Blogging the change for animals has become a much-anticipated, much-loved day for me. I love being encouraged to think about how to affect change for animals through blogs. Wow! What a difference the internet world is making for animals! More people can be involved in making positive changes and in helping animals from their living rooms, family rooms, coffee shops, dorm rooms, smart phones, outer space, at sea, and more...
I have so many thoughts about making changes for animals but I only have so much time and space (darn!). I decided to share the conclusion of our making a change story. And it isn't really a conclusion of the story, but the end of one part and the beginning of another. Gotta love the circle of life!
Last October we were asked to foster a pregnant beagle and her soon-to-be-born litter of puppies. We agreed and prepared for the new family's arrival at our house. On October 20, 2010, the little beagle had a litter of 10 beautiful puppies. And for the last six months, these puppies have been a huge focus in our lives. We committed when we agreed to foster these puppies that we would give them the best possible start in life that we could. We knew they were already at risk being mixed breed puppies of unknown paternal parentage and we wanted to do all we could to help them be solid puppies and find good homes.
(In January, after the puppies were weaned and she had been spayed, Mama Beagle went back to the home of the wonderful lady who originally found her and she is doing well. She has not been adopted yet, but she is happy, safe, and healthy in her foster home. If you are interested in knowing more about her, or in adopting her, please contact www.spa-ohio.org.)
In the first days after the puppies were born, while Mama did most of the care, we did a few things to get the puppies headed down the right road. We followed the "Super Puppy Protocol" of Early Neurological Stimulation and spent time holding and handling the puppies every day. The puppies were all weighed every day and exposed to lots and lots of different people (who all took off their shoes and washed their hands thoroughly before handling). Some of the puppies were supplemented with bottles of puppy formula to help keep their weight gain consistent.
Once the puppies were mobile and eating solid food, we introduced the clicker to them and we clicked and treated them for focus and attention and sit. We continued to have lots of visitors and lots of things going on in the house to enhance their environment. When they were completely weaned, we moved them out of the whelping pen and into crates to begin crate training and house training. Their play areas were our gated kitchen and our fenced-in backyard. This winter, they kept all of us laughing (including our neighbors!) with their antics in the snow, on the swingset, on the picnic table, with each other.
When they had their appropriate immunizations, we started venturing out into the world with them -- they went to class, they went to school, they went in the car, they went to dog shows, they went to hotels, they went to pet stores, they went to the assisted living center, they went to the vet's, they went to church,...they went wherever we could think of to take them. The puppies we had decided we were keeping were enrolled in several puppy classes and the puppies at home benefited from the new ideas we got at our classes.
Then the adoptions began. Each and every one is bittersweet. We love that they are going to wonderful forever homes, but we hate to see them go. All but two of the puppies have been adopted by people we know so we see them often and are able to continue being a part of their lives. What a blessing this is!!!
The first to go home was Emmett. He is with our friend Sandra and her family. When I asked her to share something about Emmett, she said, "I love how Emmett is always checking on Samson...then lays down beside him." Samson is one of Sandra's older dogs and he has a seizure disorder. Emmett has become Samson's guardian angel!
Then Emmett and Samson cuddle up together!
Zuko was adopted by our oldest daughter's friend, Stephanie. Zuko is full of life and a curiosity and he loves to come over to play with his sisters! He has the fastest, firmest, cutest "down" I have seen in a long time.
Glinda is now "Layla" and she was adopted by a wonderful young family we have known for a long time. Kristen, the mom, was our babysitter when the girls were little, so we knew what a great home they would give Layla. Layla has a kitty, two boys, and a girl to play with in addition to seeing her siblings at puppy class. She is fitting right in and loving having a family of her very own.
Sandy and Belle were adopted together by a mother and adult daughter in Michigan. We don't get to see them, but we hear they are doing very well, growing like weeds, and enjoying both their canine brothers and their human family. We hope they will come to Ohio next October for a puppy birthday party!
Millie (now "Grace") and Nellie were also adopted together by a friend of ours we have met through dog shows. Hope is a judge and competitor and while she wasn't looking for two puppies, or even one puppy, she was led to adopt both of these wonderful girls. We see them frequently and are looking forward to "competing" together when they are all old enough and ready for the ring. It is always an adventure at Hope's house with two high-energy puppies running around!!!
And now there are three left at our house -- our two, Elphie and Dolly, and Cosette (now "Zipporah" or "Zip"). Zip will be going to her forever home in Nebraska next week. Zip has been adopted by my best friend and her family. It's a cute story -- her daughter wanted Zip from the time she was born. At Christmas time, Allie was so determined to adopt her that she was planning on using any money she got for Christmas to pay the adoption fee. Sadly, it was about this time they lost their elderly Husky, Sheba. So Kim and Joel set it up to give Zip to the family for Christmas, with delivery to be determined later. I sent them a collage of pictures with the purple rickrack from around Zip's neck for the kids to open on Christmas. Initially, Allie was a little confused thinking she was just getting a photo, but then she got it figured out and is eagerly awaiting our arrival next week with Zip. (I will post photos of Zip and her homecoming soon!)
|Zip and Elphie|
We've come a long way from those puppies in the wagon in front of the Christmas tree and even further from that sad looking, very pregnant beagle. God willing, we have made a change in at least 11 dogs' lives. Blessings to all of you as you find ways to make changes in animals' lives -- it only takes one phone call to make a big change. I know. It's how we made a change for animals. And now I'm waiting and anticipating the next opportunity...
I have no doubt you will find a new idea, a new way, and new commitment to helping animals through this blog hop today devoted to being the change.