Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Seems like the rescue biz is as competitive as car sales. We are all hurting for resources and all want the same limited resources. Be it foster homes, food, kitty litter, grants, money or whatever. While we are all jockeying for the same resource we try to make statements about how we are different from other rescues. This is in hopes that in some way the audience will value that difference and select that one rescue over another.

While rescues are making statements about how they are different then the rest, it's so easy for us to start knocking others. It all started with me thinking a about how Planned Pethood gets knocked by other rescues. I was at least going to stop with me.

A perfect example are the terms "kill facility" and "no-kill facility". Three to four million surplus animals are euthanized every year in shelters across America. These are the lucky ones that were humanly put to sleep rather than suffering, lingering in death. Alone and afraid in their final minutes. Those "kill facilities" offer that humane death. In many cases the "kill facility" works diligently until the last moment to try to get other rescues to take animals so they don't have to euthanize. They certainly find no glee in that part of their job.

Most of the "kill facilities" should actually be referred to as "open door policy facilities". In our community the Toledo Area Humane Society has what is called an open door policy. Any animal entering their facility has the chance to be placed in their adoption program or if resources are limited, euthanized. Planned pethood cannot degrade the Toledo Area Humane Society for having this open door policy. Without a facility with an open door policy, imagine to think of what our city streets would look like? The slow death those animals would have to endure is boggling.

On the other side of the debate is the "no-kill facility". Mostly that term is used to describe a rescue with "limited intake" policies. That means they get to pick and choose what animals come in, usually based on how many adoptions they had the week previously. Planned Pethood's animals ONLY come from our community. We have the luxury to select animals out of the surplus. I have been striking the term "no-kill" from my vocabulary because it really has lost it's meaning to most people. And it really doesn't mean Planned Pethood is better than a facility with an open door policy.

Additionally, many people need to know that "no-kill" isn't always a humane choice, in my opinion. There are shelters and rescues that would rather warehouse an animal indefinitely rather than put it to sleep. Shelters within close proximity to us have dogs that have lived in a kennel for years. Those dogs are too unpredictable to be adopted or too dangerous to be placed in a home but as a "no-kill" facility the animal's entire existence is a cement floor and chain link fence. Workers pet the dog through the fence, or maybe even can go in the cage with the dog briefly. But that's about it. Here's the super weird part . . . the above opinion makes me suspect among many in the rescue biz. Because I don't hate any kill facility and don't hate all dog wardens, I'm cast under a shadow of doubt. Because I don't think dog wardens have horns under their hair or a forked tail others think there is something wrong with how I think. Others in the rescue biz that believe as I do, agree that they too have been viewed as "suspect". I struggle to see the logic, but who said rescue was logical?

The issue of semantics between the terms "kill" and "no-kill" facilities is something we all need to be examining. How am I applying the term? How am I assigning value to those terms? How is one label better than another when looked at under a different light?

--Nikki Morey

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ran into a dog with testicles

I stopped at PetSupplies+ to get a load of cat food and met a woman with a young boxer there with testicles! I, of course, said how handsome he was and hoped he was getting neutered. She assured me that he's had his shots and the vet suggested they wait until November to castrate him and that it was going to be $200. She went on to say she had heard of some other place that was more reasonable and was going to look into it. I whipped out a Humane Ohio card and let her know he was plenty big enuf to be fixed now! She also volunteered that they got him at Dave's Pet Shop (ggrrrrrr, boo) and paid $99 for him. They had gotten some verification that he had had some beginner shots there. As we talked, she said they had been to the MetroBark that day and what a fun time they had. Planned pethood was there too. Their niece and her dog were with the family and she apparently won the title of the dog and owner who look most alike! It was some little silky thing with an underbite and the niece stuck her chin out so she would "look like the dog"! The niece had the dog perform a hula for me! What a nice treat!

--Carol Dunn
President and Founder of Planned Pethood

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Missy Finally Gets a Forever Home

Regular readers of my main blog already know about Missy, a female terrier mix we fostered. You can read the earlier posts about Missy's abusive former owners if you want to know the background of this abused dog.

After many months with us, we decided that our own home would be the best place for Missy to live. We had very few applications on this sweet dog, and folks seemed to be reluctant to take a chance on a troubled dog like Missy.

Their loss, I say.

Anyways, this makes four Planned Pethood dogs we have adopted, three of which were once our PPI foster dogs. Call us softies, but some dogs are just destined to be forever dogs in your home no matter how hard you work to find them a permanent home.

Anyways, Missy seems unfazed by her change in status, and as her confidence has increased she has been angling for alpha dog status. She used to sleep downstairs in the kitchen, then she started sleeping on the floor of our room. She gradually began to sleep on the foot of the bed, and now she gets territorial with our Puggles over sleeping next to my wife.

So welcome, Missy, to your forever home, and may your remianing years be happy and healthy!

And the Brooks family will happily continue to foster with PPI. We have fostered something like 42 dogs in the past few years, and even though Missy was a "keeper," we have lots of room in our yard and hearts for helping save more dogs.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Website help wanted!

We need someone to help with some of the website updates. You don't need a lot of computer experience. Our software is super easy to use! What we need is someone able to help with some of the "slower" pages, those that only need changed occasionally. That would free up more time for our volunteers to take on the bigger projects, like the complete change of photos on the site coming soon! For more information, email us at Thanks!

Submissions welcome!

If you're a blogger or just have something to say, we'd love to add it to our blog here! Tell us about your rescue dog or cat, your experiences with rescue, even something rescue related you have an opinion on! You don't have to have a blogger account. We can repost it for you (with you credited, of course.) Email us at Let us know if you have any questions, thanks!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August Board meeting

Last night was the August board meeting. It's always good to hear the good ideas of others. I'm excited to start making board meeting minutes and executive reports available to volunteers. We have a couple new fundraising ideas that came up. One board member passed the latest newsletter on to her co-worker, who in turn applied to adopt Dublin, one of the animals we featured.

Good stuff is around the corner.

--Nikki Morey

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nice dogs need someone, maybe you?

When I first started going to the Fulton County dog pound to see if there were any dogs out there that needed rescued, I was told by a few people that all they had were "labs and hounds." As it's turned out over the past five years, that couldn't be farther from the truth! I have picked up nearly every breed you can think of: chihuahuas, pugs & puggles, Boston terriers, westies, doodles, yorkies, scotties, keeshonds, Goldens, boxers, German Shepherds, the list goes on and on. Some of the dogs that end up there are from local puppy mill type breeders, and are in terrible shape. Some are most likely driven out into the country and dumped off, hoping the proverbial "nice farmer" will take them in, which of course never happens. Others are simply local strays no one bothered to call for.

Still it's true, like at most pounds, the breeds I see the most of are labs and lab mixes, and dogs in the hound group. Of those, the nice purebred labs and beagles usually get a second chance. There's way too many of them but since they are such popular breeds, they do get adopted fairly easily.

It's not such a happy ending for the bigger hounds and lab mixes. There's just not room to save them all. At any given time, Planned Pethood has an assortment of lab mixes. Some of them came from pounds, some came in as strays. Many were adopted as cute puppies and then when their families have to give them up, there's one more nice lab mix who needs a new home.

Right now the two dogs pictured above need a miracle. The red hound has been there a few weeks, because she's such a sweet dog no one wants to put her down. While they are generally happy, good-natured dogs, hounds do not get adopted too easily. They're too big to have the same appeal as a basset or a beagle. They can make great family pets but they have their little quirks too. They follow their noses anywhere and oftentimes a good scent is more important to them than your commands! Still it's heartbreaking when a nice dog like this doesn't get another chance because she's not a popular breed and there simply isn't foster space available. At all of the northwest Ohio dog pounds, there is only so much space and when that runs out, there is only one way to open a kennel up for the next dog that comes in...

(One of the reason Planned Pethood is the only local rescue that only takes dogs and cats from our immediate area is because the need is still so great here. We love all dogs and wish we could save them all, but until we run out of dogs to save right here, our resources remain focused on the dogs in our own backyard.)

The big beautiful black lab mix is another dog who needs someone soon! He is just an exceptional dog. He was barking when I tried to get his picture but when I told him to SIT, he sat right down! He is on a court hold right now, a cruelty confiscation. Judging by how thin he is, odds are his owner didn't bother with basics like food and water. Still he is a loving, friendly dog. It's unclear when he might be released for adoption but one thing is clear, when that does happen, he will be a GREAT dog for some lucky family, if he gets another chance.

Fostering, especially big dogs like these, isn't for everyone. Still, all of us had to start somewhere and once we did, we found out just how fulfilling saving great dogs like these can be! If you've ever considered it and are just dragging your feet a bit over jumping in, now's as good a time as any! Even if you're not the "hound type" we can certainly find the right dog or puppy for you. And if you're interested in either of these dogs, please let us know ASAP! We'd sure like to see them living the good life as someone's beloved pet, but we can't do that without you!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Adoration of Rescue Dogs

My morning routine begins with letting half of my dogs outside, while the others bark, "Not fair! Not fair!" (They don't all play nicely together so they have to take turns.) Then I start coffee and check email. Now when I sit down, I am greeted by my recently returned foster dog, Haven, doing her patented body wag and giving me kisses. If she could talk, I suspect she'd be saying "GOOD Morning!!! I'm thrilled to see you again!!!" There's not a greeting out there that's more exuberant than Haven's.

(You can read Haven's story on the Featured Dogs page on our website.)

I can only try to imagine what goes on in her mind, being home again after 10 months on her own. Whatever she is thinking, it's clear she's able to forget all she's been through, and is simply delighted to be here again.

People comment all the time about how difficult it must be for me to make regular trips to Northwest Ohio dog pounds, to help save some of the dogs who end up there. And yes, it is hard. I see dogs every week who I know have little hope of a second chance, because they're big mixed breeds or older or aren't acting all that nice. Sometimes miracles occur and a truly great "average" dog does get out after all.

(For example, Farrah, whose lucky day came when Nikki Morey and her husband Mike Hart went over to the Fulton County pound to pick up a few other dogs, and ended up with her in their car, too. If you want to adopt a truly wonderful dog who will thank you every day of her life, please consider Farrah.)

It's probably pretty hard for those who haven't been bitten (no pun intended) by the rescue dog bug to understand why we do what we do. All those strange dogs eating our shoes and our new cell phones, all that dog fur!! All the time and money and heartache over dogs?! All the hassles aside, I feel blessed and honored to have made the acquaintance of so many wonderful canines, and you know what, they DO appreciate what we've done for them.

These dogs don't care that the laundry isn't done, or we were rude to someone at work. While some of them have baggage they can't quite leave behind, they don't hold grudges and if you wave them away one day because you're too busy, they'll still be there the next day, wagging their tails and giving you another chance. There's a t-shirt/bumper sticker quote out there that says: "Please help me be the person my dog thinks I am." That sums it up right there. To them, we're heroes, for no reason other than we provide love and care, sometimes the first love and care they've had in their lives. No one else will ever adore you quite as thoroughly and selflessly as a dog who you've rescued.

There's a few lessons in this for all of us, lessons about being grateful for what we have, about letting go of things we can't change. About enjoying this romp in the yard, without worrying so much about whether or not it will rain tomorrow. I know I fall far short of being the kind of person these dogs think I am but I still appreciate their confidence in me. And meanwhile, Haven sleeps a few feet from me on the floor, fields and fears forgotten, just happy to be back with me again.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Hey, your dog is loose"

My neighbor, Danny, called my husband to let him know that one of my dogs was running around the block. My husband called me to ask me where I was. Not at home! The first thing that ran through my head was, "did I shut all the windows?".

I raced home, burst through the door and did a head count. Yep. All present and accounted for. Hence, it was not my dog running loose around the block. I jumped back in the car to see if I could spot this loose dog.

Another neighbor stopped me to say, if I was looking for a loose dog it hopped into a car a couple blocks over. The sad thing is that I actually have had a dog jump out a window to get into the back yard to be with my husband. Geez.

Oh well, mystery solved.


Welcome to our new blog

Well . . . here we are. Welcome. We hope you visit often.

Our desire is to have several writers for this blog. For instance, I might write about my fosters & how they are doing. Or I might announce some news about Planned Pethood. Other writers will probably be posting about their fosters, products we like and how we operate.

I have a huge day ahead of me so I better sign off for now. I have 6 dogs to feed and water and have to sweep the house. That's a lot of dog hair. Of course the reward are all the kisses I'll get from some of the dogs along the way.

--Nikki Morey
Executive Director