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.