Friday, May 27, 2011

Reflections from Mike's foster buddy

Mike, aka "Mikey" (for more info check out his bio) has been in Pet Haven's foster program since August, 2010. When he first came into our program he was assigned a foster buddy, Rachel, as we didn't have a foster home for him and he was being temporarily fostered at one of Pet Haven's dog boarding partners. Rachel continues to  visit Mike at adoption events and shared the following reflections on her experience as a foster buddy with Mikey.

I first heard of Pet Haven when I was working in a partnering boarding kennel. That is where I met and fell in love with my own Pet Haven dog, Tori, and adopted her. When I began volunteering with Pet Haven I thought of the dogs that had been boarded in the kennel for weeks at a time waiting for foster homes or potential adopters to fall in love with them at their adoption events.  I decided to become a foster buddy and stop in to walk and spend time with the dogs that were waiting for a new life. My first foster buddy was Mike. I hadn’t been told much about him, except that he had been returned to Pet Haven after living with the family for several years. That made me sad, but what broke my heart was that later I found out that his previous owners had used a shock collar on him. Having just studied a unit on canine behavior, I learned how destructive harsh methods of punishment can be on a dog without being incredibly consistent and clear about what is required. Shock collars should only be used in extreme cases where multiple other techniques have been tried and behavior specialists have been consulted. Anyone who is thinking of trying a shock collar on their dog for a behavior issue should think of Mike’s story before they potentially cause harm. 

Mike was holding it together when I met him. He is a beautiful black lab mix, long legs and a white star on his chest. His head was down and he was fearful of his surroundings. He forgot himself for a minute with a tennis ball in his room and he started to warm up to me. I took him on some walks and it alarmed me how strong he would pull, as if he didn’t know what he wanted, but it was certainly not to be sitting in a kennel all day! Soon an adoption event came up and a handler was needed. I said I would be glad to. We were both pretty excited for the field trip… He was happy to be in the car, happy to see a familiar face; I was grateful for the kisses and the trust he showed in me.
When we got to the Richfield PetCo I could tell it wasn’t going to be easy. He was terrified. He hated the floor and was scrabbling to get away, pulling the collar so tight I was worried he couldn’t breathe.  I finally got him over to the other dogs and sat down. The look in his eyes was sad disbelief that I was making him stay there. We took many potty breaks outside, but it was a long two hours. Adoption events are hard on the dogs. They don’t understand what is going on; so many people walking by and petting them, strange dogs walking by, rodents in cages; some dogs want to leave, some want to cower and shake, and some want to bark. We made it through, and we were both glad to get back in the car. Soon Mike got a foster! I was overjoyed. I looked forward to seeing him at the next event. When I did I was disappointed. He was so stressed that he couldn’t really focus on me and we didn’t have the reunion I‘d been hoping for. I brought treats and just sat with him, giving him a little doggy massage and telling him how much I missed him. I met his foster dad, Aaron, and was able to ask how Mike did in the home. Turns out he has a lot of fear issues. He is scared of storms and likes to be in the upstairs bathroom the majority of the time because it is the only place he feels safe. He loves to run, though, and enjoyed being outside with his foster brother. One of the reasons that I love Pet Haven is that they called in a professional who determined Mike has an inability to relax and was thoughtful in exploring different ways to help him feel at ease.  How can any being experience happiness when they are in a state of constant anxiety? I thought of Tori and how I know she is happiest when she lays on her side and gives that big, deep sigh… all is right in her world. I’m betting Mike used to lie on his side and sigh… but he doesn’t anymore. I hope he will again.

Mike continues to improve.  Now when I stop at the events he DOES remember me, and his happiness brightens my entire day. He is a special boy, but he is a dog that needs more than just food and a place to sleep. He needs someone to understand him and have patience. That is what I worry about the most. He has become comfortable with his foster and it will take a while for him to adjust to a new situation. I know he can do it. I know he is worth it. I am just (impatiently) waiting for the right person.

Thanks Rachel for sharing your experience as a foster buddy with Mikey. If you are interested in getting involved with Pet Haven and helping us be a voice for homeless dogs and cats, email us at

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mario - sunshine stroll thanks to Lulu & Luigi!

Mario was adopted as a puppy from Pet Haven and lived a happy life for 12 years. Then, his life was turned upside down when his human mom passed away and Mario went to live with a family member. When the family member lost their home, Mario was once again uprooted and moved to a friend’s home as a foster. Unfortunately, that situation was not a good one for Mario and Pet Haven stepped in to provide him a new foster home and prepare him for a new family. Sadly, during this transition, it was discovered that Mario has a liver tumor and severe arthritis. These conditions prevent him from being a candidate for adoption.

Since just before Thanksgiving of last year, Mario has been considered in “hospice care” with his Pet Haven foster family. While his physical limitations keep him from getting around too well, he is in great spirits and does as much as his body will allow. Some days are better than others for Mario. He is no longer able to stand if he is lying on a hard surface, or go up steps. He is trying to learn not to shake his body because his legs won’t support his weight and he falls down. But he never whimpers and he never cries. And the greatest gift of all, Liz from Lulu and Luigi’s has provided a stroller, and he is now able to go on walks with his foster human and canine family. He looks so happy when he is in that stroller, enjoying the fresh air and seeing the world.
Mario is another example of “once a Pet Haven dog, always a Pet Haven dog.” Mario will spend the rest of his days as part of his new family, provided with the love and comfort he deserves.
To read more about Mario check out an earlier blog posting.
Thank you Sharon and Barb for fostering Mario, and for providing him with such a loving home to spend the rest of his days. And thank you Lulu & Luigi for providing a doggie stroller so that Mario can go out on walks with his foster family and his 2 foster siblings!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Adopted Dog Monday: Lucky!

Lucky the 2-year old Yorkie/Maltese mix found his way to Pet Haven earlier this spring. Based on his story, I wouldn't say that Lucky was always quite so lucky himself. He was found as a stray, not neutered and in pretty rough shape. A long-time Pet Haven volunteer and foster agreed to take him in and get him ready for adoption.

Lucky found his forever home in pretty short order. He's now living in a lovely home with a doggy brother and a couple of kitty siblings. He's fitting in perfectly and enjoying the good life! Way to go Lucky!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Adoption Event Saturday, 5/21: Richfield Petco & Lake Calhoun Chuck & Don's

Small Dog Adoption
Chuck & Don’s Calhoun
3246 West Lake Street

Medium/Large Dogs:
Richfield Petco
66th and Lyndale (710 West 66th Street)
Richfield, MN
11 am - 1 PM

Monday, May 16, 2011

Adopted Dog Monday

This is a photo of Creek when he came into Red Lake Rosie's Rescue last fall. He had a big shoulder wound that had to be stitched up. Karen took good care of him until Pet Haven could transport him to the cities. Creek had many trials and tribulations here but finally found the perfect forever home. Here he is now and what his family had to say:

"Creek is doing fabulous. We are slowly but surely letting the cats & Creek sniff each other and get treats when they don't growl. It is pretty cute. Sometimes they approach each other when the other one isn't really paying attention, sometimes there is a little growl sometimes not. The sometimes not is really exciting!!! The birds are still in Jared's room. I think that one just might be too hard right now. Small steps, he is of course a bird dog. Wow when he hears them he has target fixation!! We are getting a pretty good routine going. It seems like he is really feeling like part of the family. Sometimes he would rather just get his food from the toy then his dish. Way more fun. He really likes car & truck rides. We have taken him to the park, he is doing pretty good by other dogs too. I think he is happy, I know we are! Thank you again for bringing Creek into our lives. He is very lovey & fits right in!!"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

10th Annual Minnesota Shelters Conference - Saving More Lives

10th Annual MN Shelters Conference -
 Saving More Lives
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Best Western Kelly Inn, St. Cloud

$50 registration cost covers all materials, breaks, and lunch.  Deadline to register is May 19, 2011.  Each person attending needs to complete a separate form.  Registration fee is non-refundable after May 19th. Questions? Contact Vicki Davis, conference coordinator, at or phone 320-252-1325.

Click on link to download brochure.


8:00 - 8:45              Registration

8:45 Opening comments

9:00 - 10:30 Essentials of Fundraising in an Economic Crunch
Beth M. Krueger, Consultant, Custom Strategies, Austin, Texas
The last 18 months have been financially challenging for animal organizations and you may have had to make some budget cuts while trying to maintain basic resources. But did you know that even in an economic crunch, there are people out there still giving – some even more than normal? You just need to know how to find them. Come learn the secrets to keeping the money flowing while bringing in new supporters to your organization. It's easier than you may think.

10:30 - 10:45 Break

10:45 - 12:15 Capacity Building: Good Foster Programs
Lou Guyton, Senior Director, ASPCA®® Community Initiatives,
Hear about one shelter with a teeny space on how they save thousands of animal lives through foster home development!  We’ll also share some other programs that are working in other communities and facilitate a discussion to help you go home and start planning for the capacity to Save More Lives!

12:15 Lunch

1:00 - 2:30 It's Raining Cats: How to Promote and Increase Cat and Kitten Adoptions
Sharon Harvey, Cleveland Animal Protective League

Do you feel like you need to strap on a helmet just to face the day? Are you so overwhelmed you don’t even know how and where to start? Fear not! This engaging session will rekindle your creative thinking and provide some “think outside the box” strategies that will seize the attention of potential adopters and help you to save more cats. You’ll learn how to create the “buzz” about your cat adoption program, the importance of data in presenting and supporting your need to get creative, how to prepare your staff, volunteers, and others in your community for your new adoption adventures, and how to market and position your fabulous felines themselves!
2:30 Break
2:45 - 4:00 Helping At-Risk Pets Before Admission
Jodi Lytle Buckman, Senior Director, Community Initiatives for the ASPCA

How can we help pets in our community? Too often, our answer to this question defaults to “admission for re-homing.” Who better to shelter and protect that animal than us, right? In many situations, admission may be the perfect next step. But for those animals already in a home where they are loved, or where the caregiver is willing to help find that next fabulous home for a stray – why not keep that pet at home or let that wonderful family who took in a stray help your agency do great work? We’ll spend this session exploring ways other agencies are helping keep pets in their homes, reduce animal admissions and save more lives. Let’s save them BEFORE they require admission!
4:00 - 4:45 The Campaign for Zero: How Duluth saved 93% of homeless pets in 2010 and ended euthanasia of healthy pets.
Linda Baumgarth, Animal Allies.

This workshop explores six key strategies: targeted, high-volume, high-quality, low-cost spay-neuter; high-volume adoption practices; progressive intake management; partnership between high-euthanasia shelter and high-volume adoption center; bold public goal-setting that inspires community support; win-win partnerships. These strategies were utilized in Duluth to successfully open a $3.5 million high-volume adoption center, operate a first-in-the-state spay/neuter clinic serving all of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, nearly triple annual adoptions, reduce shelter euthanasia by 64%, eliminate euthanasia of healthy animals, add more than $1 million to their endowment, quadruple the operating budget, and negotiate an agreement to join forces with the City of Superior, Wisconsin and two Superior shelters to build and operate a $2 million new shelter for that community.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Red Lake Rosie's Adopted Dog Monday

Duchess is a terrier mix from Red Lake. She was adopted by a former adopter of another Red Lake Rosie's Rescue dog, Bart the Dumpster dog. He has his own blog and has featured his "bratty" new sister a couple of times. Here is a link to one of his posts about Duchess.

Here is what mom has to say:
"Duchess is doing well...she's a leaper. From a sitting position she leaped over our 5 foot fence to meet the neighbor's doberman yesterday. So that's some new information it was like a kangaroo, unbelievable.

You were right she really is the perfect dog...totally housebroken (except for one introductory poop) energetic but not nervous, loves all people, dogs and kids and not mouthy at all, takes treats nicely, etc. She's so ready made for a family that's looking for a dog to love and to be the center of attention." Can you find the Duchess girl in the photo? Looks like she blends right in.

Apple is a gorgeous aussie mix from Red Lake Rosie's Rescue. She was with her fosters for only a couple of weeks when the family decided she was already home and adopted her.

Here is what her mom has to say:
"Allie (formerly Apple) is doing just great! She did just fine while we were on vacation - actually I hear she had so much fun playing with all the dogs at daycare, and Allie and Sadie each slept with a family member. Now Allie is sleeping with Amy in her bed - Sadie snores so Amy doesn't allow her in bed with her!

I took Allie to an off-leash dog park, and she just loved it. She never wandered too far from me, but when she did it wasn't for long. What a great dog! At home she is always by my side, and comes when we call her if she's outside. We are all enjoying her so much!"


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the foster moms out there. So many homeless dogs are waiting for a second chance just like Tug. If you are considering opening your home and heart to a dog that needs help please let Pet Haven know.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mntka Petco and Chuck & Don's Wayzata May 7th Adoption Events

Blue and Boomer will be charming their way into your hearts.
Sat. May 7th
Med/Lg Dog Adoption
PetCo Minnetonka
13691 Ridgedale Dr.

Charlie is waiting to spend days at the lake with his new family.
Saturday May 7th
Small Dog Adoption
Chuck & Don’s Wayzata
1147 Wayzata Blvd. E
Wayzata, MN

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

University of St. Thomas students raise almost $2000 for homeless animals!

A team of University of St. Thomas students came together to raise money for homeless dogs and cats. The effort was led by Cody Luebeck, Resident Advisor for Brady Hall 6th floor at the University of St. Thomas.

Cody shares the following:

"I brought the idea of raising money for a charity up back in December.  I brought it to the men of my leadership team, and asked them if they would be interested.  They said they would be, and I presented the idea of raising money for an animal shelter.  I chose this for a couple reasons: 1. I am a huge animal lover, as well as my team, and helping homeless animals is a way to help other animals have a life they deserve, and 2. Everyone supports human charities (women shelters, orphanages, cancer places) and animal shelters are often forgotten. 
The team is a group of guys that volunteered at the beginning of the school year to help me plan events.  We have done a blacklight dance, an Elementary/Middle school volunteer day (we played with the kids and helped tutor) as well as other social events throughout the year. 
The during the program, we handed out over 200 coffee mugs stuffed with hot cocoa and an information sheet.  We would collect names and a meal would be subtracted from the students' meal plan. During the actual event, my guys worked to get every single person who walked into the cafe to sign up.  The lunch lady who swipes the cards even helped us out, sending back anyone who didn't initially sign up by asking them "don't you want to help those cute puppies and kitties?"  Coming from a cute little grandma, nobody could refuse.  I also arranged to have Tommie, our school mascot, make an appearance to help our efforts, and having him there was a great addition. "

Cody came to one of our Pet Haven adoption events to present the check. As a result of their hard work, enthusiasm and creativity these awesome students raised $1,785 for homeless dogs and cats!!!

Dog stars are Tug (the beagle) and Jake (spaniel/hound mix).
Both are up for adoption!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Adopted Dog Monday: Millie

Millie is a shy young Poodle girl who was rescued from yet another terrible hoarding situation. She was a petite little thing and very much a puppy when she came to Pet Haven. Her foster, Sandy, fell in love with her instantly and knew that Millie was only going to go to the most special of homes....Millie needed a family that would be extra patient with her while she lived out that young puppy stage (potty training, teething, obedience, etc) and also while she learned how to be a family pet. Millie likely got very little attention before coming to Pet Haven and needed to learn how to be loved and cared for.

Sandy was right -after a few short months, the perfect family came along for Millie. It was love at first sight!

Here's an update from Millie's new family:

"Mille has fit into our little family very well and we all love her so much. I try and get her out for a walk everyday and though it was hard to just get around the block with her, we are now able to walk over a mile together. She gets braver and braver every time we go out...

When I pick my daughter up from school, Millie's fan club comes and gather around Millie wanting to pet her; this freaks her out a little but she is doing so much better and as long as mom is wiht her she knows she is all right.

During the day, Millie likes to follow me around the house as I do my daily chores and when she gets bored, she plops herself on our bed by the window and looks out to make sure there are not rabbits, birds, or squirrels upsetting our yard. She also likes to think she is protecting us from the two huge black labs across the alley and growls at them showing them who is boss.

She loves to be outside and though it hasn't been easy her these past few days with all the rain and wind, she loves to be out looking around.

We are very careful to keep an eye on her and bring her everywhere; we worry sometimes that someone might take her she is so cute and such a GOOD dog."