Monday, July 23, 2012

Be the Change for Animals

P.S. Late in the day, I found an open link list and posted it at the bottom of this post. I'm really excited!

I signed up with the best of intentions to participate in Be the Change for Animals event, but I didn't realize that there was a deadline for adding my blog to the link list of bloggers who are participating. I had, and still have, problems with Blogger, then there was the fire in the canyon, and finally over the weekend, I've had to help my husband with a  rush project. Phew! But I want to stand up and advocate for change for animals and the millions of pets that still are euthanized every year. So I will just write this post for my regular blog readers and anyone else who comes along. I will also comment on blogs from the link list.

I know all of you know the importance of adopting dogs from shelters and avoid buying dogs from pet stores because of they are often associated with puppy mills, and to spay/neuter your pets. So I wanted to stress another aspect of dog, cat, and any pet ownership, something that my friend Rachael always stresses in her animal education workshops: Getting a pet is a lifetime commitment. To illustrate, I picked out a ton of pictures of my beloved Soldier. Soldier would have been dead back in 2007, now he has had five years with us that must seem like heaven to him. This is his story:

Before he retired, my husband had a construction company and in 2007, a realtor friend of his asked him to look at some work that needed to be done on a house she was selling. The owner was moving to Florida. My husband decided the work was not for him, but noticing a dog tied by a chain to a doghouse in the yard, he asked what the owner planned to do with the dog. She told him that since she couldn't find a new home for him, he was going to the pound the next day. Then she told my husband the dog does not like men, and to not go over to him.

My hubby, sweet man that he is, went over anyway and the dog, whose name was Soldier and who had been trained to march in place for his food, was all over him. My husband took Soldier home. Because of work, my husband lived in Los Angeles at the time, while I lived here in the mountains. The first time I drove down and met Soldier, I was in love. 

Soldier has since become my 77 lb lap dog. I am so in love with him. Soldier, on the other hand, probably loves me back, but it's very clear what his priorities are. In this order: Food, Walk, Daddy. He will whine for any and all of these three, the only dog we've ever had who knows how to whine. 

Overall though, he's had a very happy life here with us. And here are some pictures of the five years he would not have had if he had gone to the pound (not only is he men aggressive, his is also food aggressive, and vet aggressive. He was seven years old at the time, not neutered, and missing both upper and lower front teeth from chewing on his metal chain, trying to get free, so not a happy prospect for adoption). Here are a lot of pictures of Soldier's life with us.

A sleeping Soldier is something to behold. This dog knows how to relax, a sign of a happy dog, I think.

Soldier is probably part German shepherd and is an excellent guard dog. He's getting a little hard of hearing now, but is still doing a good job.

Looking at him, you may think he's part lab, but he's afraid of water and has no idea what to do with a tennis ball!

When his back was severely injured last winter, he took it in stride and proved to be very, very tough.

After six weeks of resting and taking his medicines, he finally got outside and walked along the house. After that, it didn't take long for him to be back to longer walks. He's still on pain medicine, but only every other night or as needed. 

Soldier truly loves his walks and sometimes he has some adventures, like meeting the cows last summer. I'm not sure if that last picture is any indication of what he thought of cows

There's, however, no doubt about his feelings for Rachael. Soldier loves all women, but Rachael is clearly a big favorite with him.

Sometimes, a dog may not turn out the way you had hoped for and since not all of us can call on the Dog Whisperer to help us change things around, his wise words are good to keep in mind: Owners need to be trained, dogs rehabilitated. 
Since we have no children and know a few things about dogs, we were able to keep a dangerously disturbed Doberman, we named Sundance, for his entire life. We had to rearrange some of our own lives in order to do this, and we had our work cut out for us with Sundance, but ultimately I am so glad that we didn't give up on him and provided for him a reasonably happy life.

So in my effort to be a part of the change for animals, I want to stress Rachael's words: When you adopt a pet, it is a lifetime commitment. I understand that sometimes things in our lives are beyond our control, but usually we can find a way. Thanks for reading through all this ~~ it all comes from my heart.


  1. i had a hard time reading this, for the tears welling in my eyes, this is a wonderful and touching and amazing story. i already have a big soft spot in my heart for Soldier because he is beautiful and so much like our rescue Max. this makes me so happy for him and for you. the odd thing is, Max was very much like Soldier, he did not like men, except he loved my husband and my two grown sons, their wives and me. he was aggressive with other dogs, so he lived with only us. we had him for 15 years plus, we worked around his traits and if someone came to visit, he stayed locked in the bedroom.
    you are so right, they are a life time commitment. every dog i have ever had in my 67 years was a rescue. bob and i have had 4, all rescue, 2 badly abused, as was Soldier, i consider chaining a dog abuse. thanks for sharing. he is so wonderful and beautiful. that said i do so wish i could come to you and see that wonderful view in your header. i just sat and stared at it for a while.

  2. Soldier's story brought tears to my eyes. He is a lucky boy having you two for his "parents"!! And we (my husband and I)totally agree with the life-time committment!

  3. I couldn't agree more with you. My husband and I have stressed to our three girls that anytime you decide to add a pet to your family that it is a lifetime commitment. Over the years we have had three cats and three dogs. Our first dog was a trial, but she lived to the ripe old age of 13.

  4. so very true. i have given up only one pet in my life - a husky that could jump or climb out of any fence. had to give him up moving from wis to texas in june as he would not have handled the heat (or the chain link fenced yard). found him a good home, though. every other pet has stayed throughout their lifetime.

  5. He is so beautiful and look so happy. I loved your post today. The picture where he is hiding his head under the bed was so funny, it made me laugh.
    Have a lovely day!


  6. Rörande historia om Soldier. Jag skulle nog kunna ta alla hundar som har behov av hem...Jag har tagit hand om Konjak. Han var på bild senast i tur i skogen inlägget. Han var hos en bekant men det var en stökigt för honom med ungar som slet i honom, gräl och skrik. Han blev säkert slagen och illa behandlad. Sedan ville han inte ha kvar honom då han jagade dåligt. Men han var ju så rädd att springa ifrån sin husse i skogen. Trodde väl att han skulle göra fel.
    Han ville till slut skjuta KOnjak men då tog jag honom. Jag hade haft Konjak o sin kompis King över helgerna o på sommaren bara för att de skulle få lite ro.
    Konjak var så nervös, kissade inne säkert 10 ggr varje natt, skällde jämt. Nu har vi haft honom i 7 år redan, han är 9 år i nov.Han är världens goaste. Lekpappa till de andra, lydigast av dem, kan gå lös och är så tillgiven, leker som en valp. Skulle aldrig vilja mista Konjak. Han är gillad av alla som träffar honom MEN han har agg mot vissa män. Troligtvis de som påminner om hans tidigare husse., Han har bitit några i benet men inte så illa.
    KOnjak är en blandras tax o troligtvis jack russell

  7. Yes, dogs are most certainly a lifetime commitment. My little Tater was rescued by me off the streets at only 3 months of age. He has been such a blessing in my life and I wouldn't trade him for a papered, pure bred dog EVER!

  8. Dear Inger, Thank you for sharing that photographs of a truly faithful and loving dog--and a wonderfully photogenic one also!

    Like you, I believe in commitment between the cats and myself. That's why, with the exception of Dulcy who was born in a friend's closet, I've always gone to the animal shelter to find companions.

    Because apartments and condos usually have a "pet" policy of allowing only two pets, the fact that I have four may make a difference with regard to my move back to Minnesota. Several friends--and the realtor--have suggested that I give away one of the cats so that I'll have more options back in Minnesota.

    But of course, that's like asking me to leave behind here in Missouri my right arm.


  9. Yes, pets are a lifetime commitment. We've had a number of dogs, but not cats (my wife is allergic). Huge sadness when we had to have some of them euthanized because of health problems. Just as bad when I had to give up Sadie when we move to the apartment (but then she got to go to an acreage, with a vet; much better than an apartment).

    Wonderful post, Inger.

  10. Thank you all so much for you comments and the stories about your dogs. I'm also glad you liked this post because I put it together in such a haste, the photos last night and the text this morning, before my we had to go to town to fax all the stuff I had prepared. I'll go and link up to some of the other participant's blogs now and I will catch up to you guys tomorrow.

  11. You have given Soldier a wonderful life and especially given his aggressions -- difficult for anybody and impossible for most to deal with. Our Sedona is a rescue as well. I'm thinking about writing her story and joining the hop. ..if I get up the energy (sorely lacking these days)

  12. God bless you and Soldier. I always adopt and wither I goest, my doggies goest, too. I wouldn't "get rid of them" (a phrase I detest) anymore than I would get rid of my children.
    Of course, now that the kids are grown up, the dogs are my darling children.


  13. We love Soldier! So glad your wonderful husband rescued him. Our Mickey came from the Humane Society. We marvel how someone could "get rid of" such a wonderful dog at age 7. We are so glad he is our boy. For us, dogs, cats and horses are family members.

  14. Inger, what a wonderful post! I so agree with you. When you adopt a pet, it is your for life. Not just when it is convenient.

  15. What a beautiful post Inger! I had read Soldier's story times ago and reading again it bring tears on my eyes. Soldier looks a wonderful friend and very happy too.

  16. Hi Inger and thanks for visiting my blog on the Blog Hop, and reading about my dogs. I love the story and pictures of Solider. He looks so happy and how wonderful that you took him in, gave him love and a cozy forever home! Excellent post and good info. Yes, when you adopt a pet, it is a lifetime commitment!

  17. Hi Inger .. what a wonderful post - and your words owners need to be trained, dogs rehabilitated - could and should so easily be adapted .. to people need to be trained, humans and wildlife need to be nurtured (for life) ..

    So pleased -this is a wonderful project .. and your photos are glorious ..

    Cheers Hilary

  18. Oh Inger, what a great post on Soldier! He is a beauty. I must admit, I had tears in my eyes when I read of his not having teeth because of chewing on his chain. How sad! Your husband is a good man for rescuing him and what a wonderful home he came to have!

  19. What a wonderful story with a happy ending, the very best kind. I am so pleased that you are dedicated to making the long term commitment that a lot of people today just don't understand. Our pounds are full animals victim of our societies belief that animals are a disposable item.
    I was in animal rescue for 15 years and learned that there is the perfect home for every animal. Soldier found his. Bless you.

  20. Lovely Inger....Soldier knows how lucky he is..truly...with your peaceful world any dog would know how lucky they are...Sophie whines but not for food... usually to go out and eat grass...she loves her salad!

  21. A sweet story that I didnt want to end, and Im very glad hes found all that love in your home. I wish him many more years with you. Richard

  22. Hi there, I found you through blog hopping and am so glad you posted this. I wish I had known about the Change link party and I could have joined.

    I've been involved with dog rescue for a long time now and have seen my share of horrible situations for dogs and other animals.

    Soldier definitely looks like he has shepherd in him. A great breed and I'm so glad you saved him and the others. Keep doing it. We DO make a difference!

  23. What a beautiful story. You really were met to be together.

    I believe strongly that pets are a life time commitement, but Bailey and Katy have taught me there are worse things then surrending a dog to a responsible rescue for rehoming before they develop habits and issues that make them more challenging to rehome. Bailey came to us from rescue as a puppy. His only real issue from his abondonment seemed to be a fear of being left, which with time he outgrew. The only time we saw it emerge is when we went back to rescue to pick up Katy. For some reason he remembered that place and until he got back in that car he was terrified as if he couldn't quite believe he wouldn't be left again. While it would have been wonderful if his orginal pet parents had done more research before bringing him home, they were wise in finding a breed rescue to surrender him to so he had the best chance of getting a good fit in a new home.

    Katy's owner's waited two years to surrender her and I well our lives would have been less without her, I wish she could have missed those years of neglect. I wish like Bailey the owner's had realized after getting her that they wouldn't care for her and been responsible and found her a place in the breed rescue before she got to be so scared of the world.

    Responsible pet owners are always best, but I truly believe if you can't handle the challenge then acknowledge it and do your best to give the dog the best possible shot at new home before you do damage.

  24. So very nice to see all the pictures of Soldier. He is a beautiful dog!

    Yes, any pet should be for life any changes a person has should be with them considered.

    Blogger sometimes isn't my friend either. :-)

  25. Yes, I think like the other comments that this is a wonderful story. I see that many off them have dogs and I know that my family would love to have one, but there are no time to take care of it as we're away for job and school so many hours every day. Last year, and I think we will do it this year too, we borrowed my brothers dog for some weeks when we have holiday.

    I don't know if you already heard this, but here in Sweden someone got the idea that they call "yellow dog" (gula hund). If you have a dog that of some reason not should be in contact with others (human or animals) you put a yellow thing on the dog-lead.
    the web page is:
    They have translated it to many languages.

  26. Great post about keeping dogs, cats, and other animal companions for their lifetime. How wonderful that your husband approached Soldier that day, even though the "owner" said not to. I'd say fate had a little hand in Soldier's future with your family. :-)

  27. I'm so sorry, Inger, but I couldn't manage to read this. Soldier is identical to our darling Josh who died about two years ago. It hurts to look at those pictures but I just wanted to say that we always have rescue animals. They're always neutered. And we always love them - possibly too much. Take care and hope the fires have stopped.

  28. Inger, this was such a loving post for animal welfare. Yes, Soldier is a very fortunate dog indeed.
    Your photos of him are make me feel like I know him and met him . Thanks.

  29. Very nice post:)


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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