I haz a puppeh

2-3-2015 - Penny 3

Okay, all together now… “Awwwwwwww!!!!!!!”  Guys, this is Penny.  Penny is a 10-week-old coonhound.  We’re fostering her for a while for a local rescue.  Penny doesn’t have a significant story, really.  She wasn’t abused.  She wasn’t starved.  She wasn’t injured or sick.  She was one thing… unwanted.  Her story is exactly the the same as millions of others across the country.  She was the product of irresponsible breeding, and her owner was camped out in the Tractor Supply parking lot giving her and her litter mates away for free just to get rid of them when they learned that they couldn’t sell them to make a quick buck.  Y’all, I despise a lot of people, and backyard breeders are right there at the top of that list.  They told me during our short conversation that they had sold the first five of the eight puppies for $200 apiece and couldn’t get rid of the last three.  *sigh*  I offered to take all three puppies, and he was agreeable to that until I made the mistake of telling them that I was with a rescue.  Backyard breeders HATE rescues.  They think we “cut into their profit.”  Seriously.  So when the “R” word came up, he balked and would only let me have one puppy.  Since I had to choose, I took the female so that I would at least know that she would be spayed and not contribute to our atrocious overpopulation.  See, that’s how it happens here.  People are irresponsible and don’t spay and neuter their pets; they give them away to people who are in the market for a free pet because they say they “can’t afford” shelter adoption fees; these people also “can’t afford” to spay and neuter those pets (or provide good food or other basic vet care, but I digress), so that one unwanted litter turns into dozens of unwanted litters and the problem grows exponentially.  (Oh, and these are the lucky pups that just go to irresponsible homes… the unlucky ones are scooped up as free bait for dogfighters or moving targets for practice.  Yeah, reality is harsh.)

But Penny is safe.  Penny is LOVED, she is WANTED, and she is SPOILED!  My dogs are teaching her how to be a dog, and we are teaching her how to be a GOOD dog.  haha.  I don’t know how long we’ll have her, but she has a place here with us for as long as she needs us until her forever family finds her.

The Goofy Runner

I mentioned yesterday that I had a goal for 2015 that I hoped you guys would help me with.  So let me elaborate a little bit!

I have two loves:  running and animals.  For a long time I’ve been trying to find a way to combine those passions.  I started a local group a couple of years ago where me and a few other folks would go get some of the shelter dogs and take them out for runs.  That fizzled out pretty quickly.  Everyone thought it was a fabulous idea when I first pitched it, but then when it came time to start doing something, everyone was suddenly very busy.  It was just me and the same handful of people for a while and then it got to where they were available to help less and less.  And that’s just not a chore that someone can take on by themselves, so I nixed that program about a year ago.  I’ve volunteered and transported for several different rescues from time to time, but I’ve never really found my place.

Now on the running front… I’ve recently decided to give this 50 half marathons in 50 states a real shot.  I’m not sure that I’ll ever complete it, but I sure as hell won’t if I don’t ever start, so right now we’ll say that I’m officially going for it.  I knew there had to be some way to turn that into a fundraiser of sorts, but I just wasn’t sure how.  When I was searching the interwebs for ideas, I found an organization called Running for Rescues that does something sort of like what I was wanting to do, but their participants solicit donations for one key race and their proceeds are spread out all over the country.  I wanted to do something spread out over a broader time frame, like all of 2015, and I wanted to be sure all of my proceeds were kept local because GOD KNOWS this area needs all the help it can get.  The south in general is pretty irresponsible when it comes to companion animals, and we live in an area that is particularly bad.  So after mulling it over and getting advice from a few friends, I came up with a plan.  For all of 2015, I’ll be hosting a pledge-based fundraiser to benefit Goofy Foot Dog Rescue in West TN.


Even though they’re based out of a neighboring county, a lot of their rescue efforts are focused here in my home county, so I’m satisfied that I’m keeping it as local as I can. They are an amazing organization founded by an amazing woman, and I am excited to be able to help them help more animals.  The plan right now (and this is a new plan, so it’s still subject to some tweaking) is to do this a month at a time so that potential donors don’t feel like they’re on the hook for an entire year.

This is the pledge structure for January:

Training miles = $0.10
Racing miles = $0.25
A new state = $5.00
A PR = $10.00

Assuming that I average 80-100 miles a month with several races thrown in there, I’m hoping I can get an average of at least $15 per sponsor per month.  I wanted to keep it low enough to encourage participation but high enough that GFDR would actually benefit from it.  I think that’s a nice middle ground.  I started a Facebook group called The Goofy Runner (based on the name of the rescue, but hey, I think it’s a rather fitting title anyway!) where I’ll be posting updates on my progress as well as the rescue’s goings-on so that my sponsors can follow along and see where their money is going.  I went public with the page on January 1st, and so far i have five committed sponsors for January.  I’d love to see that number at least double!  I know I have a lot of animal-loving followers, so please join the group and play along!  And please spread the word!  This is a small, grassroots rescue that depends solely on their founders’ income and donations to do everything they do!  And if you don’t want to do it for the animals, do it to watch a runner push herself like never before to be sure she squeezes every dime possible out of her supporters!  This could be the motivation I’ve been lacking all along!

We Interrupt Your Entire Routine, Schedule, and Life to Bring You This Puppy

Last Tuesday night, I was chilling at home, skipping a run because my hamstring wasn’t too happy with the 11 miles I’d run two days before.  I was perusing Facebook and contemplating dinner when I was alerted through a local rescue group to this little dog that was in a bad situation and needed immediate help.  Being the sucker that I am, and knowing her fate if no one intervened, I went and got her.  Less than an hour after I found out about her, she was safe and warm, dozing on my couch.

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I ain’t gonna lie.  The first few days were pretty rough on everyone.  She was scared and confused and expressing those feelings through less-than-desirable behavior; I was in tears more than once; and my two dogs were pretty frustrated, too.  Thankfully, all of that has passed now, and she has become such a joy to have around.  We aren’t planning on keeping her though.  As sweet as she is, we just aren’t where we can take on a fourth pet right now.  Rather we are fostering her.  I called on a few of my rescue friends and secured her a spot with one of their organizations.  Since coming to us, she has been vaccinated and spayed, had an umbilical hernia repaired, been treated for hook worms and whip worms, and started on heartworm prevention.  (By the grace of GOD, she was heartworm negative!)

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Now that she’s gotten used to us and built a little confidence, she’s really finding herself and has turned into quite the little clown.

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I accidentally dropped a potato, and she was ON IT… and took it directly to my crocs that I keep by the door, dropped it into the shoe, and wrestled the shoe when she couldn’t get it back out. HILARIOUS.
“I lost my tater. I can haz another?”

We’ll be fostering her for at least a few weeks probably.  The rescue that took her in said that all of their foster homes were full and that it’s really hard to find fosters through the holidays, so I couldn’t say no.  Who could say no to these ears?

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Sami is available for adoption through Companion Pet Rescue.  Applications for adoption can be found at www.cprdogs.com.

The Personalized Pit Bull

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a huge pit bull advocate.  As such, I follow a lot of pit bull advocacy and rescue sites on Facebook.  Well a few months ago, one of those rescues was holding a fundraising auction, and a company called The Personalized Pit Bull had donated some items to be auctioned off.  One of those items was an 8 x 10 color portrait of your animal.  I bid on it, what I thought was a fairly low amount, so I was super surprised when I got an email telling me that I’d won it.  She asked for my favorite upperbody/head shot of my dog, and I decided on this one.

Smiling big after our trip to the gourmet pet treat store.

 So I sent it in and after what seemed like forever (she’s VERY popular and books people several weeks out!), she emailed me a preview of the finished product.  How cool is this???  I love the whimsical, cartoony style she uses!

As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have all my other furries done.  Bella was up next, and she was a tough one.  I have more photos of her than any of my other animals (or people for that matter), and not a damn one of them were suitable for having a print made from.  She’s a big ol’ clown, so in most of her photos she is upside down, half under a blanket, one ear turned inside out, with her bottom teeth sticking out.  haha  I tried sending the artist a couple of photos, but she nixed them both because she didn’t think she could get a good rendering from them.  (I was grateful for her honesty!)  So over Labor Day Weekend I had a photo shoot with Bella and finally ended up with one I thought might work.
I emailed it to her Tuesday, and yesterday she emailed me this!
While I do love it and think it’s adorable, I don’t like it quite as much as Harley’s.  In the artist’s defense, though, I realize that brindle must be terribly hard to do.  I’ll still definitely be getting C.C. and (the dearly departed) Lucy’s done too.
Tell me about your rescued pets!  If you bought them from a breeder or if you breed yours, I don’t want to hear about it.

A Soapbox Moment (Warning: Long Rant Ahead)

This is Ernie.  Isn’t he gorgeous?

Ernie is a fine testament to why I despise most of the human race.

I was on my way to work Tuesday morning, in the midst of a torrential downpour, and I almost plowed right over him because he was out in the highway.  Unfortunately sights like these aren’t uncommon in rural West Tennessee, so I really didn’t give it much more thought than I do every time I see a dog out roaming.  Which is on a daily basis.  But then later that same day I was coming back up that same highway and saw him again, only this time about a mile farther up the road.  He was just trotting along the highway but stopping to watch every car that passed.  It was then very clear to me that he needed help.  I drove just a little way past him to a road where I could pull off and turn around, but I didn’t even have to turn around.  As soon as he saw me pull off and stop, he came hauling ass to me.  That was what he’d been waiting for.  Someone to stop.  Someone to help.  Someone to SEE him.

He had on a collar, but of course there were no tags and no ID.  Hoping with all that I had that he had someone looking for him, I loaded him up in my car and brought him home.  I could NOT leave him there.  I took him to the clinic to have him checked for a microchip (of course there wasn’t one) and to get something for his fleas and ticks, and I put his pictures all over Facebook on the shelter’s page, the vets’ pages, a county-wide lost and found page.  The only responses I got were from people who live in the area where I picked him up.  They all said the same thing…”He just appeared here about a week ago.”  Y’all, dogs don’t just appear.  They don’t just *POOF* materialize from thin air.  This dog was dumped.

D and I have talked about it before, and we’ve agreed that we would not take on another animal for several reasons, so knowing that we couldn’t keep him I began trying to secure him a rescue.  I didn’t even try to find him one around here.  The good ones are ALWAYS stretched to the max, so I knew it would be futile.  I know from volunteering with a few of them and from doing volunteer driving on transports that a lot of rescues down here transport to other rescues up north where the overpopulation isn’t as huge of an issue as it is here in the south.  So northern and eastern rescues are where I focused.  I emailed six lab and golden retriever rescues (since he looks to be a cross between those two breeds) that I was familiar with and knew to be reputable, and within 24 hours I had responses from three of them agreeing to take him.  I talked with all three, picked the one I liked the best, checked them out thoroughly to be sure there weren’t any issues I wasn’t aware of before I initially emailed them, read reviews from adopters, called their vet, and spoke with other rescuers that had worked with them in the past.  No one had anything but outstanding things to say about them, so I am now officially fostering Ernie for House of Hope Animal Rescue in Elkton, Maryland.

“What is this ‘neuter’ thing you speak of?”

He can’t be transported until two weeks after his vetting is completed, and that’s all scheduled for next Thursday, so he’ll be with us for at least three more weeks.  During that time, he’s learning apparently for the first time in his life what it’s like to be a family dog.

He never gets tired of chasing that which is thrown.

And he has taken right to life as an inside dog.

We’re working on crate training and trying to nix some counter-surfing and food-stealing issues and working on using our inside voice (MAN, he is VOCAL! haha), but other than that, this boy has impeccable house manners.  He’s gonna make someone an amazing companion pet, and I’m so happy to be a part of that process.

People, please.  If any one of you reading this don’t have your animals spayed or neutered, do it.  If you’re considering adding an animal to your family, look to a shelter or rescue, NOT a breeder.  If any of you are forcing your animals to live outside alone and secluded from their family, bring them in where they belong.  If you see an animal in need, for fuck’s sake, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT because chances are no one else will.

Tuesday Tidbits

  • Recovery from the half last weekend has been slow go.  Probably because of being cramped in the car for so long on the long drive home.  I usually like to go for an easy run shortly after a race to loosen up, but I wasn’t able to run until Thursday.  In my line of work, an ice storm makes for LONG, STRESSFUL days, so after working 12 hour days Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I did nothing but come home and drink wine.  A run was nowhere on my radar.  I only ran two Thursday and then 5.5 on Sunday. I had planned on 7 or 8, but my hammies and calves were STILL super fatigued, so I cut it short at 5.5 and walked 2 more.  I think that may have done some good.
  • In all my wine drinking last week I found one I didn’t like:  Cupcake Vineyards’ Angel Food.  It is NOT as good as it sounds.  I loooooove Cupcake’s moscato, so I was really disappointed in this one!
  • I did another volunteer transport for Kindred Hearts Friday night.  Eight more babies out of high-kill shelters in the south and in a New York-based rescue!
  • One week after the ice storm hit and hung around most of last week, after a weekend in the 50s and 60s, this is what is left of it.
A few piles of nasty, dirty muck in the corners of parking lots.
  • Since my truck took such good care of me, I showed her a little TLC this weekend in return.
Squeaky clean!

"Hello? Can everybody hear me?" *tap tap tap* "Is this thing on?"

I have clicked the “Create new post” button at least a dozen times over the past couple of weeks and then just sat there with my my fingers on the keyboard not knowing where to begin.  How does one pick up where she left off when it’s been almost a year?!  (Just how in the HELL has it been almost a year anyway?!?!)  I have no good reason for my absence, really.  When I’ve taken a hiatus before, it was because things were full of suck and I just didn’t care to talk about it, but that wasn’t the case this time!  2013 didn’t suck at all!  It didn’t involve much running, and I spent way more time working than I would have liked, and sure it had it’s sucky moments, but overall it didn’t suck!

Allow me to share some highlights…

  • We split a week between Destin, FL (my favorite beach spot within a reasonable driving distance) and New Orleans where we celebrated our 6th anniversary in May.
We usually go to Destin in the late summer, but  from now on we’ll be going early in the year!  We were there the second week of May and it was GLORIOUS.

Anniversary dinner at Cafe Giovanni

We even had the opportunity to volunteer at Villalobos while in New Orleans!
D with one of the adoptables at Villalobos.

The famous Cafe Du Monde.  Who knew “beignet” was just a fancy word for “funnel cake”?

Jazzin’ it up.
  • We saw Kevin Nealon at Zanies in Nashville… HILARIOUS!  (But now I’m pissed because I know I took pictures that night and now I can’t find them!)
  • D and I both took up a new hobby.
  • I became more involved in rescue by volunteering locally and doing some volunteer driving on transports.  

I cry every time I see this picture. I’d like to cut a body part off of whoever cut her ears like that.

  • I started a new program here in town inspired by Abbi’s Miles & Mutts!  We take local shelter dogs to the park for exercise and socialization and to hopefully meet potential adopters.
Chops – ADOPTED!

D with Einstein – available for adoption

Me with Chops again

Cola – available for adoption.  She’s my pick of the pack right now.  I started this program last April, and she was already in the shelter then… who knows how long before that.  She’s been overlooked so many times… the “large black dog” syndrome.  She is such a fantastic dog and excellent running partner.  She sat a distance record for herself this weekend at a local 5-mile race!  I’m getting her out and networking her like crazy trying to get her out of that shelter!  If you’re looking for the perfect young, affectionate, high-energy black lab girl, please contact me!
  • Bella had her second surgery on her knee.  This was definitely not one for the “doesn’t suck” category, but it was a major event of 2013.  Financially anyway.  She reinjured it only a few months after her ACL repair and had to have meniscal repair too!  We were referred to an orthopedic specialist at UT Knoxville Veterinary Hospital for this one, and they did a wonderful job getting her back up and running.
  • Lots of fun times with the furry kids. 
Bella knows no stranger.  If you are at the dog park and you have a ball, she is your friend.

The old girl, C.C., enjoying some sunshine.

Bella’s first hotel stay the night before her appointment with the orthopedist in Knoxville.

Summertime fun.

Harley never got in the pool.  He was more interested in the water hose.  He loooooves getting sprayed.

Redneck baby gate.  This is how you allow your dog to get some sunshine after surgery when stairs are still off limits.

Nothing like a pittie smile.

More dog park fun.

Supporting a neighboring county’s humane society at their Barktoberfest.

Harley’s new friend, Gnash.  Bella and Harley have a new pupsitter, and Gnash is her dog.  Instant buds.

Bella and Gnash.
  • Saw Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band in concert.  AMAZING musicianship!

  • Crossed a major item off my bucket list and went to a Cardinals World Series game!  Remember Game 3?  The one that ended in extra innings on an obstruction call?  The one they’re calling the most bizarre ending to a World Series game in history?  Yeah, WE WERE THERE!  It was a night I’ll remember forever.

So there you have it.  That’s my year in a nutshell.  I actually didn’t realize how fantastic it was until I started looking back through a year’s worth of memories in photos.  It may not be that exciting or interesting to some, but it’s my life, and I freaking love it.

Name that Dog!

I introduced you to Charley a couple of days ago, and now we need your help making a decision!

We didn’t name him that. That was what his foster mom had named him. But she didn’t totally come up with it on her own either. Before the rescue place had him, he was in a kill shelter. He was brought in as an owner-surrender, and this owner had been calling him Harley. Foster mom didn’t like this name, but since he already answered to it, she stuck with something similar: Charley.

Hubby had a dog named Charlie when he was younger and really doesn’t want to call him that. Sentimental reasons and such. Neither of us are just over-the-top happy about Harley either. But since he already knows it, we feel like we should stick with it or something phonetically similar. Marley? No. (Think “Marley & Me”) Barley? Nah. Farley? Hmmm…I dunno. I couldn’t stand Chris Farley. Carly? No, he’s a boy.

So what do y’all think? Share your brilliant ideas!

And Puppy Makes Five

Yep, we’re at it again. Another shelter dog finds a home with the Frenches. 🙂 Meet Charley!*

(photo stolen borrowed from his foster mom’s facebook page because I haven’t uploaded any from my own camera yet)

He’s a 7-month-old pit bull puppy that we are going to be adopting from 11:11 Bully Rescue in Dickson, TN. We brought him home for the weekend for a trial run before we made anything official (and to make sure things went better than the last time ), and he is an absolute doll! He and Bella have hit it off wonderfully, so I think we have a winner this time.

If y’all don’t already know by now, I’m a total animal person. I’ll take animals over people any day. And the bully breeds are my passion. It pisses me off and breaks my heart to see the media put such a bad spin on them when they are THE MOST loving and loyal breeds that you can ask for. If I had the time and resources, I would have a house full of them. But we are pretty well at maximum capacity now. The addition of Charley will bring our household population up to five, and until the three four-legged ones start earning a living and cleaning up after themselves we’re gonna have to put a cap on it there. At least until the next irresistable one comes along.

*Disclaimer: NO, we are NOT naming our animals from the Twilight Saga! Both dogs were already named when we got them!