DailyECPR: Amazing Mazie and Magnificent Madonna Visit with Their Foster Moms

There are a lot of people at Emerald City Pet Rescue who work passionately for the sake of our beautiful, wonderful animals. These people are not just the staff and volunteers, but also our amazing foster families. There are so many reasons we are grateful for our foster families. One very important thing our foster families do is provide homes for animals who for whatever reason, take a little longer to find their forever home. It can be discouraging for an animal to watch all their friends find homes while they remain. Even though ECPR animals get lots of love and cuddles from staff and volunteers, it is just not the same as having people to call your own. Curling up on the couch next to a person friend, the joy of undivided cuddles and frolicking in the freedom of a home environment all add to the quality of an animal’s life. Fosters provide these opportunities for our animals.

Foster families also teach us important information about our animals that we may not otherwise find out. We all know how our animals act at the rescue, but sometimes different parts of their personality come out in the home environment. Maybe Fluff-Fluff acts aggressive when strangers come to visit, or Little Strawberry is scared of the doorbell, or maybe Albert makes a squeaky sound when he needs to use the bathroom. All this information is very helpful to Emerald City Pet Rescue. This way, adopters learn these things about their pets before they go home. We also learn more about how to choose the right home for the animals. In the case of Fluff-Fluff, we know he would thrive in an environment where his people are more of the homebody types who don’t have a lot of visitors over. For Little Strawberry, we can work with the adopters on a plan to help her get over her fear of strange noises. And Albert will be a much easier dog to potty train with his idiosyncratic squeaking. Although Fluff-Fluff, Little Strawberry and Albert are made up examples, it is true that fosters are constantly providing us with an array of useful information about our animals. The more we know about our animals, the better we can set them up to succeed and thrive for the rest of their life.

Another important thing that fosters do for ECPR is empty a kennel for another dog in need. With limited space, we can only take so many animals into our facility. Even if we want to take all the needy animals in the world into our facility, we physically cannot, especially since it is so important to us to provide quality care to each ECPR animal. But with a space being opened by a foster’s generosity, we can take in at least one more animal in need.

On Saturday, two of our dogs living with foster families came for a visit! Usually the dogs who get fostered are dogs that have had a more difficult time finding a home. This means that they have spent more time at ECPR then the average dog which means the staff had more time to grow attached to the animal. So of course, staff was very excited to see our two visitors!

First our pal Mazie came for a visit. This sweet little lady is an older gal who adores good friends and cuddles. Little Mazie is quite endearing. She is a stout pooch who has a delightful waddle to her walk. Her flowy white fur is thinning and her skin is covered with a galaxy of age sots. Her signs of aging only serve to make her all the more beautiful. She has a unique beauty which is enhanced by her cute personality. Mazie is confident and doesn’t put up with nonsense. When she finds a person she likes, she doesn’t let anything get in her way of being near her person. She is very loyal and loving. As you can see by the photo, Mazie also has a winning smile. What is not visible in this picture is Mazie’s pretty cloth flower. Mazie always wears a cloth flower on her collar. The flower obviously represents her heart, which is as lovely as a flower.

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Our second foster visitor was Madonna! This scruffy girl is about as cute as they come. Her scruffy yet elegant appearance could easily inspire a children’s book series about a spunky pooch going on adventures. But like most living creatures, Madonna’s personality is complicated. She is sweet, loving and kind, but she also has fears and anxieties that sometimes influence her actions.  Her foster mom is very tuned into what Madonna needs and is providing a wonderful environment for Madonna. Madonna is getting an opportunity to grow and overcome many of her fears.  It made me so happy to see her on Saturday and to see how much she loved her foster mom. After seeing Madonna with her foster mom, I know Madonna will succeed in her home when she finds her forever family. It may take longer for her to warm up, but when she does, she will be the best friend a person can imagine.

All the animals I have met at Emerald City Pet Rescue are so wonderful. They all have good and loving hearts. They want love, positive attention, and to feel safe. Some of our animals only need to spend a week or less at the ECPR facility before charming their future adopters and finding a forever home. Other animals take much longer to find their forever home. This could be because of age or health reasons, behavioral issues, or just plain bad luck. There have been plenty of time where I have wondered with bafflement why one of our animals is still here.

Our foster families provide such a wonderful opportunity for our animals to get a taste of home before they truly find their forever home. Sometimes, the foster homes are just great sanctuaries for our older dogs or cats. Often times, people want to adopt puppies or kittens, so the older guys may need a little extra time to find that perfect someone excited to invite an elderly animal into their home permanently. The foster home can give an animal with health issues a place to recover before the next step of finding their forever home. Sometimes, the time spent with a foster gives a dog or cat the tools or individualized training an animal needs to overcome behavioral issues setting them back. A lot of times the ‘behavioral issues’ the animal is experiencing is nothing more than a bout of shyness. A foster home can give that animal the extra boost of confidence they need to enter their next meet and greet with excitement instead of fear. Sometimes, finding a foster home is just that first turn in luck a dog or cat needs as they continue on their journey in finding a forever home.

Animals in foster homes get new adventures, more opportunities to socialize and the joy of experiencing a home environment. All of our animals deserve to take as much time as they need to find their forever home. Fosters help us accomplish this. At Emerald City Pet Rescue, we really appreciate everything our fosters do for us and our animals!

DailyECPR: Rainy Days Can’t Bring These Dogs Down

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It was a typical Northwest day today: gray skies and drizzle. It wasn’t quite raining cats and dogs, more like raining kittens and puppies. Although many of our dogs come from Southern California with all of its sunshine and dry days, the dogs were not deterred by a little bit of water. Chuco and Oswald were quite eager to explore the outdoors, as you can see by the picture of Chuco impatiently jumping at the door.

So fellow kennel attendant Ellis and I harnessed up our two pals and headed out on a walk. We encourage the adventurous spirit of the dog! Loving every aspect of life, whether wet or dry, is just one of the many reasons to admire dogs. But we still must be practical, therefore our two walking companions were suited up in fashionable red rain jackets. This way they could appreciate the beauty and peace of a rainy day while remaining warm.

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Chuco and Oswald were not the only brave souls to venture forth on this dreary day. Oswald was fascinated by a fellow rain wanderer: A man on a bike with his own D.I.Y. rain jacket made from a garbage bag. I think Oswald was impressed by his inventiveness, but knew the man’s jacket had nothing on his own dapper red jacket!

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Today was a Seahawks game in Seattle. On our walk, we all encountered many a football fan who decided their passion for the sports outweighed any desire to stay warm and dry. Even though Chuco and Oswald were not wearing the team colors, the two trend-setting pooches received several complements from passing Seahawks fans.

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While on our walk, Chuco and Oswald insisted we stop to smell all the interesting odors that the rain was stirring up. Oh, those shrubs and leaves and dirt smell so fascinating! I’m sure Oswald and Chuco think it is rather sad that we humans with our pitiful sense of smell can’t enjoy the refined pleasure of smelling every nook and cranny of a rainy day walk.

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Sometimes though, a rain coat isn’t enough. We’ve had a couple of days where the down poor of rain was so strong, the dogs would have been soaked within minutes of their walk. Instead of raining cats and dogs, it was raining tigers and wolves. We walk dogs for many reasons: Exercise, stimulation and enrichment to name a few. So, when the day is so rainy that we cannot take the dogs outside, we must find other ways to provide these things for our dogs.

One great way to provide both stimulation and enrichment is through nosework. As noted above, the dog’s sense of smell is something amazing! Therefore, engaging dogs in a way that uses their nose is stimulating to the dogs. Here is how to do nosework.

What you need is delicious treats and several boxes.

First place the boxes in several different locations within a room. In some but not all the boxes, place a couple of treats. Bring the dog into the room and say, “go find it!” Don’t give the dog any hints, after all, dogs are scent geniuses and they probably won’t need any hints. When I have given dogs hints in the past, they seem to look up at me with eyes that say ‘Oh human, how you underestimate me!”  Once the dog does find the treat in any of the boxes, celebrate! Tell them how good they are and make them feel special. Today, Mara and I worked on nosework together. She had a blast pretending she was a dog detective, hot on the trail of treats! This little lady with her powerful nose could solve any scent based mystery!

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For exercise, there are plenty of fun ways to get your dog’s heart beating while remaining indoors. Our trainer Erin created this wonderful dog toy that Jayme is using in the picture. It is basically a dog version of the common cat toy utilizing a stick, rope and toy. The human swings around the toy on the rope while the dogs joyfully chase after it. This toy is a thrill for both human and dog. Every time I use this toy with our dogs, I end up in fits of laughter. It is so much fun watching all the creative and exuberant ways the dogs try to capture the toy while it swings around them.

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Traditional methods of play work amazingly well in the endeavor to provide exercise for the dogs. We have beautiful tug toys that a troupe of clever girl scouts made for our dogs. The dogs love these toys! Harley and I had a fun round of tug-a-war with the tug toy. Harley really embraces tug-a-war with all his heart. He grabs onto the toy and shakes his head like he is doing a wild doggy dance. His long beautiful fur swirls around him. Harley gets completely lost in the merriment of play.

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Another amazing, tried-and-true form of play is the classic game of fetch. What is more enticing to a dog then a ball! The ball may be still now, but at any moment the ball could soar through the air! Chuco and Madonna both looked wide-eyed with excitement and anticipation as they wait for that ball to soar!

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With typical doggie enthusiasm, our ECPR dogs embrace and conquer the rainy day with joy and gusto. No rainy day can bring our dogs down!

Little Dogs Just Want To Have Fun

Little Momo has had a rough (or more appropriately, RUFF) day. Her best buddy, her companion in play, her alley in merriment, went to his forever home. While we always celebrate the delight of one of our animal friends getting their much deserved forever homes, saying goodbye is hard. So I know how Momo feels. I too will miss seeing little Nolan’s sweet Shih Tzu face. His big soulful eyes and quirky mannerisms will be remembered fondly. For Momo, her favorite part of friendship with Nolan was the way he would romp around the playroom with her. These two sweet, smooshed face pooches just got each other! It was an instant friend connection.

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Momo stares off wistfully as she remembers the joy of playtime with Nolan

These sort of friend connections are not uncommon in the playroom. Little friendship cliques happen. Often, it is easy to understand why certain animals end up in friend groups together. When we had a lot of puppies, they all understandably gravitated to each other and created a wild posse of playful puppies. Now, we only have one puppy left. All of her sisters, brothers and puppy friends found their forever home, but little Harper is still searching. Luckily, she has got the companionship of Oswald. Oswald really is still a puppy himself. He is only around ten months old. These two friends vary greatly in size, but their outlook on life is the same. To sum it up, their joint motto seems to be: Life is meant to be fun, so let’s play!

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Other friend groups happen because the members have all been here at ECPR longer than the rest of the crew. Josephine, Madonna, Santos and Knight Rider are in their own clique. These four dogs have been part of the Emerald City Pet Rescue group longer than most of the other dogs. So of course a bond will be formed. As much love as they get from everyone at ECPR, it is probably hard to watch the other dogs find homes while they remain. But they find solace in each other’s friendship. It is so darling to watch these four tumble around and frolic with each other. Below are the four members of the old timers crew. Madonna is the beautiful scruffy terrier. Santos is the copper red chihuahua. Josephine is the one with the big, open mouthed grin and Knight Rider is the shiny black dog with a contemplative expression on his face.

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Pixie is also an informal member of the old timers dog clique. Pixie was a long time resident of ECPR before charming the heart of kennel attendant Jayme, who is now Pixie’s forever mom. But lucky Pixie still gets to visit all her friends when she goes to work with Jayme.  When Pixie was a resident of ECPR, she would always be my go-to dog when introducing new dogs to the crew. She has such an ingratiating personality. She wants to be friends with everyone! Sometimes it seemed like she understood the new dogs didn’t feel comfortable yet and she would go out of her way to invite them to play with her. She is a little lady with manners! Pixie was here before Josephine, Madonna, Santos and Knight Rider. Maybe they all remember her welcoming them to ECPR and this is why she so flawlessly blends back into their tight knit group during the couple of days she is at the building.

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Santos and Pixie love to play!

Despite the groups that form, the dogs don’t abide strictly to their own clique. There is plenty of group intermingling that happens. Dogs are so full of love and eagerness to play, they find little need for stringent social restrictions. Little Santos and Oswald had a blast chasing each other around today.

Although dogs are known for their sociability, some of our dogs prefer solitude. Sweet little Starr would much prefer bask in the glory of the passing sunshine then tussle around with other dogs in the playroom.

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But other dogs haven’t yet found their group. Bardot is a more timid little lady, and she needs to feel confident before she approaches the other dogs in hopes to play. Bardot has only been her for a short while so it is understandable that she is not yet fully at ease. For now, she likes to find a comfortable spot in the playroom to observe the others.

Some dogs, however, are just bad at choosing their playmates. Graceful Chuco (who is as cute as a little lamb) is absolutely smitten with Monterey. Monterey the inquisitive Schnauzer does not feel the same about Chuco. Monterey is a good sport, so he will put up with Chuco’s constant attention, but often I find myself redirecting Chcuo’s attention away from tolerant Monterey.

Chuco has shown such amazing growth since joining ECPR. When he first got here, he was incredibly shy and nervous. But now he runs around with head held high as he parades around the playroom. He may be choosing the wrong playmates, but the fact he is attempting to make friends is wonderful. Soon enough, he will learn to befriend someone who is just as excited to be friends with him. When this happens, sweet and patient Monterey will let out a doggy sigh of relief and go back to spending his time comfortably day dreaming.

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Other dogs would much prefer to be the play-police then actually join a play group. Fluffy Foxman loves prancing around the playroom while ordering the other dogs to cease their incessant play! He runs after them and lets out a burst of raspy barks. The dogs ignore him and the kennel attendants correct him, but Foxman is determined in his mission to properly police all this play! I think Foxman’s fancy bow tie has gone to his head.

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The intricate social structures of the playroom are interesting to observe. The playroom is really a great learning opportunity for the dogs. They learn to let loose and play, they learn how to read other dog’s body language and they learn appropriate ways to interact with other dogs. Oswald is a shining example of growth due to his time in the playroom. When he first got here, he was really bad and understanding the other dogs. He would be rough and tumbly with dogs who had zero interest in engaging with him. Driven by his eagerness to play, he would get in other dogs faces, much to their annoyance. He would bound around the playroom bumping into dogs left and right. But, in the short time he has been here, Oswald has made friends. He has learned how to understand if a dog wants to play with him or not. He has learned to reign in his boisterous energy in a productive way. Way to go, little Ozzie!

As for Momo, she may still have a heavy heart now that her buddy Nolan has gone home, but she has the distraction of many playful dogs to take her mind of her loss. And with a face as cute as hers, her forever home must be just around the corner.

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DailyECPR : Prom Queen Of The Playroom

Some High Schools have cliques while others are more lax and less socially segregated. The media loves to exaggerate the idea of cliques, and “cult classics” often either emphasize the humor within said social standings or use them to try and show us that there is more to life than who gets voted Prom Queen.

Lily-2 Although the specific social dynamics of the playroom here at ECPR are forever changing depending on the particular dogs we have at any given time, there is a constant I have come to observe lately that I have found quite interesting!

I have a four year old chorkie (Chihuahua/yorkie mix) who, although she is a rescue, was rescued before ECPR. Still, she comes to work with me every day and this spoiled little Princess who answers to the name of Lily Lou Who has a bed on my desk, and also gets to spend time in the playroom socializing with the other dogs.

The very moment I set Lily down in the playroom, the other dogs swarm her with focused interest and awe. This is not because she is new (although she is new to the new dogs, she tends to spend a little bit of time in the playroom daily so the dogs that have been here for a while are very familiar with her) but rather, because –well to be honest, I’m not sure what it is! Maybe it’s her fancy wardrobe (don’t tell her that I purchase her outfits on amazon.com for $5 bucks a piece, she thinks they are from Prada) or maybe it’s her shining diamond collar (don’t tell her the shiny things are fake and that the collar only cost $3.50, she thinks it is from Tiffany’s.) I briefly considered the other dogs might view Lily as special because she has already found her fur-ever home, but so has Pixie (who belongs to kennel attendant Jayme), Athena (who belongs to kennel attendant Bethany), and SoHo (who belongs to kennel supervisor Erica) and the other dogs don’t fawn over them like they do with Lily. Don’t get me wrong, they’re wonderful, loved dogs, but for some reason Lily’s presence in the playroom causes her to be the center of curious attention.

Lily-1 Lily is graceful about her epic popularity. She does walk around the playroom holding her tail up while prancing lightly on her delicate feet, but she is patient with her worshippers, rarely snapping or growling at them and accepting their invitations to play with a joyful, gracious spirit. Perhaps her always optimistic and kind attitude is the very thing that attracts the other dogs to her.

I don’t feel I can take credit for what a good dog Lily is, her personality would be fabulous with or without me but I do feel proud of her when she sets a good example for the other dogs. At home, she loves the seven foster kitties I am currently caring for and when I let them run around my living room, she gently herds them, cleans them, and cuddles with them. Every person she meets is potentially her new best friend. Every dog or cat she meets must be greeted with a sniff and a hopeful wag of her tail. In fact, Lily’s tail never stops wagging.

Lily’s confidence and happy-go-lucky trust in others is the type of happiness that we wish for all of the dogs that come through ECPR. Some of them have been through hard times, and in their life journeys, things have happened that have caused them to fear certain situations. Although I always get a kick out of watching the dogs surround Lily with piqued interest, as I watch Lily interact with them, I’m glad she is so happy to socialize with them and show them that making new friends is something to look forward to and not something to fear. As sappy as it is, I’m proud of my little Princess.

Lily’s popularity is exactly as popularity should be; an inspiration rather than a fear, loved by all because of her universal kindness and not because she entices anyone to fear her. I truly believe that every single dog that comes through ECPR has the potential to be just as wonderful and loving as Lily, and watching them slowly come out of their shells and learn to wag their tails with excitement when a new person enters the playroom is like watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. That’s part of what I love most about ECPR, the kennel staff’s amazing ability to bring out the best in every single pet that comes through our doors. For the pets, ECPR is just one stop in their long life journey, but we truly strive to be the stop right before they reach their happily ever after. If you’re looking for furry love, set up a meet and greet with one of our sweet-as-pie four-legged friends today! 206 557 4661

Emerald City Pet Rescue

DailyECPR: An Ode to the Mamas

What is more adorable, endearing, wonderful and all around precious then a sweet little puppy?

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Their inquisitive eyes, their giant paws, their silly mannerisms….everyone loves a puppy! But you know loves a puppy best of all? A puppy’s Mama!

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Mother’s Mercy and Karma watch over the puppies.

Here at Emerald City Pet Rescue, we don’t just have a herd of rambunctious puppies, we have some doting and devoted mother dogs.

One such mother is our bouncy friend Karma who many of the kennel attendants refer to respectfully as Karma Mama. She is the radiant mother of three of the cutest puppies I have met in my life: Amory, Keegan and Spencer. It is easy to see where these three heart-melters got their good looks and effervescent personalities. Karma is shy when she meets strangers, but once she has accepted you as one of her ‘people,’ a whole new side of Karma emerges. She is spunky, lively and fun-loving! She has an adorable way of displ20150818_154015-001aying her excitement. She does a prancing frolic. While in the midst of her prancing frolic, she doesn’t just wag her tail, she wags her entire butt! This girl knows how to embrace the beauty of movement to express one’s joy. Today was a hard day for little Karma. Her last puppy, baby Spencer, went to his forever home. Amory and Keegan already went to their forever home in days past. It is hard for a mother to say goodbye to their beloved children. But Karma did an amazing job raising and nourishing her brood and they are poised for success in their forever homes. Now we just need to find Karma her forever home! It can take longer for dogs who are shy during initial greetings to find their people. But I know anyone would be so lucky to have this little lady be part of their life. Karma has one of the most amazing smiles ever, and whenever I see it on her face, it makes my day all the better.

Another amazing mother we have at Emerald City Pet Rescue is Mercy. The scruffy terrier Mercy is mother to a litter of puppies that look to be all Chihuahua! Genetics work in strange and mysterious ways. But even though Mercy may not share her children’s looks (except for a shared family cutenness), it is obvious by her behavior that those puppies are hers! She is very protective of her little ones. Just today, one of her pu20150918_174504 (1)-001ppies named Boo was in her kennel because she seemed like she needed some peace from her rowdy siblings in the playroom. But then Boo grew restless and made a sad little squeal, as if to say “I’m lonely!” I went from the playroom to the kennel room to check on her, and as I was going through the door, Mercy dashed past me straight to her pup’s kennel, to make sure her little girl was okay. Mercy likes to keep a watchful eye on her puppies. Whenever someone is holding one of Mercy’s babies, Mercy will stand on her hind legs to get a good look at her puppy, just to make sure her puppies are being treated with the respect and kindness they deserve. But Mercy’s good mothering isn’t the only thing that makes this dog a charmer. She is sweet, gentle and loving and always ready for a hug and a cuddle.

20150920_113509-001We also have mothers at Emerald City Pet Rescue whose puppies already went to their amazing forever home’s a while ago. One example being Josephine, a sweet scruffy girl with an independent spirit. More than most dogs, Josephine likes her alone time. She will find a comfortable corner in the playroom to curl up where presumably, she spends her time day dreaming. But her independent streak doesn’t mean she doesn’t need her people. Josephine loves to have her head scratched and to be told she is a good dog while getting her well-deserved cuddles. Josephine has certainly earned a lifetime of cuddles. When her puppy Napoleon was still at ECPR, Josephine did a wonderful job comforting and caring for her playful little guy.

We also have Madonna, whose sweet pups Bingo and Jubilee already found their wonderful forever homes. When Madonna’s pups were still part of the ECPR dog crew, Madonna loved to spend her day20150903_112645 (1)-001s playing with her pups. The little family of three would be a whirlwind of cuteness as they bounced, pounced and wrestled around the playroom. Whenever new puppies arrive at ECPR, especially if the puppies do not have their mother’s with them, Madonna’s mothering instincts shine through. She is always trying to befriend the puppies of ECPR. After her puppies left, Madonna had more time to spend on herself. One thing Madonna struggles with is confidence. New people sometimes make her fearful, as do new situations. But under the guidance of our trainer, the kennel crew has been working on training with Madonna. When Madonna learns a new command, you can sense the pride she feels in herself. She moves with an extra skip to her step and her face brightens with her beautiful doggy smile. This little dog did an amazing job raising her puppies and she should be full of confidence every moment of the day.

The mother dogs at ECPR are truly inspiring. They are devoted, loving and put the needs of their puppies above their own needs. After the hard work they have done raising their puppies, it is time for these mom’s to start being mothered. These four girls deserve the royal treatment!… A life full of pampering and love in their future forever homes!