It's Father's Day! A day to show our appreciation for Fathers and Father figures and I am very appreciative of my Dad. Without him, Airdrie Puppy Pals would not be what it is today!
For those who have been apart of "Nikki breaks her foot - Part 1" and "Nikki breaks her foot - Part 2" (knock on wood this isn't a trilogy...) the stubbornness to keep going can be accredited back to my Father. As a sole proprietor, he never wanted to disappoint or let down his clients. When my Dad gives you his word or makes a commitment come Hell or high water (or impaled nail through a foot, or a fall off a ladder, or an injured back) he would see through to his commitment.
Since the age of twelve I have been involved in dog rescue and over the years I have cared for many dogs and cats who were facing a bleak future before being taken in by rescue organizations. During that time I have learned many misconceptions that people carry about fostering and in this blog post I am going to discuss some of the most common fallacies surrounding fostering animals as well as some myths about rescue dogs in general.
“I would keep every dog!”
It certainly can be very difficult to say goodbye to the foster animals when they leave for their new homes, at the time that I first began fostering I sobbed my heart out as each dog left with their adoptive parents. However it is an absolutely amazing feeling to receive updates from the new families and know that you played a part in making that match possible. Plus, almost all adopters are more than happy to meet up for visits with the foster parents so that you can see your beloved foster again. The more harsh reality of the situation is that, without foster homes, the animals that would have been rescued remain in dire situations. Organizations receive dozens of requests to take in new animals every day and are forced to refuse many of these requests due to lack of foster homes. I love the quote “I would rather cry watching them leave my care for a life of love and happiness in a loving home, then cry because no one stepped up to take them and they died alone, frightened and sad in a shelter”.
This past summer I took in two 7-week-old Border Collie mix puppies, Penelope and Petra; the involved rescue groups were all already over capacity and these girls were two of the many dogs that were being returned (from a spay and neuter clinic) to difficult lives as strays in a rural community due to lack of foster homes; already in rough shape, the puppies likely would have perished had they not been rescued. Petra and Penelope, were such beautiful, incredible puppies that they had people lining up to adopt them the moment they were ready for new homes and both are now living incredible, very loved lives.
“It’s too expensive, I can’t afford to foster”
Most rescue organizations cover all reasonable expenses related to your foster animal. The only expense I pay out of pocket for my foster dogs and cats is fuel to transport them; if you cannot afford extra fuel, some organizations will find volunteers to transport the animals if ever they need to go somewhere (vet appointments, etc). Now, this does not mean that you can go buy your foster a brand new dog bed and some kibble and expect reimbursement from the rescue; organizations tend to have a supply of donated items that they will provide for the foster animal and they will only reimburse the foster parent for pre-approved purchases.
“I’ll be stuck taking a dog that’s not a good fit for my home”
A reputable rescue organization would never push a person to take a foster animal that they do not want or that is not a good fit. I almost always pick my own foster dogs or cats from a list, or I will ask the foster coordinator what animal would best fit my home environment. Occasionally I am asked specifically by the foster coordinator to take certain dogs that would really flourish in my home and while I take most of these cases, I have refused in the past and the rescue is always very understanding of this.
“I work a full time job, I can’t be home enough for the dog”
Almost all foster parents work full time jobs and many juggle other volunteer roles on top of it all. The reality is that if the animal is not in a foster home they could be in a life threatening situation or waiting alone in a shelter kennel, therefore, leaving them home alone for 8 hours on week days is not something that needs to be a huge deciding factor on whether or not to foster dogs.
“All rescue animals are damaged”
This could not be further from the truth! Certainly some come with baggage, but any dog can develop behavioural difficulties, whatever their background. Regardless of the issues a dog may have, the difficulties do not define that individual; I have met some incredible dogs with severe behavioural challenges and am so thankful that those pups have graced my life. Some of my fosters have been the most outgoing, obedient dogs I have met, others have been severely let down by humans and need more help to come out of their shells. I do enjoy taking the more fearful dogs as it is an incredible experience to watch them discover life as it should be.
"They would’ve been just fine had they not been ‘rescued’”
Yes, some may come from situations that aren’t life threatening or they may be so well adjusted to their difficult lives that they are content in it, however many are not so lucky and for the ones that are, I can guarantee that at least most of them are much happier in loving homes! Many of my recent fosters have come from rural communities in Manitoba that routinely cull their dogs by giving a monetary reward to individuals for bringing in a tail of a dog that they have shot. These dogs have been some of the most affectionate, well behaved dogs I have ever met and they have all found incredible families that absolutely adore them.
“It is just an animal, there are bigger problems in this world”
Generally the people that say this do not volunteer their time or money to any cause, so even if animal rescue does ‘just’ help animals, then at least it is still helping! That being said, I see fostering rescued animals as something hugely beneficial to both the animals, the communities they are rescued from and to their adopters. Packs of stray, hungry and scared dogs can lead to issues in rural communities, so humanely removing the dogs and providing spay and neuter clinics to the area is extremely helpful. I am the proud mom to two of my own adopted dogs and both provide me with an incredible amount of joy, they comfort me when I am sad, make sure I get plenty of exercise and constantly make me laugh with their antics; they may have come to me as ‘rescue’ dogs, but they are the ones that did the rescuing when they arrived in my life. I began fostering again after a long hiatus (due to life getting in the way) when I could not shake the thought of what my dog Luna’s fate would have been had there not been a foster home to take her in (she was 4-weeks-old when her mom passed away, leaving her and her siblings with no one to look after them). Luna became such an integral part of my life and I felt such a strong need to pay forward the wonderful thing that someone had done for me by fostering her; I desperately wanted to help more families find their ‘Luna’ that may not stand a chance if they were not rescued.
Local Rescue Groups
Pawsitive Match is one of many incredible rescue groups in the area and if you are interested in fostering, volunteering or donating I encourage you to research what organization best suits you.
To learn more about Pawsitive Match Rescue Foundation, visit www.pawsitivematch.org
(...and just for fun, here are a few pictures of my past fosters)
Change. Yesterday, as I watched Sign Concepts remove the “Dog Walking” decals from our van and our beam outside the Daycare, I found myself getting a little verklempt. This is a new chapter for us at Airdrie Puppy Pals. When I started Airdrie Puppy Pals, why I started Airdrie Puppy Pals was to do things differently, and we have. I’m so proud of our team, what we’ve accomplished, how we’ve grown and those we’ve been able to help over the past few years. The decision to no longer grow the Dog Walking section of our business was not made lightly. That being said we know this change will help us be able to help more families in different ways.
For Our Current Clients
For our current Dog Walking clients, you still have our unwavering commitment to both you, your dogs and to delivering the same level of service you have had from day one with Airdrie Puppy Pals. Nothing changes.
For those looking for Dog Walkers, when it comes to choosing a Dog Walker it is so much more than choosing someone who likes dogs. This of course is a big part of it! … but, not all of it.
Calling All Dog Walkers!
So, to all of you local dog walkers – connect with us!
Let us know a little bit about yourself, the services you offer, what makes you different, your views on safety and your views on dog care. Don't forget to include your contact information, website and social media handles. If we share similar values, in addition to cross promoting one another, we are offering all Dog Walkers a discount on our Pet First Aid Courses. This offer extends to established and new Dog Walking businesses who primarily offer Dog Walking services.
We do get asked about who we recommend for Dog Walkers and we want to be able to refer them to like minded local businesses. :)
Until next time - we will see you the dog park!
Written By Guest Blogger: Jackie
" It seems that each and every month someone is promoting some sort of pet awareness. Well, April is no exception as it is Pet First Aid Awareness Month. This is a great opportunity for pet owners to brush up on their pet first aid to keep their four-legged family members safe and healthy.
Pet First Aid is the immediate care given to a pet that has been injured or suddenly taken ill. What occurs in the first moments following an accident can often make the difference between life and death, temporary and permanent disability. Learning pet first aid not only saves the lives of our companion pets in an emergency can help pet parents and pet care professionals spot less obvious health issues through education about warning signs and what are normal pet vital signs.
Learning pet first aid not only can save your companion’s life in an emergency but also will make you a more relaxed and confident pet guardian!
Here's what you need to do:
Preparing yourself for an emergency is a lot less daunting than it may seem. I have personally completed both the 10 hour Pet First Aid course and the 3 hour Off The Grid courses with my dog Denny. It was a lot of fun and we learned a lot! So put aside one day in your life for your pet’s sake. Then you can relax and enjoy all the other national holidays to come knowing your furry family members will be well cared for in an emergency. "
Would you like to be an Airdrie Puppy Pals Guest Blogger?
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
This month's blog is authored by Jackie! Jackie is fur mom to the D Team (Denny, Dodger, and Dax) and knows first hand the dangers of Ticks and Lyme disease since Denny was diagnosed as Lyme positive in 2009. Jackie is a huge advocate for “Don’t shop…Adopt” and actively volunteers with the Northern Sky Greyhound Adoption group.
Without further delay, here's Jackie!
"Spring is on its way…no…really it is! And along with the melting snow, warmer temperatures, longer daylight hours, new grass and buds on the trees come the dreaded tick.
Tick species are on the move and are spreading into and throughout Canada. These parasitic critters rate very high on the creepy scale given they feed on blood and can transmit illnesses such as Lyme disease. Lyme disease is not only a concern for our pets but for ourselves too!
One common tick misconception is “I don’t need to worry about ticks - we live in the city”. This is not the case! While ticks are most prevalent in the nature areas they easily spread into the urban spaces and dog parks and can be “carried” into the city by other mobile critters. So, it’s beneficial to practice tick prevention no matter where you live.
Since the best time to start protecting pets against ticks is before exposure, March is the ideal time to start thinking about and preparing for the impending tick invasion. There are natural tick prevention remedies (rose geranium oil and diatomaceous earth) should you choose to go this route. Please contact your veterinarian to find out more about ticks and about how they can help you better protect your pets.
No matter what method you use, a daily check is still a great way to prevent tick issues. #safetyfirst"
Thanks Jackie! There are a lot of resources available for Tick Awareness and Prevention. Here are a few we found helpful:
Until next time, we will see you at the Dog Park! :)
If you know me, met me in passing, or had a brief conversation with me, there is a very high probability that we chatted about Pet First Aid. Having the knowledge and confidence from being Pet First Aid certified has aided in both my personal and professional life many times over.
The Bulldog and The Shepherd
My first exposure to the positive impact of becoming Pet First Aid certified was years ago at the off leash dog park with dogs that were not mine. Two dogs were playing when one got over excited and playtime turned into a scuffle that needed to be broken up. Both dogs were checked over and neither seems to have any injuries - however the bulldog was not acting right. He seemed more than just a little shook up. Having just recently completed my certification, I offered to check him over and felt that both his heart rate and his breathing were very fast (faster than I what I learned to be within a normal range), and his capillary refill time was slow. I expressed that I felt he was in shock, and that she should go see her Veterinarian right away. As she lifted her dog into the car and drove away, she came back 30 seconds later - he was turning blue. A visit to the Veterinarian was in urgent need.
The Cat and The Crystals
The most terrifying situation I have ever personally been in was with my furbaby Jinx and it occurred almost 11 years ago (Although I remember it like it was yesterday). I came home early from working an overnight shift to find my cat hiding in my roommate's bedroom in her closet under a garbage bag. This was not normal behavior for him and he seemed really uncomfortable. But it was 3 AM so I played the “do I want to go to the Emergency Clinic now or wait until the morning” game. After going back and forth trying to make a decision, I decided to get him checked out. As soon as he was examined, I was told yes something was wrong; he required emergency surgery and without the surgery he would not make it through the night.
Making An Educated Decision
I am by no means a Veterinary (but I do know a very good one!), nor do I contain the knowledge that someone who goes through years and years of school would have. That being said the skills and knowledge that I do have from attending the course have made difficult decisions seem a bit easier. You can Google until the cows come home, however having basic knowledge of what normal temperature is, breath rate, pulse, identifying shock and sun stroke, bandaging injured toenails, handling heat exhaustion, and poison control is a skillset I am very grateful to have.
Pet First Aid Instructor
When the opportunity to become a Pet First Aid Instructor was brought to my attention, it was a very easy decision for me to take. There were application forms, reference checks, phone interviews, video submissions, theory tests and I am proud to say that I succeeded. Now along with other certified instructors across Canada and the United States, I get to represent a company with similar values and a determination to educate others about the importance of Pet First Aid.
Dogs will be dogs. Animals will be animals. When you love them like family you take the extra precautions to make sure you can keep them as safe as possible.
That's what safety means to me - what does it mean to you?
For more information or to regsiter for an upcoming Walks N Wags Pet First Aid Certification Courses, please visit our website: http://www.airdriepuppypals.com/pet-first-aid.html.
The start of a new year often brings reflection of things that have past and clarify for what the future holds. We grew a lot closer as a team in December as we said goodbye to a few beloved puppy pals. Everyone grieves loss differently and in their own way. I came across this letter written from a dog to his "Mum" (author unknown) and this beautiful painting by Jim Warren and it made me smile knowing that we now have guardian angels watching over us.
A Letter from the Rainbow Bridge
Now that I’ve been across The Rainbow Bridge for a couple weeks, they said I should write a letter home. Sorry, mum, but I’m so busy ‘across the bridge’ that I haven’t thought of home much. They said it’s okay and that you would understand. I hope you do. (I think you will.)
Remember that night when I wasn’t feeling very well and we were all crying? I don’t remember much, but I do remember seeing and hearing all of you and feeling your touches and hugs…I remember hearing “we love you” and that one last command of “Go through”. I didn’t know what you meant, so I turned around and walked through the fog that was in front of me. I saw the biggest bridge I’ve ever seen! And so many friends on the other side of it! They were all playing with toys and balls! You were right to tell me to go there!
My feet kept moving forward, but my heart kept pulling me back. Your touches became lighter and lighter and I wanted to come back and nudge your hands for more love, but I was overcome by this feeling of curiosity for the happy place over the bridge! My feet started moving on their own, like a gentle breeze was moving them forward for me! I can’t explain it, but I had no doubt that it was the right thing to do!
So, I walked across that big, huge bridge by myself! I looked for you, because you’re always by my side, walking with me, but this was different. I didn’t have a collar around my neck or a leash connecting me to you ~ I was ‘free’! Even though you weren’t there with me, I never felt alone! I actually felt like I had a huge cape of love wrapped around my body and the more I walked, the easier it was to breathe! So, I kept walking! And I would feel more warmth in the big hug, so I kept on walking! I eventually made it over the big bridge – I did it by myself, mum!
When I got here, all of my new friends greeted me and helped me walk off the bridge ~ it was so cool! They gave me a pair of wings and said that I was now a Guardian Angel!
What I’ve learned over these past few weeks has been amazing and nothing like I’ve seen before! We’re all the same up here ~ we all have wings and we all have Forever People to watch over ~ that’s YOU, mum!You’re my Forever Person and I’m your Forever Dog! We had such a great life together and I do miss you a LOT, but please know that I am so happy in my new home across The Bridge!
I’ll send you another Earth Angel so you won’t be alone. Give them your whole heart, like you gave it to me. I’ll check in every so often to make sure they treasure your love ~ I always did! When you miss me, think of a rainbow and know I’m on the other side of it, waiting to walk with you again. I’ll always be in your heart. I love you, mum! Time for me to go play
Here I am......see me !!
To our puppy pals no longer with us: Although you are now gone, you will never be forgotten and will always be apart of the puppy pals family. <3
Aunty Nikki, Aunty Holly, Aunty Alora, Aunty Nicole, Uncle Ryan, Uncle Trevor and Uncle Ray
Contest Update #2: We have our winners! If you would like a copy of the super adorable, 2016 APP calendar, please scroll to the bottom of this page and complete the order form before end of day Wednesday, December 9th. The calendars will be available for pickup by Friday, December 18. Thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations to our winners! :)
Contest Update #1 Voting is underway. Make sure you vote for your favorite before end of day Tuesday, December 2nd. To pre-order a copy of our calendar, scroll down and fill out the form below. :)
* Original Post *
We love seeing pictures of your puppy pals. Let's have some fun, a bit of friendly competition and create our second annual Airdrie Puppy Pals calendar. :)
We can't wait to see all your puppy pal pictures! :) Until next time, we will see you at the dog park!
-The Airdrie Puppy Pals Team
Wow. What a journey. I can't believe I'm writing a long overdue blog post from our reception area overlooking the beautiful King's Heights dog park.
Lots to be thankful for
Just over a week ago, on Monday, October 26th we had our grand opening celebration. We had a ribbon cutting ceremony and I said a few words; well, more than a few words but I wanted to make sure I reached everyone who helped make my dream became a reality. Since I’m overdue for a blog post, I would like to take this opportunity to express a heartfelt thank you to the following individuals:
First and foremost, a huge thank you to Scott, Rick and Jeff from WPI Renovations. These guys took an empty concrete bay and transformed it into a place we can call home. From ensuring we have exceptional heating, ventilation to a functioning and properly placed toilet, these guys were never more than a phone call away.
Thank you to Corey and the team at Centaur Products for installing our floor. Safety and sanitation is very important, so having a low impact, sealed, waterproof floor that's super easy to clean (we sweep and mop every day!) is a great feature for our puppy pals.
In line with safety, a huge thank you to Sean with Home Rail for installing our double gates and fenced off areas.
Feeling the love
The Airdrie Business Community! Thank you for all the support, the referrals and the guidance. I am so privileged to know so many strong entrepreneurs.
Our amazing clients. I know that most companies say they have the best clients, but we really do! Your beautiful flowers, yummy goodies and offers to help setting up the daycare are appreciated more than you know. We not only love your fur babies, but are incredibly grateful for your encouragement and support.
My fantastic team. Seriously, I have such a fantastic team. Words cannot express how much I love and am grateful for all of you! Holly, Becky, Nicole, Ryan, Chantel, Ray and Alora you are the heart of Airdrie Puppy Pals. Thank you for choosing to join me on this crazy ride, to grow with me and to share your love and passion for all puppy pals.
My parents. For taking my late night phone calls and helping me talk through decisions and for driving all the way from Winnipeg for two days for our Grand Opening event! (I found out on Tuesday my father was having kidney stone attacks but nothing would stop him from being there for our big day!) If anyone wants to know where I get my stubbornness, determination and family values from, well now you know ;)
Last; but certainly not least, my amazingly supportive husband Ray. Mr. Puppy Pals - you wear so many hats. You are our painter and interior designer, our retail manager, our dog walker, our chief financial officer, graphic designer, website administrator and Mr. fix-whatever-we-need-fixed. You do so many things that enable us to focus on provided the best of care to our puppy pals. Without you, this would not be possible <3
Until next time, we will see you at the (King's Height off leash) dog park :)