Visit from the Bridges Program

IMG_8479Today, Emerald City Pet Rescue had the privilege of welcoming some wonderful members of Seattle Public School’s Swedish First Hill branch of the Bridges Program into our facility for an educational visit.

The Bridges program is designed for students with disabilities between the ages of 18-21. The vision of the program is to create a world where these young adults are given the tools to live their adult lives as independent, productive, and engaged community members. They aim to provide opportunities for them to build vocational, social, and independent living skills.

Our Education and Outreach Specialist, Bethany, along with our Volunteer Coordinator Austin, created a learning environment for these students that included “Intro to Rescue” where we discussed who we are as a unique rescue, where we rescue our animals from, and the steps we go through to rehabilitate them and to help them find safe, happy forever homes. Our wonderful trainer Skye then joined the lesson to do a training demo with a focus on respect and responsibility, with adoptable pup Barry, and the students were given the opportunity to join in and participate actively with the dog. The lesson ended with another adoptable dog Yuki being brought in for them to meet, as well as a few staff dogs (Emerald City Pet Rescue Ambassadors) Athena and Lily.

IMG_8485We are proud as a rescue to have had the opportunity to meet these wonderful young adults and to educate them about animal rescue. There is nothing more inspiring to us than young people having a passion for animals, and for us to be given the chance to hopefully inspire them to advocate for those in need.

A special shout-out and thank you to the teachers and the students of the Bridges Program who participated in today’s educational visit. We were happy to meet each and every one of you!

If you have a group or a class that would enjoy an educational visit to our rescue to learn about animal rescue, compassion-based training, and more, OR if you would like US to come to YOUR school or facility, please contact our Education and Outreach Specialist, Bethany, at bethany@emeraldcitypetrescue.org to arrange a visit!

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The Wheelies Whirl Toward Adventure

Right now at Emerald City Pet Rescue, we have three dogs with sweet sets of wheels. These dogs are:

Chewey the charmer!….

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…Mommas the love bug!….

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…and Walter the sweet mischief maker!

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Chewey, Mommas and Walter all suffered injuries prior to arriving to ECPR which left their back legs paralyzed. At one point in their life, they could frolic and play the way most dogs do, so the loss of their mobility must have been a shock and heartache for them. But these three little wheelies are resilient, strong and full of joy despite their injuries. They don’t let their lack of normal mobility get in their way of exploring the world. Just yesterday, the three buddies went on a walk together. They had the grandest time!

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Although Chewey may not be able to mark the way most dogs do (our wheelie dogs need help with bladder expressions), Chewey is still quite interested in smelling trees. He is probably thinking, “Someday, when I learn to walk again, I’ll come back to this very spot and mark this tree as mine!”

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Chewey’s dream is not all that farfetched. Mommas, Chewey and Walter all get daily physical therapy. Before Walter arrived at the ECPR facility, the vet clinic he stayed with helped him make amazing progress with walking. He now takes steps on his own and is well on his way to walking again. Chewey has been getting physical therapy since arriving and he has also made impressive progress. He also has taken steps on his own and is learning to walk again! Mommas hasn’t had quite the same success with walking. She still gets daily physical therapy which her doctor says is a help to her regardless if she learns to walk again because it will help her muscles not atrophy. Mommas may not be achieving the same success with walking, but she has lots of success with being lovable and wonderful.

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During their walk, the three pals ran into another pal! Fellow ECPR dog Echo who was on his own walk. The friends converged and the sniffing and tail wagging commenced!

After Chewey, Mommas and Walter’s meeting with Echo, more excitement rolled their way! The three wheeled friends politely stepped aside as another set of wheels passed by. They looked at the strange contraption curiously, comparing their own set of wheels to that of the smiling stranger’s.

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The air was crisp but the sun was shining for their walk. The three dogs loved the feel of the sun warming their fur. It gave them each an extra jaunty skip to their step.

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Mommas and Chewey have been at the rescue longer than Walter. Mommas and Chewey immediately gravitated toward each other and are great friends. They love to share a pillow or a sunspot in the playroom. They have their own cool kid clique that few can penetrate. But Walter, with his sweet, goofy joy, is winning over the two friends and fitting right into their crew.

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It is more difficult for special needs dogs to find their forever home. But all three of these dogs are so lovable and so inspiring. They have wonderful and unique personalities. The ECPR crew has no doubt they will charm their way into a forever home soon. Right now they are wheeling their way toward adventures such as sunny day walks. But their greatest adventure has yet to come…the adventure of forever in their forever home!

DailyECPR: Wonderful Rufus!

Since working at Emerald City Pet Rescue, I have met many inspiring animals. Despite various adversities, these animals manage to still go through life with enthusiasm and joy. Rufus is definitely one of these inspiring animals. He lost the use of his back legs, which would be a difficult thing for anyone, but especially for a little pooch who is so obviously full of energy. Rufus loves to frolic, it is how he expresses his exuberance for life. So to have his movement stifled was a very sad thing. Luckily, Rufus just got a brand new wheelchair.

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Rufus has a very ‘go-with-the-flow’ personality, so as staff fussed with him and fitted him for his new chair, he went along with it, not knowing the freedom he was about to enjoy. As soon as he was properly sized for his chair, he was off like a rocket ship, wheeling himself though the playroom, ready to explore and investigate everything!

We had some concerns about how he would do in the playroom. Would the other dogs accept him? But the other dogs did not bat an eye as Rufus rolled around with them. He was easily accepted as a member of the ECPR doggy crew. It helps that many of our dogs have already met a dog in a wheelchair. Little hero Tanner was an ECPR dog before wooing the heart of staff member and foster failure Lucy. Sometimes, Tanner still comes to work with Lucy, so many of the dogs know Tanner even though he was adopted a while ago. Tanner and Rufus have not yet met, but when they do it will be exciting day! It is not just the wheelchair that these two dogs have in common. They share their resilience, their love for people friends, their sweetness, and their absolutely charismatic personalities. Little Tanner even has his own Instagram. Follow him here: @wieneronwheels

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One of the many things that I love about Rufus, is that he always seems to be smiling. There are few things more charming then a doggy smile. Rufus loves to greet new friends. Whenever someone walks into the playroom, Rufus speedily rolls toward them and politely asks for cuddles. Little Rufus is very playful, and now that he has his snazzy new wheels, he can get out and play with the best of them.

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Rufus likes to take walks too. I was very excited to take him on a walk after he got his brand new wheelchair. I just knew he would have an absolute blast!

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Well, I was wrong. One of the few things Rufus does not like is rain. Rufus and I ventured out on a cool and rainy day and even with his stylish raincoat, Rufus was not having it. He stared into the distance with a troubled look on his face. There was an expression of anxious resistance in his normally cheer filled eyes.  He stayed as close to the sides of buildings as possible during the walk, trying to avoid the rain as it plummeted down. Well, all the ECPR dogs have me wrapped around their cute little paws especially Rufus whose paws are especially cute. I gave in and we turned around after only a very short distance. Rufus would have all the time in the world to take sunny day walks in his new wheelchair.

Like I mentioned earlier in this post, the animals at ECPR are constantly inspiring me.

We use to have an itty-bitty Chihuahua named Binty who would sometimes get picked on by a much larger dog. Instead of cowering, Binty would snap at the big dog, confidently telling him to back off! Little Binty didn’t let his vulnerable size get in the way of standing up for himself.

We had a beautiful Siamese cat named Asia who was so frightened when she arrived she refused to let any of us touch her. I can’t say she was a lap cat by the end of her time at ECPR, but she took many brave steps. She slowly began to trust us, even coming to us for cuddles. I know it took a lot of courage for Asia to let us pet her. The first time Asia let me scratch her head, it felt like the ultimate compliment.

We had a 13 year old bichon named Bentley who came to us with his bonded pair. But his bonded pair passed away. Everyone was sad by her passing, but it was obvious that Bentley was the saddest of us all. But eventually, he began to find cheer in life again. One way he did this was by befriending other ECPR dogs. He seemed to have a talent for befriending dogs who needed his friendship the most. We had a very tentative, fearful dog named Doodles who got picked on. Bentley befriended him even though Doodles was a bit of an outcast. Soon, Doodles gained more confidence with his buddy Bentley by his side. Eventually, the other dogs began to accept Doodles too. Doodles transformation to a more confident and happy dog all started with Bentley’s generous and loving spirit

Our ECPR animals are always showing us humans that you can overcome limitations, that you can gain the bravery needed to triumph over fears and that you can find beauty in the world even after hardship. Rufus will always be one of those dogs I will think of when I am having a bad day and need a little encouragement. Rufus with his shinning personality, his adorable bushy-eyebrowed face and his love for movement can make any day brighter.

If you are interested in adopting wonderful Rufus, check out his petfinder profile here and call Emerald City Pet Rescue at (206) 557-4661 to set up a meet and greet.