Wednesday, August 17, 2011

California Casey

I get dozens of posts every day about boxers in danger. I generally scroll through them saddened by the fact that they are so far away (various places in the US) and that our resources are so limited, both financially and because of a lack of foster homes.

But this time I kept going back to one photo. Casey seemed to call out to me, telling me, "you're the one who can help me". After stewing about it for a day or so, I finally posted that we would take him if transportation could be arranged from southern California to Vancouver, BC.

I didn't hear anything back and breathed a sigh of relief that a local rescue had been found for Casey.

Then on Aug 8th or 9th, I saw a plea reposted for someone to step up for Casey. I immediately posted that we would take him and on Saturday, Aug 13 Casey flew up to Vancouver. He was fostered overnight in Vancouver and Sunday saw Casey on the road to Alberta to a longer term foster home.

The reason Casey languished in the shelter from July 5 to August 12 was he was a "medical" dog. That usually means "expensive". It is likely that Casey was hit by a car. Xrays taken on August 16 show that Casey's femur is not where it's suppose to be. He will need surgery, a Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO).

Casey's surgery will run about $1,200.00 if there are no complications. The cost isn't exorbitant by any means, but it stretches our small budget to the breaking point.

If you are able to help with a donation to Casey, please email me -

Casey isn't our only new Canadian.

I confess, another beautiful boxer face captured my heart. Faith arrived in Vancouver from northern California on August 6. As with Casey, she was to be fostered for a short time in Vancouver, then make her way to Alberta. Faith had other ideas though. Within hours of her arrival, her foster family was so in love with her they couldn't let her go.

When the heartache and frustration of rescue begins to take a toll on me and I tell myself I can't do this anymore, I will remember Casey and Faith. They and all the other dogs we have helped over the past 16 years are the reason I can keep going.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Small world

Freckle and I walked over to pick up my car today from the mechanic and while there, bumped into the owner of the transmission shop just down the street. Some years ago, he replaced the transmission on my car and met our rescue girl Sassy. He was all over Freckle and told me he and his family had adopted a boxer, perhaps four years ago, from Boxer Rescue Canada. He loves this dog - his first boxer, I think. It has natural ears and a natural tail - and unfortunately, I didn't ask its name or even whether it's male or female. He said they've been thinking about getting another, so I'll be going by the transmission shop later in the summer to see if they did.

That's a photo of Freckle from the walk this morning, on the disused train tracks that run behind the transmission shop and the mechanic's garage - it goes for miles and miles and is a bit like a country path in the middle of Vancouver.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Screening test for canine cardiomyopathy now available

You can now get your dog tested for the gene mutation that causes boxer cardiomyopathy, Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). I blogged about this early this morning, saying that the test would be available later this year - well, it's now available through the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. You can send in a blood sample or a cheek swab. Details are available on the Colleges website here. I'm cross-posting this information to spread the word as widely as possible.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dealing with separation anxiety

A Twitter tweet yesterday by @sarchet62 (Pills for your pets OMG inspired me to finish a blog post I started two years ago describing our experience with Sassy, our rescue boxer, and her severe separation anxiety. My non-professional writing efforts often bog down, ending up in my drafts file never to be revisited. I dusted this one off today, updated it to reflect time passed and a some references, and have posted it to my blog [link]. Sassy died in 2006 – I miss her to this day – so writing about her keeps her alive in my memory.

The blog post is long – too long for this space – so head over to my blog, meldinme, to read it. It describes our experience and the help we received from the boxer world. I've included some additional references at the end if you want to read more.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Boxers and the heat of summer

Every year at this time, I worry that there's something wrong with our boxer. It's happened with all three - their breathing becomes laboured, their tongue is hanging out more, and they're just plain sluggish. Toys aren't all that interesting, even treats are sometimes turned down. Now that we're on boxer number three, before panicking, I sit back and remember that this has been going on since 1993 and that it's just the change to warmer weather that our boxers are having problems with. It's the time of year when the mid-day walks have to be reconsidered in favour of early morning and late evening. We train outdoors in group classes on Saturday mornings and it can get pretty hot on the field. Last summer, we bought a "swamp cooler" vest to help Freckle (aka Lexi) deal with the heat. I'm going to have to dig it out and have her wear it soon, along with a wet bandana. For information about dogs and heat, check out Summer Health Tips for Dogs from the University of Minnesota - it includes information about assessing and preventing heat stroke.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Freckle-Lexi's first year as a Canadian

Today is the one year anniversary of Freckle-Lexi joining our family – today we’re celebrating her first Gotcha Day. That’s the day many of us who have adopted rescue animals celebrate, since we rarely know the day they were born, nor do we know their exact age.

We’ve seen so many changes in her over the last year. Each day, each week, each month, she’s settled in more and more, relaxing in her new home, stressing less, at least visibly, when we head out in the car to new destinations. It seems she’s finally realized that the new person she meets on the street, the friend who comes over for a visit, isn’t going to be the next person who whisks her away to yet another temporary home.

Some highlights of Freckle-Lexi’s life with us, at least from our perspective:

We meet for the first time in Marysville, Washington (that's this post's blog photo), and drive back to Canada with her – the border guard welcomes her as a new Canadian!

We try desperately to get her to pee that first day so we can go to bed that night – and she holds her urine for, as far as we know, more than 36 hours. Apparently, dogs in transit do that sometimes.

She starts going on neighbourhood walks and gets to explore her new home.

On New Year’s Day, we let her “off leash” for the first time at Spanish Banks West Beach, dragging a 30 foot leash just in case. She takes off up the beach at the warp speed and disappears into the distance, a tiny almost invisible speck. We wonder if she’s running back to Idaho, when she banks to the left and flies back up to the beach toward us. The result of her speedy return is described on Freckle’s and Ceilidh’s blog at I sure wish we had it on video.

Though we were told she was good with other dogs, Freckle starts getting snarky around the neighbourhood – in part, we think, because we have a dog living kitty-corner from us who stands on his third floor balcony and barks and snarls at us everytime we emerge from our door We decide to nip this in the bud and start looking for a trainer we can work with. All the tricks we’ve learned over the years with Bridget and Sassy are ineffective.

We find a great trainer and have a few private sessions and then start attending drop in group classes twice a week. We work outside the group, close enough to start the desensitization but distant enough to keep things under control. Three weeks later, we’re integrated into the group and it’s been great ever since. A comment from our trainer about a month ago: “How does it feel to have one of the stars of the class?” I say FANTASTIC! Check out some photos of Freckle in class on Flickr.

More impressions to come in future posts. It's been a wonderful year with this girl and we hope to have many, many more.

Friday, June 22, 2007

How do you know they’ve settled in?

One of the things that people with rescue dogs ponder is just how do they know their new adoptee has settled in and feels they’re there to stay. This is something I’ve found myself wondering about in the last few months with Freckle-Lexi. We adopted her from North Idaho Boxer Rescue on December 9th (see Freckle-Lexi and Ceilidh’s blog for her story and about meeting her for the first time).

Freckle-Lexi has been a quiet girl since we adopted her. She doesn’t bark when someone knocks at the door or rings the doorbell. She rolls out the red carpet for anyone we let through the door. I’ve been thinking that maybe she won’t make a very good protector like both Bridget and Sassy were. You know the kind of dog I mean – the one who wags her tail when the thief arrives, welcoming the company and holding the sack while your belongings are being tossed into it.

But, just in the last week, Ive had a glimmer of the protector Freckle-Lexi will be. Yesterday, I heard a quiet, though “business-like,” growl coming from the living room while I was in the back, working. I went to see what was going on, and saw two people standing just outside our hedge, close to the entryway to our door, having a neighbourly conversation. Once I said it was fine, no danger, Freckle-Lexi stopped the growling.

And just today, Freckle-Lexi was in the back patio while I worked just inside with her in view, and she let out a very loud and deep bark at something she heard on the condo complex property. I figures she was either alerting me about a possible intruder, or warning someone not to come any closer.

I have a sense that she’s finally realizing that she’s in her forever home with her forever family and that she’s a full-fledged member of the Wright/Hourston clan now. This makes me really happy, knowing that she’s feeling this relaxed and loved.