4 Furry Best Friends

........................................................................................................Diesel, Magnum, Perdie & Jade.....................................................................................................

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sick Girl

This is Jade when she was a healthy puppy. This photo was taken when we adopted her from Moosonee Puppy Rescue. I was taking care of her for a friend that I thought might adopt her. But they didn't. How could they not? Timing is everything and they were smart enough to realize that they were taking a trip and didn't have time for a puppy. They would think about 'it' when they got back... I volunteered to dog sit but they still said no. (A few months later they bought a dog form a farm on the side of the road.  More about this later.) 

I explained this to this sweet little puppy that she would not have a forever home...she was ok...she had only known disappointment. It was only the day before that she was separated from her husky mom and three husky mix brothers. Isn't she a lab? This will give you a sense as to what is happening in Northern Ontario. Her Mom was obviously running 'wild' when she was in heat and had two partners. One of the partners was obviously a lab or she could be from another dogs littler? We don't really know. All I know is that someone other than me and my children fell in love with her....

Diesel watches over Jade

 and so she stayed at our home...her forever home. 

Kennel Cough hits our youngest little girl:

Jade is over a year now and vaccinated for Kennel Cough but that didn't stop this little pup from getting so sick that she had to be rushed to the Vet. She just stood there...not making eye contact...no tail wag, no licks...then she laid down and looked like she wanted to die. It was a very scary feeling for me. I just knew there was something wrong. I rushed her to our wonderful Vet clinic. They took her in right away especially when I told them she had the very contagious kennel cough. Upon examination she had a fever and the Vet had never seen such a sad dog. She loves the Vet and howls when we get anywhere close to it. A wonderful group of professionals that truly LOVE animals. Jade had developed a secondary infection to kennel cough. Poor girl. A few needles and some antibiotics and she went home. I've never been worried a dog would die from kennel cough but this little girl gave us a scare. 

Rescue a dog, save a life:

Jade is the most wonderful sweet little puppy. She loves everyone and everything. The family that did not adopt her bought a dog from the side of a country road. I have friends that are farmers and they do not all have the same opinion but many farmers see dogs like livestock. There is money to be made from them and thus...the signs posted at the end of the lane way... puppies for sale. 

Please, please don't encourage this. It breaks my heart. Every time you buy a dog from a 'backyard breeder', they will breed again and again. When they can't sell the puppies, where do you think they go? I pray they end up in a shelter.  

As for the 'friend' that bought a dog rather than rescue one, ...I think it is just ignorance and the same problem with our dying planet...the familiar "its not my problem"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cleopatra? ...Following Cesar Millan's 'way'

Before Kennel cough, the dogs relaxed after their walk as a 'pack'.

My husband is calling me Cleopatra:

It just happened. I was at a book store picking up a gift for a birthday present and there it was..."Be the Pack Leader" one of Cesar's books. What propelled me to pick it up and start reading I have no idea but this was my week...completely addicted to this book as well as "Inside the Dog". Officially I have lost it, I'm a dog 'nut'. No shame there...    

Spoiled Rescue Dogs?

I have learned so much from Cesar's book. I suppose I have always felt sorry for rescued dogs and spoiled them. I gave excuses for their behavior because they had been abused or mistreated. What I am learning is that they don't need that, they need to be respected like a dog. They need to be exercised, trained or worked as in the case of my border collie, Perdie. After trying Cesar's 'way', my dogs are still happy and loving, just more relaxed...maybe more fulfilled. Their lives have purpose? 

For some I'm sure I am 'preaching to the choir' but others with rescued dogs...give his book a read and try it. I'm shocked at the changes in my dogs. I walk them as a pack of 4! I look like a dog walker. Diesel(3-legs) comes for 20min. He can't walk for 45 due to his arthritis and he has benefited the most from our walks. We really let him be the pack leader because we felt sorry for him. I'm sure it was so stressful for him having 3 legs, knowing he had a disadvantage with other dogs, feeling like he had to protect the pack including me. No wonder he barked like crazy at other dogs when they passed. 

Major setback:

I just got back from March Break vacation. The dogs went to a kennel....never again! All 4 have been vaccinated for kennel cough but that doesn't mean they won't get it. And they did! I can't walk them in the cold and of course it is a cold spring, -8C today!  grrr or brrr or both! One of the dogs is worse than the others, the lab mix and she sounds like she is barfing and coughing when she moves around too much. I sent her into a steam shower this morning and she is breathing better. So frustrating! They don't deserve this. Poor pups. Hopefully a speedy recovery. I was working on not feeling sorry for them...but this is different.

save a life

Rescue a dog...save a life:

How can we not feel sorry for a dog that has been mistreated? It's why I rescued Perdie. I felt I could 'save' her and give her a good life. That being said, what is a good life to a dog? A couch to lie on, treats, sitting on someone's lap, human hugs? No it's food, shelter and a purpose in life.  Isn't that what we all want? I guess it was the purpose that I was missing before reading Ceasar Milan's book. It has made me realize I wasn't giving my dogs the life they deserve. I'm on it! ...after kennel cough of course.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Working Border Collie



As Perdie settled into her forever home, she started to show signs that she was a 'true' Border Collie and ...needed a job. She fell in love with the tennis ball! Perdie is obsessed with playing  fetch. This may seem like a lot of fun... and it is...but in moderation.

This is an obsession. She wakes in the morning, running to the back door hoping you will throw a ball. She runs outside, lies by the door waiting for you to throw a ball, just on the off chance you might throw it. Every park she has ever played fetch in she remembers and pulls towards it as you take her for a walk.  My neighbors know when she is going to the park to play fetch as it takes everything in my power to quiet her as she pulls, barking with joy all the way to the park.  

The Pink Ball


A dog with an obsession is never a good thing. I think it is hard on her. A border collie is a lot of work because they need to be challenged...needing a job. Agility is outstanding work for her quick mind. She loves it. I love it too. Especially when the instructor tells me it is my fault she ran past a jump....I turned my shoulders and Perdie noticed and thought she was to go the other way? Looks like I'm the one taking lessons. Border collies have Incredible minds! 


Before bringing a working dog into your home be realistic with your expectations. They require a lot more time and energy than other breeds. They need stimulation and challenge. They are very active for 15 years or so. They can not be left home alone all day as Perdie was.


Know as much about a breed as possible. My first rescue was an Australian Shepard on 'death row' at an animal shelter. She was misunderstood and without socialization and a 'job' she became fearful and aggressive. No one would go near her. Not even the staff at the shelter. 

Working dogs in the 'wrong hands' can become aggressive with fear. They don't know what to do so they snarl, growl and try to protect themselves. The number of smart, beautiful working dogs that have been euthanized is frightening. Please research the breed. 

Working Girl?


The majority of dogs in rescue are mixed breeds. You may find a lab-border collie cross or a flat coat retriever-border collie and maybe a little less 'working obsession' in these dogs.  There are wonderful mixes in rescue. That being said, if you are up for the active challenge of a working dog, there are plenty or border collies waiting in shelters. Some of the best agility dogs are rescued dogs. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Border Collie that wouldn't play ball?


We adopted Perdie from All Breed Canine Rescue in 2006 when she was about six months old. She was so scared. She cowered from me and my children. She wouldn't even chase a ball. 

Perdie wouldn't have anything to do with a ball in 2006.

I still remember the conversation with her foster 'mom' over the phone, she said to me "how soon can you get here?"  Perdie was in rescue with 14 other adult dogs and this young border collie, confused as to why her family had given up on her, was terrified. 

Brown Puppy:

The day we picked her up, we placed her safely in a dog crate in the back of our SUV. We drove for about 10 minutes before the sounds and smells from the back forced us to pull over. She was not crying but releasing bodily fluid from both ends....ugh. I have learned that this is normal for some rescued dogs. They are just so scared

Well, what to do with this beautiful puppy that was brown and smelly?  We were on a muddy country road! We pulled over and cleaned her as best we could then plugged our noses and tried to reassure the little pup that all would be ok as we drove to the nearest  pet store. We found a Petsmart a half hour away and walked right in. We explained that she was a rescue and desperately needed a bath(like they couldn't tell she needed a bath...she was brown). They took her in with open arms. One hour later we picked her up. There she was screaming in a crate waiting for pick up. This little angle had been through so much. We couldn't wait to take her to her forever home.

She's a 'model'. Perdie today. 

Famous border collie?

She has come a long way. Perdie has two levels of obedience training and one level agility with McCanns. Adopting a border collie requires a lot of time and effort. They are  working dogs and unfortunately bred frequently by inexperienced breeders on the side of a country road. They are beautiful puppies...but a border collie is a working dog

And I don't mean this kind of work:  Perdie is  model with Hot Paws Talent

"sit" ok now what can I do for you?

Why was this beautiful border collie in Rescue?

A family had purchased Perdie, possibly from an inexperienced breeder and kept her in a crate while they went to work every day. Too tired at the end of the day, they didn't have time for her.(Any experienced border collie breeder would not sell their puppies to those not familiar with the breed. Again I stress she is a working dog!)  She became too much for her family to 'handle'. Did they research the breed? not likely. 

I can say at least they recognized their error and did not continue to confine a border collie and all her 'working' boundless energy to a crate for the rest of her life. I am grateful for that. Many are not so lucky.

Border collies are very, very smart dogs but that comes with a few challenges. (next post...the working border collie)

Beautiful Border Collie!

"Rescue a Dog and They Rescue You Right Back"   Sharron Purdy, MPR

Perdie is named after this wonderful woman that has dedicated her life to saving dogs.  Her rescue group is Moosonee Puppy Rescue. Please visit her site. She has done so much for dogs. A truly remarkable person.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

To Shave or not to Shave... your dog!

"I'm going to buy a dog that doesn't shed." 

We've all heard people say that. The fact is, the majority of dogs shed, with the exception of hairless dogs. Unfortunately a lot of dogs are in rescue because they shed. 

Puppies shed very little and inexperienced dog owners don't realize how much an adult 100 lb golden retriever will shed in a year. The fur becomes too much of a 'hassle' and off to the shelter that dog goes. I don't even want to think about how many dogs have died because they... SHED! 

Diesel is a husky/shepherd/?? mix. He generates a lot of fur. This is what his paw looks like this winter. It has been very cold. His body adapts and he grows more fur. Which means more fur to shed.
Diesel's paw in the winter.
Diesel loves winter and proudly lies in the snow chewing a bone in this photo. His sister, a lab mix is not as fortunate...she shivers...thus the sweater. Bark & Fitz Port Credit $45

Diesel loves sunny days in the snow.(not -20C...that's when the booties go on)

SWITCH SEASONS(happy thought)

In the summer, Diesel enjoys 'the finer things'...like lounging by the pool. Notice how he rests his back end on the lounge chair. It's challenging running on 3 legs all day. He's no dummy. That being said...
Diesel lounging poolside  
he's black with a thick husky coat and pants(our version of sweats) like crazy in the hot sun. Eventually he will leave the hot sun for the grass where he falls asleep until I literally have to pick him up and move him to the shade

nap time
With the massive amounts of fur that Diesel sheds in the summer and how hot he gets, I thought I should try 'the shave'. Friends had said their dogs loved it. I talked to my vet and she warned me about sunburn with a short fur cut. Another friend warned me about a good groomer vs inexperienced or 'cheap' groomers. Her dog developed a skin infection from dirty clippers. With this information and a little online research, I felt I was informed enough to book an appointment. 

A few hours later, this is the dog I picked up:

What kind of breed is this?
At the groomers, I was on the floor laughing. What had I done? And who was this grey super skinny dog? I took him to a friends house and she thought I had a new dog and what were the chances he too had 3 legs too! What a funny looking dog he became with a 'shave'.

All laughing aside...he was so happy. He ran around like a puppy. He laid on the cold marble floor sprawled out loving the cool feeling on his skin. He loved the extra belly rubs he was getting as my family was fascinated with his new texture. 

As funny as he looks we gave him a second shave last summer. Knowing he was happy and for me, having a few months with a little less fur to deal with was wonderful. 

Lab says, "and you thought my sweater looked funny."


All dogs shed, even the designer breeds. Some shed less but require routine, often costly, grooming. Knowing this before you get any dog is imperative. Don't let a dog end up in rescue because of its shedding. Weekly brushing, a good vacuum, and a summer cut/shave can often alleviate some of the dog fur. Talk to your groomer before cutting your dogs fur. Some coats won't grow back 'the same'. Diesel loved his summer SHAVE! 

Next Post:
My beautiful BORDER COLLIE rescue



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cold Weather is Tough on Dogs... especially when they are missing a leg..

Diesel's Down!  


It is so cold this winter that my 4 Furry BFF are complaining by lifting their paws. This is a problem for 3-legged Diesel...he goes down. He tries to balance on a front and back leg for a moment and then he collapses into the snow. He just lies there and waits for his feet to warm (in the photo look at his front paw how he has it bent out of the snow) and then off he goes until the cold pain sets in again and down he will go again. This sounds cruel...and yes we should move to a warm climate...I agree. Fortunately we only have a handful of days too cold for a husky. And on those days, we deal with cold paws and salty walks with the popular and trendy, DOG BOOTIES.   

He doesn't care how trendy and safe they are. 


We struggled today to get these boots on. He really doesn't like them. This is a pup used to pain. He would rather freeze his feet than wear them. Still, I persevered and got him booted. He is wearing muttluks.www.muttluks.com They cost about $45 and I highly recommend buying them in a bright colour because...

He gets them off!

VIDEO: one crazy husky gets his boots off:


Although booties didn't work for Diesel's walk today, they have worked in the past. They keep their feet warm and help protect and prevent their paw-pads from cracking. Salt and cold can irritate a dogs pads and they will start to chew at the irritation. As well some salts are harmful if swallowed or licked. 

If your dog doesn't wear boots on cold salty sidewalks, you should wash their feet with WARM WATER when they enter the house.(be sure to dry them off so that they don't lick the water and again cause more irritation. If you notice your dog has cracked paws, catching it early is important. Try applying some 'bag balm' to the area. It will help soften the pads. You will want your dogs pads to be tough so discontinue when the cracks heal. 

FYI: Cracked paw-pads can also be caused by an allergic reaction to something they eat or breath, a yeast infection(similar to athletes foot), even a zinc deficiency. 

Having a 3-legged rescue dog has a few challenges. Going 'down' in the snow when Diesel's feet are two cold is one. With warm winter booties and someone(me) taking a little more time to secure the boots on a little tighter, he can enjoy a cold winter days walk just like any other dog. 

NEXT POST: for those that live in warm(for me wishful) climates...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Water Therapy for 3 legged Dogs

"Are we going on the boat?"
With a foot of snow outside and snow still falling...I had to break the news to Diesel... 

IT'S STILL WINTER! and this is the look he gave me. With a little...  
"get this thing off me."

Believe it or not a 3-legged dog can swim...but for how long? It's not safe for Diesel to be around water without his life jacket on.www.myoutwardhound.com 

Because Diesel has severe Arthritis in his back hip, WATER THERAPY was recommended. It is an incredible invention for dog rehabilitation. The dogs walk into a small 'tank' and the water starts to fill up slowly. A therapist walks with the dogs as they are(as you can imagine) a little scared. When the water gets to a height to help support the dogs weight, they start walking on a treadmill. www.vetemergency.ca/docs/rehab_team.html This treatment is helpful for a lot of dogs. A Border Collie  was in the tank after us. He had torn his ACL. He loved walking in the tank. For dogs recovering from ligament, or hip surgery, this is excellent therapy.  For Diesel, he was so scared and he has been through so much that I felt we could try something else. 

At the same clinic they taught me some MASSAGE THERAPY techniques. These techniques have worked really well for Diesel. I would highly recommend it for all animals. Just as we enjoy massage, animals do to. Watch your dogs movement, breathing and their eyes slowly close and you know they love it. For Diesel his muscles are so tight around his good hip. He needs a little help with massage. 

Writing about massage made me think of this. When I scratch under Diesel's front leg on the side where his leg is missing, his leg 'stump' goes crazy. It moves really fast as if my arm is his leg and he is scratching himself.

He is one of those special dogs that you know needs you as much as you need him. He makes me smile and appreciate him every day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Life's Not Perfect...

Diesel loves to run. 

Having 3 legs doesn't slow him down as you can see from this video...however the stress on his good hip has taken its tole. He is suffering from severe ARTHRITIS.

How did I know he had ARTHRITIS?

He growled when I was petting his back end near his spine. It was unlike him to growl at all so I knew there was something wrong. I took him to the vet and they sent me to the UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH. There he had a number of tests. 


At a year old when first diagnosed, he had the hip of a 10yr old.  The first treatment made me laugh...REST?. He still has a hard time with that one. I did shorten his walk and stopped treating him like Superman. I know he can do anything any other dog can do but it comes at a price and I want him around a long time.  

Metacam, Sashas Bits, and Cartrophen injections were prescribed.  Metacam made a noticeable difference but I'm not sure about the injections or Bits.

I did however... try WATER THERAPY (cont next post)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Diesel's Happy Ending

Two young girls heard a man bragging about cutting the leg off a puppy in his back yard. They immediately went to save him. They took him home to people that they know would help. And those people did. With their help, the little guy made his way to Moosonee Puppy Rescue where he had surgery to clean up his leg and find his forever home with us. 

I met Diesel before his surgery. Moosonee Puppy Rescue brought Diesel at the time named Hobbs to our house and he ran around our yard without a care in the world that he had 3 legs. He would try so hard to use the portion of his cut leg. His leg had not even heeled over. There wasn't enough skin to cover it yet he let me hold him in my arms. He just wanted to be loved.

How could this sweet, little puppy ever forgive humans for what that man did to him? 

It's what rescued dogs do. They forgive in hopes of a better life. I'm so glad he did. He has touched my family's life and those of strangers that we pass us on the street. Children look at him and question and learn that it's ok to be different ...even for a dog.

He is one happy rescued dog!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Write About Four Furry Best Friends?

"I've had it! If I read one more post, or talk to one more person that says you should not adopt and rescue a dog I will lose it" I said to my husband. And he said, "instead of losing it, blog about it". "Tell as many people as you can about our 4 wonderful rescued dogs".  

And here I am. Please help me spread the word about animal adoption so that 325 000+ (petfinder.com) animals will not die but live wonderful lives like my 4 furry best friends.

Wait 'till you meet my pups. Crazy having 4? Ya a little...so I hope to make you smile with each post and think twice about buying a dog or any animal and save one instead.

This is Diesel who came to me as Hobbs from Moosonee Puppy Rescue when he was 8weeks old. He loves the snow(glad one of us does), burrows in it if you can imagine from this photo.

He looks like your average husky mix but with one special exception: 
He has 3 legs.

Diesel's Story: He was pretty much a wild dog, born in sub zero temperatures in Northern Ontario. At 6 weeks old, for some reason he was separated from his mother and fell asleep in a stranger's dog house all alone. The following morning his leg was frozen in a puddle in the dog house. All it would have taken was some warm water and someone with a heart to free him. Can you imagine how small he was at 6weeks old? A tiny puppy... and how helpless he must have felt when he saw a man come towards him with an axe. 

(more about Diesel's happy ending tomorrow)