This blog is a tribute to Belle, and all the dogs who have come before and after. They are my friends, my companions, my teachers and my students. They bring me both joy and heartache, laughter and tears. There is nothing as sweet as the smell of puppy breathe, and nothing as sad as the final goodbye.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Timo!!

A nice long run in the park and a cup of vanilla ice cream for you today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We Will Never Forget

On September 11, 2001 an explosive detection dog, Sirius, 
working in Tower #2 at the World Trade Center, 
gave his life for his country. 

"Salute to Sirius" by Debbie Stonebraker, commissioned by
Sandee Nastassi, founder, Long Island Labrador Retriever Rescue

Sirius was a Yellow labrador and was the only animal to die on 9/11. He died serving his country on September 11th.

Police K9 Sirius, was a bomb detection dog with the NY/NJ Port Authority Police Department. He and his partner, Police Officer David Lim, were assigned to the World Trade Center. 

The morning of September 11, 2001, Sirius and Officer Lim were at their Port Authority Police Station in the basement of the World Trade Center's Tower Two. When Officer Lim heard the sound of an explosion, he thought a bomb had gone off inside the building, and he commented to Sirius, " ... one must have gotten by us."

Thinking he'd be more effective freehanded, Officer Lim left Sirius in his kennel telling him, "I'll be back to get you." as he rushed off to help with the rescue effort. At that time, he couldn't think of a safer place for his canine companion to be than in the basement while he was up doing the rescues.

Officer Lim didn't make it back though; he became trapped in the falling debris of Tower One and wasn't pulled out until more than five hours later. Sirius, however, perished in the tragedy, leaving Officer Lim without his faithful partner.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby!

It was one year ago today that Ruby came into our lives. My daughter Liz woke me from a sound sleep in the middle of the night because she thought she heard a dog outside moaning in pain. Groggy from sleep, I reluctantly went outside to investigate. Laying under the streetlight on the grass by my curb was the most horrifying sight - a mauled pit bull, lying on her side in a pool of blood. 

The police were called who in turn called emergency services to pick her up. Afraid of what they would do to her, I insisted on knowing where she would be taken, and announced that I was following them to the emergency vet and would adopt this dog.

Ruby had her first surgery that night. Four more were to follow at another vet clinic, where she stayed for seven weeks. Five surgeries total, plus TOH insisted on spaying before they would release her to me.  She was approximately 8 months old. Finally the day came when I could take her home. 

She was terrified to get into the car and we soon discovered she was terrified of just about everything but other dogs. She loves my two labs and likes to annoy the cats. She adores my girls, me not so much, as I am the disciplinarian around here.She is slowly adjusting to new situations and has pretty much stopped the 'nervous urination' that was constant the first 6 months.

Ruby and Liz
In May another, pit was found wandering my neighborhood. After a bit of a chase I managed to corner her in someone's yard and managed to lasso her and bring her home. She was an older, spitting image of Ruby. Swollen vulva. Her mother perhaps? Only time I ever saw Ruby show any fear towards another dog. She was shaking like a leaf and trying so hard to get away. Was this the dog who mauled her? I called animal control and then called the D.A.'s  office to report that dogs were being dumped here. Now it's official, my neighborhood has become a dumping ground for unwanted pits.

That's Ruby on the left and 'momma dog' next to her. They look remarkably alike.

Happy One Year Anniversary, Ruby!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Timo (my man!)

Timo was one of the last dogs Long Island Labrador Retriever Rescue took in before our beloved founder passed away. He was a handful from the start! He was wild and destructive, ... the ultimate dog from hell. I wanted to strangle him often and fantasized daily about sending him to the shelter. But then I would look into his eyes...oh, his eyes! I saw such intelligence and love in those eyes. I had to give him  a chance.

We spent nearly 3 months doing Margot Wood's 'Long Down' exercise before I could even touch him without his excitement level rising to the level of insanity. By that I mean he would try to jump on and over me, all the while barking shrilly and incessantly from even the slightest touch.

Daily we worked on attention exercises, heeling exercises, recall and the basics. Gradually he calmed down.

Today Timo is a certified therapy dog and my best friend. All the hard work has paid off. Does he still have his moments? Yes! But they are few and far between. Do we still train daily? Yes, yes, yes! And that is because training is a life-long commitment  between us, a never ending process that continues to grow as new challenges present themselves or are created.

I am so proud of my Timo and so grateful that I was able to see the great dog hidden behind the beast.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And soon became this

That's Noah on the left, a LILRR rescue from VA, Baci in the center  and Belle on the right. Baci and Belle are gone now, but they have changed me forever.
If you should see a tennis ball falling from the sky know that Belle and Baci are biding their time, doing what they enjoy best, until we are together again.  

How it all began

Belle at 15.
RIP my sweet girl.