The more I think about it, the more heartsick and angry I get.


    Basically, a cat in a shelter that was slated to be euthanized was spared as a donor cat in a kidney transplant. The couple adopted the donor cat, as is required. It is presented as a ‘feel good’ story where everybody wins.

    My own cat died of CRF. He was diagnosed at 7 and was in excellent health otherwise. We did go to the University of Pennsylvania to discuss a possible transplant. In the end, I decided not to go through with it. It didn’t feel right to me to use another cat for that purpose. With CRF being so very common, what happens when the donor cat develops it later in life? Will they go downhill quicker because they only have one kidney? It felt like sacrificing another cat to save my ‘heart cat’ just because I knew my heart cat better and loved him so deeply. But any animal can be known that well and is deserving of the same level of respect and responsibility.

    CRF is a terrible, terrible disease. But if we focused on becoming a no kill nation, the choice wouldn’t have been ‘give up a kidney or die’ for the cat in the story. I’d rather save millions of cats with the proven programs that make up a no kill nation than just one by using it for parts. I don’t judge the owners who made that decision…I know just how hard it is to live with the death sentence that is renal failure in you pet. But I do judge the shelter that continues to cling to the notion that pets must die for space.

  7. Surry is beautiful! We have a not so smart dog that I think was dropped on her head when she was a pup but she is still the most loveable thing ever! Just like people, some dogs are smarter than others and I think God gave the ones with less brain material the most beauty. (And I love the characterization of your place to be the island of misfit dogs – seems like a wonderful place to be!)

  8. Thanks for the advice. Erica, I know that sometimes dogs can act differently in a home than they do in a shelter in evironment. I have known dogs who were DA at our shelter but made some doggie friends once they were adopted. However, I have found that to be rare. Most of the time, when dogs are DA at the shelter they are DA in the home. Sometimes we even get dogs returned because the people DIDN’T LISTEN when we told them the dog didn’t like other dogs, took the dog to a dog park, and then brought it back for being “mean”.
    The rescue shelter I volunteer for does offer free training classes to those who have adopted dogs from us. You can also call us or email us any time you have questions, we love to hear how the animals we’ve placed are doing.

    As for that book “The Secret Life of Dogs”, are you referring to “The Hidden Life of Dogs” which is by the same author? I did not like the “Hidden Life”. The author seems to be making a lot of assumptions without actually having a true understanding of dog behavior. Not to mention she repeatedly allows a husky she is watching for a friend to run loose in the neighborhood, while freely admitting she is willingly disobeying leash laws. If somebody was watching my dog for me and allowing my dog to run loose I would be SO MAD. The author also states she never trains her dogs and her dogs always housetrain each other. I would hate to go to her house, I’d probably be greeted by a group of dogs jumping and slobbering and mouthing all over me. This is a book of simple anecdotes and irresponsibility. If you’re looking for a book to learn about dog behavior, there are better books out there. Look up some stuff by Karen Pryor or Ian Dunbar.

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