Archive | February, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

29 Feb

Lucy’s Accident – One Year Later

28 Feb

DISCLAIMER: there are graphic photos in this post. If images of blood or injured dogs upset or offend you, please do not continue reading. Thank you.

One year ago, I had the scariest day of my life. I was in Las Vegas with three friends, celebrating one of their birthdays, and we were having a great time! A beautiful room at Bellagio overlooking the famous fountains, delicious dinners at world-renowned restaurants like Yellowtail and China Poblano, and seeing eye-popping shows like The Phantom of the Opera – The Las Vegas Spectacular and Cirque du Soleil’s Ka. So what’s so scary about that, you ask?

On our last day there, I texted my dogsitter to check in with him and to let him know when to expect me home. What I didn’t expect was that he would call me in response to my text message: there had been an accident but, “Don’t get upset. Lucy’s doing ok.”

“What sort of accident?” I asked.

“Lucy was hit by a car.”

Lucy's Head Wound

The Las Vegas landmarks started swirling around me and I quickly felt myself losing control. Our originally scheduled flight was the next flight out on our airline to New York, so I couldn’t just drop everything and get home more quickly. I was 2,500 miles away from exactly where I thought I should have been.

Wound on Lucy's front leg

My sitter was very reassuring that Lucy was fine, conscious and alert – the same dog we both knew and loved. He explained that she had slipped her harness, and took off running. After about a block, she was hit by a taxi, immediately got back up and continued to run. The blessing in all this is that she ran home. My smart little girl knew exactly where to go so that she would be safe and my sitter caught up with her there. He did everything right: he followed my (admittedly lacking) instructions to a T, contacted my veterinarian (the brilliant City Veterinary Care) and found transportation (Pet Chauffeur responded in minutes). Lucy was seen by a doctor within minutes of the accident and transferred to an animal hospital (the equally brilliant New York City Veterinary Specialists) that was better equipped to treat her injuries. The moment he was able to tell me about the situation, he did.

Cut on Lucy's face

I called my family back in New York, and thankfully my brother could go to her, and he did. “She’s pretty banged up,” He said, “But she’ll be as good as always in no time.”

Lucy resting at the hospital

But knowing that Lucy was in very capable hands didn’t completely soothe my emotions. I couldn’t help but blame myself for what had happened to her. Why wasn’t I home for her? Why didn’t I have a more secure harness for her? Why didn’t I provide more specific instructions to follow in case of an emergency? My vacation was essentially ruined by one unfortunate event.

When I finally got home to New York (after the flight from hell – apart from my own emotional baggage, we flew straight through a country-wide lightning storm), I rushed immediately to see her, luggage and all. The attending doctor gave me a full rundown: she was a lucky girl with only a giant gash on her head, lots of road rash on her underside, and a bruised lung.

Road rash

Miraculously, not a single broken bone! She needed to stay at the hospital indefinitely to be monitored, and we would know more the next day. “It’s a good thing pit bulls have such hard heads!” She said. I laughed for the first time in almost 24 hours.

Lucy's Head Wound

Lucy made a full recovery, and came home with me two days later with only two long lasting remnants: a permanent, hairless scar over her left eye and a pulmonary bulla: a bruise on her lung that could rupture if too much force is exerted on it. Basically, this means that for the remainder of Lucy’s life, sedation is very dangerous because it requires the use of respirator. It makes something like a simple teeth cleaning exponentially more complicated. God forbid she should ever need a serious surgical procedure, this is something we would need to weigh very carefully with pre-op x-rays and many tests.

Lucy's Permanent Scar

So what did I learn from that day and the past year? Well, my instructions for my dogsitter went from 1 page to almost 3 full pages, if that gives you any indication. They now include 8 emergency contact phone numbers whereas before it had just 2. I learned to be prepared for anything and to make sure anyone who cares for my dog be prepared for the same. I also learned the significance of the bond I had formed with Lucy: I will do almost anything to make sure she has the best life possible.

But most importantly, I learned that things will happen, with me or my dogsitter. I can’t restrict myself or my dog because I’m scared something bad will happen. If I did that, nothing would ever happen at all. The only thing I can really do is plan for the worst, hope for the best, and know that everything will be just fine!

And we came out of this with one other long lasting positive side-effect: the doctors of NYCVS loved Lucy so much that many of them changed their own negative opinions of pit bulls! Hooray!

Lucy's back in full health!

Saving A Life In My Pajamas

27 Feb

We’ve got a very special Adoptable Pittie of the Week today! Keep reading to learn all about her.

Not long ago, I was having drinks with friends to celebrate the passing of one the dogs in our “pack”, Robbie. While sipping my martini, a beautiful dog appeared on my Facebook newsfeed. Bebe was my type of dog: beautiful (even with cropped ears) along with nice SAFER evaluation. Her time at Animal Care & Control was up and she was on “the list.” I shared the picture with friends and we all said, “Aw,” and that was that because none of us were able to take her. No room at the room!

Bebe's original NY Animal Care & Control Intake photo

A few months ago, I would have considered pulling her for the shelter I worked at, but since I am no longer working there, I felt helpless.

So often, “good” dogs with excellent behavior assessments get euthanized because there are simply not enough homes. Homes  that are open to adopting a big, short-haired, muscle-y dog! Some say these dogs are being killed because they simply “have a cold.” The truth is: in NYC, it is a numbers game. We cannot adopt ourselves out of the problem. We need to encourage (not mandate) spay/neuter, create low-cost training options and programs to keep dogs in their homes, all while continuing to show how great pitties can be and dispel myths.

When I got home and snuggled with my dogs, I scanned my email and Facebook messages and came upon a message from a stranger affiliated with Buster Foundation in  Michigan:

“Hi there, 
I am friends with Hannah and she suggested I get a hold of you. Our Director for our rescue wants to try to save one of the dogs from Brooklyn set for tomorrow 6am. 
Bebe (tan and white pit, cropped ears) — ID # is A0922401
I have no idea to really go about this, other than the info listed to call starting at 6am to hold. 
Any ideas, help, suggestions?

I quickly looked at the pic and it was Bebe! It was meant to be that this girl get saved! But the stars needed to aligned. Again, I felt hopeless. It was 11:30 pm and Bebe needed to be “pulled” by 6 am by an approved group. The pressure was on. I emailed and Facebooked every responsible group/person I knew who could possibly help! Bebe needed to get to Buster Foundation.

Bebe's better photo which captured my attention even more!

Some questioned the request: “Aren’t there enough pitbulls in Michigan?” I totally agreed and would always ask the same question. But this felt different: the group was responsible and actually never pulled from out of state. But, obviously, this girl Bebe, her pictures and her evaluation made an impression!

Thank goodness, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals stepped up for Bebe and I was able to call in her “pull.” I was nervous and wanted to make sure everything I said was clear – this situation couldn’t handle any mix-ups. Bebe had a group of people waiting for her: transports were lined up for a multiple trip legs, and rescuers in Michigan were waiting to treat her kennel cough and pneumonia.

Well, thankfully, Bebe’s rescue worked out without a single flaw. And now Brooklynne, who was treated for her pneumonia, has just become available for adoption! So, Michiganders, start networking because this girl needs a home!

What I learned while in my pajamas? Everyone can help in simple ways:

  1. Support shelters and rescues that you have experience with first hand.
  2. Foster when you can and encourage others to do the same.
  3. Offer in-kind and service donations to groups. Food, treats, crates and enrichment toys are so important to groups.
  4. Have car? Will travel? Transportation is key to rescues, and both short and long trips are needed.

We can make a difference — one step at a time!

If you or anyone you know in the Belleville, Michigan area are interested in adopting Brooklynne, please visit The Buster Foundation’s Application Page.


A Puppy Needs a Name

24 Feb

Who doesn’t love a puppy? Especially a clumsy, big-footed one? While at the dog park today, we met an old “dog friend” who has opened her home to a brand new pup – a 5 month-old Cane Corso/American Bulldog mix who is so delicious you want to eat her up! Although she is on the shy-side, she quickly warmed up to all the new faces. She loves dogs (she has an awesome, handsome big brother) and tried to make friends with the scruffy terriers.

This little girl needs a name!

When I asked her mom, “What’s her name?” she said she hasn’t figured it out yet…and then said, “Hey! Maybe your blogosphere friends might have some ideas…”

So, below is a slide show to get to know “nameless.”  Suggest away!

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My Longest Foster to Date

23 Feb

Two months ago, a whirlwind came into my life. Petite pittie Pinky came bounding into my heart (and home!) with a zest for life, a penchant for human affection, unending energy and playfulness; a Pandora’s Box of joy and challenges, simultaneously.

Pinky’s pre-rescue story is sort of a sad one. She was, quite literally, locked in a crate for a year. I imagine it was because of her intimidating energy level. Most likely, she had to do everything in her crate from eat, to eliminate, to sleep and everything nothing else a dog needs to do, like exercise.

Finally, a family member secretly clipped the lock and called for her rescue. So it’s no wonder she’s such a whirling dervish, but I am always amazed by the resiliency of dogs. After such neglect, you’d think she wouldn’t know how to behave around people or dogs, but it’s quite the opposite. Sure, she’s a bit in your face, but all she wants is for everyone to love her.

And to my surprise, we immediately met someone on the street that day who desperately wanted to adopt her. Her squirmy body and shining face drew him in even more quickly than they drew me in. But unfortunately, the adoption wasn’t going to work out.

So Pinky stuck around, and is now officially my longest foster dog to date. Before her, it was My Boy Bill who held the record at six doggie-bliss-filled weeks, but he wasn’t even officially adoptable for two of them because of his medical condition.

Pinky taught me a valuable lesson in fostering over these two months; one that I wrote about briefly a while back. You see, with my last foster dogs, there wasn’t really anything to work on. They all seemed to come in these nice little packages, with ribbons and bows and a big friendly smile.

But Pinky was not far from perfect: her energy level could have become a deterrent for potential adoptions, we had a few (hopefully now resolved) issues with house-breaking, and she had a lack of basic obedience training. Oh, and one of the most grievous offenses in a New York City apartment: vocalizing.

Pinky took work. A lot of work. But she’s gotten accustomed to home life now and the change in her behavior is noticeable. So noticeable that something very exciting may be happening very soon…

Pinky is still available for adoption through the Picasso Veterinary Fund of The Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals. If you or anyone you know would be interested in adopting her, please email

Wordless Wednesday

22 Feb

Tales From A Terrier (The Scruffy Kind)

21 Feb
This weekend I got to check out what my mom is always chatting about – the notorious Pittie walk! I already liked this group because they don’t exclude any breeds – as long as you can appreciate those muscle-ly, big headed dogs.

Since this was my first time out, I needed a wing dog so I invited one of my besties: Alice and her mom. As you can see, Alice is like me – not pittie at all! I convinced her we would have a long walk, lots of sunshine and, if we behaved, lots of treats! The gentle leader is my walking tool of choice – okay, not mine but my mom’s. Poor Alice had to put one on because her mom assumed she would pull with all the excitement of the Riverside walk.
All the pitties were super nice and friendly (aren’t most of them?). I even tolerated Pinky, who is a little jumping machine. She seemed to know my mom and that was VERY confusing to me. I got worried I would have to share my mom with Pinky, but thank goodness she was attached to a nice guy named Josh. We became fast acquaintances. See, here is a pic of me being polite and letting her sniff me…
There is so much to say but I am so tired from the big walk – Riverside Drive and 95th Street to 57th Street! Here are some highlights:
  • Remi LOVES squirrels.
  • Jackson seemed very sweet!
  • Havi is a leader, she even wears a backpack. I assume she had lots of kibble in there in case we got lost!
  • Gertie and her mom picked a sweet route to walk. Why?
    • Paths were wide. Great for dogs like me who can occasionally react to those folks on bikes.
    • It was beautiful. We walked RIGHT next to the Hudson River most of the walk!
    • There was grass most of the time – for pee breaks, sniffing and laying down if you needed it.
  • And lastly, the cutest puppy was there – Dosa! She has the pretty eyes and she looked a little nervous at first and didn’t want to walk. We were all so proud and she kept walking the entire time! I think she liked being part of a pack of grown-up dogs.

Here’s a gallery to tide you over till next time…Bird

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Adoptable Pittie of the Week: Chip

20 Feb

So, the smallest part of us didn’t really want to post our next adoptable from Rescue-a-Bull because we sort of want to adopt him ourselves. You’ve been warned. Here’s Chip!

From his listing on Adopt a Pet:

“Chip is another cast away from North Carolina who found himself in the wrong hands at a very young age. Luckily someone contacted us and we were happy to scoop him up and whisk him off to a safe foster home.”

“He is currently 8 weeks and he is all puppy at heart – lovable, adorable and oh-so sweet. Chip will be ready for his forever home soon, so get your applications in now!”

You can see many more pictures of Chip on Rescue-a-Bull’s Facebook Page.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in adopting this sweet puppy, please email

Letters from Lucy

17 Feb

Hi everyone! Lucy here.

Can you keep a secret?

Whenever Dad takes out the suitcase, I like to mope around the house and make it look like I’m sad that he’s going away. But I’m not. Because when Dad goes on vacation, Crazy Uncle Matt comes over to play!

I love, love, LOVE my crazy Uncle Matt and we have the best, best, BEST time. Dad even tells other people that I love Uncle Matt more than I love him.

So when Dad went to Disney World (I hear they have really big mice there! I would chase them all over the place!), I got to spend a whole week playing and snuggling with my most favorite second favorite person in the whole wide world.

Sometimes I feel bad that I have such a good time with Uncle Matt, but then I remember that Dad lets him stay with me for that exact reason. Matt makes me happy, I make him happy, and that makes Dad the most happy!

Pinky’s Vacation Time

16 Feb

So, while I was away (in Disney World – what a nerd!), Pinky went off to Instinct Dog Training here in New York City. I tried to line up a short term foster home for her, but wouldn’t you know it? All the foster parents I know here already had a foster dog in their care. Instinct made a very generous offer to board Pinky that I simply could not refuse. I, of course, told them that I was only working with her using positive reinforcement training techniques, so I would appreciate if they did the same, as she was doing so well with it.

They made this short video of her for us, and we LOVE it. It truly shows off Pinky’s playful personality and penchant for affection. And above all that, what a quick learner she is!

Before Pinky left, she only knew “sit,” “stay,” and “touch” commands. Now she’s got a great “down” and has even started a bit of agility! We couldn’t be more proud of the work she accomplished!

Pinky is still available for adoption through the Picasso Veterinary Fund of The Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals. If you or anyone you know would be interested in adopting her, please email

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