Monday, January 9, 2017

More bow ties coming!

We rapidly sold out of the doggie bow ties a volunteer was making as fundraisers, but we now have another volunteer interested in doing this.  The father and son team had just a blast making the doggie bow ties that the son asked his dad to make one just for him to wear.  Isn't it adorable?



Expect a new selection at our next adoption event to be seen and purchased!

Friday, December 23, 2016

How much is that doggie in the window?

I, as the Director of TLC, generally work the email box for the rescue... Out of every 5 emails, at least one will be "How much is your adoption fee?"... Usually the person is inquiring after the cutest and most highly sought-after puppy that just arrived on our website, finally available for adoption... And on occasion, I do get a reply back that either a) "Why aren't your dogs free?" or b) "Too expensive - I'll find one elsewhere"...

For years, we defended our adoption donation rates - we are not in the business of 'selling dogs or puppies' but in saving them... And saving a shelter dog is not cheap... A few months back, one of our volunteers 'shopped' the local vets to see if we could lower the cost of our spays and neuters... The lowest cost was $300 and the highest (for a 60 pound large breed) was $700... Currently we use Best Friends in Mission Hills and we pay the same rate that the general public does ($114)... It is hard to get an appointment and 'spay day' means you are up at 5:30AM, there by 6:30AM and don't leave until about an hour later... Then the process is repeated in the reverse in the afternoon, you'll hit the rush hour traffic coming home and if you live in Simi Valley, the pick-up process can easily take you two hours to complete....

Our adoption donations are pretty standard - $500 for any puppy under 6 months old and over 6 months old, it drops to $350... We no longer take checks because of the incidents with the general public who adopted from us, and then called the bank and stopped payment on their checks... Some people will do everything they can to get a free puppy or dog, so that is on them... We changed our policy now - credit card or cash only now.... 



Because we are No-Kill, we will keep any dog we pull and commit to, regardless of how long, until we can find that great furever home... This little guy (Jack-Jack) is our record in the rescue... We pulled him in 2010 and we still had him in 2013 until he was adopted... In between those times, we feed him, he had numerous vet visits and bills, got his booster shots and rabies, etc.   And TLC does not feed its dogs and puppies crap... The average daily food cost is about $2.00 a day... Multiply that cost by three years and you get a partial representation of just how much it costs  AFTER you have gotten a shelter dog up to adoption standards...

Also, because we are No-Kill, WHENEVER possible we will take back one of our adopted dogs if the adopter can no longer keep them... And this happens more than anyone can imagine... We cannot always do this, but we jump through hurdles and obstacles to make sure that our dogs do not go back through the shelter systems... We are foster-based now, so we are ALWAYS in desperate need of foster homes - and the number of foster homes is in DIRECT relationship to the number of dogs and puppies we can save each year... 


One of our small dogs was adopted out twice and returned twice... He recently got adopted and his new adoptive mom has emailed us, saying "He is the PERFECT dog.  We have been looking for months to find just the right dog.  I cannot believe (XXXXX) has been adopted twice and returned.  He was meant to be MY dog - that is the only reason I can think of to explain his history!"...

So back to the topic - "How much is that doggie in the window?"... 


In TLC, we do NOT believe in spay abortions... This goes against the grain and mindset of most of the humane organizations, shelters, etc... It is legal in our state (California) to euthanize any animal that cannot be adopted... Because unborn puppies cannot be spayed or neutered --- or must stay at the shelter or organization until they are at least 8 weeks old and two pounds --- pregnant moms are generally euthanized, and if cute and adoptable, space is at a premium and the shelter does not want to release the mom and pups to a rescue, the puppies are euthanized so the mom can be moved onto an adoptable situation after she is spayed...

But in TLC, we have found after MANY years of doing this, pregnant moms who get a spay abortion (especially when close to delivery) usually become incontinent later on in life... The only reason for this (we believe) is that when you disturb the natural progression of things, the hormone production is interrupted, the internal organs do not naturally go back into place, etc...


We also believe (and again, going against the grain of the humane community's mindset), if we always have spayed or neutered puppies available to be adopted, the general public just might adopt instead of buying an INTACT puppy from a back-yard breeder or off the Internet... Our puppies do not contribute to the epidemic of unwanted, homeless animals that flood our shelter systems in this country... And if you decide to buy and not adopt, take a few minutes to review your purchase agreement regarding your new puppy... Does the breeder take back their puppies until the natural old age time?... Does the back-yard breeder also participate heavily in rescue of their chosen breed they do for profit?... Just something to think about if you are determined to buy and not adopt... 

So why the $500 adoption donation for puppies under 6 months old?... 

Simply put?  Supply and demand.


We want to rescue the dogs that are left behind in the shelters to die or be euthanized... Usually they are older than 5 years (when they are no longer considered 'adoptable' by the general public), and the smaller the breed, the longer the lifespan of the dog... A cared-for Chihuahua can live 15 to 20 years... But if they are over 5 years in a shelter situation?... People are passing them by and not adopting...

Recently we pulled a 10-year old TEENY Chihuahua out of the shelter system... Very sweet little pup about 3.5 pounds... Potty-trained, the foster mom reported she got along very well with her dogs, was no problem to foster and just a little cuddle-bunny who was a sweetheart... Older than 6 months, for us she would be a $350 adoption donation... 
Once Tuni went in to see our vet (who was VERY generous with what he charged us as a rescue), her dental bill was $335 and some change... 




As a rescue committed to this dog until we find her a furever home, that does not leave us very much 'wiggle room' to keep this dog and keep her healthy... This is WHY our puppy adoption donations are $500 - to provide a few extra dollars to take care of the dogs that are not going to be adopted and out the door right away...

Regardless - all TLC dogs and puppies are going to be adopted to you with these items:


  • Spayed or neutered
  • Micro-chipped - lifetime activation with no additional charges for changes
  • Be current on their vaccines (dependent upon the time they arrived in our hands and rescued) - puppies require three series of vaccines (bordetella, plus the core "5" - distemper, parvo, etc.).  If they are born in our rescue, they generally have the time to get all three series prior to adoption - we start at 4 weeks old, do them every 2 weeks and by 8 weeks, they have had all three series.
  • If they are over 4 months old, they generally also have their rabies vaccine
  • Complimentary vet visit at our vet within 5 days of adoption
  • 10% off coupon at Theresa's for all supplies bought within 5 days of adoption (with the exception of food)
  • Large coupon booklet from Petco valued at over $650
  • Even LARGER coupon booklet from PetSmart
  • Complimentary groom from Indiana Bones' House of Groom
  • Post adoption support from TLC
And your adoption donation is tax deductible to the extent of your IRS status... plus once you adopt from TLC, we go right back out and save a dog's or puppy's life... You are actually saving two dogs in reality - this one you are adopting and the next one we now have room for in our foster base.

So, how much is that doggie in the window?... You tell me - it all depends upon your perception of things... Recently I complimented someone on something they had, and their response was, "Oh, thank-you!  It really was not that expensive... I only paid $150 for it at (XXXXX)"... I gulped internally, smiled and replied it was really nice, but in my head I am thinking to myself, "I have NEVER sent more than $20 in my lifetime for one of those.  OMG!!"

Saving a dog or puppy's life in your lifetime?  Priceless is my answer.

With many doggie hugs,
Linda
TLC Director


P.S. If you would like to read more on this topic, here is another website to read through - it is from 2010 but the majority of it still applies today - "How Much is that Doggie in the Shelter?"

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

If you adopted a puppy from us at TLC, these photos might be hard to look at... But on Giving Tuesday, we thought you might like to see where it begins and why we work so hard throughout the year in TLC... 


Dedicated to No-Kill in Ventura County, we pull from Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) and fill every available foster slot we have... A dog gets adopted?... We go right back in and save another dog's life... If they have a pregnant mom or mom with pups, we always take them despite the difficulty and much greater expense to save this kind of rescue...

But we also have a commitment with another shelter that if we have room,  and they have a pregnant female or a nursing mom with pups, we will do our best to save both the mom and pups... We do not pull dogs older than 6 months from this shelter, always giving priority first to VCAS in an effort to support No-Kill in our county... 
From this shelter, my dear Momma came almost 4 years ago and I could not have asked for a better dog... She too came VERY pregnant to us and delivered 9 pups in my home office shortly after arriving into our hands... 

If you adopted a puppy from us in the past four years, it is very likely it came from Delano, the same shelter we got Momma from... 

Footnote: The mindset in the humane community is to spay and neuter, and if the mom is pregnant to spay/abort the puppies... TLC has never believed in this practice... We have also felt that if we had spayed/neutered puppies available for adoption, the general public is more likely to adopt instead of going to the Internet or to a backyard breeder to buy an intact puppy...  As all of our puppies are spayed or neutered prior to adoption, we know our puppies are not contributing to the epidemic of homeless, unwanted pets flooding into shelter by unwanted pregnancies... 


I am not saying our way of thinking is common and/or the norm... Most rescues do not want to take in pregnant moms or moms with nursing litters... They usually take the puppies and leave the mom behind... 

The mortality rate of the puppies is high because the mom might have gotten pregnant in poor health, and may not have good nutritional standards while being pregnant... Litters of puppies are fragile and it takes a great deal of care to insure all of them will make it... 

But when you see (as we have for the past 3-4 years), where these moms are coming from and the dire circumstances they are in, it is very hard for us in TLC to say "No" when asked by this shelter to save a mom and her pups... 


If a mom comes into this shelter and she's pregnant, she's going to be in an open kennel run with other dogs... 

This is the high desert and it gets COLD at night... With limited funds and virtually no walk-in traffic, these dogs have a hard time getting adopted, but a pregnant mom?... It is highly likely she is going to have to deliver her pups in an open kennel run -- then attempt to keep them warm and fed under some almost impossible situations... 

So this is where your donations go when you donate to TLC... We save these moms with their pups, give them warm, dry, loving homes to grow up in and with good nutritional needs being met.... When they are old enough, we start their puppy shots and at 8 weeks, we spay or neuter both mom and the pups... 

These moms are not delivering in a puddle of water or having to protect their pups from other dogs walking about, thanks to your support of our efforts in TLC... We, as a small rescue without taxpayer dollars cannot afford to do this kind of rescue without the community's support and donations... Last year's vet bills were over $100,000 and we are always behind the eight ball, trying to do a lot with very little...

So on this Giving Tuesday, we ask you to dig deep and donate to TLC so we can continue the kind of rescue work we do... 

Donations can be done online at our website - http://www.tinylovingcanines.org/donate.html

or you can donate through our Wall of Love on our Facebook page.

With your help, you insure puppies survive, thrive and find their own furever homes!  Thank you!

Linda, Director, TLC

Monday, November 7, 2016

This week...

From November 6th until November 12th, it is National Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week... I know with election day tomorrow, this has probably fallen off everyone's radar but I wanted to bring this back to everyone's attention... Maybe later this week once the election is over with, you will read this blog and think about it...

I can speak for no one by myself, and not even for the TLC volunteers personally, but I know rescue for me is year round, every day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks of the year... I don't do it for an 'atta girl' or even public recognition... The TLC volunteers will tell you that I shy away from publicity, in fact... 


But should anyone ask me (or not~!!), I will always say that TLC has the BEST volunteers in Ventura County... 

They come together, work HARD and do it without any thought of a thank-you beyond a wet puppy kiss or knowing that today they saved the life of an abandoned or homeless shelter dog... 
"Big Joe" - R.I.P. 10/20/12

Some are gone now, but not forgotten and were instrumental in keeping the TLC rescue train rolling right along through thick and thin... As a rescue that has been knocked to its knees several times in seven years because of obstacles and hurdles, we brush ourselves off and get back into the race of saving canine lives...

TLC has taken on many hard cases or moms with pups or pregnant while other rescues have passed on the hard work involved in doing rescue of this nature... We see our pups all grown up at the dog park or we run into one at a local pet shop... And the 'thank-you' is seeing them healthy and happy, with a home and very much loved... 

One of the most heart-felt and emotional times I have had in the past seven plus years is someone in the general public came into the first rescue shop with an envelope of Starbucks gift certificates... They told me, "I know the dogs and puppies always need help, but I just wanted to say a personal thank-you to you and your volunteers for doing what you do...."  Almost brought me to my knees emotionally inside and I was really at a loss for words...

For as a rescue (and I am sure the shelter folks get the same thing), you can successfully place 500 dogs but the thing you will hear the most about is the one dog that did not place well or was not 'perfect'... 

For most of us in rescue (the majority is always female), we spend our days elbow-up in poop, laundry, in sinks bathing or washing something! and drag our spouses into our 'passion' whether they are wanting to be involved or not... It seems (at least to me), that the laundry never ever stops... 
Rough laundry day at TLC - real photo!

And you are forever trying to figure out how you are going to pay this vet bill or save that dog, somehow, some way... 

And for those that are not fostering, they can be just as busy behind the scenes - seldom recognized for their contribution to the saving of shelter animal lives... Be it the photographers taking 300 photos to get just one great one... The folks behind the scenes picking up supplies or keeping the paperwork parade running smooth and trouble free... Or the transporter who just put 200 miles on their vehicle this week, driving to save lives... 

These are all folks who go about their lives making a difference in their community... And at this time of the year, I wanted to personally say a BIG thank-you to the TLC volunteers, the staff of Ventura County Animal Services and to the other community residents who get behind and support those of us who do rescue as a passion and commitment!

Sincerely,
Linda Nelson
Director, TLC


P.S. Most of these TLC volunteers are still with us... Some as long as almost 7 years ago... That says a lot about their commitment to the cause of No-Kill!







Monday, October 24, 2016

Straight Outta No-Kill

It is an AMAZING feat to turn a county from "Kill" to "No-Kill"... Ventura County Animal Services committed to the movement in the summer of 2012 and achieved No-Kill status in January of 2014.  


TLC just invested our precious, few financial resources to create this 4'x6' poster we are now hanging on the side of the rescue rig each adoption Saturday...But as amazing as that is?  It is MANY MORE TIMES harder to sustain No-Kill once the goal of saving at least 90% or more of the healthy, adoptable animals is achieved.

Why is this?  Now, I am not an authority on No-Kill, and I can speak for ONLY TLC... NOT the county or the other rescues, or even the general public... 

But as someone in the trenches, fighting for this every day of my life, I have some observations that I would like to bring to the forefront of your consciousness... Some of these ideas you might not even have thought about yet, but I hope by mentioning them, you consider them and join the movement, or at least take the time to spread the word.

In 1975, our KILL rate was 75%... So basically, for every 10 dogs that went into the shelter, only two made it out alive... Pretty grim numbers, huh?


Fast forward 40 years and in 2015, the stats were reversed... For every 10 dogs that went through the shelter's doors, at least eight made it out alive... The challenge (in my mind) would have always been which one of the two had to die... And I never envied the shelter officers for the very hard decisions they had to make each and every day!  Which of the two dogs in the ten would you have chosen to die?

The concept of No-Kill is that no healthy, adoptable animal must die... You will ALWAYS have some animals that die, even in the best of circumstances... Owners will bring terminally-ill dogs to a shelter, unable to afford the high cost of euthanasia charged by vet offices... Animals will arrive as strays, too hurt to keep alive with any quality of humane life... Aggressive dogs that are a threat to the overall safety of our community... But your goal is to achieve at least a 90% save rate... 

So now that Ventura County has gotten there, why are we having such a hard time and immense struggle to maintain this?... Again, my thoughts and opinions based only upon my interaction with the general public and the comments they have made... 

  • "Well, now that Ventura County is No-Kill, we need to start saving other animals in high kill counties surrounding us"... (huh?  Other counties need to commit to No-Kill and work as hard as we have - we cannot 'import' their problems or failure to commit into our community and eventually start killing our animals again!)
  • "It is still a pound and I don't trust them..." (never mind that our politicians, tax payers and the general public have committed HUGE amounts of dollars and energy turning this around!)
  • "The shelter only has Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls - I don't want to adopt either of those kinds of dogs"  (So because of their breed, you sentence them to die?  It is NOT the breed, but the owner on the other end of the leash that determines the kind of canine hooked to the leash!)
  • "I only want a purebred (fill in the adjective) dog and the shelter never has those kinds."  (An average of 35-40% of the dogs showing up in America's shelters are actually purebreds without papers... The majority of dogs come into shelters through NO fault of their own, but because of lifestyle changes in the owner's lives... they are not 'damaged' but more victims of the circumstances in the owner's lives - losing their home, job, relationship, etc.)
I can go on with the list, but these are the majority of comments I hear... 

Allow me - indulge me here - to share that people selecting a dog to save based upon their breed is actually profiling... And we don't like that as a society when it pertains to humans... It is no different than saying that 'all fat people are lazy' or 'all ________ (fill in country of origin) are ________ (fill in adjective)'... 

You cannot paint any breed of dog with a broad paint brush like this, and sentence them to die based upon their breed, no more than you can discount overweight folks as 'lazy'....

As you can see from this photo, Momma (DNA confirmed as a "Pitty") does not fit the profile of being aggressive or vicious... I have numerous photos that I can post that show it is NOT the breed, but the owner (me) on the other end of the leash that has determined what kind of canine citizen she is... 

Yes, our shelter has a lot of Pit Bulls and Chihuahua mixes... At any given time, our rescue center could have 60+ small breeds, and it was ALWAYS the Terrier, Poodle, 'fluffy scruffy' mixes that were the 'yappy' small dogs everyone hates... Not the Chihuahua mixes that would be causing the ruckus when a new person same in to see them... 

Do you kill a dog because the previous owner did not train them properly?... Do you kill a dog because of their breed and the probable incorrect reputation that breed might have?... Or do you kill a dog because of their age?... (I'd be in trouble then because I am overweight and an old lady... I am glad this kind of mindset has not flowed over to the human species... yet...)

We as a community and society need to speak up and out, every day, against those who are not supporting No-Kill in this county... There is absolutely no reason someone would need to buy a dog or puppy off of the Internet, from a back-yard breeder or even at a pet store when we have dogs waiting patiently at our shelters to be adopted... There are numerous dogs on Craigslist every day, placed there by owners that need to surrender them, and if no help is given, the dog will end up in our shelter system... 

If you have a friend or relative that has a dog who is not spayed or neutered, ask them why they are shortening the dog's life by not doing this... Intact dogs (both female and male) have a MUCH higher rate of cancer and by not spaying and neutering, the owner is actually lowering the number of years of life with that dog... Unless you are showing a purebred dog in dog shows, there is no other reason to keep a dog intact... 

An issue not spoken about is an issue that gets forgotten... All of us need to contact our politicians and make sure that we are heard... We do NOT want to lose No-Kill in Ventura County... We do not want to go back to killing our animals in the shelter system... We want to leave the legacy of No-Kill to the next generation to carry it on and even less animals have to die... 

If we, as a county, could turn this huge 'cruise ship' around in 40 years to go from killing 8 out of 10 dogs to saving 8 out of 10 dogs, we cannot let this fail... It is VERY easy to turn a 'speed boat' around on a dime, but extremely hard to turn a 'cruise ship'... The concept, system and physicality of No-Kill is very much a 'cruise ship'... It is huge, took a LOT of hard work and sweat equity (let alone too many animals dying before it took root) to lose in one generation... 

Help me by getting word out... Talk to your politicians TODAY... They do listen if they are contacted... Tag your support with #nokillvc to show you are support of this movement... Post your favorite photo of your furbaby on your Facebook page with that hash tag... Start a conversation next time there is a pregnant pause and ask who has rescued their pet... You will be amazed at the good you can do, if you just try... 

Paws crossed for No-Kill in our county and my lifetime,
Linda
Director, TLC




Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hot dog in car....

Yet again... This time I am publishing the license plate... 

I am sitting inside my vehicle waiting for my husband in a parking lot (First and Easy Street) and I happen to look over at the car parked aside of us... It is 11:19AM this morning and it is 72 degrees here in Simi Valley according to the Weather Channel... Beautiful blue Pit who has its water bowl (collapsible) tied to its color with a clip... Dog is panting... 

Owner of the silver BMW two door coupe comes back to his car at 11:38AM and I'm thinking, "Great!  He's not leaving that poor dog in that hot car any longer"... Instead, he turns the car on, the A/C on and rolls down the windows about 6"... Gets a duffle bag out of the back seat of his car and goes back into the laundromat!

I continue to watch the dog, whose tongue is now hanging out the side of its mouth and dripping saliva... The dog is REALLY panting heavily now... 

I get out of my vehicle and I walk into the laundromat.... I politely tell the man his car is too hot for that dog to be left inside... He tells me to "Mind your own damned business and get the f*ck out of my face"...

I (now insulted) reply that it does not take but 10 minutes for the temperatures inside a hot car to rise, making it unsafe for the dog's health... His next response was worse than the first one, and I in turn reply that it is that legally OK in the State of California  for me to get that dog out of a hot car --- even if I have to break the glass --- after notifying law enforcement... 


He tells me that if I touch his car, he's going to break my hands and my face... 

I headed back to my vehicle to grab my cell phone and call the police... By this point, the dog's chest is palpating in and out like a squeeze box... This is HEAVY breathing... And I have been watching this dog for 24 minutes already... The dog has gone from being too hot and panting to full out drooling and the chest is caving in and out, panting!

I have my cell phone and dialing for the police when this guy comes out of the laundromat, screaming at me (and I admit, I am now just as loud as him) about what he plans on doing to me and my various body parts...

"This is a service dog" he tells me... If it is a service dog, the dog is allowed to go into the laundromat and the dog is wearing absolutely no indication it is a service dog... Why was it left in a hot car with the windows rolled up to begin with?


The guy gets in his car, pulls it over to the laundromat and starts loading up his laundry, hollering that I am a 'psycho broad'... By this point, my husband arrives and is watching and listening, looking at the dog... Owner loads up and takes off... 

So, to "Mr Dog Owner Who Does Not Care About His Dog"... read what the AVMA says about how rapidly the temperature inside a car climbs 

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/pets-in-vehicles.aspx


If you can't bring your 'service dog' inside a laundromat to wash your dirty clothes, maybe the dog should be left at home instead of being left to bake inside of your car.





Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It is not easy to lose your pet

How do you even begin to put into words the emotions you feel after you have lost one of your pets?... There are no words to describe it... In 1969, a notion began that there are 5 stages of grief and loss (1-denial and isolation, 2-anger, 3-bargaining, 4-depression and 5-acceptance)... 

There are still some folks around that believe you cannot hurt "as much" when you lose a pet as when you lose a person... To me, "loved one" may walk on 2 legs or 4 paws, but they are still loved ones to me... And while I don't necessarily subscribe to 5 stages school of thought, I am intelligent enough to know that not everyone handles loss and grief the same way whether it is a human or animal loss in their life...

In 58 years of life on this planet Earth, I have lost good dogs... And a few, GREAT dogs... I feel that I deal with death of dogs in probably a pretty balanced sense... I understand that it is the circle of life, and that sometimes it is best for Nature to take its own course... Overall, I am a pretty private person when it comes to grieving (or at least I try to be)... 

There is not much anyone can say, right?... "So sorry for your loss" is about the best anyone can do... And I am pretty sure only time, and not words, heal better... 

There are some startling images I have had of death that no matter how many years pass, the shock of it can still cause me nausea if I think and remember it... But for the most part?... Unless it is dead and gross (i.e. ants, flies, etc.), I am pretty good about handling death physically - it is the heart-part that can kick me to my knees (emotionally)...

Back in May, my Coconut developed an issue with one of her eyes and as she was only 11 years old, I opted to have it removed to save her life... The second eye started giving her problems and the past months, I have seen her slowly starting to go downhill... 

We discovered she had congestive heart failure going on as well, so while our vet and I did everything possible to create a reverse in the overall decline of her health, it continued to deteriorate... 

The past two or three weeks I had been questioning myself as to if I was trying to keep Coconut alive for me, or if I was being fair to her... Once the quality of life is no longer good, let alone great, I feel we are doing a disservice to these gentle creatures that bless our lives for just a small portion of our time on Earth... Needless to say, I was not ready to let her go... 

I kept looking for that little spunk, tail up and 'Kibbles and Bits' run (even if only at 4 pounds) that I loved so much... Any sign, Lord... Just give me something to hold onto and know that I am doing right by this pudge-muffin of coconut creme... 

Coconut passed away in her sleep on Sunday afternoon, surrounded by her buds and loved ones at home... I did not have to make the decision as the Lord decided to make it for me... Maybe He knew that I did not (yet) have the heart to make it on my own without His help... 

I do not offer anyone any advice or suggestions for dealing with the loss of one of their beloved pets... I too am still trying to figure out the best way to prepare myself to handle the loss better... I have had great pets die suddenly and then some, like Coconut, wither away slowly... Neither time frame is easy for me to accept readily.... 

I have recovered both ways... I have waited a LONG time before letting my heart open to another dog (and was in borderline depression now when I look back) and I have immediately gone and redirected my grief into a more positive form of energy by fostering puppies or another dog... Having done it both ways, I can say that the latter is better than the former...  There is something about that redirection that made the grieving process easier for me to get through, but that's just me...

I personally don't believe I am disloyal to my dog by redirecting my energy... And I also don't believe my great dog(s) would want me to be sad and alone either... You can't replace one dog lost with another one (even if they look somewhat alike) and it is not fair (in my opinion) to expect a different dog to do this for you either... 


As I said, I cannot offer anyone suggestions or advice... The very most I can do is to share my thoughts and hope they help someone who is going through the same things in their life... As for the 5 steps?... I've done #1 already and could not share my loss immediately with anyone... I am not angry (just very sad) and miss that adorable little girl and her cutest ever mini-run... There is no bargaining going on, 'cause I know she is across the Rainbow Bridge and waiting for me... I am probably still working through #4 and am not at #5 yet... Until I have to close my eyes physically to remember her, her sweet kisses, how excited she'd get when I come home and jump around plus that mini-run, I won't be able to say I have achieved the last stage of loss and grief... 

But tomorrow is another day and with each day, time does it's magic.