Dolly’s (Miracle Dog #307) Trials

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

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Those of y’all who have been following my blog for any time know that we adopted a beautiful, white German Shepherd mix in 2014 from Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Dolly is a Miracle Dog (#307). If you haven’t seen a previous post, let me explain who the Miracle German Shepherd Network are.

 

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Dolly in the Shelter

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Dolly’s Freedom Ride from the High-Kill Shelter (These photos is how I first saw her)

Miracle was started by a group of people who were incensed to find out how many German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) were being euthanized in California shelters. They made a pledge that they would form a network of caring individuals who would get as many GSDs out of these high-kill shelters as possible and get them to legitimate rescue organizations across the country. Over the years, Miracle has grown to a network of many people who have taken these dogs into their rescues, been foster homes for the dogs, adopted the dogs, and/or been donors. The core group is still in place and responsible for keeping the lines of communication open and doing the “heavy lifting.” The Miracle GSD Network has a Facebook page where updates and happy stories about the Miracle Dog alumni. https://www.facebook.com/groups/310605105708097 . There are always more dogs to get out of high-kill shelters. I, for one, am so grateful that Miracle GSD Network exists. It’s thanks to them that we have our beautiful Dolly.

 

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Dolly with one of Miracle’s Founders

About this time last year, we noticed that Dolly seemed to be dragging her right front foot. Not really dragging behind, more like knuckling under. It was the sound that caught our attention first. We took her to the vet who thought she might just have a stinger from blasting through the dog door. (She was really apt to fly through that like a shot.) He did, however, warn us that we might be looking at Wobbler Syndrome. We started her on a regimen of prednisone to see if it would clear up the problem. While it did help, short-term, the condition continued. We gave her a couple of months to see if perhaps her condition would improve over time. Actually, I think we were in denial and since she didn’t show any signs of pain, whatsoever, we had all kinds of blood tests and labs run.

 

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Fluffy Dolly – The Day We Brought Her Home!

Finally, when her condition didn’t show any signs of improvement (although it had not gotten any worse), we asked our vet to refer us to a clinic where she could have an MRI. He agreed that this was the best course of action to see exactly what we were dealing with. It was a good decision.

The clinic ran the MRI and did a spinal tap to rule out cancer. Thank Heavens, the spinal tap was negative for cancer, but the MRI showed “chronic intervertebral disc disease between C5 & 6 and C6 & 7.” This was pretty much what was feared. A surgical option was discussed, but there was no clear indication that surgery would improve Dolly’s condition, and there was a small chance it could worsen. We decided to opt for rehab.

 

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Dolly At ARF (Animal Rehabilitation Facility) in Dexter, MI

We are so blessed to know an incredible veterinarian who runs a rehabilitation clinic very close to where we live. Dr. Mary Cardeccia owns Animal Rehabilitation Facility in Dexter, Michigan. I had taken one of our previous dogs to Dr. Mary for acupuncture many years ago. Since that time, she has really increased the size and staff at ARF. They have everything one could ask for when it comes to rehabilitating pets.

 

We took Dolly in for an initial evaluation. After reviewing the MRI, and the notes from the clinic, we decided to try a course of exercise, massage, cold laser, and hydro therapy for Dolly. After several months of following this course, we are starting to notice some small improvement. Dolly’s flexibility and strength seems to have improved and she runs almost as though there is no problem at all. She has developed some callousing on the top of her right foot (the one that seemed to be affected the most). Her right hind is reacting better than prior to the rehab.

 

I must say that Dolly has come to really enjoy her therapy sessions. Of course, the fact that she’s completely fussed over doesn’t hurt and they have such terrific treats! I have to really rush to keep up with her when I get her out of the car at ARF because she’s so anxious to go see her friends (and stock up on yummies)!

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Dolly in her “Doggles”

 

We all have to wear goggles (doggles in Dolly’s case) for the cold laser. I think she looks smashing in them. Don’t you?

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Doesn’t She Look Smashing?

 

While most of the exercises are fun for Dolly, the water treadmill is not her favorite – at all! Poor little thing! She really doesn’t like it, but she’s a trooper.

 

After finishing 8 sessions, we are moving on to just going for cold laser treatments. (No more water treadmill which will make her a pretty happy puppy!) As long as we see no regression, we will stick with the laser and slowly ween her off the prednisone. It’s very comforting, though, to know that the other options are still available should we not see continued improvement.

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Our Precious, Sweet Dolly

 

Through all of this, Dolly has kept her sweet, loving disposition. I’m not sure how; but I guess after having been picked up off the street in California and being put into a high-kill shelter, she knows that – thanks to the Miracle GSD Network – she’s in a home where she is loved and cared for. After all, Isn’t that what we all strive for?

 

Be sure to check back. I will be posting about Dolly’s progress again in the near future.

 

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Leave a Reply” link and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about.

 

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

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New Year – New Challenges

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

Those of you who have hung in with me over the years know that I usually try to interject some humor into my posts. This one is going to be just a little different. I want to talk, very seriously, about rescue.

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Chief (White), Guinevere (Black), and Liesel (Black & Tan)

As most of you know, we have been very involved with both canine and equine rescues over the past years. This post is all about dogs.

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Blizzard, left tied to a tree without food or water when his “humans” skipped out on their rent.

All of our dogs (who I refer to as my “furkids”) have come through rescues. We didn’t start out to go that route (our initial plan was to buy a puppy). Rather than deal in negativity, I want to tell you that we’re so very glad, now, that we have adopted all our “kids” through rescues.

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Cheyenne, the one who started it all!

If you haven’t been with me for the long haul, let me tell you that a dear friend of mine was an officer with a rescue in Georgia when we lived there. She introduced the idea of adoption to me as a logical alternative to purchasing a puppy, as she knew that we both work and that we would, necessarily, be away from home for longer hours than was good for a puppy. She could not have been more correct. I’ve never once regretted adopting an adult (or mostly-adult) dog.

 

Let me tell you a few of the great benefits of adoption.

 

  1. Rescue dogs are almost always past the “puppy” stage. “Puppy stage?” you ask. Yes, this is one of the first reasons we decided against buying a puppy. Puppies need to be raised very carefully. They need lots more constant attention than many feel able to give. Puppies need to be taught where they need to do their “business” and they need constant supervision and socialization to help them achieve their potential.

 

  1. Rescue dogs have (most often) lived with foster families who have learned the talents (and foibles) of each dog. They have learned how well housebroken (or not) a dog is. They’ve learned how each foster gets along with other dogs, often with children of differing ages, and frequently with cats. When you adopt from a rescue, you know – for the most part – who you are bringing into your family.

 

  1. Rescue dogs are already spayed/neutered. These are not inexpensive operations. For the girls, it’s a bit harder; but, for them all, it’s surgery. The rescues have already taken care of the medical bills associated with making sure your new “kid” won’t be having “kids” of his/her own. What this world does NOT need are more unplanned pups!

 

  1. Rescue dogs already are current on inoculations, heartworm preventative, etc. Two of our dogs had been heartworm positive prior to reaching rescue. The rescue went to all the expense and spent all the time required (extensive hands-on care to make sure the dog doesn’t become too active while on the remedy) to cure them before they allowed them to be adopted.

 

  1. Rescue dogs are (again, for the most part) already microchipped. If you wonder whether or not this is a necessity, please go back and read my posts about Nitro – or read “Nitro’s Journey Home” page on Facebook. Microchipping can be the difference between losing your beloved dog forever and having him/her returned to you.
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Nitro saying, “Why, YES, it IS Snow! I think I’m going HOME!”

  1. Rescue dogs often have had at least rudimentary training. Once again, because they’ve been in a foster situation or spending lots of quality time with those involved with the rescue, most rescue dogs have, at least, some knowledge of how to act on leash. Many know other commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” (“Stay” and “come” are extremely important for them to know whether they know it before or you teach them after they join your family.) Many have learned other fun tricks, as well.
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Our Boy, Bear, The Graduate from Obedience Class

  1. Rescue dogs have known rejection. They appreciate when they are brought into a loving home. They show their love (sometimes it might take a while to earn their trust, but they will learn) in more ways than you can ever imagine. A dog’s love – once earned – is unconditional. They will give every fiber of their beings to their family. There are so many stories about how dogs have saved their humans’ lives or protected them from harm. Think of the German Shepherd Dog in Alaska who got the attention of the State Trooper and forced him to follow him to his family’s burning home. Then there are also stories of rescued dogs alerting their families to carbon monoxide, fires, a child having a seizure, and so on.
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Our Much-loved Miracle (#307) Dog, Dolly! (Read her story in an earlier post)

  1. Rescuing a dog actually rescues three. The dog you bring into your family is one. The one who comes out of a possible high-kill shelter into the rescue is number two; and the dog that gets picked up off the dangerous streets is the third.
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Our beloved Sydney with Dad. This was the day we brought her home!

I want to add that adopting senior dogs is one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done. We have adopted two senior females over the years. By senior, I mean over age 7 (in the case of German Shepherd Dogs – our breed of choice). Both girls had originally had loving homes, but human circumstances had changed their lives. One was caught up in a divisive divorce and, consequently, neglected by the one party she had to stay with. The other’s humans had developed health issues which negated their ability to properly care for their dogs.

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Our current senior, Cinder! (You can read her story in an earlier post!)

If you’ve read my recent stories about the Miracle GSD Network and, especially, The Thulani Program, you’ve seen what wonderful older dogs are out there. Granted, adopting a senior is not for everyone. It naturally follows that these dogs will not be with you for a very long time, but the time that you give them will often be the best of their lives. Giving care and love to an older dog comes back 100-fold.

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Guthrie in the Shelter (Before rescue by the Miracle GSD Network)

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Guthrie T’s a Happy, HEALTHY boy  with the Thulani Program Now!

Let me finish this post with the one truism that encompasses everything I’ve talked about. I’ve said it, easily, 100 times. When it comes right down to it, I didn’t rescue my dogs – my dogs rescued me. They can do the same for you. You’ll see what I mean.

 

 

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Leave a Reply” link and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about.

 

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

Tequila! (Not the Liquor or the Song, But Even MORE Uplifting)

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

Amazing Transformation! Just proves that, with love, anything is possible.

Amazing Transformation! Just proves that, with love, anything is possible.

This is the story of Tequila and her “mom,” Susan. I’ve asked other “Miracle Dog” (as well as other rescue dog) parents to share their stories. This is one that is especially heartwarming to me as this beauty was rescued through Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Dog Rescue just like our Dolly and Cinder. The “before” and “after” photos really tell the tale, but Susan’s heartfelt story, in her own words, resonates with the love she feels for her wonderful “miracle.”

Tequila now! I can hardly believe it's the same dog. She is absolutely stunning!

Tequila now! I can hardly believe it’s the same dog. She is absolutely stunning!

“I watched SWMGSDR’s FB page for over a year. At the time, I had my son’s shepherd here almost 4 years (till October 2014). She went back home to the UP. I was lonely for a dog after a couple months, so I seriously started watching Kristin’s postings and saw Tequila and her intake picture just got me in the gut. I applied and ended up getting her Dec. 23, 2014. The first couple days she was a little aloof – just watching me. I found an old tennis ball in the closet and she just lit right up. We played and played. After that she was at my side every minute, like most GSD’s are. It was challenging at times, at first. Noises really can set her off. Snapping, popping, scraping, blow dryer, vacuum…the list goes on. She pants and paces and drools a lot. Then she settles down. I try not to make a big deal about it and go about my business. It’s gotten much better now.

Tequila taking it easy

Tequila taking it easy

For a while, she would pee outside the bathroom door when I took a shower because she couldn’t see me, but won’t come in the bathroom because she doesn’t like the sound of the shower. She is terrified of stairs, so if I was in the basement too long she would get into the garbage or pee at top of steps.

Which toy to choose?

Which toy to choose?

There were times I wondered what I got myself into, but gradually things started getting better. She started to relax and got more confident. I stop and think she must of had a horrible life and who knows what happened to her. She has become my constant companion and snuggle buddy. She’s very obedient. I use a soft voice and it’s like she just gets what I’m saying. She sleeps on the foot of my bed. One night she was panting and rocking the whole bed, so I quietly said, “Quit panting,” and she sighed and quit panting!!

Are you SURE you don't want to play more?

Are you SURE you don’t want to play more?

She absolutely LOVES tennis balls. Chase, chase, chase! She will put the ball right in my lap and keep bumping it with her nose like reminding me to throw it. Or, if I’m standing, she puts it on my feet so I will kick it!.

Don't worry Mom, I got the car!

Don’t worry Mom, I got the car!

She’s a great watch dog – almost too good. I really have to watch her if anyone comes over. Out in public, she is fine. We go to TSC now and then she loves it. She’s always a little shy with strangers, but not aggressive. At home a whole other story!! In my vehicle, if someone comes too close while I am in it, she will bark – big time. She has given me love and makes me feel safe. We live in the country and who knows who may pull in your yard. I love having a dog to care for and love on again. I’ve had shepherds since 1996. They are the best breed out there. Even though she is a mix with some collie in her, she’s still very much a shepherd. We have come a long way in 8 months and I see her continuing to get better (but I think she will always be a garbage picker if I forget to put it up when I go to work). Still love her!! She is in the house loose while I’m at work. She meets me at the door with her ball. One time she couldn’t find her ball and she greets me with an old mousetrap that was laying behind the fridge (normally hidden by the garbage can). She has to greet me with something in her mouth. She has no accidents while I’m gone. At first, I crated her, but she hated it so I took a chance one day and left her out. No problems! She’s just the goodest girl in the world!!. That’s what I say to her when I come home.”

Is this the picture of a happy dog, or what?

Is this the picture of a happy dog, or what?

Isn’t that just the sweetest story? This match had to be made in Heaven, but the Miracle GSD Network and Kristin Bright at Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Dog Rescue were the vehicle used.

Ready for Mardi Gras (although every day is a celebration for Susan and Tequila)

Ready for the holidays (although every day is a celebration for Susan and Tequila)

It was terrific to meet Susan and Tequila at the recent “Homecoming” reunion. I hope to share more stories like this one in the coming weeks and months.

Tequila loves her

Tequila loves her “baby.”

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Comments” link and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about.

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

DON’T BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?–HERE’S A REAL ONE–MIRACLE GSD NETWORK

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

This story is a follow-up to my last post about the Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue 3rd Annual Reunion. I’ve had several people ask me about the Miracle GSDNetwork and the different rescues with which they work. Through the kind permission of The Miracle GSD Network team and Thulani Dogs, I am reposting a terrific article from their website. I’m sure you will enjoy it. These people ARE miracle workers.

Miracle GSD Network Team Members

Miracle GSD Network Team Members

“In the summer and early fall of 2012, a few people got together to see what they could do to help all the German Shepherds they were seeing that were dying in southern California shelters.  After talking for several weeks, they decided their best route would be to work with reputable rescues to move the dogs to places they could be adopted – where GSDs weren’t as common.  Their idea was to navigate the complicated California shelter system FOR the rescue.  Partner with the shelters, temp test the dogs, arrange with a rescue partner for the “pull”, arrange vet, board, and transport to the rescue – AND to raise the funds to do it.  They wanted to do this – to deliver the dog to the rescue – without the rescues having to figure all this out – taking away from the important job of taking care of the dogs, and getting them adopted.  Rescues already HAVE too much work to do!  After months of planning, Miracle GSD Network was formed, and “pulled” their first dogs in October 2012 from the Coachella Valley Shelter in CA for Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue.

Miracle GSD Network only works with a select few rescues that they have thoroughly checked out, and have processes in place that employ good and transparent rescue practices.   Since 2012 they have built a partnership with several rescues and shelters, and with many people on the “ground” assisting with temp tests, fostering, and transporting. They have earned the trust of so many people in rescue.  This small group of people is spread out all over the country – Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts and North Carolina…”

Thulani Dogs is one of the select rescues who has been approved to work with Miracle GSD Network.. They have a marvelous website. Thulani is not your “everyday” rescue. These are people with an amazing strength. Here are a couple of excerpts from their website:

“The Thulani Program is a subactivity of German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (GSRNC) that focuses on helping German Shepherds with limited life expectancy, typically measured in months or possibly as much as a year.  Although independently run, this program is fully integrated with the much broader activities of GSRNC…”

“The Thulani Program for providing hospice care and sanctuary for German Shepherd dogs with limited life expectancy was founded in mid-2009 as a German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California response  to a need identified by our shelter evaluators.  The evaluators were finding German Shepherd dogs in shelters that were wonderful dogs, but because of terminal medical conditions or extreme age, were not dogs that could successfully be adopted out to the public as part of regular adoption program. Yet these wonderful dogs have some quality life left for them, even though it might be short. The evaluators realized that, if they turned their backs on these dogs, they very likely would die alone and afraid in the shelter almost immediately…”

The Thulani Program has a wonderful website: http://thulanidogs.org/

Here are photos of “Morrie T.” He was a Miracle Dog who was adopted through Thulani.

“Morrie T” in the shelter (Just pitiful!)

Photographer, Jane Sobel Kronsky Morrie T with

Photographer, Jane Sobel Kronsky
Morrie T with “mom” Vicky (this year) – Just look at the happy, healthy, much-loved boy , now!

JUST ADDED!!!

Here are photos of two sweet, elderly dogs who were just rescued out of a shelter in California. They are going to the tremendous Thulani Program!

Shelter photo of Lucky and Sugar

Shelter photos of Lucky and Sugar

and NOW, here are their “Freedom” photos!

So good to see these two going to a place where they will be loved the rest of their days!

So good to see these two going to a place where they will be loved the rest of their days!

“Miracle GSD Network is PROUD to partner with the Thulani Program, to save Senior & Hospice German Shepherds – a cause near & dear to their hearts.  Miracle GSD Network is an “informal” organization dedicated to helping rescues navigate the difficult shelter system by coordinating “pulls” of dogs in need.  Visit (ask to join) our Facebook page – it is a HAPPY PLACE – where we post updates of all our “Miracle Dogs” – to date over 450 saved:”

Since this article was written, so many more dogs have been saved thanks to the combined efforts of the Network and their associated rescues. As of this writing, 564 dogs have been pulled from shelters and sent to rescues across the country. It’s so remarkable that such a small group can do so much good! I think it proves that if you really want to do something ‒ you CAN!

If you’re interested in learning more about Miracle GSD Network, you can visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/310605105708097/

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Comments” link and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about.

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

A Day of Celebration and Tears!

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

After a long hiatus, I’m back to blogging. Life has a funny way of rolling by faster and faster as each year passes. Work, home, dogs, birds…all seem to demand their amount of time and energy. Happily, I may have figured out a way to steal some time and tell all y’all about the wonderful celebration we attended. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy telling the story.

3rd Annual Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue Reunion

3rd Annual Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue Reunion

July 25 was the Third Annual Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue reunion. This was a day for all athe dogs who had been adopted through the rescue to come together with their owners and meet/reacquaint with others.

Some of the Reunion Attendees

Some of the Reunion Attendees

It was also time to meet some extraordinary people who are involved in saving so many German Shepherd Dogs from certain death in the overcrowded shelters in California.

Lisa & Kathy from the Miracle Network with one of the greatest contributors and two Miracle Dog owners.

Lisa & Kathy from the Miracle Network with one of the greatest contributors and two Miracle Dog owners.

This group is the Miracle GSD Network. You can find their page on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/310605105708097/

Lisa and Kathy from the Miracle Network flank Maz (one of the leading contributors)

Lisa and Kathy from the Miracle Network flank Maz (one of the leading contributors)

This group is especially dear to us, as they are the ones who saved our darling Dolly!It was our first opportunity to meet some of these dedicated women with whom we’ve become very dear Facebook friends over the past year. It was also the first opportunity for them to actually meet – face-to-face – with many of the dogs they’d worked so diligently to save. There were lots of happy tears shed over these first meetings. I’m not completely certain, but I think even the dogs realized how important and special these women were in their lives.

Dolly with Lisa (her first opportunity to meet the girl she helped to save!)

Dolly with Lisa (her first opportunity to meet the girl she helped to save!)

The group began when several of these women got together just a very few years ago to see if they could help with the dire situation in the shelters in California. The shelters were (and are) filled well past capacity and it has meant that hold times for dogs (especially large dogs like German Shepherds) have been cut to just the bare minimums required by law. Rescues were doing their best to try to save as many as possible, but sheer numbers and widely-spread locations and even crossed communications were hampering their abilities. The women from the Miracle Network have been able to help cut through these barriers. They have helped funnel dogs from the overrun shelters to reputable (strenuously checked) rescues throughout the country. They take absolutely NO funds for their work and spend hours upon hours on the computer and telephone with the yeoman’s job of coordinating getting the dogs from the shelters to the rescues which are all around the country.

One of the approved rescues is Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Kristin Bright has been involved from the very beginning. It is through her rescue that we adopted our adorable Dolly and our precious Cinder.

Kristin with Lynne's Kaiser

Kristin with Lynne’s Kaiser

Another great photo of Kristin with Kaiser

Another great photo of Kristin with Kaiser

A few months after Dolly came to live with us, we lost our Sydney. Not long after that, Kristin contacted us as a possible home for another senior girl who had recently been rescued from Ohio. Cinder was not part of the Miracle Network, but was an owner turn-in. You can read all about both Dolly and Cinder in previous posts, but they were alumnae at the reunion on Saturday.

Our Cinder at the SMGSR 3rd Annual Reunion

Our Cinder at the SMGSR 3rd Annual Reunion

Cinder Chilling at the Reunion

Cinder Chilling at the Reunion

All of the dogs here had amazing back stories. It’s impossible to share all the stories. Here are a few that will amaze you and which exemplify the work being done to save these fantastic dogs.

Naturally, you know I have to start with Dolly. The before and after are really something to see, and she was one of the dogs who wasn’t in very poor condition.

Our Dolly (Miracle Dog #307) - Intake Photo

Our Dolly (Miracle Dog #307) – Shelter Intake Photo

Our Dolly now!

Our Dolly now!

Dolly & Cinder Taking it Easy

Dolly & Cinder Taking it Easy

Here are photos of Kyra (Miracle Dog #38) before and after!

Kyra BEFORE the Miracle Network swooped in to save her

Kyra BEFORE the Miracle Network swooped in to save her

Kyra now! Three beautiful girls!

Kyra now! Three beautiful girls!

Kyra with her Dad

Kyra with her Dad

Kyra's a Happy Girl!

Kyra’s a Happy Girl!

Kyra Enjoys Looking at the World From Above

Kyra Enjoys Looking at the World From Above

Here is handsome Zeppelin (Zeppy) – Miracle Dog #69. It’s clear that he has gone from the depths to a wonderful, loving home.

Zeppelin (Zeppy) in the Shelter - Poor bedraggled boy!

Zeppelin (Zeppy) – Miracle Dog #69 – in the Shelter – Poor bedraggled boy!

Zeppy now! He's such a Happy, Handsome Boy

Zeppy now! He’s such a Happy, Handsome Boy. Who wouldn’t be with two lovely ladies!

Zeppy is Now a Gorgeous, Silky Boy - Miracle Dog, indeed!

Zeppy is Now a Gorgeous, Silky Boy – Miracle Dog, indeed!

This is Tequila! Of all the sad faces, she had one of the saddest. I fell in love with her when I first saw that sad face. I was so hoping the right person would come along and give her the home she so richly deserves. She sure hit the jackpot with her “mom”, Susan!

Tequila (Miracle #373). Have you ever seen SUCH a sad face?

Tequila (Miracle #373). Have you ever seen SUCH a sad face?

Tequila now! I can hardly believe it's the same dog. She is absolutely stunning!

Tequila now! I can hardly believe it’s the same dog. She is absolutely stunning!

Amazing Transformation! Just proves that, with love, anything is possible.

Amazing Transformation! Just proves that, with love, anything is possible.

The most amazing story of all (in my opinion) is that of Dulce (now named Cali). This poor dog looked so emaciated and rough. I can’t help but believe she would not have lasted more than a day or two more had the Miracle GSD Network not swooped in and saved her.

Dulce (now named Cali) in the shelter. It's hard to look at this photo. She's just skin and bone.

Dulce (now named Cali) in the shelter. It’s hard to look at this photo. She’s just skin and bone.

Dulce/Cali (Miracle Dog #383) after just a few short, loving months

Dulce/Cali (Miracle Dog #383) after just a short, loved period. Isn’t the difference amazing?

Everyone who saw her transformation (and her forever family hasn’t had her with them very long) was thrilled. I think more happy tears were cried over this pup than any other.

Sweet Cali! Safe and LOVED at last!

Sweet Cali! Safe and LOVED at last!

There are so many happy stories with the Rescue and Miracle Network. It was wonderful to get to meet other human family members who share with us the love of rescued dogs. I hope to be sharing many of these in future posts.

Another great story is that of Karu and her puppies. Karu wasn’t at the reunion, but two of her pups were. Karu was rescued and had puppies. Karu is full German Shepherd Dog, but dad was apparently a Mastiff/Boxer mix. Two of the pups – Augusta and Gunner – had not seen each other since they had been adopted. It was clear to all that they remembered each other. It was such a joy to watch them play together.

Karu's pups, Augusta and Gunner, meet again for the first time since adoption. Gunner (the brindle) looks a little tentative

Karu’s pups, Augusta and Gunner, meet again for the first time since adoption. Gunner (the brindle) looks a little tentative

I think they're starting to remember

I think they’re starting to remember

That's my BROTHER!

That’s my BROTHER!

Yep, they're brothers, all right

Yep, they’re brothers, all right

All in all, there were easily forty-plus German Shepherd Dogs all in one place. There were absolutely no instances of fights or difficulties because we all respected each other’s space. There was ample area to walk the dogs, kiddie pools to drink or cool off in, and activities to keep the dogs entertained. There were also many children around who really enjoyed being able to pet so many beautiful dogs. That was remarkable in that the dogs seemed to enjoy the kids as much (if not more).

German Shepherds everywhere

German Shepherds everywhere

The kids and dogs got along terrifically.

The kids and dogs got along terrifically.

There were contests for the dogs (like who could lie down and stay the longest) and “hot dog” eating contest. (Not really hot dogs – they were special doggie treats that floated.) I entered Dolly at the last minute.

Kiddie Pools for drinking and cooling off (for the dogs)

Kiddie Pools for drinking and cooling off (for the dogs)

She wasn’t sure at first, but got them all. Just as they were finishing the contest, Jim decided that Cinder needed a chance to beat Dolly’s time. Not only did Cinder beat Dolly’s time, she won the contest with all ten pieces snagged in 10 seconds! A new record! She won a prize bag full of fun toys and treats!

Dolly wasn't sure about this contest

Dolly wasn’t sure about this contest

There were cakes and treats for humans and canines alike. The door prizes and raffles were really top notch.

Treats for the Dogs

Treats for the Dogs

and Cake for the Humans

and Cake for the Humans

Just a few of the prizes

Just a few of the prizes

We all had a marvelous time and are very much looking forward to next year’s get together. We’re really hoping that many of those who couldn’t make it for this reunion will be able to join us next year.

I can’t say enough about all the work put in by Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Kristin has so much on her plate running the rescue; but she did a fantastic job of pulling everything together and assuring a great time for everyone. I can’t imagine how she found enough hours in the day to do everything she did. If Wonder Woman were real, I imagine she’d look a lot like Kristin.

The amazing Kristin

The amazing Kristin

Kristin taking a short break

Kristin taking a short break

Kristin greeting one of the pups she cared for before adoption.

Kristin greeting one of the pups she cared for before adoption.

Remember, I really love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Comments” link and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about.

Looking Forward to “Seeing” You Here Next Time on Colmel’s Blog!

Cinder(ella)

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

After a long absence, I’m back. Work can put a real crimp on blogging, but I love my job and the people I work with, so I try to find a balance. In the transportation industry, things get really crazy for several months before Christmas, so work necessarily had to jump to the fore. I hope that I’m finally going to be able to get my blog rolling along again with new posts and updates to old stories. I hope you will hang in with me and follow along.
I wrote about losing our sweet Sydney last August. What I haven’t written about is the message we got only a few weeks after she went to the Rainbow Bridge. Kristin Bright from Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue got in touch with me to tell me about a wonderful, older girl that had come to be with their rescue.

Cinder (the day she arrived at SWMI Rescue)

Cinder (the day she arrived at SWMI Rescue)

 

Cinder - Skin and Bone (Day She Arrived at Rescue)

Cinder – Skin and Bone (Day She Arrived at Rescue)

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This gal had come in with another dog – a male – from an owner who had some severe medical issues and was going to have to go into assisted living. Neither of his dogs could go with him. It was obvious from the photos, that “Sinder” had not had proper care for some time. She was painfully thin, had some severe flea dermatitis, had hard callouses on her legs, had virtually no fur on her tail, and her toenails were incredibly (grotesquely) long. I don’t believe it was from lack of concern, rather lack of ability to do anything.

Grotesquely Long Nails (Photo taken day she arrived at Rescue)

Grotesquely Long Nails (Photo taken day she arrived at Rescue)

Kristin told us that she immediately thought of us as we had experience rescuing older dogs. She knew we were missing our Sidney and had room in our home and hearts for another dog. In case you’re relatively new to my blog, we had adopted eight previous German Shepherds – including Sydney – and fostered two others. Kristin told us that this girl was a real sweetheart and needed a loving home to help her bloom and get back in shape.

Beauty and Nobility Shone Through

Beauty and Nobility Shone Through

Maybe it was the nobility in her lovely face. Maybe it was the obvious need for a furever home. Maybe it was because we know how hard it is to place a dark-colored dog – especially an older one. Maybe it was just that both Jim and I hate the idea of a sweet, old dog not being with a loving family, but we immediately told Kristin that we would bring Bear and Dolly for a visit. If all went smoothly, we would adopt Sinder.

Despite All the Ills, Beauty and Sweetness Shown Through

Despite All the Ills, Beauty and Sweetness Shone Through

Before we could visit, Kristin had Sinder spayed. (Yes, we’re pretty sure she had been used for breeding.) At that time, while she was under, the vet cut and cauterized her nails. They were so long and misshapen that they had to be done under anesthesia. She had several baths with medicine for her skin and coat. She was on her way back to health.

The Day We Met & Brought Cinder Home

The Day We Met & Brought Cinder Home

As is obvious, the visit went very well. Dolly is an in-your-face kind of girl (although she’s finally learning to relax a little). She’s like one of those women who get right up in your face and talk very loud. She’s not at all malicious, she just grew up on the streets and had no manners. Even that didn’t faze good, old Sinder. (You’ve probably noticed that there are two spellings of her name. She was turned over to the rescue as “Sinder.” We changed the spelling to “Cinder” to match her coloration.)

Silly, happy girl. Cinder VERY much a part of the family

Silly, happy girl. Cinder VERY much a part of the family

Now Cinder is blossoming (Cinderella?). She gained the badly-needed weight. Her coat is shiny and full. Her tail looks like it should, and her dermatitis is long gone. She’s a happy, quirky dog. I say quirky because she’s of the opinion that every toy that comes into the house belongs to her. It’s rather comic, and it’s a good thing both of the other kids are easy-going. I wonder if she ever had a toy prior to coming to live with us. She’s also not good with small dogs or cats. That doesn’t matter at all to us as we don’t have either. As it turns out, Kristin knew we would be a perfect fit. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cinder with Her Lovely Coat and Tail

Cinder with Her Lovely Coat and Tail

 

Such a Pretty, Sweet Girl!

Such a Pretty, Sweet Girl!

Sweet Cinder (ella?)

Sweet Cinder (ella?)

Below is the link to the Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Please cut and paste it into your browser. Kristin does amazing things with very short funding and assistance. If you are in Michigan or close state and are considering adopting a new family member, you might want to see who is available. If you are considering making a financial donation to a tax-deductible charity, you might want to consider SWMGS Rescue.

http://www.swmigermanshepherdrescue.com/

 

Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!

Hello Dolly

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

“Hello Dolly,……well, hello, Dolly

It’s so nice to have you [back] where you belong”

It’s high time to introduce our Dolly!

 

Dolly is a California girl who was picked up as a stray by animal control. According to someone who saw them pick her up, she had been fed by an entire neighborhood, but no one had actually adopted her. Sadly, the shelters in California are way past capacity, and dogs and cats that are picked up rarely last past 4 days. By law, they have to keep an animal 3 days for an owner to look for them. If no owner in 3 days, the animals can possibly last for another day or two in case they are adopted. Then, well… you know what happens then.
Luckily, the German Shepherd Dog community has reached out and there are several groups who routinely take dogs from California (and other state) shelters and send them to rescues around the country. Dolly, thank God, was one of the lucky ones who got rescued and sent to Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue.

The Face That Popped Up on Facebook

The Face That Popped Up on Facebook

I just happened to be reading posts on Facebook one evening in March when up popped Dolly’s photo. I fell in love instantly! Jim had always said he’d love to have a female, white German Shepherd Dog. We’d had so much fun with our boys – Blizzard and Chief – that we thought it would be fun to have another. Here was an adorable face looking out at me and I knew she had to come live with us.  (I want to thank Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue for taking such great photos! These are photos that I took of the computer screen with my phone. Isn’t technology amazing?)

Just LOOK at That Face!

Just LOOK at That Face! (Seen here with Kristin Bright of SWMGS Rescue)

Once I showed her photo to Jim, it was a done deal – in our minds. Now, we just had to convince the rescue that we were the home for Dolly. I must say that SMGSR has a rigorous program in determining who is a good fit for their dogs. I was very happy to see this as it helps them to determine which humans are a good for their dogs; but it also helps the humans determine if the dog is a good fit for them. The first part is a questionnaire which I immediately filled out.

Dolly With A SWMGS Rescue Playmate

Dolly With A SWMGS Rescue Playmate

I guess I probably was something of a pest, because I couldn’t just wait the 10 days they say – up front – it will minimally take to go over the questionnaires. I called and left a message that I had filled out the questionnaire and that I wanted to reiterate that we are experienced with German Shepherd Dog rescues. At that point, we had adopted 7 German Shepherd Dogs since 1995. I wanted to be sure they knew that we really wanted to meet and hopefully adopt Dolly.

Sweet Girl Playing at SWMGSD Rescue

Sweet Girl Playing at SWMGS Rescue

Did I stop and wait there? Do you know me? Of course I didn’t. I called again just as the 10 day period ended and left another message about how much we wanted to bring Dolly into our family. At that point, I got a call back telling me that the director of the rescue was out of town, but that they could do the required telephone interview prior to that. I was overjoyed. We set up a time for that afternoon to complete the phone interview. I guess we must have passed muster with the questionnaire, vet interview, and telephone interview because I heard back from the director as soon as she got back into town. Kristin (who I now call a miracle worker because of all she is able to do with so little in terms of financing and also human help) called and asked if we’d like to bring our current “kids” Bear and Sydney to meet Dolly the next weekend to see how they meshed.

Just LOOK at that Precious Little Dog!

Just LOOK at that Precious Little Dog!

I was certain that Bear would be welcoming and friendly, but our Sydney (God rest her sweet soul) was an alpha female. I wasn’t so certain that she would appreciate a much younger, also female family member. The travel to the rescue (which is near Battle Creek, Michigan) went well. Sydney was having a good day and didn’t appear to be in any pain, so the ride was uneventful. Bear and Syd couldn’t figure out, though, why there was a crate in the back of the car.
While we walked Syd and Bear around, the rescue got Dolly brushed and ready for her public. As soon as Kristin brought her out, I was determined that I wasn’t leaving without her. She was the absolute cutest, fluffiest, little (mostly) German Shepherd Dog I’d ever seen. Also, she was a wiggling mass of affection. It did take some work getting Sydney not to be put off by Dolly’s exuberance; but Dolly seemed to instinctively know not to push Syd’s alpha dog buttons.
After an extended “getting to know you” walk around with Bear and Sydney and with only a minimum of posturing, Dolly officially became part of the family. Final paperwork was signed and we loaded our new girl into the crate. The other two spent most of the ride home sniffing the crate and trying to figure out exactly who this new dog was and where she fit in the scheme of things.

 

(The following photos – for better or worse – are mine… WELL except for a few taken by the remarkable Paula TenBrink of Pawla’s Pantry (purveyor of the best puppy treats in the world).

Yep, She's Home

Yep, She’s Home

 

You Talking About Me?

You Talking About Me?

I must tell you that our Dolly has been a fabulous addition to our family. She seemed to immediately comprehend that Sydney was the “in charge” dog in the house. Right up until Sydney’s last days, Dolly was exceedingly sweet to her. The largest worry I’d had – that Sydney and Dolly wouldn’t like each other – never came to fruition. If anything, Syd looked after Dolly and vice versa. I’m so grateful that we didn’t let that concern dissuade us.

Dolly Meets Paula of Pawla's Pantry (fabulous dog treats) at the Howell Farmers' Market

Dolly Meets Paula of Pawla’s Pantry (fabulous dog treats) at the Howell Farmers’ Market

20140504_100940

Yes, The Treat Booth – That’s Where I’ll Settle

Did Someone Say Cookie?

Did Someone Say Cookie?

Yes! I'm SURE I Heard "Cookie!"

Yes! I’m SURE I Heard “Cookie!” Pay No Attention to the Funny Dog with No Tail!

Since bringing Dolly home to the family, we had her DNA run. In a few of the photos you can tell that her body looks like a typical German Shepherd Dog, but her legs are really short, her paws are quite large and fluffy on the bottom, and her head and ears look like perhaps another breed.  Something you can’t see from photos is the way she walks. She sashays! It’s almost like she’s hinged in the middle.  We decided we just really wanted to know what parentage made for such a cute, yet incongruous, dog. Turns out she’s a German Shepherd (White Swiss Shepherd), German Shepherd Dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Keeshond mix (along with possible Chinook, Irish Setter, and/or Alaskan Malamute).

CHEESE!!!

CHEESE!!!

Yes, Dolly does have some work to do. She’s wonderful with people – especially once she gets to know them. She’s vocal and loud with other dogs (rather like one of those annoying people who come right up into your face to talk to you – loudly), but she’s not really aggressive. Considering her past and life on the streets, it’s not at all surprising. We are working on her socialization skills and I’m certain that her sweet personality will dominate and allow her to be more comfortable around other dogs and in unusual situations. She’s an adorable work-in-progress that we’ll take great joy in helping along that path.

Are You Done With the Camera YET?

Are You Done With the Camera YET?

Spoiled? Who ME?

Spoiled? Who ME?

I Have NO Idea What  "Spoiled" Means, but If This Is It, I'm Fine With It

I Have NO Idea What “Spoiled” Means, but If This Is It, I’m Fine With It

Below is the link to the Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue. Kristin does amazing things with very short funding and assistance. If you are in Michigan or close state and are considering adopting a new family member, you might want to see who is available. If you are considering making a financial donation to a tax-deductible charity, you might want to consider SWMGS Rescue.

http://www.swmigermanshepherdrescue.com/

 

Up Next: Michigan Maple – Syrup That Is

 

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Looking forward to “seeing” you here on Colmel’s Blog!