Sunday, February 24, 2008


Losing our pets is one of our greatest heartbreaks. When I lost my beloved Sofia last summer to a snake bite I was filled with grief, guilt, and fear for Kiara, Ruthie, and our foster girl. Sofia protected them but how I wish I could have saved her. Sofia was my third cairn and as near perfect as possible. If you'd like to read her story, please visit her Memorial Wall:

I'd lived in our home for 6 years and had never seen a snake but they are a definite danger.
Other dangers include:
Ethylene Glycol (Radiator Fluid)
Tylenol (acetominophen)
Rodent or Ant poison
Please be careful as you walk your pets or visit a dog park that there are no dangers. Dogs like the taste of antifreeze and other poisons and may be easily attracted to them. Don't assume they are safe. Here are some phone numbers if you need help:

Poison Control: 800-922-1117 or 800-345-4735
Animal Poison Control: 888-426-4435 (fees may apply)
Animal Poison Hotline: 888-232-8870 ($35 fee)
Shine on Sofia!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Flying Underwear Sisters

Post-Adoption updates are not usually as entertaining as the following, but then nothing about Nora's adoption (fka Nativity) has been usual. Chuckle along... kag

Okay, Friends and Relations,

We're headin' up the backstretch in our first week with 5 kilos of Mighty (Little) Dog. We wanted an older Cairn terrier female to put the "fear of dog" into Bree, our year-and-a-half Cairn/Bichon mix. "Be careful what you wish for;" we got the older Cairn female...

Here is where we have to make a plug for the kind and efficient folks at the Colonel Potter Cairn Rescue Network (say that quickly five times). And here is their website: ; I double-dog dare you to look! We must give special thanks to her foster parents in Wisconsin, Bob and Kay, who did such a great job of restoring her to health and showing her how to be a Good Dog (hey, where's the timid and gentle one you promised us???) "The Dog Formerly Named Nativity" also won a Free Week at Winter Camp with Mary, Mike, Jessica, Max, and Lola, compliments of Minnesota Winter. When we picked Nora up in Council Bluffs, she had accumulated so much schwag; food, toys, and biscuits from Winter Camp, plus a collar, tags, leash, harness, and a handmade blankie from the CPCRN "blankie aunties." Somewhere along the way, she also picked up a whole 'nother attitude about My Role as a Cairn Princess (think Princess Leia in Star Wars). We had to push and shove just to get her ego through the front door.

Adjustment to our household came slowly; about ten seconds. Wheee Haaa! Nora has spent the whole week regressing with Bree--we now have TWO "puppies" who spend every waking moment following us around, play-fighting, fight-playing, and stealing every item of clothing not locked away in a drawer. What are mere hangers and laundry baskets to the Flying Underwear Sisters!

We had hoped that a refined older lady dog would treat Francois/Frankie with the respect a mature Bichon gentleman deserves. ("Whoa, dude, now you've got to share Richard's lap with two Celtic Women. Bummer," sez Pixel, the dog next door.) Frank is somehow bearing up under the sorrow of not having his front leg gnawed on by Bree forty-two times a day, which is what she did before Nora. NEWS FLASH--Bree and Nora were rolling along wreaking havoc about 30 seconds ago, and they intruded on Monsieur 's personal space. Wow, I never heard a chien swear in French before! Suddenly it is ver', ver' quiet, no?

Nora is quite bright, we're almost trained already. Doors seem not to be an issue unless, "I don' wanna' cause it's cold out." She'll join the pack heading outdoors, and, oops, rethink about two inches from the door. She dances gaily away, "Come and get me; I'm cuuuute." Because you don't want to heat the entire state of Colorado, you shoo the other two out and steam toward her, "I'm not gonna let this little squirt make a fool of me THIS time!" Not in the least worried about your blood pressure, she flops onto her back and wiggles, "See my tummy? It's cuuuute, too..." Okay, how can one resist a little doglet who spent the first four years of her life popping out puppies in a little tiny cage? (Nora, 243; Sigrid, ZIP) So you kootchy her tummy, scoop her up, she licks your face while you hug her, and out she goes, while Bree and Frankie just roll their eyes...

Despite the civil unrest she has incited, Nora is learning Doggly Duties pretty well. Accidents are few, she's a good walker on a leash, she is a quiet sleeper, and she has made her peace with our six-pack; "What cats? Do you see cats? I don't see cats. No cats here!" When a cat-and-dog pile accretes, as it often does on a sunny spot on the floor, she is surprised to awaken and find one of those... those... not-dogs snuggled over, under, or around her.

Just as our children learned all their bad habits from one another, and certainly not from their parental units, we are waiting in apprehension until the FUSisters compare notes on one another's jumping abilities. Bree learned to jump straight up on her hind legs, about 2.5 feet off the ground, so that she can guilt us into letting her inside. She can do this for ten minutes--maybe more--we're softies and let her in. Our new four-letter-word-for-a-dog acquired a skill set with Mary and Mike at Winter Camp. It is reported - and we haven't been daft enough to experiment - that Nora can clear a child gate with the greatest of ease. What if the two of 'em compare notes? Remember those poodles on the Ed Sullivan Show? One would jump off a ladder, land on the end of a teeter-totter, bouncing the dog on the other end up into the air and through a hoop? And we only have six-foot fences...

Attached is a rogue's gallery; front row, left to right: Frankie, Bree, and Nora. Second row: Favorite husband

Hope your week was as joyful!
Richard and Sigrid

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tamar Geller: The Loved Dog

I love "The Loved Dog" by Tamar Geller!! She expresses so simply what I feel about my cairns Kiara Ann and CP kid Ruthie Rose. These two have known nothing but love and luxury in their short lives. So unlike the experiences of puppymill kids.

Just imagine how confused our puppymill kids feel when they come into Col Potter because they have never been loved! They might describe the strange phenomenon: an inside living arrangement, people who want to cuddle me and look into my eyes, an itchy collar and harness on my scrawny body, a big crate with noone to share it, fresh food and water. The very things we and our resident kids think of as symbols of our love may seem very scary to mill kids.

While their behaviors match their background, we find them disturbing. Recently, a new adoptive Mom posted a question to CRM asking for how to help her puppy overcome a fear of big open spaces and leash training. I encouraged this Mom to read Tamar's book because she will need Tamar's optimistic encouragement.

The physical abuse most mill kids endure causes intense fear of human hands. These hands grabbed a tail, leg, scruff, ears - whatever they could reach - and none to gently. Putting on a leash involves hands and eye contact - a fearful situation. Teaching the mill cairn that your touches are not threatening may take lots of patience.

Try lying on the floor face down with your eyes averted and a high-value treat freely available to get the dog to approach you. Let him come near you and sniff. Spend as much time as you can without pushing or forcing contact. Softly touch the dog in a small spot, speak gentle encouraging phrases. It may take an hour, or days to progress.

Eventually hold the dog, petting him gently for a few seconds, speaking softly, then place him carefully down. Don't try to restrain him. Lengthen the time for this ritual each day. You want a totally non-threatening environment. Be as submissive as possible; Build trust slowly.

Your celebrations may be for very small improvements, as we count improvements. But they are very significant for you and your cairn!! Share those celebrations with others and seek support as you need it.

Sending big hugs for your huge heart and desire to make a puppymill survivor your "Loved Dog"! Let me know what you think of Tamar's book.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Adopting a Puppy Mill Cairn

Common Puppymill Survivor Behaviors

Terror of humans hands: The only time most mill dogs are removed from their cages, it's a painful experience. The dog may be grabbed by the first reachable part of it's body: tail, leg, scruff, ears. This takes lots of patience and non-threatening touches to overcome.

You may have to lie on the floor face down with your eyes averted to get the dog to approach you at all. Let him come near you and sniff. It may take an hour, or days for this to happen. You can sometimes begin by holding the dog, petting him gently for a few seconds, speaking softly, then place him carefully down. Let him know you do not wish to restrain him. Lengthen the time for this ritual each day.

Never raise your voice, clap your hands, or allow loud noises in the home during this adjustment period. You must strive to create a totally non-threatening environment. Behave as submissively as possible. Build trust slowly.

Aversion To Eye Contact: Many puppymill survivors refuse to make eye contact with humans. This indicates fearful submission which decreases as the dog comes to realize he will not be harmed by you and begins to trust. Talking to your dog in a soft, calm voice helps speed the process. A dog may not speak English, but the gentle tone of your voice and the fact that he is the focus of your concern will be understood.

The "I'm Afraid Of My Food" Routine: Anytime the cage door is opened on a mill dog, fear is the response, because an evil human is behind it. Of course, the cage door must be opened to insert a bowl of food, which may also be used to entice the dog within reach. It's not unusual to see your puppymill survivor run in the opposite direction when you sit dinner on the floor. Turn your back and walk away until the dog feels "safe" enough to eat. Let him eat undisturbed.

Marking/Housetraining: No puppymill survivor comes housetrained. Some never grasp the finer points. Most males will mark, and many females, too. Crates are useful in housetraining. Belly bands (a cloth band which wraps around male dogs covering the ureter) will help prevent marking. Nicely fitted doggie diapers are available from Foster and Smith. Human diapers can also be used - just cut a hole for the tail. Put your dog on a schedule. Take him outside first thing in the morning, at lunchtime whenever possible, after dinner, before bedtime. If you see him lift his leg in the house, a shaker can (jar filled with small pebbles) or clicker can distract him long enough for you to get him outside. Never raise your voice. Never hit a dog. Take him outside and reinforce by saying, "Potty outside", or something similar. Use positive reinforcement when the dog does his business outside..."Good boy! Potty outside! Good, good boy!" Lots of petting must follow. : )

Flight Risk: All puppymill survivors are high flight risks. Never take your dog outside a securely fenced yard until you are thoroughly bonded. Then if you take your dog outside the fence, double-check to be sure harness is secure enough. I sometimes use a collar and harness, then run the lead from the collar through the harness for extra safety. If a mill dog gets loose outside a secured area, he will likely run until he drops; catching him will be quite a feat. Prevention is by far the best policy.

Coprophagy: Stool-eating is common in puppymill survivors. There is much contention as to the cause. However, most rescuers feel it is a learned behavior. Again, prevention is the best policy. Pick up the yard frequently. Some mill dogs stop this behavior over time.

Fear of Water: Many puppymill survivors are frightened of water hoses. Puppymillers generally don't bother removing the dogs before hosing down their cages. I have known adopters whose puppymill survivors have become well-acclimated to homes, families and leashed walks only to have the dog bolt when they chanced by a neighbor watering his lawn.

Fear Biting: Fear biting is more common in abuse cases than in puppymill survivors, but we do see it occasionally. 90% of all dogs who bite do so out of fear. Puppymill survivors, like feral dogs, usually cower in the presence of humans. Fear biting can frequently be overcome with proper training and commitment, but it generally requires a professional animal behaviorist, not to mention a strong commitment from the adoptive family. Sadly, because of both the enormity of the canine overpopulation problem and the abundance of more easily salvageable dogs, most fear biters are euthanized.

Ravenswood Finds Her Forever Home

Our newest CRM member recently introduced herself as the "pet custodian" of Ravenswood, a CPCRN puppy mill rescue. More importantly. she and her hubby are Ravenswood very loving forever family. With heart felt thanks to Lynne Prokop, Ravenswood's foster Mom, Carlene says that "It was quite obvious to both me and my husband just how much love, attention and care that Lynne gave to Ravenswood (and her and her husband's other 3 cairns. Ravenswood came to our home with so many nice things that she (and maybe others out there) gave to her which made her feel more comfortable in her new home. She is settling in nicely, ears forward most of the time and very few episodes of huge bug eyes." Congratulations Ravenswood and Family!! Please send photos and more updates when you can!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Celebrating Bear and Thanking his Foster Mom

Foster Mom Sandy writes:
My little "Baby Bear" is going home in a few minutes. He met his new mommy and daddy yesterday and of course, they fell in love in love with him. Bear has been with me since September and the progress he has made is amazing. He truly has my heart and I could not love this little boy anymore but he has a wonderful home. He went from trembling and peeing all over himself when touched to actually wanting to be touched and loved. He learned the thrill of running in a yard and playing with a ball! He has learned that life is good and he no longer has to fear people or fear being caged again. Good bye my little Bear. I will love you always. Here is a little slide show of Bear from beginning to end.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Foods and Plants Poisonous to Pets

Castor Beans
Macadamia Nuts
Tomato Leaves and Stems

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Word about Our Logo

About 6 years ago, when PostAdoption was just a few volunteers, we printed a thank you card on 9 1/2 x 11 paper from our home printer. It was cute and a nice touch. But last year we realized that it was no longer quite what we wanted. So Danielle and Kathie designed a professionally printed card with the montage logo on the front. The montage represents the many diverse cairns who have passed through Col. Potter's loving care.

Inside the card is a tribute to foster moms that reads:
I am your foster mother.
I am made of steel.
Because when the time comes,
When you are well, and sleek,
When your eyes shine,
And your tail wags with joy
Then comes the hard part.
I will let you go - - not without a tear,
But without a regret.
For you are safe forever!
The card's wording also celebrates the adoption with the new family, welcomes them to the CP family, invites updates, and offers volunteer opportunities. We include a business card that reminds them of the TAGS Program and encourages them to update their tag.
So it seems only fitting that the "logo" designed for this very special thank you card is also the logo for the PA blog. We hope you like it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mavis & Dorie - Happiness in Canada

Dorie’s Foster Mom wrote: "I just got off the phone with Mavis - she is just over the moon! She and Dorie (fka Endor) have really bonded already, and she said Dorie follows her everywhere, even tried to get in the shower with her. Dorie is apparently quite the little cuddler, and Mavis has a very welcoming lap. Apparently Dorie is quite the little character, very playful and does quite a dance on her hind legs to be picked up. She's already learned the steps down to the fenced deck and dashes up and down quite readily. She also likes her walkies. Mavis is enjoying cooking for her new little charge, and apparently Dorie quite likes chicken and veggies with her dinner. And she had no accidents in the house today. These two are just made for each other - it was love at first sight. Denise and Murray are quite taken with Dorie as well, and she will be over there visiting on a daily basis. This is such a happy ending for little Dorie - she is greatly loved already.
Mavis said to say thank you from the bottom of her heart to all of you - Carrie for lovingly fostering Dorie for 3 months, getting her vetted in time, and going through all the hassles of getting her on the plane, Kathy for picking her up at the airport, B & B'ing her and driving her to meet Susan, and Susan for driving a zillion miles and getting her safely across the border into Canada. You have made one very sweet older lady, and one sweet little puppymill girl very, very happy. I've got a pretty big grin too. :-) "

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Persephone is Adopted

The Goddess Persephone now resides in Bel Air, MD with Emily and Mike. Persephone was a little reluctant at first, but quickly warmed up to Mike and Emily giving her treats. As usual, Zeus worked his way into the family photos.
Click here to see the adoption day festivities:

Foster Flunkie in KS - Timofey's Forever Home

Dear Aunties Carol and Corinne and all the CP Family,
This has been an especially busy time so I have not had a chance to write to tell you all how much I am in LOVE with our new addition, Timofey (who we fostered for a day before funking .. name was Waimea)! Georgie had asked for a puppy for Christmas so we asked to foster one of the new pups. This little guy has stolen my heart!!! Plus he loves to play with Georgie. Thank you Aunties Carol and Corinne for sending him such a beautiful blankee. Here is the link to a video of Georgie (left) and Timofey (right) playing tug with the blankee. Then foster Audie comes in to explore. For some reason I can't get it to appear as a link so you have to cutand paste it into your browser. Alice in Topeka

Help for Your Shy Dog

Cairns come into our rescue with various personalities. Sometimes that personality is shy, timid and terrified.

Recently, an adoptive mom recommended a book: Help for Your Shy Dog: Turning Your Terrified Dog into a Terrific Pet by Deborah Wood. The book can be ordered:

"Your shy dog isn't alone: Shyness ranks behind only aggression as the most common behavioral problem in dogs..."

The Cautious Canine: How to Help Dogs Conquer their Fears by Patricia B. McConnell may also be helpful for owners of both aggressive and timid dogs.

If you read either of these books, please feel free to share your comments with us!

Maddie's Fund

"Maddie's Fund" is a foundation whose "mission is to revolutionize the status and well being of companion animals".

Recently, their President Rich Avanzino wrote an editorial SAVING HARD TO PLACE PETS that talks about the worth of pet rescue work. Here is the link to his inspiring letter.

At their website, you can also read about and subscribe to their e-newsletter The No-Kill Nation.

I just recently learned about this dedicated group and wanted to share their mission with you.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Using Fragaria Vesca (Wild Strawberry) as Part of Dental Health Program

Fragaria Vesca is used for softening and removing tartar and dental plaque off teeth.This holistic product can be used for all ages. This may also be used by your dog or four-legged pets, who also suffer from dental disease and plaque build up.

- If you or your dog or cat are allergic to strawberries, it is advised that you avoid this remedy.
-These pellets have a sucrose base with no alcohol.
-This remedy is best kept away from strong odors.
- Keep the bottle tightly sealed (no loose caps) and out of direct sunlight or heat. Keep away from moisture and contamination. Do not refrigerate. Do not store in bathroom medicine cabinets. There is not an expiration date, dispose of any remaining pellets in a safe and proper manner.

PLEASE NOTE: Pour pellets from the bottle into the bottle cap. Do not put any back into the bottle. You may also pour the pellets into clean dry hands.

Fragaria Vesca can be used for pets and other animals.The preferred method to administer this product, would be to place 2 pellets directly in your pets individual food bowl with their meal, once a day for the first 14 days. You may decrease this to 1 pellet if you wish after 14 days. With white teeth, you may use every other day.In lieu of the above, you may place 3 pellets in their water bowl. The water must be changed daily. You can also drop the pellet(s) onto some peanut butter, cottage cheese, or spoonful of yogurt. Allowing your dog to chew on bones [supervised] may also help to chip off tartar after your pet has been on this product 14 days.

HUMAN DOSAGE: Adult humans would take 4 pellets twice a day until plaque is softened and brushed away. Place these under your tongue until they dissolve. Take this product for a few days in a row, then stop. When plaque starts to form again, repeat.

Dosage for children would be proportionately less than that for adults. It would not hurt to consult a homeopathic doctor for correct dosage for a child.1 oz. size


Congratulations to the January Adoptees and Adoptors

If I have counted correctly (always questionable because it can depend upon which list I use - CP is VERY big on lists!) we had 30 wonderful adoptions in January - 10 of which were Foster Homes adopting their Cairn! I am always fascinated by foster adoptions. Can you imagine a Cairn behaving well enough for at least 2 weeks that the foster parents want to keep her forever! It's just amazing! My Ruthie Rose (photo to the right) passed that test almost 2 years ago, and fortunately she is now starting to display that gracious behavior again! Congratulations to all the families who now have a delightful new Cairn in their homes to bring lots of love, hilarity, and various oddites from the back yard into your homes!

Update on Miss Mitzi!

Joy, Mitzi went to the office with me this morning and quietly settled in before the vet appointment. My vet thought she was in wonderful shape for 14. She heard a very faint heart murmur but said that was normal for Mitzi's age. Some mucus had built up from me not cleaning correctly so she cleaned that out and clipped a little hair around her eyes to make it easier. I now have a routine of washing her eye with saline solution and getting the mucus out, giving her a drop of the mucomyst followed by a strip of a new lubricant called Paralube. Her eyes look good right now. The vet is checking with a canine opthamologist across the bridge about whether a drop called Tacrolimus would help Mitzi. As it happens, Geordie is on that for a different eye condition. I expect to be taking both dogs over to see the opthamologist this spring. Mitzi was very relaxed in the office, pawed at my chair for attention, barked once when I left her alone and is pawing at me now as I type. I have gotten a few kisses and love her dearly. She is a VERY sweet dog. She ate both breakfast and dinner today and seems to enjoy going for walks. I was pleased to learn that if I go out of town to visit my daughter, etc., the vet will board her and handle all the eye treatments so she won't regress. Kathleen

Friday, February 1, 2008

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Your pet needs dental care - regular, professional care from your veterinarian, as well as care at home from you. The American Veterinary Dental Society recommends that pet owners follow three basic steps:
STEP 1: Take your pet to the veterinarian for a dental exam. Don’t wait for his annual checkup if you suspect a problem. STEP 2: Begin a dental care regimen at home. Your veterinarian can suggest steps that may include brushing your pet's teeth. One of the most convenient and effective ways to combat oral disease is feeding specially formulated foods proven effective in combating plaque and tartar buildup. The Seal of Acceptance from the Veterinary Oral Health Council, an organization initiated by the American Veterinary Dental Society to guide consumers, appears on products that meet defined standards for plaque and tartar control in dogs and cats.
For further information on the VOHC or their product standards, visit STEP 3: Schedule regular veterinary checkups. These are essential in helping your veterinarian monitor the progress of your pet's dental health routine. Your veterinary health care team can help you schedule the appropriate visits.

Book Recommendation

"Your Outta Control Puppy," by Teoti Anderson
It's made for just the situation where a person's puppy-raising isn't going exactly the way they'd hoped, and all the methods are very sensible and dog-friendly. Available:
This was shared on another list. I am cross posting with permission. Please feel free to share and use --- very, very helpful. (from Amy Robinson-Antosh at Calliope in Northeastern Pennsylvania)

By Marsha Tracy

Housebreaking Rule #1: A DOG MUST BE RESTRICTED UNTIL IT IS HOUSEBROKEN: If your dog is having accidents when you are not looking, your dog has too much freedom. When you are not watching the puppy, it should be in a crate. The crate should not be larger than what the puppy needs to stand up and turn around. If you have a bigger crate and don't want to invest in a temporary smaller crate, then block the bigger crate with anything to restrict her space. If you take the puppy out to do it's job and it does not go, it needs to go back into the crate for 15 minutes or so and then you try again, and again, if need be, until it goes and you can praise it. Then the puppy gets a bit more freedom. (At this point, I let my puppy loose in the kitchen for awhile, but have puppy-gates restricting her from the rest of the house. I still keep an eye on her in the early phases.)

Housebreaking Rule #2: IT IS EASIER TO PREVENT A MISTAKE THAN TO CORRECT ONE: Try to take the puppy out before an accident occurs. Take out routinely after a nap, in the morning, after play, after eating, and whenever it starts to sniff with that desperate pre-pee look on itsface (you get to know this look).

Housebreaking Rule #3: IF THE PUPPY STARTS TO GO POTTY IN THE HOUSE AND YOU ARE WATCHING, YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL OCCASION TO ENFORCE POSITIVE BEHAVIOR. Be thrilled if you catch the puppy starting to go in the house, because if you are quick (and you should be ready at all times) you can stop the process with a sharp, "Noo", a quick scooping up of the puppy, an immediate change of tone to a happy "let's go outside" (Or whatever word you use. Just be consistent.) while you are running out the door and placing the puppy on the grass (or wherever) and giving it a one word command. Be quiet while it finishes (hopefully it will), and praise it sincerely when it does. If it does not. Back to the crate.

Housebreaking Rule #4: MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO LINGERING SMELLS OF URINE OR POOP IN YOUR HOUSE. A dog can smell what you can't. The smell of urine or feces is an invitation to do more of the same. Clean the area where an accident has occurred immediately. I use half white vinegar and half water in a cheap ironing spray bottle. (Cheap, cheap). The bottle is always handy when I have a puppy.

Housebreaking Rule #5: NEVER SCOLD YOUR DOG AFTER THE FACT. Even five seconds after the fact is too late. If you don't catch the dog in the act, consider the accident your own fault. Blame yourself and do better next time. It's like a diet. Just pick up from where you left off.

Housebreaking Rule #6 BE PATIENT. If you are consistent, your dog will housebreak. It can be hard,frustrating, tiring work, but it is worth the extra attention. Don't give up!