Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sassy: Our Second Foster


Meet Miss Sassy!  She is a six month old labrador/border collie mix weighing in at an adorable 35 pounds.  The moment I saw her, I melted!  

Miss Sassy Pants joined our household on Sunday, January 20.  She has been with us just over a week now.  I must say that Sassy has become quite a daddy's girl.  I think it will be a bit hard for Ben to say good-bye to Sassy.  She really has wiggled her way into our hearts, but we know her forever family is waiting for her!  

Sister Snuggle Buddies
Sassy became fast friends with her siblings even though she can be a bit of an attention hog!  She LOVES getting attention. She loves kisses, hugs, and cuddles.  She doesn't even take up too much room in bed.  She likes to share your pillow with you though!

Photo courtesy of Paula Ford
I am a bit behind on Sassy's training.  Work and life events (a.k.a. car problems) have kept me quite busy recently, so I need to play catch up with training.  She knows her name like a champ and comes when called, so I think she will pick things up rather quickly!

If you would like to read Sassy's back story, please visit her introduction post.  She is ready and waiting for her forever home to find her.  Please visit Sea Dog Rescue if you or someone you know is interested in adopting 35 pounds of fluffy cuteness!

Photo courtesy of Paula Ford
Please consider adopting your next best friend from your local shelter or rescue group.  You most certainly won't regret it!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Karma Got Me!

I know this is a dog blog, but I feel that the following story needs to be shared.  This story does, however, follow this blog's purpose of helping others and making a difference.

Ben & I live in North Carolina on the coast.  We haven't seen snow since we moved here almost two years ago.  We grew up in Indiana and lived in Connecticut for a few years.  Snow is a normal thing for us.  Here in North Carolina, however, snow is quite a big deal....even just an inch.

At work on Friday, everyone was talking about the snow in the forecast.  I was completely skeptical as they falsely predicted it the week before (Ben still got a snow delay by the way!).  Customers were quite worried and people were thoroughly freaking out about the snow.  I was quite vocal with my thoughts that snow is not a big deal at all!  Just remain calm and you should be just fine on the roads.

Just before the end of my shift, it started snowing.  I couldn't believe it actually snowed here!  It was barely even cold enough.  I was quite excited about the snow.  I love snow, and I SUPER love playing with my pups in the snow.  Cooper hadn't seen snow in two years, so I was so excited for him!

My shift was coming to an end, but I stayed just a bit late to help one last customer.  This customer just so happened to be from Ohio, and we were discussing how people around here freak out over just a little bit of snow.  He thanked me for my help, and I clocked out.  I was so excited to head home and get some great photos of the kids in the snow!

The roads weren't too bad for my drive home, but the snow was definitely sticking.  I went slowly and remained calm behind the wheel.  I turned off the main highway onto a two lane road.  There were some cars a safe distance in front of me, and we were all going pretty slow at 40 mph.  (The speed limit was 55 mph.)

I was so cocky about my driving skills in the snow. I thought, "I am an Indiana girl.  I can handle six inches of snow.  What is one little inch going to do?"


It did just enough.  Even though I have driven in the snow TONS of times and was being super careful, this happened:

When I was going around the curve, my car started to fishtail.  I have had this happen before, so I knew what to do.  I let off the gas, I didn't brake, and I steered to overcome the fishtail.  I was straightening myself out and thoroughly thought I was going to be just fine when I saw a car coming from the opposite direction.  I knew I wouldn't get straight in time.  That's when I tapped my brake and steered for the ditch.  I didn't want to chance hitting another car, hurting another driver, or freaking them out and causing a pile-up.

Sorry, Karma.  I shouldn't have been so cocky about the snow, but I promise I learned my lesson!

Immediately after my accident, a man stopped to make sure I had help on the way before he went on his way.  I did.  My sweet husband was on his way.  He wasn't even mad, but maybe that's because he knew what he was getting into when he married me.  I am not exactly graceful!

Several other cars kept going by, but then I saw two cars slowing to a stop.  It was a very nice married couple.  They came over to my car and made sure I was okay.  I told them I was fine. (Nothing was hurt but my pride!)  I told them I had help on the way, but they didn't leave.  They insisted on waiting with me until help arrived.  They even let me sit in their toasty warm vehicle while we waited!

They were a military couple, just like us!  Laura and her husband (Danny, I think) were truly awesome people!   They could have just kept driving by like so many other people did, but they made sure I was okay and didn't leave me alone in such a bad spot.  Laura and I even had a good chuckle about how Karma got me!

Then a very nice police officer showed up.  He thought Laura and Danny knew me, and was very surprised by their generosity with helping a complete stranger.  He wanted them to go on their way since the roads were dangerous, so I thanked them, shook their hands, and said goodbye.  They helped make my not so fun experience a much more pleasant one!

I sat in the officer's car while we waited for the tow truck and Ben.  The officer was so very nice, too!

Even though this wasn't how I planned on spending my day, I believe it all happened for a reason.  You never know.  Maybe having that officer sitting on that curve with his lights saved someone else from having an even worse accident.  I could have saved a life!  (I know that is reaching, but you never know!)  And what if I hadn't stayed that extra fifteen minutes to help that one last customer at work?  Maybe I would have gotten home just fine, but maybe I would have fishtailed at a worse time with a large truck in the opposite lane.  It could have been much worse.  I am thankful that I still was able to come home to my husband and my pups.  (It was sad, however, that I got home after dark so we couldn't take awesome snow photos of the kids.)

My poor Sunfire was towed out of the ditch, but it wouldn't run anymore.  The muffler was bent very badly and needed to be replaced.  Next month will mark my 11 year anniversary with my car.  Although the damage is fixable, Ben and I have decided to retire the Sunfire.  It has been a good little car, but it is time for it to go frolic in the big parking lot in the sky!

Another silver lining....Ben and I are looking at SUVs to buy.  Do you even realize how many dogs we can fit in one of those?  Now that's a definite happy ending!!!

Be safe out there, and don't forget that Karma is always watching.  If we could all be like Laura and Danny, the world would be a better place!

As always, please consider adopting your next best friend at your local shelter or rescue group.  You most certainly won't regret it!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Product Review: Night Dawg LED Collar

I was contacted a few weeks ago from a representative of Safety Gear Online to do a product review for a dog collar.  I have to admit I was quite excited to have the opportunity to do a review!  It was also quite nice to get a free collar to do so!

I finally took the time this week to try out my new collar.  Well, it is actually Cooper's new collar!  I chose to use Cooper for the collar review as he is my dark brown man.  The collar is a safety collar for low or no light situations, such as nighttime walks.  Since Coop is quite impossible to see in the dark, I thought he would make the perfect model!

It was very simple to put together.  First, you had to remove the light source.  It slid out easily.  Then you sized the collar to fit your dog's neck.  

Once sized, you cut the light tube to length.  The directions give very easy to follow instructions on how to do this.

After the light tube is cut to length, it slides back into the collar.  It was a bit snug to get back in, but if you go in from the correct side it goes in without too much trouble.  After it went back in, I tested it.  All you do is push the button by the snap that looks like a sun.  It takes a firm push to depress the button, but at least that means it won't accidentally get bumped off during your walk.  One press of the button gives you a steady beam of  red light.  If you push the button a second time, it flashes. 

Now it was time to get my model!  Here is a photo of Cooper with a flash so you can actually see him:

Here is another photo in the exact same spot with no flash:

Pretty cool, huh?  I promise he is there!  He is so hard to see in the dark.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have tripped over him in the middle of the night!  With the collar, you can actually see him!

My sweet June bug is much easier to see in low light situations:

Here you can see her sneaking behind her brother:

I didn't use the flash on these photos to get realistic shots of the dogs in low light.  The Night Dawg LED Collar most certainly helps keep Cooper visible.  Being seen on a nighttime walk is so important for your pup's safety.

This collar is quite awesome!  It is just like Cooper's regular collar but with a cool red light for safety.  It is constructed nicely with a snap closure.

If you are interested in learning more about the Night Dawg LED Collar, please visit this link.

I hope you enjoyed my first product review.  I know I did!

As always, please consider adopting your next best friend from your local shelter or rescue group.  You most certainly won't regret it!

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Countdown to Sassy's Arrival!

She is on her way!  Our next foster pup will soon be making her way to our home.  The four of us are super duper excited to meet her!

Photo courtesy of Paula Ford
Sassy is a six month old Black Labrador mix.  She is traveling with here mama, Stormy.  Stormy has her very own foster home in Virginia.  These two ladies are now Sea Dogs!

Sassy and Stormy are headed up from Tennessee.  Their former owner no longer wanted them.  She was going to pay someone to take them and dump them by the side of the highway.  It is UNIMAGINABLE what some people will do!  Luckily, a very wonderful lady found out about this ghastly plan and found them a safe haven with Sea Dog Rescue.  Sassy and here mama will be making the trip to their foster homes this very weekend.  They will never again know the feeling of being unwanted!

In case you didn't know, I live on the coast in North Carolina.  Sassy is located about 15 hours away from me in Tennessee.  You might be asking yourself how in the world she is getting to me.  The answer is simple: volunteer transporters!

The founder of Sea Dog Rescue, Paula, is also a verified transport coordinator for OTRA (On The Road Again Transport Group).  This is a truly an amazing group!  They transport rescue dogs from shelters to foster or forever homes! 

This group is run entirely by volunteers that take time out of their busy schedules to help pups in need.  Their ability to help also depends completely on volunteer transporters.  They are just regular people like you and me that take a couple of hours out of their weekend to drive a pup or two a few miles on their way to happily ever after.

This is one more way to volunteer in the rescue community.  It requires absolutely no special skills, but it saves lives!  You can be a lifesaver by transporting a dog heading through your area.  You will leave the transport with a few nose-prints on your windows and a wonderful feeling in your heart!

Sassy is making her way to us with the help of 15 drivers and 1 home to house her overnight.  16 wonderful people are taking the time to help give Sassy a new beginning.  I can guarantee she will be forever grateful to each and every one of them!

If you would like to sign up to be a volunteer transporter in case a dog in need is traveling through your area, please click this link.  

If you would like to read another post about transports, please visit this post from Team Unruly.  It is full of wonderful information!

As always, please consider adopting your next best friend from your local shelter or rescue group.  You most certainly won't regret it!

Thanks for stopping by!


***This post has been edited.  It has been changed to say Tennessee instead of Mississippi. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Fun Way to Volunteer

It is photography week at Peace, Love, & Fostering.  She is giving some great advice on how to improve your photography skills, even if you have a regular old camera like me.  Some of her tips very much make me want to upgrade to a nicer camera though!  These posts have inspired me to write my own post about volunteering.

Elwood in the Snow!

You may be asking yourself how photography brought up volunteering in my head.  It is quite simple: great photos help adopt dogs.  Have you seen those oh-so-sad photos of a dog tied to a wall with its tail between its legs?  Or have you seen the photos with sad eyes peering through a chain link fence?  While these photos may gather sympathy, they do not show the dog’s true colors.  

A photo with a smiling, at ease dog is much more likely to project the image of a family dog to a prospective family.  The internet is the biggest tool adopters have to search for their next best friend.  They have to see something in the photo that catches their eye or they just keep on scrolling.  An awesome dog can be passed up in a heartbeat due to an awful photo.

This is where the volunteering comes in to play.  Photographers, no matter your skill level, can volunteer your time at no cost.  You can practice your techniques, try new ones, or just have fun with it.  The dogs would be truly grateful for a chance to get out of their kennel for a little while and have a little interaction.  Not to mention the socialization would do them some good as well!

Not only would you be helping the dogs, but you would also be an immense help to the shelter staff.  These hard working people are usually stretched thin as it is, so any extra help is greatly appreciated.  Although they might love to spend an hour or two doing photo sessions, their time is usually spent elsewhere.
Just imagine how fun it would be to hang out with some four-legged models for a bit.  They would love the treats and the attention.  I have never seen (and never will) an ungrateful pup.

Hunter looks marvelous with her green backdrop!

I am sure if you called up your local shelter and volunteered your talents, they would be more than happy to let you come have a photo session.  Volunteers are always welcome!

And don’t forget to check out the awesome photo tips at Peace, Love, & Fostering!  She has some great ideas and tips that will make your photos shine!  I am not a great photographer, but I love it and am excited to learn new things!  I hope you are, too!

Please consider adopting your next best friend from your local shelter or rescue group.  You most certainly will not regret it!

Thanks for stopping by!


-In loving memory of Elwood and Hunter-

Monday, January 7, 2013

Training: Our 2nd Session

Today was our second training session with Ellen, but it was June's first solo session.  June was a bit nervous at first, but as soon as we started training, she started having a blast! 

Photo courtesy of Ellen Carey of Greater Coastal Canine Academy
Today we worked on focus training and loose leash walking.  I have to say that my sweet little girl was rocking it.  She really was having fun.  It was so neat for me to watch Ellen show me what to do because June was enjoying herself so much.  She was walking right next to Ellen like a good girl, but the best part was seeing her tail wagging like crazy.  She was having a great time.  

Photo courtesy of Ellen Carey of Greater Coastal Canine Academy
For the first forty minutes, she was attentive and learning like a champ.  At the end of our session, Ellen's husband, Kyle, came in to see how we were doing.  Well, all June wanted to do was play with him and ignore her mommy, so that was the end of the session.  We put her in the car as her consequence for not listening because she wasn't going to be allowed to keep getting treats and having fun if she wouldn't listen.  Even though we ended like we did, I was very proud of my girl.

After we got home, I decided to take Cooper outside and work with him on the leash.  Cooper, although great off the leash, can be quite a puller on the leash.  I took a handful of treats and grabbed the leash.  Coop and I headed outside and started working.  I have to admit that I was one proud mama at how quickly he picked up the lesson.  My notorious puller was walking right next to me like a champ.  I can't wait to show Ellen at Cooper's solo class next Monday!

After Cooper's solo in the backyard, I took June out to reiterate what she learned at school.  At first, you would have thought she didn't have class earlier that day.  Then I remembered what Ellen told me.  I made it fun for her.  Once I upped the fun factor, she acted like a champ! She did three successful commands in a row, so we went back in.  She then went back to her comfy chair.  She was pooped after her fun, yet busy, day!

Once Ben came home, I took him outside to show him what our kids had learned today.  He even took a few photos for me.  He was proud of his kids, too!

Our training started off on a great note.  I can't wait to continue.  I am looking forward to our next lesson!

As always, please consider adopting your next best friend from your local shelter or rescue group.  You most certainly will not regret it!

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Let the Training Begin!

Today was the first day of school for Cooper and June! We found an awesome place to take them called Greater Coastal Canine Academy. The trainer, Ellen, and her husband, Kyle, are great people. I am very much looking forward to our training here!

Some dog owners/trainers that I have talked to in the past have been too rigid/cold towards their animals. This was something I was a bit concerned about with formal training, but Ellen & Kyle thoroughly believe in strengthening the bond between you and your dog. I was so pleased to hear this! I love my kids so much and want them to be my companions just like always. I need to only give praise when earned, but snuggles and loving are still going to be a huge part of our relationship. I am so glad we found a trainer that puts a strong emphasis on the human/dog bond!

I took both dogs today to get them acclimated to the facility. They both worked on watching me and Ellen. We started with the basics, which was great! I feel like our goals are completely achievable when we take it one step at a time.

I have several goals in mind for both dogs. For June, I want to work on basic obedience and manners in the beginning. This is going to take a lot of work and patience, but I know my girl can do it! Down the road, I would like to get June certified as a Canine Good Citizen (CGC). For Cooper, I want to get him CGC certified. Once Cooper is CGC certified, I want to get him certified as a TDI dog. This is a therapy dog!  Therapy Dogs International is a wonderful organization that tests and certifies therapy dogs that volunteer at various locations. These locations include hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. I can't wait for Cooper to start helping people! (I would even love to do this with June one day, pending her training.)

Here are some photos from our first session:

 You can barely see her in this photo, but Junie was right next to her brother being a good girl!

Here is Cooper watching his mama like a good boy!  Miss June is in the background investigating.

June is going to surprise everyone with what a good girl she is going to be!  I see such potential in her!

The kids watching Ellen!  

June and Cooper were two tired pups when we got home.  They had a very stimulating day.  I can't wait until our next session!  Miss June goes back on Monday.  We better work on our homework this weekend!

I hope you all enjoy our journey through training.  I am loving it already!

As always, please consider adopting your next best friend from your local shelter or rescue group!  You most certainly will not regret it!

Thanks for stopping by!