Friday, November 25, 2011

K-9 Stray Rescue League, Teacher's Pet to benefit from fundraiser

Two really fabulous nonprofit groups focused on helping dogs get adopted will benefit from a fundraiser scheduled for Dec. 4 at the Grand Traverse Pie Company in Troy.

If you want to be there, make sure you register by noon this Sunday.

Order tickets by contacting Ken and Nancy at or calling 248-489-0732.

Find all the information you need by viewing Fundraiser will benefit K-9 Stray Rescue League, Teacher's Pet

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ace the emaciated pit bull euthanized by City of Detroit's Animal Control

My instincts are telling me that while the story of Ace was gaining national attention this week, little Ace himself was already gone.
The announcement came last night that Ace was euthanized by Detroit's Animal Control. I don't really believe that Ace was actually euthanized yesterday, though.
I think he was likely euthanized the very day, and maybe even within a matter of hours, of being brought to animal control.
I have no information on which to back up this theory of mine. It's just a feeling.
But let's consider the circumstances. First, you have an organization with a policy to euthanize all pit bulls not claimed by their owners. Second, you have a pit bull who is on death's door when he arrives at the facility. Third, he appears to be a stray.
I just don't think this dog was given the time of day, especially considering his health.
Later in the week, people came forward as Ace's owner. Perhaps they were being truthful and really believed the dog belonged to them or perhaps they were just trying to pull off a white lie to save a dog's life. We'll never know.
In one report, a nursing student from Detroit claimed Ace was her dog, stolen from her a long time ago. But when she went to the shelter and asked to see him, she was led to a dog that, she said, was most definitely not Ace.
We likely will never know who is being truthful or what really happened, but I saw a picture of the dog this woman was led to on TV one night this week (I can't find that report now or I'd shared it here. Sorry!). The dog she was brought to looked about 10 pounds heavier than the photos being circulated of Ace as he was found earlier this week.
I have a hard time believing a dog can put on 10 pounds in three days.
Ironically, the nursing student said she named her dog (presumably Ace, before he was stolen) DooDoo as a puppy.
I think that's a pretty accurate way to label this whole mess — a bunch of doodoo on the face of Detroit.

Last night's report on Channel 7

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thousands show support for saving Ace, emaciated pit bull scheduled to be euthanized in Detroit

As the clock ticks down to Friday — the day emaciated stray Ace, a pit bull, is scheduled to be euthanized — the number of people fighting to save him continues to grow.
Personally, I cannot see how Detroit can allow this stray to be euthanized.
Policies and politics and pit bull rhetoric aside, the sheer amount of bad press this story is generating for the City of Detroit makes it seem impossible that the euthanasia will actually occur.
After seeing last night's TV report on FOX2, which mentioned an upcoming meeting between a rescue group and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, it looks to me like Bing will get to be the hero that saves Ace's life.
And if he doesn't, Bing will certainly be nabbed as the villain that killed him.
As for the policy that is mandating Ace's euthanasia, I can only say I struggle to define my own opinion on it.
It seems perfectly reasonable that any dog, regardless of breed, ought to have the opportunity to be transferred to a rescue if a rescue so requests it. That, at least, I'm clear on.
But with my husband working in the gritty neighborhoods and alleyways of Detroit five days a week for the past few years, I am all too familiar with the stray dog problem in Detroit. And yes, my husband reports, a great majority of those strays appear to be pits or pit mixes.
We buy dog food for him to bring to work. Most of the guys on his crew do the same. Sometimes, if working in same block for a few days at a time, he'll come back with success stories of finally getting one dog or another to approach him or take food from his hand.
These are feral dogs, most likely born that way, and most likely living short and difficult lives. Most of the dogs he sees are emaciated. A feral life is not an easy one for a dog.
I don't know what the answer is, but I know the situation is a sad one.
I hope Ace's story will have a happy ending. God knows the city needs it.

Find petitions and contribute to saving Ace.

Join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Read the story, Detroit's pit bull policy causes outcry after malnourished dog Ace remains scheduled for euthanasia this week

Monday, November 7, 2011

Taking my dog camping: “What are all these dogs doing here, Mom?”

For the bulk of Sensi’s life, we lived in a place that was set far back from the road. You couldn’t see the road at all from the house and Sensi grew accustomed to the privacy. He saw people walking dogs during our walks, but never saw people walking dogs in front of his home.
Alert Sensi
Now, we do live in a house where Sensi can see people walking or riding bikes from the front window or when he’s out in the yard. If he’s outside, he gets upset and barks at them.
With all the time I’ve spent gardening this year — and Sensi outside with me — I came across a great phrase to calm him down. I can’t say with any certainty that he really understands what I’m saying, perhaps it’s just the positive association he has with the words I use, but I’d like to think he does understand, even if just a little.
One day, we were in the front yard — me knuckle deep in the flower beds, Sensi sunbathing on the driveway — when a lady walked by with her dog. Sensi began barking. I walked over to him to calm him down, kneeled down beside him and said, “That’s a nice lady walking a nice dog. Don’t you like to go on walks, Sensi? That’s what they’re doing. They’re going for a walk.”
He calmed down right away, looking intently at my face like he was really trying to understand. And, I’m sure, wondering if we were going to go for a walk.
We didn’t.
I went back to gardening.
About 10 minutes later, two women walked by. Sensi barked once, then stopped and looked at me. I walked over to him, again saying, “Those are nice ladies going for a walk. You like going for walks, right?”
About 10 minutes after that, the first lady with dog returned, likely walking back down the road to her house. Sensi got to his feet, but did not bark. I walked over to him anyway and said the “walk” thing again.
About 15 minutes after that, the two women walkers returned. Sensi lifted his head but didn’t even bother standing up.
This experience gave me the courage that Sensi could handle a campground and all the activity going on. It showed that he can acclimate, and that there’s a very good phrase I can use to help him do it.
We arrived at our campsite at about 6 p.m. on a Tuesday evening. Right off the bat, there were plenty of people walking dogs by our site.
Sensi, in a new place and I’m sure a nervous and excitable because of it, barked ferociously at the first person who walked by with dogs. He calmed down reasonably well, me using the “walk” phrase.
A few more dog walkers later and he wasn’t barking anymore at them. Just watching. And he’d cast a glance at me, as if to ask, “What are all these dogs doing here, Mom?”
Of course, all this activity meant we had to be on our game.
It’s always better to stop a behavior before it starts — using the “walk” thing is way to react to the situation, but it’s always better to prevent a behavior if you can.
Like being at a park, I watched him closely for signs that a person or dog would be passing by. As with most dogs, Sensi’s behavior can indicate what’s going to happen before it does. I know, from watching him, whether there’s an off-leash dog in close proximity while at the park. He’ll sniff the air, his body will tense and he will suddenly become focused in one direction.
That’s when I holler to my group, “There’s a dog around here somewhere, everyone stop and be on the look-out.”
See the treat pouch? It's my new favorite thing.
And it never fails. Within seconds, a dog will come breaking through the brush with no owner in sight. Then, it’s Brent’s job to catch the loose dog before it rushes up to Sensi. You wouldn’t believe what an excellent loose-dog catcher he’s become over the years.
In the campground, I watched for the same behaviors to let me know if a dog walker was just about ready to come into sight.
I learned, the very first night around the campfire, that having my Planet Dog treat pouch at my side was going to be a necessity throughout the trip.
As soon as I saw Sensi tense up, I redirected his attention with treats. Doing that meant being able to avert the whole, “That’s a nice dog walking” thing, because by the time the dog finally walked by, Sensi didn’t care anymore. He was focused entirely on getting that piece of dried lamb lung from my hot little hands. 
Lamb lung, by the way, stinks. It's awful smelling. But dogs go crazy for it, so it was important tool for keeping the peace in the campground.