Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
Hi, my name is Lennon. You and I have not met before, but my mom told me all about you. She said you are a jolly old elf and if I write a letter to you, you could make my dreams come true. So here I am…writing a letter. Actually, I can’t write so my cat sister is writing it for me (cats are very smart, you know!).
Let me start by telling you about me. I have been a really good boy this year. In fact, I have been a good boy my entire life, it’s just that nobody was around to notice. I lived chained in a backyard for a long time. Food was scarce; love, even more so. It was a good day if I found some sticks or rocks to fill my empty tummy. For a long time, I fought hard to survive, but I have to confess, I eventually lost hope. Destiny dealt me a terrible hand and I began to believe that I deserved my deplorable situation. I was going to enter and exit this life unloved and unhappy.
Then, one rainy day in August, a Christmas miracle happened. A nice man came and carried me away from that hell. It was the first human contact I’d had in months and it felt soooo nice. I closed my eyes and tried to absorb the snuggles, praying he’d never let me go. Well, he did let me go, but it was to an even better place…my foster Mom and Dad’s house! Let me tell you Santa, life here is great. I get to sleep inside on a big comfy couch and they make sure that my food bowl is never empty. They give me lots of toys and even more love and cuddles. I even have dog and cat siblings, and they are pretty great too!
The sad thing about my story is that it’s not unique. Many animals suffer worse torture than I incurred; and many of them never make it to their happy ending. I am one of the lucky ones. Because a group of strangers opened their hearts to me, I get to spend my first Christmas in a loving home. I get to awake in a warm bed on Christmas day, feast on beef tenderloin, and play with all my new squeaky toys.
So, below is my Christmas wish list. I truly hope you can help…because dogs need Santa too!
Lots of love,
My Wish List
1.         Loving families for all homeless animals  (I realize that you cannot do this all at once, but perhaps you could use your Christmas spirit to inspire just one person to open their hearts and home to a rescue dog)
2.        Toys for all shelter dogs
3.        Extra cookies for all of the rescue humans
4.        A very special rescue dog to keep you and the reindeer company (Blitzen told me to ask for that)
5.        A forever home for me  (It’s no rush, but I’d love to find my happy ending!)
Merry Christmas!!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

10 Reasons We Are Thankful

Mom has been spending a lot of time this month telling us why she is thankful for us. I don't know why she feels the need to to do this every year at this time, but to be honest, I don't know why she does a lot of things (i.e. bathes regularly, eats lettuce, goes to work, pets the kitty...I could go on forever).

I think her random expressions of gratitude must be related to this human holiday called "Thanksgiving." That is a day when all of your human family comes over, cooks food, and yells at each other. Then, after a long day of napping and watching football, everybody says "thanks" and gives us lots of yummies. Last year, I got a whole heaping plate of sausage stuffing, corn casserole, pumpkin pie, and turkey (I would have preferred roast kitty, but beggars can't be choosers). It was sooooooo delicious!

The problem is, last year, I got so caught up in finishing my treats (and begging for more) that I forgot to say thanks to Mom. So this year, my brothers and sisters and I decided that we would say thanks ahead of time...just in case we get wrapped up in the excitement of the feast again. Plus, we want to make sure that we are in Mom's good graces when she doles out the turkey!
So here are 10 reasons that we are thankful this year:
1. "I am thankful that we don't have all of those puppies this year...more attention for me!"       
2. "I am thankful that there are lots of squirrels in our yard." -Layla
2b. "...and I am thankful that Layla chases them away." -Harrison
3. "I am thankful that Harry is so gullible." -Miss Kitty
4. "I am thankful for cheese." -Lennon
"No Lennon, you have to list things that really matter and make your life better...duh!" -Harrison
"Fine. I am REALLY thankful for cheese." -Lennon
5. "I am thankful that I am allowed on the furniture." -Layla
6. "I am thankful that the weather is getting colder." -Ringo
7. "I'm thankful that we only have one kitty." -Harrison
8. "I am thankful that Mom and Dad rescued me." -Lennon
9. "I am thankful for my clean litterbox." -Miss Kitty
10. "We are thankful for our Mom and Dad and the warm loving home they give us!"
-Harrison, Layla, Ringo, and Lennon

My post feast nap on Mommy's lap
(she says my snore is really cute)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Poem For All Rescue Moms

My mom says I'm a hero, but I'm not sure that's true.
My mommy is my champion. There's nothing she can't do.
She took me from a scary place and brought me to her home.
She offered me some comfort, more love than I had known.
She lay there on the floor with me and gently rubbed my ears.
She kissed my nose and sang to me to chase away my fears.
She cared for me and kept me warm and nursed me back to health.
She gave me everything I wanted, without thinking about herself.
Now I'm feeling better and running around the yard.
Who knew I'd end up happy after life had been so hard?
I do my best to snuggle her and kiss her when she's down.
She's done so much to help me that I hate to see her frown.
She says my smile and wagging tail brighten up her mood.
I only wish I could do more to show my gratitude.
She found me sad and hungry, and missing spots of fur.
She saved my life and rescued me. I owe my life to her.
My mom says I'm a hero, but I'm not sure that's true.
My mommy is my champion. There's nothing she can't do.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cat vs. Dog

Dear Diary,

Day number 836 of Operation Canine Torture: 
Harrison has proven to be more difficult to break than initially anticipated. Again this morning (at approximately 0300), under the cloak of darkness, I attempted an ambush on Harrison’s sleeping head. As he snored peacefully, I leapt from the bed, scampered across the room, and landed one well-placed swat on his nose before rapidly retreating to my safety zone beneath the bed.
Although successfully executed, with the intended goal of scaring the daylights out of Harrison achieved, my human minions were not at all pleased. Mom minion scolded me and then allowed Harrison to assume my position on the bed. Subsequently, I spent the remainder of the night sleeping on the couch.
It has become apparent that these nighttime ambushes are highly frowned upon. Perhaps I will have to rethink my approach.
I will keep you posted.
Miss Kitty
(aka Guinness, aka Night Terror, aka Midnight Operative, aka Canine Torturess)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lennon Update

For several weeks, Lennon has been having hair loss over his feet and abdomen, and despite numerous tests, the cause of this issue has remained a mystery. Luckily, we are fortunate to have an excellent veterinary dermatologist (one of only 200 in the country) here in Kansas City so I took the afternoon off work yesterday to take Lennon to see him.

Lennon really enjoyed his afternoon outing. He was quite the hit at the vet's office. He made friends with two couples in the waiting room and charmed them into rubbing his belly while he waited for his appointment. Both couples commented on how handsome he was and I described how emaciated he had been and showed them pictures of what he looked like when he came to us. When the vet tech came to the waiting room to weigh Lennon, all six of us cheered when we discovered that Lennon had officially DOUBLED his starting weight (weighing in at a whopping 63 pounds). With that, Lennon said goodbye to his new friends and headed back to see Dr. Senter.

Lennon really turned on the charm for Dr. Senter. He rolled over on his back to try to encourage a belly rub, and when that didn't work, he jumped up and sat on Dr. Senter's feet to get his attention. Lennon sat quietly while they did two skin scrapings and plucked hair out of his tail to send for fungal culture. His good behavior was rewarded with several lamb jerky treats.

All in all, it was a successful visit. Dr. Senter felt that allergies and years of poor care may be the culprits behind his hair loss. He expects Lennon's skin issues to improve with just a little TLC. The skin scrapings were negative for mange (good news!) and we are awaiting the fungal culture results. In the meantime, Lennon was started on another course of antibiotics to clear up a superficial bacterial infection.

After returning home from the vet appointment, I took Lennon outside so I could get a few updated pictures of him. He is getting progressively more difficult to photograph because he never stops moving! He is always climbing into my lap, investigating the backyard smells, or chasing after falling acorns. So out of almost 200 photos, I got about 10 pictures of him sitting relatively still.

With the good news from Dr. Senter and the updated photographs, Lennon can now be officially listed as "available" for adoption. Now we begin the process of finding the perfect home for sweet Lennon!!

Life of Drool would like to thank our awesome friends Joel and Laureen for sending a hugely generous donation to go toward Lennon's care. We are so grateful to have such wonderful friends. We love you guys!!!
We would also like to thank Dr. David Senter and all of the wonderful people at Veterinary Allergy and Dermatology Clinic (

Lennon is available for adoption through Missouri Pit Bull Rescue.
His page can be viewed at:


Monday, November 4, 2013

Snuggle Time

One of my favorite things about pit bulls is their need for constant physical contact. They aren't happy unless they are sitting ON you...and if they can't get to you, they settle for snuggling with each other. I snapped this picture of Harry and Layla the other night. They must have slept like this for over an hour!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Product Review: Your Dog's Diner

This week "Your Dog's Diner"  ( sent us some of their delicious treat mixes to sample and review.

Rachael, the proprietor at "Your Dog's Diner", is also the human behind the blog, a website dedicated to the adventures of her two rescue dogs, Brickle and Digby. After a few years of successful blogging, Rachael and her husband made the jump to small business owners. They combined their love of dogs with their lifelong love of cooking to bring us "Your Dog's Diner".

The premise behind "Your Dog's Diner" is the concept that cooking for your dog is a rewarding, loving and healthier way to give your dog treats. Because you can control the protein source, you can be assured that what you are feeding your dog is safe. By combining "Your Dog's Diner" treat mixes with a few other basic ingredients, you can easily cook nutritious and delightful snacks for your dog...right in your kitchen!

I have to say, that the Drool Crew and I thoroughly enjoyed our first experience! Below are the complete reviews for both the Mutt Meatballs and the Mutt Soup. Enjoy!

Mutt Meatballs


1. Grab the meatball mix, 1 egg, and 1 pound of ground beef (or protein of your choice)

 2. In a large bowl, combine meatball mix, egg, and uncooked meat.
3. Mix well with hands

4. Form into bite sized balls with a teaspoon or melon baller and place into a greased  oven-safe pan.

5. Place meatball in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.


6. Allow meatballs to cool fully before serving (probably the hardest step!)


Mutt Soup

1. Grab the soup mix, olive oil, water or chicken broth, and ground beef

2. Brown and drain the hamburger.
(This step is optional, however because I had a slightly fattier ground beef on hand, I decided to brown it and drain the grease prior to adding it to the soup mix)

3. Combine meat, soup mix, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 6 cups of water or unsalted chicken broth into a large pot.

 4. Bring the ingredients to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Simmer, while stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes.


 5. Allow soup to cool fully before serving


I think the above picture says it all...the Drool Crew was very excited to try their new treats. After allowing the treats to cool, I put a small scoop of the soup on top of their dinner. I was lucky to survive this exercise as I was nearly trampled in their scramble to get to the bowls!! Even Ringo broke into a jog on the way to the kitchen!

Photo from "The Lion King"
From a human standpoint, "Your Dog's Diner" treat mixes are AWESOME! Even if you are the worst cook on Earth (which I might very well be), your dog will love you for making something special just for them. The added perk is that, unlike human children, they won't complain when you feed them leftovers for several days!!

I also waited a few days before finishing my review because I wanted to see how the Drool Crew's stomachs reacted. My dogs don't get a lot of rich treats, so I was slightly worried that we would experience some gastrointestinal distress. Thankfully, we have had no problems...even after 3 days worth of special dinner treats. As if these treat mixes weren't great already, this finding definitely pushes them into the totally amazing category!
I will definitely be purchasing more from "Your Dog's Diner" and I can't wait to see what other recipes Rachael comes up with in the future. So if you are looking for something new to try with your dogs, stop by to order your treat mixes today! 
These treat mixes would make a great holiday present for any dog lover!!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday!

This is Guinness. She was very excited about her birthday. Now normally we are a dog blog, but who can deny the cuteness of this photo? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dog Aggression FAQ's

What is dog aggression?

For the purpose of this blog post, we will define “dog aggression” as any circumstance in which a dog displays an undesired behavior toward another dog. This behavior could be as simple as excessive barking or may be a more severe reaction such as snarling, snapping, or biting. There are a number of triggers for these behaviors, but they all fall under the umbrella of “dog aggression.”

What causes dog aggression?
A common misconception people have about dog aggression is that it is purely a result of poor socialization and it can be “cured” with training/dog parks/play dates/etc.  The cause of dog aggression is actually multifactorial; a combination of nature and nurture. Sure, poor upbringing and lack of socialization play a part in the development of dog aggression, but so do genetics.  Just like humans, dogs’ personalities are highly variable. Some are born to be outgoing and universally dog friendly while some are born to be more reserved and dog selective.
The age of the dog also plays a role in dog aggression. Often puppies are very dog friendly, but their dog tolerance can change as they reach maturity (around 2-3 years of age).
What triggers dog aggressive behaviors?
Aggressive behaviors can be triggered by a variety of circumstances and the purpose of the aggression can range from protection of resources/territory (toys, food, spot on the bed, etc) to formation of a social hierarchy (establishment of alpha dominance).

My dog gets along with some dogs, but not others. Does that mean that he/she is dog aggressive?
Bad Rap has a wonderful article about dog tolerance levels. They describe four tolerance categories (dog social, tolerant, selective, and aggressive) and explain that these categories are constantly in flux. A dog that was previously dog social can lose tolerance as they mature and ultimately fall into a more dog selective category. I think it is important to figure out where your dog’s tolerance level falls. When you understand your dog’s preferences you can better prepare yourself to manage the situations to which your dog is exposed. 
What can I do to improve my dog’s behavior with other dogs?
First and foremost, the best thing you can do for your dog is to set him up for success. Don’t put your dog in situations that result in the undesired behavior. Avoidance of triggers is the easiest and most effective way to manage dog aggression. For example: is your dog possessive of his toys? Then pick up the toys when other dogs are around. Do your dogs fight over food? Then feed them separately. Does your dog hate strange dogs running up to him? Then the dog park is not the ideal setting for him.
Once you learn to avoid triggers, you will be 75% of the way to a happier household. The remaining 25% of your energy can then be spent on training and behavior modification exercises.

Why do I need to manage my dog’s interactions?
Have you ever met a person that you don’t like? Perhaps that person is too rude, too bossy, or too awkward. Whatever it is, you’d just prefer to avoid any future encounters with that person. It doesn’t mean that you hate all people, it just means that there are certain personalities that don’t mesh with yours. The upside for us is humans have the ability to alter their situation. We can control our level of interaction with people we don’t like. Dogs can’t. They rely on us to do that for them.

What are some training exercises to help with dog aggression?
The best training trick you can teach your dog is “focus.”  The ability to gain your dog’s focus despite any surrounding chaos can help in a wide range of situations. Imagine you are walking your dog when he suddenly sees a squirrel. Without a second thought, little Fido jerks the leash from your hand and takes off running. He is just about to run into oncoming traffic when you shout a stern “Fido!” and he stops dead in his tracks and turns to look at you. All of that “focus” training just totally paid off, didn’t it?
Harry practicing his "focus" while Layla
watches squirrels
To practice gaining focus, start in your house with a low level of distraction. Keep a few tasty treats on hand and watch your dog as he goes about his business. As soon as his focus seems to be away from you, say his name once, in a happy tone. If he turns to look at you, reward him with a treat. Continue practicing, increasing the distractions as he learns.
The “focus” in response to verbal command generally works great at home, but sometimes once you are outside amidst the excitement of a walk the verbal recall is not as effective. In these situations, I find that bringing my dogs’ favorite squeaky toy is a miraculous replacement for my voice. Here, I give one squeak on the toy alongside my verbal command and “POW!”... I’ve got their attention again.
When you notice your dog’s attention turning negatively toward another dog, use the “focus” trick as a tool to get your dog’s attention back onto you. Once you regain focus, remove the trigger as quickly as possible to prevent any further negative behaviors. 

Our dog does well with other dogs outside the home, but he/she is not adjusting well to the new dog we brought home. What can we do?
I highly recommend a process called “crate and rotate” whenever you bring a new dog into the home. “Crate and rotate” is an exercise where for a set period of time (generally 1-2 weeks) you keep your resident dog and your new dog completely separate from each other. This means that only one dog is out at a time.
This period of separation allows your resident dog to accept the fact that there is a new dog in the home and that this dog is there to stay. At the same time, it allows the new dog time to adjust to his new surroundings without the added stress of having to meet and interact with his new canine sibling.

Ringo and Crosby practcing side-by-side walking
I know that “crate and rotate” is not ideal. Taking dogs outside to potty separately and having to spend time with each of them individually is time consuming and exhausting! But trust me, giving both dogs time to adjust before forcing an introduction will make a world of difference in how well they are able to get along.
Another trick I often resort to when things seem a little tense between the Drool Crew members is side-by-side walking. This exercise is best when there are two people (one to walk each dog). Walk the dogs side by side, first with the dogs on the outsides of the two humans. As the walk progresses, allow the dogs to walk side by side, between the two humans.  Side-by-side walking allows the dogs to exercise and bond as pack members all while reinforcing the humans as their pack leaders. 

Every dog should get to go to the dog park and have doggy friends. Don’t you think avoiding these “triggers” is unfair to my dog?
Absolutely not! It’s not unfair to avoid situations that make your dog uncomfortable. It is, however, unfair to continue to put him into situations in which he cannot succeed. His well-being is dependent upon you, and being forced outside of his comfort zone is not in anybody’s best interest.
Oftentimes people project their wants/needs onto their pet. It is YOU that wants to go to the dog park. YOU want your dog to get along with your friends’ dogs. YOU want to bring home a second dog. YOU think your dog is missing out on a great experience, but I can assure you…he is not.
Your dog doesn’t want anything beyond your love and affection.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Top 10 Worst Foster Moments

When I started this blog, my intention was to share my rescue experiences; both good and bad. I get an extraordinary amount of joy from fostering pit bulls. As a result, I could blog forever about my wonderfully happy home, but that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been difficulties along the way.

I would say that every foster dog has resulted in at least one breakdown (and some have caused waaaay more than one).  Every dog is different, and when you have a revolving door of new dogs entering your home you are bound to suffer the occasional hiccup.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have decided to share my top ten most emotionally trying foster moments. Each of these moments was short lived and the old adage “time heals all wounds” is certainly applicable here. So feel free to laugh and enjoy my stories of exhaustion, frustration, panic, and despair.
      1.  Layla (our first foster fail) has terrible separation anxiety. In our attempt to find a solution, we tried leaving her uncrated in the basement with a baby gate at the top of the stairs. We quickly discovered that she could crawl under the baby gate. Our next genius idea was to put two 30-pound dumbbells in the gap beneath the baby gate. They were heavy enough that she wouldn’t be able to push them out of the way and escape…so we thought. We came home from work that day to be greeted at the front door by Layla. With a feeling of dread, I slowly moved toward the top of the basement steps. As I turned the corner, I screamed. The giant floor to ceiling mirror had fallen to the floor. The baby gate had been pried off the wall. And, at the bottom of the basement stairs sat two 30-pound dumbbells; the tile floor beneath them shattered.  EPIC FAIL! (Please do not judge our stupidity. We realize now that this was one of the most terrible ideas ever conceived)

      2.  Our foster Autumn (mother of the 7 puppies that we also took in) had separation anxiety. She destroyed 6 metal wire crates before we finally started just leaving her loose in the house. Once we started leaving her loose, her anxiety improved immensely. So much so that she began redecorating our home in her spare time. It was Christmastime and we had decorations everywhere. We came home one evening to quite the surprise. She had removed our stuffed snowmen from the living room shelf and placed them gently on the floor of every bedroom and bathroom. She had also carried the low hanging Christmas ornaments upstairs to our bed and tucked them beneath the pillows. This happened almost every day in December. Although completely adorable, scouring the house and cleaning up scattered decorations did get a little tiresome.

      3.  Several years ago we took in a momma dog and her two 3 week old puppies. Those tiny puppies could not have been any cuter! Unfortunately, those tiny puppies grew and turned into bigger puppies, and the bigger puppies were poop machines! All of my free time was devoted to cleaning up their potty. Usually while I cleaned up, the puppies pranced around, pottyed more, and tap danced in their messes. I lasted almost 2 months before my husband found me sitting in the puppy room, covered in puppy poop, crying hysterically.  “If I clean up one more puppy mess I may lose my mind!” I whined between sobs. Well guess what? I cleaned up more messes and still had some sanity to spare.

      4.  Bogart (the momma to the puppies mentioned in #3) was nursing when we got her so we couldn’t spay her until the puppies had been weaned. Unfortunately for us, Bogie went into heat before we could get her spayed. I won’t go into graphic detail, but I will say that the puppies (and my furniture) were constantly covered in blood. The puppy room looked like a crime scene. I can safely say that this was my husband’s least favorite fostering moment.

       5. Last Thanksgiving we had a litter of 7 puppies (Autumn’s babies). By this point, the husband and I were puppy pros. We put down plastic painters tarp and confined them into a puppy pen. Things went much more smoothly than they did with the previous litter, however, it wasn’t without incident. I went downstairs one morning to discover that the puppies had worked together to move the pen across the room and had eaten a large hole in the baseboard and an even larger hole in the drywall. To this day, I still can’t comprehend how a puppy could eat a hole in a flat wall, but some things are meant to remain a mystery.

      6. Teddy was another foster with a talent of moving his crate across the room. We had to crate Teddy in our bedroom because he needed to be near his dog siblings. One day, Teddy managed to scoot his crate (with him inside) across the room to the bed. He pulled the down comforter off of our bed and into his kennel (another feat that remains a mystery) and shredded it. There were goose feathers EVERYWHERE!!

      7. Sadly, our bed seems to be a recurring theme in this list. I was napping one Saturday and Crosby climbed onto the bed and I was awoken by the sound of him tinkling all over it. Needless to say, there was A LOT of yelling. Crosby’s combination of tinkle and disruption of my nap made this one of my angriest foster moments.


     8.  A couple of years ago, I brought home a puppy the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. As soon as I got her settled into our house, I got a phone call to tell me that she had parvovirus. I spent the next 5 nights sitting next to her crate, forcing fluids and food into her mouth, and taking her outside to potty. The sleep deprivation combined with the stress of our visiting family made this foster experience truly exhausting.

   9.  Anybody that knows me will tell you that my favorite foster of all time has been Violet (luckily, Violet was adopted by my parents so she is a permanent member of the Iowa Drool Crew). Violet was impossible to potty train. She would go outside to tinkle and then come back inside and tinkle again. We checked her for medical issues and tried a million different cleaning solutions, but nothing worked…she kept doing it! She would just squat on my white shag rug, look at me defiantly, and tinkle. Thankfully, she eventually improved, but not before I was forced to buy 3 new rugs.   



      10. Lennon howls…ALL NIGHT. I think he might be part coyote. Enough said.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Get Out There!

I can’t go to the shelter…it’s too sad. 

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve heard that phrase. I’m not questioning the merit of the statement. It’s true. Animal shelters can feel like some of the most hopeless places on Earth.  

I guess my argument is that that sadness exists whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. Just because you have not seen rows and rows of abandoned dogs confined to cold, damp kennels doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. Just because you haven’t looked into a dog’s eyes, knowing that their time has run out, doesn’t mean that they aren’t being euthanized to make room for the newest intake.  

There is a seemingly constant supply of stray dogs and owner surrenders that enter shelters at overwhelming rates. Many good people come to adopt a new family member, but no sooner than that dog leaves does another dog arrive to take his place. There is a serious pet overpopulation problem in America and until we succeed at addressing this problem, shelters will continue to be overcrowded. 

That doesn’t mean it is hopeless. You don’t have to look the other way. You can choose to pull your head out of the sand and face the issue head on. You can help save lives. Yes, it’s sad, but that does not negate the reward.  

So stop by your local shelter. Walk or play with the dogs, pet the kitties, clean some kennels, or help with some much needed maintenance work. It doesn’t take endless hours of time. That is the nice thing about dogs. They are happy with whatever you can give them.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013