Archive for the ‘rescue’ Category

 

This post is sharing a unique challenge and advocacy solution for Blog The Change for Animals.

Laboratory Beagles looking at grass for the first time!

Something special is happening in Hollywood on Sunday, July 24. Better than celebrity sightings. A rescue adoption day. But not just any rescue. This one is The Beagle Adoption Day.

Perhaps you remember the press and viral video of several scared Beagles, rescued from an animal laboratory by Beagle Freedom Project, walked on grass for the first time after being caged all their lives?

(The original video has been removed for legal purposes–the second rescue video is at the end of this post, which includes a set of new Beagles experiencing greenery for the first time ever.)

Sure, I’d heard horrific stories about animal testing for all sorts of products, from makeup to dog food, but seeing these debarked and muscle-atrophied Beagle cuties not have a clue as to what to do when confronted with space outside their cages, I had to do find out more.

 

And they're out, loving the new smells!

Who’s making a change for animals?

Turns out, Shannon Keith, a Los Angeles Animal Rights Attorney and documentary filmmaker, got a call in December 2010 about nine Beagles who were being retired from a laboratory–and she had less than two days to pick them up. As the founder of the non-profit,  ARME (Animal Rescue, Media & Education), which rescues homeless animals and focuses on educational initiatives, Shannon decided to act–and brought the first of that lab’s Beagles to freedom.

Wanting to do more for throw-away dogs, she started Beagle Freedom Project. “Working directly with laboratories, the Beagle Freedom Project is able to remove the retired Beagles so they can be placed in loving homes. All rescues are done legally with the cooperation of the facility.” She adds that labs offer almost zero chance of freedom. “They decide whether to free the dogs at last minute and we have about 48 hours to get there.”

These Beagles were lucky. The lab had completed testing (for cosmetic, household and pharmaceutical compounds) and agreed to

Shannon (l) & volunteer Jill Ryther taking rescued Beagles for a ride in another first for the dogs

release the animals to Shannon rather than euthanize them. In general, however, when labs are done with the dogs, they’re killed. Plain and simple. The American Association For Laboratory Animal Science says that the animals “must be euthanized to obtain tissue for pathological evaluation and for use in in-vitro testing. Most often, they’re killed because they’re of no use to the laboratories.”

Shannon says that the Beagle Freedom Project is  building relationships with different facilities. It has proven extremely difficult, as most of these place do not want us to rescue the dogs–it’s easier to kill them. However, we are not giving up! We plan to save as many as we can.”

 


Testing lab’s dirty little secrets

Let’s back up a bit. Why are dogs in laboratories in the first place? They’re often used in biomedical research, testing, and education. You may have used common products, such as toothpaste, shampoo, soap, dog chow–you name it–that were tested on dogs. The Humane Society of the United States claims dogs are also commonly used as models for human diseases in cardiology, endocrinology, bone and joint studies, drugs, poisons, and other research that tends to be highly invasive. Beagles are mostly used because they’re considered gentle and easy to handle. And, these Beagles are “purpose-bred” in the U.S., which means class A breeders are licensed by the USDA to sell animals for research purposes–often at $800 per dog.

According to a recent KTLA.com article and U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, 70,000 dogs are being used in approximately 1,260 USDA-registered laboratory facilities annually, with appropriations for these laboratories somewhere in the $22,000,000 range.

But why don’t we know these facts? Shannon offers this explanation. “Companies that test keep it a secret. The facilities that test keep it as secret as they can, even though you are paying for it with your taxes. QUESTION where your money goes and what you buy and educate yourself before you buy something. Boycott products tested on animals. Write to those companies and tell them you will not purchase their products anymore until they stop the testing. The FDA does not require companies to test cosmetics or products on animals, but companies still do it to create a legal shield and because they are lazy.”

 


Cruelty-free living guides

Furthermore, Shannon says, “we are working on our own cruelty-free living guide to give to people so they can make informed choices, instead of purchasing products that might be tested on animals. We are making a comprehensive one that will be updated monthly online.” (In the meantime, here is a good guide of corporations that do test their products on animals, and those that don’t.) “This is part of a larger campaign for us. Of course, we love saving the individual dogs, yet this is about education and awareness and getting people to know and understand who their purchases impact, and to make a different choice. These companies thrive on sales. If people stop buying, then we will see fewer animals being abused.”

One of Shannon’s favorite things is getting responses from people “who hear about us, who did not know animal testing existed and throw away all of their animal-tested products.”

Are you in? That’s what I’m going to do for today’s “Be the Change”–making sure my household is entirely cruelty-free.

 

The importance of July 24th’s freedom adoption day

One of the many adoptable Beagles

Adoptions! Please come–or at least take a look at the adoptable Beagles from Beagle Freedom Project
When: Sunday, July 24th from 11am-3pm
Where: Healthy Spot in West Hollywood, 8525 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069

Shannon indicates that it’s important that these dogs be seen by the general public so we can learn from them. “It’s one thing to tell people about the horrors of animal testing, but when they see their faces, they cannot help but listen and take it in. We also want to find perfect homes for these dogs.”

And yet, even though there are multiple applications for each dog, Beagle Freedom Project has to be “extremely careful about where we place them,” Shannon emphasizes. “These dogs are not like any other. They need special attention, they need constant companionship from another dog or dogs, so that they can learn how to be dogs, and they also need constant human companionship to learn about love and trust.”

Some common post-adoption issues  in the dogs include possible housetraining setbacks, cautiousness in new environments, separation anxiety, car sickness, and the often seasonal or environmental allergies, depending on the tests to which they were subjected in the labs.

“People need to be willing to put in 100% and to deal with issues they may never have expected from a dog… They are just learning how to WALK. Their muscles are atrophied. They do not know the different between right and wrong. They cannot communicate

Pick me!

vocally because they have been de-barked.” (Many lab dogs are debarked so they won’t bother the technicians or other animals at night.)

The dogs don’t go home on adoption day. The potential adopters, after filling out an application, is rigorously screened. If all works out, the adopter signs not only pays an adoption fee and signs a tight contract, they must sign a supplement to be an ambassador for the cause.

That means adopters “must tell everyone they meet about their newly adopted Beagle, where he/she came from, and why it is so important to boycott certain products.”

Are you that special person?


The promised video!

Here’s the video I promised earlier. Get out your hankies!

Beagles running free–and look who’s up for adoption

Follow the Beagle Freedom Project

Twitter: @BeagleFreedom

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BeagleFreedomProject

Facebook causes page: www.causes.com/causes/560350

Shannon Keith lives with three dogs and one cat. Chula, her 9-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, was skin and bones and about to “pop a litter” when Shannon brought her home–the next day, Chula had 11 puppies. Amazingly, Keith found them all homes. Her Doxie/Chihuahua mix Samantha is also a pound puppy. Oliver, an American Staffordshire Terrier, had been left in a box with his umbilical cord. Grampa, the most recent rescue of the pack, is an 18-year-old black cat from a hoarding situation.


Note: In March 2011, I blogged about Lacey, a beautiful tri-colored 2-year-old Border Collie from Western Border Collie Rescue when Petfinder ran their Adopt the Internet Day campaign. See the original post here, then read below for the rest of the story!

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1 year 6 months, 2 weeks and 4 days.

Lacey

It took that long for Lacey to find her forever home. Just yesterday, right after I got back from a Western Border Collie reunion, I got this message on Facebook from Lacey’s foster mom, Jessica Cumpsten:

“I just wanted to let you know that Little Miss Lacey got adopted!

Was that amazing news, or what? I couldn’t believe it–I had actually thought Jessica was going to have Lacey for the long haul. And the story got even more interesting.

“A very sweet and kind lady with three kids adopted Jobie [A more confident Border Collie who Jessica also fostered] in April. They have an older Border Collie and just lost their Golden, so they wanted to get a companion for their older girl. Jobie was their man! When they came to meet him, Lacey tugged at their heart strings. At that time, they spent half  their time (and half their treats) getting Lacey to come up to them.”

Jobie

It was hard for the family to leave Lacey behind, knowing that she had a tough time coping in the world without Jobie. But Jessica gave them sage advice.

“I suggested they really focus on Jobie, getting him settled and see how he and their older dog bond before adding a 3rd dog to the mix. My fear was that Jobie would not bond as well to their older dog if he had Lacey distracting him all the time as, Jobie and Lacey were very good romping and wrestling buds.”

 

Lacey and Jobie Romping On Their Meeting Day

Serendipity

Jessica continues the story:

“The adopter said that Jobie and her Border Collie get along very well, but when she set up a play date with a friend’s dog, she realized that Jobie was missing the wrestling and romping  factor he had with Lacey, so they asked if they could take her for the day and see how things went. One day turned into three, and three has now turned into forever. The  family is very in tune to Lacey’s needs, and Lacey is surprising us all–she is actually going up to the kids for attention and even wants to sleep in the kids rooms at night!”

Timing is Everything

It was good timing, too. According to Jessica, Lacey had just started making leaps in sociability within the last three months. As if she knew that she and Jobie would reunite only if she made the valiant effort (although I don’t tend to believe that dogs know these things, it sure sounds about right in this case). For example, at the dog park about a week before the family decided to finally adopt her, she was randomly walking up to people for attention. Talk about leaps–amazing, considering her history.

Good Fostering Pays Off

Jessica deserves huge accolades in working with fearful Lacey for so long, making her more confident and skilled so that she could get adopted! How many of you would hold onto a foster that long, without either giving up or adopting her yourself?

Lacey was Jessica’s 18th foster–number 19 is coming next week. I have only good feelings about Lacey and any dog that Jessica fosters.

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Today is Petfinder‘s 15th birthday–and they’re asking all of us to spread the word about adoptable pets for Adopt the Internet Day!

My choice? Lacey, a beautiful tri-colored 2-year-old Border Collie, who is listed on Petfinder from one of my favorite adoption places, Western Border Collie Rescue.

OK, you all know that I adopted a fearful Border Collie that I found on Petfinder in 2002–a fearful dog is always challenging, yet rewarding. That’s why I picked Lacey as my Adopt the Internet dog–in the right home, she’ll blossom!

Lacey’s Story

Lacey in January snowlight

Lacey’s story isn’t that different from many pets up for adoption, but it’s still important. Her amazing foster mom gave us this account.

In November 2009, an Eagle Colorado animal shelter worker contacted Western Border Collie Rescue about two very scared Border Collies: Cotton, Lacey’s mom, and Lacey, the last pup left in her litter. Cotton’s owner was moving (how many times do we hear that?) and he didn’t want the burden.  Lacey was only 3 months old.  Both Lacey and her mom spent 3 months at the shelter before Western Border Collie Rescue sprang them and placed the two fearful dogs in a foster home.

Then, a sad turn. Cotton became very sick.  Vet testing revealed that she was suffering from Immune Mediated Polyarthritis, a serious joint disease.  The rescue decided that Cotton and Lacey be separated so that Cotton could work on getting better and Lacey could learn how to become more confident in a new environment.

Luckily for Cotton, her new foster mom decided to adopt Cotton. But Lacey was not so lucky. For the first 3 months in her foster home, Lacey shut down and hid as far away as possible when people would come near. Her daily routine was staying away from open spaces, sticking close to walls, hiding under tables or huddling in corners. Scared, unable to cope.

Lacey And Other Dogs

But, Lacey’s foster mom soon realized that Lacey felt safe when she was around other dogs–she was comfortable with them. No matter

Lacey showing off her one headlight

what size, breed, color or age, if there was another dog around, Lacey seemed happy romping, wrestling, running at the speed of light, chasing–you name it, if there’s a dog around, she’s up for anything!

Lacey’s Progress with Humans

Lacey asks for human attention in her own special way. Her foster mom says that, maybe two or three times a night during TV-watching time, Lacey “sneaks up, get real close,” and then put her head down on the nearest lap. Once Lacey gets about 5 seconds of petting, she sneaks away.

The good news is, Lacey is starting to show signs of trust in her foster mom’s friends and some family members–HUGE steps from the scared little dog in the corner.  Her foster mom recounts another milestone: 1 year, 1 month and 12 days after arrival, Lacey mastered the cue “sit!”  To

Ready to play!

her foster mom, that was a sign “that Lacey could do what any other dog can do.”

Lacey’s Hope

Lacey came to her foster home on December 4, 2009–it’s the only real home she has ever known.  She will probably never be a bomb-proof, totally confident, happy go-lucky dog.  She might always be afraid of new situations and may never want more than 5 seconds of attention at a time. She needs a family who wants her for who she is. The family will need patience, training, and the ability to understand that small steps are really huge steps in this little girl’s life.

For example, her foster mom is thrilled that Lacey chooses to sleep with her every now and then. The most important things that Lacey needs in her life, according to her foster mom, “are humans that will accept her for who she is, love her even when it seems she doesn’t want it, give her a home with at least one other dog, provide a warm bed in a quiet corner to rest her head, and maybe a few romps in the snow in the winter and a few splashes in a river or lake in the summer. Is that too much to ask?”

No, it’s not! To find out more about Lacey, see her Petfinder profile. And if you’re interested in adopting her, I’ll pay half of her adoption fee!

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As one of the moderators of Bark Out Loud Weekly, I’m excited to announce this, from one of our hosts, Kim Clune of Be the Change for Animals:

Bark Out Loud Weekly and Be the Change for Animals support the ”Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” from The Honest Kitchen

Who is Bad Rap? BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls), co-founded by Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer, has been instrumental in the evaluation, rescue and  rehabilitation of the dogs in the Michael Vick case, providing vision and hope for these dogs as well as many other dogs from high-profile federal dog fighting arrests. They also rescue pit bulls, teach award-winning classes in the San Francisco Bay Area and support rescues nationwide.

“Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” from The Honest Kitchen

BAD RAP is March 2010’s charity of choice at The Honest Kitchen, makers of dehydrated, human-grade whole foods for dogs and cats. THK donates a percentage of online store profits monthly to various causes. BAD RAP’s donation will double if THK reaches 40,000 Facebook fans this month.

Head on over and like The Honest Kitchen’s Facebook Page to support BAD RAP!

Chat Live with BAD RAP on Bark Out Loud Weekly, March 14, 9:00 PM EST!

Learn more about the work Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer do in the Bark Out Loud Weekly BAD RAP podcast “After Vick: What Have We Learned?” . This breaking interview has just been released along with promotion of the “Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” from The Honest Kitchen. Listen up and chat live with Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer on Monday at 9:15 PM EST. Get there early! Space is limited to the first 100 people.

BAD RAP, Featured Cause at Be the Change for Animals on March 14th

Be the Change for Animals (BtC4animals.com) will feature the “Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” from The Honest Kitchen on Monday, March 14th. Through social media, Be the Change for Animals asks a dedicated and growing community of online animal advocates to spend just a few moments and never a cent to improve the lives of animals in need. On this date, Be the Change for Animals will also kick off a $1000 dollar Facebook ad campaign, drawing additional attention to this terrific cause.

Special announcement: Bark Out Loud Weekly and Be the Change for Animals have officially joined forces. As sister sites, each will cross promote the other with a strong focus on improving the lives of animals.

You Can Help!

Like The Honest Kitchen’s Facebook Page.
Share this link (http://www.barkoutloudweekly.com/news/support-bad-rap).
Cover the story on your website or blog.
Participate in Bark Out Loud Weekly’s BAD RAP podcast and chat.
Visit Be the Change for Animals on Monday to spread the word.

Participating Blogs and Websites

The following  have committed to covering events surrounding “Double BAD RAP Donation Challenge” on Monday, March 14th:


Additionally, I’ll be posting about what someone in Colorado is doing to help the plight of pit bulls in the country. Stay tuned! And see you on Monday, March 14, for the chat!

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Luna at 5wks-fearful then?

Learning to live with a fearful dog ain’t easy. Not only because of the dog, but often because of other people’s ideas of how to “deal” with them. As you may know from reading previous posts, my 9-year-old dog Luna is considered fearful. She doesn’t like trying new things. She is uncomfortable being touched, unless she solicits it, and then only in specific parts of her body. She’s never licked me on the face, and rarely allows herself to lie next to me. If I change my position, she’s gone. She bows her head when people reach for her.  She has phobias that vary from day to day, or they’ll last for months. If she’s not around my other dog Frisbee in a strange place, she barks barks barks barks whines–or hides.

She’s Abused, Isn’t She?

Luna has had labels bestowed upon her. The one I hear most is: “Oh, she’s been abused, poor thing,” when they come near her, because she lowers her head in a nervous way, then looks away, licking her lips.

Luna next to her bro Dash

Well no, she wasn’t abused. She was born from a Border Collie mom who was left when she was a month or two pregnant at the doorstep of the Nebraska Border Collie Rescue founder Nickie Vaneck. Luna was the runt of the 5-pup litter, born with a broken tail, wouldn’t eat, even though her mother tried to feed her. Nickie nursed her to health, brought her everywhere with her, even took her to her son’s grade school classes. Luna played with her littermates. Then I adopted her. That’s when this tale began…

Flooding with Scary Things

But right away, I did all the wrong things–a trainer told me to “socialize” her and take her to a pet store the first full day she was home. I cluelessly followed the trainer’s instructions, put Luna in a shopping cart. Store customers crowded around the cart, reaching out to pet her. Puppies are cute, right? Luna bit a hand (luckily, just a puppy bite). I then put her on the floor. She scrambled under a set of shelving units, peeing all the way. Hey, how come she shivered and cowered whenever I tried to put her in the car again? My fault. Did she get more scared around me? You bet. I set her up. How could she trust me if I put her in scary situations? Snapping helps keep people away, so that’s what she did for awhile, until *I* changed.

Luna in one of her happy moments!

Why Can’t She Just Get Along?

Luna was definitely shy upon meeting me during her adoption, but I just thought… well, it doesn’t matter what I thought–but I wanted my new pup to be just like “regular” dogs, with confidence, flair, and fun. A dog that would “fit into” every situation. After all, I had, Frisbee, Mr. Dog-Aggressive  (and I found out, fearful in some ways), and I didn’t want another challenging situation… I wanted to mold Luna into the dog *I* wanted her to be. But I didn’t keep her safe the first day home, or many subsequent days, partly because of my ignorance and poor judgment in listening to trainers then told me “don’t coddle her if she’s afraid; it will make her think the frightened behavior will be rewarded.” Hmmm. Wow, she really wanted reassurance. Why wasn’t I supposed to give it to her? I put a lot of pressure on her to fit in.

And the phobias! Sometimes it’s the kitchen floor. Sometimes it’s coming in the dog door. You name it, she’s probably had it, and continues to find new things to worry about. She won’t be coaxed into doing something when she’s nervous. Would you?

Recognizing How To Free Fear

Over the years, I’ve learned much more positive and successful ways to help Luna–from recognizing triggers to helping her solve problems. She’s come a long way despite her tentative beginnings with me. I’m her biggest advocate now! I’ve actually become adept at training folks who have fearful animals, from my own experience working with rescue dogs and by learning from the best trainers around (not those I first approached!) in certification seminars and through soaking up all the books available.

Read this book!

Help Is Here!

However, my all-time favorite book on the topic is new from Debbie Jacobs, who wrote A Guide to Living With & Training A Fearful Dog. I was so thrilled to get it that I sat down and read it in one fell swoop! And guess what! Luna plopped down next to me and put her head in my lap as I was dog-earing pages! Was that a sign, or what?

Debbie’s book dispels all the old myths (reassuring your dog is okay!), and outlines creative ways for owners to help their fearful dogs cope and begin to love life in an easy-to-read-and-understand style. She is careful to say that there is no cookie-cutter approach to rehabbing a fearful dogs; each one is different–requiring keen observation before determining a modification program. She covers the triggers and thresholds of fearful dogs, how to recognize them, and what to do about them. “You can’t force a dog not to be afraid of something.” That’s so true…

Listen to The Bark Out Loud Podcast!

Want more? Join us on Bark Out Loud Monday, March 7! Here’s the podcast of Debbie’s frank and honest discussion about fearful dog behavior, then she’ll be available for a chat in our Dog Den at 9pm EST! I’ll be there, hoping to gain more nuggets in helping Luna on her continued journey to a calmer life. Won’t you join me?

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