December 2012 


Sadly, life sometimes has a way of kicking you in the rear, when you least expect it. We can't plan ahead for all eventualities, and sometimes tragedy puts us in a situation we are unable to get out of without help. Such was recently the case for a Rattie owner and breeder in Alabama. This woman and her husband had been raising beautiful large standard and Decker Rat Terriers for a number of years. They were responsible breeders and took good care of their dogs. Then, the husband passed away, without any insurance. It quickly became apparent to the woman that she was financially unable to manage the kennel on her own. Feeding her dogs and meeting their other needs was taking money from her utility and house payment funds. She realized she would have to give up the kennel and she reached out to Ratbone Rescues for help to find the best homes for her dogs, an indication of the kind of breeder she was, who would choose to send her dogs to rescue rather than selling them to possibly questionable breeders.

Ratbone Rescues agreed to find foster homes for as many of these dogs as possible. We have been able to find places for several of the dogs. Some are able to travel to their foster homes with volunteer drivers, but many of the foster homes are too far away for ground transport, flying is the only real option. The owner is obviously unable to pay for the flights so Ratbone will have to find the funds to fly these dogs to safety. Unfortunately, our "flight kitty" is pretty depleted at this time, we can fly one dog to Oregon but we have more who need to go. If you would like to help us move these Rat Terriers to foster placements, please donate to our flight kitty. Anything you are able to contribute will help another of the Alabama dogs reach a safe place in rescue. If you would like to see the dogs we hope to bring into Ratbone Rescues, look at their album.

***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



Betty Big Heart





Merry Christmas from the Barker Crew



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In case you missed it in our "Ratbone EXTRA" a couple weeks ago, CONGRATULATIONS to Carol Pheobus, winner of the first drawing in the Ratbone 2012, lamp give away! Carol is the proud new owner of the beautiful fall garland, created by member, Vickie Carmichael. Carol received her garland safely and reports being quite pleased with it, she will be using it to decorate her house for the holidays.

NOW! CONGRATULATIONS to Paula Guttman of Palm Coast, Florida for being the new owner of the lovely stained glass night light, made for Ratbone Rescues by member, Susan Cadell. The night light, a one of a kind creation, is on the way to Paula and we look forward to having pictures of it and the other wonderful gifts for out next newsletter, when we will also be announcing the lamp's new owner. Of course, as promised, Paula's name was returned to the "pot" for the lamp drawing.

DON'T FORGET, the drawing for the lamp will take place on December 2, 2012, so THERE ARE MERE HOURS LEFT TO GET YOUR NUMBERS BEFORE THE DRAWING! This lamp is absolutely one of a kind, you WON'T find another like it anywhere! This is your ONLY chance to own this item. Go to our web page for details on how this lovely lamp could be under your Christmas tree this year!

Keeping the Holiday Season Fun & Safe for Your Dog
With the holiday season arriving soon, many families will be soon starting their cooking and decorating. If you have a dog, there are some things to consider to make the season safe for your furry friend. More pets are seen at the Emergency Vets that any other time of the year. Here are some tips to help make the season more safe and fun for your dog.

Holiday foods
Many holiday foods are harmful or even toxic to canines. These include fatty or spicy foods, bread dough, fresh herbs, alcoholic beverages, and sweets of all kinds-especially those with chocolate or zylitol, a natural sweetener. Particularly dangerous are cooked poultry bones. Cooked bones easily splinter, and the bone shards can cause choking or get stuck in your dog's gums. Instead, give "dog bones" specifically designed for dogs to chew. Ask your veterinarian for suggestions.
Discourage your dog from foraging in the waste basket-secure lids on all trash cans.
It's natural that you'd want to share holiday treats with your dog. While a little taste of turkey or sweet potatoes can make your dog happy, don't overdo it-too much of a good thing can make him sick.

Decorations are not playthings.
Keep your dog away from holiday plants, many of which are poisonous, such as holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and amaryllis. Also be sure all potpourri is out of your dog's reach.
Snow globes can contain antifreeze, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Keep any antifreeze products away from your happy, tail-wagging dog. If there is an antifreeze spill, send your dog out of the room while you clean up the liquid. Dilute the spot with water and floor cleaner to ensure your dog does not lick the area later.
Keep electrical wires and batteries out of your pet's reach. Chewing or biting anything electrical can cause him shock or burns. Don't leave lighted candles unattended. A lit candle knocked over by a curious dog can burn your dog or cause a fire.

Christmas trees
Anchor the tree to the ceiling or wall to prevent it from tipping over. Hang non-breakable ornaments near the bottom of the tree. Avoid putting tinsel on your tree. If ingested, tinsel can twist in your dog's intestines and be deadly.
If you're going to have a live tree, don't let your dog drink the Christmas tree water. The water may contain preservative chemicals, which can trigger severe indigestion in dogs. Stagnant plain water can breed bacteria and cause nausea or diarrhea to the dog after drinking it.

Help your dog feel safe and relaxed.
Most dogs get very excited when guests arrive. To help your dog be calmer, exercise him prior to the festivities. After 30 minutes of walking or playtime, your dog will more likely be relaxed or want to nap. As a general rule, don't allow the dog to greet unfamiliar guests since unusual activities and commotion can cause him extra stress.

Give your dog a break from the hubbub by putting him in his crate or in a quiet room with his doggie bed. Allow him to rejoin the festivities after guests have arrived. Dog's stressed by unfamiliar events typically pant more, so keep your dog's water bowl filled with fresh water.

Plan ahead if you know your dog gets overly excited or fearful with a lot of commotion going on. You might want to put up a doggie gate, so your dog can watch the festivities, but won't be into everything or annoying your guests. This way he can also go and lie down and snooze on his doggie bed when he's tired.
I hope you all Safe and Happy Holidays!

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


In this issue, we are sharing a letter from one of our adopters. Although less "happy" than we would all like to hear, there is solace in knowing that because of Ratbone Rescues and this wonderful family, Gavin has had not just a second chance but a wonderful life with a family that loves him completely.

Dear Ratbone Rescues,
I'm not sure if this story qualifies as a happy tail or not, but my husband and I wanted to let everyone at Ratbone Rescues know the joy we've received from our rescued Rat Terrier, Gavin.

Four years ago last July, we welcomed Gavin into our home. Amazingly, he immediately claimed us as his new family. From the moment we left the parking lot after picking Gavin up from his transport (after a long ride from Georgia to Indiana!) he wanted to sit in my lap. Initially, I thought it was the bag of McDonald's wrappers from breakfast on the floorboard that was attracting his interest, but no, Gavin just wanted to sit with his new family. To this day, he still sits on my lap whenever the weather will allow him a car ride. Turns out we adopted a car ride fanatic who will give his eye-tooth for any type of ride, even if it's just around the block.

We instantly become a loving family of three: two people and their dog. Adopting him gave us purpose and someone to love – and Gavin is very loveable. The car was just our first of countless experiences with Gavin's wonderful personality. He won us over with his tiny quirks, from making little cow-like noises or small grunts whenever we talk to him or give him his daily dose of petting, to his aloof, slightly goofy nature and inherent fear of cats. Not only is he popular with us, but nearly anyone who meets him is utterly enthralled with him and his loving nature. He truly is one in a million.
When we adopted Gavin, I was in my second year of veterinary school. There is a running joke that if you're a veterinarian, your pets are bound to become ill with some extraordinary disease. Unfortunately for us, that was true. Three days before this past Christmas, I felt an enlargement in one of Gavin's lymph nodes. I took him into work with me the next day for some tests and, sadly, we got the worst news possible: Gavin had cancer. The diagnosis was lymphoma, which is a disease of neoplastic lymphocytes. It was also Stage V, which is the most advanced stage. The good news, however, was that Gavin was still clinically healthy, which is an important prognostic factor for dogs with lymphoma. My husband and I discussed treatment options and then had to make a big decision – what treatment would we do? That decision wasn't too hard, as we already knew how special he was and he wasn't feeling ill. So Gavin underwent the "Cadillac treatment" of chemotherapy, the UW Madison protocol.

Overall, the chemotherapy treated Gavin well with few side effects and the good days vastly outnumbered the bad. He was a real trooper and has become a favorite oncology patient! Luckily, he achieved complete remission during the first month of treatment and has maintained it ever since. June 8th was his last treatment and we are nearly 8 months out after his initial diagnosis. While this is great news and a reason to celebrate, it is also scary as we are now playing the dreaded waiting game. When will he relapse? A month? A year? Will it still be responsive to chemo? Will it be worse than the first time? These are the thoughts that currently plague us. But then I come home from work and see that handsome Rattie greeting me in the living room, eager for his nightly walk. That makes me realize why we got Gavin, so he could be given a third, or maybe even fourth chance at life. He is the apple of my eye and my husband's "buddy." Whatever is to come in these next months is still unknown, except for the love the three of us have for each other. We are forever indebted to Ratbone and his foster mom, Mary Beth, who gave this dog his second chance at life. He's definitely making the most of it along his way and touching many hearts in the process.

Katie Wycislo, DVM


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.