Category Archives: dog adoption

Willa – Our Sweet Girl

Willa is a special dog.

An American Pit Bull x Boxer, Willa has breast cancer which has likely spread. She’s on medication, but with time being precious, it’s important to focus on quality of life.   Willa is a popular sleepover dog at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – every precious sleepover adds to Willa’s quality of life and enrichment.  She really enjoys getting out of kennels, getting cuddles and having a good, deep sleep.

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Willa loves rides in the car

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A special tag for a special girl

I really enjoyed staying with Willa and seeing her sweet nature in person.  Let’s hope she gets a home soon.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Hank’s in-room massage

I love having sleepover dogs from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  When Hank (a Mastiff cross) stayed with me, I gave him an in-room relaxation massage.

At first he wasn’t sure what to expect, but he soon got into it.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Great Global Greyhound Walk

The Great Global Greyhound Walk has become an annual event since 2014 to raise the profile of adoptable greyhounds.  (The event was started in 2010 as the Great British Greyhound Walk but interest soon went global.)

Groups from around the globe organize walks with their hounds to show them off to the public and to raise funds for greyhound adoption.

This year, the date is this Sunday – 11th June.  gggw-logo  If you follow the Walk’s website, there’s a searchable database to find the walk closest to you.

Check out the map while you are there – this event is truly global.

As Izzy is a greyhound and we volunteer for Greyhounds as Pets, you can guarantee that we will participate in our local walk in central Christchurch.

Interested in knowing more about bringing a greyhound into your life?  Why not come out on Sunday and meet lots of hounds and their owners.  Owners love to talk about their dogs and their enthusiasm is infectious.  Bring your spare change and make a donation, too, so more hounds can find a forever home.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

When a rescue champion retires…

I have just finished writing a column for NZ Dog World magazine about the issue of demographic change in the veterinary medicine sector.

And then in my Linkedin newsfeed pops up this article about a rescue group in Utah that is winding up.  It’s founder and stalwart is retiring after 13 years…

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Santa Clara City Councilwoman Mary Jo Hafen presents Linda Elwell with a bouquet of flowers in appreciation of her work with Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter, Santa Clara, Utah, May 31, 2017 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

…and the rescue group is ceasing its operations as a result.

Something that ‘experts’ warned for quite a few years is upon us – demographic change.  In the next 10 years, many Baby Boomers will be retiring.  They’ve done their bit and it’s time to slow down and enjoy life.

The problem is – the Gen X and Millennials that are living their lives have different pressures and priorities.  Gen X are dealing with aging parents, educating their children, and retaining full-time employment to pay for their own retirement.  Millennials have different priorities too.  They may have aspirations to buy a home in a rising housing market; they are integrally connected to technologies of all types, and they don’t ‘volunteer’ the way previous generations did.

Rescue groups and those involved in re-homing need to take heed.

Succession planning is important if your rescue group is to survive.  This means an honest look at business processes and how they relate to the current generations with disposal income and the ability to support your efforts.

Digital presence is a must; as is content curation – the provision of new and regular content.

It’s a real shame to see groups winding up; but there will probably be more who don’t survive the rapid change in their memberships.

Need help?  I’m an experienced not-for-profit and public sector manager as well as a canine massage therapist and entrepreneur.  I’d be happy to work with your group to facilitate the development of action plans for your future.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Mutual Rescue™

Mutual Rescue™ is a trademarked initiative of the Humane Society Silicon Valley.  Aimed at changing the way people think of animal welfare and adoption, each year the Society asks for submissions from people to share their story about a special connection they have made with an animal.

These stories of inspiration and transformation have come about because a person walked into an animal shelter and adopted a pet.

Four new videos will be released in early 2017 after over 400 stories were submitted for consideration.

Below is the first Mutual Rescue™ video released last year – the story of Eric & Peety.  I particularly love the way the drawings have been introduced to the film.

Please also note that Eric’s naturopathic doctor recommended a dog as a key part of his treatment for obesity…

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Season’s greetings

In 2012, I went to Best Friends in Kanab, Utah for the first time.  I was there to take a workshop and to volunteer my skills.  What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with a dog, Dumpling, in the Old Friends section of the Sanctuary.

Unfortunately, Best Friends has a policy about adopting dogs to overseas locations where quarantine is required (rightfully so, they feel their dogs have been through enough and the USA and Canada offer plenty of re-homing opportunities).  The situation was further complicated because Dumpling had heartworm and would require treatment.

She was my sleepover dog for several nights including my last night and then I returned her with a heavy heart.  I watched her status on the Best Friends website and had mixed feelings when the site confirmed that she had been adopted in December 2012 (and successfully treated for heartworm) – because I was heading back there again in 2013 and she would not be there.

But I did manage to check in with the Adoptions Coordinator when I arrived and asked if they would be willing to pass on my contact details to the adoptive family. And now each year around Christmas (Dumpling’s anniversary), I get an email from Dumpling’s Dad, Stuart, about her.  dumpling-sleeping

This year was my fourth update:

Kathleen, Good morning and Happy Holidays.  It’s time for our annual update on Dumpling.

Hard to believe it has been four years now since this sweet girl joined our family.   Given all her issues, we had no idea how long we would have her, but I am very happy to say she is showing little signs of slowing down.  She does have some minor medical issues but nothing that cause her any problems.

She still dances about when it’s time for her walk or when I get home from work.  Her energy level is still great.

Over the past year she has stopped getting up on most of the furniture.  The exception is the love seat in the bedroom which she claims early in the morning (3:00-4:00 AM) and will stay there until mom calls her for breakfast.  I don’t think it’s that she can’t get on the furniture, I just think she likes to be able to choose the bed she wants to sleep in depending on if she wants to be alone or with us.  There are 8 dog beds in the house & garage for two dogs.  Not like they’re spoiled or anything.

The Lab in her comes out anytime she is near water.  Get her close to any body of water and she walks right in.  Even the rain doesn’t bother her.  Her sister Callie will avoid the rain at all costs but Dumpling will go out and run around like any other day.  One new thing is she does like to be dried off now.  I think she likes the physical contact more than the drying.

I just wanted to check in and let you know she is doing great.  We consider ourselves very lucky to have her.

Please have a very Happy Holiday.

Warmest Regards,

Stuart

I hope Dumpling has another good year and there will be a 5th update in 2017.  Most of all, I am forever grateful that she found such a safe and happy home after many rough years.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Crate training

I like crate training, particularly because it helps ‘future proof’ your dog.

If your dog needs surgery or rest from an injury at any time, having them used to comfortably resting in a crate saves a lot of time and stress (for both dog and owner).

If you need to travel with your dog, whether for a holiday or for relocating, crate training helps you manage your dog’s comfort as well as your own (e.g. limits the risks of accidents in hotel rooms that will charge you an additional cleaning fee).

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Izzy, mostly in her crate, but enjoying a summer breeze coming from the back door. Izzy’s crate is her safe place (the way it should be)

Crate training can be particularly useful for re-homed dogs because dogs will seek out a place that is safe (den-like if you are thinking of wolves).  Giving a re-homed dog a place they can retire to – and not be bothered – is useful for getting them accustomed to life in a domestic home.  It’s also a useful boundary for children to learn.  If the dog is in its crate, then leave it alone.

Unfortunately, over the last 10 or so years, as crate training became more normalised as a concept, it also has been abused.  Owners who are not consistent with their training or not taking the time to truly get their new puppy or dog settled in their home (taking on a dog is a lifetime responsibility, but initially you have to put in the time to get your dog set up for success  for life), have begun using crates as a cage.  A place to go when the owners are out at work (all day, in most cases) or when the dog has mis-behaved and the owner has had enough.

That’s the wrong use of a crate.  There were even stories of dogs locked in their crates during the Christchurch earthquake of 2011 – the dogs were up to their necks in liquefaction by the time they were saved.  That’s not a heartening story if you ask me.  That’s a story of an irresponsible dog owner.

There are many resources to help owners learn crate training.  The Humane Society of the United States, for example, has this useful video:

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand