I post my gratitude project mostly on FB, but this one deserves a bit more than a short bit.

Yesterday, I was grateful to be associated with a group of responsible pit bull owners. Will and I attended a meet up for Bully Lovers in Birmingham. There were 16 Pit Bulls at Railroad Park plus all their owners and children, including a 3 month old puppy that was OMG so cute!! With it's squishy face and squeeee!! She was adorable!!

We were watched like a hawk by the park officials -- we were all gathered under the main pavilion where we shared food and drink, pibble dribble and talked. Next to us was a group of teenage girls -- a church group or community group (they were wearing the same t-shirts), and many were cooing over the dogs. Joker was his usual affable self -- friendly and more than happy to let anyone pet him. As usual, I had to warn people that he licks like crazy and will jump up to get you in the face. Most people bent down to his level as I tried to keep him from jumping. Richard, one of the board members for Bama Bully Rescue did exactly as I do: make Joker sit and THEN pet him, taking his hand away if Joker jumped and waiting until he sat quietly. Joker did well, occasionally losing his control over himself but mostly behaved well and didn't go too crazy with his Tongue of Doom™. Harley was her usual self as well, friendly but reserved. We had our pictures taken as well.

The part I'm mostly grateful for is being part of this group. Showing people what RESPONSIBLE Pit Bull ownership is like. A big bunch of well-behaved and managed dogs, socializing with other dogs, people and children with no incidents or problems. We left before the rest of the group did, but apparently the group left the area cleaner than when we got there. Apparently, one woman with her kid screamed "DON"T PET THE PIT BULLS!" when her son pet Gunner. When the dog licked him she said "Well I'll be damned! It's a small victory, but a victory nonetheless when communities are still trying to ban these dogs.

Today I am grateful for once again not gaining weight after quitting smoking. I haven't lost any since I quit (11 days so far!) but I'm very happy to be staying pat (for now). I didn't quit because I wanted to -- I quit because I had to in order to heal my ulcer. But, I'm doing well with it, even when the patch falls off. I still have the occasional craving but they're getting fewer and far between and not as intense. The only problem I'm having is a nagging headache. I don't know if it's due to withdrawal, the patch or the weather pattern but this headache just won't stay away. I shall start exercising again, by hook or by crook, DAMN this stupid foot pain. I want to continue to lose weight not be stuck in a plateau. But, at least I haven't gained anything which is what usually happens when you quit smoking. So, yeah I'm grateful.
beltainelady: (Zen Anger)
( May. 9th, 2011 04:05 pm)
THIS IS A REPOST OF WHAT I POSTED ELSEWHERE. If anyone can help, knows someone who can help, please do. This all came to light last night, and people are scrambling to find out the truth, and what we can do about it.

I am involved with dog rescue here in Alabama. Many of the different rescues, shelters and other organizations are frantically trying to reunite pets lost from the tornadoes with their families. The usual time restrictions in shelters have been lifted in order to allow families to get themselves together and come get their pet. We’ve been transporting shelter animals (those who were there prior to the storms) to other rescues in other states to make room for all the displaced pets.

And now it comes to light that the SPCA of CT has taken a bunch of animals from Alabama, without going through the proper channels. None of the rescue organizations were involved with this. It was in the news: http://nhregister.com/articles/2011/05/04/news/doc4dc1ec32cbe56550488426.txt

Notice, they don’t say that these animals were already in shelters. Maybe some of them were already homeless, but in all probability, they were someone’s beloved pet.

So now, of course, there is a shitstorm going on to find out WHERE they got these dogs and WHO they belong to.


What right do these people have to take our dogs? Why didn’t they just take the homeless dogs already in shelters so we can make room for the tornado victims? I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt that they thought they were doing the right thing, but now anyone who tries to get in contact with them is deleted off their Facebook page; hung up upon; no replies.

Yeah. I’m angry. If I’d lost my dogs through in a disaster only to find they were across the country, I’d sue the pants off them. The same thing happened after hurricane Katrina, and the owners sued and won.

And even more disturbing news. http://www.independentmail.com/news/2010/jul/25/dog-adoptions-delayed-after-committee-flags-concer/

If you're so inclined, spread the word. This has to STOP
So many animals abused, neglected, killed. I know that there are thousands upon thousands of animals put through hell every year, but for some reason, pit bulls have it worse. People just seem to think that they can do anything to them, and it won't matter.

But it does. I was involved in a transport today of one of the pit bulls rescued from a rescue.

Read that again: Rescued from a RESCUE. A place that was supposed to be a sanctuary, a place to care for abused and unwanted dogs, but instead was another place of abuse and neglect. Here's the story:

This is sweet Heidi:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150211175360561&set=a.10150211043175561.346541.382954640560&type=1&theater

This poor girl is depressed, and beyond shy. People scare her. She won't take food or water from them, and doesn't even look at you in your face. I don't know her back story, whether she just whelped pups or is currently pregnant. Liana and I drove down to Montgomery to pick her up from another couple of got her out of Dothan. We brought her up here to Birmingham to meet with another rescuer who was taking her somewhere in N. Alabama. When we got her into the van, she just curled up on the seat and laid there. No interaction whatsoever. The first transport leg also had a few hundred pounds of food, litter, blankets and water to bring up to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society for the tornado victims so we loaded that into the van as well.

Since we were running very early, we decided to go the HS and drop off the donations before meeting Heidi's next transport leg. After we had it all unloaded, I took Heidi out of the van to stretch her legs for a bit. I learned quite a bit more about her in the hour we had her with us, waiting to meet the next person.

She's dog friendly, and extremely patient with puppies. The HS has walkers that take the puppies out for on leash walks and each one came up to Heidi to greet her and that was the first time I saw her tail wag. She tolerated puppies jumping on her, nipping her face and even licked them back. There were people coming and going with donations for the tornado effort, and lots of them stopped to talk to her and pet her. Within ONE HOUR, she went from having her tail between her legs and refusing to interact with people, to sniffing their hands and even taking an occasional look at their faces. For a dog that is so mistrustful of people to do that is a giant leap forward. I just kept petting her and talking to her, letting her walk where she wanted and check out her surroundings.

Seriously. All it took was an hour of love and comfort for her to break out of her shell a bit.

What kind of monster does that to a dog? What happened to her to make her so afraid of people? Pit bulls are people dogs...they LOVE people, which is why it's so easy to get them to fight. This poor girl has sores on her feet from standing in her own filth, standing on chain link with no blanket or pad. Her teeth are bad, she's heartworm positive and either pregnant or been bred so often her teats will never recede.

If I had the room, I'd have taken her myself. She responded to me and looked to me for support and comfort and I only had the dog with me for a few hours.

People are monsters. No wonder I love my dogs so much -- they'd never do something like that to me.

I'm just glad that Heidi is going to a good foster home with people who know how to help her get healthy, physically and mentally. I hope a nice family takes her in and shows her what it's liked to be loved.

Now, I need to go snuggle with my dogs.
beltainelady: (Default)
( Oct. 18th, 2010 10:02 am)
Sometimes I wonder about myself. I've been working with dogs for years, and while I don't consider myself an expert, I thought I knew enough to be able to identify and correct behavior issues. So why did it take me so long to figure it out?

Some pit bull owners say that dog parks are bad places for pits. I disagree, preferring to allow each dog to make that decision. Navarre was not a dog park dog, so we never went except with Holly and then only if no one else was there. I knew my dog and his issues and didn't put him in situations where there could be trouble. Joker's personality is the exact opposite of Navarre's. He's overly friendly where Navarre was standoffish. They expressed their insecurities differently: Joker is a licker, always looking to reinforce that you like him. Navarre either got aggressive or cowered behind me. Joker likes other dogs, and wants to play with them; Navarre wasn't dog-friendly except for a very select group.

So, I take Joker to the dog park. Harley loves to play on the agility equipment (who knew? I thought it would be Joker who'd be more interested in an activity like that), and will run around with the other dogs until there's a tackle and then she backs off. Joker plays with anybody. And that's where the problem started. He was fine if a wrestling match started from a standing position. He was fine when he was being chased. The problem started when he was part of the pack chasing another dog. When the tackle finally happened, Joker would go after the dog when it was down.

I'd watch carefully to identify if his body language changed, but it didn't. There was no aggression, excitement, but not aggression. It didn't matter if the chasee was a smaller or larger dog, he'd still go in for the "kill" (not really trying to kill, but that over-zealous tackle-bite. I'd separate him, give him a few minutes to get himself under control and he'd go back to playing nice. While driving home from the store yesterday, it occurred to me what he was doing:

His prey drive had kicked in. *smacks forehead*

He has a high prey drive; we've been working with him to get him to at least tolerate our cat's presence without chasing her. Everything at the park would be fine until he was doing the chasing, then there would be a rumble. Big dog, small dog, doesn't matter...he gets overexcited and treats the dog like prey.

Well, now that I have identified the issue, I can work on it. He will be muzzled at the dog park while I try to figure out how to distract him and get him out of that headspace. He may grow out of it, or learn how to control his own reactions. He may not...but now that I know what it is and can thwart any problems from his end, he can still play and socialize.

Of course, being muzzled means he can't defend himself if another dog attack HIM, but I won't let that happen. I've waded into a rumble and pulled him out of it, been bitten by another dog for my trouble. But I consider it part of being a responsible dog owner of any breed, but even more so of a bully breed. I have to be MORE responsible and proactive because even owners of Rottweilers or Dobermans and other "scary" breeds will fault the pit bull. It's all part of owning one of the most maligned and misunderstood dog breeds. And since Joker really is a good boy, a friendly dog and loves to play, I'm not going to deny him the opportunity to play and socialize...I'll just be able to keep him from being a dumbass.
beltainelady: (Default)
( May. 21st, 2010 02:13 pm)
I know you're busy and all that, but I'd like to ask one small favor. May I have a few good days where I'm not exhausted and burning in pain?

And, if you could, can you help Joker not to be such a klutz? I've now twice stepped on his foot, he's fallen off the stairs and he's slammed his head into the door. He needs to figure out how his body works.

I do want to thank you for having Harley finally learn where she can go potty -- and that's not in the house. And thank you for allowing Will's project to succeed.

But yeah, I'd really appreciate having a body that didn't betray me all the time. And please, allow it to be healthy for my trip up to Louisville.

Thank you,

[livejournal.com profile] wild_heart asked for puppy pictures, here's a picture taken of worn out pups. We're all a bit worn out from yesterday...

beltainelady: (Default)
( May. 15th, 2010 02:39 pm)
Today is Do Dah Day here in Birmingham. Will and I brought the pups out and walked in the parade. I have to share just how proud I am of Joker (Harley too).

Joker was so friendly, affectionate and sweet. As we walked the route, people stopped us to pet him and ask questions. I informed them that yes, he is a pit bull. Little kids, older folks and in between gushed at how cute/handsome/pretty he is and how well-behaved he was. He was friendly to people, dogs and other animals and totally wowed the crowd. Harley did too, to a lesser extent, as she seems to get a bit overwhelmed by a lot of people and activity.

It just felt really good to be there with my pibble, using a regular collar and leash while surrounded by dogs and people of all ages and sizes. He really showed the public what a "regular" pit bull can be like. There were a few people there with their American Bullies, replete with chains and spiked collars...and those poor dogs were having such a hard time in the heat. I'm just glad that I had plenty of water and a bowl to share it with the dogs that needed it.

And glad that I could help repudiate some of the negative views of pit bulls, even in a small way. :D
beltainelady: (Default)
( Jan. 21st, 2010 05:40 pm)
Wherein Harley and Joker are tussling over a rope bone. The higher pitched growl is Harley...such a diva!

I love these guys, I really do but DAMN I miss Navarre. He was my source of sanity most days. When I needed to rest, he rested with me. When I was more active, he played with me. I do think we made a mistake adopting these two so quickly after Navarre's death - I didn't give myself time to grieve. But, I don't think I'd have done very well without them either -- it would be extremely lonely here during the week. Plus, we HAD to get Joker out of the pound before he was euthanized. So all in all, I have my bitches but I love these puppies.

House training is the hardest part. We've taken up all the rugs since I'd rather mop up wet spots on the wood floors than have to keep steam cleaning them. Joker can hold it, he's certainly old enough to do so. Even if he doesn't have to go, when we take them out, he'll squeeze out a few drops. Harley, on the other hand, can't hold it. She's learning to go to the door when she needs to go, but if we don't see her go down the hall, we don't know. She'll also forget and piddle wherever she is if she's playing. So, the work continues...we put a hanging bell on the door and I hope to be able to teach them to touch it when they're at the door so we know to take them out.

Oh, and Harley doesn't really like to go out in the rain. So, she'll go into the sun porch to do her business. It's outside, right? (Sort of). *sigh*

On a positive note: Both pups are learning "Sit" and "Come". Harley is pretty smart for a little one, she got "Sit" even before Joker did. Until I decipher which dog needs what commands reinforced, they can be trained together. The only ones I'll need to do separately will be "Heel" and "Stay". "Stay" is a tough one to teach, since puppies are so easily distracted. But for the most part, they are both doing well.

Joker needs education about his licking. He licks EVERYONE and EVERYWHERE. I've somewhat managed to get it across that I don't want him to lick me continuously...but that's another behavior that will take time to correct. He's slowly coming to realize that he's not going to starve, but he still gets into scavenger mode. He's counter-surfed and table-surfed already, so that's another issue to tackle.

Harley is too young to have any major issues, except bite inhibition. Joker can take a lot of punishment, but I'm sure at some point, he's going to set her straight. Even when he does correct her she just goes back for more. She's learning to be more careful with us, though. AND, she's lost two teeth!! It's so cute...she has holes where her little front teeth once were. Hehe.

When they're playing, you'd swear they were out to kill each other but now that Harley isn't quite so tiny, Joker can play a bit rougher with her. He still overdoes it on occasion, but so far so good.

They both play fetch. It's hysterical to see them running down the hall for the ball and now without the rugs, they don't have any way to stop their momentum. Lots of sliding around...

Suffice it to say, I'm exhausted. These guys keep me on my toes all day. I only get to rest when they're napping, and they often sleep when I'm not sleepy. They're not *quite* as unhappy in their crates as they used to be, but I got a battery for the no-bark collar, just in case (spray, not shock). I asked the neighbors if they heard the dogs and they said no, but...I can hear them outside so I doubt the neighbors were being truthful.

So pretty much, my life is puppy, puppy and more puppy. And pee. Lots of cleaning up pee. I can't WAIT until Harley is potty-trained. I'm just thankful that I'm home to take care of it. For the life of me, I can't remember how I got 'Beau and Navarre trained, it was so long ago. Then again, they were crated for large parts of the day while I was at work...maybe I need to crate them more...hmmmm...
beltainelady: (Default)
( Jan. 6th, 2010 11:30 am)
One week into puppy parenthood, and I'm pooped. The last time I had a puppy was when we brought Navarre home 6+ years ago. Before that, it was Isabeau. Each time we adopted a puppy, we had an older dog at home already so we didn't have to housebreak and train them both and the older dog sort of showed them the ropes.

Now, we have TWO puppies at one time. Yes, we're insane. Many of my online groups said so, but I soldiered on. They're doing well enough, though. Harley has learned her name and (mostly) comes when you call her. So does Joker. Both of them are slowly learning to let us know when they need to go out. Joker can hold it, but he seems to either forget or choose not to. Thank heavens for wood floors and the Bissell!!

They rumble around together and although it seems that Harley is totally terrorizing Joker, he seems to like it. When he's had enough, he warns her off. It's a little disconcerting to see his huge maw swallow her entire head, but he's really very gentle with her. She, on the other hand, is a complete prima donna. She bites his ears, lips, cheeks; chews on his tail and feet. And those puppy teeth are vicious! But he just laps it up. They play tug-of-war, and he lifts her off the ground!

I'm tired, though. We've separated their crates into two different bedrooms and at least that makes them quiet through the night. Liana's had to get up a few times during the night to take Harley out to potty, and Joker is mostly quiet all night. It's hard to get anything done around here, since they're both underfoot constantly. We're going to need to put up baby gates at the kitchen entrances so they don't get into things, or into trouble.

Well, at least I don't have to rush home on my lunch hour for puppy duty. I haven't been able to get a picture of Joker alone, since he's never alone. But here are some sleepy puppy faces.

beltainelady: (Default)
( Dec. 29th, 2009 07:09 pm)
Finally, the two are crated and sleeping after a couple of hours of insanity. Harlequin is trying to attach herself to Joker's neck...and he's so tolerant. He's extremely good-natured, all he wants to do is give us kisses. Thankfully, he's big enough to get up on the couch to escape the onslaught of Harley. I'm amazed at how easily he's adapting, in just a couple of hours. A lot of him reminds me of Navarre, so there have been some happy-sad tears for all of us.

I think this will be good, if crazy for a while. Our place is big enough for the two of them, and having to train and socialize them will force me to be more active. Navarre was content to just lie around with me all day. Having Fibro will mean I'll be aching and tired, but I NEED to move and be more active than I've been. Heck, I'm aching and tired anyway, so it won't be much of a change.

We couldn't get Joker to sit still long enough for a picture, but Will caught a video of the two of them jumping on AJ, Liana's friend.

We brought home a puppy today. We went to the pound and to the Humane Society to see who we wanted to bring home, and met a pit bull (mix?) named Joker at the pound. He's about 4 months old and an absolute sweetheart. We couldn't bring him home today, because he still needs to be neutered and get his shots. Here's the link for him:

I'll be calling on Monday to start the adoption procedures. Because we'd discussed getting two dogs, we went to the Humane Society to see their selection. Yeah, I know, I gave up 'beau because two dogs were too much for me and here I am considering two PUPPIES to train and housebreak at the same time. I just wouldn't be me if I weren't a little bit crazy. Plus, there's a lot more room in this place than there was in Austin so two dogs won't be such a hassle.

Anyway, we brought home a teeny, tiny little girl. She's some sort of terrier/chow/Heinz 57 mix. She's about 8 weeks old, and doesn't look like she'll get too big. Will took one look at her and fell in love...and named her Harlequin. (Pictures to come).

So yeah...Joker and Harlequin. Shades of things to come?

Why yes, WE ARE CRAZY around here.
beltainelady: (Default)
( Dec. 26th, 2009 10:09 am)
We had a decent holiday, all things considered. Everyone got what they wanted under the tree. I still managed to cook a couple of nice meals. Life goes on...

It's so hard, though. I expect to see him on the couch, or in the bed. Last night, I walked into my bedroom and my robe was lying on the bed. In the dark, it looked like Navarre. My heart leaped into my throat and then I realized he wasn't here. I am so ANGRY. I'm angry because I KNEW there was something wrong in his brain and it wasn't treated. Logically, I know that if it was a brain tumor, or an aneurysm or a series of strokes, it couldn't be treated. Even if surgery was an option, I'd not have put him through that.

I'm trying so hard to put my last glimpse of him out of my mind, and see him as he usually was. I don't want to remember that screaming, absent, flailing mess that I saw. I want to remember him as the goofy snugglebug that yelled at us if we were out past his curfew (which was whatever he decided it was). I want to remember his sleepy face, as he'd look at me from under the covers.

We're already considering adopting another dog. It's not going against his memory to adopt so soon...he'd want us to take in another homeless and scared pibble. To be honest, I NEED to have someone to lavish my attention on when Will and Liana are at school and work. I can't be here by myself all day long.

It just...doesn't make sense. He was so healthy. Even in the throes of his illness, the vets were amazed at what great shape he was in for an older dog. He wasn't even 7 years old, and looked like he was 3. It feels as if the animals I bond closest to are taken away from me halfway into their life cycle. Pan was 8 when he died. Navarre was 6. Am I doomed to lose my loves early? It certainly feels like that.

Argh. Enough of this rambling.
beltainelady: (Default)
( Dec. 21st, 2009 12:42 pm)
Just talked to the vet, and all the tests came back normal except Lyme. He's never had a Lyme vaccination, because it's not been proven to be effective in all cases. He's showing the symptoms of a Lyme infection, including all the weird neurological ones. I'll be picking up a prescription for Doxycycline, which is filled for free at Publix and he'll be on it for 30 days, then we'll get another titer done.

While it's not good news, it's a lot better than hearing his blood tests are all normal and it's a possible brain tumor or something that's not treatable.

I am SO relieved, and now we can work on killing the nasty buggers in him and get my bouncy baby back. I had Lyme Disease once, and I had it for a long time before ever showing the signs. It's possible he picked it up back in PA (where we had LOTS of deer).

Oh thank the Gods my baby will be all right. Thank you all for your prayers and energy workings. He could probably still use them, though, until the meds kill off the damned sickness.
beltainelady: (Default)
( Dec. 20th, 2009 10:46 am)
We took him to the vet on Thursday, and his blood work isn't back yet. The vet is thinking a possible tick-borne illness, and thankfully took half the payment and let me defer the other half until I get paid. I have my doubts that it's tick-borne, unless we completely missed seeing a tick on Navarre. With his short-short hair and constant petting, I'd have seen one.

We had to take him to the emergency vet yesterday because he had a seizure. He's been having these weird episodes where he just yelps out for no reason. He's been disoriented and lethargic; then he'll just be sitting or lying...not doing anything and then screams out. I thought it was pain, but other than the yipping, he's not displaying a pain response. Then, when I took him out for a walk -- the big one hit. He went over to one of his regular toileting spots and yipped out. Then, he started screaming and his leg went out from under him, he tried to stand up and then went completely down. He was on the ground, screaming and twitching and then as soon as it started, it ended and he pulled me home. He had a couple of smaller episodes where he just yelps out, and seems like he doesn't know where he is or who we are.

The ER vet isn't sure what to make of it. She said it could be encephalitis or meningitis, or a brain tumor. Dogs Navarre's age don't develop epilepsy unless something is wrong. They wanted to keep him overnight to monitor and see if he had another seizure, but I couldn't see spending the money if it didn't happen. Plus, I used to work with epilepsy patients, so I know how to monitor a seizure (when I'm not panicking and hysterical). So, we got a prescription for antibiotics, just in case, and brought him home. I have my camera set to video so we can record it and show it to the vet. I'll be calling the regular vet on Monday and hope his blood results are in.

Personally, my gut feeling is he has a tumor or something. It's definitely neurological, and it's progressing every day. As often as my gut feelings are right...

We're all stressed, scared and sad. We feel so helpless. Navarre has been healthy and strong his entire life and it's like he's gone from being 6 years old to 16 overnight. I'm trying to be strong, but it's so hard. Navarre and I are so attached, and he's really had an effect on this entire family. Even Will, who grew up with Maltese, adores him and is starting to turn to the "dark side", i.e., pit bull lover.

So right now, we're still in a holding pattern, waiting to hear on the blood results. Next step will probably be X-rays. I'm preparing myself for the worst, but hoping for the best.

This sucks.
beltainelady: (Default)
( Apr. 21st, 2009 02:01 pm)
Navarre and Holly romping in my living room.

beltainelady: (Navarre)
( Jan. 30th, 2009 11:22 am)
I've been working with Navarre to contain his aggressive tendencies toward other dogs. I've been using the command "leave it" when he sees another dog and wants to confront them. You can tell that he's struggling to contain himself by the shaking of his body, but he remains calm and quiet. It's a slow process, but we're making good strides.

He even keep himself together when seeing his nemesis, Harley the Standard Poodle, while we were sitting on the patio.

He's a good boy and he got treats for his good behavior. Next step, he'll be muzzled and allowed to meet the dogs upstairs.

Time, care and patience is what it takes to train and keep a dog like Navarre. I only wish other people (you know who I'm talking about) would do the same.
beltainelady: (Default)
( Jan. 28th, 2009 02:07 pm)
Animal control just came and took Sam, the pitbull from this post. I guess the owner couldn't be bothered to rehome her, or the complex made it happen.

Either way, she's not going to have a chance. I'm betting she's going to be immediately put down.

Dammit. That's so not fair to her.

And to add to this (besides my dead car): Isabeau's new Mommy is coming to pick her up today. I've had her since she was 12 weeks old; nearly 8 years. I know she's going to a great home and all that, but I'm going to miss her fluffy butt.

Not a good doggie day.


beltainelady: (Default)


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