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Posted by: Mysti in The Dog Blog Comment (1)

Most any animal lover has thought about fostering animals in need at least a time or two in their lives. For me it was many times throughout the years, every time I came to the same conclusion - I would get way too attached and not be able to say goodbye. I felt that it was best for both myself and the animals to not end up on some television show about animal hoarding, so I remained firm in my decision.

A few months ago I became active in a local humane society and found myself faced everyday with what was really happening in the animal welfare industry. I started to see just how crucial a part fostering played in being able to save more animals from death at kill shelters. I knew though, or at least I thought I did, that this was still a crucial part better played by someone else.

One day in June I saw a picture of a little beagle mix that needed a foster or furever home. Her eyes showed the pain she had experienced in her life, and I saw the defeat in her face. In that moment everything I had told myself for years suddenly changed, and I immediately asked my husband about fostering this little dog. The next day we were filling out foster parent paperwork, and anxious to get this sweet girl into our home so we could start showing her the love that she had so obviously been lacking in her life. Once this sweet girl was rescued from the kill shelter she was immediately taken to the emergency vet. Sadly, it was found that she was in very bad health and could not be saved. This sweet girl, so briefly known as Bessy the Beagle, took the trip over the rainbow bridge surrounded by a few people who cared about her and loved her. So while I was never able to get her home and show her the love she so desperately needed, I was able to show her love just before she passed away, and for that I am thankful. So was this a terrible start to my fostering experience? No, it absolutely was not. While I shed some tears for a few days following that, her defeated face remains etched in my brain and gently reminds me everyday that there are so many more just like her who need our help. The need for fostering is so much greater than my own beliefs about my abilities or lack thereof.

I decided that fostering was something I could do after all, and would do. Do I get attached to all these sweet animals? Absolutely. I quickly learned its not about staying unemotional and not getting attached to the animals. All animal lovers are naturally going to love any animal they bring in their home, some more than others. Is it sad saying goodbye to them? Sure, a little. But the excitement usually overshadows any sadness. The process of seeing an animal go from death row, to grow and blossom under your care, then finally on to a loving furever home; is almost indescribable. The reward is immense, and the laughter and joy that each animal brings you along the way is amazing. 

In 3 short days another of our fosters is going to her furever home. I write this tonight with excitement and anticipation of what her future holds in her new home, and equal excitement and anticipation of what our next foster will bring to us as well. Its an incredible journey, and one I am so glad I decided to take, despite all my many excuses. <3

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Posted by: Mysti in The Dog Blog Comment (1)


I was recently given the opportunity to review the thundershirt, as a long time dog owner/lover, and a parent of a very anxious dog I was thrilled by this opportunity. I had read a lot about the thundershirt and heard great things from friends and family alike, but like many remained at least somewhat sceptical. Could it really be this easy?                

For this review I will address 3 primary behaviors that my dog exhibited regularly, all of which are said to be improved upon use of the thundershirt. 1. Excessive Jumping, 2. Fear of thunderstorms, and 3. General anxiety  

When the thundershirt first arrived one of my first thoughts was, 'could this really help a dog that is accustomed to wearing clothes, and sometimes even snug fitting clothes?' We quickly fitted it to her, so it was firmly snug but careful so it was not overly snug to the point she wasn’t uncomfortable.  

The first behavior we wanted to look at was the excessive jumping. While we don’t mind some jumping when we come in the door, others coming to visit obviously don’t always appreciative. Needless to say repeated full force pouncing by a 32 pound dog is over the top for most guests. We were able to witness within the first day that her jumping on guests was greatly diminished. This was with no training or intervention on our part at all, simply by putting the thundershirt on her. With some training and correction on our part I have no doubt the excessive jumping would be controlled completely. So for part 1. Excessive Jumping we consider a success! 

The second behavior was fear of thunderstorms. Her 'typical' behavior during thunderstorms was tail between the legs, running and darting anywhere in total fear and often knocking over furniture in the process. We were "lucky" enough to get a strong line of storms come through within just a few days after the thundershirt arrived. ( little did I know that this particular line of storms were some of the deadliest in years and brought hundreds of tornado touchdowns and large hail with it) This was definitely trial by fire for the thundershirt. The first hour or two with moderate rain and thunder Bella seemed almost completely unaffected by the storm, she quietly layed next to me, I noticed the occasional quiver but very minor in comparison to what we had seen in the past. AS the storm progressed and became more severe we noticed a slight bit of fear, such as crawling in behind the couch - her safe place. But she even would come back out occasionally and sit close to us. By much later in the night the storm had intensified to include very large hail and some tornado touchdowns close by. Now by the time the hail hit and it was so loud that we couldn’t even hear ourselves talk over the golf ball sized hail hitting the roof, our poor Bella was scared and darting around in panic - although needless to say it is a thundershirt, not a hailshirt! So for purposes of 2. Thunderstorm fear, another success! I doubt there would ever be a hailshirt, but if there is I will be the first to buy it!

And for the last behavior we were closely watching, general anxiety. For me this was the most important, for any pet parent of an anxious dog we are willing to try just about anything to help alleviate some of their fear. For Bella one of the times this fear was really displayed was at the dog park. If big dogs are running and playing she would rather sit on my lap where she knows she is nice and safe. The first trip to the dog park after havong her thundershirt, the difference was night and day. She didn’t display anywhere near the same level of fear she had in the past, she was content to wander off by herself at least 40ft or so from us, in the past the most was probably 15ft before turning around and running back close to us. If she did jump up on me it was a much different kind of jump, more along the lines of 'Hi mommy, look at me!' versus the typical 'Help! Help! Save me mommy!' It’s hard to describe my own excitement at this, watching my little girl have fun and want to share that joy with me, instead of terrified and feeling like she needed my protection. So for general anxiety, thumbs up Thundershirt! As a pet parent I am willing to try just about anything to be able to alleviate some of her fear, and with a price tag of just $36.00 for the thundershirt, it is well worth the small investment as the return is priceless!


For more information on the thundershirt please visit their website at http://www.thundershirt.com.

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Posted by: Mysti in The Dog Blog Comment (0)

Ive only ever been a pet parent, and in that roll I would occasionally have trouble "relating" to the feelings and emotions affecting those parents of the 2 legged kind. This week, my baby Bella has not been feeling well at all, after having a bad reaction to her vaccines. The last couple of days she has had a swollen neck, muscle soreness & tightness, and a fever. As a typically very high energy and anxious dog its been especially difficult for me to watch her be in pain and generally feeling down, and myself being totally helpless to fix this for her (short of given her the meds described by the vet, and lots of hugs, of course). Ive said a thousand times in the last 3 days I would rather take her pain X 100 than to watch her be in pain. Now Im relating to that same statement that has been said at one time or another by virtually all parents of 2 legged children.

Our babies are our babies, despite how many legs they may have, we can love them equally. And anytime one of those, which we love unconditionally, is in pain we feel that pain for them - if not in a physical way most definitely in an emotional way.

Hope all your babies are healthy and happy, and if not my thoughts and prayers go out for you and them both!

Puppy cuddles to all your FURfriends ~ Mysti

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