Donate4Dachshunds

Our friends over at Who’s Your Dachshund have teamed up to collect donations which are to be split between ten animal rescue organizations around the world from Canada to the United States to South Africa.

THE IDEA…

Being the owners of smaller canine companions – physically at least – we know first-hand how something so small can have such a big impact on our lives. I’m not even going to bother asking if you could imagine a life without your pups. For that reason, it’s only natural that we as animal lovers come together to accomplish something BIG to change the lives of vulnerable animals around the world.

Over the past month, the ten contributors of WYD have connected with nearby animal shelters from Nova Scotia to South Africa; each one filled with incredible people giving abandoned animals the love and attention they deserve. So we figured, why not give each of these shelters a little love and attention of their own?

THE CHALLENGE

…collect as many donations as we possibly can by the end of April to split between these phenomenal shelters. You can donate securely using our ChipIn widget below. We will be over the moon with even the smallest contributions 🙂

If you aren’t able to contribute financially, there are plenty of other ways you can help spread the word that will be just as appreciated!

THE DIFFERENCE…

Here are the organizations that we’ll be working with over the next month. We’ll give you updates and insights into the world of animal rescue and the massive benefit that they have on the lives of millions of animals worldwide. Look forward to video diaries, messages from volunteers, amazing adoption stories and lots of prizes!

Bide Awhile
Tiny Paws Dog Rescue
Midwest Dachshund Rescue
All American Dachshund Rescue
Dachshund Rescue of North America – Maryland Chapter
Dachshund Rescue NW
Central Texas Dachshund Rescue
Second Chance Animal Refuge Society
Kitty and Puppy Haven
FACE Low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic

Here at Mutts R Us we whole-heartedly support this effort, and on behalf of my beloved dogs, I’ve made my donation.  Let’s help them reach their goal of 5,000 dollars!

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Hollywood Jane and the Dog Park

If happiness is a warm puppy, then the cure for depression must be a dog park.

The small park just behind the Trader Joes and myriad of Russian shops along Santa Monica isn’t “technically” a dog park.  In fact, there’s an official green sign that insists dogs should be on leashes, and cops from the Department of Parks and Recreation drive past every so often with nothing better to do than hand out tickets, but every evening, usually after rush hour traffic has subsided, dogs and their owners flood the grassy area in front of the rec center and run free.  The dogs, that is.  Not the owners.

A dog park, especially an unofficial one that has evolved in a neighborhood setting, is almost like its own living entity.  It has its peculiarities and quirks, its rules and routines.  The five o’clock crowd, the early shift, close ranks when Pilot and I approach.  Their schedule is strict, their members heavily vetted.  They don’t welcome fresh meat to what they think of as their space.  They argue American Idol, are unresponsive to innocuous comments about the cuteness of their maltie-poos or min-pins, and are aggressive in their opinions about canine maintenance.  Debate with them at your own risk.

The dogs at this hour are no different than the crew who will come later, and anyone who believes that dogs are simply reflections of their owners have never seen a pack at work.  There is a familiarity, an openness to this set that is absent in their human counterparts.  Piper, the doxie mix in her quilted jacket, will happily approach for a kind hand.  Sweet Pea, the golden retriever with the dyed pink tail, invites Pilot to play.  Though I sit on the periphery, eavesdropping on the discussion about where to get the best cupcakes in town, Pilot romps with whomever he can interest in the chase.

Eventually, the dusk dogs and their owners melt away, with little in the way of acknowledgement for myself.  It’s the dinner crowd that I like best.  Their owners mix and chat, engage and laugh.  They find the joy in doggie antics, rather than the resignation the early birds seem to have with the process.  For them it’s a chore, a duty, a habit, but for those who come later, watch and smile at the shenanigans, it’s nothing more than the best part of the day.

Pilot has a girlfriend named Leia, a jindo-golden retriever mix.  He used to be afraid of her rough-housing, but now he can’t get enough.  Leia’s owner eventually warmed to me after she discovered that we had adopted our puppies from the same rescue, though her attitude regarding the care and tending of canines still tends toward the condescending.  Leia is the park princess, who refuses to get her paws dirty when she can help it.  As a dog park monarch, her loyalty can be fickle, and Pilot loses her attention when Sasha the puggle and her piercing bay come around.

Among my favorites is little no-neck George, a neurotic black lab mix whose head goes straight to his broad shoulders.  George has a hoarse bark and beloved red rubber ball.  I think of his owner as Mr. Rogers – not only for a physical similarity, but for the “Won’t you be my neighbor?” attitude he radiates.  Mr. Rogers throws ball after ball for whatever dog will chase it, and is always happy to give Pilot a reason to run.

Paku the Rhodesian Ridgeback and Lola the Great Dane don’t quite fit in – mostly because they’re obsessed with each other.  They used to be part of the early group, though now that the day stays light longer they wander through around six.  Paku is the park’s bad boy, the one with a dangerous attitude everyone wants to befriend.  He’s more than willing to mix it up, reined in by Lola’s motherly instinct.  She’s the size of a pony, utterly calm, and the self-appointed park referee.  

Then there’s Pilot.  At the park, as in life, he is the clown.  He’s fascinated by French bulldogs and smaller dogs in general, who he frightens with his over-abundance of enthusiasm.  With large dogs he approaches at his most submissive, peeing everywhere, flinging himself at their feet.  Benny the miniature pinscher frightens him, despite being one eighth his size.  He manages to locate every abandoned tennis ball in the park, and like most of the others has a special fascination for the mud patch that has been fertilized with something including fish powder.

Huskies, pit bulls, boxers, chihuahuas, bulldogs, labradors and mutts come to the park.  Some are only babies who want to play but aren’t ready to face the the charge, some are arthritic and always tired. There are fights and there are love fests, endless butt-sniffing, but they’re always in the moment, and watching a pack of dogs of all breeds and sizes race around some rocks, filthy tongues lolling out the sides of their mouths, it seems to me not a bad way to live.

 

cross-posted @ Adventures of Hollywood Jane

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Dog Park Tails and Other Bits of Kibble

Pilot and his parasite.

Pilot and his parasite.

The Laurel Canyon dog park was hopping this weekend, and it was a giant love fest as everyone seemed to just get along.  Pilot is still getting used to the concept of being around other dogs in a social environment, so while he’s happy to be in the middle of it and doesn’t hide under the picnic benches (well, much), he’s still not much for dog-on-dog interaction.  He’ll run after one, but then the ADD kicks in and…ooh, look a patch of grass.

Border collies are apparently very in vogue this season – I counted at least five, and several Australian sheepdogs.  Pilot definitely had some competition for ‘Cutest in the Park,’ particularly from the 13 week old pitbull because when you’re that age, no matter what you look like, you’re freakin’ adorable.

But it was a tie for the winner of ‘Most Hilarious’ between the tiny white male chihuahua who trailed after Pilot like a caboose and tried to mount his leg, and the golden retriever who stuck her head in between my feet and seemed to want to play fetch, but kept an iron grip on the tennis ball.

Pi had a great time, and once again demonstrated his affinity for French bulldogs.

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On Saturday night (or Sunday morning, to get technical), after a long night of pretending to snort cocaine, my friend K. and I turned the corner onto my street and noticed two young women trying to wrangle a dog.  After ascertaining that the dog wasn’t theirs and asking them just to make sure she didn’t run into the street (again), I ran into my house, grabbed a dog leash, and jogged down the block.  With some help from one of the girls, I managed to get the leash on what turned out to be a female pitbull puppy, probably only a few months old.

I’ve had a change of heart where pitbulls are concerned ever since my Dog Whisperer binge, so I’m not afraid of them anymore, though they still wouldn’t be my first choice.  The biggest problem we had with this little girl was that while she was obviously friendly, she was also a puppy, and puppies like to bite and chew.  As a pit, she didn’t know her own strength and she almost got my hand.

She obviously belonged to someone at some point because she was eager to please and had a collar, though no tags.  I knew I couldn’t take her home with me because of Roxie – not to mention it was two in the morning and she was a crying puppy.  The other two women were not dog owners, and really had no idea what to do, though they wanted to help.  We tried to call Animal Control without any luck.

I want to think that eventually one of the 24 hour VCA animal hospitals would have occurred to me, but fortunately a guy and his girlfriend came walking up the block with their own dog, and as soon as we explained the situation, he offered to take the puppy for the night, until he could find the owners.

Convinced that she was now in safe hands, I got the guy’s phone number and went home.  But let that be a lesson to any and all dog owners: collars aren’t much good if they don’t have tags.  Five bucks at a Petco – all you have to do is put your dog’s name and your phone number.

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Don’t forget to send your tails of puppy love to muttsrusblog@gmail.com

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Pilot and Roxie Has a Hot Dog

So as part of my plan for world domination using my dogs, I uploaded some pics to ihasahotdog.com (from the makers of lolcats).  I will not stop until Pilot is king of the internets!  Or until I get bored of  pimping my dog.  Whatever comes first.

As a staunch defender of proper spelling and punctuation, I have no idea why I find this site so addicting – but I do.

(To see more and make your own, click the picture.)

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Spay Day 2009

Traveling from cuteoverload.com, I stumbled upon the ‘Spay Day 2009 Online Pet Photo Contest.’

What is ‘Spay Day,’ you may ask?

Spay Day is The Humane Society of the United States’ and Humane Society International’s annual event to inspire people to save animals’ lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats. Spay Day officially takes place on the last Tuesday of February – but events will be running all through the month! The 15th annual Spay Day will be Feb. 24, 2009.

The photo contest is simple: just upload a picture of your pet.  Now there’s an official “judging” by a panel, but there’s also a Fundraising category, where anyone can vote by donating money to the Humane Society or a local charity, and all donations go directly to spaying or neutering animals.  It’s a win/win!

I submitted my favorite picture of Pi, and “voted” for him.  Now, as much as I’d love to win a prize, and as adorable as I think he is, I’m not going to go around soliciting donations just for him.

Instead, I urge all of you with a great pet photo (dogs, cats, birds – they have a list of eligible pets here) to submit and donate.

Of course, if you’re here via my blog and you want to vote for Pilot, here’s his page:  Pi’s Page.  Frankly I don’t envy the judges – what an impossible job!

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Dog Whispering

Cesar Millan at his Dog Psychology Center

Cesar Millan at his Dog Psychology Center

I am addicted to The Dog Whisperer.  After my shoulder surgery, I discovered that the National Geographic channel plays DW reruns about five times a day.  I’m a total soft-touch where dogs are concerned, so some of the miracles Cesar worked actually made me cry.  Especially the episode about the dogs displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

About a week after I started watching intensively, I decided that I needed to become a calm assertive pack leader.  Before then I could never walk my two dogs together – Roxie walked all over the place, dragged me along, and stopped to sniff every blade of grass and every tree root.  Pilot had a tendency to sit down in the middle of the block.  If I walked them together, their leashes tangled and I would stumble.  It wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience.

So I started by holding the leashes in a different way, and walking with one dog on either side.  I’d always been taught in training classes to walk my dogs on the left – which is fine if you only have one, or two small dogs.  Walking two German Shepherd mixes on the same side of a very narrow sidewalk doesn’t work so well when they’re not in sync.

Then I worked on keeping tension out of my arms, and shortened the leashes, particularly on Roxie.  The goal was to keep her focused on the exercise, rather than the smells.  Of course, I couldn’t blame her for being resistant in the beginning  – 8 years of conditioning is hard to shake.

The constant corrections were hard at first because both dogs like to lead, and I was supposed to be in front, with them following or at my sides.  They’re not quite perfect yet, but walking them together is a lot more enjoyable, and I’ve even started holding both leashes on the same side, getting them both to match my pace.  We’re also walking at least once a day, so it’s as good for me as it is for them.

Their biggest struggle on the leash is with other dogs.  Roxie has the most intense focus you’ve ever seen, man or beast.  Once she spots another dog she’s primed for attack (particularly if the other dog happens to be small and fluffy.)  Breaking her gaze is next to impossible, but it’s supposed to be important not to let her get fixated like that.  Once she gets going, Pilot gets going too, only he wants to play so he starts jumping.  My dog can leap six feet in the air – and all four paws leave the ground.

They’re both getting better so long as I keep correcting them.  My hope is that one day we can walk by other dogs without blinking.  As long as I stay calm and we keep working on it, I’m confident it will happen.

Training them on the walks is fine – the hard part actually comes in the house because Roxie’s bete noir is the mailperson, and correcting that is a two person job.  I now know exactly why our letter carrier is terrified of Roxie – when the mail goes through the slot, Roxie rips it away with a frightening strength.  It’s like she goes berzerk.

I wanted to sign her up for The Dog Whisperer since they were looking for dogs in Southern California, but my mom refused to be on television, so I’m trying to do the job myself.  I have to say, it gives a lot of confidence, and helps me stay zen.  Still, results aren’t instantaneous, but for the sake of my puppies, I’m going to stick with it.

Anyone else share my love of Cesar Millan?

The hardest part about discipline is that sometimes, theyre just so darn cute

The hardest part about discipline is that sometimes, they're just so darn cute

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The First Dog – A Rescue?

Who will become America's Next Top Dog?

Who will become America's Next Top Dog?

Ever since President Obama told his daughters that they earned their puppy, speculation as to the breed of the new White House pet has run rampant.  There was even a debate.  According to Political Punch, an ABC news blog:

They want a shelter dog. With all the homeless pets out there, the Obamas think it’s important to not go the route of the pure-bred.

Since Malia’s allergies are an issue, they’ve apparently narrowed it down to either a labradoodle or a Portuguese water dog, neither of which is exactly flooding the shelters, but I think it’s really wonderful that they want to adopt when they could so easily buy  from a breeder.

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