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 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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

TIME FLIES!!

When I started this blog, I had every intention of keeping it going with updates. But life gets busy and before I know it, a couple of months have gone by! When I was young, time always seemed to drag so slow (especially around Christmas), but as I have gotten older, time goes by so fast it's practically a blur!

Book sales of Tails of My Rescue Dog in the month of May have been the best since the free promo with 75 downloads (51 U.S. and 24 U.K.)  As of this writing, 609 downloads (505 U.S., 102 U.K. and 2 Denmark) since the release date on March 18. I am very happy with these numbers especially because I haven't done any advertising in quite some time.

I have had a few readers contact me to ask how Mindy is doing now. I classify her as 95% angel most of the time and 5% hell on wheels at walk time. I am still having a very difficult time controlling her when we walk.  About a month or so ago, I spoke to a dog behaviorist who made me feel very good about the progress we have made with her over the past 4 years. She commended me for not giving up and returning her to the shelter. I told her that thought never even crossed my mind as I made this commitment for life,  She told me that I may not ever be able to change the chase instinct in her or the frustration aggression, but I could probably learn to manage it. Most importantly, I may want to do fun things with her like take her to the dog park or on hikes, but being in those types of environments with alot of other dogs just may be too stressful for her. Just the same, our codependency on each other had stopped me from doing some of the things that I enjoy. I thanked the specialist for her insight and if I was a millionaire, I would hire her forever!

I took this advice to heart and on Memorial Day I decided to go on a short hike at a local trail without Mindy (she already had her morning walk).  Before we rescued Mindy, my husband and I used to hike the trail every weekend. After we rescued her, we took her with us and she loved it. But as she started getting more aggressive, we stopped taking her which meant that I stopped going all together (feet problems sidelined me as well) while my husband picked up mountain bike riding.  The last few weeks, I started thinking about how much I miss the trail and the trainer's words came to my mind that I should avoid putting Mindy in stressful situations. So I laced up my shoes, sadly pet her goodbye and drove out to the trail. I felt so guilty leaving her behind, but I reminded myself that I was doing this for me.

There were many dogs on the trail that morning and I felt a sense of sadness as I watched them walk with their owners. One lady was walking 3 dogs on leash and I found myself envious because she made it look so easy. Even though I missed having Mindy with me, I knew how frustrated I would have been had I brought her. In fact, I probably would have turned around and gone back home. So I pushed aside all of those feelings, turned up the volume on my iPod and reminded myself that I was doing this for me. For the first time in a very long time, my shoulder did not hurt after a walk and I wasn't stressed out.

When I got home, Mindy happily greeted me at the door - tornado twists and all!  She's not a grudge holder who was mad at me for going on a walk without her. My taking an hour of my time to do something for myself did not harm her in any way. Imagine that! It was quite liberating in many ways. I hope to remember how this feels so when it does comes time to leaving her for a longer period of time, it will hopefully be a little easier on me.

Until next time.....happy tails!
Dawn

Saturday, March 24, 2012

FREE PROMO


One of the things that I have said when I planned to release my book was that it wasn't about making money. I'm a realist and I know that authors are a dime a dozen. Amazon does make it easy for any wannabe author to write a Kindle ebook and publish it. My primary goal was to take the chapters that were sitting in my hard drive unread, and turn them into a book that was read.

By Thursday the paid downloads were very minimal (less than 10).  I think 4 of them belonged to me for my copy and gift copies that I purchased for a few people that were in my book. It was my way of thanking them for participating.  I knew that Amazon offered a promo where you can list your book for free for up to 5 days. There is a payout from a monthly fund based on the number of free downloads.  I decided what the heck, I just want my book to be read.  That was the best thing that I could have done.  As of this writing there are 223 downloads since yesterday and we are #1 in the free downloads in the Dog category.  I'm happy with the outcome and hope that each and every one of the people who downloads my book will enjoy reading it.

And for her reward for being #1, extra belly rubs for Mindy today!

Until next time....happy tails!
Dawn

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BOOK RELEASE

March 20, 2012:  I officially released my ebook on Amazon.com! Actually it was up and running two days ago, but I was having a heck of a time with the Kindle formatting so I didn't publicize it on Facebook until the formatting was acceptable to me. There are still a couple of minor glitches, but I am happy with the outcome. I'm not an expert at file conversion so I did the best that I could!

This book has been almost three years in the making.  I started writing chapters and posting to Hubpages.com a couple of years ago, but I didn't get a whole lot of traffic. Probably because I didn't publicize it very much. Self promotion is not my forte.  Plus, I still get a little bashful when it comes to my writing. I'm just a little weird that way!

Back in January, I discovered that Amazon offered self publishing for Kindle under a special program.  I decided to finish up my chapters and turn it into a short story ebook. I had always dreamed of writing a book and the self publishing option allowed me to fulfill that dream.  Since the bulk of it was already written, I had to write a few more chapters and create a book cover.  I have spent the last few weeks reading it over and over and over again. Fine tuning along the way. It got to the point that I knew I had to say "ENOUGH, it's time to publish"!

So now that I have completed this project, where do I go from here?   I have thought about continuing Mindy's story and creating Tails of My Rescue Dog - Volume 2.  I just may do that...but for now, I think I will take a breather!

I hope those who download my ebook will get enjoyment out of Mindy's story and will fall in love with her the way we did!

Until next time....happy tails!
Dawn

Friday, March 16, 2012

WELCOME!

Welcome to my Tails of My Rescue Dog blog!  As I prepare for the release of my ebook, I thought I would take the opportunity to talk a little bit about the book.  First, I should say that this is a short story with seven chapters, a bonus chapter and a Preface and Epilogue.  It chronicles the challenges I faced as a first-time dog owner to a troubled rescue dog. Mindy was brought into a household where cats had always been the primary pets and it was a major adjustment for all of us.

With that being said, my book's primary focus is on our first year with Mindy.  My concept for this blog is to pick up where the book leaves off.  Even though it's been over 4 years since we rescued her, I still have plenty of questions and confusion when it comes to Mindy.  I would like to utilize this blog to interact with other dog owners for advice and ideas on how to deal with particular situations.

I would like to thank everybody for their support. If all goes as planned, the Kindle download should be available early next week!

 Hope you will be a frequent visitor to my blog!

Until next time...happy tails!
Dawn