Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zero tolerance for rudeness....

This month, I will be doing rescue work for 32 years, stating when I was 23 (which is now my daughter's age)... As I have gone through this journey in my life, I have developed a zero tolerance for rudeness by the general public... And the older I get, the less I will tolerate as well...

TLC as a rescue, celebrated its 4th year in June... We started out as holding mobile adoptions on Saturdays in Moorpark and 20 months ago, we took over the old pet store location in the Simi Valley Town Center after the previous rescue folded... While I used to get just a weekly dose of the general public, now I get at least 5-6 days of it and I have found that despite the vast amount of patience I have with dogs, my capacity to deal with the rude, general public has diminished rapidly... 

I was thinking about all of this as I was moving laundry from the washer to the dryer this morning about 3AM... I normally get up early, but because our washer at the rescue shop broke down last week (and although practically new, the folks who sold us the warranties on the machines now refuse to honor them), all of us TLC volunteers have been pitching in to stay ahead of the vast amount of laundry we generate.... 

Sunday morning at 6AM, I was at the local launderomat doing 15 loads and Sunday evening, I brought home 14 loads... Because my home washer and dryer is half the size of the rescue shop's, it takes me twice as long to do the same amount... So I have been cranking laundry here at the house, in between getting this done and doing that for TLC the past two days...

Every day of my life is like planning a military invasion... I get up early, immediately spring into the mental list of what needs to be done, how can I get it done was quickly and efficiently as possible, and so on... But doing laundry requires little mental time, so it tends to be a thinking kind of time for me as I fold fleece and towels this morning... 

In my mind, I am rolling through a recent incident at the rescue shop - a highly sought-after little itty bitty had numerous interested parties and one of the potential adopters failed to show up as agreed upon with her 6-year old so we could judge the energy level around a 2.5 pound Chihuahua... Waiting for two days, we contacted the next waiting application who drove in immediately and adopted the itty bitty... The next day, the mom showed up with her son and through a fit inside the rescue shop --- in front of her children and about 15 other people who were looking at our rescued dogs and puppies... 

'Threw a fit' as in made threatening statements in a VERY loud tone and after asking her to leave the third time, I had to advise the lady if she did not leave, I would be faced to call security and have her escorted out of the facility... Even today (three days later), I am amazed at the lack of tact, manners and craziness that transpired... There is almost a feeling of entitlement in some of the general public - they believe they don't have to follow rules or the rules somehow don't apply to them... I can't begin to tell you the things we have heard from the general public - most of the time you just have to shake your head and wonder what kind of upbringing they had... 

Two weeks ago we had three youngsters walk into the rescue shop (ages 9 to 12) and upon entering, one said in a loud voice, "THIS PLACE SMELLS LIKE SHIT!"... HUH?... If my momma had heard that come out of my mouth at that age, I would have had my mouth washed out with Tide and dish detergent!... We asked them to leave and a few minutes later, in comes the mom who starts arguing with a volunteer about asking the kids to leave... Stating there was 'no way her child would have made that statement'... Now, why would we lie about something like that?... What purpose would it serve?... We are trying to get dogs and puppies adopted here!

Recently a mom came in with her two small kids right before closing, and the child started projectile vomiting and moving forward until she had covered a 24' square space, littered with vomit and pieces of coleslaw, her dinner, etc... The mom did nothing but console her daughter - didn't apologize, didn't try to stop the child from screaming, crying or continuing to move forward and spew out more vomit... The mom didn't even bothering to help clean up... Three times I had to ask her to pick up her daughter and take her out of the rescue shop so we could clean up the mess... It was obvious she did not want to pick up her daughter and get vomit all over herself, but in the meantime, we volunteers are grabbing towels, mops, buckets, bleach, etc... 

And this is what we volunteers face day in and day out, just trying to save dogs' lives... Lives that are discarded into shelters to become 'someone else's problem' to fix, take care or try and save... 

 As the dryer was running and I now meandered back to my desk here at the house, I sat down and looked at the piles of things I had been working on before I moved laundry... I have both printers running, printing out forms we need at the shop and the scanner scanning documents needed for dog files... I am getting a spay run together for 10 dogs, which requires getting paperwork set up, microchips pulled and logged, attached to forms, etc... 

I noticed that as I am filing the spay forms, I have now processed 55 of these since July 9th... And already this morning, I have had to turn down 14 dogs and puppies in incoming emails that we do not have room for and are going to die today if we can't take them...There is just TOO darn much to do and too few of us who care about killing healthy, adoptable dogs and puppies!!

As I sit down at my desk, I am disgusted with the human species and am disappointed that I am still having to save dogs and puppies 32 years later from needless death... I am disappointed that many parents are not providing good role models for their children, and others in the general public that consistently exhibit rude and unacceptable behavior in the rescue shop --- such as OMG barking at our dogs (and wonder then why we ask them to leave???)... Did they not receive good training and politeness from their parents???

My list of things to get done today is long and as usual, I probably will not get 50% of it done... Even if the general public cannot pitch in and support No-Kill, the very least they can do is to practice good manners... I was reminded this morning during the folding of laundry, hearing my momma say in my head, "Linda Anne, you can't fix stupid", just as clear as if she was standing there aside of me... If you can't fix stupid, what do you do?


Monday, August 26, 2013

I love my Momma....

It is my belief that a dear departed friend brought Momma into my life, along with Momma's guardian angel (B.J.) who gave up her day to drive to Delano and save Momma and her daughter from the shelter there...  I'm not a fan of big dogs... I like all dogs, but the older I got, the smaller size of dog I started liking... Think it must have something to do with my ability to hold onto the bigger dogs now... 

Somehow, some way Momma managed to adopt me long before I adopted her... I did an outstanding job of keeping her at an arm's length from my heart and my love... Worried that she would be adopted and/or fall into the wrong kind of hands because of her size, look and appearance, I did not waste time once her puppies were weaning though - we started that same day on training...

But I do LOVE smart female dogs... There is some kind of justification in my warped way of thinking that appreciates any smart female - be it human or canine... Maybe it is because we of this gender still butt up against discrimination each and every day of our lives in some form or another...

Because Momma's puppies were born at my house, it was a very delicate and nerve-wracking experience... Not really because of Momma, but more so because I have a small, blind Chihuahua at home that could not get adopted... We also have a 2.5 pounder that has luxating patellas on all four legs --- walking about for him is like Ichabod Crane or some disjointed scarecrow...  Just the 65 pounds plus of Momma's frame could easily cause a safety issue, so from the very start I kept Momma on a lead whenever she was around the little ones...

The more I trained Momma, the more she sucked it up like a kitchen sink sponge you wash dishes with... She'd quickly learn a new command with just a few attempts... And some she has learned so fast she now does them without a command (like 'pass through' which tells her to come from behind and pass through your legs... she does it unexpectedly to those folks she likes!)... If you are not prepared for her to do it, you end up riding her without a saddle!  (smile)...

The things I value most in my life are the things I grow to love more each and every day... The first one being my husband, Paul, who continues to love me regardless of what I throw at him... And continues to support me in my battle to go No-Kill in Ventura County in this generation (or at least before I die)...

I can honestly say I love him ten times more now than I did when I married him almost 16 years ago...

Momma also falls into this very elite and small category in my life... Just like my Paul, I respected her first and then began to love her... Initially very little because I knew we could not adopt her and she (in my mind) would find a much better home if adopted... After all, I spend far too much time each week at the rescue shop, and any dog close to me would have to come into the shop every day, troop back home at the end of the night with me, etc... Not the way I would want any dog to live...

But as a trusted TLC volunteer told me during the tough deciding process that Momma would get 100 times more love with me and all of the TLC volunteers at the rescue shop than another place on Earth... Slowly, most of the TLC volunteers 'worked' on me, trying to convince me that adopting Momma would be a good thing for me, my family and also for the rescue...

As Momma started going up to the gate that separates the back from the front of the rescue shop and interacting with folks coming through, I watched her 'lick-lick-lick' kids' hands showing them that big dogs like her (and who look like her) aren't something they always need to be afraid of... And I began to question if she could not have an actual job - being an ambassador of these breeds with the general public...

Not to say that I don't spoil Momma... I do and I won't lie about it... But just as much as I spoil her, I demand even more of her every day... We train in some form or fashion every day without fail... It might be something very small (as in how to walk and move around small 3-4 pounders) or to test new rescued dogs for aggression...

A hard thing for Momma to learn was "UP"... And because she is so big, I refuse to lift her into my truck... I can't tell you the number of times I stood outside the truck, resetting her over and over again as folks watched me trying to convince Momma to jump up into the cab...

Most people get embarrassed when their dogs don't listen to them... Not me (well, most times)... I just keep at it until the dog gets it... After all, I'm 55 years old now and there are still many things I STILL don't get (i.e. why young men wear their britches down on their thighs and their under-drawers are sticking out above)...

But along with all the teaching and learning, Momma gives me some hearty belly laughs, grins and giggles just about every day I spend with her...

Every morning I am one of those odd folks that watch my dogs poop... It is the quickest way I know to make sure everyone is on schedule and healthy, ya know?... Once business is taken care of, the Chihuahuas tend to immediately go to the loungers and climb up, content to bask in the warm morning sun...

We have a big ole June bug that got his calendar screwed up somehow... And it never fails... As soon as he sees everyone is sunbathing, that old June bug (who should be gone now as it the end of August) makes a direct line to buzz Momma... She's not quick enough on her feet to catch him, but she always springs up into action... "NO bug is gonna come into MY yard and head buzz me!" is what she seems to say... Momma's not fast, but more like a tractor trailer - once she slowly switches up through the various gears, she is a power to be reconciled with!... (LOL)....

Up she jumps and goes into her 'Momma dance'... It is as awkward as a new colt's first steps... Sometimes she makes it up gracefully - most times she does not... And by the time she's up and going?  Junie, the June Bug is LONG gone...

But she's on the hunt, searching for him all throughout the back yard... Finally she gives up, goes back to her place in the sun, lays down and continues to enjoy her day... Within seconds of this?  Out comes Junie again, dive-bombing Momma's head - and the process starts ALL over again!... It can go on for 30-45 minutes some mornings!

And if I actually laugh aloud?  Momma gives me this quizzically look - "Mom, what are you laughing at?" kind of thing - which just makes me laugh even harder at her!... I truly don't see Momma ever catching Junie and I'd be sorry if she did, for it guarantees to give me one belly laugh every time I get the joy of experiencing it all!

Yes, I love my Momma and all the joy she has brought into my life... She taught me many things already about life and love that I hadn't thought about... And the true meaning of unconditional love, loyalty and devotion... How many of us are blessed with that in their lives?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

We can't do this without you!

We are in great need of volunteers - it takes over 300 volunteer hours to keep the rescue shop open 7 days a week for a total of 56 hours.  We specifically need shopkeepers and dog bathers.

Interested?  Fill out the volunteer application online HERE. 


Shopkeeper duties include:
  • Feeding and caring for the rescue dogs
  • Cleaning up after them
  • Rotating them out several times a day so they can exercise, eat and play with each other
  • Doing laundry - washing, drying and folding (we do a LOT of laundry each day!)
  • Observing them and/or entry level veterinary care (we will train you in this area)
  • Greeting the general public and/or showing them dogs they are interested in meeting and potentially adopting.
We ask our volunteers to be polite and respectful with those folks who come into the rescue shop, but because we are a storefront location in a highly traveled mall, we have our fair share of ignorant and/or rude people - if dealing with the general public is not something you feel comfortable doing, please let us know during orientation.  This is a physical and demanding job - you have to be highly committed to No-Kill.  TLC is a tightly knit small group of VERY dedicated volunteers.

While our volunteers have flexible hours and days, all volunteers are scheduled one week in advance.  We ask all volunteers to come in on time on the day and times they have signed up for.  Because of our set up, space and needs, we can't do 'I'll drop in when I have a few hours to spare' kind of volunteering.  The days and times can change and are flexible, but they need to be scheduled to provide for adequate coverage.

You will be trained and have an orientation prior to volunteering.  Wear old clothes and shoes - we have smocks to wear to protect yourself.

DOG BATHERS (aka "The Bathing Brigade")

The Bathing Brigadiers as they are known at TLC come in usually the same day each week after 1PM and bathe dogs for as long that day as your schedule allows.  We do not expect you to know how to bathe a dog - we will teach you.  We have professional groomers that come in specifically to groom.  All dogs are bathed at least once every 10 days.

The Brigadiers do extra cuddles with the rescue dogs and it is a great way to get your 'doggie fix' every week!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lana and Nala

Found in a foreclosed home 3 weeks later when the cleaners arrived, Lana and Nala had been surviving on a large bag of kibble and a dirty tub of water left behind by the previous owners.

They are Peke-A-Poos and we would like to get this bonded pair adopted together.  Lana and Nala are 3 years old, up to date on their shots including rabies, microchipped, spayed and will be licensed prior to adoption if you are a Ventura County resident.

See them during their Fox11 showing this morning!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"Name Your Adoption Donation"

We have more members added to the "Name Your Adoption Donation" (NYAD) program... dogs we really want to find their own furever home faster because they have been with us for 6 months.  The rescue shop does save their lives, but it really is not the best way for a dog to live out the rest of their lives. 

The new additions to the NYAD are the Yucca Valley hoarder dogs:
  • Fifi
  • Granite (currently in foster - aka "Buster")
  • Houdini 
  • Marvin
  • Pumice
  • Tomas
  • Bilbo
  • Carlos
  • Dr. McCoy
  • Gus
  • Nestle
  • RocketMan
  • Sinatra
  • Spock
In addition, we have Mr. Bill (who would a GREAT and FABULOUS addition to a senior citizen's life or someone living in assisted living) and Janelle.

For more information on the NYAD program, click HERE (or

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Aging a Chihuahua

Aging a Chihuahua is always a difficult thing to do if they are a rescue simply because you don't know when they were born exactly, what kind of care they received prior to coming to the rescue and because of their small size, they live longer.  The general public still believes in that "1 year equals 7 in human years" which is more accurate in medium sized dogs.

To more accurately calculate your Chihuahua's age, this is a pretty good guideline unless your Chi is grossly overweight and/or still intact.  Both situations decrease their life spans.  Intact males and females develop cancers much quicker in life, shortening their overall life spans.

As you can see, by the time a Chihuahua is actually a year old, he is a teenager by human standards!

Chihuahua Age
Human Age
3 months
3.75 months
6 months
7.5 years
9 months
11.75 years
1 year
15 years
1.5 years
19 years
2 years
24 years
3 years
28 years
4 years
32 years
5 years
36 years
6 years
40 years
7 years
44 years
8 years
48 years
9 years
52 years
10 years
56 years
11 years
60 years
12 years
64 years
13 years
68 years
14 years
72 years
15 years
76 years
16 years
80 years
17 years
84 years
18 years
88 years
19 years
92 years
20 years
96 years