Cristina Liriano has only been with Ratbone since 2009 but has used her creativity and training to help the organization save many dogs through fundraising, publicity, and her organizational skills. She produces The Barker newsletter and last month she made and delivered froggie cupcakes for the winner of the Sweet Tooth raffle for dental health. In addition, she has helped with home visits and application processing. She hopes to someday participate in a transport.
Cristina came to Ratbone after she acquired a Rat Terrier. Having grown up in an apartment in New York City, she never owned a dog. Several years ago she moved to Florida into a rental that came with her choice of a litter of Rat Terrier puppies. She fell in love with her smart, active, healthy little dog and one day while researching the breed, found the Ratbone website. She was impressed with the organization and made a donation right away. As she grew more interested, she became more involved.
Cristina’s family now includes her human companion Steve (known to the dogs as “Dabby”) and 4 dogs. She works in the IT field and although her mother was a cake decorator, she only started making cakes a couple years ago as a creative outlet from her programming job. She is a self taught decorator and is amazed at what one can do with sugar. She dreams of someday owning her own bakery and possibly entering a cake design competition.
When asked what first attracted her to Ratbone, Cristina attributes it to the organization of the operation and its people. She cites ‘good people who are on top of things’, who ‘can pull off amazing work’ via a network of ‘volunteers across the country’. Cristina is very happy to work with such a great group and this group is very happy to work with her.
My mama and papa recently went to a Ratbone Reunion in Jacksonville FL and, unlike Eddie, I stayed home to keep my foster brother Woody company. While they were away I was lucky enough to have my Granny sit for us. She brings treats!
Not all dogs are lucky enough to have friends or family stay with them while the family is gone. Our neighbor hires something called a “service”. I thought it time to find out exactly what a pet sitting service is.
I discovered that good pet sitters do much more than provide food and fresh water; they should also spend time playing, exercising, and loving or snuggling us. Your family should pick a service where the people have some training or have experience with pets so that they can recognize the signs that we need veterinary care.
Look for sitters whose energy level “meshes” with ours. Active dogs may prefer someone who will take us along on a morning jog. Older dogs might prefer the company of someone with interests, such as knitting, where there is plenty of quiet, lap time. Some sitters might be willing to take us to vet or grooming appointments where others may not be comfortable taking us out of the house.
In addition to caring for pets, the sitter should also take steps to protect the property. One important step is to make sure that the house appears occupied by turning lights on and off, bringing in the newspaper, watering the lawn if applicable, and generally continuing with the “lived-in” activity of a family.
Whatever type of sitter you choose please be sure that they are capable and, if possible, registered. Ask for references and check to see if any complaints have been filed against the business. You may even be able to find an e-list network where sitters have been rated by other people in your area. Afterall, they are responsible for your most valuable asset – me!
NO! She can't come out and play!
CREATING A DOG FRIENDLY BACKYARD
With Spring in full swing, it's time for frolicing in the sun, chasing bugs and belly dragging in the grass. Letting your dog have a free romp in your yard keeps him exercised, active and happy; however, dogs that are kept in a bland backyard all day are far more likely to misbehave. Here are some tips for making your yard more comfortable and appealing to your dog and handling bad behavior.
Poisonous Ingestibles. Dogs that are bored or hungry will be tempted to eat poisonous plants and flowers or mulch, which can be toxic or splinter in their mouths or stomachs. Ask your vet for a list of poisonous plants in your area. Avoid gardening with your dog present – he may conclude that playing with plants and digging are acceptable activities. Also put away dangerous products like lawn chemicals like fertilizers and week killers, antifreeze, pesticides, and outdoor grilling supplies like charcoal and lighter fluid.
Water. Be sure the yard includes a large water bowl filled with fresh water in all seasons. If you choose to incorporate a water feature such as a small pond, be sure it circulates water to help avoid mosquitoes. Still- water ponds need harmful chemical additives to kill the larvae that will grow there.
Shade. While being outside can make for a happy dog, being stuck in the blazing sun is unhealthy. Creat a cool stop for your pooch be scraping an indented area in a shady place where he can relax in comfort – otherwise, your dog may create his own spot in an area not of your choosing.
Fences and Gates. A fence helps to keep your dog safely on your property and out of harm’s way. If your yard has a traditional fence (chain link or wood), be sure all gates latch correctly each time they are closed. If there are any holes, fill them with bricks or large stones.
Because some homeowner associations do not allow traditional fences, a popular alternative is the electronic or “invisible” dog fence. Choosing this type of barrier has benefits – it keeps the landscape tidy- as well as drawbacks. While the fence may keep your pet in, it doesn’t keep other animals or people out. This kind of fence should be considered only if the dog will always be supervised when he/she is outside.
Maintaining the Yard. Maintain your yard’s cleanliness by regularly picking up after your dog. Some dogs can be trained to use one area for toileting. While the nitrogen in dog urine can be very hard on lawns, watering the area after the dog has urinated can help to minimize damage.
Keep your dog (and anyone else) off the lawn after any yard treatments – fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides - until the chemicals have dried completely. Also be careful of metal lawn edging, which could seriously cut the paws.
Digging. Dogs dig in search of food, to investigate sounds and smells, to improve their shelter, or to escape. Digging can be triggered by boredom, separation anxiety, chasing rodents or bugs, and/or a nutritional deficiency. A qualified dog behavioral therapist such as a Bark Busters trainer can help you determine the reason for your dog’s digging, so that a possible training solution can be tried.
Scratching at the Back Door. A dog will scratch at the back door because all the good, fun stuff is kept inside – including you! If your dog scratches at the door and cries to come in, ignore him. That’s right. Let him in only when he stops. If he begins to stress, correct him from inside the house. Do not go out! If you don’t reward this behavior, it will go away.
Chewing. Dogs chew for various reasons, such as stress, boredom, teething or diet deficiency. The easiest way to stop your dog from chewing is to apply a foul-tasting product such as Bitter Apple, citronella or hot chili sauce to it. Give your dog an alternative and keep him entertained by providing high-quality puzzle toys that reward him with treats, such as Buster Cube and KONG products. Every few days, rotate what toys are available to him.
Consider giving your dog a bone or scatter food when you put him outside. Scatter food appeals to a dog’s natural instinct to forage. Scatter bits of raw veggies, dog kibble, and other foods that won’t attract wasps around the yard when your dog is foraging.. Try hiding a few treats so your dog spends extra time looking for them.
Enjoy spring with your Rattie out in the yard and keep it safe!
Bill was left to die in a Miami, Florida shelter, by his owner . He had been hit by a car and the owners did not want to pay the vet bills so they dumped this precious boy. A member of Ratbone Rescues spotted him through an urgent email and went to work on rescuing him. He was in a cage at the shelter, having received no medical treatment or pain medicine. The shelter most likely expected to euthanize him as they rarely have the resources to treat dogs with serious medical issues. Perhaps they were surprised when he was offered a rescue placement.
Bill was picked up from the shelter and transported 12 hours north to a Georgia foster home. Once there he was seen by a vet who determined his back end is shattered. His pelvis is broken in several places and his rear leg has several breaks in it as well. He is now in the hands of an Orthopedic specialist and will have surgery to regain use of his back end. With out this surgery Bill will never heal properly or be able to walk normally again. Ratbone Rescues takes on some tough cases like Bill because we are likely to be the only chance many of these special cases gets. Bill's treatment is expected to cost around 2000.00 dollars, but he must have the surgery so Ratbone will make sure that happens. Bill will be cared for, given love and security and allowed to heal a while with Ratbone, and when he is ready he will go to a family of his own.
If you are able to help with Bill's medical expenses it would be so very appreciated. We know that the economy is not great currently, but we rely solely on donations to keep our work going. When a special needs dog like Bill comes along, donations are particularly important to let us pay for the needed treatment and be able to move on to save another dog. To read more about Bill, click here.
As a Ratbone alumni, I was the chosen one when my family traveled to the 1st annual Ratbone Reunion at Dog Wood Park. It was a long drive, and I was a bit anxious for the first 45 minutes, but I found once I settled down my mama and papa were much happier too. They brought water and treats which helped.
The reunion was the most amazing thing I have ever seen! I’ve been to dog parks but never one filled with Rat Terriers. I was a good boy because all the 3 and 4 legged attendees were my size. There were all kinds of fun contests, like” most spots” and “shortest tail” (which I believe I would have won if my mama had entered me) and even Rattie races.
I did enter the “fool your mama” contest where my mama was blindfolded and had to pick me out from several dogs. I almost gave away who I was by being extra friendly to her; however, I made my large, erect ears seem like button ears when she touched them so I fooled her and I won a ribbon!
We stayed in a hotel which meant I got to go on lots of walks. We requested a first-floor “convenient” room so we were right near the back exit. Good lesson to learn when traveling and someone needs regular outings. I got to eat AT restaurants that had outdoor sitting areas and my mama requested her side dish or half of her entre be served separately in a container for me. Another good lesson learned, who knew dogs could eat out? My final travel lesson learned is that you should always keep the windows LOCKED so that little dogs like me don’t step on the window openers while your family is merging from one interstate to another – it freaks them out!
Til next time, Eddie
Frannie Dew came into Ratbone from an Indiana puppymill in the Summer of 2007. Frannie had 3 legs when she came into rescue, and we are unsure if it was torn off from an injury she sustained at the puppymill, or if it was a congenital defect. Either way, Suzy and Peggy in Indiana, wonderful Ratbone volunteers, took her in to foster. Suzy and Peggy have both commented on how sweet Frannie was from the beginning of her journey.
In November of 2007, Frannie was adopted by people in Massachusetts, who returned her in November of 2010 in poor condition, with very severe veterinary issues. Frannie came back into Rabone fostercare with Michelle in Albany, New York. Frannie was in pretty sad shape - she had an open sore on a mammary tumor that was allowed to grow and become infected, as well as testing Lyme positive. After Frannie had surgery to remove the tumor and was treated for her Lyme disease, which cost Ratbone approximately $750.00 in vet bills, she was adopted by Jamie and Marc Clasen in Maryland. Jamie had fallen in love with Frannie's picture on the Ratbone website, and knew she was the dog for her. Jamie didn't care that Frannie had 3 legs, or just had surgery to remove mammary tumors that would most likely come back. Jamie just loved Frannie for Frannie. Frannie went home to Jamie and Marc in December of 2010. And because of Jamie's love of Frannie, and her dedication to rescue, Jamie also became a fostermom for Ratbone!!
Jamie has a patient, Steve Smith, who had a severe stroke at a very young age, and he is now a quadriplegic and non-verbal. Although Steve is non-verbal, Jamie is able to communicate with Steve by reading his lips. Steve did not sustain any injury to the part of his brain where it would affect his intelligence or awareness, it just affected his ability to mobilize. Steve is very much aware of his surroundings. Soon after Jamie got Frannie home, Jamie started taking Frannie with her when she went to take care of Steve, and the rest is history. Frannie now helps Steve with his physical therapy - he can now lift his arm and move it so that he can pet Frannie. Frannie and Steve formed an instant bond.
Unfortunately, Jamie recently got some saddening news about Frannie. Frannie had a growth on the back of her neck, that has been diagnosed as cancer, and it most likely has spread into her lymph nodes. It's not too clear how much time Frannie has left. But here is a story that proves that things happen for a reason. Despite her rocky start, Frannie is finally now with the perfect family who loves her dearly. She still is happy and active for the time being, and still goes to stay with Steve. Frannie will be loved and cared for by Jamie and Marc until her last breath.
It just goes to show that even dogs with many physical issues (and not a lot of time) can be loving companions and help people while they are still with us.
Ratbone Rescues is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Ratbone Rescues, Inc.
P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775
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