August 2011 


Talk about a bad hair day!


We have teased you for the past two months with leaks about our quilt. We are pleased to announce the quilt was finished up just last week and it is spectacular! We want to share with you some details about our holiday themed, 2011 Ratbone Rescues Quilt.

All the blocks for the quilt were constructed and donated by members and supporters of Ratbone Rescues. There are 21 appliquéd blocks in the quilt, each depicting a well known holiday. These are set together with 20 pieced blocks in a star pattern. Done with a green color scheme, all the blocks tie into that color, except for the Columbus Day block, by none other than this writer, who forgot to add green to the sea. Oh well! There are a number of cultural traditions that incorporate an "intentional error" into creations to remind their creators that nothing human is perfect, nor is it supposed to be, so, no green in the sea.

The large center block, surrounded by greens and burgundy, is nearly 36 inches square and depicts Mother's Day. Although we all know mothers are VERY special, the reason for choosing that holiday for the center was much less lofty. It was actually motivated by the desire to have the center block focused on a Rat Terrier and the natural progression was a mom and pup. Voila, Mother's Day! The design was actually adapted from a picture of a Rat Terrier with her half grown puppy, who were huddled together in the back of their crate when they were picked up by Ratbone Rescues.

Some interesting points about the quilt..... The Columbus Day block shows a long tailed Rat Terrier waiting on the beach for Chris to land. The Labor Day block includes ants at the picnic. The Father's Day block was assembled with the assistance of a disabled man that one of our members cares for, who LOVES visits from her Ratbone dog. Due to a small accident, the Thanksgiving Day dog had to eat broccoli before turkey. The dog on the New Year's Day block definitely had one too many and the Mardi Gras block, complete with feathers and sequins, will end up being a pillow to go with the quilt. Also of note, all the pieced star blocks were done by member, Vickie Carmichael and her mother in one LONG weekend and the design in the quilting is also stars.

This work of creativity and love is Ratbone's seventh quilt project and we are very proud of it. We think our quilts are getting better every year and we hope you also feel that way because, as in past years, the plan is for Ratbone to present this beautiful, warm quilt to one of our generous supporters. When you donate to Ratbone Rescues in the coming weeks, if you note "Quilt donation" in the description box, you will be given numbers for a drawing to select the recipient of our quilt. Click here to learn more about our quilt giveaway and see more pictures.


***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


New York



Beau Chien


Meet Your Board

In June you met one of the members of the Ratbone Board of Directors. This month we want to introduce another member to you.

Kathy Berkheimer, aka: Kathy B. has been with Ratbone Rescues almost since the beginning of time. In the fall of 2000, she and her husband Dave tried fostering for Ratbone but they quickly decided their hearts couldn't handle it. They fostered little Tang for 8 months during which no one seemed interested in adopting her, then finally someone emailed about her. Just after that, life changed for everyone on 9/11/2001 and nothing more was heard from the potential adopter. So, Kathy and Dave decided to adopt Tang and end their stint as long term doggy foster parents. But that was not the end of the story. They have continued to provide short term foster care whenever possible. Since Kathy is the only RBR representative in TN they often have pups in their home short term until they can be safely moved to their long term fosterhomes, a perfect segue into Kathy's other big responsibility with the group.

Kathy is also one of two transport coordinators for the group; a duty she has had since 2002. Kathy took on transport because she loves a challenge, and what a challenge it can be. Being a transport coordinator is very time consuming; it takes patience and the ability to talk to people you don't know, but Kathy says she does that everyday, anyway. She recently introduced the group to ARF which stands for Animal Rescue Flights. This group will be used only when we have an injured pup to transport and feel the safest way to transport them is in a small plane rather than a commercial flight. Sending a dog home and meeting new people along the way is very fulfilling; knowing that she made that happen is awesome, according to Kathy. Whenever she can, Kathy also helps other rescues with transports through Tennessee. She never knows when Ratbone will need help with a transport so she strives to nurture positive relationships with other groups. She also enjoys meeting new people who love animals as much as she does.

Last but not least, Kathy has been a member of the Board of Directors of Ratbone Rescues since 2008. One of her duties on the BOD is managing the SOS mailbox. This involves handling all the emails that come through the SOS mailbox. She is responsible for distributing the emails where they need to go, to a state coordinator, GAP coordinator, or the applications department and sometimes there are questions about Ratbone that need answered. Reading these emails can be challenging and saddening, there are so many people needing to give up their pets for one reason or another. Their pleas are never easy to read. Besides her Ratbone duties, Kathy also has a full-time job and takes care of Dave, her husband of 24 years,and their three furkids, Jazz,Chili and Tang.



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More Back-to-School Tips for Families with Dogs

It's August now, some children have already started school Last month we gave you some information on preparing your dog(s) for the transition from having people home during the day to long days alone. This month we wanted to bring you a few more suggestions to help families avoid behavior problems with their dogs that often accompany this time of transition.

When kids go back to school, the stress can be hard on the whole family, including the dog. Dogs are creatures of habit so this abrupt change in routine can seriously affect our furry friends but with a little understanding and effort, families can avoid many of the back-to-school behavior problems their dogs might display.

Dogs sometimes need to have their own “home,” a place where they feel secure and comfortable. If your dog doesn’t already have a place of his own, create one for him.

  • Crate: Most dogs love the safety of a crate. Because they are descended from animals that live in dens, a crate is a natural shelter for a dog because it has the same characteristics of a den. If your dog hasn’t been crate trained, don’t start training him the day the kids leave for school. That’s too late and can actually add to his stress. When your dog has become accustomed to his new crate, do not leave him there for extended periods of time. If you plan to be away longer than six hours for a dog and four hours for a puppy, ask a friend to come by to let your dog out to toilet and exercise during that time.
  • Laundry room: If your dog will be inside all day and you are concerned about him toileting in the house, enclose him in a small room (which inhibits the tendency to toilet) and has an easy-clean floor of vinyl or tile (in case he has an accident). Place some training pads or newspapers away from his sleeping area. Have a soft bed and toys in the room for him too.
Unusual Behavior
When dogs are stressed, they can begin to exhibit unusual behaviors, such as jumping up or even biting. It is not uncommon for children to come home from school and be greeted by the dog in an unnecessarily rough manner, even knocking a child to the floor. After being left alone all day, the dog has pent up energy – and when he sees the kids, his excitement might cause him to overreact.
  • Train the kids: Parents need to train their children to avoid going right to the dog’s area as soon as they get home. Kids should ignore the dog for five minutes or so, to allow the dog to settle down. With young children, it is always best to have a parent present to reduce the chance of a problem. Once your dog learns the routine, he will relax sooner when you arrive home.
  • Train your dog: It is amazing how quickly dogs learn what is acceptable and what is not. Dogs have a language of their own and once we understand it, we can easily control them by “speaking their language.” Bark Busters specializes in using dogs’ natural, instinctive communication methods as the way to train them. It’s simple, and it works.
These little steps can help your dog be happier and more relaxed as he begins spending days alone. 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

When Vegas came into the Ratbone foster system she was a very under weight girl with a terrible mouth infection that was caused from years of neglect.. She was taken to the vet and got the proper medical attention she deserved. They did a complete dental work up on her and after a round of antibiotics she was feeling great again. She was able to eat again and she just blossomed from a shy, scared dog to an outgoing fun loving girl. She started gaining weight and feeling better. She was adopted by a wonderful family and this is what they have to say about the experience.

I was very impressed with how thorough the application was. I feel like this helps match the right dog with the right family. The adoption coordinator was very professional and followed through with all contacts very quickly. During the adoption process I was put in touch with the foster mom, and we were able to openly ask and respond to any questions either one of us had. After the adoption was approved the foster mom and I worked out all of our travel arrangements as we were lucky enough to find our Vega close enough to home!

Vega took right to us from the very beginning. She let my son and I pick her up and went right up to my husband when he came home. I truly feel like she was meant to become part of our family. The only adjusting we had to do was to wait for her to come out of her shell a little. She was very quiet at first, but now she runs the show around the house!. From the start, Vega was not afraid of anyone in our home! She immediately met our two other dogs, Trigger and Bayard. Even though Bayard is 96 lbs. she was undaunted. She stood there and let them both sniff and greet her. She was very excited when she met our cat, Span. Span came right up to her and rubbed his face on hers, and she just pranced around.

My son and Vega took an immediate liking to one another, and she definitely loved my husband and I right away, as well! Vega likes to be the chearleader when Trigger and Bayard play fight. She will sit on my lap and bark to get them even more excited. She loves to roll around on the floor on her back with all four feet sticking up in the air. Trigger seems to think that she wants to play when she does this so he will come and bark at her, and the next thing you know they are racing at break neck speeds through the house yipping at each other. Our little Vega sure knows exactly what she wants. She will stand by the bed and look at you until you pick her up and put her on it. She also loves to run underneath the couch back and forth until Trigger is about to fall down from chasing around and around the whole couch. I really love how she will race around and then the next thing you know she is laying in her crate to catch her breath for the next round. When she wags that little nub tail you just know that she loves you!


Recently, a sad email arrived in the Ratbone mailbox. Kathy, from New Hampshire wrote: I just wanted to share my news with all of you and to thank you for sending this baby into my life! He was my best friend from the moment we met (adopted August 25, 2003).

Boomer was diagnosed with Cushings disease in Oct of 2008. It was a long road but I knew all along it only had one outcome. I did all I could for him for 2 years. I will miss him greatly.

After a long, debilitating, and very cruel disease, MY BEST BUDDY in this world passed shortly after 5 pm on July 5, 2011. I held him tight and said goodbye only to promise to meet him at the Bridge when my time comes. I loved him dearly and will miss him soo very much!

This email was so touching, we wanted to know more about Boomer and what kind of life he had after being rescued by Ratbone. Kathy was happy to tell us more about her beloved Boomer and we want to share his story.

When Kathy first came to Ratbone to adopt a dog, Boomer was not the dog she wanted but she I lived in a small apartment at the time and her apps worker convinced her Boomer would be great in that situation. Looking back, Kathy is SO glad that Boomer was picked for her. He came to her from Ohio and they bonded the first night they spent together spooning under the covers and he never slept anywhere else, even when he got SO sick. Kathy didn't know what to expect adopting a dog she had never met but she will tell you today that she loves the Rat Terrier breed.

One of the first things Kathy noticed about Boomer was a huge scar across his forehead. This was no small scar, it was 4” long running right above his eyes. Although she suspects someone had intentionally hurt him, Kathy said he never held it against anyone. Boomer was very smart and fun to be around. When he wanted something, a treat, to go out or even just some attention, he would stand on his hind legs and paw the air. He would do this dance until Kathy got up and fulfilled his wish.

Boomer lived to go for walks. He would pick the direction to go and Kathy followed. They would free walk until they got to certain areas, then it was leash time. He was not eager to be tethered and once leashed the evil Boomer came out. He would hurry so fast that Mom had to practically run to keep up. It was always…“LET'S GO MOM! I'll lead the way!!” He always knew where he wanted to go and he always led the way.

BUT... on the way home, Boomer, free again, would take off, racing to beat Kathy home, where he would happily greet her when she finally arrived. Sometimes he would get sidetracked and make a stop to forage for any cat food the neighbor had thrown out to feed local wildlife. Kathy gave up trying to break this little habit. Boomer was a totally independent thinker and was bound and determined to do what he wanted. Kathy didn’t mind so much because she loved to get home and call him to come home across the field. “HOME BOOMER, HOME!” He would come running through the field leaping happily through grass that was twice as tall as him.

Boomer was diagnosed with Cushing's disease in October, 2009. Kathy was told by the vet that he had about 2 years to live but she sooo wanted him to beat that prediction. Cushing's is a very cruel disease, it slowly sucked the life out of his little body. In the second year he didn't have the energy to go for any more walks. By the latter part of the second year, near the end he was just a shell of Kathy’s dear Boomer.

Cushing's took his sight and his hearing, but he never stopped running to the door to meet her when she got home, and he never stopped being the dog that was Kathy’s best friend from their first day together. His 24 pounds went to 14 but through it all he still had such a determined heart. He tried soo hard to stay with Kathy.

Boomer was in love with Licorice, Kathy’s second Ratbone Rescues dog, who joined the family in 2005. She was his rock and at the end he always wanted to be by her side. Kathy says, “I told him to always stay right by Licorice’s side so I would always know right where he was. I know he never really left. I miss my Boom! It is still hard to be without him……HOME BOOMER, HOME!”

Footnote: Kathy knows there will never be another Boomer but she has decided to adopt again and she and Licorice will soon be joined by Pepper Ratbone. All our best to them!


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

Ratbone Rescues, Inc.
P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775-3237
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© 2002-2010 Ratbone Rescues, Inc.