February 2013 


Another year is gone, thirteen have passed since Ratbone Rescues first came into existence. Through those years, Ratbone has had it's ups and downs. We have saved many dogs, we have not been able to save some we hoped to. Through the years and the struggles, one constant has been the support of our members, volunteers and donors.

Although we charge an adoption fee, hold fundraisers whenever possible and sometimes get grants to help with vet expenses, like most legitimate rescues, making ends meet is a constant challenge. What has made it possible for us to continue our efforts to save Rat Terriers is the hard work of our volunteers and the generous support of our donors.

Our volunteers have taken in and cared for our dogs, they have arranged transportation and traveled miles to get dogs to safety then to new homes, they have helped with fundraisers and most of all they have given love to unwanted, forgotten Rat Terriers.

Our donors have provided us the means to pay the bills. The people who participate in our fundraisers, those who make donations for special needs or projects and those who send in a monetary gift to help cover expenses like shots, spay/neuters, heartworm treatment. All these people are the real life-blood of rescue. Here, at the beginning of a new year, we at Ratbone Rescues want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for everything you have done to help us help dogs in need.



Betty Big Heart





Aww, cut it out guys! Valentine Day is days away!



My apologies to anyone who tried the recipe for PUMPKIN WAFERS DOG TREATS in the December 2012 edition of The Barker. That recipe should have included 1/2 cup of dry, powdered milk in addition to the pumpkin and Cream of Wheat.



    Volunteer - Click here
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    Visit RatboneRescues.com





We at Ratbone hope all our readers had a very merry Christmas. Thanks to some special people out there, our Rat Terrier fosters had a good one. By signing up to be a Secret Santa for one or more of the Ratbone foster dogs, you made their Christmas more joyous.

A long-standing tradition, our Secret Santa program pairs up a volunteer with a foster family who has at least one Ratbone Rescues dog in their care. The "Secret Santa" gets a "wish list" from the dog or dogs assigned to them. They then buy gifts and send them to the foster home so the dog has a special present for Christmas.

Again this year, Secret Santa was a big success. Many pups enjoyed new toys, treats, blankets and other gifts this year. On behalf of all the Ratbone fosters who enjoyed a special Christmas, we want to say a big THANK YOU to ALL YOU SECRET SANTAS! To see more pictures of recipients with their presents, click here: http://imageevent.com/rattiemom/secretsanta.


As reported in the December Barker Extra, we are planning a quilting project for our big 2013 fundraiser. As usual, it takes quite some time to pull this all together but we are aiming for a quilt give-away in time for the next winter season. The theme of our quilt will be "My First Ratty". We are doing something different this year, we will provide the fabric for all the blocks. This will provide a clear coordination throughout the quilt and we hope everyone will like the outcome. We are just getting started so presently we are looking for people who do quilt piecing or applique (or both) to help make this quilt.

Step one will be getting the blocks pieced together. Those who sign up to do piecing will receive several pieces of fabric to sew together in the manner of their choice. The assembled block will then pass on to another volunteer who will applique a design on it. A volunteer may opt to do both parts of the block if they choose. The blocks will all return to the "quilt wrangler" to be assembled and completed. In that process, the border will be embellished with names of those forever memorable, "first Ratties" provided by our members and friends. For a donation of $5, we will have the name of YOUR first Rat Terrier (or your most beloved) embroidered on a dog tag shape which will be appliqued on the quilt border.

This year we are also introducing "surrogate quilters" for those who don't have the time or the experience to make their own quilt block. For a donation of $25, someone will make a quilt block on your behalf. This includes the addition of your dog's name to the quilt, a nice little package deal for non-quilters. We hope you will consider volunteering your time and talent to help in the creation of our 2013 My First Ratty quilt or at least add to the quilt the name of that little dog who first sold you on this wonderful breed.

For our webpage about the quilt, follow this link: http://www.ratbonerescues.com/rbr_quilt_2013.php. At the bottom of that page you will find links to pictures of our past quilts and close-ups of some blocks from those quilts. If you would like to participate in the Ratbone Rescues My First Ratty Quilt Project, please send an email to our Quilt Wranglers (at quilt@ratbonerescues.com) and we'll get you started. Looking forward to working with some of you.


Want to donate to Ratbones? Your donations are tax deductible and go towards the care of Rat Terriers in Rescue.
Send check or money order to:
Ratbone Rescues
P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775-3237


Click here for part 1 of this article.


Dogs originally had important roles to fulfill which helped people survive. In other words, they had jobs. They typically helped hunt for food or they protected families and their animals. Today most dogs aren't asked to fulfill the roles they were initially bred for. We don't ask Shepherds to keep our flock together and safe, we don't send our Terriers out to hunt and we don't need Retrievers to bring back what we kill on the hunt.

Our dogs have retained the characteristics that they were initially bred to exhibit. We need to find ways to channel their energy that fit his new role as just a family companion. Shepherds might very good at playing soccer, Retrievers are naturals for fetch games, and Terriers might enjoy agility.

If you run or bike, consider taking your dog along with you. Just be conscious of their need to rest. Dogs are typically sprinters rather than distance runners. Some dogs are as at home in the water as on land, so swimming is great exercise for them. There are a lot of dogs that will avoid water like the plague. This is true of most Terriers. Walking, unless you really go on a very long walk, well seldom tire a dog, unless you make the walk a mental challenge.

Challenging a dog to use his brain will tire him out. Practicing obedience commands, playing mentally challenging games, such as hide the toy or treat, walking to heel with lots of twists and turns are mental exercises. There are mentally challenging toys such as Kongs, Buster Cubes, and Leo Canine Genius toys for dogs. These toys all involve making your dog figure out how to get the treats from inside of the toys.

Balancing the physical and mental exercises will satisfy your dog's needs. Both are needed. If your dog is bored, he'll make up his own games. If he isn't getting enough physical exercise, his energy will find an outlet, usually at the wrong time or in the wrong way. If you take care of his needs, he'll be relaxed and happy.

Try to look at how your dog views things; it is the leaders' responsibility to provide all the needs of the pack. If any of your dog's basic needs are lacking, then you're not fulfilling your job as leader and he will try to take care of his needs himself. This is usually why problem behaviors occur.

If you do provide for all your dog's needs, he will more likely be calm, relaxed and happy. Given a choice, more than nine out of ten dogs would rather defer to someone else, but if his needs aren't being met, ten out of ten dogs will do things to try and satisfy their basic needs themselves. They think their survival depends on it.

Our dog's needs have to be met everywhere he goes or stays for any length of time. If you want him happily spending time in the back yard, make sure he has food, shelter, safety and entertainment out back. If you don't, don't be surprised if he is trying to come back in or is doing things in the yard you'd rather he didn't do, or possibly trying to escape.

Just remember, 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.


Our family's Christmas was not the normal toy-filled celebration this year due to the sudden death of our beloved Daisey. Instead, my human family and I were grieving our loss. We were very thankful for the love and understanding we received from others who understand the unique bond between human and canine. I would like to use my column this month to talk about loss, specifically the loss of a "pet" as we dogs are lovingly known.

First, you do have the right and the need to grieve your loss. You had a loving relationship that you are going to miss. Grief can manifest in many ways so allow yourself the time and emotions you need to work through your loss. There is a lot of information available on the internet at web sites such as PetAngel. Don't forget that grief is not limited to humans – surviving pets may also grief the loss of a pack member.

Second, don't seek comfort from someone who is unable to give it. My mama has a saying that you cannot get blood from a turnip; well, the same is true for compassion. If you look to a person who views your loss as "just a dog" you are not going to receive what you need (or deserve). This is a time to seek out people who understand the unique bond between dogs and human and who are able to understand the hurt you are feeling. These may be your acquaintances through groups like Ratbone, social networking, or even the dog park. The right person may not be your BFF or close family member.

Third, feel free to immortalize your pet. If you feel the need to write an obituary, purchase a pet casket, or scatter your pet's ashes at his favorite lake, it's OK to do so. While this type of decision making cannot come at a more difficult time, remember that many of these decisions can only be made once. Go ahead and make your heartfelt decisions based on your need at the time. Only you knew your pet well enough to truly honor him or her in an appropriate manner.

Our family has experienced a lot of loss in the last few years yet the loss of a pet is unique in that it is not understood or accepted like the loss of human life - no one brings food and usually there are no flowers or a ceremony for closure. Luckily, understanding is growing. There are now pet sympathy cards and private cremation available. You can leave pet memorials on many web sites.

Finally, please remember to comfort your friends who experience the loss of a pet because, you never know, you may be the only person who does.


This wonderful story of a Ratbone alumni, comes to us from his adopter, Laura, who has clearly made life good for Nico and he has clearly made her happy. Be sure to watch the video of his agility run - click here. That is one fast pup! Yeah, Nico! What a HAPPY TAIL!

I adopted Nico over eight years ago and he remains very young at heart. This picture is of Nico posing with his West Coast CPE Nationals ribbons from last year. Nico's enthusiasm makes qualifying in agility somewhat challenging. It also makes the journey a whole lot of fun. Here is the story of how Nico and I found each other.

About nine years ago, I was thinking about adding a third dog to my family. My older dog was fourteen, my younger dog was nine. I had discovered agility and I absolutely loved running with my dogs. My older girl had just retired and my nine year old was going strong, but she was nine. I had always owned mixed breed rescue dogs and I had never found a breed that interested me. Then, I tripped over Rat Terriers during an internet search. I loved the smooth coat and the size. Still it took me several months to decide to try to find a Rat Terrier.

I kept looking online and discovered Ratbone Rescues. I was looking for a young adult standard sized Rattie with a tail and dewclaws. I wanted a dog that might be a good agility candidate. I kept finding nice small dogs, but I wanted something a bit larger. When I saw a picture of Nico and his brother, I fell for his brother. He was exactly what I wanted. He was a black tri and I just loved his markings. Then I found out that Nico's brother was not available. When I learned that Nico was available, I decided to look past his color and find out more about him. Initially, I could not get the online application to work. I panicked and sent an e-mail to Caroline. To be honest, I can't remember exactly how we resolved the problem, but I did get my application sent out. I e-mailed his foster mother Jacki and learned as much as I could about Nico. I learned how charmed Nico and his brother were. Jacki had driven from New Jersey to Ohio to rescue Nico and his brother from a shelter.

I was lucky that I had been to the same vet for several years and I had no problem with the references, but I was worried about the home visit. Apparently the person that did home visits in my general area was on vacation and it took quite a while to get the home visit scheduled. I remember being very nervous. My other dogs had been adopted from local humane societies. They practically tossed the dogs out the door at me. The idea of having someone come out and decide whether or not my home was appropriate, was intimidating. When April finally came for the visit, I realized she was just a dog person too. We had a great time.

When my application was approved, I had to work on transportation plans. I live in Washington State. Nico was going to have to fly. I didn't like the idea of flying a dog, but by this point I had my heart set on Nico. Jacki was willing to drive the extra distance to get Nico to a different airport for a non-stop flight. I think we were both very nervous. He arrived in the afternoon on October 31st 2004. Nico clearly found the flight a bit stressful. He looked pretty frightened and wasn't sure about getting out of his crate.

I decided to have Nico meet my other two dogs on a walk. I had a friend walk my dogs and I walked Nico. Nico did fine with my other dogs. He wasn't quite so sure about me. At one point on the walk, he had pulled to the end of the leash, looked back at me and then panicked. It was clear he wanted to get away. I just sat down and waited for him to come back to me. He found me much less threatening when I was sitting down and he came and sat by me. I don't think he ever looked back again.

Nico turned out to be a perfect fit for the family. He got my nine year old dog playing again. He earned the nick name Nurse Nico because he took great care of my oldest dog. He loved his early obedience classes. He also had a great time learning to run agility.

He gave us a health scare when he was six. I had my vet check out a small bump on his side and it turned out to be a Mast Cell Tumor. I think I spent every night between the diagnosis and the surgery crying. Luckily I have a great vet. She removed the tumor. It had clean margins and it turned out that it was only at stage 1. I can still see the spot where she did the surgery, but Nico has recovered fully and has had no signs of a recurrence.

I smile now when I think that initially I wanted the black tri and Nico wasn't too sure about me either. It is a good thing that neither one of us stuck with our first impressions. We have been together over eight wonderful years now. Nico's exuberance has kept us both smiling. He is an awesome companion and family member. He doesn't always qualify at agility trials, but he reminds me and everyone that sees him run, that agility is supposed to be fun. People are always stopping me to tell me how much they enjoy watching him. His joy is contagious. I feel so blessed that he is a part of my life.



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.