Wednesday, November 30, 2011

W-ratty Wednesday: Exploring the dirt box...

Ahhh, yes, I haven't done a Nearly Wordless, W-ratty Wednesday in ages. But, I managed in my "I feel icky and under the weather, should still be sleeping, but I have labs and jacks" kind of state to click some really bad photos of Zander and Giles.  Oh, and a couple of the girls, before I did the bi-weekly total clean job of the cages.

Zander's nose. And, a junky eye that needs cleaning up. He's a sensitive soul, this one and dogs barking (Maggie) stresses him out a bit. Ah well, extra treats and cuddles....

Giles... WOW! New digging tin! COOL!

Get your fuzzy butt outta my way... Zander shoves Giles out of the way to explore the brand new tin.

PIGGY!  Giles has 2, TWO treats in that mouth! 

Smidgy... my word, you ladies are MESSY! lol

Smudge and Dru coming to see what's up.

All three girlies, pre- cage clean... Smidge, Dru, Smudge. This cage WAS imacculate just a couple days ago. The girls are way messier than the boys.

All I hear now is happy rustling as they scramble to see what's new, to work through mounds of crumpled papers to create new nest and to find any hidden treats.  All in all, a good way to spend an icky, sicky morning. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Update on the Mags....

Good morning all.... it's Monday, isn't it?!?  And, I think I have the flu.  But, that's life; I'm going to head off to work for the day because it's a case of "planning for a sub at this time of day is WORSE than teaching with the flu."  If I'm not feeling better SOON, I'll be in bed tomorrow, cuddled with Maggie and crew. :)

Speaking of Maggie.... she amazes me! She still hasn't seemed to notice she had surgery and she is her playful self already.  She's supposed to be on crate rest, but I figure, what's the difference between chewing a bone on the couch or in the crate?  The difference for Maggie- she's quieter and happier on the couch, LOL.  She is recovering incredibly quickly with no issues. Phew!

And, Guinness, just a quick update too.... he met a family yesterday and as predicted they LOVE my boy!  If all goes well, Mr Guinness is off to live his life with a great family, complete with a 7 year old boy to grow up with.  I am hoping he'll be able to move next weekend- it's a little complicated by the fact that they live in Regina, and need time to drive up and get him but I believe once they get the "ok, the home check is great!"  they'll be in the car heading here to get their boy!

Otherwise, everyone else is happy, content and busy chewing on deer bones. :)  I promise an update with pictures (and maybe for a change, focusing on the dogs of the Black Dog Blog, LOL).

Saturday, November 26, 2011


WARNING: Graphic, post surgery pics below.  (just in case you are squeamish!)

Maggie is back home. The vet wanted to keep her last night, but I couldn't figure out a way to manage to get into the city to pick her up, get her home, then back to the city for an 8 hour + day of agility, obedience, then hanging out with the Junior Girls Basketball team at their tournament. I'm supervising the tournament this evening. So, I asked if I could please try bringing her home and was told that as long as Mags is on complete crate rest for the next while, I could. And, I have strict orders to bring her back if anything looks bad or worsesome.

Maggie was incredibly tired and droopy in the car but by the time we arrived at my house, she was already perking up. She hobbled up the stairs, plopped herself in her crate and loudly demanded some dinner. :)  She MUST be feeling ok if she wants to eat, right?!?

Anyway, she cried most of the night, in a low, pathetic moaning kind of way- as if to say, "I'm lonely and I don't feel good! Cuddle with me please!!"  This morning, she just barks. She's decided that she is ready to go and should be allowed to get back to normal.

Sadly though, she can't.  They removed a big chunk of skin, on both tumour sites- one goes up into her armpit and the other is her neck.  Because of the incision in her side/armpit, she can't put full weight on that paw until the skin begins to heal/regenerate.  It pulls on her stitches too much and hurts. But, she still manages to do stairs and limp along bravely, tail wagging, happy to be up and moving. And, crate rest?!? Yeah, she's not too big on that!

Anyway, Maggie is showing big signs that she is going to be just fine! Her prognosis is GREAT! They got it all and have clean margins on all sites. There was no sign of regrowth at the time of her second surgery. So, in a couple weeks the stitches will come out and Maggie will be deemed completely healthy. And, once her fur grows back, you'll never know she had surgery to have cancer removed. And, she'll be back to her playful, happy go lucky self, making me think that all is right in the world again, at least for a moment. She is easily the most resilient dog I have ever seen and she's teaching me loads about grinning and bearing it, and just getting on. Well done Maggie, that's a huge life lesson for me!

Anyway, here's the photo of her neck... it looks awful this morning!

Isn't that awful?!?  Poor Maggie!  Luckily though, she has been a strict diet the last weeks and she had loads of extra skin to make up for the huge patches they took off. So, it looks much, much worse than it is!

I had a hard time getting Maggie to stand still for this, but here's a photo of her side. That's part of her incision only; it continues up into her armput. It looks pretty sore this morning.

You can't see much here, but the yellowing you see is the start of bruising. This was two hours ago, and now it's incredibly bruised- the whole shaved area basically looks like a big, ugly bruise. I was warned that would happen.

Ah well, keep sending the well wishes- Maggie loves hearing that people are rooting for her!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas comes early....

Earlier in the week, I took my students to the Festival of Trees. This is an annual fundraiser for the MS society.  After looking at a few of these sites, I couldn't help but get in the Christmas mood!

The quality of these pics aren't the best. Sorry! I took them on my iPhone, and had to jostle through crowds, give the phone a second to focus and it didn't always work out. Ah well...

One of my favourite wreaths.

The Dr. Suess inspired tree!

Gingerbread house, a-la- Smurfs!

It was fun and I had such a good time looking at the 80 trees, the wreaths and gingerbread creations. I am definitely starting to feel the Christmas mood!! 

So, that HAD to carry over to last night, hehe! It was our First Annual?!? Steak Night to raise funds for New Hope Dog Rescue. I had to go, of course, as I have Miss Maggie and her surgeries/diagnostics have just past the $3000.00 mark.  So, I spent a few days, created some PowerPoint presentations to demonstrate the needs (they will be up here soon!) and I went, with no intention to buy anything. I just planned to eat my steak, play my PowerPoints and come home.

But, then I spotted this and my eyes lit up. It's a basket donated by the Meadow Lake Humane Society. I found it touching that another rescue donated to us, to help out! And, we often take puppies from them (especially mangy little pups that need extra TLC), so I guess that's why.  So, I bid. Then, I walked away and didn't think much about it- I ALWAYS get outbid on stuff.

It got a little jostled in the car on the way home, but it gives an idea at least.  

Look at all that Happy Puppy Making Goodness! 

Yes, I won the silent auction and brought home Christmas in a giant pail, for the dogs.  There's the food like treats. There's even a box for the ratties to enjoy, hehe!  I don't give rawhides to my dogs as they don't sit well with them, but I have the two chewing fiends lodging here who will LOVE them! 

The toys!  There is basically two of everything- two squeaky toys, two tuggers, two sets of balls (Yeah for Sophie!), two ducks.... I've put most of it away but the dog bed. Spike spent his night, curled up on the new doggy bed, now living at the foot of my bed.   All in all, I am pleased!

Yes, it was a bit of a big donation to get that bucket, but for Maggie, it's worth it! :)  Our steak night brought in over $5000.00 and that just warms my heart.  Hug your pups today and think a good thought for those in rescue. We are grateful for all your kindly thoughts and donations. :)

Oh, and if you can spare a kindly thought for Maggie, she's back at the vet having her second sugery today. If all goes well, Miss Maggie will be declared Cancer Free by the end of today!! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three peas in a pod

Ahhh, the motivated by food crew.  Should have been 5 dogs there, but Spike was off to the side and didn't make the shot. And Maggie was safely crated (due to bad behaviour, LOL.  She's learning manners, slowly but surely, my poor, spoiled rotten foster!)

Sophie, Murphy and Guinness.

Speaking of Guinness, I am slowly but surely seeing what a beautiful, gem of a dog he is. He's patient, kindly, wise and gentle. He's everything, EVERYTHING a balanced Labrador is supposed to be. Some family is going to be incredibly lucky to be graced with his presence. We don't very often get a dog like him into rescue, that's for sure and I for one will be sad to see him go, but know he's meant for a special, special family somewhere. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


It's been a busy couple weeks. I've been working on a couple slideshows for a New Hope fundraiser and that's kept me hopping. I'll post them after the event.

In the meantime, Miss Jorja has been adopted! I decided to place her up for adoption after all as she had some issues with strangers that she needed worked on with someone who had time to do so with her. Lucky girl had an application very quickly from a family I was delighted to see her live with. And, I will be able to keep up with her life, on facebook so that is great!

Maggie has gotten GREAT news!  All her tests came back fine so she goes for more surgery this week to get the clean margins she needs to be declared cancer free. She'll be up for adoption at that point and will be looking for the perfect retirement home.

And, Guinness has moved in. I don't understand people.... they have basically the perfect dog and they decide for the standard "My baby has allergies" and "I'm moving to a place I can't keep him" reason and I don't buy it. He had a blown cruciate and they paid for the surgery, then did all the rehab. And, he is in great shape, after his surgery (which was in July).  He may need some pain meds here and there as he's likely going to get arthritis in the knee, but that's so minor in the whole scheme of things. He's a gentle, gentle soul who just wants to be loved. I can't help myself- I'm smitten and can't wait to find him his perfect forever home!

In other news, I've been working on a little agility equipment and a door blocker for the Rat Room. That way, it stays warmer in there and keeps packs of wild, starving labradors from raiding their food. They seem MUCH happier with the door open! And, Murphy has no inclination to jump it, which is great!

Spike and Sophie are continuing on, in their usual, happy ways. I am so lucky they are open to having random new dogs come through here!! :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Save Maggie Campaign

New Hope has been overwhelmed by dogs lately that have HUGE medical needs. Some we knew about when we got them, others like Maggie were a surprise. And, because I am fostering Mags, I felt like I had something to say about her, the needs she has and what she has meant to me.  So, I wrote a letter to kick off a fundraising campaign to help these dogs. It just came to me, the day she arrived home after having her ultrasound done. And, I want to share it with you.....

Maggie is a lovely 8 year old Chocolate Lab. She is a CKC registered dog and came from a breeder in Saskatchewan.  She’s obviously had obedience work in her life, and she’s clearly been pampered and loved her whole life.

So, how did she come to be with New Hope? You see, her owner recently died of lung cancer. Her breeder was not interested in taking her back. And, no arrangements were made for Maggie, or at least none that worked out for her. But, lucky for Maggie, a family friend decided to contact New Hope and ask if we could help. Me, being the Labrador lover I am, said “SURE!”  When I picked up Maggie and all her belongings; her crate, a bag of food, a blanket, bowls and her registration papers; I saw on her neck a lump. Of course, the nice man exclaimed “OH! I had no idea that was there!” and jumped in his car and drove away.
I brought a very scared, confused Maggie home that day and she began the steady process of settling in with me. It hasn’t been easy for her. She’s been an only dog her whole life and she was clearly attached to her owner and was clearly loved by him.  She has been grieving his loss; at times I catch a far away look in her eyes, as if she knows she’s missing someone desperately. It’s heartbreaking to see that look of sadness and confusion in her eyes, as she pleads with me to take her home. But, she’s trying and Maggie has learned to get along with the pack of dogs here (2 other Labs, a Jack Russell and a mixed breed dog).
Also, lucky for Maggie she found us as she was taken for vet care immediately.  The vet originally thought the two lumps were fatty tissue. However, by the time her appointment came to have them removed, a third was growing. Dr. Nairn, at Erindale Animal Hospital made the decision to have the lumps biopsied and it was a good thing. Sure enough, poor Maggie has Mast Cell Cancer, a common skin cancer in dogs.  She’s had her lumps removed, only to find one regrowing almost immediately.  Today she was back at Erindale having a liver biopsy and ultrasound to see if her cancer has spread. As of tonight, it sounds like good news; the cancer has likely not spread but further surgery is required to ensure there are clean margins on the tumor sites in an attempt to keep them from returning.  She’s been poked and prodded, and shaved to do these tests; she’s pretty miserable this evening, huddled in a lump on the couch beside me, post sedation. She’s trying to sleep it off, but her shaved belly is itchy and irritated and it’s keeping her awake. She’ll be ok in a few days, but at the moment, Maggie again is looking at me with longing in her eyes, to make this stop, to help her feel better. I am trying.
Maggie has become part of the family for the time she is with me. She runs in the yard with the other dogs. She sleeps on the bed, occasionally. She cuddles up on the couch and she wrestles and plays with the others. She chews a bone and really just wants a soft touch and a nice place to have a nap. She is a great dog working hard to make the best of a situation she is powerless to control. She continues to break my heart though as I look at her, and wish I could make it all better. She really NEEDS her own family, a family where she can be loved and cared for, in a quieter place that has more room to give her all the attention she needs. I wish I could give that to her, but part of fostering is loving them as best you can, while they are in your care, but also knowing that there will be a time to let them go. I am doing the best I can to look after my girl,  but, I still need help for Miss Maggie.
What help does Maggie need?  She needs YOU to help her in a variety of ways!  You can choose to donate money to help us help dogs like Maggie. Maggie did not ask for this fate and she certainly is longing for the comfort and care she deserves. She also deserves the medical treatment she is receiving; if she had been placed in a shelter, Maggie would have been euthanized. Not here at New Hope; we choose to treat her with the dignity and respect she would have if she was one of our own personal dogs. And, truly, I’ve grown to love Maggie as if she was one of my own. But, her surgeries and scans come at a price and New Hope along with Maggie need your generosity to keep us able to save and take care of the dogs who need us.
As well, we need MORE FOSTERS! If you think you could provide compassionate care and love to a dog in need, please, PLEASE contact us today! We have puppies and seniors, purebreds like Maggie, and dogs who are uniquely mutts. We have large and small, most healthy, some with big needs. They all just want a home that cares and helps them become the best they can be, in order to find their forever home.  In order for us to keep operating, we NEED YOU!  Please, consider donating. Consider volunteering. Consider fostering.  Consider adopting- especially one with needs or a senior like Maggie. I promise you, it will truly change your life.