“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:
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.”
Need a little spice in your life? Rudy may be just the guy for you!
He’s a little doxie who could fill a void in your life.
Rudy loves to play and squeaky toys are his favorite! He also loves to walk, he’ll turn you into a power-walker without a moment’s hesitation.
Rudy also loves to eat and needs to have his food measured for him and kept on a strict diet. Rudy is diabetic – his first owner must not have been able to resist that pleading look but he is doing great in his foster home. He eats in a separate space because he is fostered with another dog who is a very pokey eater and Rudy would be happy to help her get started, much less finish any crumbs which isn’t good for him.
He’s very easy to give his insulin injections to twice a day but is a squirm bucket when it comes time to test his levels so that takes a skillful person or two people, one to hold and one to get a drop of blood.
Rudy gets along with other dogs just fine, he’s hesitant on meeting new people and has to bark at them but once they sit down in the house, he’s ready to make friends.
Rudy enjoys sleeping in bed with you or in his own doggy bed. He’ll be a great foot-warmer in the winter as under the covers is his favorite spot. Rudy will stay in a crate if you wish him to but has been left for 6 and 7 hours loose in the house with no problem. He goes outside to do his ‘jobs’ and will use a puppy pad at night if he needs to.
Rudy doesn’t feel he is too little to be a watch dog and will alert you to someone walking by the house and enjoys scaring the squirrels up trees and the bunnies out of the yard.
Looking for a great companion? This special-needs little fellow may be just the guy for you!
This pretty girl was surrendered at a spay neuter event. She had been owned since she had the indentation a collar leaves around her neck. She’s not shy and loves people, being on your lap and rubbing her face on yours but it is hard to have the only home you have known give you up and end up in a cage, waiting rescue. The cats and dogs we rescue truly do not understand what life holds in store for them.
Daphne’s not a very big girl and is all gray with short hair. It was felt that she was too close to delivering her kittens so she was not spayed. 13 days later (gestation for a cat is only 9 weeks) she did begin to have her kittens.
She managed fine until the 2nd kitten came along ‘butt’ first which doesn’t make for an easy pushing job. She pushed and pushed and made no progress. Off to the clinic to have x rays taken and she did successfully deliver that kitten without surgery and visited there for awhile to see if she might still need surgical help. Within an hour or two, she had a third kitten and then she took a rest from labor, which happens. 3 would have been a reasonable sized litter for her to support. By morning she had had 6 kittens and went in for another x ray to make sure they were really all born.
2 boys – all gray
4 girls – all gray (dilute) tortis
Physically, Daphne gave her all bringing this litter to a reasonable birth weight but she had very little milk to offer.
The kittens were being weighed daily to monitor their weight gain. By the time they were 3 weeks old weight gain had come to a near standstill, the runt was more obviously not getting enough milk and the foster mom was beginning to supplement with a bottle and finger feeding canned kitten food.
That’s a demanding job – kittens at 3 weeks are not quite ready to swallow tiny bits of canned food put on the roof of the mouth and most DO NOT like to take a bottle when they have a mom to nurse on. Every calorie we can provide helps them grow and offers a bit of relief for mom who is also struggling. She’s offered a smorgasbord of foods to entice her to have even a few more bites.
This group began opening eyes at a week and that usually happens at 10-14 days. They also were willing to try their canned food and suck on the nipple which was put onto a syringe at first so the foster could tell how much each one was drinking. The foster puts a little pressure on the plunger of the syringe to express the milk as the kitten sucks AND she kept introducing the nipple on a bottle so they could get more used to it and consume more.
The kittens are now 4 weeks old and one is a pound in weight. Generally weight gain has been slower than is hoped for with mom’s lack of production but over the last week ALL have begun to nurse from the bottle better, eat finger-fed canned kitten food and gain weight more rapidly. AND they’re trying out the litterbox! It is always interesting to watch as the kittens figure out how to actually pee and poop – it takes a lot of concentration as each one sits in the box and ‘studies’ how to express the bladder or move their bowels.
The kittens now sport velcro ‘collars’ found at an office supply store. 6 gray kittens are hard to tell apart when they are so tiny. You’ll notice that two of the girls do have more peach in their coat and are easier to identify. Names have been assigned too. From left to right: Daisy, Dora, Dolly, Dreyfus, Dixie and Derby (he is under mom’s front leg but is cut off on the blog).
Daphne continues to have very little milk for them but she is a loving mom and will let them nurse and she grooms and talks to them. Daphne couldn’t do it without her foster mom’s help! She has a full time job where she actually earns money as well as this full time job which includes feeding, cleaning, washing, socializing and scooping litterboxes!
We appreciate any support you can give to Pet Haven to help us feed our adults and litters, orphan or with a mom who can support the group, or a mom who is physically unable to provide no matter how much she eats. If you are unable to contribute financially; organize your own walk or bike ride and ask for pledges for Pet Haven, hold a garage or bake sale, have a supply drive and gather kitten food or make fleece blankets. We appreciate any help you can provide!
Some of the dogs, and cats, who come to Pet Haven have had a difficult life before we found them. Lack of nutrition, playtime, petting, admiring, veterinary care – the list goes on.
The rewards are huge when you adopt one of these pets – you’ll have a companion who will change before your eyes – becoming more comfortable, enjoying life more, gaining confidence as they begin to appreciate how much you want them in your life.
Sometimes we don’t think that owners understand how much their dog or cat loves to be talked to. What animal doesn’t want to be told they are; cute, a good dog/cat, pretty, quirky, loved, silly or simply adored by the tone of your voice.
Bonnie came to us as a shy little gal with a lack of socialization and she’s made great strides. She’d love to have another smaller dog to be friends with who will help her gain confidence and she loves cats too! She’s been more comfortable with her foster mom but her foster dad has won her over too with his quiet voice and gentle ways. They say good things come in small packages and that certainly describes Bonnie; a perky miss, just waiting for that right someone.
Bernice had exposure to people – she was a ‘tied-out’ dog in her previous life but that leads to a lack of socialization too. How many people stopped by each day to tell her she was a good dog? One who was a great friend? Who marveled at how big she was? Not many. Bernice does well with another friendly dog and follows her fosters around, obviously enjoying hearing them talk to her and praise her for the good dog she is. She hasn’t learned to play with toys yet but that will come. Right now she is so happy to hear love in the voices of her foster family. Bernice is a BIG girl with an even bigger heart to shower you with love.
These and many other dogs and cats are traveling the road to having a forever home – are you able to provide one? Check out our adoptable animals!
Cinder came to Pet Haven from Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue. She’s about 8 months old and has a badly damaged foot because she doesn’t walk on the pad but the top of the foot drags on the ground – ouch!
No broken bones were seen on x ray, she may have nerve damage. This week she’ll go for another consult to determine if her leg can be saved or if it will need to be amputated. In all other ways she is a normal, friendly, playful young lady!
She’s just beginning her road to adoption.
Here is a litter of 5 kittens. They were found outside, mom was no longer around and they came to rescue on the White Earth Reservation. By the time they came to Pet Haven they were at least 6 weeks old and had had minimal contact with people. In addition to trying to disappear into the floor when their foster approached, they were badly underweight and needed a series of de-wormings to take care of all the parasites living inside of them. After several weeks and some force feeding of canned food they began to gain weight – up to 1 pound. The littlest girl, the ‘runt’, Winky, refused to be fed OR eat canned food. She continues to have strong opinions about canned food – ish, yuk, NO thank you! She has gone from 10 ounces at 6 weeks to 1# 1 ounce!
Winky is a brown tabby.
Now that the kittens have gained weight and are on their 2nd round of dewormings and diarrhea has lessened, they wear a harness and leash and come downstairs to the 4 season porch to gain confidence in a larger space and to hear more noises in the house and see people moving around. Being picked up from the floor is still a frightening experience and it will take lots of practice to help them overcome this fear. Each one is held multiple times a day in the lap. All readily purr now and have their tails up high when their foster goes into their bathroom to feed them, except one!
Winnie is the most reluctant to trust but she has begun purring when held in the last few days! A small thing but a real milestone for her. She is a brown tabby also and has hair that resembles a rabbit’s fur, we say it is ‘ticked’.
Here are pictures of the others:
Waldo is the only boy and will have medium or long hair. He’s a ‘pretty’ boy!
Wicket is a dilute torti, gray with a little peach in her fur.
Wiggles – a good name for her as she is a busy lady! She’s squinting with one eye which might mean it is sore, that will have to be watched. She is a brown tabby with white paws.
Graduating from a harness and leash, visits to the vet for testing and vaccinations and spay and neuter surgery are all in their futures.
Pet Haven fosters are patient, willing to work to help the dog or cat they take in recover and become healthy physically and emotionally, and then to search for the best home that will match their personality. Being patient can be hard and we can use your encouragement and support to help us heal the ones who need extra care!
There are all levels of cruelty – much of it centers around neglect or ignorance rather than outright acts of violence.
Some folks do set fire to, beat, put in cages or crates and drown in a river. We are horrified, do not understand and feel unable to help. If rescued, this animal should be taken to a humane society or other rescue group at once. Sometimes there is no hope, but often you are the beginning of healing.
YOU are able to help in many other ways.
Spay and neuter. If your pets have been altered, help a friend, neighbor or co-worker understand the overpopulation problem for animals and find a low cost place to have that surgery performed. There are groups, like Pet Haven, who fully subsidize spay and neuter for owned animals with income qualifications. Offer to drive the person, fill out the necessary forms, call around for the resources they need. You will be showing compassion for the person who is ‘in over their head’ as well as helping the pet lead a healthier life.
Feed, provide water and shelter and befriend or trap and find a place for that cat to go. Occasionally a dog needs this kind of assistance too but most often it is a cat – or more than one! Do you have a stray in the neighborhood? in the alley? Did it manage, somehow, to survive the winter? Female cats have been coming into heat since early March. They have kittens 9 weeks after being bred. You don’t really want more strays in your neighborhood, do you?
Do these cats belong to you? No. Do they belong to your neighbor? Maybe, maybe not, but at some point someone put outside a cat, or dog, without spaying and neutering.
If the pet is not altered, and some of the offspring do survive, there is the beginning of more kittens or puppies who will bring more babies into the world who will continue to suffer without shelter, food and water and socialization. Kittens and puppies who are not handled, pet, picked up, kissed while infants will be more and more difficult to socialize as they grow.
You can help support colony cats. Call a rescue or limited admission group, contact the Animal Humane Society, go on-line and search for information. By working together, we can make a difference in the lives of cats and dogs in these situations.
You found an injured dog or cat. Try to move the animal out of danger. Scoop it into a box, wearing gloves and a sweatshirt, so you are not injured if it tries to bite in pain. Have a landing net for fishing? Scoop it up into one of those. Put it in a secure place and immediately call or stop at a shelter organization; the Animal Humane Society and city pounds, animal control, have the ability to get the animal seen asap and provide pain medication as it is evaluated and rescue is searched for. Limited admission groups, like Pet Haven, also take on the challenge of bringing cats and dogs in these dire points of their life.
In 2014 Graham came to an impound. He had a broken femur (back leg) and Pet Haven took him. How did it happen? We don’t know. He received pain medication and a vet visit and was prescribed strict cage rest. This little tyke did not like people, had they been mean to him? Or was he unsocialized? He was held and pet, graduated to a harness and leash to play on the couch with his foster and when his leg had healed enough, to playing on the floor with other buddies.
About a year later, Graham found his home – he’s a very handsome fellow, loves laps and playing with another cat or kitten.
Redby was accidentally hit by a car when it backed up and no one was aware he was behind the car. Both back legs were broken. His owner realized she couldn’t provide the care he would need and he was surrendered. He had to have surgery and lots of quiet time as he began to recover and graduated to brief play sessions, full activity and soon, on to adoption.
You can help with pets who are left out in the yard, chained or in a fenced in area. Does the animal have fresh water? Food? Shelter? Can you advocate for that pet with your neighbor with an offer of help to scoop-the-poop, bring over a fresh bowl or pail for water, help by purchasing food? You can intervene in other ways by talking to your local humane society or impound officer.
You can make a difference! Will you volunteer with a limited admission group like Pet Haven or a humane society? Will you ask for donations to a group to support spay and neuter for your birthday? Will you hold a supply drive or garage sale? We all need your help – the felines and canines AND the people who work everyday as volunteers or in full time jobs to bring the best outcomes possible for each animal that comes to them. Be the person who touches the life of a pet intimately.
It’s been a year since Comma came to Pet Haven. She had two baby boys last Easter and here it is, Easter time again!
The boys were adopted – together! They were black and white like she is.
Comma was surrendered at Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue so she had known people before but she is a cautious girl who hopes to find a quieter home with a woman to love her.
She has frostbite damage to her ear tips – they are white and the skin is thicker. She had been an outside cat much of the time and had hunted for food, water and shelter – sometimes more successfully than others, undoubtedly.
Comma has another cat and a dog in her foster home. They all get along fine and she loves to tease the pooch by sleeping in her bed! She remains shy of the man in the foster home but loves the woman. It took her awhile but she loves to snuggle, LOVES to eat (her weight is being watched for her!) and enjoys the safety and security of being an inside girl. She would probably have a hard time adjusting to an apartment where there were noises in the halls, upstairs and downstairs.
We’re hoping this loving girl will soon get the chance to have a safe and secure home! Tell others about Comma, please!
Spring brings felines having litters. Once the days start to lengthen, more daylight, the females go into heat. Gestation is 9 weeks.
Do you have a stray in your neighborhood? in your alley? under a deck near-by? What about under a shed? under the cover of a boat that has been idle all winter? It’s possible that kittens like these will be born in one of those places.
Where was mom? Was she killed crossing a road in search of food? We never knew.
Anja had her kittens by a garage, right on an alley. The person who called put a fence that was 12 inches high around her and said she was well protected! A foster went within the hour to pick them up.
More often than not these mothers were put outside to fend for themselves last fall or sometime during the winter. It is hard to find shelter, food and water when it is freezing. Mom is at risk herself – dangers from dogs, people, antifreeze, no secure and warm shelter, a lack of food. She has parasites from eating mice and birds. When we are lucky enough to find her, she will probably be very thin with ribs protruding and a backbone too easily felt – we try to feed her with high quality and high calorie food but it is next to impossible to make up for the deficit she is under. Sometimes we bottle feed the babies to supplement her small quantity of milk, we finger feed the babies canned food multiple times, trying to get much needed calories into them. At times we pull the kittens from mom sooner than we would like because she becomes dehydrated and loses strength as her body tries to produce the milk their growing bodies demand.
You can be the rescue hero who helps stop this.
If you have a stray in the alley, in the neighborhood, at work or in your garage efforts need to be made to capture it. Humane societies, impounds and limited admission groups will take these unfortunates. Help us get them off the streets. Only with your help will we be able to spay and neuter to control the number of cats and dogs being born who are not cared for. Have a stray? Call and make plans to help that cat! Don’t wait until there are babies needing help too!
Pet Haven dedicates money from our budget every year to subsidize spay and neuter to low income owners, we give grants to other organizations to help them bring overpopulation under control in their communities. You can help by donating.
You can help by getting that stray cat – friendly or feral – picked up and surrendered where it can get care.
We named this group after the character PigPen in the Snoopy-Charlie Brown comic strip. They were pretty funny and needed baths after each meal of canned food we fed (4 times a day). They had been without mom for an untold length of time and they were voracious! It was funny – but also very sad. They grew up, learned they would have full tummies and were all happily adopted.
Help us break the cycle – we can all do it together!
Perhaps you saw on our Facebook page a little note about Miss Tibbles coming to Pet Haven.
She’s working on healing – it is a big job when you’ve been an outside girl for most of the 9 months of your life and have received food on an irregular basis.
We’re learning things about her everyday. She loves dogs with no reservations or caution! 3 grand-dogs come to visit her foster home periodically – two medium sized adults, one of them having very long legs and a large voice he enjoys using, AND a 4 month old puppy. Tibs is right at their legs or face as soon as they are in the door. It’s good they are respectful and enjoy cats.
Next to a dog she probably loves a lap best. She is still working on balancing the ‘e collar’ she has to wear and getting around with one back leg so playing isn’t a skill that has been mastered yet.
This afternoon she was on the couch with her foster with her cone off – enjoying a busy bath time all over. She is feeling twinges yet after her partial tail amputation and she bites it if she can reach it so she has to be closely supervised. She’s on some medication to help with those phantom pains and the e collar takes care of the rest of the job of protecting the tail.
Her lower side and tummy were shaved when she had her badly injured leg amputated and she was spayed at that time. It wasn’t noticed that her tail was frozen and ‘dead’ about 1/3 of the way up from the tip and that was amputated a little while ago, after she came to Pet Haven.
Here’s a friend of hers in the same foster home: Emmy
Emmy had a badly infected eye removed and will be spayed tomorrow. She’s a ‘zippy’ girl who doesn’t like dogs as well as Tibbles but she certainly loves another cat and a lap. She’s a very playful young lady.
Sunny’s been neutered now! He progressing in his path to adoption too.