Weim lives matter!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

From The Archives: Saving Indigo

     I found some articles I wrote years ago, before I started this blog, when I first started doing rescue work.  I'm going to reprint them here as new blog entries so those stories are not lost and those dogs are remembered.

     This second article is from the March 2010 issue of the Steel Ghost Gazette, the newsletter for the Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh.

     She was known as No. 74 at the Mahoning County Dog Pound and she was scheduled to be euthanized Wednesday, February 3, 2010.

     Emails started flying across the Internet as more and more people heard about the young, blue Weimaraner that had been given a death sentence, through no fault of her own.

     I received the email from Judy Thompson on Monday, February 1st and immediately forwarded it to Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue (TSWR) to see if we could help this dog.

     I heard back on Tuesday that there was a waiting list of people to adopt the pup and that the dog pound had TSWR's phone number and knew we would take her if it became necessary.

     Wednesday I received an email from TSWR looking for someone to pick up the dog from the dog pound, so I emailed that my schedule on Thursday might allow me to make the drive to Ohio to pick her up.

     My schedule on Thursday worked out perfectly and I gladly left for Ohio to pick up No. 74.

Indigo, the blue pup from the kill shelter in Youngstown, Ohio.

     I was surprised when, after I told the pound workers that I was there for the Weim puppy, that they just told me to "head on back and get her."  No papers to sign, no checks of any kind, just take the dog and go.

     As soon as I walked her out of the door of the dog pound I knew she was sick, I could hear the coughing and the wheezing.  She jumped into my car and, as I began to drive, she settled in for a nap in the front passenger seat.

She was the cutest little blue Weim ever!
     The puppy needed a name, I couldn't call her No. 74.  On the drive over I had thought about names and, because of her blue coat, the name Indigo came to my mind.  I thought Indy would make a very nice nickname for her, and so it was that she got her name.

     Before going home I stopped at my vet to have Indy checked out and she was supposed to get a rabies shot.  The diagnosis of kennel cough was made and, because of a high fever, the rabies shot was put on hold and Indy was put on antibiotics.

     Friday morning I took Indy for a long walk and she was behaving well and staying in the crate for the most part, so as not to expose my dogs to her illness.  Then came the big snow storm and the temperatures turned much colder.

This photo shows how little snow was on the ground when I brought Indy home.
And, yes, she has a full tail.

The day after Indy came to our house the big snow storm hit.

This is what the driveway looked like after the snow storm!
     By Saturday afternoon, Indy was not feeling well at all, she was shaking and coughing more and more.  Dan and I put her on the couch and covered her with blankets, trying to make her comfortable.  That night Indy slept in bed with me.

     Sunday Indy was no better and by the time we offered her dinner she had decided not to eat anymore.  I notified TSWR that she was not doing well and it was decided to wait till Monday to see if she would improve or if she needed another visit to the vet.  Indy spent another night in bed with me to make sure she stayed warm.

Indy came to us a very sickly pup.
     Monday morning she was not better and, possibly, worse, so I called to make an afternoon appointment with my vet.  The vet agreed that she was worse and felt that she needed supportive care to help her fight through her illness, so we were went to the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialy and Emergency Center (PVSEC).

     The vet at PVSEC decided that Indy needed to be admitted for at least a night and thta she would need to stay until they could get her eating again.  The diagnosis was pneumonia.

     I received word on Tuesday that Indy could come home and I picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket and we headed for home.  He cough seemed better, but Indy was still very quiet and only wanted to lay on the couch.

    As Indy started eating the rice and boiled chicken I made for her she began gaining her strength back.  The medicines seemed to be helping her out and hour by hour we started to see her improve.

     A new home had been found for Indy and plans were made to transfer her to her new owners.  I said I'd help transport her on Saturday, February 11th, as long as she continued to improve in health until then, which, of course, she did.

     Saturday morning Indy and I headed out fo our trip to Blairsville, PA, where we met her new owners who are from the Tyrone, PA area.  It was hard to say goodbye to Indy, as I had become rather attached to her during her stay, but I knew she was going to a good home and would have a wonderful life.

     Indy is a very sweet pup and her future looks bright, thanks to the care she received while TSWR had her in their possession.  In the week she was in our home TSWR paid out more than $1,000.00 to ensure that Indy got the medical care that she needed.

     WAGP members should be very proud that our club is associated with a rescue group that works very hard to give Weims a second chance for a good home and a healthy, happy live.

     ADDENDUM:  One part of this story I never told till now is that when I picked Indy up from the vet after a night of IV treatment to help build her up, I parked the car right beside the door so that she would not get too chilled in the transfer to the car.  I never thought about all the fluids Indy had taken in all night or that she wouldn't have relieved herself in her crate at the vet's.  I put Indy in the driver's seat of my car and she promptly emptied her bladder right there, not able to wait any longer for a chance to pee!  So I had to clean up my seat before we could head home -- another lesson learned, the hard way!!

Indy and her family (she's in the middle).

     UPDATE:  Indy's owner, Jane, and I are friends on FaceBook and I have enjoyed watching her grow up through the many photos posted on Jane's page.  Indy has a two doggie siblings, a Weim and a rescued pit-type dog and she lives the wonderful life I knew she would!

From the Archives: Jack: Lessons From A Foster Weimaraner

     I found some articles I wrote years ago, before I started this blog, when I first started doing rescue work.  I'm going to reprint them here as new blog entries so those stories are not lost and those dogs are remembered.

     This first article is from the February 2008 issue of the Steel Ghost Gazette, the newsletter for the Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh.

     Volunteering with Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue (TSWR) as the Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh's liason with the rescue group was easy for me, I didn't mind evaluating a dog coming into rescue or interviewing prospective adoptive families over the phone.  No problem, not too time consuming and they even provided forms with all the questions to ask, making it very simple.

     As the emails came in asking for foster homes and emergency placements for dogs, I felt safe, all the dogs were in Eastern Pennsylvania, hours away from me and it was just not feasible for me to help out.  Besides, our house is pretty full, two Weims and a lab mix, no room for any other dogs.

     Then a couple days after Christmas it happened, the email said there was a young Weim in McKeesport that was going to be taken to a shelter if a foster home wasn't found for him.  His name was Jack and he was an 11-month-old, intact male.

     I couldn't imagine one of my Weims being in a shelter and the thought of a young Weim stuck in a cage, alone, without his special people was just too much for me.  I emailed TSWR and said I wanted to help Jack, that I'd go get him and let him stay with us.  Then I went and broke the news to my husband, Dan, that we needed to make room for one more dog.

     We picked Jack up on Saturday, December 29th, 2007.  His description had said that he didn't travel well in cars, so I had Dan accompany me so he could help control the dog while I drove.  

     Jack was so cute, full grown, very thin, but also very friendly.  He jumped in the car and rode in the back seat as if he'd ridden in cars all the time.

     On the way home I fell in love with Jack and I cried as I drove, so upset that his original owner had starved and then abandoned such a sweet, young dog.

     Next came the introduction to our pack.  We brought our dogs outside to the driveway, one at a time, and let them meet Jack and check him out.  Everything was going well -- at least for the first week.

     As we got to know Jack we became impressed by his personality and it was very obvious that he was a smart dog who learned very quickly.  He didn't get upset easily and was actually quite calm.  We began to think we'd like to keep Jack and adopt him ourselves.

     I enrolled Jack in a basic obedience class and we worked with him daily, teaching him the rules of our home.  He slept with me at night and I enjoyed taking him on walks, where it seemed that almost everything he saw was new to him.  I was really excited about the idea of having such a young dog to train, a rescue Weim who didn't seem to have a lot of baggage from his past.

     The one concern I had had when I said we'd take Jack in to foster was that our Rocky is an intact male.  The general thought was that Jack was young enough that having two intact males wouldn't matter in this situation.  But Rocky had other thoughts on the subject and, in time, he made it clear that Jack was not welcome in his house.  This was a surprise for me, as I thought Rocky would be thrilled to have someone to play with.

     I was even more surprised when it turned out that my 8-year-old rescue Weim Frankie, a dog I thought didn't know how to play with other dogs, became Jack's playmate and buddy.

     The situation with Rocky and Jack got to the point that we knew the best thing for Jack was to go to another home.  It was a hard decision to make, but one that we knew was best for all involved.

     Once I informed Julie Potthoff, of TSWR, that we would not be able to keep Jack, she did a wonderful thing for me, she asked me to interview a family that she thought might be a good fit for Jack.

     The interviews are done by phone, so the fact that the adoptive family lived in New Jersey was not a problem.

     After spending 45 minutes on the phone with Debbie, the prospective adopter, I knew that Jack would have a great home.  Debbie's family had lost Timber, their 12-year-old Weim a year ago, to cancer, and they were now ready to get a new dog.  Their Weim had been such a big part of their family that he went everywhere with them and was even included in a photo with their son on his bar mitzvah invitations.

     Being allowed to help in finding Jack a home and knowing he was going to a great family made me feel much better about my decision not to adopt Jack.

     Debbie and I became email friends as I sent her some photos of Jack and then emailed her every couple of days to let her know how Jack was progressing in his training and his vet visits.  Even though I loved the little dog, I became anxious to get him to his new home, because I knew he was going to be one loved and spoiled dog, and I also knew our Rocky would be much happier once our house was back to normal.

     Thursday, January 24th, Jack went to the vet to have his neutering surgery.  Debbie and I made plans to meet the next day at the Carlisle Exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, where I would give Jack over to his new owner.

     The transfer was bittersweet for me.  Jack has left a mark on my heart that will be there for a long time, but I truly learned that doing what is best for the dog is the most important thing.  Jack will be the center of attention in his new home and will be showered with love for years to come.  From the pictures I've received so far from Debbie, Jack looks contented and well adjusted.

     I learned some other valuable lessons from my first fostering experience, including gaining new insight into dog behavior and interaction.  I learned that I really want a puppy the next time around, even though I also learned that it's going to be a lot of work to have a youngster in the house.  I also learned that three dogs are really enough for us, but that there's always room for one more, at least temporarily.

     UPDATE:  Over the years Debbie has stayed in touch with me, letting me know how Jack is doing.  Although he's had some health problems, Jack remains happy.  They adopted a second Weim and Jack has his own buddy to pal around with.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Revolving Door At Our House Continues

On Saturday, April 30, Ms. Pearl moved on to her new home, having only stayed with us about 10 days.

We hear that her new family loves her and are quite happy with her -- no surprise to us, as she is such a sweet girl and easy to live with.

While Pearl was with us, I was notified of a blue Weimaraner who was in need of a new home.  I heard he was home alone a lot, as the man he was living with never meant to own a dog, let alone a Weim.  The dog actually belonged to his son, who had moved out into his own place, unable to bring a dog with him.

Arrangements were made to pick Troy up on Saturday, May 7th, and, thankfully, my friend Renee agreed to ride along to keep me company and help in the transfer.  When we arrived at the parking lot of the Mountain View Inn we not only met the man who was turning Troy over to rescue, but also his son, who was there to say goodbye to his dog.  The transfer went well and Troy was a pretty good passenger for the ride home.

When I got him home, Dan and I did our usual ritual of introducing the new dog to Rigby and the house.  Troy was happy to meet Rigby and, although he's a bit thin, he's almost as tall as she is, so they make a good match as playmates.  Rigby let him know his place and made sure he understood who is in charge and who wears the crown in her home.

Troy is 2.5 years old, a neutered male who is full of energy.  I think there's a Border Collie hiding inside this Weimarner's body!  He did a lot of pacing the first few days and I found the only way to get him to take a rest was to put him in the crate, where he'd finally settle and lay down.


When we bring a new dog into the house we put all the dog toys away until we have a chance to see how the dogs are interacting together and then we introduce toys carefully, watching for resource guarding and trying to make sure that playtime is fun for all. 

When we brought out the toys Rigby immediately grabbed up one of her favorite Nylabones.  Troy went for a ball.  Troy found a couple rubber balls that he could chew and play with, and play he did.  We found that the one thing that could really stop Troy's continual pacing was playing fetch.  

Even before I picked Troy up I knew that the rescue had a home lined up for him, so we knew he wouldn't be staying with us too long.  We're making the most of his time with us and so far we've been able clip his nails twice, give him a bath and we're trying to put a bit of weight on him.  We've reintroduced him to the crate, playing some games to encourage him to go in the crate on command and feeding him his meals in the crate.

Troy has loved his trips to run in the field.  He runs with abandon and loves to be outside, experiencing a bit of freedom.  He was introduced to the stream and was ready to jump in.

Almost ready for liftoff with those ears!

Troy meets the stream

The tracks for the local trolley museum run alongside
 the field and Troy got a close-up look at the 
maintenance trolley that came through.

One of the things I enjoy about having a variety of Weims in our home is to see all the different personalties that they each have.  Troy will be very memorable for us, as he's been one of the most energetic Weims we've hosted.  Troy is a happy dog, so full of enthusiasm for everything!  Like Pearl, he wants to be with his chosen person and he's jumped gates to be with me when we're separated.  Also like Pearl, he sleeps in my office while I work.

Rigby and Troy take a nap with Dan on the couch.

Sleeping in my office while I work.

We're looking forward to spending a few more days with Troy before he heads out to his forever home where he'll have plenty of love and room to run.

Troy is a very happy boy!