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The truth about Marge…the “paradox of rescue”.

leftbehindFacebook, every once in awhile, pops up “memory pictures and posts”.  I have mixed emotions about this feature because sometimes it brings back a memory I don’t want to revisit.  Recently, Facebook delivered pictures of a fox hound we fostered last year, named Marge.

Marge followed me home last December when I was walking Buster.  She was young, very skinny, flea bitten and had a few puncture wounds in her back end…but was otherwise healthy and an absolutely delightful creature.  She was absurdly obedient and enthusiastic to please her humans.  She played beautifully with other dogs.  My husband and I thought for sure that Marge must just be “lost” from her family.  Someone had to be missing her because she was such a wonderful dog.  We tried everything we could think of to find her family.  Our local Humane Society took her on TV to make an appeal to find her family.  I did Internet searches on her microchip data and literally called every possible person listed in the entire country with that name. marge-poster  I posted her on every possible rescue and shelter site within a several hundred miles.  I paid for a pet “amber alert”. maddiemarge We held out for quite a while.  But it was crickets.  No one was looking for sweet Marge.  We loved having her with us for Christmas.  Eventually, after zero contact from her family, our local Humane Society put her up for adoption.  She was adopted quickly by a lovely couple.  We said that terribly sad “foster dog goodbye” but knew Marge was headed for a great life.  Both Bret and I moped around the house for days after she left.  Maddie and Buster missed her a lot.  Her new dad called us daily for a while with reports on how Marge was adjusting.  They clearly loved her and had compassion for how hard it is to say goodbye to a foster.  Good people.

Fast forward 6 months.  I was out walking my dogs and a neighbor approached me.  He told me how happy he was to see that I had taken in that “poor fox hound” last winter.  I exclaimed…”you knew that dog…where did she come from?”.  Well, as it turns out Marge had only lived a few blocks from me, with a family.  Her family moved away and left Marge behind in the yard.  The neighbor said she hung around the house for a long time…waiting for them to come home.  They never came home.  Eventually she started running the hood looking for food.  Thank God she found us.  I was flooded with anger and sadness at this news.  How could anyone abandon this sweet dog? Who would leave her to fend on her own?  I hate people!feeling-safe

20140918_190455And thus, the “paradox of rescue”.  I exist on the periphery of rescue.  I adopt only rescues, foster and volunteer where I can.  I use my art to raise money.  But I do not work deep in the trenches of rescue like many of my friends do.  But I see more than enough to make me angry…a lot…it is steadily costing me my faith in humanity.   Neglect and cruelty are rampant where I live…I realize these problems are  every where…but here in Kentucky there are no laws to protect animals…no deterrents…and there is certainly no justice for animals.

Yet, there is no “rescue” at all if you don’t put faith in humanity to re-home the very same dogs who have been neglected, abandoned and abused by humanity.  It really is a horrible paradox.  I have met people who initially appeared to be kind and just…good potential pet parents…who later turned and dumped their adopted dog in a kill shelter.  I have met many others who are wonderful pet parents. It is an odd paradox to be engulfed in an economy where the work makes you hateful and suspicious of most people but also requires that you trust some of them.

I have no answers…no wisdom other than this;  rescue doesn’t work without people.  No matter how hard you try to vet potential adopters there will always be lemons/scumbags and there will never be enough good adopters.   The scumbag puppy millers and backyard breeders will keep making money off the genitals of the innocent and perpetuate the flood of homeless animals. The reality is five innocent animals die per minute in our shelters…every stinking day.  But without people we will never make things better.   The animals are 100% at our mercy.mommarge

Of one thing I am certain…kindness to animals should be easy…but I have to wonder…why is it so elusive?  Animals are without guile, greed  or malice.  It is frightening that we are incapable of doing right by them.  The mass killing that goes on in our shelters is a human created problem.  We could fix it.  But we don’t.  It is such a small percentage of the population that works tirelessly to make a difference for animals.   Laws that protect the innocent and punish the evil doers should be easy…but they are insufficient…where I live….the laws just don’t exist.  What does this say about our society…a society who claims it is just and evolved?   Justice, fairness, compassion…kindness…these are not abstracts…they are intuitively obvious and clear…but yet elusive when it comes to animal care.

Most people in rescue are over-worked and usually emotionally exhausted….it is grueling and heart breaking work.   Becoming suspicious of people is an inevitable symptom.  Most have developed an edge; I sure have.   I don’t keep my mouth shut when someone tells me about their “accidental litter”…or about the “designer dog” (expensive mutt) they plan to pay a fortune for.  I tell them the truth.  Five innocent animals die per minute in our shelters every stinking day and these type of actions are the reasons why.  You are either part of the solution or part of the problem…we all bear responsibility to make a difference.   Maybe with some people it will at least make them think about better options…most probably just think I’m a crazy fanatic.  I can live with the label of fanatic…I don’t do anything with half of my heart, have long passed the age where I care what others think of me…and answer only to my conscience.

bretmargeThere is no grey area…too many animals suffer in this country at the hands of humans.  Only humans can fix it.  The moral of the Marge story is this, and it didn’t hit me until I finished this post, Marge completely understood the “paradox of rescue”…in fact…most animals do.   She had every reason to hate people…to resent the creepy bastards who left her behind in a yard to starve…yet she chose (or you could argue she was created) to put her faith in people.   Maybe the only solution to the “paradox of rescue” is to think more like the dogs.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

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Crafts for Pet Lovers

Pet themed coasters…a quick and simple to make gift idea.

MAIN6My husband and I recently finished up decorating some new vacation rental properties…one of which is a pet friendly unit.  I needed some coasters for the unit…when I attempted to shop for them I was surprised at what stores charge for coasters  these days…so I made some of my own.  After a little research on materials they were super easy and fast to make.

Your Supply list: Travetine tiles (Home Depot), Grout Sealer, Archival stamp pad, stamps, felt or cork backing

The best tiles for coasters are travertine…porous tiles.  Stamping on non-porous/glazed tiles is not going to work.  The only place I could find the TILEStravertine tiles (at a reasonable price) was Home Depot.  I purchased two different styles of these Premiere Decor tiles…both worked fine.   Be careful when you buy them…inspect the package as best you can to make sure none of the tiles are cracked, chipped or broken.    Your results will be best if you rinse the tiles well before you use them (let them dry over night).

STAMPSI used a variety of stamps I had in the house to decorate the tiles.  You will need to use an archival stamping ink.  I use the Ranger Archival Ink pads for most projects.  You can get these pads at Michaels or Hobby Lobby…they are usually about $12.00 and they last a really long time.    After you stamp your design on your coasters let the ink dry (I would let it set for at least a few hours).

I looked up all sorts of methods for waterproofing coasters before I did this project.  I saw ideas to use everything from Mod Podge to boat sealer.  I don’t know about boat sealer…didn’t try it.  But I am not a fan of using Mod Podge SEALERon coasters because it does not interact well with water.  I wanted a waterproof coaster…not smudged by or stained by a sweating glass.  Since my husband and I just finished remodeling several bathrooms we had a bottle of grout sealer on hand.  I gave it a try and it turned out to be a great solution for waterproofing these coasters.  I set my stamped (dry) coasters in a box..took them outside (grout sealer smells) and sprayed them (soaked them actually) with the grout sealer.  I let them dry and repeated the spray two more times.  The end result was washable, non-smudging coasters.

The last step was to back the coasters so they wouldn’t scratch my tables.  I used a metal die for my Big Shot to cut my backings…but you could easily just cut squares by hand.  I glued my backing (I used cork that I picked up at Michaels) with Beacon’s glue.  Beacons is my “go to”
20141015_22302920141015_222006glue for projects that need a really heavy duty glue.  Beacon’s has a wicked odor…so open a window and don’t get it on your fingers.   Once Beacons glue is completely dry the odor is gone.  I set my coasters upside down and let the glue dry overnight.

coastersI also tried this project with coasters that I hand painted with acrylic paint.  The grout sealer worked well to waterproof the hand painted coasters.

Have fun!

20160312_161502 (1)
Our sweet Luna!

Things here at Misfit Manor have been insanely busy…our vacation rentals have been busy and the dogs keep me endlessly (but joyously) occupied.   We are all happy to see spring…it is so lovely here in Kentucky.

If you love all things pet and pet rescue please follow my blog and/or my Facebook Page.  I also have a Pinterest Page full of great resources for pet lovers.  If you are looking for pet rescue art, pet sympathy items or pet adoption cards please check out The Rescue Mama ETSY shop!  Also, check out some of my other free pet craft tutorials on my website.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

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Pet Rescue Art: Life as a Chihuahua Mama…

Life with Chihuahuas takes over my art…

chihuahua art, chihuahua rescue, chihuahua painting
Capturing the Chihuahua personality

When my husband and I moved to Kentucky we signed up to foster dogs with several local rescue groups…we have fostered 9 dogs in about a years time.  Throughout the year several Chihuahua’s came to our home…all of whom were precious and two of whom we adopted.  Neither of us had previous experience with Chihuahuas…now both my husband and I are enamored with this breed.

The girls we adopted, Lucy and Luna, were shelter mates.  We know nothing about their lives prior to landing in a Kentucky shelter.  Luna is very old…she has some fairly serious health issues but is still sprite and we couldn’t love her more.  Despite her physical challenges Luna still boss

Chihuahua art, Chihuahua rescue, The Rescue Mama, Nancy Halverson
Chihuahua Mamas are the best!

es all the other dogs around.  Lucy is very young, she stole my husbands heart and somehow manages to be both the sassiest dog we have ever met yet also the sweetest.

Shortly after we adopted Lucy and Luna I started doing some reading on the breed…it was then I realized how at risk the Chihuahua breed is in shelters.  I was aware that they are at high risk in places like California but I had no idea they have the second highest kill rate in shelters nationally, behind only pit bulls…heart breaking and senseless.   I had a lot of time this fall to do some sketching while I was dabbling in the world of doing art shows…Luna came with me to most of my shows.  My Chihuahua girls dominated my sketches…I finally turned two of the sketches in to paintings and I am looking forward to finishing more them.  I am having a lot of fun turning the combination of sassy and sweetness of the Chihuahua personality into paintings.

Both of these originals will hang at the Central Kentucky Veterinary Center in Georgetown, KY until they sell.  I will have prints and cards available by the middle of next week.

Rescue On!

Nancy

If you are crazy about all things pet and pet rescue follow my Facebook Page and Pinterest Page.  If you need pet rescue art or pet sympathy cards check out my ETSY shop.

 

 

 

 

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom…

Living in the land of dichotomies…my weapons of war…

lucy quoteI think I need to make an early new years resolution…to blog more regularly.  I blog for two reasons…I want to share my passion for animals and my own need to clear my head…they are intimately connected I think.

Technology is a funny thing.  There is a fine line, I believe, between staying “connected enough” with the world to be useful to the world and becoming “compassion fatigued” as a result of being “too connected”.  I have had several days…a week really…where I have had to “unplug”.  The steady barrage of horror stories, the unceasing amount of animals surrendered to kill shelters in Kentucky…the complete lack of will by the “elected class” to protect animals…it never stops.  It is easy to fall prey to the lie that it is hopeless and just shut down emotionally.

Kentucky is a strange place…it is a place of dichotomies.  A place where on the one hand…their is tremendous passion for animals…the celebration of the horse in Kentucky borders on a form of worship.  But on the other hand neglect, abuse and flat out ignorance brings on the suffering of a truly staggering number of animals.   On the one hand the rescue groups here are all overwhelmed and running on shoe string budgets…competing with each other for the small amount of donations available from a populace with one of the lowest wage rates in the country.  But on the other hand the horse auctions just took place in Lexington where hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent by a handful of people hoping to buy that next superstar race horse.   The inequity of it all is quite mind numbing.   But it has been this way forever…indeed a strange place and the dichotomies don’t just apply to the way animals are treated.

On so many very serious levels Kentucky is so terribly behind the rest of the country; health, education and wages are ranked at the bottom in the country.   Maybe it takes an outsider to see how grossly some of these things stand out…at least to see how Kentucky fares relative to other parts of the country.   Perhaps this is the closest I have ever lived to some of these issues and the contrast bothers me.  The contrast of extreme wealth (horse barns nicer than most homes) juxtaposed with extreme poverty (others live in campers…not trailers…but campers).

downloadI walk all over this town with my dogs everyday…I see beauty and pride in the community all over the place…there is also a lot of poverty, blight and hopelessness.  The signs of how so many lives are being short changed by a poor education system and the impact of addiction are everywhere.  So often, I miss Apple Valley…my whistle clean, prosperous and homogenous home town.  But now it almost feels that it wasn’t real…reality is here…and I am meant to see it, live it…be it.   I can’t say we fully understand why yet but Bret and I both know that we were right where we are supposed to be.  This town, this house and at this time…is where we are meant to be.

So much contrast…gross dichotomy all around me…and it bothers me…so much it makes my bones feel cold.   There is darkness and hopelessness like I have never seen before…sometimes its downright scary…a form of spiritual poverty I have never felt before.

At the same time…there is a spirit force in some of the local Kentuckians that is remarkable.  It’s a fighting spirit…its a never give up spirit.   I didn’t know until I toured the Kentucky armory recently that Kentucky has sent more men to fight in every single war (relative to its population) than every other state in our country…every single one.   Many people have a  fierce self-understanding of who they are as Kentuckians.  Whether you agree with them or not they know what they stand for and I respect that.  There is also an earthiness about the people here…something I have really come to love and hope to write more about some time.

veteran+funeralThere is an unsung compassion here too.  Not too long ago there was a funeral director who went public with a body he had been given custody of.  A man, a vet…who had no family, no friends…not a single contact…died in a nursing home, alone, with never a visitor.  The funeral director asked for people who might consider coming to his funeral…hundreds..seriously hundred of people… showed up for his funeral.  Despite the warts…there is something powerfully good here too…often it feels like I have a naked view of spiritual warfare…something that was more deeply shadowed in Minnesota.

These days; I am a “girly, girl” as my husband says…I cry a lot these days…I cry when I see something sad, something happy, something compassionate…I just cry a lot…my husband thinks its cute…but I know its how I fully experience what is going on around me…really feel things deep down in my bones…the way we were made to feel things…if that makes sense.  For most of my life…I did not cry…I had a very narrow range of emotions…I did not feel.

A few weeks ago…I had a conversation with a local friend who works in throes of pet rescue…he was at a point of disgust…that giving up point where anger and frustration can over take the desire to keep trying…at least for a while.  I told him…”I know that spot…I know it well.  But I also know that the only way out of that hole is to fight…and for me that means fighting with the only weapons God gave me…forgiveness, compassion and the will to do good.”   I subsequently spent a week re-trenching from the same feelings of despair.

nickelThen I got a call about a dog named Nickel.  He needed a ride out of a kill shelter to safe place.  Off I went…Nickel paid his fare in kisses and snuggles.  My soul was fed for a week.  I needed Nickel to remind me of my own words.

When all else fails…and darkness seems brighter than the light…grab your weapons and look for your Nickel.

If you are a lover of all things pet and pet rescue consider following my blog or my Facebook Page.  I also have a Pinterest Page full of resources for pet parents.  And of course if you are in need of any pet sympathy cards or pet rescue art check out my Rescue Mama Shop.

Rescue on!

Nancy

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Welcome to Misfit Manor!

We have officially named our home in Kentucky!

misfitmanorOur home in Kentucky is the first home that Bret and I chose and purchased together.  It is the first place that is truly “ours”.  We decided last summer that we wanted to give it a fitting name but wanted to ponder it for awhile.  This summer we officially decided on “Misfit Manor”.  Our home in Georgetown has a bit of history…well, its old, so I guess it has to have some history. We found a book that had some stories on our home.  It has been a home to a town doctor, it was a boarding house (believe it or not our home had 13 bathrooms in it at one point…crazy)…its been a home to some lovely families…and well to some total weirdos too (wait… maybe we are the weirdos).  But no matter its history…and even with its crooked doors and sagging floors…it is our little slice of heaven and now it has a name.  I made this wreath for our back door while Granny Sandy was here.  I still need to add the cats to theMom and Dad taking a break and going to the Styx concernt - they rocked it!

wreath.  We are going to make a small plaque for our front door too.

So why such a campy name as Misfit Manor?  Well, frankly…we are a couple of misfits.  Bret and I are (finally) fairly self-aware individuals…purified by dances with dangerous “isms” at different points in

Lacey Mae loves this wild hair look!
Lacey Mae loves this wild hair look!

our lives…but grateful for how our lives have been shaped by the mistakes and rough journeys of the past.  Little about either of our adult lives has been “traditional”.  But hindsight can be a funny thing…Bret and I both agree that now that we know where our bumpy paths have landed us (together with our creatures)…that we would go back and walk the same rocky path a thousand times over to get here again.

We are also a home filled with off beat creatures (besides Bret and I)…a once chronic biter (our Lacey), a hyperactive and reactive little freight train (our Buster), an afraid of his own shadow JRT (Turnip) and a feral caLucy, Luna and Kringlest (Zilla)…and several more quirky creatures.   You would think it would be chaos…but what makes it special is that when all of us misfits get together…somehow it all works.   I believe its grace.  Bret and I…and the animals…are more whole together than we are when we are separate. I know that I am only fully me when I am with all of them.  I wish this sort of peace and “foundness” for everyone…

Kringles the pirate
Kringles the pirate

butser wonderfulHave you ever taken a boring, even downright ugly painting or photo and changed it out with a beautiful frame and suddenly that same item will seem so much different…its the same but you see it completely new… it is now more than it first was?  Somewhere along the journey I came to terms with this simple truth; that often the biggest change we need to make isn’t ourselves nor is there fault in something or someone else that pushes us out of our comfort zone…but instead the problem is how we frame ourselves and each other in our thoughts…framed properly someone odd or ordinary, or even difficult… suddenly becomes quite beautiful.  For some reason I have a knack for all things misfit…I rescue misfit pieces of china at flea markets and set a summer table that turns out lovely…I love rescuing misfit furniture…Cottage Paint works wonders…we even bought a misfit house…and we have a bunch of misfit animals…”misfit” seems to be where I fit…I see them with sparkle not dim.  Thoughtfully re-framed each misfit is something beautiful…its not about change…if that makes sense.

Luna
Luna

This week Bret and I picked up a couple of new foster dogs…one of them…we named her Luna…has seen better days.  This dog is so pathetic looking that Bret and I instantly fell in love with her.  Whatever happened to her…we assume she was either hit by a car or attacked by a larger animal…her deformed little body to us is just a little bundle of courage and joy.  I am sure Luna will find a permanent family…she is a heart breaker…but if she doesn’t she will always fit in here.

I am most comfortable…in our realm of the misfits.   Others may see us as quirky or weird…that is ok…each of us needs to be our kind of wonderful…and here at Misfit Manor everyone has the chance to be something beautiful…

If you love all things pet and pet rescue please follow my blog…I blog weekly about pet parenting, pet resources, pet rescue, pet crafts…I also have a The Rescue Mama Facebook Page and The Rescue Mama Pinterest Page where I post daily.  My Pinterest Page has boards for every pet topic you can think of!  If you are looking for a pet sympathy card or pet rescue artwork please visit my Rescue Mama ETSY Shop.

Rescue On!

Nancy

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Pet Rescue Art: Rescuing and breathing…

Pet Rescue Art:  If I am breathing I will be rescuing.

close upI just recently finished this little diddy…I decided a long time ago that since we all exit this life the same way eventually (empty handed and six feet under) that rather than accumulate “things or experiences” that I wanted to be completely used up when I die…I choose to use up whatever energy and resources I have being involved with pet rescue…whether its using my art, caring for my own house full of rescues, training rescue dogs or fostering homeless dogs…it is truly the highest privilege in life to find the vocation God destined me for…I live a blessed life.

This painting is an acrylic on canvas…11×14…glossy archival finish.  This and many other of my paintings are available at my ETSY shop.  I donate a portion of all of my sales to pet rescue groups.

If you are in to all things pet and pet rescue don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest!

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

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Patriotic Dog Leash…will your dog be stylin’ this year?

Memorial Day Dog Leash for fashionista dogs….

leash_w_backgroundHey everyone…here is a shameless plug for my Patriotic Dog Leashes.  Kringles and Lacey sport theirs every Memorial Day and 4th of July.  These are a feature item in my Rescue Chic line…a Pawsitivley stylish way to make a difference.  We donate a portion of our leash sales to pet rescue charities.

These leashes are made of an Acrylic yarn…very durable.  They are 36 inches long…1.5 inches wide…with a 3/8 inch swivel snap hook.  They are safe for small dogs. I use these leashes for my Pom and my Lhasa (11 pounds and 15 pounds) and feel very safe walking the dogs with them.    The leashes have jingle bells attached under one of the flowers…because every little cutie should make a little jingle when they walk!

Leashes are available at my ETSY shop!

Rescue On!

Nancy

main handle (2) hook (1) main (13)

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Pet Rescue Art: A New Pawffiti Artist is born…

Pet Rescue Art…important messages from the pets we love…

Halacey finalnds down… the sassiest dog I have ever met is our Lhasa mix; Lacey Mae.  They say that the dogs that challenge us the most are the dogs we love the most…I can say from experience that this is true.  Lacey was a challenge literally from the moment I met her…and we love every bit of her.  Now that my shop is up and running steady I (in theory) have time to expand this year and Lacey Mae is going to step up to the plate and become my newest Pawffiti Artist.  Through her I 232323232-fp6326;-nu=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=34-488828832;nu0mrjplan to do some Pawffiti Art that is considerably more snarky than I have done in the past.

Lacey’s persona evolved over a series sketches that occurred on Saturday nights. My husband’s favorite thing to do on Saturday nights is watch UFC matches.  He likes me to watch with him. So just like he does, when I drag him to the opera, I sit and enjoy UFC with him.  I usually bring either a sketch pad or some yarn and a crochet hook.  It was on a few of these Saturday fight nights that Lacey’s character evolved.232323232-fp633;3-nu=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=3477-864-732;nu0mrjsketch 1

Lacey came to live with us shortly after Bret and I got married in 2008.  For some odd reason…we decided we wanted to open our home to a small breed dog…because two labs and rottweiler weren’t enough for us I guess.  We met Lacey through a friend who thought that perhaps we could give this “troubled little dog” a chance.232323232-fp63254-nu=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=33427-5;-632;nu0mrj

We drove about an hour to meet her. We loaded up our three big dogs to do a meet and greet with Lacey.  She did great with our dogs…particularly since she is just a fraction of their size.  However, she pretty much just ran in circles around my husband and I and growled at us.  When I tried to greet her…at what I thought was a safe distance…she charged, jumped up and bit my nose….HARD.  Oddly enough…we took her home anyway.  Not because we bonded with her, obviously, but sketch 2because she clicked so well with our big dogs and frankly…she was out of options.

Lacey had been surrendered by her owners for “chronic biting”.  She seemed to have no use for humans other than to charge, growl and chomp on them.

When we first brought her home…she spent a good portion of the day following me around the house charging me, growling and biting and my legs and hands.  If the door was open…she was gone…it was like Chariots of Fire running down the street to get away.  My poor husband chased her one morning in nothing but his PJ bottoms (no shoes)…into the woods…over fences..through our neighbors backyards…he caught her eventually…he wasn’t very happy with her that day.doo rags and leashes 035

Lacey is smart…and despite her growly ways…all she wanted was some attention.  She very quickly figured out that she would get plenty of attention when she was calm and gentle…when she wasn’t calm and gentle…she was ignored.  It didn’t take her long at all to win us over and show us her charming and affectionate side.lacey shops

Lacey will always be a sassy dog with boundaries that need to be respected.  She has personal space issues (so does mommy)…and she will snap at someone if they push her too far.  But we know her limits and she knows our rules…she has become an irreplaceable member of our family.232323232-fp539;--nu=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=36633886-932;nu0mrj

I am not a dog trainer that believes that every dog with problematic behavior can (or should) be saved.  There are unfortunately some dogs who are just simply a danger to humans and other dogs anfinal sketchd it is in everyone’s best interest for them to either live life out in a sanctuary (there are very few that can do this) or be humanely euthanized…it sucks (believe me it sucks) but it is sometimes the most humane outcome.  Lacey however, despite being labeled a “chronic biter”, was not one of those dogs.

She has become the princess of the household…sleeping in the middle each night…riding the Harley with mom and dad…and she has become the dog we take everywhere.  She runs errands with mom…she goes on vacation with both of us.  She doesn’t mind dressing up (really…she doesn’t) and has a large wardrobe so she can gussy up for every occasion.  She also doesn’t take any crap and has a growly opinion about just about everything…hence she is going to be my newest artist.  She has always had a lot to say.  I am so excited to see what happens as Lacey unfolds on canvas…I hope you will follow her progress!232323232-fp63238-vq=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=33427;923932;vq0mrj

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

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Pet Rescue Art: Rescue Moms Should Rule The World

Pet Rescue Art…Pawffiti

Pet Rescue Art, Pit bull painting, Pit bull art, pit bull rescue art, dog mom gift
Pawffiti…Rescue Moms Should Rule the World

Hippie Pittie was at it again…what do you think?  She is 11×14 and available at my ETSY shop.

Rescue On!
Nancy

 

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Pet Sympathy Cards…new designs…fresh grief

New designs for my handmade pet sympathy cards…

Pet Sympathy CardI have been having a burst of creativity and inspiration to make some new pet sympathy cards…I am sure it is has everything to do with losing Sparky.  Funny thing grief is…we never “get over it”…at least I don’t believe we do.  We just learn to live with it…and over time living with it makes it an important part of who we are as spiritual beings.  Funny thing too…grief can happen in such flashes…I was at Hobby Lobby, buying some card making supplies, when I felt inspired to buy a wind chime for our backyard…to hang in honor of Sparky. At first I just felt moved as I was picking one out…almost a bitter sense of comfort in the memory of him and for doing something in his name…and then a moment of guilt came over me because I realized that it was the first time I had thought about him that day.  Grief is weird.Pet sympathy card

I believe we are all put here to play a special part…to be involved in a spiritual enterprise that rubs the rough edges off us as we grow…for me it is pet rescue.  I make no apologies for my pets playing such a large role in my life…not to friends…not to family…it is who I am…take me or leave me as I am.  I was made for taking care of them.

Sparky rubbed a lot of rough edges off of me…it was patience and persistence that he taught me for sure…but more important and especially later in his life it was that every day he reminded me to never waste an opportunity to have a little enjoyment.  I had six dogs when he was still alive and I am a bit of nut about exercising my dogs…which takes a lot of time in my day and a lot of my energy.  Sparky was SOOOOOOOOO slow the last year of his life and he had a bit of doggy dementia…so often we would walk back and forth down the same street…he would get confused about which direction we were walking…I always just went with it.  But I had to walk him separate from the other dogs and even a very short walk took an enormous amount of time (sometimes I would even bring a book).  But dammit…I was gong to make sure he had his time…he loved his walks and it was one thing I could give him…I new that one day he wouldn’t be there…if today was by chance the last day…it was going to be one he enjoyed.   I find a lot of comfort today in my patience and persistence for him and his walks.  It has made me a better person.

cat sympathy card, card for loss of cat, death of cat card, cat condolences, cat loss, The Rescue Mama, Nancy Halverson
Cat Sympathy Card

I am one of those oddly wired people that needs to create to be whole.  I lose time when I am creating…whoooda thunk it would be pet sympathy cards that I enjoy to make…but that is how it just turned out….so I go with it.   If I can be a small part of bringing a tiny bit of comfort to someone grieving a pet…I am glad to do it.  I write my own greetings for my cards…they are not poetic…just genuine thoughts from someone who knows a little something about grieving a pet.Pet Sympathy Card

If you ever need a pet sympathy card, keep me in mind…they are available at my ETSY shop…I take great pride in making them and in my customer service in regards to them.

Love your pets today…and everyday…you are their whole world.

Rescue On!

Nancy

Please follow my blog if you are interested in seeing more of my work and hearing more of my opining about all things pet.  I post 1-2 times/week on my blog and daily on my Facebook Page.world's greatest dog

 

 

 

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom…born to ride…

Motorcycle Dogs…

biker dog, motorcycle dog, dogs on motorcycles
Born to Ride

What makes you smile…my dogs make me smile.  Every dog has that one thing that just makes them crazy with happiness…a game of fetch…a special treat or toy…for our Lacey…its Harley Davidson motorcycles.  She is our little biker dog…when she hears the bike fire up she tries to crawl up my legs to get in to her harness…

Taking Lacey for motorcycle rides was born out of Bret and I trying to figure out activities for her that would satisfy her crazy side…Lacey is a fun dog but she is a mischief maker and has little to no fear of heights (she will leap off of anything), no fear of other animals (of any kind)…pretty much no fear of anything that most dogs would shy away from…she likes a challenge and adventure.

When we met Lacey she had been surrendered because she was a “chronic biter”.  She definitely sharpened her choppers on us a few times.  In fact, the day I met her she leaped at my face and bit me in the nose…hard.  Most people would pass on such a dog…but Lacey was out of options…she had no where to go.  The day she put a few holes in my nose she also met my other dogs; which back then was my two labs and my Rottweiler.  Despite being a fraction of their size she instantly took to them and was running with the pack like she belonged with them her whole life.  She was also taking their cues…when they backed her down…she heeded them…I saw hope for her in that.  We have never looked back from the day we met her…Lacey came home with us and very quickly figured out new patterns of behavior (that didn’t include biting people).  Lacey is not the type of dog that will cooperate with typical training methods…she wants nothing to do with.  When I try using my clicker, treats and typical methods…she literally turns her back to me.  She is above my style of training.  So I had to use the approach of “capturing” behavior.   The first few months that Lacey lived with us she would only get rewards…food, pets, snuggles when she was calm…when she acted up I instantly removed from what pleased her (just removing my interaction and presence from her worked magic).  To teach her to sit, down, stay, etc…I had to “capture” those behaviors and reward them as she naturally performed them…she caught on fairly quickly without have to “subject” herself to being trained.   While capturing is a slower road to train a dog it is certainly effective.

Today, Lacey is the love of our life…she is the dog we take with us every where …the dog (well one of the dogs) that sleeps in the middle and definitely the apple of her daddy’s eye.

The bike is tuned up…the weather is warming up and Lacey is saddled up…she was truly Born to Ride!  We are looking forward to a summer of riding fun…discovering new things in Kentucky with our little biker dog!

I am working on new sketches of Lacey in her tough girl gear…she has a lot to say and its time to put it to canvas…she is going to be my newest Pawffiti artist.

Have a great week!

Rescue On!

Nancy

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom: The Cadillac of dog strollers…yes I take my dog out in a stroller!

The best dog stroller on the market…

Pet Gear Stroller Review
Pet Gear Stroller The Cadillac of Dog Wagons

Yes, I am one of those “crazy ladies” who takes her dog trolling around the neighborhood in a stroller.  Kringles, my 16+year old pomeranian has an enlarged heart.   He can no longer go for walks…he tires within a minute or two…but Kringles does not want to get left behind either…so I am not leaving him behind!  I am sure that there are plenty of neighbors and passers by that laugh or poke fun at the crazy lady with her dog in the stroller…good thing I am not one to care what anyone thinks…especially when it comes to taking care of my dogs.  Kringles and I proudly troll the hood and will continue to do so every day that Kringles still can.20140906_113130

Dog Stroller
The old stroller

The first stroller I purchased for Kringles was rickety and uncomfortable…the cheap plastic wheels made for a bumpy ride and I really could only use it on flat paths at the park…no chance of navigating curbs.  Bret, (my wonderful husband) picked out a stroller fit for a king so Kringles could cruise in style.  We ordered the “Pet Gear: stroller from Amazon...it wasn’t cheap…it was $366.00 (shipping was free because we are Prime members) but it is now listed on Amazon at $329.00.  I have subsequently noticed this stroller on sale in a few catalogs for considerably less as well.

But was it worth it?  We’ve been using the stroller for months now and it was worth every penny! We use it daily for Kringles and we often use it with foster dogs we take in as well.   Here are my thoughts on the value of this stroller:

1) While it did require some assembly…Bret assembled it in less than 30 minutes…I am sure it would have taken longer if I had to do it but not bad.

Take one of our foster dogs out in the stroller.
Taking one of our foster dogs out in the stroller.

2) The basket of the stroller is incredibly roomy…we could fit two dogs in it if necessary.   There are times when my Jack Russell, who walks with me and Kringles, tires out.  I just add him in the stroller and he rides comfortable with Kringles.  The stated capacity of the stroller is 90 lbs…I can’t imagine pushing 90 lbs worth of dog in  stroller, can you?  When Kringles and Turnip are in the stroller together (combined weight of 35 lbs) I can comfortably push the stroller.  There are tethers on the inside of the stroller basket as well to keep a dog that might jump out from running away.

3)  The tripod frame and air wheels make it very stable (no tipping even if Kringles is jumping around).  The front wheel has two positions, locked and unlocked.  If it is unlocked you can turn the stroller with ease but if you speed up in this mode the stroller will wobble (not comfortable for the dogs).  I use with the front wheels in the locked position because I power walk.  In locked mode the ride is very smooth for the dogs no matter how fast I am walking.  The turns are bit more difficult however I have find that if I make my turns wide they are much easier.

Pet Gear Stroller4) It has a reliable brake.  The brake is a foot bar.  It is easy to lift “on” and “off”.

5) There are plenty of storage pockets for my phone, keys, poop bags, etc.  It has a cup holder on the handle bars.  It comes with a rain cover (how cool is that).  There is also storage space under the basket.

6) The bottom half of the basket stands high enough and is sturdy enough that I don’t have to worry about Kringles falling out even if have to stop fast.

7) The cushion in the basket is thick and soft.   It is lined with a black plush fabric.  I add a cool pad to the bottom of the basket on hot days.

8) The air wheels make it a very smooth and comfortable ride for Kringles.  They also make it easy to turn and go up and down curbs without Kringles being bounced around.  Because of the air wheels and the sturdy frame I can power walk with this stroller while still maintaining a comfortable ride for Kringles.  It is really helpful to have the tires properly inflated.  My husband keeps our wheels at 40lbs of pressure.

9)The stroller does collapse down nicely to fit in the car. The only downside I could find with this stroller is that it is a bit heavy for me to get in and out of the car…I can lift it but it is a bit of a struggle for me by myself.

10) This is a no zip stroller.  The hood comes down and snaps securely with one clip in the front.  Anyone who has used a pet stroller for awhile knows that zippers and furry creatures are not a good mix!

Hands down …this wagon was worth every penny.   This truly is the Cadillac of dog strollers.

cat rescue art, cat rescue, cat art, cat wall art
Rescue defined….

My dogs, like most all dogs, are lovers of routine…we have a daily schedule which makes managing an eight pet household pleasant for everyone…part of that routine is our daily exercise..which now, thanks to the Pet Gear stoller, Kringles can participate in again.

I added a picture of a painting I finished recently.  It is inspired by the spring and summer need for cats to be rescued from shelters.  The original painting is sold but prints will be available shortly at The Rescue Mama ETSY shop.  For other product reviews check out my Parent Resource Page.  If you are interested in all things pet, pet rescue and pet art follow my blog for weekly articles, my Facebook Page and my Pinterest Page.  If you are in need of pet sympathy cards, pet rescue art or pet adoption cards check out my items at The Rescue Mama ETSY Shop.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

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Pet Rescue Art: Dog Fighting Sucks…time for Kentucky to move out of the dark ages!

Pet Rescue Art:  Dog Fighting Sucks…what is wrong with Kentucky?

main 2I live just 20 minutes north of Lexington, KY.  Lexington is the horse capital of the world.  In my county and several of the counties surrounding us…horses are a focal point of community life.  The barns built for horses here are nicer than most folks houses.  There is a retirement home for race horses a few minutes from my house…some of these horses have earned upwards of $90 million dollars in their life time.  The horse is sacred here.

For the most part everyone I meet here is also a dog lover.  Just about everyone has a dog or two.  Hunting dogs are everywhere here…for the most part the hunting dogs live productive lives as working dogs here…the bond between the hunter and his dog something to respect.  The local humane societies are well supported…and there are numerous smaller fringe rescue groups as well.  But there is also a dark underworld for animals here that few folks want to talk about.

10404860_380184835476840_5050119956143225513_nKentucky has the worst laws in the nation for protecting animals…dead last…they are in fact a disgrace.  Because of the pathetic laws the abuse and neglect of animals (especially dogs) goes on publicly and is never punished.  Sure, folks can (and will) call and report the abuse they see…but there is often little the authorities can do…dogs are left to suffer out in the open for everyone to see.  There are no laws here to fit the crimes of cruelty to animals here…it is a sad, sad state of affairs.

Kentucky is also the ONLY state in the nation that does not consider raising dogs for the purpose of fighting a felony…literally the only state in the nation!  Why is it so important to classify raising dogs for fighting as a felony you might ask?  Because this is the only way to stop dog fighting.  It is very rare that the authorities will catch dog fights “in theater”…their world is too secretive.  The only way to stop dog fighting, that every other state in the union has already figured out, is to bust the creeps for raising fighting dogs in the first place.  In Kentucky…raising fighting dogs goes on right out in the open.  Kentucky is in fact a safe haven for dog fighting.

We also must not be naive about the world of dog fighting…its not just about cruelty to animals…its about drugs and violence against humans too.  These are dark hearted people with no regard for life…not a dog’s life…not my life…not your your life.

The Louisville Humane Society recently stated that 80% of the dogs they in take are pit bulls or pit mixes…80%….and most of them come in with wounds and scars reminiscent of dog fighting.  We also have another problem here in Kentucky…dog fighters need bait…animals that they can use to teach their fighting dogs to kill…we therefore have an epidemic of stolen family dogs.  It’s sickening…but if your dog goes missing here…we want to hope for the best but we are in fact forced to at least entertain the idea that the very worst of fates has befallen our dogs.

There is a group here; Kentucky Coalition to End Dog Fighting, that has been tirelessly working to get laws passed to make raising fighting dogs a felony.  But alas…there are legislators standing in the way…many of them.  They “kill the bills” to protect the dogs by adding abortion amendments, ag gag amendments and other amendments that have nothing to do with dog fighting.  Its disgusting but these politicians are elected (over and over) and have been getting away with this for years.  There is still a chance that a bill will pass this month where anti-dog fighting language will itself be an amendment…we can hope and pray that it passes.  If it doesn’t I hope for public outrage against these legislators standing in the way…but I doubt it.

I have no desire to opine about corrupt politicians and their role in the suffering of animals here in Kentucky..most thinking people know that the role of “career politician” has simply become a euphemism for corruption…removing all “career politicians” with term limits is the only answer to cleansing our corrupt government.

I do think it is worth reflecting on the state of a society that passively stands by in the face of cruelty.  Basic kindness to animals should be easy…and it should be a key measure by which we judge our communities.  Abominations such as dog fighting (any kind of animal fighting) are a blight…a dark spiritual sickness that every single civilized person should be unwilling to tolerate in any form.  Here though…there is an entire segment of society accepts things like dog fighting and cock fighting as part of their “culture”.  Whenever there is actually a raid of a dog fighting ring or cock fighting ring here there is a hardcore group of people that are outraged by the intrusion of government on this pillar of their history and culture…literally they identify things like cock fighting as “part of their culture and heritage”.

This is a picture my husband took in eastern, Kentucky (click on it and enlarge it). roosters If you don’t know what you are looking it…the barrels are for fighting roosters.  Roosters are tied to these barrels (which are their homes) until they are taken to the ring to fight.  This picture was taken “in town”…it wasn’t hidden from civil society…these fighting roosters were being raised right out in the open for all to see…everyone driving by knows what the fate of these roosters will be…and nothing can be done for them.

Where I personally struggle the most with issues like cruelty to animals is NOT in pondering “how could they?”…”how could anyone be so cruel?”…I don’t wonder that at all…I know exactly how individual people can be so cruel…they are spiritually sick…in many cases spiritually bankrupt.

What I do struggle with is how can everyone else stand by and do nothing…how can we have a such a high level of “dis-interest” in ending cruel practices going on in our own communities…Most of us would never consider engaging in the world of dog fighting or cock fighting ..but at least in Kentucky…the voting population repeated elects legislators who refuse to put a legal end to it.  This is a dark blemish on our society…we (Kentuckians) must end it…we (Kentuckians) cannot stand by in disgust and judgment rather we must be the voices for these animals.  We have to do something about it…the animals can not put an end to dog fighting…but we can.

It appears there is one last chance for Kentuckians to speak up and encourage our legislators to finally do the right thing and stop dog fighting.  There is a bill that has passed the Senate…was amended in the house and now must pass the Senate with the amendments again.  It is SB143 and it has the anti-dog fighting provision as an amendment.  Will you make the phone call?  Call your state senator (800-372-7181)…call the Senate leadership…ask them to support SB143 and to take a stand against dog fighting.  If you don’t know who your Senator is…click on the link here Kentucky Coalition to End Dog Fighting…and they have details and links to find your Senators and details about the bill.   Like their page on Facebook if you want to follow this more closely…the phone calls matter THIS WEEK!!!!!  I will be making the phone calls this week…will you?

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

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Pet Rescue Art: “Live to Rescue” Pawffiti

Pet Rescue Art:  “Live to Rescue” Pawffiti

Pawffiti...a reflection of our lifestyle.
Pawffiti…a reflection of our lifestyle.

I have spent the last few months learning the process of getting giclee prints made of some of my paintings…maybe I am just getting older…but navigating new things (especially technology) gets ever more complicated and frustrating.  One of things I have learned the hard way with my budding art store is that it is a constant time battle to try to manage on an online store and have enough time to create.  Running an online shop has required me to learn Search Engine Optimization, advertising and networking on social media and photography (which I still really stink at still).  I have learned online payment systems…photo editing…the list goes on.  My little art store has now shipped products to 29 different states in the U.S.!   I am hoping to hit all 50 in the next year or so and at some point I would like to ship internationally.

ETYS main
Image of the first print run!

I believe I have finally put together a cost effective yet very high quality team to get my art prints made.  I am really excited that I can use my prints to generate even more funds for rescuing animals.  So far in just the first quarter of 2015 The Rescue Mama Shop has generated $820 in donations of cash and merchandise to rescue groups.  I am hoping to grow this number significantly throughout the year.  I am hoping that my “Live to Rescue” Pawffiti will be a big part of that.  When I first posted the original painting on Facebook last month it was well received and I had a lot of requests for prints (and tshirts and bumper stickers, etc).

Getting prints made requires professional photographs of the originals…I have found a wonderful photographer in Lexington (Mary Rezny) who does an amazing job creating my electronic art files for me and has been generous with her time answering my endless questions about the process.  It also required finding a high quality printer that can provide archival quality prints that don’t break the bank…after test running a few shops I have been thrilled with the product I am getting from http://www.iprintfromhome.com.

I sell all of my originals and prints at my ETSY shop.  25% of the sales price of my originals go to rescue donations (the buyer can choose which rescue group gets the donation if the desire).  For all of my print sales I donate 10% of the sale.  I accumulate the total all quarter for my print sales and then write one check at the end of each quarter to a rescue group that I choose (which is usually a group in Kentucky as the needs for animals is so great here but there are other groups that I send to as well).

20150311_194843I have also been making cards with each of my new prints.  They make great cards for new pet adoptions or simply as “thinking of you” cards for pet rescue friends, dog walkers, veterinarians.   I am selling them for $3.99 at my shop.

Likeness of Hercules
Likeness of Hercules

This “Live to Rescue” painting was inspired by my Sparky…who as you know passed away last week.  I can’t put in to words how deeply I miss him.  Sparky spent his days either laying next to my easel or laying next to my desk…the house seems decidedly empty without him.  I am so grateful that I have painted so many pictures of him…I bet he gets a kick out of knowing that his sweet face is hanging in so many homes around the country.

Years ago…the reason I started painting in the first place was the loss of my Rottie, Hercules.  It was only a few months after he had passed that I realized I was losing my mental image of him…so I started doodling pictures of him and eventually I painted him…it was then that I realized…hey maybe I can do something productive with my painting.  Here I am several years later with my own little shop.  I am having fun…keeping the spirit of my dogs alive, giving voice to homeless and abused animals and raising some extra money for other dogs.

If you are interested in following my work more closely please follow my blog where I post weekly about my art, crafts and life with a house full of rescued pets and like my Facebook Page where I post daily.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

 

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Rest in Peace Sparky

RIPRest In Peace Sparky

Early Saturday morning my Sparky crossed over to the other side of life.

Sparky came to live with me in 2001…the vet thought he was about 2-3 years old when I met him.  Sparky had a good long life.  Prior to living with me he had been picked up as a stray and taken to the Humane Society.  The Humane Society in Waukesha, WI had adopted him out several times to families and each time the families returned him because of his wild ways.  The Humane Society handed me the paperwork from the families that returned him…they described a wild and out of control dog who destroyed things, soiled the house and ran away any chance he could get…rather than get turned off by those reports…it made me want to cry…I was naive…but I wanted to give him a chance.  My only other dog at the time, Hercules, loved Sparky when they met and I let that be my guide.  While I didn’t believe this then…I know now that every animal that comes in to my life…arrives exactly when it is supposed to…love is for always

When I met Sparky he was feral…he had no interest in attention or affection from me at all…and no clue how to adjust to living indoors with a family…he was not house trained…he would freak out and destroy amazing amounts of my things if he was left alone in the house…simple things like getting him in the car were an enormous challenge…but in spite of his wild ways we stuck together anyway…we had a connection and understanding that there were reasons we were together and together we were going to make sense of the world.  Slowly over the years Sparky came to appreciate indoor living and family life. This picture of us taken together was taken about four years after Sparky came to live me…we both look so young here…I discovered on this day that despite his rambunctious nature Sparky loved to pose for the camera…I am thinking he new just just how handsome he was.

may 2012 057At a very dark time in my life…Sparky began to completely shed his wild ways and became the most affectionate and loyal companion a girl could ask for…when I needed him the most he stepped up to the plate.  He was a constant and quiet companion who would hike with me for hours on end and was friendly and gentle to everyone he met.  He turned out to be a true gentleman. Sparky also loved to party…he was always up for a good time with friends (k9 and human).

 

Eventually, Sparky was the dog that went through dog training certification school with me.   He rocked it at school…my mentor marveled out how focused he was and how easy he was to train (so did I frankly).  232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv36282-nu=3-96-664-649-2;8766473-23-ot1lsi

In his old age, when his body began to fail him…it was my privilege to step up to the plate and take care of him.  There is something bittersweet about an older pet…their honest dependence on their human at that stage of life gives us a chance to truly give back to them…Sparky never seemed to carry any sense of self doubt or frustration when his legs wouldn’t hold him up…or when he was confused about which direction we take on our walks…he just looked at me and expected me to give him a lift or point out the right direction…I felt so honored to be trusted and I loved every minute of caring for Sparky.  I loved holding him in my arms when he took his last breaths.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3;88--nu=3-96-664-69;-2;8766478-23-ot1lsiSparky wasn’t just a great companion for me.  My cats loved him…he never minded them crawling on him, kneading him, or sleeping curled up at his belly.  He can be credited for helping other dogs.  His patience and tolerance with our naughty Lhasa was remarkable.   He had a gift for helping dogs that are struggling with behavior (most recently Buster & Turnip) figure out how to live happily with humans and other dogs.  Sparky’s calming presence was like magic for other dogs…or perhaps a better word for it is grace.232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv36875-nu=3-96-664-665-2;8766475623-ot1lsi

There is unique solidarity among pet parents once we have experienced making this final but most important decision for a pet.  There are few other times in life when I have to suck it up and be selfless in such a painful way…for the sake of another’s suffering…it is an odd sense of strength that I rarely feel at any other time.  There is a saying…that goes something like this…”if you love…it will 232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv37545-nu=3-96-664-689-2;8766477-23-ot1lsihurt…and it is worth it.”  I knew this time was coming with Sparky…not just because his health was failing but because he was entering my dreams more and more.  I could feel him saying good bye to me.

Sparky passed with dignity…as they say “he went out with his boots on”.  I am grateful for every minute that I could call him mine…and I look forward to seeing him again someday on the other side.  For now though…my heart is broken as it is hard to imagine the days without his sweet presence beside me.

Rest in Peace Sparky…I will always love you.

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All you need is love….

Happy Valentines Day from the Halverson Pack!

kringles 2This winter seems to be flying by….already Valentines Day!  We have been so busy between the dogs and cats…our perpetual house project and trying to enjoy our new life in Kentucky.

We are almost through our first winter in Kentucky…we LOVED IT….we have had several days in January with temps in the 50’s and we have had a lot more sunshine than we were used to with Minnesota winters.  My husband has even had his motorcycle out in both January and February.turnip 2

We have had our hands full with our expanding family since we moved to Kentucky…Turnip continues to make great strides…he has started following Bret around the house in the evenings…a nice change from his days of running from men.  He had his first visit with our regular vet…he hated it but behaved like a true gentlemen…he wore his new hoodie to his appointment…

lacey saveI have been busy in my studio with both new paintings and with learning the process of getting prints made of my paintings…I have several prints available at my ETSY shop now….my prints of my Vera painting came in this week…they turned out fabulous.    I finished this Rescue Dog on a Motorcycle painting  this week…I envision many versions of this painting in the future.20150209_140558

Buster continues to make great progress in his training…while his energy level and enthusiasm for everything is quite remarkable…he is also a lovey and snuggley boy…he has become a pleasure to take on walks and manages himself much better (not perfect but better) in the buster savepresence of unfamiliar dogs.  Working with Buster is something I plan to write about a lot in 2015….Buster is not my first rodeo with a reactive dog…we have learned a lot and I am hoping it can be helpful for other parents with dogs who need just a bit more help managing stress

Whenever Valentines Day comes around I am reminded of all the reasons why I love my husband….and there are many, many things about him that are lovable…but it is the love he has for our pets that melts my heart.  I am not married to a man who will buy me jewels…I am married to a man who comes sparkyhome with pet strollers for our Pomeranian who can’t go on walks anymore…who sits up with our pets all night when they are sick…who never tires of playing with them when they are rambunctious….I am blessed with husband who was made for caring for all these animals…

sam saveI hope you and your sweeties (two legged and four legged) have a wonderful Valentines Day…

Rescue On!

Nancy

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GPS tracking for your pet: practical parenting or helicopter mom?

TAGG GPS tracker for pets

download

I recently purchased a TAGG GPS system for our newest adopted family member; Turnip.  We have not had problems with our pets ever going “missing” but 10 million pets are lost or stolen every year.   The newest addition to our family, Turnip, is afraid of everything and runs for a place to hide when he gets scared.  We decided to try a GPS tracking system on Turnip as an extra precaution against losing him.  We chose the TAGG GPS system.  I have to admit; initially I thought putting a tracker on my dog was leaning to far in to the “helicopter mom” paradigm…but now that I see how practical the system is I believe the additional safety it provides is a “no brainer”.

The reasons I chose the TAGG system over other systems:

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1) The TAGG range and battery life are the best available.   The entire point of the tracker is preventing a worst case scenario.  The TAGG tracker has the longest battery life on the market (it claims 10 days is possible) but I read reviews that had significantly longer battery life.  The only limit to the range within which your pet can be tracked is the range of Verizon service coverage in your area.  The battery life and range make for the maximum safety provision of all available trackers on the market in my opinion.

2) TAGG works with any internet enabled device.  The tracking system is run with GPS (through Verizon) and software. I don’t have to use a receiver to track my dog.  Systems such as Marc Polo, Loc8tor, Romeo and Garmin need receivers to track the dog.  If I lose my phone I could track my dog from any internet enabled device.  If I lose a receiver I am out of luck.

3) The hardware component for the dog is not intrusive.  The TAGG is small enough and light enough (it weighs 1.1 ounces) that it does not bother my dogs to wear it.  One specification worth noting is that is recommended for dogs (or cats) that weigh over 10 lbs.  Supposedly the TAGG is waterproof (I didn’t test that out but we have walked in the rain with no issues).

4) The system is a good value for a multi-pet household.  The initial hardware cost per device is $100.  The monthly service fee is $7.95/month if you pay for the entire year upfront.  It is $9.95/month if you pay monthly.  At first I thought the monthly service was expensive…until I realized that the trade off having to use a receiver.  The monthly service means I can track my pet from any internet enabled device.  If I just had a receiver and no monthly service I run the risk of losing or breaking the receiver and not being able to track the dog.  Adding additional pets to the service is only $0.95/month/pet.  You can add up to 9 animals to one subscription.  (Each animal needs its own hardware though).

unnamedEase of Set Up and Use:

The TAGG was super easy to set up…if I can do it anyone can.  All I used to get going was the Quick Start Set Up Manual that comes with the hardware and the web software (activate at http://www.pettracker.com).  I didn’t need any additional support but TAGG does have a support phone line and videos on their website for help.  The monitor requires an initial charging period.  While the TAGG was completing its initial charge I set up my system online.  It only took about 15-20 minutes to get the tracking system running on my computer. All you have to do is enter your pets data, your contact data and set your “safe zone”.  Once it was running on my computer I set up the phone app.  The TAGG system has both iphone and Android apps.  It only took a few minutes to get TAGG running on my Galaxy S5 (downloaded right from the Playstore). You can set the TAGG software up to alert you via text messages.   It can be set up to text messages to you anytime the dog is out of your pre-set range, when the dog returns to the safe zone, if the battery is low and when the battery is fully charged.  You can set up multiple people to receive the alerts.  (My husband likes this feature because he says he can track me from work!)

How it works:

When you do your initial set up at http://www.pettracker.com you will define a “safe zone” for your dog.  I chose the smallest radius of space around our house that I could (which is what the software defaults to).  That smallest “safe zone” is about a 3 acre range around your home.   If your pet is out of the “safe zone” you will get a text message (or email).  At the time of the alert you would then ask the software to track your dog to get the dogs location.  The TAGG system is not a “real time” tracker on your device..  You need to ask the software to track the dog’s location (which only takes seconds) once the dog has left its pre-determined safety zone.  tagg size

The Activity Monitoring Feature:

One of the features of the TAGG is that it can monitor your pets activity levels.  Unfortunately, the TAGG needs to be attached to a collar around the neck to do function as an activity monitor  None of our dogs wear neck collars but rather all wear harnesses so this is a feature that we cannot use.

I have ordered two more TAGG systems for Buster and Lacey.  The new systems will be the TAGG Plus.   The TAGG Plus is an upgrade in battery life and will have a temperature sensor.  New purchases of TAGG Plus are now not shipping until April/May.  When I ordered two more TAGG’s back in December the ship date was February…so expect at least a 3 month lag to get your product.  TAGG also recently merged with Whistle.  Whistle is a product that focuses more on pet activity monitoring.  I am sure that will mean some platform changes in the future.

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Our Turnip is such a sweety…we are grateful for technology that can help us keep him safe.

I hope this was helpful!

Rescue On!

Nancy