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Friday
Aug152014

Finn's Firsts

Today is Finn's 1-month ADOPTaversary! To celebrate, I thought I would share with you some of his memorable moments from the past 31 days.

Finn flies on a plane! He made the trip from National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado back home to Massachusetts with me. He was such a good traveler that the flight attendant didn't even realize there was a dog under my seat until we landed and I smothered him with kisses.

Finn walks on a leash! Since the first day home, Finn has been a very cooperative walking buddy with his snazzy yellow harness and leash. I think having Cooper with us helps since he knows our neighborhood like the back of his paw. A little tangle here and there does release a little spastic reaction so we try our best to keep a steady pace.

Finn knows his name! Many times, families will change the name of their newly adopted dog because they either had another name in mind all along or they just don't think the current name fits with the dog's personality or appearance. Because shelter and rescue dogs typically only have their name for a short while, changing the name right away isn't too confusing. I decided to keep Finn's name because I thought it was just perfect but the truth is, I don't think he knew his name until a good 10 days and when he first responded, my heart swelled :) For the story about the origin of his name, click here.

Finn sleeps on my bed! After 2 nights of Finn whining and me feeling guilty that Cooper was free to roam while Finn was confined to his crate at night, I decided I would rather have Finn sleep on the bed. Instead of transitioning to the big bed right away, I borrowed a newborn co-sleeper from my sister. It allowed me to have Finn at eye-level but also kept him safe since the bed is too high for him to jump off of. Now that I can trust that he won't attempt to leap off the bed, he's cuddling right up with Cooper and me, zzzzz...

Finn learns the "look" command! Because Finn is still very shy around people, he tends to keep his head low. I taught him the "look" command so that he would look up at me and get a treat every time he complied. He is very trusting of me and I'm hoping this will translate with friends and family soon, too. Then onto [kind] strangers.

Finn plays with Cooper! My Cooper is very much a people-loving dog while Finn loves canines companionship so I stopped everything to watch their first wrestling match a few weeks ago. This might actually be more of a milestone for Cooper, but it also speaks to how important it is to know your dog when considering adding another to the crew. I'm one proud momma!

Finn pooped on the mulch and grass! This one might sound strange because, for your normal family dog, this is just par for the course. Puppy mill dogs, however, have a rough start in life and are typically restricted to small cages either suspended above the ground or attached to a small slab of concrete. As you can imagine, Finn became accustomed to "going" on hard/flat surfaces so 9 times out of 10 he goes on the sidewalk. The first time he went in the mulch, I was ecstatic!

Finn plays with toys! So many people have helped me welcome Finn to freedom so naturally he received lots of new toys! I'm guessing that because they didn't have Cooper's scent on them or because he knew they were bought especially for him, he played with a little stuffed Lamb Chop(TM) and a fleece rope just like a real puppy! Cooper has since engaged him in a few tug-of-war battles with some of his favorite stuffies :)

Finn enjoys a bully stick! Initially, Finn did not show interest in treats or snacks, like the homemade frozen yogurt I make for Coop so you can imagine my surprise when he started chomping a bully stick (with his teeny tiny mouth). He will now take a treat from my hand, as long as I offer it to him by pinching it between my fingers (as opposed to an open palm), but he is still unsure of the "healthy" stuff like carrots, apples, blueberries, etc.

Finn goes up stairs! With a lot of encouragement, Finn finally conquered the stairs! On occasion, he will hesitate to start the climb; once his little legs get going, he hops right on up. This is helpful since I'm on the second floor of a 2-family.

Finn goes down a few stairs at a time! The descent, on the other hand, is still a bit of a challenge for Finn. So it is with my assistance that Finn tackles 2-4 stairs every time we head out. I have no doubt that this will be his next major feat!

Finn swims! Okay, it wasn't intentional, but Finn swam in Nana & Pepere's pool! He was chasing Cooper and zigged when he should have zagged and... SPLASH! I went in after him but only because he swam away from the stairs. Go little Finn Finn, go!

Finn sits! No, it's not on command (yet) and it is very rare and for a very short period of time BUT he CAN sit! Finn has luxating patellas, commonly known as "floating kneecaps" where his rear knees sort of become disjointed from time to time. This condition can cause discomfort in some dogs but the vet says that it's relatively common and Finn's getting along just fine.

Finn licked my hand! Finn has been very loving and cuddly with me since day 1, so I was surprised that he hadn't tried to "kiss me". The other morning he did lick my hand, repeatedly, and it seemed to be out of love and excitement. What a doll <3

Every day, Finn represents puppy mill dogs and helps me advocate and spread awareness. He joins Cooper and me on our adventures - from Poop Patrol to Yappy Hour to your family-friendly parade - Finn has been taking it all in and he just brings so much laughter and love to our family!
Tuesday
Jul222014

Meet Finn!

Over the past 7 days, I have had the pleasure of watching my newest furkid, Finn, explore and enjoy his freedom here in MA. Finn is so playful with other dogs and he and my Cooper are getting along great. He’s been my little shadow, following me from room to room. That translates to leash walking, too, where he has really excelled. And don’t even get me started on his cuteness. We can’t walk 50 feet without the “awwws” and pointing at my little crew. I’m so grateful to National Mill Dog Rescue for saving this boy and allowing me to give him the life he deserves. Four and a half years in a puppy mill is a lifetime for some dogs, but Finn was a lucky one. I can’t wait to see what our future holds <3
 

Wednesday
Jun252014

2nd Annual Animal WelFair at EMC a HUGE Success!

This year’s Animal WelFair event was held on June 20th in the courtyard of EMC’s Corporate Headquarters in Hopkinton, and we couldn't have asked for a better day! Once again, we welcomed organizations representing all aspects of animal welfare - from rescues, humane societies, doggie daycare and training to disaster recovery, veterinarians and pet insurance. Each group gave employees a chance to learn more about their mission, their fundraising needs and their opportunities for volunteering. Many were also giving away FREE STUFF! Dog treats, “doody” bags and collar tags were among the SWAG offerings. Pawfect Life Rescue also held a raffle where the randomly chosen winner received a gift bag full of great dog toys and goodies!

With representation from over 20 groups plus 3 of EMC’s own Employee Circles (DERG, VeTS and C.A.R.E.), we met our goal of growing this year’s event from our inaugural “Pet Fair” last June. Employees were even kind enough to donate goods to select organizations, filling nearly all 4 gigantic boxes we set up in the building for a few weeks leading up to the event! Until next year… THANK YOU! And remember: ADOPT, Don’t Shop!

Sunday
May252014

Volunteer Spotlight: National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado

From April 27 - April 30 of this year, I was lucky enough to travel the 2,000+ miles to Colorado Springs to embark on my very first - and far from last - volunteer experience at National Mill Dog Rescue.

Preparing for the trip was 90% mental…

I followed the steps to become a volunteer and signed up on VolunteerMatters/NMDR.com. I reviewed the Volunteer Handbook, signed the waiver, and watched “I Breathe” featured at the bottom of this blog.

I initially worried that it would be too difficult for me to be surrounded by so many homeless dogs, especially knowing what their pitiful lives were like prior to rescue. They were either purchased at auction or born in the puppy mills (aka commercial breeders, some of which are USDA “approved”) where they were subjected to neglect and forced to spend every minute of every day in small wire cages in their own filth all while being bred on-demand for years. Their health was of no concern to the breeders since they were merely puppy-makers for profit. What most people still don’t understand is that they could be supporting this disgraceful practice by buying pets online or from pet stores which is why we preach ADOPT, don’t shop!

After I packed my suitcase with tissues and an uplifting book, I pushed my selfish fears aside and focused on what NMDR does on a daily basis to provide these dogs with the best chance of a new, happy life. I had to remember what this trip was all about – showing the dogs love and compassion in the safe and well-maintained environment that is NMDR’s Lilly’s Haven.

Once I landed in Colorado…

I met up with Laurie, the remarkable woman who inspired me to become part of this organization and join her on this, her third journey. Laurie is a long-time friend of my dad’s and she too lives in MA. She is also a great advocate for the pit bull breed and supports the organization born out of Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring, Handsome Dan’s Rescue based in Rhode Island. THANK YOU, Laurie!

 

Day 1: Pet Expo

We were fortunate to experience a bit of Colorado on our drive from Denver to Colorado Springs but truthfully we just couldn’t wait to see the pups. Sunday at the kennel was going to be quiet since several volunteers were busy representing NMDR at a local Pet Expo so we were urged to check that out instead. There were tons of people and their dogs amidst countless rescue organizations, humane societies, and pet specialty stores and vendors. NMDR had adoptable dogs on-hand for meet & greets, branded clothing for sale, and a slew of literature further explaining their mission; it was great to experience it all in a cheerful and rather busy setting.

 

Day 2: Offload, Clean, Feed & Socialize

In advance of the trip, we got wind of the impending rescue mission in the Midwest which was set to bring nearly 60 dogs to the NMDR facility to begin their rehabilitation and road to be re-homed. It was with great anticipation that we cleaned, fed, laundered, and socialized the pups until mid-afternoon when the rescue vehicles arrived. I was living in the moment, surrounded by the energized crowd of volunteers and coordinators, when I realized that all of their suffering had truly ended. These dogs were going to feel love – and the ground! – for the first time in their lives. One by one the volunteers filtered up to the van to be given a crate with one or more matted, scared, smelly dogs. Regardless of their former circumstances, not a single dog displayed aggression. It was simply miraculous.

Read the full press release about “Harley to the Rescue”.

 

Day 3: Clean, Feed, Intake & Socialize

By Tuesday morning I already felt so connected to my new fur-friends… all 80+ of them :)! We joined the early morning cleaning crew; mopped all the overnight accidents, scooped the poop, wiped down the Kuranda bed, switched out the blankets and folded laundry. Next came time to refresh the water and fill the food bowls. Some pups need canned food while others have special diets like grain-free and, of course, the young ones eat puppy food. Full tummies = minimal barking + another round of cleanup.

The newbies from Monday’s rescue were starting to get settled in their new temporary homes, but how would they ever find their forever families? What we did next is what NMDR refers to as “intake”. Prior to transport, each pup was named, weighed, microchipped and evaluated for major health concerns. This made the intake coordinator’s job much easier and smoother. As volunteers, it was our job to take each dog one-by-one through the intake process: verify the name on their collar matched the paperwork, provide any personality traits observed during the time spent in their kennel (shy, friendly, cuddly, scared, outgoing, anxious), and have their pictures taken for the adoption page and as the starting point for their before and after transformations.

Read more about my 5 intake dogs on their adoption profiles:

Chloe – Maltese   Festus – Yorkiepoo   Cassidy – Standard Schnauzer

Rory – Havanese - ADOPTED!   Lucy – Toy Poodle - ADOPTED!

 

Day 4: Clean, Feed, Socialize & Goodbyes

Wednesday was not going to be another 9-hour day for us since the car rental return and my flight back East were dictating our schedules. Laurie and sped through cleaning and feeding so we could spend the last few hours cuddling and loving on our buddies. I thoroughly debated cradling a few of the little ones in my brand new National Mill Dog Rescue zip up hoodie for the plane ride! I thought, “how would anyone know?” I loved them so much already. This was by far the most difficult day. A few of my toughest goodbyes were to: Joey, Balto, Ojoe & Lucy, Nino, Glory, Soda, Poppi, Betsy, Walter, Killian, Rooster & Ellie, Brutus, Festus, Cashel, Powder, Dixie, Kiwi, Lulu, Cinnamon & Eggnog, Ferrari, Snickers, Clarence, Happy, George & Ringo, Elmo, Indiana Jones, Rocky, Ruby, Cher and Shelly. Okay, maybe it was more than a few but that wasn’t all of them. So many deserving dogs need homes and I really hope this journal of sorts inspires you all to ADOPT, VOLUNTEER, ADVOCATE, and DONATE!

 

To learn more about National Mill Dog Rescue and the dogs they save,

>Review NMDR’s Mission Statement:

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Peyton, CO, NMDR’s mission is “to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home discarded breeding dogs and to educate the general public about the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry.

 

>Watch "I Breathe: Lily's Legacy"

 

>And continue on to the NMDR website for even more valuable information.

 

Together we WILL make a difference!