Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun – Holiday Edition

animal rescue, dog training, dogs, holiday events, How-to, photography

Lucy and Charlie have the best seats to watch our changing seasons

Fayston, Vermont. With Halloween a sugar coated memory, the Holiday Season is upon us. Be sure to include your dog(s) in the celebrations because not only are dogs good at cleaning up after dinner, they want to be with you no matter your to-do list.

Thanksgiving probably means a family gathering, so I hope you’ll take a group photo with your dog. Remember to practice “Sit-Stay” before then, and be patient. Short training sessions done post-exercise and with consistency are the keys to success. Once you have everyone gathered, take several shots. Tip: Use the burst mode to take a bunch of shots quickly. You just need one with all eyes open.

Dress Rehearsals

Before you go out for the photo with Santa, you want to both look festive. Many dogs are fine with costumes, but for some like my Charlie, a bandana is about all he will tolerate. Maybe he’ll wear reindog antlers. How did your dog do with Halloween? If he was uncomfortable or nervous, skip the costume.

The crew in their basic bandanas

Bandanas come in just about any color and cost about $2 from the craft store. Or shop Etsy for a holiday-themed one just for dogs. I’ve put reversible bandanas from Simply B Vermont (on Etsy and at The Quirky Pet in Montpelier, Vermont) on my crew as they are handmade near my house and come in a variety of super fun prints. They cost $16 each.

For you, dress in coordinating colors. Solid colors photograph better than patterns, but ugly sweater is your call. One of my favorite finds this year are the holiday animal sweaters for women at Lands’ End. Probably not ugly enough to win an office contest, but they offer one with a Golden Retriever, another with a cute terrier, and one with a Dachshund, as well as a variety of other designs (cat, sheep, cow, plus traditional seasonal motifs). Made from machine washable cotton; $69.95 – 40% off with coupon code NOVEMBER40 as of this writing.

Additional tips before bringing Fido to Santa or out caroling:

  • Basic commands “sit”, “stay”, and “come” are essential for safety and everyone’s enjoyment. Work on these often!
  • Use a leash and harness and whatever reward system you prefer.
  • Make sure your dog is healthy and vaccinations are up to date.
  • Practice! Take your dog to stores that allow pets. Make the outings short at first. Many shops on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont are pet friendly. Some of the big box stores are dog-friendly, too. Call ahead if you’re not sure. Caveat: In preparing this article, I started by searching those pet friendly guide websites, but found some information not accurate or out of date when I confirmed with the businesses. So before you go, call your destination directly to inquire about its pet policy.
  • Exercise your dog before any practice runs and especially before the Santa trip.
  • Bring poop bags. Because, you know…
  • Public outings are not for every dog. If your dog seems anxious while you’re waiting in line, leave. If your dog is nervous or the slightest bit reactive, don’t even try a store outing – have a friend come over to take your photo. And keep working with your dog on socialization.

Charlie looks snuggly in his festive blanket – this is his dressed up look…

The takeaway: Lower your expectations, practice with your dog, and relax. Your dog will respond to your emotions. Your dog’s personality makes the portrait special, not Santa. (Sorry, Santa.)

Santa!!!

Check your local community calendar for holiday events that are dog-friendly. PetCo and PetSmart locations across the country will offer Photos with Santa in December. PetCo in Vermont will host Santa on December 8 and again on December 15. PetSmart in Williston, Vermont expects to host Santa on every December Saturday before Christmas.

After Thanksgiving, call your local store or look online for times and dates.

Benefit Events

Helping a rescue organization by attending their fundraising event is my favorite excuse to have a night out. Check your community calendar or local newspaper for events near you. Here are a few events coming up in Vermont:

Shop Small Sale at Dog Mountain Home of the Stephen Huneck Gallery, St. Johnsbury, Vermont; Saturday, November 24. Ok, not a night out, but a great opportunity to pick up unique gifts. You may bring your dog.

Making Spirits Bright to benefit Passion for Paws; Thursday, December 13; 6:60-9:30 pm; The Automaster, Shelburne, Vermont; $35 in advance. Information and tickets

Ugly Sweater Contest to benefit Golden Huggs Rescue, Wednesday, December 19, Prohibition Pig, Waterbury, Vermont. The food was terrific last year! Details are still forthcoming – I’ll post an update with complete information next month, or check Prohibition Pig’s website in the coming weeks.

Purrrses for Paws to benefit The Humane Society of Chittenden County; February 7, 2019 at the Burlington International Airport. Features a silent auction of new and gently used purses; tickets:$30 Information and tickets

Shameless Plug

I now have an Etsy Shop! Order holiday cards or my “mountain dog pack” cards featuring, you guessed it, Linus, Lucy, and Charlie Brown. I’ll be adding more cards and prints in the coming weeks, so check back often. My Etsy Shop: RSilbernagelPhoto

A bigger selection of my cards is available at Product Think Tank in Waitsfield, Vermont (in the Mad River Green Shopping Center, next to the Post Office). This dog-friendly boutique is home to locally designed Mountain Lifestyle natural fiber sweaters for men and women, with styles and colors for all the adults on your gift list. Please stop in to take a look.

Bonus: Benefit Contest For Dogs And Their People – Enter Today!

Going on now until November 30, the Orange Crush social media contest from Spot The Dog Vermont is a fun way to play outside during stick season. It is hunting season here in Vermont, and Spot The Dog Vermont makes hi-viz orange vests and bandanas for country dogs. We’ve bought the vests for all three of my dogs. Charlie also has a bandana that’s plaid with reflective dots on one side and orange on the other. This event benefits Golden Huggs Rescue, from where we adopted all three of my dogs.

The details (from Spot the Dog):

Spot the Dog was founded to save dogs lives by protecting them during hunting season, on the trail, and at night. Spot the Dog has a DEEP commitment to saving rescue dogs by contributing 10% of every sale we make to Golden Huggs Rescue.

The Spot the Dog orange crush campaign is about having fun and SAVING LIVES! Beginning Saturday Nov 10th (rifle season kick off in VT) Spot the Dog will be posting photos of your “Orange Crushes” – your dog, a rescue dog, any dog that you love decked out in safety orange! At the end of the contest (runs until December 10th) whichever “Orange Crush” received the most cumulative likes (Instagram+Facebook) will receive a LIFETIME supply of new Spot the Dog safety wear and have a $3000 check donated in the winner’s name to Golden Huggs Rescue!

Here’s how you can participate:

1. Take a photo or selfie of you with your “Orange Crush”

2. Tag @spot_the_dogs or email the photo to Sam@SpotTheDogVT.com

3. Wait to see your photo pop up on our page, and in the meantime share and like our Orange Crushes!!

November Image Gallery

Our weather went from fall to winter practically overnight. Most days, Linus has taken up his spot in front of the wood stove while Charlie and Lucy sit in the snow on a hill in our yard, watching. I don’t know what they’re watching, but they seem to know their job.

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Running With My Pack: CaniCross 2018

animal rescue, dogs, Healthy Living, pets, photography, vermont

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Williston, Vermont.  Although the wind gusts persuaded me to not set up my wagmorevt.com photo booth, the rain held off and another CaniCross to benefit Golden Huggs Rescue and Catamount Outdoor Center is now in the books. Dogs of all shapes and sizes came with their people to participate. A local youth cheerleading squad was even on site for encouragement. Special thanks to Long Trail Veterinary Center’s Dr. Ericka Canales for organizing and sponsoring this event.

If you are interested in ordering any prints, please go to my photo website, Rebecca Silbernagel Photo on SmugMug. As I didn’t set up the photo booth, any money I make from the sale of CaniCross prints or products I will donate to Golden Huggs. A 4×6 inch print costs .21¢ and ordering is easy through my site. I’ll leave the sale open for a couple of months. (I don’t usually sell my photos this way.)

We adopted all three of my dogs through Golden Huggs Rescue. I can’t say thank you enough!

 

 

Three’s the Charm

animal rescue, dogs, photography
img_8223 copyright rsilbernagel

Lucy, Linus, and Charlie Brown at home.

Fayston, Vermont.  Wagmore is three! Well, almost. Launched three years ago on National Puppy Day, I started the blog to tell stories about my dogs and about those I meet in my community. Although I don’t have as much time to sniff out stories as I’d like, we’ve had a wonderful time exploring and sharing. I am looking forward to another year of happy tails!

For me, the highlight for this past year was seeing the photos of my readers’ dogs. As has been my custom with my anniversary post, the words are few and the photos are many. Have a look through the gallery of images from the past year.

National Puppy Day is March 23, 2018.  We will be taking a long walk and indulge in an extra cookie (or two) as we continue our training. Perhaps you will add (another) dog to your family. Or donate to your local shelter or rescue organization. (I shop on Amazon Smile to benefit my rescue – it’s easy to sign up.) Consider buying some new dog toys or a comfy bed for your pooch. Or meet a neighbor to take a walk together. Or, take a portrait of your dog… How will you celebrate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rescue Squad Leader

animal rescue, dogs, Interview, Uncategorized
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Cindy Thrasher, Golden Huggs Rescue (GHR) Foster Extraordinaire, at the GHR Yard Sale, July 22, 2017

Editor’s note: Although I adopted all three of my dogs through Golden Huggs Rescue, Cindy was not the foster for any of them – I had never met Cindy before the interview.  And, while this post has been percolating, National Mutt Day (July 31, 2017) came and went.  This post is dedicated to all those volunteers who work in animal rescue.

Shelburne, Vermont.  With Cindy Thrasher, a volunteer foster “mom” for Golden Huggs Rescue.  Cindy, who lives in Columbia, Kentucky, was recently in Vermont to support the GHR fundraiser held at Collette’s Furniture in Shelburne, and to visit with friends.

How long have you been with GHR?
I’ve been involved with GHR since 2009, but I was with Border Collie Rescue before that. So 11 years total in rescue.

What got you started?
A friend of mine at work had Border Collies, and she was involved with Border Collie rescue. I went to a shelter to assess a Border Collie for her, and I picked it up. Once I started doing it, I really felt it was my calling.  I didn’t know anything about rescue; I didn’t even know it existed. I knew that we had tons of animals in need. Since then, I fostered over 600 dogs and puppies.

What are some of your favorite stories from your rescue work?
Most of the dogs we get are strays, so they come with a lot of stories we don’t know. Sometimes we can tell physically or by behavior what’s happened to them. Some that are special are if they’re a senior and they get adopted, and they get a second chance at life.

Black dogs – since I’ve been with GHR, they’ve been pretty liberal with me about having black dogs on our site, even though they’re not golden retrievers or golden mixes – because of “black dog syndrome”, where big black dogs are the last to get pulled out of shelters and they’re the first to be euthanized. We see many more Labrador Retrievers where I live than Golden Retreivers because they use them for fowl hunting. We have tons and tons of pure-bred Labs and tons and tons of Lab mixes, and they tend not to get out. I try my best to keep at least one black in foster care at all times. They’ve [GHR] been very liberal with me allowing me to do that.

Everybody’s a great dog – eveerydog is perfect – for the right home. That’s why it’s so important for out adoption process, the way it works. Because we’ve had very few of mine that have had to be moved around after, and usually it’s the humans’ fault. Not the dog’s fault. It’s important for them to have their forever life.

Do you have any dogs of your own?
I have three that are permanent fosters that were deemed unplacable for behavioral reasons, and I have two Border Collies, and several mixed breeds at my house.

I keep about 18-25 dogs at a time. I try to move them on. I’ve had fosters for over a year because no one wanted them, but I always tell my board members that the right person comes for the right dog at the right time. I takes awhile sometimes.

I had one last year, she was wicked female alpha aggressive, so she wanted to attack all the females. You can’t place a dog like that everywhere – that’s not a dog park dog, a dog you can walk around the neighborhood. She lives in Massachusetts now. She’s stunning. Brilliantly smart. She’s an only dog in a fenced yard, and they love her.  She’s living a great life.

I commit to each one, whenever their life to be realized, realizes. I’m the only one they have. Many times, they’re moments before the euthanization. I was lucky to go to Maine and visit a couple who have adopted three dogs from me, two I had in foster for over a year. One I got from a shelter I stopped at on my way to somewhere else. It was 4:30 on a Friday. The vet was coming at 5 to euthanize everything there. There were 30 dogs there. I had to look at those dogs and know that they were going down. This one sticks out to me more than any because it so explains the plight of these animals. There were three little puppies in the crate next to her. I was getting the puppies because they were fluffy puppies and I knew we could place them.  She’s a red cattle dog mix, solid red, and she was reaching through the kennel, screaming at me. Like she knew what was going to happen. I’ve never heard anything like it, before or since. She’s never made that noise again. She was literally screaming to me to get her.  I couldn’t leave her. I had to walk away from 20-some others, but I couldn’t leave her. I had her for 13 months in foster. She’s not what people look for from us, but she’s got a great life now. She lives right on the ocean.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to say our culture’s different down there. Human life isn’t valued much, and animal life isn’t valued at all. Animals are considered disposable. While there may be reputable breeders, most of the ones are from back yard breeders. They’re just doing it for the money. They don’t keep their dogs healthy. They adopt out dogs that are not spayed or neutered.  That just becomes more puppies that don’t have homes.

I would encourage anyone up here, if they have any influence at all, to push for Federal legislation for pet protection. KY ranks 50th in the nation for animal cruelty and neglect for 10 years in a row…

It’s a struggle. I encourage people to adopt rescue dogs because they are perfect. They may not be purebreds, but they are pure of heart.

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My Charlie Brown, center, with Golden Huggs Rescue volunteers at their fund raiser yard sale held last month at Collette’s Furniture in Shelburne, Vermont.  Thank you – your work makes a difference in the lives of so many dogs and their people!

If you have a comment or a story to share, please use the form, below.

Merry Maker

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Merriam meets the gang from the next office

Merriam meets the gang from the next office.

Waitsfield, Vermont. With Linda and Bill Barnes and Merriam the puppy in the Festival Gallery, where Linda volunteers. This is an adoption update from my October 29, 2015 post, Special Edition(s). 

Merriam, aka Merry

Merriam, aka Merry

I went over to see the puppies at Dirty Paws Pet Spa, and I called Bill. I fell in love with a puppy. And we took the puppy. We couldn’t take her that day because it was Bill’s dad’s memorial service. We had to wait until Monday. We knew immediately that she was for us.

She terrorizes the cats – she thinks they’re supposed to play. The kitties don’t play. They growl. Then they hiss. And they bat her in the nose. They don’t have front claws so they don’t hurt her.

She knows when she’d done something she shouldn’t have because then she’s under the bed.

Starting Something

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Rusty, at his forever home in Waitsfield, Vermont

Waitsfield, Vermont.  With Brigitte Ritchie, co-founder of Golden Huggs Rescue.

Rusty is from Louisiana. When I adopted him I had just been diagnosed with cancer. Adopting a Golden was on my bucket list.  I found him on-line in a Lousiana rescue. They told me that he had been hit by a car – he was a neighborhood doggie – and he had heartworm. The shelter called the rescue to tell them they had two goldens, but when they got there, they were told that there was another one in the back, but he’s a total mess. The gentleman that runs the rescue, well, he took one look at the dog – named Rhett at the time – and he took Rhett in his car straight to the vet. They took his leg off and started to treat him. When I got him, he was only about a year old. He was driven up. No transport company, no rules or regulations. That was about twelve years ago. I was startled with the realization about all those kill shelters: They gas them, about 35 at a time, then put them in trash bags at the curb for the city garbage trucks to pick up.

So that led to me going down there, meeting people, and saying there’s a supply-demand thing. There are people that can help, and Pet Finder, and all that.

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Sadie

Sadie’s from Tennessee. I rescued her when she was about five. The people that had her were moving and couldn’t take her. She came all trained. She’s an alpha female. I can’t have any more female dogs with her around.

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Bodie

Bodie, the little one, who’s not little at all anymore, came because my son complained that he wanted a puppy for once. I had adopted out a lot of puppies. Bodie was only five weeks. He’s the comedian of the group.

Rusty just keeps going. I just can’t believe it.

We have quite a few dogs in the Valley now. We wanted to start a rescue – there are four of us – where you answer phone calls, help people, and don’t disappear when the dog gets here. We remain a resource. I don’t have a facility so I can’t take owner turn-ins, but I have rescuers locally that will. The groups help each other – it’s a nice community around here.

To learn more about Golden Huggs and view dogs currently available for adoption, please visit the Golden Huggs website.

If you have a story to share, please contact wagmorevt!

Happy Gotcha Day!

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Lucy, now 3, at home.

Lucy, now 3, at home.

Fayston, Vermont. We celebrate Lucy’s “Gotcha Day” on December 19th.  A “Gotcha Day” is more significant to rescue families than a birthday because it’s the day the dog joined it’s forever home. I’ve written stories about how Linus and Charlie Brown came to join our family, but never told Lucy’s story.  In honor of her Gotcha Day, here’s Lucy’s tale.

Lucy was a Christmas puppy. I didn’t plan it that way. I didn’t even want a puppy.

Then I saw her picture.

It was the beginning of October when I said goodbye to my sweet Chesapeake Bay Retriever Kona. I wanted another dog – I will always have a dog – and contacted a CBR breeder. Her next litter was about a year away, she informed me.  Would I like to be included on The List?

The house was so empty. By November, the emptiness became unbearable when my then high-school-aged son went away on a trip. Kona had lived a good, long life, and was my constant companion. But, her many medical issues were a source of stress for me. I started searching the web for a young, healthy, energetic dog. One that didn’t need to be housebroken and that had too much energy for its owner – one that could hike for miles, then go for a swim, then still wasn’t done playing. On the Golden Huggs website, I saw a young Golden Retriever that seemed perfect. I applied immediately without telling my family.

I quickly received a phone call with the news that the dog I requested was already adopted, but “would you like a puppy?” asked Golden Huggs’ Brigitte Ritchie. I had never met Brigitte, and I was surprised by the question. I replied without hesitation “no, not really,” as I explained Kona. Brigitte didn’t exactly take no for an answer. She described a litter that would soon be up for adoption but told me that she wouldn’t show me a picture yet. That wouldn’t be fair, she explained. Think about it, she advised.

It wasn’t long before my family figured out what I was up to, and, over the phone, I asked my son (who was miles away in Colorado) what kind of dog he wanted, theoretically. He requested “fluffy.”  I passed that information on to Brigitte.

Then I saw that first photo.

Lucy on her Gotcha Day, December 19, 2012

Lucy on her Gotcha Day, December 19, 2012

We had the winter’s first real snowfall on the day before we brought Lucy home. During the 45 minute trip from her foster family, ten-week-old Lucy cried and cried. Then, as soon as we let her out of the car, she happily bounded in the snow for a very long time. Exhausted – finally – she fell asleep in my son’s arms.

Want to share your tale on wagmorevt? Contact me!

Dogs ran over the Cat

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And they're off! Halloween Canicross, 2015

And they’re off! Spirited Canicross, 2015

October 31, 2015, Williston, Vermont. I feel fortunate to have made many new friends at the Canicross! This benefit event was held on a cold but wind-free morning at Catamount Outdoor and Recreation Center. I had cortisone injections the day before, otherwise I would have much rather joined in the fun. Thank you all for participating!

Special Edition(s)

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Note: When a litter of adoptable, adorable, healthy puppies is maybe 50 yards away from my office desk, I am compelled to break my own rule of not featuring dogs up for adoption. I was armed only with my cell phone for photos, and these puppies are wiggly and snuggly – you’ll just have to see them for yourself. Oh, that new puppy smell!

With Cheri Bovee at Dirty Paws Pet Spa.

Waitsfield, Vermont. I drove to upstate New York, about 2 1/2 hours. It was very, very rural. They had kept her [the puppies’ mother] chained to the axle of a pickup truck, but it was supposed to rain so they put her in the pickup truck. When we arrived it was 92 degrees, and she was in that truck. No windows open.

The litter has four females and one male. They are nine weeks, they’ve had their first set of shots, they’ve been wormed three times. They’ve seen Dr. Hadden from the day after they were born.

Re-homing fee to adopt a puppy is $250 each. The mother has been adopted out already. My goal is to give every dog a home of their own, with their own boy or girl – a place of their own.

Visit the lab-mix puppies at Dirty Paws Pet Spa, 5081 Main Street, Waitsfield, Vermont. Telephone: 802-496-7297.

Lab Partners

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Luna and Huck

Luna and Huck

Waitsfield, Vermont. With Lisa Davis, Luna (black lab), and Huck (yellow lab).

RS_Lisadavis_Huck_IMG_2066Huck Reinhold, who’s named after the mountain climber, is my husband’s dog. [My husband Josh and I] were introduced after we both had lost our labs. And shortly later I adopted Luna. Then a friend had bred his two pets and wanted to give Josh a dog. We consider Huck a rescue because we don’t know where he might have ended up if Josh hadn’t taken him for free.

Luna is from Lab Rescue. I got her when she was 18 months to 2 years old. Her name is Luna Juno because the movie “Juno” was out at the time.

She picked me. I went in to pick up a foster dog, and Luna had just come into Lab Rescue. She jumped up on the counter and introduced herself to me, and I said “I’m taking her.” I wasn’t even sure I was ready to take a dog yet.

She has been a vigilant mother to our son since he was born. She sleeps in his room. He went straight from a crib to a full-size bed otherwise he would have had to share a toddler bed with a lab. She sleeps with him every night.

I assumed that Huck’s namesake is Reinhold Messner, a mountaineer, adventurer, and author who is perhaps best known for making the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen (with Peter Habeler)

Lisa Davis is the Executive Director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce. Thank you, Lisa, for participating!