Introducing- Tofu!

Tofu is a 3 year old pit bull that was saved from a life of neglect. LCPO worked with Almost Home Animal Rescue out of Long Island NY to save this sweetheart from less than desirable conditions. Tofu was living outside of a halfway home, regularly passed from breeder to breeder, and almost sold as a bait dog. She is now spayed and loving being indoors. Tofu is sweet and happy. She is thrilled to be surrounded by loving people who take care of her. Tofu is crate trained, house broken, and she will go to her adoptive home knowing sign language! Tofu is deaf so she will be learning all her commands with hand signals. She has already made herself right at home and proven to be no more difficult than any foster who can hear me ūüôā You can learn more about deaf dogs at¬†http://deafdogsrock.com/. I will also be happy to do training sessions with her adoptive family to make sure that everyone knows and understand how to communicate with her. Please feel free to ask me any questions about fostering, deaf dogs, or Tofu!

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Tofu and Leroy and participating in the “crate/rotate” method until they are both more comfortable with each other. ¬†This involves keeping the dogs¬†separate for any amount of time; a few days to three weeks or more! ¬†Through this process, I allow the dogs to feel comfortable in my home. ¬†I let them learn how to trust me and each other through minimal exposure. ¬†The foster dog become familiar with our routine and environment, and is able to de-stress from whatever¬†experience¬†they had before coming to me. ¬†Tofu seems to be a little bit uncomfortable when Leroy is too close to her crate. She has made the snarl teeth at him a few times for getting too close. ¬†But she does better when she is out and approaching him in his crate. ¬†Neither dog likes to share food, not even a little. ¬†This is a polite way of saying that they would probably fight over a crumb, or something that looks like a crumb, or a crumb that fell and was cleaned up a few minutes ago. ¬†As always, I will feed them¬†separately and even crate them for a little while after their food bowls are removed from the environment. ¬†Leroy was showing off in front of Tofu and trying to engage her a little bit, and she did wag her tail and playfully bark in her crate. ¬†I think they will be good friends with some patience and trust. ¬†More about Tofu to come as I get to know her wonderful personality. ¬†All I can say so far is that she’s had no accidents, and she is a happy girl who loves to kiss! ūüôā

For adoption information or more about our rescue program, you can visit¬†www.lcpoinc.org¬†ūüôā Please share for this wonderful girl and feel free to ask any questions about her or the adoption process!

Why I Do What I Do- Take Two

In my last post, I shared with you my first success story as a foster mom.  Today I want to share my second fostering experience.  This is the story of Dillon Pickles.  Dillon is the reason why I will continue to foster and fight for these dogs.  He is my motivation, my reminder, my reason to help.

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When I first heard about Dillon, he was waiting at our local SPCA and had come in as a stray. ¬†He was only about 5 months old, and said to be the sweetest boy ever with a zest for life. ¬†Dillon was covered in a terrible skin infection and at first sight did not seem to be acting “normal”. The shelter vet quickly came to understand that Dillon was suffering from some type of neurological disorder, believed to be missing part of his brain or having a loss of function in part of his brain. Because of his special needs we were asked to help. ¬† The shelter could not adopt him out into a home so they would have to¬†euthanize¬†him if we said no. ¬†Dillon actually had a few offers of people who were interested in fostering him. ¬†However, the president of the rescue said she wanted him with me. ¬†I am not the type of person that will say ‘No’ to something like this very easily. ¬†There were reasons why he should be with me and not the others. ¬†I also¬†believe¬†that fate was playing its hand. ¬†So of course, I agreed to foster Dillon Pickles.

All we knew was that Dillon was very sweet, very happy and full of life but he was without a doubt, a special needs little guy. Dillon’s growth was off. ¬†He would shake his head every few moments and could not walk without falling or banging into something. He was given the nickname Crash at the shelter because he would crash into things very often, although it did not seem to phase him or crush his spirits! ¬†Our plan for Dillon was to get him an MRI and hopefully repair his issue; then adopt him out to a forever home. ¬†Here is a video of him at the shelter.

Once Dillon got settled in at my house, I did the write up for his adoption page.

“From the foster”- Having Dillon as a foster is like having a sign that says “Have you laughed today?” running around the house. ūüôā His name, Silly Dilly, suits him well. He is a spunky baby boy who loves wiggling around at top speed, giving kisses, and cuddling up as close as possible. He has a special appreciation for life… He falls down and he picks himself back up (as many times as he needs to). He loves to take all of the toys out of the toy box and pile them up on his dog bed. He has lots of fun with his foster brother. Their favorite activity is playing tug of war together. Dillon can’t go for walks unless he wears socks or booties because of the way he drags his paws, but he’s happy hanging out inside as long as he has toys to play with. He also can’t go up or down steps, so his ideal home would be a ranch or with an adopter who doesn’t mind picking him up ever now and then. ūüôā He’s a very special boy deserves an amazing forever home ‚ô•

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Dillon was a¬†joy to foster. ¬†He was so happy about everything. ¬† He loved everyone and everything he met. ¬†We did our initial consultation at UPenn and he was a big hit. ¬†At this point he did need to be carried around a little bit. ¬†He couldn’t do steps and he would cut up his feet if he walked on concrete for too long because of the way he dragged his paws. ¬†The vet staff loved him! ¬†We did blood work and ruled out a few things that he didn’t have. ¬†The vet¬†believed¬†that his issue was not in fact neurological, but a problem in his spinal cord. ¬†We expected to know more after his MRI and would be scheduling that as soon as we could. ¬†Video of Dillon at my house.

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Dillon and Leroy became wonderful friends.  He worked his way into my heart too.  I would pick him up and help him on the bed to cuddle with us.  He would immediately squirm his way right up to my pillow and snuggle his face next to mine. This boy knew how to melt hearts!

Best Friends

Best Friends

Seriously, does it get any cuter than this??  Nope.

Best Friends

Best Friends

As the month went on, we held a big fundraiser event for Dillon. ¬†He met tons of his fans and followers. ¬†Everyone¬†loved him. ¬†Everyone. ¬†But I could see that Dillon’s condition was getting worse, and it seemed to be happening very quickly. ¬†We scheduled another¬†appointment¬†at UPenn to see what we could do. ¬† As I carried my baby boy into the waiting room (yes, I carried all 50 pounds of him around pretty regularly at this point), the front desk assistant jumped up and said, “Emergency Room?! ¬†This way!” ¬†At the time, I brushed it off and replied, “Oh no, we have an¬†appointment.” ¬†But when I gently put Dillon down on the floor in the waiting room, I could see that everyone was looking at him differently. ¬†Not because he was cute, or a Pit Bull, or doing something adorable; but because he was sick.

The vet was again wonderful with him. ¬†But because of the quick progression of his disease, she explained that the MRI would not be necessary. ¬†He had lost most function in his front legs and his back legs weren’t doing much better. ¬†He looked tired and some of his love for life was not quite there. ¬†The vet¬†politely¬†explained that there were likely many¬†issues going on with him and an MRI and surgery would not solve the problems anymore. ¬†He was not going to get better.

Dillon was very used to being carried around.

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You can see in Dillon’s “dress up” picture that this little angel was tired. ¬†Leroy was always there for his brother. ¬†He tried to help Dillon play tug of war and had more snuggle times. I cannot explain the last few weeks that I spent with Dillon. ¬†It was heartbreaking, but wonderful. ¬†To give of yourself, unselfishly, is a great gift. ¬†To work and expect nothing in return; to love more than your heart can bare; to cry for a life slipping away; to be completely powerless- fostering Dillon changed my life, and I will always be grateful for that.

Rest In Peace <3
Rest In Peace ‚̧

From LCPO-

¬†It is with sheer heartache that we share our sweet Dillon Pickles crossed the rainbow bridge today. After months of struggle, poking, prodding, questions, and a clear rapid decline, we had to make the best decision for Dillon and that was to let him go. There was nothing more any of his Dr’s could do as his diagnosis was now degenerative and at a clearly rapid rate. Dillon could no longer walk, he couldn’t stand to go to the bathroom anymore, he spent too much time crying out and was clearly unhappy and declining further by the day. Dillon spent his last day with many of the people that love him, with some of the LCPO avail-a-bully alumni and making some new last minute friends. Dillon was always a loving, forgiving, patient boy. He has left quite an impression on us all and we will always love him. We thank you for your support and compassion for Dillon as well as all of our very special avail-a-bullies. We love each and every one of them as our own and a loss like this is crippling to us. ¬†Run free now Dillon, finally run! ‚ô•

Rest in peace Dillon- 5/5/12 ‚ô• ¬†While Dillon was never officially “adopted”, he lived out his short, yet wonderful life with me and Leroy. ¬†He was always treated like family and Leroy and I both loved him dearly. ¬†Dillon will always be a part of my heart and a huge reason behind why I foster. ¬†We miss you Dillon Pickles. ¬†‚̧

Love is an infinite resource

Why I Do What I Do- Take One

In thinking about why I foster and why I wanted to take a break ¬†for my last semester in school, I started thinking about how it affects my life, Leroy’s life, my families and friends lives, and how we adjust and do things differently when there is a foster dog here instead of just a perma-dog. ¬†
Leroy generally enjoys the transition time between foster dogs. ¬†He doesn’t especially love to share his toys. ¬†He takes some time to adjust and feel comfortable with each new dog I bring in. ¬†He doesn’t always want to share me either- my bed, love, kisses, and attention. ¬†So I always have justified that he likes being an only dog as much as he likes having a brother or sister.
After a few weeks with the foster dog, things always settled in nicely and he will play and cuddle with them.  He is a pretty tolerant guy (Jora was always following him around and trying to play).  He is a great foster brother and cuddler to the new pups.  Leroy also helps with training and showing them the ropes of this household.  He does like having a friend.  He just needs to take his time to get to know and trust them.  And this is OK with me.  
However, while Jora has been staying with her new foster family, I’ve noticed that Leroy is more prone to stress than usual. ¬†He gets more nervous about leaving the house, getting into the car, going to the vets office. ¬†He always gets a little humpy¬† mouthy after a foster leaves. ¬†He’ll spend a little more time trying to get me to wrestle with him. ¬†Maybe he’ll grab a blanket or pillow and try to¬†make love play with it. ¬†Let’s just say, he is a little bit bold for the first week or more after they leave! ¬†
Needless to say, I’m excited to have Tofu as our newest foster! ¬†She’s expected to arrive this weekend. ¬†And maybe in the future we will find another perma-dog to keep him company throughout the transitions. ¬†But for now, the reason I foster is because I can save another dogs life. ¬†Every day that I wait for Tofu I think of her living outside in this terribly cold weather. ¬†I picture her being passed from scum to scum breeder to breeder, kept outside and used for her puppies that were all taken away too soon. ¬†
There is always a dog like that who is waiting to be saved.  So that is why I foster.  
And to show you the long term benefit, I wanted to introduce a happily adopted, previous foster dog of Leroy and Co- Adele!!  
Happy Halloween!
Here is her write up from when she was up for adoption-

Introducing,¬†Adele Belle! The one of a kind girl that only the Philly ACCT could have! Adele is a beautiful 6-12 month old Pit Bull/ Boxer mix with silly Boston Terrier eyes. She practices doga (dog yoga) every day, she loves to rub against your legs for attention, she makes adorable and very funny noises while she eats, and she’s a wiggle butt! She is busy learning some basic commands and eating lots of food so she can lose the nickname, Tiny. Adele loves her foster brother (Leroy) and showed no interest in cats while at the shelter. She is waiting for her perfect forever home ūüôā

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She was skinny, has a paralyzed tongue, definitely  possibly inbred, and now she is ADOPTED!

Happily Adopted for 1+ years ūüôā

My little Adelle Belle got SO big :)  Her momma loves her very much.  It was the perfect home for her!

Little Adele Belle got SO big ūüôā Her momma loves her very much. It is the perfect home for her!

 

So this is my first Happy Tail. ¬†Adele from Philly ACC, saved from a high intake shelter- now loved and enjoying life in her forever home. ‚̧

 

If you have any questions about Tofu, Jora, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com 

Visit http://www.lcpoinc.org for more information on our organization! 

 

 

Tofu?!

We have some exciting news to announce!  LCPO was asked to help a dog that was tied up and living outside in the cold.  An outreach volunteer has been advocating for her and begging the facebook world to help her out in some way.  Here is a little segment from this volunteer.-

“Mama is in desperate need of a loving home to call her own. She has lived her entire young life outdoors being passed breeder to breeder. We met Mama back in August pregnant. At 5 weeks old her puppies were taken from her and she continued to live her life neglected outdoors. Her owners will not bring her indoors. Mama is deaf and is extremely vulnerable living outdoors on a busy corner. Now her owner is moving and will give her to ANYONE in a neighborhood where animal abuse and dog fighting is prevalent. She is a sweet, active girl who deserves a loving family of her own. Mama is a 3 year old, Female, Spayed, Deaf, American Pit Bull Terrier.”
So drum roll please…..

This sweet girl will be boarding with Leroy and Company! ¬†We will continue to look for a long term foster and forever home but in the mean time, we will get her socialized, build her confidence, and work on some training. ¬†Her new name is Tofu and she will be transported here very soon. ¬†I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for deaf dogs so I’m excited to know that her life of neglect will end and become a life of love and attention. ¬†Here are two pictures of her from her yard in NY and with the wonderful outreach volunteer that helped to save her life.

Tofu

In preparing for her arrival, Leroy and I decided to research some training methods for deaf dogs. ¬†Luckily for us, Leroy already knows most of his regular commands by both a voice command and a hand signal. ¬†We worked briefly on a few extras such as Good Boy (thumbs up), Finished/ Release/ OK (shaking out hands), and Here (bringing a finger towards yourself). ¬†Good Boy is used as a form of clicker training and positive reinforcement to let your dog know when they’re doing something right. ¬†A Release is always useful to let your dog know when they’re done with a Stay or Leave it, or finished with a training session all together. ¬†And Here is very important for any dog to know, but it’s especially challenging for a deaf dog because you need to have their eye contact before they can listen.

So we put together a video of Leroy pretending to be deaf and me getting ready to train Tofu. ¬†ūüôā ¬†We did pretty good for first timers! ¬† ¬†Now we just need to wait for our new guest to arrive and let her settle in a bit before we start working!

If you have any questions about Tofu, Jora or the adoption process, you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com ¬†Visit http://www.lcpoinc.org for more information on our¬†organization!¬†

Resume!

As I embark on my last semester ever as a student, I’ve had to do some serious thinking about my resume. ¬†It has been edited, brushed up and checked over. ¬†So my resume¬†is now ready to be put into action. ¬†After I told you two months ago, that the pooches were going on a “Nothing in life is free”¬†regimen and I followed that up with¬†Leroy’s list of flaws, I decided that his resume needed some fixing up as well. ¬†So here he is in all his glory!

Leroy’s Resume

1. Smart

2. Excellent cuddler

3. Crate trained/housebroken

4. Doesn’t chew or destroy

5. Loyal and loving

6. Good foster brother

7. Always ready to sleep in

8. Cute, cute, cute!

9. Loves French kissing (pretty much anyone)

10.¬†True “Mommy’s Boy”

While you can get a feel of Leroy’s personality from his resume list, he thought it would be better if you could see him in action. ¬†Here is a video of our nightly dinner training. ¬†We’ve been really working hard on “Stay”. ¬†We’ve increased the difficulty level of your average “Stay” to include Distance, Duration, and Distractions. ¬†This is done by going further away from your dog, getting out of his eye sight, leaving the room, opening things and making noise, ect. ¬†Leroy’s list of commands is- Sit, Down, Stay, Drop it, Leave it, Nice to Meet You (paw), Watch Me, Say Hi, Here, Give Me a Hug and Kiss. ¬†His newer or less practice commands are Stand, Spin. Crawl, All the Way Down, Roll Over, and High Ten. ¬†Here is another training clip¬†from tonight.

I hope you enjoy the videos!  Please feel free to ask any questions about Leroy, training, positive reinforcement, nothing in life is free, Jora, or anything else on your mind.  Thanks for reading!

Let’s Play Dress Up!

Happy National Dress Your Pet Up Day! ¬†Here are some of my favorite “dress up” pictures from my time as a foster mom and doggy mom. ¬†Enjoy ūüôā   This is a small fraction of the number of Dress Up … Continue reading

Vacation panic- To board or not to board!

Well I’m backkk! ¬†ūüôā ¬†I had a lovely family vacation in the Dominican Republic and I enjoyed 7 days of sun and alcohol and dancing and water. ¬†While I’m sure you’d love to hear about all of that, I wanted to write about my pre-vacation-panic about what to do with my beloved Leroy. ¬†Now, many people may not believe that Leroy comes with a list of issues challenges. ¬†I will give you a brief rundown.

1. Can NOT be around cats.

2. Difficult to walk on leash.

3. Takes a few days to acclimate with other dogs (and honestly, I only trust myself in this department).

4. Food/bone/toy aggressive around other dogs.

5. Leash aggressive/ reactive.

6. Uncomfortable being leashed/ restrained around new men.

7. Unreliable recall when outdoors.

8. Stressed in new environments.

So who knew?! ¬†Well I did ūüėČ ¬†And we manage to the best of our abilities. ¬†But the main points are hopefully enough to explain my concern with throwing him just anywhere for a week. ¬†While many incredibly lucky people have that one friend who loves animals but doesn’t have any due to work or apartment constraints, I’m not in that boat. ¬†My parents would typically watch him but this is our once yearly trip that we do together. ¬†The majority of my friends check in under a few¬†categories-¬†allergic (or someone living with them is allergic), have cats, home for school break, full house (anywhere from 2-7 dogs already), have cats, no fenced in back yard, weigh under 90 pounds, or have cats.

So onto a solution!

I had to board Leroy at a traditional facility once for an emergency weekend. ¬†It was a regular boarding kennel- Indoor/outdoor runs, concrete floor and lower barrier, chain link door and fence. ¬†The benefit was certainly the cost. ¬†These types of kennels will generally run around $25 a night. ¬†The kennel owner did admit that he was concerned when I was dropping Leroy off. ¬†The barking, stress, and shelter-like feel were a lot and my boy did not handle it well. ¬†But the kennel owner reassured me that after only 15 minutes, he settled down and was just fine. ¬†When I picked him up, he seemed unaffected by my presence but thrilled to leave the building and hop in my car. ¬†He was also limping (a normal symptom, but I felt bad nevertheless). ¬† So basically, I’d be OK with this again for a weekend or quick trip. ¬†But for 7 days, I wanted to feel more comfortable with where I was leaving him and aim for a less stressful location.

I ended up leaving him with a wonderful positive reinforcement trainer who we’ve worked with before. ¬†She does limited boarding out of her home with dogs she knows. ¬†Here is the website. ¬†We didn’t to their training program that’s listed on the website, just traditional boarding. ¬†Leroy stayed in a room that was about the size of my living room and dining room combined. ¬†And their “small” yard was a quarter acre fenced in. ¬†He enjoyed playing, running, and fetching in the yard, followed by meals and chewies in his room. ¬†This is about as low stress of a place as it gets. ¬†Plus I felt great knowing he was with a behavior specialist and trainer. ¬†She sent very nice updated and a picture that made know with certainly that I left him in good hands.

Sweet Spot Farm

Haii momz! Iz playid witf a jolley ballz!

 

This lovely place like this ran me $50 a night.  Not the most expensive place I could find, but not the cheapest either.  But peace of mind is worth a lot when you have a boy with a list of challenges.

Another excellent option that I wanted to share is having your fur friends stay in someone’s home. ¬†I offer this service for one dog at a time when I’m not fostering. ¬†Here is a website to show you my profile. ¬†There are great new sites starting up such as this one that allows you to search for people in your area who can watch your animals either in their house or sometimes in yours. ¬†I would recommend doing first a meet and greet, then a night or two (while you’re nearby), then a regular week long vacation. ¬†Especially if you’re leaving the country, you want to make sure you and your animals are comfortable with the set up. ¬†Doing this can run you anywhere from $25-$50 a night as well.

So there you have it, a vacation rundown by Leroy and Company.

And don’t forget, our little Jora is still looking for her forever home. ¬†Email me at Casey@caseyheyen.com with any questions about Jora or the adoption process! ¬†

 

Race to Rescue

The group that I volunteer for (the group that saved Leroy and Jora), is holding our second annual 5k Race to Rescue! ¬†I will be running the 5k, volunteering, and probably sporting an LCPO foster dog at the event. ¬†The goal of the event is to raise awareness of the abuse and neglect of pit bull type dogs and the effort we go through every day to save, rehabilitate, and rehome them. ¬†We also use this event as one of our main fundraisers to help with vet bills and boarding costs for the dogs we have in the rescue program. ¬†We generally have around 20 dogs available for adoption and most come with serious vet needs. ¬†We’ve saved many dogs with mange (like Jora), dogs that are heartworm positive, dogs with broken bones, troubled pasts, neurological problems and more.

So this is your official invitation to join us for this great event! ¬†It will be held on¬†June 8th, 2013¬†at Kirby Park in Kingston, PA. ¬†You have plenty of notice to clear your schedule and plan a drive to PA. ¬†And I’m expecting everyone reading this within a two-three hour drive¬†to be there! ūüôā ¬†Here is some more information about the event.¬†

And if you’d like to support this wonderful cause, you can help out by making a donation to my fundraising page or sharing it with your friends and family. ¬†I really would love to see some of you there. ¬†ūüôā

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race to rescue; because every dog deserves love.

Adventuring!

Leroy is the type of dog that would be considered a ‘homebody’. ¬†He gets stressed out and overwhelmed when we’re anywhere that isn’t Home. ¬†But we like to go out to places that are easy to manage to continue his¬†socialization and work on some training.
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Here we are on the way to the park! ¬†Leroy is an excellent co-pilot. ¬†He generally settles in and goes into “sleep mode” because he’s used to driving 2 hours from my house to my parents house. ¬†This was just a quick drive though so he was trying to hang out in the front with me ūüôā

Like my sweater?

Like my sweater?

Because it was cold, Leroy and I were both bundled up in sweaters. ūüôā ¬†He was very alert because we were in a new place! ¬†So he was paying close attention to all of the new sounds, sights, and smells. ¬†We had a nice afternoon hike and he was exhausted for the rest of the day. ¬†Stay tuned for more adventures with Leroy!

 

Any questions about Jora or the adoption process can emailed to me (Casey, aka Leroy’s mom!) at Casey@caseyheyen.com.  Please share her story with anyone looking for the perfect family companion!

 

 

 

Fetch!*$^#!

While most people won’t be very excited about this, I am certainly happy to be sharing this news with you all today! ¬†Leroy can¬†fetch!¬† Ok. ¬†OK. ¬†I know you’re all reading this and thinking…¬†Her dog must not be very bright. ¬†BUT! ¬†Leroy is not a¬†retriever.. Not a Lab or Golden. ¬†It’s not very natural to him so we had to teach him it step-by-step. ¬†First we taught “Get It” meaning chase, run, and pick up toy! ¬†Then we learned “Bring It”. ¬†That was actually the hardest part because Leroy thought it meant leave the toy across the yard and run to Mommy. ¬†There was a lot of me fetching. ¬†We still struggle with the Bring It sometimes. ¬†Lastly we learned “Drop It”. ¬†Leroy is good at this when he knows there is food around. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Here’s our video where we put it all together! ¬†

PS- Leroy is getting fed his dinner while we’re practicing and doing all this hard work! ¬†Nothing in life is free.¬†

 

Any questions about Jora or the adoption process can emailed to me (Casey, aka Leroy’s mom!) at Casey@caseyheyen.com.  Please share her story with anyone looking for the perfect family companion!