Our last "best of" for 2008 is Sally Symmes response to Kathleen Bryant's
question.. "Too old to adopt?". I'm sure many of us, as we "mature", worry
whether or not we should bring another dog into our family. We fret about
our future.. what will happen to our dogs, should our health give out, should
they outlive us. These are legitimate concerns which can be addressed by
ensuring that the care of our dogs is included in our wills, that we have trusted
family or friends to look after them should disaster befall us. Yes, plan for
their future, but don't deny that deserving Kerry a loving home. The future is
unknown, but if you have reasonable health and lots of love to give, go ahead
and adopt that charming puppy or better yet, give a rescue dog a forever home.
As the old song says.. "Everyone needs someone to love".
Hi Kathleen - how I related to your note!!!!! I too am recently widowed and am in my early sixties. I have my beloved Molly (5) and Seamus (3) and I truly do not think I could have made it through this without them. They too loved Dave and mourned him as well. I would go for a pup in a heartbeat as they are so time consuming with training, playing, and so much love. I think raising a pup would help with the grieving but I have not yet decided if I am staying in this house and I may not have room for three dogs somewhere else. I am giving that decision a couple of years of living before I make it. I do keep pretty busy so Molly and Seamus entertain one another while I am away. It appears they only rough house when I am at home as I always find them cuddled up when I return. I guess they need an audience for their playing. I also would consider a rescue - Seamus came from the Foundation's rescue program but he was only four months old. We never know when we are going to go - Dave's death was a shock and was over in minutes - so I feel as long as you are physically able to keep up with a pup or older dog and have plans for what will happen to the dogs when you do have problems - go for it. A bundle of love may be just what you need. My opinion may be completely opposite from the Foundation's opinion - I don't know if they consider age a factor and know reasons against it that I am not aware of. I have never seen it addressed. Best of luck - we who lose someone we love are blessed to have a kerry companion - I have always said as I go from room to room that I have ten legs - they are so loyal and affectionate.
Sally Symmes Danvers, MA
----- Original Message -----
Hi Kerry Group
I have a question. I'm in my early sixties, widowed, and have a five year young Kerry girl. She is my constant velcro companion and I wouldn't have it any other way. I hate to even leave the house several hours knowing I'm only projecting my own sometime feelings of loneliness. I've been thinking of having another Kerry to keep her company especially when I travel to visit my son and family out of state or just going to the store. My question is this - Do you think my age is too old to give another Kerry a new home? I'm considering a puppy, but when I look at all the rescue pictures of Kerries my heart melts for them also. Also, if I should not live as long as my Mattie, can I just add a note to my will indicating who she should go to, or must I pay a lawyer to rewrite the will??
Kathy in Newton, Iowa
A timely story for the Thanksgiving season, this month's "Best of KBL" reminds us to give thanks for all those wonderful rescue volunteers who give Kerries in trouble a second chance.
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
From: Tom Sawyer
Date: Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Subject: It's a New Day
Many of you will remember a few months ago the report of a 3 1⁄2 year old Kerry in trouble. This Kerry had grabbed an 8 week old Lab puppy and refused to let go. Subsequently he was remanded to the County Sheriff's Animal Control for quarantine and possible euthanasia on the Labor Day weekend.
Today, I am very happy to report that this Kerry is alive and doing fantastically well. This would not have happened without dedicated Kerry people and a special County Sheriff Officer. The Officer was able to view his behavior during his quarantine period (during the time of hurricane Ike) and found him to be a very friendly dog. The Officer agreed to extend his life and turn him over to the Foundation. Cindy Hatzfeld, from the Kerry Blue Texas Club drove about 500 miles by herself with the entire hurricane Ike traffic to pick up this Kerry. She brought him to a local Vet for a check-up and to be neutered. He was in sad shape, he had hookworm and weighed just over 25 pounds when received by the Vet.
Following his surgery, this undernourished boy came to stay with us as a Foster. Initially we kept him isolated from our other two Kerries, pending his behavior evaluation. We went through a series of aggression tests - fear, territorial, dominance, predatory, food, toy and redirected aggression. With the exception of some minor redirected aggression, this Kerry passed with flying colors. This boy appeared to lack any basic structure. After a couple of weeks he was given the chance to interface with the other Kerries and we all went on walks to build a pack mentality. This little guy and I went to the local park daily where he went through basic training - how to sit and lay down with verbal and hand signal commands. It turns out he is a very quick learner and extremely intelligent. He was introduced to numerous dogs in the area, small, medium and large without any signs of aggression. However, his preference is humans. He loves people, and loves to lay by your side in the evening. In typical Kerry fashion he also counter surfed and stole our dinner one night!
My hat is off to the Kerry Blue Texas Club who came through in many ways to help this Kerry. They held a raffle to help defray some of the expenses, and also helped in finding a suitable adopter. I am most grateful for their total support.
After two months of evaluation and training, it was time to let him go to a new life and his forever home. We were sad to see this little guy go, he was such a delight to have around. He now has a new owner; someone that has many years of dog experience, in breeding and owning, and can handle a terrier breed. He has no children at home, or other animals, and was looking for an older Kerry as a companion to take on long walks and trips. He also has a Vet in the family. Our boy met his new owner at our house, and it was instant Love between the two.
So this Thanksgiving say a special prayer to the true Kerry people that believe every Kerry deserves a second chance.
The Kerry Blue Foundation has given a new life to a very special Kerry that was in serious trouble. Please help and donate to the Kerry Blue Foundation a very worthwhile cause! And go hug your Kerry.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the Foundation's work is the successful placement of rescue Kerries. Tracey Fulmer's post reminds us of the good work that our rescue team does by matching up our Kerries with their forever families, and brings us up to date on several of these dogs. Don't you just love happy endings!
Please continue to support our team's efforts by donating to the Foundation or purchasing one of our fundraising items for yourself or your favourite Kerry person for Christmas!
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
From: Tracey Fulmer <t_fulmer@YAHOO.COM>
Subject: [KBL] Rescue Updates - Lingus, Shelby and Sullivan
Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2008, 6:49 AM
I'm delighted to report that Lingus has been placed! Kathie and Ron Macfarlane not only pulled Lingus from one of the most disgusting back yard breeders we've come across, but also fostered him for three months while we searched for his perfect home. Lingus is an incredibly sweet dog but very shy and unsure of himself, all too typical of years of neglect in the mills. The Macfarlane's and their outgoing Kerries, Cavan and Maggie (also Foundation rescues), helped Lingus come out of his shell on his way to normal canine citizenship. They housetrained Lingus and started with basic obedience training, enabling Lingus to be adopted by a very caring husband and wife team. Lingus is now living with a female Kerry and going to work with his new owners, who quickly fell in love with his gentle soul. The Kerries are very fortunate to have Kathie and Ron on their team and I can't thank them enough for giving Lingus and Maddie, rescued with him, the chance to be loved, warm and happy.
Also, on my way to the Kimberton agility trials, I had the opportunity to stop by and see Shelby and meet Irene and her folks and Suzanne Rodda. What a treat for me to FINALLY meet Irene and Suzanne and see dear Shelby. The last time I saw her, she looked like the original picture from the Shelbina rescue, all matted and with that oozing, open wound on her face. What a transformation! Shelby is obviously loved, adores her male Kerry housepal, and has an enormous fenced yard to call her own. She approached Isobel, rescued at Shelbina with Shelby, and was a bit dominant to her. It was fabulous to see that Kerry spark! Shelby couldn't have found a more perfect home. She is still shy with strangers but I got the feeling that she would have warmed up had we had more time and less commotion with the four Kerries in the house.
Finally, I also stopped over to see Sullivan, who I fostered and placed with an amazing couple in southern New Jersey. Sullivan is one dog I lost a lot of sleep over as he definitely had some fear issues and needed owners who wanted a project. Well, all I can say is that I will never, ever worry about Sullivan again. He is not only spectacularly trained, but he is happy, happy, happy! That tail didn't stop wagging the entire time I was there. I hope his owners start competing in obedience with him because he is knock-your-socks off focused. That's one smart Kerry that loves to learn and please his owners!
It's such a pleasure to volunteer with an organization where we have the ability and resources to help these Kerries find their happily ever after. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right match, but it is always worth the time and effort.
KBTF Rescue Coordinator, Northeast
Sometimes the easy, cheap solution is not the best. When considering fencing your yard, make sure that your dog's safety is your first concern. Be aware that invisible fencing, although perhaps esthetically more pleasing, does not provide the security of physical fences. A case in point is our September post which tells of a tragic situation which was exacerbated by the use of invisible fencing.
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2008 16:10:35 +0900
From: janice gessner <gessnerjm@YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Horrible invisible fence story.
I have never been a big fan of Invisible Fencing, but today I am sick at heart. Images of a young girl with blood dripping from her face, of another young girl opening her front door to discover the body of her dog laying on her front yard as well as the sound of the shot from the police revolver that killed the dog haunt me.
Like many of the homes in our area, our neighbors had decided to use invisible fencing. The boundary ran nearly to the sidewalk on one side and the road on the other side of the home. The owners had very carefully trained their dog to respect the boundary and although we no longer used the sidewalk when walking our own dogs past the house, we never saw the dog cross the boundaries - only bark and charge up and down the length of the yard.
Unfortunately, Invisible Fencing doesn't prevent anyone - human or animal - from crossing into a yard so protected. A child might think twice about opening a gate to enter a yard fenced by "visible" material, but most won't think at all before stepping a few feet onto someone's grass. Most folks might think twice about crossing a whole lawn to enter someone's backyard, but who thinks about stepping one or two feet off a sidewalk?
So yesterday afternoon, on the way home from school, one of the children in the neighborhood who knew the dog well stopped to say 'hello'. He walked onto the grass to greet the dog. He was accompanied by a girl who adores dogs and she, too, walked into the yard to greet the dog. Then, the girl bent down to kiss the dog. And the dog bit her, tearing her lip badly.
The girl's mother called the police and an ambulance. One of the policeman saw the girl covered in blood while her mother screamed "That dog tore her face off". The police then went to the house where the dog lived. The dog was protective of his property, knew he had done something wrong and also knew the police were acting in a threatening manner. He growled and menacingly charged the police; but never ever crossed the boundary of his yard.
He was standing in the middle of the yard when the policeman shot him. Shortly after, the young teenaged girl who lived there realized something was going on and opened her front door only to find the dog's body with police cars in the street and police standing in the road.
You could say that no one should ever approach a dog they don't know. That no one should ever put their face close to a dog they don't know well. That
no one should ever enter another person's yard without their express permission and in the owner's presence.
You can argue that the police should have waited for Animal Control. You can argue that the dog was a Mastiff mix, that the police considered it a bulldog and dangerous. You can argue, as do the neighbors who knew the dog well, that the dog was actually just a big loveable teddy bear of a dog. You could argue that the dog was large, looked mean and threatening, as large dogs frequently do. You could even argue that Invisible Fences don't always work - as the police believe happened in this case. However, my husband was working outside and saw the children inside the yard.
Each of those arguments have some truth to them. But what you can't argue with is that Invisible Fencing is basically no protection at all, especially when it is run up to your property lines. It doesn't protect your dog from animals entering the yard. It doesn't protect your dog from humans entering the yard. It leaves your dog to do the protecting. And while that little girl, now awaiting plastic surgery, might have petted a dog through a "real" fence and still been bitten, it is doubtful that it would have been her face that was damaged. It is also doubtful that the police would have felt they needed to shoot the dog on the spot if it had been contained by a "visible" fence.
I am writing about this tragedy primarily for the rescue community. I give all of you permission to print it and put it into the packages you give your adopters, to warn them that Invisible Fencing may be cheaper than 'visible' fencing but it might not be so cheap in the long run!! To beg them that, if they must use it, to at least limit the area to just their backyards, not to run it to their property lines.
Samantha DiMaio-Leach, Jacksonville FL Sheltie Rescue, Canine Cushing's Auto-Immune Care, Orange Park FL
Cross-posted by Janice Gessner
Kristine Heard poses the question: how did you come to choose a Kerry? And relates how she was kerried away!
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Subject: Question for everyone...
From: Kristine Heard <kristine927@R4.DION.NE.JP>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2008 10:29:35 +0900
Who and what was your first dog, and how did you come to choose a Kerry? And....what other dogs do you currently have?
I ask this because of Margaret's mention of her Bull Mastiff. It made me walk down memory lane, to my childhood, with my first love; Duke.
I had a Harlequin Great Dane as a child, his name was Duke. My parents adopted him from a shelter as a pup. His prior owner (if you will), got rid of him when he was old enough to leave his Bitch, because of his lame leg. I tell you guys what, that leg did not affect him too much, LOL! He still "ran with the big dogs", he jumped in our pool and all of that stuff.
Duke was my first dog, and still the love of my heart, (it's been 30 years now, since I've had him), rest his soul. Because of Duke, I fell in love with large dogs. I only had him a little over a year and a half, my parents split, and my father moved away. He took Duke to live with a friend of his, on a farm, so he would have plenty of room to run, as my father moved into an apartment. Never understood why we couldn't of kept him at home with us.
Marco is the second dog, Ryley the third, that I have ever owned, and by far not the large dog breed. The choice behind the Kerry were for a few reasons. We had been looking in to breeds of dogs that were considered to be hypoallergenic, and for the sake of not having a dog that was tooooo small, (hehe), I fell in love with the beauty and very distinguished look as well as their characteristics and temperment. Plus, we couldn't get a dog that was of large breed because we live in a Japanese home and they tend to run a bit small. Our home is larger than many, but by American standard, it's still small, and many of you may know already, I have 6 kids, (5 teenagers, one 5 year old), and three cats. When we got Marco, our first Kerry, I just, oh so fell in love with him and his dark puppy eyes. He had me hooked and wrapped around his paw. He made such a wonderful impression on my husband (who said we only were to get one dog, due to space already occupied by us humans, three cats and now, one pup), that we got Ryley. My husband said, he knew he was nuts saying that he wanted to get another dog, but he just DID NOT want Marco to be lonely.*Ehhem*.... as if he was getting another Kerry for the sake of Marco's loneliness?? We all know better! LOL!
As you can see, we have a full house. We are a large family, and yes all 5 animals are my children too, so I have 11 kids. If we were to own a home and live in the states, I would want a big house, with some acres of land. Not because I would want to breed my dogs, but because I would like to have a few more, preferrably of the large breed. The only tiny one that I do want oh so bad is a Teacup Yorkie. I have wanted that one for so long, but my husband had told me (before we got Marco, was that he didn't want to get a tiny dog, at least not yet). So, one day...but for now, I am soo in love with my boys in blue.
That's my story.....
and kids.... 6 human, 5 furry....
Cialey languished for six long years in a Missouri puppy mill before her rescue on St. Patrick's Day 2007. Finally she was free and came home to Priscilla and David Harvey where she was finally found the love she deserved. Her sweet, gentle nature endeared her to the Harveys but unfortunately, her happy ending was to be short lived as she succumbed to cancer just over a year later.
Dianne's post reminds us what a wonderful difference we can make in the life of a rescue Kerry, how even a few months of a happy, normal life in a loving home for a neglected, abused Kerry is indeed heaven on earth, and worth the pain and the heartache of losing them.
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Subject: [KBL] Cialey
Priscilla and David:
I have had a dog with cancer and one that I ultimately lost by way of euthanasia. You have been through one of the most horrible of nightmares... trying to make decisions that were best, based on the best information that was available. There is never any way to know if a decision was the right one, no matter which you made in determining the path to be taken after a cancer diagnosis. We all do the best we can. I am devastated each time "we" lose one of these wonderful animals. Cialey's story is extremely painful given her life history. I have to tell you that several things went through my mind as I cried and read your post. In addition to extreme sadness I was relieved for Cialey in many ways. She had people keeping an eye on her even when they could not rescue her. They kept track of her and knew where she was when rescue was a possibility. There were people to do the rescue when the time presented itself. They made a tremendous choice when they got her to you. You were kind and stepped up when you were needed. She had people who chose not to shuffle her around more even though they knew the road ahead with her would not be easy and that she was not young or in good health. She had a name. She was loved and I strongly suspect that she knew it. She was given good care and treatment with the thoughts of her quality of life involved. That sounds easy but constant decisions for medicine, surgery, tests, financial ability, and trips back and forth to the vet's can be overwhelming, stressful and painful. And at the end of what must have seemed like a very long road, you gave her the final and only gift you had left to give. You gave her peace and freedom from more suffering and pain.
Dogs live in the moment. I would not for one minute diminish the terrible part of Cialey's life before she got to you. On behalf of Cialey and myself, I want to thank you for the many great moments that she did have because of you and your love and care. Many of the mill dogs will never know the "luxuries" that Cialey knew and many of our "precious well bred pooches" will never know the difference because love and nurturing are all they have known. You made a huge difference in Cialey's life....and that is important. You gave her what she needed most....a chance. Please try and remember the good times. It will help with the healing.
God Speed Cialey. Run Free. I know you were happy that you got so lucky in the latter part of your life.
With great sorrow,
Dianne Collins with Magee and Finnegan
Once more, our rescue team sprang into action when Maggie was spotted at a shelter in Ohio. Maggie is another Kerry senior, getting on in years and suffering numerous health issues, who was found neglected and all but abandoned. Thanks to our rescue team, she has been given a second chance at life, and, with typical Kerry "joie de vivre", she has endeared herself to the Monahans who have given her a forever home. Life is good.
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Subject: [KBL] Maggie the 13 year old puppy
Date: June 28, 2008 4:53:48 PM PDT
Maggie the 13 year old puppy
An SOS e-mail came to me on May 2nd from Tracey Fulmer asking if I could travel to Toledo, OH to pick up and foster Maggie who was spotted in a shelter. My husband was out of the country at the time so I sent him an e-mail asking him if we had room for "Maggie, the 13 year old puppy". His reply, he would support my decision. That settled, I next had to figure out how I was going to get her here, as it was four hours one way. Much planning, many calls to the shelter, (husband back in town) and getting hubby to divert his next business trip to pick her up. During this time I talked to the vet at the Ohio shelter many times and found out that Maggie had cataracts, hard of hearing, eye and ear infections, two teeth removed, a lump removed from her neck and they had to amputate part of her right front paw as there was another large lump there. The most important piece of information I received was how sweet she was to everyone.
Maggie's story started with a call by someone who had heard a dog barking in the house for quite some time. They knew the house had been foreclosed and the owners were an elderly couple. They had been coming to back to the house when they could to give her food but that was it. When they arrived at the house, they found a dog that was overgrown in hair,dirty, hungry and living in conditions with feces and urine. The details at this point are unclear to me, but there was some contact with the previous owners and they identified her as a Kerry Blue with specific information given to the shelter. When trying to clean her up, the groomer had to get the doctor as they could not find her eyes, her facial hair was so overgrown and matted. I told the vet we were on our way to get her, but it would not be until the end of the next week. She was kind and answered my phone calls daily with updates on her condition.
Fast forward three weeks later and Maggie has settled into our house as if she has always been here. I was concerned about my two, Guinness and Miss Annie, but they have accepted the older, set in her ways, Maggie. She has been to our vet and it is determined that yes, she does have cancer (we had the tissue they had saved from the biopsy sent out) and we need to keep an eye on two other lumps. She does have cataracts, is hard of hearing (except she does hear the food at breakfast/dinner time), her heart is enlarged and has fluid in her lungs (medication started), has a thyroid problem, and we have her eye and ear problems clearing up. We go back tomorrow for a check-up.
We truly were only going to foster her and try to find a forever home, but Maggie has come home. She is part of the family and I can't imagine it any other way. Her tail is up and is wagging during the day. She is getting spoiled, being fed and cared for and will be loved. Maggie is getting into the routine of the household. She has a special boy in her life, my twenty year old son Sean, they truly are enjoying one another and it is something to see. Maggie just loves to be held and cuddled. Miss Annie, (rescued in 2005) tries to get her to play and Maggie has none of it and firmly tells her. What is so interesting is that Annie listens to her. This is the three year old that used to run this house, but she has met her match. Guinness (rescued in 2004) is a little bent out of shape as Maggie is taking away some of his cuddle time with Mom but he is learning to live with it. As I write this, they are all sleeping within inches of each other. One happy rescue family.
We look forward to loving Maggie for the time she has, we are blessed, as she is very special. We will send a photo of Maggie, the 13 Year Old Puppy, for John to post. The program to scan the shelters works, another Kerry has had her life spared.
Holly & Pat Monahan
Guinness, Miss Annie, and Maggie
The "Best of KB-L" for May is Linda Grisley's final update on Andy. Andy first came to our attention when he and his sister Emma were rescued from a shelter where they were slated for euthanasia because of their advanced years. Emma found a forever home but Andy was not adopted. After surviving a bout with pneumonia, he went to live with his foster family but only a few weeks later was diagnosed with lung cancer. No longer adoptable, he stayed in his loving foster home for the rest of his days. His sweet gentle nature endeared him to them and to all who followed his story, and the dedication of those involved in his rescue and of his wonderful foster family are a shining example of the power of love.
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Subject: [KBL] Andy has passed away
Date: May 28, 2008 4:53:48 PM PDT
It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the passing of Andy. If youhave followed Andy's story, we did not place him for adoption because we found he had lung cancer, so his foster home kindly agreed to keep him until
his time came. It did not take long.
Following is the email received from his foster home:
Hello everyone, Andy is now at rest. He was our gentle Kerry Blue. We loved him very much but finally had to let him go. He will always be close to our hearts because he came to us out of the blue a Kerry Blue in need. It is difficult to type this but I must express our many thanks to all who sent well wishes and prayer to us concerning Andy. To know this boy was to love him.
Andy lost his appetite and started refusing water at times a while back so we had him in the hospital again for about three days rehydrating him. During that time we did more ultrasound and radiograph work. We also had to relieve his chest of fluid, some 300+ ML's. This helped him temporarily and I brought him home. That day he was thrilled to be home and was eating even to the point of accepting kibble from my hand. He had the habit of taking the food dropping it than picking it up and eating it like Andre' the Seal, this he would do with his favorite food Smelt so that was his nickname Andre'. At this time he even returned to his Kerry spin mode. He was very happy.
Andy's appetite was short lived and stopped entirely this weekend. The mass in his chest was just overcoming him. It was time to ease his burden so I took him into work with me today and Dr. Williamson along with Amber one of our Vet techs helped Andy easing him to his rest.
In our 15 years of rescuing and fostering dogs Andy is the first that we have failed to find a forever home... or was it. I don't know if we could have let him go even if he had survived.
Again many thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers of support. May God bless us all in this great work.
Andy with a lady bug on his nose.
Andy did find a forever home....he completed his life in the best care he could find and was truly loved and comforted until the end.
We cannot thank foster homes enough for the tremendously brave work they do. This is the axis on which our rescue work turns.
On behalf of Linda Lee, Rescue Coordinator, Midwest, who travelled this journey with Andy from the beginning,
Just rereading the posts for April, and have to vote for Agatha's post "Early Morning with 2 Kerries and a foster puppy". Having been owned by 2 Kerries on numerous occasions, I can really relate to this. In 1973, shortly after losing our first Kerry, my Dad and I brought home two Kerry litter sisters. My mother's reaction was "What have you done!", but they soon won her over! What a ball we had that summer with the girls! At the first hint of daylight (about 4:30 in the morning), they would start rocking the big cardboard box where they slept until they tipped it over. Of course, one wouldn't dare leave two little, well-rested puppies to their own devices, so you would find me, only semi-conscious, out on the patio, with a big mug of tea, watching the sun rise on my little hellions! What a wonderful way to greet the day!
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Subject: Early Morning with 2 Kerries and a foster puppy
From: Agatha Hughes
Let's see now.... Five yr-old Lily has just treed a squirrel in the big pine tree out back, and I keep going out to remind her not to bark incessantly in her high pitch squeal as she runs in circles.
Nine yr-old Ricky thinks there may the first groundhog of the season under the shed. So, of course, being freshly groomed and bathed, he has crawled on his side in the lovely dirt, vanishing under the shed. At least the shed muffles his barking.
Six mos-old foster puppy Skippy, recently sprung from a mill in Montana by the KBTF, is so excited by all this that he has grabbed a magazine out of the recycling bin to ferociously rip it apart and strew it through 2 rooms before running outside to scoot around the yard at high speed. He makes at least one lap through the poop that I haven't picked up this morning. Wait, maybe it's too exciting, because he just gagged up water on Ricky's head as Rick emerged from the shed depths.
Three Kerry spirits in the house in the springtime! Time for treats. For the Mom, puleeze!
Agatha Hughes, in Philadelphia
Sharon Arkoff's update on Duffy reminds us once more that, like our indomitable Kerries, we should live in the moment. Even though he is suffering from a terminal illness, Duffy insists on enjoying life and all it has to offer. Atta boy, Duffy!
Just thought I'd send out an update on Duffy, who was rescued by the KBT Foundation last October. Duffy had been turned in to a shelter by an elderly owner whose own illness prevented him for continuing to care for his companion. Duffy is a love bug and boasts an adorable teddy-bear face - so surely some nice family would adopt this guy? Well, probably not, because Duffy himself is coming up on 13 years old, and had tentatively been diagnosed with terminal cancer. As always, a million billion thanks to the Foundation for not closing the door on this guy. Through the miraculous-as-usual chain of Kerry angels in the Northeast, Duffy was pulled from the NJ shelter by Agatha Hughes, who gave him his first insights into a world of walks and yummy food. Victoria Kneiring got him up to Mimi Wight, and we were finally able to collect him and bring him to our chaotic house, full of young kids, guinea pigs, the stray cat, etc. From the moment we met him (and he was faced with two shrieking preschoolers), Duffy was only too happy to try to please. He was a bit foggy and stiff-jointed and didn't have alot of muscle, but for an elderly dog with cancer, what would you expect. Mimi wants me to add that it was a fabulous moment in her kitchen when this frail and apparently spirit-less "Steiff bear" heard the kids laughter [they were shrieking, really] and rose from the dead and bounced across the room to play with the kids. I remember this moment as more of Duffy thinking, "Good lord; something is so loud that even I can hear it. I guess I will check it out from my sheer disbelief that anything could be that loud and hyper," but that's just me.
Duffy, shortly after his rescue from a NJ shelter.
He was a perfect gentleman on the ride home, settled into our house and was accepted (grudgingly) by Bits, our 14-year-old kerry, and was plugged into the oncology program at a major veterinary teaching hospital. The prognosis, as feared, was that the cancer had entirely filled his sinus cavity and was on the verge of bursting into his brain or crossing his septum and making it impossible for him to breathe through his nose. We flat-out refused chemotherapy (it was unlikely to do anything other than kill him faster), and considered but rejected radiation.. Duffy was game but frail, and why put him through something that could blind him, interfere with his ability to eat, and cost a huge amount of money when it was unlikely to prolong his life. He was given 2-4 months to live, and we took him home to "be comfortable."
Okay. That was six months ago. Duffy is still very much alive. Very, very, very, very, very much alive. The cancer is still growing but the symptoms are 95% controlled with one small anti-inflammatory drug a day - though we might need to switch to something more powerful soon. Duffy refuses to eat dog food - we tried everything, from ambrosia hand-crafted by spiritually pure Tibetan monks all the way down to supermarket crap -- to the point where he will get literally weak with hunger, so we gave up. His diet yesterday was a whole pack of beef hot dogs, several pieces of cheese, half a pint of cottage cheese, a piece of meatloaf, a few Triscuits, several carrots, and whatever else he might have found for himself on the floor of the minivan. His only sign of age is that he is world's deepest sleeper. He will fall down on the floor between the sections of the couch without waking up, the idiot. He can barely hear, he can barely see, but he now gallops along with laugh-out-loud gusto on walks - taking his cues from whistles, clapping, and Bits' straining herself to be nice enough to bark at him when he goes off-course. He is a barrel of fun and a true pain in the bum in the kitchen (he bounces around on his hind legs trying to see what you're cooking), he play-bows, he incites Her Majesty to gallop around the back yard (this is unheard of.
Madame has NEVER galloped around the back yard before), and the other day he chased a cat. Though the cancer has broken through the roof of his mouth and the side of his face, I question now whether cancer will be the death of him, so to speak. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with the rest of him, and he's doing so well and having such a ball. He adores children, and will happily submit to being draped in dress-up clothes and being enlisted into tea parties, games of "bear in the den," etc. I used to rescue him from this stuff, but he just goes right back to hang out with the kids, so fine. He grows three inches with pride and anticipation when he realizes that the family is walking over to the playground, where he wags, curls, and beams at all the little kids who descend on him (this has been very hard on Bits, who does not particularly care for children. She would rather be left in her ivory tower, but if she holds back from the kids, Duffy gets all the attention and she gets ignored. Hmmm. Dilemma. :-) ) . Duff is hugely curious, hugely affectionate, is just plain thrilled with life and every possible ramification thereof, is gracious and appropriate with all the dogs and people we meet on our off-leash walks, and just generally is a big love. He almost never barks, but when he does - well, you've all probably heard it, no matter where in the universe you live. Yeah, that noise was Duffy. Thanks to the Foundation for its commitment to the old ones - they have the souls of puppies but much more dignity (in Duffy's case, it's a sort of dorky idiot dignity, but he has it) than their human caretakers.
Our best of KB-L for February 2008 is Linda Lee's wonderful story of Andy and
Emma, two senior Kerries looking for new homes in their twilight years:
Heart Warming and Heart Wrenching Senior Rescue
The Story of Andy and Emma
If you have a few minutes, I have a story to tell you about rescuing a couple of our Kerry seniors - Andy and Emma. It's a story about the value of networking, the power of caring people, and that indomitable Kerry spirit! In mid-December, we found out about two 10 year old Kerries who had been taken to a shelter. The shelter called and asked for our help, otherwise both would be euthanized. The shelter was beyond capacity. Andy and Emma were considered old and would be among the first to go.
Andy and Emma had been together all their lives. They were surrendered because they kept bursting through an electric fence and biting other dogs (or so we were told!). The shelter had not noticed any dog aggression and both were fine with people. No pedigrees, health records, or any papers were provided. The owner wasn't even willing to complete an animal profile on them and only gave the shelter this sketchy information.
Fortunately, Karen, our volunteer in this Michigan community, volunteers at this shelter and stepped in to help. Karen got both of the dogs out of the shelter and into a local kennel. Of course, this meant kennel fees, but at least they were safe 'til we could find homes for them. Then Andy got sick - very sick. Karen took in Emma as a foster, but Andy was at the Vet clinic. It was Christmas time. On December 21, after talking to the Vet, Jan Joers and Tracey Fulmer conferred about Andy's situation. Andy was non-responsive. They decided the only humane course of action was to put Andy to sleep. I got their message and cried.
But Jan called the Vet again the next day to ensure there was no absolutely hope. This time she talked to the first Vet who had seen Andy. Vet #1 said Andy was given a sedative the night before and that was why he was totally non-responsive. Apparently, Vet #2 wasn't aware of that for some reason, probably because of holiday season craziness. But thank goodness Jan called Vet #1 before giving the okay to have Andy PTS!
Meanwhile, we found a home for Emma with an experienced Kerry owner. Karen and Emma's new family drove for hours to an agreed upon meeting place in Michigan City. Apparently Emma didn't stay in the crate too long. She was more comfortable sleeping on the hand-made afghan. Last report, she was settling in very well: "She is an absolute gem and we are so thrilled for a perfect transition to our home!" Oh, by the way, Karen told us: "Emma was by far the easiest and most loveable foster that we have ever had."
Meanwhile, Andy was not out of the woods, but his temperature had stopped spiking and he was responding to the high doses of antibiotics. It was touch and go. Fortunately, Vet #1 was incredible and drove for hours over the holiday period to check in on Andy.
Andy did pull through, but he couldn't stay at the Vet clinic indefinitely. We had no foster home for him. So Andy went back to the kennel. While the people at the kennel were doing their best, Andy was deteriorating. He had been at death's door, pulled through, but now he was back in a kennel and his life long buddy was gone. Karen was checking in and things didn't look good.
We doubled our efforts to find a foster situation. We got the word out and John cross-posted Andy's plight to other rescue groups. We had a lead through
Airedale and Wire Fox Terrier rescue. Maybe we could get Andy out of
the kennel . . .?
Meanwhile, January 5th, we got an email from Karen:
Andy has absolutely no energy.
He eats very slowly.
He does not seem sick but just acts like he is 100 yrs old, where as before
he acted more like two years old.
He goes to the bathroom in his kennel and on his blanket - before he did not
at all - he will just stand up and go right where he is standing and lie
He does not like to go outside anymore.
He does not respond to other dogs.
When Mark goes in to vacuum and clean, Andy will sleep through it all.
Andy does not respond to being petted. He stands there like a rock.
Wow - we HAD to get Andy out ASAP! I was talking to Linda G., Jan and Tracey. What could we do? Jan was convinced Andy was depressed and that if we could get him into a positive place, he would respond. I was in tears (again) - we couldn't lose him now!
Lots of phoning . . . and sure enough, Fred, an Airedale/Wire Fox Terrier foster home was willing to take Andy, despite his condition. I explained the situation, but this experienced foster home was up for the challenge, if we could help with the extra expenses that Andy would bring. But, of course, they were a few hours away. Fortunately - once again! - Karen came through. Despite a family celebration, she drove half way to meet Fred and transfer Andy to his care.
Andy was a mess. But Jan was optimistic. As she wrote to Fred: "Kerries are the most people-oriented breed I know. While some dogs live to herd, or run, or track, Kerries live to love their people. Love him oodles, and I > think we will see a remarkable change in him over time."
Well, Jan was right and Andy has improved! Fred's had blood work done and Andy's toileting issues do not seem to be physical. He is much better on that front, but he is still re-learning. Fred's groomed him - "got all the crud out of him" - and has bought him a snazzy red winter coat. It's been pretty cold lately in Michigan.
But here's the REALLY good news. Fred told me this week: "Andy's awfully friendly and as gentle as can be. He loves to be patted. He never tries to pick a fight with the other dogs. He's a lot more bouncy. Then he does this thing when he's excited and knows it's dinner time . . . [I laughed because I knew what he was going to say - can you guess?] . . . he spins!" A spinning Kerry sounds like a happy Kerry to me!
So, we still need to find Andy his forever home. It needs to be a special place where he'll get the love, caring and attention he ought to have. He's a very special guy! And many people have worked hard to give him another chance.
Andy's story not only points to the power of the terrier network and the warm hearts of many people, but also to why donations are SO important. Despite the time and expense the volunteers in this story have contributed, Andy's story comes with a significant financial cost. Think about the days of kennel fees and vet bills, including the professional fees, drug costs, and boarding!
We believe every Kerry's life is valuable, regardless of his or her age. (My 12 year old Kerry girl would certainly agree!) So if we want to support Andy, and more seniors like him, we need to continue our financial donations of the Foundation. Please support our deserving seniors! Watch for Andy on the web-site and become one of his Kerry angels!
Linda E. Lee, Rescue Coordinator
US Mid-West and Central Canada,
Some KB-L subscribers described their bad experience with professional handlers in the conformation show ring. In this post, Paul Gygi, one of the Kerry world's "old timers", gives advice on dealing with handlers and behavior in the show ring.
There is an alternative... Assuming you can groom -- TRULY groom a Kerry to BIS ring standards -- then choose wisely, make prior arrangements, have your dog in perfect condition & meet your handler at a prearranged time wherever well before ring time. Give him or her the dog, get out of the way & let your handler do the rest.
If you can't groom to perfection then LEARN! It ain't easy! But... the skill is attainable by almost everyone who is willing to find an expert mentor, have the patience & willingness to devote the required time. The sessions/lessons may or may not be free. Great expensive is not a criteria for better lessons.
This advice is based on the assumption that you are interested in the group & BIS rings. If you are only trying to finish your Kerry's championship, DO IT YOURSELF! If you fail a few times, consider it a learning experience. If you win for the wrong reasons, consider yourself lucky & be extremely self-critical. You learn much from your losses & little from your wins. When you win BE HUMBLE! When you lose BE GRACIOUS!
The other people in the Kerry ring are your fellow "club" members & your friends. You do & will need them! DO NOT make enemies!!! If you cannot distinguish the difference between friends & enemies, are vindictive or choose to make disparaging remarks instead of being constantly gracious - do something non-competitive & stay far away from conformation dog show ring.
There is an old adage: Love me; love my dogs - or vice versa. This is NOT true. The dogs & the people are separate entities. People who you may not personally like will have great dogs. Wonderful people may have mediocre dogs. Be professional -- considerate, courteous & kind - ALWAYS!