Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blanco, Charla and Tiger - star crossed, gutsy kitties!

cat kitten blanca
Blanco is the bravest of the three kitties, curious with a hearty appetite! Photo credit: Barbara Millman
Blanco, Charla and Tiger came as quite a surprise! Find out how their lives were saved in the story below.

The kitties say, "Please vote for Misha May Foundation Dog Training and Rescue for best Dog Training on Denver's A list. Did you know that they save spaces for foster dogs from any rescue or shelter to attend for FREE?"

EVERY vote helps rescued animals have access to training programs!

Tiger (left) and Charla, along with Blanco (above), were born on April 1st, April Fool's Day! Photo credit: Barbara Millman
Charlie and Mitzi were reunited, sharing a room in my house, and scheduled for their spay / neuter appointment after having been rescued by Misha May from a local shelter. I thought Mitzi's tummy looked swollen and mentioned that she might be pregnant. No one else thought she was, and it was difficult to see for certain as she wasn't interested in being handled at that time. I put a big comfy blanket in one of the crates just in case.
The day before their appointments, I went in to check on them and found them cuddled together in the 'birthing' crate for the first time. I thought to myself, how sweet, they really are bonded.
The next morning, Joan and I went to get them to take them
to Spay Today in Lakewood. Charlie came easily and I loaded him into the travel crate. As I was doing that, I heard Joan yelp, "Oh! Oh! Oh!". Pause. Then she announced, "We have kittens!" The first thing I said after "Oh! Oh! Oh!" was, of course, "I told you so!" They had been cuddling around the newborns I suppose.
Poor Charlie went to the clinic alone that day.
This bonded pair really wanted to be together and these kittens really wanted to be born! I have to say that I was going to have Mitzi checked anyway before leaving her to be spayed. Although babies are often aborted during spaying in service of lowering pet overpopulation, I am not in favor of that. I would have brought Mitzi home and let her birth her kittens. Just because the surrendering owners chose not to spay and neuter doesn't mean these cats should suffer yet more heartbreak.
Mitzi is a vigilant, wise and protective mother. Charlie is the model husband and father, solicitous to Mitizi and gently playful with the kittens.
All 5 are now up for adoption: fixed, up-to-date on vaccines, micro-chipped and FIV negative. Please help all of the members of this star-crossed gutsy little family find super homes!

Charlie and Mitzy, Lovers' Destiny

Mitzy, a 3 year old calico, and Charlie, a 2 year old orange tabby are available for adoption as a bonded pair.
story below
Charlie and Mitzy say, "Please vote for Misha May. Because of them, our lives were saved, we were rescued together and will be adopted together."
Misha May Foundation Dog Training and Rescue needs your vote to be Best Dog Training in Denver again this year. Winning in 2012 really helped our rescued animals and the animals/families we trained. Can we count on you to vote once, then share and reach out personally to 10 friends?

Please VOTE NOW and write a comment (important) for Misha May for Denver's Best Dog Training in 2013! You can still vote WITHOUT giving info you don't want to give. 
Use the link at 
The Story:
Feline Volunteer Joan went with me to pick up 4 cats from a local shelter where they had been deemed unadoptable. We put the two females in one room and the two males in another to avoid intermingling of intact animals. They were stressed, so we allowed them to hang out under blankets in separate crates. They came around quickly.
Charlie, a one year old intact orange tabby, revealed himself as quite the happy-go-lucky very well socialized clown. He was the first to interact with us and entertain us. Each time we left him to go into the adjoining all girls room, he would begin to vocalize.

Mitzy and Charlie with one of the 3 month old kittens, Charla.
It wasn't until Mitzy, a 3 year old intact very sweet calico, began to answer that we suspected something was going on. In looking at their paperwork we realized that they had been owner surrenders on the same day. I called the shelter to confirm my suspicions that they knew each other. When I learned that was true, I was horrified to realize that not only had they come close to being killed but that only pure dumb luck (or was it lovers' destiny?) had kept them together.
They are among the most bonded pairs I have ever met. They are both fixed, micro chipped, up to date on shots, FIV negative and available for adoption TOGETHER.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Alone Again by Lorraine May, M.A.

“Why is everyone in such a rush? What about my morning hike? Who wants to play ball? I would love some pets and a special treat. Hey, where did everyone go?” bemoans Augie, eyeing his beloved shark toy.


As the summer holiday comes to an end, family dogs are often negatively impacted by the long absences now necessary for their families to resume school and work. A summer of fun and togetherness ends all too soon for us. Imagine how abruptly it ends for this very social family member who has no idea why everything is changing.


Dogs can have a difficult time with dramatic rescheduling, especially when left alone for longer periods than normal. Some dogs are more sensitive than others due to prior abandonment, genuine attachment to family or general anxiety when solo.


The resulting behavior changes can be stressful for the humans as they manage a more complicated day, and frustrating for dogs as they try unsuccessfully to garner the usual amount of attention. Due to anxiety, a dog can lose his appetite or become depressed. Out of boredom, dogs may chew and bark. Less exercise can result in hyperactive homecomings or housetraining regressions.


To avoid creating a dog with ‘alone again’ syndrome, consider a mid-day dog walker, a dog daycare, lunch at home, or a play date with a friend. Associate your absence with an interactive toy, a stuffed Kong or a durable Nylabone. Try putting  four drops of Rescue Remedy in  your dog’s water each time you refill it and playing the soothing Through A Dog’s Ear CD.


If you can ease your dog into autumn with planned gradual separations and a strategy to help him feel secure and loved, the transition can proceed more smoothly for all members of the household.



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 24, 2013 Justice lets me know to, “Rub my face.”

It’s been about 4 months since Justice arrived for rehabilitation.


Consistent New Behaviors with Me

Justice now consistently throws me play bows, watches me as I enter and exit the kitchen, eats celery and apples with gusto, and smells my mouth and face and hair close-up when I have bent my knees to make myself more accessible. He does this by standing next to me and leaning close or by standing in front of me and stretching toward me. I wonder if my posture resembles a play bow close enough that it is calming for him. He also typically sniffs and licks my legs and feet when I am standing at the counter with my back to him.


He is still wary of hands coming toward him so that he nose bumps treats but rarely takes them from my hand. As a reward for each brave nose bump, I put the treat near him and he eats it right away. He does feel okay with the palm of my hand against my leg and fingers outstretched. (I began with one finger extending very slowly and progressed from there over weeks) He has been smelling and exploring them in this less threatening position. One day he kissed my hand as if he wanted to be near me longer.


Justice does like to lie regularly on a blanket outside of the crate, squeaking his toys or chomping his celery stick. He seems quite comfortable when I am present and even when I am entering or moving around. He also dances excitedly at meal times as I am preparing all the food. As he dances, I believe you would never be able to guess what he has been through. I mirror his dancing movements – tossing my head and lifting my feet while making subtle and brief eye contact. I restrain myself so that my level of animation is less than his as I believe he can only handle a certain level of stimulation.


He urinates comfortably on the pee pad when I am in the room. However, I have never seen him defecate.


New Experiences

Once upon my return home, I saw that the doors between the kitchen and the living room were open. He could easily have pushed them open any number of times but hadn’t until now.  I had been hoping that he would want to explore on his own at some point with the other dogs in their rooms. Nothing was disturbed so it was hard to tell how far he got.


When friends come to visit, he stays in his crate. The difference from previously is that he makes more eye contact and doesn’t really seem nervous. Jenny brought him a toy which he scooped up right after she left but would not accept from her, nor while she was there.


I finally got a chance to replace the bed I had inserted at the vet’s office months ago. I had been wanting to change it for quite some time but was waiting for the least intrusive moment. We had just been having a long face fest when he wandered off away. I quickly pulled out his little crate and removed the bed. I emptied out the crate, replacing Jenny’s donated now-rag-tag bed with the new one donated by Lisa. On the floor were scraps of paper and cardboard, Kongs, stuffy toys and stuffing, and Nylabones – all of his hoarded treasures. Soon, he settled into his new bed comfortably.


Justice has been allowing his legs to stretch out more and sometimes his feet extend through the big wire crate. JoJo, my 1.5 year old Golden Retriever, and I both touched Justice’s foot accidentally at the same time as we were playing. He did not recoil or withdraw.


Physical Appearance

His coat is shiny and full. The neck wound is completely healed and his hair has grown back beautifully. His eyes continue to soften and connect. His nails need trimmed but they can wait. I did notice that he has dramatic dew claws that stick out from his back legs and touch each other. Those will need to be removed at some point as they will cause him problems.


I first noticed them when they got stuck in a certain blanket I have since removed. He was frightened that his foot was stuck and started dragging the blanket into the crate. He did stand still while I used scissors to cut the blanket to release his foot. Again, no sign of aggression even in that concerned state.



You will notice that Justice receives rewards all of the time. Sometimes he has been extra brave or at other times he has simply tried. On some days he breaks new ground and reaches new goals while on others he consistently repeats his success.


His rewards are food and toys but also closeness according to his comfort level and distance when he needs it. My goal is always the same – safety and trust. I keep my focus on the long term return not on whether he can pass minor tests or quickly progress.


June 3 Rub My Face!

During our morning face fest, I became aware that Justice was leaning into my hand more insistently. I gingerly began to brush the side of his face with one finger very slowly to which he responded by leaning in more. Each day, I have been waiting for his cue and then brushing his face. In keeping my touch very brief and calm and light, I have been able to rub his cheeks, under his chin and finally his forehead.


He has probably spent more time with me than any other human so far. I take that responsibility very seriously. I feel incredibly humbled by, and in awe of, his resilience, instincts and heart.


Rescue Video

Luisa from Tenderfoot Rescue and Angela from RezDawg Rescue shared the video of Justice’s capture. (Both rescues have FaceBook pages) Bless them for helping him. When I saw it, I wept for him – it truly shows you where he came from and how unbelievably lucky he was to be saved. If you would like to see it, please email and I will send you the link (I don’t know how to attach it hereL










Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Canine Graduates Seek Meaning Too!

by Lorraine May, M.A.

Many of us take our best pals to a variety of classes such as obedience, good manners or how to walk on a leash. Our dogs participate in activities including agility, rally and fly ball. They become service dogs, working dogs and audiences for young readers.

We teach our dogs to sit, weave and retrieve. We reward them for listening attentively and following directions. We enjoy their company and sometimes even depend upon them for our health or our very lives.

I recently enrolled in a Canine Freestyle Dog Dancing class with my 12 pound, 5 year old Rat Terrier. My intention is to spend time with him and have fun. I also like that his intense energy and quick mind are being channeled into an activity at which he seems to be naturally talented. My observation is that he is in complete harmony. Shadow is learning to circle, jump, wiggle and bow on cue. I am considering entering a competition if it suits us as a team.

 We humans tend to focus on our own goals. We seek involvement in these endeavors for a variety of reasons including as a way to spend quality time with our dogs, to mentally stimulate them or to provide adequate exercise. At times the payoff also includes earning a medal, title or certificate. Having a sense of our dog’s goals allows us to avoid the stress that can accompany our activities, particularly those which are evaluated.

Sometimes we lose sight of what has meaning for our dogs at ‘graduation’. Mine have made me aware of the following:

·         To learn how to learn so I can please my human.

·         To communicate my needs.

·         To learn to live well in the human world.

·         To be allowed to follow my natural instincts as much as possible.

·         To experience love, safety, joy and appreciation.






Friday, May 10, 2013

Justice: after three months he's almost kissing me - WHAT!?!

Steady Progress

I cannot tell you how happy I am to continue telling Justice's story filled with so many successes. It seems that after his regressive week, he has moved forward without hesitation. I am thrilled but not surprised!

Justice has great fun in the kitchen now, acknowledging that it is his safe place. I still believe he is young as he loves tearing apart the boxes and towel rolls I donate to play time. He squeaks all of the toys wholeheartedly too. One day I can home to find the 24 cans from a case of cat food spread around the kitchen as if he had been playing hockey. The box was destroyed. How silly of me to set them on the floor in HIS room.

He is also redecorating the kitchen by tearing out the broken floor tiles - thanks, man. Sometimes I can hear him running around and having a great time when I am elsewhere in the house. Often toys and paper and kongs and nylabones are dragged around and left throughout the kitchen. All of this makes me so happy to know he is wildly playing and enjoying himself.

Sometimes he plays so hard that he actually moves his crate around - so funny!

Trusting Me

Around the middle of March, Justice began spending more time out of his crate when I was in the kitchen. He even would look at me from the side of his face if I was talking. He seemed to like my singing too.

He became very interested in the dishwasher. He was on hand to smell and lick as I loaded and unloaded. I allowed this since it brought him physically so close to me. I'm making it clear that he doesn't have to trust me but I want him to want to trust me.

Our morning ritual began to strengthen around the end of March. Instead of being fully in his crate when I entered first thing in the morning, he would be peeking slightly around the corner to see me enter. I reinforced his bravery with treats thrown away from him and of course his breakfast. He was tolerating my hand getting closer when setting down bowls. He also began holding longer eye contact without turning away immediately.

He no longer needs to be in between me and the crate so that he can easily run in. He wanders all over the kitchen when I am in there, often sneaking up to smell my shoes or clothing.

Dog Friends

He is interested in and seems unafraid of the resident dogs. He touches noses and smells them as they go by or stand near his crate. Medications are delivered in dollops of cream cheese so he gets some too. He stays forward as I smoosh some on his crate. We have photos of him licking it off.

I make it a point to demonstrate the trust the other dogs have in me. I always pet them and talk to them when they are in the kitchen. If they are near his crate, I pet them in a way that my hand is close to him. When he smells them, he also smells me.

Justice has not met dogs out of the crate yet. I want it to be a total non-issue when he does. We are getting close.

Augie, a very friendly 7 month old Golden mix came to visit. They had a great time meeting and greeting through the crate. There are some fun pictures of them hanging out.

justice & augie
Justice with his friend Augie!

Puddy, a young black Lab with a traumatic history, came to board in April. He spent most of his time lying in front of Justice's crate. I thought they must be comparing stories and recoveries. Justice seemed very excited to meet Puddy.

JoJo, a 1.5 year old Golden boy, also brought out the best in Justice. They both offered lots of play bows and mirrored movements.

No Aggression

I have not seen any aggression. This tells me that I have honored his space adequately and proceeded slowly enough for him to feel safe. I witness regularly that he prefers withdrawing to the back of the crate when he is worried, which is an excellent choice.


Justice seems to recognize his name and will sometimes look when called. By the end of March he seemed almost happy and relaxed. He seems to associate me with treats and safety. He is less forthcoming with others yet but makes more eye contact while still remaining in his small crate at the rear of the big crate.

For awhile I was concerned about his eyesight. I think it was stress that made them seem like he couldn't focus. Happily, they seem fine and he looks at me with both of them now.

His Neck Wound

The hair has not grown back but it seems to be healed. I still have a dilemma regarding a collar and leash though as I don't want to spook him after all of the progress he has made. I have a comfortable cloth collar/leash that I will begin to have nearby to desensitize him to it.


Justice began sitting next to where I was standing. Then one day he was lying down. He also began to take steps toward me while I was watching.

On April 21st, Justice tap danced in the morning when I entered. He was so excited and happy that he simply danced in place. He was expressing his joy and eager anticipation for what the day might hold for him. I can tell you that I have been touched by him very often but this - well, what better thing could happen?

But each day since then has been a day of celebration with more and more milestones. He touches his nose to my pant leg. He comes forward as I slouch down, asking 'how can I help you, sir?' He reaches his nose toward my hand which lies flat along my leg.


And on May 6th he brought his nose close to my mouth almost in a kiss.

I still allow him to make all of the moves and they are coming faster and more courageous now. We have built a very solid foundation. He knows I 'get' him because I don't ask him to do what he cannot.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

$2500 in matching funds available for Fleet Footed Flash's Medical Fund

$2500 in matching funds is available through a very generous Anonymous Donor who loved Flash very much! Please donate now and your donation is worth twice as much. So far we have raised $878 toward Flash's $3500 medical bill. Flash's full story below....

Buy Now $10

Buy Now $25

Buy Now $100

Buy Now $500

Or mail a check to Misha May, PO Box 151166, Lakewood, CO 80215-1166.


I picked Flash up from a local shelter when he was just 6 months old. He was with Misha May Foundation Dog Training and Rescue until his kidneys failed and heFlash was mercifully euthanized in his foster's beautiful yard on April 20, 2013. Flash was always super smart and sweet, athletic and anxious. He was never lucky enough to be adopted but we cared for him until his time came because Misha May always believes that with enough time the right person will come along.

We are all devastated by his premature death. Although the exact cause of the kidney failure wasn't determined, it was discovered through x-rays and 3 days of emergency treatments that his kidneys were half the size they should have been. Many conditions were tested for and ruled out. Dr. Shelly Brown at Harmony and Dr. Liz O'Rourke of Animal Urgent Care, both in Arvada, gave him the royal treatment.

Even with their generous discounts as well as the discounted services of a surgical specialist, our bill is $3500. Once again we call upon you, our wonderful supporters, to help us. Please donate what you can toward his bill. I find it hard to ask yet again for donations following your generosity for Buddy and Reina. But as you know, we give each animal the chance they deserve and we hoped that because he seemed healthy and was so young, that he would pull through.

Flash was fortunate to have 2 foster homes which backed each other up. When Imara had to travel, he stayed with Barbi and Antony and their dogs. Flash and resident black Lab Libby were best buds. Flash was surrounded by these friends in his last hours.

When he was 6 months old, Flash's owners did not claim him when animal control called them, having found Flash roaming at-large and having taken him to the shelter. He was able to clear 6' fences and then play keep-away. He was deemed unadoptable by the shelter because this can be a difficult behavior to change and/or live with.

We thought Flash was a Border Collie mix, but we were never sure. We also wondered if he was part Husky because he loved to escape and cover ground. Someone thought he might be a Kelpie because he was intense.

Flash went from a highly anxious, fence jumper to a well-mannered lovable dude with the folks and dogs he knew and loved. I have to believe that he knew he was deeply loved with multiple homes and families. He will be waiting for quite a few of us at the Rainbow Bridge.

By the way, Flash lived with Buddy, the German Shepherd who passed away recently, at my house when they were both my foster dogs. Buddy had also been anxious and a fence jumper. Buddy was very kind to Flash and they were friends. I'm certain Buddy invited him to a fence-jumping championship on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Justice: Improvement, Plateau, Regression, Breakthroughs!


There is so much to say about Justice and his new life. I've waited much too long for an update and hope to catch you up now!
Justice and puppy Kong
Justice and puppy Kong bravely outside of crate!
His improvement was evident through his upright posture and lying on his side instead of hunkered down, his venturing out of the small crate more often, and his seeking sideways eye contact. He was also meandering around the entire kitchen instead of just near the door to his crate. I can often hear him playing wildly and running around as well. I walked in and saw him near the door to the living room, the farthest point from his crate. He retreated to his crate but not in a panic.
Justice has a great time with everything I provide for him from stuffy toys to Nylabones, and plain old boxes and containers. Sometimes I find shredded paper on the heat vent on the floor - perhaps he enjoys lying there? Most of the time he takes anything he values into his small crate and it disappears underneath him, sometimes never to be seen again. Eventually he puts the Kongs out on the floor so that I can refill them with tasty canned dog food or cream cheese.
I was very excited when he began to maintain his relaxed position at the front of his crate with paws outstretched, even when I dropped treats, made my breakfast or came near to close the crate door. One morning I took the accompanying photos of him licking out his Kong and eating his breakfast outside the crate, and then reclining in the front of the crate.
Bach Flower Essences
Initially I had put 4 drops of Bach Rescue Remedy in his water each time I changed it for general relaxation, but now I decided to create a custom remedy for him. I used Honeysuckle to help him forget and release his past, Water Violet to allow him to be approachable to receive the help he needs, and Wild Oat to help him find his way in his new life. I'll evaluate in a few weeks and change as needed.
More Improvement
Soon Justice began waiting by the front of his crate each morning for me to greet and drop treats. I've seen his motivation by food, toys and curiosity but I was hoping to see a bond developing between him and me. I know it is early for him to implicitly trust me but he is beginning to. When others visit, he stays in the small crate but glances in their direction from time to time.
When Justice first arrived, he was absolutely quiet almost not making any sound. Then he stopped restricting his movement and even began to vocalize and squeak toys. Now he seems to want to impress or connect with the other dogs by squeaking toys loudly when they are in the kitchen adjacent to his crate. To their credit, they have all habituated to him being there and his presence is a non-issue. I'm excited that he may actually not be as terrified of dogs as I had first believed him to be.
I began leaving the door between his kitchen and the living room open when all of the other dogs were elsewhere. I wanted to help expand Justice's world further. I never saw him at the door and he never came in that I know of.
He did get to the point where he was standing at the front of his crate while I dropped as many as 6 treats for him to eat. He was eating his meals outside of the crate and exploring quite freely, not reacting too much when I entered. He was even making more eye contact.
Justice and food
Justice courageously eating dinner outside his crate!
At this point, about five weeks after his arrival, he seemed to plateau out and ceased extending himself any further. It was as if he had stretched himself as far as he could go and still feel safe. I followed his lead and only asked him to do what he had been doing without asking him to do more.
Then a period of regression followed where he did less than he had previously. He backed away or went into his little crate when I entered the kitchen. He no longer waited at the front of his crate. He waited to eat until I left the kitchen. He wasn't squeaking toys when the dogs were around. Again I followed his lead and made everything easier. I began putting all treats and toys in his crate, not asking him to come out of his safety zone to get what he needed. My visits in the kitchen were brief and I made no effort to connect with him. I provided what he needed and asked nothing in return. I wanted him to know that if he again needed space - that was okay with me. I did not want to be a source of pressure - I wanted him to become self-motivated again and seek me out.
Behavior Changes are NOT Linear
Improvements, plateaus, regressions and breakthroughs are completely normal phases when learning and behavior changes occur. It is crucial to acknowledge and embrace this. Justice needed to retreat and regroup so I let him. I backed off and made everything really easy again.
I couldn't help thinking what if he stays regressed? What if he thinks this is the way to live? What if he doesn't improve again? But I knew that he would and that I needed to be extremely patient for when he was ready.
Safety has to be the trauma victim's priority above all else, even above the relationship with the caregiver. If the caregiver understands this, a deeper trustworthy bond will emerge. It is most important not to pressure or try to encourage at this point, but to meet them, be with them, where they are. The trauma victim knows better than the caregiver how and when to proceed. It's more effective to support them to successfully take a chance or a risk that they feel ready for, than to try and control or push for what we want.
Following the regression period, each day brought a breakthrough!
Justice really likes dogs. Who would have thought that, after his history of being attacked? I certainly didn't. But one day, I forgot to lower the sheet that covers the front of his crate. His door was secure, but he could see and be seen. I was taking 2 dogs outside past his crate when one stopped in front. I realized that Justice had come to the front to greet.
Justice and Sam touched noses and seemed perfectly at ease. I have to tell you that Sam would have been my last choice for Justice to meet. I would have introduced him to every other dog here before he met Sam. Sam had been abused and abandoned, resulting in edgy and unpredictable behavior. He had been adopted, returned, boarded, lived in a series of foster homes, and most recently had to deal with the loss of his big brother German Shepherd Buddy and the separation from his mom who became ill.
I have to wonder if Justice didn't sense in Sam a kindred spirit of survival and resilience. And Sam, who can be reactive and unfriendly, may have sensed the same. I was shocked and thrilled. This chance meeting convinced me to leave the sheet up to monitor the interactions between Justice and each of the dogs.
Each meeting has been a non-event. He has touched noses with each dog in their turn. As they wait by the door to go outside, he sniffs them and watches them. At this point, there hasn't been any contact with Justice outside of the crate since I still am unable to place a collar on him. Soon I see them playing in the yard though. Wanting to be with the dogs may motivate him to allow me to do whatever is needed.
My standing has risen in his eyes as he watches me interact lovingly and playfully with the dogs. I can see that my avenue to him is through the other dogs whom he naturally accepts. Our morning ritual now includes my administering medications with tasty delivery methods. One for each dog and then a treat for Justice. He stands right at the front of his crate expectantly. He seems to enjoy and feel safe belonging to the group.
Justice urinated in front of me. Justice came out of his crate as I was standing at the counter. He seemed like he was on a mission, but before I could take any action, he squatted and did his thing. I thought that showed some real trust and, of course, housetraining and urgency.
Justice is peeking into the living room. I haven't seen him but I can hear him approach the doorway and stop. I can imagine him looking around and wondering what goes on here.
Justice ate a stalk of celery. Most of my dogs love veggies and fruit. I was glad to see that Justice ate one too. I don't know if he was copying my dogs or if he had just learned to eat whatever was available when living on his own.
Justice stole a spoon off the counter. I saw it in his crate. I guess he was done licking it and wanted me to refill it!
Justice comes quite close to me. But of course I don't reach for him. I want to validate his efforts to courageously expand his world and relations. He will let me know when the time is right.
Right on Schedule
Justice is right on schedule for him. I have faith that he knows exactly what he needs to do and when he needs to do it. I'm satisfied that my refraining from pushing him has resulted in major breakthroughs in his own time. He is finessing his life with artistry - my role is to do the same. Each day brings a marvelous change. I am so thrilled to have Justice in my life!

Friday, March 15, 2013

You and Your Best Friend in Springtime Colorado

By Lorraine May, M.A.

Many dogs revel in the snow, but just as many eagerly anticipate springtime activities. So get out and enjoy your best friend in our amazing state! Planning ahead can be invaluable to the creation of a safe, sensational season.

Bugs and Blossoms

Talk to your veterinarian regarding seasonal health such as heartworm prevention. Licking paws is often a sign of an allergic reaction. Try wiping them with a damp cloth when returning from a walk to remove environmental triggers.  As temperatures increase, planning is essential so that our dogs aren’t waiting for us in cars which can become death traps within ten minutes.

Thunderstorms and Fireworks

Many dogs suffer during the stormy months. Those same dogs often suffer through fireworks displays. The Thundershirt can be an effective tool to calm the anxious dog. Playing the CD “Through A Dog’s Ear” and offering Bach’s Rescue Remedy on treats also can help.

Together and Separate

During vacations, our dogs grow accustomed to our continued presence. This can become problematic when we return to work. One way to avoid this is to be certain to have separate time every day. Accompany this time with a special treat or toy so your dog looks forward to your absence.

Walking and Hiking

In addition to a collar or harness, with current identification, a sturdy leash and waste bags, try taking yummy treats in a fanny pack. They come in handy for getting your dog’s attention or for creating positive associations with unfamiliar dogs, people or situations. And thrown over the head of an approaching off-leash dog, treats can direct him away from your leashed and perhaps apprehensive dog.

Please request handouts for more detailed information at




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