Sunday, 21 October 2018

You can teach an old dog new tricks!

You can teach an old dog new tricks!

So passionately written by Sharon Rogers, doggy Mum to Heidi

I’m writing this in memory of “Heidi” who came to us through Moving Paws – firstly as a Holiday Care dog and then as a Foster with the intent to adopt her – all dependent upon a feisty Jack Russell who rules our house!!

I have to stress here before I go on that Heidi was NOT unloved or neglected by her owner – she had been living the past 10 years with a 90 year old lady who could no longer manage her care and there wasn’t any family who were able to take her.

Heidi first came to us as a Holiday Care Dog – we already had 2 dogs for holiday care plus our own 2 dogs but Heidi needed to come due to circumstances and so for a week we had 5 dogs!! Heidi was no trouble at all and was with us for about a month – she was very much a dog that showed no emotion at all, she was a bit of a loner and didn’t mix with the other dogs – she just went along with whatever was happening – used the doggy door, went to bed and stayed there all night, went on excursions with us etc. all the time no emotion or excitement but that was her personality at the time.

Heidi went back to her owner at the Retirement village for about a month or so before the family decided that her owner was no longer able to look after her – they had asked us if we would take her and my husband was very keen – I wanted to make sure our Jack Russell would be nice so we said when they needed to make the decision go through Moving Paws again and we would have her as a foster with the intent to keep her. Her owner was very upset when I collected her from the home because she loved her and Heidi had been her late husband’s dog – I assured her we would love her and she would be part of our family!

Heidi came home and settled in – she was a very clever dog – she knew the “pecking order” – don’t mess with the feisty Jack Russell bitch – give way at all times LOL!! No problems with the gentle giant Chocolate Labrador just watch out for his tail wagging and getting whacked in the face!
We have our own business which at times allows us to take our dogs and involve them – quite a few years ago we had a special “cage” made for the back of our ute to serve 2 purposes – lock our gear in but also allow us to transport our 2 labradors that we originally had. We had a ramp made up so it was easy for the dogs to get up! We often get asked if we are the dog catcher with our mismatched lot of dogs we are always carting around! Heidi loved the wind in her face and being able to look around at everything and smell everything. She loved the beach – don’t think she had ever been before, going to the dog park, running around the lawn tennis courts we look after, going to the dump – all sorts of exciting adventures – even camping in a Winnebago for a week while we worked in the country!
Slowly Heidi’s personality changed – she showed emotion, she got excited, she trotted around with more attitude and interest, she literally ran around, she lept in the air when I got home from a long day at work and zoomed around the house in excitement, she became a pack dog and learnt to sit with our other dogs and want to be with us and not so solitary, she wanted to go out for excursions and fun all the time, she followed our Jack Russell around – she became a totally different dog! And she had never made a sound whilst with us initially but she learnt to BARK and express herself – she would sit looking out the front door and bark at people and dogs – you cannot imagine the sheer joy I felt when I first heard her bark – she had found her voice - thanks of course to the Jack Russell resident guard dog who I think gave her the concept of barking!!

I need to mention that taking on a Senior Dog can be just as much fun as a puppy/younger dog – we were fully aware that an older dog is of course not getting any younger and would be more likely to have health issues etc but to us that was not any problem – we love our dogs and do whatever is needed – our Labrador Chewbacca is 12 and Jack Russell Bernie 10 and Westie Heidi over 12 - all geriatrics! Heidi was deaf so we learnt ways of getting her attention but we never let her out of our sight because she learnt to move quickly and she would be gone in a flash! And soon after we adopted her we found out she had a bad heart condition – her heart would literally stop beating every so often which led to her passing out for brief moments and having small fits. At one point we discussed a pace maker but medication managed to cut down the passing out episodes for awhile – so twice a day she was on medication and we always kept an eye on her – she was happy and not in pain so we took that! Never ever did we feel this was too hard to deal with or not worth the effort - we would have done whatever was needed for her – she was having the best possible life with us and although we knew it wasn’t going to be a long life we gained so much satisfaction just watching her live life!
You know the saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?? Well don’t you believe it!!! I can prove with 2 dogs that this is not the case – firstly the change in Heidi just from leading a different life and experiencing so many new things and secondly our feisty little Jack Russell “Bernie” who has intensely disliked other dogs in the past ended up watching over Heidi and going up to her when she was having a “passing out” moment to make sure she was okay, waking her up in the morning when due to her deafness she couldn’t hear us all getting out of bed and even whilst  camping getting into the same bed as Heidi – never in my life would I have believed that!!

We lost Heidi today – her heart gave out and we are shattered – she went to sleep in her bed – Bernie was with her watching over her until we realised. Our house feels strange without that funny little Westie!! One less happy face to greet us when we get home. We didn’t have her for long but she was part of our family. Yes we are sad but we are also so pleased with ourselves that we gave her the best possible finish to her life – there is no better satisfaction.

I want to say that Senior dogs ROCK!!!! They can be just like a young dog – they can show emotion and get excited, they will love you for what you do for them. Remember most seniors have been removed from the only home they have ever known but they can adapt to you and your home – you just have to show them love! So what if they have medical issues – just deal with them! Give them the best possible quality of life until the end – it’s not about quantity! Heidi is proof of that – she came to us August last year for Holiday care and has been with us as “our” dog since October of last year – we loved her and showed her the best time for 12 months – yes we wish it was more but it wasn’t to be. She passed away at home in her bed with her pack mates – she’s left a hole but there are no regrets for the life we gave her!

Please please don’t pass up a senior dog because you don’t think it’s worth it or too hard – they will reward you a hundredfold – they will make you laugh – they will teach YOU new tricks – they will love you unconditionally – they might not be here for long but they will touch your heart and have the best life possible!!!

Run free beautiful girl - always and forever x 

Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Hidden Cost of Online Fundraisers

The Hidden Cost of Online Fundraisers

Like many rescue organisations, Moving Paws Inc is active on social media, including Facebook. There are a number of benefits to social media – we can keep our supporters updated, raise awareness of important issues, and promote fundraising activities. Platforms like Facebook are very popular and free to use, so this can be extremely useful for non-profit organisations like us.

Social media also allows us to promote our fundraisers in a way we could only have dreamed about a few years ago.

Recently we have seen a number of Facebook posts and websites asking for people to vote for particular charities to receive grants, or to donate to indirect fundraisers via third party websites. However, some online fundraisers aren’t as straightforward as they appear.

The voting websites can be problematic. They will usually ask you to submit some personal details to ‘validate’ your vote. We ask our supporters and friends to be very wary of submitting personal information, as you are likely to end up on mailing lists begging for more votes and/or donations. We also cannot vouch for the security of any personal information you submit to other websites.

External fundraising websites charge fees for their service. The fees are charged to the charity by being deducted from donations before any funds are passed on. Some charge monthly or quarterly ‘platform fees’, and the majority charge transaction fees and credit card fees. This means that if you donate via a third party website, not all of your donation goes to your chosen cause. In some cases this can significantly affect the bottom line of the organisation you have chosen to support.

These websites may work well for large charities, but for us the fees are prohibitive.  We have stopped promoting a lot of these posts.

There are also websites promoting pet rescue that solicit for donations – however, only a portion of the donations actually go to the animals. The rest is used for website costs and staff salaries. These websites are not directly involved in rehoming pets but provide a list of adoption organisations along with general information. The need for these directory-type websites is debatable, as most rescue organisations have their own websites and social media pages which can easily be found with an online search. We believe the limited funds available from fundraisers could be better spent helping rescue organisations directly.

We support transparency in all forms of fundraising. Before voting or donating online, please review the website carefully to check where your information and money are going. How are the donations spent? Are there fees involved? Will you be contacted in the future or will your information be sold/passed on to other organisations?

The direct approach is usually best. If you would like to support Moving Paws Inc with a donation (however big or small), please see our donation page where we happily provide the details so that you can send it directly to us via PayPal or our bank account. That way there are no fees or very limited fees with no commissions – but direct support for our rescued dogs and numerous expenses.

We (and the dogs) are extremely grateful for your support.

Thank you for reading! Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.

Regards, Debbie - Founder - Moving Paws Inc.

This blog post sponsored by Bluehound Content Studio

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The other side of rescue


As you would see on our website and Facebook page, Moving Paws Inc has always had a steady stream of homeless dogs coming into our care and going to loving forever homes.

We are a small team and we care deeply about every dog that we rescue. The organisation was started because we are passionate about dog rescue and want to help animals in need.

We are all invested deeply in the welfare of the animals that come to us; no one more so than me.  When a dog is surrendered I become its legal owner - it is my responsibility, its future health and happiness is my responsibility, and this is something I take very seriously.

Most of the time, these dogs have had a very difficult start to life. I am responsible for their future, and it is a huge responsibility. More than anything, I want them to be successfully re-homed with a minimum of stress and live out long and healthy lives in their forever homes. They deserve 110% love going forward. It is up to us to ensure the very best outcomes.

This responsibility weighs heavily.

I love animals so much and their plight takes a huge personal toll on me. I very often take on their problems and their owners’ problems. I have had a strong sense of empathy since a very young age, and I always wanted to help make the world a better place. When I founded Moving Paws, I soon came to realise the emotional toll that this takes.

In rescue, we witness some terrible suffering, and this stays with the majority of us. Dogs may be sick, neglected, and traumatised, but it is extremely rewarding when we know we have made a difference; and this is why we continue to rescue and change lives.  We look at the bigger picture – that of the second chance.

Adoptions are always tinged with sadness as we say goodbye to those we love very much. It doesn’t get any easier, and each dog is a new goodbye. When we approve an adoption, we place a huge amount of trust in the new owners to continue what we started and we pray that this happens.

It is hard to truly explain the heart and soul that is put into caring for and rehabilitating the special needs dogs we take into care.  I have always tried to remain focused on our goal to rescue and rehabilitate without judgement.

We greatly appreciate all of our supporters, and we would like people to understand that adopting a dog from us is more than a transaction. We put everything into their rehabilitation and we say goodbye with very mixed feelings. A lot of work goes into ensuring our dogs are equipped for their new lives. We also work hard to ensure they go to the most suitable homes possible. Not all dogs are suited to all situations, and we carefully consider all applications to ensure the best outcomes.

We are very fortunate that the majority of our adopters stay in contact and remain part of the Moving Paws family; however, there are some that prefer not to. There are no rules, but it makes our job easier when we can see that our dogs are doing well. 

Over the past year, I personally have taken on more than I should have, as the dogs’ lives have always been my number one priority.  This meant that carers, adopters, and lots of people and situations didn’t get the support that I feel is needed by the founder of an organisation. I had spread myself too thin… Something I made a commitment not to do.  I have also experienced some fairly deep bullying and nastiness from members of the public.

Occasionally I used to feel that it may be time to take a step back from outside pressures, but I never did - thinking myself weak for having such thoughts.  My rescue work continues behind the scenes everyday with our sanctuary dogs, foster carer communication, book work, enquiries, vet appointments and running the organisation.  All this doesn’t leave much time to deal with much else.

But the time did come - and has come - that I needed to take a step back for the sake of my own personal well-being.  Moving Paws is my reason, my passion, and it always will be.  The Moving Paws team are dedicated, caring, and love animals and I am very proud of this organisation.  But for now, I will not be personally fostering any more dogs. My commitment at present is to my sanctuary dogs and the MP team.  The pressure of re-homing has weighed deeply on my heart for too long and it needs a break.

We need to put the animals first and ensure that we do everything in our power to help them and this I will always do - and I will be better for it having had a break.

Regards, Debbie
Founder - Moving Paws Inc.

Please consider a donation to Moving Paws Inc if you share our vision that all pets deserve a second chance.

Thank you for reading!
Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.

This blog post sponsored by Bluehound Content Studio