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.