Sunday, October 18, 2009

A different kind of Rescue

Friday, after lunch, working hard - well, my brain was anyway. A co-worker from the previous contract popped his head in and said he had a need for my skills. Odd - he is an information security specialist, and a damn good one too - I cannot image what help I could be.

Turns out he and another co-worker have a new friend - a dog followed them into the back entrance, and they want my help. Sure, no problem.

He is a Yellow Lab, obviously full blooded. Check teeth - pearly white. I am guessing no more than 1 year old. Neutered, no collar, but obviously well taken care of. This is someone's pet. Poor boy is lost. Very friendly. We get him some water, and I head to my car for the leashes I always carry.

Right. No leash in the car. Figures. Well, he follows us anyway, and hops right in. I crack the window, pop upstairs to grab my PC for the weekend. I figure I can take him home, crate him, take pics and send to the co-workers so they can place Found Dog ads, and we can notify the local shelters. Oh, and I can scan for a microchip at home, too.

But, I know there is a housing area nearby, so I swing by there first. Driving around slowly, looking for someone looking for a dog, or perhaps an open gate. Spot the USPS delivery van - she is sure she has seen him in the next neighborhood up. So, I head that way.

Then I see it. One of those huge Sandicast statues of a yellow lab sitting on the sidewalk - that must be the house. Oh, wait, it moved. That is a dog! Another yellow lab on the loose. Great.

I put on the brake and open the car door. He comes running over, sniffing the air. He sees the other lab and jumps right in. They lick each other in a way that makes it clear that they know each other. Great, two lost dogs.

The new boy is older, maybe 4-5 by the teeth, also neutered. This one has a collar, but zero tags. Yay.

OK, I am not taking TWO dogs home. Regroup.

I pop out the iPhone, start Where! and type in veterinarian. There are few in the area. I know the closest one, on 55, but I keep getting drawn to one on 54 towards Durham. I call. The message says they are closed for 1/2 hour for training. No problem, I can drive there and wait.

It is only a ten minute drive, but they are open. I explain that I am with a rescue group, and have two strays in the car. Can they scan for chips, please? Sure no problem. They lend me two temp leashes.

The poor tech had never used a scanner before. No numbers coming up. Oh wait, do I have to hold the button down? LOL!! Yes, there is a chip. And yes, there is another. I recognize the prefix codes as 24PetWatch. The friendly attendant calls, and they have them in the system. Both are owned by the same person - yay!!

Even better, this is their vet! They agree to take them and hold them for the owner. Those boys will be home before sunset, I am thinking.

Now THAT is a good reason to get microchips in your dog, if there ever was one.

Not exactly adoptions, but mark up two more rescued by PMR. :-)


We just got the news that PMR pups will once again be participating in the Animal Planet PuppyBowl(r) this year!!

They selected Punkin and Carson this time around. Both have lots of play energy. Of course, that is what we said about Schroeder and Charlie Brown last year, just before Schroeder decided to nap his way through the bowl...

Aida and an unspecified vict... er, volunteer will head up to Silver Spring MD next weekend for the filming.

Tune in on Superbowl Sunday to watch Punkin and Carson FTW!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It Is the Right Time to Adopt a Dog!

With the economy on the mend there are a lot of statistics being tossed around these days. Here is one for you: over two million dogs were euthanized in shelters across America last year. The fear is that the number will grow, a lot, this year. The reason? Well, the economy.

In the past, recessions have not had much of an impact on pet ownership or animal shelter populations. The rationale is that folks will continue to spend on their children and their pets through thick and thin. But this recession is different. This time millions are losing their homes because the major underlying cause of this downturn is tied to mortgages. As people lose their homes, they are turning to apartments or relatives. In many of these situations, they are not able to take their beloved pets with them, so they turn to shelters and rescues.

Most animal shelters are full most of the time, if not all of the time. Now they are overflowing. This is especially true for “No-Kill” shelters, because pet owners are desperate to have their pets rehomed and not put down. Rescues are getting multiple calls every day from people begging them to take their pets to rehome.

The good news for you is that now the majority of animals in the shelters are not the matted, dirty, flea and tick bitten, unsocialized strays – they are loved, well cared-for, clean, socialized pets ready for a new home. Of course, these are course generalizations, but in general, this is the trend we are seeing.

If you are thinking about bringing a four-footed member into your family, the time is right to adopt. Please visit your local shelter or rescue group today to see if they have your next cuddle-buddy waiting for you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's Time for Dogtoberfest! Prossit!

The leaves are starting to turn. The evenings are cool, almost chilly, and the days are layered with warm sun on the skin and a cool breeze drifting over it. That means it must be... Time for Dogtoberfest!

Pawfect Match Rescue continues our tradition of the big fall party to celebrate our volunteers, our sponsors, our friends, our pooches, and the spirit of rescue with our annual fall event called Dogtoberfest. Last year we discovered how unbelievably beautiful Harris Park is in early October, so we are holding Dogtoberfest there again this year. A link to the map to Harris Park in on our website, front page.

Food. Dogs. Drink. Rescues. Food. Vendors. Dogs. Demonstrations. Face Painting. More Food and Drink. Puppies. Microchip clinic. Music. Contests. More dogs. A Raffle!

Come get a fall photograph of you and your dogs, or just your dogs, or even just you! Printed right there for you to take with you.

We will have hot dogs, chips, sodas, and lots of home-baked goodies.

There will be several contests throughout the day, and some games. There will be demonstrations. And lots of shopping with vendors who love dogs.

Come on out - bring your pups! Have a wonderful day celebrating dogs with us at the annual Pawfect Match Dogtoberfest!

When the right one comes along

Most pet rescues have them. The lifers, and the ones who despite all the right looks and personality just never get picked for that new home.

Annie is our lifer. She requires just the right home, and for her, so far, that combination just has not arrived. It will, we have faith. But this post is not about Annie.

It is about Phoebe. Phoebe is drop-dead gorgeous. A black and white Siberian Husky (yes, I am biased) with big deep brown eyes. She is tall and lanky, like the supermodel of Huskies. Sweet, sweet personality. And always the girl sitting by the dance floor watching the other girls get invited to the ball. But not Phoebe.

Well, to be fair, she was chosen once. Turned out to be premature, the poor fellow ended up having to take three jobs to pay the rent. He wisely asked us to find her a new home, since she could not get the attention she deserved with him.

She was not always gorgeous. She came to us with a bad case of demodex mange, and skin infections. Poor thing looked like an overused toy, and she itched constantly. Months of treatment, it seemed like endless months. Finally, the right meds did the job, and her lustrous coat grew in. She was ready for the ball.

The application was quite unlikely. An older couple. WAY older couple. No fenced yard. And cats. We set it aside, and politely declined it, explaining that an 18 month old Sibe needs LOTS of exercise, and a previous foster said she was hell on cats. Sigh... next, please.

Well, they were on a mission. They had looked at her many times, and passed her over because it said No Cats. But they kept coming back. They asked for earthly and heavenly guidance, and the answers came back: ask once more. Accept the answer.

They wrote us a wonderful, well-reasoned, and detailed two-page, single spaced letter explaining why they were the right home for Phoebe. It was moving and convincing. We tested her with cats - turns out she could care less, unless they want to play. Play is good. We talked with the Board. It seemed clear that we should give them a try.

Still one obstacle. They live in Yorktown, VA. That is a trip. And, they made it clear, they were willing to make that trip. Problem was, we needed to see her interaction with the cats. Well, as it turns out, we were planning a trip to Maryland, and Yorktown is not that far off the path. The plan was set.

Oh. My. Goodness. This is truly a match made in Heaven, and they will tell you. Phoebe gets to walk 4-5 hours a day in historic Yorktown, on the river, meeting and greeting and playing with her human and canine friends. The cats have quickly moved from curiosity to best pals. The two grey parrots - yeah, they did not mention those - established their boss status the first time Phoebe stuck her nose between the bars. Dem beaks is sharp!

Phoebe is Queen of the Ball now. The right one came along. After almost two weeks we are still getting daily pictures and stories. That is one happy girl!

Congratulations, Phoebe.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dog Prog Rocking with Chimp...

OK, this one is weird, but bear with me. It is just too odd for me to pass up.

I am working from home today, developing some requirements for a Business Intelligence dashboard for my client. Got the goods, now I am just building the document and preparing for the next steps. I need some music, to motivate. Hmmmm, what to play. Scanning the iTunes list - yes, Kansas will be just perfect. How about a total Kansas day - just play every Kansas album in order until I am done.

The Huskies are all sleeping in the bedroom (ON the bed, of course), or on the tile floor in the living room. The foster Shar-Pei/Boxer pups (Shoxer? Sharxer? Boxpei? Chinese Boxers ala Saturday Morning Kung-Fu Theater?) are recharging their batteries in the X-pen. Tilde, the Chi, is curled up in her little fleece cave. Phoebe, the young Siberian Husky, is in my office because I have vowed to housebreak her this week, curled up under my work table to the left.

The scene is set.

Singing along with Kansas is one of my favorite things. I no longer have the range of a young Steve Walsh, but it's fun to try. Belexes comes on, one of the best tracks Kansas ever wrote. Energy level is building up ... wait, what was that? Did I just hear something in Belexes that I have missed for more than 30 years? Yes, there it is again, something like a chimp squawking perfectly in rhythm with the beat Ehart is laying down. Eeeyoop Eeeyoop Eeeyoop Squaaaaaaa Squaaaaaaa. No way.

I drag the volume bar up to get a clear sound from the Bose 901s. They don't lie. Nope, can't hear it now. Hmmmm. OK, rewind it back to the beginning of that phrase. There! There it is again! I dragged the pointer back again - wait. The chimp is still sqawking, but the music is not playing.

I look down to my left, whence the sound is clearly coming. Phoebe looks up at me with those big comic book brown eyes, with the chimp doggie chew toy between her teeth. She is looking at me like "What did I do now? It wasn't me!"

I swear she was chewing that chimp RIGHT on beat with the Kansas tune. Heck, I knew drummers that couldn't keep a Kansas beat. Darn talented dogs, those Sibes...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Maui by small steps

Many of you already know that Aida and I love Siberian Huskies. If you did not, then count yourself as in the know now. We are owned by four of them, and we love the breed. We understand them, as well as one can understand Sibes. Naturally, that means we bring more than our share of Sibes into Pawfect Match Rescue. Since we know them, we can be better at fostering them and placing them into homes where they can be successful.

Sibes are NOT like most dogs. Not at all. I truly believe that most of them that end up in shelters are the result of people falling in love with the look, especially the pups, getting one, finding out what they are REALLY like between 6 and 12 months, and turning them in, setting them loose, or just losing them because the escape artist, well, escaped.

I read a statistic last year that claimed that of Sibes captured by animal control where they could determine the point of origin/owner, 40% of them were from different counties. They LOVE to run!

If you want to really learn about Siberian Huskies, and have a good laugh at the same time, check out Anyone who applies to adopt a husky from PMR is required to read that site. If they still want a Husky, then we can talk.

So, what's with the title about Maui? Are we moving to Hawaii?

Nope. Maui is the new Sibe on the Block for PMR. We helped with a seizure of Huskies in South Carolina (seems like there are WAY too many Sibes in SC - I suspect lots of backyard breeders and puppy mills), and we took in Maui. We were expecting to receive a pregnant husky, but the woman doing triage either lied or was incompetent. Probably both. Maui is not pregnant. She is, however, heartworm positive, probably about 5 or 6 years old, and extremely shy.

Maui is drop-dead gorgeous. She is that white husky that fades slightly from white in the paws and legs to off-white at the shoulders, with a gorgeous peppering of brown and black in just the long hairs along her spine. Just stunning. Especially after a bath and some grooming (Housecall Grooming - cannot recommend them strongly enough, especially for huskies). She has brown eyes, and is very sweet.

But, she is painfully shy. We put her crate fairly close to the doggie door, and she goes in and out regularly. The first couple of nights she did not want to come in, and we did not want to risk her digging or jumping out. It took us quite a while to catch her, even with the choke points we have in our back yard. After that we left a leash on so we could catch her more easily. We left her out after a few days, and she clearly does not want to try to escape.

We have to give her antibiotics and ear medicine twice daily. The only way that happens is when she is in her crate. Otherwise, she won't let us touch her. Near, yes, but no touchie. She calmly and sweetly lets me give her the meds in her crate, and she never complains.

Actually, we have never heard her voice. Not once. Odd for a husky.

The good news is that Maui is starting to come out. Yesterday she roamed around the living room, as long as I stayed on the couch. If I moved, she was OUT the door.

Today, she came up to Aida and let her chin be scratched. That is a BIG step.

Stay tuned for more about Maui as she learns how to trust hoomins again. Oh, and visit her on our website at Since her treatments are going to be costly, you might consider a donation in her name too. Just sayin.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Good Side

I have posted several blogs about the hard parts, the challenges, and the losses of rescuing dogs. As much as I talk about the need for balance, as much as I believe in balance as a central philosophical concept, I have been remiss in not presenting enough balance in these blog posts. For that, I apologize.

I suppose it is easier to be moved to words when the situation makes you sad, angry, or frustrated. There are definitely times of great joy and satisfaction that, in toto, more than make up for the sad times. I am going to spend some more time talking about the happy times.

The Max.

I have to start with Max. I get to hear a Max story about once a week, because Max was adopted by my friend and coworker Caroline. To say that they adore each other would be a gross understatement. They could not be happier with each other.

Max's story sure did not start that way, however.

The call started off typically. "Is this Pawfect Match dog rescue?" "Yes, ma'am, how may I help you?" "Well, we found this stray dog, fed it some, and now we need to find it a home... we don't want to take it to a shelter where they will put it to sleep..."

Only this call was different. These folks were calling from Wilmington, NC, on the coast over two hours away. They had placed Found Dog posters and ads locally, and taken him to a vet to scan for a microchip. He was sweet, they insisted, and they wanted us to take him in, based on a recommendation. Why us, why here? They have relatives here that knew of us.

I was hesitant. VERY hesitant. Hounds are very hard to adopt out. There are a LOT of them in shelters, mostly turned out by hunters in rural areas when that dawg jes don' hunt no more. But these folks had a twist for us.

They were from Houston, and getting ready to head home from vacation. Their flight home was from Raleigh Durham airport (RDU) so they were going to drive here anyway. If we would accept Max into our rescue they would bring him here on their way home, and make a sizable donation to us. A quick call to the Board members settled it (especially because one of them just loves those hounds). We agreed to take Max in.

As agreed, we met in a nearby parking lot, took pictures, exchanged information, and parted ways. Max came to my home for a bath, vaccination, microchip, flea and tick and heartworm preventatives, and nail trim. So far so good.

It did not take long for his foster mom to tell us how much she hated this dog. What a pain in the a%% he was. Loud. Obnoxious. Instigator. Lots of other terms I won't use here.

I was worried.

Then Caroline told me she was looking for a dog. She was fond of hounds, and saw Max on our site. I painted the nicest picture I could without downright lying. She said she wanted to meet Max. Her application was great of course, so there was just a meet and greet. Oh, and she has a cat. Sigh. This could not end well...

The home check went well. He was coming off a bout with diarrhea, and he seemed to just want to lay on one large doggie bed, but it was the cat's food, and not the cat, he found interesting. Caroline decided he was going to stay, and the rest of the family agreed.

I tiptoed into the office, just waiting day by day for the knock on my door. I was worried.

Then one day I stopped by Caroline's office. "Dave, I have to tell you about Maxie" she started. My heart sank, and I took a deep breath. Then she went on to RAVE about what a FANTASTIC dog Max is! He is a joy, and happy, and they love him, and he is great, and, and, and....

I was stunned. I was no longer worried.

Almost every week I stop by Caroline's office whether I have business with her or not. I get my weekly Max Fix. If I happen to miss a week, Caroline stops by MY office to share the newest Max story. Of course they're not ALL great - he nearly turned her into a paraplegic launching after a deer once, and disappeared up the trail, not to be heard from or seen.... until she found him at the end of the trail patiently waiting for her. He still goes in and out of bouts of diarrhea and some worm or another. But most, almost all, are stories of immense joy and deep love that make up for every pain we experience in this business of rescue.

Thank you, Caroline. And bless you, Max.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dat was fun! Can we dooit agin?

Ring. Ring. "Hello, Pawfect Match Rescue."

"Uh yeah, is this, uh, paw... paw perfect match?"

"Yessir, this is Pawfect Match Rescue, how can I help you?"

"Yeah. I have two dogs in my back yard that were running loose, and one has a tag with your name and phone number."

"OK, thank you! What is the number on the tag?"


"Thanks, hold on a second, and I will look that up. OK, that is Carter. Is he a black and tan dog, sort of like a German Shepherd?"

"Yes ma'am, he and the other have been running around and are covered in mud. The other one does not have a tag."

"OK, great. Give me your address and phone number, and we'll have someone over quickly to pick them up." [contact information provided]

Heather called both phone numbers for the folks to whom we adopted Carter and his brother Wesley 8 months ago. No answer. Left messages. Then she called Dave to tell him what was going on, and to see if he could go get the dogs.

Google map is our friend. Printed out directions, called the friendly neighbor to ask him to secure the dogs until we get there. Grabbed two leashes and the GPS and out the door.

Oh goody, I am out of gas. Ah well, needed to fill up anyway...

As I pull up, the owners are loading Carter and Wesley into their van with the loud assistance of a precocious little boy, I guess him to be about 2 or 3 years old.

"Hi, I'm Dave with Pawfect Match. Are you [owner]?" "Yes, oh good. Glad to see you could get them back so quickly. So, mind if I ask how they got out?"

He sighed slightly, put his hands on the steering wheel, gazed into the distance. "Our two year old thinks that it is amusing to let the dogs out so we can chase them. We're working on the solution, but we're clearly not there yet..."

OK, that's a new one for me. Accidents, we've seen plenty. Dogs charging doors, you bet. Entertainment for the two year old, that's new.

They're safe again. Not sure about that little boy's behind tho - might be some time out coming up.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why is it always the sweet ones?

Today the last chapter of Madison's story was written. She is no longer working hard for every breath, wondering why she does not feel so good. She has joined her siblings across the Rainbow Bridge.

But perhaps her story has an epilogue. Maddie's condition, which has been well documented, caught the attention of the excellent veterinarians at the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. With her records, those of her sister Tuscon, and those of Patience's pups and another litter in Pittsboro, they are going to publish a paper. Maybe this will help advance the topic of virally induced congestive heart failure in pups.

I smile to think of how happy Madison was this last month. After the last Updates that I posted about her, she did very well. She had one bout with shortness of breath, and the vets kept her overnight to get her stabilized and run tests. We changed her dosages and added one med (5 medications and 4 nutriceuticals) and she came home to her friends. Aida and I wrestled with the choice - do we keep her completely calm to help her heart and lungs, or do we let her be a happy puppy for the time she has left? Well, mostly both. We kept her times of high activity to a minimum, but let her be all the puppy she could be.

And she was.

She hung off of Roscoe's jowels, and he played along. She did her best to convince the grumpy old Husky Kiko that play is a good thing (can't blame Kiko, though, as she is recovering from cruciate ligament repair). Gabriel was happy to roll on his back or play bow if she insisted that it was his turn. She even claimed a coveted spot on The Bed.

Maddie knew her name, and would come running if you called, body wagging. She loved her people. Especially Maia, who seemed to be the world's best chew toy.

She was one happy pup. Until last night. She started having problems breathing, and you could just see in her eyes today that she was not feeling well. We had an appointment with the vet to check on her status today, so that timing was good.

The news on the check up was not. The arythmia was much, much worse, and it was clear that the errant beats were being triggered from multiple locations. Her heart was even bigger, and now there was fluid leaking from her heart too. Maybe some time with lasix by IV would ease things for a day or two, but the story was clear. Madison's heart was not able to do the job her body needed it to do, and never would. She was not comfortable, and never would be again.

The vets and staff at the vet school are wonderful, and it was with the greatest of tenderness that they helped Maddie to breathe easily the last few times. She gave us a few kisses before she closed her eyes.

Play well, sweet sweet Maddie. We will miss you forever.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I have two updates.

First, we took Madison to the Vet School yesterday for a full cardio workup. The bad news is pretty much what we already knew - she has bad arythmia, and her contractile ratio (how elastic the heart is, so basically how well it pumps) is badly decreased. Her heart is full of scar tissue, which is not elastic and does not conduct the "pump now" signal. The vet there is wonderful, and everyone there just loves Maddie.

The good news is that they are guardedly optimistic about her prognosis. We will continue on her current meds, bumping the dosage up, and we will start with some new holistic meds to help balance the system out, especially the ion pumps associated with the heart muscle. She continues to play and love, looking for all the world like a normal pup, so we will give her all of the love she can handle. We will bring her back in 7-10 days to evaluate her heart again, perhaps with a Holter monitor. Cross your fingers.

Second, I told you back in May, in the blog Give the Boy a Break, about our precious Einstein. The poor guy just had one ding after another, and I asked God to give him a break. Well, Einstein had his break from pain - a couple of weeks ago several of his systems just gave out, and he crashed. The labs and evaluation made it clear that he was just not assembled according to the instructions. He was in pain, and was never going to recover. Einstein is now playing with the other pups over the Rainbow Bridge. He will will always have a room reserved in our hearts. Play well, little man.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The joys of Dog Laundry... and Toys!

One of the great joys of fostering dogs is that you get to hone your skills with the laundry. There is a load about every other day, sometimes more often, of towels, bedding, and toys to be washed. It is amazing how many of those squeaker and noise-making inserts in the toys survive a washing. They can't survive 2 minutes with a Husky pup...

Why in the world am I talking about laundry? Well, our newest foster, Koi, provided the incentive. Koi came to us, along with a couple of others, from a hoarder bust in South Carolina. As usual with dogs from cases like this, her coat was nasty, she stank to high heaven, and half of the fur has been bitten off of her ears by flies. After several days, we are still trying to settle her tummy down, but the diarrhea has not yet stopped.

What did Koi do? Well, Huskies are VERY curious dogs, and she just HAD to know what mom was up to in that little room. Ooooh - I see TOYS!! Clearly, investigation is in order.

Yep, thar's toys here! Ya'll come see!

No Huskies were harmed in the making of this blog. And yes, Koi is happily chewing away at a squeaky toy right now, fresh from the dryer. I like my warm towel fresh from the dryer when I come out of the shower. Koi will take her toys fresh from the dryer, thank you very much!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Circle is Complete

Back in the post called Circle of Life I told you about the wonderful event of the birth of Margo's pups. Ten live, one born dead. Cute little things, all brown and wrinkly.

What I have not done is tell you about the pups since then. It is a painful story, a learning experience, and it is not over yet.

Right after giving birth to her pups, Margo had bad diarrhea. That is not uncommon, especially in strays, since they ingest a lot when cleaning up the newly born pups. The problem was that hers did not stop for nearly four weeks. I mean it was EVERYwhere. Poor Aida, she cleaned it up almost every time, with several relief turns by Deanne, who came by to check the pups every day. Well, we gave her everything you can give a nursing mom, but it was clear she was "immuno-naive" - she had never seen a booster shot, or been dewormed.

The puppies grew, and ate, and peed and pooped, and eventually opened their eyes. We charted their weight, and swapped them around on the nipples to make sure everyone got their share. It all looked good.

Until right about four weeks. One of the pups suddenly showed signs of problems breathing, and was dead within an hour. Then another. And another. Within a few days, there were only five left, and we were talking with the two vets we regularly use. We had an expedited necropsy performed on one of the first ones to pass. We were horrified to learn that it was the same virus that killed all of Patience's pups! Could it be our environment?

Truth is, no one knows for sure. CPV-1 is very little understood. It is the other variety of the Canine Parvo Virus (type 2) that is too well known by every shelter and rescue, and by many owners of new pups. It is really rare. The biggest problem is that it is really only seen, as far as we know, in immuno-naive dogs, those who have never been immunized. It does not affect the adults, but it causes massive developmental problems in newborns, ultimately leading to congestive heart failure (CHF) and pulmonary problems. The pups have problems breathing, the heart quits. In the ones we looked at, the hearts were very poorly formed - the pups would have never thrived even had they not died of CHF.

With the CPV-1 information in hand, we went back to our primary vet, who contacted several other vets who specialize in cardiology, internal medicine, and viruses. It was all new territory, but they decided on a plan of action, essentially treating it as CHF. We got the meds and rushed home to start the treatment. Before the sun set that night we were down to two, Tuscon and Madison.

Tuscon and Maddie responded to the meds. They stayed active and playful - all of them were active and playful until minutes before they dropped dead. But this seemed to do the job. They were five weeks old.

At seven weeks, we had an echocardiogram and EKG performed, along with CBC and Chems blood work. Nothing alarming in the blood, but the echo and EKG told an unhappy story. Maddie's heart was badly damaged, and had lost almost a third of its contractile ability. Tuscon's was much better, but they both had arythmias. In addition, Maddie had a mitral valve defomity. Our hope was that with the meds, and prayers, their hearts would "remodel" as they developed, and the ectopic foci that caused the arythmias (probably from scarring) would go away.

We followed them as they played, checking breathing and heart rate. They ate well, and played. We checked with the Vet, he consulted with the other vets, and the consensus was to let them grow and monitor them. Don't change the med doses, just let them grow out of it. If they show signs of problem, up the dose again.

They played and chewed and peed and pooped and played and played for two more weeks. They're getting big - 17 pounds! Probably some Mastiff in there somewhere. On Saturday, July 4th, nine weeks and a day old, Tuscon slowed down, a lot. She was having problems breathing, her heart rate was up. We increased her dose by half, to catch up to her current weight. We debated taking her in, but decide to watch and see if the increased meds helped.

Sunday morning it was obvious that she was not better. Her heart was beating too fast. We took her to the Vet School Emergency Room, and they immediately set about stabilizing her. She was in superventricular tachycardia, and in danger. Vagal stimulation did not help. The Cardiologist arrived, and they set about getting her stabilized with calcium channel blockers and beta blockers. They started the echo, and learned right away that the left side of her heart was not working at all. Her heart stopped. They got it started again, but it stopped again. She was clearly in pain, and was not going to win this fight. They helped her out of her pain, and her heart stopped forever.

Yesterday I lost a friend. Maddison lost a sister and playmate.

Maddison is not in the clear yet. I am taking her in tomorrow to have her heart evaluated again. She is playful and active today, and eating well. Today. It may well be that her heart is already too damaged to carry her through a full life. It could be that he heart will remodel.

Maddie goes in tomorrow for an evaluation. I hope I have good news.

Because the Circle is complete for all of her sisters and brothers. Play well on the other side of that Rainbow Bridge, little ones.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


This one will be short.



If you love movies, or even just like them a lot, and if you love dogs, you MUST take the time to go see Up! It was easily the most entertaining movie I have seen in a long time.


Go see it. You will laugh out loud. I know I did. My family was probably cringing, but I could not help it.

Go. See it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How many hats can you wear?

We got to talking about the jobs we do supporting Pawfect Match Rescue, and it turned from interesting, to amusing, to inspiring. Not everyone does all of these things, of course, but many of us do many of them. And, I am definitely not minimizing the effort required to do these jobs as a living - we recognize that as professions these jobs are much, much more involved than what we do. Take this in the spirit it is meant - food for thought, a reflection of the dedication, sweat equity, and just plain heart that we all pour into this effort:

Some of the hats we wear:
  • Volunteer: none of us get paid (cash) for what we do, and almost all of us have full time jobs - we volunteer for PMR in our spare time.
  • Business Owner: A 501(c)3 takes work, and PMR is a business like any other small one, just not-for-profit.
  • Nurse: sick dogs, injured dogs. Injured people. Deworming, baths with medication, ear cleaning, eye drops, nose drops, vaccinations, grooming, tick removal, temperature taking, weighing, whelping, giving meds, giving subQ fluids.... I am sure there is more.
  • Event Coordinator: fun events, fundraising events, wine tastings, silent auctions, raffles, small weekend adopt-a-thons and huge annual events. Always something to plan and manage.
  • Trainer: training dogs. Housebreaking dogs. Crate training dogs. Training PEOPLE.
  • Psychologist: Reading the moods and intents of dogs. Dealing with the moods and intents of hoomins. Dealing with the moods and intents of volunteers, board members, and partners.
  • Midwife: whelping litters of pups born of bitches that are usually NOT in good health - wormy, malnurished, and often carrying infectious diseases. Getting up every few hours to make sure all of the pups are fed when there are more pups than teats. Weighing each one every night. Praying that every pup is healthy. Crying when we lose one.
  • Matchmaker: finding the perfect dog for your.... apartment, 5 acres, frightened 2 year old, cats, carpets, work schedule, breed preference, that just-right coat pattern...
  • Transporter: getting dogs to adoptions. Getting dogs to events. Getting dogs from shelters. Getting dogs to foster homes. Meeting someone at the border of Georgia for a transport.
  • Educator: teaching new adopters everything we've learned over the last 8 years - in one hour.
  • Foster Parent: taking in a damage, frightened, sick living being, nursing them and nurturing them to health, trust, and love, and then handing them over to someone else to be loved for the rest of their life.
  • Photographer: Terabytes of digital photos of dogs. Hopefully remembering which dog is which picture when the whole litter looks the same. Getting a fast enough camera to catch a moving puppy without breaking the teenytiny nonprofit bank. Cursing when the flash inexplicably decides to NOT work during that pawfect moment when you actually did have the camera ready...
  • Web Site Manager: The site is never finished. Adding new dogs. Moving adopted dogs to the Successes Page. Typing through tears when you add a loved one to the Rainbow Bridge page. Laughing at the memories when you add new stories. Adding new events and taking off the old ones. Thanking goodness for
  • Counselor: We take responsibility for our dogs even after the adoptions. Puppies can be frustrating. Grown dogs can be frustrating if they've spent their whole life not being managed. Hoomins can be frustrating. Nuff said. Plenty of advice and counseling to go around.
  • Answering Service/Help Desk: I filled out my app this morning, can I have my dog now? My puppy just peed on the carpet, what's wrong with it? I need to give away my dog, can you take it? Do you have cats? Is it OK to call at 2 in the morning? Do you have a dog under 20 pounds that does not shed, or bark, or bite, is housebroken, and is all-around perfect?
  • Evaluator: Oh goodness, this is a hard one. How do you know if it is a good match? Are the adopters telling the truth? Is this dog adoptable? Will the dog behave differently in an adoptive home than it does in the foster home? Do these people have the patience needed to finish the work we've started with this dog? Do we spend $500 on surgery on this pup?
  • Waste Removal Engineer: I can tell you that I know the best pooper picker uppers on the market today. Little plastic bags. Big plastic bags. Lots and LOTS of bags of poop. Heck, we're even poopamancers now - reading health by analyzing the poop. No details needed - I will spare you that. Thank goodness for tile floors.
I am sure I am missing some of the jobs. Feel free to chime in with your suggested additions to the list. Perhaps we should be Renaissance Dog Rescue. Has a ring to it...

A first for PMR


This is definitely a first for Pawfect Match Rescue. While I can say that every member of the PMR Board has at least one tattoo, and at least two of the board members have dog related tattoos, I have to admit that Christel blew us all away when she unveiled her newest piece of body art.

Behold the world's first (as far as we know) Pawfect Match Rescue Tattoo! I bet that hurt like heck.

Now, how many dog rescues have volunteers THIS dedicated??? Way to go, Christel!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Free! Free at last! Run Run Run Run Run.........

It must be something in the air, or the phase of the moon... I had my own escapee this morning.

We are fostering a small young woolly Siberian Husky named Dyani, who is greased lightning wrapped in fur. She LOVES to play "run circles around you and see if you can catch me". She nearly always wins.

So, Aida is pulling out of the driveway, I notice she left her sunglasses, so I run them out to her. As I come back in the house, Dyani charges right past me and takes off. She's never charged the door before, caught me totally by surprise. I am in socks, and do not have my cell phone. I can see Aida driving off down the street, and am helpless to get her attention.

Dyani runs circles around me through 5 neighbors' yards, and I am becoming exasperated, exhausted, and quite worried that I will never catch her. Finally, she runs into a boxed area with three sides closed in. Mind you, the fourth side that is open is a good 30 feet wide. Better odds, but I know from experience that I rarely catch her when we play.

I round the bend, slip on the dewey grass, and my right knee comes full force into a fire hydrant. I curse, and dash for the boxed in area. Dyani predictably does her big arc, runs right towards me, and zigs when I zagged. Amazingly, she comes around, runs back into the boxed area, and does it again. And again. Five times! On the sixth pass she lost her footing for a moment, and I tackled her. In my new beige suit. That now has grass stains.

Well, I carried Dyani home. 32 pounds is not so much to carry. As long as it is not wriggling and wet and dog. Sigh.

The pain did not kick in until about 2 PM. In retrospect, I am surprised I did not break my leg. Those hydrants don't give.

But Dyani is safe at home and has resumed trying to convince Matilda the 3 pound Chihuahua that she really is a squeaky toy. Sigh.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Circle of Life

It started at 3:00 in the morning on May 1st, but I did not hear it. Aida did - she was sleeping in the same room as Margo. Margo is a yellow lab mix, probably with German Shepherd. Sweetest girl you could meet. And VERY VERY pregnant. We knew it was time, because her temperature had dropped below 99 degrees F. The first clue I had was right after I made the alarm noise stop at 5:30. "Dave, bring the towels and dental floss and scissors, HURRY!" Margo had been in labor since 3, and the first pup was arriving to greet the world. Hey, at least she was kind enough to wait for the alarm...

Margo is young, still very much a puppy herself. You can tell by her demeanor. She had NO clue what to do with this pup. We helped get the sac open, stimulate the pup to breathe, and tie off the umbilical cord. That last part was tough, since the placenta had not come out yet. It was a girl, and she was all brown, with a hint of black along her back and tail. She looked healthy and she went straight to work on that nipple. Number 2 was also a girl, and also all brown. So were numbers 3 and 4. Finally a boy joined us with number 5 a few minutes shy of 7:00, right along with his sister - two popped out at the same time. The next two were males, but number 7 never took a breath. :-( By the time she was finished at 11:33, Margo had delivered 10 live puppies. Every single one of them looked identical, brown with hints of black.

We are guessing they are German Shepherd Dog (GSD) mixes. Time will tell, or at least hint. So far, everyone is healthy and nursing, with assists from Aida to ensure everyone gets their share. Ten pups and eight teats, gotta keep the runts fed. Margo seems to have figured things out, and is bouncing back quickly. Oh, and many thanks to Deanne who came over early to assist Aida and Margo.

It occurred to me while watching the births that this is something every child should have an opportunity to watch. Even to assist with. Seeing the one that was stillborn is also a lesson - there is life and death side by side. NO, I am NOT advocating that everyone go out and breed their dogs so the kids can watch. Lord knows there are too many unfixed pets out there now. But if you learn that pups are a-poppin, it is a great educational experience for your kids. Another good reason to volunteer for a rescue.

Watch our site ( in about five to six weeks when we post these pups for adoption. They are sure to be cute!

Give the Boy a Break

Poor boy was barely recovered from his surgeries before the symptoms we hate to see came on. Einstein started vomiting and diarrhea followed quickly after. Then the lethargy, and lack of desire for food and water. Classic parvovirus symptoms. Yuck. Fortunately, his foster mom is very diligent and got him and his brother Franklin to the vet right away. Five agonizing days later they are both home, but not fully recovered quite yet. They still have very runny stools, and will continue to shed that dreadful virus for another 2-4 weeks. At least they're home and recovering, looking for food and play.

Einstein is still as stoic as ever. Heart murmur, hernia - which ruptured, one undescended testicle, and now Parvo. God, please give this boy a break.

Friday, April 24, 2009

You know you're feeling good when...

I've seen a very entertaining phenomenon, and it is a little like sweet and sour sauce.

When we pull dogs from the shelter, as I've mentioned before, they come with a lot of baggage. Usually it is the assorted ticks, fleas, and worms. Even the occasional heartworms. But sometimes we get poor, itchy souls with mange. Most of the time a dip or two, some benzoyl peroxide shampoo, and a little Benadryl does the trick. This time we got two special cases.

For months we have have fostered Phoebe, a very sweet, rather laid back and smallish Siberian Husky, B/W with brown eyes. Very smart girl. She has Demodex mange, which is the non-contagious type. We have done dips, shampoos, antibiotics, special oils, and several special diets - even dosing her with Ivermec. All to no avail, she just is not responding. We took her for a second opinion, and upped her Ivermec and Benadryl, and now she seems to be making a little progress. Aida soaks each of her feet in Epsom salt solution for five minutes twice a day to clean up the nastiness that has grown between her foot pads. Poor girl, but she is showing signs of recovery.

At least Phoebe has most of a coat, as short and thin as it is. Our second girl is Dyani. I drove halfway to the coast to meet her and take her home. She was taken from her owner as a neglect case. Oh my, what a site. And smell. She was eaten up with demodex mange, with open sores scratched raw all over her body. She was actively bleeding from multiple spots! I could see that she is a woolly husky, the type that is really fluffy - just like my first Husky, Kiko.

Dyani is a sweet girl, but she was very afraid of new people, especially men. She did well enough in the car ride, but did not want to have anything to do with me. A few trips to the vet and the bathtub later she was doing better, but you could tell she was just not comfortable.

Our favorite groomer, Susan ( came out and shaved Dyani down so just the fur on her head is left. Really silly looking. But it got the air onto her wounds. By the next day, she looked 100% better, and her wounds all closed up in no time at all.

Unlike Phoebe, Dyani is responding to her treatment VERY well. You know you feel good when...

Which leads me to the phenomenon I've seen. When we bring in an ill, scratchy, unhappy dog, they tend to be sullen and low-energy. Then, after some treament and socialization, they "wake up" - life is GOOD! They don't just feel better, they smile, they dance, they run, they jump, they play like they never have before. It is such a joy to see them loving life.

You know they're feeling good when they jump onto the bed at 2:00 AM to play. I AM NOT FEELING GOOD - but she is. What's a little sleep among friends? Aye, that's the sweet and sour of it.

Dyani is feeling GOOD. Jumpy silly playing spinny howly good. At 2:00 AM. Two nights in a row. Time to set her biological clock back to doggy standard time. And grow that wooly coat back out!

A Barrel Roll, and an Inverted Loop

Who needs roller coasters when you work with a dog rescue?!

Just days after our last baby passed over the Rainbow Bridge, we were taken for another emotional ride. It was a gorgeous day at Regency Park in the Koka Booth Amphitheater for the Rocks 4 Pets event, with good foot traffic, lots of great volunteers, and (sorry) some pretty lousy music. We had Einstein there with other pups, and naturally the puppies were getting lots of attention.

That is when we notices that Einstein was in trouble. Let me tell you about Einstein. We took in a pregnant girl who had a litter of pups just over two months ago. Deanne named them all after scientists - Sagan, Halley, Einstein, etc. Several of them had some medical issues, mostly cleft palettes. But Einstein had about as bad a heart murmur as you can have, a grade 5 or 6. In addition, he had a rather large and prominent abdominal hernia. We've been watching him and waiting for the day when we would have to decide about what to do.

Well, Einstein decided for us. While at the event, the hernia ruptured. Deanne and Aida found the on-site vet who bandaged him up and advised that he needed attention at a qualified vet facility. They rushed him to the NC State Vet School Hospital, and they checked him over. Preliminary evaluation was that we were looking at thousands of dollars. Should we spend THAT kind of money on just one puppy, when we don't even know whether he'll have a long life, or even a quality life? That much money is a whole fund-raising event itself!

The vets ran an echocardiogram, and gave us interesting news. His murmur came from two defects: a hole between two parts of his heart, and a narrowed aortic valve. The interesting thing is that these offset each other - the reduced flow from the valve was offset by the increased flow from the hole. Not ideal, but not life threatening, yet.

The hernia was mostly fat tissue, and when they did the repairs, they saw that the rest of his abdomin was in great shape. Good news!

So, Einstein recovered very quickly, and is a happy, playful pup. They even neutered him while he was under. The hole in his heart might close up by itself, in which case we will have to repair the valve. But the vets says he could live a long, happy life.

Oh, and those cleft palettes? They're all closing up on their own, no surgery required, and practically no risk to the pups.

All in all, an up day. Now to go plan some more fund raising... We have a $2700 bill to pay. If you would like to help, please consider going to our web site at and making a contribution through PayPal. Thank you in advance!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good Days, Bad Days

Being a Dog Rescuer has its good days, and its bad days. Today we participated in the largest Wake County SPCA Dog Walk event in their history (ten years, I think). It is always a busy event, but this year's was non-stop. We had puppies there, so we were VERY popular! At least half a dozen good volunteers (and a few of their very helpful children) were kept hopping, answering questions, walking dogs, playing with puppies, and answering more questions. We will likely be deluged with applications tonight. Sunny, slight breeze, 75 degrees, and good company, we could not ask for better.

We came home to find the last of Patience's pups feeling cool, and mewing. Aida warmed her up, put her over the Vick's Vap-o-fluid pot, and despaired. She passed in my arms not twenty minutes later. Zero for six. I am so sorry, Patience. We could not have tried harder. We still don't know what this was, but Faythe will help us find the answer with her necropsy.

Good days. Bad days. Sometimes all in the same day.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Deck is Stacked

It's hard to find the words to describe what I am feeling right now. Pain. Intense Sadness. Anxiety. Concession. Frustration. Anger.

We know that coming into this, the deck is stacked against us. Rescued dogs comes with baggage, at least most of the time. They're usually not well fed, full of worms, maybe even heartworms, covered in fleas and ticks, and with little or no socialization. Even the owner turn-ins can be this way - we just took in a husky that was taken from its owner, and you would be sickened to see her fur and raw exposed skin, even bleeding in places.

This is doubly true when we take in pregnant dogs. They are usually malnourished and loaded with worms. We have to be careful what meds we can give, so we do not endanger the pups. The pups have the deck stacked against them from the start. Even if mom is making enough milk, it often is not as nutritious as it could be, should be. They have an uphill climb.

Patience is a sweetheart. Four weeks ago she gave birth to six pups. Tonight, the fifth one died. In my arms. He literally drowned, because his lungs are swollen shut, just like his sister before him. He could no longer breathe. I spent 40 minutes giving mouth-to-mouth to him, hoping to open his lungs enough that he could breathe again on his own. God knows he tried. There just was nowhere for the air to go. I could not even get his lungs to inflate. I cheered him on, encouraged him to fight, to pull in that air. I cried. I listened for his heartbeat - still there, but getting weaker. I blew some more, hoping and praying.

It just was not enough.

We don't even know for sure what is wrong. They have enough Clavamox in them to kill any bacterial infection. The vet is sure that a virus cannot cause problems this severe. He believes that it is likely roundworm larvae migration that is causing severe inflammation of the lungs, making it difficult, ultimately impossible, for the pups to breathe. We dosed them with Ivermectin yesterday. If it was the right move, it was too little too late for pup #5.

It's hard to find the words. Sad, definitely. Pained. Anxious for the viability of the last pup. Frustrated that all of our efforts are not keeping these pups alive. Angry that - that - I don't know. That it's just not fair. Conceding that the deck was stacked against us from the start.

Yet we will not stop. We will not even hesitate. We will do everything we can reasonably do to continue to save puppies' and dogs' lives. It is what we do. It is what we love.

Rest in peace, dear pups.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Welcome to Rescued by Pawfect Match!

Rescued by Pawfect Match! The Blog

She was hot. OMG hot. Soft red hair, tall and thin, stunning curves. The startling blue eyes did me in. I was smitten. And I took her home to my place.

Her name is Meg, and we've been together four years now. Actually, Meg is short for Nutmeg (AKA Nuts, Nutters, Megs, Meggers), and she is one of my four Siberian Huskies. She's the mischievous one. Nutters and I want to tell you about Dog Rescues, The Reality Show that plays out in thousands of locations across the country every day.

Every year, about 2.5 million dogs and 1.5 million cats are euthanized in shelters and animal control facilities across America. Some are strays, some are owner turn-ins, and some are even born there. Why? Because too many people do not spay or neuter their pets, among other reasons.

Dog Rescue organizations across the country take in dogs and find them new homes. Most do not have a facility, but have volunteers who foster the dogs until they can find their new “forever home”. Nearly all are not-for-profit, and most who are not simply don’t have the funds to get the 501(c)3 certification. All of them have volunteers dedicated to saving the lives of lost and abandoned dogs by pulling them from shelters and finding them a new home. It is hard but rewarding work.

Why me? Well, I am the co-founder and Chairman of Pawfect Match Rescue, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to matching rescued dogs with adopting families. We celebrated our 3rd anniversary in February, having saved nearly 700 lives so far. You can check us out at We have nearly 50 dogs waiting for their new forever home. Beyond that, I’ve done dog training, rescuing, and therapy work for almost ten years.

Next time, I will tell about a day in the life of a Dog Rescuer. Have a topic you want covered? Tell me.