Category Archives: Maggie

Happy “gotcha day,” Maggie!

It was exactly 5 years ago today that we brought home our Maggie. I don’t write about Maggie as much as I probably should. It’s not that I don’t love her – in fact it’s the opposite. It’s just that she’s so easy, she blends into our lives so seamlessly. She is the type of dog that any dog owner could have and succeed with. She’s fairly well-mannered, doesn’t need a ton of exercise, and gets along with all dogs. As Stewie has proven himself to be less dog tolerant as he matures, I can definitely say I’ve come to appreciate that last point. Maggie could get along with Cujo, she’s so great with other dogs. We’ve had to deal with crating and rotating one of our fosters because the foster didn’t get along with Stewie, but I have never worried about Maggie. Maggie’s like the responsible older sister to Stewie. I can count on her.

Maggie was our first dog as adults. Hubby and I both had family dogs as kids, but we definitely learned a lot with Maggie. Sure, we did stupid stuff in the beginning. For starters, we got her way too young. She was only 7 weeks old when we brought her home. The woman at the rescue said the mother had stopped nursing the pups, but knowing what I know now, I know she definitely could have benefitted from that continued socialization with her littermates for at least another week or two. Holy cow, we were so not prepared to be puppy parents. We were living in a third floor apartment in the city, and dogs were strictly prohibited from riding in the elevators. I have vivid memories of scooping up puppy and racing down the hall and down the stairs in the middle of the night during the potty training phase. Hell, our first night we didn’t even have a crate for her. we thought she would be fine in a laundry basket next to our bed. Waking up at 2 a.m. to the sound of her having explosive diarrhea on our bedroom floor made me realize we desperately needed a crate, which we purchased the next day.

Eventually I realized if we were going to raise this puppy right, we would need to become more educated ourselves. Off to the Internet I went, and I haven’t stopped learning since. I became obsessed with learning more and more, and that’s when I realized just how dog-crazy I was. I couldn’t get enough, and committed myself to learning as much as I could about dog behavior, training and the problems of animal overpopulation. That led to volunteer work, and well, the rest is history. How time flies! On the one hand, it’s hard to belive it was only 5 years ago that I was such a “green” dog owner, but on the other hand, I can’t believe we’ve had Maggie for 5 years! It seems like yesterday she was a teeny tiny puppy.

With that, I leave you with some of my favorite photos of Maggie through the years…

Maggie, the day we brought her home

Getting bigger...

Bratty teenager

Looking like a big girl


Say what?

First time in the water

Sleepover with her friend Parker

Pretty girl

Merry Christmas

Maggie and my parents' dog, Sadie

Ready for Apple Cup - Go Cougs!

With her new brother, Stewie

With brother Stewie and foster sister Josie

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Last night I had a dream that I was competing some championship swim meet. I was up on the starting block pulling my goggles down over my eyes when it suddenly hit me that I haven’t done this since high school – what am I doing here? I’m not prepared for this! I won’t mention just how long ago high school was – or how long it’s been since I’ve been in a pool for that matter – but I think that dream was a metaphor for the chaos that has been my life lately.

Yes, I’ve been busy, as is probably evident by my lack of blogging. Actually, busy is an understatement. But most of the things that have been keeping me busy are great blog fodder, so my New Year’s resolution is to blog more. You like how I’m just now getting around to making my New Year’s resolutions and it’s almost February? Welcome to my world.

In addition to being busy at work (yes, I do have a day job – despite the fact that I would much rather spend all my time rescuing dogs, that doesn’t pay the bills), my involvement with rescue has pretty much occupied any remaining time outside of work. I’m cranking up the mileage on the car running transports and doing meet and greets, running up the minutes on my phone screening potential adopters and staying up late almost every night answering emails. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I fear this post is going to get quite long, so I’m going to break it out into chapters with big bold headlines so you can skip anything you’re not interested in….

Chapter 1: Update on the bust dogs

What an emotional roller coaster that situation was. It really opened my eyes to the horrors of dog fighting in a very personal way. Of course I have always thought dog fighting was terrible, and if the Philadelphia Eagles ever come to play the Seahawks, you know I’ll be the first one outside the stadium letting Vick know exactly what I think. But getting to know so many of the bust dogs, knowing very well many of them would never be adopted, really hit me hard. I fell head over heels in love with so many of those sweet souls, and in the end, we were only able to save 4 out of the 22.

That sounds like a terrible outcome – and in many ways it was – but the important thing to realize is that those are 4 dogs that would never have been saved if we hadn’t stepped in. Pierce County has never before even evaluated fight dogs – they were always held as evidence until the trial and then destroyed. And it’s not that the other dogs were vicious. They were just broken. Broken by human hands, through no fault of their own. I hate people sometimes.

The hardest part of the situation was knowing that many could be rehabilitated, if only we had the resources. But the shelter where they were being held probably puts down 10-20 healthy, adoptable pit bulls every week, since we are a small group and can only save as many dogs as we have foster homes for. Sure, we could have taken in more fight dogs and spent 2 years rehabilitating them to ready them for adoption, but how many “regular” pit bulls could we have saved during that time? Unfortunately the dark side of rescue is that it’s often a numbers game, and you have to weigh which option has the best odds. It’s really hard, because it’s often the sad cases that really tug at your heartstrings.

I still want to cry when I think of all those sweet dogs who are no longer with us, but it helps to know that even though they spent the last few months of their life in a shelter, it truly was heaven to them. They were inside, and they had nice people stopping by to give them treats and love on them every day – compared to their previous lives of being chained up outside in the cold, forced to fight each other in hopes of pleasing a master who never showed them the approval or affection they craved. For their last meal, they all got cheeseburgers. I like to think they left this world happier than they ever had been in their lives.

But you have to focus on the positive in this line of work, or you’ll go crazy. So to end this chapter on a positive note, here’s a link where you can follow the progress of the survivors. They are doing great!

Chapter 2: Foster #2: Gracie Lou Who!

At the beginning of this month, we unexpectedly ended up with our second foster dog. We were technically supposed to be on a foster hiatus, as the hubby wasn’t quite ready to foster again, but one of our previously adopted dogs came back to us and we had nowhere else for her to go. So after much begging and pleading with the hubs, we took in Gracie. We had two good leads on her for permanent homes anyway, so I convinced the mister it would probably only be for a few days.

Gracie was an absolute doll, and I quickly fell hard for her. Unfortunately, my boy Stewie did not. Thus, we were quickly introduced to the world of crating and rotating. Let me tell you, I have tremendous respect for people who have been forced to crate and rotate as a way of life, and make it work. It’s exhausting! (Mental note: crating and rotating would make a great future blog post)

Gracie’s presence with us really tested my emotions. The fact that I had to pretty much force my husband to even take her in in the first place, coupled with the fact that we had to keep her separated from Stewie created a lot of tension in our home. When the first adoption lead fell through, I was heartbroken. I was so sure it was going to be a good match. So I convinced the hubs that it would only be another week with her while I worked on the second lead. The next weekend, the second meet and greet went really well so we tentatively planned to send her on a trial run starting the following weekend (me to hubby: “okay, just one more week”). About halfway through that week, though, the adopter got cold feet.

Crap, now what?

I had already pushed my luck with the hubs, and if I wasn’t careful, I’d turn him off to ever fostering again. But with no other adoption leads in sight and nowhere else for Gracie to go, we were at a loss. The reality of the situation is, we can only save as many dogs as we have foster homes for, so if we don’t have a foster home for Gracie… I didn’t even want to think about that.

You see, Gracie had already cheated death once before. In fact, Gracie is the very reason our rescue formed a partnership with one of our local shelters. That particular shelter had a “no pit bull” adoption policy. Not because they thought they were inherently vicious, but because they were so hard to adopt out and they were already a high-volume shelter. Gracie was found as a stray and taken to that shelter a little over a year ago. She was actually on the euthanasia table, and the shelter worker flat-out refused to put her down. She was just too nice of a dog. So he called up the board and told them if they wanted this dog euthanized, they would have to come down and do it themselves. That sparked a discussion with our rescue, and they worked out a program where any pit bulls they received would be evaluated by us and taken into our program if there was room. They would still spend their days at the shelter to get exposure to the public, but would go home with foster families at night to learn manners and sleep on a warm bed. All applications would be handled through our rescue, not the shelter, so we could adequately screen them.

Long story short, Gracie had come too far and been through too much for it to end now. So I called up the adopter with the cold feet and talked to her about why she had changed her mind. She said she was in love with Gracie, but she was worried about how her cat would do with her in the house. After reassuring her that Gracie had lived with cats before and would probably be fine, we agreed to do a week-long trial run. I am happy to report the adoption was finalized last weekend! Gracie did awesome with the cat (as I knew she would), and everyone seems really happy.

I will end this chapter with a few photos of sweet Gracie, AKA Gracie Lou Who, AKA Gracie Lou Freebush (Miss Congeniality reference).

Chapter 3: Josie Update

Speaking of foster dogs, remember that super cute blue brindle puppy I had for a while? Well, that “puppy” is now a year old and about 70 lbs! That means she’s bigger than my Stewie. To put that in perspective, here’s a picture of her when we first got her, next to Stewie:

And here’s a picture of her now:

Look at the size of that head! Such a pretty girl, still. She is just thriving in her home, and I love that I get frequent updates on her. I love that “little” girl, and she is a big reason I do what I do.

Chapter 4: “The Kids”

As swept up in the rescue stuff as I get, I can’t forget my own two dogs! Maggie and Stewie are doing great. Stewie still chases his tail on occasion, but we seem to be able to manage it for the most part.

Having been through the crating and rotating phase when Gracie was with us also made me realize how good I have it, and what a perfect match Maggie and Stewie are for one another. Dogs are funny – like people, sometimes they just “click,” and sometimes they just don’t like each other for whatever reason. Maggie and Stewie are like soul mates. They bring out the best in each other. Maggie was really shy around other dogs before we got Stewie, and she has really come out of her shell in the last couple years. Stewie can be a bit of a butt head around other dogs sometimes, but he totally looks up to Maggie and does whatever his “big sister” says.

Sometimes I get applicants on our rescue dogs who are set on one particular dog and don’t like to hear me tell them it won’t be a good match for their family. But I really wish they’d just trust me. When you have a multi-dog household – especially with pit bulls – having the *right* match makes all the difference in the world!

They are lazy and like to wrestle laying down

Best friends

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Filed under Humans, Josie, Maggie, Misc., Rescue, Stewie, Training/Behavior

Boat Dogs!

The Pacific Northwest has been slammed with record-breaking temperatures this week. In fact, yesterday Seattle had the hottest day EVER in history, with temperatures reaching 103. Now, some of you in other parts of the country probably laugh in the face of 103 degree temperatures, but let’s not forget that hardly anyone in Seattle has air conditioning. Combined with the fact that the temperature normally hovers somewhere around 75 in the summer, and you can see how we’re not handling this heat so well!

The dogs especially have been taking the heat wave a little hard. I’ve had fans blowing on their crates and have been freezing the water in their dishes, and they’re still pretty miserable. So yesterday, in an effort to cool us all down, hubby and loaded the dogs into boat and headed out onto Lake Washington. It was still hot, but much more bearable and we enjoyed a nice swim and the breeze coming off the water. The dogs seemed to enjoy themselves as well, even if they did fall in a few times. My back is killing me today, though – I must have pulled something after hoisting them back in the boat when they would slip overboard. Here are a few pictures of the dogs enjoying themselves (excuse the poor quality – they were taken with my camera phone).


Dogs checking out Hubby on this weird floaty thing


"OMG, I'm so glad you're back in the boat!!!"


Enjoying the view, the breeze, and ... the taste of the windshield?


Stewie attempts to find his sea legs

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An introduction…

My history with dogs started when I was about six years old, and my parents took my brother and me to pick out a Dalmatian puppy. I named her Pepper, because she looked like she had been sprinkled with pepper (I was so clever, wasn’t I?). Unfortunately we only had her for a week before we discovered she was deaf – something I now know is very common among poorly-bred Dalmatians. My parents concluded that we simply didn’t have the experience or resources to dedicate to a deaf dog, so we returned her to the breeder. In addition to being heartbreaking for me (I had grown quite attached in just a week), it turned out to be a huge headache for my parents, as the breeders wouldn’t give them back their money, resulting in a trip to small claims court. This was my first introduction to “backyard breeders” – a practice I now vehemently despise. It makes me sad to think of what may have become of Pepper. I hope she found a good home where her owners had the means to accommodate her special needs.

My parents, turned off from the world of breeders as well, decided the best thing would be to adopt a puppy from the shelter. We went to PAWS and picked out a six week-old Sheltie mix. She had been dropped off in a box at the shelter that morning with her brothers and sisters, and was one of two left by the time we got there. Kelsey ended up being one of the smartest, most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever met and lived to the ripe old age of 17. It’s been more than five years since she’s been gone, and I still miss her terribly to this day.

After my husband and I had been married for a year, we decided it was time to add a dog of our own to our little family. I really didn’t care what kind of dog, but was still very much anti-breeder and hoped to find a rescue. Hubby was a little more specific: he wanted a female lab puppy. On to I went, applying for every female lab (or lab mix) puppy I could find. Much to my dismay, I received rejection after rejection after rejection. We lived in an apartment at the time, and a fenced-in yard was a non-negotiable for all the rescues I applied to. Hubby suggested we just buy a puppy from the paper. I did not want to support a breeder, but I badly wanted a puppy. We ended up finding a private rescue in the paper that took unwanted litters off people’s hands in exchange for spaying the mother dog. They had a litter of Black Lab/German Shepherd pups, and that’s how we ended up with Maggie.

Three years later, we adopted Stewie, a 10 month old dark brindle Pit Bull, whom I fell in love with while volunteering at the Humane Society. Such a sweet-natured, yet misunderstood breed, I fell in love with Pit Bulls, and soon I began volunteering for a local Pit Bull rescue as well. When was laid off in February of this year, I decided now was the perfect time to foster a Pit Bull, and we ended up with Josie, a four month old blue brindle girl. We’ve had Josie for almost four months now. Everyone always asks why she hasn’t been adopted yet, but it truthfully takes a long time to find a good home for a Pit Bull. We love Josie like one of our own, and are happy to take care of her for as long as it takes to find the perfect home. Some days I start to think that perfect home might be ours. But then she reminds us it’s not – usually by eating one of my shoes or pooping on our bedroom floor at 2 a.m. Three dogs are a lot to handle, and I know a lot of people probably think we’re crazy. Sometimes I think we are too. This weekend, we will have all three beasts, along with about 25-30 guests (including two more dogs!) up at our cabin for the 4th of July.

Should be no shortage of stories that come out of this weekend. Stay tuned…

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