What Is This “Rescue”?

I used to work at the Humane Society of Jefferson County.  It’s what some people call an “animal shelter” but I avoid that term when I can because of the negative connotations that come with that term.  It is, however, a place where a large number of animals are housed in minimal accommodations.  My coworkers and I worked very hard, every day, to keep their living spaces clean and healthy.  All animals were vaccinated upon entry, watched closely for signs of disease, and medicated as necessary for their recovery.  Euthanasia was a last resort, and not taken lightly.  But it did happen.

Visitors to H.S.J.C. sometimes saw tags on kennels reading “Going to Rescue”.  Some asked what that means.  A few complained that they wanted to adopt an animal so tagged: “Why can’t I adopt if the animal is right here?”

What is Rescue?

Local adoptions are just one way shelters seek to save the lives of the animals in their care.  They also work with “rescues” that will transport animals to other states where the demand for great dogs and cats is higher than it is here.  Some shelters even transport animals themselves in a specialty vehicle.

Higher demand: how can that be?

I’ll tell you.  Areas like New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida have strict spay/neuter laws so irresponsible pet owners are not dumping tens of thousands of puppies and kittens a year into shelters for the community to support and care for.  Therefore they often have a shortage of adoptable animals – unless you go to a licensed breeder and pay big bucks for an AKC registered animal.  By moving animals from areas with a high population to areas with high demand, we save the lives of our animals because they do not end up being euthanized for lack of space or left to die out in the wild.

Why Can’t *I* Adopt This One?

When a rescue “pulls” an animal from a shelter it is often done by looking at pictures and information posted to the internet.  Trusting relationships are developed between agencies, making this sort of thing possible.

This is important because when a rescue accepts (reserves) and animal for transport in a week or two, they immediately set about seeking an adoptive home or a foster home for that animal.  In some cases when the animal is unloaded from the transport van it will go almost immediately into the arms of it’s new family.  We would seriously disappoint both the rescue agency and that adoptive family if the animal they are eagerly waiting for were adopted out locally.

But There Are So Few Left For Me!

It is not common for a large percentage of a shelter’s population to be claimed by a rescue at one time.  But on occasion is does happen and they allow it to happen because they’re expecting a large intake of new animals.  When people ask us, “What am *I* supposed to do, there’s nothing for ME?” they say, “Come back tomorrow”.  They take in animals every day.  Some days a LOT of animals.

What Do Rescues Do?

Loading for transport.

Some rescues are solely for transportation.  Other rescues house the dogs in their own facility or in foster homes to deal with any health or training issues that need to be addressed before the dog is adoptable.  This includes spay.neuter, rabies vaccination, heartworm test — and treatment, if needed.  Some dogs have other health problems that require veterinary care before they can be adopted.

Most people won’t adopt a wild-eyed hooligan dog, so most rescues also work at civilizing dogs that were picked up as strays or rescued from neglect and abuse by owners.  The dogs need to know and obey basic commands, they need to be housebroken and crate trained, they need to be able to walk well on a leash.  Many potential adopters don’t want to (or don’t know how to) do this training, most shelters don’t have the time or staff to train their dogs, so the rescues have to do it to make the dog adoptable.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line for any good shelter is always saving the lives of these animals.  If that means sending them a thousand miles away to find good homes, they’ll do it.  They are always delighted to adopt out locally — and they do this on a daily basis too — but when an animal has already been promised to someone, it cannot be adopted by someone else.  That just wouldn’t be fair and doing it anyway would make it hard for the shelter to find rescues to work with because they’d get a reputation for unreliability.

So please understand: it’s nothing personal.  It’s also not about greed: the shelter often loses money on animals that go to rescues.  But they save the life, and that is their primary concern.  We hope it is yours as well.

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Ugg Learns a New Trick

Ugg learned a new trick while we were away at church today.
He’s been so lonely since his lil buddy, Blue, left on a rescue run.

When we got home about 12:30 Ugg met us at the wooden gate, grinning his face off and tail flapping madly. A neighbor said he was loose in the yard for quite a while, she first saw him around 11:00.  The roof of his kennel is all torn up.  The corner is shredded and there are many punctures to the tarp covering.

I moved Ugg into kennel #1, which is our Max Security cell, with mesh fastened in under the roof along the edges to prevent climbers from getting out. I had to move all the added hardware from his old room to the new one too.  That was Blue’s room since I figured if anyone was a climber, it would be a hyper Terrier.

Ugg discovered early on that he could yank his door into the kennel (twisting the latch) and get out. I installed a heavy chain with anchor shackles until I could order a second latch to mount down low. But even the second latch wasn’t enough so I use both latches AND the chain at night and when I go away.  He can’t get out through the door any more, so he went looking for some other way … and found it. Who’d have thought such a massive dog would be a climber?

I guess we’ll have to go to N.A.C. and find Ugg a new neighbor – and save another life.

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Moonie’s Toy Migration

We keep a basket of dog toys on the hearth in the living room. All the house dogs are welcome to select from the assortment when they want something to play with. It is not uncommon for a new dog to systematically empty the basket by taking a toy, chewing on it for a while, then going back to select another. Usually they keep the toys in the living room.

Moonshine, however, likes to play with toys in the bedroom. So she will select a toy, sneak to the bedroom with it to play for a few minutes, then go visit the basket again. She leaves all the “used” toys scattered around the bedroom.

The funny part is that we have yet to catch her in the act of transporting the toys from one location to another. She’s a bit high-strung and has a habit of pacing the house, so traversing the hallway over and over is not unusual for her.

Somehow she manages to relocate most of the toys before we discover what she’s up to. And we’ve learned not to walk through the bedroom in the dark. Fortunately she has not done this once we all go to bed at night. That would be awkward. She’s a funny girl, our Moonie is!

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Blue Steele: Notes on a foster dog

A sweet, smart, energetic fellow: Blue just needs to learn some manners.

Last updated: Sept. 24, 2018

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: August 24th, 2018
  • Breed: Terrier Mix
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Young, Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: @ 35 pounds
  • Spay/Neutered: Yes
  • General Health: Excellent
  • Temperament: High energy but affectionate and playful
  • Gets Along with Dogs: Good neighbor, likes to play. Not good at sharing.
  • Gets Along with People: Yes. Still jumpy/nippy but working on that.
  • Housebroken/Crate Trained: Yes
  • Departure date: Sept 21, 2018


Found as a starving stray.

Known Issues & Progress

Blue was moved here from another foster because he was getting possessive of his Foster mom and nasty toward the other dogs when they approached her. He’s here for socialization training and calming down.


  • DA2PP:
  • Bordatella:
  • Rabies: Aug. 17, 2018 (Claws n Paws)
  • Spay/Neuter: Aug. 17, 2018 (Claws n Paws)
  • Wormed:
  • Flea/Tick preventative: 08/18, 09/18
  • Heartworm preventative: 08/18, 0918
  • Heartworm Test: Aug. 17, 2018 (Claws n Paws) NEGATIVE


In roughly chronological order, newest at the bottom. Click the thumbnails to enlarge. Some pictures are linked to Doggy Tales and videos about Blue, click those to open the related story or video.

Blue settled in quickly

Loves an (almost) empty peanut butter jar!

New neighbor: Ugg
Not his reaction, neighbor’s name

Chillin in the shade

Meeting Moonshine a story

Bossing Ugg (story)

Blue and Ugg making great strides! (story)

Follow the Leader (story)

I’m done playing, get my treat, they’re in there.

Blue helps me demonstrate a no nip tip (story)

Progress notes: 09/19

ADOPTED 9/22/18

Progress Notes: Sept. 19, 2018

I got word last night that Blue will be leaving on Friday’s rescue run. He is going to a rescue that has experience with rowdy dogs, so he ought to do okay. Ugg will be staying for another round.

The ironic part is that Ugg is actually doing better than Blue at settling down, but I guess I haven’t made that clear. And Blue is a small dog, so even though he is more rowdy than Ugg, he is not terrifying like Ugg can be when he does decide to get my attention by jumping on me and mouthing.

So I’ll help Blue pack his bags for the trip, and Ugg will hang with us for another month.

We’re on our third Kuranda dog bed for Ugg. The first one I ordered was too small. The second was framed in all PVC and he chewed up a corner piece. Kuranda sent replacement parts (aluminum top caps for all four legs, but while we were waiting for those he chewed up more parts.

27″ x 44″ all aluminum frame Kuranda dog bed

Because of the generosity of a good-hearted woman, I ordered an all aluminum Kuranda bed for him. That one has held up well and he is laying on it. He didn’t seem interested in laying on the PVC bed, only in chewing it.

It has been rainy, and he likes being up off the wet gravel. Ugg is also using his dog house for the first time. Until the remnants of Florence came flouncing through, Ugg preferred to camp on the pea gravel, even in light rain (because his roof keeps most of his kennel dry in a light rain). But the heavier rain and breezes sent him scuttling for shelter.

Blue likes his Coolaroo and his doghouse and uses them all the time. He has done only minor damage to his Coolaroo dog bed.

These two are able to share the play yard again. They had a dust-up a while back over a yard bone one of them found. That got ugly, though it wasn’t Ugg who started it. Blue gets possessive of treats and toys. Neither got hurt in their dust-up, but Blue is still guarded around Ugg. I think he wants to try to prove to Ugg who is boss here, but has found that Uggs size needs to be respected. They do not play together any more, but when their paths cross as they wander, they are civil. There just can’t be any toys in the yard.

Ugg is easy-going and non-aggressive. His only issue is that he doesn’t realize how big and powerful he is, and he can scare the willies out of the smaller dogs when he tries to play with them. I’ll continue working with him on that as well as his self control when he gets excited. He’s going to be fine.

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Blue’s No Nip Tip

Blue is a terrier mix. As such he is naturally excitable and energetic. Blue was found as a starving stray, so he most likely was deprived of attention as well as food. As a result, he can be overly enthusiastic, even demanding, in his response to people who offer to interact with him. Telling him, “No” does no good. What can we do to redirect him from accosting his handler? Try this.

Blue is still young. As he matures he will settle down some. Once he get settled into a permanent home he will become more confident about his relationship with his People. He IS a terrier, so we cannot expect him to ever be as calm and laid back as a Basset, but he will learn better behavior.

My task with him is to help him learn to restrain the urge to jump on and nip at me as a way of expressing his pleasure at seeing me. Once we get him past that, he will be adoptable and will make someone a happy, fun-filled little companion.

For more about Blue, visit his page.

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Follow the Leader: Blue Steele Style

Blue and Ugg are our “outside boys”. When Ugg arrived, Blue had already been here a couple of days and got lonely when no one else was outside.

When I first brought Ugg home, Blue growled at him and backed away. Maybe because Ugg is twice Blue’s size, maybe because Ugg stunk, maybe because I was with Ugg not Blue. Blue likes to be the center of attention.

It did not take long for Blue to change his mind about Ugg and they started hanging out close to their shared wall, getting to know one another.

Blue’s jealous/possessive trait kept them from playing in the yard together for several days, but we eventually got that worked out and they now enjoy spending their play periods in the yard together. They have worked out their pecking order: little Blue is the leader and Ugg is his stooge who happily follows him around like Pinky and The Brain.

Okay, maybe not
*that* hard

Today was a hot one, and their mid-day play time was mostly spent laying in a patch of shady grass, because that’s what Blue said to do. In the afternoon we had a short, hard rain that came late enough to cool things off. Too early in the day and rain makes things tropical and sultry once the rain stops.

With the cooler temps and wet grass for the evening play session, Blue invented a new game: High Speed Follow the Leader.

The way it worked is that Ugg would be following Blue around as they sniffed. Without warning, Blue would bolt off at a run. Ugg rose to the challenge and tried to catch up. Blue is much more nimble than Ugg, and when Ugg caught him, Blue would execute a sharp turn — which he managed, but Ugg tended to slew around in a wide turn, if he didn’t lose traction all together and go down to slide on his side along the wet grass.

Blue clearly thought this was hilarious. Ugg continued to play along with the game, not appearing to be embarrassed or frustrated in the least. Indeed, he thought this was a fun game!

Blue would slow to a walk and they’d resume sniffing until Blue sprung another surprise departure on Ugg. Over and over they did this until both were winded and ready for their treats.

Blue indicated their readiness by going to the mailbox where I store outside treats, toys, and small equipment and nosed the door, “I’m ready for my snack, get us our cookies!”

Blue is a little bossy, but really cute. And smart!

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Peanut Butter Moonshine

I spent just under four hours today making just over 1,000 peanut butter dog treats. Ostensibly these are for the Quilts and Canines event on the 15th of the month. In actuality, some will be needed elsewhere before then so I’ll have to make more next week.

The process of making these peanut butter treats left a large peanut butter jar empty. I like to give the empty jars to the outside dogs because they tend to miss out on a lot of treats the house dogs get. But today I decided to give it to Blondie Bear. She’s been feeling down.

There was a time when she and Cochise were the only house dogs. Occasionally a foster dog would earn enough Good Dog points to come in for housebreaking, but the vast majority of the time it was just the four of us and Cochise and Blondie got lots of attention from Marie and me. But then we adopted Josephine. And Buddy. And Callie. And Moonshine is an in-house foster dog. Blondie is pretty laid back and doesn’t get huffy when the others push in front of her to get the People attention. But it hurts her feelings. So I thought it might lift her spirits if I gave HER the peanut butter jar this time.

She was laying on the floor in the kitchen watching me work, everyone else was snoozing in the living room or the den. There should not be a big tussle as the others try to get it away from her.

I set the jar down beside her. She looked at it, looked at me, looked back at the jar. She licked tentatively at the rim and said as she stood up, “Too rich for me. I’m trying to watch my figure.” and walked away.

By now some of the others got wind of the fact that I gave her something that I did not give everyone else and came to investigate. First on the scene was Moonshine. At first she stood off about four feet, her glance darting around the room looking for the others. She glanced at me several times, judging whether that jar was fair game or if I would scold her is she approached. I just watched as I worked.

Josephine was creeping up on the scene from the other side of the table. Moonie decided it was now or never. She stepped up, still casting furtive glances, maybe deciding if this was a trap. It sure smelled GOOD! Josie was stepping closer, so Moonie lowered her head, ever so slowly, still glancing about, and took the rim of the jar gently in her teeth.

She paused, listening, glancing at me, glancing at Josephine, then slowly lifted the jar, turned, and tip-toed out of the room. Once she got into the hallway I heard her claws clickety-clacking rapidly down the tile floor to the bedroom.

I was cutting out treats and loading them on a tray while this was going on. Timing is important in this, especially when I’m doing multiple batches, so I had to keep going until it was time to put that tray in the oven. With that done I took a moment to slip back and make sure Moonshine wasn’t making a mess of the carpet.

She was lounging on a bed, thoroughly enjoying licking every morsel of peanut butter she could reach out of that jar.

As I came to the door she grinned at me, flapped her tail a few times, and stuck her nose back into the jar, tongue snaking out as far as it could to retrieve that peanutty goodness.

That thing kept her happily occupied most of the afternoon! I’m sorry Blondie wasn’t interested, but glad Moonshine enjoyed it. She has started her heartworm treatment and will be getting the injections soon. I’ll have to make sure I empty another peanut butter jar when she comes home from that.

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Progress Notes: 09/04/2018

Both Ugg and Blue have been here for just over a week: Ugg for 8 days today, Blue for 10 days. Both came in with behavior issues. Ugg is a 70 pound Great Dane who still thinks he’s a 10 pound puppy. Blue is excitable too, but his major issue is jealousy and possessiveness.

Blue has been exhibiting this when I had the both of them in the yard at the same time. If Blue has a toy and Ugg comes to see what he has – not even trying to take it, just curious, Blue gets snarly and snappy with him. Same if I’m petting Blue and Ugg comes over. If I’m petting Ugg, Blue will come in and try to push Ugg – who is twice his size – out of the way and take over the affection fest.

It’s interesting that when they’re in their kennels, food and toys don’t seem to cause any issues. In fact I often find Blue’s toys in Ugg’s room, and the only way they could get there is if Blue is placing or holding them within Ugg’s reach.

When Blue acts out, it earns him an immediate and swift trip back to his kennel, where he stays for the rest of the play period, watching me play with Ugg. Lately I’ve been making sure the toys are put up before every joint play time. I’ve been working on getting Blue to take turns for my affection. He’s made strides in the past two days, and nearly every play session is now a joint session. That’s good because they both get doubled time in the yard this way.

Today they got hot from playing in the yard and decided to rest in the shade of my barn and watch me work in the garden.

Blue had found a yard bone and brought it with him. He wasn’t chewing on it, just sort of sitting on it.

I took a picture of them being good with my phone. My Handycam is out of commission right now. The phone makes a simulated shutter noise when it snaps a picture, and Blue hopped up to come over and see what that noise was. He left his bone behind.

Ugg reached over and snatched the bone.

When Blue went back to his place, the bone was missing and he started sniffing all around, looking for it, “My bone, my bone – where did my bone go?”

Then he saw Ugg chewing.

“Hey! Is that MY bone you’re chewing on.”

“Nah, I found this just laying around.”

“So, where’s MY bone?”


When Blue pushed in to check on that bone, I grabbed the hose and got ready for an altercation.

“That IS my bone. You stole my bone!”

“Nuh-uh. I found it. You didn’t have it, it was just laying there.”

Then Blue did something that really surprised me …

He said, “Meh — I don’t care. You can have it.” and went back to his spot and laid down!


I’m so proud of Little Boy Blue! That is a major step for him.

He got extra treats when it was time to go back to his room.

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What we know about Callie

A good deal of info has been posted to Facebook about Callie and her history by the people involved in her rescue. The following is my distillation of those accounts.

Callie was originally the family dog of a couple with kids. It appears Callie was kept pregnant much of the time and they sold the puppies. The couple split up and he left, leaving Callie and the kids with her. She claims Callie was his dog, and it seems she took out her feelings about this break-up on Callie, exiling her to existence outside the home, with little or no care.

The Mom and kids went away for 3 weeks, leaving Callie outside with no shelter, food or water. A gentleman who lives nearby took pity on Callie and started leaving food, water, and a blanket for her to lie on outside his door. When he passed away, his son came to clear out the house, found Callie and took her home with him. They fell in love with her.

Callie was pregnant and close to delivering. While Callie seemed gentle and calm, she did snap at the family’s Boston Terrier when he got too close once. The husband feared that their kids might get in the middle of a dog fight if they let her stay and took Callie to the Humane Society of Jefferson County.