Just as we humans get stressed, sometimes our pets get stressed too and as their caretakers, it's our job to recognize their signs of stress and then take action to help them relieve that stress. The true story below chronicles one such situation:
My name is Jill Rheaume, and I am the owner of OurStressfulLives.com. You may not know me very well (or at all), but if you look around my website (or at the tattoo on my arm) it won’t take you too long to discover that I’m a crazy dog lover. I just can’t help it.
In addition to working very hard on my website to help people find ways to relieve their stress, I do other things to help me pay the bills and one of those things is working part-time at a dog/cat boarding facility. I do it partly for extra income and wholly out of the love of the dogs and cats that find their way into our facility.
As many come and go through our doors…. many of them return to visit time-and-again and we get the awesome opportunity to really get to know the different personalities of the animals we serve. And frankly, they’re all amazing in their own little (and sometimes BIG) ways.
But there are two in particular that have really captured my heart.
One is a herding dog of some sort named Kai and the other is a scrappy little pit bull named Patches.
Their mother loves them so much that when she was recently deployed overseas with the US Military, she left these two dogs in our care and paid for them to be with us at the boarding facility for the entire year while she's gone. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that many pets get abandoned and left behind during long deployments (for various reasons… I’m not here to judge or place blame on anyone… that’s not the point of this story). But this particular woman wanted to be sure that her babies were in good hands and waiting for her here when she got back.
So Kai & Patches have been with us (aka: the place I work) since April and they are expected to be with us for about a year. They get 2 meals a day, they get baths, they get their Frontline, fresh water, and even a treat every single day. They get out to play with the other guests (dogs) and employees 4 times a day. They are well taken care of and we do our best to make them feel how much we care about and love them.
BUT - they still Live in a boarding facility. Instead of going home at the end of the day, they live in their kennel with a blanket to sleep on - on top of the cement floor. So while they are well taken care of, it's far from ideal and they deserve better and I'm sure their mother wants better for them, but this is the best option for them at this time.
Kai (the herding dog pictured above) is such a good boy. He's incredibly sweet and loves to cuddle and give hugs. He's really an amazingly loving dog. During play time, he spends his time looking for a human to cuddle with.
Patches (the pit bull pictured above) is a scrappy little thing. She loves to get in scuffles in the yard and I think it makes the boys crazy because every male dog that comes through the doors (including mine) falls in love with her. They follow her around as she wonders through the yard acting aloof until she finds someone to start a little fight with.... then she usually ends up being the one to get hurt and Kai spends the night licking her wounds and telling her that she should know better by now :)
She also has this hilarious snort/purr noise that she makes when she's excited or having fun. Sometimes I'll catch her wiggling through the grass on her back making this crazy snorting noise and I can't help but laugh. She's a funny girl and means well... even when she gets in trouble.
Some dogs handle the long-term boarding better than others. But we pay close attention to them all and take special care of the ones who need it. And while Kai & Patches have been really great troopers, I noticed yesterday morning that Kai was crying and wouldn't stop.... that's not like him.
And of course, it broke my heart.
So even though I can't do much - as we live in a modest 2 bedroom apartment – Gunner (my pit bull), my husband, & I will be having Kai & Patches over for a sleep-over/play-date on Saturday, August 28th, 2010. They'll be coming home with me after my noon shift on Saturday and we're planning on going to the park and then seeing how many of us can all fit in the bed together to sleep!
Then I'll sadly have to take them back the following morning at my 7am shift. I wish I had more space... I'd gladly keep them for free until their mother returned... but I obviously can't do that.
So... that being said... what I would like to do is to try to make their situation a bit more comfortable and I'd love to buy them each their own dog bed. As I said, right now they sleep on a blanket on top of the cement floor.... day and night. That's just not good enough for these two. They are amazing and their mother is off serving our country and she deserves more for her babies.
At this point in the story, I explained how I was unable to afford to buy them beds of their own and asked if anyone wanted to chip in. The goal was to raise $200 so that both Kai and Patches could each get a nice new bed of their own.
By the following Wednesday (approx. 1:30pm on 9/1/10 to be exact) we had EXCEEDED our goal and actually ended up raising $240! It was an amazing feeling to know that there were so many wonderful people out there who wanted to help these two deserving dogs.
Click through for the rest of the story as it unfolded:
February 2011 - The Next Chapter
Sunday, February 13th 2011 Well... we're in the home stretch! We're entering our last few weeks with Mr. Kai and Ms. Patches. We're so anxious and …
Wednesday, January 19th 2011 "It's been a cold and busy winter, so please forgive me for taking so long to give you the latest updates! So hang with …
Saturday, Nov 13th 2010 "This has been an exciting month so far. Kai & Patches' mother has been in town making regular visits and having lots of fun …
October 2010 Updates
Friday, October 8th 2010 "This morning I was out with the dogs for their morning walk. The yard that the dogs have to run and play in is quite large. …
Sept 2010: More Updates
Sunday, Sept 12th, 2010: "There have been a lot of noticeable changes in Kai & Patches since the over-night and since they got their new stuff. …
Sept 2010: The Fund Raiser Happy Ending
Christmas in September! Wednesday, Sept 1st, 2010 @ 1:30pm: "It's celebration time! Not only did we just reach our goal... but we EXCEEDED …
Aug 2010: Fund raising & Sleepovers
The original story was written the morning of Friday, August 27th 2010 and the fund raiser began... These updates start during the week of fund …
Thanks again to everyone who rooted us on and a special "Thank You" to those who helped us reach our goal... you know who you are!