Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kimmy's Quest for a Home!

An incredibly sweet girl with a zest for life, 1.5 year-old Kimmy has seen too much confinement in her life. After spending seventy days in a local shelter and being saved from the e-list in the nick of time, this staffordshire terrier - lab mix has now been in boarding with United Animal Friends for nearly two full months! But Kimmy doesn't let it get her spirits down. She's still an incredibly happy girl - so happy in fact, that she's developed a condition called 'happy tail' in boarding. She has simply wagged that joyful tail of hers a time too many against the concrete walls of her kennel, causing the tip of her tail to split open. So, it's crucial that Kimmy get into a foster or forever home as soon as possible!

Once she finds a home, we're sure Kimmy will be quite the pleaser. Despite her young age, Kimmy is relaxed and even a bit of a couch potato. She loves to get out and hike or walk, she's also more than happy to indulge in some much-deserved down time as well! She's also very treat-motivated and rides beautifully in the car. Thus, Kimmy really does offer the best of all canine traits! Kimmy is still working through a few prey drive issues, so she should likely not be placed with small animals. But she enjoys the company of bigger dogs (especially boys), and absolutely adores people. More than anything, Kimmy is ready for her new lease on life to begin!

Please help us alleviate Kimmy's happy tail and months of confinement! For any foster or forever home inquiries, contact Joellyn at uafdogs@gmail.com or call (928) 778-2924.

Friday, June 10, 2011

UAF's 3rd Annual Woof Down Lunch a Huge Success!

The tails were a-waggin' and the fun was a'plenty at the 3rd Annual Woof Down Lunch, hosted by United Animal Friends in downtown Prescott on June 4th. Ticket holders were treated to delicious local lunches, along with free goodies from on-site vendors and gorgeous, hand-made dog bowls.

The weather also cooperated fully as the events progressed through the day. Highlights included agility demonstrations by Northern Arizona Australian Shepherd Association, Top Dog Performance Club and Dandy Dawgs Agility Classes. Talented pups participated in the Best in Show Contest, and the winners walked away with honors in Best Wiggle Butt, Best Ears, Best Singer, Best Dancer, Best Trick, Best Spots, Longest Legs, Shortest Legs and Deepest Bark. Event-goers also enjoyed live music, hugs from the Elks Opera Guild, and free massages from local massage therapists!
The flow around the vendor booths was constant all day long, as local business and organizations handed out samples, answered questions and showcased merchandise. Several rescue organizations were on-hand (including United Animal Friends, Rescue a Golden, and others), sparking interest from the community for wonderful adoptable animals and spreading the word about spay-neuter, fostering and adoption resources. All eyes and ears were on deck during the Raffle Prize giveaway, with one lucky ticket-holder walking away with the Grand Prize, a mosaic dog toy box handcrafted by Susan Cole of Majestic Mosaics.

Ultimately, all enjoyed a furry-filled day of good fun, where the focus on everyone's mind was the same: animals! And best of all, United Animal Friends was able to secure a record-breaking fundraising success – primarily by way of ticket sales, raffle proceeds, sponsor donations and vendor spaces. All proceeds will enable United Animal Friends to continue with their mission of caring for homeless and needy pets in Yavapai County. Special thanks to all the day's sponsors, including United Animal Friends, Olsen's Grain, Prescott Dog Magazine, Whiskers Barkery, Dandy Dawgs, ThINK4inc, Prescott Animal Hospital, Art's a Cause, Olde World Bagels & Market, New Frontiers Natural Foods, and Nummies.

When It Really Is The End: Lessons from A Rescue Named Willa

A special tribute to one rescue who supported United Animal Friends in life and spirit. By Katie Borman

Most of us who adopt animals do so knowing that we will likely outlive our furry family members. But few of us are truly prepared for the raw emotional heartbreak that accompanies such loss. Such was the case with our dog Willa, rescued from Prescott Animal Control as a four-month-old puppy in April of 2006. From the onset, Willa was a force to be reckoned with. When we first met her at PAC, she lured us with her pensive, caramel-colored eyes and shy demeanor. Once she arrived home with us, however, we found ourselves paying retribution for having kept her waiting for so long in the first place. Chewed shoes and blankets, missing household items, and a surprisingly emotive voice, it wasn't long before Willa was lovingly nicknamed "Monster."

Through the years, Willa was a not just a presence in our lives, but an active participant in our family dynamic. We grew to know her personality as we knew each other's – intimately, with admitted frustration at times, but always with a fierce sense of protection, love and tenderness. As we became involved with United Animal Friends, Willa championed our efforts by tending to foster family members. She took on a surprisingly touching maternal role with a small, abandoned puppy whom we fostered for just a few weeks. Later, she assisted us as we attempted to tame the wild ways of one UAF foster name Louie. It was Willa who ultimately helped convince us that there was really no home as well suited for Louie (now Mowgli) as ours. She had showed him the ropes, after all, and surely didn't deem it fit for another family to reap the benefits of all her hard work.

She stood by our feet when we got married nearly three years ago, christened the doggy-door when we bought our very first house, and spent every Christmas amid a pile of her own presents and treats. Though we can look back on it now and point to the warning signs that were surely evident, her role as a member of our family was simply too integral to ever doubt. And when we told her we loved her for the last time on May 19th, we finally felt the true weight of her impact on our lives.

We get used to the feeling of anticipation at the door, as we struggle to unlock the door and get inside to those furry, wiggling bodies. We get used to commenting to friends and families about the behavioral quirks of our dogs and cats. We get used to assigning them their very own voices and catering to their ever-changing dietary needs. But we never get used to letting them go. There's really no way to prepare ourselves for the gut-wrenching pain of deciding that a member of our family – one who depends on us for everything – no longer has a quality of life that is worthy of her character and spirit. And though those moments inevitably make us question how we can put ourselves through it again, we recognize deep down that the joy of saving a life and making it a satisfying one is more than worth the grief of having to say goodbye. Indeed, when it comes to Willa and to all the rescue animals we adopt knowing we will one day set free a final time, the honor is truly all ours.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Woof Down Lunch 2011!

It's that time of year again! United Animal Friends is gearing up for Woof Down Lunch 2011, scheduled for Saturday, June 4th on the Courthouse Plaza in downtown Prescott. Activities and events start at 10AM, and will include K9 Police Dog demonstrations, face-painting for the kids, live music and much more! Vendors representing animal-related businesses will be onsite all day with samples and information. Plus, folks can meet animals up for adoption and see a parade of UAF dogs who've found their forever homes. A $20 donation includes a handmade pet food bowl, a delicious on-site lunch, and free samples. And of course, friendly pets on leashes are invited, too! Mark your calendars for Woof Down Lunch on June 4th! Visit the United Animal Friends for additional information.

Monday, April 25, 2011

One Working Dog's Dream: Part 2

Joellyn's adventure with Pep continues as the story ensues and wraps up. Read Part 2 below!

The next stage of the journey for Pep meant travelling to Washington. In late March of 2011, my husband Roger and decided to take the opportunity to learn more about the program, so we flew him up ourselves. Heath was very excited to meet Pep (Heath loves cattle dogs) and even offered up his guest bedroom for us. The Conservation Dogs facility is a brand new facility and I was impressed to see how nice and well-kept the kennels were. The setting was gorgeous with a pond just a short walk away. The Conservation Dogs program folks use the pond to exercise the dogs because it is more forgiving on their joints.

The dogs are all very loving, but just like Pep – ball-obsessed! I took this as a good sign. Most of the dogs that have come to this program were labeled (as Pep was) as dog aggressive and after being in the program and getting training all of the dogs have been able to get along and are no longer considered aggressive. Heath and his crew train the dogs with positive training methods and work the dogs 7 to 8 hours a day, which is precisely what these dogs need. They hike and bike with them in the forest and hide samples of scat for them to find. And of course, there is a LOT of ball play! Pep played ball for two hours the second day he was there and went on a hike with another dog Sampson and they got along fine. So, my trip was a great success!

Of course, Pep is not fully accepted into the program yet. He'll undergo more testing and training to see if he'll fit into the program. In a month or so, we will find out if he made the cut. All the program's working dogs are either adopted by their handlers, placed up for general adoption or given back to their original owners when their working years pass. By this time, the dogs are older and calmer, as they've have been able to thoroughly channel all that energy, so they're much more suited for normal dog life.

A quick update from Pep (now Pip's) new handler Heath explains that Pep is off to a great start!

"Just wanted to give you a quick update on Pips first day. First off I'm pretty sure he's earned the name Pipsqueak, now we're just trying to decide if we'll shorten it to Pips, Squeaks, or Squeaker. I imagine it'll be a little of all of them. We played ball for about 2 hours after I got back this morning. He never let up. We even progressed to deep brush and covering his eyes to make him look for it. Just after playing fetch we took him on a hike with Sampson. They did great together! We then played fetch for another hour this evening.

We'll be slowly introducing him to the rest of the pack this week and see how things go. I'm delighted with how well this has turned out and to have Pips in our program. We've still got the hurdle of introducing him to odors but we'll cross that one when we get to it, for now we're just going to focus on getting him situated and having fun, not that smelling poop isn't fun. ;)"

Pep's story taught me an important lesson. Working in animal rescue means you need to think outside the box. Dogs – like people – are all different; some are easy to adopt and some like Pep need alternative placement. The key is that we don't give up. As rescue volunteers, we are the only hope for many of these animals. And they depend on our ability to keep an open mind and persevere.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Diary of A Rescue Effort: Continued

UAF Volunteer Kim keeps up updated about new fosters Willow and Barron's improvement!

Week 3: Sometimes in rescue you just keep doing what you do and in a quiet moment you look around and realize they have arrived. There is still work to do. There is leash walking and car riding but emotionally Willow is where she should be. New foster dog arrived yesterday. On the bed playing with her new best friend.

Week 4: Updates on Both Dogs' Progress - Willow: This is the most dog social of the two and very savvy about it. If one of the dogs she lives with gets annoyed with her and growls she flirts and bounces around to intitiate play until they soften. She is still tentative around people and will probably never be a dog that likes to be hugged but if you are sitting down she will allow lovable handling. She jumps in the air like a gazelle at meal time. She will make a lovely companion for someone willing to continue to work with her to gain her confidence. She will be forever loyal.

Baron: This is a very fun loving, life loving boy. Carries around a rubber chew toy all the time. Loves to hug, walks nicely on a harness and is very good with other dogs. He chirps rather than barks. He is a wonderful boy that will continue to flourish in a patient, calm and supportive household.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One Working Dog's Dream: Part 1

UAF Volunteer / Coordinator Joellyn recently helped find a unique home for Cattle Dog-Heeler mix Pep. Joellyn shares her story of Pep's journey with the Tablescraps blog. We'll be showcasing this wonderful story in three parts, the first of which is below:

PART 1: Pep's journey with United Animal Friends began in November 2010, after the energetic, intelligent Cattle Dog–Heeler mix was picked up as a stray by Animal Control of Prescott, Arizona. A striking dog, Pep lived in the shelter for two full months and was adopted out of the shelter three times – only to be returned for a slew of different reasons: dog aggression, hyperactivity, and a sudden inability of the new owner to care for him. Understandably, Pep became quite a bit frustrated by all this change. Being locked up in small, confined space just didn't suit his nature, and his frustration soon morphed into aggression towards other dogs. That's just how Pep ended up on the euthanasia list.

As a coordinator for United Animal Friends, I regularly visited the shelter and had met Pep a few times. Make no mistake; Pep was ball-obsessed and very active, but beneath all that energy was a sincere love for people. I saw him at YHS and knew he could be a good dog; it would just take the right owner – someone who had the energy to keep up with him. So, I got Pep out of the shelter and into the UAF system in November of 2010. Pep went into boarding as no foster homes without existing dogs or cats (another unpleasant aspect of life for Pep) were available. Pep did relatively well in boarding and would behave for a little while at adoption events. But eventually, he would become bored and frustrated, and he'd start acting out.

Months passed, and finally, we had an interested couple fill out an application for Pep. It all looked very promising and I optimistically thought we had made a match. It was hard to advise the new couple on how Pep would behave in their home; he had never been in a foster home, so the best we could do was tell the couple about Pep's energy level and his penchant for balls. The couple seemed to take it in stride, perhaps assuming (as we did) that Pep had been in a kennel and it would just take time. Well, not much time passed before word got back to us: Pep was just too much for them to handle. His ball obsession was more than they could take – he simply never let up. Pep was returned yet again and it was back to into boarding he went.

Despite yet another failure, Pep and I ventured on. I brainstormed again with my rescue friend and this time, she told me about "conservation dogs." She explained that "Working Dogs for Conservation" is a program that utilizes the natural instinct of dogs to detect scat – all in the effort of identifying animals that are either endangered or invasive.It sounded great to me! I researched the organization and eventually got in touch with someone named Alice. Alice said she couldn't take Pep because she had dogs in her home already, but she suggested I contact a man named Heath with the University of Washington. I emailed Heath and luckily, he responded to my inquiry. He sent me a couple of test to run Pep through to see if he would be a good candidate; Pep passed all the tests with flying colors. Heath then said he was willing to try him out in their program.

Stay Tuned for Part 2: Pep's Journey Continues!