A Heartwarming Tale of When the Worlds of a Neurotic Canine and a Crazy Cat Lady Collide! Kindle download available at Amazon.com.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

BOOK #2

"When will there be a second book?"
"How is Mindy doing now?"
"Hurry up and write book number two!"

This is some of the feedback I have heard since publishing my first book in March 2012. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many nice people who have contacted me on my Facebook page after reading it.

To answer the first question, I have been gathering my thoughts for another book, and I even have a working title (which I will not disclose as of yet!).  But I should add that in light of the past year's events with the pit bull attacks on Mindy, a second book won't be as lighthearted as the first book. Some serious stuff has happened and it still affects me and her to this day. But writing is therapeutic for me so I think it will be good to write out my feelings.

As far as Mindy is concerned, she is doing great in her own neurotic way!  Walking is still a challenge, but I don't know if that will ever change!  She seems to be slowing down a bit. Sometimes I forget that she is probably over 8 years old now. We have had her for almost 6 years and she was estimated to be 2 years-old when we rescued her.  It's hard to believe as the time has gone by so fast!

I am hurrying!!!  I am having foot surgery at the beginning of December so maybe that's when I can get started with book #2!

Until next time...
Dawn

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SAD JUSTICE

Tonight I sit here writing this with mixed emotions.  Is it possible to feel happy to one extent, but yet so sad to another?

You may recall that last July, Mindy and my husband were attacked by a Pit Bull/Great Dane mix in our neighborhood while on a morning walk.  Mindy sustained several puncture wounds and my husband cut open his thumb on the key chain which was holding a canister of pepper spray.  He never had a chance to use the pepper spray with this 100-pound dog barreling down on him.  With this in mind, we purchased stun batons for ourselves, the Wise's, and their neighbors.  We hoped that we would never have to use them.

I attended the hearing last year along with the three other victims of this dog.  The dog was deemed Potentially Dangerous and he was returned to the owner with a laundry list of restrictions that she agreed to abide by. The main restriction was the dog could not be anywhere near the front yard without being tethered and without a muzzle.  A couple of months after the dog was returned to her, I started hearing rumblings in the neighborhood that the dog was seen without being on a leash or without a muzzle. My husband crossed paths with her once while walking Mindy and her dog was not muzzled.  I even heard that she changed the dog's name which I assumed was an attempt to change his identity.  Animal Control was suppose to microchip him before he was released to her, so I figured she could call him whatever she wanted to call him. His true identity was in that chip.

This past March 13th, my neighbor Mark and I were walking our dogs like we normally do when this dog fled out of the open garage and tried to attack us again. Without going into all of the details (it will be fully written about in my next book), Mark was able to fend off the attack with the stun baton. The protection we bought did its job.  Unfortunately he hurt his ankle in the melee, but no one got bit. It was a very close call. When I contacted animal control, I found out that she had reported the dog stolen within a few weeks of getting him back which explained the name change.

Last Thursday we were subpoenaed as witnesses in an Administrative hearing to determine if the dog should be deemed vicious and euthanized.  At this hearing, Mark and I testified as to what happened that night. Gregg also testified as to seeing her walk the dog without a muzzle.  The dog owner and her family seemed to have a hard time keeping up with their fabricated stories as to how the dog was stolen and it was a lookalike stray dog that tried to attack us. But wait, she stole her stolen dog back in April. It was evident that they went to extreme measures to not have to follow the restrictions that were placed on the dog.  The hearing officer wanted a few days to review all of the evidence, so we walked out of the hearing not sure which way the decision would go.

I found out this morning that the hearing officer decided in the favor of Animal Control and us.  The dog was deemed vicious and will be euthanized (although the dog owner may appeal).  I started shaking almost uncontrollably when I heard the news because at that moment I was full of what felt like a million emotions. Justice was finally served and the hearing officer found our testimony to be credible without bite marks or other witnesses.  This does make me sad for the dog because he could have had a decent life even with restrictions. It's obviously in his nature to attack other dogs if he is put in the position to do so.  It was his owner who placed him in that garage without being tethered. It was his owner who put him in the position to attack 5 times.  It was his owner who decided to lie and cheat her way out of the system .  It was his owner that will now cost this dog his life.  He is a victim too. A victim of an irresponsible dog owner.

But on the happy side, our neighborhood was made much safer today.

Until next time...
Dawn 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

How can it be that 2012 is already over!  Where did the time go?  It seems like the older I get, the faster the years fly by. I just wish time would slow down a little bit so I could stop and smell the roses more than I do.

The holidays were good and we enjoyed time with our family and friends.  On December 27th we marked Mindy's 5-year RE-birthday. The day we saved her life from the county shelter.  It's amazing to think about how much she has changed over these past 5 years.  Don't get me wrong, she's still neurotic as all get out, but she has just thrived in so many other areas. It's hard to believe that she is the same dog that we brought home that day. Sometimes I reflect on what her life would have been (or not have been) if I had not seen that Petfinder ad on that fateful morning.  I also reflect on the fact that if I had not rescued her, I still may not know the joys of dog ownership. In so many ways, it feels like we were meant to find each other.  Kismet if you believe. 

I have had some inquiries as to whether I will be writing Tails of My Rescue Dog- Part 2.  I am gathering my thoughts together and thinking that I may attempt to do so this year. The year 2012 definitely gave me plenty of writing material between the dog attacks and our trip to Kansas. If I feel that I can write a quality follow-up book that will be interesting to the reader then I will do so.  I don't want to write a book that isn't "up to snuff" and have it appear that I am trying too hard to ride the coattails of my first book.  The subject of Mindy is too near and dear to my heart for anything of less quality. Even though I am not a professional author, I do set high standards for myself.  Especially if I am going to put my writing out there for others to read. So I will start writing a draft and see where it leads.

Finally, I would like to take a moment to give a shout out to all of the new people who have "LIKED" my Facebook page. It's nice interacting with people from all parts of the country, and now I can say all over the world because just today a gentlemen from South Australia liked my page.  Thank you and welcome to all! I have met some very nice people and I enjoy reading all of the rescue stories that are messaged to me.  One of my newest Facebook friends (a very sweet lady) recently told me that "animal loving people are the BEST".  I have to agree!

So as we head into 2013, I didn't make any New Year's resolutions as that is not really my thing, but I will make it a goal to update my blog more frequently. I have been thinking about how I can make my blog interact better with my Facebook page so I will have more things to write about.  My mind is always going...no wonder I feel tired all of the time! And on that note, I wish everybody a happy and prosperous New Year!

Until next time,
Dawn 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE!


"True friends are the ones who never leave your heart, even if they leave your life for a while. Even after years apart, you pick up with them right where you left off, and even if they die, they‘re never dead in your heart." - Unknown
We had a great time visiting our friends in Kansas!  It has been six years since they moved, so it was a long overdue visit to their beautiful new home.  Stacy, Kurt and I met in 1993 when I started a new job with their employer. Stacy and I grew very close and our friendship flourished even after I decided to return to my previous employer.  I always say the best thing that came from that job was meeting Stacy and Kurt and I was proud to be in their wedding in 1995. Their daughter Skylar was only 4 when they moved away and she is growing into a beautiful young lady. All in all, we went to some fun places, had fun just kicking back, and we ate way too much good food! To the Nack family, thank you for your hospitality and we look forward to our next visit!!

As far as Mindy is concerned, all I can say is what a difference a trip makes!  In my book, I wrote about our last trip in 2009 and how she struggled at the pet resort that I chose to board her in.  Communication was very poor and I was upset and frustrated when my calls weren't being returned.  The Wise family made this trip so much easier on me. It was such a relief knowing I could send a quick text to find out how she was doing and get a reply back fairly quickly.
I am pleased to report that Mindy did pretty well during our absence.  As I expected, she was a bit out of sorts the first day full day.  Tammy sent me a note that Mindy wouldn't come downstairs or eat her breakfast in the morning so she sat with her for a quite awhile to help soothe her.  The first evening Mark had a scare when he went to pick her up for a walk and she wasn't protecting the front door like he expected her to be. She didn't come when he called her, and he said he started panicking thinking she somehow got out. He frantically went from room to room looking for her. He went out to the backyard where she finally appeared from the side of the house. She was happy to go for a walk, and then he took her to his house afterwards where she got to eat dinner with Abbey and Stella.

As the days went by, Mindy spent longer and longer hours at the Wise home. Surprisingly there was a little tiff between Mindy and Abbey which was quickly resolved. We think Abbey may have been a little jealous because Mindy was being showered with so much love and attention by her family.   Abbey is used to being the Queen of her house and rightfully so!  They said it was hard to take Mindy home in the evening because she she looked sad (Amy's word to describe her was melancholy).  Jessie asked if she could spend the night, but they didn't want to further stress their dogs out or worry about a spat in the middle of the night.  It wasn't something I expected anyways. I just felt so grateful that they were taking such great care of her.
A couple of days into our visit, I was thinking about Mindy and missing her like crazy.  I took out my phone to send my nightly text to see how she did on her walk and if she ate her dinner (she wasn’t eating very well).  I was also going to ask if they would try and take a picture of her and send it to me. She’s usually very camera-shy so I knew it may be tough.  When I looked at my phone, there was a text message from Amy with a picture of Mindy. I got teary-eyed when I saw the picture, and I told Amy that it was if she was reading my mind!

On the flight home, I was excited about seeing Mindy. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I actually opened my own book on the Kindle so I could see pictures of her! I also re-read the chapter of our last trip and how scared and sad she looked when we picked her up at the pet resort. I wondered how she would greet us this time in our home.
When we pulled into the driveway, I was full of anticipation. Gregg and I entered the house and called her name. She was under the table and there was a brief hesitation when she looked at us. And then…...BAM!  We were practically bowled over with her jumping, tornado twists and we were smothered with canine kisses!  It was a wonderful welcome home.  I even took a picture of our reunion.  (Forgive the bags under my eyes. I blame too much Kansas fun and jet lag!)

My sincerest thanks go out to the entire Wise family (Mark, Tammy, Amy, Jessie & also Mathew) for going above and beyond what I asked of them in caring for Mindy.  It is nice to have neighbors that we can also call close friends!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

KANSAS BOUND!!

In just a few more days Gregg and I are heading to Kansas to visit friends.  For the past week, I have found myself feeling more and more anxious as our departure day draws closer.  Not only because of my fear of flying (at least this time I know what to expect), but primarily because we are leaving Mindy again.

When I started planning this trip earlier in the year, the memory of Mindy’s last boarding experience in 2009 still lingered heavily on my mind.  As I wrote in my book, the last time I boarded her she would not eat, she refused to come out of her kennel and she reverted back to her insecure shelter behavior.  Even the trainer admitted that she underestimated her anxiety.  It marred my vacation knowing just how bad she was struggling while we were on the other side of the country. I wanted this time away to be different for all of us.

Fast forward three years later, and we were once again faced with the decision as to whether or not we should board her. Ultimately it was my desire not to so I asked my neighbors if they would take care of her while we are gone.  To my relief, they agreed.  I feel confident that she has made enough progress with her separation anxiety to stay home as opposed to being boarded in unfamiliar surroundings.  She can still sleep in her own bed in the comfort of our house.  Plus, we now have iron gates that she can’t chew through.  Knowing she will get her nightly walk, eat her own food and spend time with her friends Abbey and Stella definitely gives me peace of mind.

Do I think she will have some form of anxiety?  Of course I do.  But because of our close friendship with the Wises, she is very comfortable around them as well.  Plus, I know I can call them any time to check on her instead of leaving messages that go unreturned. They understand my anxiety when it comes to her well-being.

I honestly would not trust anybody to take care of her except for our wonderful neighbor friends and I thank Mark and Tammy from the bottom of my heart!  I think we will be able to enjoy ourselves with better peace of mind.   I will blog about how it went when we return.

Until then……I’m going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come!
Dawn

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WHERE'S THE JUSTICE FOR DOGS???

Unbelievable…..unfathomable…..unfair….unjust…..

Those were just some of the words that kept ringing through my head yesterday following the administrative hearing to determine the fate of “Demon aka Doc”, the Pit Bull/Great Dane/ Dogo mix that attacked Mindy and three other dogs.
I don’t think any of the victims realized that the sole purpose of this hearing was to determine whether this dog should be legally declared Potentially Dangerous.  Mind you, it killed a dog and wounded three others so I think it’s safe to say that the dog has surpassed its full potential and IS clearly dangerous.  All of the victims had the bleeding wounds and emotional scars to prove it.  While time has healed the physical wounds, the mental picture of the attacks are forever etched in their minds.  I blame the owner for these acts of violence, not the dog.  She  knows her dog has issues, yet she is not responsible enough to keep him leashed at all times.

On the day Mindy was attacked the Los Angeles County Animal Control officer who took our report shared a tremendous amount of information with us about the dog’s history as well as the dog owner.  I remember mentioning to Gregg that I was surprised at how forthright she was in sharing this information.  She told us that criminal charges were going to be filed and they would see to it that this irresponsible dog owner would never be allowed to own another dog again. She even implied that the dog would be put down when I asked.  So who can blame us for thinking that the hearing was going to be a judicial process. We were hopeful that “Demon aka Doc” would be permanently removed from her home and out of our neighborhood. Once I received and read through the Notice of Hearing (see photo for how thick the file on this dog is), it became apparent that there was a chance this lady could get her dog back.

During the hearing, my heart broke a thousand times as I listened to the tearful testimony of the owner whose dog Bella died after being attacked by “Demon aka Doc” in March 2011.  The anguish she still feels was fully apparent yesterday as she choked out her words.  I squirmed as I listened to my neighbor recount his ordeal with his dog Melo and the horror he faced when “Demon aka Doc” charged him and his two dogs, grabbed Melo and ran down the street with him in his mouth.   I am sure they were just as troubled to hear me describe the attack on Mindy.  We were all in unison in our unsettling stories and our feelings that the dog should not be allowed back in her home.

When the hearing officer said he was ready to render his decision, my stomach did a flip flop in anticipation.  He declared the dog Potentially Dangerous and started reading through the long list of restrictions that will be placed on the dog. The other victims and I sat shaking our heads in disbelief.  Bella’s owner was crying and being consoled by her mother.  We listened as the dog owner was told that if she doesn’t fully comply, she will lose her dog.  When she was asked if she understood, she said yes.  So now for the million dollar question….can she be a responsible dog owner?  Based on her past history and demeanor at the hearing, I say it’s highly doubtful.  For our neighborhood’s sake, I hope she proves me wrong.  In fact, I challenge her to prove me wrong.

I spent the rest of the day feeling sad, angry, defeated...you name it. When I got home, Mindy greeted me at the door with her customary tornado twist of excitement.  I hugged her and said “I’m sorry girl, we tried." The nice thing about Mindy being a dog is she holds no ill will.  She was just happy to get her afternoon treat.

I am closing this blog with a message to Bella, Frankie, Melo and of course, my Mindy.  We were your voices yesterday in our quest for justice, but our voices fell on deaf ears. We didn’t fail you, the system did. 

We can only move forward from here....until next time.

Dawn

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DOGS UNLEASHED

Dog ownership is hard.  Much harder than I ever imagined it would be.  Before I rescued Mindy, it seemed to me that the requirements of owning a dog were easy enough: pet them, feed them, clean them, unconditionally love them and walk them. Simply hook the dog up on a leash and go.  How quickly I found out that "easy enough" was all just an illusion in my sometimes too idyllic head.  Anybody who has read my book or blog knows that walking Mindy has always been my biggest challenge.  In all fairness, our walking problems aren't always caused by Mindy.  Which is why it's unfortunate that I have to write this blog entry about one of my worst fears– being the victim of a dog attack.

Several weeks ago, I was walking a muzzled up Mindy because of a particularly rough walk the night before. It wasn’t Mindy’s fault, but it was her actions that led to being muzzled. Basically, a young girl walking a small dog did not use common sense which raised Mindy's anxiety levels to Defcon 1. The end result was she nipped me in the leg AGAIN leaving another black bruise. So the next night I blew the dust off the muzzle and decided to give it another try.

Mindy hated the muzzle, but our walk was uneventful until I was within a few yards of my home. That is when I saw two dogs running loose – a big one and a small one. It took me a second to register that they were my across-the-street neighbor’s dogs and that his gate was wide open. The small dog started roaming around the neighbor’s yards, but the big dog was standing by the curb staring us down. He looked more excited than aggressive, but with Mindy's aggression I knew that could change very quickly. I started to cross the street to avoid him, but I never made it. He ran into the street and ambushed Mindy. Even though she was muzzled, Mindy was growling and the other dog started growling and a fight ensued. I could not get the dog away from her. At one point Mindy’s leash came unclipped and I was desperately holding on to her so she wouldn’t take off chasing the dog. There was a small group of neighbors looking on, but nobody tried to help me. I even yelled for help, but they just stood there gawking and not saying a word.

Thank God once again for the Wise family!  They saw what was going on and didn't hesitate to help.  Zac came running down first and kicked the dog off Mindy. Mark realized that something was going on when he saw Zac take off running and he ran down too. He hooked the leash back up to secure Mindy.  I was shaken up and very emotional to the point that I couldn’t speak. It was such a scene. Mark kept asking if I had been bit and I could only shake my head and barely say “no”. He went to the neighbor’s house to let him know that his gate was open and his dogs were out. I turned to look at the onlookers when one lady apologized saying she was too afraid of dogs to help.  After this incident, I bought pepper spray for protection hoping to never have to use it.

Fast forward to last week….

Wednesday, July 11th was the first day of our “staycation” and we had plans for a day trip to Catalina Island.  My husband Gregg took Mindy for an early morning walk while I was getting ready to leave.  On the next block over from our street, they were attacked by a very large Pit Bull/Great Dane mix.  It latched onto Mindy and Gregg fell to the ground. He was kicking at the dog when the owner and her son came running to help. Mindy had four punctures and alot of pain in her rib area. The vet determined she had a bruised rib, and two days later a purplish/red contusion did appear.  Gregg’s thumb had multiple lacerations from the keys that were in his hand.  Attached to the key ring was the pepper spray that I bought for protection. He couldn’t react quickly enough to use it.

At 6:30 a.m. I called and reported the attack to animal control and I was getting very upset as the morning went on because it was taking so long for somebody to come out.  What I didn’t know was this dog has been on their radar for quite some time and after they received my report they were preparing to seize the dog. We were informed that this dog had a track record with three prior attacks on two dogs (one fatality) and one human.  Mindy was attack #4.  A seizure warrant was obtained and the dog was impounded that afternoon.  Without going into all of the details because it would make this blog entry way too long, all I can say was July 11th felt like the day that would never end.

A hearing is pending to decide the dog’s fate. We have been advised that there is a possibility that the owner can get the dog back if she agrees to comply with a list of care and conditions. This is incomprehensible to me and it makes me very angry.  The owner of this dog has not accepted responsibility for her dog’s actions or she wouldn’t continually allow it to be unleashed in an open garage as was the case in the last two attacks. People with this much blatant disregard for the safety of others should lose their rights to own a dog.  Period.  End of story!

Mindy's injuries are healing and mentally she is doing better than I expected.  I was very worried about how this would affect her emotional behavior, especially her anxiety. Luckily the experience has not caused a detectable setback.  Gregg’s thumb is healing very slowly causing him to miss a week of work. I thank our lucky stars that the injuries they suffered were not as bad as they could have been.
 
Dog walking may never be an easy task for me, but now Gregg and I feel like we have to carry a small arsenal just to protect ourselves and Mindy in our own neighborhood.  We don’t EVER want to be caught off guard again.

Until next time....let's hope for happier tails!
Dawn