Friday, March 25, 2011

The Gift of Puppy Love

For Jeanne and her Poodle list friends who recently gave her the gift of puppy love, to help heal her heart from the recent loss of her beloved Kate.  I think this picture says it all!  Welcome home, Cole!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dog Rescue--Purebred Dog People CAN Help

Come on, admit it--dog people can be a tad snobby, as we think our dogs are the BEST, period. And purebred dogs are very special dogs but I have to confess to you that at our house, Kate the Standard Poodle is no longer the queen. She was just fine with having Suzie Q. Bean, an elderly Dachshund rescued from a shelter last year, come in and take over. I honestly think that Kate thinks it is a bit humorous when the little weenie dog runs over to get the first treat, or tries to take over watchdog duties when someone knocks on the door.

For many years, we only owned two kinds of dogs - Poodles in the house, and Siberian Husky show dogs who had their own quarters involving indoor/outdoor runs and a big fenced yard. After recently losing our oldest Poodle, the numbers of purebred dogs in our home has decreased.  But we are not lacking in dogs!  "Ewok" the Siberian shares her quarters with an Aussie, two mixed breeds and a recently adopted Beagle, all shelter dogs except the Aussie. All incredibly, unbelievably special dogs. Khaki, the lovely Collie/Hound mix in this photo, is an incredibly loving dog who was literally rescued at the last second by a volunteer for the Franklin County Humane Society several years ago.
("Khaki, photo owned by Melanie Schlaginhaufen, may not be reprinted without permission)

Khaki was a "group effort". She was surrendered by her owner to a rural shelter one hot July day. Just like the other dogs this man surrendered, Khaki was skin and bones, so emaciated no one even noticed that she was pregnant. A Humane Society volunteer happened to be volunteering at the county shelter that afternoon and noticed that Khaki was in labor. She asked the shelter director and permission was granted to take Khaki and her puppies to a local veterinarian, and a donor was secured to cover medical expenses.

The next morning, the vet's office called the Humane Society volunteer and told her the puppies were fading, as the mother dog was stressed and not attending to them. Jenny Richardson, the Humane Society volunteer, called me and asked if I knew anyone experienced in bottle feeding. She had a donor willing to pay for veterinary care and Jenny desperately wanted these puppies to make it. Long story short, I rushed to the vet's office and found three very cold little puppies in a concrete run along with their mother. I just could not leave the mother dog behind, so I took her as well. Once we got them safely home, I called a breeder friend (thank you Kassi) and she came over and helped me get the mother dog to accept the puppies. One was much smaller and weak, but we had to try to save him. Kassi spent hours with me, Khaki and her puppies that evening. Kassi's wonderful veterinarian (thank you Dr. Henry) talked with us on his cell phone as we tried our best, but sadly,we did lose the tiny one. By midnight though, the other two were happily nursing.

Khaki and her  little ones were very good eaters, and within weeks Khaki made the transition from a bag of bones to a lovely girl  Children of friends and neighbors came by to help socialize the puppies. When they were old enough, the Humane Society posted photos on Petfinder, and we quickly had many good inquiries. Both pups were adopted to very good homes. Khaki was also posted but we never had a single inquiry, and before long, she was such a part of our family that we could not give her up anyway. She was spayed and became a valued member of the Schlaginhaufen family.

But, guess what?  You do not have to adopt a rescued dog in order to save a life!  In your own city, there are numerous Khakis waiting....hoping that someone will come for them before it is too late. And for most dogs surrendered to shelters, today is too late. The other emaciated dogs that came in with Khaki were put down that same evening before animal control left the shelter. Deemed "not adoptable" because of their lack of weight.  Khaki was not ill, she was just hungry. Even while nursing puppies, she ate extremely well and each day we could see her gaining more and more weight. It hurts my heart to think that the other dogs who came in with her were probably just the same...thin and hungry, due to an owner's neglect, possibly even an owner who simply could no longer afford to care for them.

I know times are hard, dollars are tight for many of us right now. But please consider giving just a little each month, of your time or dollars.Every $5 adds up!  Help save dogs that are not, in our society, valued as they should be....they are not treated the same as a Poodle would be. I know, I have been involved in Poodle rescue and we often had waiting lists of people who wished to adopt a Standard Poodle. Ethical  Poodle breeders often also have a waiting list for puppies, so they can pick and choose the very best homes for them. I love my Kate and every Poodle who has ever "owned me". But Khaki is no less special, and no less loved.

There is a beautiful soul within Khaki....she loves life, and I cannot imagine the thought that her life could have so easily been snuffed off simply because she was thin and hungry. Thank you Jenny, Inglath and Kassi....for saving this diamond, who was little more than a tiny piece of coal when she came to your attention. Thank you Franklin County Humane Society.  We dearly love Khaki.  I considered posting a prettier photo of her, but in this one Miss Khaki is doing what she loves to do.... gathering toys and whatever she can find in the yard, then just laying down and enjoying the grass and the sunshine. Thanks to people who cared, every day Khaki can do what she does the best....simply enjoy life.

She is grateful, and so are we.

by guest blogger, Melanie Schlaginhaufen

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Poodle Limerick

Many thanks to my talented friend Charlene Dunlap of Canine Horizons, for this limerick and drawing of her parti-colored pair. For hours of entertainment (training articles, Poodle articles, Poodle videos and more), visit Charlene's website at!

Two fluffy young Poodles from town
Jumped into every mud puddle they found.
Then said with delight
"This seems so right,"
Till their groomer cried, "Baths all around!"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Missing a Special Friend?

I have sat where you are sitting. I have stood where you are standing. I have stood frozen with my hand on the door because I dreaded opening it--I did not want to go into a house that was missing the dog I so deeply loved.

A friend of mine is today, as I write this, watching her elderly dog fail. He is a sweet, kind soul and it is the first dog she has ever lost so it is particularly difficult. I want to share something with you what I just shared with my friend.
Almost three years ago, our lovely Standard Poodle Lizzie was diagnosed with lymphoma. We spent the summer that year driving her back and forth to a wonderful veterinarian that was almost an hour and a half from our home. She did not respond to the treatments as well as we had hoped. Often her blood count would drop dangerously low, and she would have to miss a week before the next treatment, until she was stronger.

We were told that dogs do not lose their hair from chemotherapy treatments. But Lizzie did. Poodles don't have the same type of hair as most dogs, their hair is more similar to a person's hair and it did start to come out as the weeks passed. It was hard to see our lovely girl with bald patches, and even harder to watch her stumble when we took her outside to play. Her lymphoma had spread to her neurological system.
That August we made the decision to stop the treatments, and Lizzie had a fairly comfortable month before it was time to let her go. When it was time, our local veterinarian was kind and compassionate.

Lizzie was only eight years old. I was totally unprepared to lose her at such a young age. In addition, my teenage son had just been diagnosed with cancer, and was in between surgeries at the time that Lizzie left us. I was an emotional wreck.

One day while sobbing on the phone, I told a friend that the thing that bothered me the most was the thought of Lizzie sitting at the "Rainbow Bridge" looking for us. Lizzie had some separation anxiety during her life, always acting very distressed as we walked away if we had to leave her for boarding or even grooming appointments.

My friend told me that years ago when she lost a beloved dog companion, she had asked God to show her what happened to her dog after he died. She did not tell me what she had experienced, but just encouraged me to pray that God would show me.

Several nights later, I was laying in bed, praying and crying softly while I asked God again to please give me some peace about Lizzie. I told God how I hated the fact that there is nothing in the Bible that tells us for sure that our pets will be in heaven.

I am not sure if I was asleep or if it was a vision just before sleep, but suddenly I could see....the most gorgeous green grass, unbelievably colored flowers...and there was Lizzie, playing with some children who appeared to be around six or seven years old.

Lizzie was performing some of the "tricks" that I had taught her years before...a child was giving her the cues and she was doing her "spins" and "sit pretty", while the other children were clapping their hands with delight. Then they would run and she would run...and they would flop down on the grass with her. Lizzie was giving kisses and receiving hugs.
But best of all...Lizzie was totally focused on these children and she was definitely "in the moment", very happy, not looking around or showing any signs at all of worrying about anything. Her coat was beautiful and black again, and she was full of life, no stumbling, no sign of illness in any way. 

There is a Steve Green song called "Safely Home" that is written as if God is speaking to us after we have lost someone we love. it says "They are strong...and free...they are safe...with me".

Last week we lost our Gusto, a/k/a "Goose", an older Standard Poodle who lived with us for the last five years  after his owner passed away. Goose was the happiest and most cheerful doggie soul I have ever known. I hope that today he is being a clown, playing tennis ball (his favorite) perhaps with children who have always longed for a special dog like him. They may not have had a dog while they were on earth, but Gusto can give them great joy now. I am sure they will find him a fun and most faithful friend. But still, my heart longs for him and misses him.

Deepest empathy goes out to my friends who have recently lost special dogs...Joni, Jeanne, Donna, Hope, Cleeta, Veronica, Marie and Johnnie.  I know how much it hurts and my heart goes out to you. But have peace and know that they are...once again....strong and free.

(c) 2011-2014, Melanie Schlaginhaufen, may not be reprinted in any form or fashion without the author's permission. Melanie may be reached at her Knowing Dogs website, www.knowingdogs.comPhotos are of Lizzie in her younger years, and are the property of Melanie Schlaginhaufen, please do not copy or reproduce in any way. Thank you for respecting copyrights throughout this website.