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Blog August 2020-Adding to the family

Hello All Pet family! Rae here. How is your summer going? It is hard to believe it is August already, I hope you have enjoyed your summer so far. It has been quite a busy month in our house. On July 8th we adopted two dogs- an 8-year-old Shipperke mix named Bubba, whom we affectionately call "Gumpster" and his 5-year-old Chihuahua mix sister, Bunni, or as she is often referred to, "Bun Bun". They came from a wonderful rescue named Bridge to Home Animal Rescue located in Eighty-Four, PA. Their original owner died of cancer and there was no one to care for them so they were rescued by Tracey, who runs the organization. Bubba and Bunni spent a few weeks in her home, adjusting. I thought I would share what our experience has been like, rescuing two adult dogs, and adding them to a house with a cat and a "happy-to-be the only" Chihuahua, Pablo.

We have been discussing having multiple dogs for, oh, only 16 years! We always intended to give our late dog Brody, a companion. When he became very ill at age 5 and faced a long recovery we decided against it. We had discussed looking to adopt a bonded pair next but then little Pablo found us! And we could not resist his Chihuahua charm. He has been with us for nearly 3 years. He enjoys play dates with some of his little dog friends, so we felt the time was right to consider adding to the pack. I was not looking to adopt two, but when I saw the profile for Bunni, and Bubba on Pet Finder I could not look away. I kept going back to it over the weekend. My husband and I had a long discussion and we decided to hear more about them. I had long talks with their foster mom, Tracey and we discussed all of my concerns- mainly whether Pablo could adjust to this big transition, we would be asking a lot of him. He has limited vision in his right eye so having dogs that can jump on and off of furniture startles him at times and he isn’t sure if their barking is play or not at times. It has been 2 weeks so far, and every day gets a little better. I could not ask for dogs with better temperaments. They give Pablo the space he needs, and are so sweet and gentle. When he finally comes around I have no worries they will all be friends. Last night he decided to sit on the couch near Bunni, I know she was as surprised as we were!

I have always wanted multiple dogs and rescuing is in my blood. My heart aches most for those that were loved dearly and lost their person and home. I have always wanted to adopt an old, black dogs, since they are the least likely to be adopted. It all felt so good.

As for Bubba, aka "Bubs", "Gumpster", "Bubster"- he is the happiest guy! He is so full of life and ready to take on whatever you put in front of him. Pablo is very similar in those ways, too. It is very inspiring! When Bubba barks he sounds like a duck with a 2 pack a day Pall Mall cigarette habit! He loves to walk, although he is not good on a leash yet. He loves car rides, pets, and is content lounging in a dog bed near us. Today we saw our favorite vet, Dr. Brian Silvis at Pets in Harmony. Since Bubba is very itchy and has a strange cough, we decided to try a round of allergy medicine to see if we can help him. Otherwise, he is a very healthy 8-year-old.

Bunni, aka "Bun Bun," is sweet, smart, and beautiful. She LOVES to steal and hoard all the bones and both boys usually let her. She is very sly about it, too. Rarely is she seen without a bone or bully stick in her mouth-she looks like she's smoking a cigar! Bunni is a master at playing fetch and can jump very high. We are going to teach her agility and think she will love it. She was not that excited about taking walks at first but as she builds her confidence she is enjoying them now. She is a sniffer! She will also chase a squirrel if it gets too close! Unfortunately, today at the vet, Dr. Brian confirmed that a pea-sized bump on her leg that I noticed a few days ago is a mast cell tumor. He aspirated it and found it needed to be removed. So, she will be having surgery . I know she will be fine, but I will not lie, I’m saddened and can't help but worry some but I must remember how fortunate I am to have the knowledge and access to the right tools to help them both, along with a caring vet. I am trying to keep a level head and remind myself that both dogs have been eating the best diet to fight cancer and reduce tumors. They will continue strengthening their immune systems and shedding any built-up toxins that may still be inside of their bodies. They will be fine.

With Brody we did not get that opportunity. We learned the basics to everything we know now under crisis, stress, exhaustion and a lot of emotion. We also didn't feel like we were our dog's best advocates since we didn't know a lot. We basically just agreed with everything we were told. Lucky for Brody, this vet knew what she was talking about most of the time. But blindly following our first vet's advice is what got Brody into trouble to begin with. The worst vet advice I've ever made the mistake of listening to was him telling us Beneful was the best food to feed poor Brody. Let me give you the simplest piece of advice that I wish I would have listened to-If your pet absolutely refuses to eat its food, there is usually a reason beyond them being "picky". Listen to them. In our case Brody was trying to tell us the Beneful was poison. In some cases, it can be a health issue. Pets are so smart that if they get sick after eating a food they may never eat that food again. Even if the food was not the cause.

No matter what the outcome we love these two already and will provide them with whatever they need to live their best lives. Every day gets more fun, watching them get comfortable in their new home and watching Pablo become part of a pack. We cannot thank Tracey and Bridge to Home Animal Rescue for their love and support and for all their tireless, selfless acts of kindness. The day after she adopted out these two to us she placed 11 more into foster homes. 11. I am honored to have freed up space so more dogs may have a chance like Bunni, and Bubba got. Please check out the rescue, especially if you are looking to adopt.

Bridge to Home is dedicated to helping dogs find their forever homes. Their dogs are kept in their family homes until the perfect forever home is found. For more information about Bridge to Home Animal Rescue, please visit their website or find them on social media.

To leave on a fun note, here is the very humorous "Story of Bunni and Bubba". It worked. It definitely caught my eye! Enjoy!

“This is the story of Bubba and Bunni. In a previous life Bubba was a high school dropout. He smoked a pack of Camels every day and couldn't hold down a job. Bubba didn't just hang out with the kids from the other side of the tracks...he was the kid from the other side of the tracks. He was bad news. He hung out at the bar where he caused lots of trouble. He was constantly fighting over women....hence the missing teeth. His friends call him snaggletooth but don't call him that if you aren't his friend. His sister Bunni was a different story. She had straight A’s in school and went on to college where she studied to be a paleontologist. Bubba has now changed his life around. He enjoys pedicures and massages. He no longer smokes cigarettes. Bunni has retired but still enjoys carrying bones around and burying them for later. In all seriousness, this brother/sister duo have had a lot of heartache. Their Mom passed away and nobody in the family wanted them, so the family called Animal Control to pick them up. Bubba is an independent eight-year-old Schipperke mix. He is happy with laying in a comfy dog bed on the floor. Knowing you are right there is good enough for him. Bunni a five-year-old Chihuahua mix however wants to be on your lap. She loves women and really misses her Mom, and she really does love bones and fetching toys. We were told that they can be separated as they aren't bonded, but when they are separated for just a few minutes Bunni misses her brother. We have made the decision to keep them together as we think they will be happier. “

I cannot wait to share more stories about Pablo, Bubba and Bunni (and of course Ellie the cat)! Thanks for reading.



Puppy vs. Rescue

My journey, by Maureen

As most of you know we had the best English Bulldog in the world, Frank! Frank passed away at the age of 12 in December of 2018. We were not Frank’s original owners, but I personally have known him since he was a puppy because Frank was a client. I can remember the first time I met him and held him in my arms. When Frank was 5 his family had to move to China for work and were told by the transition group that it would be in their animals’ best interest to give all of the pets away; that is how Frank came to be part of our family . Frank fit in with Rubin and Dylan perfectly, he was the missing piece to the puzzle that we did not know was missing. He was also the healthiest of the three, which is also shocking given his breed. Frank’s family had really researched his breeder. They had another English Bulldog that passed away at the age of two from cancer. When Frank passed away, I called his previous owner they had been back in the states for many years now because I wanted to verify his breeder just to see if we could find her. Unfortunately, she is no longer breeding dogs and in fact, I cannot find her anywhere. I went through Frank’s AKC registration and the woman is just gone. Not that we were ready for a puppy anyway (we had two senior citizen dogs at home), but my husband James just wanted to know if she was around.

After our Boxer Rubin passed away at the end of Feb 2020, I started to catch James on his IPad looking at puppies. I told him I wanted to look at rescues. We looked at quite a few English Bulldog rescues some were independent, and some were through the American Kennel Club. There was only one little girl to be rescued in the state of PA and she needed to be the only dog in the house, the rest of the rescues were out of state with lots of restrictions. Many would only adopt to neighboring states and a few had age requirements of children in the homes they were adopting to. It seems no one wants to rescue to a house with a 5-year-old child, 8 was the youngest I found of the rescues I viewed, and a lot of the dogs needed to be the only animal in the home. I still filled out applications for two dogs from a rescue in Ohio. From social media I found those dogs were adopted out before I ever heard from anyone. I really need our dogs to be well adjusted and get along with all dogs and children. I know there is no guarantee even when raising your own dog, but the odds are definitely in your favor. I finally gave up the search and decided maybe a puppy was the right fit after all. All kids should grow up with having a puppy, shouldn’t they? I knew it would be fun for Aili.

We have an adorable English Bulldog client named Herbie whom we care for when his mom works, and he comes to my house when his family travels so I reached out to his mom before Memorial Day to find out about his breeder. I contacted his breeder, filled out paperwork, and got on the list. The problem was for the next coming litter we were number 7 and may not be guaranteed a puppy, we would have to wait for another dog’s litter. During this process I found out that my neighbor, friend, and one of our very owns pet sitters Missy Weber (Sydney’s mom) was also on that list-she was number 5 and was her surprising her husband with a puppy for his 60th birthday. The fact we were number 7 worried James and he did not want to be faced with the potential of not having a puppy anytime soon.

During our search we had also discussed getting a pug. We have a pug client Holly that comes to our house and Aili loves her. She is so sweet so I said to James if we are getting one puppy we may as well have two. What is potty training one dog vs two? They would also have each other for entertainment since our other dog Dylan does not want to play. We did some light pug research but really did not find one that we wanted. James did come across another bulldog breeder that he liked the sounds of and had puppies soon to be available. This was his deal. I spoke to the breeder on the phone and ask her my questions, but I did not feel the need to drive and make the final decision, whatever James wanted to do was fine with me. On July 7th James drove to meet the breeder and came home with a white bulldog that we named Bruce-after Springsteen in case you were wondering; it could also be after Bruce Hornsby too.

I have not owned a puppy for 13 years. When I do have a puppy in our home it is for short periods of time and I always get to give them back. We have a crate set up, a pen set up, a gate. It is different now because Aili has so many little toys that we really have to watch and make sure Bruce does not get into them, I figure it will be years before he can go into her playroom. A puppy is a lot of hard work. I am constantly monitoring Bruce and Aili. Constantly going out to pee and poop and constantly watching every move they make.

The most humorous thing about all of this is that our other breeder had their litter and we jumped up to number 5. Missy jumped to number 3 and we both have little girls coming home in September. God help me!!!

I really feel bad that we are not getting a dog that needs a home. When I see adopt don’t shop it makes me sad because I agree with those words whole heartedly but for so many reasons, I don’t get to live by them for now. James, Aili, and I have always said we each get to pick our own dog when our dogs die. I have always told them my choice was going to be an older dog who has been in the shelter for a while and just wants to live out their golden years in a nice home. Hopefully someday for me that comes true but for now I will be the mom of soon to be two puppies.



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