Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Working Like Dogs

We owe our cushy life to Cinderella Pet Rescue!
Roger here...  Throughout our married life Dianne has often used the phrase, "We worked like dogs," during those times that we undertook various projects (usually involving physical labor).  The phrase became one of those endearing family jokes that my mom, dad and brother loved to repeat back to us on a regular basis.  "Did you work like a dog?"  Back to that in a minute.

Since retiring we have enjoyed traveling around the country and experiencing things that we would not have had the time to enjoy during our working lives.  Retirement has also allowed us to do some volunteering (community offices, library organization, etc.).  We have also found time to work like dogs with dogs.  Our dogs, Bandido and Tequila, in the opening picture, were adopted from  Cinderella Pet Rescue --- one of our better decisions.

One look at the face below is all it takes for most people to understand why we spend two entire mornings every week walking dogs at that nearby facility.  Meet Radio, a lovable American Bulldog.

How could anyone resist that face!!

Dianne in her element
People have been volunteering at Cinderella for several years.  Dianne joined Darlene, Lee and Mary Lou (friends who we met at our dog park from Bentsen Palm Village) in the fall of 2012.   Soon after, our friend Sue joined Dianne.  This winter, I joined them on Fridays.  Our good friends, Larry and Sharon, also joined the group.  When everyone, except us, headed north for the summer, Dianne and I decided to continue to help two mornings a week.  

Kelsey and Breezy
Our job is to take the dogs on leash-led walks and to give them human companionship.  Socialization is so important.   Some of the dogs are difficult to walk.  Most are not.  Some just need to learn to walk on a leash.  Some dogs are large.  Some are small.  Some are older (it's a no-kill shelter).  Some are puppies.  All of them are easy to love.  Once a month we assist the staff with the big task of heartworm/flea & tick meds.  We bring each dog from their pens to be weighed and medicated.  I know how expensive it is just for Bandido and Tequila; I can't imagine how much is spent per month for medications for all the dogs there.  

Radio and I are having one of our "good friend" moments.  This intelligent, affectionate -- and yes -- strong dog is a real sweetheart.  She could have played Beethoven with Tom Hanks in the old comedy movie.  She is one of my favorite dogs.

I do need to comment about my attire.  The white floppy hat shades my face and has water absorbing beads that keep it damp. The dashing neckerchief also has the same damp beads.  Dolly (who loves me) and Tulsa (one of my favorites) don't seem to care about my appearance.  FYI... with South Texas summer temperatures approaching or surpassing 100 degrees, the shady hat is a necessity, as well as water.  We always try to leave there by noon before it gets really hot.

A little bit about the rescue shelter... Cinderella Pet Rescue is owned and run by Suzanne, a remarkable lady who owns the property (a former equestrian center).  She lives on the property and operates a very nice B&B, Indian Ridge Bed & Breakfast, (when she is not working like a dog taking care of the dogs).  

Horses are boarded on the property.  When we walk the dogs, we always check to be sure that we are not in the pastures where the horses are grazing.  Keeping the various gates closed is an important task.  Mr. Ed here told me that he doesn't mind having the dogs around, as long as they stay out of his meadow.

There are several pastures to choose from.  Dianne and I typically walk between 5 to 6 miles each of the days that we volunteer.  Most of the walking is a joy.  From time to time, it is more like being taken or dragged for a walk.  It fits right in with my exercise program --- and really the dogs that drag are the ones who need us the most.

The dogs are always happy to see us, but during their transition period at Cinderella (homeless-to-adoption) they have a pretty good life.  The pen in the picture is a very large and shady space for the two active dogs who share it.  Not all pens are this large, but they all have ample shade, which is very important in South Texas.  Dogs, like Hoover below, are given medical care and neutered soon after intake.  By the way, Hoover was just adopted.  Cute puppy --- one brown eye, one blue eye, one floppy ear, one straight ear.  (Dianne here:   Hoover is a real sweetheart!   If his adoption falls through, we'll post his availability). UPDATE:  Unfortunately, the home did not pass the test, and Hoover is still available.  Same with Happy.  Suzanne, Tabitha, and Lizette take the well-being of these dogs very seriously. 

Chachalacas (a/k/a "Mexican Chickens") fly around the facility.  In the picture below they are perching above a pen of domestic (egg-laying) chickens.  Dianne and I have been enjoying fresh chicken eggs from Suzanne's happy free-range chickens (for a fee).  

Hey, Pretty Chick, how 'bout sharing your chicken feed with us??

Obviously, the ultimate goal of Cinderella is to find full-time homes for the dogs (and cats).  Frequent adoption weekends are staged at the McAllen PetSmart.  A dedicated crew including Suzanne, Tabitha, Lizette and others devote precious time on Saturdays to ensure successful adoptions.  Our car is too small, but during the winter our friends Jim and Sue helped transport cages of dogs to the adoption events.  All of the adoptive homes are personally checked out by the Cinderella staff.  If they don't pass the test, the dogs are not allowed to be adopted.  Last weekend, seven dogs found full-time homes!  Unfortunately, that was an unusually good result.  However, just look at my puppy friend below, Starburst, who now has a permanent home!

Starburst's brother, Hef, was also adopted.  Such cuddly puppies.  Hef also has one blue eye and one brown eye.

I have developed a friendship with my pitbull buddy, Sampson.  He will be going to his new forever home July 31.

Dianne here:  Before I volunteered at Cinderella, I used to be afraid of pit bulls.  The pit bulls at Cinderella are actually some of the sweetest, easiest-to-walk dogs there.  

Happy, one of my favorite puppies, was also adopted last weekend.  She has the look of a Weimaraner, but has yellow eyes.  Hoover and Puptart joined us on our walk yesterday.

Dianne here:  Hoover makes me smile even looking at him from the back.  Just look at those floppy ears...

Dianne and Bart at Petsmart Adoption Event
OK, time to share our favorite dogs who still need homes.  Dianne and Bart have definitely developed a bond.  Bart is an adult black lab that Dianne truly loves.  If we could have more than two dogs in our neighborhood, Bart would probably be with us.

Handsome Bart!

This is Breezy, another favorite of Dianne (and me).  She is so affectionate and would be a perfect pet.  Just look at those eyes.

Roger is my pal!
I have two favorites who need lots of exercise and space.  Jazz, a large black lab, is a loving and strong dog that would be a great companion.  She used to drag me all over the place.  She is now much, much easier to walk, so long as we keep her focused.  My favorite times with Jazz are sitting in the old horse arena grandstands.  We have bonded.

Hi Larry!
Speaking of bonding; meet Bacchus!  Bacchus is probably a mix between a Great Dane and a Bloodhound.  He is a big, strong dog that I used to dread walking.  His nose to the ground and his strength would pull me right, left, right, left, down.  Due to the fact that our friend Larry worked with him before heading north this summer,  I now look forward to our walks --- and talks in the grandstand.  Hey Larry, Bacchus is here waiting for you when you get back.

There are two young dogs that I would bring home to live with us (if we had the space and if we could).  Meet Tulsa... he is such a quiet and loving guy.  He resembles our dog, Bandido.  They actually could be brothers.

Tulsa loves to cuddle!

This is Kelsey.  She is one of those dogs that looks you in the eyes.  She is the first dog to wag her tail when we pull up in the car.  Trust me.  This is a great dog.

There is one dog that I used to dread.  His name is River.  River constantly barked.  He was difficult to get a leash on.  He jumped.  He barked.  Though smaller than the big dogs, he lunged and pulled.  He never looked at me.  He would never be adopted unless he changed.  I decided that he could be my project.  I walked him alone on a short leash --- spent some "Caesar" time with him, then talked to him in the grandstand.  Yesterday, he wagged his tail when he saw me and actually licked my leg.  There is hope for one of the best looking dogs at the center.

See, I can be a good boy!
The next photos are before/after pictures.  Both of these dogs were in horrible shape before Suzanne nursed them back to health.  It was amazing to see them improve and eventually become good-looking, people-loving dogs.  I could not wait for them to become healthy enough to be able to hold and walk.  If you get past the first pictures, you will love the way they look now.  

Photo by Cinderella Pet Rescue
Little Gizmo when she arrived at Cinderella.  Scroll down quickly to see Gizmo just before she was adopted.

From bald and mangy to glossy coat and healthy!
Dianne here:  Be sure to click on the following link to see two very cute professional photos of Gizmo after Suzanne nursed him back to health:  Gizmo, after    Unbelievable!

Photo by Cinderella Pet Rescue

This is Phoenix (appropriate name) when he first arrived.  OMG.  Scroll down to see him now.  He is in a pen with my friend Kelsey and Dianne's friend, Breezy.  BTW, he is a very loving dog.

Photo by Cinderella Pet Rescue

I cannot end this blog without praising Dianne.  My involvement with this would not have happened without her.  I love every day that I get to be with these dogs.

The pet picture of the day (pet picture? kidding? these are all pet pictures!) shows two of the newest puppies --- Dognut and Puptart.

We are still waiting for our forever homes!

Dianne here:  We have more time than money, so we give our time.  And, selfishly, it helps us keep in shape.  We feel "good tired" every time we come home.   Just as important (or even more importantly) Cinderella needs monetary donations to keep it running.  The monthly pet medications for heartworm, flea/tick, the spay/neutering and the various other medical problems these dogs come in with take a lot of money.  You don't even have to live in Texas to help:  The easiest, most painless way is to sign up with iGive on line and list Cinderella Pet Rescue as your charity.  Then, every time you shop on-line, if you click on iGive first, a percentage will be credited to Cinderella (or the charity of your choice).  

To learn more about Cinderella, check out the dog or cat photos and profiles, or make a personal donation, click on this link:  Cinderella Pet Rescue

UPDATE:  Unfortunately, this is a normal situation down here:  Two of the seven adoptions (Hoover and Happy) didn't pass the home visit, and since we wrote this blog FIVE MORE dogs have been "dumped" on Suzanne.  This is why the facility seems to be always full -- it truly is.   If it were a kill facility there'd always be room for more dogs.  It's a hard reality along the Mexican border in South Texas, where dogs are rarely neutered or spayed and allowed to run loose.

1 comment:

Gin and Syl said...

Shortly before going FT a few years ago, we lost our poodle, Smudge, to kidney failure. Since then, we have been petless for the first time in our lives. I am so thankful that there are people like you two who give a helping hand to the dogs in need. This was a very good post. Hug your furkids for us.