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Emerald City Pet Rescue’s Cats Have a New Facility!

It’s been an adventurous road, but here we all are, rolling toward the end of 2016 into a brand new year! It’s amazing to look back on how far Emerald City Pet Rescue has come since first opening our doors as a nonprofit in 2013. ECPR found its humble beginnings with our dedicated founder, Vivian Goldbloom, in a small room in the back of VCA West Seattle. We opened our first independent facility in SoDo on 1st Ave South and Hanford Street in the summer of 2014, and as each month goes by, we find ourselves fortunate enough to have the privilege of saving more pets.

 

We are very grateful for the positive support we have received from people all over the Seattle area. Orijen/Acana has recently begun providing us with an amazing monthly food donation to assist in keeping our cats’ bellies full and healthy. As we are now taking in more and more kitties, such a generous donation from a high-quality pet food brand has been so helpful! This brand is also sold at our retail store attached to our facility on 1st Ave South, and all proceeds go directly back into the rescue. If you’re looking for high-quality pet food and supplies at affordable prices, come in and check out our merchandise! Our retail employees are very knowledgeable regarding all of our products and will be happy to assist you in finding the right food and supplies for your pet’s individual needs.

 

Getting back to the kitties, we are thrilled about the merger and expansions Emerald City Pet Rescue is rolling out in 2017. Kitty Harbor, just off the West Seattle bridge and down the street from Luna Park Cafe, is currently closed for renovations, yet will re-open early next year as Emerald City Kitty Harbor, our very own cat-specific adoption location! Our facility on 1st Ave South in SoDo will then be our dog-specific adoption location. Emerald City Kitty Harbor will then be open 7 days a week, all year round! The kitties will even have an all-season “catio” — they are purrfectly excited!

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In addition to Kitty Harbor, we recently opened Emerald Kitty Café at our Kitty Harbor location! Serving delicious Stumptown Coffee Roasters brews and espresso, we are currently open Saturdays and Sundays from 7AM until 4PM. Stop on by and warm up with a delicious latte while helping to support a noble cause. Soon, you will have the added bonus of being able to view adorable adoptable cats and kitties romping around behind viewing windows while sipping your coffee!

Emerald Kitty Café is also able to take any donations you may have, monetary or supplies, for our Emerald City Pet Rescue kitties.

With the addition of Emerald City Kitty Harbor plus another new facility in SoDo on South Idaho Street — which will house our very own clinic and provide more space for larger dogs as well as critters like bunnies, hamsters, chinchillas and more — 2017 is full of possibilities! We can’t wait to share more details with you as we continue to grow, allowing us to give more and more rescue pets a second chance to find the happy endings they truly deserve.

DailyECPR : Dealing With Losses

Eddie_2.jpgBringing a pet into our home, inviting a new member of the family to be as much a part of us as everyone else, is not a light decision to make. For me, the moment I take on the responsibility of a new pet I know I will adore them for the rest of their lives.

When I was eleven years old I brought home a kitten for the first time. I loved that kitten more than I had ever loved anything or anyone else, and miraculously that kitten loved me back. She tolerated others and sometimes avoided them but Tinkerbelle loved me fiercely. Throughout the rest of my childhood and teenage years, no matter what friends I was fighting with or who came and went from my life, Tink was a constant. There was never a night, regardless of whether or I was happy or sad, that she didn’t cuddle up under the covers with me and purr. I knew that no matter what was happening in the world around me she would always be there.

As Tink got older she started developing health problems. It began with hyperthyroid but fortunately some medication got that under control, but her difficulties kept on coming. When she was fourteen years old it fell on my shoulders to make the most difficult decision I have ever had to make as a pet-parent, the choice to let her keep struggling or to give her the peace she deserved. With tears streaming uncontrollably from my eyes and my heart sinking into the dark pit of my stomach, I sat with her for her last moments and allowed her veterinarian to help her go to sleep.

At first I resisted the idea of adopting a new pet, I couldn’t shake the thought that it would be as if I was replacing Tink and I knew that could never happen. Even though I know logically I made the right decision putting her down, my emotions fought with my logic and told me a different story. “There must be something I could have done differently, something I hadn’t tried, some way I could have saved her.”

Eventually I healed enough to consider adopting another pet. Without Tink I was lonely, I hadn’t been without a pet in a very long time and I told myself that holding on to Tink was never going to bring her back. There are so many animals out there that need loving homes and the best thing I could do to honor her was to be that person that Tink thought I was and help someone in need.

I brought home a ten month old yorkie-chihuahua mix, my first dog not including my stepmother’s dog when I was younger, but I wasn’t responsible for that animal’s upbringing and care so it was different.

I’ve told the story previously on this blog of Rue, the baby kitten that was brought to Emerald City Pet Rescue along with her six siblings in the fall of 2015. All of the kittens were small, only a few weeks old and without a mother but Rue was by far the runt, not just smaller than her siblings but literally skin and bones. No one was optimistic about her prognosis. I have never said this out loud, not to anyone else and not even to myself, but something about the moment I picked up Rue, a kitten the size of a hamster with the tiniest limbs much thinner than even a pencil, instantly brought me back to the first time I held Tinkerbelle.

Tinkerbelle was also the runt of her litter. I got her from a pet store (don’t judge, I was only eleven) and she was the last kitten left of her litter. She was very small and she was meowing like a newborn, loud and shrill, but the moment I took her into my arms the crying ceased and the purring began. I knew in that moment that Tinkerbelle was meant to be mine. Last fall, the moment I curled sickly little Rue into the palm of my hand I felt an instant connection with her. I stayed up with her night after night to syringe-feed her around the clock, and it was several weeks before she could eat on her own. When it came time for her brothers and sisters to be adopted out, I knew I couldn’t let her go because she was already home. I know Rue is not Tinkerbelle, and yet watching Rue play, or cuddling with her in my arms and listening to her purr is the only time I feel truly at peace about Tinkerbelle’s passing. Although I wish more than anything that our pets could live as long as we do so we don’t have to suffer the heartache of losing them, the best way you can honor a lost pet’s devotion to you is by allowing yourself to love another.

Things brings me to what inspired this personal post. Here at Emerald City Pet Rescue, we’ve suffered a few very sad losses over the last week. It is NEVER easy to decide, when an animal is suffering, what is best for them. I wish more than anything animals could communicate with us in speech and tell us what they want, but the best and most compassionate thing we can do is look into their eyes and try to listen to what is inside of their hearts.

I left work a few days last week with tears in my eyes over the losses and my heart felt heavy. I hugged both of my dogs and both of my cats and I felt comforted. I am sad for those wonderful animals we lost over these last few days.

If I could try to imagine what the animals we have tragically lost would want, I believe it would be for their fellow friends to find the forever homes they so very much deserve. In rescue, there are moments that lift us up and moments that weigh us down, but I wouldn’t change being a part of this world for anything.

I will always keep those we have recently lost in my thoughts, but I will honor them by pushing forward and being a support system for their brothers and sisters in spirit who are asking us with their eyes and heart to help them find happiness. I urge everyone else to do the same, together we can make a difference in so many lives. Every single happy ending is more than worth bearing the losses.

Have a wonderful week everyone. Onward we go! 20160326_100721

DailyECPR : Farewell Sweetie Pie, Onward and Upward!

It’s easy and typical for all of us who work in rescue to fall in love with the animals that come through our doors. Each and every one of them has a story and a unique personality all their own. Even still, there are always those few who touch our souls just a bit more than others, not because they’re better or more worthy but because there’s something in them or about them that relates so much to our own life and experiences, or teaches us an amazing and inspirational lesson at just the precise moment that we needed to learn it. Animals have a capacity for love that I can’t even comprehend. They inspire me, they give me hope, they have the openness and bravery to make connections with those around them that go beyond words, speech, even language itself.

Today was one of those amazing days in the rescue world, a day where a dog incredible beyond words, a dog who has touched the hearts of literally every single person who works or volunteers at ECPR, took that last car ride away from the rescue so she could be dropped off at her forever home.

Sweetie Pie may not be able to communicate with us humans the way we communicate with each other but she told us her story when she first arrived at the rescue in every other way. Sweetie was found as a “stray.” She had bite marks and scars all over her head and face, and still carried milk for puppies we never had the chance to see, meet or save. It was clear that wherever Sweetie came from, she suffered abuse that I can’t even stomach. I’m tearing up writing this and I’m pausing to wipe at my eyes because the thought of anyone mistreating that dog literally rips me apart inside. I have seen her strength and she has inspired me every single day since I met her.

Sweetie Pie has essentially lived in my office for several weeks. Every morning when I come in, she would get up from her bed and look up at me with a little grunt before glancing down at her bone. Her request was obvious; “Kick or throw it, please!” We would do this periodically throughout the entire day back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.. I would scratch her ears and she would close her eyes and relax into my touch. She would stand still with that enthusiastic pittie tail wagging back and forth as I scratched her back and her tushy. Sweetie is kind, wise, but with the playfulness of an innocent puppy who has never experienced a moment of cruelty and pain. But we know that’s not true.

In addition to the condition Sweetie came to us in, she has had to undergo ACL surgeries as well as treatment for her mammary tumors and spindle cell tumors. For a dog with such a high level of passion for playing, I can’t imagine how she endured the mandatory bed rest required for her legs to heal or the throwing up and weakness from her other surgeries and treatments, but no matter how hard she struggled with her physical challenges, Sweetie never let it get her down. Her enthusiasm and love for people is immeasurable. Her gentle nature as one-year-olds climbed all over her at an ECPR event was like witnessing a miracle because that was not a “dog” gently nudging the human child, but a conscious, aware living soul.

Last week Sweetie had a meet and greet. Her new daddy immediately got on the ground to meet her at her level and it was instant love for the both of them. Today we all gathered one by one for our last chance at photo ops with this courageous girl and said goodbye to her for the last time as she moved on from a rescue dog searching for her forever home to a deserving, beautiful healthy pittie getting a promise that from that moment on, she would have a forever home and family to love her for the rest of her days.

Sweetie will never be forgotten by a single one of us. She is our mascot, our inspiration, the dog we hope every other dog that comes through our doors can be inspired by in order to find the strength to rise above their pasts. Sweetie may have left our lives, but her pawprints will remain on our hearts forever.

“The first time Sweetie Pie gave me a big sloppy kiss I was so honored! I’ll miss her sweet face, her soulful eyes, and her nudge with her nose to get me to toss her toy. Good luck, Sweetie Pie. You deserve only the best!” -Mimi

“My dog, who hates every dog in the world, only ever liked one dog, and that was Sweetie Pie. Such a testament to what an amazing girl she is, to have endured what she went through and still have such a capacity for love. Not just a kennel favorite, but a front desk favorite… an office favorite… a RESCUE favorite. <3” -Chandra

“Sweetie Pie has always had this amazing glow of optimism. Even though her mysterious past that lead her to us and pnety of scars to show for it had us all wondering… “What has this girl been through?” Multiple surgeries, biopsies and long months of recovery later she continues to shine even brighter. Through every bit of it, she has always been happy to say hello to a new friend. She’s been an inspiration to keep pushing through the rough times because there is always something to smile about! Thank you Sweetie Pie for showing us how important it is to let go of the past and just focus on that bone! <3″ -Erica

“By far one of the most wonderful dogs to come through emerald city. She was just waiting for those perfect adopters to see how amazing she is!” -Erin

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DailyECPR : An Editorial; Mistakes and Triumps as a Pet-Mommy

IMG_0395           As a dedicated ECPR employee I have a lot of passion for writing about our precious adoptable animals, the events we create and participate in, our amazing staff and volunteers, and more. In addition to keeping everyone up to date with our adoptables and happenings I now bring you all a first-person editorial series about being a pet parent; the mistakes, the hiccups, the milestones, the joys and the day by day learning that goes along with caring for and loving furkids!

Growing up I considered myself to be a cat person. I still adored dogs but my cat-focused obsession stemmed from the fact that I adopted a kitten when I was eleven who became my best friend in the world, the one living being that was always there for me, never judged me, never betrayed me, never failed to cuddle when I needed a hug. Having such a trusting relationship with my precious feline was incredibly important to my emotional development, especially during those tough teenage years. Tinkerbelle was my best friend through and through.

I had always wanted a golden retriever but my mother didn’t want dogs in her house. When I was a teenager, my stepmom got a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and I adored Willie but he was her dog in the sense that she was his caretaker. I loved playing with Willie and spending time with him but it’s not the same type of relationship you have when you alone care for an animal full-time.

IMG_0197            In the early 2000’s a movie blasted through the theaters called “Legally Blonde.” (I LOVE that movie by the way.) The main character Elle Woods played by Reese Witherspoon had a pet Chihuahua that she always carried in a purse.

Naturally, the popularity of Chihuahuas BLEW UP! Everyone realized how adorable it was to have a little purse dog you can dress up and carry around and suddenly an abundance of Chihuahua puppies had new homes, designer wardrobes and jewel-studded collars.

Years ago my beloved Tinkerbelle passed away after many medical complications. I was pet-less for a while, but losing the best friend I ever had left a hole in my heart that wasn’t getting any better. I knew I could never replace how special she was to me but when I felt ready I decided to adopt a new cat. I visited a rescue with the intention of bringing home a kitty but my eyes drifted instead toward a tiny little dog. The moment she noticed that my attention was on her, she raised her ears which seemed much too large for her head in the cutest way possible, locked her giant, sad eyes on me, and yawned. That was it. I knew instantly without a doubt that Lily was my dog. I could almost hear her saying, “You’ll be my new mommy, right?” Yes. Yes I will.

Lily, now a 5lb Chihuahua/Yorkie mix, was ten months old when I brought her home. She was a few months past that especially young puppy stage but she still had a lot of growing and learning to do. At ten months she was still a puppy. As a first time dog owner that had no prior experience raising a puppy, especially a small-breed, I went only with what I saw on “Legally Blonde”. I instantly bought Lily a jewel-studded collar, tons of dresses and doggie shirts, and yes, the dog purse. Lily instantly became my best buddy. Although she could never replace Tinkerbelle in my heart, she found a place all her own and we became inseparable.

As all first-time parents do, I made a few mistakes with Lily. As much as I love bringing Lily with me everywhere, she gets very anxious when left alone, so much so that it triggers her anxiety to a concerning level. I let her sleep in bed with me right away upon adopting her. I brought her shopping. I rarely walked her on a leash other than to take her outside to potty. I allowed her to become so dependent on me that if I so much as leave a room we are both in, she starts crying her little heart out.

In spite of my mistakes with Lily, I feel very fortunate that she is patient, loving, and a near-perfect dog in reference to her disposition. She couldn’t be sweeter if she tried. Little kids can tug on her ears and tail, and carry her around awkwardly and she allows them to. Handicapped people can hug and kiss on her and she is quiet as a mouse and endlessly accommodating. She doesn’t growl or nip. She handles new situations with nonchalance and isn’t fazed by much.

Working in rescue has really shined a light on just how lucky I truly am because I don’t feel like I can take credit for Lily’s amazing disposition. I coddled her a lot when I first brought her home. I took her a lot of places, but I didn’t pass her around from person to person or expose her to playtime with other dogs. She spent our early travel and errand days looking out at the world from a dog purse.

Pay attention everyone because I’m about to write the most important sentence of this editorial. Small dogs are still dogs. There it is, right there! One more time : Small dogs are still dogs.

Would you exclusively carry a German shepherd in a purse? Would you exclusively carry a Saint Bernard in a purse? Would you assume your Akita is too delicate to go on walks in the big bad scary outdoors? I’m guessing most of you said no in your head.

Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Pomeranians, terriers etc; they may be small but they are still dogs. They still have all the same desires, instincts and needs that large breed dogs have, for the most part. (You probably don’t need to take your Chihuahua on runs twice a day to give them enough exercise, but you get the point!) Eventually, I started putting the leash on Lily and taking her on walks. She LOVES it! She loves running up to people and other dogs and saying Hello. She loves sniffing all of the glorious outdoor smells, peeing on bushes, and digging in the dirt. She is a dog. Here at the rescue, she enjoys going into our playroom and playing with the other dogs. She has a habit of picking a “favorite” dog and following them around for as long as I’ll let her (hours if she had the opportunity!). Since I have learned and grown as a dog-mommy, I’ve been able to let Lily be the dog that she is and I know she is happier and more enriched because of it.

Again though, I don’t consider my experience, nor my dog, the “norm.” As we are a rescue that currently focuses on rescuing small breed dogs, I see a LOT of dogs come through here that, for all I know, may have very well come from inexperienced pet-parents who let their tiny pooch’s behavior slide just a bit too far. “Oh look my four-pound dog is growling, how cute! Let’s encourage her, isn’t it funny!?” But it’s not so funny when that dog starts biting you, or others. This is not their fault. They are not bad dogs. They have simply not been taught boundaries, manners, or been given the security of a dependable, loving home and caregiver.

Lily could have easily become a problem dog beyond just her separation anxiety. There are many behavioral issues she could have developed simply because I was too inexperienced at the time to understand that sometimes with puppies, you need to show them tough love. Sometimes you need to let them cry in their kennels so they learn that it’s okay to be alone once in a while. Put peanut butter in a kong toy. Make their crate a fun experience and not a traumatic one. If they growl or nip, you need to correct them. Say “no” to nipping, but also understand that as puppies, they are teething. If you say “no” to your fingers, give them a toy that they are allowed and encouraged to chew on instead, instantly. Say “no” to something, but immediately say “yes” to something else. If they display inappropriate behavior or if they are not listening, put them in a time-out or refuse to pay attention to them until they adjust their behavior. For example, if a dog is jumping on you, ignore them until they calm down or sit nicely, THEN love on them and tell them what a good dog they are.) As soon as they do what you’d like them to do (stop trying to nip your fingers, quiet down from crying in a crate, etc) reward them. Let them know how good they are being.

Take your dog on walks. Yes, even if they are a 3 pound Chihuahua. Let them smell and explore in the outdoors. Let them play with other dogs. Let them meet new people. Give them as many positive and new experiences as you can, as often as you can and you will have a wonderful, well-adjusted dog.

Lily is amazingly forgiving with me for my early mistakes with her. She is a tiny, precious little chorkie, but she is still a dog and still needs to do doggie things. I love her so much for so many reasons, but what I find most incredible about her is that despite the mistakes I made with her, she knows that I love her and she loves me back unconditionally.

I recently added a new puppy into my family. She is even smaller than Lily at only 2lbs right now, charting maybe 4lbs as a fully grown Chihuahua. I know I will make mistakes with her, too. I’ll sometimes cave in and cuddle her when she’s crying because it breaks my heart, but I’ll try to be strong and wait until she’s quiet before I let her out of her crate so she will learn it’s not a punishment being in there, and that she will be okay. I’ll remember to be firm when she nips at me and say NO, but I’ll immediately present her with a toy or a chewy and praise her when she starts chewing on that. Lily, my best friend, my guardian angel, my faithful, understanding, patient, forgiving companion, helped me learn a lot. I can’t wait to see what kind of dog my puppy will grow into. I hope she’s half as loving and forgiving as my precious Lily. I hope she realizes what an amazing big sister she has and I hope she looks up to her. I hope I can be a good enough pet-mommy to never let either of them feel like they are second best, I want them to both feel equally loved and cared for. I will try not to coddle her for her small size and let her get “down and dirty” sometimes. I will pass her to strangers and not hover. I will let her play with other dogs so she learns to interact with them in healthy ways. I will still make mistakes, but I love them enough to try and learn every day and ultimately that’s what being a mommy is all about.

You don’t have to be perfect to be a good dog-parent. No one can know everything, or always make the perfect choices when it comes to their pet. Just love them the way they love you. Do what you can for them. Be willing to learn what you don’t know. Be willing to help them learn. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Pay attention to your dog, they will tell you what they need but don’t let them walk all over you, either. Find a balance. Realize that what you have with your dog is a relationship.

As John Grogan, the author of “Marley and Me” says, “A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.”