February 2012 


Are you sure he won't bite you, Susie?



Sorry! Yes, the newletter is late this month; the editor's computer crashed. Finishing up was done on the old Win2K computer which really slowed things down. Apologies from the editor.


The Cost of Rescue

As members,friends and supporters of Ratbone Rescue and readers of the Barker, you may have noticed that our site and newsletters display a donation button and it is not unusual for us to be running some kind of fund-raiser. Since we do have an adoption fee for our rescue dogs, you may wonder why we seem to always be looking for donations. Sometimes it seems, even to us, like we always have our hands out. This is why we want to take this opportunity to shed some light on the costs of rescue, why most legitimate rescues run in the red much of the time and why rescues really need donations to survive.

A majority of dogs we rescue come from shelters and have no medical history so full vetting needs to be done to be sure the dog is ready for adoption. For a typical dog with no serious medical problems we spend, on average, a little over $250 in vetting costs. This covers an exam, spay/neuter, rabies, distemper/parvo and bordetella vaccinations, heartworm testing, microchipping and worming. Our adoption fee is $165, so the amount we have to come up with through fund-raising for each healthy adult dog is around $85.

For a typical healthy puppy most of our expenditures are the same, except a puppy can require up to 5 boosters of the distemper/parvo vaccine and 3 wormings, instead of one. Young puppies don't need heartworm tests, so that's one expense we don't have for them but with the repeat shots and worming, we spend around $320 vetting a healthy puppy. Our adoption fee for puppies is $190 so the amount that we have to raise for each healthy puppy is about $140.

Unfortunately, many dogs that we bring into our rescue are not healthy. Ratbone Rescues does not turn away a dog because it has medical problems. We take in the broken ones along with the healthy ones, if we have room for them. These "broken" dogs may need tests such as bloodwork, urinalysis, X-rays, ultra-sounds, or skin scrapings. Then they are likely to need medical procedures or medicine to deal with their medical issues. An unhealthy dog will generally cost $50-100 minimum for tests, then there are additional costs to actually treat the problem.

These are examples of the type EXTRA costs we incur for an unhealthy or injured dog:

  • Dog with heartworm disease: $400-900, depending on severity and geographic location.
  • Dog with demodex mange: $225
  • Dog with sarcoptic mange: $350
  • Dog with urinary tract infection: $70-100
  • Dog with a "simple" broken leg, requiring splinting or casting, but no surgery: $350
  • Dog with severe allergies: $200 (for testing),plus the cost of allergy shots
  • Dog with on-going issue (diabetes, seizures, special dietary needs): $75-150 per month
  • Dog with major trauma requiring extensive bone surgery: $1500-4000
Perhaps this gives you an idea what kind of expenses are connected to rescuing animals. Since this is an entirely volunteer organization, there are no salaries for anyone and 100% of all donations are used to meet the needs of the dogs we rescue. Despite this, rescue, which by it's nature is long on heart, will probably always be short on money. This is why Ratbone Rescues is very grateful for any donations we receive and why we will continue to ask for them. To all our supporters, thank you for caring about our dogs.

***Please be sure to include an e-mail address, so that we can send you an acknowledgement***

Send check or money order to:
Ratbone Rescues
P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775-3237


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Has Your Home Gone To The Dogs?

I work with a number of rescue groups and organizations, and some of my clients have two or more dogs. Sometimes people want help with a specific dog with behavioral issues. Many of the rescue people and some of my clients have large packs and due to the number of dogs, problems can seem overwhelming. Things can get out of hand quickly. Approaching the issues from a pack structure standpoint makes it easier to get things under control.

Dogs are pack animals. We hear that a lot but what does it really mean? It means there is a social hierarchy, based on dominance. The more dominant the dog, the higher it is in the pack structure. And, the more it "leads" the pack. Leading a pack is both literal and figurative. A pack leader literally will be in front. The pack leader will also make the rules for the pack, such as who is allowed where, who gets what, when they get it, etc. The rest of the pack follows and obeys the leader’s rules.

How can you tell who is the leader or most dominant in a pack? Observe the interactions. Who goes first through doorways going in and out of the house or even rooms in the house? Who picks the best spots to lie down? Who do the other dogs give a wide berth to? Who corrects the other dogs, but is never corrected by them? Who takes toys or other things away from the other dogs? Who makes the other dogs give way when she comes through? These actions will tell you who is leading the pack, and yes, the leader is usually female.

If you don’t have this dog’s respect and trust, then the rest of the pack may not respect you either. If you want to get a pack under control quickly and easily start by working with the pack leader. Once you gain the leadership from this dog the rest will usually be easier because they will take their cues from the one they already respect. The goal of keeping dogs in their homes and reducing the incidence of abuse, abandonment, re-housing and euthanasia, because of behavior, is a big part of why I do what I do. My dog pack is all rescues, and I often have a foster dog or two. I have the same goals as you; Happy Dogs = Happy Families

Submitted by Terry Nickerson, Canine Behavior Therapist and owner of Bark Busters of Brevard. You can reach Terry at 1-977-500-BARK or visit her company's website at www.Barkbusters.com.

Ratbone Leaks

Easter is right around the corner and we're all excited about the arrival of the Easter Bunny. Are you? Our foster-Ratties sure are!

We would like to announce our First Annual SomeBunny Loves You event. This program is very similar to our Secret Santa in December, except no lists. You don't have to spend a lot - just enough for a cute toy or a tasty treat. Oh, but no chocolate bunnies! :-)

To participate simply email our Bunny Helper at RBRBunny@ratbonerescues.com and tell her which Rattie you would like to send your gift to - or we can select a recipient for you.

Our foster-Ratties are looking forward to Easter morning!

The Barker Crew

I usually devote my column to fun things, like new toys, but this month I want to talk about something very serious – lost dogs. This subject is important to me because I recently became a lost dog.

In our house we say "all’s well that ends well" and luckily my story has a happy ending but it was close. You see, my parents were out of town and my granny was dog sitting. In addition, we had contractors in to finish some tile work. Basically, the house was full of rookies.

When the opportunity presented itself, my foster brother Woody and I split. I’m not going to share the secret details of how we did itand where we went but I will tell you how we were saved from being kidnapped orworse.

I made my rounds and then this strange man in a truck tried to catch me. I didn’t trust him so I ran back to my house but because no one was home by that time, I couldn’t get in. You see, the workers and my granny had left without even knowing I was missing. I was successful at out maneuvering the stranger until my granny got home and saved me. Boy, was I happy to see her and get back into my house.

Then the phone rang. It was someone in the next neighborhood with Woody. We were lucky that he was wearing a tag with the Ratbone phone number and that he survived traveling along a very busy road. Granny went and rescued him too.

So, my message is to be sure that you keep us tagged and outsmart us when it comes to doors and awareness of where we are. Our story ended well but the opportunity for a tragedy was real.

Parts 1 & 2 of Mickey's story appear in the December and January editions of The Ratbone Barker.

The Saga of Trucker Mickey
By Susan Cadell

Months went by. We stopped trying to get Trucker Mickey adopted out. He was now a member of the family and had his own place on the couch. Other dogs would move aside when he wanted his spot. Max and he still kept the home safe, patrolling the yard to protect against intruders or errant squirrels. He made new friends in the dog park.

Then one day, we got an application for him from a family about an hour away. They wanted a mellow dog; you couldn't get much mellower than Trucker Mickey. I interviewed the couple and had only one big concern. They did not feed their current dog a very high quality diet and I was afraid that Trucker Mickey would regain the lost weight. His back couldn't stand the excess weight again so I spent a lot of time with the couple, making sure they understood that if they wanted Mickey, they had to upgrade the dog food they were using. They agreed and I approved the adoption.

I kept in touch with the family for several months and it looked like everything was going well. Trucker was still on his medication and he was eating a good quality diet. I missed my big boy but I began to think he might be gone for good this time. Then a few months later, a friend of mine at Ratbone called me to say that she had seen something on Facebook about a couple who were going to turn their Rat Terrier from Ratbone Rescues, into the pound. I feared it was Mickey. I immediately called the couple and yes, it was Mickey who was headed for the pound.

They were having trouble with him; apparently they had not gotten more medication for him when his supply ran out so he was incontinent again. That made the husband angry and he yelled at Mickey, who then ate the couch. I told the husband to bring Mickey back to me, the sooner, the better. Mickey arrived back at my home again, in short order. I was relieved when I saw Mickey. He had not gotten obese again but he was out of shape and very depressed.

I told myself that he was just unhappy that his home had fallen through again. Mad Max had died while Mickey was gone this time so his old friend was nowhere to be found. Mickey was strangely quiet and slept a lot. Peggy came to visit and she was concerned about Mickey, too. Mick just didn't seem like our old friend. Then he started being finicky about his food. Now Trucker Mickey was never a dog who would miss a meal, any meal. If Trucker didn't finish his food, there was something wrong.

I took him to the vet, who diagnosed Mickey with kidney failure. I took Mickey home and we did everything we could to make the old boy comfortable. Trucker was now a 13 year old dog and I just wanted his final years to be with me and to be happy. Trucker had always loved my backyard and his routines. I kept hoping that he would rally and return to his yard patrols. But he never did. Finally the vet said that Mickey would not improve. Even with massive amounts of vet care, he would never be comfortable again.

I called Peggy and left a message for her to call but I didn't want Trucker to continue to suffer, so I took him into the vet for the last time. My vet uses a tranquilizer which lets the dog fall asleep quietly in your arms. I held Trucker while the tranquilizer took effect, telling him all the while what a wonderful dog he was. Then when he was calm and sleeping, the vet gave the second injection and Mickey stopped breathing. It was very hard for me to see this wonderful dog's life end before he could live out his old age in the back yard he loved and his old foster mom who loved him. I cried all the way home that day. I am very grateful that Trucker came back to me again when he needed me the most. I will treasure his memory all my life and hope that he and Mad Max have met up again on the other side of the bridge.

Maggie came to my Facebook page through someone else's posting. She and her baby, Sadie were at a shelter in Arkansas. The posting said they had rescue but needed the pull fees paid. I don't know what struck me about them but I had to help. I paid one pull fee but didn't want to risk leaving one there. Family and friends helped out and both fees were paid within a day. A month later, I checked the shelter's Facebook page and found Maggie & Sadie were still there. I sent a terse note, asking what happened and learned their rescue fell through. I was so upset!

The shelter had used the funds to vet them but a few weeks later they were still there, with a note that they were becoming urgent. I was desperate, I asked my sister if she would foster if they became Ratbone dogs. I then asked our state coordinator if we could bring them in as Ratbone dogs. I told her they were vetted and I had a foster home for them. After a long journey, we got them to my sister's home in Florida.

They were very small and so cute. There was immediate interest from potential adopters; in fact there were several applicants for each of them. Sadie was adopted within a few weeks and has a beautiful new Rattie sibling. I did the home visit for a local couple who were very interested in Maggie and their application was approved. I was heartbroken. I had been going to my sister's house on my work at home days, to spend time with Maggie. My sister told me Maggie would go to the door and wait for me.

Then, as I was coordinating her move to her new home, the adopters said they couldn't take her. Their community organization had ruled against any new dogs until further notice. I was thrilled, even though it meant that Maggie had no permanent home. I asked my boyfriend if we could take Maggie, if Ratbones would approve. We own our home and have four other dogs together. He agreed and our application was approved. The seven of us have been together since.

There were some battles with the other girls at first but they've worked out their places in our large pack. Maggie's a very happy and sweet pup. She stands up on her hind legs to be picked up. She has a permanent smile and we both just love her to death. We call her bowling ball because she comes running and knocks everyone out of the way to get to us even though she is the smallest dog in the house. She's healthy and smart and she sleeps right next to me at night. She traveled with us to Jekyll Island, GA for the holidays and ran free at the beach. Our 60 lb Dalmatian mix is her bestie, she snuggles up next to him all day and watches people go by. We absolutely love Maggie.


Ratbone Rescues is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Ratbone Rescues, Inc.
P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775-3237

© 2002-2010 Ratbone Rescues, Inc.