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A Once in a Lifetime Dog

My name is Quinn, my husband and I adopted a dog named Abby (Pet Haven tag #3512) from Pet Haven on August 11, 2005.

We went out to meet Abby at her foster family’s house in Eden Prairie. Instantly, we knew Abby was the one for us. We took her home with us on August 11th. I cried on the way home that evening because my old dog had died the month before. I knew Abby was a great match for us but I was still mourning the loss of my old dog.

I loved Abby and we quickly became inseparable. I worked at an animal hospital for five years and Abby came to work with me every day. She loved it and I loved having her there.

It said in the notes I received from Pet Haven that her previous owners stated that Abby just wanted to part of the family. Abby very much was a huge part of our family. I recently had to make the agonizing decision to put Abby to sleep. She was fifteen and half years old (she was five years old when we adopted her from you). She was diagnosed with hermangiosarcoma ten and half months ago. I was told she would probably live no more than 60 days, but she lived ten and half more months. She displayed no signs of discomfort other than some arthritis. She went downhill pretty fast, starting with limping and two days later she was unable to stand.

Abby was very much my dog. I lovingly called her my protector. She was fierce in her loyalty and love. She laid next to my side of the bed every night for 10 and half years, I still look to see if I am going to step on her when I get out of bed in the morning. Any time she felt  was being threatened (by the mailman mostly) :) she would sit down right in front of me as if to say, you’re going to have to get through me first.  My daughter Chloe, who was one year old when we adopted Abby and is now eleven years old, is particularly heartbroken. I wanted to reach out and update you on Abby and to say Thank you.  Had it not been for your organization, I would not have found Abby.

Abby is a once in a lifetime dog and I miss her dearly.

Quinn Kennedy

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Puppy Party Reunites “Vikings” littermates

“When I first brought up the idea of doing a puppy birthday party, people looked at me like I was nuts. Like I had finally, fully, become their ‘crazy dog lady’ friend or family member.  But there was something so special about these puppies. Everything they had gone through. The amazing homes they went into. I had to at least try to reunite them.”

The Pet Haven foster mom of 6 puppies rescued in August 2014 proposed an idea several months ago that came to fruition on July 5th. The idea: a 1-year birthday party for 6 amazing, fun-filled, energetic dogs who had once been struggling to survive.  Due to geography and schedule constraints, not all 6 were able to make it, but in attendance were: Maggie (fka Kahlil), Coco (fka Carter), Vito (fka Patterson) Byku (fka Barr) and their families, along with foster mom Meagan and her roommate Crystal, and “surrogate mom” and resident dog, Remi.

The result: a PUPPY PARTY!!  The event was visually documented by the amazing Sarah Beth Photography as seen here:

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Despite there being many other dogs at the dog park, these littermates stuck primarily to hanging out with each other, giving all those present the feeling that the dogs knew there was something “special” about one another.  In fact, science supports this notion.  As young puppies a hormone called oxytocin (also referred to as the “love hormone”) allows canines to develop bonds with their littermates, leading some researchers to believe that grown littermates experience a chemical reaction when in the presence of one another.  Additionally, they seemed to remember Remi, the foster mom’s resident Catahoula Leopard Dog/Labrador Retriever mix, who served as their surrogate mom during their 5 weeks in foster care.

Although we would like to think that reuniting littermates is kind of like those Oprah episodes where [human] family members are reunited after years and there are happy tears and hugging, this isn’t always the case when reuniting canine littermates.  So Pet Haven took several steps to ensure a safe and happy birthday party. A dog park provided a fenced-in area large enough to hold several 70lb energetic dogs, while also serving as a neutral place where no one felt a sense of territorialism. Additionally, since all of the dogs were spayed and neutered before adoption (as are all of our foster care program animals), issues naturally associated with hormones in unaltered pets, weren’t relevant. Lastly, all of the dogs were introduced carefully so that each could provide a dog-appropriate “hello” before any wrestle-mania activity began.

For those who are unfamiliar with our infamous “Vikings puppies,” here is their backstory:

On August 17, 2014 Pet Haven received an urgent call from a Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue volunteer. They had just wrapped up another successful spay/neuter clinic, when a community member came to them with a plea for help. The person’s German Shepherd mix dog could no longer feed her puppies due to her own malnourishment, and they had no resources to care for them. Unable to talk this person into surrendering the mother dog with the litter, clinic volunteers got to work on finding placement for the 12 puppies. Within less than an hour, Pet Haven secured a foster home for 6 of the puppies, and later that day these 6 started their journey to the Twin Cities.

At only 3 weeks old, these puppies were malnourished and incredibly weak, weighing between 1.9 and 2.8 pounds each. All 6 had worms, Coccidia, and later developed demodectic mange. Pet Haven was unsure as to whether all 6 would survive, but with round-the-clock care including bottle feedings every 4 hours, each pulled through and began to thrive. Each puppy was named after a current or former Vikings player forming the “Vikings puppies” roster of: Adrian, Barr, Carter, Kahlil, Patterson and Teddy. With each week the puppies grew stronger and stronger.


Adrian loved people – if there was a person around, he cared more about following them than wrestling with his littermates. Even as a puppy, he sought out children and was incredibly gentle with them. Barr was the “surfer dude” of the group; always laid back, never easily riled. He had many admirers because of his unique “cow-like” coloring. Carter was the alpha of the group, in every way. He was bigger, faster and stronger than the other puppies and he had the personality to match. He would rather be around other dogs than people and would play, play, play all day long if allowed. Kahlil was the only female in the litter and was definitely the most vocal (her foster mom would say “whatever she is feeling or thinking, you will hear about it!”). She had no idea she was half the size of her brothers; if anyone was up for a wrestling match, she was game. Patterson was the “lap dog” of the group; if there was a lap to sit in, he was in it! He had a personality very similar to a cat, just wanting to lie around and be attended to, with occasional playing. Teddy was the roly-poly guy of the litter and fit his name well. Being short and stocky, he was also the fluffiest, somewhat resembling a teddy bear. He had a knack for digging holes and was often found covered in dirt.

While in foster care, each puppy received daily supervised socialization with humans of all ages, to ensure that any impact of not having their mother around was minimized. None of the puppies were allowed to leave the foster home until they were 8 weeks old, to maximize the natural lessons that dogs receive about dog/dog socialization from their littermates during such a critical age. And all 6 adopters of these puppies were required to complete a puppy socialization class with their new pup, to ensure each would become a breed ambassador, despite a difficult start to life.






At the close of the event, Coco’s mom put it best when she said, “I just can’t believe it. Today was the happiest I have ever seen him.”

Register for 2015 Doggy Dash!

Registration is open for Doggy Dash 2015.  Join us August 22nd at Normandale Lake Park in Bloomington for our 3K Walk or 5K Run.  Bring your canine companion and support Pet Haven!  T-shirt and goodies are included.