Sunday, February 24, 2013

Justice's Third Week in Lakewood

Justice's 3rd Week in Lakewood 2/24/13
Justice has had a pretty amazing week. I just can't help thinking that his progress was somehow connected to Buddy's passing. He heard my initial crying on the phone with the vet, as he delivered the bad news, since I was right next to his crate. Did Justice intuit from my sadness and grief that this was truly a household that cherishes dogs? Did Buddy pass his mantle on to Justice, awakening him to the fact that he has a natural capacity for teaching and healing just as Buddy himself did? Animal communicators have been offering exactly that information about Justice right from the beginning. I guess time will tell.
justice week 3 peeking
Justice peeking from behind the crate.
justice week 3 behind crate
Justice hanging out outside the crate.
Justice has willingly expanded his world in quite a few ways I am happy to report. My goal is to offer him opportunities to feel safe while successfully experiencing novel and unfamiliar situations. At the same time, I endeavor to make them open-ended so that he can exceed any expectations. And that he has!
He continues to consistently use the puppy pads outside of his kennel. He has a great appetite and eats everything offered without exception. His stool has gone from unhealthy to very healthy. His eyes continue to soften, and his body and movements are more fluid. I changed from 4 drops of Rescue Remedy in his water bowl, which was indicated since his entire life was an emergency, to Star of Bethlehem, which is helpful for releasing trauma and dealing with grief. I believe that has helped.
Since he received some new toys this week, I decided to incorporate them into my assessment of what he is capable of now. Instead of giving them to him in his crate as I had done with the previous ones, I decided to add a level of difficulty. I left each one outside of his crate, wondering if he would recognize what they were, if he would know they were for him, if he would engage or not, and then what he might do with each. After placing each toy, I departed so as to allow him to investigate. He definitely recognized them as toys as I heard him squeaking. I believe he really liked them, too, because each one had disappeared into his small crate by the time I returned. His little crate is really quite full of stuff!
He did take one thing into his crate that wasn't a toy - my knee high boot, almost as big as he is. I thought it was hilarious (because I found it before he chewed on it) and I was honored in some strange way that my smell was acceptable to him.
I loved hearing his vocalizations and noises this week - from the squeaking to the play growling to the howling to the bugling. The bugling happens first thing in the morning - is he hungry and calling for his food? When he first arrived I filled his food bowl back up every time he emptied it. I wanted him to know that there was no shortage. At first he ate all of the food and drank all of the water immediately. Then he began to leave some of it. Now I have him on the same schedule as the other animals and he seems quite satisfied with that arrangement.
I usually set his food outside the crate at varying distances. I am able to remain in the kitchen while he comes out to eat. At first, I stood absolutely still at the farthest point, but have gradually been able to not only move closer, but to prepare my food while he eats. My back is turned toward him so he can keep an eye on me without needing to make eye contact. It is very exciting to witness him building a tolerance for my presence and my movements. After a very big step like this, I reward him by leaving and doing just easy things for awhile. For example, he is very comfortable eating treats at a distance from his crate as I am leaving the kitchen. We follow up with that.
I leave his crate open every chance I get, including when the other dogs don't need to go through the kitchen into the yard, when I leave home and during the night. I can hear him wandering around the kitchen. He has destroyed my paper shopping bag stash, which was not secured adequately, and he took the orange peels out of a bag hanging on the door knob. I was so happy to see his puppy/dog-like behavior coming forth.
Beginning on Wednesday of this week, he has been standing by the outside door when I initially enter in the mornings. He never panicked but just stood still to see what I was going to do. Each day he has been more and more relaxed being out in the kitchen when I enter. He is out more than once during a day now. Today he lay down on one side of the small kitchen and ate the treats I placed near him. The photos show him outside of, and on the far side of the crate. I believe it is extremely important that he doesn't feel that he needs the crate for protection. I'm not trying to touch him or get close to him, just placing treats, with my body language conveying I'm not threatening and won't invade his space.
He appears to be intrigued by the outside smells and sounds coming through the door. I'm devising a plan of how to help him go outside. As of yet, he still doesn't have a collar on because of his neck wound. I don't want to prematurely attempt to dress him in a harness and create a negative association with something that should signify enjoyment and fun. I know that if I just opened the door, I would not be able to get him back, so I need a safe way to allow him to explore when he is completely ready. My sense is that he will help me figure it out just as he has helped me see what to do in these other circumstances. I am relying on his strong desires and motivations - food, toys, curiosity - to propel him toward additional successful challenges.
He seems more comfortable with the presence of the other dogs as well. I still leave him closed in and covered with the sheet when they are around. But he eats, drinks, moves around and squeaks his toy. I am able to do things in the kitchen filled with dogs, and he doesn't seem worried or distressed from what I can hear.
I'll close with the most touching of all. When I walked into the kitchen on Friday, he was standing at the outside door as usual. He looked at me as usual. And then, AND THEN, for the very first time, HE WAGGED HIS VERY LONG TO THE GROUND TAIL!!!!!!! Just a little. He wagged it back and forth a little hesitantly, but definitely in a good way as a greeting, however small. I so wished I had a tail to wag back. I stopped, smiled, dropped a treat, said 'thanks Justice' and left soon after. Wow! Our little dog is on his way back to us.
We currently have $450 in donations earmarked for Justice's long term care. If you'd like to help him:
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Buddy, friend to all, passed away


buddy paws
I wanted to let you know that Buddy, the 9 year old magnificent German Shepherd, passed away this week. Many of you knew and loved him. Even if you never met him, you should know that he raised your puppy or rehabilitated your dog if you adopted from Misha May between 2005 and 2011. There is a huge empty space where he used to be - for the humans and the dogs who knew and loved him.
His passing was sudden and unexpected. Because of Misha May's Canine CPR class taught by Eric Roth, I knew immediately that Buddy had the beginning symptoms of bloat. I rushed him to the emergency vet where his prognosis was positive. Unfortunately when they opened him up they saw numerous cancerous tumors (hemangiosarcoma and others) which had spread and begun to bleed. There was only one merciful but heart wrenching decision. The vet recommended euthanasia and we agreed.
Fortunately he was distressed for only a short time as I got him there quickly and they immediately put him on strong pain medication. I waited with him as they prepared him for surgery and further knocked him out. He was never alone.
Buddy was adopted 2 years ago by someone who wanted him all along but did not have a spot in her home for another dog. She took him to training classes and bonded deeply with him. Sadly, she returned him to us last week along with his 2 Misha May brothers when she was hospitalized. She is very very ill and may not be able to take the dogs back. For this reason, Misha May paid Buddy's hospital bill of $1500. If you can help us with any amount in Buddy's honor we would be very grateful as this is a difficult amount for us to absorb. You can use paypal below in any amount times $10 or mail a check to Misha May, PO Box 151166, Lakewood, CO 80215-1166.
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Friends helped me transport Buddy's body to my home and place him on the floor in the middle of the living room. Each canine friend was allowed as much time as he or she needed to be with Buddy. Most smelled him, seeming to absorb the new information, and feeling satisfied, walked away. The process felt necessary, respectful and reverent.
Buddy first came to Misha May Foundation in 2005 as a 1 ½ year old who had been returned to the shelter 3 times. He had separation anxiety, jumped 6 foot fences, chased livestock and had a high prey drive - no cats please! He was my foster dog and helped me with everything, along with Brinx, the yellow Lab who arrived around the same time, and Zeb, my rescued Golden Retriever. Zeb passed away in 2010 and is certainly welcoming Buddy in doggie paradise. Brinx is grieving with sorrowful eyes and a need to be near me following from room to room.
Buddy touched the lives of innumerable people and dogs. He was a perfect friendly representative on behalf of huge intimidating-looking dogs. Putting everyone at ease with his relaxed smile and gentle gaze, he won the hearts of all. People embraced him fully and dogs sought him out.
Buddy tenderly raised every Misha May rescue litter though he resembled an elephant dancing away from mice during his first encounter. When the puppies needed a potty break during the night, Buddy placed himself between them and the outer fence, instinctively choosing his place as protector. He was our go to guy in desensitization training exercises with dogs afraid of other dogs. When Kabul arrived with separation anxiety and P.T.S.D. from Afghanistan, they became fast friends. Buddy was able to assure Kabul that he, too, could recover and savor his U.S. life.
Buddy was a master at adjusting his play to accommodate smaller, more fragile, more timid or older dogs. Sometimes, as in the case of Heidi, a nervous little shepherd, he was the only dog she tolerated in close proximity. But he was also a loving but firm uncle teaching boundaries and polite behavior. When Duke arrived as a self-important four month old pup who tried to mount and hump Buddy, Buddy gave him his look and a low growl. I will always remember how Duke awoke the next morning as an appeasing sweet appropriate puppy. Buddy was a teacher and a friend.
I am honored and grateful that he spent this last week with me and we had a chance to say good-by. His owner is so very sad that she was unable to be present, but they had quality time before she entered the hospital and she is certain that he knew how much she loved him.
R.I.P. Buddy - friend, protector, teacher, healer and family.

With great sadness,
Lorraine May

Justice's Second Week in Lakewood

Justice loves his stuffy toys:)
Justice's Second Week in Lakewood 2-17-13
I'm happy to report that there has been more improvement for Justice this week. You can see in his photo that I've left the top off of his little crate and repositioned it so he has more space up front. Sometimes he is lying down there. His coat is improving and his eyes are less wary.
The most exciting news is that he licked cream cheese from the puppy kong WHILE I WAS HOLDING IT! He stopped after a few licks so I placed it in front of him to finish. I thought that was amazing progress! Am skipping a few days and then will try again. I don't want to put more pressure on him than he can take.
He also nose bumped a treat that I was holding in my hand. He wouldn't take it from me so I placed it in front of him. He ate it with me nearby, so I placed a second treat as a reward. He does eat what is in his crate in front of me if I put it near enough to him.
I leave the door to his big crate open as much as possible. I want him to watch me and hear the noises of the kitchen. When I'm not in there, I want him to wander and explore.
Pee pads are inside and outside his crate but he is choosing the ones outside his crate in the kitchen. He is feeling braver and coming out more often. Even though I have not yet seen him wandering, I can tell from the gifts and missing treats. He eats every treat I leave in the kitchen outside his crate. I'm sure I will see him soon and he will get used to that too.
He loves having his stuffy toys, a ball, and the little kong in his little crate. I can hear him playing around and see the toys strewn about before he collects them again:)
This week he made more noise. Justice has barked a few times and once I heard him howl for no particular reason that I could figure out. It made me wonder if he is calling for someone. He may not know for sure that his family was all killed if he wasn't witness to it or viewed the bodies. Poor baby.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Justice Goes to the Vet

Justice at Goldenview Vet 2-8-13
Little Justice is revealed!
I am pleased to be able to share this Justice update with you! Thanks for your donations and loving energy!
Justice seems to be acclimating to a safe and calm life. He rests a lot in his little crate inside the giant crate, coming out for necessities. I've noticed that I can hear him lapping water, crunching kibble and moving around, instead of the dead silence that encompassed his first days here, as if he were terrified to be discovered.
justice exam goldenview 2-9-13
Channel 9 News Photo Journalist Chris, Lorraine caressing forehead and holding favorite toy, Dr. Kris examining Justice's heart with stethescope.
Justice has had many friendly visitors who have been content to admire him from afar. We sit on the floor and chat, hoping he will rapidly learn that the humans in his life today bring only love and compassion. He is making more eye contact although he still turns away too soon for us. When he is lying down, he isn't huddled in rear of the crate but stretched out more, frequently with his paws draped over the edge.
When Justice first arrived, I hurried my other dogs quickly through the kitchen so they would not intrude upon his space or worry him with their curiosity, even though his crate was completely covered by a sheet. Little by little, my dogs' interest waned and I have allowed them to be in the kitchen with me. I want Justice to experience them in close proximity but without the possibility of an incident. I was actually thrilled to hear Justice give his first bark the other day when Shadow, my overly curious, self-important Rat Terrier, sniffed too close for comfort.
Some very important and fun moments this week were when Justice licked cream cheese out of a puppy kong with zest, when he astutely dug two cloth balls out of the large interactive ball toy, when he ate a calming treat almost out of my hand, and when I realized he had surrounded himself with his new purple and pink stuffy toys, as well as his New Mexico Pinocchio doll. I'm encouraged to see him interacting with his environment, building positive associations, and expanding his small stunted world.
Yesterday, there were many milestones as Justice had his first veterinary appointment since arriving here. I would have preferred to delay this visit, but he needed his puppy booster. We decided that this would afford us a great opportunity to also assess his neck wound and his overall health. I took him to see Dr. Kris Ahlgrim at Goldenview Veterinary Hospital in Golden because she is a very talented animal handler. I have seen her accomplish so much in a stress-free manner with little or no restraint.
We transported Justice to the office in his little crate. Channel 9News Photo Journalist Chris met us there and documented the visit. We aren't sure when it will air but will be certain to let everyone know. There are some still photos which I will include compliments of Barbara Millman, creator of the Underdogs calendar - guess who will be in the 2014 calendarJ.
Justice was very surprised when we took the top off his crate making him visible and accessible, and for a moment I thought he was going to panic or bite. Our voices soothed him and Dr. Kris touched him confidently with practiced hands, yet softly with her compassionate heart. He felt the connection and relaxed. Throughout the exam, Dr. Kris massaged his body and I caressed his forehead and ears. He gave in to the inevitable touching and even seemed to enjoy it to some extent.
The first things I noticed were how truly small he is and how lackluster his coat is. Right away Dr. Kris announced he was almost a year old. My heart sank as I thought of this poor boy out there alone struggling to survive and feeling terrified for so long. His early window for facile socialization has closed. While his horrifying encounters with humans and dogs have convinced him that the world is a hostile place. But I don't give up easily and I've seen the effort he is making. We will figure this out! Our bond wasconfirmed when he reacted to my leaving the room for a few moments so he understands my role as his caretaker and protector.
His neck wound is healing without infection, but has affixed itself deeply and rigidly to underlying tissue. This may be causing him discomfort or even pain when he moves. At some point it may be advisable to perform surgery to re-sculpt that area. But for now, we are focusing on general health and well-being.
The ear nearest the neck wound had been relieved of its tip, most likely during the dog attack which caused the wound. Just another pitiful reminder of his fragile hold on life. His heart is strong and his overall health is fine, with no sign of parasites or symptoms of anything more serious. Hurray!
Our boy survived his exam with Dr. Kris while also tolerating two hovering aunties - one with a camera, a 9News Photo Journalist, well-wishing staff and a few clients with their animals in the lobby. So sweet!
Upon arriving home, I set Justice's travel crate, with the top loosened, back into the large crate. I attended to his needs and then left him to rest. Each time I visited him, that evening, I touched his forehead the way I had been doing during the exam.
I had been wondering the best way to remove the top from the little crate permanently without causing him distress, so as to gradually increase his contact with his new world and prevent continued hibernation. I was given my chance during the night. Around 4:00am I heard a little clatter coming from the kitchen. I went to investigate and saw that the crate top was lopsided and bothersome. In removing the crate at that time, I was increasing his comfort. He could associate the removal of his hiding place with comfort. He adjusted immediately, accepting a treat as further confirmation of this maneuver as an improvement!
As you can see, I watch and evaluate his every nuanced move because my responses to him are based on how safe and receptive he is. Thank you for caring!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

No Kill Colorado Meeting Reminder

First, we would like to say thank you to Tomas of who created our logo. We are so excited to share this with you as we think it clearly captures our passion and commitment to save more lives. Contact him for any graphic design projects as he is professional, talented, and creates just what you want and need!
Hope to see you this Thursday, February 14th between 6:30 and 9pm for our monthly meeting at HealthSource Chiropractic. From Alameda, go south on Kipling, turn west at Kentucky Avenue and take the first left onto a private drive. Health Source is the second building on the right, an office building without a sign, at 963 S Kipling Parkway, Lakewood, 80226. The building is NOT on Kipling, is INaccurately listed on Mapquest and GPS, and is somewhat difficult to locate. Phone 303-985-5540.
Featured speakers will be Dr. Angelina Piccoli of Spay Today, who will discuss their services (the second program of the No Kill Equation) and Sherri Legget, Operations Director for the Feline Fix (formerly Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance), who will talk about Trap-Neuter-Release of feral cats (the first program of the No Kill Equation).
Dr. Piccoli is Founder, Executive Director and Chief Veterinarian of Spay Today, which provides low-cost spay and neuter procedures for dogs, cats and rabbits. According to Dr. Piccoli, there are only two definite means to control the overpopulation of dogs (and cats) living in the multitude of shelters throughout the U.S.: adoption or death.
Ms. Legget, Operations Director from Feline Fix (formerly Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance), will describe TNR or Trap-Neuter-Release of feral cats. The Feline Fixis the only high quality, high volume, lost-cost animal clinic in metro Denver devoted to providing spay/neuter services for feral, stray and owned cats.
No Kill Colorado Monthly Meeting Agenda
6:30-7:00pm Meet& Greet & Network
7:00-7:15pm Welcome, What is No Kill? #1 and #2 of the No Kill Equation: TNR and Spay/Neuter, Disputing recurring excuses of why No Kill won't work as related to #1 and #2, No Kill success stories
7:15-7:30pm The Asilomar Accords
7:30-8:00pm Guest Speakers: Dr Piccoli of Spay Today and Sherri Leggett of Feline Fix
8:00-8:10pm Q&A with speakers
8:10-8:25pm Just One Day Petition and Initiative
8:25-8:45pm Q&A with No Kill Colorado, Announcements
No Kill Colorado NOW!
Mary Hall
Lorraine May
Barbara Millman
Joan Ogner
Davyd Smith

Friday, February 1, 2013

Wounded Baby Justice arrives in Denver to Misha May Foundation Dog Training and Rescue

Four month old Baby Justice arrived in Denver today on transport from Gallup, New Mexico to Misha May Foundation Dog Training and Rescue. The photo is from when he was with his New Mexico Angels receiving treatment for his horrible neck wound, and love for his broken spirit.
Justice is the sole survivor of his family group which included mom and 5 siblings. He was dehydrated, starving and injured when he was finally caught. He had been abused by humans and attacked by dogs.
I met the transport and was surprised at how small he and his crate were. So quiet and still. I took him, crate and all, so as not to threaten him with unfamiliar touch.
At my house, I had his apartment ready - a huge Great Dane sized crate. I simply put him, small crate and all, into the large crate. I opened his small crate door to give him access to additional blankets, food, water (with Rescue Remedy) and an elimination area. He is cuddled with his familiar toys given to him by his NM angels.
I covered his crate completely with a sheet to allow him to rest and recuperate. My intention is to allow him to experience my care of him, but to realize I have no expectations of him. I want him to know I can be with him wherever he is in his recovery. It can take as long as it takes.
I visit him often for short periods, letting him know I'll be raising the sheet to sit with him. I don't try to touch him or get him to go outside. I don't try to get him to look at me or respond. I just want him to know that I am there and he can absolutely trust that he is in control of much of his life now - something those with (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder need to recover.
He doesn't shake or whimper, but his eyes are wary and alert. He makes eye contact briefly, then looks away, but he doesn't cower in the corner or growl in defense. He is eating and drinking and relieving himself. Yeah! This is a boy finally beginning to believe he is loved and safe. Thank you NM angels!
More story and pictures to come!