SBRET REUNION by Tami Green
This year I was privileged to attend the 2010 SBRET Reunion. Never having participated in any event like this, I didn't know quite what to expect. Every volunteer with SBRET had a role to play, and we all grew more excited as the day approached. We had our lists and were checking them twice. There were a few bumps in the road, which you can expect any time a large event is planned, but nothing that couldn't be handled by a quick trip to Wal-Mart!
The morning of the event we all arrived ready for the crowd of dogs and their adopters, who we hoped would spend a Sunday afternoon with us. We were not disappointed. Families and their dogs came and kept coming. We got to visit with dogs placed in 2010. We also got to visit with dogs that had found their home 5, 6 and 7 years ago! We had pups in every size and shape. There were Pugs, Poodles, Yorkies, Maltese, Shih Tzu's, Pomeranians, Boxers (yes, I said Boxers!), Chinese Crested, Dachshunds, and everything in between! There is nothing more thrilling for a foster family than to see "their" dog happy and healthy a few years down the road. It was a wonderful chance for all of us to see the difference SBRET has made through the years.
We had games; we had pictures; we had door prizes; we had an SBRET store. There was laughter, barking, happy squeals and a few tears. We had an agility course; we had a raffle; we had food and treats for everyone. We also had a little side booth representing the home each dog that comes through our door deserves. We added a part of the color picture each time a donation was made. And each $55 given (an average pull fee from a shelter) represented another dog SBRET could rescue from an East Tennessee shelter. We were thrilled to collect enough money to pay the fees for 5 dogs, with more than half given for the 6th! We knew we had the best adopters in the world and your generosity continues to help more dogs find their forever family.
We often hear words of appreciation from the families who adopt our dogs. "How can you do what you do: the time, getting so close to the dogs, the endless number needing homes?" The answer is easy – we have wonderful sponsors, phenomenal vets, and loving adopters who know this is everyone's battle. None of us carry the full load, but we each reap the reward.
Our next reunion will be in 3 years to coincide with SBRET's 10 year anniversary. We've got lots of work to do until then – we've more people to educate about the problem of puppy mills, pet stores, and number of dogs euthanized in our area shelters; we've more dogs to save, treat, and find their forever homes; and we've GOT to find a bigger venue! Bigger venue – what an awesome problem to have . . . See you in three years!
BEST FRIENDS CONFERENCE by Louise Trudell
This past October, Karen Marquand and Louise Trudell, at their personal expense, were fortunate to be able to attend the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets National Conference in Las Vegas. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk to others in the field of animal rescue and to find solutions to saving more lives. There were 1200 participants and every state was represented as well as 5 countries.
We learned about the power of Social Media such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in helping our efforts and have already implemented this so check us out on Face book! There were sessions on helping Puppy Mill Survivors, finding Foster Volunteers, Spay/Neuter clinics and the importance of working together with others in this field. We even became more aware of the plight of Feral Cats!
Small Breed works so hard in this community and sometimes we lose sight of the fact there are thousands of dedicated animal lovers in the country that are all working extremely hard towards the one goal that we all share and that is No More Homeless Pets. This conference was truly inspiring and the highlight of our year. We hope that more of our Volunteers will join us next year in Vegas!
If you are not familiar with Best Friends, check out their website – www.bestfriends.org.
PUPPY ZONE PROTEST by Tyrine Hawthorne
On November 26 and 27, SBRET held a peaceful protest in front of Puppy Zone, a pet store in Knoxville that sells puppies. Over 95 percent of all puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. If you saw Don Dare's expose on Puppy Zone, you saw that several hundred of Puppy Zone's puppies came from a broker who set up shop at Dog Alley in Canton, Texas--a huge flea market. We feel that Puppy Zone is supporting puppy mills by purchasing their puppies from a Dog Alley broker.
We as a rescue group know what it is like for dogs living in mills and know the physical and mental damage that is caused from a dog living in a cage its entire life producing puppies for profit and greed. Our protest went very well, and we wish to thank all of our wonderful volunteers for standing with us on those cold days educating people about puppy mills and why they should not buy from stores like Puppy Zone.
This was a first for SBRET as we have never held a protest. But, with the support of our volunteers and even some past adopters, we know we will do it again. We will continue to educate people on the horrors of puppy mills until hopefully they choose not to purchase their new best friend from a puppy store but from a reputable breeder or better yet - Adopt a rescue dog instead! You can help by spreading the word to friends and family.
SBRET FIGHTS TO STOP PUPPY MILLS by Karen Marquand
As part of SBRET's mission statement, we strive to educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills. We frequently have puppy mill dogs in foster care and work diligently on rehabilitation to get them ready for their forever homes. This year we were on the front lines of a puppy mill bust and were the folks who waited at the shelter as the dogs were brought in. We supplied the medical treatment and grooming supplies for each dog and evaluated, as well as we were able, their physical condition.
Over 25 of these dogs ended up in our program; however, we had to hold them for many months before they legally belonged to SBRET. Volunteers attended each court hearing date of the mill owner and provided documentation to the prosecuting attorney of the care required to restore the dogs back to good health. We can happily report that all of these dogs are now in loving homes.
Representatives from SBRET attended Lobby Day in Nashville to show support for the Puppy Mill Bill that was recently passed and enacted in Tennessee. We want to continue our efforts to raise awareness of the living conditions of mill dogs and put an end to these factory-like breeding facilities.
We want to extend a special thanks to all of our adopters who have taken a mill survivor into their home and made them part of your family and are continuing their rehabilitation. Also, thanks to all of you who have sent in donations to take care of some of the special medical needs of our mill dogs. Remember it is up to all of us to Stop Puppy Mills!
MONSTER ON THE END OF A LEASH by Candy Wansley
Fostering a "Monster on the End of a Leash" (this is one of the seminar topics at the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Conference that our own Karen Marquand and Louise Trudell attended in Las Vegas) has been a rewarding challenge. Dogs can react negatively to other dogs, some people, children, or inanimate objects for a variety of reasons - it could be past abuse, extreme lack of socialization, a medical condition, a genetic predisposition to name but a few. Loving the dog is not enough; affection will not cure behavioral problems. My oh my, does my family love our little "monster" but we were at a loss as to how to correct his behavior. On his home turf, with our personal dogs, he is a delight. In public or in a strange situation with other dogs, he turned into an unpredictable misfit.
When SBRET rescues a dog, they commit totally to the emotional and medical health of that dog. In my foster dog's case that meant sending him to a dog trainer to help him confront his behavioral issues. Did it work - yes! Is he perfect? Well...no, but he will continue to improve with consistent help. He is now very adoptable to the right family. His future was bleak but it is now as bright and happy as he is. Thanks SBRET for giving him the tools to become a faithful, fun, affectionate dog companion. And thank you SBRET donors as being able to fully commit to each dog we bring in is help made possible by you!
Are you curious as to which foster dog this article is about? His name is Chaco and you can find his picture on the SBRET website! The dog trainer is Mike Shafer at PetSafe Village.
ADVENTURES IN FOSTERING by Lisa Bengston
As my husband Adam headed to work one rainy October morning, little did he know what stood ahead of him in the road. He stopped for the small white poodle, and as another car came along and the little old man trotted towards him, he opened his door, scooped him up and thus began a journey we were not at all expecting.
After searching everywhere and every which way, it began to appear that our new friend had been tossed aside by a previous family. No tags or chip, and a serious lack of care were clear signs of neglect. But he also clearly loved to be with people, and definitely needed no instruction on what the couch was. We knew we couldn't take him to the shelter, being the senior citizen with the problems that he had, but we knew we needed help.
We contacted Karen, hoping the rescue could find a spot for him and take him in so that he could get the vet care and he desperately needed. To our delight, Karen said that they could, however there was one condition. We would need to become an official foster family, and promise to foster Mr. Spiffy until his forever home found him. Having two Golden Retrievers already, we were a little nervous about taking on a third canine member, especially a small white poodle (we're big dog people), but how could we say no? We had the means, and the rescue would take care of all his needs, so how could we turn the little guy away, for no good reason, other than not wanting to share our time? Of course, we couldn't, and thus began our adventure in fostering.
Mr. Spiffy settled right into the routine at the Bengston household. He went on the regular walks, waited for his dinner with the Golden boys, and snuggled comfortably into his crate at night. After some much needed dental care (his remaining 8 teeth had to be pulled and his mouth stitched in many places) and a good grooming by Connie at Bark Place, he truly was Mr. Spiffy, and he was ready to find his family. Karen had warned us that this could take a very long time, possibly even two years, as this was how long the last older male white poodle had been in rescue. I'm sure it doesn't happen often, but boy was she wrong! Within a couple of weeks, he had an application, and the perfect home came along. Mr. Spiffy now lives with a very nice family, gets the snuggling and love he deserves, and has two other poodle siblings and a big dog to play with. I don't think it gets much better than that for a little guy!
And just think...what if we had said no to fostering and had taken him to the shelter instead??
But, the story doesn't end there. We are blessed to have a second foster in the family now, and she's living up
to the legacy Mr. Spiffy left of going with the flow. Maizy is a smart, beautiful, healthy, young Jack Russell/Rat
Terrier mix, and she marched right into the family and made herself at home. Because she had some previous incidents
that meant she could be difficult to live with, she was faced with no place to go, and was headed to the kennel
as a last resort. We decided to give her an interview, to see
how she did with the Goldens and if we could manage. I think she knew her other option, because she put her halo on when she got here, and she (almost) never takes it off.
So now we are working on finding that second perfect home, because little Miss Maizy sure does deserve it. They all deserve it, and without people like all the wonderful souls we have met who make up SBRET to give them a chance, how would they ever find it.
CARING FOR A DOG AFTER SURGERY by Kathy Grunwell
One of the most important and daunting things we as foster parents are asked to do is care for a dog that has had surgery. The most common problem for little dogs such as Chihuahuas is to have what is called luxating patella. What happens is that the knee cap slips out of place. Eventually it can degrade to the point where the knee cap can't go back in place. This can cause pain, lameness and crippling arthritis for the dog. There are four different grades of luxating patella and two of the foster dogs I've had this year, Andrea (Andy) and Tussy required double knee surgery!
When I got Andy she was three weeks post-op and was able to put some weight on her back legs to go to the bathroom and do some walking around. Andy is a very calm older dog and wasn't too interested in jumping around and was perfectly happy to lie in her bed during her recuperation. A couple of years ago my own dog, Minnie had single knee surgery and I remembered that it was recommended that we give her hydro-therapy. It sounds very impressive but basically I filled up our huge bathtub with nice warm water that would be deep enough to allow Andy to swim. I fitted her with a harness to be able to keep her in the middle of the tub and let her paddle away. The water kept her from stressing her knees and also provided some resistance to help rebuild her muscles. She was allowed to walk around a bit more during bathroom breaks but for the first two weeks (5-wks post-op) I carried her up and down the steps. Over the next several weeks Andy grew strong and is now in her forever home.
Tussy is another matter. She's a young, strong, active little girl that loves to play. She could care less that her knees weren't up to speed! She had her double knee surgery in August. I knew it was going to be more of a challenge to keep Tussy content during her 6-week recovery. The vet was adamant as to what Tussy could, or more importantly what she couldn't do during her recovery. She could not be allowed to put any weight on her back legs for the first few weeks. She was not allowed to jump up or put her front feet anything. No stairs, no steps, no playing, no nothing! The first couple of days were fairly easy. Tussy didn't want to do anything but sleep. I was very worried about taking her outside for the first time to go to the bathroom. I knew she couldn't bear any weight on those back legs. How was she going to manage not getting hurt? We put her in a harness to give us a handle to help her to balance. We put her front feet down first gently (and I mean gently) and allowed her to gather herself as she got to the ground. We held her by her harness to keep her from putting her full weight on her legs. But what we discovered is that she figured it out! While balancing herself on her front legs she would go to the bathroom. She was truly amazing. To keep her happy during her confinement, I found the smallest beef soup bones with the marrow and froze them. I also filled a Kong with peanut butter and froze it too. I found processed deer antlers for dogs and a smoky beef knuckle for her chewing pleasure. We cut back on her daily food rations because we didn't want to end up with a fat Chihuahua with all of the extra special treats.
To eliminate any tripping hazards I made her bed as flat as possible by pulling out most of the stuffing. A very wise friend of mine gave me a bag she made out of denim that was filled with barley and lavender. Twice a day after Tussy's breakfast and dinner I would heat the bag in the microwave and put it in her bed. She enjoyed her after meal naps in warmed bliss.
When Tussy was three weeks out from her surgery we started to allow her to walk out of her crate onto the hardwood floors and walk a tiny bit more during her potty breaks. When we reached the 4 week point we started Tussy on hydro-therapy. Compared to Andy, Tussy is a motor boat! As I said, she's a strong little girl.
When she was six weeks out I took her out to see Dr. Will at Anderson County Vet who had done her surgery. I wanted to see what he thought about her progress. He was thrilled! He felt her little knee caps and watched her walk. He saw her put her front feet up on me and he said "now it's ok for her to jump up. She needs to build up those muscles." He told me that she could have longer walks and in a couple of weeks she can play with my dogs and she doesn't need to stay in the crate anymore. What a relief!
As of this writing Tussy is 9 weeks post-surgery. She still favors one leg, but Dr. Will said that was normal, she'll just need a little more time for her muscles to get back to 100%. She may always be a little dog that hops on three legs every once in a while, but she would still make someone a wonderful companion. He said that it is very important to keep her fit and trim so there isn't any unnecessary strain on her little knees. Tussy enjoys playing with my dogs, playing with toys and barking at the neighbor's horses. She must think they are big dogs.
Double knee surgery isn't the whole story for Tussy. She came from Tuscaloosa, Alabama with three puppies. The local shelter there wanted Tussy and her puppies to have a better chance of finding loving homes. So they contacted Small Breed Rescue of East Tennessee (SBRET). While she was nursing those puppies, Tussy got extremely sick. She had diarrhea so bad that she lost the hair on her backside and tail. She could have died, but she's a strong little girl. She took wonderful care of her puppies and they've all been adopted. After her spaying she developed a severe allergic reaction to her sutures and had to have emergency surgery to remove the sutures and repair the hernia that developed because the sutures inside let go. She now has permanent sutures inside for the hernia repair. The vet used 13 staples to close the wound. She could have died there too, but Tussy is a strong little girl. If it wasn't for the donations that SBRET had received from people like you, none of these surgeries would have been possible. All of the dogs that I have fostered have touched my heart and when they are with me I treat and love them as they are my own. It's been a wonder to watch this little dog through some difficult times and I want to thank all of the people that have donated to help pay for Tussy's surgeries. With your help Tussy's adoption fee was still $175.00.
We hope you have enjoyed our stories! In fact, by adopting from SBRET, they are your stories too! If you have not already, please consider making a donation so that we can continue saving the ones that need a little something extra. Once we take in a dog, we are committed to making that dog as comfortable as we can to get it ready for you – their forever family! Most of the time that means the adoption fee does not cover the dog's medical expenses. That is why we are asking that you consider making a tax deductible year-end donation to help us cover those medical needs and expenses.
Adoption fees cover less than half of our yearly veterinary expenses. Dogs who required extra treatment and surgery like Tussy, Lorraine and Andrea say thank you for thinking they were worth saving!
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ALL THE FOSTER DOGS AND VOLUNTEERS AT SBRET!!!!