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Current blog look inspired by and dedicated to Chance, Blaze, Fiona and Zappa who all kicked ass against cancer and liver disease.

Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Saturday, December 31, 2011


This past year has been about time for me.  Having it, making the most of it and learning how to let it work for me.  It is the last one that can be the most difficult but is the most rewarding.

 Daddy and Brut
My husband made a New Year's Resolution to walk the dogs every other day as part of his exercise routine and he succeeded with that goal.  Time with Daddy is hard to come by and this special one-on-one time has been precious.  So precious that Brut's protectiveness and dog aggression would be triggered off when Daddy is home.  It is taking a ton of trial and error, tools and techniques to finally find a gentle solution that is making a world of difference.  I spoke of it recently HERE.  It has been a long road getting to this point but with Brut's attitude flaring up in direct contrast to when Daddy is home, it has helped in narrowing down his behavior in order to respond better.  All it took was some time.

Zappa with his favorite guy
The first year and a half that the Front Dogs became part of our lives, Chance, Blaze and Brut have taken most of my attention.  Now since the two dog packs have begun to settle this past year, I have been able to give the remaining Back Dogs, Zappa, Fiona and Silver what they have needed:  TIME.

Fiona on the move
 If you have never raised two puppies together at the same time, (Zappa and Fiona) you would not believe the bond that exist.  It is tight.  It has just been this past year that I have been able to really get to know each of these dogs on a more personal level, like learning how to play with them, working with training and behavioral issues.  Little things that have made huge impacts on their lives and mine.  Most prevalent has been my relationship with Zappa and his dog pulling abilities that I wrote about in THIS POST.

Silver's ready!
I have done the same with Silver.  It has been forever it seems since I taught her a new trick or really worked with her.  She tends to end up at the bottom of the heap of five other demanding dogs.  And just being able to carve out that little bit of time with her, is already showing leaps of progress.  She has been craving her own equality and finally I have been able to give it to her.  The difference is night and day.

Chance:  You've got to smell this!
Blaze:  Wrong Way DAD!
 And then there are the Front Dogs who summed up everything I started working with them this past year from leash training to simple behavior issues to advancing their training by taking a trip to the vet today and passing with flying colors.  Both Chance and Blaze's handled the entire experience like champs.  Neither of them snapped or growled and they both took to the vet quite well.  Chance didn't scream when the vet came near him nor when she gave him his shot.  And here was the real kicker, they BOTH took treats from the vet.  That was the biggest break through we have made so far.  I still can't believe it!  It was exciting and all it took was time.

If I really look back, time has been the biggest lessons I have begun to learn.  For myself and for the dogs.  It is so hard sometimes not to push harder and go further than they are ready for, but when I really listen to the dogs, they let me know when they are ready to take that next step and time will take care of the rest.

May we all be blessed with more time than we ever thought possible with our favorite furry friends while we revel in the magic that happens within it.  

Have a wonderful and Happy New Year
24 Paws of Love

Friday, December 30, 2011

animals to rescue

Does anyone else find this true in their own lives?

Mallard Duck eggs
My husband and I were tearing apart a deck we found for free in the paper.  One of those u-haul deals.  Our day started hitting one major snag after another and what should have taken a few hours turned into an all day disaster.  Halfway through I felt like I was ready to just lose it.  Just then the owners pulled up and out jumps two dogs, I felt instant relief.  Just like that I was able to breathe again at just the sight of those dogs.  I didn't need to touch them or have any major connection with them, their presence was enough to settle those frayed emotions.  And while our "free" deck continued to be a nightmare, I was able to carry on knowing that there was fur running around like crazy and was close to me.

Another time I found myself in a very troubling situation with someone I didn't know very well, when out of no where I was instantly calmed by the presence of a cat that had crawled into my lap.  And while it didn't change the circumstances there was a comfort in the warmth and love of this tiny being that helped me make it through what was a difficult situation at the time.

And then just last week, my husband and I were invited to a Christmas dinner where I didn't know a single soul, only to sit down in front of a gigantic fish tank!  I couldn't wipe the grin off my face at the discovery there were other creatures in the house and the feeling I wasn't alone.  I was instantly at ease.

 A furry comforter named Tiko

All it takes sometimes is a glimpse of an animal, whether it be wild or domesticated to feel back in touch with myself.  A chickadee in a tree, deer in the woods, someone walking their dog and there is a peace that comes over me even if just for that moment.  I have even felt this transcendence with insects and plants. Though out of all the beings of the world there is none that compares to when I see one of the canine varieties; who hold a special place in my heart for saving my life several times over and letting me know I am never alone.  Isn't that what any animal is a reminder of?

Does anyone else find themselves feeling that instant comfort and sense of belonging when you see pets or animals, even when they aren't your own?  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where's That Smell?

"Find It"

Nose work is fascinating.  I have been working with Chance and Blaze since discovering the game "Find It."  Putting a treat in a plastic jar or container and having them "find" by successfully getting it out of the jar.

Recently, I upped the stakes by placing the the treat in a toy and then hiding the toy in a room while they stayed in another.  I then rub the treat on my hand, ask them to smell my hand and tell them to "Find It."  Chance's nose is strong, especially when it comes to food.  Blaze takes a while to warm up, but she is also a slick and will go back and forth between looking for the treat and staying close to Chance in order to snatch it out from under him when he finds it.

I have done this in the house a couple of times, the results were something like this:

The first hide, easy out in open:  They each find toy with treat

The second time, this time out of plain sight:  Chance realizes he not going to just 'find it' and his nose turns on so loud you can hear him sniffing hard.  Blaze is also aware she can't just see and find it and keeps close tabs on Chance for any indication he is close to treat.  Even so much so that she will slide up by his side and grab the treat at first sign he has found it.

The third time, toy is place inside something or up high:  Chance is wearing down and Blaze takes advantage of this as her nose begins to warm up.  They each find a treat.

After the third time, Chance looks like someone bonked him on the head with a silly stick.  Blaze seems no worse for wear.  She is proud of herself for her slick moves and outmaneuvering Chance and is ready to go again now that Chance is wearing down and feels she has the upper hand. 


The whole event was hilarious and fascinating.  I was intrigued the most when Chance realized he had to use his nose and 'work' to find the treat.  When he begins to comprehend this, his entire demeanor immediately changes to that of sheer concentration and focus.  I'm sure that using both dogs together helps to spur on the competitive nature of the game.  Chance is about following the rules and pleasing me.  If I ask him to find it, he is going to do everything in his power to do that.  For Blaze it is about beating and outsmarting your opponent.  She isn't doing this for me, she is out to prove how her wit and clever intelligence will win the game.  And it is all about winning the game. 

Each style is unique and compliment the other. I have praised both of them for the strength and skills.    Although if I was ever lost in the woods, I think I'd rather have someone send Chance to find me!

Are you sure about that?? 
He couldn't last more than three rounds!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Without a word or excesses body language I step between Fiona and the door that separates the two packs.  While in the midst of having a slight confrontation with Blaze, I gently guide Fiona by walking in front of her so she will back up away from the door.

A far cry from yelling "Get back"  or "No."

Brut is on the couch protecting Daddy and his space.  Zappa walks in, Brut's snout starts to crinkle, Zappa won't retreat.  A low growl forms and I walk calmly over to Brut.  Face to face, I ask for eye contact and his attention.  He lowers his head for ear scratches and cuddles.  The tension in him breaks and life carries on.  If for some reason he can not overcome his powerful emotions, I ask him to get off the couch and go to his crate for some time alone.  He complies willingly.  As he leaves the couch his body instantly relaxes and he seems happy to be saved from himself and an ugly situation.

So much better than calling or yelling his name to get his attention that still leaves him in a situation he obviously can not handle on his own, left with too many choices, only to have me react by jumping in to try to gain control.

I am learning.

I am enjoying this gentler technique.  It never occurred to me to involve more physical and direct contact.  It helps limiting their choices, because I've tried every other way to let the dogs work things out for themselves and it hasn't worked.  It also helps nipping things in the bud because EVERYONE'S  stress is at a much lower state, which makes it so much easier to respond in a much more positive way.  Most importantly me.  It also gives them a better choice when I am not in a panic, because I am not a threat.  When sometimes it was a tough call if I was or wasn't because my fear or anger would add fuel to the fire.

And it is so much easier on my conscious.

Too many times I tried to use voice commands and too many times they were in angry, sharp authoritative tones.  It wasn't intentional, but in the heat of the moment that's how they were directed.  They eventually began to backfire on me and became signals of action for Brut.  I have been slowly working my way back from an actual fight to the beginning warning signs to prevent fights or aggressive behaviors.  Since this post when I asked for help, it just came to me to get off my butt and go over to Brut.  With no fear, no anger, no panic.  Sometimes touch alone can change his entire aggressive thought process.  I didn't realize the responsibility I was putting on Brut knowing how he is and leaving the choice in his hands.  Just taking these simple steps has lifted his burden tremendously.  Not every dog can make a good decision by himself, Brut is one of those dogs.  And so now we make them together.  :)

And as far as Fiona "chatting" with Blaze at the door...well Fiona still likes to claim she is the pretty sister.  :)


And for our friends, our hearts and prayers go out to K and her family.  We are all with you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Zappa Takes the Lead

It was a wonderful sunny day, blue skies, 44F (6.6C) degrees, the last bits of snow and ice were turning soft on the road.  It was a perfect day for a bike ride powered by Zappa.

Zappa has become my dog puller for this year.  Unbeknownst to me, he was more than willing to pull.  He took off like a rocket and climbed the slight incline with a little assistance from me.  His gait was relaxed and happy, enjoying the freedom to run, no concerns about towing me.  I was stunned when he continued through the intersection and carried on down the road.  No qualms, no questions, his confidence was shining through.  Even after having to a stop a couple of times and turning around, he followed through with that Husky drive he has been lacking in previous runs.  Zappa for the first time was taking the initiative.  He was shining with the desire and heart of a sled dog who wanted to pull and was extracting the sheer joy of doing what he was born to love.  It was amazing.

The dog pulling bike
Zappa is a natural puller but not a lead dog by nature. His lack of confidence before would find him confused and scared after the first burst of speed not knowing what to do next.  As the two packs have settled this past year, I have been able to focus more time and attention to Zappa and our bonding experiences have begun to boost his self esteem, yet I had no idea how much until he was so anxiously excited about taking the bike out.  Little did I know the impact our time together made on this shy, timid dog who was so poised in front of me and giving me the ride of a lifetime!

I started sledding with Zappa when he was about a year old.  He would only run any distance if he ran with another dog, otherwise he had to be coaxed.  So when Zappa made his stand and took the lead today, I witnessed this beautiful boy shine in his own glory, while I rode along and let him take it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Memories-Christmas Day

This Monday Memories we are going to take a look back at yesterday, Christmas Day.  We hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Holiday.

  You mean that gift wasn't for me??
Christmas 2011

9:30am:  My husband wakes me waving a torn and empty half pound fudge box, "Brut ate it all.  He ate all of it."  There is no mistaking the terror in his eyes.

Brut looks calm and is quiet.  Good sign.  No signs of hyperactivity or racing heart that can come from toxic levels of chocolate.

Scan internet:  Look for fudge company ingredients, no luck.  Look for what levels are toxic for dogs.  Nothing is certain or clear without knowing what's in the fudge.

Call vet.  She says Brut is past the point of being able to induce vomiting.  (Usually 1-2 hours after ingestion)  She says most fudge isn't made with cocoa, which is the most toxic.  She suggest 3-4 small meals spaced  through day with some canned pumpkin.  The goal is to work the toxins through the system as quickly as possible.

So the day was met with following Brut around for the day.  No vomiting.  No diarrhea. You could tell he didn't feel well, but was otherwise fine.

It was undoubtedly one of the worst fears we have ever encountered.  My husband was terrified.  He was the one who had left the unopened fudge out the night before.  He thought for sure Brut going to die and that a simple mistake would have caused the worst Christmas Day for the 24 Paws of Love family ever.

Brut is doing fine today.  He's a fighter who isn't going to go down that easy, but it is a reminder how easily it could have happened.

Please keep your dog safe by keeping all chocolates, candies and goodies out of their reach.  Don't have a Christmas scare like we did.  Your dog is worth it! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011


24 Paws of Love to Santa's Rescue!!

We got the call!!  All of our scheming hard work paid off!!  Santa needs our sled and help pulling it.

Chance:  Good thing we are all strong sled dogs, you wouldn't believe the amount of coal in this bag!  

Blaze:  BOL!  How many doggies and kitties have been claiming they have been good all year and yet we have the proof!  Click and find out for yourself!

Brut:  I think half of it is going to Corbin!

Silver:  Or what about the troubled twosome Jon Farleigh and Dewi?  They are sure to get a few lumps!

Zappa:  How about that group of felines at Brian's Home!  I mean they're CATS!!  They deserve it!!

Chance:  And those are just the ones we know of.  This bag is pretty full...

So keep your eyes and ears to sky because the 24 Paws of Love will be flying by 
To save Christmas day
The 24 Paws of Love way!!
For all the "good" little doggies and kitties of the world.

Brut:  Maybe we should help Santa with his "coal list,"  so we can make sure he doesn't miss anyone!!
You know who you are...

Have a Merry 24 Paws of Love Christmas Everyone!!


Friday, December 23, 2011

And last but not least-Blaze and Chance

Every cat or dog we have owned has had their photo on this Tigger tree skirt when I realized I didn't have any with the "puppies" on it and we decided to continue the tradition.  We haven't had a full size tree since Brut was young and these little table top ones fit perfect with 6 dogs.  :)

Thanks  for sharing in our Christmas portraits.  These two were pretty tuckered out from an earlier photo shoot.  They were so great letting me take these few shots.  

Stick around because you won't believe what is happening tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If the Big Guy Runs into a Problem...


With hardly a snowflake on the ground our new used sled isn't doing much but looking pretty while it catches dust!  We were hoping to unveil our new ride before this, but see this dirt around my paws?  That's just how it looks today with little hope of a White Christmas.

But not to worry...if Santa's sleigh breaks down the 24 Paws of Love are prepared.  And guess what Pamela...we even have BRAKES!!  Yes, real BRAKES!!  No more body slams for Mommy trying to bring our speedy butts to a halt with all her might.  Woo!  Woo!  It is a Frank Hall sled, who was well known for his internationally handmade dog sleds, including big races like the Iditarod and he was an avid musher himself.  (Don't worry, unless your in the mushing world you probably haven't heard of him.  We had to look him up ourselves.)

 Our sled is just over 6.5 ft long (approx. 2m) with a 41 inch (104cm) bed that can handle Santa's gigantic toy bag!   WHEW!!
 There are sleds that may be longer or shorter but this dog sled is a typical style and type for sprint racing and recreational sledding, in other words for shorter distances and beginners.
 Do you think it beats our homemade version?  BOL!!  Now we just need some help from Mother Nature to try it out and who knows maybe Santa will be in need of our assistance this year.

Chance, you did remember to rig check over Santa's sleigh, didn't you??   (Now where's that hacksaw?)

Don't worry we'll make sure Santa gets to everyone's house on Christmas Eve!  (wink! wink!) 

Merry Christmas Everyone!   

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Memories-Crazy Christmas Cat

Monday Memories-our weekly trip down memory lane...

 Since it is Christmas and the season for giving...(blah! blah! blah!)

 We were held at claw-point and ransacked of our treats decided to share our Monday Memories with those other bastards animals of the house.

Here's Princess Leia at 5 months old getting crazy with the Christmas paper.

Our gift to our readers, in exchange for our lives from the 24 Paws of Love Dog Blog.
(just in case anyone forgets, this is a DOG blog!!)

Doesn't she look like a pinball machine???  BOL!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Presence

After two days of an emotional upheaval and running ragged on lack of sleep, I found myself drawn to the quiet but all knowing presence of Zappa.
To be surrounded  in his majestic peace and his larger than life comfort calmed my soul.  The spiritual wisdom in his old soul eyes were like the power of God watching over me.  He took care of me with the same mighty aura and I was finally able to rest.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Million Miles of Baby Steps

Have you ever suffered through a trauma and had to almost start your life over from scratch?  And all of those baby steps you were taking seem to amount to nothing?   Take a lesson from Chance those baby steps add up.  Three years of baby steps and Chance met the receptionist at the vet.  The V-E-T!  The most petrifying place where strangers touch and poke you.  It was on his terms, outside, next to truck and he was great!!  It was a wonderful feeling when he accepted the treats from her.  A clear sign he was safe and comfortable.  

This after I'd already took him in to be weighed for a sled harness I am ordering him.  Just the event that occurred inside the vets office was amazing.  You would have thought we had planned it.  Chance pulled me full steam ahead and went straight to the scale.  Like he knew what we were there for or that it was a safe spot of some sort.  I don't know  With no command, he sat on it without as much as a flinch until it read 85.5 pounds (38.7 kg). When I gave him the OK, he pulled me straight for the door.  When I told him to 'stop" he turned and sat while three of the staff sat and talked to and about him.  Everyone at a polite distance.  He was actually relaxed.  I become so relaxed talking with the receptionist that I didn't move quick enough when someone was coming to the door, even when she had warned me.  Chance instantly went into self protective mode and snapped at the receptionist when she went to comfort him by reaching to pet his head.  She told me later she shouldn't have done that.  I should have moved when she mention the incoming person.

So after Chance and I walked around the grounds a bit and I had him back in the truck.  I wanted to leave on a better ending.  That's when I mustered up the courage and asked the receptionist if she would come outside for a better goodbye with Chance.  I was so glad I did.  Meeting people at home is so much different than meeting them out in public, for both of us.  But I was confident with Chance.  It helped me to realize when the receptionist made the comment that Chance wasn't going to let her touch him.  That made a key difference for me to find where his comfort level was.  Where his boundaries are right now.  Accepting treats out of her hand was one thing, any other form of touch was crossing a line.

It has taken many, many baby steps with Chance, from being brushed, looking at cuts, flea and ear medicine to being bandaged or touched and that is just with us. It takes both my husband and I to take him to the vet.  And he has come along way since the first time.   Touch for him is very extreme and nobody knows exactly what happened to him those months after he left our litter and our hands.  All we know is some things in life take their own time to heal.  Time that we have been so wonderfully blessed with this beautiful boy, twice.  And this my friends is our sweet moment of victory and what a million miles of baby steps can do!

We are so proud of you Chance!

For those who may be new readers, Chance is a pup from our litter who was returned to us after 8 months, ribs showing, neglected and abused.  Every step with him has been a miracle.  You can read more about Chance HERE.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Memories-Napping with the Godfather

Monday Memories-our weekly trip down memory lane...

Brut here.  I had to hijack the blog today or nothing was going to get done.  Mom and Dad came down with the sniffles and well...you know what big babies humans are when it comes to getting a cold.  Which gives me a great chance to share my favorite memories of Godfather Alex and me.  Sleeping.  Yup!  That's what we did best together.  What better way to have the torch passed on from the Godfather himself. 

These were our first days together.

You couldn't keep us apart when it was nap time.

He shared all his secrets of being king with me...

And the couch.

He said to always treat Silver as the Queen she is.

Godfather Alex said it was up to me to carry on the family legacy.
He taught me everything I know.
I will never forget you Godfather Alex.
I hope I am close to filling those big paws of responsibilities you gave me.

May you live on forever.
Love, Brut

Godfather Alex