Monday, October 17, 2011

You see, it's funny...

Ok, I have been having these little 'ah-ha' moments recently.
Sometimes I notice Lucy playing with other babies, and watch her freak out when another kid looks at her toy and I think... Hmmm... Slim and Double are the same way!  
Lucy tends to be a tad bit of a 'drama queen' when it comes to other babies.  (Shocking I know!)  She will be the first one to crawl over to the toys and other kids, but also the first one to cry when someone looks at her wrong.  

Now, all of the 'holier than thou' mommas out there won't like when I say this, but honestly... animal rescue (bulldogs in particular) has taught me so much about being a parent! 
Yes, Yes I know they are dogs, and babies are human... but I believe LOVE and COMPASSION is pretty universal, whatever species you may love!
Here are a few 'funnies' that remind me just how much I have learned over the years!  
Enjoy....And SMILE!  :-)  


1. If you THINK you smell something 'off' you probably do!  (I have never been wrong on this!)

2.  Don't put a ton of toys on the floor to play with. Overstimulation!  A few is good enough, not the entire collection.

3. Do not. I repeat, DO NOT put toys in the middle of 2 babies and expect them not to fight.  It will happen.  They want the SAME toy. (Just like bulldogs!)

4.  When in public, parents of doggies and babies openly discuss poop, feedings, and anything and everything.  This is normal.  Also, scheduling of play dates happens for dogs and babies too!

5.  Anything and everything is a choking hazard.

6.  Sleeping is a thing of the past.  For those who have babies, yep... you get it.  For those with bulldogs, if you can sleep through the farting and snoring, more power to you.  I sure can't!

9.  They absolutely hate Halloween costumes. 

10. Divide and conquer.  Some parents let their kids run all over like wild banchees.  Not here at the Farrish crib.  Baby gates and play pens are our best friends.  No need to start letting them think they run the house from day 1.  (Even though they do.)  The parents have to be the boss.  Period.

11.  They don't always need a brother or sister.  Nothing wrong with having one and giving them all the attention!  They don't always want a 'friend to play with!'

SO yes... being a parent to my 2 bullies before baby Lucy came along helped get me ready... haha. 
Here are a few pictures of the Farrish crew.
Happy Monday!  

So cute!

Double says 'who is this?!'

Brother SLIM

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Momma Mia! A pregnant bulldog?!

Well, as far as rescues go, this one by far has been the most heartbreaking for me.  

A few days ago, our friend Ana with Boston Terrier rescue notified us of a bulldog at the Maricopa County Shelter (aka 'the pound').  The dog was found as a stray, roaming the hot streets of Arizona in July.  I don't know how she is still alive.
We made some phone calls and did some investigating, and the shelter worker on the phone says, 'Whoa, wait a second.  This dog is pregnant.  Very pregnant.'  My heart sunk.  
Now, for those who don't know, English Bulldogs are required to have C-sections.  So this girl being at the pound with limited resources, was not going to have that opportunity to have a C-section and raise her puppies.  The shelter does not have the time, money or man power to do that.  
I immediately got on the computer and begin e-mailing the 'powers that be' at the shelter, begging and pleading for them to release this dog to us ASAP so we can get her the prenatal care she deserves.  Not to mention, the bulldog was in a 4x4 foot indoor/outdoor kennel run, with only swamp cooling to keep her cool.  The runs are made out of concrete, so you can imagine how hot is was for her being pregnant!!!
The 'powers that be' at the shelter informed me of a new 'rule' that not even rescuers that are partnered with them are allowed to get dogs out for rescue that are not spayed/neutered.  Ok, I said, so what does this mean?!  It means that the mom will be released to us AFTER they open her up, remove the puppies, euthanize each puppy one by one, and then remove the momma dog's uterus and 'girl parts'.  
GASP.  I know you are all reading this in horror, wondering how any human being on earth can think this is okay.  It's NOT ok.  When I heard this, I got tears in my eyes and started calling every shelter phone number that I had, begging and pleading for an exception to be made.  My volunteer, Michele said she would love nothing more than to raise this litter of puppies.  We told the shelter workers that we will pay for the dog's c-section, get up every 3 hours to put them on mom to feed, and most of all- when they are ready and old enough- ensure that every puppy was spayed/neutered before they would be adopted out.  
Not good enough.  This was their 'rule' and there was nothing I could say or do to get this dog out with the puppies still inside of her.  
I asked the shelter to move the momma dog into the section of the shelter that has air conditioning, and they agreed to.  (THANK GOODNESS.)
Most of you know that I just had a baby, and the thought of any living thing waking up after being pregnant, and not being pregnant anymore- and NO baby or babies- is horrifying!  My heart broke for this dog, but I had to accept the fact that there was nothing I can do.
I asked the shelter manager if she could ensure that Love-A-Bull Rescue would be able to get this dog immediately after surgery to give her the proper after care.  She agreed to that. 
SOOOO, that is what we did today.  Michele came over, we loaded up Lucy in the van, and headed to the shelter after we got word the spay was complete.  Can I just say, doing ANYTHING in 108 degree heat is miserable, let alone walking the shelter with only fans and swamp cooling!  We take a number in line, and wait about a half hour.  In that half hour we saw so many people with dogs to surrender.  We heard things like 'I'm moving and can't take her,' and 'she pees on the floor,' and 'my boyfriend doesn't like the dog.'  REALLY?!  What happens when your children do this??  Do you just dump them off somewhere for someone else to deal with?
So we finally get up to the desk, and the lady said 'she is in the next door vet area, go there.'  OK, so we do.  We get there, and the vet tech informs us that there were SIX puppies inside of her, and they were glad they removed them when they did because she was very close to going into labor.  
Michele and I sat there in horror listening to this.  THOSE POOR PUPPIES!  THAT POOR MOMMA DOG!  
I have great respect for the men and women who work at shelters, but man.  Hearing this being said got under my skin so bad!  All I keep thinking is how those puppies would have had such amazing love and care in our rescue... But no.  Not now.  They are gone.
The worker there said 'the dog isn't moving that well.'  REALLY?!  I wonder why.  She also said, 'from the looks of things, this is not her first litter, so there was a ton of scar tissue and a lot of blood lost during the surgery.'  It will be great if this dog makes it.
Michele went in the back to get the dog out of the kennel while I went to cool the car down...
She had to carry this big ol' bully girl out wrapped in towels.  My heart sank to the floor.  The dog's nose was crusted over with green mucous, and the dog is sneezing and coughing.  Great.  She has kennel cough too.  Oh, and a huge cherry eye that is blocking her vision.  I can't imagine how this dog feels right now!  She has to be wondering where her babies are and why she feels so awful! Her her world has been turned upside down in a matter of days.
We named her 'Momma Mia.'  She is such a beautiful girl, and after she gets through this trauma and pain, she will be up for adoption.  She is as sweet as pie, and NEVER deserved this!  Where the HECK are her stupid owners?!  Did they dump her off in the middle of summer because they didn't want to pay for a c-section?  Did they not THINK when they let her get pregnant??  
Honestly, THIS is why I do rescue.  So we can ensure that these dogs are getting fixed and getting into homes that we would trust with our own dogs.  There are so many stupid people out there that don't deserve the right to own a dog.  
I am not against breeding.  I am against irresponsible breeding.  Momma's owners could have gotten on the phone or in their car, and found her at the shelter.  There is a mandatory 3 day hold for ALL stray pets.  Nope, no one came forward.
I hope Momma's story will make you think twice the next time you hear that your friend is going to 'breed his dog.'  I hope her story will touch your heart enough to discourage irresponsibility.  I hope that next time you decide to get a new dog that you will consider a rescue group or adopting from the shelter.  Walking through the shelter (even though I have done it so many times) really puts you in a different place.  A different state of mind when you see all of these poor animals laying there looking at you, wondering if you are there for them.  I honestly say a prayer when I leave there, praying that these beautiful faces get adopted to good people.  I know the reality is this:  about 5% of those dogs are leaving the shelter and going to a home. (I am being generous.)
In Maricopa County alone, the East and West shelters take in hundreds and hundreds of dogs.  
Is it fair that Momma dog ended up there?  NO.  Is it fair that her puppies are gone?  NO.  Should any dog or living thing have to go through this? NO!
Moving forward... Momma is now napping in her crate, in nice, cold air conditioning.  She is going to be so incredibly spoiled that it's ridiculous!!!  
My little Lucy was such a trooper.  We were both sweating so bad she was sliding off me, but she just smiled and looked at all the dogs... Such innocence.  She was happy to see the dog in the back riding home with her.  She probably thinks, 'another Double??'  (Double is Lucy's furry brother, along with SLIM!)
We will keep everyone posted on Momma Mia.  She is in the best hands EVER and please send some good vibes her way!

Ahhh... so glad to be home now.  Lucy is napping, the bullies are napping, and now I get to......... do laundry!  BLEH!  
Here are some pics of the beautiful MOMMA MIA and of course, my favorite little girl in the world, LUCY MARIE!...
                                                     Momma dog SAFE!

                                              Notice her green nose :-(

                                                     Scared Momma...

                                          Real great owners she had (IDIOTS!)

                                           Michele loaded up and so is Lucy!

Lucy's favorite part is waiting for Momma Dog to come out while she sits with the AC blowing on her in the front seat with me!  BIG STUFF!

                                                 The small kennel runs

                                                         Poor dogs...

So sad to see all of these lost pet flyers there...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A very special girl...

18 years ago today my niece, Brittany Ann was born in Springfield, Missouri.
I will never forget that day.
My sister had toximia, and was forced to have a c-section almost 3 months before her due date.  They brought little Brittany out on a cart on the way to the NICU and she was barely 3 lbs. She looked like a baby bird.  My whole family and I slept on the chairs and floor of the waiting room for days praying and hoping for my sister and new baby niece to be okay.
After many weeks in the hospital she was allowed to go home.  I moved in to my sister and brother in law's apartment, and we all set alarm clocks to get up and feed Brittany.  She was so tiny that she barely could cry.  June 29, 1993 was one of the best days of our lives, as we welcomed a tiny new family member into our lives.
Brittany grew stronger day by day, and turned into a beautiful young lady!  She was spunky, sassy, sweet and everything a little girl should be.  She had her own opinions on life, and there was no way you could change them!  (A girl after my own heart!)
She loved her dogs, Bingo and Jesse.  She loved the computer, she loved her friends.  She loved her bird, Squawky, but most of all, she loved her family!
Brittany would come stay at my house for weeks in the summer, helping me with the rescue dogs.  I never could understand why or how this girl could stay up all night listening to her Ipod and watching tv!  I could barely stay up past 10!
When she was in junior high, there were many times I would get her out of school early and take her to concerts!  I am not going to admit what concerts we saw, but let's put it this way.  I would be forcing her to go and she was like, 'Aunt Karen I can't believe you like Kelly Clarkson...' haha.
Brittany was the flower girl in my wedding.  She had strep throat that weekend, but that didn't stop her.  She danced the night away and melted my heart when she told me, 'I love you Aunt Karen because now I have an Uncle!'
On Mother's Day 2010, I told my whole family that Aaron and I were expecting a baby!  Right away Brittany knew it was a girl!  She didn't even think twice!  She was so excited to have her very first cousin, and I know her and Lucy would have been best friends.
Brittany helped plan my baby shower, and was there early to help decorate.  There is NOTHING you could ask her to do that she wouldn't do to help you out.  Her answer was always, 'no problem, Kare!'  I can hear her saying that now...

For those of you who know me, know that on October 26th, 2010 my beloved niece passed away.  It was by far, the worst day of our lives.  I have never felt such pain in my heart, and I hope to never again.  Not only pain for MY loss of MY niece, but pain for my sister and her husband, and my parents.
I cannot say I understand what my sister and her husband are going through, but I can say that NO ONE EVER deserves to lose their child!  It's NOT fair, and YES... it is hard to understand why God takes children away from their parents.  WHY?  Our family is Christian and believe in God's plan, but let me tell you, some days it's pretty darn hard to do.
I was 7 months pregnant at the time, and felt the worst guilt in the world for being so happy to have a baby girl, when my sister lost hers.
In the last 8 months, it has been very hard for all of us, with the happiness and love of a new addition to the family, and a horrible, painful loss of another family member.
You know, when you are shopping or out and about, you look around at the people next to you and you just never know what people are going through.  They could smile and act polite, but really, did they just lose their child?  Family member?  Best Friend?  You never know.  I try to keep that in mind now, because even the simplest little things and the random acts of kindness can make someone's day a little easier.
Brittany loved to Co-Exist t- shirts, and I see those bumper stickers all the time.  It's like she is saying, 'be nice Aunt Karen!'
Does every day get better?  No.  It doesn't.  The pain is in my heart from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep at night.  I love Brittany and will NEVER let her legacy die.  Whenever I see a sassy little teenage girl, I just smile... because that was our 'B.'  Her and I didn't always see eye to eye, but I appreciated the fact that she had her own opinion and I loved her for being an individual.
Whenever we all get together now, there is 1 person missing in the room.  An extra spot on the couch, a gaping hole that will never be filled again.  That emptiness will always be there, because we will always have a spot for little Brittany.
I know that every single day she is looking down on Lucy.  I just feel it.  And I swear, that little birthmark on her leg was a kiss from an angel.  :-)
Here are some pictures of us, some were too hard to post today.
I love you Brittany, and God better be making you an amazing birthday cake in heaven.

B with Slim when he was a baby

All of us in Canada

My girl and I at my wedding

Her and Aaron in Canada buying supplies to fix my grandpa's walkway

She loved this darn t shirt

Friday, June 24, 2011

On a mission...

A rescue mission that is!
A few days ago we (the rescue gals) received an e-mail from the Arizona Humane Society saying that there is a bulldog in need of rescue.  They guessed her age to be around 6-7 (I would guess her at 5.)  She came in to the shelter as a stray... (YES!  A stray English Bulldog...)  They scanned her for a microchip, and she didn't have one.  No collar or tags either. 
The reason that rescue was contacted is this: When the shelter gets a dog in, they do what is called an 'evaluation.'  They temperament test the dog with food and other dogs... They want to make sure the dog is almost 'bomb proof' enough to go up for adoption to the public.  (Liability reasons) Meaning they can't flinch when another dog approaches them, they can't get possessive over food or toys, and they absolutely cannot growl, bark or show fear to a human.  If they do any of those things, they are automatically deemed 'unadoptable' and will not be up for adoption to the general public.  Also, if they are sick or require a surgery, they are also deemed 'unadoptable' and do not go up for adoption.  This is when rescue is contacted.  If no rescuers are able to get the dog, the dog is put to sleep. :-(
Remember... these evaluations can be way off sometimes when checking for dog's behavior, since they dogs are scared outta their minds!  They are sometimes dumped off there by their owner, sometimes they are hurt, and sometimes they are strays... So, I would be a little touchy too if I were the dog, but the shelter cannot take the chanc
Love-A-Bull Rescue doesn't take dogs with aggression issues, but we absolutely will take a bulldog that is in need of a surgery or some good old fashioned TLC.
That is case with this bulldog, now named 'Adele.'  She has a cherry eye, needs entropion surgery and has an elongated soft palate making it even harder for her to endure the heat of the Arizona summers.
I met my friend/co-rescuer Trisha who picked up Adele.  Lucy was dropped off at Grandma's house on the way because it is just too darn hot!
I load Adele up, and we are off to get Lucy from Grandma's house.  I decide to give Adele a bath there before bringing her home.
Grandpa and Lucy are watching me give Adele a bath through the screen door.  Lucy is lighting up like a Christmas tree, probably thinking "hey! This is a new brother or sister for me!"  Adele is wiggling her big ol' behind at Lucy as if to say "hey girl! What's up! Let's play!" Meanwhile I am sweating like a pig, covered in hair and wet dog smell.  It's only 108 outside!
Lucy gets loaded up, and Adele, Lucy and I are on our way home.
NOTE TO SELF: NEVER do anything over Lucy's nap time.  Lucy starts getting fussy, Adele starts barking, and momma is about to lose it!  Thank goodness I found the 'smooth jazz' station on the radio and that calms down the troops a little... haha.
We get home, and Slim and Double are anxious to see who this new kid was... Adele goes to her room with a bone and ice water, Lucy goes to her crib for a nap, and Slim and D go right back to sleep on the couch.
Ahhh.  Now to get the profile and pics of Adele posted on Petfinder and Adopt-A-Pet so hopefully some wonderful family will apply to adopt her.  Our goal in rescue is to find the PERFECT fit for our rescue dogs.  Not all dogs are good in all homes.  That is why so many end up in rescue.  We look for a family who can promise 'til death do us part' when adopting their new furry friend.  Not some idiot who just wants a bulldog as an 'accessory.'
It frustrates me to no end when people just give up on their dog.  Honestly, I am learning that raising a baby is SO much work, but I would never give up on my furry kids because I don't 'feel' like dealing with them anymore.  We are a family and that's that!
Rescue is my passion and I will always be a part of it.  Obviously I can't be as involved as I used to, but my heart is there ALWAYS and I am available to help a bulldog any time of the day. (Except for Lucy's nap time!)  You can see how just ONE dog entering rescue can take that volunteer's entire day up.  Is it worth it? Absolutely, but really... why can't people THINK before getting a dog?  Better yet, why can't they spay/neuter their pet to lower the pet population?
The saddest part is that there was another bulldog there, waiting for his 'eval.'  We will probably be getting that guy too...
What scares me is that these people who are dumping dogs left and right are also raising children.  Gosh, if you can't raise a dog, you shouldn't be raising kids!  Dogs don't talk back, ask for money, or require you to bring them everywhere you go.  They give unconditional love to their owners, and they deserve the same in return.  Dogs are SO easy compared to kids!

I want Lucy to love animals, and to be respectful of them.  I just know she will be the next generation of animal rescuers. :-)

Now that is quiet in the Farrish household, I am really craving a nap.  BUT- laundry needs to be done, dishes need to be washed and Lucy will be up in no time wanting her bottle.
There will be crying, barking and who knows what else in our house at all times... but hey- what will be will be! :-) And that's how we like it...

Here are some pics of our day today...

                                           Adele at the AZ Humane Society

                                                     All ready to go!

                                                    Bring on the BULL!

                                              Meeting Trish with Adele!

YAY all safe and sound, ready to go get a bath! 

                                                 All cleaned up and fed