31.3.13

Dog Fosters & Adoptions

Fragil the foster husky puppy
Fragil the foster husky puppy
Jim and I moved to Nova Scotia in 2010, where I began to miss all my fur friends I cared for back in Vancouver B.C. In 2011, Linda, a neighbour, asked if I would join with her to co-foster rescued puppies during the day and then she would take them home in the evening after her work day. I jumped at the chance to work with the rescued dogs for Litters & Critters rescue. Many rescue dogs come from desperate beginnings. It's our job as a foster to feed, socialize, observe traits and show them love so that they may be moved into forever loving homes.



Molly Pops the foster puppy having a great time at Gaetz lake!
Molly Pops having a great time at Gaetz lake!
Fostering is rewarding for the dog, foster parent, and new FAMILY. Dogs kept in cages at shelters is not the most ideal place, as amplified fears alter the dogs' true nature to the potential adopters, making it difficult to pick the right personality type for our homes. Each foster person also has connections within their own communities, bringing the dog to more potential adopters who may not have gone into shelters to pick out a dog. Many people who want to adopt rescues have said they feel too much for all the dogs in a shelter and are afraid to go in and come home with them all! Meeting a foster person who is caring for the foster dog, has a better chance of finding good homes, especially for older dogs.

Cuddles, foster husky puppy
Cuddles, foster husky puppy
People ask me how can I love the fosters and then let them go. As a painter, every painting I paint is an original, no two are the same and yet I have to be passionate enough to paint them while knowing someday they too will go to forever homes! Being a pet foster is just like a painter, love and let go! Check out my pet portraits slideshow at top of the blog page. These portraits have travelled the world to adorn the walls of proud pet parents!

Schmincke, a dog foster Havanese
Schmincke, foster Havanese,
then adopted by us but sadly
died May 16, 2012, at 8 months of age.
November 2011, a tiny little black furball, a Havanese breed, who was also one of our fosters, came to be adopted by us. I named him Schmincke, after my favourite soft pastel from Germany,. Sadly, our adopted rescue Schmincke was plagued by all kinds of health issues, who passed on May 16, 2012, from complications of puppy-mill breeding practices. He lived BIG for 8 months, never a day alone nor unloved. We were very devastated and still occasionally find his hair floating out from around the house corners, which I kiss it and say hello to my sweetie!

We took some time to grieve but I believed there is more love to share with some other pet who NEEDS a Forever Home and a good time with us humans!


March 2013: A NEW adoption rescue from Atlantic Small Dog Rescue.

Ziggy, our new adopted Silky Terrier!
Ziggy, our new adopted Silky Terrier!
This 8 lb. Silky Terrier, neutered male, 4 years of age, came about on my FB friends with ASDR. Ziggy did come with a few bad problems but with some training and patience, we have overcome many of these issues within a month, I was paw-si-tive WE COULD do it.

Ziggy was in a wrong place with people who do not know how to handle him properly. Turns out he is a smart and joyful dog who loves to learn new things and will do whatever brings him praise and cheese! It took me a few days to get him to trust me but we are getting along famously and have fun every day.

Ziggy is wearing a new protective, easy to SEE him in a red jacket!
Ziggy is wearing a new protective, easy to SEE him in a red jacket!
I also got him a kitty bell for his outdoor collar so I can HEAR him
when he is in the thick of the woods. He LOVES to dive into the thickets, looking for those phantom rats or at least scare up some birds!
My relationship with Ziggy quickly came to a trusting place, but Jim, my partner, came back from his trip, to discover a new dog in the household who was scared of him. Ziggy barked wildly every time he moved about the house. Still Ziggy wanted acceptance from Jim, but certain past life issues may have been surfacing and we needed help in understanding what we could do to help Ziggy trust Jim as a willing friend. I emailed Nahleen, the VP of Atlantic Small Dog Rescue and she offered a recommendation for the services of Silvia at Voices for Dogs.

Ziggy and Jim, getting to know each other at Martinique Beach, NS
Ziggy and Jim, getting to know each other at Martinique Beach, NS
We met Silvia at our favourite local vet Full Circle, where she gave a 3-hour 'Understanding AGGRESSION' course, to a group of us, who have taken on fosters and adopted rescued dogs, which many of the dogs can come with challenges and unique fears that are unknown to the new adopters.

Linda training with CHEESE. Ziggy and his new best friend Stormy!
Linda training with CHEESE. Ziggy and his new best friend Stormy!

Linda has Ziggy shaking a paw but Stormy says PICK ME!
Linda has Ziggy shaking a paw but Stormy says PICK ME!
Ziggy has had, counting us, 4 homes, which two of those homes, had 4 dogs per household. Can not imagine the unsettling challenges each home has imprinted on his need for security, trust and survival with owners who clearly didn't know how to introduce another dog to their already established pack.


Ziggy loves to perch himself on my high back chair
Ziggy loves to perch himself on my high back chair
so he can keep an eye on all that goes on in the world!
Ziggy came to ASDR rescue with a 4 page, handwritten letter from the previous owners, negatively describing, the 'badass' dog you would NOT want to adopt. Ziggy was said to not get along with others; HATED other dogs, children, all people, was bad on going for walks, snapped and bit at the owners, wasn't toilet trained and so forth. None of these listed issues turned out to be HIS issues for the most part and thinks Ziggy was desperately trying to survive an angry household with no one to trust, including the dog pack.

Ziggy's foster, Sara Stewart put Ziggy through the tests, observing if any of this written information is really about this dog. She had him around all her dogs, horses, people, children, all coming and going on her large and busy ranch called Furry Friends Inn and showed himself to be a nice little dog with some nervous issues but nothing too horrible as described by the letter submitted to ASDR. Ziggy still has some anxiety and trust issues thou that needs to be addressed positively and more toilet training when he came to my home.



Ziggy and my neighbors dog Charlie
Here lies Ziggy and my neighbour's dog Charlie who is a 14-year-old lab, who loves to visit at my house daily. It took a week for Charlie to stop snapping and accept  Ziggy. I knew to give them both time and walk together, treats and petting both of them at the same time would let them both know all is good in Minaz World and there is lots to share! This photo was taken for the first time the two had sat face to face.
I recommend reading and watching the videos of this woman dog trainer, Turig Rugaas. Here is a link to her website. I got a lot from her book called 'Calming Signals', an observation of dog language that helps us, humans, to read what's going on between the dogs and can even do some of those signals back to the dog, letting them know you are safe and are a calm state of mind.

I am so thankful I found this book in my local library and read 'Calming Signals' also passing it on to Jim to read, BEFORE adopting Ziggy. Jim has been practising some of those calming signals to Ziggy and the dog responds back to him. Once you know these signals, it is useful when walking your dog and approaching another dog to observe what state both are in and maybe remove your dog before a dangerous or stressful situation triggers.


When it comes to training dogs, I prefer the gentle method rather than PUNISHMENT and SUBMISSION styles. I prefer to develop a TRUST because in the dog world, demonstrating punishment or forceful submission is considered an out of balance behaviour that the dogs either fear or avoid and then it reads to them your an unreliable pack leader... TRUST must be at the centre of intent. I want the dogs to trust me, not fear me so we can have a much better time together.

I can recommend another book, filled with even more interesting insights about dogs and is written by Bruce Fogle,"The Dogs Mind, Understanding Your Dog's Behavior", he shares scientific studies and dog biology mixed with breeding practices and rearing practices that shape the dogs' personality for its life.


Ziggy LOVES new places
Ziggy LOVES new places and finds many paths that I would have otherwise walked right on bye! I have to wear my hiking boots to get into his kind of exploring and yet he also loves to walk on the leash very nicely.YIPPEE, lets go have fun.

Ziggy discovering beach treasures!
Ziggy discovering beach treasures!
Here is Sylvia's website (no longer available on www.voices4dogs.blogspot.ca) and blog where she  has written out explanations and personal views on all things DOG related. Lots of knowledgeable insights to share with us and is also available for personable training sessions either by email or in person. We went to one of her organized talks and if you live close by, its a worthy and affordable experience. With patience and positive triggers using CHEESE, Ziggy is now TRUSTING Jim, all within a month and is dramatically changed to be more confident, relaxed dog who is loving, friendly and fun. Thanks to Silvia's experienced advice on defining the different types of dog aggression, and what the aggression communicates in dog language.

Adopting from rescues is a good place to find a pet but be patient and list what it is about a dog you and your lifestyle is suitable to support. Information relating to traumatized pets should come with every rescued dog but it doesn't so its up to the new adopters to find out about it. I think this information is just as important as the dog being vaccinated, neutered and spayed by rescues.


The new adoptive family who takes on an older rescued dog, should know that fear can show as aggression and there are various levels to understand what the dog is saying to us.


Aggression can be addressed with behavior modification techniques, by using gentle persuasion and positive encouragement, to build trust in your leadership with the dog, as most dogs want acceptance, a safe place, and kindness..ohh and some like CHEESE! I think just adopting with out awareness on these issues can be the reason why many dogs end up BACK into adoption circle again and again, each time upping the fears and aggression issues because of misunderstandings, as this was the case for our new adoptive dog Ziggy.


our new fur friend Ziggy!
Life is GOOD, being safe and loved, our new fur friend Ziggy!
BARK bark and happy tails wagging, we are enjoying our new fur friend and LOVE him dearly already and look forward to a long life of fun and adventures!... Minaz, Jim and Ziggy!

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