Mabel the Rescue Dog

Encourage Dog Lovers to Adopt 💕

3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

It will take all dogs time to adjust to their new surroundings. However, puppy mill survivors often take much more time than other rescue dogs. They’ve had a rough past, but they can eventually learn what love is again. With a dog rescued from a puppy mill, you need to learn to be extra patient and kind.

Molly’s first dog, Zoe, was rescued from a puppy mill. So, Molly learned a lot about helping Zoe adjust and feel loved in her new home. Zoe never completely got over her fear of humans, but she learned to love her new family. Here are some things that Molly learned in the process.

Be Patient

Some rescue dogs might be quick to love you and ready to explore their new home. However, a puppy mill survivor probably won’t be as optimistic. Most of their life before being adopted was spent in a tiny cage, so they might not even know what a home is.

Therefore, you shouldn’t rush their transition. It could take a long time before they feel even remotely comfortable around you. It’s not something you should take personally though. It just means that they’re not used to humans being kind to them. Therefore, it will take them a long time to realize that not all humans are bad.

Let Them Come to You

You’ll likely want to cuddle your new dog as much as possible, but cuddling is another thing that might be scary for your dog. Hugs and kisses might make your dog feel trapped, which can cause them to get scared or aggressive. Therefore, make sure you give them more than enough space at first.

Instead of forcing them to spend time with you, you should wait for them to come to you. Work on training with them and take them for walks to help them bond with you. But don’t force them to sit near you if it’s uncomfortable for them.

Show Them How to Be a Dog

Puppy mill survivors know very little about the real world. They spent their entire lives breeding inside a tiny cage. No one played with them or walked them or loved them. So, when they are adopted, they just don’t know how to behave like a typical dog.

If you get them toys, it’s likely that they won’t know what to do with them. If you hand them treats, they might seem skeptical. That’s because they don’t understand that these things are good. Therefore, when they accept a toy or treat from you, you should make sure to praise them to let them know that these things are good and not scary.

Zoe never liked toys very much. At first, she wanted nothing to do with them, but eventually, she learned that she liked chewing on plastic bowls. It might not have been a traditional dog toy, but Molly says that it made Zoe happy.

Pay Close Attention to Health Concerns

Puppy mills care very little about the health of their dogs. In fact, they barely even clean the space. So, it’s possible that your puppy mill survivor might have more health concerns than other rescue dogs. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s just something you should be mindful of.

If anything ever seems off with your pup, make sure you look into it right away. The sooner you catch a serious health concern, the safer your dog will be. When in doubt, ask your vet about any concerns you have.

Show Them Love

Sadly, puppy mill survivors just don’t know what love is. It will take them some time to understand the importance of it. So, continuously show your dog love and always be kind to them. Don’t overwhelm them with cuddles and attention, but do everything you can to be nice to them and make them feel wanted.

Caring for rescue dogs, especially puppy mill survivors, can be tricky if they had a rough past. However, it’s extremely rewarding when you save them and give them a second chance at life. When they get adopted, they might not know how lucky they are to have a family, but they’ll eventually learn that life is finally getting better.

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2 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

There are a lot of dog breeds out there. In fact, there are so many dog breeds that most people haven’t even heard of them all. However, that doesn’t mean that they’ve all been discovered. Recently, the AKC announced that they are now recognizing a new dog breed: the Belgian Laekenois.

What is a Belgian Laekenois?

The Belgian Laekenois might be considered a new breed by the AKC, but they’re far from new. This breed was used in both World Wars as messengers, but they were originally bred to guard livestock.

They look kind of like a curly-haired German Shepherd, but they’re more closely related to the Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren, and Belgian Sheepdog.

A lot of people might fall in love with this dog’s looks, but it’s important to note that this breed is not easy to care for. They’re not as used to a family setting as more popular breeds are, so they need a family that’s willing to spend lots of time working on training and socialization. Therefore, they might not be cuddly right from the start.

Being bred as working dogs, this breed also requires a lot of exercise. They need a home with lots of space to run around, ideally with a fenced-in yard. If they don’t get the exercise and mental stimulation they need, they could develop destructive behaviors. A lot of humans don’t consider the hard work that goes into raising a rare puppy.

Despite being a new breed, these dogs are rare. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that there are only about 1,000 of these dogs today. However, I suspect that they will grow in popularity after being recognized as a purebred. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily a good thing though.

What to Be Careful of

Since these unique new dogs are now considered the newest purebreds, that might make them more desirable to people. However, that’s not a positive thing. It likely means that people will start breeding them more rather than adopting dogs in shelters.

So, if you think this new breed is adorable, then please don’t rush into buying one. There are lots of beautiful dog breeds out there, but dogs are so much more than just looks. Our personalities are more important than anything else.

Therefore, instead of getting your heart set on a rare purebred dog, meet with shelter dogs first. Spend time with them and see if you can find a dog whose personality perfectly matches your own. Just because a dog is pretty doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be the right fit for your family.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see that this unique breed is finally being recognized. However, I hope that this news doesn’t make people buy instead of adopt. So, as desirable as rare purebreds might be, always choose to adopt instead.

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Featured Image by Canarian Wikimedia Commons

3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

I’m sure everyone has heard about the horrors of leaving your dog in a hot car, but sadly, not everyone takes it seriously. Many dog lovers think everything will be okay if they are only gone for a few minutes or if they leave the window open a crack. However, dogs can easily die from this. The hotter the weather, the more dangerous it becomes.

Why are Hot Cars so Dangerous?

Even if a dog is only in a car for a short amount of time, they can still be at risk. On a 70-degree day (Fahrenheit), temperatures can rise to 100 degrees after only 20 minutes. For hotter temperatures, it could even reach 140 degrees!

Even if the window is open a crack, it doesn’t make much of a difference for your dog. It only allows them to stick their nose out to breath a little fresh air while they’re trapped in an oven. You wouldn’t leave your human child in a hot car, so why would you put your dog at risk like that?

Dogs with flat faces are even more at risk than other dogs. We have a difficult time breathing, so it’s important that we are never out in the heat more than we have to be. Plus, any dog can easily suffer from heat stroke in a hot car.

What are the Laws for Leaving Your Dog in a Car?

Unfortunately, leaving your dog in a hot car isn’t illegal everywhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. Currently, 31 states have laws against leaving your dog in a hot car. However, only 15 states allow any person to rescue a dog in a hot car. Luckily, my home state of Wisconsin is one that has strict laws against this.

Every law is slightly different. Some places might allow humans to break the window if the dog is in danger while others might require them to call the police first. I know for a fact that no true dog lover would ignore the situation.

If you ever see a dog in a hot car, you need to think fast and do the right thing. Hopefully, more laws will be placed in the future to protect dogs in these situations.

What to do if You’re in a Hurry

If you’re going somewhere with your dog, it’s important that you plan ahead. If you suspect that you’ll have to hurry into a store at any point, you should leave your dog at home.

There are always new inventions being made to help with this situation though. Some new cars have a “dog mode” where the car keeps running with the doors locked in order to keep your dog safe. Some stores are even installing air-conditioned spaces that you can rent out for your dog while you run into the store.

However, if you don’t have one of these advanced options for your dog, then you should not leave them alone in the car. Even if it seems like they’ll be fine, it’s always better not to risk it. It might not feel sweltering outside, but a car can heat up in no time. Always put your dog’s safety first in every decision you make.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a review for the book 100 Dogs & Counting by Cara Sue Achterberg. Today, I’m happy to announce that it’s officially released. So, if you haven’t read the book yet, I encourage everyone to check it out!

Here’s the blurb for the book if you want to read more about it:

“After nearly a year struggling to find a home for a challenging foster dog, Cara wonders—when will all the dogs be saved? Even after the one-hundredth foster dog passes through her home, the stream of homeless dogs appears endless. Seized by the need to act, Cara grabs her best friend, fills a van with donations, and heads south to discover what is really happening in the rural shelters where her foster dogs originate.

What she discovers will break her heart and compel her to share the story of heroes and villains and plenty of good dogs, in the hope of changing this world.

From North Carolina where pit bulls fill the shelters and heartworm rages to Tennessee where dogs are left forgotten in pounds and on to Alabama where unlikely heroes fight in a state that has largely forsaken its responsibilities to its animals, Cara meets the people working on the front lines in this national crisis of unwanted animals. The dogs, the people and their inspiring stories draw her south again and again in search of answers and maybe a dog of her own.”

As I mentioned in my review, this is an incredible book that all dog lovers need to read. If you regularly read my blog, you already know how important dog adoption is. However, Achterberg went on an incredible journey to find out even more about the dog overpopulation problem in this world. There’s so much that the public just doesn’t know about it.

Many people choose not to adopt or foster because they just don’t know the seriousness of the situation. I truly hope that this book can help people understand why adoption is so crucial. Hopefully, it will inspire more people to make a difference too. Even small actions can help change the world.

For more information about the book and where to purchase it, please visit Achterberg’s website and the 100 Dogs and Counting Facebook page.

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5 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

If you’ve ever adopted a dog before, you’ve probably noticed that large breeds are more common than small breeds at shelters and rescues. Oftentimes, this steers people away from adopting if they’re looking for a small dog. However, Molly prefers small dogs and she still adopts instead of shops, so it’s important for all humans to keep looking at rescues, even if they don’t find their perfect pup immediately.

How are They Different?

In Cara Sue Achterberg’s new book, 100 Dogs and Counting, she refers to small, hypoallergenic dogs as “unicorns”. Why? Well, because they’re very rare at the rescue she fosters for. And when the rescue does get these dogs in their care, they get adopted right away.

Many shelters and rescues are a lot like this. Sure, there are some rescues that specialize in certain small breeds, but in general, you will probably see more large breeds than small breeds up for adoption.

The main reason people prefer small breeds is because it’s assumed that we’re easier to care for. After all, we take up less space and we eat less food.

However, if humans choose a small breed because they think they’ll be easy, then they will likely be disappointed. Small breeds need training and attention just as much as any other dog. So, while some aspects of our care is easier, we could have behavioral issues that are more difficult to deal with. Every dog is different, so a dog’s size isn’t the only thing that makes them “hard” or “easy” to care for.

As for hypoallergenic breeds, most people want them simply because they shed less. My hair definitely doesn’t get all over the house like Taco’s does, so I know that’s a plus for Molly. However, dogs with minimal shedding typically need more grooming, which could cause them to be more high maintenance than expected.

So, you need to consider much, much more than a dog’s size before you adopt them. Sometimes, a large dog will actually be the better choice even if they aren’t the dog you planned on adopting.

Why are Large Breeds at Shelters More?

Many humans think large breeds are at shelters more because there’s less of demand for them, but that’s not always the case. One of the main reasons is that they take up more space. It’s easy for rescues to take in small dogs since they take up less space, which also makes it easier for small dogs to get adopted too.

People will often not want a big dog because they take up more space. Sadly, this also means that rescues can’t save as many big dogs from kill shelters due to limited kennel space. The reality is that rescues can take in two small dogs or one large dog, and it’s often a difficult choice.

Also, people who live in apartments might not be able to adopt a large dog. Large dogs often like having space to run around, and it’s difficult for them to do that in a small home. Additionally, apartments often have restrictions against dogs of certain sizes and breeds, making it impossible for some people to adopt a large dog.

Finally, large dogs do cost more. They eat way more food than I do, so you will find yourself spending more on their food. Other items such as beds and toys could cost more too because of the size and strength of a larger dog.

None of these reasons are meant to steer you away from adopting large dogs, but they’re just explanations as to why these dogs are often overlooked. Many humans are quick to judge a dog based on appearance, but large dogs are just as loving as any smaller dog.

How to Help

I’m going to have to answer this with the same answer I always give: adopt! If you’re interested in a large dog, then please adopt one that has been waiting in the shelter for a while. If you’re unsure of what size dog you’re looking for, meet with multiple dogs and then decide. Don’t overlook the large breeds when you visit the shelter.

If you can’t adopt a large dog, then it’s okay to adopt a small dog like me. Many people see me and assume I’m not a rescue because I’m a small, low-shedding breed, but any dog can be a rescue. If you adopt a small dog, you’re opening space for another dog, so you’re still helping.

Also, if you want a small dog, but your local shelter doesn’t have any at the moment, please do NOT give up and go to a breeder. Shelters and rescues are constantly getting new dogs in, so if you’re patient, your perfect companion will come along.

If you want to rescue, but then you change your mind and buy from a breeder instead, you’re only adding to the problem. The more dogs that are bred, the more that end up in shelters, causing more large breeds to die in kill shelters.

So, be patient. Bringing a dog into your family is a huge deal, so you should never rush to find the perfect dog. Adopting and fostering are the best ways to save dogs of all sizes and breeds. When a dog gets adopted, that opens up space for another dog to be saved. Remember this next time you want a dog.

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Lil Rascals Dog Rescue is a newer rescue in the Orlando area. They’ve only been operating for about a year, but they’ve already had over 100 adoptions and plenty of creative ways to promote dogs in need.

Their goal is to help rehabilitate and find homes for dogs that are the most in need. They want to help all the dogs out there who can’t voice their opinions, specifically the abused, abandoned, and neglected.

Lil Rascals truly cares about all the dogs they care for. They don’t discriminate against any breeds, and they do whatever they can to make sure the dogs in their care find the loving homes they deserve.

This rescue first caught our eyes because they had a unique event to help some dogs get adopted. They hosted a dinner party for 8 adoptable dogs, complete with dog treats and toys. They even had a professional photographer known as The Dographer come to take pictures of the event.

Not only was the dinner party adorable, but it also helped many of the dogs find their forever families. This rescue is very creative with the work they do, which helps so many dogs find the forever homes they deserve.

If you’re looking for a dog in the Orlando area, please check out the adoptable dogs at Lil Rascals Dog Rescue. Even if you can’t adopt another dog at this time, please consider donating to this incredible rescue!

Do you have a rescue dog of your own at home? Please visit my contact page to get a story about them featured on my blog! Let’s encourage more dog lovers to adopt!

Images from @LilRascalsRescueFL/Facebook

3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

If you’ve had a dog before, you’ve probably heard the term ‘double coat’ at least once. However, there are actually many dog parents that are still unsure of what this term means, even if they have a dog with a double coat. So, its important to learn about this special coat type before you accidentally harm your dog’s hair or fur.

What is a Double Coat?

As the name implies, a double coat is a coat that has two layers. You probably won’t notice these layers simply by looking at a dog, but they are built to protect them from all different types of weather.

Double-coated dogs have an undercoat of short, dense hairs to protect them. Then, they have an outer layer of longer hairs that are in place to guard the undercoat. These two layers work together to effectively protect your dog from extreme weather, both hot and cold.

How to Groom a Double Coat

Double coats often need lots of brushing, especially if your dog sheds a lot. The thicker your dog’s undercoat is, the fluffier they will appear. However, the more fur they have, the more often you’ll have to brush them. For some breeds, brushing as much as every day is even recommended.

However, while their coats need a lot of maintenance, there is one this you should NEVER do: shave them. There is a common misconception that shaving a dog’s coat will keep them cool in the summer, but that’s not true for all breeds.

For dogs with double coats, shaving into their undercoat could permanently damage their fur. If you cut into their undercoat, it likely won’t grow back the same, which means it won’t have the same protection that it used to.

Therefore, instead of shaving your double-coated dog, just make sure you bathe them regularly. Bathing and brushing them are the easiest ways to keep your dog’s coat nice and soft. Some breeds can have the tip of their outer coat trimmed, but make sure no one every cuts into your dog’s undercoat.

Common Breeds with Double Coats

There are actually a lot of well-known breeds that have double coats, but many humans don’t even realize it. Here are just a few examples:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Pomeranian
  • Samoyed
  • Siberian Husky

There are also many dogs that are considered a double coated breed, but due to poor breeding, their undercoats are now extremely thin, so it might not look any different from their top coat. I recently learned that Shih Tzus are often said to have double coats, but my coat looks the same at all lengths. So, this article is more referring to the dogs with noticeable double coats that should never be shaved.

So, whenever you get your dog groomed, make sure you stay mindful of what their coat needs. If you are able to avoid shaving your dog’s coat, that is probably the safest option for your dog.

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Pit Bulls are a fairly popular type of dog. Some people love them for their sweet personalities while others prefer their strong appearance. I know Molly adores Pit Bulls too, but what she doesn’t like is when people breed them. Of course, we don’t like dog breeding in general, but right now, there is no reason for people to breed Pit Bull breeds at all.

Why is Breeding Pit Bulls Bad?

First of all, I just want to point out that a Pit Bull is not a breed. It’s actually just a label people give to multiple breeds. Specifically, they refer to many muscular dogs as “Pit Bulls”. For more information about that, you can read the article I wrote on it by clicking here.

I was inspired to write this article because I’ve seen many Pit Bulls walking around that aren’t neutered. This means that they were likely bought from a breeder, and they could end up getting another dog pregnant too. For some humans, it might not seem like a huge issue. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s an unforgivable action.

Pit Bull breeds, like the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, are some of the most common breeds at shelters. In fact, they’re usually the dogs that spend the most time waiting for their forever homes and the most likely to die in kill shelters.

So, there are already tons of Pit Bulls waiting to find their forever family. Many of these dogs are even young puppies with no health problems. Yet, many people don’t adopt them simply because of their breed. It’s heartbreaking to think about.

Therefore, Pit Bull breeders are essentially letting Pit Bulls in shelters die. They’re allowing humans to buy Pit Bull puppies from them even though there are already so many Pit Bull adults and puppies at risk of euthanasia.

Humans might think they’re getting a better dog by going to a breeder, but rescue dogs are just as special as any other dog. In fact, they’re even more special because they will love you unconditionally for saving their life.

What Should People Do Instead?

Always adopt! I can’t stress this enough. Some people go to breeders because they’re looking for a specific breed that they can’t find at a rescue, but for Pit Bulls, that will never be the case. There are always Pit Bulls at shelters, so how can someone breed these dogs knowing that?

Also, please spay or neuter your dog! A lot of dogs like Pit Bulls also end up in shelters because their families didn’t think spaying and neutering was important. It might not seem likely for your dog to get pregnant, but all it takes is for them to run off once. Spaying and neutering saves lives, especially if your dog is a Pit Bull.

If you’re able to, please adopt or foster a Pit Bull. Also, please spread the word about this heartbreaking situation. Pit Bulls already have such a bad reputation, and breeding them is only making the situation worse. We need to save all the dogs in need before we even think about bringing more into this world.

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2 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

For a long time, there has been a debate about whether or not grain-free dog food is linked to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. I have written about this topic in the past, but I wanted to give an update on some positive new information. New research helps confirm that grain-free food is not bad dog food.

Before I get into the new research, I would recommend checking out my previous article about the FDA investigation on grain-free food. It will provide more details about the situation. If you already know all about it, then please keep reading.

A new article that was initially posted on the Journal of Animal Science finally took a closer look at the grain-free investigation. Before this new information was released, there were only claims that grain-free was linked to DCM, and there was no actual evidence or studies to back it up.

What Does the New Research Tell Us?

The research group was made up of veterinarians, veterinary cardiologists, and animal nutritionists from BSM Partners. They analyzed over 150 related studies before creating the new article.

In this detailed literature review, the researchers studied the causes of DCM. When comparing all the studies, they concluded that DCM is more of an inherited disease than anything else. In fact, their research did not support the claims that grain-free and legume-rich diets were causing these health problems.

While there is still a lot that’s unknown about DCM, there are a few other things that could cause it. Nutrient deficiencies, myocarditis, chronic tachycardia, and hypothyroid disease are all health concerns that could lead to DCM.

The researchers also pointed out that even though many of the dogs with reported cases of DCM also ate grain-free diets, those cases contain incomplete information. Therefore, it’s impossible for someone to conclude a link between the two, especially when there are so many other factors that are much more likely to cause DCM.

Therefore, if you feed your dog a grain-free diet, there’s no need to worry anymore. In fact, grain-free is often better for dogs with allergies and in my opinion, it’s tastier too! Your vet might try to tell you it’s unhealthy, but please don’t worry about it. When in doubt, listen to the official studies and research that’s going on rather than just believing everything you hear. After all, your dog’s health is so important!

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3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

Imagine adding an adorable puppy into your family. Even after only a short time together, you quickly bond. Then, imagine finding out that your puppy doesn’t officially belong to you, but instead, you had been tricked into leasing them. This might sound outrageous, but the concept of pet leasing is a real thing, and it’s not okay.

The Truth About Puppy Leasing

Puppy leasing has become more and more popular, mostly at pet stores. It’s the concept of leasing a puppy similarly to how you would lease a new car. However, many humans don’t even know they’re agreeing to it.

Purebred puppies can be expensive, often thousands of dollars. So, most people can’t afford that. That’s why many pet stores will offer a payment plan, encouraging the person buying the puppy to sign extra paperwork.

Little do those humans know, they’re not buying a puppy at all. In the fine print of the contract, the puppy is being leased to them, so the puppy is technically not theirs just yet. In fact, the puppy belongs to the leasing company until the end of the lease, which could last several years.

On top of that, the humans are charged with interest for leasing their puppy. If they refuse to make a payment, then their dog could be taken from them. Essentially, they were tricked into paying more money than they would’ve otherwise.

Why is it so Bad?

Puppies are living creatures, not objects! It breaks my heart to see other dogs treated so poorly. This pet leasing is so bad because the people selling the puppies are very sneaky about it. They are never upfront about these hidden fees.

For pet stores like this, selling puppies is all about the money. They’ll do whatever they can to sell puppies for a ridiculously high price, even though most of these puppies come from puppy mills. What’s even sadder is that so many people fall for it.

Even if you find yourself in a pet leasing scam, there’s not really much you can do about it. Unfortunately, pet leasing is legal in many areas, which is just not okay. A few states like California and Nevada have already taken action, but there are still so many other places that need to follow.

How to Avoid These Scams

Luckily, if you’re careful, it’s not hard to avoid these scams. As cute as a puppy is, you should never rush into getting one. The more desperate you are to bring a cute dog home, the more likely you’ll get tricked.

Read Paperwork Thoroughly

This should go without saying, but don’t sign anything without reading it completely. I can’t sign much without opposable thumbs, but I’ve watched Molly sign things before. It looks like a lot to read, but reading the fine print could end up saving you a lot of trouble in the long run. That way, you know you’re only signing something that you truly agree with.

Avoid Pet Store Puppies

Pet stores are the biggest offenders of puppy scams. If you weren’t already avoiding their terrible operations, then I hope you decide to now. Not only are their puppies usually from puppy mills, but they often charge ridiculous prices for puppies that are likely sick. It’s important to stop supporting these places so they can be shut down once and for all.

Most Importantly, Adopt!

If you read my blog regularly, you know how important adopting is. I understand that pet store puppies can be adorable, but don’t be fooled. Shelters and rescues have dogs and puppies that are just as adorable, so you can save a life without any secret payments involved. These organizations exist to help dogs, not to overcharge you like pet stores do. So, please adopt, don’t shop!

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