Tuesday, March 29, 2011

1 2 3 4 5

It's been 3 weeks since we said goodbye to Charlee and I am not going to get all sappy,  at least not at this moment in time, check me in about 20 minutes. I  have been keeping busy with my daughters who were  in a play. That has taken a good chunk of my time and has been responsible for lots of warm fuzzies and pride but I was very happy it wrapped this past weekend.  Aside from lots of driving I helped wrangle 24 kids for 4 of the 8 performances. Bascially that means I did a lot of shussing, and  helped kids backstage make  their cues. Have  to say, wrangling dogs is much easier.  

I love my dogs, but I did not grow them in my belly.
Charlee was my  best friend, but  not my child, which I think is a healthy way to live, but not so much when you are down a best friend.  Our new dog Beck has been working really hard at the landing the BFF  job, but he is no Charlee, and being a BFF takes longer than a few weeks. Beck is a perfect snuggler and source of much comfort and many smiles around here, but he has a long way to go. Each time I get a dog, it becomes more doggie to me. Try to follow my logic here. Loosing my childhood Golden Ginger was a tragedy. She was family long before the rest of the world caught on that dogs were family. She succumbed much to young to a horrible oozing leg cancer.  My traumatized parents never got another dog.  Dina, my first dog as an adult took another  piece of my heart and soul with her when she went.    When Charlee came she was the dog.  Charlee was very much the dog and it took years for her to slowly move up my emotional ladder.  Finney is definitely the dog, but Beck is vieying for a bit more. Heart dogs rarely come along more than once in a lifetime and I have had 2 already. I fear I have reached my quota, but I love how hard he is trying.   Last night in group class I used Beck for a  little demo on stay, which he is still fuzzy on. Beck  pulled a Charlee and lay down and play dead with his paws straight up in the air with his tail going-just for a laugh. . Some would say that Charlee was in that room for those few seconds, but I think she knew another comic when she met one and his fun nature is why she picked him. I love a dog with a sense of humor.

Everyone wants to know if  Finney misses Charlee. I should think not. He may have loved  the way they played and ran together and played herding dog games, but I doubt he misses her bossy bitchy ways. Sweet Finney is very sensitive and he was upset because we were upset, but Finn is just fine. The kids have taken to leash walking him on their own accord and giving him extra one on one time, and Finney is appreciating it all over the town.
People do all sorts of crazy things from grief and we currently have not 1, not 2, not 3 but Four foster dogs.

Actually, that is not exactly true, because I just placed Lana, now Kaya. She lives in my neighborhood and hope to see her soon in group class. She is sister to Layla.

Layla is just about 4 months old and weighs  33 pounds She is a  big sweet pup who will be big sweet dog. Layla adores me, and I hope she finds her people soon because she makes me feel bad that I don't have more time for her. She would much prefer to be in my lap or sleeping on my feet than spending so much time in a crate. Layla sticks so close to me in fact that I have perfected the foster dog shuffle walk.   I have taken to taking small close together steps so she doesn't' send me flying.

Meet Valli. Isn't she gorgeous? I saw pictures of her one day when I was trolling CARA's carami.org, web site, where most of our Canine Commitment dogs come from, and I could not get her out of my head. I am totally this dog's fairy DOG mother. She NEVER would have gotten adopted down there,. as she is suffering from some sort of skin allergy. She saw the Vet in MI a few times and all the usual skin nasties were ruled out.  We think it is a combo of poor quality food, shelter stress, and the kennel's  harsh cleaning chemicals. You can add skin allergy to something that I now have first hand knowledge of and can relate better to when my clients face the same thing. She seemed to do better right away, and she recently started scratching again. We are on an elimination diet and we started with Evo meat and medicated baths.

 Next up we will try s Venison and sweet potato. Anyone wanting to donate towards her bag of food and medical care is encouraged to so. We (me and the rescue) agreed to take her on even though her skin issue was not under control down South. Valli has a few interested parties who saw her pics on Twitter, so stay tuned and think good healing thoughts for her. By the way, she is a BLAST and really fun to hang around with.

I love to take pictures on the way home
to show how much the dogs blossom.

Last but not least is Cayenne. She is 5 months old and most likely Aussie x Spaniel. When my daughter's and I we went to Tender Touch to pick up Valli, 9 days ago, there was Cayenne all shut down and shy and smelling like urine, looking at us with her deep soulful eyes. My girls fell for her sweet ways right away, but I was  crazy  reluctant to take her. She made # 4! and in the kennel setting it was hard to tell her level of fear and shyness. Let's hear it for gut feelings because Cayenne is totally fine. She has a soft personality, but is not shy at all with people or dogs. Whereever I take Cayenne, people stop me to ohh and ahh over her intense cuteness. She is one dog who does not photograph nearly as cute as she actually is. Her big soulful almond eyes are killers. I can't show you Cayenne's bio, because she is still not listed. "Someone" (cough cough--no it's not me) in the rescue may adopt her and she may never get to the web site. That is a real plus of doing rescue. The gems are hand picked. My middle daughter wants to trade Beck in for. Sorry honey!

Cayenne left and Layla right. Both super dooper sweet pups.
Looks like the same make up artist did both their eyes.

We also had another foster dog that I chose not to write about. Not all dogs coming into any rescue at any given time are going to be "ok". We referred to her as  "basement dog", because she spent a good portion of her two week stay with us  down stairs. She did not come from CARA by the way, and the people who sent her were very surprised that the sweet dog they knew did not adjust to life in Maine. Her crime was not only being quite barrier aggressive, but she guarded from the other dogs and attacked a puppy. The puppy was not hurt, but I had a bad gut feeling about her and she never got a second chance. Now, it is common knowledge that dogs will do things when stressed that they will no do other times, BUT, there is a good chance that any dog will be stressed again. The clincher was that Finney wanted nothing to do with her and Beck and Charlee hated her. I have come to rely heavily on Finney's assessments in regards to other dogs. He has never been wrong.

Best wishes "Basement dog" I hope things work out for you.
The Maine Dog community,  and Golden lovers everywhere,  and anyone who has ever met my friend Suzan   in person or  on line mourn the loss of Logan who died yesterday after a very short battle with Mouth Melanoma.


Loosing a young service dog is tragic.  My heart breaks for her.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Maine's biggest puppy millers get off on a State offered plea--can someone tell me why?

     It was interesting to attend the Buxton puppy mill press conference and hear first hand accounts from the great folks who gave their time, blood, sweat and tears to the puppy mill dogs, and then see a very short and white washed account in the media. I was really glad I went and I dragged 4 kids along with me.  I discussed it a bit at my 4th graders school conference later that day when I explained to the teacher why my daughter had missed school. The teacher and I agreed that seeing an injustice of that magnitude first hand will have a lasting effect on the kids, and not soon be forgotten.  Not all  lessons are  taught in the schools.

Leading the panel was the Buxton chief of police who really came across as a caring animal lover who is  dumbfounded as to how this case was swept under the rug. I though he did a great job of showing his disgust for the outcome of the case while trying to move forward so that this kind of thing can not happen again. He claimed he was told early in the week of the plea and then no one at the DA's office or assistant DA's office would return his phone calls. 
District Attorney Slattery is on "vacation" don't you know.

 How in hell is it that John and Heidi Frasca were offered a sweet plea deal?  Aside from the fact that they were heavily documented animal abusers, these  two cost the state close to 1/2 a million dollars. Where is the tax payer outrage?  Here is a little reminder. The Frascas  missed court dates, which kept the animals in state care for a very long time. 250 dogs seized and another 100 born after the seizure  was considered a disaster and national agencies came form across the country to help. Repeat. This case was considered A DISASTER. Also as a reminder, the Frascas operated J'amie Kennel without a license for TWO YEARS after the state refused to license them citing 5 huge notebooks of documents of complaints from the town, and people who bought sick, dead,  and mentally messed up  dogs. 

What the hell is up with that? There is wide speculation that there can be three possible reasons that this case was settled in this manner.

1-New District Attorney Slattery  had no prior clue about the case and was looking to lighten her case load. This was a bad call, a very bad call.

If that is the case, she should be FIRED.

2-District Attorney Slattery was paid off.
If that is the case, she should be FIRED.

3-This came from higher up. Maybe someone decided enough time and money had been spent.
If that is the case, I hope this truth comes to light and everyone is FIRED.

If there is another  explantion, we would love to here it.

The DA's office did issue a statement to the effect that the office felt the Frascas had suffered enough.


The statement claimed that because they had lost their property and had been in limbo since 07 it was as time served.


What about all the missed court dates and wanking around the Frascas gave to the state of Maine? What about the nearly 1/2 million dollar cost to the state for caring for their sick animals? What about the horrid breeding practices the Frascas used in breeding both mentally and physically unsound animals? What about a life long suffering that many of these dogs still endure? What about the fact that in 17 months, they can do it all again? Where is the LIFE TIME BAN on owning and breeding animals? What about the fact that they bred merle to merle Aussies which often results in deaf, blind and deformed animals, but none were found on their property but many were born into state custody? What about all those animals in their care who desperately needed medical care that was never provided. The Frascas had an incinerator inside a kennel.

Where is the JAIL TIME?

Where is the justice?

According to the plea agreement which clearly came out of the district attorney's ass if John and Heidi  keep clean for 17 months and do a few hours of community service, the case is closed.--- finito.

What the bloody Hell????!!!

Those on the panel wanted the public to know 100 % that the fault is not with those who cared for and treated the dogs. The dogs were all documented, every last one of them.  Every treatment, every medical issue was written down, dated and timed, and photographed.   They even bagged and tagged mats. They dotted their Is and crossed their Ts. The records were massive, yet easy to understand. When I volunteered at the make shift kennel at Happy Tails at the make shift kennel I saw these documents with my very own eyes.

A source very close to the case who prefers not to be quoted directly told me the records were so meticulous, and easy to read and understand it was "Prosecution for Dummies."

Thank you to panel members Veterinarian Kelly Hill, Veterinarian Monique Kramer, retired AWP Director Norma Worley, Animal Welfare Society Executive Director Steve Jacobsen and Maine State Director HSUS Katie Lisnik .There were a lot of other people in attendance who worked tirelessly with the dogs, and many others who could not be there. There was a lot of head shaking and looks of disgust. I hope this is not over although when my 13 year old  daughter raised her hand and asked the question  "The Frascas abused animals and what can be done now?"

She was answered by a sad chief of police "What's done is done. It's all done."


For those not familiar with the case, here is a blurb from  WCSH from 2009
Beginning in 2001, complaints about Frasca's J'Aime Kennels began coming into the Animal Welfare Division and the consumer protection division of the Maine Attorney General's Office. Frequent inspections were made, education was provided, deadlines were given and orders initiated.

Still the complaints reportedly continued until the state believed it was necessary to deny Frasca's renewal of a kennel license in January 2007. Animal Welfare has documented at least 80 violations of animal welfare rules in the past three years, and the Frasca kennel is frequently mentioned on Internet dog sites, where unhappy dog owners warn against buying animals from Frasca.

Frasca sells a wide range of dogs, including French bulldogs, German shepherds, Brussels Griffons, mini Australian shepherds, American bulldogs, Papillons and poodles, through at least seven Internet addresses.

The evidence presented at the hearing in support of the department's refusal to license the Frasca kennel filled five office binders with information and complaints, each 3 to 5 inches thick.

The violations documented by the state agency against the Frascas are varied and range from not selling healthy animals to failing to pay state fees to not maintaining clean and safe facilities.

Also documented are horror stories of dogs having their legs chewed off by other dogs and of a female dog so stressed by giving birth in a cage with other dogs that she killed one of her own pups.

Many of the violations were reportedly observed by state inspectors.

More case facts be found cached here

Best TV video coverage of the press conference (and the back of my head) is from Chris Rose. Thank you Chris!

And last but not least --
Thank you Renee Ordway for this piece written for the Bangor Daily News.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Where is the Justice for the Buxton Puppy Mill Dogs?

I am still reeling from the news that there will be no justice for the nearly 350 dogs from the Buxton puppy mill case. There were nearly 250 dogs seized in deplorable conditions, and another nearly 100 born in state custody. Just about every Maine dog person I know volunteered time to help these dogs. For a few hours a week for several months towards the end of the case I cleaned kennels and did some basic training at a facility in Portland that had been converted to emergency kennel space. If my memory serves me correctly, Happy Tails housed about 150 dogs. The rest of the dogs were farmed out to various rescue and local shelters and foster homes.

They had volunteers like myself cleaning and feeding, they had volunteers from Windham Correctional, and there was staff sent over from various local shelters and a few people were hired specially to work there. It was a full time job for I am guessing about 25 people who worked daily with the dogs. More in the beginning. Way more. I was never ever ever in the building when a dog wasn't being treated by either a Vet tech or a Vet.


There were way more than that in the beginning, I am just telling my version that I saw first hand toward the end. Those dogs were a mess!!! We cared for half of the amount of dogs housed in Buxton. How exactly we would wonder could the Frasces with just a few people on staff care for all of those animals, and all that waste they generted?
Oh that's right.



For as long as I live, I will never forget the Shelties that I met at Happy Tails. Their brains had basically snapped and they spun and spun in circles all day- every day. I have friends who adopted some of the hardest fear cases and to some degree have turned them around, but the dogs will never be outgoing friendly life is good kind of dogs.


I have friends who adopted what was being sold as pure bred dogs  who were clearly mixes.


I had clients from the kennel before they were shut down with life long medical and behavior issues.


Today I will be at the press conference in Buxton at the town hall to hear first hand how it is that Maine's infamous puppy millers have been basically set free.

I want to hear first hand how this happened .

I know for a FACT that the state meticulously documented every dog and every move they made inch by inch and step by step. I know for a FACT that there is plenty of evidence to prove animal cruelty. I know for a fact, first hand even though as stated above, I did not see the dogs physically until nearly the end of the dog's time in state care.

If you can think of other first hand accounts of why Buxton was a puppy mill and the Frasces should be prosecuted,please comment below.

If you can attend the press conference today at 11 AM today at Buxton Town Hall to support of all those poor dogs please do so.

Hope to see you there.

Follow @Gooddogz for live tweets.

from NECN yesterday Deal Cut in Enormous Cruetly case

About the photo
Spur was born into state custody and is just about one of the cutest dogs on the planet. He is not however a Mini Aussie, which is what  he would have been sold as.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adopt 3 month old Reba! Happy 15th Birthday Petfinder!

Say hello to sweethheart Reba. She is in South portland, in a Maine foster home with four other dogs.  Reba does  well greeting people, and gets along very well with other dogs. She loves attention, is eager to please,she's  smart, and she has a gorgeous black satiny coat. Reba's mom is a pitbull/lab mix with  a fantastic temperament, and her  pups are absolutely adorable and very sweet tempered --- just like their mom. Reba is about 17 weeks old, healthy, and spayed. Her adoption fee is $275. Please visit caninecommitmentme.org to fill out an application. We look forward to hearing from you! or email us at caninecommitmentme.org

All Reba's litter mates have found their families.
 Please help Reba find hers.

In honor of Petfinder.com s 15th birthday, Petfinder has declared today, Adopt the Internet Day. You can help to spread the word about homeless pets by participating in the following ways.

Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet!

Pledge to spread the word online about adoptable pets today, March 15, 2011.
•Add a badge to your Web site to show your support.
•Take our pledge that you will tell one person about pet adoption. By pledging, you'll enter for a chance to win one of 10 Pet Hair Eraser® Vacuums from BISSELL.
•Donate your Facebook status and photo to an adoptable Petfinder pet. Simply replace your photo with one from the Adopt-the-Internet All-Stars gallery and post one of these messages:

◦More than 320,000 pets are waiting for homes on Petfinder.com. Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet today and find forever homes for as many as possible!

◦I adopted my pet from Petfinder and now I want to help get this pet adopted! If you want to help pets in need of forever homes, please repost this!

•Share an adoptable Petfinder pet on Twitter with the hashtag #adopttheinternet.

•Add a link to your blog, Facebook or Twitter post to this page!

Pledge to Help Pets

I did all of the above.  Now what can YOU do?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thanks for being my best friend Charlee RIP 3/8/2011

Charlee, you were my best friend, mentor and muse for almost 11 years.

We will always miss you.

Wanted to share a few favorite photos of my girl. 
 Pictures are not in order, I am too fried to have order right now.

Last spring in front of our house and my 4 O'Clocks

This past summer.
Life with kids!

05 at a Freestyle demo for Rotti Rescue

My most favorite painting by Portland artist Elizabeth Fraser
from a photo that was on the cover of Down East Dog Magazine.  

A few weeks ago

Last winter at Evergreen on our "Red Neck Agility"  log

Capisic Pond 07?

Pretty much every day of her life. She was impossible to keep thin. 
 Dog died on Fat Tuesday. Coincidence? We think not.

 Willard Beach last summer

Charlee's somewhat infamous still life
Dog in a Blue Wig 

Charlee did everything full speed ahead.
 To quote a friend, she was a force.

Best cell phone shot ever. 
Higgins Beach, last winter on a wicked wicked cold day.

Dina and Charlee 1999

Charlee paw-picked Beck for us.

OOB in January
Looking good for a gal of nearly 12

Good Dog!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fitting in

Lots of people, and I mean lots of people think I have finally lost in it in adding a third dog to our already overflowing and never caught up and never enough money life.
Well, yes of course! Nothing about adding a third dog is sane,  but what dog person isn't just a bit looney.
 I mean really.

Beck  made it clear to me over and over that he was family. Looney, crazy, insane, whatever that makes me, the dog makes me smile and he brings down all our blood pressures.  He is a business expense, and at this point I even consider him a medical device.  Just kidding about the  medical device,  but the dog has a way of calming and lowering  stress  and he brings smiles all around. Beck served to remind me that I once had a training client who wanted help with their mannerless young St Bernard. The owner said to me "training is a heck of a lot better and cheaper than the therapy my son will need if I get rid of his dog."

Beck spent his first official day with us cavorting around with me in the car.  I would not say he quite has separation anxiety, but the dog has made it known that he wants to be with us whenever possible.  I was hesitant to place him because I had that horrible gut feeling  that something bad would happen to him if he tried to be with this people and they were you know-- a regular family.  :) This is after all the dog who dangled by a leg from my fence when he got caught up jumping my gate (again) trying  to get to me.

Beck was a solid 3 to 1 vote in favor of keeping him. The hold out is my middle daughter who has claimed "why do you want this dog, he is not that special."
Me and Beck say "ouch" to that one.  I think the dog is pretty special.  All three of my kids think they are dog trainers and that they have mystical training powers and insights to dogs brains and  personalities.   That goes double for middle daughter. Does this shot, taken yesterday when I picked her up at school, look like the photo of a dog who is not "special?"  I think she is melting a bit, don't you?

Beck is trying REALLY hard to fit in.

Over the last few days I placed both Lego and Stella in wonderful homes.  I'll post an update soon on the both of them, but last night when Stella was picked up, even my warm fuzzies had warm fuzzies.  :))) Great placement for her with a  friend of a friend.
 Lady has a meet and greet on Sunday ,and I expect they will not be able to resist her charms. She is a fabulous puppy, as is Bryce who is still looking for love.

 Beck has been the most fantastic puppy/foster  baby sitter. This is a job once held by Finney, but now that Finney is the big 5.0, he really is not interested in being pestered much.  There will be no more fostering of the young puppies for me.  Waking up once or twice a night with my own human babies or dogs is one thing, but loosing precious sleep for fosters really tipped the looney scales,  and took it's toll on my aging brain and body. Waking up to just five dogs, two kids and a rabbit was a piece of cake today.

It's all relative , and I love my new relative.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My son turned 18 today and...

                                          All he got was a dog!   
                                   Welcome to the family Beck!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Loving my Flexi leash - Product review

Thick tape Flexis are good!

Here is something I thought I would never say.

"I love my Flexi leash."

Several months ago, I was sent one to review and like most trainers, I have had many bad experiences with Flexi. Some were scary and down right dangerous.  Some even ended with blood shed, and more than once it was mine.

BUT I have flipped my stance on Flexis - and not just because I got a free one.

Going on the record here and now saying "it's not the tool, it's the fool."

My  first fledgling year as a professional trainer I got sliced and diced behind both knees. Thing is, Flexis  were not allowed in class and someone switched to their Flexi after class and followed me over to my car in the parking lot to ask me something.. I was meeting friends after class and had changed into shorts. The dog took off after another dog,  the leash was not locked and holy ouch I can still feel the burn. That cut was a real bitch. It was deep and took a long time to heal.

There are stories of severed fingers, cut arteries (urban myth?), and personally I have seen scores and scores of people miss use them.  I have first hand knowledge of lots of bad situations involving Flexi leashes.

My (least) favorite - people who are not paying attention and let their dogs go right in the jaws of aggressive dogs.

Followed by the people who think the leashes are  locked, but they are not.

Followed by people who (by viture of them being lame brains)  allow a massive tangle that may or may not end in hurt legs or dog fights.

Followed by the ones who have dogs on Flexis that are not big enough to hold the dog's weight. You know the guy with a poodle who gets a Rotti and uses the small leash and it breaks and their dog flies straight at you?

Yup, all that  has happened to me personally.

Followed by ...oh heck, never mind. That is THEM and this is ME.

I have been slowly digesting the idea of ME using a Flexi and testing mine for months now.

"My name is Nancy. I am a dog trainer and I like my Flexi leash." "Hello Nancy."

Just days after my Flexi was delivered, Finney hurt himself. I have written before that my dog is a bit OCD about things. He is like that neighbor that does the same routine every day. Where and when and how he eliminates is high on his top list of whacko priorities. 6 weeks of leash walks. It took him forever to find a spot with me near. Neither of us liked the long training line and know what, bingo, problem solved with the Flexi.
He could still be in his bathroom and feel as though he shut the door so to speak.

Same with new fosters. No problem going potty at a distance from me on leash. LOVE it for that. just LOVE it. LOVE it for my new Southern foster dogs to be on leash with me and be able to explore.

My name is Nancy and I am a dog trainer. I am careful. I have a brain and I use my Flexi leash like I drive-


I also love that my Flexi no longer has that teeny thin line, but a safer, sturdier tape line. LOVE LOVE LOVE the new(er) thicker tape version.

So if you buy one. Have a brain, utilize the big brain you were given and be careful.
There are times and places that Flexis can  work amazingly well.

That is all.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fosters are to child birth as I am to Hoarders

February vacation was nuts.

Remind me about this winter of the foster dogs next time I think "oh, OK, poor thing, sure I can foster just.one.more."  Don't just remind me, whack me on the head with  a mallet, or a shovel. Shake me, do something.  I am pretty sure this is a stage I needed to go through and it will soon  pass.  File under just because  you can doesn't mean you should.

For those keeping track. There are my two dogs, and 2 fosters, Beck and Stella.  Beck is still worming his way into our hearts. Every heart except for my middle daughter, so we will see.  Stella has a trial this weekend at a wonderful home of a friend of friend.  I am sure they will love her, but there are young kids, so you never know how these things will turn out. Please everyone think good thoughts for her.  It is amazing to think that she went from her last day on earth in a horrid southern shelter to a super home and new life  in Maine.

We still have puppies Lady and Lego and at 11 weeks they have reached that stage that I refer to in my puppy classes as "OMG HAVE YOU SEEN THE WORLD!!!"  That is when a light seems to click on and pups go from super snuggly, adorable, sweet, cuddly sit in your lap lumps, to pin balls.  It is normal puppy stuff, but they are getting  bold,.  They are you know,  normal pups. Oh and did I mention they sleep less and need to run more?  They are cuter than ever and in a weird twist of fate, the puppy that I returned was the first one adopted. That will teach me!

A friend's dog stayed here over vacation, and guess what, he wasn't a huge fan of the fosters, so he got separate leash walks.  Know what else?  Bryce the big puppy didn't work out in his foster to adopt placement and he came back today. Seems there was the issue with the resident Springer with  guarding .
Did I already mention that I am on my second case of paper towels?

Not looking for sympathy, after all fostering is rewarding in and of itself, but I did want a record of my insanity to remind myself not to do this again.  I think in a way, taking on new fosters is not unlike forgetting the pain of child birth.

Maybe that was why my camera broke, so I can't look back at the all the cute and want to do this again.  Maybe the universe did me a favor.  When you look into the face of a sweet puppy.....oh rats, I am not fooling anyone. I those love those little pin balls.